Monday, August 31, 2015

Salceda's latest plan: to run for Albay's 2nd congressional district
By Mars S. Arguelles

PASAY CITY, Aug. 30 (PNA) -- Governor Joey Salceda announced Sunday here that he is withdrawing his plan not to run for any elective post and instead declared that he is running for the province’s 2nd congressional district post.

The move is seen by many to have a rippling effect on the plans of other politicians in the province, especially in the second district.

In an ambush interview, however, Salceda explained that a consensus was decided by him and the three incumbent congressmen of the province that he would run for the 2nd congressional seat to bring unity among political leaders for the betterment of the province.

Salceda said he believes in the saying that "In unity there is strength."

The agreement would form a "Unity Ticket" where all those seeking elective positions -- from the governor, vice governor, congressmen, city and town mayors -- who belong to the Liberal Party and its coalition will run "unchallenged," he said.

The economist-politician said incumbent House Representatives Fernando Gonzalez (LP) of the province’s third district, Al Francis Bichara (NP) of the Second District and Edcel "Grex" Lagman (LP) of the first district and the Ako Bicol (AKB) Party List Representatives Christopher Co and Rodel Batocabe agreed to form the "Unity Ticket."

Under the "Unity Ticket", the alliance will field Bichara as governor of the province.

Bichara is on his last term as congressman of the 2nd district.

Salceda will run as congressman of the second district, Gonzalez for the 3rd district and Lagman for the 1st district.

Salceda also said his close political rival for the congressional post, AKB Rep. Christopher Co, agreed not to run for the province’s 2nd district and instead will go for re-election under the AKB party list banner.

“At the series of meetings, a sensitive discussion was raised and the agreement that my participation (running for Congress) would need sacrifice and bring unity under one ticket that would lead to a positive political development with a vision, resiliency, sustained efforts aimed at an inclusive growth of Albay," he added.

Salceda an economist said economic development -- what and how it is to be pursued and pushed -- will always follow the ecosystem of politics.

His announcement was the third statement he made this August following an earlier declaration in June that he would run as congressman in the 2nd district of Albay. On Aug. 11, he announced that he would no longer run for an elective post and instead help Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas in his national campaign for the president in 2016.

Salceda’s declarations drew mixed reactions from nitizens, wherein majority would not believe that he would back out from a political fight, claiming it is just a "political-psychological warfare."

The Albay governor on Sunday led some 200 provincial officials and employees of Albay in a Unity Walk for promoting inclusive participation in local governance at the SMX convention center here, hosted by the Department of Interior and Local Government. (PNA) CTB/FGS/MSA/CBD

Sunday, August 30, 2015

7,000 join Galing Pook Unity Walk in MOA
By Connie B. Destura

PASAY CITY, Aug. 30 (PNA) -- At least 7,000 representatives of various local government units, schools, non-government organizations and civil society organizations joined the Galing Pook Unity Walk here at 6:00 a.m. Sunday around the SM Mall of Asia complex.

About 200 Albayanos composing the Team Albay and headed by Governor Joey Sarte Salceda came all the way from the province, travelling by land the whole night, and arrived in time for the event.

The Unity Walk has for its theme “Mamamayan, Mamamayani.”

The Province of Albay’s Team Albay Humanitarian Assistance Program is vying for No. 1 in the Galing Pook Awards.

The Albayanos are positive that they will win the Award after the full-force support they have given to the governor.

There will be a presentation of the finalists’ entries, after they they face a panel of interviewers on Aug. 31.

The awarding and cultural night will be on Sept. 1.

The finalists in the awards are composed of various groups from the country's provinces who set examples in implementing key projects and initiatives for the betterment of their respective citizens.

The Galing Pook Awards is a pioneering program that recognizes innovations and excellence in local governance which started in 1993 under the joint initiative of the Local Government Academy, Department of Interior and Local Goverment, the Ford Foundation and other advocates of good governance from the academe, civil society and the government.

Winners are chosen each year from a wide array of programs from the local governments after undergoing a rigorous multi-level screening process.

The winning programs are selected based on positive results and impact, promotion of people’s participation and empowerment, innovation and efficiency of program service delivery. (PNA) CTB/FGS/CBD

Friday, August 28, 2015

Delegates from 150 countries unite for global water sustainability (Ms. Barcia is in Sweden Aug. 24-31 attending the conference on water sustainability--sol)
By Rhaydz B. Barcia

STOCKHOLM, Sweden, Aug. 27 (PNA) -- Delegates to the World Water Week meeting from 150 countries hit the cobblestone streets of this capital city of water on Tuesday, calling for global water sustainability.

“Save water, water for life, for one planet” was the battlecry being chanted during the walk by the world delegates composed of government officials, scientists, members of the academe, private sector representatives, implementers and international organizations, including media.

The call aims to bolster public awareness and for world leaders to give special preference on water issues in the upcoming United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) COP21 Paris 2015 climate talks in Paris.

World Water Week is the annual global meeting on water, as water challenges become the planet’s greatest risk in the 21st century.

In September, UN member-states will decide on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to steer global development efforts in the decades to come and in December at COP21 in Paris where a new climate deal will be agreed.

One of the SDGs will be dedicated to water.

The ongoing one-week (Aug. 24-31) meeting on water sustainability in this city, which spreads out over 14 islands in Lake Malaren and looks out proudly to the Baltic Sea to the east, aims to tackle and provide solution to water crisis taking place around the world following the impact of climate change.

The global walk for water sustainability is the first-ever unified move of world leaders, nongovernmental organizations and other stakeholders across the globe in an effort to heighten and achieve SDGs.

Torgny Holmgren, executive director of Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI), said water plays a most critical role in achieving the upcoming SDGs as water relates to a great number of poor people, hunger, health, energy and climate.

“Climate change manifests through water, too much or too little of it, and it is high time that the reality enters the rooms of negotiators,” he said during the high-level panel of discussion on World Water Week, the annual global water meeting on water discourse.

Holmgren said that it was 25 years ago when the first Stockholm Water Symposium was done with only few hundred dedicated scientists present and the world population was just five and half billion people, and no one had yet heard about SDGs.

“Looking ahead 25 years from now, I hope that those who gather here in Stockholm in 2040 can claim that the world has made great progress in the way that our scarce water resources are being handled. By that time all people should have access to clean and safe water. To feed a supply a population of some nine billion people, we also need to improve the way we use water,” he said.

The World Water Week in Stockholm is the annual focal point for the globe’s water issues organized by SIWI.

This year is the jubilee celebration for World Water Week and the Stockholm Water Prize with the theme “Water for Development”.

The World Water Week in Stockholm is a global water conference that focuses on big issues and practical solutions.

“It is my hope that in 25 years from now we will no longer talk about global water crisis because we will have developed ways to sustainability use our water resources. In order to do what we need to be innovative and let new ideas in and form new alliances,” Holmgren said.

The high-level panel discussion on water tackles key issues facing water and development, focusing on the financial aspect of the ongoing international processes for SDGs and the anticipated new UNFCCC climate agreement and its implications on global and national level.

The panel will also tackle the issue of implementation, financing, potential obstacles and constraints from implementation as well as lessons learned from the implementation of the SDGs and the UNFCCC financial mechanisms will be addressed.

The 2015 is the target year for achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

Almost two billion people will still lack access to safe water and about 2.5 billion people lack access to basic sanitation.

More than one billion people will go to bed hungry, Holmgren said.

For three consecutive years since 2012, the World Water Week in Stockholm focuses on issues in pursuit of addressing “Water and Food Security; Water cooperation in 2014; Energy and Water in 2014 to Water for Development 2015. (PNA) CTB/FGS/RBB/CBD

Sen. Bam to grace opening of 2 Negosyo Centers in Legazpi

LEGAZPI CITY, Aug. 27 (PNA) -- Senator Bam Aquino will lead the launch of two more Negosyo Centers here on Thursday.

The activity is part of the government efforts to further boost the development of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the Bicol Region, according to Joy Los Baños, Department of Trade and Industry Bicol regional director.

The Negosyo Centers to be inaugurated are at Sedcen Building at the Landco Business Park and at the DTI-Albay Provincial Office, both in Legazpi City.

“This is part of our continuing work to further improve the business environment for MSMEs. Now, our Bicolano businessmen can enjoy ease of doing business and other services through the Negosyo Centers,” Aquino, chair of the Senate committee on trade, commerce and entrepreneurship, said in a press statement.

?Aside from the senator, also expected to attend the event are Albay Gov. Joey Salceda, Legazpi City Mayor Noel Rosal, Trade Undersecretary Zenaida Maglaya, other local officials and representatives from private partners and stakeholders.

Aquino is the main author of Republic Act 10644, or the Go Negosyo Act, which mandates the creation of Negosyo Centers in all provinces, cities and municipalities in the country.

The Negosyo Center will provide access to linkages to bigger markets and financing for businesses, and a unified and simplified business registration process, thus, helping ease doing business and fast-track government processes in putting up a business.

With the two latest Negosyo Centers, the Bicol Region now has four such centers, with the other two located in Daet, Camarines Norte.

At present, the DTI has already established 84 Negosyo Centers in different parts of the country.

It has pegged its initial goal at 100 Negosyo Centers but with the present rate, the agency will exceed its target for 2015. (PNA) FFC/FGS/EMC/CBD

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Salceda shares expertise on DRR, other topics with UNDP, Nepalese group
By Connie B. Destura

LEGAZPI CITY, Aug. 27 (PNA) – Albay Governor Joey Sarte Salceda shared with an eight-man United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) officials and Nepalese delegation his experience and expertise on post-earthquake rehabilitation strategy, disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation in a dinner-meeting Wednesday at the Paparazzi Room of EDSA Shangrila in Mandaluyong City.

The group was led by former UNDP Country Representative to Nepal Renaud Meyer and composed of Joint Secretary Pandey, Nepalese Ministry of Federal Affairs and Local Development; Undersecretaries Paudel and Shivakoti, Nepalese Ministry of Federal Affairs and Local Development; Tom Wingfield, UK Department for International Development (DfID); Manju Lama, Embassy of Denmark to Nepal programme officer; Yam Nath Sharma, UNDP Nepal Governance head; and Anil Chandrika, UNDP Nepal project manager.

During the three-hour meeting, the Nepalese delegation invited Albay to provide technical advice from a practitioner perspective on a DRR law being considered by the Nepal parliament.

"I also told them of our friendship with Dr. Udip Shrestra who is responsible for bringing 70 Nepalese medical students to Bicol Christian College of Medicine every year. I told the delegation that the family headed by senior parliamentarian Maiya Devi Shrestha has been inviting me, the Bicol Regional Training and Teaching Hospital, and BCCM to Nepal. I was surprised to be told that the family matriarch is a billionaire,” Salceda said in a phone interview Thursday.

He said the Nepalese will visit Albay to see for themselves the work the Albayanos have done on DRR, including the APSEMO, Climate Change Academy, GUICADALE Economic Township.

In return, they also invited Albay, especially the APSEMO, to provide technical advice on post-earthquake rehabilitation and the formulation of the Nepal DRR law, especially since RA 10121 was based on the Albay model. (PNA) CTB/FGS/CBD

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Bicolanos back BBL passage for lasting peace in Mindanao
By Connie B. Destura

LEGAZPI CITY, Aug. 26 (PNA) -- Citizens of the province expressed support for the enactment of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) at a forum in La Roca Veranda in the city.

The BBL forum conducted over the weekend which was attended by 300 participants in the province aimed to provide a platform for an informed and programmatic conversation where accurate information may be shared as well as apprehensions and concerns that might affect the interests of the general public about the bill."If we can have peace here, why they can’t have it in Mindanao?," said Liza Grajo, a participant from Tabaco City.

Kathline Tolosa, forum convenor, said the proposed measure has already been taken up in both Houses of Congress.

Tolosa also stressed the need to understand the status of BBL. She said the first objective is to bring to the people the facts behind the proposal to create the bill after 17 years of negotiations between the Philippine Government panel and the representatives of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

Meanwhile, Tolosa denied reports that the BBL is being pushed because of the controversial Mamasapano encounter.

“There is no truth that BBL was introduced due to the controversial Mamasapano tragedy,“ she said, adding that the issue on the Bangsamoro is not a concern of a certain organization or group alone, but it is the concern of all Filipinos. It is not a problem of Mindanao alone, which means that whatever conflict or concerns in the Mindanao region is also the concern of the entire country. We cannot take off as a nation, development-wise, if a huge part of the country is trapped in violence or conflict," she said.

The forum is a measure of the Security Response Initiative (SRI) and Bantay Bayanihan which aims to beef up information dissemination about the context and essence of the BBL.

These are also the lead groups working on security reform issues to achieve peace, especially among marginalized and vulnerable sectors of society.

Albay is the 10th site which was made as a venue for the said forum organized by the said groups.

“The entry point of lasting peace is the BBL. The cost of war is expensive, that is why in this peace process we have the opportunity to move away from conflict,” Tolosa claimed. (PNA) LGI/BNB/FGS/CBD/EBP

Legazpi City holds three-day ADR awareness roadshow
By Connie B. Destura

LEGAZPI CITY, Aug. 26 (PNA) --The Department of Justice (DOJ) is holding here its three-day public awareness road show on efforts regarding alternative dispute resolution (ADR).

The event is an initiative of the Office of Alternative Dispute Resolution (OADR), a DOJ attached agency.

The roadshow, which started Wednesday and will last until Friday, aims to promote, develop and expand the use of ADR through information, education, communication and policy formulation as well as monitor, study and evaluate the use of ADR by both the private and public sectors.

Higher education institutions from the province, whose students are currently attending the event, include Aquinas University, Bicol College School of Law and Bicol University.

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) is any process or procedure used to resolve a dispute or controversy, other than by adjudication of a presiding judge of a court or an officer of a government agency, in which a neutral third party participates to assist in the resolution of issues.

"The advantage of using ADR in our country is that it would reduce cost and time in the resolution of conflicts/ disputes. It will mean less stress because it avoids long litigation," said Rafael Villanueva, officer-in-charge of the DOJ-OADR Public Information and Promotion Division.

She Miraflor, a student of the Bicol College School of Law found the forum informative and interesting.

"It is very informative, being a law student, my friends and relatives always ask my opinion in terms of conflicts and disputes. Traditionally, we will go to court and file complaint, now we can undergo ADR, less stress and less expensive," she said.

As part of the outreach program of her school, Miraflor said they go to remote places in Daraga and other neighboring municipalities to conduct information dissemination on ADR and how the people could use the program of the government.

The roadshow started in Baguio, Davao and is now in Legazpi and will proceed to other cities and provinces that will be hubs of ADR.

Under ADR, there are many forms that the party litigants may choose. These include arbitration, mediation, conciliation, early neutral evaluation, mini-trial or any combination of the said methods.

However there are cases which cannot be subjected to ADR. These include labor disputes covered by PD No. 442 , otherwise known as the “Labor Code of the Philippines, as amended”, and its implementing rules and regulations, cases regarding the civil status of persons, the validity of marriage, any ground for legal separation, the jurisdiction of courts, future legitime, criminal liability and those disputes which by law cannot be compromised.

The OADR conducts training, accreditation for future ADR champions for free.(PNA) RMA/BNB/FGS/CBD

Albay town prisoner dies of heart attack due to extreme heat inside cell

DARAGA, Albay, Aug. 26 (PNA) -- A suspected killer of his wife's alleged lover died of heart attack at 8:16 p.m. Tuesday inside the detention cell of Bureau of Jail Management and Penology here due to extreme heat.

A police report said Arnel Velasco, 46, farmer and resident of Purok 6, Barangay Inarado here did not reach the Bicol Regional Training and Teaching Hospital alive.

The report said Velasco suddenly fell on the floor.

JO1 Jonhson Villanueva, jail officer on duty, who rushed the victim to the hospital, said Velasco could have suffered heart attack due to the intense heat inside his cell.

Velasco was suspected to have killed the businessman-lover of his wife while they were drinking and got drunk.

Velasco's wife pointed to him as the killer, the report said.

He was detained after the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor filed a case against him for homicide, docketed as NPS No. V-08-INQ-15H-00062.

Velasco's body was subjected to autopsy to find out if there was foul play in his death. (PNA) RMA/FGS/EMC/CBD/EBP

PHP1.2-M worth of shabu seized in Camarines Norte

CAMP GEN. SIMEON A. OLA, Legazpi City, Aug. 26 (PNA) –-Anti-narcotics authorities seized close to 250 grams of shabu with an estimated value of over PHP1.2 million during a buy-bust operation in Sta. Elena town, Camarines Norte.

Joint operatives from the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA)-Camarines Norte, Sta. Elena Municipal Police Station (MPS) and the Camarines Norte Provincial Intelligence Battalion were able to confiscate the shabua in a buy-bust operation at Sitio Pookan, Barangay Tabugon at the said town on Tuesday night.

The law enforcers confiscated the two knot-tied clean plastic bags containing the illegal drugs with an estimated value of PHP1.25 million.

During the operation, the operatives captured Mamao G. Misug, a resident of Barangay Baclaran, Calauag, Quezon.

Meanwhile, Misug’s companion, Batotoy Regala, was able to evade arrest.

Recovered from Misug’s possession were one genuine PHP1,000 bill used as marked money, three bundles of PHP1,000 boodle money with cut newspaper inserted and one white plastic bag used as the boodle money's container.

Misug is now detained at the Sta. Elena MPS while the seized drugs and paraphernalia will be brought to the Camarines Norte Provincial Crime Laboratory Office for examination (PNA) FFC/BNB/FGS/EMC/CBD

DENR distributes free land titles to landless Bicolanos
By Danny O. Calleja

LEGAZPI CITY, Aug. 26 (PNA) – The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in Bicol distributed during the first half of this year over 3,000 free patents covering more than 50 hectares of government-owned lands to landless Bicolanos.

In separate occasions between January and June, this year, DENR Regional Director Gilbert Gonzales distributed these free patents numbering a total of 3,119 to an equal number of recipients from various parts of the region.

A free patent is a mode of acquiring a parcel of alienable and disposable public land which is suitable either for residential, agricultural, commercial or industrial purposes.

These latest distributions covered 1,631 residential free patents, 1,461 agricultural, seven commercial/industrial and 65 Special Patents, Gonzales on Wednesday said here.

A Special Patent is a public instrument issued by the government confirming the grant by the State of a parcel of public land in favor of the grantee.

Under the government’s Land Management Administration Program (LAMP), public land actually occupied and used for public schools, municipal halls, public plazas or parks and other government institutions for public use or purpose may be issued Special Patents under the name of the national agency or local government unit concerned.

LAMP is a long-term commitment of the government to increase land tenure security and improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the land titling and administration system.

Its overall goal is to alleviate poverty and enhance economic growth by improving land tenure security and fostering the development of efficient land markets in rural and urban areas through the development of an efficient system of land titling and administration.

On residential free patents, Republic Act No. 10023 states that any Filipino citizen who is an actual occupant of a residential land may apply for a Free Patent Title provided that the property applied for is not needed for public service and/or public use.

The same law also provides that in highly urbanized cities, the land to be granted free patent should not exceed 200 square meters; in other cities it should not exceed 500 square meters; in first class and second class municipalities it should not exceed 750 square meters; and in all other municipalities, it should not exceed 1,000 square meters.

Placed under the coverage of this Act are lands that are zoned as residential areas, including town sites as defined under the Public Land Act and those that are located inside a delisted military reservation or abandoned military camp, and those of local government units (LGUs) or town sites which preceded Republic Act No. 7586 or the National Integrated Protected Areas System (NIPAS) Act of 1992.

Under RA 10023, a Filipino citizen who actually occupies a residential area for at least 10 years may apply for the free patent title, which refers to the legal right to own a property.

On agricultural, a free patent is issued through the administrative confirmation of imperfect and incomplete title.

Under the free patent system, alienable and disposable lands or lands of the public domain classified as agricultural that may be acquired through this grant available only to natural-born Filipino citizens who have occupied and cultivated the land for at least 30 years prior to April 16, 1990 or by their predecessors-in-interest and shall have paid the real estate tax thereon.

Gonzales said DENR-Bicol believes that its achievements in free patent distributions paves the way for secured land tenure among Bicolanos, reducing incidences of fake titling.

Following this recent distributions, Gonzales said his office also entered into a Memorandum of Partnership Agreement (MoPA) with 10 Bicol LGUs, so far, that provides for the expeditious issuance of certificates of title covering the awarded lands.

A certificate of title is the document which confers the right of ownership of a land to an individual, association or corporation.

Under the MoPA, the local assessor office of each signatory LGU is deputized as land investigator to serve as partner of the DENR in the distribution of the titled property in their respective area of coverage.

Gonzales identified among these LGUs as Naga City, Caramoan, Garchitorena, Tinambac, San Fernando and Nabua—all in Camarines Sur; and Sorsogon City in the province of Sorsogon.

DENR records show that Bicol owns a total land area of over 1.7 million hectares -- 541,189 hectares of it classified as forest land belonging to the government and not alienable and disposable and about 1,222 hectares that are alienable and disposable which can be subjected to the free patent distribution.

In 2012, the DENR also distributed 1,244 free patents for miscellaneous sales and special patents among them the 578 for agricultural lands with a total area of 698.887 hectares awarded under Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP). (PNA) CTB/FGS/DOC/CBD

DA advises Bicol farmers to brace for El Niño
By Danny O. Calleja

PILI, Camarines Sur, Aug. 26 (PNA) -– The remaining months of this year, up to the early part of 2016, would be critical to Bicol farmers as they have to brace for the El Niño phenomenon, according to the Department of Agriculture (DA).

The DA’s regional office here on Wednesday said that way below normal rainfall is expected starting September up to the last quarter of the year and until the early part of 2016 due to El Niño, which would draw increased temperature, resulting in low crop yield in rainfed and irrigated areas.

“Under this drought situation that would also cause heat stress to livestock and poultry production, our farmers should follow good farming practices,” said DA Regional Executive Director Abelardo Bragas.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) defines drought as three consecutive months of way-below-normal rainfall condition or 60-percent reduction from average rainfall.

This condition, which several provinces of the country would start to experience by September, according to the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), PAGASA’s mother agency, will be at its worst this year.

It will affect 29 provinces in October and 50 more provinces, including all six in Bicol, by the end of the year, DOST Secretary Mario Montejo said in a recent warning.

Among the good practices that farmers should adopt in anticipation of this climate condition, Bragas said, is the repair and cleaning of water canals and irrigation systems for efficient drainage and water conservation.

To conserve moisture in vegetable farms, mulching may be applied using plastic sheets, rice straw or any other available materials.

For both large and small ruminants, sheds should be provided and the “cut and carry” feeding practice must be applied while silage making is more applicable during the drier months that also need the provision of drinking water to livestock to minimize heat stress, the DA regional chief said.

Bragas said that although the government assures the public that food security and health measures as in place to counter the impacts of the impending El Niño phenomenon, farmers should adopt these good farming practices so that its effect on their earning capabilities is minimized.

“My office is sounding this advice to Bicol farmers as a reiteration of the Seasonal Climate Outlook and Advisory (SCOA) for the region we have earlier issued covering the period between July and September this year,” he said.

SCOA is a special project of the DA that intends to keep agricultural stakeholders in the region guided on the seasonal weather situation for more productivity.

It said that chance of El Niño is greater than 90 percent through the end of the year with 85-percent chance that it will last until 2016 based on probabilistic El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) Outlook as of June 2015.

It also cited the Bureau of Meteorology, Australia report on the same month that cited the continuing rise of ocean temperature in the tropical Pacific.

Bragas said this phenomenon should not prevent farmers in Bicol from performing their production routine by planting drought-tolerant crops such as some varieties of rice and legumes.

They should plant the GSR11, 5a, 12a and 2 drought-resistant rice varieties in upland and rainfed areas as well as legumes like cowpea, winged bean and mungbean, among other crops that can tolerate below-normal rainfall condition, he stressed.

These GSR hybrid rice varieties are among the options under climate change-related stresses wherein they have been tested in both rain-fed lowland and upland environments as top performing lines with up to 62.5-percent advantage over check varieties.

Cowpea, Bragas said, can be planted either before or after rice enriches food production from a land area as it has been grown for centuries in the tropics, being well adapted to prevailing environmental stresses.

It tolerates drought and can grow on poor, even acid soils where other food legumes do not perform well.

Bragas said cowpea, which complements the mainly cereal diet of Filipinos, is an important crop as it is a rich source of proteins and calories, as well as minerals and vitamins.

Similarly, winged beans that have several common names like Asparagus Pea, Goa bean and Four-angled bean but called locally as “parapagulong” are typical to humid climatic and grown in many places of the region for their nutritious and nitrogen-fixation properties.

This bean is said to be blessed with optimum health benefits as it contains the highest proportion of calcium, which make bones strong and prevents breakage; while Vitamins A and C, along with several minerals, make up the legumes that endow the body with powers to fight diseases, he said.

Mungbean (Vigna radiata), popularly known in the Philippines as mungo and mainly used as human food, is one of the cheapest sources of plant protein which contains at least 27-percent protein.

It is also a good source of minerals such as calcium and sodium while its dried seeds are high in vitamins A and B, and when sprouted, come as rich in vitamins B and C.

Mungbean is drought-tolerant and requires a warm climate during its growing period and the temperature and humidity prevailing in the region during dry spell situations are suited for optimum yields of this important crop, Bragas added. (PNA) LGI/JFM/FGS/DOC/CBD

MGP injects Php528.1M funds for socio-economic development of Masbate
By Norman B. Tamar

AROROY, Masbate, Aug. 26 (PNA) -- The Masbate Gold Project (MGP) has spent a total of Php528.1 million for the First Phase (2009-2013) and Second Phase (2014-2018) of its Social Development and Management Program (SDMP) in all its 41 host communities.

In the First Phase, the MGP poured in Php113.1 million in the eight impact barangays of Panique, Puro, Amoroy, Balawing, Bangon, Capsay, Lanang and Syndicate for basic needs in education, health, livelihood, community, infrastructure, socio-cultural projects and sports development, among other projects.

The budget for the Second Phase is Php415.0 million for all 41 host communities.

The SDMP has also extended its reach to include 33 other barangays, benefiting the whole of Masbate.

Education still gets high priority in this year’s plans of MGP as it recognizes education as the most important legacy it can leave behind.

In education in the past year alone, SDMP funded the honoraria of 29 teachers, 12 daycare workers and three school aides to address the lack of school personnel and cater to the growing number of children going to schools.

Facilities-wise, the program built and/or repaired 37 classrooms and improved libraries, toilets, stages and fences.

“The improvement of school facilities has proven effective when it comes to the children’s learning capabilities.

We will continue to work on this commitment to help Masbateños get better chances at education and, later on, at life,” MGP Community Relations Manager Ramon Velasco said.

The year 2014 saw the first batch of scholar graduates from Panique and Puro.

One of the graduates is now teaching underprivileged children in the community.

Currently, both barangays have 150 high school and 60 college scholars.

The Panique National High School recently received instruction materials early this year to help facilitate learning.

“Education is a top priority in all Filipino households across all social demographics, all over the country. This is why we want to make education accessible to all Masbateños and help them achieve their dream of living a better life,” Velasco said.

Education projects consisted mostly of scholarship programs, provision of school transportation, subsidies for teachers and school aides, and provision of classrooms, school facilities, and amenities.

Since the scholarship programs started in 2009, 554 students have been granted tuition assistance and monthly allowance.

As of 2013, 99 high school and 95 college scholars have graduated.

The SDMP facilitates classes and provides materials the community can use.

Other people in the community are also given a chance to supplement their income through livelihood programs.

Over the past year, Barangay Panique received fertilizers, sewing equipment, fishing nets and fishing bancas.

Meanwhile, Barangay Puro received sewing equipment, fishing nets, fishing bancas, carabaos with plows, vegetable production, fertilizers and hog-raising kits.

These were accorded based on the community’s needs and what it can sustain.

Livelihood classes are also available in both barangays which aim to equip residents with skills for income generation.

For this year, the SDMP plans to look at health improvement and proper nourishment, starting in the womb.

Feeding programs for pregnant women are currently in the works to help nourish the fetus as well as the mother to increase chances of infant and mother survival.

Additional projects have also been identified for the barangays this year. These include road concreting, reasonable teachers’ salary, medical equipment in health centers and hospitals, pharmacies and birthing facilities.

“We are committed to help the communities where we operate in achieving their full potential. Until there are improvements to be done, we will continue to address the communities’ needs,” Danilo Latuga, MGP resident manager, said.(PNA) CTB/FGS/NBT/CBD

Bicol police nab 10 wanted persons in 2 days

LEGAZPI CITY, Aug. 26 (PNA) -- Different Philippine National Police offices in Bicol arrested 10 wanted persons in the past two days, the regional headquarters based in Camp Gen. Simeon A. Ola reported Wednesday.

Chief Insp. Malu Calubaquib, PNP Bicol spokesperson, said two were arrested in Sorsogon, four in Camarines Norte and four in Albay.

Calubaquib said Raymart A. Azul of Barangay Aquino, Bulan, Sorsogon was arrested on Monday by elements of Bulan Municipal Police Station (MPS) by virtue of a warrant of arrest issued by Judge Emerson G. Carpio, presiding judge of MTC Bulan, Sorsogon for theft, docketed under CC No. 15-7572 dated Aug 4, 2015 with PHP10,000 bail recommended.

In Casiguran town, Casiguran MPS members arrested Mark Christian H. Hamor of Barangay Burgos, Casiguran, by virtue of a warrant of arrest issued by Flerida P. Zaballa-Banzuela of RTC Branch 51, Sorsogon City, for homicide, docketed under CC No. 2015-9415 dated August 3, 2015 with PHP40,000 bail recommended.

In Camarines Norte, four persons were arrested on separate occasions in the towns of Paracale and Daet.

Operatives of the Paracale MPS arrested on Monday Elvira S. Soriano, 46 and married; Lydia M. Paggulong, 66 and widow; and Lolita L. Canaria, 53 and widow -- all residents of P-2, Barangay Bagumbayan, Paracale.

The arrest was made by virtue of an arrest order issued by Judge Wilfredo F. Herico, presiding judge of Paracale town for Violation of PD 1602 docketed under CC No. 15-4887 dated July 27, 2015 with PHP2,000 bail recommended for each.

On Tuesday in Barangay Gahonon, Daet town, operatives of the Mercedes MPS arrested Rodrigo V. Igano, a resident of P-3, Barangay 4, Mercedes, Camarines Norte for direct assault.

In Albay, police arrested on Monday Jethro B. Bequio in Barangay Hindi, Bacacay, Albay, by virtue of a warrant of arrest issued by Judge Alben C. Rabe of RTC Branch 16, Tabaco City, for Acts of Lasciviousness in relation to Article III, Section 5(b) of RA 7610 docketed under Criminal Case No. T-6387 with PHP180,000 bail recommended.

On the same day, Legazpi City Police Office personnel arrested Genie S. Orlina at Purok 1, Barangay 47, Arimbay, Legazpi City by virtue of a Warrant of Arrest issued by Ruben B. Carretas, presiding judge of RTC Branch 9, Legazpi City, dated August 11, 2015 for rape docketed under CC No. FC-15-1836 with no bail recommended.

In P-5, Barangay Malolos, Malinao, Albay, elements of Malinao MPS arrested Larry C. Bronia by virtue of an arrest warrant issued by Alben C. Rabe, executive judge of RTC Branch 15, Tabaco City, dated July 28, 2015 for violation of Sec. 77 of PD 705 as Amended by E.O. No. 277 and Re-Numbered by RA 7161, docketed under CC No. T-5555 with recommended bail fixed at PHP40,000.

Also on Monday, Ligao City Police Office members arrested Efren Cris B. Bonayon in Barangay Batang, Ligao City, with warrant of arrest issued by Ignacio C. Barcillano Jr., presiding judge of RTC Branch 13, Ligao City, dated August 11, 2015 for Viol. of Sec. 10(a) of RA 7610 docketed under CC No. 7550.

The recommended bail is PHP80,000. (PNA) FFC/FGS/EMC/CBD/SSC

4 entities get Albay 2015 Best in Nutrition Award

LEGAZPI CITY, Aug. 26 (PNA) -- Four entities will receive the 2015 Best in Nutrition Award from the Provincial Government of Albay in a ceremony on Thursday at the Albay Astrodome here.

Recipients of the award are Barangay Maporong in the Municipality of Oas, Camalig North District and Taysan Elementary School (Legazpi City) for bagging top honors in the Local Government Unit (LGU), Barangay, School District and School categories.

Gov. Joey Sarte Salceda will confer the awards to the winners, which were chosen for effectively implementing sound nutrition programs in their respective levels, vigorously pursuing their nutrition initiatives as well as sustaining them to ensure higher nutritional status of the populace.

Other winners are the following: 1st Runner-Up -- Tabaco City (LGU), Bagumbayan, Tiwi (Barangay), Camalig South District (School District) and Tumpa Elementary School of Camalig North (School).

The 2nd Runner-Up winners are: Guinobatan (LGU), Bacolod, Tabaco (Barangay), Tiwi District (School District) and Bariis Elementary School of Tiwi (School).

For the 3rd Runner-Up: Ligao City (LGU), Bay, Ligao (Barangay), Tabaco South District (School District) and Alimsog Elementary School of Sto. Domingo (School).

And the 4th Runner-Up clinchers are: Camalig (LGU), Villahermosa, Daraga and San Andres, Sto. Domingo (Barangay), Malinao District (School District) and Albay Central School of Legazpi City (School). (PNA) CTB/FGS/EMC/CBD/EBP

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

DENR orients Bicol educators on geohazards
By Danny O. Calleja

LEGAZPI CITY, Aug. 25 (PNA) – In an effort to ensure safety inside schoolhouses in Bicol, the regional office of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is educating teachers and public school officials on the geohazards faced by occupants of these buildings.

The information drive entitled "Geohazards for School Buildings" was initiated by the Conservation and Development Division of DENR’s Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) in coordination with the regional office of the Department of Education (DepEd).

DENR regional director Gilbert Gonzales on Tuesday said the orientations put emphasis on the essence of having a better understanding among teachers and school officials on what geohazards are.

Geohazards, he explained, are naturally occurring geological phenomena such as landslides, flooding and land subsidence that all pose danger to people’s lives, properties, infrastructure and communities.

He also added that in some cases, geohazards can be induced by human activities. However, the impact of these events on people and the environment could be lessened or mitigated.

“We started recently with schools in the islands of Burias and Ticao that cover the first congressional district of Masbate. Around 150 school principals and teachers from the towns of San Pascual and Claveria of Burias Island and Monreal, San Jacinto, San Fernando and Batuan of Ticao Island participated in the orientation,” Gonzales said.

The orientation for these participants was focused on hazards like coastal erosion, storm surges and tsunami which are threats to the two islands separated on the south from the mainland Masbate by the Masbate Pass and from the Bicol mainland on the north by the Ticao-Burias Pass.

They were also taught how to properly interpret geohazard maps technically prepared by the MGB and distributed to Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction Management Councils (MDRRMCs), particularly in 83 of the Bicol’s 107 municipalities classified as highly vulnerable areas that include the two Masbate islands.

Having adequate knowledge on geohazard maps, Gonzales believes school authorities can help in determining the exact location and what kind of potential hazards their schools are exposed to.

The maps in hard copies are accompanied by “soft” or digitized copies from where local disaster authorities can identify zones prone to natural hazards -- such as earthquake, storm surge, rain or earthquake-triggered landslides, tsunami, flood and liquefaction -- are in 1:50,000-scale.

It determines flood hazard susceptibility zones based on the geo-morphological analysis of land forms and the fluvial system and carries information on flood occurrences, flood depths, duration of inundation as well as other necessary toporaphic information.

On liquefaction, he said, there are no reported occurrences in the island based on several field interviews. However, zones of different liquefaction potential were derived based on the geo-morphological analysis of the study area following previous studies.

Landslide hazard susceptibility zones, on the other hand, were derived through qualitative map combination using lithology, geomorphology, slope gradient and fault distance.

Global Information System (GIS) was used in the map with combination and subjective weights assigned to each unit in the parameter map.

The maps also delineate areas of possible ground settlement through the analysis of the geomorphological lay of the study area, the sub-surface soils and the ground water levels.

"These geohazard maps whose preparation and distribution are under the government’s Ready Multi-hazard Mapping and Assessment for Effective Community-based Disaster Risk Management Project are designed according to geographic and tectonic settings with emphasis on areas highly exposed to natural hazards," Gonzales said.

The project, which started two years ago, was funded by the Australian Aid Program through the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC).

It is being implemented nationwide, particularly in 29 of the country’s 79 provinces that include the six provinces of Bicol, which have been determined to be of greatest risk to disasters, especially those along the eastern seaboard like Catanduanes, Gonzales said.

With these materials made available, he said it was up to the respective DRRMCs of each local government unit in Bicol to conclude from the multi-hazard maps on the risks being faced by each of their barangays so that the vital information could be properly communicated to village officials and residents.

Under the same program, the DENR also distributes printed materials about flood and other hazards to participants which they can use as their references in facilitating the transfer of knowledge to their respective students and make them prepared in times of calamities, she added. (PNA) RMA/BNB/FGS/DOC/CBD

Team Albay Humanitarian Assistance Program chosen as finalist in Galing Pook Awards 2015
By Connie B. Destura

LEGAZPI CITY, Aug. 25 (PNA) -- The Team Albay Humanitarian Assistance Program bagged a spot in the roster of finalists in the Galing Pook Awards 2015

Albay Public Safety Emergency and Management Office head Dr. Cedric Daep on Monday made the announcement of the said achievement.

In a letter to the provincial government, the organizers of the awards explained the guidelines for the upcoming panel presentation and interview and the awarding ceremony during the Galing Pook Governance Fair which will start on August 31 at the SMX Convention Center Manila, SM Mall of Asia in Pasay City.

The panel interview will be held on August 31, while the awarding ceremony will be on September 1.

In the panel presentation and interview, each finalist will be given 10 minutes to present its program which highlights its innovative features and outstanding accomplishments in accordance with the Galing Pook criteria composed of positive results and impact, promotion of people's participation and empowerment, innovations, sustainability and efficiency of program service delivery.

Each delegation will be composed of a maximum of eight participants during the panel interview.

The presentations and questions-and-answers will be done in succession.

Each finalist must also submit at least 10 high-resolution action photos for submission and these should best represent the program activities and accomplishments.

The finalists in the awards is composed of various groups from the country's provinces who set examples in implementing key projects and initiatives for the betterment of their respective citizens.

The Galing Pook Awards is a pioneering program that recognizes innovations and excellence in local governance which started in 1993 under the joint initiative of the Local Government Academy, Department of Interior and Local Government, the Ford Foundation and other advocates of good governance from the academe, civil society and the government.

Winners are chosen each year from a wide array of programs from the local governments after undergoing a rigorous multi-level screening process.

The winning programs are selected based on positive results and impact, promotion of people’s participation and empowerment, innovation and efficiency of program service delivery.(PNA) FFC/BNB/FGS/CBD

Monday, August 24, 2015

Cops nab 8 in pot session

CAMP GEN. SIMEON A. OLA, Legazpi City, Aug. 24 (PNA) -- Joint operatives of the Provincial Intelligence Bureau of the Albay Police Provincial Office and Daraga Municipal Police Station arrested eight persons engaged in pot session at about 1:05 a.m. Monday at Purok 3, Barangay Busay, Daraga, Albay.

A police report identified those arrested as Vic Lombres, 32, married and resident of the place, who is the target of the operation; Rachelle Llandelar, 24, single; Charmaine Del La Cruz, 21, single; Mary Ann Acuña, 25, single; Margarita Ong, 22, single; Randy Mujar, 29, single; Christopher Mejia, 32, single; and Fernando Orquito, 38, single -- from different towns of Albay.

Police Senior Insp. Steve dela Rosa, operation group team leader, said they were armed with a search warrant with PRC No. 15-15 for violation of R.A. 9165 or Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act issued by Judge Pedro R. Soriao, chief executive judge of the Regional Trial Court Branch 5, Legazpi City, against Lombres, the house owner.

The suspects did not resist arrest when the raiding team caught them in the act of having a pot session in Lombres house, where its members also seized shabu, drug paraphernalia and personal belongings of the suspects.

The team brought the suspects to the police station for further investigation to pinpoint who supplies the illegal drug to Lombres.

The report said the suspects are not residents of the barangay but still come from other places of the province and believed to have been using the illegal drug for some time now. (PNA) FFC/FGS/EMC/CBD

(News Feature)Gov't constructs seawalls, levees to protect villagers in CamSur 3rd district
By John Mark Escandor

NAGA CITY, Aug. 24 (PNA) – When Typhoon “Glenda” hit on July 16, 2014, passing Camarines Sur as it went north-westward with winds of 150-185 kph, the villages facing San Miguel Bay bore the brunt of storm surges that swept away houses near the coast and destroyed farms.

Alvin P. David, 36, village chief of Belen in Calabanga town, narrated that the storm surge dumped tons and tons of “bugitis” (tiny cone shells) on 114 hectares of rice fields near the coast from their village to the neighboring coastal community of Paolbo.

To mitigate the effects of extreme weather condition and decrease the vulnerability of residents living along the banks of the Bicol River and the San Miguel Bay, the government is now constructing levees and seawalls in the third district of Camarines Sur.

Camarines Sur third district Rep. Leni Robredo said levees and seawalls in five barangays in the towns of Magarao and Calabanga are being constructed at present to protect residents from flooding and storm surge.

“We hope the construction of these levees along the banks of the Bicol River and the seawalls in the coastal barangays facing San Miguel Bay can give protection to the residents living there and prevent soil erosion,” Robredo said.

Located at the edge of the Bicol River Basin, the drainage area of the Bicol peninsula, the third district of Camarines Sur is definitely prone to flooding and storm surge.

The mighty Bicol River criss-cross the six towns of the eight towns of her district going to San Miguel Bay where the runoff of the Bicol River Basin empties.

The Camarines Sur third district has a population of 473,235 (2010) living in Naga City and the towns of Calabanga, Bombon, Magarao, Canaman, Pili, Ocampo and Camaligan.

Despite the vulnerability of the villages of these towns from storm surges and river swelling, village officials pin hope on the on-going infrastructure projects, which are intended to mitigate the effects of extreme weather, that Robredo facilitated.

David said the construction of one-kilometer seawall would help dozens of farmers recover and rehabilitate their rice fields and revive their livelihood.

But, the village chief said, they badly need a multipurpose building designed primarily for the accommodation of families who need shelter during occurrence of typhoons, especially the families who live in houses made of light materials.

In the adjoining coastal village of Bonot-Sta. Rosa, also in the town of Calabanga, another seawall stretching almost one kilometer is also being constructed.

By local standard, the village is big enough, with a population of 4,132 living in 369-ha area.

Elmer Tanael, 47, village chief of Bonot-Sta. Rosa, said 615 of the 817 households live near the coast and are vulnerable to storm surge and they would certainly benefit from the construction of the four-meter high, three-meter wide seawall.

Tanael said when Glenda hit their place, all the households near the coast were partially or totally destroyed.

“At least the houses near the coast could be protected from a four-meter storm surge when the seawall is completed.” Ignacio Villacote, 52, village councilor of Barangay Carigsa, said the Bicol River has eaten away about 25 meters of the land in the riverbanks. “More than 100 ha of rice fields cannot grow rice because of saline intrusion,” Villacote explains, as he pointed to a floating hyacinth on the raging river, dozens of meters from the torn rip-rap where, he said, his house once stood until 1982.

Barangay Carigsa is about three km from the Bicol River’s mouth adjoined to San Miguel Bay on the northeastern seaboard of Camarines Sur facing the Pacific Ocean.

Villacote said their village had been left out of development and forgotten by politicians for years because there are just more than 50 households in their place.

He said the land, where 15 houses had been built near the former riverbanks, is now part of the expanding Bicol River, including the former basketball court in the village which was also built near the riverbanks.

Villacote said the barangay LGU received Php873,000 this year for its internal revenue allotment share while villagers subsist on fishing and making nipa shingles using the abundant nipa groves in the village.

Lady Anne Aleta, 18, has graduated high school but because she is not in college she makes nipa shingles to help her family, earning Php200 for 50 nipa shingles that she makes from morning till afternoon.

Fisherman Albert Cananaman, 31, said that on the peak months of April-May, he could earn as much as Php1,000 from fishing in Bicol River using "bobo" (fish trap) in ensnaring shrimps, crabs and other freshwater fishes.

During ordinary months, he could earn at least Php300 per fishing trip.

Barangay Carigsa is so near yet so far because there is no road going there but through a 15-km looping route going north to Calabanga town, then another 10 km to the town center of Magarao, going south to Naga City.

Villacote said they spend Php150 for fare going to Magarao town center and back to their village.

But across the idle rice fields on the upper portion of the village further north off the Bicol River, the distance from Barangay Carigsa to Magarao town center is only 1.7 km, he said.

On Aug. 18, during the third death anniversary of Jesse M. Robredo, Rep. Robredo told President Aquino of the predicament of inhabitants of Barangay Carigsa that, she said, made many residents leave their village because of the constant threat of the Bicol River.

She said Barangay Carigsa is one of the 11 villages in her district which are vulnerable to storm surges and flooding because of their proximity to the Bicol River and the San Miguel Bay.

Villacote said the levee, worth Php27.4 million and which will stretch to 300 meters, is expected to stop the Bicol River from eating up more lands near the riverbanks.

Jose Asuro Jr., 34, village chief of Balongay, said the levee project worth Php31 million, once finished, will immediately protect some 100 houses near the riverbanks.

Asuro said 60 percent of the houses were destroyed by flood when the Bicol River swelled last year when Glenda (International Name: Rammasun), the first typhoon to hit Bicol after an eight years’ lull, barreled through Camarines Sur.

Asuro said the levee, once completed, would at least mitigate the onrush of floodwaters and give people more time to evacuate unlike during the last typhoon when floodwaters from all directions suddenly engulfed 60 percent of the village, with a population of 1,418 distributed in 302 households.(PNA) CTB/FGS/JME/CBD

BUB plays big role in Bicol’s agri-industry growth—DA
By Danny O. Calleja

LEGAZPI CITY, Aug. 24 (PNA) – Bit by bit, Bicol’s economy is progressing, owing largely to the impressive improvement that the region’s agricultural sector has been contributing.

The region started to show economic improvement when its poverty incidence went down to 34.1 percent during the first six months of 2012, elevating its rank to seventh from fourth poorest among the country’s 18 regions in 2006 to 2009 when the regional poverty rate was at 36.5 percent.

Although no new ranking was made in 2014, the Regional Statistical Service Office (RSSO) of the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), in its latest report, said the region’s economy expanded further by 4.2 percent during the same year with the agricultural sector’s improvement in production of major crops, indicating growth in gross value-added in agriculture.

Palay and corn production last year, according to the statistics office, surpassed their levels by 8.9 percent and 22.1 percent through a production of 325,991 and 34,850 metric tons (MT), respectively.

The RSSO said Agriculture, Hunting, Forestry and Fishery (AHFF) last year accounted for the second biggest share to the region’s economy at 23.7 percent, next to Services which shared 56.6 percent, outshining the Industry sector whose contribution was only at 19.8 percent.

The regional office of the Department of Agriculture (DA) based in Pili, Camarines Sur attributes this remarkable agricultural productivity performance of the region to, among others, the Grassroots Participatory Budget Process (GPBP).

Formerly known as the Bottom-Up Budgeting, the GPBP being applied by the administration of Pres. Benigno Aquino III is a somewhat modern approach to planning in the use of government’s financial resources that is different from the usual top-down budgeting where the high level executives make all the decisions in fund dispensations.

This scheme provides the opportunity for grantees to be involved in setting their own goals and expectations for a given financial period and gives them ownership of the decisions, motivating them to meet budgetary constraints that otherwise might seem unattainable or unrealistic if they were delivered by someone without as much understanding of their day-to-day operations.

The GPBP exercise was started by the Aquino administration in 2012 through the Human Development and Poverty Reduction Cluster (HDPRC) and the Good Governance and Anti-Corruption Cluster (GGAC) as an strategy that hopes to empower civil society organizations and citizen’s groups to engage local government and national government agencies and make them more responsive to the people’s needs.

In a statement reaching here Monday, Elena de los Santos, the DA’s regional technical director for operations, said the GPBP, now on its third year of implementation since it was conceptualized by the late Secretary Jesse Robredo during his term as Department of Interior and Local Government secretary, has achieved great milestones in agricultural development.

In 2013, the process was piloted in 609 local government units (LGUs) nationwide, including 65 in Bicol, with the primary goal of reducing extreme poverty by half by 2015 through instituting good governance towards direct, immediate and substantial benefits that will not only improve the lives of the poor and marginalized, but also empower them.

That is why its priority beneficiaries are the fourth and first-class municipalities, De los Santos, who is also DA’s regional GPBP focal person, said.

For 2013, she said, the DA, under this budgeting process, was appropriated with a total budget of Php438.9 million for 277 projects which were implemented by 65 LGUs in Bicol.

In 2014, another fund under the same process worth Php729 million was allocated to finance 465 projects of 104 LGUs and as of latest reports, 97 have already been completed, 133 are still on-going,231 in the pipeline and four in the proposal stage.

For this year, De los Santos said, the region got Php229.3 million from GPBP for 185 projects, 101 of which are pipelined and 84 are in the proposal stage.

These funds were apart from DA’s regular budget that the agency uses to further develop the region’s agricultural sector.

Projects under GPBP are composed mainly of agricultural productivity support infrastructures like farm-to-market roads (FMRs), community irrigation systems and post-harvest facilities that are necessary to make farming, harvesting, storage and marketing of farm products easier for more income of farmers

According to DA Regional Executive Director Abelardo Bragas, without funds, agricultural development will be slow if not nil, hence, this special allocation under the GPBP to further nourish the region’s farming sector.

He said Bicol, with its largest farming area compared to all the other regions of the country, is top contributor in the national economic growth in terms of agricultural productivity and with this additional fund, the DA is able to finance more farm development projects identified by LGUs.

LGUs qualify to the GPBP when they have Public Financial Management Implementation Plan (PFMIP) and have been awardees of the Seal of Good Financial Housekeeping given by the DBM.

Among the immediate and long-term benefits of GPBP, De los Santos said, are increased access to basic services and facilities due to community infrastructure projects, enhanced market link through farm-to-market roads; greater access to safe and clean water and healthcare services; and more children in school.

Among its governance gains, she said, are increased trust and solidarity among the DA, LGUs and civil societies; improved peace and order situation; and enhanced transparency and accountability in project implementation.

As to the still unfinished projects, De los Santos said, the DA has been urging LGUs to fast track its implementation to ensure that they really benefit the intended beneficiaries. (PNA) CTB/FGS/DOC/CBD

Marines win national dragon boat race in Legazpi
By Emmanuel P. Solis

LEGAZPI CITY, Aug. 24 (PNA) -- The Philippine Marine Paddlers team bagged the championship crown in the 200-meter two-day national dragon boat race competition held at the Albay Gulf in front of the Legazpi City Boulevard on Aug. 22-23.

During the first three rounds of the elimination race, the Marines recorded an average time of: 1st round - 1 minute and 1.52 seconds, 2nd round - 1 minute and 2.14 seconds , and 3rd round -1 minute and 2.01seconds.

In the semi-final round, the rowers got an average time of 1 minute and 0.65 second and in the final round, the team had less than a minute time recorded of 59.28 seconds.

The 1st runner-up in the major finals was the PMC Warriors group with a speed time recorded at 59.64 seconds followed by 2nd runner-up Sagwan Tanauan, with a time record of 1 minute and 0.34 seconds, and 3rd runner-up, PDRT 1 minute and 03.06 seconds.

The Philippine Marine Corps (PMC) Warriors, in the elimination round, recorded: 1st round - 1 minute and 02.31seconds; 2nd round - 1 minute and 02.91 seconds; and 3rd round - 1 minute and 02.23 second; while the Sagwan Tanauan got a time record of 1st round - 1 minute and 01.84 seconds; 2nd round - 1 minute and 03.76 seconds; and 3rd round -1 minute and 02.01 seconds.

The Philippine Dragon Rowing Team (PDRT) recorded in the 1st round - 1 minute and 01.87 seconds; 2nd round - 1 minute and 04.32 seconds; and 3rd round - 1 minute and 05.48 seconds.

In the semi-final round, the PMC warriors had a recorded time of 59.78 seconds while the Sagwan Tanauan got 1 minute and 01.22 seconds and the PDRT, 1 minute and 00.73 seconds.

The event was participated in by 11 team-paddlers coming from Metro Manila.

Each team is composed of 12 members, ten of them were paddlers, one steersman and one signal man.

The other participating teams were the PYROS, Zem Wave, Manila Wave, San Beda, Red Sea Lions, Sangley and Manila Ocean Park.

Mayor Noel E. Rosal, Councilor Allan Rañola and Ako Bikol Party-List (AKB) CONGRESSMAN CHRISTOPHER CO HANDED OVER THE TROPHIES WITH CASH TO ALL THE WINNERS IN THE DRAGON BOAT RACE DURING THE AWARDING CEREMONY HELD AT THE EMBARCADERO DE LEGAZPI ON SUNDAY WHILE THE NON-WINNERS RECEIVED CONSOLATION PRIZES WITH CERTIFICATES OF PARTICIPATION.

RAÑOLA, WHO SERVED ALSO AS CHAIRMAN OF THE EVENT, EXPRESSED OPTIMISM THAT THE DRAGON BOAT RACE COMPETITION IN THIS CITY WILL BECOME AN INTERNATIONAL EVENT NEXT YEAR AS ROSAL INSTRUCTED HIM TO INVITE THE PADDLERS FROM SOUTHEAST ASIA TO MAKE THIS KIND OF RACE MORE COLORFUL AND EXCITING FOR THE INCOMING SILVER YEAR CELEBRATION OF IBALONG FESTIVAL IN 2016.

HE SAID HE WILL PREPARE A VERY GOOD WORK PLAN TO CONVINCE THE INTERNATIONAL PADDLERS TO JOIN IN THE DRAGON BOAT COMPETITION NEXT YEAR AS, HE SAID, HE IS PLANNING TO BRING HERE IN LEGAZPI AT LEAST 20 TEAMS FROM ASIA AND LOCAL PADDLERS.

CAPTAIN ROMEL H. ROBLES, MARINE CORPS SPECIAL SERVICE OFFICER AND TEAM MANAGER OF THE PHILIPPINE MARINE PADDLERS, SAID ALL THE TEAMS WHO PARTICIPATED IN THIS EVENT WERE VERY STRONG AND DIFFICULT TO BEAT “BUT BECAUSE OF OUR DISCIPLINE, DETERMINATION AND DAILY HARD TRAINING EXERCISE, WE GOT THE CHAMPIONSHIP CROWN.

ROBLES REVEALED THAT HIS TEAM HAS ALWAYS JOINED IN THE COMPETITIONS IN DIFFERENT PARTS OF THE COUNTRY AND ALWAYS GOT THE CHAMPIONSHIP CROWN.

THE NATIONAL DRAGON BOAT RACE COMPETITION WAS SPEARHEADED BY THE CITY GOVERNMENT OF LEGAZPI THROUGH RAÑOLA IN COOPERATION WITH THE PHILIPPINE CANOE-KAYAK FEDERATION.
CTB/FGS/EPS/CBD

Escudero urges private school mentors to also join search for Sorsogon's outstanding teachers

SORSOGON CITY, Aug. 23 (PNA) -- Congresswoman Evie Escudero has encouraged private school teachers to also join the search for the Outstanding Teachers of Sorsogon being conferred by the Dr. Salvador H. Escudero III Foundation.

Escudero said in an interview Sunday that the search is part of her advocacy to further improve the quality of education in the province.

For this year’s awards, six public school teachers received the recognition in a formal ceremony held at the Sorsogon State College Audio-Visual Hall here on Aug. 14.

The six winners were among the 15 finalists from both elementary and secondary levels who were chosen by the members of the board of judges during a two-month screening process.

Those who made it to the finals at the elementary level were Marilou G. Fuentes and Nena G. Gonzaga of Bulusan Central School; Maria Ditas D. Lisano, Bacon West Central School; Arlene D. Deticio, Anabelle D. Botial and Salvacion G. Ativo, Sorsogon East Central School; Perla R. Deramas, Bogna Elementary School, Bacon District; and Marites D. Dicen, Sorsogon Pilot Elementary School.

At the secondary level, those who made the shortlist were Karen R. Guerina, Aurora L. Caguia and Emily Dolot of Sorsogon National High School; Josephine D. Recebido, San Isidro National High School; Elmer Divina, Gallanosa National High School; Amalia V. Dealca of Casiguran Technical Vocational School; and Rosalinda L. Lato, Abuyog National High School.

Chosen as Outstanding Teachers of Sorsogon for secondary level were Caguia, Divina and Dolot; selected from the elementary level were Dicen, Botial and Deramas.

Escudero personally conferred the awards on the winners who received plaques and cash rewards.

The finalists were also given the same awards.(PNA) SCS/FGS/BQL/CBD/PJN

First batch of 120 4Ps beneficiaries finishes soap making training

LEGAZPI CITY, Aug. 22 (PNA) -- Some 120 beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) on Friday completed a four-day training on making powder soap and fabric conditioner at the Concourse Convention Center here.

The trainees were divided into four groups or one group for each training day.

Another batch of 120 will train on the preparation of dimsum food products (siomai and puto pao) and polvoron.

The training also includes values formation and simple bookkeeping and basic cash management.

Each successful trainee was given a starter kit with necessary utensils and equipment and ingredients that are good for 20 kilograms.

Entitled ANTI-POVERTY (Addressing Basic Needs through Initiatives that Provide Opportunities and Viable Economic Resources that Yield Income), the project is envisioned to provide livelihood to the trainees-beneficiaries to give them a source of income.

The training was very relevant, timely and productive, the participants, who came from the various villages of Legazpi City and who like to venture into entrepreneurship, said in their evaluation sheets.

The project was approved during one of the meetings in 2014 of the Legazpi City Local Poverty Reduction Action Team (LPRAT) under the Bottom-Up Budgeting scheme of the national government for implementation in 2015.

It is being carried out with a Php2-million funding from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) based on a joint project proposal of six civil society organizations that are all members of the LPRAT.

These are the Entrepinay Legazpi City Chapter as lead organization, Legazpi City Senior Citizens Organization Inc., Legazpi City Slumdwellers Federation Inc., Legazpi City Finest Retirees Association Inc., Legazpi City Women’s Federation Inc., and Bicol Consortium for Community Development Inc.

This project is a partnership among the DSWD, Department of Interior and Local Government and City Government of Legazpi.

Legazpi City Mayor Noel E. Rosal congratulated the trainees who he called the new entrepreneurs of the city.

The Php2-million DSWD funding is another intervention of the agency to improve the well-being of 4Ps beneficiaries by empowering them through skills training assistance towards gainful enterprise.

Besides, this assistance to 4Ps beneficiaries in the city is also viewed from a broader perspective as the Aquino administration’s own strategic investment in the country’s human capital, so that the poorest of Filipinos are empowered to take control of their socio-economic conditions and become active contributors to the country’s growth, DSWD Bicol Regional Director Arnel Garcia said.

The 4Ps is a poverty-reduction and social development strategy of the national government that provides conditional cash grants to extremely poor households to improve their health, nutrition and education, particularly of children aged 0-14.

These financial grants under the Conditional Cash Transfer scheme of the program is a work in progress and do not attempt to solve poverty immediately, but instead aim to alleviate it by providing social protection tools through interventions such as empowerment, participation and economic opportunities to the poor.

It is under this broader role that the DSWD, the program’s lead implementing agency, has been doing means to break intergenerational poverty cycle in the long run where long-term poverty alleviation comes into play.

“The 4Ps will eventually end and when such time comes, the DSWD is ensuring that its beneficiaries will have already been nurtured into the culture of self-help leading to a productive life on their own feet,” Garcia said.

So far, he said, DSWD-Bicol is currently in partnership with at least 24 private organizations and 12 licensed and registered Social Welfare and Development Agencies in line with the implementation of the 4Ps across the Bicol region. (PNA) RMA/FGS/IAS/CBD/pjn

Only 4 Sorsogon LGUs get good governance seal
By Bobby Q. Labalan

SORSOGON CITY, Aug. 22 (PNA) -- Only four local government units (LGUs) in the province of Sorsogon received the most-coveted award among LGUs, the Seal of Good Local Governance by the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).

Lawyer Arnaldo Escober, DILG Sorsogon provincial director, said those awarded with the Seal for 2014 were the provincial government of Sorsogon and the municipalities of Barcelona, Pilar and Bulan.

The province will receive Php7-million worth of development projects while the municipalities will get Php3 million each.

The awards will be turned over to the LGUs on Sept. 10 during the awarding ceremony, Escober said.

According to him, the four LGUs were the only ones that were able to fully comply with the “3 Plus 1” criteria set by the DILG in assessing the performance of the LGUs.

The Seal of Good Local Governance replaced the Seal of Good Housekeeping which was first introduced by the deceased DILG secretary, Jesse Robredo, whose death anniversary was commemorated on Tuesday.

Escober said the “3 Plus 1” criteria include the three main requirements which are the good financial housekeeping, disaster preparedness program and social protection program.

The “Plus 1” is composed of three essential elements but the LGU may only choose one.

This includes business friendliness and competitiveness, peace and order and environmental management.

Most of the LGUs, Escober said, failed to get the award due to their failure to comply with the social protection requirement which is composed of three components like the presence of mechanisms on violence against women and children, LGU-managed youth home with licensed social welfare and development officer and compliance with “Accessibility Law”.

He said the criteria have undergone several revisions and upgrading since it was launched by Robredo with the end in view of forcing the LGUs to further improve their delivery of basic services.

“At first, what the DILG required for LGUs to obtain the Seal were compliance to Full Disclosure Policy and a favorable audit opinion, meaning, an LGU has no adverse audit report, but since it has become too easy to comply with, the department decided to upgrade the standards, that’s the reason why we now have this “3 Plus 1” criteria,” Escober explained.

He added that for 2015, it’s likely that changes in the criteria will again be introduced for the assessment, which will commence next month.

The DILG provincial head urged local chief executives to cure their deficiencies in last year’s evaluation so they would have fair chance of getting the Seal.

He advised LGUs to ensure full compliance to financial management requisite as it is also the basis for the grant of the Bottom-Up Budgeting (BUB) and PAMANA Projects.

“If they have adverse COA report, they automatically lose the BUB and the PAMANA funds,” Escober added. (PNA) RMA/FGS/BQL/CBD/ssc

Escudero asks teachers to treat their job as a vocation, not mere profession
By Bobby Q. Labalan

SORSOGON CITY, Aug. 22 (PNA) -- Congresswoman Evie Escudero on Saturday lauded the teachers for their sacrifices in performing their roles in educating the people as she called on them to do a “paradigm shift” on how they treat their jobs as educators.

In an interview in connection with the Search for Outstanding Teachers of Sorsogon (SOTS), Escudero said there were still a lot to be done for the improvement of the quality of education in the country, especially with the advent of the K-12 curriculum.

“The new education system demands new sets of skills and competencies from our teachers. It necessitates retooling so that you, as mentors, may be able to fully deliver on the objectives of this new curriculum,” she said, as she stressed the impending implementation of the senior high school next year.

“Let’s strive harder to achieve that level of proficiency that will somehow ensure better, if not excellent, graduates,” the Escudero matriarch said.

But the legislator told the teachers that the “most significant preparation actually lies in each one of you as mentors,” adding that “unless you do a paradigm shift on how you treat your job, your preparations would always be half-baked. So, it’s about time that you take a closer look at how you consider your jobs. Is it a mere career or a calling? A profession or a vocation?”

She said treating a job as a mere career or profession means it’s just a source of livelihood or a way for earning money, which lacks depth.

“It lacks care. It lacks love for what we do. We care less for those we serve and care more for the material gains that we derive from it,” the Bicolana lawmaker stressed.

She called on the teachers to instead treat their jobs as a calling or vocation "which means, it’s not just a source of livelihood for you, but more significantly, it’s a source of deep satisfaction and gratification and sense of profound fulfillment.”

Escudero stressed that “when we treat our job as a vocation or calling there is love in what we do. We care for those we serve. We think of and look after them as educators. We strive harder so that they will learn more. We go the extra mile. We are not bored by the slow ticking off of the clock. Time is always too short for us. And despite the difficulties that we encounter, we still find reasons to smile at the end of the day.”

She said teachers who treat their jobs as vocation are happy with what they do even if it means giving ”a lot of ourselves to our students—time, resources, and many more – to the point that we almost have nothing left for ourselves.”

The legislator was herself a teacher for 25 years, teaching in both public and private schools in Metro Manila, including the exclusive school OB Montessori and the University of the Philippines where she graduated.

She assured the teachers of her continuous support and pledged to ”champion the causes of education as we all endeavor to achieve the best quality education.”

Escudero spearheaded the conduct of the search for outstanding teachers in the province to recognize mentors who have done well in performing their roles as educators. (PNA) RMA/FGS/BQL/CBD/ssc

(News Feature) Tourist arrivals in Legaspi to hit 0.9 M-mark this year
By Danny O. Calleja

LEGAZPI CITY, Aug. 21 (PNA) – - This prime Bicol metropolis recognized as Bicol’s travel industry center would be an inch closer to hitting the one-million tourist arrivals mark this year, according to the Department of Tourism.

“I am optimistic that the city is going to realize 900,000 arrivals by the end of this year, a sensational prelude to achieving its one-million target by 2016, DOT Regional Director Maria Ong-Ravanilla told the Philippine News Agency during Thursday’s opening here of the week-long Ibalong Festival led by City Mayor Noel Rosal.

The optimism is based on latest data that listed around 450,000 arrivals as of the first half of this year and when the trend established by massive local tourism promotions and industry development that the city government and the DOT have been initiating is maintained up to year-end—“bingo, the city hits the .9-million mark,” she said.

These continuing initiatives have been showing impressive results that showed off highly noticeable arrival figures starting in 2013 when the city hit the half-million target by way of surpassing by a whopping 32.27 percent its previous year’s number of arrivals.

As recorded by the DOT regional office based here, total arrivals of both domestic and foreign tourists in the city for the whole year of 2013 reached 579, 470, which was higher by 141,370 over the 2012’s 438,100 figure.

Last year, the figure rose to around 700,000 or 40 percent over 2013’s and led the city government to improve it to 900,000 this year and to one million next year.

Ravanilla said the 2015 goal is almost achieved and the 2016 goal is very much workable as its mayor, in the person of Rosal, relentlessly pursues a tourism master plan featuring a massive promotion campaign that highlights the city’s irresistible tourism products ranging from its natural wonders to world-class facilities.

“Tourists now visit Legazpi not only for the breathtaking view of Mt. Mayon, one of the world’s most active volcanoes made famous by its magically-configured perfect cone form, but also for its sparkling metropolis loaded with heavy tourism-related activities and exciting places to relax, play and enjoy a healthful living,” she said.

The ongoing Ibalong Festival alone is chalking up an impressive number of arrivals starting with its kick-off event last Aug. 9, the 2nd Mayon Triathlon that drew 300 local and international triathletes and hundreds of domestic and foreign tourists who are followers of the prestigious sporting event.

The festival is a local tourism product which, years back, has given the city its “City of Fun and Adventure” caption now popular within the international travel industry world.

It is an annual non-religious fiesta, now on its 24th year, depicting here Bicol’s early beginnings based on the Ibalong Epic written by the late Prof. Merito Espinas that tells of mythical super heroes, villains, monsters and wild animals in the ancient times.

Launched in 1992, the celebration -- that relives the epic featuring the extraordinary feats of strength, courage and heroism of these ancient heroes -- has since then lived to become the longest running tourism promotion-related festival in the Bicol Region that expresses warmth and goodwill to all people and encourages visitors and tourists to celebrate with the Legazpeños.

The arrivals for this festivity include those who have been traditionally coming in to participate in the merrymakings, witness the exciting events embedded in it, compete in some national championship sports events and enjoy the fun and adventure it offers.

Thursday’s formal opening was highlighted by a ceremony at the monuments of the Ibalong Epic’s mythical heroes at the city downtown and the Carnival Parade from the City Hall complex to Legazpi Boulevard, featuring a mardi gras joined by various contingents that danced in colorful ethnic costumes. dazzling thousands of spectators lined along the five-kilometer parade route.

The day also marked the opening of the 3rd Ibalong National Women’s Beach Volleyball competition with 10 teams from famous colleges and universities, mostly based in Metro Manila, participating.

The games, which will run for three days, are staged on a jet-black sand court at the Legazpi Boulevard along the scenic Albay Gulf.

Other sporting events included in this year’s celebration are the National Dragon Boat Race, the National Cross Country Mountain Bike Race, the Ibalong Festival Invitational Golf Tournament at the Doña Pepita Golf Course near the foot of Mt. Mayon, the 1st Ibalong Festival Pigeon Race and the Football Clinic at the Bicol University ball ground hosted by James and Phil Younghusband.

Other tourism-related activities taking place in the city at the remaining of this year are five more conventions, meetings and other grand gatherings expected to bring in thousands more of tourists and visitors from different parts of the world.

These gatherings include 7th National Tripartite Conference for Cooperative Development on Sept. 9-11; Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) – Senior Disaster Management Officials Forum on Sept. 14-15; 1st International Convention on Children and Family on Oct. 15-17; the National Information and Communication Technology Summit 2015 on Oct. 21-23 ;and the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) –Adventure and Travel Conference on Nov. 14-15.

These grand occasions are part of this year’s 51 international and national gatherings in the city, which works on becoming one of the convention capitals of the country as part of its massive tourism industry development program.

Listed as number 14 in the country’s most visited tourism destinations in the country two years ago, the city, officially identified as one of the three most livable cities of the country, is also vying for a slot in the five top tourist favorites at least for the Luzon area this year.

“We have all the attributes of a top tourism destination and convention capital—from marvelous tourism sites and world-class facilities to stable peace and order situation, clean air quality, pollution-free coastal water and livable communities,” City Mayor Noel Rosal said. (PNA) RMA/FGS/DOC/CBD/SGP

Bicol on high alert for floods, landslides due to 'Ineng'

LEGAZPI CITY, Aug. 21 (PNA) -- The Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (RDRRMC) went on “blue alert” Friday as Typhoon "Ineng" threatened the Bicol peninsula, bringing moderate-to-heavy rains in some parts of the region, the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) said.

Rafael Bernardo Alejandro, OCD regional director and RDRRMC chairperson, said the blue alert (stand by) status took effect on Thursday wherein disaster personnel from various agencies were activated and put on a 24/7 duty for any eventuality to ensure public safety and to sustain the “zero casualty” goal.

Alejandro said his office had already coordinated with the six PDRRMC and advised them to be on alert.

In Albay, rains pelted the province on Friday, prompting the Albay Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PRRDMC) to be on alert and issue an emergency special countermeasure.

Also aon Friday, Albay Gov. Joey Salceda issued an advisory warning that Albay is part of the threatened and to be affected by the enhanced southwest monsoon rains that might trigger floods, lahar flows and landslides in low-lying and mountain slope areas in the 15 towns and three cities of the province.

The advisory put to task various town and city disaster councils, which prevented fishermen to sail both in the eastern and western seaboards due to dangerous sea waves and possible storm surges spawned by “habagat”, which normally occurs in the month of August.

Residents of low-lying areas were advised to be prepared to move to higher grounds for their safety while residents living near river channels should avoid crossing the swelling water with expected dislodged vegetation.

Residents near landslide-prone slopes must seek temporary shelters in a distant and safer grounds while the typhoon remains to threaten the northern part of the country and until declared safe by PAGASA and the local authorities, the advisory said.

Salceda also asked residents to, as much as possible, stay indoors in the safer places and avoid unnecessary movement for disaster avoidance.

Salceda advised the public to exercise maximum countermeasures, saying “we cannot afford to underestimate the capacity of the hazard.”

The local weather bureau said Typhoon Ineng continues to move very slowly, almost stationary, with a maximum speed of 13 kph, moving closer to Batanes with an estimated rainfall amount from moderate to heavy within the 600-km diameter. (PNA) CTB/FGS/MSA/CBD/SGP

Thursday, August 20, 2015

TESDA to recognize partners in skills development of Bicolanos
By Connie B. Destura

LEGAZPI CITY, Aug. 20 (PNA) -- The Technical Education Skills Development Authority ((TESDA) Bicol will give recognition to individuals, local government units and different organizations in the region that have given valuable support to the agency.

In a press briefing Wednesday, TESDA Regional Director Conrado G. Bares, announced the persons who have made efforts in promoting and strengthening technical vocational education and training (TVET) in the region.

They are Catanduanes lone district Rep. Cesar V. Sarmiento for the legislative sector; Masbate City, for local government units category for city; Bulan, Sorsogon, for municipality; Catanduanes, provincial and Daraga Human Resource Developmet Center in Daraga, Albay, for institution.

The TESDA “Kabalikat Award” gives due recognition to the agency's outstanding ppartners in the promotion and enhancement of TVET.

It is conferred to outstanding institutions, private firms and companies, local ggovernment units and legislative partners because of their good practices and contribution in the promotion and development of Filipino skilled workers.

The Idols ng TESDA are as follows: for Self-Employed Category -- Romy M. Evangelista of Catanduanes, and for Wage-Employed -- Salvacion M. Danao.

The Idols ng TESDA will also be conferred to graduates of various TVET courses, who are gainfully employed either as wage workers or are managing their own businesses and have contributed to socio-economic improvements in their respective communities.

Nominees for TESDA Idols must be 21-40 years old, graduate of any TVET course, and who are either self-employed or wage-employed.

"TESDA Idols are individuals who have graduated in TESDA and become successful in their own fields after finishing TVET programs," Bares said.

The success stories of the "Idols" are used by the agency to attract other youths and out-of-school youths to a realistic and short-term studies that will help them get employment.

For the “Kabalikat Award,” the following categories were established: Institutional Partner, which includes TESDA’s partners from the private schools/training institutions, training centers, non-government organizations/institutions that employ good practices in the promotion and enhancement of TVET through the conduct of regular tracer study of graduates, meeting market-based performance standard, proper incentives, labor market research, and public-private partnership, among others.

Industry Partners, which are TESDA partners that may be an industry association or individual private and public establishment/firm/company that adhered to good practices in the promotion and enhancement of TVET.

The Local Government Unit Partner may be a municipality/city or provincial unit, and other related government offices which provided exemplary support and cooperation with TESDA in various TVET activities translated to programs/ projects related to workforce development such as training and assessment scholarships; donations; provision of technical assistance in the TESDA Provincial or Regional Technical Education and Skills Development Committees; skills competition; and standards/curriculum development, etc.

The Legislative Partner category includes the office of a congressman or senator which provided exemplary support to and cooperation with TESDA in various activities that led to the improvement of TVET in the country. (PNA) CTB/CBD/EBP

DSWD, PNP entrap fixer for burial assistance

LEGAZPI CITY, Aug. 19 (PNA) -- The Philippine National Police (PNP) Legazpi City Station arrested a suspected fixer right inside the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Field Office at Barangay Buraguis, Legazpi City in an entrapment operation on Tuesday.

Arrested was suspect Leuilyn Flores, 34, a resident of Tagongtong, Legazpi City.

A police report said the DSWD had asked police assistance because of the alleged illegal activities of fixers in the department.

The DSWD said one of its clients from Barangay Homapon, Malinao, Albay accompanied her niece to ask for burial assistance for the latter’s husband on Aug. 17.

Flores approached the client to give her a general intake sheet (GIS) but in exchange for PHP500 upon receiving the cash assistance.

She also threatened the client if she would not give money to her.

The GIS is used in gathering information/data and serves as a basis for the assessment of how much assistance to be extended to the client.

The DSWD and the PNP immediately set an entrapment operation on Tuesday afternoon with the help of the concerned DSWD’s client who reported the irregularity.

On that same day, upon releasing the burial assistance, the entrapment was planned where the two met to proceed with the transaction leading to the arrest of the suspect.

The two agencies prepared PHP500 bill as marked money, which the client handed to Flores and, thus, the arrest.

The marked money will be used as evidence, the police said.

The DSWD Bicol has warned the public to be vigilant against fixers who charge certain fees for getting queue numbers on the medical and burial assistance of the department.

The assistance, it said, is intended to help the persons in need and not for ruthless people who take advantage of these vulnerable clients.

“The agency will not tolerate any kind of irregularity and hopes this will also serve as a lesson to the public not to engage or transact with fixers,” Arnel B. Garcia, DSWD Bicol regional director, said.

Garcia said the field office releases 60 GIS for medical and burial clients’ every day.

This is to ensure the fast, smooth, and organized processing of the assistance needed by the clients.

The clients will then be pre-screened by Crisis Intervention Section staff to check whether they brought the complete supporting documents for the assistance being requested.

Accordingly, the amount of financial assistance to be given to the clients shall be based on the assessment of the social worker.

Meanwhile, the requirements for medical /burial assistance include original and photo copy of medical abstract/medical certificate with signature and license number of attending physician issued within three months, death certificate, original and photo copy of hospital bill or billing statement if hospitalized, doctor’s prescription, laboratory requests, original and photo copy of barangay certificate or residency/indigency, two photo copies of any valid ID of the client.

Under the Protective Services Unit, the Expanded Aid for Individuals in Crisis Situation provides medical, educational, burial and transportation assistance to persons/families in crisis situations, specifically those belonging to the informal sector and other poor, marginalized, vulnerable, and disadvantaged individuals.(PNA) FFC/FGS/EMC/CBD

Masbateños remember Robredo as champion of good governance
By Rhaydz B. Barcia

MASBATE CITY, Aug. 19 (PNA) -- Well-known community leaders here remember former Naga City mayor and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo as the champion of good governance.

Judge Igmedio Emilio F. Camposano of Municipal Circuits Trial Court in Aroroy-Baleno on Wednesday said Robredo was destined to sow seeds of peace, love, unity and a torch to serve as the guiding light of bickering leaders in Masbate.

“Jesse Robredo was destined to die in Masbate. Why despite of so many places he passed by, he died here. God wanted Jesse Robredo to die here to sow good governance which only few leaders follow through the same leadership,” the president of the Masbate Advocates for Peace said.

Camposano said there is a need for massive changes so Robredo's aspirations in Masbate will be realized as the next Singapore in Asia, if Masbateños will work together.

"He planted a seed to nurture, the dream of having a good governance and change. Change may not happen overtime but gradually it will reap fruit. He will remain alive in our heart,” Camposano said.

Jose Cokie M. Medina, chairman of Masbate City Tourism Council, said Robredo will always be remembered in Masbate.

As a way of showing undying love for Robredo, Medina said a boulevard in Masbate City was named after him near the place where the plane he was riding in crashed.

It has been three years since Robredo died in a plane crash off the coast of the island-province of Masbate.

Robredo -- an awardee of the Ramon Magsaysay Foundation, which is regarded as Asia’s version of Nobel Prize, in 2000 for his good governance reforms, transparency, humility and simplicity -- has inscribed a remarkable legacy as one of the finest and genuine public servants in the country.

He served Naga City as its mayor for more than 10 years and spearheaded its development, making it as one of the country's premier cities.

When he joined President Benigno Aquino III’s Cabinet, Robredo initiated the Salintubig project to provide potable water to waterless communities across the country.

He was in charge of the national police and local governments as DILG chief.

But on August 18, 2012, the twin-engine, four-seater Piper Seneca plane carrying Robredo en route to Naga City from Cebu City crashed off Masbate, killing him instantly while his aide, Don Abrasado, survived the accident.

Aside from Robredo, pilots Capt. Jessup Bahinting and Nepalese trainee Kshitiz Chand also died in that plane tragedy.

He was in Cebu to represent President Aquino in the national conference of Philippine National Police assets, or civilian volunteers who assist the police in community intelligence.

Robredo was hurrying home to attend the event of his youngest daughter, Jilian, and took the twin-engine, four-seater Piper Seneca plane.

But the plane he was riding developed engine trouble, prompting the pilot to send a distress call to the Masbate Airport for an emergency landing.

Unfortunately, the plane carrying Robredo nosedived as it attempted an emergency landing at the Masbate City airport.

His body was recovered after three days from the seabed of Masbate waters, some 55 meters (180 feet) underwater and around 800 meters (yards) off Masbate province, and was pulled out from the overturned fuselage of the twin-engine plane.

Robredo was popular for his reformist views and policies and clean image that were prominent since he entered politics as mayor of Naga City in 1988, deviating from the political patronage and corruption that characterized traditional politicians.

Albay Governor Joey Salceda said Robredo has put Naga City in the map not only of the Philippines but also in the whole world, especially in Asia, as one of the most progressive cities on account of his enlightened leadership and his expertise in management that engineered the growth of the city, coupled with good governance that would ensure that the benefits of growth are shared by all its citizenry, especially the powerless whose ordinary heroism he always tried to spark as the source of the dynamism of Naga City.

“Secretary Robredo was a dedicated public servant and a champion of good governance whose track record in public service has been an inspiration to all those who believe in government as an instrument for positive change,” Salceda said.

He said Robredo was a leader who tirelessly worked and contributed greatly to President Aquino’s campaign for good governance as a means to improve the lives of our countrymen,” the governor added.

During Robredo’s incumbency, he was the prime advocate of peace initiative in the island-province of Masbate where he asked local leaders from different political camps to unite and set aside political differences in an effort to push for development.

He frequently visited Masbate as he wanted leaders to unite and work for good governance to elevate the poor people from poverty.

Robredo’s ultimate desire for Masbate as champion of peace and development through good governance is to be the next Singapore in Asia, utilizing all its natural resources, if only the local leaders will unite and set aside political differences.

On the 3rd death anniversary of the country’s icon of good governance, President Aquino III visited the grave of Robredo at the Eternal Gardens in Naga City and extolled him. (PNA) LAP/FGS/RBB/CBD

Legaspi mayor backs Roxas' presidential bid
By Emmanuel P. Solis

LEGAZPI CITY, Aug. 19 (PNA) -- Legazpi City Mayor Noel Rosal has expressed full support to the candidacy of Manuel “Mar” Roxas II, the anointed administration candidate in the 2016 election presidential election.

Rosal said Roxas is the right man to replace President Benigno Aquino III due to his “strong ability to manage the government with integrity and honesty.”

He pointed out that through the "Daang Matuwid" (straight path) governance, Legazpi City became one of the recipients of the national government’s projects and programs.

Rosal said the city has now the biggest number of recipients of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) in the entire Bicol region.

The Aquino administration has put up a Php2-billion flood control program with three pumping stations in Legaspi, according to Rosal.

”The civil works of this comprehensive urban drainage program and pumping stations are now in the finishing touches and it will be operational before the year ends, making Legazpi an all-weather city and a flood-free community,” Rosal said.

Last Tuesday, Rosal, joined by members of the city council and 70 barangay chairmen, attended a simple gathering attended by Roxas who graced the third death anniversary of the late Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo in Naga City.

Roxas said he accepted the challenge to continue the Daang Matuwid governance “to give the people opportunity to uplift their lives.” (PNA) LAP/JFM/FGS/EPS/CBD

PHP93-million FMR to connect 4 Legazpi villages to urban center
By Emmanuel P. Solis

LEGAZPI CITY, Aug. 19 (PNA) -- Another farm-to-market road will be constructed here next year after members of the validating team of the Department of Agriculture (DA) recently reviewed the necessary documents and inspected the site of the proposed project, Legazpi City Agriculturist Jesus Kallos said in an interview Wednesday.

The project will be a three-counterparting agreement among the City Government of Legazpi, the DA and the World Bank (WB), with a proposed budget of PHP93 million.

The WB will shoulder 80-percent of the project financing, the city administration will share 10 percent and the national government, through the DA, will give 10 percent for the construction of the project.

The project is part of the DA’s Philippine Rural Development Program for the delivery of strengthen priority crops to the market and for agricultural development.

Kallos said the civil works for the opening and concreting of 6.5-kilometer infrastructure project at the upper portion of the southern section of this city have started already.

It will serve the four villages of Puro, Lamba, Taysan and Maslog -- all identified as coconut-producing areas.

He said a farmers’ association in Barangay Taysan processes coco husks and makes it into geo-textile used in slope protection to prevent landslide.

The coco fiber will be used as furniture material while the coco dust will be used in mixing with fertilizer to make it organic, becoming a material for planting medium.

Kallos said he will ask farmers and other villagers to develop the rice fields and plant more root crops, vegetables and castro beans in that area in order to improve their agricultural livelihood and meet the growing demand of the consuming public.

Mayor Noel E. Rosal said once this farm-to-market road is done, the transport of agricultural commodities to the market will become easier on the part the farmers.

Moreover, the land value in those villages will surely increase, benefiting the residents in the area.

Rosal said his administration will continue to work for the programs and projects in agriculture to maintain a sufficient supply of foods needed by the people in the community and make it more affordable for our daily consumption. (PNA) FFC/FGS/EPS/CBD