Thursday, October 29, 2015

Comelec-Bicol head sees less armed groups, poll violations in 2016 electoral process
By Floreño G. Solmirano

CAMP SALVADOR C. ESCUDERO SR., Sorsogon City, Oct. 28 (PNA) – The head of the Commission on Elections Bicol regional office sees decreases in the number of private armed groups (PAGs) and electoral violations in the coming May 2016 polls.

Lawyer Romeo B. Fortes, Comelec-Bicol regional executive director, made the assessment before members of the Provincial Joint Security Coordinating Center at this camp’s Kasanggayahan Hall at 9 a,m. Wednesday.

Police Senior Supt. Ronaldo R. Cabral, Sorsogon Police Provincial Office officer-in-charge, welcomed the PJSCC members .

Fortes said agencies led by the Comelec will be more focused on vote-buying and illegal campaigning activities.While vote-buying would be hard to catch and prove, the law enforcers can go after those conspiring to buy votes, he said.

“For instance, if we can catch a person who is in possession of, say, Php1 million, with sample ballots with it, we can charge him for conspiracy to buy votes,” the Comelec official said.

Or, a police officer sees campaign materials nailed on trees, he can remove it for illegal campaigning and in pursuit of the Comelec’s “Operasyon Baklas”.This, Fortes said, is summary abatement of illegal propaganda or campaign materials.

He still sees Masbate as an election hotspot and for this reason, the Philippine Army will be sending 1,000 soldiers to the province.

Masbate had consistently been tagged as an election hot spot in previous elections because of the intense political rivalries among political clans there, including election-related violence that claimed the lives of hundreds of people.

Based on record, Masbate has the most number of villages that were placed under Comelec control, with 40 villages in 18 towns.

Igmidio Emilio Camposano, a local trial court judge there and Masbate Advocate for Peace president, said in an earlier interview with the Philippines News Agency that their group, in this early stage, is preparing to map out pre-election scenarios to ensure that the May 2016 elections in the province would be peaceful and orderly.

Camposano said his worst fear in the upcoming polls is the intense political rivalries that end up in violence, hiring of PAGS, vote-buying and harassment.

According to him, PAGs are being used by local politician as an instrument to sow terror and violence and eliminate political leaders to gain political advantage over their rivals.

In the previous national and local elections, there were at least six PAGs listed operating in Masbate, of which only two are active -- the Arizobal and Villaruel groups -- with 38 members.

For this reason, Task Force Masbate was created after reports that local politicians here exercise too much influence over the police and sometimes the police were being dictated upon in the conduct of their operations.

Fortes also informed the PJSCC members that four election-related incidents have already occurred in Masbate since the filing of the certificates of candidacy of local officials, one of them right after the victim had just filed his COC.

He considers the election-related violent incidents to start on the filing of the COC and not only during the election period, from Jan. 9 to June 8.

In saying earlier that there would be less electoral violations this time, Fortes said the number of those who have filed their COCs this year has decreased by 20 percent compared to that of the previous election.(PNA) CTB/FGS/CBD

DA declares Masbate agri school as center of province’s agricultural development
By Danny O. Calleja

LEGAZPI CITY, Oct. 28 (PNA) – The Dr. Emilio B. Espinosa Sr. Memorial State College of Agriculture and Technology (DEBESMSCAT) based in a far-flung Masbate town has been assigned by the Department of Agriculture (DA) as the province’s center for agricultural development.

The DEBESMSCAT is a government-run higher education institution that provides professional and technical education, advanced and specialized training in Agriculture, Teacher Education, Industrial Technology, Arts and Sciences, Engineering, non-degree technical courses and other related disciplines to produce competent human resource for sustainable development.

First called the Masbate National Agricultural School when established in 1952, the DEBESMSCAT operates within a 3,668-hectare campus of mostly rolling terrain in the municipality of Mandaon, 56.5 kilometers from Masbate City, the provincial capital.

The center for agricultural development is a four-year project which will be implemented from this year to 2019 and will become the first of its kind in the country through the initiation of the DA regional office for Bicol based in Pili, Camarines Sur under Regional Executive Director Abelardo Bragas.

Initially under this project, the DA has provided the school over Php8.4 million worth of supplies such as farm machineries, equipment, inputs and planting materials which were turned over to its administration headed by its president Dr. Erwin Malto during the project launch last week.

Bragas, in a statement reaching here on Wednesday, said the supplies included a four-wheel drive tractor worth Php2.4 million, hand tractors, a palay thresher, rice drum seeder, transplanter, sacks of hybrid palay seeds, corn grits mill, cassava granulator, corn sheller, corn planter, hammer mill and cassava stalks, power sprayers, drums, power tiller, shallow tube well and incubators.

Also provided were 50 heads of native chicken, 300 heads of ducks, 100 pieces of grafted pili seedlings, 40 bags of organic fertilizer, and assorted vegetable seeds.

The agricultural machineries and equipment will be used in massive crop production within the sprawling school complex as well as expose the students to mechanization that would enhance their skills extensively as compared with just learning the theories, according to Bragas.

The native chicken and ducks are to jump-start organic production as the DA pushes food safety and environment friendly food production techniques that would preserve the environment for sustainable agriculture.

One of these techniques, Bragas said, is the community-based commercial production of native chicken that enjoy wide market demand owing to their meat that carries a distinct taste and more nutritious properties inimitable from the commercial breeds.

In a common rural scenario, the native chicken, he said, supply the family with few eggs and, occasionally, meat that are tastier and more savory than those of purebreds for home consumption, for barter or for sale, and despite their slow growth and smaller size, they are more costly.

“We are embarking on some strategies to improve the native chicken -- one is a program on community-based production based on organic agriculture system and on a station-based organic native chicken project,” he said.

Under this DEBESMSCAT agricultural center project, the DA regional chief said more interventions will be implemented that will enhance the skills and capabilities of the students, which will greatly equip them in passing the Licensure Examination for Agriculture.

The DA is also conducting a series of technology demonstrations and seminars on production practices of various commodities, soil sampling and soil analysis and organic agriculture reinforced by the exhibits of the five banner programs of the department, showcasing new technologies, and the technologies generated by DEBESMSCAT.

Half of the income from this project will be used to finance succeeding production cycles while the other half shall be given as school allowance of the initial 175 students who will be involved in the project.

He also emphasized the important role of research and extension, one of the mandates of DEBESMSCAT, in helping farmers cope with the fast-changing times, especially that the Philippines is lagging behind giant countries in agricultural development.

According to Malto, the benefits of the project will be radiated to the neighboring communities through research and extension services.

Bragas said the project, in general, aims to showcase agriculture not only as a mere supplier of food, but also as a major income earner by promoting agribusiness and agri-enterprise techniques, through provision of farm machineries and equipment, conduct of training and establishment of 15 different one-hectare techno demo farms in the area.

Another reason for this concept, he said, is the province’s poverty situation--Masbate being one of the country’s poorest provinces, and the youth’s declining interest in agriculture courses as evidenced by the critical drop in number of enrolees in agriculture courses over the past years.

The DEBESMSCAT is the second largest state college in the Philippines, next to Antique, in terms of land area and its 3,668-hectare land gives it the greatest potential to showcase agricultural development through quality production and enhanced agri-enterprises and ultimately serve as service provider for the farmers within the island province, Bragas said.

Investing in a depressed area for the students from poverty-stricken families, who will be the future farmers and agriculturists, is a brilliant initiative as this will help in furtherance of food security, he added. (PNA) CTB/FGS/DOC/CBD

(FEATURE)Catanduanes using PRDP to win back ‘crab capital’ title
By Danny O. Calleja

LEGAZPI CITY, Oct. 28 (PNA) – The island-province of Catanduanes is using the foreign-funded Philippine Rural Development Project (PRDP) as a stepping stone towards becoming once more the “Crab Capital of the Philippines”.

“We see from the PDRP an opportunity to redevelop Catanduanes as the country’s top producer of mud crabs and enable the province to win back its Crab Capital title lost to the Visayas several decades back,” provincial agriculturist Roberto Ceballo said in a statement reaching here Wednesday.

The Provincial Project Management and Implementation Unit (PPMIU) of Catanduanes, he said, is now working closely with the Department of Agriculture’s (DA) PRDP Regional Project Coordination Office (RPCO) for Bicol in the preparation of the Provincial Commodity Investment Plan (PCIP) on mud crabs (Scylla serrata).

The PCIP is a three-year rolling consensus plan between the DA and the provincial government that contains specific infrastructure and enterprise sub-projects and other interventions to boost the identified provincial commodity based on the value chain analysis (VCA) conducted with stakeholders.

When completed at least before the end of this year, Ceballo said, the PCIP will be submitted to the Project Support Office (PSO) of the PDRP for approval and funding support.

The PRDP is a foreign-funded project being implemented by DA as a platform for a modern and climate-smart agriculture in the region and other parts of the country.

Its national implementation carries a Php27.535-billion total fund, consisting of Php20.553-billion loan from the World Bank, Php3.579 billion as national government counterpart, Php3.118 billion equity of the local government units and Php287-million grant from the Global Environment Facility (GEF).

It involves 80 provincial local government units (PLGUs) and agri-fishery stakeholders nationwide in an attempt to realize the goals of improved food security and increased incomes, climate resiliency and enhanced environmental policies and governance.

In six years—2013-2019, the project aims to raise annual real farm incomes of household beneficiaries by five percent, increase the value of annual marketed output by seven percent and ensure that 20 percent more farmers and fishers benefit from DA services

Ceballo said that as arrived at during consultations with local industry stakeholders, developing the Catanduanes mud crab industry will help raise the income of crab gatherers, stockers and fishpond owners in the province.

The development of an integrated crab sanctuary, which is being made part of the PCIP, would also help promote the province’s ecotourism prospects, said Ceballo, adding that the island presently has a total of 589 hectares mangrove ponds that produce a substantial volume of crablets locally called kuto-kuto, langaw-langaw and thumbtacks.

Kuto-kuto refers to the smallest size, as small as lice, of crablet which becomes langaw-langaw as it grows fly-sized, then thumbtacks when it becomes as big as the head of thumbtacks.

Since these varieties of young mud crab species that are abundant in the swampy wild of Catanduanes are ideal starters for grow-out growers and aquaculture operators, local fisherfolk have been indiscriminately poaching them and selling to traders that ship them out to buyers in other parts of Bicol.

There is an increasing demand for crabs in both domestic and international markets, especially during peak months like December, that makes supply inadequate and market price increases.

As reported in 2014, market price at its peak ranged from Php600 to Php750 per kilo for 500 gram crabs—prices that please much crab farmers and wish they had more crabs to harvest for the season.

Hence, the PCIP on the mangrove crab aims to establish a sustainable supply of crablets by protecting the spawning ground, protecting the mangrove areas and other fishing grounds where crablets grow, and introducing new production technologies for crab growing and fattening.

It also intends to improve existing producers’ productive capacity and competitiveness as the province is even eyeing the international market for its mud crabs.

“We are looking at the five biggest crab-consuming countries—China, USA, Japan, Korea and Thailand. Cornering just a portion of the international market, especially during the winter season when these countries experience considerable drop in the supply of crabs, would be a big lift to our industry,” Gov. Araceli Wong had earlier said.

All the province needs is the participation of all stakeholders, including the private sector, in the provincial government’s efforts to maximize the development of the industry towards the production of more export quality products, she stressed.

The PDRP will be a big boost once the PCIP for mud crab is approved and funded, given that the project involves the provision of key infrastructure, facilities, technology, and support information using science-based tools such as vulnerability and suitability assessment, VCA, geomapping and geotagging, according to Ceballo.

So far, the Catanduanes mud crab industry is enjoying the support of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, Department of Science and Technology, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Department of labor and Employment and Catanduanes State University.

The provincial government, for its part, is maintaining the Catanduanes Crab Center (CCC) which serves as a source of crablets for grow-out and fattening by fishpond operators.

It carries out a special program for "queen" or "gravid" crabs designed to ensure the sustainability of the industry in the province, which originally owned the “crab capital of the Philippines” title and lost to Negros about three decades ago.

Since the start of its operations way back in 2007, the CCC, according to Wong, has not only addressed the rampant poaching and illegal transport of crablets out of the island but also standardized the operations of the crab nursery and the culture of crab larvae to crablet sizes for local grow-out production.

She added that the province’s mud crab industry is focusing on the production of female crabs that play an important role in marketing, particularly in Asian countries such as Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore. (PNA) CTB/LOR/FGS/DOC/CBD

Rebels gun down suspected military asset

CAMP GEN. SIMEON A. OLA, Legazpi City, Oct. 28 -- Members of the New People's Army (NPA) shot dead a 57-year-old man suspected of being a military-police asset as he was on his way home at about 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at Sitio Tambo, Barangay Obi, Caramoran, Catanduanes.

A police report identified the victim as Wedihenyo Gonzales, married, an abaca stripper and a resident of the village.

Gonzales received bullets in his head and body.

After the execution, the rebel casually left, the report said.

Responding police officers found empty shells of .45-caliber pistol in the crime scene.

Earlier, relatives said, the rebels had suspected Gonzales as an asset of the military and the police in their village, which he had vehemently denied, saying he was just a simple farmer earning enough for his family. (PNA) CTB/RCK/FGS/EMC/CBD

Hundreds of cops deployed for 'Oplan Kaluluwa' in Bicol
By Mar S. Arguelles

LEGAZPI CITY, Oct. 28 (PNA) -- Hundreds of policemen will be deployed to beef up existing security forces across the six provinces of Bicol as a safety measure for the upcoming All Souls' Day on Sunday, the Philippine National Police (PNP) in Bicol said Wednesday.

Police Senior Inspector Malu Calubaquib, PNP Bicol spokesperson, said police checkpoints and assistance centers will be set up in cemeteries, major highways, airports, seaports and bus terminals as security measures on All Souls' Day, a religious tradition observed throughout the country.

Calubaquib said security preparations are in place for “Oplan Kaluluwa", where additional policemen will be deployed to support various police assistance centers set up in cemeteries, terminals, ports and highways.

She said the PNP in Bicol will be on a full alert status, policemen will not be allowed to go on leave and those who are on leave will be recalled and be put on duty during the religious observance.

“The measure would ensure the safety of all residents and visitors that will be arriving here to observe All Souls' Day,” Calubaquib said.

The police assistance centers will assist incoming and outgoing passengers in the cities of Naga, Legazpi, and Masbate and in Virac town in Catanduanes.

She said checkpoints will be set up to assist motorists and other visitors from other places.

Security checks will strictly be enforced in bus terminals and major seaports across the region, she added.

Calubaquib said they are closely coordinating with the Department of Transportation and Communications, Department of Public Works and Highways, Philippine Army, Department of Health and civic organizations to implement Oplan Kaluluwa in the six provinces of Bicol.

In Albay, Police Senior Supt. Marlo Meneses, PNP provincial director, said in an interview the Oplan Kaluluwa has been activated with the assignment of additional policemen from the Provincial Public Safety Battalion to assist in maintaining checkpoints, assistance centers, and police visibility in over 50 Catholic and public cemeteries and private memorial parks across the province.

Meneses said that in close coordination with various local government units and non-government organization, they will strictly prohibit the bringing of alcoholic beverages, deadly weapons and other prohibitive items inside the cemetery.

He also advised residents to secure their house before going to the cemetery to pay respects to their departed relatives.

The operational plan will be on a 24-hour duty and the police personnel will be manning various airports, major seaports, bus terminals, malls, and private and public cemeteries across the region.

They will also provide traffic, security and medical assistance to commuters coming from other regions and provinces who are taking their vacations for the All Souls' Day.

“We shall issue advisories to the public containing the standard operating procedures or the 'dos' and 'don’ts' with regard to the observance of All Saints' Day,” Meneses said. (PNA) LAP/FGS/MSA/CBD

CSO readies for clean, peaceful elections

LEGAZPI CITY, Oct. 28 (PNA) -- Civil society organizations in the Bicol Region are now preparing for possible pre-election scenarios to ensure that the coming May 2016 polls will be clean and peaceful.

The church-based Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) across the region, for one, has been enjoining volunteers to sign up and get involved in advocating for an honest, orderly and peaceful election in next year's presidential and local electoral process.

In Albay, the the Diocese of Legazpi, through the Diocesan Commission on Social Concerns and Social Action Center, has officially launched the PPCRV Election Operation as it began to map out plans and strategies to check pre-election activities initiated by political candidates.

The PPCRV, the church-based election watchdog, has started to closely coordinate with the Commission on Elections, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) concerning election-related issues.

The issues include the campaign against political rivalries, political armed groups (PAGs), loose firearms, harassment, permit to campaign demanded by communist insurgents and vote-buying.

Albay Bishop Joel Baylon of the Diocese of Legazpi urged authorities and the PPCRV to beef up the presence of law enforcers in areas believed to be election “hot spots.”

Baylon also asked the PPCRV to launch a voters' education drive aimed at helping voters from the countryside to choose good political leaders.

The PPCRV will be organized in every province, city and town in the region.

The Comelec and the PNP, in past election events, had identified the provinces of Masbate, Camarines Sur and Camarines Norte as election areas of concern due to intense political rivalries and the presence of PAGS and New People's Army (NPA) rebels.

Masbate had been consistently been tagged as an election hot spot in previous elections because of the intense political rivalries among clans there, including election-related violence that claimed the lives of hundreds of people.

Based on the list, Masbate has the most number of villages that were placed under Comelec control, with 40 villages in 18 towns.

"The incidence of election-related violence is a 'wake up call' for us to move and be vigilant to advocate for a free, honest and peaceful election," the Masbate Advocate for Peace (MAP) said in a statement released to media.

Igmidio Emilio Camposano, a local trial court judge here and MAP president, said their group, in this early stage, is preparing to map out pre-election scenarios to ensure that the May 2016 elections in the province would be peaceful and orderly.

“We are not taking chances and would not allow our guards to back down so that in this early stage we are preparing,” Camposano said.

In a previous interview with this reporter, he said his worst fear in the upcoming polls is the intense political rivalries that end up to violence, hiring of PAGS, vote-buying and harassment.

“What is scary is when people get indifferent about the election process,” he said.

According to Camposano, PAGs are being used by local politician as an instrument to sow terror and violence and eliminate political leaders to gain political advantage over their rivals. In the previous national and local elections, there were at least six PAGs listed operating in Masbate, of which only two are active -- the Arizobal and Villaruel groups -- with 38 members.

For this reason, Task Force Masbate was created after reports that local politicians here exercise too much influence over the police and sometimes the police are being dictated upon in the conduct of their operations.

The TF Masbate was formed during the previous election to oversee the security operations in the province, tagged by the military and the police as a “hot spot” due to intense political rivalries, presence of PAGs and communist rebels.

During the 2012 national and local elections, the Task Force was able to seize hundreds of loose firearms and encourage political candidates to surrender at least 200 high-powered firearms.(PNA) LAP/PGL/FGS/MSA/CBD

Biometrics posting up to Oct. 31, Comelec says
By Nancy Ibo Mediavillo

LEGAZPI CITY, Oct. 28 (PNA) -- There will be no extension of the deadline for the taking of voters' biometrics and the voters' registration for next year's elections.

This was stressed by lawyer Romeo Serrano, Commission on Elections Albay supervisor, who said they have already given the public enough time to do their obligation.

Serrano said the Comelec has set aside one year and six months for the biometrics posting and registration of qualified Filipino voters.

He reiterated the Comelec's slogan "No Bio, no Boto".

The Comelec official said the commission has done all it could so that the public will see their announcements in radio, television and newspapers.

They have also gone to far-flung barangays, churches and public places, he said.

Serrano found no reason for the voters not to register.

In this connection, he said, the Comelec offices are open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. up to Oct. 31.

The Comelec Albay head said the three cities of Albay have two biometrics machines each, while the 15 municipalities have one each.

Each machine can process 250 registrants per day.

Serrano said it has been the experience of the commission to have registrants on the last day of the registration.

In view of this, he fears that not all those who would come on the last day will be accommodated as the limit is only 250 persons for each machine.

Serrano estimated that those who have not had their biometrics taken yet still number 40,000.

This figure is below the 7 percent of the total voters in the province.

He said this cannot be complete anymore because some voters have either been dead, abroad or have transferred their residences.

Albay has more that 700,000 voters out of 1.2 million total population. (PNA) CTB/FGS/NIM/CBD

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Sorsogon gets farmers technology center from DA
By Connie B. Destura

SORSOGON CITY, Oct. 27 (PNA) -- The Department of Agriculture regional office has formally turned over to the provincial government of Sorsogon the PHP7-million worth Farmers Technology and Manpower Development Center here.

It will serve as a venue for training, capability building, meetings and conferences for the agricultural clients, extension workers and development partners and stakeholders.

The training aimed at enhancing or leveling up the capabilities of the farmers and enhancing the delivery of extension services for agriculture and fishery clients and stakeholders.

Constructed adjacent to the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist, the two-storey center has a function hall and a dormitory and is equipped with state-of-the-art facilities including digital audio-visual and sound systems and other information, communication and technology (ICT) gadgets and other training paraphernalia.

The center is one the ten projects proposed by the provincial government under the Payapa at Masaganang Pamayanan (Pamana).

Robert Lee–Rodrigueza, provincial administrator, received the facility in behalf of the PLGU and Governor Raul Lee from DA Regional Exec. Dir. Abelardo Bragas, who also represented DA Secretary Proceso Alcala during the turnover late last week.

For his part, Bragas suggested that the center could also be used as an agribusiness or trading center where farmers can be assisted in linking with markets and buyers for their produce.

He said the DA is not only concerned with production but also with the whole value chain.

The DA official said the agency is also assisting farmers to engage in processing and value adding.

“We are helping in stabilizing prices of agricultural commodities so that farmers would not be on the losing end,” he said, adding that Sorsogon is strategically located that it can have as its markets Region 8, Region 7, Region 6, Calabarzon and the rest of Region 4.

Having come from Region 4, Bragas said the food sufficiency level there is only about 25 percent and Bicol can fill the gap.

Paul Escober, Pamana Bicol coordinating officer who represented Assistant Secretary Howard Cafugauan of the Office of the President–Pamana national office, underscored that the turnover of the project was not just a symbolic rite of completing a tangible project.

He said it is more significant to implement and make successful the objectives of Pamana to capacitate, empower, institutionalize the participation of the public and uplift their lives and pursue transparency and accountability in project implementation.

He said the challenge now is to sustain the gains. (PNA) JMC/FGS/CBD

Masbate Gold Project puts education at forefront of CSR projects (Feature)
By Connie B. Destura

LEGAZPI CITY, Oct. 27 (PNA) -- Education, as they say, is the one thing that cannot be stolen from us. It is an investment that no one can measure the heights of its return. It is one of the most important legacies one can leave behind.

Recognizing these, the Masbate Gold Project (MGP), through its Social Development and Management Program (SDMP), has focused on injecting funds for the education of the Masbateños.

Serving 41 host communities, MGP has given high priority to education projects from the Php528.1 million budget for SDMP, divided in two phases (2009-2013 and 2014-2018).

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 2009, 554 students have received tuition assistance and monthly allowance, while at least 99 high school and 95 college scholars have graduated.

In 2014, 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.

MGP has also helped in building and repairing 37 classrooms, libraries, toilets 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,” Ramon Velasco, MGP Community Relations manager, said.

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

Aside from education, MGP has also spearheaded livelihood programs for its host communities.

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

MGP also conducted livelihood classes to equip residents with skills for income generation.

“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.

This year, MGP also plans to expand projects in the health sector.

SDMP will now include projects for 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.

MGP not only provides livelihood for the Masbatenos but also aims to uplift the communities through sustainable projects in education, livelihood and health. (PNA) FPV/FGS/CBD

Lagonoy Gulf found rich in marine biodiversity
By Jessaveth Barcia

BAYBAY, Tiwi, Albay, Oct. 27 (PNA) -- The waters off this geothermal-rich town, a first-class municipality in Albay, is rich in marine biodiversity and aquatic resources, officials here said.

Tiwi's coastline covers 17 kilometers and the joint efforts of the Municipal Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Management Council, local government unit of Tiwi and Philippine Geothermal Production Co. and other partners have developed the biodiversity of Lagonoy Gulf.

MFARMC head Wilfredo Chavenia said this is an indicator that Tiwi's coastal waters have abundant clean water and that more sea turtles thrive underwater to look for food such as sea grasses and jelly fish.

On 0ct. 21, Chavenia said a 72-cm-by-67-cm big green sea turtle was accidentally caught by a fisherman along Tiwi's coastline.

The following day, Oct. 22, a small green turtle, measuring 46 cm by 42 cm, was also rescued.

"The fishermen unintentionally caught the green sea turtles using their net that had entangled them and turned them over to Municipal Agriculture Office for tagging and releasing back to the sea because they knew that these are endangered species. And as a reward, the office gave them Php500 for each turtle," Leonila V. Coralde, Tiwi agriculturist, told the Philippines News Agency.

The two sea turtles were turned over to the EcoStar Coastal and Fishery Learning Resource Center for proper tagging and releasing back to the sea on October 24.

Since 2010, more or less 200 sea turtles have been rescued by fishermen and the number has been continuously increasing each year.

The green turtle (Chelonia mydas), hawksbill turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata), olive ridley turtle (Lepidochelys olivacea), loggerhead turtle (Carretta aarretta) and leatherback turtle (Dermochelys coriacea) are the various kinds of turtle found in Lagonoy Gulf.

"Once you see or have accidentally caught any sea turtle, you must turn it over to the proper authority for tagging and releasing back to the sea, for these are critically endangered and should be protected," Coralde reminded villagers, especially fishermen. (PNA) FPV/FGS/JB/CBD

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

DA-Bicol sees cassava industry a vibrant one for CamSur
By Danny O. Calleja

PILI, Camarines Sur, Oct. 26 (PNA) – The Department of Agriculture (DA) sees Cassava, one of Camarines Sur’s top crops, as a vibrant industry that the province is developing via the foreign-funded Philippine Rural Development Project (PRDP).

The province is working on the finalization of its cassava-focused Provincial Commodity Investment Plan (PCIP) -- a product of the value-chain analysis and interventions focused on the identified commodity as a requirement for fund allocation from the PRDP.

Once approved by the PRDP’s Project Support Office, the fund will directly be released to the provincial government.

The PRDP is a foreign-funded program being implemented by DA as a platform for a modern and climate smart agriculture in the region and other parts of the country.

Its national implementation carries a Php27.535-billion total fund, consisting of Php20.553 billion loan from the World Bank, Php3.579 billion as national government counterpart, Php3.118 billion equity of the local government units and Php287-million grant from the Global Environment Facility.

It involves 80 provincial local government units (PLGUs) and agri-fishery stakeholders nationwide in an attempt to realize the goals of improved food security and increased incomes, climate resiliency and enhanced environmental policies and governance.

In six years (2013-2019), the project aims to raise annual real farm incomes of household beneficiaries by five percent, increase the value of annual marketed output by seven percent and ensure that 20-percent more farmers and fishers benefit from DA services.

Records of the DA regional office for Bicol based here show that in 2014, Camarines Sur -- the largest in terms of population, land area and agricultural economy among the region’s six provinces -- produced 76,518.51 metric tons of cassava, making it the top producer regionwide.

At least 48 percent of cassava tubers produced in the province is being sold to livestock feed processors, 19 percent to traders, 14 percent goes to food processors and the rest is used for home-based food processing, family consumption and animal feeds.

The same DA records say that Camarines Sur has around 20,000 hectares of land devoted to the crop, providing livelihood to over 21,000 farmers.

The province contributes five percent to the country’s total cassava output, putting it within the top eight producing provinces in the Philippines of the crop which plays an important role in food security, equity and poverty alleviation of the nation.

DA Regional Executive Director Abelardo Bragas on Monday said his agency is helping the Camarines Sur’s Provincial Project Management and Implementation Unit (PPMIU) in the finalization of its PCIP that defines cassava’s importance as a food and cash crop, traceable to its numerous food and non-food uses.

Being rich in starch, cassava can be processed into flour and can be used as main ingredient for various food products such as cakes, pudding, chips and noodles.

It is also rich in glucose and fructose, making it an effective sweetener in manufacturing beverages, candies, and pastries.

To tap these potentials and promote the development of cassava as a vibrant industry, the PPMIU is working closely with the DA and the PRDP as it readies the PCIP with focus on value addition and production enhancement as well as demand and per capita consumption projections, according to Bragas.

In this PCIP, cassava’s gross value of two percent added in the province’s agriculture should be improved significantly, given the wide potentials through more government support by way of timely and vigorous interventions so that its capacity to contribute more to the development of food security and poverty alleviation is maximized, Bragas said.

PRDP-PSO planning specialist Rey Lara said that having a quality PCIP that is responsive to the needs of the province can be an effective tool for a vibrant cassava industry in Camarines Sur.

Production enhancement will involve quality planting materials, mechanized land preparations, sufficient fertilizers, post-harvest facilities, proper product handling and more knowledge in plant care that should be provided to farmers.

Engineer Danilo Aman, the DA regional cassava program coordinator, said local industry stakeholders have also agreed to develop linkage network among farmers through associations, organizations and private companies to address the limited supply of planting materials during planting season.

The establishment of five commercial nurseries of high-yielding varieties of cassava across the province is also being considered while Farmer Field School on integrated pest management , good agricultural practices and modern farming techniques were also proposed to address low productivity owing to the use of traditional production practices and varieties.

As a proactive measure against the threat of Witches’ Broom Disease through the conduct of information dissemination on the symptoms and control as well as the strict implementation of the Plant Quarantine Law is also being considered.

The PPMIU has also identified potential areas for organic certification and intensified campaign for organic cassava production as it pushes on the establishment of a processing plant that is compliant to the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point system and food standards.

The demand, on the other hand, is given based on prevailing statistics which say, among others, that around 190,000 metric tons (MTs) of cassava each year are utilized as feeds; over 30,000 MTs of dried cassava chips are traded annually for domestic feed formulation.

Major commercial feed brands in the country are now using cassava meal and volume utilized for feeds increased steadily in the past five years due to chronic shortage of domestic corn—the traditional source of energy in formulated feeds.

Still on demand, the starch industry represents 20 percent of cassava utilization in the country or larger by 15 percent over feed utilization, Bragas said.

Besides, reports have it that La Tondeña Distillers Inc. has turned into cassava as alternative raw material for alcohol and this private company is targeting a supply equivalent to some 30,000 hectares of plantation for the purpose.

The production of glucose syrup from cassava starch is also being considered as recent studies abroad have discovered that using microfluidization has an effect on the structure and thermal properties of cassava starch-water suspension—a discovery that has many application potentials in the food and drug industry.

The energy-efficient production of fuel ethanol though fixed-bed absorption by use of cassava absorbent is one of the focuses of the study, according to the Department of Science and Technology, which explained that cassava absorbent is desiccated to absorb the water in the ethanol, making its quality score to as much as 99.5 percent.

On per capita consumption, 75 percent of cassava produced in the country is used as food so that between 2011 and 2020, it projected to be at 9.36 and the food demand growth rate is seen at 2.24 percent annually until 2020. (PNA) RMA/FGS/DOC/CBD

Virac town has relocation sites for 9 high-risk villages

VIRAC, Catanduanes, Oct. 26 (PNA) -- Virac town Mayor Flerida Alberto said she has started to prepare a relocation site for some 1,080 households or 5,400 villagers in the coastal barangays that are highly vulnerable to storm surge and sea level rise.

Alberto recalled the devastation almost ten years ago due to super typhoon “Reming” (international name: “Durian”) which devastated the island-province of Catanduanes, which faces the Pacific Ocean.

“I don’t want a repeat as much as possible on how the people in the coastal barangays suffered,” said Alberto as she glanced Monday afternoon beyond the window of the town hall as the forest covers have recovered and look refreshingly green on every side of the tall mountains, forcing a barrier from the Pacific Ocean at the west.

On Nov. 29 almost ten years ago, with deadly gusts of 240 kph - 260 kph and went past 280 towards 300 kph, Reming roared towards Northern Samar and Catanduanes.

Fueled by the warm Philippine Sea along the Bicol Region, the howler devastated Catanduanes, inflicting damage on coastal towns of Sorsogon due to raging sea waves.

The super typhoon stripped off the forests of Catanduanes, destroying 80 percent of all its houses and buildings, and ramming ships and tankers aground.

Even the anemometer at state weather bureau station at Virac conked out after registering a 320 kph gust.

It was the signature of the country's most powerful typhoon in the country’s history from 1947 to 2009.

“Our capital town as well as all the coastal towns in the country are highly vulnerable to very strong storm surge as the sea level rises due to global warming,” said Alberto.

As part of disaster risk reduction, the municipality has bought a nine-hectare land at the San Isidro village, about three kilometers from the town proper.

“The area is located higher than where they are staying now and serves as an immediate evacuation and relocation site,” Alberto said during an interview at her office last Monday.

She said some offices of the national government agency like the Bureau of Internal Revenue(BIR) has already relocated to the same area.

“But our priority right now is the construction of the public market and after this, we will work on the relocation site and the transfer of the town buildings,” she said.

She recalled that typhoon "Loling" also affected the island province.

Alberto said the nine barangays to be relocated are Palnab, Conception, San Pablo, San Juan, Salvacion, Sta. Cruz, Rawis, Francia, and San Vicente.

The 2012 Asian Development Bank (ADB) study ‘’Addressing Climate Change and Migration in Asia and the Pacific’’ said the Philippines is among the most vulnerable countries to climate change and it is ranked fifth in terms of individuals affected by sea level rise.

The ADB study said if the sea level rise, its will affect at least 13.6 million Filipinos who will have to relocate to higher, safer places.

Also, the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) Climate Change Program showed that some 167,290 hectares of seashore land in 171 coastal towns under 10 provinces would go under water if the sea level rises by one meter.

Although Catanduanes is not one of the ten provinces mentioned in the study -- like Cagayan, Palawan, Iloilo, Zamboanga Sibugay, Camarines Sur, Negros Occidental, Capiz, Bohol, Tawi-Tawi and Sulu -- the island province is facing the vast Pacific Ocean. (PNA) CTB/FGS/AT/CBD

3 siblings die after eating turtle meat in Irosin, Sorsogon

CAMP GEN. SIMEON A. OLA, Legazpi City, Oct. 26 (PNA) -- Three young siblings died of food poisoning after eating turtle meat that their parents bought from an itinerant peddler on Sunday morning at Barangay Liang, Irosin, Sorsogon.

A police report identified the victims as Juvelyn, 1 year and six months; Jacob, 3; and Jose Bernando, 5 -- all surnamed Alon.

The report said the incident happened at about 10:30 a.m. after their father, Pio, and mother, Theresa, served the cooked turtle meat that they had earlier bought from a certain Norman Gacias, a fish vendor.

First to suffer stomach pain and vomiting was Juvelyn, who was rushed to the Irosin District Hospital but did not reach the facility alive.

Jacob and Jose Bernando experienced the same complaint of Juvelyn and were rushed to the Sorsogon Provincial Hospital, but Jacob died along the way while Jose Bernando expired after several hours.

Dr. Maxima Gonzales said the cause of the deaths of the siblings was food poisoning due to the turtle meat they ate. (PNA) LAP/FGS/EMC/CBD/EDS

Japanese officials revisit WWII soldiers tunnel in Albay
By Rhaydz B. Barcia

LEGAZPI CITY, Oct. 26 (PNA) -- Sixty years after the historic Japanese occupation in the country, the war tunnel at Ligñon Hill that used to be the garrison of Japanese soldiers, it is now one of the top eco-tourism destinations in Albay province.

The underground headquarters was revisited by top Japanese officials on Sunday.

Mayor Seiji Kurashima of Fuefuki City, Japan and other officials visited the 60-year Japanese tunnel as they were toured around this city by Department of Tourism and provincial government officials here.

Ligñon Hill used to be the garrison of Japanese soldiers during their occupation in the Philippines, with advantage position against the armada of American troops.

Kurashima and his companions came here following the proposed sisterhood agreement with the Provincial Government of Albay as the two places have similar natural icons—Mount Mayon for Albay and Mount Fuji for Fuefuki City.

Maria “Nini” Ravanilla, DOT Bicol regional director, worked for the Albay and Fuefuki City sisterhood for tourism promotion between the two tourists destinations with identical natural wonders.

The sisterhood aims to bolster economic and tourism ties between Albay and Fuefuki City with the world's iconic volcanoes -- Mt. Fuji and Mt. Mayon -- as major marketing products.

During the first salvo of the meeting for sisterhood held in Manila spearheaded by the DOT-Bicol, Albay Governor Joey Sarte Salceda presented the Yen banknote, which contains 30 percent Albay abaca fiber, to Japanese officials from Fuefuki City, Prefecture of Jamanashi.

Salceda then proposed possible areas of cooperation such as farm tourism, arts and culture, and the natural icons -- Mt. Fuji for Fuefuki City and Mt. Mayon for Albay.

Though the Japanese delegation headed by Kurashima agreed in principle to the proposed sisterhood, he requested the translation of the text of the working paper into Nipongo.

Immediately after the first meeting, the Japanese officials flew to Albay where they visited the 60-year-old Japanese tunnel, a remnant of the bloody World War 11 in the country.

Albay province has several historical Japanese tunnels currently being explored by local and foreign tourists.

Lately, the biggest Japanese tunnel, a set of tunnels, was uncovered at Mount Kitwinan in Camalig town and is considered as an eco-historical tourism attraction.

But the launch and opening of the tunnel to the public was put on hold after some residents, who attempted to explore the tunnel, discovered vintage bombs in one of the tunnels.

The set of tunnels, according to the elderly in Camalig town, is manually formed beneath Mount Kitwinan by hundreds of enlisted soldiers of the Japanese Imperial Army during the height of their occupation in Albay.

After the liberation period, these war tunnels were left untouched though numerous untold stories cropped up among the locals that the area had been exploited by local guerrillas as there were hidden treasures, like gold and other precious gems and minerals, had been left by the fleeing Japanese soldiers.

Among the Japanese tunnels in Albay, the Lignon Hill war tunnel is the most visited here by local and foreign tourists where life-size images of Japanese soldiers were put up to connect in the past. (PNA) CTB/FGS/RBB/CBD/EDS

PGPC holds 'Fun Run for the Sea Turtles 2015'
By Jessaveth Barcia

TIWI, Albay, Oct. 26 (PNA) -- In celebration of the 52nd Fish Conservation Week, the Philippine Geothermal Production Co. (PGPC) and the Local Government Unit of Tiwi (LGU-Tiwi) jointly conducted a fun run here on Saturday.

The FishCon Week had its theme, "Pinatatag na Batas Pangisdaan, Hakbang sa Pagkamit ng mas Masayang Karagatan."

In partnership with the Environmental Conservation Sustaining Tiwi's Agri-Aqua Resources (ECOSTAR), National Power Corp., Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Tiwi Asenso, Albay Blue Lane, Ascode Foundation Inc. and other partners, a Run for the Sea Turtles campaign was held at the Coastal and Fisheries Learning Resources Center (CFLRC) of Barangay Baybay here.

The event started with a zumba.

Participants from different barangays of Tiwi joined the fun run.

"The aim of this fun run is to show our direction towards the continuous preservation and protection of these sea turtles," Vargas said.

Winners in the event received cash prizes varying from Php3,000, Php 5,000 to Php10,000.

After the event, two sea turtles were released back to the sea off Lagonoy Gulf.

The sea turtles were caught by fishermen last Oct. 21 and 22 along the shore of Lagonoy and were then turned over to the CFLRC for tagging, as a sign that they are endangered and should be protected by every fisherfolk."Once you see a sea turtle and you by chance catch it, you must turn it over to the proper authority for tagging and releasing back to the sea," Leonila V. Coralde, municipal agriculturist of Tiwi, reminded the residents. (PNA) CTB/FGS/JB/CBD/EDS

Salceda endorses Team Rosal-Roces in Legazpi
By Emmanuel P. Solis

LEGAZPI CITY, Oct 26 (PNA) – Albay Governor Joey Salceda has thrown his full support to Legazpi City Mayor Noel E. Rosal, Vice Mayor Vittorio “Bitoy” Roces and their ten candidates for city councilors as a sign of his full support to the Rosal-Roces team in front of all the city’s village officials and other supporters and followers.

Salceda made his open endorsement to the Team Rosal-Roces during a simple gathering on Friday at the Rosal Residence in the Renaissance Garden subdivision here.

The Albay governor, known as one of the best stock analysts in Asia, turned into a politician when he was first elected congressman in the Third District of Albay in 1998 and finished his term as legislator in 2004.

He was elected governor in 2007 until the present and is now running for congressman in the 2nd district.

Salceda said that even though Rosal is an unopposed candidate for mayor this coming 2016 election, “we will combine our political forces to give strong support to Vice Mayor Bitoy Roces and the ten candidates of the team for city councilors, including Rolly Rosal who filed also for board member of the 2nd district of Albay, as I believe that all these persons will give a big contribution to the continuous success and progress of the city.

“The synergy of Rosal and Roces in the city administration for the past years has made a lot of accomplishments which, in turn, resulted in this locality being one of the most progressive cities not only in Bicolandia but also in the entire country. That is the reason why I will support the team Rosal–Roces because my objective as a leader is to continue the progress and development of Legazpi and the entire 2nd district of Albay,” he stressed.

Rosal was first elected as mayor in 2001 and reelected in 2004 and in 2007 after he finished his term as chief executive of this city.

His wife, Geraldine, ran for the same position and was elected mayor in 2010.

Rosal was again elected mayor in 2013.

On the other hand, Roces was first elected vice mayor in 2010 and was reelected in 2013.

He is the youngest son of the late multi-awarded mayor Imelda Crisol Roces.

The ten candidates for city councilors under the Rosal-Roces Team are incumbents Vince Baltazar III, Alan Rañola, Beth Munoz-Dimaculangan, Jesus Chito Baldo, Melissa Abadeza, Lilian Ramirez, Ismael Buban III.

The other three are former councilor Jaime “Jim” Andes and barangay chairmen Al Bariso and Diego Obido.(PNA) CTB/FGS/EPS/CBD

Thursday, October 22, 2015

100-man Team Albay humanitarian mission rolls off Thursday night for Casiguran, Aurora
By Nancy Ibo Mediavillo

LEGAZPI CITY, Oct. 22 (PNA) -- Well-wishing Albayanos will send off the 100-man Team Albay humanitarian mission at the Albay Public Safety and Emergency Management Office (APSEMO) Operation Center at 6 p.m. Wednesday. The humanitarian mission, Team Albay's 14th, is bound for Casiguran, Aurora which suffered much from the wrath of Typhoon "Lando".

The send-off activity will be led by Dr. Cedric Daep and Regional Director Raffy Alejandro of the Office of Civil Defense-Bicol because Albay Governor Joey Sarte Salceda is in Pampanga for the meeting of the various Regional Developments Councils all over the country.

Before the send-off program, Daep will give a final briefing for the team.

He said the mission's convoy is composed of more that 10 vehicles and is expected to reach its target destination in 16 hours.

The group will temporarily rest in the Aurora State University before proceeding to the Casiguran town proper. The Team Albay humanitarian mission will last for ten days and will return to Albay on Oct. 31, before the All Saints' Day. The group is bringing along with them water filtration machine, water lory, medical supplies and equipment, trucks and other vehicles.

It is divided into three sub-groups: the water and sanitation, medical and logistics. The water and sanitation unit is composed of 58 members and headed by engineer Dante Baclao of the Provincial Engineering Office (PEO).

Of the 58, 14 are from the PEO, 14 from the Provincial Health Office (PHO), 6 from the General Services Office, 2 from the Bureau of Fire Protection and 22 from the Armed Forces of the Philippines -- 8 from the Philippine Army, 8 from the Philippine Air Force and 6 from the Philippine Navy.

The medical team is composed of 14 volunteers from the PHO and 10 from the Bicol Regional Training and Teaching Hospital. The logistics sub-group will be headed by the APSEMO, supported by 4 from the Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office, 2 from the OCD, 4 from Barangay Oro Site and 4 from media.

Daep said the Team Albay has chosen Casiguran, Aurora because it needs more the services of a humanitarian mission as a result of the devastation caused by Lando.

It was also requested by the Province of Aurora, he said.

The APSEMO chief underscored the importance of the Team Albay mission.

First, he said, it is in accordance with the provision of RA 10121 or the Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Law. "We are compliant with the provision under the new law that the local government unit may assist another LGUs hit by calamities for as long as they place their area under a state of calamity," Daep said.

Second, he added, the Team Albay is implementing the inter- complimentary effort strategies.

He mentioned the third as the desire of the team to help other LGUs that have a different experience from Albay, saying that this will strengthen the capability of the province, particularly in the aspect of DRRM strategies.

Lastly, Daep said, the collaboration and coordination of Team Albay with other government agencies aims to further strengthen the teamwork in the province at any time, whether during emergency, calamity or ordinary times. (PNA)
FGS/NIM/cbd

'Lando' rains cause PHP14.5-M fishkill in Lake Buhi
By John Mark Escandor

BUHI, Camarines Sur, Oct. 22 (PNA) -- The rains dumped by Typhoon "Lando" resulted in the upswelling at the bottom of Lake Buhi, causing a fishkill that involved PHP14.5 million worth of cultured tilapia in fish cages, according to the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) in Bicol.

BFAR Director Dennis Del Socorro said the fishkill that occurred on October 19 wasted an estimated 114 metric tons of cultured tilapia owned by 68 fish cage owners.

As the inclement weather condition dumped heavy rains into the lake, it stirred decaying matters at the lake bottom that caused the generation of ammonia and the depletion of oxygen content of the water, Del Socorro explained how the fishkill began and developed.

He said fishkill occurrences also happen during a long dry season when sudden downpour comes for consecutive days, followed by an abrupt change of weather to bright searing sun.

This disturbs the lake environment and causes fishkill like the one that happened in Lake Bato last year.

The biggest fishkill happened in Lake Buhi in October 2010 when 90 percent of 19,000 fish cages that were randomly erected across about 70 percent of the 1,650-ha lake area were affected, according to Ronilo Real, lake development officer.

Real said the losses then were estimated to reach PHP80 million and the cause was the overstocking and increased pollution of the lakewater.

This prompted the local government of Buhi to dismantle more than 3,000 fish cages to clear areas for navigation, communal fisheries fish sanctuary.

It was found out in a study conducted by BFAR Fish Health Section in 2010 that five fishkill incidents with total losses reaching PHP33 million in 1998 in Lake Buhi were caused by overstocking.

When the fishkill occurred in 2010, it said, the cause of the fishkill was that “the lake’s dissolved oxygen was very low; the ammonia nitrogen level was very high in 11 stations monitored in the lake and high toxic traces of hydrogen sulfide was also detected.”

Lake Buhi is the biggest lake in Bicol located in Buhi town in Camarines Sur where the smallest commercial fish, sinarapan (Mystichthys luzonensis), is found.(PNA) FFC/FGS/JME/CBD

Legazpi City cops nab 1 man for illegal drug

LEGAZPI CITY, Oct. 22 (PNA) -- Joint elements of the Provincial Intelligence Bureau, Provincial Public Safety Company of the Albay Provincial Police Office and Legazpi City Police Station arrested a suspected drug pusher in a buy-bust operation held Wednesday at at the LKY Grand Terminal, Barangay Bitano here.

The operation led by Senior Insp. Domingo B. Tapel Jr. in coordination with the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency caught Leopoldo D. Dioneda Jr., a resident of Barangay 34 (Oro Site), Legazpi City.

The raiding team also seized four heat-sealed transparent plastic sachets containing white crystalline substance suspected to be “shabu”, PHP16,090.50 cash, one black wallet containing PHP13,800 cash, and one gray Toyota GL 1.6 with plate number TGK 812 from the suspect.

The inventory and markings of seized pieces of evidence were made in the presence of the suspect, Department of Justice representative Venice V. Villaluz, barangay captain Joel M. Balinis and media representative Romeo A. Romero of dzGB.

Dioneda and the seized non-drug items were placed under the custody of the Legazpi CPS while the sachets of suspected shabu were turned over to Regional Crime Laboratory Office-5 for laboratory examination.

The law enforcers conducted the buy-bust operation in line with the ideals of the PNP P.A.T.R.O.L. Plan 2030 and in compliance with the PRO5 CMC No. 20014-02 "Target Output Policy" on campaign against illegal drugs. (PNA) FFC/FGS/EMC/CBD

Missionaries restore dignity of disabled (Feature)
By John Mark Escandor

NAGA CITY, Oct. 22 (PNA) -- At a very young age, Jessie was left to the care of his abusive stepfather, who tied him inside a poultry house for several months after his mother died.

Neighbors who learned about Jessie’s situation reported the matter to the police.

Subsequently, the Department of Social Welfare and Development took custody of the boy, but because it does not have facility for children suffering from mental incapacity, it turned him over to the Missionaries of the Poor (MOP) in Naga City.

Jessie, who was then four years old, was suffering from epilepsy. He communicated like a cock and ran with his arms spread like wings.

The boy used to go around in circles, chased and smelled things that he saw. When he laughed, he cackled like cock. He also avoided eye contact with people by covering his head with his arms.

For six years that the MOP patiently nurtured Jessie, they were able to discover how to free him from his mental state that isolated him from the real world.

The group provided him with unconditional commitment of helping him find the real world around him through the nurturing power of love.

It was a great achievement that after six years under the care of the missionaries, Jessie has overcome some of the issues that separated him from the environment around him.

So much have changed in Jesse’s life by the time he reached ten years old. He has become aware of the world around him and learned to discard the ways of the cock and follow simple instructions from the people providing care for him.

Saintly

Almost in saintly deed of charity, the MOP easily stands out in Naga as one of the very few entities that religiously uphold the rights and dignity of rejected, abandoned and disabled individuals of the society that no one wants to care.

It began its mission in the Philippines and in Naga in 1993 among the slum dwellers. That year alone, it took care of 110 individuals with varying mental and physical problems and disabilities.

The MOP finds fulfillment in caring for the physically and mentally challenged individuals, who have been abandoned by their families. Its core commitment and mission to the society is to bring dignity to the homeless, destitute and helpless individuals.

On October 17, 1997, the Vatican formally recognized MOP as a religious institution.

Its founder, a Jesuit priest named Fr. Richard Ryan Ho Lung, turned his back on a promising career in the academe and opted to live with the poorest of the poor in the ghettos of Jamaica.

Lung made the difficult decision of leaving the Society of Jesus, which he loved, and founded a religious community of men who dedicated their lives in the sole service to the human beings that no one wants to care and cannot take care of themselves.

He experienced firsthand what poverty is when he was still living with his family in Richmond, St. Mary, Jamaica.

The priest was born to a poor couple from Hong Kong on September 17, 1939.

He would openly share to fellow missionaries how several times he, his parents and three other siblings shared a cup of rice for a meal if only to survive in a day.

The poverty Lung experienced in gnawing and his parents could not decently provide for them their basic needs when he was growing up.

He was almost deprived of the material things normally needed to live a decent life. He has to bear great embarrassment in school and the neighborhood where he grew up because at times he has to wear tattered pants around which exposed his rear end to the elements and battered his ego.

Lung is described by his fellow missionaries as “somebody who had experience so much poverty but rejected a life of ease amid the opportunities that came in his prime.”

Vow of poverty

Fr. Lawrence Mendoza, head of the mission in Naga, revealed that all the priests and brothers of MOP practice the vow of poverty and a regimented life of practicing their brand of spirituality.

“All the priests and brothers own only three habits, two pants, four pairs of underwear and a pair of sandals each. We sleep in dormitories with small lockers, eat the same simple food, wash our clothes, clean our rooms, do manual labor and devote ourselves to prayer and meditation nine hours every day,” Mendoza said.

Ora et labora, or prayer and labor, is their routine from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.

They have no siesta; do not smoke, drink or gamble, or watch television. They are also not allowed to have personal bank accounts.

Unlike the secular ones, the missionary-priests provide for free marriage ceremonies, baptisms and blessings of the dead within the village where their center is located. In some instances, they pay for the church fees of unmarried couples to fulfill the sacrament or make coffins or bury the dead of poor families.

During Mass, which they celebrate at 10 a.m. on Sundays, the offertory ritual of passing around the offertory box is absent. They do not ask for money during the Mass, which some of their wards attend together with the villagers and program supporters.

Apostolic Center

For 22 years of missionary service, the priests and brothers of MOP have sheltered and cared for hundreds of persons at the Apostolate Center, which is the home of the homeless and the mentally, physically and terminally ill people in the compound of the Heart of Mercy, the mission center located in the middle of the community of urban poor families in Cararayan, Naga City.

They have cared for the terminally ill and permanently impaired individuals, who have no homes to go back to or identified relatives to locate, until their death. But for those wards whose families have been traced, they helped them reintegrate in their homes or origins if ever their families have been located once their situations improved.

At present 130 children and adults make their home here. They are fed, bathed, clothed, groomed, and given medication and therapeutic services by caregivers who are volunteers from the community and the missionaries comprising of 55 priests and brothers.

“We ensure that they live in the atmosphere congenial to the well-being that allows them to live in dignity and respect for each other,” Mendoza said.

The MOP takes in those who belong to the poorest of the poor, who are no longer able to support themselves and without families to give care to them or have been abandoned by them.

It cares for 30 children and a mix of adult and elderly, composing 50 women and 50 men suffering from mental and physical disabilities like cerebral palsy.

Need for donations

Mendoza said the MOP needs donations from kind-heart people and institutions to improve their work and services for these abandoned human beings whose dignity and humanity have to be bestowed on them given their conditions. Providing them with their daily food consumption entails at least one sack of rice a day.

He said the fund provided by their main institution in Jamaica is not always enough for them get through with their operations but they are grateful that there people who lend their support to their mission with their regular donations to the program.

With the successful operation here, the MOP has expanded its mission to Cebu City, Manila and outside the country in Indonesia and East Timor.

It is a gem, indeed, to find a tribe voluntarily caring for individuals who are considered liabilities of the society and thrashed by their families.(PNA) CTB/FGS/JME/CBD

Albay town cops bag 1 in buy-bust mission

LEGAZPI CITY, Oct. 22 (PNA) -- Joint elements of the Provincial Intelligence Bureau, Albay Provincial Police Office and Polangui Municipal Police Station arrested one Andres Sambitan in a buy-bust operation on Wednesday afternoon in Barangay Ponso, Polangui, Albay.

Sambitan was apprehended in Ponso, Polangui, Albay for violation of RA 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drug Act of 2002.

Led by Police Senior Insp. Jan King S. Calipay, the raiding team, in coordination with the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), also seized one heat-sealed transparent plastic sachet containing white crystalline substance suspected to be shabu, one PHP500 bill with serial number BB642347 as buy bust money, one Commando matchbox containing one heat-sealed transparent plastic sachet containing suspected shabu, one used transparent plastic sachet containing residue of suspected shabu, three strips of cut aluminum foil, one blue lighter with marking HONG original, and one blue C21 Cherry mobile cellular phone.

The inventory and markings of the seized items were made in the presence of the suspect; barangay chair Ma. Belen M. Sablaon; barangay councilors Wenifredo V. Mirasol, Conrado S. Sabater and Jose S. Moran; and media representative Elves L. Oliva. Sambitan and the seized drug items were brought to Regional Crime Laboratory Office 5 for laboratory examination, while appropriate case is now being prepared for filing in court against the suspect.(PNA) FFC/FGS/CBD

Team Albay readies for 14th humanitarian mission to 'Lando'-affected areas
By Nancy Ibo Mediavillo

LEGAZPI CITY, Oct. 22 (PNA) -- The Team Albay is now preparing for a humanitarian mission, its 14th such initiative, to areas hard hit by Typhoon "Lando", especially in the provinces of Nueva Ecija and Aurora, according to Dr. Cedric Daep, Albay Public Safety and Emergency Management Office (APSEMO) head.

Daep said the move is based on the directive of Governor Joey Sarte Salceda, who decided to cancel all activities being undertaken in the whole month of October in connection with his birthday celebration on Oct. 26.

Salceda believes that the celebration of his birthday will be more meaningful if the province will send a humanitarian mission in places seriously devastated by Lando.

The provincial chief executive said it gives joy to one's heart if one will be the instrument to lighten up the hardships being experienced by his fellowmen or be the channel of relief, blessing and encouragement.

Salceda also thanked the Almighty God for continuously sparing Albay from the pangs of danger brought by natural calamities and the flowing aid that the province of Albay has been receiving from the national government in times of need.

"Our province has been spared -- and, it is our duty to give back. We were not forsaken by the national government in moments that we were in need. Our province has been blessed from strength to strength and we must pay it forward. Thus, in lieu of the usual birthday celebrations, we have to extend our help to those who need it now," Salceda told Albayanos.

He appealed to those who are not part of the Team Albay humanitarian mission to continue tree planting, school feeding, film showing of Hen. Luna and the concert of A2C2 and Titser's Day Zumba.

In this connection, Daep said the APSEMO and the Office of Civil Defense-Bicol headed by Regional Director Raffy Alejandro have joint forces and are now finalizing details in connection with departure of the group anytime for the mission.

He said Team Albay met at 10 a.m. Thursday for the humanitarian activity. (PNA) CTB/FGS/NIM/CBD

9ID starts training 90 candidate soldiers
By John Mark Escandor

CAMP ELIAS ANGELES, Pili, Camarines Sur, Oct. 21 (PNA) -- After a rigid screening of hundreds of applicants for candidate soldiers, 90 new recruits took their oath for the Candidate Soldier Course Class 396-15 during a simple ceremony held at the 9th Infantry Division Grandstand on Tuesday with Brig. Gen. Ignacio A. Obligacion as keynote speaker.

The event signals the start of a four-month training for the new recruits under the 9th Division Training School.

The trainees will be molded to become soldiers with sufficient capability to defend the Constitution and democracy of the country, disciplined and with respect for the human rights of every Filipino.

The 90 new recruits were a product of five-month process of elimination from hundreds of applicants.

They passed the various stages of screening from registration and initial validation of supporting papers up to trade test, screening interview, physical fitness test, initial deliberation board interview, final PFT, hepatitis test and drug test, neuro psychological screening, medical and dental examinations, background investigation, final deliberation board and HPA validation.

The new recruits came from Camarines Sur, 20 percent; Camarines Norte, 8 percent; Albay, 20 percent; Sorsogon, 12 percent; Catanduanes, 4 percent; Masbate, 4 percent; and outside Bicol, 22 percent.

Nine percent of them are college graduates; 20 percent, college level; 30 percent, vocational graduates; and 31 percent, high school graduates.

The rigid screening was based on the objective of the 9ID to select only “the best and the smartest” among the applicants because they will be part of the mission for peace and development of the Bicol Region.

Obligacion said the new recruits are fortunate since they were chosen from hundreds of recruits but this does not mean that they are already full-fledged soldiers since they will still undergo a rigid training which requires strength and courage to become a member of the Philippine Army. (PNA) LAP/LOR/FGS/JME/CBD/EDS

DSWD-Bicol observes Juvenile Justice and Welfare Council Week
By Connie B. Destura

LEGAZPI CITY, Oct. 21 (PNA) -- The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD)-Bicol, through the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Council (JJWC), is celebrating the 4th Juvenile Justice and Welfare Consciousness Week on October 18-24.

The theme for this year is “Bata ay Gabayan, Batas sa Juvenile Justice Bigyan Daan!” which focuses on the continued efforts of government agencies, non-government agencies and other partners and stakeholders to protect the rights of the children in conflict with the law (CICL) and the children at risk (CAR) in ensuring a bright future for them.

President Benigno Aquino III issued Proclamation Number 459 declaring the fourth week of October of every year as the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Consciousness Week.

This coincides with the annual celebration of the National Children’s Month.

DSWD Regional Director Arnel Garcia said the state recognizes the need to mainstream awareness and consciousness of the Filipino people to emphasize the rights of every Filipino youth including the CAR and CICL.

Garcia said this year’s celebration aims to raise the awareness of the Bicolanos on the current issues, status and condition of the CICL and CAR with the help of the stakeholders and media partners.

The RJJWC believes that the mass media play an active role in the promotion of child rights and delinquency prevention by relaying consistent messages through a balance approach.

It hopes that every awareness-raising activity conducted, it is able to strengthen the commitment of each duty bearer to perform his function in ensuring that the rights of the children are being protected at all times. (PNA) LAP/FGS/CBD/EDS

DTI-5 holds fair on standards
By Connie B. Destura

LEGAZPI CITY, Oct. 21 (PNA) -- To draw consumers and business owners to the standards requirements based on Philippine National Standards (PNS) of various Department of Trade and Industry (DTI)-regulated products, the DTI-5 will have a “Standards Fair” on Oct. 21-23 at the 2F of Pacific Mall Extension.

The activity aims to encourage consumers to patronize quality products and to use innovative products that comply with standards.

The DTI-5 also discourages consumers to buy/use cheap and unsafe products for greater economic benefits.

On the part of the manufacturers, this will serve as a venue for them to provide quality products, increase product visibility and generate market leads.

Considering the frequent occurrence of typhoons and heavy rains, the wants to alert the consumers on the effects of the use of uncertified and unsafe products and the destruction that they could bring to people’s lives and properties.

Themed “Standard Products, Safe Products”, this activity is timely since product standards serve as a big factor in protecting the environment.

Fourteen Bicol and Manila based-companies will exhibit their products, which include polyvinyl chloride (PVC) pipes, roofing materials, lighting materials, solar panels, tires, black iron and galvanized iron (BI-GI) pipes, fire extinguishers, cement and other innovative products.

These products are guaranteed safe and certified, thereby protecting the environment and the public against unreasonable risks of injury.

Apart from the product exhibit, there will also be Standards seminars at 2 p.m. Oct. 21-23, which will be participated by hardware owners, engineering students, consumers, and contractors.

Opening of the fair will be at 1 p.m. Wednesday. (PNA) FFC/FGS/CBD

Albay wins 2015 Top Destination Award
By Nancy Ibo Mediavillo

LEGAZPI CITY, Oct. 21 (PNA) -- The province of Albay won the Top Destination Award in the category of Regions/States/Provinces, while the Thekkady, Kerala, India won the Top Destination Award in the category of Second and Third Tier Cities.

This was announced on Monday by Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) CEO Mario Hardy who said they found difficulty in choosing only two winners in the first-ever USD1-million PATA CEO Challenge.

“We received some excellent submissions from destinations both near and far. All the submissions had unique stories that every traveler should get to know and experience,” Hardy said.

He said the two winning submissions had the most authentic, culturally diverse, and innovative offerings but needed the most assistance in helping promote these assets.

The two winning entries will work with PATA CEO Challenge 2015 partner, TripAdvisor, to develop and create digital marketing campaigns to showcase their destination to a global audience, valued at USD 500,000 each.

The two winners will also receive other benefits including a complimentary pass to the PATA Annual Summit 2016 in Guam, USA on May 18 to 21, free stand space at PATA Travel Mart 2016 in Jakarta, Indonesia on Sept. 7 to 9 and extensive international brand exposure through a variety of well-established PATA communications channels.

The PATA CEO Challenge 2015 Top Destinations awards will be presented at the forthcoming PATA Aligned Advocacy Dinner in London on Nov. 2, in the presence of UNWTO Secretary General Taleb Rifai, as guest of honor, and other high-level dignitaries and senior executives from TripAdvisor.

A dedicated team at TripAdvisor will work with both winners in creating marketing campaigns designed to ensure that they are effectively utilizing the digital environment to encourage travelers to visit their destination.

The company will also support the winners by helping small and local hospitality businesses to get listed on TripAdvisor.

“As the world's largest travel site, we take great pride in promoting wonderful travel destinations to our global travel community.

"Working with PATA on the PATA CEO Challenge, we are very pleased to be supporting the two winning destinations -- Albay, Philippines and Thekkady, Kerala, India -- which both have fantastic tourism offerings that we will now work together on to showcase their story to the world," Martin Verdon-Roe, VP Global Display Sales, TripAdvisor, said.

The PATA CEO Challenge 2015, which attracted entries from a broad range of destinations, embraces the uniqueness and diversity of heritages, cultures, customs and natural beauty of many destinations in line with the theme of this year’s PATA Advocacy Dinner in London.

It aims to promote and enhance the number of visitors to emerging destinations (regions, states and provinces, and second-tier/third tier towns and cities), and to enhance tourism development in a sustainable manner. (PNA) LAP/LOR/FGS/NIM/CBD/EDS

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Police, PDEA operatives nab drug peddler in buy bust

NABUA, Camarines Sur, Oct. 21 (PNA) -- Joint operatives of the Nabua Municipal Police Station (MPS) led by Police Senior Insp. John Murray C. Cutaran, officer-in-charge, and Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency RO-5 on Monday arrested a suspected drug pusher in an anti-dangerous drug buy-bust operation at Zone 1, Barangay Bustrac here.

Caught was Louie B. Llanes, 33 and a resident of Zone 4, La Opinion, Nabua, Camarines Sur, after selling to a poseur-buyer one plastic sachet with white crystalline substance suspected to be “shabu.”

The law enforcers also confiscated two plastic sachets with suspected shabu and three pieces of PHP100 bills used as marked money.

They properly marked the seized pieces of evidence in the presence of the mandatory witnesses from the Department of Justice, media and barangay officials.

The Nabua MPS is now readying the appropriate charges for violation of RA 9165 or the "Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002” against the suspect.

The recovered pieces of evidence will be submitted to Camarines Sur Provincial Crime Laboratory Office, Naga City. (PNA) FFC/FGS/EMC/CBD

Fake NPA rebel nabbed for extortion in Albay

LEGAZPI CITY, Oct. 20 (PNA) -- Elements of the Legazpi City Police Station (LCPS) on Monday afternoon arrested a 54-year-old man who claimed to be a member of the New People's Army (NPA) and extorted money from another man.

Caught in an entrapment operation conducted at the Jollibee-Albay was Vicente Borromeo, a farmer and resident of Barangay Tabon-Tabon, Daraga, Albay.

Police Supt. Joselito Esico, LCPS chief, said Borromeo introduced himself as Ka Alfie to victim Arlan Lozano, a resident of Barangay 1, EM's Barrio, Legazpi City.

Esico said the suspect threatened to kill Lozano and his family if he would not yield to his demand for sum of money.

Lozano gave PHP20,000 to Borromeo last week but the latter was not contented and allegedly asked for PHP100,000, in exchange for the safety of Lozano's family.

The victim decided to ask the help of the police who immediately set up an entrapment operation headed by SPO1 Gerald Lladones.

Esico said a companion of Borromeo, a certain David Uy, was able to escape during the operation.

He said the suspect, who is not really a member of the NPA is now facing extortion raps. (PNA) FFC/BNB/FGS/EMC/CBD

DSWD launches skills training for 4Ps beneficiaries in Naga City
By Connie B. Destura

LEGAZPI CITY, Oct. 20 (PNA) -- The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD)-Bicol has intensified its assistance to beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) with its recent launching of and orientation on the livelihood skills training under its Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP) in Naga City.

Some 819 4Ps beneficiaries attended and actively participated in the event.

DSWD Director Arnel Garcia urged the beneficiaries to be serious in the training field they have chosen as this will be their stepping stone in gaining either open or self-employment, which will eventually help improve their family income.

He thanked the Naga City government headed by Mayor John Bongat for the support extended to the department’s effort to fight poverty through the implementation of the different anti-poverty programs like the 4Ps, SLP and Social Pension, among others.

Garcia also disclosed that the DSWD has transferred fund to the LGU of Naga in the amount of Php8.7 million to finance various livelihood skills training program such as organic piggery management cum meat processing, automotive servicing, welding, slaughtering services, household electronics, commercial cooking, dressmaking, candle making, hair dressing and nail care.

The DSWD, through the Project Development Officers, conducted the Participatory Livelihood Issue Analysis, a process which will help identify the skills interest or the training needs of the participant.

Each training participant will receive transportation and meal allowances in the amount of Php275 for the day's attendance. Starter kits will also be provided either at the start or end of the training but this will depend on the need or the kind of training undertaken.

The beneficiaries who have completed the training will either be referred for employment or to micro-enterprise.(PNA) LAP/FGS/CBD

Bicol cops bag 11 wanted persons on Monday

LEGAZPI CITY, Oct. 20 (PNA) -– Different units of the Philippine National Police (PNP) Bicol regional office arrested 11 persons on Monday alone, a report released by the office of Chief Supt. Augusto Marquez Jr., PNP Bicol regional director, said Tuesday.

Arrested were Allen V. Cariňo, Arthur B. Cao, Rodolfo P. Tena, Gary C. Comprado, Tomas S. Parumog, Gloria S. Banico, Raymart S. Banico, Christopher S. Avellana, Reynaldo D. Villanueva, Elmario M. Prado and Domingo C. Maraño Jr

Cariňo was apprehended in Barangay Sta. Cruz, Ligao City by virtue of a warrant of arrest (WOA) issued by Judge Annielyn B. Medes-Cabelis of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 12, Ligao City, dated Oct 6, 2015, for estafa docketed under CC Nos. 6638 and 6639 with PHP25,000 bail recommended each case.

Personnel of Tiwi Municipal Police Station (MPS) collared Cao in Barangay Tigbi, Tiwi, Albay on the strength of a WOA issued by Samuel A. Buendia, presiding judge of MCTC Tiwi-Malinao, Albay, docketed under CC No. M-5502 for attempted homicide with PHP12,000 bail recommended.

He was released from the custody of the Tiwi MPS after posting bail.

Tena, 75, cornered on Monday afternoon at Barangay Peñafrancia, Naga City, was accused of reckless imprudence resulting in homicide and ordered arrested by Nonna Oliva-Beltran, presiding judge of MTC Branch 1, 5th Judicial Region, Naga City, with PHP10,000 bail.

Comprado was collared, also on Monday afternoon, at Barangay Peñafrancia, Naga City for a pending case at the sala of Beltran with PHP5,000 bail recommended.

For violation of Sec. 77 of P.D. 705 docketed as CC No. T-2244 and by virtue of WOA issued by Judge Angela A. Arroyo, police handcuffed Parumog at Barangay Boclod, San Jose, Camarines Sur.

On Monday morning, police took in the two Banicos at Barangay San Ramon, Lupi, Camarines Sur for violation of Section 20 (f) and (a) of RA 7586 with PHP12,000 bail each.

Avellana and Villanueva were captured at Barangay 7, Mercedes, Camarines Norte on order of Judge Victoria C. Dino-Reyes of MTC Mercedes, Camarines Norte for violation of PD 1602 docketed under CC No. 15-5752.

Mercedes MPS officers arrested Prado in Barangay San Roque, Mercedes, Camarines Norte by virtue of a WOA issued by the same judge for violation of PD 1602.

Maraño was apprehended at Sitio Tabuan, Barangay Maulawin, Camarines Norte by Sta. Elena MPS members on order of Judge Roberto A. Escaro of RTC Branch 64-Labo, Camaraines Norte for two counts of rape in relation to RA 7610. (PNA) FFC/FGS/EMC/CBD

Vintage bomb found in BU construction site

LEGAZPI CITY, Oct. 20 (PNA) -- A 22-inch-long vintage bomb was recovered by construction workers inside the Bicol University (BU) main campus in Legazpi City.

Senior Supt. Marlo S. Meneses, Albay provincial police director, said that while the workers were digging at about 9 a.m., they unearthed the bomb, which at first they presumed to be a simple metal.

Immediately, the laborers temporarily stopped and reported the incident to the Explosives and Ordnance Division of the Albay Provincial Police Office.

Meneses believed that this bomb belonged to a Japanese warship during World War II.

The ongoing construction at the BU compound is part of the preparation of the province for hosting the Palarong Pambansa 2016. (PNA) FFC/FGS/AMM/CBD

Authorities save 2 missing brothers at sea off Albay town
By Connie B. Destura

LEGAZPI CITY, Oct. 20 (PNA) -- Joint personnel of the Bacacay Municipal Police Station (MPS), Philippine Coast Guard and Bureau of Fire Protection in Bacacay, Albay have saved two brothers who were earlier reported to have been seen floating at sea on Sunday morning.

The quick rescue operation conducted by the authorities eventually saved brothers Alberto, 29, and Alex, 13 -- both surnamed Bersabe.

The two brothers were earlier reported by their mother, Maria, to have been missing and seen floating in the sea off Barangay Cajogotan, Bacacay, Albay.

Investigation conducted by the Bacacay MPS said that at about 8 a.m. on Sunday, the victims sailed off using a small boat to look for their father Juan, who left their residence at about 5 a.m. Saturday to fish but failed to return home.

According to the brothers, their boat was smashed by big waves, causing it to sink.

They were able to hold on to its parts for them to float.

Fortunately, they were seen by Alex Adamos and immediately inform the victim’s family. (PNA) LAP/FGS/CBD

Raids in Masbate town yield shotgun, ammo, shabu

LEGAZPI CITY, Oct. 20 (PNA) -– Simultaneous implementation of five search warrants resulted in the arrest of two persons and seizure of a home-made shotgun, ammunition, drug and drug paraphernalia at Balud town in Masbate on Sunday, a police report released on Tuesday said.

Caught in the raids were Rodolfo G. Bulacan Jr., barangay secretary, and Diego A. Villaruel, a fisherman for violation of RA 9165 and RA 10591.

Lary B. Arollado, Michael Villaruel and Rudy Tizon eluded apprehension.

The Balud Municipal Police Station members first swooped down on the residence of Bulacan, No. 3 in the drug watchlist, in Barangay Pajo at about 5:30 a.m. by virtue of Search Warrant No. 2015-83 and confiscated one round can of Kankunis Herb Tea containing one improvised burner, one improvised water pipe, one improvised burner pan, one disposable lighter, two improvised tooters, one pair of scissors, one improvised tube, one small plastic sachet, one piece of used aluminum foil cut into strips, and several cuts of crumpled aluminum foil.

At about 6 a.m., the law enforcers search the residential house occupied by Villaruel in Barangay Danao by virtue of Search Warrant No: 2015-82, resulting in the confiscation of one home-made shotgun, one live ammunition of caliber .22, one live ammunition of caliber .38, 20 pieces of blasting cup, one live ammunition of 12-gauge shotgun, three live ammunition of caliber .38, eight knot-tied plastic containing ammonium nitrate; and one black bag.

A search on the residence of Arollado at about 8:30 a.m. at Barangay Pulanduta, resulted in the confiscation of four small heat-sealed plastic sachets containing suspected shabu, one medium size open plastic sachet, one empty plastic sachet containing shabu residue, one empty plastic bundle, one zip lock plastic containing improvised totter, one aluminum lighter, one steel small hammer, four cellphones and PHP3,000 cash in different denominations believed to be proceeds of illegal drug trade. The suspect was not present during the operation; so, the search and seizure operation was conducted in the presence of Arollado’s immediate family members and barangay officials.

Results were negative on the search at the residences of Villaruel and Tizon.

The search and seizure operation was done in accordance with law and in an orderly manner in the presence of the suspects and witnessed by village officials and media representatives. (PNA) FFC/FGS/EMC/CBD

10% of CamSur's listed voters without biometrics
By John Mark Escandor

NAGA CITY, Oct. 20 (PNA) -- With a little more than one week before the last day biometrics registration of voters, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) Camarines Sur provincial office on Tuesday said 10 percent of the 978,640 registered voters as of July 15 has yet to submit for biometrics; if not, there names will be deleted from the official voters’ list, according to its spokesperson in the province.

Comelec Camarines Sur spokesperson Alexander Marpuri appealed to the 93,225 registered voters in the 35 towns and two cities of the province to avail of the remaining days to register and let their biometrics taken to ensure that they could vote and not to be stricken out from the list of registered voters in the 2016 elections.

Marpuri said some 2,135 voters with incomplete biometrics are included among the voters without biometrics who failed to submit any of the requirements of submitting their fingerprints, specimen signature and photos captured by the Comelec machines.

He said blurred photos of voters are also considered incomplete biometrics.

Marpuri said that from Tuesday until Oct. 31, the Comelec offices are open until 8 p.m. from Monday to Sunday to allow as many registered voters to submit themselves for biometrics because there will be no time for extension.

He said the Comelec found the filing of the Certificates of Candidacies (COCs) to be peaceful even though some “minute” problems were encountered like missing documentary science stamps and failing to renounce foreign citizenship of some of those who filed their COCs.

He also announced that the new voting machines to be used had been an upgrade of the Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) which are now being repaired for use in the next election after the 2016 elections.

Marpuri said the major difference of the PCOS machines and the new voting machines are that the new ones are installed with screen that allows voters to see who they have voted upon when the ballots are feed into the new voting machines.

He said both PCOS and the new voting machines use the same optical-mark-reader technology.

Lawyer Maico Julia, Comelec officer of Naga City, also reiterated that there is no pre-mature campaigning for as long as the candidates are not yet officially declared.

Julia said the official declaration of the candidates falls on Feb. 9, 2016 for national positions and March 25 for local positions.

He said infomercials of those who have filed their COCs are not considered premature campaigning even as those infomercials promote a certain candidate but said the expenses on them will be added in the campaign expenses with standard of PHP1.50 per voter.

Julia reminded that the substitution of candidate is allowed by party on or before Dec. 10 and beyond that date substitution will only be allowed to those with the same surnames.(PNA) FFC/FGS/JME/CBD

307 police recruits take oath in Legazpi City
By Connie B. Destura

CAMP GEN. SIMEON A. OLA, Legazpi City, Oct. 20 (PNA) -– A total of 307 police recruits took their oath of office in front of the men and women of Police Regional Office 5 at the parade ground of this camp on Tuesday.

Police Chief Supt. Augusto Morales Marquez, Jr., Bicol police director, administered the oath taking of the recruits composed of 77 females and 230 males.

The new police officers were chosen after a stringent screening process was conducted.

"As you enter the portals of the Regional Training Center 5 to take the Public Safety Basic Recruit Course, you are just taking the first step towards becoming a public servant and the beginning of a long, arduous journey towards your respective careers,” Marquez said.

"You are now in the corps of the men and women whose mandate and solemn duty is to enforce the law and to serve and protect humanity.”

Marquez also encouraged everyone to finish their Public Safety Basic Recruit Course and never to quit, which was answered by a resounding “Yes” from the 307 police recruits.

After the oath-taking, the new police officers were properly turned over to the officials of the training center to undergo their one-year training.

There was also MOA signing between the Police Regional Office 5 and Southeast Occupational Health and Environmental Safety Service Inc. (SOHESSI) represented by Dr. Orlando B. Braga as president.

The agreement states that the industrial clinic will provide 15-percent discount on its in-house medical services and 10-percent discount for dependents of the uniformed and non-uniformed personnel of Police Regional Office 5.

The SOHESSI Industrial Clinic is a health care facility authorized by the Department of Health, Department of Labor and Employment and other authorized governmental regulatory agencies.

The facility is equipped and has the capacity to perform physical examinations, diagnostic laboratory procedures, digital radiology, ultrasound (3D and 4D), immunization, occupational health and safety services, dental services, optical services, pulmonary function test, drug screening, HIV screening and audiometric screening.(PNA) LAP/LOR/FGS/CBD

Bicol top cop asks parents to be on alert while walking along highway with children

LEGAZPI CITY, Oct. 20 (PNA) -– The top police official of Bicol has warned parents to be extra watchful on their children who are with them while walking along a national road or highway.

Chief Supt. Augusto Marquez Jr., Philippine National Police Bicol regional director, issued the warning after a seven-year-old girl suddenly crossed the road without looking on both sides of the highway, resulted in her being bumped by a coming motorcycle in Purok 6, Barangay San Isidro, Castilla, Sorsogon at 6:45 a.m. Monday.

Victim Joanna Mae J. Bitancur, a Grade 2 pupil, was walking on her way to school with her mother, Julie, at the side of the Maharlika Highway, when she decided to cross the street.

Bitancur was rushed to the Vicente Peralta Memorial Hospital but was declared dead on arrival by the attending physician.

Driver Gerald L. Zepeda, who came from Barangay La Union and was bound for Barangay San Rafael, both in Castilla, immediately left the place to avoid arrest but later on was identified by responding police personnel.

Zepeda was also injured and brought to the hospital for treatment.

He was not able to present a driver’s license nor his motorcycle’s CR/OR. (PNA) LAP/FGS/EMC/CBD

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Smart provides free calls, charging stations to Lando’-affected areas
By Azer N. Parrocha

MANILA, Oct 19 (PNA) -- Telco giant and PLDT mobile subsidiary Smart Communications (Smart) on Monday announced that it has deployed free call and charging stations to areas hit by typhoon ‘Lando.’

Smart said that this was part of the company’s efforts to provide relief to the communities affected by the powerful storm.

‘Libreng Tawag’ services are ongoing at Calanasan Terminal (Centro 3, Claveria) and Barangay Hall (Centro 10, Tuguegarao City) in Cagayan; San Vicente Barangay Hall in Ilagan, Isabela; and at the evacuation center located at the office of the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council in Lagawe, Ifugao.

Telecoms Sans Frontieres, the leading international NGO specializing in emergency telecommunications, has also volunteered and is on standby to offer free calls in partnership with Smart.

To facilitate faster coordination of relief efforts, Smart also provided satellite phones to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

Smart has also made available free charging of mobile phone batteries in the following cell sites in Nueva Ecija: Brgy. San Roque, San Jose City, Munoz; Brgy. Bantug, Munoz; Brgy. Baloc, Sto. Domingo, Baloc; Brgy. Pulog Buli, Sto. Domingo; Brgy. Poblacion (behind municipal hall), Talavera; Poblacion North, Lupao; Poblacion Centro, Pantabangan; Brgy. Sinipit (behind municipal hall), Bongabon due to lack of power supply.

Charging services were also set up in Marcos Village (beside Iglesia ni Cristo), Siclong, Laur; Brgy. Paltik, Dingalan; Gabaldon town proper and Neust Compound; Cabu, Cabanatuan; Bangad, Cabanatuan; Aliaga Poblacion; Brgy. Mambangan, Quezon, San Leonardo; Cuyapo Poblacion, San Leonardo; Saranay Disctrict, Guimba; Penaranda Poblacion; San Vicente, Gapan; P Carmen St., San Isidro 1; Brgy. San Fernando, Cabaiao; Brgy. San Roque, Cabaiao; Gapan, Balwarte; Brgy. Concepcion, General Tinio; and Agbanawag, Llanera.

Smart subscribers can help provide vital information and report on-ground situation in their respective areas for free by sending RELIEFPH or RESCUEPH to 2929.

Smart Public Affairs Group Head Ramon Isberto meanwhile assured subscribers that service will continue since there was only minimal damage to the telco’s wireless network.

“There was minimal damage to our wireless network brought about by typhoon Lando. However, services in affected areas may be intermittent due to massive loss of commercial power,” Isberto said. (PNA) RMA/ANP

Sorsogon town cops nab murder suspect in Batangas village

LEGAZPI CITY, Oct. 19 (PNA) -– A resident of Pilar town in Sorsogon wanted for two counts of murder by Legazpi City and Sorsogon City courts was arrested by joint elements of the Pilar Municipal Police Station (MPS) and the Rosario MPS at Barangay Calongan, Rosario, Batangas at about 9 p.m. Saturday.

A police report released Monday by the office of Chief Supt. Augusto Marquez Jr., Philippine National Police Bicol regional director, identified the suspect as Jonel A. Lita, 25.

The police apprehended Lita on the strength of warrants of arrest issued by Judge Edgar Armes of the Fifth Judicial Region, Regional Trial Court Branch 4, Legazpi City for murder under C. C. No. 12340 and Judge Boanerges Candolea of RTC Fifth Judicial Region, Branch 35, Sorsogon City, also for murder under C.C. No. 2007-7080.

Lita is now under the custody of the Pilar MPS. (PNA) FFC/FGS/EMC/CBD