Saturday, July 7, 2018

Nag lupig nin 3ng babae, nabadil, gadan

LEGAZPI CITY (BICOL STANDARD) –Binawian nin buhay an sarong lalaki na suspechado sa paglupig sa tulog babae kan siya naglaban sa mga pulis na nagconducir nin hot pusuit operation sa banwaan kan Castilla, Sorsogon.
An nagadan na suspechado nabisto sa pangaran na Jomas Riba y Morada, 24, residente kan Brgy. Salvacion, sa banwaan kan Castilla.
Ipinahayag ni S/Insp Joren Gutay, an hefe kan Castilla Municipal Police Station na kan sarong aldaw nagsumbgong sa saindang hepatura an sarong menor de edad na babae na pig fuerza suboot na dinara kan suspechado sa may cementeryo. 
Sa sinambit na lugar linupigan siya kan suspechado
Idinagdag sa report kan pulis na dai pa ngani nakalihis nin sarong aldaw duwa pang daragita an nagreklamo man sainda na pig lupigan kan kan suspechado, sa kapareyong lugar.
Nin huli sa sumbong kan mga babae, kaya naglansar nin hot pursuit operation an mga awtoridad, asin hinanap an suspechado.
Kan masumpungan kan mga pulis an suspechado, en vez na magsuko sa sainda,nagpaputok pa ini kan saiyang darang badil, na iyo an naging mitsa kan  pagkabadil saiya.
Dinara pa kuta sa hospital an suspechado tanganing ipabulong, kundi binawian man guiraray siya nin buhay.
Afuera kan reklamong paglupig nin tulong daragita, an suspechado igwa pang record sa barangay na imbuelto sa pagbalinghaw.

Bicol to 'stand alone' as federated region: ConCom member

Consultative Committee (ConCom) (L-R) members Atty. Antonio Arellano, Atty. Susan Ubalde-Ordinario and Professor Eddie Alih present and discuss in a press conference in Legazpi City on Thursday (July 5, 2018) the proposed draft Constitution for Federal Republic that would be submited to President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday (July 9, 2018). (Photo by Connie D. Calipay)

By Connie Calipay

LEGAZPI CITY -- A Bicolana lawyer, who is the lone female member of the Consultative Committee (ConCom) tasked to review the 1987 Constitution, said she strongly believes that Bicol can "stand alone" as a federated region under a Federal Republic.

"Yes, Yes, Yes, Bicol can stand... economically. The only reason why Bicol is poor is we are so constrained by the central concentration of power by the central government," ConCom member and lawyer Susan Ubalde-Ordinario said in an interview with the Philippine News Agency (PNA) on Thursday.

She said with the central concentration of power, the central government dictates what would happen to the regions.

"Sila ang nagsasabi kung ano mangyayari sa atin, tingnan mo ang ating (They are the ones who determine what will happen to us, look at our) Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA). We are not getting the full 40 percent, we're only getting 18 percent as a region, ang laking deperensiya non (there's a big difference there)," Ordinario said.

Under the proposed federal Constitution, each federated region will have an equal share in the 50 percent of all the collected taxes on income, excise, VAT (value-added tax), and customs duties.

This, according to Ordinario, will double the region's IRA share, unlike today when they are very dependent only on income tax.

Citing the draft Constitution, the ConCom member said economic reforms “would break up monopolies, cartels and other structures that distort markets and prevent fair competition."

"There will be economic liberalization that will spur and spread economic growth and development, create opportunities, income and wealth," she added.

The ConCom has also proposed the establishment of an Equalization Fund, which is 3 percent of the annual General Appropriations Act (GAA), to be given to the federated regions.

Under the ConCom proposal, the Equalization Fund shall be given to regions that need it most, in those that require financial help to become viable and economically sustainable.

"Right now, corporations are paying taxes in Metro Manila but they are getting that income from the regions. They are only 10 percent of the national territory while the 90 percent is spread all over the country. But all the income from the 90 percent is being paid in Metro Manila. That is why they have big IRA," she explained.

The lawyer also said that federated regions can better attract investors if they are well-managed; corruption is reduced; there is increased access; infrastructures are maintained; power, water and all the utilities are provided efficiently; the government responds to the needs of the people; and peace and order are sustained.

"With those characteristics, who among investors will not be attracted? We are encouraging a competitive economy among the regions, we are encouraging cooperative regions," Ordinario said.

The ConCom will submit the draft Constitution and accompanying report to President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday (July 9), after which, he will submit it to Congress, which in turn, will convene as Constituent Assembly to review and finalize the new Constitution.

The adopted Constitution will be submitted to the people for ratification in a plebiscite. (PNA)

Friday, July 6, 2018

LTO Bicol releases upgraded motor vehicle plate numbers

LTO Region V formally held a program on the Nationwide Simultaneous Roll-Out of Motor Vehicle (MV) Plates yesterday at the Land Transportation Office, Legazpi District Office, Embarcadero de Legazpi, Legazpi City.

Secretary Francis Tolentino together with Governor Al Francis Bichara, Board Members of the Provincial Government of Albay, dealers from the different auto company, transport sectors, and DTOR members were present to witness the newly designed plate that is now available to be distributed.

“Matagal po nawalan ng plaka ang LTO. There were legal concerns during the procurement process that needed to be addressed, but today we end the plate drought”, Regional Director Noreen Bernadette S. San Luis-Lutey of Land Transportation Office V said during her message. She mentioned that the plates are on hand and ready for distribution to different motor vehicle owners. The program is also ongoing to different regional offices and central office.

On the other hand, Sec. Francis Florentino said, “Akala ko po hindi na mangyayari ang araw na to, pagkakaroon ng plate distribution nationwide pa.” He acknowledged also the hardwork of the LTO officials and members to their dedication and efficiency on their work. “Ito pong gingawa natin ngayon is a vindication of the former LTO Chief, Virgie Torres… and a promise fulfilled by the Duterte Administration”, he added. It was part of the basic services of the government.

Governor Al Francis Bichara also opened the issue regarding widened roads used as parking space that causes lengthy traveling hours from Legazpi to Naga. “We have already acquired tow trucks tapos bibili kami ng patrol cars”, he said addressing to the problem.

Motor Vehicle Plates available pertain to those who are registered from July 1, 2016, to December 31, 2017. The dealers support in the release and distribution of the plates.
The new plates are now being produced in the Philippines. LTO vowed that the plates will be consistently available and the supply will be reliable.

The upgraded plates include the Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) Stickers, security features in LTO Logo and QR Code intended to positively identify vehicles. They have also reverted to the previous Alpha assignment for each region. Region V was assigned to Alpha letter “E”. This is to identify vehicles on the road and know to which region it was registered.

However, for the time being, plate numbers are only available to motor vehicles. Motorcycle plate numbers will be released when the congress already finalizes the proposal for the change of design.

The actual attachment of plates and Radio Frequency Identification Stickers were done by Secretary Florentino and Governor Bichara. (PGA-PIO) LMTanguin

Gov. Pimentel wants to improve evacuation centers in CamNorte

Gov. Jonah Pimentel

DAET, Camarines Norte (Bicol Standard) – Camarines Norte Gov. Jonah Pimentel is determined to provide evacuees a more comfortable stay in evacuation centers during calamities.

In the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council meeting earlier this week, the governor announced that the building and rehabilitation of evacuation centers in the province is among his priorities.

This is due to the fact that a number of evacuation centers are now dilapidated and in dire need of repair.

These include the evacuation centers in the towns of Mercedes, Labo, San Lorenzo Ruiz, and Sta. Elena.

The fund that will be used for the project will come from the Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Fund 2018 (Prevention and Mitigation Program) and the Special Trust Fund (STF), Pimentel said.

Apart from these, trainings and seminars on disaster preparedness, emergency response, and community-based health and first-aid training will be spearheaded by the Council.

“We are doing this not only in celebration of National Disaster Resilience Month, but also, and more importantly, because this is what the constituents need,” Pimentel said.

“CamNortenos have a great capacity to adapt to and recover from hazards, shocks or stresses, but the provincial government must also do its part in assisting the constituents in such trying times,” Pimentel stressed.

The meeting of the PDRRMC was attended by representatives of various government agencies.

Gatchalian lauds signing of electric coops fund law

MANILA -- Senator Sherwin Gatchalian on Thursday lauded the signing into law of a measure which will strengthen resiliency among electric cooperatives by institutionalizing government support and financial assistance during times of disaster.

"Essentially, we are arming electric cooperatives with the capacity to quickly restore power in the homes and businesses of the 11 million consumers they serve, without having to imposing pass on charges. Ayaw nating dagdagan pa ang pasanin ng ating mga konsyumer na bumabangon mula sa anumang kalamidad (We don't want to put added burden to our consumers who are just reeling from any calamity)," Gatchalian said.

The law also requires each electric cooperative to submit to the National Electrification Administration (NEA) Vulnerability and Risk Assessment, Resiliency Compliance Plan, and Emergency Response Plan to gain access to Electric Cooperatives Emergency and Resiliency Fund (ECERF).

NEA shall be responsible for monitoring and evaluating the use and disbursement of the ECERF. It also has the role of crafting a comprehensive National Electric Cooperatives Emergency and Resiliency Plan based on all submissions of electric coops, which in turn shall form part of National Disaster Risk and Reduction Management Plan.

Through this law, Gatchalian is hopeful that electric cooperatives would develop strong disaster preparedness, mitigation, and response measures.

"Sa pabagu-bagong kalagayan ng ating kapaligiran, hindi natin alam kung kelan tayo tatamaan ng trahedya. Sa huli, dapat handa ang ating mga kooperatiba na harapin ang ganitong mga sitwasyon (Because of climate change, we don't know when will a disaster happen. In the end, our cooperatives should be ready to confront such emergency situations)," the lawmaker said.

Earlier this week, President Rodrigo Duterte signed into law Republic Act 11039, otherwise known as the Electric Cooperatives Emergency and Resiliency Fund Act.

"The signing of RA 11039 is an important milestone in maintaining stability in the power supply of the 122 electric cooperatives nationwide in the wake of natural calamities and other emergency situations," said Gatchalian, the chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy and principal author of the law in the Senate.

RA 11039 establishes the ECERF, which will be administered and managed by the NEA. The government shall allot funding to the ECERF under the national budget to be used exclusively for the restoration or rehabilitation of damaged infrastructure of electric coops.

For the initial implementation of the law, the government shall allocate PHP750 million, which shall be taken out of the PHP7-billion budget of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Fund, and will be released to NEA's Quick Response Fund for the smooth distribution to qualified electric coops. (Senate PR)

Thursday, July 5, 2018

SC: IRA funds for LGUs must come from all national taxes

By Christopher Lloyd Caliwan

MANILA -- The Supreme Court (SC) ruled that the Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) given to local government units must be sourced from all national taxes and not only from national internal revenue taxes collected by the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) as defined in the 1987 Constitution.

In a media briefer released Wednesday, the High Court voted 10-3 during its weekly full-court session on Tuesday to partially grant the petition filed by then Batangas representative and now Governor Hermilando Mandanas questioning the process of allocating IRA funds for LGUs.

“The court… interpreted the basis for the ‘just share’ of local government units under Section 6, Article X of the 1987 Constitution as being based on all national taxes and not only national internal revenue taxes, as provided in Section 284 of the Local Government Code,” the SC said in a brief statement.

Section 284 of Republic Act No. 7160, the law which created the LGUs, states that provincial, city and municipal governments must receive 40 percent of the total national internal revenue taxes collected by the central government.

On the other hand, Article X, Section 6 of the 1987 Constitution states that LGUs “shall have a just share, as determined by law, in the national taxes which shall be automatically released to them.”

The national taxes include customs tariffs and taxes collected by other state agencies such as the Bureau of Immigration.

Internal revenue taxes, meanwhile, refer to taxes imposed by the Bureau of Internal Revenue such as income taxes, estate and donor’s taxes, value-added tax, excise taxes and documentary stamp taxes.

Mandanas had sought the tribunal’s intervention in January 2012 in a bid to stop the Aquino administration from enforcing the annual national budget, claiming that the national government unlawfully used nearly PHP61 billion from the IRA to bankroll various public infrastructure projects then.

In his 23-page petition, Mandanas claimed that from 1992 to 2012, unreleased IRA due provinces, cities, municipalities, and barangays had reached PHP500 billion.

“Compliance by the National Government with the Constitution and existing laws will enable the LGUs to efficiently and expediently serve the Filipino people, and hasten the delivery of much needed and long delayed basic services," Mandanas’ petition stated.

Mandanas argued that allowing LGUs to directly access the IRA funds would help them “efficiently and expediently serve the Filipino people, and hasten the delivery of much needed and long delayed basic services.”

He also filed the petition along with eight local officials. The lead counsel in the case is former Senate president Aquilino Pimentel Jr., author of the Local Government Code.

Mandanas argued that Section 284 on Allotment of Internal Revenue Taxes of Republic Act (RA) No. 7160 (Local Government Code) clearly defines “just share” regarding the IRA.

The said section states: “Sec. 284. Allotment of Internal Revenue Taxes. Local government units shall have a share in the national internal revenue taxes based on the collection of the third fiscal year preceding the current fiscal year, as follows:

a) On the first year of the effectivity of this Code, 30 percent;
b) On the second year, 35 percent;
c) On the third year and thereafter, 40 percent.”

"It is clear that the legally mandated revenue base to compute the IRA should include the entire national internal revenue taxes collected annually," Mandanas said. (PNA)

3 Bicolano bizmen face tax raps

MANILA (Bicol Standard) – A prominent local businesswoman in Camarines Norte is among the three Bicolano entrepreneurs who are facing criminal complaints before the Department of Justice (DOJ) filed by the The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR).

Vilma J. Barcelona, the sole proprietress of Sunrise Emission Test Center, has a total tax liability for taxable year 2014 amounting to PHP 34,051, 949.12, inclusive of increments for her acts and omissions, the BIR said.

Also facing tax raps is Deborah DJ De Castro, the sole proprietress of JECA Minerals with registered address in Naga City, who has a total tax liability of PHP2,244,794.88.

De Castro is engaged in small-scale mining extracting white clay in San Vicente, Tinambac, Camarines Sur.
Meantime, Ruben Gerard Andres Fortuno III, owner of Tabaco Sports Arena in Tabaco City Albay, has an aggregate total civil (income tax and amusement tax) liability totaling to PHP21,363,332.28.

Tax mapping was conducted by the BIR to investigate their business activities and determine the veracity and extent of the violations.

Virac judge: Insult from accused prompted transfer of drug cases

Judge Lelu Contreras

By Christopher Lloyd Caliwan

MANILA -- The presiding judge of the Virac Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 43 tasked to handle the illegal drug cases on the discovery of a "mega shabu" laboratory in the municipality in 2016 said she has ordered to transfer the venue of the cases.

Judge Lelu Contreras said she made the move to spare her staff from the offensive demeanor of one of the accused in the case, former NBI Anti-Illegal Drugs Unit head Augusto Eric Isidoro.

"Initially, I did not agree to the transfer of venue, even when I will be inhibiting, since the security of the witnesses is more important than that of the prosecutors. However, after I was subjected to verbal assaults by the principal accused, Augusto Eric Isidoro, I changed my position and I agreed to the transfer of venue in order to spare my staff, who will still be handling the cases despite my inhibition, from the abusive conduct of Isidoro," Contreras said in a message sent to the Philippine News Agency Wednesday.

In an order dated April 24, Contreras said she received a call from the Office of the Court Administrator (OCA) on April 20 directing her to comment on the request filed by former Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II asking Acting Chief Justice Antonio Carpio to transfer the cases filed against Isidoro from the Virac RTC to either a Quezon City or a Makati RTC and to issue an order to the accused to comment on the same request.

Since there was no available court personnel as it was already past office hours, Contreras, together with her police security, personally went to Virac District Jail to deliver the order to Isidoro.

She narrated that while she was waiting inside her car, her police security returned and informed her that both accused Isidro and Lorenzo Flores Piñera II refused to receive her order.

This prompted her to enter the jail facility to explain to them the urgency of the directive from the OCA.

“It took several minutes for Isidro to emerge from the cell. Even before the undersigned could utter a word, Isidoro, in a loud voice, told the undersigned that he could not be forced to receive the order since he has a counsel,” Contrera said.

She explained that she wasn't able to speak as Isidro went on with his tirades, claiming that she had no authority to be at the BJMP since there is a separation between the judiciary and the BJMP.

“All throughout Isidoro’s verbal attacks against the undersigned, not one of the BJMP personnel, who were about two (2) meters from them, lifted a finger to pacify Isidoro, who was about two (2) feet from the undersigned. It was only when the undersigned raised her voice that Isidro stopped and returned to his cell,” Contreras said in her order.

The judge noted that Isidoro, while on his way to his cell, shouted in the Bicol dialect, that she never wanted to transfer venue and that she acts as if she is God.

This incident prompted Contreras to withdraw her initial opposition on transferring the venue of the cases.

“Although the undersigned had already manifested, both to the Acting Chief Justice Antonio T. Carpio and Court Administrator Jose Midas P. Marquez, that it is the security of the witnesses, especially the eyewitness, that should be considered and not the convenience of the prosecutors, but, in the light of the abusive conduct and utter disrespect displayed by Isidoro to the undersigned, disregarding her position as presiding judge before whom his case was raffled, the undersigned wishes to spare her staff from being subjected to similar behavior by the accused. Thus, the undersigned is withdrawing her previous opposition to the request to transfer venue,” Contreras said in the same order.

Contreras also clarified that the release of the search warrant was not delayed, contrary to the claim of the prosecutors stated in the motion asking her inhibition from the case.

“The undersigned has already announced her intention to inhibit from handling these cases, but not on the basis of the Motion for Inhibition filed by the three (3) prosecutors. She will inhibit for security reasons after the preliminary stages of the proceedings,” Contreras said in her letter addressed to Carpio dated April 6.

She also defended her order dated March 21, directing the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency’s (PDEA) office in the Bicol region to proceed with the destruction of the shabu, controlled precursors, and essential chemicals, as well as the instruments and laboratory equipment seized from the warehouse which was questioned by former justice secretary.

“The PDEA Regional Director or its authorized representatives should proceed with the destruction without further delay “in the presence of the accused or the person/s from whom such items were confiscated and/or seized, or his/her representative or counsel, a representative from the media and the DOJ, civil society groups and any elected public official” provided that representative samples, duly weighed and recorded, are retained,” Contreras noted.

Contreras also rebutted Aguirre’s claim that the change of venue “would also obviate the need for elaborate security arrangements for the state prosecutors and the witnesses as well.”

The Virac judge said that “it is very clear that he (Aguirre) is more concerned of the state prosecutors than the witnesses because the latter, especially the eyewitness, Ernesto Tabor, whose statements led to the indictment of the principal suspect, Atty. Augustus Eric C. Isidoro, are more secured here in Catanduanes than somewhere else. The testimony of Ernesto Tabor is vital in the prosecution of these cases. Thus, it is his life that must be secured and his safety must be the paramount concern of the prosecution and not those of the state prosecutors.”

“Former Secretary Aguirre simply forgot that a prosecutor, or any counsel for that matter, may be replaced at anytime of the proceedings, but not an eyewitness, whose testimony determines the outcome of a case,” she added.

In an en banc resolution released to media on Monday, the SC granted the request of Aguirre to transfer the cases against Isidoro from the Virac RTC to the Makati RTC.

The SC also directed the Executive Judge, RTC, Makati City to raffle the subject criminal cases among the branches of the said court within three days from receipt of the record.

Aside from Isidoro, also named as respondents were Xian Xian Wang, Pido Bonito, Paolo Uy, Jayson Gonzales Uy, Lorenzo Flores Piñera II, Paolo Wee Palisoc, Phung Yuan Estorco, and Sheng Wang.

The case stemmed from the mega shabu laboratory inside a warehouse that authorities discovered and raided in Virac on Nov. 26, 2016.

Police seized in the operation 22.509 kilos of shabu and 359.75 kilos of ephedrine, as well as other equipment and chemicals used in the manufacture of methamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu. (PNA)

LTO starts releasing license plates nationwide

By Aerol John Pateña

MANILA -- The Land Transportation Office (LTO) has started distributing license plates to car owners and dealers nationwide of motor vehicles registered in July 2016 on Thursday.

Vehicle owners, who have registered their vehicle during this period may claim, their plates at the Authorized District Office (ADO) or through their respective dealers.

"Today, we will start the release of the plates nationwide for vehicles registered July 2016," LTO chief Assistant Secretary Ed Galvante said in a statement.

Plates registered for the succeeding months of 2016 will be circulated by batches to the regional offices of LTO for distribution to district offices, which will then release them to vehicle owners.

DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade said he ensured that the problem on the lack of vehicle plates will be resolved at the soonest time possible.

"Itong problema na ito ay matagal na inireklamo at idinaing ng mga kababayan natin. Sino ba naman ang matutuwa na nagbabayad ka ng tama tapos aabutin ng siyam-siyam bago makuha ang plaka. Kaya tulad ng ipinangako ng ating Pangulo, heto ho, inayos namin, heto ho, may plaka na kayo (Our countrymen have complained about this for such a long time. Would you be pleased if you have paid for it yet you have to wait that long before you get your license plate? Just as the President promised, we have resolved this; we are now issuing plates)," Tugade said.

"Unti-unti po nating aayusin ang mga problema. Magtiwala lang po kayo sa amin lalo't nagsisipag ng husto ang mga ahensya sa ilalim ng DOTr para guminhawa ang buhay natin. Utos po iyan ni Presidente Duterte kaya sisikapin nating matupad at masolusyunan (We are now taking steps to address these problems. Just put your trust and the agencies under DOTr will do everything to ensure convenience to everyone. That is the directive of President Duterte that is why we are committed to implementing it)," he added.

The LTO inaugurated its own plate-making plant last April 24 in Quezon City. The seven manual embossing machines of the LTO can produce at least 22,400 license plates daily.

As of July 4, 2018, the plate-making facility has produced a total of 231,332 pairs of motor vehicle plates, enough to cover the July to December 2016 requirements.

The license plate backlog from January 2015 to December 2017 is at 8.2 million. The new machines are expected to produce 3.4 million plates pending since July 2016.

Meanwhile, there are 4.8 million license plates for vehicles purchased from January 2015 to June 2016 under a PHP3.8-billion contract, which is still subject to a Notice of Disallowance by the Commission on Audit (COA).

The LTO is still awaiting the COA resolution on the disallowance. (PNA)

Federalism to spur fast and inclusive growth in Bicol Region - DILG

MANILA--The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) expects the Bicol Region to become a hotbed for progress when the country federalizes.

“Bicol is a promising region that boasts of rich natural resources and potential tourist areas. If properly developed, the whole region, not just Legazpi and Naga, could skyrocket to progress,” says DILG Assistant Secretary for Communication and Public Affairs Jonathan E. Malaya

According to Malaya, federalism will give Bicol region more power and autonomy to develop other areas besides Legazpi and Naga as the centers of the region’s growth.

“The nature of Bicol’s geography has led to unequal growth. While Naga and Legazpi flourish, the other towns are left behind,” says Malaya.

He says the business sector will boom, too, generating more jobs for the people.

With more funds and power in the region, the local government will also be able to better develop the tourism industry, especially in the handling of the Bicol International Airport in Legazpi City, he adds.

The terminal’s construction, which began in January 2015, experienced several delays in completion and could have been fast tracked if the region had more power and funds to complete the construction, according to Malaya. The airport is seen to increase tourist foot traffic in the region.

He further adds that delays implementing different projects and programs will be lessened if the regional government had more power and budget instead of waiting for the national government to act on matters concerning its own region.

More resources for social services

Under federalism, local governments will also have more authority and funding to develop social services such as health and education.

Malaya says the lack of district hospitals in Camarines Sur and in far-flung provinces could be solved when the country federalizes as local governments would be able to dramatically improve their delivery of social services.

“Local governments will have more budget to buy books, chairs and tables for Bicolano children. They will also be able to provide more hospital beds and medicine for the sick,” he says.

“Bicolanos will no longer have to journey to the urban cities to get treatment,” he adds.

The cost of electricity is expected to go down under federalism as the region struggles with controlling power allocation and cost despite being rich in geothermal energy.

“With Mayon Volcano as the source of the country’s geothermal energy, the entire Bicol Region should be thriving and yet the cost of electricity in the localities is higher compared to that in Metro Manila,” says the DILG Assistant Secretary.

These issues surrounding the Bicol Region will be tackled during the DILG’s third roadshow for federalism.

The Department thus invites everyone from the region to participate in the Pederalismoserye town hall meeting with basic sectors to talk about the government’s plans for Bicolanos.

After the town hall meeting, the DILG will hold a convention / rally in which the people are encouraged to attend.

Legazpi will be the third destination of the DILG’s roadshow for federalism.

Aside from Malaya, the DILG will be bringing the Executive Director of the Institute for Political and Electoral Reform (IPER) Ramon Casiple, former Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Gary Olivar and Masbate’s former Governor Vicente Revil to the Pederalismoserye town hall meeting with basic sectors.

The convention / rally, on the other hand, will be graced with the presence of DILG Assistant Secretary Marjorie Jalosjos, Malacanang’s Special Assistant to the President Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go, Concom Commissioners Edmund Tayao and Susan Ubalde-Ordinario, House of Representatives Renato Unico Jr. of Bicol, Joey Salceda of Albay and Luis Raymund F. Villafuerte Jr. of Camarines Sur.

Local officials in attendance will be Legazpi City Mayor Noel Rosal, Albay Province Governor Al Francis Bichara, and DILG Bicol Regional Director Elouisa T. Pastor, CESO IV.

“We are happy with our first two roadshows in Dumaguete and Baguio and hope that Legazpi will be as welcoming and receptive to the change the administration is pushing for,” says Malaya.


3 rebels killed in encounter in Cam Norte

DAET, Camarines Norte (Bicol Standard) – Three alleged NPA members were killed in a clash between members of the 9th Infantry Batallion and an undetermined number of rebels at around 6:30 a.m. Thursday at Sitio Banasi, Brgy. Sta Cruz, Jose Panganiban, Camarines Norte, the Philippine Army reported.

The encounter resulted to the recovery of the following: AK 47, M16, M14, grenade launcher, and 2 pieces of improvised explosives.

Pursuit operation is still ongoing, according to the Philippine Army.

OWWA Bicol announces scholarship application deadlines

LEGAZPI CITY (Bicol Standard) -- The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration-Bicol has announced the deadline for submission of applications and requirements for those who want to avail its scholarship program for the school year 2018 - 2019.

The deadlines are as follows:

July 31, 2018 EDSP (incoming freshman)
August 31, 2018 EDSP (currently enrolled)
August 31, 2018 ODSP (incoming freshman & currently enrolled).

The Education for Development Scholarship Program (EDSP) is a scholarship grant offered to qualified beneficiaries/dependents of active OWWA members who intend to enroll a 4-5 year baccalaureate course in any preferred colleges/universities. It shall be in the form of financial assistance amounting to a maximum of P60,000.00 per school year.

Meantime, the OFW Dependent Scholarship Program (OFWDSP) is an educational assistance to qualified dependents of active OWWA-member OFWs who intend to pursue any 4 or 5 year baccalaureate degree or associate degree in state college or university. The scholarship shall be in the form of financial assistance of P20,000.00 per year. Scholarship program to dependent of OFW whose income is not more than US$600.00.

Below are the documentary requirements for the scholarship:


BFP-Bicol distributes fire trucks in 3 provinces

By Jorge Hallare

LEGAZPI CITY -- The Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) recently distributed one unit of Rosenbauer firetruck to each of the three provinces in Bicol to help local government units mitigate and fight fire incidents in their localities.

Fire Senior Superintendent Victor Vibares, BFP regional director, said in an interview on Wednesday that the fire protection capability of Bicol region will change dramatically in the 3rd and 4th quarter of 2018, as they aim to complete the needs of 17 municipalities that still don't have fire stations before the end of the year.

"Bicol will have competitive fire protection environment in next few months with the continued supply of state-of-the-art fire trucks with international standards," he said.

"The local government units of the cities of Tabaco and Masbate and Daet town were the first batch of recipients of the said firetrucks," he added.

The firetrucks were received by Mayor Krisel Luistro of Tabaco City, Albay; Vice Mayor Ruby Morano of Masbate City, the capital of Masbate province; and administrative officer Christine Joan Deluna of Daet, Camarines Norte.

Architect Kristen Lagman, who was raised and studied in Tabaco City, said as an architect who abides by all the rules and requirements of the BFP with regards to structural safety, the grant of the new firetrucks was laudable as these would give the people a sense of security.

"Pag may emergency sa structure mas mabilis na sila makakapunta kasi nadagdagan na ang service nila. (If there is an emergency in the structures, they will reach the destination faster and easier because of their new service vehicle)" Lagman added.

Vibares said 17 municipalities in Bicol need firetrucks namely, Rapu-Rapu town in Albay province; San Vicente and Talisay towns in Camarines Norte; Bombon, Canaman, Lagonoy, Presentacion, Sangay and Siruma in Camarines Sur; Bagamanoc town in Catanduanes; Batuan, Claveria, Mobo, Palanas and Uson town in Masbate province and the towns of Barcelona and Sta. Magdalena in Sorsogon province.

"We are doing our best to give what is needed," the BFP officer said. (PNA)

Naghalo kan arak na nakahilo sa 4 sa Iriga, pighahanap pa

IRIGA CITY (Bicol Standard) -- Pighahanap pa an mga persona na nagdara kan hinalong arak asin kemikal na nakahilo, gadan sa apat na tawo sa ciudad na ini.

Segun sa Iriga police, an mga victima iyo sinda Regio Oliveros, 39; Edwin Dela Cruz, 63; Luis Nicolas Jr. 69; asin Sonny Castillo, 47.

Afuera sa apat, poco mas o menos 50 personas pa an nagpapaumay pakatapos mag-inom kan nasambit na arak.

Sinabi kan pulis na kan fecha 29 kan Junio, nag-abot sa ciudad na ini sinda Engr. Glenn T. Castillo kan Quezon City asin Christian Naldoy na residente kan Sta. Maria, Iriga City, para mag ofrecir nin arak na may pig-aapod na re-mineralizing drops na suboot may tama na maabot sa tulong aldaw.

Nakamati nin kulog nin payo asin paglabo nin pagsuka, sabi kan pulis.

Mapadara nin surat an Iriga City Police Station sa Food and Drug Administration para examenon an hinalong arak asin kemikal.

Pig-aadalan pa kun anong isasangat na kaso sa mga suspechado.

German consultant graces BISCAST’s forum on Internationalization

NAGA CITY -- A German food journalist and educator visited the institution today, July 2, 2018, to lead the first embarkment of Bicol State College of Applied Sciences and Technology (BISCAST) to internalization effort on curriculum integration- the Forum on Internationalization, held at the Audio Visual Room (AVR).

Christian Pocher, who is now BISCAST’s consultant for curriculum integration, served as the resource person in the said forum which was attended college officials and selected faculty members.

Pocher’s discussion focused on the Aspects of Sustainability in Education wherein he highlighted the practical aspects of teaching nutrition ecology.

Meanwhile, the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) presented in the forum their Bachelor of Physical Education Major in Sports and Wellness Management (BPE – SWM) curriculum, while the College of Trades and Technology (CTT) delivered the syllabus of Bachelor in Technical and Vocational Education –Food Service Management (BTVEd – FSM).

Pocher said that it is a good idea to integrate nutrition ecology in the two presented curricula, as well as to the other nutrition and wellness-related subjects because it will help not only the students but also the faculty members.

He said, “It’s a great idea but you will depend it on the needs of the students and of each subject.”

Dr. Richard Cordial, BISCAST president said in his message that he considers the Forum on Internationalization as milestone for the College because it is part of the institution’s effort to build international linkages.

Cordial said, “This is going to be our exploratory meeting and I am hoping we will be able to get some idea on how to cooperate and collaborate with Christian.”

Moreover, faculty members were given a chance to ask Pocher on health and wellness-related subject/curriculum, integration of nutrition ecology and the use of e-learning to achieve sustainability in education.

Pocher is a native of Wiesbaden, Germany and a graduate of Louise Schroeder Schule. Aside from being a journalist and a teacher, he is also an author in TV and radio station programs in Germany.


Wednesday, July 4, 2018

6,721 workers regularized in Bicol

LEGAZPI CITY – The drive against labor contractualization continues as the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Region V - Bicol noted an increase in the number of erstwhile contractual workers finally regularized by their private employers in response to the government’s call to end contractualization.

A total of 6,721 workers gained regular employment from their companies here in Bicol for the first semester of the year.

Of this number, 4,211 of them were regularized through inspections conducted by the Labor department. On the other hand, 2,510 were regularized voluntarily by their respective employers.

DOLE Bicol recorded 167 establishments in all provinces of Bicol that regularized their workers from January to June 2018. At least 137 companies regularized their own workers upon visit by the agency’s inspectors, while 30 establishments voluntarily regularized their own workers

According to OIC Regional Director Rovelinda dela Rosa, “this is part of the 10-point agenda of President Rodrigo R. Duterte to put to end prohibited contractual government arrangements in the country. We encourage employers to submit their roster of employees and voluntarily regularize their workers following under such work arrangements in their respective establishments.”

“In so doing, we will avoid the rigorous process of enforcement through our inspection program, and eventually filing of cases to ensure the security of tenure of our workers,” she further said.

Dela Rosa added that as part of the advocacy to stop endo and promote regularization in Bicol region, the department highlights the policy whenever there are labor management fora, wage consultation meetings and other labor-related activities in the region.

Apart from this, the Department conducts routine inspection in which they evaluate private establishments’ compliance with labor laws and social legislation through a prescribed Inspection Checklist.

According to OIC Assistant Regional Director Imee Romanillos, “as to routine inspections, our agency prioritizes establishments engaged in manufacturing, agriculture, services (hospitals, hotels, restaurants, food chains), contractors and sub-contractors (security agencies), telecommunications (BPOs) and construction projects.”

“We reach out to the employers to comply and work with us in the upliftment of the lives of the Bicolano workers,” she added.

In return to all those establishments that observe labor rules and regulations, DOLE Bicol recognizes them as one among the labor laws compliant establishments./jveg/

Nabua High stude arrested for shabu

NABUA, Camarines Sur (Bicol Standard) – A 16-year-old high school student from this town was arrested after being allegedly discovered to be in possession of a substance believed to be shabu while inside the campus of Nabua National High School at barangay San Miguel, this town.

Police Senior Inspector Oscar Pomar, Nabua police chief, said that a teacher informed the Municipal Police Station that said student had a sachet of the prohibited substance inside his pocket.

The student was turned over to the security guard after the substance was found.

Meantime, the minor said he only found the sachet and decided to put it in his pocket for safekeeping.

The student is now under the custody of the office of the Municipal Social Welfare and Development as he awaits drug-testing.

SUWECO issues statement on Catanduanes power supply

VIRAC, Catanduanes (Bicol Standard) -- If all hydro and diesel power plants are running at full capacity, the province of Catanduanes will have sufficient power supply. However, frequent load shedding was still experienced due to the temporary lack of power supply.

This is the statement of Sunwest Water and Electric Company, Inc. (SUWECO) to member-consumers of FICELCO on Tuesday.

The following factors affected the power supply, SUWECO said:
1. Ongoing upgrade and rehabilitation of the FICELCO’s transmission/distribution lines.
2. Generator sets were shutdown while undergoing Preventive Maintenance Shutdown (PMS) during peak load hours and/or due to some technical issues.
3. Low water levels in the dams.

"FICELCO is fully aware of the power shortage this season because last year, the National Electrification Authority (NEA) and SUWECO already warned them that power supply might be insufficient. NEA has also ordered FICELCO to make the necessary arrangements with its power suppliers to ensure that there will be sufficient and steady supply of electricity during the said season.

It will be recalled that in November 2017, SUWECO tried to deliver the three (3) additional generator sets pursuant to its agreements with FICELCO to cover the inadequate power supply and prevent any power shortage. Unfortunately, because of the refusal of the President of the Board of Directors’ Alex Ang Hung to install the said generator sets, SUWECO decided to pull out the same.

SUWECO reiterates its position that the brownouts could have been prevented only if Ang Hung is willing to cooperate and did not block the move of SUWECO in installing and commissioning the additional generator sets. SUWECO further believes that if Ang Hung will continue to block its efforts to provide a solution to the present state of power supply in the province, the situation will not only persist, but worsen.

SUWECO looks forward to hearing from the leadership of the Board of Directors of FICELCO on how they would address the pressing issue of power shortage in its service area," SUWECO said in its statement.

More than 900 new HIV cases recorded in April

By Leilani Junio

MANILA -- More than 900 newly-diagnosed cases of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) were recorded in the month of April.

"There were 924 new HIV anti-body sero-positive individuals reported to the April 2018 HIV/AIDS Registry of the Philippines (HARP)," according to a data from the Department of Health (DOH) Epidemiology Bureau released Tuesday.

In comparison, the figure is higher than the 628 HIV cases reported in April 2017.

Of the total cases for April 2018, 19 percent or 179 had clinical manifestations of having advanced HIV infection or acquired immunodeficiency deficiency syndrome (AIDS).

The data also revealed that there were a total of 66 deaths due HIV/AIDS. The data further showed that sexual contact remains to be the predominant mode of transmission among the 905 cases.

A total of 774 individuals or 86 percent were under the males who have sex with males (MSM) category.

Aside from sexual contact, another mode of transmission was needle sharing among injecting drug users, with 13 cases or 1 percent of the total number of cases.

There was also one case of mother-to-child transmission while another five cases had no data on the mode of transmission, the HARP report said.

The data also showed that one-third or 30 percent (282 cases) were diagnosed from the National Capital Region.

It was followed by Calabarzon (18 percent, 164 cases); Central Luzon (13 percent, 117); Central Visayas (8 percent, 71); Davao Region (5 percent, 50); and Western Visayas (5 percent, 44).

Since 1984 up to the present, the DOH recorded around 54,332 HIV cases.

From the figure, around 5,700 progressed into AIDS cases while around 2,598 resulted to deaths.

According to DOH, a person may die not because of HIV but due to "opportunistic infections" or complications which can occur to patients as they acquire HIV.

The DOH has been providing anti-retroviral treatment among the patients as well as free testing at its HIV hubs and treatment centers. (PNA)

PNP mulls legal action on ‘defective' trucks, undelivered assets

By Benjamin Pulta

MANILA -- The Philippine National Police (PNP) is considering legal actions in connection with the undelivered equipment and lackluster post-sale services for police patrol cars it acquired in 2015.

Speaking to newsmen Tuesday, PNP spokesperson Senior Supt. Benigno Durana Jr. reiterated that the Department of Budget and Management's Procurement Service was the office in charge of the purchase of 2,000 India-made Mahindra police trucks.

"The lapses did not come from the Philippine National Police," Durana stressed, adding that the PNP is prepared to explain why the police force's leadership at the time failed to initiate an "operational needs assessment" after the initial delivery of the vehicles.

Durana said they will also demand delivery of all combat and mobility assets already transacted in behalf of the PNP, adding that they are considering legal remedy for the return of any sums paid out for the undelivered assets back to the national treasury.

Presently, the PNP hinted that they are considering possible sanctions against Columbia Motors' participation in future contracts.

"We will comply with the COA (Commission on Audit) recommendations, truth to tell we are very much (participating) in the preparation of that report including to demand immediate delivery of mobility and combat assets and at the same time have our legal team review the bid documents and study the option of getting a refund in case it will not be given to us. Or probably, if the funds were not obligated based on the intelligence that the money be returned to the national treasury," Durana said.

The PNP spokesman said there is no decision yet to stop using the Mahindra Scorpios, a 2.5 liter diesel police car.

Some 200 police vehicles are in varying states of disrepair after Mahindra's local partner, Columbia Motors failed to provide adequate parts and service support. (PNA)

Duterte signs law on national feeding program

Photo via DSWD

By Azer Parrocha

MANILA -- President Rodrigo R. Duterte has formally signed a law institutionalizing a national feeding program for undernourished Filipino children in public schools.

Duterte signed Masustansyang Pagkain para sa Batang Pilipino Act (R.A 11037) last June 29, to address the problem of undernutrition among Filipino children in day care centers, kindergarten, and elementary.

This act is a consolidation of Senate Bill No. 1279 and House Bill No. 5269 passed on Mar. 20, 2018.

Under the law, the government shall provide a supplemental feeding program for day care children, a school-based feeding program for public school children from kinder to Grade 6, a milk-feeding program, a micronutrient feeding program, health examinations, vaccinations, and deworming among others.

The government should also encourage schools to devote a portion of land or space for the cultivation of vegetables and other nutrient-rich plants.

Water, sanitation, hygiene, and an integrated nutrition education, behavioral transformation, and social mobilization should also be in place to promote a holistic and integrated approach to health and nutrition education.

The law also includes the creation of a National Nutrition Information System which will harmonize all existing national and local nutrition databases to identify individuals, groups, and/or localities that have the highest magnitude of hunger and undernutrion.

It also calls for the participation of the private sector in the program.

Duterte earlier vowed to provide a “comfortable life” for all Filipinos. (PNA)

Naga City hosts int'l table tennis tilt

Photo courtesy of Mayor John Bongat

NAGA CITY (Bicol Standard) -- The best of the best young table tennis players from seven participating Association of Southeast Asian Nations are in Naga City for the 24th Southeast Asian Junior and Cadet Table Tennis Championship.

This is according to Mayor John Bongat, who invited the public to watch the games in which promising pingpong players will compete.

The participating countries are Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam, the local chief executive said.

The games will take place at the Robinsons Place Naga Activity Center today. (With report from Oscar Esmenda)

Cam Sur Police recognized as Best Performing PPDEU

by Ana-Liza S. Macatangay

Pursuant to President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s marching order to the Philippine National Police (PNP) to assist and provide active support in the government’s war on drugs, the Camarines Sur Police Provincial Office (CSPPO) embarked on massive drug operations that resulted to another feather on its cap.

The CSPPO under the leadership of Police Senior Superintendent Jerry F. Bearis, CSPPO Provincial Director was adjudged by the National Police Commission (NPC)- Philippine Drug Enforcement Group as the Best Performing Provincial Police Drug Enforcement Unit for 2018.

CSPPO received the award at the Camp BGen Rafael T Crame in Quezon City, June 25.

On the same date, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) Bicol Regional Office thru the agency’s acting Regional Director Christian O. Frivaldo, handed over a Plaque of Recognition to the CSPPO in cognizance and appreciation of its unwavering dedication and significant support given to PDEA.

CSPPO was lauded as the Police Provincial Office (PPO) with the Most Number of Accomplishments in Double Barrel Alpha, awarded with Special unit Plaque and has been recognized as Over-all Top Performer in the entire Police Regional Office 5 for the region’s wide implementation of OPLAN Double Barrel: Reloaded.

The unit’s numerous anti-illegal drugs operations also covered Supply and Demand Reduction activities thereby topping other PPDEUs in terms of accomplishments.

Bearis expressed his gratitude to the men and women who comprised the PPDEU for a job well done.

“These endeavors will never be made possible without the support of our Provincial Police Drug Enforcement Unit and Provincial Intelligence Branch, both headed by PSUPT Ruben Dalit Padua Jr. The exceptional performance and noteworthy contributions of his unit/office in the anti-illegal drug operations and other anti-criminality campaign, making OPLAN SINAGTALA, a success,” Bearis added.

The CSPPO’s war on drugs is part of Bearis’ OPLAN SINAGTALA, a strategic anti-criminality campaign plan in Camarines Sur which stands for Supilin ang lahat ng Ilegal na Narkotiko, Armas, Gamot, mga Tulak, Adiksyon at iba pang uri ng Kriminalidad sa Lipunan para matupad an gating Adhikain.

Bearis explained that OPLAN SNAG TALA is a well-defined localized, responsive strategy and innovative anti-criminality campaign that will fully support the OPLAN Double Barrel: Reloaded as mandated by President Rodrigo Duterte. (LSMacatangay-PIAV/Camarines Sur)

OCD-Bicol cites unity, cooperation in disaster resiliency

By Rhaydz Barcia

LEGAZPI CITY -- The Office of Civil Defense (OCD) regional office in Bicol recognized the role of the community in disaster resiliency efforts, through a unity fun run held here on Monday as part of the observance of the National Disaster Resiliency Month.

The three-kilometer fun run dubbed “Fun Run for Resilience: NDRM 2018" at Legazpi City Boulevard was led by OCD Regional Director Claudio Yucot and Mayor Noel Rosal. Close to 500 people from the coastal villages of Dapdap and Puro participated in the event.

Yucot said through the unity fun run, the people of Legazpi showed their collective cooperation and readiness on disaster risk reduction and resiliency.

“If the basis for disaster preparedness to lessen the risk is the unity fun run, you’ve showcased the exemplary unity to mitigate the risk. This is a good example of unity and public awareness. We will achieve the zero casualty goals in times of natural calamity through your cooperation and readiness,” Yucot said.

The OCD chief rang a bell as he cited the importance of unity, cooperation and readiness among the people in times of disaster to attain the zero casualty goal of the government. He said no single precious life must be lost during typhoons and other calamitous events in the countryside.

“We don’t know when disaster, specifically stronger typhoons will strike but it’s better for us to be always ready. Though the people of Bicol are tested for being disaster resilient, we need to check our readiness at all times,” he also said in an interview.

Mayor Rosal said the Legazpi people's readiness and resiliency have been proven, and the city would always rise from natural disasters.

“Our readiness and capacity to rise up after the occurrence of super typhoons Milenyo and Reming have proven our resiliency. Legazpi City is now the country’s rising and model city after Milenyo and Reming. Big businesses and investments are coming in to Legazpi because of our resiliency and readiness,” he said.

“The cooperation of the people from the barangays is very critical in times of disaster. We need to work together and be ready at all times to lessen the risk and mitigate the impact of natural calamities. Because of good partnership from community, government agencies and disaster officials, Legazpi City is now one of the top five rising cities in the country,” the mayor added.

The Run for Resilience was spearheaded by the OCD Bicol and Regional Disaster Risk Reduction Management member-agencies in the city.

Those who participated were from the local community, national government agencies, Armed Forces of the Philippines, Philippine National Police, Bureau of Fire Protection; OCD; Legazpi City and provincial government of Albay. (PNA)

Monday, July 2, 2018

Bicolano farmers meet to discuss new farm, livelihood tech

NAGA CITY--- Farmers Edgar Pesebre, Alejandro Valencia and Librado Banastao, Jr. have one common goal---to get updated on new rice technologies to be shared to their fellow farmers in their respective municipalities.

The three farmers were among the 180 Local Farmer Technicians (LFT) that attended the LFT Regional Congress on June 11, 2018 in Hotel Robertson here. LFTs act as active partners of the DA and local government units in promoting and disseminating rice farm technologies.

Pesebre is the appointed LFT of Polangui in 2011 during the launching of the Hybridization Program of the Department of Agriculture (DA). With the various trainings and seminars that he attended as an LFT, he was able to increase his rice production and income in barangay Balangibang, Polangui, Albay.

According to him, his LFT appointment gave him more confidence and authority in interacting with his fellow farmers and convincing them to adapt new rice technologies especially on the use of Hybrid Seeds.

At present, the farmers in Polangui are enrolled in the Climate Field School being conducted by the DA through the Agricultural Training Institute and LGU.

On the other hand, Valencia is a newbie in the LFT program. However, after earning a degree in Agriculture Technology and Entrepreneurship from the Central Bicol State University of Agriculture in 1999, he decided to develop his 2.5-ha rice field in San Jose, Camarines Sur and adapted the crop rotation farming system with vegetables.

In 2003, he became president of the Rangas Farmers Associations covering nine barangays.

“Mas gusto ko magLFT kesa magwork bilang agricultural technician (AT) ta sa LFT, nakakabwelo ako kan sakuyang plano asin proyekto para sa sakong asosasyon. Pag AT pano, kapot ka kan pulitiko. Su gusto ninda an masusunod (I prefer being an LFT rather than working as an agricultural technician because as an LFT, I am free with my plans and projects for my association. If I am an AT, I will be under a politician, I will have to obey what they demand),” said Valencia.

His plans for his association include farm-to-market roads, farm machineries, extension canal, and conduct of livelihood trainings for the families of his fellow members.

Banastao, on the other hand, is an LFT for over seven years now in barangay Fundado, Canaman. He is the president both in the regional and national level of the LFT associations.

He cited that at first, there was difficulty in convincing his fellow farmers to adapt new farm technologies especially on hybridization. But with his various trainings and seminars on new farm technologies which he adapted in his 1.5-ha farm, his fellow farmers become curious when they saw the big improvement and high yield in his farm.

“To see is to believe,” Banastao said of his fellow farmers. He is the Vice-Chairman of the Municipal Agriculture and Fishery Council in their municipality of the DA Rice Program.

According to Agriculturist Mar Bustarga, the number of LFTs in the Bicol region increased because of the challenge posed by the government to increase the rice areas to 176,495 hectares.

Bustarga also underscored that Bicol maintained its status as the 5th largest producer of palay in the country.

Meanwhile, Regional Seed Coordinator Anacleto Esplana discussed the Farmers’ Production and Exchange of High Quality Inbred Rice Seeds (SEEDEX) Program. This program will help raise small farmers’ productivity and income by shifting to high quality seeds and enhancing access to appropriate inbred varieties.

Other topics to discussed during the congress include Updates on implementation of Model Farms, LFT trainings for 2018, and Rice Crop Manager (RCM); Information Sources on Rice Farming; PRIME Project Updates; Farm Mechanization; and Mushroom Cultivation.

The LFT Program aims to develop a core of qualified and trained rice farmers as reinforcement of LGU-based agricultural extension workers in developing and promoting modern rice production and post-production technologies. These rice farmers are categorized either for irrigated, rainfed, and upland ecosystems. (jaysonmgonzales)

Mamondiong to loiterers: Avail of TESDA's free skills training

Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) Director General, Secretary Guiling “Gene” A. Mamondiong is inviting all loiterers or "tambays" to go to the nearest TESDA office and avail of the free skills training.

“Halina sa TESDA at magsanay para makapagtrabaho at makapagnegosyo,” says Mamondiong. (Visit TESDA and learn a skill so that you will have a job or a business of your own).

Mamondiong says that the invitation to loiterers is in support of the campaign of President Duterte to accost "tambays" or those loitering in the streets, especially at night, whom he believes are potential trouble in public.

Duterte has also ordered a crackdown on local ordinance violators on smoking ban, curfew, drinking in the streets, and for being shirtless.

Mamondiong said that scholarship programs are up for grabs at TESDA under the Private Education Financial Assistance (PESFA), Training for Work Scholarship Program (TWSP), Special Training for Employment Program (STEP) and Free TVET in regard to Republic Act 10931.

He also said that there are three ways to apply for the scholarship programs of the agency: Walk-In Scholarship Application, On-Line Scholarship Application and Barangay-based Scholarship Application.

Mamondiong said that TESDA has more than 200 qualifications or promulgated training programs which an applicant may choose from various industry sectors such as construction, automotive and land transportation, agriculture, information and communication technology, tourism and restaurant, processed food and beverages, garments, metals and engineering, health social and community services, etc. So far, TESDA has 3,962 private and public technical vocational education and training (TVET) centers with 15,229 registered TVET programs.

The government is also in need of some 200,000 construction workers nationwide for its "Build Build Build Infrastructure Program" which will focus on 75 major infrastructure flagship projects.

Those who are in need of jobs may enroll in construction related training programs such as Electrical Installation and Maintenance NC ll, Sheilded Metal Arc Welding (SMAW) NC ll, Carpentry NC ll, Electrical Installation and Maintenance NC lll, Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW) NC ll, Plumbing NC ll, Masonry NC ll, Technical Drafting NC ll, Gas Tungsten Arc Welding (GTAW) NCll and heavy equipment operation.

SC orders transfer of Virac drug lab cases trial to Makati RTC

Inspection of Virac drug lab
Photo via Ace Barbers Facebook Page

By Christopher Lloyd Caliwan

MANILA -- The Supreme Court (SC) ordered the transfer of venue of the illegal drug cases against a former official of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and eight others linked to the "mega shabu" laboratory discovered in Virac, Catanduanes in 2016.

In an en banc resolution dated June 19 but was released to media on Monday, the SC granted the request of former Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II to transfer the cases against former NBI Anti-Illegal Drugs Unit head Augusto Eric Isidoro from the Virac Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 43 to the Makati RTC.

“(The Court resolved to) Direct the branch of clerk of Court, Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 43 Virac, Cantanduanes to forward the records of the foresaid criminal cases to the Office of Executive Judge RTC, Makati City," said the resolution signed by SC Clerk of Court Edgar Aricheta.

The SC also directed the Executive Judge, RTC, Makati City to raffle the subject criminal cases among the branches of the said court within three days from receipt of the record.

In a four-page request letter, Aguirre said the prosecution panel has filed a motion seeking for the inhibition of Virac RTC Branch 43 Judge Lelu Contreras from the case due to delays in the issuance of a search warrant for the site where the drug lab was located. Contreras was the same judge who issued the search warrant.

Aguirre said that on Nov. 25, 2016, the judge told policemen who were requesting for a search warrant that she would only issue a certification if authorities could prove that the warehouse has no building permit.

The following day, police were surprised to see at the warehouse the judge, Virac Mayor Samuel Laynes, and Isidro's wife Angelica Balmadrid-Isidro.

Though Contreras decided to issue the search warrant, Aguirre lamented that “despite the urgency, the presiding judge was not seen in her chambers the whole afternoon” and “it was almost night time of Nov. 26, 2016 when (the) search warrant... was issued”.

"This would also obviate the need for elaborate security arrangements for the state prosecutors and the witnesses as well. The transfer of venue will also insulate the proceedings from influence of threats from any groups affiliated with the accused," Aguirre said in his letter.

The former DOJ chief said that after a motion to inhibit was filed against her, the judge issued an order dated last March 21 directing the director of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency’s (PDEA) office in the Bicol region to proceed with the destruction of the shabu, controlled precursors, and essential chemicals, as well as the instruments and laboratory equipment seized from the warehouse.

He said the destruction of the drug evidence "is premature and highly prejudicial to the prosecution".

Aguirre raised not only the alleged impartiality of Contreras but also the "political connection" of the accused.

"In addition to the impartiality of the presiding judge, the accused in these cases are politically connected and likewise yield an influence in the community. Thus, there is an imperious necessity to change the venue of trial of these cases," he said.

Aside from Isidro, also named as respondents were Xian Xian Wang, Pido Bonito, Paolo Uy, Jayson Gonzales Uy, Lorenzo Flores Piñera II, Kidot Paolo Wee Palisoc, Phung Yuan Estorco, and Sheng Wang.

The case stemmed from the mega shabu laboratory inside a warehouse that authorities discovered and raided in Virac on Nov. 26, 2016.

Police seized in the operation 22.509 kilos of shabu and 359.75 kilos of ephedrine, as well as other equipment and chemicals used in the manufacture of methamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu. (PNA)

Pagpreparar para sa Penafrancia Fiesta, pinunan na

NAGA CITY (Bicol Standard) -- Pinangenotan kan Office of Civil Defense Bicol an ginibong Table Top Exercise asin Simulation Exercise para sa Inter-Agency Task Group kan ciudad nin Naga en coneccion sa maabot sa Peñafrancia Festival 2018 sa Septiembre.

Ini parte kan pagpreparar kan iba-ibang ahencia de gobierno arog kan Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Philippine National Police (PNP), Philippine Coast Guard, Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP), Department of Health (DOH) asin LGU-Naga City asin an simbahan tanganing makalikay sa anuman na insidente sa gigibuhong celebrasyon sa ciudad.

Ipinahayag ni OCD-5 Regional Director Claudio L. Yucot na iyo man an pamayo kan  Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (RDRRMC) na an aktibidad parte kan saindang pagtabang sa LGU asin simbahan.

Kabale bilang mga responders sa drill an mga personajes kan Naga City Fire Station, Naga City Police Office, 9th ID, City Health Office, Coast Guard, Public Safety Office asin iba pang rescue units.

Daet nakakuha ng 3 bagong fire truck

Pormal nang ibinigay sa Bayan ng Daet ang isa sa tatlong bagong bagong Rosenbauer Fire Truck na ngkakahalaga ng 19 million pesos mula sa BFP DILG.

Ito ay dinaluhan ni Municipal Admin Joan Kristine Tabernilla-De Luna at SSupt. Adonis Osea.

Ayon sa LGU Daet, ito ay naisakatuparan sa hiling ni Mayor Benito B2K Ochoa para sa mamamayan ng Daet at mga kalapit na Municipalidad na maseserbisyuhan nito.

PHOTO | Cam Sur receives Saringaya Award

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources V (DENR V) recognized the Provincial Government of Camarines Sur, through its Environment, Disaster Management, and Emergency Response Office with the Saringaya Award. Said award is given to “individuals, groups, organizations and corporate entities whose contributions to the environment have inspired the people and their communities to become vanguards of Mother Nature.”

Aki na nabakunahan nin Dengvaxia, linubong na sa Albay

Photo via Persida Acosta

LEGAZPI CITY (Bicol Standard) –Sarong team nin mga experto hale sa Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) an nagbisita sa Camalig, Albay, para examinon an bangkay kan 13 anyos na solterito na suboot nagadan nin huli ta nabakunanan kan controversial na Dengvaxia vaccine.

May enot na report na naka abot sa PAO na nagsasabi na nagadan an solterito nin huli sa complicasyon na resulta kan pagbakuna saiya.

An biktima nabisto sa pangaran na Arjay Llantero, taga Camalig, Albay.

Mientrastanto, si Atty. Persida Acosta, an hefe kan PAO nagsabi na base sa saindang record, an sintomas kan helang ni “Arjay”, kapareyo kan si mga enot na nagadan na mga aki, na pig tabangan kan saindang officina.

Malinaw na nareparo an pagbutog asin pagkulog kan tulak kan biktima, na kapareyo kan ibang mga pig imbestigaran nindang mga reklamo, na anas nabakunahan kan Dengvaxia.

Segun sa doctor na nag-check up ki Arjay an saiyang ikinagadan iyo an pag palyar kan saiyang baga (pulmonary arrest).

Igwa nin pagduda si Atty. Acosta na igwa pa nin ibang rason an saiyang biglaan na pagkagadan, ta an tubercolusis sarong clase nin helang na nabubulong na ngonian.

Sa enot na pahayag ni Analyn Llantero, an ina ni Arjay, tulong beses na nabakunahan ini kan Dengvacia vaccine.

Nagpoon siyang natawan kan bakuna kan Hunyo 2016 hasta Enero 2017, mantang siya duman pa nag aadal sa Pampanga.

An Pampanga an saro sa mga provincial sa Pilipinas na nagkaigwa nin lagdoan nin pagbakua sa mga aki kan Denvaxia vaccine, na para suboot sa helang na dengue.

Si Arjay iyo na suboot an ika 65ng aki na nagadan pakatapos na mabakunahan kan Dengvaxia vaccine, sa lingong kan innunization program kan gobierno na progama kan naka aging administrasyon.

Mental health law IRR out soon

By Hilda Austria

DAGUPAN CITY -- The implementing rules and regulation (IRR) of the recently approved Republic Act 11036 or the Mental Health Law is now being drafted by the Department of Health (DOH) and is expected to be out within 60 days.

Senator Risa Hontiveros, author and sponsor of the Mental Health Law, during the Media Forum here on Wednesday, said DOH executives have convened on Monday, five days after the law was signed by President Rodrigo Duterte to tackle the IRR.

Hontiveros told newsmen in the province that the law provides three mandates, from which the IRR will be anchored.

“Firstly, DOH is mandated to provide psychiatric, neurologic and psychosocial services to the regional and other tertiary level hospitals. Secondly, they are to add mental health service providers, such as psychiatrist, doctors, nurses, midwives and barangay health workers; further strengthening their capacity to do initial spotting of possible symptoms and refer potential patient or service users. Thirdly, the law mandates the schools and workplaces to have anti-stigma or anti-discrimination programs,” she explained.

She added that with the first mandate, mental health services will no longer be concentrated in national mental health institutions alone, rather mental health services especially primary services, will be accessible even in the barangay level.

“It is more beneficial for patients if the services are community-based and outpatient services, as only a small percentage of patients are in need of institutions,” she said.

She further noted that most of mental health services are concentrated in urban areas, leaving the citizens in rural areas underserved, which the law seeks to address.

Hontiveros admitted that the country is still far from the gold standard of the World Health Organization with the proportion of mental health service providers to the population.

The third mandate, said Hontiveros, aims to “bring out of darkness and silence the issue of mental health, which is not something to be ashamed of or hide or caged, rather to put in touch with each other people with mental health concerns and their family and community, who are the keys to good mental health and healing.”

“I am glad that the DOH officials are very much into this law. Prior to the meeting last Monday, they told me that they will start drafting the IRR,” she said.

The senator added that the law took a long time to be finished, starting in 1990, with its advocates faithfully and consistently filing it for the last two decades.

“This is much needed, despite the fact that among the Asian countries we have the lowest percentage of mental health problems, but data would show that the number is increasing, especially among the youths,” she said.

Depression, suicidal ideation and bipolar disorder are among the common mental health problems in the country, which affect mostly men, Hontiveros said. (PNA)

DAR distributes 126 hectares of agri land in CSur

by GCBuensalida

NAGA CITY - “YOU, the farmers are unique stewards of the land. If there is anybody who has invested interest in taking care of the land, it’s the’s all of you”, said DAR Bicol regional director Arnel S. Dizon at CLOA distribution rites held in Gata, Caramoan, Camarines Sur recently.

On June 21, the Department of Agrarian Reform, Camarines Sur II provincial office finally awarded the 42 hectare-land and distributed the Certificates of Landownership Award (CLOA) to 29 agrarian reform beneficiaries in Bgy. Gata, Caramoan, Camarines Sur to warrant their full ownership of the land.

Earlier, DAR has compulsorily acquired under agrarian reform program the 51-hectare Crisanto Huit property in said barangay, of which 42 hectares have been properly documented and titled. However, alleged adverse claimants tried to block its distribution claiming that its documentation had been an "administrative error".

Dizon, a relatively cool and clever person, is not talking about farming technology methods or political causes, but he is talking about farming, specifically land conservation or taking care of the land they received from the government and other obligations as agrarian reform beneficiaries with an almost evangelistic fervor.

“He advised them to think of innovative ways to make their lands productive to produce more at the same time protecting it all the time”. "If you take care of the land, and the land will take care of you also and your families," said Dizon.

According to him, “one of today’s big problem is most of the youth don’t proudly state their love for agriculture anymore. Most youths want cushy jobs in an office with a suit and tie and air conditioning! Agriculture is perceived as ‘poor man’s work’, full of sweat and difficulty, with few opportunities for self-advancement.

Please don’t see it that way, Dizon said. You must educate your children now to help them understand the potential, the opportunities and the financial benefits of investing in agriculture. Farmers have also a duty to look after the landscape of food production for future generations. If our food production drops steadily that is a problem,” he said.

Meanwhile, Camarines Sur II agrarian reform chief Maria Gracia R. Sales announced that her office also awarded 30 hectares of agricultural lands to 29 farmer-beneficiaries in Ocampo town on June 25 and 55 hectares benefiting also 32 agrarian reform farmers in the municipality of Tinambac on June 27.

Part also of the 30th CARP anniversary celebration, the CLOA Distribution activities was also accompanied by orientation on support services and development programs being offered and implemented by DAR for agrarian reform areas. Engr. Manuel Nebreja of DAR's Program Beneficiaries Development Division (PBDD) explained to the audience how these different programs and projects can be availed of or by them as CARP beneficiaries.

DAR’s Legal Services Division also conducted a 'Legal Clinic' providing hands-on legal advice to agrarian reform beneficiaries in said municipalities and discussed CARP law matters generally.

Other guests at the occasion were Assistant Regional Director for Operations Samuel Solomero, DAR V LTI chief Nida A. Santiago, Camarines Sur II agrarian reform chief Maria Gracia R. Sales, SUARPO Florentina Escolano, Atty. Victoriano D. Caubang II-Provincial Registrar of Deeds, Camarines Sur II operations chief Priscila I. Imperial, Support Services Office OIC-Chief Manuel A. Nebreja, Municipal Agrarian Reform Officer Nestor Corona, and other regional and provincial staff.

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