Saturday, March 10, 2018

Albay officials acknowledge DSWD’s aid in Mayon Relief Operations

Guinobatan, Albay—The Albay mayors who were present during the Hatid-Tulong: Mayon Caravan last February 28 expressed gratitude to Dir. Arnel Garcia of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Region V for the relief augmentation to the affected families by the Mayon volcanic activities.

The Hatid-Tulong: Mayon Caravan is a humanitarian caravan, the first of a series, spearheaded by the DSWD together with other member-agencies of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) mobilized resources for the delivery of additional augmentation assistance.

As of the press time, the DSWD’s cost of assistance reached PhP84,582,344.72 comprised of 150,039 FFPs and other non-food items such as malong, dignity kits, toys, blankets, tents, sleeping kits and laminated sacks. There are 15,710 families inside evacuation centers.

DSWD Region V quickly responded to the needs of the local government units (LGUs) and provided the requested relief goods days after the first blow of Mayon eruption in January. DSWD has also provided the 28-day food requirement for the month of February as agreed.

Nine LGUs namely, Camalig, Daraga, Guinobatan, Ligao City, Malilipot, Tabaco City, Sto. Domingo, Legazpi City and Bacacay received a total of 23,800 DSWD family food packs (FFPs) last February 28, 2018. These FFPs were ferried by 24 trucks from the DSWD warehouse in Pasay City to fulfill DSWD’s commitment to the LGUs with depleted resources.

Tabaco City Mayor Krisel Lagman-Luistro who was present during the caravan said that it is challenging to manage evacuation centers because the LGU needs to spend at least PhP400,000 a day for 2,000 affected families but thanked DSWD for the additional aid.

“Digdi ko sana namati ang bilog ang suporta ning mga national government agencies (NGAs) para matabanangan ang mga LGUs. Ang tingog ta tigdadangog asin tigtatawan importansya kang DSWD (This is the only time I felt the full support from the national government agencies (NGAs) to support us, the LGUs. DSWD heed our call for help,” Luistro added.

Camalig Mayor Ahrdail Baldo also added that she felt the presence of the NGAs most specially the assistance of DSWD.

“Dakulang pasalamat kay Dir. Garcia dahil kung wara po ang DSWD, gurutom po kita, gurutom su mga evacuees ta. Indi na kami mamroblema na mga mayors ta DSWD na ang nagpakawn para sa bulan ning Pebrero (Thank you very much, Dir, Arnel Garcia. If not for your help, our evacuees will starve. We, the mayors, are no longer troubled because DSWD provided for February),” Baldo said.

Also, Mayor Herbie Aguas of Sto. Domingo and Ligao City Mayor Patricia Alzua agreed with the other mayors and personally thanked DSWD for all the assistance provided to their constituents given the financial constraints.

Office of the President honors DSWD Region V for the Mayon Relief Operations

The DSWD Region V through Dir. Garcia received the presidential watch that was awarded by the Presidential Adviser on Political Affairs Sec. Francis Tolentino from the Office of the Presidential Coordinator for Mayon Operations last February 27, 2018. The watch was accorded to DSWD because of the agency’s good performance in the ongoing Mayon Disaster Operations.

Guinobatan Mayor Gemma Ongjoco who is the host town of the Hatid Tulong: Mayon Caravan congratulated Dir. Garcia for the recognition received.

“He deserves the recognition because DSWD Region V is hands-on and is our active partner on the ground,” Ongjoco sai.

A similar watch was also awarded to the regional office of the Department of Health (DOH). (with reports from DSWD Central Office)

Pilgrim relics of St. Therese of the Child Jesus to visit Naga City

St. Therese of the Child Jesus

NAGA CITY (Bicol Standard)--The pilgrim relics of St. Therese of the Child Jesus will visit the Archdiocese of Caceres on March 17-20, 2018.

The pilgrim relics will arrive on March 17, 2018 (Saturday) at 11 a.m., when a blessing of the pilgrims and religious articles will be conducted.

At 12 noon, there will be a mass at San Francisco Church in Naga City, presided by Msgr. Noe Badiola.

The relics will be transferred to Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church in Concepcion Pequena at 5 p.m.

Solemn vespers are scheduled at 6 p.m. while an overnight vigil and adoration will take place at 7 p.m. in the same church.

On March 18, there will be a 7 a.m. mass at Carmel.

The relics will also be taken to Calabanga, Goa, Pili, and Baao, before being brought to Legazpi City on March 20 (Tuesday).

This is the 4th Philippine Visit of the Pilgrim Relics of St. Therese of the Child Jesus.

Gov. Tallado recommends Calaguas as Boracay alternative

Photo by Romil del Moro
DAET, Camarines Norte (Bicol Standard) – In the midst of the impending 60-day Boracay closure, Gov. Edgardo “Egay” Tallado said he recommends Calaguas Islands in the town of Vinzons as an alternative.

In a recent interview on DZRH, the governor said: “Napakaganda ng Calaguas. Kung ako ang tatanungin eh mas maganda pa po [sa Boracay].”

Tallado was addressing Senate Tourism Committee Chairwoman Senator Nancy Binay who was the guest of anchor Cesar Chavez on DZRH.

Binay’s attention was visibly caught by Tallado’s statement, and said she would personally visit Calaguas to see for herself its natural beauty.

The senator invited to her office Gov. Tallado, Vinzons Mayor Norie Segundo, and Provincial Tourism Officer Bong Palma to discuss how the Senate can be of assistance to the tourist destination in Bicol.

The Calaguas Islands off the Pacific coast of the province of Camarines Norte boasts of beaches with powdery white sand and clear waters.

PDEA nabs 2 Nigerian nationals, seizes 2.5-M worth of shabu

NAGA CITY (Bicol Standard) -- Two members of African drug syndicates were collared by joint elements of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency Camarines Sur Provincial Office and PDEA IV-A under the supervision of Acting Regional Director Christian Frivaldo of PDEA Bicol at around 2 p.m. Friday in Bacoor City, Cavite.

In a report to the media this morning, PDEA Camarines Sur said that Agu Agustin Chukwuebuka and Nkwocha Chimaobi, both Nigerian nationals, were arrested in a buy-bust operation at the parking lot of a food chain in Talaba 4, Bacoor City.

Confiscated from their possession were several pieces of AC/DC adaptors with plastic bags containing a substance believed to be shabu weighing more or less 500 grams, with a street value of 2.5 million pesos.

The suspects, who reportedly supplied the Bicol region and Calabarzon, are currently under the custody of PDEA Regional Office-4A.

It would be recalled that in November 2017, two Nigerians who were reportedly among the sources of shabu in Naga City were also arrested by the PDEA in Kawit, Cavite.

Filipinos can now type in Bicol on Google's Gboard

Many of us type on our mobile devices several times a day––from sending text messages to family, to discussing the Oscars in chat apps, to looking up information about the latest updates from Mayon. That is why Gboard makes it easier to type away using different languages. Starting today, Filipinos can enjoy much smoother exchanges in Bicolano using Gboard on their Android device. Bicol is the fifth Philippine language to be supported by Gboard.

“With today’s update, we’ve added support for Bicol and over twenty other new language varieties, including several Indian languages, Chinese, Korean and African languages like Fulani. Gboard on Android now supports 300 language varieties, covering over 70% of the world’s population. This includes Filipino, Hiligaynon, Kapampangan, and Ilokano,” says Daan van Esch, Gboard Technical Program Manager, in a blogpost.

He adds, “while we’re excited to bring Gboard to more people around the world with today’s update, we still have work to do to bring even more languages, unique scripts, native layouts and transliterated layouts to the keyboard.”

Typing made easier with Gboard––powered by machine learning
Gboard is Google’s smart keyboard with Google Search and Google Translate built in. Just tap the “G” button to search and share information quickly, and if you’d like to translate text you can also do that directly in your keyboard.

 Predicting the next word you might want to type, suggesting auto corrections and other features in Gboard are powered by machine learning. We use language samples from the web and work closely with native speakers in the Philippines to collect data to train our machine learning models. These models then analyze the data to find common patterns in phrases and sentences, powering Gboard's next-word prediction and auto-correction. So when you type in Bicol you’d see suggestions like baga–that’s made possible with machine learning.

To make typing easier and faster on a small screen, Gboard also comes with glide typing and suggestions––you can slide your finger from letter to letter to type, and we’ll show you suggested words while you’re writing.

Say it with an image...or gif, or emoji
There are moments when an image (or gif!) says more than a thousand words. With Gboard, you can also search and share emoji and GIFs. Instead of scrolling and scrolling to find the emoji of a monkey, just search “monkey” to find that emoji you want. Or, find a GIF for the perfect reaction. GIF sharing works today in Google Messenger, Allo and Hangouts, as well as many third party apps.

So the next time you’re texting a friend your favorite cat video or news of the day, you don’t have to leave you app. Just search and send — right from your keyboard.

To get these updates to your Gboard for Android, head to the Google Play Store and make sure you’re running the latest version of the app. Happy typing!

DepEd Sec underscores importance of ICT in teaching, governance

Department of Education (DepEd) Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones underscored the importance of integrating Information and Communications Technology (ICT) in both teaching and governance for the delivery of quality, accessible, relevant, and liberating basic education for Filipino learners.

The Education chief noted this during the recently concluded National DepEd ICT Summit held from February 27 to 28 at The Blue Leaf Filipinas in Parañaque City, which was attended by around 700 ICT practitioners, leaders, policy-makers, achievers in ICT education, and other stakeholders nationwide.

Briones shared that through ICT, teachers may devise various teaching methods that will instill creativity and critical thinking in learners. She further conveyed her hopes for the time to come that schoolchildren will no longer be burdened to carry books in their backpacks because of ICT innovations.

“Ngayon napakarami nang technologies, napakarami nang gadgets, which make us do so many things and achieve so many goals and projects all at the same time… Kayang-kaya na nating mag-multi-task,” Briones stated.

Moreover, she highlighted how ICT can help fast-track the processes in the Department, “DepEd is a mammoth institution and with thousands of teaching and non-teaching personnel, technology may serve as an essential tool not just in teaching, but also in governance.”

“We’re going to overhaul the information system of the entire Department—the financial management system, accounting system, budget system, and all other processes,” Briones added.

Capacity building
To achieve these aspirations, the Secretary mentioned that teachers and non-teaching personnel handling concerns in ICT must undergo trainings, especially those who finished their education when technology was not as advanced as it is today.

“Malaking bagay ‘yung capacity building ng teachers and personnel. Kasi isipin ninyo, ‘yung Secretary, hindi masyadong marunong sa ICT eh… So even I, myself, have to upgrade my skills and knowledge in ICT,” Briones said.

Best projects
In the same Summit, the Department, through its ICT Service (ICTS), recognized and awarded innovations in utilizing ICT to effectively deliver teaching and learning, as well as provide efficient governance and operations, directly to learners, teachers, and other education stakeholders.

“We will also recognize best projects to reward those who innovate… Because after all, education is not just about memorizing facts, it's also about being creative, about finding solutions to problems, and it's about dealing, accepting, living and adjusting with change,” the Secretary pointed out.

The winners for the Best ICT Innovations for Teaching and Learning are Regions VII, XII (CARAGA), and IV-A (CALABARZON), while the winners for the Best ICT Innovations for Governance are Regions III, X, and VI.

Ways forward
Furthermore, Undersecretary for Administration Alain Del Pascua and ICTS Director Abram Abanil led the forum with all the Summit participants to gather insights and comments which will be used in the advancement of various ICT projects and programs.

“I don’t think we can survive without ICT. We will surely go back to the dark ages if we ignore ICT... We have to remember that ICT is primarily a tool which helps us in making decisions, in understanding the world that we live in, and in finding solutions,” Briones said.

“At the end of the day, it is still us—the users of technology—who are responsible for making things happen,” she concluded.


DILG to women: Run for elective posts in barangay and SK polls

This Women’s Month, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) is urging women to let their voices be heard during the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections this May not just by voting but by running for elective posts.

DILG OIC-Secretary Eduardo M. Ano says that the coming barangay and youth polls provide a perfect opportunity for qualified women voters to show that they can make a difference in their communities by stepping up to the challenge of running for elective positions.

“Ngayong Buwan ng Kababaihan, hinihimok ko ang mga babae na panahon na para ipakita ninyo ang kakayahan ninyong mamuno sa inyong komunidad.? Ito na ang panahon ng pagbabago at naniniwala ako na malaki ang maiaambag ng mga kababaihan para makamit ang tunay na pagbabago,” says Ano.

The filing of certificates of candidacy for barangay and SK polls is from April 14 to 20, 2018. ?

Based on Comelec data, while there are more women voters, only one in five candidates is a woman.

Ano says that as most women are mothers who have raised their children well, they will also be able to run their communities effectively using the same values and qualities that have helped them nurture their families.

“Naniniwala ako na marami sa mga kababaihan ay matino, mahusay at maaasahan at ito ang mga katangiang dapat taglayin ng isang kakandidato sa darating na halalan,” he says.

Presidential Proclamation 24 and 227, and Republic Act 6469 declare March of every year as National Women’s Month.

Women’s Month activities

In line with the celebration of Women’s Month, the DILG Chief is enjoining all local government units (LGUs) to undertake relevant activities such as production of information, education and communication materials on women, participation in the women’s month online advocacy, and organizing women’s month information activities.

The theme for the National Women’s Month Celebration from 2017 to 2022 is “WE Make Change Work for Women".


DSWD urges gov't agencies, LGUs and GOCCs to have daycare centers

MANILA --The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) urged government agencies, local government units and government-owned corporations to provide daycare services for their employees' children who are under five years of age.

DSWD Officer-in-Charge Emmanuel Leyco made the call during the inauguration of the newly-constructed Child Development Center at the DSWD compound to help DSWD employees ensure the safety and security of their pre-school children even as they – the parents – go about their tasks in the department.

Leyco said that Executive Order No. 340 directs National Government Agencies and Government-Owned and Controlled Corporations to Provide Day Care Services for their Employees’ Children Under Five Years of Age” to ensure the development of children since children as the most valuable members of society and on their shoulders rest the future of the country, it is fitting to to ensure their safety at all time wherever they are.

“Nakikita natin ang kinabukasan sa kanila. Itong center na ito ay pag-aalaga sa ating kinabukasan. Kung hindi natin pahahalagahan ang mga kabataan sa ngayon, ano ang ating magiging kinabuksan? (We see the future in the children. This center is our way of taking care of the future. If we do not give importance to our children today, what would become of our future?),” he said.

The new building is a much-improved version of the DSWD’s old day care center.

The new facility has numerous rooms and has ample spaces for music, art, and playtime. It also has room for breastfeeding as well as a sleeping room.

Friday, March 9, 2018

Teen pregnancy in Bicol declines; spousal violence increases

The number of Bicolano teens getting pregnant has declined from 12,719 in 2014 to 12,498 in 2016, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA). The preliminary results of the 2017 National Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS) released last February 23 also revealed that Bicol holds the second lowest percentage of teens who have begun childbearing.

On the national scale, roughly one in ten women aged 15-19 have begun childbearing. Meanwhile the fertility of Filipino women declined to an average of 2.7 children, from 3.0 in 2013. This decline was associated with the increase in the use of modern family planning (MFP) methods by over 40% among currently married women.

In Bicol, there was an increase in women who are using modern contraceptives in 2017 (32.2 96) compared to the previous (21.2 %in 2013). The rise in contraceptive use may have contributed to the decline of unmet need in family planning in Bicol from 2S.1 % to 21.3 %. This could mean that Bicolanos have gained more access to family planning information and services.

Unmet need for modem FP refers to couples and individuals who are fecund and sexually active and want to limit or space their children but are not using any modern method of contraception.

This is an unprecedented chance for family planning in the last four years which coincided with the first four to five years of implementation of the Responsible Parenthood Reproductive Health (RPRH) Law, Commission on Population (POPCOM) Executive Director Dr. Juan Antonio A. Perez III observed.

POPCOM-V Director Magdalena G. Abellera relates the survey results as good news for women in time for the celebration of Women's Month this March. She said that when women are empowered about fertility, she can create a great impact not only on the family but also in the workforce.

The Director, however, pointed out that there remains a lot of work to do to empower women especially that there were 24 % (highest among regions) of women who experienced physical violence from their husbands or partners. Bicol also has the second highest number of sexual violence cases in the country at 12% 8188 80 CARAGA while ranking S. in emotional violence at 33 %.

"The incidence of spousal violence continues to call for more vigorous and aggressive interventions to end all forms of violence against women. Gains in maternal health can be stalled if women continue to be vulnerable to all types of violence.", Director Abellera added.

She emphasized the need to increase men's involvement through programs that emphasize men, responsibilities like MR GAD (Men, Responsibilities in Gender and Development) and KATROPA (1.Ialakihang Tapat sa Responsibilidad at Obligasyon sa Pamilya). The former intends to uvnsform pilot communities to become more responsive to gender and RH concerns of men and boys while KATROPA aims to engage men in promoting family welfare and wellness by making responsible fertility dedsions and become advocates for the prevention of teen pregnancy, HIV/AIDS and violence against women and children (VAWC).

POPCOM-V joins the country in the celebrating the Women's Month this March with the theme "We Make Change Work for Women."

3.3K kg. of ginger distributed to farmers in Cam Sur

By Connie Calipay

LEGAZPI CITY -- To step up ginger production to keep up with high demand, the Department of Agriculture’s (DA) office in Bicol, through the High-Value Crops Development Program, distributed 3,300 kg. of gingerroot to vegetable growers in Barangay San Jose in Pili, Camarines Sur on Thursday.

Emily Bordado, DA regional information officer, in an interview said there were 66 beneficiaries from different vegetable growers association in Camarines Sur, mostly from Libmanan, Lupi, Tigaon and Ocampo. Each of them received 50 kg. of ginger for planting.

"The activity was conducted to help the growers cope with the overflowing demand for this spicy and medicinal crop," Bordado said.

Before the distribution, the members were briefed on the latest technology on ginger production, as well as the root crop’s health benefits.

“Maski dakul ang supply kan luya, mayong hadit na dai ni mabakal sa merkado (There is no worry if there is an oversupply of ginger because it is always needed in the market),” said Edwin Castaneda, chairman of the Libmanan Vegetable Growers Association.

He said this is the second time they would plant ginger apart from their other vegetable crops, among them eggplant, ampalaya, and string beans.

The group, which was organized in 2006 with 120 members, has been receiving interventions from DA, such as technical assistance, vegetable seeds, garden tools, and other equipment.

Castaneda related to the Philippine News Agency (PNA) that he sometimes buys the produce of his co-members and sells them in Divisoria and Pasig City in Metro Manila.

He said he transports the vegetables twice a week during peak season.

He welcomed the assistance extended by DA to the farmers' groups, saying it is a big help to them and inspires them to strive more so that they could contribute to food self-sufficiency.

Ginger or "luya" is an excellent spice with many healing properties. It is an antioxidant, a pain reliever and it is anti-inflammatory - the reasons why it is in high demand. Because of this, more vegetable growers are adding ginger to their commercial crops production. (PNA)

“Tangod ko, Linig ko” drive makes evacuation centers in Sto. Domingo clean

STO. DOMINGO, Albay--As one enters the Bical National High School in Salvacion here, one would notice the clean surroundings of the evacuation shanties inside the vicinity. At the side are well-maintained vegetable plots which were prepared by evacuees Alicia Gaberia and Rosemarie Rodriguez from Barangay Lidong. Pechay and string beans are already sprouting.

Department of Agriculture-Bicol Camp Management Team members Ben Banares and Ramon Buenconsejo assisted Gaberia and Rodriguez in transplanting them.

The vegetable seeds came from the Quick-Response intervention of DA-Bicol during the visit of Agriculture Secretary Manny Pinol last January 29.

The same situation may also be observed in Salvacion Elementary School where the surroundings are clean and well-maintained.

According to Myrna Virtus from San Isidro, they are keeping the evacuation center clean because “saro ining paagi na magbalos nin tama ta pinadagos kami digdi sa eskwelahan ninda (this is one way to repay because we were welcomed to stay here in their school).”

In San Andres Resettlement Area, Grade 2 Teacher Azucena Boragay of Fidel Surtida said that her students religiously make their temporary learning site (TLS) clean and tidy.

Thus, “Tangod ko, Linig ko” drive is alive in the evacuation centers.

Barangay Nutrition Scholar of Fidel Surtida Analiza Balbin and Volunteer Noli Balderama said that “Tangod ko, Linig ko” drive is a way to teach the residents specifically the evacuees to take care of the environment aside from it keeps them away from sickness.

Keeping the evacuation centers clean is a responsibility being shared by friends Evelyn Batalla, Jeanetter Espinas, and Susanna Balderama of barangay Lidong.

“Maski wara cash-for-work, ipapadagos mi an paglinig kan samuyang center ta garo man sana ini samuyang harong sa panahon nin pagtuga kan Mayon (Even if there is no cash-for-work, we will continue to clean our evacuation center because this is our home in times of eruption of Mayon),” quipped Balderama. (jaysonmgonzales)


Prosecutor junks raps vs Cordial in Virac shabu lab mess

Ex Mayor Constantino "Onyo" Cordial

NAGA CITYSenior Assistant State Prosecutor Alexander Q. Suarez of the Department of Justice has recommended that the complaint against Constantino "Onyo" A. Cordial, Jr., former mayor of Caramoan, Camarines Sur, for violation of Republic Act 9165, as amended (Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002) in connection with the Virac shabu laboratory be dismissed for lack of probable cause.

The prosecutor further recommended that the complaint against respondents Brian B. Wong a.k.a. Boboy Wong, Joseph Al Randie B. Wong, a.k.a. Tiptip Wong, Niño Snokie V. Imperial ak.a. Snooky Imperial, Allan Ang Hung, Noel Sampang, Angelica A. Balmadrid-Isidoro, Lorenzo “Bigik” Flores Piñera IV, Roel Samonte and Dennis Samonte be dismissed, also for lack of probable cause.
‘Paucity in evidence’

“There is paucity in evidence that respondents Constantino A. Cordial, Jr., a.k.a. Mayor Cordial, Joseph Al Randie B. Wong, a.k.a. Tiptip Wong, Niño Snokie V. Imperial ak.a. Snooky Imperial performed overt act/s signifying their involvement in the plan to manufacture dangerous drugs,” the prosecutor stated.

He explained that Cordial was able to refute the allegation that he owned the speedboat which carried three drums of chemicals involved in the manufacture of illegal drugs.

“[Cordial] submitted a certification from the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) dated September 28, 2017 wherein the said office certified that based on their available records, no speedboat is registered under his name,” Suarez wrote.

In an interview over BBS FM, Cordial said that the complaint against him was politically-motivated.

“At the outset, I never entertained any doubt that my name would be cleared since the allegations were completely baseless,” he said.

“My political adversaries wanted to put me down since I decided to join Gov. Migz Villafuerte’s group, thereby abandoning the camp of Cong. Noli Fuentebella,” he stated.

“I am grateful that my explanations were taken into account to prove my innocence,” he added.

“Because my name has been cleared, I can now focus on helping Caramoanons who badly need my assistance, especially since summer is coming. We expect a lot of tourists to flock to our town which is considered one of the most sought-after destinations,” he explained.
Filing of Information
On the other hand, the prosecutor recommended that an Information for manufacturing of dangerous drugs under Section 8, Article II of Republic Act No. 9165, as amended, be FILED against Paolo Uy, Jason Gonzales Uy, Raymond Lee, Lorenzo Flores Piñera II a.k.a. Lawrence or Kidot, Paolo Wee Palisoc, Phung Yuan Estorco and Shen Wang.

An information (2 counts) for possession of dangerous drugs under Section 11, Article II of Republic Act 9165 as amended was further recommended to be FILED against Paolo Uy, Jason Gonzales Uy, Raymond Lee, Lorenzo Flores Piñera II a.k.a. Lawrence or Kidot, Paolo Wee Palisoc, Phung Yuan Estorco and Shen Wang.

Meantime, an Information for conspiracy to manufacture dangerous drugs was recommended to be FILED against Atty. Augusto Eric C. Isidoro a.k.a. Tay Eric, Xian Xian Wang, Pido Bonito, Paolo Uy, and Jayson Gonzales Uy.

The prosecutor directed the aforementioned records to be forwarded to Secretary of Justice Vitaliano N. Aguirre II for Automatic Review insofar as the dismissal of the charges of violation against Constantino Cordial, Brian B. Wong a.k.a. Boboy Wong, Joseph Al Randie B. Wong, a.k.a. Tiptip Wong, Niño Snokie V. Imperial ak.a. Snooky Imperial, Allan Ang Hung, Noel Sampang, Angelica A. Balmadrid-Isidoro, Lorenzo “Bigik” Flores Piñera IV, Roel Samonte and Dennis Samonte.


For 'lack of evidence' | DOJ Sec sees dismissal of murder charge vs. Gov. Cua

Gov. Cua attends the groundbreaking of the new DOJ Building in Catanduanes.

No less than Justice Secretary Vitallano Aguirre sees the possible dismissal of murder complaint filed against Governor Joseph Cua, a policeman, and three other people for lack of credible evidence of their involvement in the killing of the slain businessman Larry Que in December 2016.

The DOJ chief said in a press conference last March 8 at Midtown Inn Resort in Batag, Virac, that he considers the affidavit executed by former Vice Governor Bong Teves as "insufficient."

Teves had claimed in his affidavit that PO1 Vincent Tacorda confessed to him that the governor was the mastermind in the Que murder, but the policeman himself has denied the former vice governor’s claims in his own sworn affidavit submitted to the DOJ.

“Pag ganyan lamang ang ebidensya (referring to Bong Teves’ affidavit ) ay masasabi nating insufficient. Completely hearsay. Walang matibay na basehan ang hearsay,” Sec. Aguirre said.

“Kung ang ipepresenta mo lamang ay sabi-sabi…and could not stand up ay ididismiss lang yan, eh, and that would not even be sufficient to establish probable cause”, Aguirre justified.

He added that if the complainant fails to produce and submit additional evidence, there is a great chance that the case cannot push through.

“Kung mananatiling ganon ang ebidensya, malamang may hindi magandang mangyayari sa kaso,” explained Aguirre.

Secretary Aguirre arrived in the province to attend the groundbreaking ceremony of the proposed DOJ office building in the island.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Mayon now on Alert Level 3

With Mayon Volcano’s condition in the past week, status from Alert Level 4 was lowered to Alert level 3 as announced by Eduardo Laguerta at the Press Conference held March 6, 2018 at the AECID Hall, Apsemo Bldg.
Mayon Volcano’s Condition in the past week showed a decrease in eruptive activity at the summit crater and has been characterized by PHILVOLCS by a general decline in unrest reflected by moderate seismicity and degassing, deflation of the edifice, enough reason to lower the Alert Level.
According to Laguerta, Mayon shows deflation and no new magma is formed, external sources was also recorded that caused detected earthquakes.
“Mayon is now deflated, walang bagong magma na naform” Laguerta said.
However, Laguerta cleared that the lowering of Alert level does not necessarily mean Mayon is done with its wrath, he also said that possibility of raising Alert Level 4 again is existent.
“Di ito nagpapakita na tapos na, hindi pa talaga tapos yung nangyayari sa Mayon.” he said.
He also added that the increasing or decreasing of the alert level of Mayon will still depend on its activities, if it shows continuous decline in unrest, Mayon can be decreased to Alert Level 2.
“Depende sa pinapakita ng bulkan pwede pa itong itaas ulit, but if bumaba yung pinapakita nito (Mayon), it can be decreased to alert level 2” Laguerta added.
According to Dr. Cedric Daep of PDRRMC, Albayanos are still not allowed to enter the 6 km permanent danger zone.
“We have to maintain the 7 km east southeast but 6 km around Mayon.” He said.
 Dr. Daep also added with the lowering of the alert level on Mayon, about 14,000 families will be decamped from the evacuation centers leaving the 2,666 families whom are residing within the 6 kilometer permanent danger zone and 7km east southeast.
OCD 5 Regional Diretor, Claudio Yucot said trucks will be provided on each Municipality and City for decampment. However, LGUs still need to coordinate with the OCD and give their decampment date.
Governor Al Bichara instructed that the decamping will depend on the LGUs to optimize the operation. He also ordered that the evacuees must be given sacks of rice before decampment. (PGA-PIO)


Unilab picks Naga City project on teen pregnancy

The Team SMILES of the Naga City Ginhawang Nagueño program, representing the City of Naga in the recently conducted nationwide competition of the Unilab Foundation— the Ideas Positive (now on its Run 8), landed among the 17 finalists chosen out of the 105 entries of best ideas on crafting innovative solutions to health concerns in the community.
The activity is one of Unilab’s Youth Engagement Program with the goal to promote health in the country as stated in the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.
The Team SMILES proposed project is a Youth Community Health Theatre with theme MMK— “Madramang Magandang Kinabukasan”.
Through theatre acting, wherein the youth from the Least Economically Resilient Communities (LERCs) in Naga City will be the main actors, the project aims to increase the awareness of youth on adolescent reproductive health and teenage pregnancy.
The Naga City Ginhawang Nagueño Program, headed by Eric Salvino, had long been working on projects to help and support the youth sector, and one of their identified problems is the alarming issue on teenage pregnancy.
With Unilab Foundation’s conducted competition on solutions to community health concerns, the team had it best to make teenage pregnancy awareness and mitigation among the youth as their goal in their entry project— giving birth to their concept of using performing arts or stage performance to address the issue.
The team is composed of Dr. Joanne Sebastian, community doctor and the team mentor; Karen Asico, community organizer and the team leader; and four (4) midwifery students from the City College of Naga as team members, namely: Jane De Los Santos, Carlota Mae Esteves, Ma. Adorna Camigla, and Rina Abe, who have been working as volunteers in the Ginhawang Nagueño regular health programs.
A seed money of up to P100, 000.00 will be given by the foundation to the team for the implementation of their project in the community for six (6) months.
The team will also be coordinating with partner schools and organizations including the University of Nueva Caceres (UNC), Naga College Foundation (NCF), Bicol State College of Applied Science and Technology (BISCAST) and the Gawad Kalinga Balatas Youth.
In the coming months, they will be undergoing basic workshops in acting, while City Population and Nutrition Office (CPNO) will be spearheading the conduct of seminars and lectures on adolescent reproductive health. (Naga Smiles News)


DSWD : UCT grants released on one-time basis

by Leilani Junio

MANILA -- An official of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) on Tuesday said the agency started to provide the Unconditional Cash Transfer (UCT) grants on one-time basis instead of releasing them monthly.

DSWD Officer-In-Charge Emmanuel Leyco said the UCT grant worth PHP200 each for the poor recipients previously released monthly would be released one time for the entire year, enabling a beneficiary to withdraw the total of PHP2,400 in one time transaction.

UCT cash grants are provided under the TRAIN (Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion) law.

"Para di na sila maghihintay. So ngayon pa lang, Marso makakakuha na sila ng kabuuan para sa taong 2018," Leyco told the Philippine News Agency (PNA) as beneficiaries started to withdraw the cash from the Automated Teller Machine of Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) at the DSWD Central Office in Batasan Hills, Quezon City.

Leyco added that they decided to give said cash grants for the whole year to give the beneficiaries the chance to maximize its use, avoiding the possibility of pawning their cash cards or ATM card.

"Pwede na nilang gamitin ito kung anuman ang kanilang dapat pagkagastusan," he said.

He said the recipients could also use the grant as a capital to start a small business, such as sari-sari store.

Government has estimated that there will be 10 million poor households that would benefit from the TRAIN law.

The 10 million recipients include 4.4 million beneficiaries of 4Ps program; 2.6 million indigent senior citizen beneficiaries; and the remaining 3 million will be coming from the DSWD’s Listahanan program.

Initially, the recipients of 4Ps who already have their existing ATMs have began receiving the cash grant.

Others who have no cash cards will soon receive their UCT grants over the counter transactions of other financial conduits of DSWD. (PNA)


School-based DepEd personnel to get PBB 2016 this month

MANILA -- School-based personnel of the Department of Education (DepEd) would receive their Performance-Based Bonus (PBB) for fiscal year 2016 before the month ends, an official of the department said.

DepEd Undersecretary for Planning and Field Operations Jesus Mateo, in a report to the Committee on Basic Education and Culture of the House of Representatives, said some school personnel would receive the bonus within the week, and others by the end of the month.

“Lilinawin ko na ang polisiya natin dito ay inuuna natin ang mga paaralan bago ang mga opisina. Lahat ng eskwelahan dapat matingnan natin na meron bago sa field, huli ang Central (Let me just clarify that the policy here is to prioritize the schools first, before the offices. We must make sure that all schools already have the bonus, before the field, then the Central last)," Mateo said.

Teachers in Ilocos, Central Luzon, Calabarzon, Bicol, Western and Central Visayas have already received their PBB on Monday (March 5).

The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Organization, Position Classification, and Compensation Bureau (OPCCB) is already evaluating the submissions of Regions VIII, IX, X, Cordillera Administrative Region, and CARAGA, and awaiting the submission of Regions IV-B, VI, VII, and the now-defunct Negros Island Region.

Difficulty in meeting requirements

Mateo admitted that the department has encountered challenges in the requirements for the grant of the 2016 PBB. He said some of these were addressed while they were completing the PBB requirements for FY 2017.

Some of the factors that affected their compliance were the National Achievement Test (NAT) results and drop-out rates, he said.

“Sa obserbasyon na ang NAT [National Achievement Test] at drop-out rate ay kasama sa performance, sa unang cycle yun ng PBB at tinanggal natin yan dahil sa maraming feedback na galing sa mga paaralan. Kung tutuusin, in-exempt po ang mga paaralan dun sa tinatawag na individual forced ranking. Tayo lang ang katangi-tanging ahensya na walang forced ranking sa school dahil saliwa ito sa school-based management (In the observation, NAT and drop-out rate are included in the performance in the first PBB cycle, and we removed that due to feedback from schools. In fact, schools were exempted from individual forced ranking. We are the only agency that has no forced ranking in schools since this is contradictory to school-based management)," Mateo said.

Although the department was able to meet all the criteria for the PBB, it had issues meeting pre-conditions on the Philippine Government Electronic Procurement System, the budget utilization rate, and specific Physical Accomplishments.

The department submitted the documents for approval by the Department of Budget and Management only in the last quarter of 2017 after solving the issues with the help of delivery units within their governance levels, Mateo said.

“Pebrero po nang binigyan tayo ng report ng Inter-Agency Task Force. Nung March ay sinagot natin ito at ginawa tayong compliant. Ang hindi lang natin na-comply ay sa usapin na ng major final output (MFO) accomplishment. Bago kasi magkaroon ka ng ranking sa bawat opisina kailangan i-declare muna ng IATF ang buong kagawaran, isipin niyo na lang na ang Kagawaran natin ay napakalaki. Pinaliwanag natin na di natin ma-comply yung ibang targets (NAT and A&E) kasi kailangan makuha yung result nito kasi kung hindi, hindi natin masasabi yung mga target natin. Ang dahilan bakit na-delay ang administration nito ay dahil sa several failure of bidding (The Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) gave us the report just this February. By March, we've replied to this and we were declared compliant. We weren't able to comply with the major final output accomplishment. The IATF has to declare the whole department before we're able to rank the offices. Think about it, our department is very big)," Mateo said.

"We also explained that we are not able to comply with the other targets (NAT and A&E) because we need to get their results first, we cannot say that those are our targets. The reason is, why the administration of both were delayed, this is because of several failures of bidding,” he added.

The department is proposing to adopt a framework or ordering agreement to mitigate the delays and improve their compliance since procurement issues played a major role in the delay in the grant of their 2016 PBB.

“Ibig sabihin, hindi kada administration ng test natin ay magpro-procure. Magpro-procure na tayo ng isang provider for assessment at sasabihin na lang natin kung kailan ito ia-administer para hindi na paulit ulit yung bidding (This means, not every administration of our tests we would procure. We will procure one provider for assessment and they will just inform us when this will be administered to avoid repetition of bidding)," Mateo said.

To ensure the speedy compliance of the department's delivery units, the DepEd will conduct an orientation on the PBB 2017 submission this coming summer.

Earlier, the DBM said the release of the 2016 PBB of some departments has encountered several delays owing to late or incomplete submission of requirements for the compliance validation process by the oversight agencies concerned to determine an agency’s eligibility for the grant of the PBB.

It said it received the final validation by the Administrative Order No. 25 of IATF on whether or not DepEd is eligible for the PBB, only on January 17, 2018. (PNA)


EMB to inspect beaches, tourist spots in Bicol

By Mar S. Arguelles 

LEGAZPI CITY – Hundreds of resorts and eco-tourism destinations in Bicol will be inspected for possible violation of environmental rules by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Environmental Management Bureau (DENR-EMB), an official in the region said Tuesday.
Eva Ocfemia, EMB-Bicol Regional Director, in a phone interview, said her office would start inspecting resorts that were earlier issued Environmental Compliance Certificates (ECC) starting this week.
Inspection would cover sewage, septage, solid waste and drainage facilities put up by resort owners, she said.
“We have to check if the ECCs are followed, but in cases where we find some violations, a notice would be served, or a sanction and eventually a closure order could be imposed,” Ocfemia said.
She said so far, they have not yet received cases of violation of environmental rules and regulations by resort owners across the Bicol peninsula.
Asked for an update of the region’s environment, she said: “Overall, Bicol’s bodies of water, river system, and air quality are clean except off course the river channels along Mayon Volcano that were hit by ash falls.”
Ocfemia said her office would also engage in a dialogue for updates with different stakeholders, national and local provincial environment management officials concerning the government campaign against environmental pollutions.
She said, “at the meeting, we expect to dialogue and ask a report of environmental concerns and issues by the six provincial governors, resort owners, and Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Offices.”
Also subject for monitoring are beach lakes, and protected areas such as: the Calaguas Mahabang Buhangin in Camarines Norte which is known for its mile-long powdery sand and crystalline water, reminiscent of Boracay; 7-Island Siete Pecados; Bagasbas and Baybay beaches; and waterfalls in the towns of Mercedes, San Lorenzo Ruiz, San Vicente, Basud, and Labo.
In Camarines Sur, aside from the Our Lady of Penafrancia Shrine, where millions of devotees and tourist visit every year, other tourist destinations include: Gota Village Resort in Caramoan, Camarines Sur Watersports Complex (CWC) in Pili town, Consocep Mountain Resort in Tigaon, scenic lakes in Boao, Bato and Buhi, Mt. Asog in Iriga City, an extinct volcano and home to the Agta indigenous people.
In Albay are: Mayon volcano, Mayon Skyline View Deck in Tabaco City; Mt. Malinao in Malinao Vera falls; Sumlang Lake in Camalig; Kawa-Kawa Hill and Natural Park in Ligao City; Lignon Hill Nature Park in Daraga; Quitinday Green Hills Formation Reserve; Quitinday Underground River; Quituinan Hills; Hoyop-hoyopan cave in Camalig; Busay Falls; Vanishing Island in Bacacay; and Black Sand Beaches in Sto. Domingo.
In Sorsogon are: the Butanding, firefly watching site in Donsol; Mt. Bulusan National Park; Rizal Beach in Gubat; Subic Beach with its pink sand and Juag Lagoon in Matnog; and San Mateo Hot Spring in Irosin.
In Catanduanes are: Puraran Surfing Beach Resort in Baras; Twin Rocks in Virac; Luyang Cave Park in San Andres and Ilihan Point in Bagamanoc.
In Masbate are: Catandayagan Falls; Guilatayan Peak; Nailaban Beach; Bat-ongan Peak and Cave; Palani Beach; Pasiagon Beach; Balay na Bato; and Pawa Mangrove Park. (PNA)


Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Sobra 54k na evacuees, papaurulion matapos ibaba sa Alert Level 3 an Mayon

ni Vincent T. Villar

Legazpi City – Nagpupuon na ngonyan an decampment kan 54, 657 na mga persona o 14, 520 na pamilya gikan sa manlaen laen na evacuation centers sa Albay matapos na ibaba na kan Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology o PHIVOLCS an alerto kan bulkan sa level 3.

Segun ki Albay Public Safety and Emergency Management Office (APSEMO) Chief Dr. Cedric Daep, an mga pauulion iyo an mga nasa laog kan 8kms Extended Danger Zone mantang matatada pa an mga nasa 6kms Permanent Danger Zone (PDZ) asin 7 kms extended danger zone.

Nangangahulugan na maabot sa 2,666 na mga pamilya na sana o 10,836 na persona an matatada sa 13 mga mga evacuation centers sa sarung siyudad asin apat na munisipyo.

Sa Daraga, maabot sa 337 na pamilya o 1,552 na mga indibidwal, 278 na pamilya o 1,693 na persona sa Camalig; 569 pamilya o 2,214 na persona sa Tabaco City; 1,303 pamilya o 5,067 na persona sa Malilipot asin 79 na pamilya o 310 na persona sa Guinobatan.

Ipiglinaw ni Daep na makaka-risibe pa man giraray nin relief goods an mga idi-decamp na mga residentes antes sinda makabalik sa saidang mga kaharungan.

Ini an dahilan kun kaya may ibang lugar na sa mga masunod pang aldaw mapa uli nin evacuees huli ta madispuner pa an LGU nin pampabalon sa sainda.

An Legazpi City, na iyo an may pinakadakol na evacuees an sa maabot pang Huwebes mapa decamp segun kay Alkalde Noel Rosal.

Miyentrastanto, nagpatanid si Philvolcs resident volcanologist Ed Laguerta na bako pang salbado asin bako pang silensiyo an bulkan mayon maski pa ibinaba na kan ahensiya an alert level 3.

Segun ki Laguerta, maski na ngani dai sindang namomonitor na bagong lava intrusion sa laog kan bulkan asin kadaklan mga surficial event lang, posible pa ining bumalik sa dating alert level 4, kun mabago pa an bulkan.

Sa presente, wara sindang namomonitor na posibleng bumalik pa ini sa dating estado, alagad soboot, mas importante an salbasyon kung kaya dai nanggad mag-kampante.

Paliwag ni Laguerta, sa estimate kan Phivolcs, nasa 67 million cubic meters na an ibinugang ejecta kan mayon asin dai pa madeterminaran kun pira digdi an lava materials asin an loose materials na posibleng iwawa enkaso magpara kusog an pag-uuran.


Dahil sa sinulog na ibang tsinelas, lalaki, binadil gadan sa Albay

Camalig, Albay – Dahil sana sa pagkakamali na masulog an tsinelas kan kainuman, binadil gadan an sarung lalaki sa resettlement site kan Brgy Anoling, Camalig Albay, kasubanggi, Marso 5, 2018.

Apwera saiya, nadamay asin tinamaan pa nin bala an saiyang live in partner asin 13 anyos na tugang.
Sa intrivista kay PO3 Ryan Capili, imbestigador kan Kaso, binisto an biktimang si Jeric Nasayao y Cuenca, kan Brgy Libod, mantang an suspek iyo si Ruel Felicia kan Brgy Salugan kan parehong banwaan.

Segun sa pag iimbestiga, naghali suboot sa inuman an biktima ngani na magbakal nin sigarilyo sulog an tsinelas kan suspek.

Taod taod, pahali na kuta an suspek alagad dae kaini nahahanap an tsinelas

Pagbalik kan biktima, nahiling kan suspek na sulog an tsinelas niya kun kaya duman na nangyari an mainitan na argumento.

Nag uli an suspek asin pagbwelta, bitbit na an pigtutubudang kalibre 45 badil.

Nakakua man tulos nin kutsilyo an biktima, kun kaya, antes siyang nabadil, nasaksak niya pa sa daghan an kalaban.

Pakatapos kan insidente, gadan tulos an biktima asin lugadan man sa kamot an kalive in kaini asin may tama man sa tulak an tugang kaining 13 anyos.

An suspek an duminulag tulos matapos an pangyayari.

Napag araman kay PO3 Capili na bistadong noturyos na parahabon nin manok asin carnapper an suspek.

Dae sana suboot ninda ini maarestar huli ta sa ibang lugar ini nag gigibo nin kabuahan.

An tugang kaini an nadakop na sa carnapping incident na nangyari sa Polangui, Albay kan mga nakaaging bulan.

Sa presente, padagos an hot pursuit operation kan mga otoridad asin naglilibot sa mga hospital para sa posibleng pinabulungan kaini kan saiyang saksak sa daghan.

An biktima, an piglalamayan na ngonyan sa sarung funeraria sa nasabing banwaan.


Monday, March 5, 2018

DTI-Bicol files raps vs. 7 stores violating price tag rule

by Connie Calipay

LEGAZPI CITY – The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) provincial office in Albay has recently filed formal charges against seven erring stores in Albay, a top official of the agency said Friday.

Jocelyn Blanco, regional director of DTI-Bicol, in an interview said the charges were issued after the stores were caught selling products with no "price tag", violating Article 81 or the "Price Tag Requirement" of Republic Act (RA) 7394, otherwise known as the Consumer Act of Philippines.

"The DTI hearing officer shall summon these erring store owners for a pre-determination conference. As the store owner admits his/her violation, he/she shall be asked to pay for the administrative fine, (PHP500) to PHP150,000," Blanco added.

The director appealed to store owners to be compliant with the requirements of the price tag law, especially now that Albay is under a state of calamity, as price tags serve as consumers’ guide in buying goods. “You do not make money out of the miseries of others,” she said.

Blanco said the department will not anymore issue warnings once a store is found to be violating any provision of the Consumer Act.

She likewise encouraged the public to report to the DTI any irregularity, particularly on the price tag requirement through telephone numbers ‎480-5721 or ‎480-5720 local 109. (PNA)


DILG: Beware of scammers 'promising' appointments for revgov

The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has renewed its warning to local chief executives, government officials and the public against a certain group claiming to have the authority to appoint local officials for a supposed “revolutionary government”.

According to DILG OIC-Secretary Eduardo M. Ano, the group called “People’s Congress” continues to peddle their claim that it has the authority to appoint officials who will compose the supposed revolutionary government that is about to be set up.

“This could well be the same group of scammers who had been identified earlier as they prey on unsuspecting public officials who have political ambitions," Ano reveals.

The DILG Chief says the group is going around towns and provinces with dubious claims of being the ones authorized by the Palace to appoint local executives who will take over the posts of the current elected officials once the supposed revolutionary government is set up.

One of the purported leaders of this group introduces himself as “Jose Roa Matias II”, who claims to be a lawyer and a relative of the President. Earlier, the DILG has tagged the said person as an impostor lawyer because his name is not included in the roster of lawyers of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines.

"The Philippine National Police had been alerted and they are tasked to investigate and look into the activities of these people. Our people should all be aware by now about the scams and that they should avoid these conmen at all cost,” he adds.

The DILG field offices are also tapped to increase their monitoring of the group involved in the scam to ensure that the number of victims will be lessened. According to the latest reports, the group goes around the provinces for their recruitment work and usually charges a certain amount for membership IDs and t-shirts.

Other members of the ‘people’s congress’ also pledge employment opportunities to their recruits to sustain their interest and raise their hope.

"We would like to reiterate that there is no truth about the so called revolutionary government. Let us learn to say no to these scammers and expose them in every possible way,” says Ano.

He challenges barangay officials to always guard their turf accordingly to prevent the entry of these scammers.“Be on the lookout, protect your constituents from con artists. After all, you are our frontliners so you should be on guard at all times,” he adds.


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