Saturday, July 14, 2018

Generics Drug Express offers free medical checkup

NAGA CITY (Bicol Standard) – Generics Drug Express will hold its free monthly medical checkup on July 15 at its store at Haring, Canaman (at the boundary of Naga City-Canaman, near LCC Express Mart).

The free medical checkup is open to all ages and will run from 9 a.m. to 12 noon.

It is part of Generics Drug Express’ commitment to ensuring the health of the community it serves. It is founded on the belief that pre-emptive measures such medical checkups are key to detecting and averting possible health problems.

The checkup is in coordination with Camarines Sur Lions Club.

For more information, please contact 0995-736-3058 (GLOBE) 0948-182-7059 (SMART). Look for May/ Karen.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Suspect in Masbate journo slay arrested in QC

Jun Briones

MANILA (Bicol Standard) -- The National Press Club (NPC) through its President Rolly ‘Lakay’ Gonzalo has announced the arrest of one of the alleged gunmen in the murder last year of tabloid columnist and NPC member Joaquin ‘Jun’ Briones.

It will be recalled that the Bicolano columnist was shot repeatedly by suspected hired killers along the national highway in Sitio Feeder, Bgy. Bacolod, Milagros, Masbate province on March 13, 2017.

Information reaching the NPC disclosed that suspect Antonio Villaran del Rosario was collared in the vicinity of Tandang Sora Avenue, Quezon City early morning of Thursday, July 12, 2018, by the elements of the Masbate CIDG office under Chief Insp. Vitallano Pagaran, in coordination with the Quezon City Police District.

Del Rosario has been positively identified by one of the witnesses in the murder of Briones. He is presently detained in Quezon City pending his transfer back to Masbate.

The suspect, according to his police profile, is a hardened criminal involved not only in contract killing but also, in robbery/holdup; the suspect also ranks as the ‘number one most wanted person’ in the municipality of Balud, Masbate, Gonzalo added.

A warrant for del Rosario’s arrest for the murder of Briones was issued by the Hon. Arturo Clemente Revil of the Masbate Regional Trial Court on September 6, 2017.

"Even as we continue to fondly remember Jun as an active member of the NPC, we now also express our sense of relief that at long last, the first step in giving justice for his murder has finally begun with the arrest of del Rosario,” Gonzalo added.

Gonzalo also urged the authorities to compel the suspect to reveal those who contracted him to kill Briones.

"Laudable the arrest of del Rosario is, substantive justice also demands that those who paid him money to kill our colleague should also be unmasked, face trial and put behind bars,” Gonzalo said.

UCT payout commences for indigent senior citizens in Bicol on July 14

Legazpi City—The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Region V will start its payout of the PhP2,400 under its Unconditional Cash Transfer (UCT) Program to 195,107 indigent senior citizens as its target beneficiaries in Bicol.

There will be a simultaneous payout tomorrow (July 14) in different towns in Catanduanes, Albay, Sorsogon, Camarines Norte and Camarines Sur.

With the ongoing payout, Social Pension Program beneficiaries are advised to present their Office of the Senior Citizens Affairs (OSCA) ID and Certification Issued by DSWD Regional Office.

UCT is a cash subsidy provided under the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law to lessen the adverse economic effects brought by the said law to poor Filipinos. This will be implemented for three years (2018-2020).

“The UCT cash grant cannot cover all the household expenses. This is only an augmentation to the poor affected by the inflation,” Dir. Arnel Garcia said.

For this year, each beneficiary will receive a total of PhP2,400 which is equivalent to PhP200 per month and for the succeeding years, a beneficiary will receive PhP300 monthly or PhP3,600 annually.

The UCT will be given to beneficiaries of Social Pension and Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) and Listahanan-identified poor households.

To date, DSWD paid a total amount of PhP897,964,800.00 to 374,152 households under Pantawid Pamilya in Bicol.

On the other hand, DSWD Region V has completed the validation of 147,486 Listahanan-identified poor households for potential inclusion in the UCT Program.

The DSWD targets to complete the release of the grant before the end of the year or by September.

The DSWD has partnered with the Landbank of the Philippines (LBP) to handle and monitor the distribution of grants.

Bodyguard kan mayor sa Masbate, binadil, gadan

LEGAZPI CITY (Bicol Standard) -- Pig iimbestigaran na ngonian kan pulis sa Masbate an pag gadan kan private bodyguard ni Mayor Salvadora Sanchez kan banwaan kan Uson, Masbate, na binadil gadan kan dai nabistong mga lalaki, mantang nag-aasikaso kan saiyang ataman na baka.

An biktima iyo si Charlie Moncada, 51, residente kan Brgy Madao, Uson, Masbate.

Naaraman sa bareta na si Moncada, nagtatrabaho bilang security aire kan alkalde binadil kan Mierkoles, poco mas o menos alas 3:00 nin hapon, sabi ni Sr Inspector Ma Luisa Calubaquib, spokesperson kan PNP sa Bicol.

An biktima malawig kan saiyang ataman na baka, harane sa saiyang harong kan mag abot an tulong dai nabistong mga lalaki na armado nin badil asin pirang beses siyang binadol sa lawas.

Nagadan an biktima sa lugar na pinangyarihan kan krimen.

Pig aaram pa ngonian kan mga imbestigador an pangaran kan mga suspechado asin kun ano an motibo kan pag gadan.

An mga imbestigador pig iisi an gabos na angulo kan krimen, kabale an politika asin problema sa insurgencia sa lugar, maging an personal na problema na imbuelto an ginadan.

PNP Bicol chief vows crackdown on crime

NAGA CITY (Bicol Standard) – A no-nonsense campaign against erring police officers will be implemented by Acting Bicol PNP Regional Director Chief Supt. Arnel Escobal during his administration.

In a command conference with the chiefs of police of Camarines Sur, Escobal stressed that he will not tolerate scalawags within the organization.

Further, he reminded them of the implementation of the laws on illegal drugs, loose firearms, and gambling, which are also the focus of the national police force.

An intensified crackdown on organized crime, especially those related to the upcoming elections, will also be carried out under his term, he said.

The Nabua, Camarines Sur native, who took over last week after the retirement of Chief Supt. Antonio Gardiola, is expected to work hand-in-hand with fellow Nabua native Police Senior Supt. Jerry Bearis of the Camarines Sur Provincial Police Office.

Escobal is a member of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) “Hinirang” Class of 1987 and previously served as the road and traffic director of the Philippine National Police.

“I promise to carry out my duties and responsibilities without fear, favor, bias, or discrimination to police officers failing under my charge and members of the public whom we are serving,” he said in a statement following his assumption.

Meanwhile, Police Supt. Venerando Ramirez, spokesperson of the Camarines Sur Provincial Police Office, also confirmed to the Bicol Standard that the campaign against drugs, criminality, terrorism and as well as the intensified reform to clear the PNP ranks will continue under the administration of Escobal.

Ramirez added that Escobal turned over 192 units of bullet vests for patrollers in the province during the recent command conference here.

Duterte okays Salceda's proposed Department of Disaster Resiliency

LEGAZPI CITY — President Rodrigo Duterte has approved the proposal creating an independent, well structured Department of Disaster Resilience (DRR), contained in a bill submitted by Albay Representative Joey Salceda in Congress last year.

The Chief Executive gave his nod to the proposal that aims to strengthen the country’s disaster response efforts during the regular Cabinet meeting early this week.

Salceda has been tasked by Congress to head the technical working group and finalize the draft measure for plenary consideration, from 43 related legislative proposals on disaster response in the Lower House similar to his House Bill (HB) 6075.

The lawmaker said a really strong disaster agency is “essential to a sensible economic blueprint and since disastrous typhoons were noted to have been getting stronger and broader in impact in recent years, the creation of the DDR should be an urgent agenda.”

The proposed new department is designed to manage a broad climate-disaster program of governance as the country confronts more and more calamities of greater frequency and magnitude, Malacañang said on Tuesday.

Salceda, a noted economist and disaster resilience advocate, filed HB 6075 in Congress in response to a call made by Duterte during the 2017 State of his State of the Nation Address (SONA), urging lawmakers to craft a law that will establish an agency that will help Filipinos adapt better to extreme weather conditions.

He thanked President Duterte for agreeing to his proposal as he noted of Albayanos' passion and commitment to attaining zero casualty during calamities.

The new agency will be “tasked to carry out a continuous, consistent and fortified calamity defense program and ensure the country’s sustainable development and inclusive growth,” Salceda said.

The country's disaster risk reduction efforts are spearheaded by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC). But doubts were raised concerning its organizational structure, following the destruction caused by Super Typhoon "Yolanda" in 2013, which claimed thousands of lives and destroyed billions of pesos worth of assets.

“The main contention against NDRRMC is whether an independent institution should be established to specifically address the country's mounting challenges in disaster risk reduction and management,” said Salceda.

A Climate Change Adaptation (CCA) pioneer in the country, Salceda was former co-chair of the Green Climate Fund of United Nation’s Framework Convention on Climate Change and was United Nation’s Senior Global Champion for CCA and Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR). As governor of Albay for three consecutive terms, his “Zero Casualty” goal strategy was proven effective and has since then become a household byword.

Salceda said that to face the onslaught of disasters, the country needs “strategic and systematic approaches to disaster prevention, mitigation, preparedness, response and the effective programs on rehabilitation and recovery” handled by an agency with its own mandate.

The country’s situation, Salceda said, is critical since the Philippines ranks third among 171 countries worldwide considered “most exposed and vulnerable to natural calamities,” and is listed as 13th in the Climate Change Vulnerability Index. Almost 74 percent of the country’s population and 80 percent of its land area have been identified as vulnerable to disasters with Manila marked as “in extreme risk,” he added.

With an initial budget of P10 billion, the new agency will be accountable and responsible for overseeing, coordinating and implementing a comprehensive disaster risk and vulnerability reduction and management programs and redirect policy drifts among other agencies handling such tasks.

Salceda’s proposed DDR aims to take in at least four government entities critical to an effective disaster planning and operation -- the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) and the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology or Phivolcs under the Department of Science and Technology; the Geosciences Bureau of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources; and the Bureau of Fire Protection under the Department of the Interior and Local Government.

He said the idea is akin to US Department of Homeland Security that has under its operational control major federal agencies to effectively confront security issues and threats in many areas. Salceda said HB 6075 is a result of “action research, sharing of experiences and dynamic discussions among various stakeholders from national and local government agencies, organizations and communities and is a product of comparable international experiences.”

The bill also seeks to amend the eight-year old Republic Act 10121, which created the National Disaster Risk and Reduction Framework, a landmark legislation but which falls short in creating “an institution that is sufficiently in a high position to oversee the implementation of streamlined disaster risk reduction and management policies nationwide. It will have the necessary authority, mandate and resources to lead and coordinate efforts of various stakeholders towards a more resilient nation,” Salceda said.

Under the concept, the DRR will be separate from the Office of Civil Defense, which will continue to perform its original mandate, particularly its duty to administer a comprehensive national civil defense and civil assistance program, training of community volunteers for civil defense and assistance, and other mechanisms for community preparedness. (PR)

Iriga City District Jail named best in country

IRIGA CITY (Bicol Standard) – The Iriga City District Jail at Barangay La Purisima, this city, has been recognized as the best among the more than 170 district jails in the entire Philippines.This was confirmed by Chief Inspector Michael Richard Oliva OIC of the Iriga City District Jail.

In an interview by the Bicol Standard, Oliva said this is the second consecutive time that the facility has been named the best in the country.

Asked about his strategies, Oliva revealed that the accomplishment is due to the cooperation and support of the stakeholders.

“Unlike in other district jails, we do not have congestion here,” he explained.

“This is due to the sincere efforts of the team to decongest the facility with the help of lawyers, judges and other stakeholders,” he added.

He noted that the recent development of small-time drug cases being allowed plea bargains has significantly helped reduce congestion.

“Some 50% of our inmates have drug-related cases, so the plea bargain deals are a huge help,” he said.

Under the recent Supreme Court ruling, drug personalities with less than 1 gram of shabu and 10 grams of marijuana are entitled to plea bargain deals.

P1-M worth of shabu seized in Cam Sur

Photo: PDEA Cam Sur

NAGA CITY (Bicol Standard) -- P1-million pesos worth of a substance believed to be shabu was confiscated from thirteen people during a search warrant implementation at the residence of Romnick Bayta y Cinaon at Barangay San Juan, Baao, Camarines Sur on Thursday.

Arrested were:
  1. Arnel Gil y Catimbang
  2. Annie Gil y Iballa a.k.a. Honey Gil
  3. Liezel Gil y Iballa
  4. Romnick Bayta y Cinaon a.k.a. Mik-Mik Baita
  5. Princess Mae Villamer y Mirasol
  6. Marlon Bongcayao y Baracena
  7. Rommel Lacsamana y Bongcayao
  8. Rustom Lacsamana y Bongcayao
  9. Nico Bongcayao y Balingbing
  10. Bringo Palermo y Paballa
  11. Herman Iglesia y Sagyun
  12. Jonel Laceda y Berza
  13. Celso Zamudio y Quirante
Romulo Barayoga, who was also named in the search warrant, was able to elude arrest, PDEA Camarines Sur reported.

All suspects are now temporarily under the custody of PDEA Camarines Sur Provincial Office for proper disposition.

Meanwhile, one of the detainees aired a complaint that one of the suspects who is suffering from tuberculosis is detained along with the rest of the group.

The search warrant implementation was led by Director II Christian O Frivaldo, Acting Regional Director of PDEA Bicol.


DILG: Masa Masid Funds fully accounted for

All Mamamayang Ayaw sa Anomalya, Mamamayang Ayaw sa Iligal na Droga (MASA MASID) funds are fully accounted for and there was nothing irregular in the transfer of P99-million from the DILG to three agencies of government during the last quarter of 2017, according to the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).

DILG OIC-Secretary Eduardo M. Ano says the transfer of funds was necessary as the Department had to tap the support and assistance of three government agencies to reinforce the government’s campaign against criminality, illegal drugs, corruption and the emerging threat of violent extremism.

Ano also says the transfer of funds to the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO), Philippine Public Safety College (PPSC), and Local Government Academy (LGA) was decided by DILG management after the Budget Hearing of the Senate Committee on Finance in October 2017 wherein some Senators questioned some of the components of the project.

“We needed to reprioritize and recast our implementation strategies as suggested by some Senators, so we sought the assistance of appropriate government agencies to expedite the implementation of capacity development and advocacy and education campaign instead of contracting from outside suppliers to fast track the procurement process,” he says.

The Commission on Audit (COA) in its CY 2017 Annual Report raised questions on the transfer of P99-million to three government agencies, alleged unliquidated ASEAN funds, as well as performance and fund usage by the DILG regarding its MASA MASID fund.

Ano explains that transfer of funds to implementing agencies is allowed under COA Circular 94-013 dated December 13, 1994 which also prescribes rules and regulations in the utilization and liquidation of funds transferred to implementing agencies through a Memorandum of Agreement.

A total of P10.5-million was transferred to the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) to help in the advocacy and education campaign of the DILG’s MASA MASID Project.

Of the said amount, PCOO has utilized a total amount of P7.9-million for the conduct of Rehabinasyon campaign against illegal drugs which served as an avenue for national officials to interact with barangay officials and residents concerning the drug problem in their localities.

The DILG also entered into a Memorandum of Agreement with the Philippine Public Safety College (PPSC) for the conduct of capacity development in countering violent extremism. Of the P50-million downloaded to PPSC, a total amount of P31.50-million has already been utilized as of March 31, 2018.

Meanwhile, a total of P38.68-million was transferred to the Local Government Academy for the conduct of Bantay Kaagapay anti-corruption drive which started on the first quarter of 2018 and will end until the end of the year.

Ano says the three agencies are finalizing their terminal report and have been advised to revert their remaining balances to the DILG. “These projects are currently on-going so these could not have been included in the COA’s 2017 report,” he said.

All physical MASA MASID targets met

Meanwhile, contrary to reports that MASA MASID yielded zero performance despite utilizing all of its funds, Ano says MASA MASID has, in fact, exceeded its targets for 2017.

In Strengthening of Barangay Anti-Drug Abuse Councils (BADACs) with a budget of P90.58-million, three training modules were developed instead of just two; 23,895 barangays were trained which is higher than its 22,000 targetted barangays. Apart from this, all of the targeted 1,634 field officers, 81 provincial focal persons, 52 showcase barangays with 260 BADAC, and 1 orientation for 47 regional focal persons were trained/conducted as of May 30, 2018.

Ano says the COA report questioning the performance of MASA MASID was based on the status of funds as of December 31, 2017 which failed to capture the fund utilization and accomplishments of the activities programmed towards the 3rd and 4th quarter of 2017 until the current year.

“The COA annual report does not include the DILG’s response to their audit findings which we submitted to them in June 2018 after the COA exit conference,” he says.

Only 5% unliquidated ASEAN funds

Regarding the alleged P1-billion unliquidated funds for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit, Ano says only five percent (5%) or P125.88-million of the P2.7-billion transferred to other implementing agencies have not yet been liquidated as of June 30, 2018.

The DILG Chief says the lag in their submission of reports can be traced to the delay in the release of funds to the operating/field units nationwide, the difficulty in the consolidation of reports at their respective national offices, frequent replacement of ASEAN focal persons in the field, and other circumstances peculiar to some member-agencies.

The release of funds was also too near the conduct of major events that necessitated the immediate release thereof, he adds.

“The nature and distinctiveness of this international event was indeed a challenge for the Department in terms of creating a balance between addressing the urgent requirements of the implementing agencies and embracing the restriction on timelines in the transfer of funds, all for the purpose of working towards a successful Philippines’ hosting of ASEAN 2017,” says Ano.

The DILG Chief says implementing agencies have made a commitment that balances will be returned until August of this year.

“The DILG is making continuous follow-up on this and issued letters to all implementing agencies to submit not later than July 30, 2018 the status of the remaining balances,” he says.

Among the agencies with unliquidated balances are the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC); Department of Health (DOH); Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD); Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP); Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA); Office of the President (OP); and Bureau of Immigration (BI).

P718.71-million which came from the DFA Trust Fund in 2016 has already been fully liquidated.

Ano says COA has been well-informed about these developments since the terminal report of the Committee on Security, Peace and Order, Emergency Preparedness and Response (CSPOEPR) headed by the DILG had been submitted to the Commission and duly received by the latter on June 6, 2018.

There were a total of 279 ASEAN summits and related meetings from January 2017 until the last activity in January this year. Preparations for the summit started as early as 2016.

A beginner’s guide – the trading terms everyone needs to know

by Aldrin Llamas - Trading Floor Manager, at Learn to Trade

The foreign exchange market sees over $5trillion dollars traded within it every single day. But, before anyone starts to trade the forex market, what are the trading jargon and terms you need to know?

Learn to Trade have pulled together the terms you need to know to know about trading:

Ask price: This is the price at which the market (or your broker) will sell a specific currency pair to you. This is the price you can buy the base currency from your broker.

Base Currency: The first currency that is quoted in a currency pair and always has the value of 1. This is always followed by an amount of a second currency needed to exchange into 1 unit of first currency.

Bid price: The bid is the price at which the market (or your broker) will buy a specific currency pair from you. This means that at the bid price, a trader will sell the base currency to their broker.

Candlestick: One of many visual representations of how an asset (such as currency pairing) value has moved over a set amount of time. It is used to denote whether its value has increased or decreased

Exchange rate: This is simply the value of one currency expressed against the other. For example, if EUR/USD is 1.3200, this means that 1 Euro is worth 1.3200 USD.

Pip: A pip is the smallest increment of price movement a currency can make. It is essentially a measurement of a very small percentage change. A pip is always a standardised size and represents the smallest amount that a currency can change. E.g. for GBP/USD 1.34001, the 0.0001 is one pip.

Spread: The spread is the difference between the market’s current price, the buy price and sell price. To break even on a trade, your position must move in the direction of the trade by an amount equal to the spread. When trading forex, the spread will be determined by the wider market.

Stop loss: An instruction you predetermine to the brokerage to automatically buy (close the trade) when the currency value moves down to a specific price, or to sell when the currency value moves up to a specific price.

Forex Broker: A licensed firm that provides traders with access to a trading platform on which you buy and sell currencies

Leverage: This is the ratio of the transactions size compared to the actual investment used for margin. Using leverage allows a client to trade without putting up the full amount. For example, if a trader has $1,000 of equity in an account, you can have leverage of $100,000. Here this means they could make or lose up to 100 times more on each trade.

Margin: This is the monetary deposit required to open or maintain a position (an open trade). A margin can either be called free or used. A used margin is the amount in use to maintain an open position, whereas a free margin is the amount available to open new positions.

These are some of the fundamental and basic terms everyone needs to know before they start their forex trading journey. Once you have familiarised yourself with this trading jargon, people start to focus on the different trading strategies and trends in order to make a success of trading the forex market.

Above all else, it is also worth remembering that when trading, you need proper risk management. You can get help on reading the market, opportunities and risks from Learn to Trade.

Learn to Trade run a full range of forex trading courses, including a free introduction to forex seminar that they run is sessions across the country, and they have a Trading Centre of Excellence in Manila. To book onto a course or for more information visit their website.


Learn to Trade announces introduction to forex trading sessions in both Masbate City and Sorsogon City

MANILA, Philppines-- Trading specialist, Learn to Trade, has announced two new workshops in Masbate City and Sorsogon City, for people wanting to know about the forex market, following unprecedented demand for its courses throughout the Philippines.

Having seen over a 2000 per cent increase in people looking to find more about forex and trading since their first six months of operating in the Philippines back in 2016, Learn to Trade is delighted to be offering its courses to even more people in the Philippines.

So far over 80,000 people in the Philippines have been shown the skills people use to trade, alongside the strategies to best understand the risks and opportunities within the market.

Global Trading Director at Learn to Trade, Adam Truelove, said: “We are delighted to be able to offer these free forex trading taster sessions in Masbate City and Sorsogon City next week so more people can get a real sense of what trading is like and how it can completely change your outlook on life.

“Trading in forex, which is the world's most widely traded market, is no longer reserved for banks and hedge funds. These days, thanks to the information available out there on how the market works and how to understand the market, many people are learning about forex and the skills and information they need to give them the best chance of success and making money.”

The free taster workshops Learn to Trade are offering will show people around the forex market, which is the market most novices start out on across the world due to the large size of the market, the fact it requires smaller amounts of capital, is available 24 hours a day during weekdays, and is tradable from any location with an internet connection.

The taster courses Learn to Trade are running are:
July 19, 6pm: Gagay's Hotel & Resort, Masbate City
July 21, 12noon: Villa Isabel Hotel, Sorsogon City

The sessions will run for 2.5 hours and will be a high level introduction to what trading is, and the opportunities and risks within the forex market. All places at the workshop must be pre booked which can be done on their website:

Thursday, July 12, 2018

PHOTO | LTO Bicol enforces road safety rules

LTO Bicol Law Enforcers recently penalized violators of the rules on overloading, colorum, and habal-habal in the towns of Bombon and Calabanga. This is part of their campaign to ensure road safety. (Photo via LTO Bicol)

PHOTO | Catanduanes police plant mangrove seedlings

Members of the Bato Municipal Police Station initiated the planting of mangrove seedlings at Batalay Mangrove Park, Batalay, Bato, Catanduanes earlier this week. This was part of the Bato police's campaign against the illegal cutting of mangrove trees, and is aligned with the ideals of the PNP Patrol Plan 2030. (Photo: Kasurog Bicol)

Leptospirosis is paid for by PhilHealth

The Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) reminds its members that it pays for claims for leptospirosis should they or any of their qualified dependents be confined and treated for the dreaded disease.

The announcement came in support of the Department of Health's campaign to raise public awareness amid the increasing cases of leptospirosis in the country especially due to the recent flooding caused by torrential rains.

Leptospirosis is an infection caused by Leptospira interrogans bacteria that are transmitted through wounds that come in contact with flood waters contaminated by the urine of infected animals such as rodents.

The state health insurer's coverage for leptospirosis is worth P11, 000.00 which already includes payment for doctor's fees, and is paid directly to the accredited health care institutions (HCIs).

To qualify for PhilHealth coverage, PhilHealth members must have paid at least three months premium contributions within the immediate six months prior to the first day of confinement at any accredited HCIs.

PhilHealth also reiterated that Kasambahays, Indigent, Sponsored and Senior Citizen members are entitled to no balance billing or “Walang Dagdag Bayad”when the eligible patient is confined in ward-type accommodation in government hospitals.

In 2017, PhilHealth paid a total of P21.8 million in social health insurance benefits for leptospirosis cases, up by 46 percent compared to P15 million it paid in 2016.

For leptospirosis patients who will develop complications such as those that will need dialysis treatments, the health insurer said that it will continuously provide financial support through a different benefit package for such procedure.

To fully guide members in availing themselves of their benefits, PhilHealth encouraged members to call their 24/7 Corporate Action Center hotline at (02) 441- 7442. (END) (Dianna Marie S. Chua)

2 arrested for illegal petroleum trade in Masbate

MASBATE CITY (Bicol Standard) – For selling petroleum products without the pertinent documents from the proper authority, two people were arrested at Barangay Dacu, Mobo, Masbate on July 10.

The police identified the suspects as Janeth Tamayo y Dela Cruz, 30 years old, and Ingo Jablonski, 56 years old, a German national.

Recovered from their possession, control and custody were the following items:

a. twenty (20) liters of diesel petroleum product amounting to Php838.000; and
b. 1520 liters of petroleum gasoline product amounting to Php68,780.00 pesos with aggregate amount of Php69,618.00.

The police said the pieces of evidence were brought to Mobo Municipal Police Station for documentation and proper disposition.

A case for Violation of PD 1865 docketed under NPS-V-12-INQ-18G-03142 thru inquest proceedings was already referred against the suspects before the Provincial Prosecution Office in Masbate.

2 dead, 1 hospitalized after eating isaw?

MILAOR, Camarines Sur (Bicol Standard) – Two kids died, while another is recovering in a hospital, reportedly after eating isaw at Barangay Lipot, this town on Friday.

The victims were identified as Lyka Lopez Alba, 10 years old, and Mary Joy Alba, 13 years old.

In an interview with Mario Alba, the children’s father, he said Lyka brought home the barbecued chicken intestines.

Shortly after eating the street food, the two victims said they experienced stomach ache and felt weak, according to their father.

The other child, aged 14, also felt discomfort and vomited.

They were rushed to a hospital in Naga City where the two children expired after two days.

The 14-year-old, however, is still recovering as of this writing.

Mr. Alba said the attending physician has yet to reveal the cause of death of his two children.

The remains of the victims are currently at Roco Funeral Homes at San Jose, this town.

Reduce waste: Cam Norte PENRO chief tells residents

PENRO Chief Pol Badiola
Photo via PIA

DAET, Camarines Norte (Bicol Standard) – “If you can’t reuse it, refuse it,” Engr. Pol Badiola, Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (PENRO) Chief quipped as he urged CamNortenos to be mindful of waste and practice garbage segregation.

Badiola said the office is exerting extra effort through its Aral Kalikasan Program to educate residents on caring for the environment.

For instance, they can cut down on waste by avoiding the use of straws and mineral water bottles and instead opt for drinking from glasses.

They can also reduce their use of plastic bags and other plastic products, which often end up in the oceans and harms the marine ecosystem.

Badiola reminded local governments of their responsibility to segregate waste at the barangay level and practice composting of agricultural and kitchen waste.

He further urged the maintenance and care of the Materials Recovery Facilities.

Citing scientific studies, he said that by 2050, the plastic waste in the oceans will equal the population of fishes and will be very detrimental not only to the environment but also to our health.

Ateneo Grade School stude wins in int'l math tilt

WINNERS. Filipino students, together with their coaches, wave the Philippine flag and show the medals and trophies they won at the awarding ceremony of the 2018 Bulgaria International Mathematics Competition (BIMC) in Burgas, Bulgaria (Photo courtesy of MTG)
NAGA CITY (Bicol Standard) -- A pupil of Ateneo de Naga University Grade School notched the second runner-up place in the recently-concluded Bulgaria International Mathematics Competition (BIMC) held in Burgas, Bulgaria from July 1 to 6.

Jence Enrico Dela Fuente competed along with several other pupils from the Philippines in the team contest, according to the Mathematics Trainers Guild Philippines (MTG), which trained the students.

Prior to the competition in Bulgaria, Dela Fuente also won a bronze medal at the 1st International Festival Mathematical Triathlon Apollonia held in Sozopol, Bulgaria from June 26 to 30.

Business rivalry eyed in Bote killing

By Benjamin Pulta

MANILA -- Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Oscar Albayalde said the police are eyeing business rivalry as a possible motive behind the murder of General Tinio, Nueva Ecija Mayor Ferdinand Bote.

"Isang anggulo na tinitingnan natin doon kasi apparently, meron siyang naging competition doon sa malaking negosyo sa NIA (National Irrigation Administration (NIA). That's the reason why probably nanggaling siya sa NIA office nung binaril (he was from the NIA office when he was shot)," the PNP chief said.

Speaking to newsmen Wednesday, Albayalde confirmed reports that two suspects are presently under police custody, including the supposed gunman working for a gun-for-hire group.

Earlier reports quoting Bicol police regional director Chief Supt. Arnel Escobal named one of the suspects as Florencio Suarez, who was arrested at a checkpoint in Del Gallego, Camarines Sur.

"This is a result of our follow up and nakuha nating information (and the information we have obtained). That's why a few days back, nabanggit natin meron tayong magandang lead dito, meron tayong hawak na physical evidence, mga (we mentioned that we have a good lead, we have physical evidence, including CCTV footages) which will all be presented on Monday to make the picture clearer kung papaano natin nakuha itong suspects na ito (on how we got these suspects). Although we are still looking for at least four to five more suspects (in the) killing (of) Mayor Bote," Albayalde said.

"Most likely and (given) all indications, these are gun-for-hire group kaya nung ito ay na-monitor natin ay tumakbo na doon sa lugar kung saan sila nahuli (so when we monitored them, they ran to the place where they were nabbed)," the PNP chief added. (PNA)

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Free education, a moral obligation of the state

by Johnny C. Nunez

Despite their relative deprivation, contemporary Filipino youth from poor and disadvantaged families are still a lot luckier than their counterparts decades ago.

Until recently, poor young people can only fantasize going to college and earning baccalaureate degrees, due to its high costs. The deprivation was even worse decades back in the 1060’s when working student literally had to struggle to survive.

Today, earning a college degree is no longer an elusive dream for poor but ambitious young people. Starting this school year, it is now a reality, well within their reach. Aside from free tuition in state colleges and universities, its needy but deserving beneficiaries can even enjoy additional perks.

The secret formula for this bounty is Republic Act 10931, or the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act (UAQTEA) of 2018 that is being implemented starting this school year. The program has an initial P41-billion outlay. The DBM has suggested an additional P10 billion for its initial funding.

Only recently, officials of the country’s 112 state universities and colleges (SUCs) and 78 local universities and colleges (LUCs), and the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) the Unified Student Financial Assistance System for Tertiary Education (UniFAST) signed in Malacanang the Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) that paves the way for the UAQTEA implementation.

The question is: Who conceived and crafted this free education idea? The hand points to Albay Rep. Joey Salceda, principal author of UAQTEA in Congress, patterned after Albay’s Universal Access to College Education program which he pioneered when he was provincial governor for nine years until 2016. His program helped 88,888 students complete their studies and served as the “inclusive tool and key to Albay’s poverty reduction from 41% in 2007 to 17.1% in 2015.”

Among the beneficial ramifications we may expect from UAQTEA is the expansion of our middle class and further firming up of Philippine society.

For this school year (2018-19), some 1.3 million students are expected to enroll under UAQTEA, 300,000 of whom are from family beneficiates of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) who will also get P3,500 monthly living allowance subsidies, and a one-time P5,000 for book allowance.

Education is decidedly a great equalizer. It deserves strong all-out state support. As Salceda stresses: “Free quality education is a “right of every citizen and the moral duty of the state.”

SUWECO delivers 2 gensets to Catanduanes

In order to address the current power situation in the Province of Catanduanes, SUWECO announced that it is is again delivering two generator sets to ensure the sufficiency of power in the province.

In a statement, however, SUWECO expressed its disappointment with the Board of Directors of FICELCO under the leadership of its Board President, Mr. Alexander Ang Hung, that until now, SUWECO has not yet received any letter of endorsement for the installation of the said additional gensets, as requirements for the Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC), and the documents for the filling of the application with Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) for the approval of the 2nd Amendment of ESA between SUWECO and FICELCO.

Its statement reads: "As SUWECO desires to provide quality service for Katandunganons, we wish to inform the members-consumers of FICELCO that its hands are tied due to the continuous blockage of the Board in its move to fulfill its duties and responsibilities. It is unfortunate that FICELCO mislead SUWECO by continuously giving verbal assurances/approval of installation but turn around and refuse to provide the necessary documents to install our generator sets. These false hopes and empty words are actually not directed to SUWECO but is in fact, directed to the members-consumers of FICELCO who are the suffering on the basis of the decisions made by the Board which is obviously inimical to them.

To date, SUWECO is still waiting for these documents and is looking forward that FICELCO will cooperate and be one on its objective of providing reliable and constant power supply for the benefit of the thousands of members-consumers.

Last year, SUWECO together with the National Electrification Authority (NEA) has warned FICELCO under the leadership of its Board President, Mr. Alexander Ang Hung, that there might be a deficiency in power supply during the summer season due to the low water levels of the hydro power plants in the province. This is an annual occurrence and is definitely foreseeable thus action has to be taken to protect the members-consumers of FICELCO.

Unfortunately, FICELCO failed to act despite these repeated warnings. SUWECO welcomed the takeover of NEA to ensure that the much delayed action be made.

It can be recalled that on August 2017, SUWECO received a letter from the said cooperative recommending the installation of at least three (3) gensets at the Marinawa Compound wherein SUWECO immediately complied by delivering the said gensets on October, 2017. Unfortunately, Ang Hung has consistently blocking the move of SUWECO in installing and commissioning the said gensets."

DSWD Kalahi-CIDSS Bicol completes 1,631 ADB funded sub-projects

The Department of Social Welfare and Development Kapit Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan – Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (DSWD Kalahi-CIDSS) Region 5 achieved 1,631 community sub-projects in 68 municipalities with a grant of PhP 2,738,747,799.68 from Asian Development Bank (ADB).

The table below shows the breakdown of ADB grant to implement different modes of DSWD Kalahi-CIDSS from 2014 to 2018:

Community Sub-Project Grant
Non-Poor but Disaster-Affected Municipalities

Poor and Disaster-Affected Municipalities

The sub-projects refer to the community projects generated from DSWD Kalahi-CIDSS’ planning process. The community sub-projects were identified by Barangay Assembly (BA) through Participatory Situational Analysis (PSA) and community consultations to respond or address needs or problems of the community.

The table below shows the sub-projects funded under ADB:

Community Sub-Project Category
Number of Funded Sub-Projects
Artificial Coral Reef or Marine Sanctuary
Community Center or Multi-Purpose Building
Day Care Center
Disaster Response or Rescue Equipment or Tools
Electrification or Lighting
Flood Control or River Control
Footpath or Access Trail
Health Station
Livelihood Equipment or Building
Miniport or Wharf
Pre & Post Harvest Facilities
Riprap Wall or Slope Protection
Sanitary Toilets
School Building
Small Scale Irrigation
Spillway or Overflow Bridge
Training and Learning Center or Facility
Tribal Housing or Core Shelter
Water System

The ADB is a financial institution created in the early 1960s to foster economic growth and cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region. This institution also assists its members and partners through loans, technical assistance, grants, and equity investments to promote socio-economic development,

Capacity-building activities

On the other hand, DSWD Kalahi-CIDSS will conduct its capacity building activities from July 2018 until 2019.

The capacity building activities comprise of two (2) categories which are Barangay Development, Planning and Management System (BDPMS) or Makilahok and Organizational Development and Management (ODM).

The BDPMS or Makilahok is a supplementary training module on participatory governance with a fund of PhP27,136,200.00 from the government that helps barangay integrate community-based development approach into its regular development planning cycle.

Makilahok also lays the foundation for the adoption and institutionalization of CDD approach in local governance that will cover 11 municipalities.

For ODM, it is a series of training to capacitate operation and maintenance groups in the planning process of sustaining the sub-projects that will cover 32 municipalities with a fund of PhP13, 422, 065.20 from the government. This is to ensure the sustainability of sub-projects for extended benefits and strengthen the capability or capacity of operation and maintenance groups in managing the community projects.

Currently, the program continues to implement World Bank-funded sub-projects in 53 municipalities.

BREAKING: Getaway car in Mayor Bote slay flagged down in Cam Sur

NAGA CITY (Bicol Standard) -- The getaway vehicle allegedly used in the shooting of Mayor Ferdinand Bote of Gen Tinio, Nueva Ecija was flagged down in a checkpoint at Barangay Cabasag, Del Gallego town in Camarines Sur this morning.

Said vehicle is a Toyota Avanza model with plate number EVQ 134.

One of the two persons onboard was identified as Florencio Suarez.

The information was relayed to newly-installed Acting PNP Bicol Regional Director Chief Supt. Arnel Escobal in a command conference at the Camarines Sur Provincial Police Office.

More details to follow


DILG: Bicol region to have more budget to develop country's treasure trove of power supply

Bicol is a treasure chest of the country’s power supply and will flourish once the regional government has more budget and stake in the harnessing and distribution of its energy, according to the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).

“Bicol as a federated region will have more power and funds to initiate projects that would develop the geothermal energy it sends out to the different parts of Luzon,” says DILG Spokesperson Jonathan Malaya during the Pederalismoserye town hall meeting with basic sectors in Legazpi.

Malaya says that it is a paradox that while Bicol has Mt. Mayon which is a major source of the country’s geothermal energy, the region currently experiences power outages and blackouts.

This, according to him, is because the energy is first sold to the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) and then resold to the Luzon grid, including Bicol.

Under a federal system, Malaya says that local governments will have more freedom to enter into joint ventures with the private sector in order to generate more revenues for the region.

The regional government, on the other hand, will no longer have to go through the long and tedious process of approval from the national government, he says.

Currently, all LGUs have to submit public-private partnership proposals to the central government for the review and approval of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA)’s meticulous eye.

Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) consultant Atty. Bartolome Roa Rayco says that Bicolanos will strongly support federalism if it will reduce the price of electricity in the region.

“We have higher rates than Meralco. We are paying more for the transmission cost, but should have special transmission rates para maka-attract kami ng mga investors,” he says.

“It’s true that because of the problems in electricity, ayaw pumasok ng mga investors sa Bicol,” adds Rosemarie Quinto Rey, President of the Albay Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

This can be addressed, according to Malaya, when the federated region is able to craft its own policies on investments.

According to former deputy presidential spokesperson Gary Olivar, regional governments have the capacity to enact incentives and rules and regulations for the business sector.

“Right now, the priority destination of power supply goes to Metro Manila and the bigger cities. But under a federal setup, Bicol region will have more share in the decisions about the distribution of cheaper and consistent power to barangays and communities,” says Institute of Political and Electoral Reform (IPER) Executive Director Ramon Casiple.

Fixing the gaps with charter reform

Addressing the fears of people that a new constitution will undo the good features of the current unitary system, Malaya says that federalism will also adopt the well-implemented provisions in the 1987 Constitution while fixing the gaps with constitutional reform.

“Let’s maintain the good features of the existing system and improve on it under a federalized government,” says Malaya.

Malaya says that the federal way of thinking gives the region a share in the decision-making process in the national policies.

Federalism will also fix the problems of corruption in government because under a federal setup, each region will have its own judiciary system.

“Kung ako tatanungin niyo, masasabi ko na bulok ang justice system kaya pag bago na ang constitution, mayroon ng sariling judicial system ang rehiyon,” says Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission Chairman Dante Jimenez.

In a string of events that took off from the successful launch in Dumaguete then in Baguio, the DILG pushed its third Federalism roadshow in Legazpi on July 6, 2018.

The Pederalismoserye town hall meeting with basic sectors was a dialogue conducted with the different sectoral leaders at the Sangguniang Panlalawigan Session Hall.

Speaking during the event were DILG Assistant Secretary Jonathan Malaya, Executive Director of the Institute for Political and Electoral Reform (IPER) Ramon Casiple anf former Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Gary Olivar.

Meanwhile local speakers were Governor of Camarines Sur Jonah Pimentel, Albay Province Vice Governor Harold Ong Imperial, Legazpi City Mayor Noel Rosal, Masbate’s former Governor Vicente Revil and Department of Tourism Regional Director Benjie Santiago.

This was followed by a convention / rally populated by a crowd of more than 4,500 to the overflow of the Albay Astrodome in Legazpi City.

During the rally, DILG Undersecretary Martin Dino said that the Department will also advocate for federalism at the barangay and community level.

Consultations were likewise conducted by the Consultative Committee alongside the roadshow.

“We will next bring the roadshow to Tacloban and hope that the people there will be ready to listen to President Duterte’s campaign for change,” said Malaya.

Federalism is one of the Duterte administration’s flagship campaign seen to solve inequality, political and economic monopolies, and inefficiency in governance.

This week Concom approved and signed the proposed model for constitutional reform. (DILG)

Comelec: Requirements vary based on voter registration service availed

By Ferdinand Patinio

MANILA -- The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Tuesday reminded the public of the requirements for voters' registration and related services.

In a statement, the poll body said there are certain requirements applicants need to submit depending on the type of service they want to avail of.

First-time voter registrants only need to present a valid ID, such as a driver’s license, company or school ID, to prove that they are submitting a correct residential address.

Meanwhile, those who would like to reactivate their registration should inform the Office of the Election Officer (OEO) that they failed to vote during the past two elections.

Those looking to transfer their registration must show proof that they have transferred to another address, such as valid IDs bearing their new addresses or proof of billing.

The poll body added that those eyeing correction of entries must bring proof that the entry needing correction is wrong or outdated, such as a valid ID showing the correct spelling of their names or marriage certificate showing their new legal name or civil status.

Meanwhile, Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez reminded that the poll body would no longer release voter's identification cards.
He noted that they already stopped printing voter’s IDs as early as 2012 following proposals to establish a National ID system in the country.

“This voters’ registration will not result in them getting voter’s ID. If you are looking to be a registered voter just to get a voter’s ID, just forget it,” the poll body official said in a separate interview.

Jimenez also urged the public to register for the purpose of participating in the electoral exercises in the country.

“Get registered with the purpose of voting come the elections,” he said.

The Comelec resumed the voter registration period on July 2 and is set to end on September 29.

The public may register from Mondays to Saturdays, including holidays, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. in all city/municipal OEOs nationwide. (PNA)

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