Ombudsman Morales sacks Mayor Gaite

Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales has ordered the dismissal of town mayor Melquiades Gaite from office, due to the allegedly anomalous lease contract agreement for the lease of the public market.

NEDA OKs 5 multi-million projects for Bicol

At least 5 big-ticket projects in the Bicol region are part of the 55 flagship projects that the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) aims to complete or break ground by 2022.

Drink responsibly

Ano an pag-inom kan nakakaburat na inumon (alcoholic beverages) maraot o kasalan?

Boarding house sa Naga, target kan mga mahabon

Pinatanidan kan pulis an estudiante asin residentes digdi na dai imaging aliwalas sa saindang mga gamit sa tahaw na nagkapira nang incidente nin harabonan na an mayor na victima iyo an mga boarding houses.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

RAWITDAWIT: Harubay sa Dagat ni Estelito Jacob


HARUBAY SA DAGAT
ni Estelito Jacob

Sabay-sabay tang linangoy an dagat
alagad tulos kitang pinulikat.
Sa tubig kun saen may garong burabod,
naghadit an kahaditan sa nalulukot na alon.
Siring pa man, gantad pa man giraray
kitang naghawas sa nanunulod na tubig
dawa ini sarong pag-agwanta nin pangaturugan,
Pagmati ta, nakagamugam kita nin mapa
huli ta nakanumpong tulos kita nin bagong dagat.
Gurapay man, nagkalag-kalag kita nin bagong isla.
Alagad, daing barko an ngunyan namarapara.
Sulamente, an saldang na padagos na nagpupula,
nagsusulnop sa satong kairaruman mantang
winawalat an nagrurumarom tang liwanag.

Nobyembre 7, 2014
9:25 n.b.
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New priests ordained in Archdiocese of Caceres



NAGA CITY—Four deacons were raised to the Order of Priesthood at 8 a.m. at the Basilic Minore here. They are Rev. Sanny DC. Apin of of Mater Salutis Parish, Cararayan, Naga City, Rev. Alfeo E. Catura of St. Anne Parish, Magarao, Camarines Sur, Rev. Angel Paul Corre of St. Anthony of Padua Parish, Presentacion, Camarines Sur, and Rev. Anthon A. Valencia of St. Michael the Archangel Parish, Caramoan, Camarines Sur.

Earlier this month, Rev. Serafin F. Amaro was ordained in Garchitorena, Sacred Heart Parish, while on June 21, Rev. Alfredo M. Tuyay will be ordained at Holy Family Parish, San Juan, Bato, Camarines Sur.

"Let us pray for their perseverance and for them to live up their obligations and responsibilities as Christ’s chosen ministers," Fr. Louie Occiano, head of Caceres Commission on Communications under the Archdiocese of Caceres said.—BICOLSTANDARD.COM


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LOOK: Chinese acrobats, wushu experts give heart-stopping show

Chinese acrobats and wushu experts from the People's Republic of China offer an enthralling performance on the celebration of 40 years of diplomatic relations between the Philippines and China at JMR Coliseum in Naga City. (Photos via Mayor John Bongat)






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Man extorts ex-girlfriend over nude Facebook photos

PILI, Camarines Sur—A 22-year-old man from Barangay Del Rosario, this town, was arrested here on June 10 after allegedly extorting from his ex-girlfriend money over her nude photos uploaded on her Facebook account.

Stock photo of woman from Pixabay

The suspect, identified as Francis Robert Luzon of Barangay Del Rosario, this town, posted nude photos of his 23-year-old ex-girlfriend using her own Facebook account, to which he had access.

He then threatened to post more photos if she failed to give him P1,000, intel operatives of the Pili Municipal Police Station said.

In an entrapment operation and with the use of marked money, the operatives collared the suspect.

Luzon is now facing a complaint for robbery extortion and violation of Republic Act 9262 (Anti-Violence Against Women and Their Children Act). He is now under the custody of the Pili Municipal Police Station.—BICOLSTANDARD.COM
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BSP brings demonetization info drive to Catanduanes

VIRAC, Catanduanes—The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) held an information drive in this island-province in an effort to make the locals understand the process of replacing the old peso bills, dubbed as New Design Series (NDS) with the New Generation Currency (NGC).

BSP brings demonetization info drive to Catanduanes 
The demonetization process is in line with the provisions of Section 57 of the New Central Bank Act authorizing BSP to replace currency designs that are more than five years old.

A team from the BSP branch in Legazpi City held a briefing before personnel of various banks during an excursion of Catanduanes Bankers Association at Amenia Beach Resort, Virac last April 26.

The following day, the team briefed some local media practitioners.

Before the briefings, the team also gave lessons on earning, spending and saving for the beneficiaries of Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, the government’s conditional cash transfer to poor families, in 11 towns of Catanduanes.

Team leader Cynthia Ariola, the BSP currency operations division assistant manager for Legazpi, said the demonetization process of the NDS started on January 1.

The NDS banknotes have been in circulation for three decades now. Ariola said that after the demonetization process, only a single currency will be in circulation—the NGC, which was first issued in 2010.

Following are the salient points of the BSP advisory:

1) The public may continue to use the NDS banknotes up to Dec. 31, 2015 in paying and buying goods and services and other business or financial transactions requiring the use of cash. Thereafter, the NDS banknotes will no longer be accepted for payment transactions;

2) From Jan. 1, 2015 to Dec. 31, 2016, the public may exchange with authorized financial institutions their NDS banknotes with the NGC series at full face value without charge. The public may also opt to exchange NDS banknotes with the BSP or any of its regional branches;

3) Government institutions holding in trust NDS series which could not be exchanged during the prescribed period, such banknotes used as evidence in a litigation case, will have to request the BSP cash department in writing, within the period of exchange, for a special exchange arrangement;

4) For Filipinos abroad who have in their possession NDS banknotes which could not be exchanged within the prescribed period, they may register online starting Oct. 1, 2016 to Dec. 31, 2016 through the BSP website. These NDS banknotes may be exchanged with the BSP within one year from date of registration; and

5) Starting Jan. 1, 2017, NDS banknotes that have not been exchanged shall no longer have any monetary value, and are considered demonetized.

Ariola was accompanied by BSP researchers Sharon Moyano and Paulette Gay Santiago. (PIA)



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DOH-Bicol launches HI-5 to reach Millennium Development Goals

LEGAZPI CITY—In a bid to achieve the Millennium Development Goals on the improvement of maternal health, reduction of child mortality, and the combat against HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases, the Department of Health Regional Office in Bicol launched the launching the Kalusugang Pangkalahatan(KP) Universal Health Care High Impact Five in this region.

DOH Hi-5 Summit in Albay
Photo via Mayor Ann Gemma Ongjoco

The HI-5 Summit serves as the starting ground in boosting the agency’s campaigns on said health concerns. It plans to provide people improved access to health care services and ensure that these services will be utilized and enjoyed especially by those who belong under the National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction (NHTS-PR) and to those who live in far-flung communities.

During the summit and caravan, health information was provided to the stakeholders, especially to pregnant and lactating women here.

The Summit’s highlights were an orientation-lecture on the KP Roadmap and the HI-5 interventions, presentation of the Regional HI-5 implementation plan, media briefing and signing of Pledge of Commitment.

HI-5 aims to produce the greatest improvement in health outcomes and the highest impact on the priority, vulnerable population within the next 15 months, according to the DOH. (BICOLSTANDARD.COM)
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Friday, June 12, 2015

Naga City celebrates Aldaw nin Katalingkasan 2015








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Naga City activists call for 'genuine independence'

NAGA CITY—Militant groups marched from Bicol Central Station to Plaza Quince Martires on the 117th celebration of Aldaw nin Katalingkasan seeking what they called "genuine independence."

Activists in Naga City call for genuine independence on Aldaw nin Katalingkasan
(Photo by Oscar Esmenda/BICOLSTANDARD.COM)

Carrying streamers blasting China's threats to Philippine sovereignty in the West Philippine Sea, as well as opposing economic charter change, among others, the activists said the nation will not enjoy true independence while it remains shackled by social injustice.

Among those who attended the march was Em Mijares, the student who was arrested exactly a year ago after heckling President Benigno Aquino III as the chief executive was delivering his Independence Day speech.

Mijares is a member of groups Youth ACT Now! and Kabataan.

Meantime, at Plaza Quince Martires, the Naga City local government, joined by the local police and civilians held the annual Independence Day rites. (With report and photos by Oscar Esmenda/BICOLSTANDARD.COM)


Activists in Naga City call for genuine independence on Aldaw nin Katalingkasan
(Photo by Oscar Esmenda/BICOLSTANDARD.COM) 

Activists in Naga City call for genuine independence on Aldaw nin Katalingkasan
(Photo by Oscar Esmenda/BICOLSTANDARD.COM)


Activists in Naga City call for genuine independence on Aldaw nin Katalingkasan
(Photo by Oscar Esmenda/BICOLSTANDARD.COM)

Activists in Naga City call for genuine independence on Aldaw nin Katalingkasan
(Photo by Oscar Esmenda/BICOLSTANDARD.COM)

Activists in Naga City call for genuine independence on Aldaw nin Katalingkasan
(Photo by Oscar Esmenda/BICOLSTANDARD.COM)

Activists in Naga City call for genuine independence on Aldaw nin Katalingkasan
(Photo by Oscar Esmenda/BICOLSTANDARD.COM)

Activists in Naga City call for genuine independence on Aldaw nin Katalingkasan
(Photo by Oscar Esmenda/BICOLSTANDARD.COM)



Activists in Naga City call for genuine independence on Aldaw nin Katalingkasan
(Photo by Oscar Esmenda/BICOLSTANDARD.COM)


Activists in Naga City call for genuine independence on Aldaw nin Katalingkasan
(Photo by Oscar Esmenda/BICOLSTANDARD.COM)

Activists in Naga City call for genuine independence on Aldaw nin Katalingkasan
(Photo by Oscar Esmenda/BICOLSTANDARD.COM)

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Thursday, June 11, 2015

Albay ready for Araw ng Kalayaan 2015

Flags are displayed prominently in government offices in the Province of Albay in celebration of Araw ng Kalayaan 2015. (Photos: Johncel Seva via Gov. Joey Salceda)





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Sorsogon Rep. Ramos pushes for ban of labor contracting

MANILA—Rep. Deogracias B. Ramos, Jr. of the 2nd District of Sorsogon co-authored a bill declaring that all employees are deemed regular after a period of six months from the first day of their employment.

Rep. Deogracias B. Ramos, Jr. 

Under House Bill 5806 co-authored by Rep. Karlo Alexei B. Nograles of Davao City, a probationary employee shall automatically become a regular employee after meeting the standards stipulated in the written contract of probationary employment.

The bill seeks to amend Articles 279, 280 and 281 of Presidential Decree No. 442, otherwise known as the Labor Code of the Philippines.

End-of-contract workers or “endos” refers to short-term and unprotected temporary work arrangements and are bound by a five-month timeframe so that companies will not make them regular employees after six months under the Labor Code.

“The job description and qualification standards of a worker to qualify for regular employment shall be in a written contract and made known by the employer to the employee at the time of his or her engagement,” said Ramos, chairperson of the House Committee on Bicol Recovery and Economic Development.

Under the bill, those under industry-specific work arrangement as may be determined by the Department of Labor and Employment through tripartite approval are also not considered regular employees, unless there is a written contract of employment of not less than six months but not more than one year specifying the rights, terms and conditions of employment not lower than the minimum standards set by laws or regulations. (PNA)
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Albayano luxury sportscar owner faces tax evasion charge

LEGAZPI CITY—A luxury sportscar owner from Sto. Domingo, Albay is facing a complaint from the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) for tax evasion.

Ferrari stock image via Pixabay


Rex Pepito Cortez purchased a Ferrari sportscar in December 2013 for P15.41 million. In March 2014 he sold the car for P33 million to a certain James Tiu.

Cortez, the BIR said, failed to file an income tax return for taxable years 2013 and 2014 despite the sale of the vehicle.

He has furthermore no records of income and value added taxes for taxable years 2007 to 2014.

According to BIR records, Cortez is an employee and not a registered business taxpayer.

BIR said he has tax deficiencies of  P8.38 million for taxable year 2013 and P8.5 million for taxable year 2014.—BICOLSTANDARD.COM

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Legazpi tops tax collection among Bicol cities

LEGAZPI CITY—With its remarkable increase in tax collection, the City Treasurer’s Office pushed this city to No. 1 position among all cities throughout the Bicol Region in terms of efficient collection of local revenues in 2014.

Legazpi tops tax collection among Bicol cities

City Treasurer Carmelita P. De Guzman received a certificate of recognition from Florencio C. Dino II, officer-in-charge (OIC)-Bicol regional director of the Bureau of Local Government Finance (BLGF), during the recent 2nd Quarter Regional Conference of Bicol Treasurers and Assessors here.

The recognition was based on the target in local revenues that include real property and business taxes and other fees and charges.

De Guzman said her target in 2014 real property taxes was Php71.07 million but the CTO collected Php108.16 million, with an increase of 152.2 percent.

Her target in business taxes and other fees and charges, she said, was Php159.06 million but her office posted Php177.36 million, with an improvement of 111.5 percent.

The city treasurer disclosed that for the past years, the city government of Legazpi was always number one in realty tax collection and number two in business taxes but the evaluated result conducted by the BLFG’s evaluating team in 2014 of tax collection performance of all the local government units in Bicol, gave Legazpi the top rank in both business and real property taxes.

The city’s improvement in tax collection was the result of the aggressive implementation of its tax campaign wherein all the business establishments operating in this city was informed by the CTO about their delinquency.

De Guzman said she urged these businesses to declare the true proceeds or income of their businesses.

She said the business one-stop shop licensing scheme by the city’s Business, Permits and Licensing Office (BPLO) also helped in the increased business tax collections from the owners of the establishments by reducing the steps and made the processing of business clearances and permits easier.

All the collected taxes by the CTO will be used for salary and wages of the employees, economic services and the implementation of programs and projects of the city administration, she added.

De Guzman revealed that another factor for the city’s tax efficiency was the effective implementation of Geographical Information System (GIS) that produces thematic layers for planning as well as the identification of delinquent taxpayers and business operations.

The city has also adopted the enhanced Tax Revenue Assessment and Collection System (ETRACS) which is an automated assessment of taxes and other business fees and charges, she added.

These two highly technical systems are operating under the Boosting Legazpi through Land Information for Advancement Sustainability and Transparency (BLAST) project of the city government managed by the offices of City Planning and Development, Assessor and Treasurer to identify whether the real property is delinquent or not.

It also monitors the business establishments operating in this city, De Guzman said.

The ETRACS and GIS materialized through a Php4.5-million grant given by the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) to the city government of Legazpi.

These two technical systems were assisted by the AusAID under the Land Administration and Management Project.

Another three giant corporations are expected to operate in this city next year -- the Ayala Corp., Yashano and Gregorian Malls.

“These three businesses will give us much improved tax collection because they will pay to the city administration their real property taxes and they are also oblige to settle their business permits and other clearances before the operation of their businesses,” De Guzman.(PNA)
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Gov't allots Php9M for feasibility study on Masbate airport relocation

MASBATE CITY—The national government has approved a Php9-million funding for the conduct of a feasibility study on the relocation of the Masbate airport to Barangay Cayabon, Milagros town.

Masbate Acting Vice Governor Kaye Revil
Acting Vice Governor Kaye Revil on Wednesday said the funding was announced during the Bicol Regional Development Council (RDC) meeting held at the National Economic Development Authority regional office on Friday.

The council, Revil said, initiated the relocation of the old airport from Masbate City to the town of Milagros while the Department of Transportation and Communications will prepare the feasibility study.

She said the proposed new airport is envisioned to have better facilities.

Revil said the RDC is interested to hold its next meeting in Masbate and that she expressed willingness to host it. —by Norman B. Tamar, PNA
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Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Motion to dismiss cases vs Veloso recruiters submitted for resolution

STO. DOMINGO, Nueva Ecija—The urgent motion to quash information and warrant of arrest filed by the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) which aims to free the alleged recruiters of death convict Mary Jane Veloso, was submitted for resolution after a lengthy oral argument at the Regional Trial Court Branch 37 here on Tuesday.

Maria Cristina Sergio / Mary Christine Gulles Pasadilla
Screengrab from ABS-CBN News on Youtube

Lawyer Preside Rueda-Acosta, PAO chief, said it is the prerogative of Judge Nelson Tribiana when to make the ruling.

A judge, Acosta said, usually has 90 days to make such resolution.

“It depends on Judge Tribiana when he is going to resolve the case,” Acosta said.

Assistant state prosecutor Mark Roland Estepa also said that “it is actually the judge's prerogative.”

Acosta led the defense while Estepa led the prosecution in the oral argument over the PAO motion in connection with Criminal Case no. SD (15)-3666 against Veloso’s alleged recruiters couple Ma. Cristina Sergio and Julius Lacanilao before the sala of Judge Nelson Tribiana.

In an interview after the hearing, Acosta maintained the charges and the arrest should be quashed altogether.

“We told that there is no offense. The elements of illegal recruitment are not in the information charge” Acosta said, saying that section 6 of the Illegal Recruitment Act provides the alleged victim should have paid the supposed illegal recruiter.

Acosta said the case may set a dangerous precedent.

She said that the case should also be dismissed because of the alleged illegal arrest of Sergio and Lacanilao.

Maritess Laurente-Veloso, Veloso’s elders sister, expressed dismay over the PAO taking defense of the accused.

“I am dismayed with the PAO. They should be the one defending the aggrieved party. But the way I saw it, the PAO defends those who are the ones that are aggrieving,” Laurente said.

She said Estepa has effectively explained before the court that illegal recruitment may happen even without payment of any fee.

“Prosecutor Estepa explained that even a promise can be considered as illegal recruitment,” she said.

Estepa did not elaborate during the interview.

But in his written opposition, Estepa said Sergio and Lacanilao, in filing the motion to quash, “Want(s) to have their cake, and eat it too.”

“While both accused persistently denied the jurisdiction of the Honorable Court over their persons, they asked for reliefs that cannot be given without the latter’s exercise of the same,” he said in his opposition.

Lacanilao, a resident of Esguerra District, Talavera, Nueva Ecija while Sergio who lives with him, was a native of Bicol.

They are now incarcerated at the Nueva Ecija provincial jail. (PNA)
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Comelec Cam Sur, nagpagiromdom sa mga dae pa nin biometrics

CIUDAD NIN NAGA—Nagpagiromdom si Commission on Elections (Comelec) Camarines Sur spokesperson Alex Marpuri na an mga dai nin biometrics, dai makakaboto sa maabot na pirilian.

Comelec Camarines Sur spokesperson Alex Marpuri
“Dai po makakaboto an sarong botante maski dai siya nagfafaltar magboto sa mga nakaaging eleksyon kun mayo sinda nin biometrics o dai pa naretrato kan Comelec,” sabi ni Marpuri.

Ini an rason suboot kun tano padagos an saindang pagconducir nin satellite registration sa mga barangay tanganing iencaminar an mga dai pa nin biometrics na magparehistro na.

Nanotaran kaya ninda na mas dakula an pinag-aapod na registration turnout pag sinda mismo an minadulok sa mga tawo, en vez na pag naghahalat sana sinda sa saindang oficina.

Segun ki Marpuri, an satellite registration sa mga barangay madurar hanggang sa bulan nin Julio, mantang an registration sa oficina hanggang na sana sa fecha 31 kan Octubre.

Dinagdag pa kan spokesperson na dai ngani maabot nin 5 minutos an proseso kan pagparehistro ngonian. Kabali na digdi an pagkua nin retrato asin fingerprint.

Alagad, kun mahalat pa an botante sa Octubre, pwedeng abuton nin 5 oras hanggang sa sarong aldaw an proseso.—Report ni Oscar Esmenda/BICOLSTANDARD.COM
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PDEA guard arrested in drug den

TABACO CITY—The employee of the  Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) who was arrested in a drug den on Sunday morning remains temporarily detained pending the issuance of a commitment order from the court.

Shabu file photo
BICOLSTANDARD.COM
George Burac Bariso, 40 years old, who introduced himself as PDEA Prison Guard II, was discovered in the residence of Mervin Carael Rolda and Clarence Carael at P-6, Brgy. Sto. Cristo, Tabaco City when joint elements of the Tabaco police, Regional Intelligence Unit, and the Albay Philippine Public Safety College implemented a search warrant issued by Judge Alben C. Rabe.

Present at the residence, the police said, were Bariso and Eric Adina Matias, 39 years old.

The operatives seized from their possession six plastic sachets containing a substance suspected to be shabu, a caliber .38 revolver with live ammunition, drug paraphernalia, and other non-drug items.

These resulted in the arrest of Bariso and Matias.

The search, inventory, and marking of seized items were made in the presence of the suspects, along with Brgy. Chairman Roderick Martirez, Brgy. Councilor Francia Salad and media representative Rodel Balingbing.

The suspects were charged with a complaint the violation of sections 11 and 12 of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.

Bariso is also facing a complaint for illegal possession of firearms.

Meantime, the owners of the residence were directed to submit a counter-affidavit.—BICOLSTANDARD.COM Pirming enot. Pirming bago.
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Alleged big time Rinconada shabu supplier nabbed in Nabua

NABUA, Camarines Sur – After months of surveillance operation, one of the suspects allegedly involved in the regular distribution of prohibited drugs in the Rinconada area was collared by authorities here.
Nabua, Camarines Sur
The suspect, identified as Marciana Gutierez y Romanillos, 42 years old, single of Barangay Malinta, Valenzuela City was collared the the the police operatives in a buy bust operation, here.

Leading the arrest were joint elements of the Provincial Intelligence Section of the Camarines Sur Provincial Police Office, led by Supt. Ferdinand Sabanal Raymundo, Insp. Edgardo Sales, and Sr. Insp. John Murray C. Cutaran of the Nabua Municipal Police Station.

Gutierez, the police said, was apprehended while selling one large size heat-sealed transparent sachet containing a white crystalline substance believed to be shabu to a poseur buyer, PO3 Larry B. Villafuerte together with a confidential asset.

It was revealed that Villafuerte and the asset used a bundle of boodle money amounting to P40,000.

Meanwhile, during the search incidental to the lawful arrest, the operatives have also found in the suspect's bag three pieces of large sachet containing a crystalline substance also believed to be shabu.

Also confiscated during the search were two cellular phones.

The marking and inventory was done at the place of the transaction in Barangay Paloyon Proper, Nabua, Camarines Sur.

It was witnessed by DOJ representative Ramon B. Nagrampa, barangay official Noriel F. Morillo and media representative Pio Mar Ramos of DWEB-FM.

The intelligence community here believes that the suspect is part of the syndicate that operates not only in the Rinconada Area, but also outside it, including in Naga City

The recovered white crystalline materials has been brought to the Crime Laboratory Office for examination, the police said.

An insider said the suspect's supply of drugs comes from the the National Bilibid Prison.—BICOLSTANDARD.COM Pirming enot. Pirming bago.
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Ligao City leads efforts toward conservation of Albay west coast marine ecology

LIGAO CITY—The celebration here on Monday of the World Oceans Day has given birth to a broad coalition of stakeholders that vowed to work for the conservation of the rich Albay west coast marine ecosystem.

Military and civilian communities join forces during a coastal clean-up activity on World Oceans Day celebration in Barangay Cabarian, Ligao City, Albay. (by Danny O. Calleja, PNA)
Led by City Mayor Patricia Gonzalez-Alsua, the union involves among others the city government of the municipality of Pioduran, office of Albay third congressional district Rep. Fernando Gonzalez, Philippine National Police (PNP) regional unit for Bicol, the Philippine Army (PA) local command, Greenpeace and barangay communities.

Also part of it are the regional offices of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) and Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) based in Pili, Camaerines Sur and Legazpi City respectively.

“We also expect the municipalities of Libon and Oas that apart from this city and Pioduran towns also cover some barangays along the west coast to join us later in this united front that aims not only to put an end to illegal fishing and another abusive use of our marine resources but also to further revitalize the local coastal environment,” Alsua on Tuesday said.

The formation of the coalition, a brainchild of Gonzalez, was formalized during last Saturday’s gathering in Barangay Cabarian here which served as a pre-World Oceans Day celebration activity where heads and representatives of the agencies and local government units (LGUs) involved expressed their commitments to its cause.

Mayor Patricia Gonzalez-Alsua on World Oceans Day in Ligao City
(PNA)
World Oceans Day is an occasion designated by the United Nations General Assembly every 8th of June each year is “a way to celebrate our personal connection to the sea, as well as to raise awareness about the crucial role the ocean plays in our lives and the important ways people can help protect it,” Greenpeace Southeast Asia Ocean Campaigner Vince Cinches said.

Greenpeace an independent global campaigning organization that among other environmental activism, challenges wasteful and destructive fishing activities and creating a global network of marine reserves, spearheaded the local celebration themed this year-- “Healthy Oceans, Healthy Planet”.

“It is unfortunate however that as we celebrate today, human pressures, including overexploitation, illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, as well as unsustainable aquaculture practices, marine pollution, habitat destruction, climate change and ocean acidification are taking a significant toll on the world’s oceans and seas,” Cinches said.

Nonetheless, he said the celebration is among others, to remind everyone of the ocean remains the lungs of the Earth, providing most of the oxygen that everyone breathes and to inform the public on the impact of human actions on it.

“We also celebrate to mobilize and unite the entire population represented by all sectors involved in this new coalition on projects for the sustainable management of the ocean with its local marine ecology that is major source of food and medicines and a critical part of the biosphere,” he said.

Since Albay west coast is along Burias Pass, the primary concern of the coalition is this huge fishing ground covering the municipal waters that separate Masbate province’s Burias Island from the Bicol mainland.

Alsua said that on the part of the city whose municipal water is approximately 126 square-kilometers in expanse with a coastline length of about 8.4 kilometers covering barangays Cabarian, Catburawan and Maonon, a marine ecology enhancement program reinforced with a “we-mean-business” anti-illegal fishing campaign is entrenched.

The program started in 2006 has established fish and marine reserves with an aggregate total area of 135 hectares off the coastlines of the three barangays and an aquasilviculture project along with a 62-hectare mangrove forest that now boasts of nearly 500,000 healthy growing trees.


It has also put in place a coral reef rehabilitation and seagrass protection program that now provide for coral regeneration and protection to fish biodiversity resulting to increased fish catch for local fishermen.

“Because of these projects, our fishing ground has been rejuvenated following years of disturbing deterioration caused by both natural and man-made destructions,” Caburawan barangay chair Melquiades Bellen Jr. said.

World Oceans Day in Ligao City

Apart from that, the fishing ground is also being kept under tight watch by the Ligao City Anti-Illegal Fishing Task Force, a composite team of enforcers from the Philippine National Police (PNP), Philippine Army (PA), Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the local government.

The task force, according to Alsua has its station along the shoreline of Barangay Cabarian that is manned 24/7 and ready to respond against any form illegal activity in its covered area—the entire Burias Pass.

Bicol PNP regional director Chief Supt. Victor Deona motored some 50-kilometers all the way from the regional police headquarters at Camp Gen. Simeon Ola in Legazpi City to Barangay Cabarian for the Saturday occasion to personally deliver his commitment to the unified actions.

He hailed the city government for spearheading an anti-illegal fishing campaign even as he lamented facts that some local government heads in the region are either coddlers or themselves owners of fishing vessels illegally operating in local waters.

“This time, I assure you that there will no longer be untouchables in our campaign against illegal fishers in the region. That’s how serious we are in the PNP and we need more LGUs to follow the example of Ligao City for more concerted efforts,” Deona said.

DENR’s Protected Areas and Wildlife and Coastal Zone Management Service (PAWCZMS) regional technical director Al Orolfo said his office is recommending to the national government the declaration of Burias Pass along with its adjoining waters of Ticao Pass as a marine protected area to preserve its great marine diversity.

Both waters are home to whale sharks, manta rays, dugong and various species of sea turtles, exotic coral reefs and lately discovered to be a habitat of the globally rare megamouth shark (Megachasma pelagios), according to Orolfo.

Cinches agreed saying Greenpeace supports such recommendation as a measure to save both water bodies from being overfished and give way to a to a more sustainable coastal resource management. —by Danny Calleja, PNA
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Conservation efforts of Philippine deer in Catanduanes get boost

LEGAZPI CITY—Efforts to prevent the total extinction of native wildlife species that are genetically diverse, such as the Philippine deer, have been shaping up.

Philippine deer found on the outskirts of Davao, photographed by Gregg Yan (Wikimedia Commons)
The National Academy of Science and Technology (NAST), according to the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), has started a process towards the formulation of policy recommendations for animal genetic resource conservation and guidelines on cryobanking in the Philippines.

NAST, an attached agency of the DOST, serves as an advisory body to the Philippine President on policies concerning science and technology (S&T).

The academy’s ongoing effort when completed, the DOST regional office for Bicol here said on Tuesday, will boost up initiatives toward the conservation of the Philippine deer, one of the numerous rare and endangered wildlife species that exist in the jungles of Catanduanes, the largest remaining forest block in the whole of Bicol.

This species is endemic to the Philippines and exists in Bicol only in Catanduanes and through Polillo Island, Mindoro, Samar, Leyte, Basilan and Marinduque.

It thrives within the substantial dipterocarp-type woodland of Catanduanes covering about 69,770 hectares, of which, unfortunately, only 26,010 hectares are considered protected area being covered by the Catanduanes Watershed Forest Reserve (CWFR) established in 1987.

Outside this protected area, ugly stories of timber poaching, logging and other misuses are told prevalent—prompting the regional office of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) based here to seek an expansion of the CWFR to make it nearly 50,000 hectares under the National Integrated Protected Areas System (NIPAS).

The establishment of NIPAS is mandated under Republic Act No. 7586 or the NIPAS Act of 1992.

To qualify, a candidate should encompass outstanding remarkable areas and biologically important public lands that are habitats of rare and endangered species of plants and animals, biogeographic zones and related ecosystems that would be designated as “protected areas”.

Besides being source of water that supports domestic and agricultural uses of the 10 municipalities it covers, the CWFR is host to important plant and animal species that form its rich flora and fauna.

Distribution of Philippine deer within Catanduanes forest is highly fragmented even as it was undoubtedly more extensively distributed in the past, the DENR said.

A study said enforcement of existing regulations and protected area management is inadequate and requires strengthening, making some sub-populations or subspecies severely threatened and may need to be considered individually for management purposes.

Captive breeding of this species was advocated by the DENR’s Ecosystems Research and Development Bureau (ERDB) as a means of supporting rural communities.

However, the same study says it is most unlikely that these initiatives might ever mitigate threats to any wild populations, as originally supposed, partly because of the increased demand for wild-caught founder breeding stocks.

More importantly, it is virtually inconceivable that the commensurate establishment of legal markets in locally produced venison would not be widely abused for the continued sale of illegally-caught specimens, especially given the ineffective enforcement of existing protective legislation pertaining to these and other commercially valuable species, it added.

In a recent roundtable discussion organized by the NAST which tackled “Animal Genetic Resource Management and Cryobanking,” experts suggested that native wildlife species which are genetically diverse such as Philippine deer should be considered for cryo-conservation or the process of preserving cells by subjecting them to very low temperatures.

Tamaraw, which is also endemic in the Philippines -- particularly in Mindoro, is another endangered species being considered into this process, a NAST statement released by the DOST’s S&T Media Service said.

In the same gathering, the statement said Dr. Lerma Ocampo, senior science research specialist at the Philippine Carabao Center (PCC), said Philippine deer and tamaraw as well as small ruminants like goat are believed to be disease-resistant, survive climate change and thrive in local feed resources around them.

Water buffalo or carabao, cattle and goat are currently being used for cryo-conservation activities in the Philippines with a facility located inside the PCC Complex in Nueva Ecija.

According to Ocampo, countries have been prompted to draw up an Animal Genetic Resources Conservation program to help ensure the continuous availability of food for their citizens due to population growth, urbanization, and weather disturbances which could eliminate animal populations at any given time.

However, problems involving local ordinances, among others, have hindered the inclusion of these wildlife species into the Philippines’ cryo-conservation initiatives.

Cryobanking capitalizes on cryo-preservation technologies such as conventional slow freezing techniques, vitrification or quick-freezing technology for egg cells and embryos and liquid nitrogen storage.

Established in 2012, the Nueva Ecija cryobank facility for livestock and endangered indigenous animals stores locally processed semen from various breeds of water buffalo, goats, and cattle.

Semen production labs like the Nueva Ecija stock farm and the PCC at the Central Luzon State University and University of the Philippines-Los Baños serve as the repository and source of frozen sperm from commercially active livestock. (by Danny O. Calleja, PNA)
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Luistro, Escudero lead inauguration of Sorsogon National High School

Department of Education (DepEd) Secretary Armin Luistro, together with Senator Francis Joseph Escudero, Congresswoman Evelina Escudero of the First Congressional District of Sorsogon, and DepEd Bicol Regional Director Ramon Fiel Abcede, graced the blessing and inauguration last week of the newly restored Sorsogon National High School (SNHS).

The newly-renovated Sorsogon National High School
Photo by Tess Limena de Ramon

The newly-renovated Sorsogon National High School
Photo by Tess Limena de Ramon
 The school building was razed by a Valentine's Day fire last year.

Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, the SNHS is once again standing tall and proud as one of the iconic landmarks and a center for academic excellence in the province of Sorsogon.

In his inaugural message, Luistro lauded former Agriculture Secretary and Congressman Salvador “Tatay Sonny” H. Escudero III, an alumnus of the institution who graduated in the year 1957, for championing the causes of the education sector.

“It is my great joy and pleasure to remember a good man, a defender of DepEd,” Luistro told the audience that converged at the main lobby of SNHS where the inaugural program was held.

“Tatay helped me in my early years with DepEd,” Luistro confided as he dedicated the inauguration of the edifice to the late Escudero.

“I thank Tatay Sonny for authoring K to 12 law,” Luistro revealed.

The late legislator authored House Bill 4219 during the 15th Congress that sought for the enhancement of the DepEd curriculum and increase the number of years for basic education that paved the way for the passage of Republic Act No. 10533, otherwise known as Enhanced Basic Education Act of 2013 or popularly known as the K to 12 law.

Luistro also pushed for the public support to the Senior High School (SHS) program that will be implemented next school year.

“We are on the last leg of the educational reforms envisioned by the education sector,” Luistro said.

Meanwhile, Senator Escudero challenged the students, teachers, and administrators of SNHS to regain the past glory of the institution as the premier secondary school in the province.

“I challenge you to aim beyond the stars (malampasan pa ninyo ang mga tala),” Escudero told them.

The senator also put to rest the issue on renaming SNHS in honor of his late father.

Deped Sec. Armin Luistro and Cong. Evelina Escudero at the inauguration of the new Sorsogon National High School building
Photo by Tess Limena de Ramon
“Tatay’s life and his role in Sorsogon’s development are more meaningful than etching his name on buildings, roads, or bridges,” the senator said.

He also revealed that more structures will be erected at SNHS with an additional building at the back of the restored main building to house a computer laboratory and additional six classrooms.

More classrooms will be added at the adjacent SNHS annex with interconnecting structures to link all second floors of all buildings located at the said location, Escudero said.

Meanwhile, Congresswoman Escudero reminded the students and staff of the school to maintain the cleanliness of the structure and secure it from hazards, particularly fire, so that the next generation and its future students will also enjoy its amenities.

Secretary Luistro considers the structure as the most beautiful secondary school building in the entire country by far.

Abcede presented the history of the building which was constructed in the early 1900s under the American rule.

The school was transformed by the invading Japanese forces as their military headquarters during the Second World War.

Some local historians claim that the building was first burned down by the retreating Japanese invaders in 1944.

Reconstruction work was first initiated by the late Senator Teodoro De Vera and was completed on Oct. 12, 1953 under the administration of Gov. Salvador “Gurang” Escudero Sr., the grandfather of the late Congressman Sonny Escudero III. (PNA)
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PhilRice Bicol breaks ground for new lab, training building

LIGAO CITY—Expanding its facilities for rice research, the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) Bicol Station held a groundbreaking ceremony for its new laboratory and training building with lodging facilities yesterday, June 9, at Batang here.

The ceremonial groundbreaking was led by ASec Edilberto De Luna, Dr. Reynaldo Castro, Ligao City Mayor Patricia Gonzalez-Alsua and former Mayor Linda P. Gonzalez with representatives from Bicol University Research Center, Department of Agriculture, agriculturists, researchers, and local officials.
The ceremonial groundbreaking were led by PhilRice OIC-Executive Director ASec Edilberto M. De Luna, Ligao City Mayor Patricia Gonzalez-Alsua, former Ligao City Mayor Linda P. Gonzalez, PhilRice Bicol Branch Manager Dr. Reynaldo Castro, and representatives from Bicol University Research Center, Department of Agriculture, local officials, and agriculturists.

The project costs P 10.9M and is expected to be completed on November 27, 2015.

“This facility will not only showcase research activity but this will focus more on the production of seeds to cater to the needs of our farmers and seed growers in the region,” said ASec De Luna.

The production of rice in the Philippines has significantly increased over the years due to proper use of technologies and new varieties of rice, despite limited area for agriculture, according to De Luna.

The ceremony also gathered stakeholders in the agricultural sector including agriculturists, researchers, extension workers, and policymakers. ASec De Luna saw this as an opportunity to draft a rice research agenda.

Aside from research facilities, former Mayor Gonzalez also envisions the establishment of rice museum where different rice varieties and technologies developed by the institute will be displayed, and eventually become a tourist destination. This will encourage the youth and families not to leave farming.

PhilRice Bicol is also something that Congressman Fernando V. Gonzalez has dreamed of, said former Mayor Gonzalez. Because rice is next to coconut as top agricultural crop produced in Ligao, they are prioritizing agricultural programs that will enhance farming activities in the local areas.

“The station represents a good part of the population, the farming sector, of the Bicol region,” said former Mayor Gonzalez.

Congressman Gonzalez and former Mayor Gonzalez were named as the Father and Mother of PhilRice Bicol due to their painstaking efforts to establish a branch in Ligao City.

Ligao has always proved to be the rightful place for the institute, ASec De Luna acknowledged.
There is good collaboration among researchers, agriculturists, LGUs, along with strong support from the City Government of Ligao.

“We are one with PhilRice with this vision,” said Ligao City Mayor Patricia Gonzalez-Alsua while stating her commitment to support the institute. (By Lala Peñafiel)
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