Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Legazpi fishermen get 35,000 tilapia fingerlings anew
By Emmanuel P. Solis

LEGAZPI CITY, Oct. 30 (PNA) –- Some 30 legitimate fishermen of this city received 35,000 tilapia fingerlings from the Legazpi City Agriculture Office (LCAO) and the Albay Provincial Fishery Development Office (APFDO) to increase fish production in the city.

City Agriculturist Jesus Kallos and APFDO head Ariel Poquinto made the distribution Tuesday at the LCAO here.

This is the second time that the fishermen received tilapia fingerlings from the city government after the successful raising and production of the first batch distributed during the time of former Mayor Geraldine Rosal.

Kallos urged the beneficiaries to properly manage their fingerlings for them to achieve the necessary volume of production and give the consuming public good quality tilapia at a reasonable price.

He told them that his office will monitor all the fishponds where these fingerlings are located and all the beneficiary fishermen will receive technical assistance from his office.

Kallos urged legitimate fishermen to work hand in hand for the proper way of catching fish and to prevent illegal fishing activity to preserve the juvenile fishes.

The city agriculturist said he will ask the help of barangay officials and eco-managers of the 70 villages to remind the constituents, especially those living near the river side, that throwing garbage in the rivers is strictly prohibited under RA 9003 and under City Ordinance No. 0017-2009.

These two pieces of legislation, he said, are strictly being implemented by the city government to further prevent the contamination of the rivers and to make sure that the flowing water is always clean and not poisonous to the fishes.

Poquinto, on the other hand, told the fishermen that during harvest time, they should pull all the fishes out of the fishponds to see to it that not one is left in the water to prevent the inbreeding of tilapia because it will result in less fish weight.

He said his office is very willing to give any volume of fingerlings to all legitimate fishermen in this city.

The provincial official said they will recommend the putting up of a tilapia hatchery in the city.(PNA) FFC/FGS/EPS/CBD

Bicol police remain in full alert for the Halloween season

LEGAZPI CITY, Oct. 30 (PNA) --After a peaceful and successful conduct of the barangay elections in Bicol, the Police Regional Office 5 is now focusing on preparation for the "Oplan Kaluluwa 2013" for the All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day.

Chief Supt. Victor P. Deona, PRO5 director, said personnel in the six provinces of the region are on full alert status up to Nov. 5.

Deona said he directed his men to conduct maximum security coverage and public safety services.

He added that he ordered full security along the Maharlika Highway from Daet, Camarines Norte, to Matnog, Sorsogon.

The PRO5 official asked his men, especially in the provinces of Catanduanes and Masbate, to continue to be on constant alert and maintain the smooth flow of traffic in going inside and from the cemeteries.

He also ordered the setting up of public assistance centers in seaports, airports, bus terminals, markets, malls, churches and other populous areas.

Deona said the additional men he had fielded in the six provinces of the region will remain in their respective assignments unless recalled, except for members of the Regional Training School who have to return for their Junior and Senior Leadership Training Course at Camp Gen. Simeon A. Ola here.

The regional police office dispatched a total augmentation force of 1,210 during the barangay elections, with the first batch of 817 police officers dispatched to the six provinces.

The second batch was composed of 154 for the province of Masbate; while the third batch had a total of 285 personnel from the Regional Public Safety Battalion and was distributed to the provinces of Albay and Camarines Sur and Naga City.

The others are stationed at the regional office, based on a directive of Deona.

He also ordered police offices in the 114 towns and cities of the region to conduct checkpoints in strategic places in their respective areas of coverage.

Deona said these offices have to conduct checkpoints two to four hours a day.

He added that they maintain close coordination with the Armed Forces of the Philippines and other force multipliers in the community for tight security on vital installations in the region.(PNA) PDS/FGS/NIM/CBD/

More Legazpe├▒os observe city no-smoking ordinance
By Emmanuel P. Solis

LEGAZPI CITY, Oct. 30 (PNA) -– More and more residents of this city are obeying the city ordinance on anti-smoking, according to the City Anti-Smoking Task Force head.

Dante Olarte, task force officer, said based on the monitoring they conducted during the barangay elections, they found only 20 persons violating the anti-smoking ordinance.

Olarte said he advised those they found violating the ordinance to pay the necessary fines up to today or else, they will already submit the list of violators to their office which will file the necessary charges in court.

He advised residents of this city not to smoke at the cemeteries when they visit the graves of their loved ones this Halloween season as their unit will enforce the ordinance at these places.

“We will be going to the cemeteries to enforce the no-smoking ordinance,” Olarte added.

Legazpi City has been very strict in enforcing its Anti-Smoking Ordinance.

Tobacco-related diseases most of the times end in painful deaths not only to smokers but also to those who are exposed to second-hand smoke classified by the International Agency for Cancer Research as a carcinogen, the cause of death of more than 600,000 people each year worldwide -- 168,000 of which or 28 percent are children.

The city government, Mayor Noel Rosal said, wants the public, especially the youth, not to start smoking at all and those who are already tobacco-hooked, to stop the vice using cigarettes, cigars or e-cigarettes,” Rosal added.

“We mean business in this anti-smoking drive not only that we are recognized nationwide as one of the few local government units (LGUs) fostering a 100-percent tobacco-free environment, but also because we are firm in our commitment towards public health,” the city chief executive said.

This, Rosal said, is for the sake of the Legazpe├▒os and of the thousands who come to the ccity either as tourists, shoppers, businessmen, dignitaries, students or even passers-by.

The city is one of the leading tourist destinations in the country, the government center for Bicol and the region’s center of education, health services, trade and commerce and public transportation.

It is now emerging as a favorite venue for national and international conventions and conferences.

For its consistency in its anti-tobacco drive, the city has been a Hall of Famer in the Red Orchid Awards of the DOH for becoming its recipient for three consecutive years from 2010 to 2012.

The award is DOH’s yearly salutation to LGUs and other public institutions that are successful in their measures to rid their environment of cigarette smoking.

“We cannot compromise the good standings the city has developed over years, that is why we are all-out towards achieving for the city a true tobacco-free environment,” Rosal stressed. (PNA) LAP/FGS/EPS/CBD/

Our Lady of Fatima image from Portugal visits Albay, Sorsogon

LEGAZPI CITY, Oct. 30 (PNA)--The more than 50-year-old international pilgrim image of the Our Lady of Fatima from Portugal visited some churches in the provinces of Albay and Sorsogon yesterday.

Rev. Father Paulo Barandon, priest in charge of the visit, said the image has been going around the world.

This is the second time for the image to visit Albay since it was last seen on May 3, 1996.

The Our Lady of Fatima is known as the Mother of the Holy Rosary, whose month is being observed during October.

In Albay, the Lady visited the Albay Catahedral, St. Jude Church, Fatima Church at Tahao Road and Polangui Church.

Her last stop over was the St. Raphael Church in this city where Msgr. Ramon C Tronqued, St. Rafael Parish priest, led the clergy, parishioners and devotees in welcoming the image.

Tronqued led the Holy Mass at 5:30 p.m. while the churchgoers pray the Holy Rosary at 7:00 p.m. led by the lecturers and commentators of the parish.

Lucky parishioners received the scapular of the Our Lady of Fatima.(PNA) PDS/FGS/NIM/CBD

Comelec approves P200,000 compensation for family of fallen cop in May polls

LEGAZPI CITY, Oct. 30 (PNA) –- The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has approved the payment of cash compensation to the family of a policeman who died in Masbate while performing election duties in the May 2013 polls.

Comelec Bicol Regional Director Romeo Fortes on Wednesday said Sixto Brillantes, the poll body chair, had already approved the payment based on his recommendation for compensation to the heirs of the late PO2 Jesus Apostol who died while providing security to the transport of election paraphernalia to San Pascual, Masbate.

Apostol, who accidentally fell into the sea while on board a motorized banca transporting the election materials a week before the elections, was the team leader of the joint elements of the Regional Public Safety Battalion and the San Pascual Municipal Police Office. He died of drowning.

Fortes clarified that the compensation for Apostol’s family had to be approved by Brillantes as under Comelec Resolution No. 9640 as only teachers who die or are injured while performing election duties are covered by life insurance and other financial compensations.

"Elections in every part of the country would have not been successful and peaceful if not for the vigor of our men in uniform. It is only just proper that they be given the same treatment accorded to the teachers," he explained.

The Comelec regional head said he officially recommended that the same compensation extended to the teachers serving as Board of Election Inspectors (BEIs) be granted to the heirs of Apostol, considering that his death happened while he was performing election duties.

"Had it not to the gallantry of policemen like Apostol, the security of BEIs and election paraphernalia including Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines would have been compromised,” Fortes said.

Compensating the family of Apostol and any other policemen or military personnel who encounter tragedy resulting in death or serious injury while serving election duties is just fair and necessary to show that the Comelec is protecting them too, he said.

“We do not want to find our men in uniform exhibiting no zeal and vigor in securing our next elections for failure of the Comelec to protect them too,” Fortes explained.

All personnel of Comelec-deputized agencies must be given the same benefits in case of death or accident, he added.

He cited the incident in Masbate during last Monday’s barangay elections where two election officers and two policemen were injured when ambushed by suspected communist rebels in Palanas town.

Wounded in the incident were Municipal Election Officer Merlinda Alvarez, her assistant Joey Villareal, PO1 Benito Lim Bailon and PO1 Wilbert Pultino.

They were airlifted from Masbate to the Bicol Regional Training and Teaching Hospital here where they are now recuperating from bullet injuries sustained.

Fortes said he would also recommend to the commission the compensation for these poll and police personnel. (PNA) FFC/FGS/DOC/CBD

DOH-Bicol renews RH drive focused on safe pregnancy, childbirth

DARAGA, Albay, Oct. 30 (PNA) --Each year, more than 4,000 women die from complications related to pregnancy and childbirth and over 40,000 newborn die each year within 28 days of birth.

On the average, one woman and nine newborn die every two hours while many more suffer from disability, disease, infection and injury.

It is under this alarming situation that the Department of Health (DOH) Bicol regional office here renewed its promotion in the region of reproductive health (RH) focused on safe pregnancy and childbirth.

Dubbed as “Lakbay Buhay Kalusugan (LBK),” the campaign saw the DOH going around various destinations in the region through a mobile clinic on a bus retrofitted to accommodate at least two hospital beds and a consultation area equipped with medical paraphernalia.

Other than health services, LBK also provides education and information to serve as a “vehicle” to encourage families to embrace a healthy life, DOH Regional director Gloria Balboa said here on Wednesday.

Undertaken through the DOH’s National Center for Health Promotion with technical assistance from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and supported by the Bicol Center for Health Development as well as local government units, the campaign hit the road this month.

It went to the municipalities of San Jacinto, Masbate, last Oct.14-15; the entire province of Catanduanes on Oct. 18-19; Casiguran and Matnog towns of Sorsogon on Oct. 22-24; Libmanan, Camarines Sur on Oct. 26; and Labo, Camarines Norte on Oct. 30, Balboa said.

The mobile-clinic, the DOH regional chief said, is one-of-its kind facility in the country and additional units are expected to be commissioned to augment the initial vehicle.

Aside from the medical services being delivered through the facilities inside the bus-clinic, the caravan features health education for parents and adults done through mini-classes on safe motherhood, family planning, child health and nutrition.

There are also interactive exhibits and fun activities especially designed for children.

The campaign aims to save lives and improve the quality of life of Filipino families through the support and acceptance of the basic health services and practical information on pregnancy, childbirth, nutrition and birth spacing, Balboa added. (PNA) PDS/FGS/CBD

9 inmates bolt CamSur jail

CAMP GEN. SIMEON A. OLA, Legazpi City, Oct. 30 (PNA) –- Nine inmates serving major cases escaped early Wednesday from their cells in the provincial jail in Tinangis Penal Farm in Barangay Tinangis, Pili, Camarines Sur.

A report of Senior Supt. Ramiro Bausa, Camarines Sur provincial police director, to Chief Supt. Victor Deona, Police Regional Office 5 chief, identified the escaped prisoners as Rolly Cabaltera, Roland Negrido, Juan Polidario, Gilford Embile, Muriel San Joaquin, Richard Tele, Erwin Capuz, Eugena Brutas and Cea Kalim.

Bausa said the prisoners escaped at about 2:15 a.m., Wednesday, by sawing off the metal bars of their cells and escaped under darkness towards different directions.

The escaped inmates were serving cases of rape, murder, illegal possession of firearms, robbery, carnapping and illegal drugs.

Fellow prisoners said the nine prisoners had already a plan to escape.

Bausa said the prison guards learned only of the escape when one prisoner who did not go with the group squealed.

The jail guards and elements of the Pili Municipal Police Office are in hot pursuit of the escaped prisoners.

Authorities are now investigating how the prisoners were able to smuggle in the saw used in the escape. (PNA) FFC/FGS/EMC/CBD

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

UNFPA intensifies RH drive in CamNorte
By Connie B. Destura

DAET, Camarines Norte, Oct. 29 (PNA) – Everyone has the right to enjoy reproductive health (RH), which is a basis for having healthy children, intimate relationships and happy families.

It is under this tenet that the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) is intensifying in Camarines Norte its involvement in the delivery of services that intend to promote RH among women in the province so that they are guided into wisely deciding on family planning and sexual health.

This is in line with the mandate of UNFPA in consonance with the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), particularly Goal 5, which is to provide proper maternal health services and universal access to RH and correct information.

The UNFPA envisions communities where every pregnancy is wanted, every child delivery is safe, the youth free from HIV-AIDS and every woman, young and adult treated with dignity and respect.

It said RH problems remain the leading cause of ill health and death for women of childbearing age worldwide as impoverished women, especially those living in developing countries, suffer disproportionately from unintended pregnancies, maternal death and disability, sexually transmitted infections including HIV, gender-based violence and other problems related to their reproductive system and sexual behavior.

Because young people often face barriers in trying to get the information or care they need, adolescent reproductive health is another important focus of UNFPA programming.

And all programming relies on the availability of essential supplies.

The critical importance of reproductive health to development has been acknowledged at the highest level.

At the 2005 World Summit, world leaders added universal access to reproductive health as a target in MDGs framework.

The UNFPA is fully committed to mobilizing support and scaling up efforts to make reproductive health for all a reality by 2015.

The UNFPA is a UN organization that works on the promotion of the right of every woman, man and child to enjoy a life of health and equal opportunity.

One important project the organization has recently brought to Camarines Norte was the free conduct of bilateral tubal ligation, non-scalpel vasectomy,IUD insertion and Implanon which was offered to all qualified individuals in the province.

It was conducted at the Camarines Norte Provincial Hospital in Daet town and at the Labo District Hospital in the municipality of Labo.

Doctors and nurses from the Dr. Jose Fabilla Memorial Hospital in Manila spearheaded the implementation of the project that offered free birth control procedures, among them the newest technology called Implanon. (PNA) FPV/FGS/CBD/

Camarines Norte gets P1.2-M grant for maternal health program
By Connie B. Destura

DARAGA, Albay, Oct. 29 (PNA) -– The Department of Health (DOH) Bicol regional office here has expressed optimism that the provincial government of Camarines Norte will further improve its maternal health program using the P1.2 million it recently received as a performance-based grant.

The grant is an incentive that will serve as additional fund to help the province sustain its programs and projects in this area of public health, Gloria Balboa, DOH Bicol regional director based here, said on Monday.

In recently receiving the grant, the province, through Governor Edgardo Tallado, vowed to work more for maternal health and lowering of infant mortality by at least 10 percent up to the end of this year.

To hit such target, Tallado has pledged to use the P1.2-million cash award in intensifying the province’s programs on Maternal, Newborn and Child Health and Nutrition (MNCHN) being implemented in its 12 municipalities by the Provincial Health Office (PHO).

These programs include reproductive health-related projects on maternal care, family planning, blood supply, nutrition, health information and promotion and expanded program on immunization.

The PHO will also initiate a review on MNHCN to assess the progress of its implementation and be able to institute measures toward the betterment of services to pregnant mothers and new-born babies, Balboa said.

The DOH regional chief explained that the performance-based grant is given to local government units that deliver good services towards MNHCN, especially to the indigent sector.

Camarines Norte was awarded the grant for its being able to reduce last year maternal and infant death by way of institutionalizing lying-in clinics and Basic Emergency Maternal and Obstetrical New Born Care facilities using its own fund and the assistance provided by the Spanish Agency for International Development, Balboa said.

Under Tallado’s leadership, she said, the province was able to establish last year five birthing homes provided with equipment and necessary facilities in strategic locations in the municipalities of Daet, Mercedes, Vinzons, Labo and San Lorenzo Ruiz.

In 2011, the provincial government was also able to put up 11 similar facilities in the municipalities of Daet, Labo, Mercedes, Paracale, Vinzons and San Vicente, Balboa added. (PNA) LAP/FGS/CBD/

80% voted on Oct. 28 barangay elections in Bicol
By Nancy I. Mediavillo

LEGAZPI CITY, Oct. 29 (PNA) -– Almost 80 percent of the 2.8 million voters in the Bicol region participated in the Oct. 28 barangay elections, the top Commission on Elections (Comelec) official in the region said Tuesday.

Lawyer Romeo B. Fortes, Comelec Bicol regional director, said he expects the provincial election officers in the six provinces of the region to submit their complete election reports Tuesday.

Fortes said almost all winning candidates in the 3,417 barangays in the 107 towns and seven cities in the six provinces of the region have already been proclaimed.

The registered voters in the region total 2.8 million out of a population 5.4 million. (PNA) LAM/FGS/NIM/CBD/

P979-M SLIA runway strip construction to start early 2014

LEGAZPI CITY, Oct. 29 (PNA) –- Construction work on the P979-million Southern Luzon International Airport runway will start early next year, Albay Governor Joey Sarte Salceda said Tuesday.

Salceda said Department of Transportation and Communications Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya assured him on Friday that the much-delayed airport project will start soon in 2014 after project glitches have already been ironed out.

Abaya and Salceda met at Malacanang on Friday during the Civil Service Commission (CSC) 2013 Presidential Lingkod Bayan Awarding Ceremonies where Salceda was an awardee of the most-coveted award for public servants in the country under the CSC Honor Award Program.

The Albay governor said Abaya told him that the DOTC had already issued a notice to proceed to the winning contractor, which he failed to name.

He said with the issuance of a notice to proceed, the civil works will begin next year for the airport’s 2.1-kilometer runway in Barangay (village) Alobo, Daraga town, about 12 kilometers from Legazpi City.

Businessmen and frequent travelers in Bicol are becoming impatient over the delay in the construction of the SLIA.

They claimed that the delay has pushed back their investment plans, especially those engaged in tourism -- as the much-anticipated increase in foreign tourist arrivals would be greatly boosted by the new airport.

The DOTC had earlier put on hold the construction of the SLIA due to technical problems in the bidding process.

An amount of P979 million has been readied for the resumption of the construction of the airport’s runway.

Salceda had earlier expressed dismay over the delay due to technicalities in the bidding process, despite the availability of funds.

He said this is pushing the project’s timetable beyond the target completion date of 2016.

The Albay governor said the project should have been started this year but has to be put on hold by the DOTC because of the May national and local elections.

He noted that after the project was awarded to Sunwest Construction Corp. in October 2012, other erstwhile bidders complained of flaws in the bidding process, which prompted the DOTC to bring the case to the Solicitor General for resolution.

Accordingly, the SolGen issued a ruling awarding the construction project to Sunwest.

The DOTC subsequently issued a notice to proceed to Sunwest last August 6.

Sunwest Construction Corp. is owned by Elizaldy Co, a local businessman who also owns and operates the Embarcadero Mall and a string of hotels here and in Manila, notably the Misibis Bay Resort in Bacacay, Albay, and Hotel St. Ellis here.

Another cause of the delay was the proposal of Sunwest to include in the project contract a condition which would reimburse future losses such as the burning of its equipment by lawless elements while implementing the project.

Salceda said Abaya was not aware of any new condition proposed by the project contractor.

He said Abaya told him that if there are any new developments, “I will personally look into it.”

The government has already poured in some P1.6 billion since 2009 for the construction of the SLIA.

The funds were released in three tranches: P300 million in 2009 and another P300 million in 2010 for concrete road construction and site development.

The SLIA lies in a 148-hectare area with 2,100-meter runway strip, to be equipped with night landing capability and take-off facilities, control tower, passenger and cargo terminal, car park, fire station and other modern facilities.

“We are missing out on opportunities, especially on tourist arrivals, as the SLIA will reduce transportation costs and travel time,” Salceda said of the delay.

The governor sees the generation of 1.5 million tourists coming to Bicol by 2017 once the international airport has been completed.

While there are several airports north of Manila like the Clark International Airport and the Laoag International Airport, Salceda said there is none in the southern part of Manila.

The SLIA would be a viable market and serve as alternate gateway to Manila, the Visayas and Mindanao, especially in times of extreme weather disturbances in these areas. (PNA) LAP/FGS/MSA/CBD/

Legazpi receives National Gawad Kalasag Award for DRRMC
By Emmanuel P. Solis

LEGAZPI CITY, Oct. 29 (PNA) -- National Defense Secretary Voltaire T. Gazmin, chairperson of the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (NDRRMC), and Undersecretary Eduardo D. Del Rosario, Office of Civil Defense administrator and NDRRMC executive director, awarded a plaque of recognition to the city of Legazpi as a National Gawad Kalasag awardee on Friday at the Armed Forces of the Philippines Commissioned Officers Club in Camp General Aguinaldo in Quezon City.

Mayor Noel E. Rosal and City Administrator Wilfredo Intia, CDRRMC action man, received the award for the component city category for their outstanding contributions to the disaster risk management and humanitarian assistance.

The National Gawad Kalasag awards are being given by the NDRRMC to provinces, cities, municipalities, barangays, private volunteers, civil society organizations, government emergency response management units, schools and hospitals in recognition of the best practices on disaster risk reduction management in their localities.

The other national champions in the province of Albay and in Legazpi City are Barangay Oro Site (Urban Barangay Category), Simon of Cyrene Children’s Rehabilitation and Development Foundation, Inc., Legazpi City (Civil Society Organization Category); and the Municipality of Sto. Domingo (4th to 6th Class Municipality Category).

The CDRRMC was created under the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction Management ACT of 2010, which aims to save the life of every Filipino during calamities and other natural hazards.

Kalasag stands for Kalamidad at Sakuna Labanan, Sariling Galing ang Kaligtasan (fight calamity and accidents, self excellence will save us).

Rosal said the recognition is a sign that Legazpi is a model local government unit in the country in terms of disaster risk reduction management program and it poses a challenge for the LGU to serve more.

The city chief executive said his administration will continue to work for the safety of every Legazpi resident and to maintain zero-casualty during calamities.

He commended the Legazpi CDRRMC personnel and other national champions in Albay for the best practices implemented at their own localities.

Intia said Legazpi City got the Gawad Kalasag National Award because his office achieved the national framework for disaster management required by the NDRRMC – which includes the areas of mitigation, preparedness, response and rescue and rehabilitation and recovery.

He claimed that the newly converted old culvert canals into wide box-type canals by the city administration in the downtown areas are now a key factor to mitigate the flooding problem in this city.

In preparedness, Intia said his unit conducted several earthquake drill activities, seminars and basic life support on first aid and training on collapse structures participated by government employees, religious groups, NGOs, business sector, senior citizens, women’s federation, shopping mall personnel, hospitals, schools, households and members of the community to enhance people’s preparations during calamities.

“In Legazpi, we have also evacuation centers constructed in different villages of this city with modern facilities and equipment to be used by affected families in times of disastrous weather disturbance,” Intia said. (PNA) LAP/FGS/EPS/CBD/

Elections in Bicol generally peaceful, police regional director says

CAMP GEN. SIMEON A. OLA, Legazpi City, Oct. 28 (PNA) -– Barangay elections in the Bicol region have been generally peaceful and orderly, according to Chief Supt. Victor P. Deona, Police Regional Office 5 director.

“The barangay elections in Bicol have been smoothly and normally conducted in the six provinces of Bicol,” Deona said.

While the counting is still ongoing, the entire police force in Bicol is still on full alert status, he said.

“We will not put our guard down even the counting will continue up to tomorrow,” the Bicol top police official said.

He appealed to all Bicolanos to remain vigilant until the winning candidates are proclaimed.

Earlier, Deona placed the entire force of the Philippine National Police in Bicol in full alert status during the conduct of the barangay elections today.

He said all provincial directors and police chiefs of the 114 towns and cities of the region are focused on the elections to ensure an orderly and peaceful conduct of the electoral exercise.

There are 3,471 barangays in the 107 towns and seven cities in the six provinces of the region.

The total registered voters in the region number three million out of a population 5.4 million.

The regional police office has a total augmentation force of 1,210 in the entire region. (PNA) HBC/FGS/NIM/CBD/UTB

2 cops wounded in Masbate ambush get medals

CAMP GEN. SIMEON A. OLA, Oct. 28 (PNA) -- Chief Supt Victor P. Deona, Police Regional Office 5 director, awarded medals of valor to the two police officers who were wounded in an ambush in Barangay Parina, Palanas, Masbate, Sunday morning.

Deona personally visited PO1 Benito L. Bailon Jr. and PO1 Wilbert Pultino of the Palanas Municipal Police Office at the hospital Monday.

Bailon and Pultino also received financial assistance from the PRO5.

He said he recommended the two for promotion but, he said, the recommended promotion will still pass the Board of Assessment of the Philippine National Police.

Deona also visited lawyer Merlinda F. Alvarez, election officer of Palanas, Masbate, and her personnel Joey Villaruel.

The four are already out of danger, he said, quoting reports from the attending physician.

They were wounded when unidentified armed men in an ambush position fired at them at about 8:15 a.m., Sunday, at Barangay Parina, Palanas. (PNA) DSP/FGS/NIM/CBD/UTB

Massive vote-buying noted in Bicol

LEGAZPI CITY, Oct. 28 (PNA) -– Massive and rampant vote-buying was noted in the six Bicol provinces and seven cities involving amounts ranging from a minimum of P20 for councilors and P500 for barangay chairmen.

The Central Bank Bicol regional office here confirmed that massive withdrawals of P20 and P50 bills were reported by banks as early as last week, fueling speculation that the money would be used for the barangay elections to buy votes.

Candidates identified with incumbent local mayors, governors and congressmen had their edge as they reportedly got better financial support in addition to their own resources to win the elections.

“It’s a highly bastardized and polluted election, knowing a barangay is apolitical,” commented former mayor for 20 years Jose Arcangel Jr. of Jovellar town in Albay and now a resident of Legazpi City.

Arcangel, who once headed the local-based non-government organization Pipol Against Graft and Corruption, said Monday's barangay elections are seriously made being a playground by candidates who are idle, jobless and character-tainted whose credentials are simply as voters able to read and write and whose fallback is to join the barangay council for honorarium as the simplest way to earn a living.

"It's long overdue that barangay leaders should be exempt from elections, citing government’s heavy expenses, time, effort and election troubles. Barangays should be run by managers and like teachers, should be insulated from politics and corruption," said Arcangel.

Interviewed teachers manning polling centers said it’s discouraging to know what comprises the barangay candidates today, that is why many did not have anymore interest to vote, saying it was a useless exercise.

The teachers said prominent and able professionals in the barangays reportedly would not want to join the barangay political exercise unless the system is changed and politics is purely out of it.

Chief Supt. Victor Deona Bicol police regional director, however, said despite the report of alleged massive and rampant vote-buying, Bicol elections remained peaceful.

According to Arcangel, in Legazpi alone, even independent bets without any known resources have joined the barangay elections because of the honorarium even they have to borrow money and resort to loans to court voters.

A complaint reaching radio stations said that in Catanduanes, one bet for punong barangay had resorted to giving as high as P1,000 on selected voters to ensure his victory.

Barangay 15 in Legazpi City, a radio report said, has a candidate for barangay chief that gave as high as P500 while barangay councils, a minimum of P50. (PNA) HBC/FGS/MU/CBD/UTB

Salceda first to cast vote in hometown village

POLANGUI, Albay, Oct. 28 (PNA) -- Albay Gov. Joey Sarte Salceda was the first to cast his vote in Precinct No. 62-A in Barangay Centro Oriental here.

Salceda said he was at the polling precinct at about 6:50 a.m. or about minutes before the opening time of 7:00 a.m.

He said he has high respect and confidence on the candidates he voted for, that they will do the right thing for the interest of the barangay.

According to him, he has only two wishes for Monday's election: First, peace in his province; and second, sufficient wisdom among the voters to guide them in their choice of the right candidates in their barangays, a barangay being the basic unit of the government.<“Those who will be voted will serve as the guide toward the right path and development in their respectuve areas,” Salceda said.

He said the winners need the support of the community.

So far, the conduct of the barangay elections in the whole region has been generally peaceful.

Chief Supt. Victor P. Deona, Police Regional Office 5 director, said based on the reports coming from the six provinces of Bicol, the elections were generally orderly and peaceful, except for a few incidents. (PNA) HBC/FGS/NIM/CBD/UTB

Albay posts lowest percentage of barangays in watch list areas

LEGAZPI CITY, Oct. 28 (PNA) -– The province of Albay registered the lowest percentage of barangays placed under the Election Watch List Areas of the police in Bicol based on its total number of barangays.

Albay has 720 barangays and 36 are under the watch list areas or only five percent.

Second is Catanduanes, with 22 barangays over a total of 315 or 7.0 percent; next is Camarines Sur, 155 barangays over a total of 1, 063; fourth is Camarines Norte, with 84 barangay over 282 or 29.8 percent; and fifth is Sorsogon, 177 over a total of 541 barangays or 32.7 percent.

Masbate has the highest percentage among Bicol prorvinces, with 230 barangays out of a total of 550 or 41.8 percent.

Bicol region has 704 barangays out of a total of 3,417 or 20.6 percent under the Comelec election watch list areas.

Chief Supt. Victor P. Deona, Police Regional Office 5 director, said the election watch-list areas in the region have two categories: first, there is an intense political rivalry in the area, the presence of private armed groups and there is election-related violent incidents in the past election.

The second category is one where there is a threat from the communist rebels – the National Democratic Front/Communist Party of the Philippines/NPA, Deona said. (PNA) CTB/FGS/NIM/CBD/UTB

Widespread vote-buying, political partisanship mark otherwise peaceful barangay election in Albay

LEGAZPI CITY, Oct. 28 (PNA) -- Alleged widespread vote-buying and political partisanship marked Monday’s barangay election in this province, but generally, the electoral exercise went smoothly.

As of noon Monday, the barangay election was generally peaceful across the 15 towns and three cities in Albay, said lawyer Romeo Serrano, Commission on Elections (Comelec) Albay provincial officer.

Serrano said in a phone interview that at exactly 7 a.m. on Monday, all voting centers in the province were opened and by 9 a.m., clustered voting precincts were functioning.

He said voters came early to cast their votes, and he expects that the counting will start as scheduled.

Serrano expects that by 7 p.m., the winning candidates will be known.

Monday's election, he said, would be fast because of the postponement of the Sangguniang Kabataan election where 65,000 youth voters would have cast their votes.

Albay has 752,685 registered voters, with 2,452 clustered precincts in 720 villages across the province.

Citizen election watchers observed massive vote-buying in almost all villages in Albay.

The amount given by candidates for village chieftains ranges from P50 to P2,000 per voter; while for village councilman, the amounts range from P20 to P500 per voter, depending on how large the barangay is and the number of voters.

Other election irregularities observed were: candidates were engaged in political partisanship, claiming that they were affiliated to known political leaders; candidates’ presence near polling centers, violating the 100-meter off-limits zone prescribed by the Comelec; candidates were employing the "hakot" system to insure that voters would vote for them.

Political observers said all candidates in this city claimed affiliation with either the Team Noel, referring to City Mayor Noel Rosal, and Team Joey, Albay Gov. Joey Salceda.

They also observed that poll watchers from different camps conspicuously wore colorful t-shirts to mark their affiliations to candidates and assisting voters at the polling place.

Chief Inspector Arhur Gomez said that as of noon, the election in the province was generally peaceful and no untoward incident took place. (PNA) FFC/FGS/MSA/CBD/UTB

DA warns Bicol livestock raisers vs violating animal rights

PILI, Camarines Sur, Oct. 28 (PNA) -- The Regional Field Unit (RFU) for Bicol here of the Department of Agriculture (DA) has warned local livestock and poultry raisers on violating the law that protects the welfare of animals.

The agency reminded them that “any person who violates any of the provisions of the Animal Welfare Act shall, upon conviction by final judgment, be punished by imprisonment of not less than six months nor more than two years or a fine of not less than P1,000.00 or both at the discretion of the Court.”

Republic Act 8485 aims to protect and promote the welfare of all animals in the Philippines by supervising and regulating the establishment and operation of all facilities utilized for breeding, maintaining, keeping, treating or training of all animals either as objects of trade or as household pets.

Dr. Arwin Serrano, chair of the DA committee on animal welfare (CAW) on Monday said he emphasized these provisions of the law during a recent conference on the Registration and Licensing of Livestock, Poultry and By-products Handlers and Accreditation of Livestock/Poultry Carriers conducted by the DA’s regional Regulatory Division.

The conference that went on for two days was participated in by animal raisers from the six Bicol provinces of Albay, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Catanduanes, Masbate and Sorsogon with resource persons from the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) and CAW.

DA Regional Executive Director Abelardo Bragas said BAI representatives also updated conference participants on Foot and Mouth Disease, saying they are conducting clinical and serological surveillances to ensure that no infected animals can enter the premise of Bicol.

BAI, Bragas stressed, is also regulating animal imports to prevent the spread of FMD.

Imported animals are subjected to 30-day quarantine period that involves periodic inspection and serological testing.

BAI has also assured that the Philippines remains free from the Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) virus.

Edgar Madrid, DA regional technical director for research and regulations, said the conference was important to the growth and development of the livestock and poultry sectors that require proper handling of animals in compliance with RA 8485. (PNA) LAP/FGS/DOC/CBD/UTB

3,484 checkpoints set up in Bicol

CAMP GEN. SIMEON A. OLA, Oct. 28 (PNA) -– A total of 3,484 checkpoints has been set up in the Bicol region since Sept. 28 up to Monday.

Chief Supt. Victor P. Deona, Police Regional Office 5 director, said Masbate has the biggest number with 1,025.

Albay follows, with 602; Sorsogon, 539; Camarines Norte, 430; Catanduanes, 368; Camarines Sur, 364; Regional Public Safety Battalion, 93 and Naga City, 62.

So far, these checkpoints have already arrested 33 persons, 18 of which were charged in court for violation of the Comelec sa gun ban.

Deona said the police have confiscated a total of 20 firearms, 15 bladed weapons and 164 explosives.

He added that these statistics were distributed as follows: Masbate – 10 arrested, 4 charged; Albay -- 9 arrested, 6 charged; Camarines Norte -- 6 arrested, 5 charged; Camarines Sur -- 2 arrested, 1 charged; Sorsogon and Naga City -- three each arrested, 1 each charged.

Meanwhile, five shooting incidents in Bicol were considered election-related.

The most recent was the ambush on the election officer of Palanas town in Masbate, Merlinda F. Alvarez, and her police escorts led by Sr. Inspector Baltazar L. Valenzuela.

The shooting wounded the convoy members who are now recuperating at the hospital.

Another incident involved the shooting of Pio V. Occidental, a candidate for barangay captain in Barangay Cypres in Polangui, Albay.

Other incidents took place in Pasacao, Camarines Sur and Gubat, Sorsogon. (PNA) FFC/FGS/NIM/CBD/UTB

Bicolanos urged to grow gumamela to support manufacture of export products
By Danny O. Calleja

LEGAZPI CITY, Oct. 28 (PNA) -- The Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Agricultural Research (DA-BAR) is encouraging farmers in Bicol to grow Roselle, a highly nutritious plant of the gumamela family being sought after by consumers in the United States and Europe.

Also called wild hibiscus, Roselle (Rosella sabdariffa) has a growing global market because of its known medical value and the BAR is supporting a local manufacturing firm in developing export quality nutritional products from this indigenously grown plant, BAR director Nicomedes Eleazar said in a statement reaching the PNA here Monday.

Wine, tea and juice, so far, are the products manufactured from Roselle which were recently exhibited at the BAR’s Techno Forum and Eleazar said “we support the development of these products that are indigenously grown and that have high-nutrition value craved for in the market.”

These products are made mainly from the leaves and calyces of the Roselle plant. It will also be available in the future as chips that can be used as an ingredient in salads and pastries, and even in capsule form, according to him.

Cocobless is the company that manufactures the products and is in the process of obtaining a license to operate from FDA in order to market Roselle products and reach out to consumers who are increasingly becoming more health conscious.

Meland Dilodilo, the company founder, said Cocobless aims to grow its operations by putting up facilities for spray drying, vacuum drying and freeze drying which needs around P10 million to set up.

Roselle has a growing global market because of its known medical value and Eleazar said Malaysia supplies much of the raw materials in the world.

Australia is also a producer of finished goods like the Roselle tea that are exported to the US and Europe, with Germany as a major buyer.

Dilodilo said Cocobless Roselle products, particularly the RosellaWild Hibiscus Tea, will be marketed to health and wellness clinics and hospitals and as corporate giveaways.

Eleazar said researchers from the Don Mariano Marcos State University (DMMSU) have found out that Roselle, with its rich protein content, can help cure kwashiorkor, a form of malnutrition among children caused by lack of protein and energy.

Nearly all parts of the Roselle plant—seeds, leaves, and calyx-- are known to be rich in vitamins, particularly Vitamin C, which helps strengthen the immune system.

Roselle, which was historically used by Egyptian pharaohs for its nutritional and health value, has been widely studied for its effect on hypertension.

Some studies have demonstrated that Roselle, taken in certain doses, is equivalent to the effects of the anti-hypertensive drug captopril.

Other benefits include its effects on cholesterol levels, blood sugar, and weight control, making it also suitable for diabetics.

The leaves are used to cure sores and wounds and used as relief for diuretic and dyspepsia.

It is also a good food coloring agent with its very bright dark-red color.

Owing to its natural color, it is an excellent substitute to FC Red, a chemical compound for food coloring, according to Dilodilo.

The Bureau of Plant Industry is providing the Roselle seeds while Cocobless is partnering with farms to identify what specific varieties are appropriate for specific locations. (PNA) CTB/FGS/DOC/CBD/MEC

Bicol police in full alert status for barangay election
By Nancy I. Mediavillo

CAMP GEN. SIMEON A. OLA, Legazpi City, Oct. 28 (PNA) -- The entire force of the Philippine National Police (PNP) in Bicol is in full alert status during the conduct of the barangay elections today.

This means, according to Chief Supt. Victor P. Deona, Police Regional Office 5 director, all members of the PNP are on duty and cannot go on leave of absence.

In fact, Deona said, all provincial directors and police chiefs of the 114 towns and cities of the region are focused on the elections to ensure an orderly and peaceful conduct of the electoral exercise.

There are 3,471 barangays in the 107 towns and seven cities in the six provinces of the region.

The total registered voters in the region number 3 million out of a population of 5.4 million.

The regional police office has a total augmentation force of 1,210 with the first batch of 817 police officers dispatched to the six provinces.

The second batch was composed of 154 for the province of Masbate; while the third batch had a total of 285 personnel from the Regional Public Safety Battalion and was distributed to the provinces of Albay and Camarines Sur and Naga City.

The others are stationed at the regional office, based on a directive of Deona. (PNA) LAP/FGS/NIM/CBD/MEC

Masbate cop wounded in ambush; Albay village bet shot while sleeping

CAMP GEN. SIMEON A. OLA, Oct. 28 (PNA) -- A member of the Palanas Municipal Police Office was wounded when unidentified armed men ambushed group the group of policemen and Commission on Elections (Comelec) officers around 8:15 a.m. Sunday in Barangay Parina, Palanas, Masbate.

Senior Inspector Malu Calubaquid, Police Regional Office 5 spokesperson, identified the wounded policeman only as PO1 Bailon.

The group was then led by Senior Inspector Baltazar L. Valenzuela, PMPO officer-in-charge, and Comelec officer, lawyer Merlinda F. Alvarez.

In another development, a candidate for barangay captain in Barangay Cypress, Polanqui, Albay, was shot by a unidentified gunman inside his house around 1:00 a.m. Sunday.

A police report identified the victim as Pio V. Occidental, 52, who was shot with an unknown firearm while sleeping in his residence in a remote area of the village.

Occidental sustained a gunshot wound in his shoulders and was rushed to a hospital for treatment. (PNA) FGS/EMC/CBD

Army deploys 250 soldiers to Masbate for village elections
By Mario S. Arguelles

LEGAZPI CITY, Oct. 27 (PNA) -– The Philippine Army has deployed a 250-man contingent to Masbate to assist in the maintenance of orderly barangay elections on Monday, an Army officer said Sunday.

Army Capt. Arthur Eamiguel, Army’s 903rd Infantry Brigade spokesperson, said the Army unit belonging to the 80th Infantry Battalion came from Manila to assist Task Force “Rodeo” as an augmentation to the security forces in the island province.

Eamiguel said the deployment of Army soldiers is part of the plan of the Armed Forces of the Philippines to quickly react to any election-related violence and to ensure the conduct of a safe, honest, orderly, peaceful and credible election, particularly in the province of Masbate.

The augmentation force is under Lt. Col. Ted Dumosmog, commander of the 80th IB and will be under the command of Col. Samuel Felipe, 903rd IB commander and head of Task Force “Rodeo.”

The 9th Infantry Division created the task force to provide internal peace and security in the province, especially during the holding of the barangay election on Monday.

TF Rodeo was deployed to Masbate province effective Saturday.

It is composed of different units headed by the 903rd Infantry Brigade, Headquarters Service Battalion of the 9th ID, 92nd Division Reconnaissance Company and the 93rd Division Reconnaissance Company.

This is the second deployment of 80th IB in Masbate province as it was the same unit that performed election duties during the mid-term elections in May 2013.

Felipe assured the Masbatenos that the “role of the additional troops in the province is part of the Comelec’s deputization of the AFP to perform election-related security operations.”

He added that this mandate is a joint effort of the AFP and the Philippine National Police.

Currently, there are five municipalities in Masbate classified as Category “B” or areas of immediate concern and they are as follows: Aroroy, Balud, Cataingan, Cawayan and Mobo. (PNA) CTB/FGS/MSA/CBD/rsm

JV for pork barrel abolition
By Mario S. Arguelles

LEGAZPI CITY, Oct. 26 (PNA) -- Senator Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito on Friday said he is in favor of the junking of the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) in support of the people’s intense disgust over the pork barrel given to lawmakers.

Ejercito stressed, however, that while he is for PDAF abolition, he is also pushing for a deeper investigation on the apparent conspiracy among the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), Commission on Audit (COA) and various implementing agencies of the government involved in manipulating the pork barrel funds intended to members of Congress.

He said the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee has set an investigation in November of Janet Lim Napoles, the alleged mastermind of the PDAF scam where she was accused of amassing some P10 billion in PDAF from some members of the Senate and the House of Representatives.

Ejercito said in a press conference here that he would also ask that top officials of the DBM, COA and line agencies be included in the investigation.

“We believe that some fund manipulation is being done by these agencies, putting us lawmakers in a bad light,” the neophyte senator said.

He cited cases of PDAF mishandling by the Department of Agriculture, Department Agrarian Reform and attached agencies of these offices.

Ejercito said he will also file a bill that will create a body that will audit the COA, noting that audit measure stops at the hands of COA.

"Who will audit the auditor?" he pointed out.

Ejercito said Napoles’ statement at the hearing would either pin down or clear the alleged lawmakers facing charges of plunder.

Citing the investigation as a cleansing process, this will not leave any stone unturned.

“It will get to the bottom. The guilty should face the consequence of their crimes," he said.

Ejercito also lamented the accusations hurled by various people’s organizations generalizing all the legislators of committing grave abuse of their PDAF, picturing them as corrupt.

“It is unfair to accuse that a wrong committed by a few would be a wrong doing committed by the whole,” he stressed.

He said the accusation involving three of his colleagues in the Senate charged by the Department of Justice for committing plunder together with Napoles has diminished the thrust and confidence in the Senate as an institution.

Ejercito cited a recent Pulse Asia Survey indicating that the thrust and confidence rating of the public on the Senate as an institution has significantly gone down, saying “I take this as a black eye; the Senate is under siege.”

He also lamented that among the accused is his half-brother, Senator Jinggoy Estrada, with Senators Juan Ponce Enrile and Bong Revilla, who are members of the opposition.

He believes that the plunder case slapped against the three opposition senators seems to be “selective” and tainted with politics.

On the Disbursement Acceleration Program or DAP, Ejercito said he was not aware of this until he read it from news reports.

“I have never heard of this animal,” he said, claiming that the DAP fund release is illegal and therefore, unconstitutional.

Funds generated from savings from line agencies and other institutions, Ejercito said, should not be used for other purposes as it makes the act illegal and an impeachable offense.

Asked how PDAF abolition would affect the government’s poverty-alleviation program, Ejercito claimed that PDAF abolition would not affect the government poverty alleviation program, though he believes that it would affect his advocacy program on education, health and social services.

While he is not convinced that the Conditional Cash Transfer program is necessary as a poverty-alleviation program, he said, he would rather introduce bills that will invest more on human resource development.(PNA) CTB/FGS/MSA/CBD/pjn

Bicol PNP fields more cops for barangay polls, Halloween
By Danny O. Calleja

LEGAZPI CITY, Oct. 26 (PNA) -- Nearly a thousand more policemen have been deployed by the police regional office here across Bicol to secure the conduct of the barangay elections in the region on Monday, Oct. 28, and provide safety to cemetery-going people during the Halloween period.

“We sent 150 policemen for deployment in the 13 towns and one city of Sorsogon province while the island province of Masbate got 143; Catanduanes, 139; Naga City, 100; and Albay, Camarines Sur and Camarines Norte, 95 each,” Chief Supt. Victor P. Deona, PNP regional director, said on Saturday.

The numbers come to a total of 817 policemen who are all fresh graduates of Junior and Senior Leadership Training from the Regional Training School at Camp Gen. Simeon Ola, the regional PNP headquarters here, Deona said.

They are under instruction to do what is right in their respective places of assignment in protecting the sanctity of the ballots during the barangay polls, securing the voters and poll officials and maintain peace and order, he added.

Although no barangay in the region has been declared by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) as an election hot spot, Deona said, “we consider all barangays as areas of concern to ensure the peaceful, honest and orderly conduct of the polls, thus, the fielding of additional personnel.”

The entire police organization in Bicol, he said, has 3,471 barangays covered by 107 municipalities, seven cities and six provinces to look after in this particular political exercise that in most cases trigger disputes -- leading to the disruption of peace and tranquility in a certain community, that is why, as a precautionary measure, police presence has been mandated.

The 817 newly fielded personnel will serve as augmentation forces to the existing police station in every municipality and they are placed under the command of the local police chiefs, Deona said.

All policemen in the region, he stressed, will be on round-the-clock duties starting on the eve of the elections until the next evening or until all results of the election are delivered to the municipal hall from polling places in barangays.

After the elections, Deona said most of these newly fielded policemen will stay where they are assigned for another assignment -- maintain peace and order during the observance of the Halloween season.

They will have to assist in traffic management and enforcement of laws and ordinances covering the observance that draws throngs of people into cemeteries mostly located in town centers and urban areas, he said.

Flow of traffic will be heavy during the season and these policemen will also be tasked to assist motorists along major highways and main thoroughfares, Deona added.(PNA) CTB/FGS/DOC/CBD/pjn

Legazpi to hold summit for Universal Children’s Day

LEGAZPI CITY, Oct. 26 (PNA) -- The city government here, through its City Social Welfare and Development Office (CSWDO), will hold a Children’s Summit in celebration of the Universal Children’s Day on Oct. 31.

The affair is to provide stronger advocacy on children’s rights and showcase their talents through literary arts competition among the participating children mostly beneficiaries of the government’s Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps).

It will also encourage partners in the implementation of the program like local government units (LGUs) and the private sector continuous support, CSWDO Chief Marlene Manaya on Saturday told the PNA.

City officials led by Mayor Noel Rosal will join the celebration to be held at the Liberty Commercial Center activity hall.

“These officials will play, sing and dine with the children and their parents during the whole day event. Toys and other gift items will be distributed and no one among the about a hundred participating children will go home empty handed,” Manaya said.

“We value our children very much that is why all our efforts to develop the city into a progressive and livable community are all directed towards their welfare and for their future,” Rosal said.

Manaya said the activity is in line with 21st nationwide celebration of the Children’s Month this October pursuant to Presidential Proclamation 267 series of 1993.

The Universal Children's Day celebration on the other hand is based on a declaration by the United Nations General Assembly that calls for observance on countries to promote mutual exchange and understanding among children and initiate action to benefit and promote the welfare of the world's children.

The theme for this month’s celebration, “Kahirapan Wakasan. Karapatan ng Bata, Ipaglaban,” strongly advocates children’s rights, according to Manaya.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) through its attached agency, the Council for the Welfare of Children (CWC), leads the celebration nationwide while LGUs, people’s organizations and non-government organizations catering to the welfare of children have been enjoined to conduct activities especially focused on preschool children. (PNA) hbc/FGS/DOC/CBD/pjn

Bicol's ‘Pinangat’ town comes out with own history book

CAMALIG, Albay, Oct. 26 (PNA) -– This Albay town famous for delicious pinangat is now ready with a written chronicle of its past – the Camalig History Book: CAMALIG...Albay's Cabecera of Christian Evangelization.

Written by historian Danilo Madrid Gerona, the book is one of the foremost legacies in the preservation and promotion of the town's rich heritage.

As the first book written on the history of the town, it provides a comprehensive narrative which traces its epic journey from a vibrant cabecera of the Franciscan missions in Albay in the late 16th century to an opulent abaca trading center in the 19th century, culminating in the post-war rehabilitation era.

With sources drawn from the major archives in Spain and the Philippines, this book serves as a solid foundation for in-depth studies of scholars on the various aspects of Camalig’s past.

This book was realized through the vision and initiative of Mayor Caloy Baldo, the wholehearted support of the Sangguniang Bayan members, Gov. Joey Sarte Salceda, the local government unit of Camalig and the people of the town.(PNA) hbc/FGS/EMC/CBD/pjn

38 bets for top barangay post, 246 aspirants for councilman sign Church-initiated covenant for CHAMP polls

LEGAZPI CITY, Oct. 26 (PNA) -- Thirty-eight candidates for the position of barangay captain and 246 for barangay kagawad (councilman) in Legazpi City Port District signed on Friday the covenant for CHAMP barangay elections, according to Fr. Ramon Tronqued, parish priest of St. Raphael Church here.

CHAMP is the acronym for Clean, Honest, Accurate, Meaningful, and Peaceful barangay elections, Tronqued said.

There are 53 candidates for punong barangay (village chief) and 513 for councilman.

"These numbers of candidates for the two positions who attended the covenant signing called by the parish pastoral council are indeed very encouraging," Tronqued claimed.

It shows that the Christian spirit is very much alive among the candidates, he added.

There are 24 villages in the Legazpi City Port District.

Among the commitments being asked of a candidate in front of God is to obey the election rules and regulations, not to buy vote as he know its sacredness, not to cheat or do anything that would make the results of the election not credible.

“I will not use my power to make trouble, but instead I will use it to maintain peace, today and at the time of election; and I will help ensure that Your people’s choice of leaders will be meaningful,” the covenant added.

In it, the candidate also asks God for His presence so that amid temptation, “I’ll remain steadfast in my conviction that I am an honest candidate.”

“In making this promise before You and in front of the people, I sign this covenant with You,” the pledge said.(PNA) hbc/FGS/EPS/CBD/pjn

JV wants total reform for SK
By Connie B. Destura

LEGAZPI CITY, Oct. 26 (PNA) -- Senator JV Ejercito is strongly pushing for the total reform of the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK), which he described as a training ground for corrupting young people in the country.

In a press conference held at the Oriental Hotel here on Friday, Ejercito said the current SK is flawed and has not lived up to the purpose for which it was intended.

The senator proposed to adjust the age bracket for SK members from 18-24, from the existing 15-17 years old.

“With the present bracket, SK members are vulnerable to all forms of abuse, specifically corruption, because they are being used and manipulated by their parents and barangay chairmen,” he explained.

Actually, Ejercito said, his original proposal is for the abolition of the SK because whatever programs intended for its members can be represented by any member of a local legislative body.

He explained that adjusting the age bracket of the SK members would give them the legal personality to act for total development of young people. “At the age of 18, I think they are ready to handle their task.”

“We want them to concentrate on youth development, like training, not mere sports activities or garbage can project,” the senator said.

According to him, deliberations on the proposed reform is still ongoing and Congress is expected to present the final bill by March 2014 for its approval.

Ejercito further said his recommendation is to make SK independent from the Sanggunian.

“This means that they will execute their functions and mandate without the intervention of the barangay, municipal or provincial officials; but whether to remove them in the list of the council as an ex-officio member, this is still subject to deliberation,” he clarified.(PNA) CTB/FGS/MDR/CBD/pjn

Ejercito supports restoration of Bataan nuclear power plant
By Mike de la Rama

LEGAZPI CITY, Oct. 25 (PNA) –- Sen. JV Ejercito has expressed concern over the expected power shortage in the country by 2015 that is why he is pushing for the restoration of the Bataan nuclear power plant to help avert the country’s energy crisis.

In a press conference held here Friday, Ejercito said operating the nuclear plant will help solve the expected power shortage in Luzon.

“The Bataan nuclear plant must be operated provided it will adhere to all government policies that would not result in any environment-related problems,” he said.

The nuclear plant was built three decades ago but has never been used and now only serves as a tourist attraction.

Ejercito said he visited the plant recently and he confirmed that all equipment are properly maintained.

“Since then the facility has become a white elephant, costing the government millions of dollars for maintenance; so therefore, it is high time for the government to operate the plant,” he explained.

The senator said his technical staff is now in the process of gathering more data and studies before he makes an official recommendation through a legislative action asking Malacanang to consider the full operation of the Bataan nuclear plant.

The plant has lain dormant since it was completed in 1984, during the Marcos regime at a cost of US$ 2.3 billion.

The senator admitted that pushing the operation of Bataan power nuke plant will be opposed by other independent power companies.

“We will expect that because their companies will be affected as soon as we fully operate the plant,” he said, adding that "Our interest is to mitigate energy crisis in Luzon by the next three years and lessen the cost of electricity in the country in order to encourage foreign investors,” Ejercito said. (PNA) hbc/FGS/MDR/CBD/rsm

Legazpi partners with online job gateway to enhance competitiveness in BPO

LEGAZPI CITY, Oct. 25 (PNA) -–A partnership for an employment-focused project has been formed between the local government here and an online job portal that widely caters to industries involving information technology (IT).

This partnership deal was formalized over the week between City Mayor Noel Rosal and the BPOCareerHub.com, which is recognized as the only online job platform in the country serving the call center industry involving Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) and Knowledge Process Outsourcing (KPO).

Rosal on Friday said he believes that the partnership will further facilitate the search by the burgeoning number of local BPO talents for employment not only in the locality but also elsewhere in the country and abroad and at the same time, help the city build itself as a top outsourcing destination internationally.

BPOCareerHub.com, according to Rosal, has agreed to open for free its online gateways for the city to broaden employment opportunities of local IT talents and help industry locators in considering the potentials of the city’s BPO-ready workforce and location.

The city was included in 2011 by the Information Technology and Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBAP) among the New Wave Cities for being a “feeder” of highly qualified manpower into the country’s BPO industry.

The Department of Science and Technology-Information and Communications Technology Office (DOST-ICTO) and the Information Technology Business Processing Association of the Philippines (IBPAP), on the other hand, adjudged the city last year as the country’s “most effective local government unit” in the field of IT and business process management (BPM).

As more and more companies from abroad prefer the Philippines as the location for their outsourcing operations, “We expect a considerable bulk of these investors coming in to our city and take its share in the country’s employment and revenue targets from this industry,” Rosal said.

Currently, 73 percent of IT-BPM workers are in the metropolis while the remaining 27 percent are in the provinces, based on DOST-ICTO records.

Rosal expressed elation over this development, saying it gives the city more opportunities to participate in the IT industry playing field. (PNA) PDS/FGS/DOC/CBD/utb

3 men take P1-M DPWH employee salaries

CAMP GEN. SIMEON A. OLA, Legazpi City, Oct. 25 (PNA) – A man held up the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) District Office in Daet, Camarines Norte, at about 9:30 a.m. Thursday, and took a black bag containing more than P1 million intended for the salaries of the employees of the agency, a Bicol regional police official said.

Senior Inspector Malu Calubaquid, regional police spokesperson, said the man took the black bag at gunpoint from Sonia P. Mirasol, DPWH disbursing officer.

The suspect hurriedly joined his two companions waiting outside the administrative office.

The three immediately fled after one of them fired three consecutive gun shots on the air while on board a red motorcycle going towards the direction of Basud town.

Mirasol was taken to Leon D. Hernandez Memorial Hospital in Daet where he was treated for hypertension.

Police immediately launched a pursuit operation for possible identification and arrest of the suspects.

They are now reviewing the footages in the CCTV camera installed outside the DPWH office building. (PNA) PDS/FGS/EMC/cbd

Barangay captain bet, companions escape ambush try

CAMP GEN. SIMEON A. OLA, Legazpi City, Oct. 25 (PNA) -– A candidate for barangay chairman and three companions emerged unscathed in an ambush staged by unidentified suspects while they were campaigning on board a motorcycle in Barangay Divisoria, Cataingan, Masbate, Thursday afternoon.

A report by Senior Supt. Culbert Sison, Masbate Provincial Police Office director, to Chief Supt. Victor P. Deona, Bicol regional police director, identified the victims as Orlan Mollejon, a candidate for barangay chairman, and companions Vicente Cabatingan, Ricky Quilongquilong and Romulo Claros – all residents of the village.

Sison said the victims were on board their motorcycle negotiating a bridge at about 4:30 p.m. when the suspects fired at them, forcing the driver to maneuver and speed away.

Mollejon and his companions reported the incident to the police who recovered empty shells of .45-caliber pistol in the scene.

The victims strongly believe that the failed ambush was politically motivated.

Sison said the victim is challenging the incumbent barangay chairman who is supported by big politicians in the province. (PNA) FFC/FGS/EMC/CBD/jsd

Police arrest village councilman for violation of gun ban

CAMP GEN. SIMEON A. OLA, Legazpi City, Oct. 25 (PNA) -– An incumbent village councilman who is running for barangay captain in the coming barangay election on Oct. 28 was caught with an Armalite rifle during an operation of joint operatives from different Bicol regional police units and the Baleno Municipal Police Office on Friday morning in Sitio Sabang, Barangay Lahong, Baleno, Masbate.

A report reaching Chief Supt. Victor P. Deona, Philippine National Police Bicol regional director, identified the suspect as Francisco Esquilona, incumbent barangay councilman, who was arrested at about 6 a.m. at his residence.

The operation was made on the strength of Search Warrant No. 2013-87 dated Oct. 23, 2013 issued by Judge Maximino R. Ables, executive judge of Regional Trial Court Branch 47 in Masbate City.

Police seized from the suspect one M-16 baby Armalite rifle with serial number RP160058, four magazines and 74 bullets for the said firearm without proper documents.

The seizure was done at the presence of Esquilona and another barangay official, Maribel Candidato, both residents of the village.

Esquilona is now detained at the Masbate Provincial Police Office while the police are readying charges against him for violation of PD 1866 as amended by RA 8294. (PNA) FFC/FGS/EMC/CBD/jsd

1 rebel dead, 1 soldier wounded in CamNorte encounter

LEGAZPI CITY, Oct. 25 (PNA) -– A still unidentified New People’s Army rebel was killed and an Army soldier was wounded in an encounter between communist guerrillas and government troopers at about 4:30 a.m. Friday in Sitio Purok 3, Barangay Salvacion, Sta. Elena, Camarines Norte.

Captain Mardjories Paimela P. Panesa, chief of the 9th Infantry Division Public Affairs Office, said Philippine Army troopers from the 49th Infantry Battalion were on a security patrol operation when they encountered seven rebels who were allegedly collecting revolutionary tax.

The 20-minute encounter resulted in the death of the rebel and the wounding of Pfc. Edcil Bagaan who was immediately airlifted by a helicopter to the AFP Medical Center in V. Luna Hospital in Manila.

Government troopers are still in hot pursuit of the fleeing rebels who ran towards the direction of the mountainous area of Capalonga town.

The police have already sent scene-of-the crime operatives to the encounter site for necessary investigation. (PNA) FPV/FGS/EMC/CBD/utb

No problem in Oct. 28 barangay elections, Comelec says

LEGAZPI CITY, Oct. 24 (PNA) -– There is no problem in connection with the barangay election on Oct. 28.

This was the general assessment of the Commission on Election during the Regional Joint Security Control Center (RJSCC) meeting held Thursday at the headquarters of the 9th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army at Camp Elias Angeles in Pili, Camarines Sur.

Lawyer Romeo B. Cortes, Comelec Bicol regional director and RJSCC chair, said the public has nothing to worry because it is for certain and there is no reason for the barangay elections not to proceed as scheduled.

Cortes said he was not even worried about the listed election areas of immediate concern (EAIC) and election areas of concern (EAC).

According to the RJSCC, there are five villages in five towns of Masbate, one in Sorsogon and one in Camarines Sur that are under the EAIC.

There are 701 villages under EAC in the six provinces of Bicol.

Masbate has the highest with 224; Sorsogon, 176; Camarines Sur, 153; Camarines Norte, 84; Albay, 37; and Catanduanes, 22.

The RJSCC considers the 2013 national and local elections as the most peaceful with only five election-related incidents recorded compared to the previous elections.

The highest incidents took place in 2004 which posted 37; 2007, 30; 2010 national and local elections, 8; and 2010 barangay election, 4.

Those who attended the RJSCC meeting were Brig. Gen. Yerson E. Depayso, 9th ID commander; Brig. Gen. Felix J. Castro, assistant division commander; and all brigade and battalion commanders of the 9th ID.

On the part of the Philippine National Police, Chief Supt. Victor P. Deona led his provincial directors in the region.

Guest on Thursday's meeting was Commodore Manuel Natalio A. Abinuman, Naval Forces for Southern Luzon commander. (PNA) CTB/FGS/EPS/CBD/utb

Cam Norte LGU to provide lying-in clinics with modern equipment

DAET, Camarines Norte, Oct. 24 (PNA) -–The provincial government of Camarines Norte is using the P2.2-million fund provided by an international donor to equip lying-in clinics with modern facilities.

Gov. Edgardo Tallado on Thursday here said that among the equipment to be provided are delivery tables, wheelchairs, stretchers, blood pressure apparatus or sphygmomanometers and hospital beds.

Tallado said the provincial government will use the P2.2 million granted by the Espanola de Cooperacion Internacional para el Desarollo (AECID) in acquiring these furnishings.

Given priority in the acquisition of the equipment, he said, are six barangays in the province where lying in clinics exist but remain ill-equipped.

These barangays are Mambalite, Daet; Calaguas Island and Banocboc of Vinzons; Pambuhan, Mercedes; San Isidro, San Lorenzo Ruiz; Cabuluan, Sta. Elena and Exciban, Labo.

Construction of lying-in clinics in these barangays was initiated by the provincial government through the Basic Emergency Maternal and Obstetrical New Born Care of the Department of Health and under the sponsorship of the AECID. (PNA) PDS/FGS/CBD/utb

DA promotes commercial production of taro in Bicol

PILI, Camarines Sur, Oct. 24 (PNA) -- The Regional Field Unit (RFU) of the Department of Agriculture (DA) for Bicol based here has launched a program to promote the commercial production of taro, a nutritious vegetable popularly cooked by Bicolanos as “laing” or “pinangat.”

Hatched in collaboration with the RFU’s Biotechnology Program Implementation Unit, the program considers the application of biotechnology as one of the tools in improving taro productivity in the region, DA Regional Executive Director Abelardo Bragas on Thursday here said.

“With biotechnology, we could produce disease-free and quality planting materials,” Bragas said, explaining that propagation is fast with it being a timely and appropriate approach towards more productivity -- given the prevailing wet season.

Taro is a vigorous growing perennial plant native to the Philippines and cultivated in swampy soils and flooded parcels along with rice and other semi-aquatic crops.

It is one of the few crops that can be grown under flooded conditions owing to air spaces in the petiole, which permit underwater gaseous exchange with the atmosphere, Bragas said. For a maximum dissolved oxygen supply, according to him, the water should be cool and flowing because warm and stagnant water causes basal rotting.

For maximum yields, the water level should be controlled so that the base of the plant is always under water.

Flooded cultivation has some advantages over dry-land cultivation: higher yields and out-of-season production, which may result in higher prices and weed control, which flooding facilitates.

On the other hand, in flooded production systems taro requires a longer maturation period, investment in infrastructure and higher operational costs, and monoculture is likely.

Like most root crops, taro does well in deep, moist or even swampy soils where the annual rainfall exceeds 2,500 millimeters, Bragas added.

Although taro is cultivated primarily for its roots, the leaves are wholly edible and have a tender-firm and succulent texture.

The flavor is subtle, offering a pleasant nuttiness with an iron finish that is comparable to the flavor of spinach.

Taro leaves offer a substantial amount of Vitamin A and C and they are better source of protein than the plant's roots.

Studies show that it is low in saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium and it is also a good source of Vitamin B6 and phosphorus -- and a very good source of dietary fiber, protein, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, copper and manganese.

A popular recipe for taro is pinangat, a dish that originated in Bicol whose main ingredients are taro leaves cooked in coconut milk and salted with fermented shrimp or fish paste locally called bagoong.

It is most of the time heavily spiced with red hot chilies called siling labuyo.

Pinangat was originally concocted in the town of Camalig, Albay.

Owing to its popularity, many tourists who visit Legazpi City make sure that aside from tasting the spicy Bicol Express, they also get to bite these two other authentic treats.

Another dish in which taro is commonly used is the national stew, called sinigang which is made with pork and beef, shrimp, or fish, a souring agent with the addition of peeled and diced corms as thickener.

The corm is also prepared as a basic ingredient for ginataan, a coconut milk and taro desert.

Bragas said that with the increasing population and with the increasing demand for food, “we need to look for alternative crops aside from rice.”

roducing a kilo of palay, he said, requires about 5,000 liters of water while producing taro, which is a good alternative for rice, requires lesser amount of water and lesser inputs.

Elena de los Santos, DA regional technical director for operations and extension, said the taro project in Bicol was actually started in 2011.

Knowing the potential of this commodity, the project concentrated on the production of tissue-cultured planting materials and the varieties propagated include: princesa, balitaka, Binting Dalaga, Bicol Purple and Bicol Purple Wide, which were found suitable to Bicol conditions.

De los Santos expressed optimism that with the quality planting materials now being produced by the DA laboratory, more farmers would be encouraged to plant taro to cope up with the increasing demand both in the local and international market. (PNA) FGS/DOC/CBD/utb

Multi-sectoral group holds prayer vigil for safe barangay polls

CAMP GEN. SIMEON A. OLA, Oct 24. (PNA) -– A multi-sectoral group held a prayer vigil and candle-lighting activity at the Penaranda Park here at 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday for a peaceful and fair barangay elections on Oct. 28.

The event has for its theme, ”Sama-samang Panalangin para sa Matahimik at Patas na Halalang Pambarangay 2013.”

Among the organizers of the activity were Chief Supt. Victor P. Deona, Bicol police regional director; Commodore Manuel Natalio A. Abinuman, Naval Forces for Southern Luzon commander; lawyer Romeo B Fortes, Commission on Election regional director; Macky Lim, president, Bicol University Student Council.

Prayers were also given by different religious sector leaders led by Pastor Jose Dasco, chairman of Albay Inter-Catholic Faith; Pastor Samuel A. Erandio, Bicol police chaplain; and Imam Abinodin Sabangan from the Muslim community.

Maj. Dennis l. Bulanday, Navforsol command chaplain, gave the ecumenical prayer.

The activity was highlighted by the simultaneous lighting of candles for safe barangay election 2013. (PNA) PDS/FGS/EMC/CBD/utb

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Aquino to confer Salceda, 5 other Bicolano public servants with CSC honors
By Danny O. Calleja

LEGAZPI CITY, Oct 23 (PNA) – President Benigno Aquino III is expected to confer to six Bicolano public servants led by Albay Gov. Joey Salceda accolades for this year’s Honor Awards of the Civil Service Commission (CSC) in Malacanang on Thursday, Oct. 24.

Salceda will receive a Presidential Lingkod Bayan Award while Ligao City Mayor Linda Gonzalez, Lynn Padillo of the Department of Education regional office for Bicol, Dr. Erlinda Relucio of the Bicol University, and Albay Public Safety, Emergency Management Officer Cedric Daep will be given the CSC Pag-Asa Award.

Senior Fire Officer 4 Simeon Ballon of the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) regional office will be a Dangal ng Bayan awardee.

Salceda and the five others have been earlier cited during awarding rites of the Citizen Satisfaction Center (CSC) Seal of Excellence and Regional Honor Awards held here.

In the same occasion, the CSC also awarded Seals of Excellence to four Bicol-based agencies, among them the Home Development Management Fund (HDMF) regional office and the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) Naga City Branch.

HDMF and DBP were cited for best practices in compliance with the Anti Red Tape Act (ARTA).

The two other recipients of the same awards were the Land Registration Authority (LRA) office in Naga City headed by Glenn Perillo and the Social Services System (SSS)-Camarines Sur headed by Beatriz Gumabao.

Jail Officer 1 James Edison De los Reyes of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology regional office was recognized as Bayaning Kawani awardee.

Cited as runners up in the best practices in ARTA compliance were the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) – Masbate Extension Office headed by Joan De la Cruz; Land Transportation Office (LTO) Tabaco District Office headed by Noel Barbacena; and Sorsogon State College headed by Dr. Antonio Fuentes.

Social Welfare Officer III Nida Macinas of the DSWD-Bicol was finalist for Bayaning Kawani category while citations for being finalists in the Best Human Resource Practice were Bicol Medical Center headed by Dr. Efren Nerva and the Local Government Unit of Mobo in Masbate headed by Atty. Percival Castillo. No winner had been declared in this category.

In the regional awarding, CSC Chairman Francisco Duque III who flew in from Manila to grace the event expressed admiration to the Bicol’s grand slam record featuring six awardees that add to the long list of the region’s bests in various categories.

These Bicolano leaders must be looked up to as exemplars for other regions to emulate, Duque said.

CSC regional director Cecilia Nieto on Wednesday said the six would-be awardees from Bicol led by Salceda is the biggest number among regions across the country for this year’s Honor Awards. (PNA) CTB/FGS/DOC/CBD

Bicol joins observance of Universal Children’s Day
By Connie B. Destura

LEGAZPI CITY, Oct. 23 (PNA) -- The Bicol region is joining the observance of the Universal Children’s Day on Oct. 24, according to Arnel B. Garcia, regional director of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

The theme of this year’s celebration is “Kahirapan Wakasan; Karapatan ng Bata, Ipaglaban.”

It aims to strongly advocate the children’s rights.

The observance of the Universal Children’s Day is pursuant to Presidential Proclamation 267 series of 1993, mandating the month of October of every year be commemorated as Children’s Month.

Garcia said that along the month’s celebration is the conduct of activities for day-care children by the respective local government units, people’s organizations and other non-government organizations catering to the welfare of children.

He said that in Cawayan, Masbate alone, about 500 children from 75 day-care centers in town participated in the event on Tuesday.

It was a day of fun for children and a worthwhile experience, also being their first time to see and interact with mascots Jollibee and Hetty.

The LGU also distributed toys and other goodies for the children.

The highlight of the day’s affair was the delivery the State of the Children’s Address done by Cawayan Mayor Edgar Condor.

In his message, Condor shared his town's accomplishments on the implementation of programs and services for children’s welfare.

He also pledged his support to the advocacy campaign on the children’s rights, strengthen the implementation of the day-care program, increase the honorarium of the day-care centers by P500 and to sustain the supplemental feeding program.

Meanwhile, the DSWD Field Office V will be conducting the Children’s Summit on Oct. 31 at the Liberty Commercial Center, in this city.

About 67 children will be in attendance, most of whom are Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries.

The activity aims to provide stronger advocacy on children’s rights, showcase children’s talents through literary arts competition and encourage DSWD partners to continue their support to the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program.

In Camarines Sur, a Provincial Children’s Summit will also be held.

In line with the event, the “Kaya Ko” advocacy campaign will be part of the program, which will highlight the gains and impact of the 4Ps among the beneficiaries, particularly the children. (PNA) LAM/FGS/CBD/

Bicol RDRRMC chair heads PHL participants in disaster response exercise in Vietnam

LEGAZPI CITY, Oct. 23 (PNA) -– A 17-man team from the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) and Department of Health (DOH) is now in Hanoi, Vietnam participating in the 2013 ASEAN Regional Disaster Emergency Response Simulation Exercise (ARDEX).

In the team, headed by OCD Bicol Regional Director Bernardo Alejandro IV, are eight doctors and seven nurses headed by Dr. Carmencita Banatin of the DOH.

Alejandro, also the Bicol Regional Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (RDRRMC) chairman, told the PNA in an emailed statement that the exercise aims to practice, evaluate and review existing Standing Arrangement and Standard Operating Procedure, facilitating close and effective collaboration among ASEAN member-states and between ASEAN and relevant United Nations and international organizations in managing massive national disaster.

Included in the exercise are sharing sessions and workshops.

During the meeting of the heads of delegation, Alejandro, in behalf of Undersecretary Edgardo del Rosario, NDRRMC executive director, thanked the ASEAN member-states for their prompt response to the Bohol earthquake tragedy.

He also thanked the ASEAN Coordinating Center for Humanitarian Assistance on Disaster Management for facilitating the response.

The ARDEX will end on Oct. 24. (PNA) LAM/FGS/EMC/CBD/

3 Bohol towns center of Team Albay-OCD5 mission

LEGAZPI CITY, Oct. 22 (PNA) --The Team Albay-Office of Civil Defense Bicol Regional Office (OCD5) entered its sixth day of humanitarian assistance to the province of Bohol Tuesday morning as part of its ten-day, six-service mission to areas hit by a magnitude-7.2 earthquake last October 15.

The mission started on Oct. 17 and will end on Oct. 27.

Governor Joey Sarte Salceda said the team is concentrated on the towns of Maribojoc, Loon and San Isidro the whole Tuesday.

The water and sanitation unit is in Bulok-Bulok Spring in Barangay Jantig and Dipatlong in Maribojoc to continue providing villagers with potable water.

The unit has already supplied 70,000 liters of purified water in a span of four days since Saturday, Salceda said.

Team Albay-OCD5's medical unit from the Bicol Regional Training and Teaching Hospital-Provincial Health Office (PHO)-Albay Health and Emergency Management Office is now doing medical services in Maribojoc and San Isidro towns due to lack of medical personnel in the areas.

The engineering team is focused on works in Loon town while a six-man unit from Albay office, PHO, the Philippine National Police and media are helping local counterparts in going around the towns of Sagbayan, Carmen and Loboc to assess the condition in these areas.

A group of Team Albay-OCD5 -- composed of the PNP, Philippine Navy, OCD-Bicol and Philippine Air Force's Tactical Operations Group 5 -- is in Bohol Sports Complex assisting in relief goods distribution in far-flung communities on board a helicopter ad several trucks deployed in Bohol. (PNA) PDS/FGS/NIM/CBD/

Monday, October 21, 2013

Bohol town residents enjoy free purified water from Team Albay-OCD5 mission

LEGAZPI CITY, Oct. 20 (PNA) --Residents of Maribojoc town in Bohol have expressed joy for the purified water that the six-service humanitarian mission of the Team Albay-Office of Civil Defense 5 has provided them, Dr. Cedric Daep, Albay Public Safety and Emergency Office chief, told the PNA in an emailed statement on Sunday.

"They thanked the team for the water as, they claimed, the one that they used to buy from a supplier was very costly due to the condition of the roads that were destroyed by strong earthquake," the statement said.

The Team Albay-OCD5’s free purified water being given to Maribojoc residents is the only one available to them.

Daep said providing purified water to the residents of Maribojoc town, which was hardest hit by the earthquake that destroyed its source of water and water pipes, is being undertaken by the group under its first form of service -- the WATSAN or water sanitation.

The water purifying equipment of Albay can produce 30,000 liters of potable water per hour.

Governor Edgardo M. Chatto said the mission is a big help to the areas in the province hit by a magnitude-7.2 earthquake on October 15.

The team is composed of 49 members.

Other members of the team were busy coordinating with and helping their counterparts in the Operation Center of Maribojoc town and the province under Dr. Glen Doloritos, Bohol Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (PDRRMC) chief.

Daep and some group members joined the PDRRMC team in Loon town, another area that was hard hit by the earthquake, some 30 kilometers from Tagbilaran City.

Other services being given by the Team Albay-OCD5 are the psychosocial care, medical treatment, hospital support, technical support for the Bohol PDRRMC and Maribojoc MDRRMC and structural assessment of damaged buildings, which is to be undertaken by Albay Provincial Engineering Office personnel in cooperation with their counterparts in Bohol.

Daep added that team also gives lecture and briefing to local government officials and residents who are still afraid of tsunami.

The mission team will stay in Bohol up the Oct. 27, he said.(PNA) PDS/FGS/NIM/CBD/PJN

Friday, October 18, 2013

Team Albay’s water sanitation equipment now in Cebu, ready for transport to Bohol

LEGAZPI CITY, Oct. 18 (PNA) -- The water sanitation equipment and personnel of Team Albay-Office of Civil Defense 5 (OCD5) are now on board a Philippine Navy vessel (AT293) based in Cebu and are ready to be transported to Bohol anytime to help in relief and recovery efforts in the areas, according to Commodore Manuel Abinuman, Naval Forces for Southern Luzon commander.

Soon the group will be deployed in most affected communities suffering from lack of potable water supplies as pre-identified by the advance party of the Team Albay-OCD5.

The transport of the water sanitation equipment and men is facilitated by Ensign Chibar Bullos, the former public affairs officer of the Navforsol and presently assigned in PG112 in Cebu City as the deck officer of the ship.

Other groups of Team Albay-OCD are scheduled to depart Legazpi City Friday.

These are composed of engineers, medical personnel and disaster management team to assist in the overall operations of the team in its designated command post.

The Army’s 901st Infantry Brigade and 2nd Infantry Battalion, both based in Albay province, have also sent personnel to augment the Team Albay-OCD5 Humanitarian Mission going to Bohol to assist in the wide-scale destruction of the magnitude 7.2 earthquake, according to Capt. Mardjorie Paimela. Panesa, brigade spokesperson.

The first team delegation, more or less 80 delegates, left Legazpi City on Wednesday night.

Col. Raul Farnacio, commander of the 901st Infantry Brigade, sent his men to secure the delegation and engage in search and rescue mission.

The brigade also provided a military truck for the transport of water purifier and sanitation equipment.

Brigadier Gen. Jerson E. Depayso, 9th Infantry Division commander, said the Army in Bicol will continuously support and extend assistance to those who are displaced by the earthquake, as its members, he said, are being trained and equipped for disaster relief, rescue and rehabilitation operations -- even outside the region.

Earlier, Albay Governor Joey Salceda announced that the 10th Team Albay Countryside Development Caravan will be extended to the earthquake-stricken province of Bohol, cancelling all activities for his upcoming birthday on October 26.

The province has also allotted P1.0 million as financial assistance to the provinces of Cebu and Bohol at P500,000 each. (PNA) LAP/FGS/EMC/CBD/

Legazpi named 2nd runner-up for best performing nutrition city
By Emmanuel P. Solis

LEGAZPI CITY, Oct. 17 (PNA) – The Legazpi City Nutrition Office was named by the Regional Nutrition Committee as the second runner-up for best performing city in the region.

Iriga City is the outstanding city while Tabaco City is the first runner-up.

Dr. Gloria Balboa, Department of Health Bicol regional director and Regional Nutrition Committee chairperson, handed the plaque of recognition to Dr. Fulbert Gillego, Legazpi City health officer, during the Regional Nutrition Awarding Ceremony held Wednesday at the Venezia Convention Center in this city.

The Barangay Imalnod of Legazpi City, represented by chairman Allan E. Llaneta, was also included among the top performing barangays in the region while Barangay Nutrition Scholar Lyra v. Magracia of Barangay Oro Site, also of this city, was named 2nd runner-up in the regional outstanding barangay nutrition scholars category.

Other regional winners in this category were Jimnah A. Llagas, most outstanding; and Marilou A. Jimenez, first runner-up.

“This recognition will serve as another inspiration to all of us to continue to work for the nutrition program of the city to always put our children in a healthy condition,” Gillego said.

He urged all barangay officials and health workers to work hand-in-hand for the effective implementation of the city’s nutrition program to address malnutrition and free the children from any sickness.

The city health official said his office is very active in providing health services to children by implementing the Sagip-Kalusugan Program that involves medical check-up of all the identified malnourished children, free laboratory examinations, regular feeding activities, chest X-ray, de-worming and vitamin supplementation.

He said his office has conducted several nutrition educational activities in all the 70 villages of this city to promote nutritional guidelines such as breastfeeding, infant and young child feeding, responsible parenthood and maternal and child health care.

Arlene Reario, Bicol Nutrition Program coordinator, pointed out that this search is the result of a thorough evaluation of health workers who work effectively for the good health of the pre-school children in their respective localities.

Reario said the Regional Nutrition Committee will continue the search to inspire other health workers to work for the implementation of the nutrition program to eradicate malnourishment in the community.(PNA) CTB/FGS/EPS/CBD/

Bicol regional trade fair posts P29.4-M sales
By Emmanuel P. Solis

LEGAZPI CITY, Oct. 17 (PNA) – Product exhibitors in the recently held 17th OKB-Regional Trade Fair 2013 at SM Megamall in Metro Manila registered total sales of P29.4 million, 37 percent higher than last year’s P18.6 million, a top official of the Department of Trade and Industry in Bicol, said.

Jocelyn Blanco, DTI Bicol regional director, attributed the high sales to a display of wider product lines from wearables and homestyle, processed foods, ceramics and pottery, and furniture and fine jewelry that delighted the buyers.

“Bicolano products have really evolved and have become world-class,” Blanco said, adding that 129 new products were made available during the trade fair.

The top three sellers were DTI-CARP Camarines Sur, DTI-CARP Albay and Morin Crafts, which came from the sectors on processed foods and homestyle.

A joint project of the DTI with the OKB Association, Inc., PhilExport, Rural Micro Enterprise Promotion Program and local government units in Bicol, the OKB fair has been institutionalized through the years.

To add fun and excitement to the OKB 2013 fair, organizers gave special awards.

The Best Dressed Booth went to J. Emmanuel Pastries while DTI-CARP Camarines Sur was the top seller.

Each will be freed from the participation fee of P10,000 for next year’s OKB. (PNA) CTB/FGS/EPS/CBD

Bicol PNP deploys additional 817 cops for barangay polls

LEGAZPI CITY, Oct. 17 (PNA) -- The Philippine National Police Bicol Regional Office or PRO5 has deployed 817 additional men in the six provinces of the region for the upcoming barangay election on Oct. 28.

Inspector Malou Calubaquib, PRO5 spokesperson, said these additional forces are distributed as follows: Sorsogon, 150; Masbate, 143; Catanduanes, 139; Naga City, 100; and Albay, Camarines Sur and Camarines Norte, 95 each.

These men, Calubaquid said, underwent the Junior and Senior Leadership Training at the Regional Training School in Camp Gen. Simeon A. Ola here.

She added that additional 154 police officers will be deployed in the province of Masbate.

This additional deployment of men will help a lot in ensuring an orderly, peaceful and successful barangay election in the region.

Chief Supt. Victor Deona and his directorial staff headed by Senior Supt. Arnold Albis, deputy regional director for operation, led the sendoff ceremony held yesterday at Camp Gen. Simeon A. Ola.

Deona urged his men "to do what is right in the right way and purpose."

He said a police officer may not be able to do all but he can do something.

Ensuring a peaceful and orderly barangay election is one of the marching orders given by PNP Director General Alan Purisima to Deona during the turnover ceremony held on Monday here.

Deona took over the helm of PRO5 from Chief Supt. Clarence Guinto.(PNA) JBP/FGS/NIM/CBD/

Albay gets 5 National Gawad Kalasag Awards
By Nancy I. Mediavillo

LEGAZPI CITY, Oct. 17 (PNA) – Albay garnered five National Gawad Kalasag Awards while Camarines Norte got one, according to an executive of the Office of Civil Defense.

OCD Bicol Regional Director Raffy Alejandro said the awards are being given to local government units or institutions that have performed well in the field of public service, especially on disaster risk reduction management.

The awardees are Legazpi City, Best City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (DRRMC), Component/Independent City category; Sto. Domingo, Albay, Best Municipal DRRMC (4th to 6th Class Municipality Category); Barangay Oro Site, Legazpi City, Best Barangay DRRMC, Urban Barangay Category; Simon of Cyrene Children’s Rehabilitation and Development Foundation, Inc., Best Civil Society Organization; DQ Liwag National High School, Camarines Norte, Best School (Public Urban Category); and Bicol Regional Training and Teaching Hospital, Third Placer, Best Hospital (Regional Training Hospital Category).

The Provincial Government of Albay was honored for being National Gawad Kalasag Awardee Hall of Famer for Best PDRRMC for the past three years.

Alejandro said the awarding ceremony will be held in Camp Aguinaldo on Oct. 25.

Alejandro said there is a need to continue introducing innovations in disaster risk reduction and for the awardees to share their best practices in DRR to other LGUs.

In this connection, he said 74 percent of the LGUs in Bicol have already disaster management offices, or 89 LGUs out 120 in the region.

Among the provinces, Albay and Camarines Sur have 100 percent; Sorsogon, 75 percent; Camarines Norte, 69 percent; Catanduanes, 89 percent; and Masbate, 27 percent.

The OCD official said the region is targeting 100-percent compliance of the LGUs in 2016, as required by RA 10121 or the DRR Law of 2010.(PNA) DSP/FGS/NIM/CBD/