Saturday, August 11, 2018

EDITORIAL | Rigging the election results

Ballot retrieval
(Photo by Cindy Ferrer/PNA)

As we face more questions than answers during the recent Senate inquiry regarding the automated election systems, it is time to rethink as to whether we have to continue, abandon, or at least use the highly-recommended hybrid system.

Over and above other pieces of legislation, this should be given utmost priority in light of the upcoming polls, before we use the same system which has been shown to be defective and vulnerable to massive cheating.

The reason, we must remember, why we shifted to the automated election system, was because we wanted to avoid the age-old anomalies associated with the manual system, such as the dagdag-bawas and ballot switching.

The new system, however, did nothing to restore our faith in the election system.

Rather than making our polls credible and transparent, it lamentably led to new issues.

The most glaring of these is the mysterious transmission of election results a day before the actual polls—a situation for which neither Comelec nor Smartmatic has failed to give any satisfactory explanation.

The early transmission, among the other anomalies pointed out by fair elections advocate Atty. Glenn Chong, strongly and unequivocally shows that there was manipulation.

We cannot take this sitting down.

At question here is the very core of democracy, to which the unscrupulous individuals who worked to rig the polls, showed blatant and vulgar disrespect.

Merely keeping quiet about the entire fiasco and ignoring that there was obvious manipulation would be tantamount to complacency and condonation of how the automated system is making fools of us all.

As many have correctly pointed out, what is the use of even participating in the electoral process if the results would not be reflective of the people’s will?

On the other hand, what is the function of campaigning and political platforms if the victories of the candidates would forever be tainted with doubt?

The automated election system already had two unsuccessful runs in the Philippines. While they did speed up the process of counting and transmission, they failed to address the very evil they sought out to annihilate in the first place—that of flagrantly misrepresenting the will of the electorate, and consequentially compromising democracy.

Friday, August 10, 2018

Bicolano tops mining engineer licensure exams

LEGAZPI CITY (Bicol Standard) -- A graduate of Bicol University-Legazpi topped the mining engineer licensure exams.

Santiago Buemia Agripa Jr. placed first with a rating of 92.9 percent, the Professional Regulation Commission announced Friday.

The PRC also said that 282 out of 326 passed the Mining Engineer Licensure Examination given by the Board of Mining Engineering in Manila, Baguio and Davao this August 2018.


LGU-Naga to tighten grip against illegal drugs in schools, barangays

High School Students of the Camarines Sur National High School
File Photo
By Armie B. Gunay, CEPPIO

The City Government of Naga has recently bared plans anchored on strengthening their campaign against the use of illegal drugs in the city.

With the able leadership of the city council, the Local Government Unit (LGU) of Naga will be initiating the integration of 'drug education' in the subject areas being taught in schools.

City Councilor Joselito Del Rosario was more than glad with the passage of his proposed ordinance in the second reading of the Sangguniang Panlungsod (SP) session.

The proposed ordinance aims for the development of a localized values-based and holistic anti- illegal drug curriculum in the formal education system in Naga City.

Said integration in the existing academic curriculum of the Department of Education (DepEd) will be helping concerned agencies in the prevention and cure of the problem in illegal drugs in the community.

City Councilor Joselito Del Rosario said that they are targeting the youth sector as they are one of the most vulnerable sectors in the community.

"Illegal drug is the clear and present danger in our society today...So many families and communities have been destroyed because of these illegal substance," stated Del Rosario in support of the measures they are taking to help the city government resolve the issue.

The members of the SP body further suggested the consultation of the technical working group with the private sectors for further help and assistance in the crafting and designing of the modules.

DepEd-Naga Schools Division Superintendent (SDS) William Gando and Naga City Mayor John Bongat had already expressed support in the said resolution.

Del Rosario said that the process will probably take two (2) or four (4) more years before its proper implementation.

Meanwhile, the newly- elected Liga ng mga Barangay President Antonio Beltran shared the programs that they will be focusing on during his term which prioritizes also the measures they will be taking to help resolve the problem on illegal drugs, among health and education programs.

With their barangay, Bagumbayan Norte, being recognized by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and the Naga City Police Office (NCPO) to be drug-cleared barangay, they also want to help other barangays in Naga City to obtain such standard.

Gov. Pimentel eyes stronger ties between South Africa, Cam Norte

Camarines Norte Gov. Jonah Pimentel and South African Ambassador to the Philippines and Palau Marthinus Nicolas Slabber during the latter's visit to Camarines Norte

DAET, Camarines Norte (Bicol Standard) –Governor Jonah Pimentel aims to strengthen the links between the province of Camarines Norte and the nation of South Africa.

This he stated during the visit of South African Ambassador to the Philippines and Palau Marthinus Nicolas Slabber to this province earlier this month.

In his speech, Pimentel expressed how South Africa could serve as a model for inclusive growth and development with its upper-middle-income economy, and its status as a newly-industrialized country.

Pimentel further stressed that as a province, Camarines Norte has a lot to offer countries like South Africa, such as its rich culture and heritage.

He said Camarines Norte is home to many heroes, both in years past and the present, from those who fought against colonizers to the noble statesmen and community leaders now.

It also boasts of hospitable and hardworking people as well as breathtaking tourist destinations.

The father of the province added that he is grateful that the Ambassador chose to visit Camarines Norte, even if it is many kilometers away from the capital.

“I hope this will be the start of a wonderful friendship and partnership between our places and people,” Pimentel said.

New P120-M hospital now ready to serve Albay, neighboring provinces

By Emmanuel Solis

LEGAZPI CITY -- After three years of construction, the new Legazpi City Hospital - built at the cost of PHP120 million - is now ready to serve the public.

The hospital was formally opened last Wednesday after a Holy Mass and blessing officiated by Bishop Joel “Bong” Baylon. Present were Legazpi Mayor Noel Rosal and members of the city council, department heads, city government employees, media practitioners and other visitors.

Rosal said the hospital would help decongest the Bicol Regional Training and Teaching Hospital (BRTTH) that presently caters to the medical needs of patients from entire Albay and other neighboring provinces like Sorsogon and Catanduanes.

The city chief executive described the Legazpi City Hospital as a state-of-the-art public health facility and one of the most modern hospitals in the entire Bicol Region. It is manned by professional doctors, nurses, midwives, dentist, med-tech and other medical personnel ready to render health care services to city residents, especially the indigent patients.

At present, only Phase One of the two-story hospital has been completed, with a capacity of 25 to 60 beds.

The city government hopes to soon be able to construct a third floor with additional rooms to accommodate a total of 200 beds.

Rosal said his administration will shoulder the yearly operational expenses of the hospital estimated at PHP80 to PHP100 million - to cover the salaries and wages of all the medical practitioners, electric and water bills, gasoline and other similar expenses.

The health facility will be equipped with various medical machinery and offer simple surgical procedures and emergency treatment.

The laboratory as well as the operating and labor rooms, X-ray section, intensive care unit, emergency and recovery rooms as well as dental clinic and pharmacy are all located on the ground floor of the building. The male and female wards including the pediatric rooms and office of doctors and other personnel are located on the second floor.

The hospital also has a fire protection pump and medical waste holding room, material recovery facility and a placenta pit.

The Legazpi City Hospital is located on a 3,000-square meter lot owned by the city government, which is at the central business center in Barangay Bitano. (PNA)

1st Bicol Media Summit to raise awareness on security

By Connie Calipay

LEGAZPI CITY -- To protect the lives of media practitioners in Bicol after the recent killing of a radio anchor in Albay, the Police Regional Office-5 (PRO-5) initiated the holding of the 1st Regional Media Security Summit Friday (August 10.)

More than 150 participants from the entire Bicol region with the same purpose and mission -- to give honest, accurate and factual information to the public -- are expected to attend.

Senior Insp. Malu Calubaquib, in an interview on Thursday, said the summit aims to raise awareness and a pro-active initiative for all members of the fourth estate (journalists) in dealing with possible threats and hazards in their field of work.

“It is open to all media practitioners in Bicol from broadcast, print, television and online news. We want them to feel that the PRO-5 is here, ready to listen and to help if there are possible threats,” she added.

Undersecretary Jose Joel Egco, executive director of Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFOMS), is expected to give a message during the summit.

Topics to be discussed are: "Pre-requisite and Threats for media Practitioners," "Going on Dangerous Assignment," "Personal Safety and Security," "When targeted, What to do," and "How to own and possess firearms".

There will also be practical exercises on personal security techniques. (PNA)

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Legazpi hosts Google I/O 2018 Extended Roadshow

LEGAZPI CITY (Bicol Standard) – This city plays host today to Google I/O 2018 Extended Roadshow, an annual software developer-focused conference which features a keynote on the latest updates and announcements by Google. The conference hosts in-depth sessions focused on building web, mobile, and enterprise applications.

At the 3rd Flr. Function Hall of the College of Science Building 1, Bicol University, at Rizal Avenue, participants will be treated to talks on the following topics: Highlights from Android, State of Web: Making the Web on FIRE, Machine Learning, Google Assistant: Build Actions for your Community, Firebase, Introduction to Google Cloud, Codelabs, Polymer 3, Kotlin, and Tensorflow.

Google I/O 2018 was held last May 8-10 at the Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, California.

At its 12th year, Google I/O 2018 gathered more than 7,000 attendees from all over the world.

Google Developer Group (GDG) Philippines community leads were present in the event to learn and interact with experts.

To bring back the knowledge from Mountain View, California, the group (GDG Philippines) is bringing the Google I/O 2018 experience to six different cities in the Philippines!

The team is excited to meet different enthusiastic individuals who are interested to learn, explore, and build apps using Google Technologies.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Sorsogon-Samar bridge shortlisted for funding

Photo via Sorsogon Provincial Tourism Office
LEGAZPI CITY (Bicol Standard) – A mega dream to connect Luzon to Visayas may soon be realized when the proposed Sorsogon-Samar Link Bridge is achieved.

During the Bicol Regional Tourism Committee Meeting held on August 7 at the NEDA Regional Center, Rawis, this city, it was revealed that as early as May 2018, the Sorsogon-Samar Link Bridge project has already been shortlisted under the Asian Development Bank (ABD) Technical Assistance Loan for the Infrastructure Preparation and Innovation Facility (IPIF) projects Output 1: Roads and Bridges.

Said bridge will reduce the travel time from Sorsogon to Samar to 30 minutes, from the current three hours by RORO.

It is also expected that the bridge will provide “sustainable economic growth, improve the efficiency in the exchange of goods and services in the countryside, as well as improve accessibility to enhance economic productivity,” according to the project presentation.

Previously, the Philippine government requested a technical assistance loan from the Asian Development Bank to fund consultancy services for public sector investments.

The Sorsogon-Samar project has a length of 25.4 kilometers. It consists of three long span bridges: Allen to San Antonio in Northern Samar, San Antonio to Capul in Northern Samar, and Capul, Northern Samar to Matnog, Sorsogon.

It was also learned this week that a team composed of representatives from the ADB, NEDA, DPWH, and engineers and consultants from China and the UK has already conducted an ocular inspection of the proposed project site.


Poe wants hotline for media workers

Sen. Grace Poe asked the government to set up a dedicated hotline for media workers to report threats amid increasing cases of work-related harassment and killings.

"This is a priority--a dedicated hotline [for the media]. It's really to report threats," said Poe, chair of the Senate committee on public information and mass media, who presided over a hearing Wednesday on media killings.

The senator also said telecommunications firms can help in a way that reports sent through text messages may be free of charge.

"We need a hotline. Matagal na nating hinihingi 'yan," Poe said.

Poe said she will also push for media workers' benefits, such as hazard pay and insurance.

The senator has filed Senate Resolution 820 directing her committee to find feasible ways and means to provide standardized social protection mechanisms such as health and accident insurance to the media.

"This is also for the welfare of media in general. You could coordinate with other government agencies to provide insurance for high-risk groups," Poe told the Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFoMS) during the hearing.

From the time the media task force was created through Administrative Order No. 1 in 2016, there have been some eight work-related media killings.

Asked about the "red-tagging" of some media organizations as alleged communists and being branded as enemies of the state, Poe said: "Supposedly this is already an obsolete presentation--it should never be a relevant presentation to begin with. Hihingi tayo ng reaksyon ng AFP kung bakit may mga ganitong presentasyon. 'Di ba sinasabi nga ng lahat na ang media nga ang tagabantay so dapat proteksyunan din naman sila at maresolba na rin itong mga kaso laban sa mga pagpatay."

The media task force, currently chaired by journalist Usec. Joel Sy Egco, should be independent and composed of media practitioners. At present, media organizations, human rights groups and the academe are mere observers in the task force.

"You know how legislation takes long. But in the process, I think we should be able to file a measure na magkaroon ng independent group for the protection of media independent commission...Sa ngayon na wala pa yan, ang puwede nating gawin ay ilaan talaga sa budget na mayroong mapunta sa task force na iyan. Sinabi na natin sa kanila na ang composition ng kanilang board ay dapat mayroong independent practitioners na miyembro, members of the academe at hindi lamang government officials para patas ang pag-iimbestiga," Poe said.

LGU Daet warns against improper waste disposal

De Luna

DAET, Camarines Norte (Bicol Standard) – Municipal Administrator Joan Kristine Tabernilla de Luna has issued a stern warning against improper waste disposal, especially in the creeks, canals, and rivers of this town, following the closure of the open dumpsite at Barangay Bibirao last August 1.

De Luna said the closure was in compliance with the order of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Environmental Management Bureau (DENR-EMB).

She added that an information drive to remind residents of waste segregation, recycling, and the use of material recovery facilities has been recently launched in support of Republic Act 9003 or the Solid Waste Management Act.

She warned residents commit infractions of the environmental law that they will be dealt with accordingly.

It will be recalled that across the nation, local government units were reminded to comply with the Solid Waste Management Act, otherwise officials will face criminal and administrative sanctions.

Casureco II awarded for ‘excellent performance’

NAGA CITY (Bicol Standard) – The Camarines Sur II Electric Cooperative (Casureco II) has been given a Performance Excellence Award/AAA and recognized for being the Most Improved Electric Cooperative by the National Electrification Administration (NEA).

In a ceremony held on August 6 at the HESA Auditorium, NEA Building in Quezon City, the cooperative was said to have exhibited a “dramatic leap in its overall performance through the implementation of financial, institutional, and technical reforms to deliver better service to its member-consumer-owners (MCOs).

The award was signed by Administrator Edgardo R. Masongsong and Deputy Administrator/Oversign EC Overall Performance Assessment Goldelio G. Rivera.

The cooperative dedicated the award to all of its member-consumer-owners.

“Salamat po sa pagtabang na maging AAA an satuyang cooperatiba,” the coop said in a statement.


Catanduanes wants to be rabies-free


VIRAC, Catanduanes (Bicol Standard) – In an effort to eliminate rabies, the Provincial Government of Catanduanes has created a committee that would recognize the best implementers of the rabies control program.

Under Executive Order No. 20, S. 2018, Gov. Joseph Cua said that this is the most effective strategy to motivate LGUs to actively engage their constituents to participate in rabies prevention and control.

This will also recognize the efforts of the towns and barangays in the implementation of said programs.

The province is provisionally rabies-free for the past three years.

It aims to be declared a Rabies-Free Province by September 28, 2018, Cua revealed.

The provincial committee shall be composed of Gov. Cua; PVET PVO Dr. Jane Rubio; Provincial Health Officer Dr. Hazel A. Palmes; DOH Catanduanes Representative Dr. Joseph Richard Garay; OIC PD DILG Catanduanes Mr. Uldarico S. Razal, Jr.; DepEd SDS Ms. Socorro V. Dela Rosa; PIA Representative Ms. Edna Bagadiong; and Catanduanes PPO Provincial Director PSSupt. Felix Servita, Jr.

Rep. Lanete wants to end Masbate's power woes

MASBATE CITY (Bicol Standard) – To resolve the frequent power supply problem in Masbate, Rep. Scott Davies S. Lanete filed a Resolution seeking for an inquiry on the failure of the Masbate Electric Cooperative (MASELCO) to settle its P240-million obligation which resulted in the disconnection of power supply in the entire province.

With House Resolution No. 1066, Lanete seeks “to protect the welfare of the people in Masbate and to propose legislative measures that will provide stringent regulations that are aimed to ensure that such problems will no longer occur in the future.”

Lanete added that according to the Final Disconnection Notice, there was still no firm commitment from MASELCO on when said arrears would be settled.

DMPC, it would be recalled, disconnected the power supply on May 31, 2017.

Meanwhile, House Committee on Energy Vice Chairman Rep. Celso Lobregat of Zamboanga announced that they would monitor the discussions between MASELCO and DMPC in light of the power concern.

Lobregat said they will reconvene in two to three months for the evaluation.

MMDA eyes to defer provincial bus ban on Edsa

By Aerol John Pateña

MANILA -- The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) is eyeing to defer the implementation of the provincial bus ban on Epifanio delos Santos Ave. (EDSA).

The policy, which is set to be implemented on Aug. 15, aims to ease traffic congestion in the major thoroughfare by reducing the number of provincial buses.

MMDA General Manager Jojo Garcia said the Valenzuela City government has expressed its concern on whether it can accommodate provincial buses on the integrated bus terminal in the city.

“Yung sa provincial bus ban sinuportahan naman tayo nagkaroon lang kami ng konting problema sa implementation baka nga di matuloy yung Aug. 15 sa Valenzuela (We have gained the support for the provincial bus ban. However, we have encountered some concerns on the implementation, so it is most likely that the implementation on Aug. 15 in Valenzuela will be delayed),” Garcia said in a media interview on the sidelines of the regular meeting of the Metro Manila Council in Mandaluyong City on Tuesday.

Garcia, however, said the city government is fully backing the traffic scheme.

“Si Valenzuela Mayor Rex Gatchalian 100 percent ang support niya. Ang problema may mga konting structure pa doon na kailangan pang gawin. Di natin ito mamadaliin (Valenzuela Mayor Rex Gatchalian is supporting us 100 percent. The problem is that there are some structures that needed to be fixed. We will not rush this),” he added.

He said the agency will be inspecting the facility with the Department of Transportation and the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board to determine its capacity to handle provincial buses.

“Less than 300 buses ang i-divert namin sa Valenzuela (We are aiming to divert less than 300 buses in Valenzuela),” Garcia said.

The MMDA earlier said buses from provinces, such as Bulacan, Bataan, and Pampanga may use the Valenzuela Gateway Complex Central Integrated Terminal. The terminal can accommodate about 298 buses.

The agency is eyeing a ban on select provincial bus routes on EDSA -- from Balintawak to Magallanes -- with the opening of the Valenzuela terminal.

In a previous press briefing, Garcia said the ban is in line with the intermodal transport system being proposed by the DOTr to ease traffic congestion in Metro Manila.

Under the system, provincial buses will no longer be allowed to traverse along major roads in Metro Manila. Terminals will be installed outside the metropolis as these buses and passengers will be linked to other modes of public transportation, such as city buses, jeepneys, and taxis.

Three bus terminals are set to be operational in various parts of Metro Manila -- the bus terminal in Valenzuela, which will operate this August; the Parañaque Integrated Terminal Exchange, which is set to open in September; and the bus terminal in Sta. Rosa, Laguna, which is expected to open in December this year. (PNA)

Albay couple busted for drugs

Photo: PDEA Bicol

LEGAZPI CITY (Bicol Standard) -- A couple who is in the Regional Target List of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) was arrested by a team composed of members of the PDEA, police, and National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) by virtue of a search warrant.

Manuelito Jacobe y Bernal, 48 years old, and Gloria Jacobe y Obogne, 47 years old, residents of P-1, Brgy. Puro, Legazpi City were apprehended on Tuesday night for violation of Republic Act 9165.

More or less 25 grams of suspected shabu with an estimated value of P150,000.00 and other drug paraphernalia were confiscated from the couple.

The Jacobes are presently under the custody of PDEA Bicol.

Preparations in full swing for Legazpi’s 27th Ibalong Festival

By Connie Calipay and Emmanuel Solis

LEGAZPI CITY -- Preparations are now in full swing with a fiesta atmosphere prevailing in the city as locals anticipate the opening of this year’s Ibalong Festival.

The celebration, which is now on its 27th year, is set to kick off on August 10 and culminate on the 19th.

On the opening day is the most awaited street dancing and float parade that would showcase the epic of Ibalong.

Mayor Noel Rosal, in a press conference on Tuesday, said Ibalong symbolizes not resiliency in times of calamities but also showcases the best talents of Bicolanos.

“We want to take advantage of this of promoting the city not only in regional level but national and international level. We have maintained all the activities especially those with an impact on our tourism,” he said.

Some of the highlights of this year's festival are the Asian Paratriathlon championship and the Mount Mayon Triathlon.

Some 33 persons with disabilities (PWD) from seven countries including the Philippines are expected to join the Paratriathlon while 600 triathletes from different parts of the world are expected to arrive for the Mount Mayon Triathlon.

On August 10, the Paratriathlon race will start with a 75-meter swim at the Albay Gulf in front of the city boulevard. It will be followed by a 20-kilometer, four-loop bike along the Embarcadero de Legazpi and boulevard and a two-loop, five kilometer run on the boulevard.

On August 12, the Mount Mayon Triathlon Asian Cup race will start with a 1.5-kilometer swim at the Albay Gulf, to be followed by a 40-kilometer bike race going to the northern area of this city and parts of the Municipalities of Sto. Domingo and Bacacay, and a 10-kilometer run back to the Legazpi landmark at the city boulevard.

These events are clear manifestations that Legazpi City is considered as one of the safest and beautiful places for any kind of sporting event, contributing to the increasing number of tourist arrivals, Rosal said.

The Paratriathlon is a variant of the triathlon for athletes with physical disabilities. This sport is governed by the International Triathlon Union (ITU), and was first held as Paralympic event at the 2016 Summer Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

On August 13, there will be a medical and dental mission for all the registered senior citizens as well as lecture series regarding Epikong Bikolnon to be held at the Ibalong Centrum for Recreation (ICR).

The Mutya ng Ibalong is slated on the same day at the Pacific Mall. Coronation night will be at the Ibalong Centrum for Recreation on August 17.

Meanwhile, there will be a fashion show on August 14 at the Ayala Malls.

On August 16, the Epikong Ibalong Cultural Night, another highlight of the festival, will be held at the Legazpi City Convention Center.

The Ibalong Street Dance competition, the major event of the celebration, will be on August 18, starting at 2:30 p.m. in front of the city hall building.

Ibalong festival is a yearly non-religious fiesta depicting Bicol’s early beginnings based on the Ibalong Epic written by the late Professor Merito Espinas. It tells of mythical super heroes, villains, monsters and wild animals in the ancient times.

Rosal said Ibalong is the longest running tourism promotion-related festival in the entire Bicol region that expresses warmth and goodwill to all people.

He invited everyone to come to Legazpi to celebrate and witness all the festivities. (PNA)

Ombudsman suspends Tabaco City mayor

By Mar Serrano

LEGAZPI CITY -- The Office of the Ombudsman has issued another suspension order, this time against Mayor Krisel Lagman-Luistro of Tabaco City, a top official of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) said on Tuesday.

The Ombudsman suspended Luistro due to her failure to comply with an order to close an open dump site operated by the city government despite the earlier warning it has issued, Eloisa Pastor, DILG regional director said.

The Environmental Team of the Environmental Ombudsman Program slapped a one-year suspension on Luistro after finding her liable for gross neglect of duty.

The order also carries a directive for her to immediately close and rehabilitate; and desist from establishing an open dumpsite in Barangay San Antonio in Tabaco City.

Luistro was reportedly in Manila on official leave of absence when the suspension order was served on Tuesday.

In a phone interview, she described the Ombudsman suspension order as unmeritorious, saying that she already complied with the order to close the open dump site on March 17 last year.

“When I received the order on March 2015 for us to close the three-hectare open dumpsite, I immediately scouted for an alternative area where we can build a sanitary landfill as compliance to the order," she said.

Luistro said the Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Environmental Management Bureau (DENR-EMB) that is tasked to monitor the compliance has prepared a quarterly report regarding their adherence to the order.

She said a five-hectare land in Barangay Marirok in Tabaco City has been acquired by the local government and it is currently in the process of bidding for the setting up of a sanitary landfill.

When asked what legal remedy she intended to do, Luistro said she has 10 days to at least file two legal motions with the Ombudsman and the Court of Appeals (CA).

She said she would ask the Ombudsman to reconsider the merits of the decision to suspend her for one year, taking into consideration the action she took in closing the open dumpsite in March 2017.

As for the Court of Appeals, she said she would request for a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) questioning the procedure of execution of the suspension order.

Last July, the Ombudsman also slapped a suspension order on two Albay town mayors and several local officials for their failure to comply with the proper waste disposal program under Republic Act 9003 or the Ecological Solid Management Act of 2000.

Affected by the order were local officials, who assumed their elective post in 2013 to 2016 but were operating and maintaining open dumpsite in their respective areas.

In an earlier report, six Albay local government units were among the 50 towns and cities across the country that belong to the first batch of LGUs that have been assessed and validated by the NSWC to be non-compliant with the ecological solid waste management act despite the repeated warnings.

The report said the six were included in the first batch advised to comply with the law or face administrative and criminal charges.

The commission assessment found out that the five towns and a city in Albay violated the solid waste management act by using open dump sites in their waste disposals; and despite the warnings, they failed to close these facilities as required by law.

Only Legazpi City government operates a solid waste disposal landfill in the entire Bicol region, the report said. (PNA)

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Bicolanos urged to join Wiki Loves Monuments Philippines 2018 Photography Contest

NAGA CITY (Bicol Standard) – Photography enthusiasts from the Bicol region who are interested in capturing important built heritage subjects are invited to join the Wiki Loves Monuments Philippines 2018 Photography Contest.

Wiki Loves Monuments is an annual international photography contest and crowdsourcing event in which participants photograph and upload images of important built heritage subjects to Wikimedia Commons.

It is open not only to Bicolanos, but also to other Filipinos and even those from abroad.

Said images are then available for free use on Wikipedia and beyond.

The Philippine edition of the competition is volunteer-led, with significant support from the Philippine Wikimedia Community User Group which is based in Naga City.

Contest details

To join the contest, Participants must upload their entries to Wikimedia Commons ( using their own user account.

They must agree to publish their work under Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-SA 4.0) license.

Entries must be uploaded within the contest period, September 1 to 30, 2018.

Photographs should have been taken by the participant.

Photographs do not have to be taken between September 1 to 30, 2018, but they must not have been uploaded to Wikimedia Commons before that period.

Participants are free to upload photographs of any Philippine built heritage subjects, even if Wikimedia Commons already has one or more photographs of said subject. A new angle or a new detail, however, is more useful to the project.

The cultural properties in the Bicol region include:

Cagsawa Ruins
Legazpi Church
Tabaco Church
Smith, Bell & Co Trading House
First Jose Rizal Monument
Wenceslao Vinzons Shrine
Freedom Monument
San Pedro Apostol Church
Jorge Barlin Monument
Filipino-Japanese Friendship Historical Landmark
Quipayo Church
Holy Rosary Minor Seminary
Baao Church
Buhi Church
Bula Church
Calabanga CHurch
Iriga Church
Philtranco Service Enterprises, Inc.
Magarao Church
Milaor Church
Holy Cross Parish
Naga Cathedral
Our Lady of Peñafrancia Shrine
Basilica Minore of Our Lady of Peñafrancia
San Francisco Parish Church
International Chamber of Commerce of Bicol
Casa Tribunal de Nueva Caceres
Universidad de Santa Isabel
University of Nueva Caceres
Batalay Shrine


The best photos will win the following prizes:

1st prize: GoPro HERO6
2nd prize: Canon Selphy CP1200 Wireless Color Portable Photo Printer
3rd prize: Toshiba Canvio Advance 2TB Portable External Hard Drive

Special Prize for the most number of quality photos: Toshiba Canvio Advance 2TB Portable External Hard Drive

The jury will determine the winners of the local contest taking into the consideration the following criteria:

Technical quality (sharpness, use of light, perspective etc.);
Originality and creativity;
Potential usefulness and overall value of the image to the Wikimedia projects

PCSO opens applications for Masbate STL bidders

MASBATE CITY (Bicol Standard) – Applications for prospective bidders of Small Town Lottery (STL) in the province of Masbate are now open, Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) General Manager Alexander Balutan announced on Tuesday.

Applications will be accepted until August 23, 2018.

STL is a regular game by PCSO authorized by the national government through Section 1 of Republic Act 1169; while AACs are corporations or cooperatives duly registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) or with the Cooperative Development Authority (CDA), respectively that applied, been duly qualified and expressly authorized by the PCSO to conduct STL in a particular area.

“STL is a jueteng killer. Lahat ng illegal numbers game andyan na lahat – jueteng, masiao, pares, swertres, atbp. STL na ang kanilang generic name,” said Balutan.

For the first semester of 2018, STL has registered a whopping P12.3 billion revenues, up by 146.85-percent or P7.4-billion increase compared to the same period last year.
“Figures don’t lie. This is just a testament of PCSO’s success in implementing STL across the country and the government’s fight against all forms of illegal numbers games,” said Balutan.

STL has also hit a record high employment with 79 Authorized Agent Corporations (AAC) operating the STL nationwide.

As of June 2018, the expanded STL has provided 311,436 jobs, a 40-percent increase compared with the same period last year, which is only 222,896 employees.

This workforce comprises those who could not pass the nitty-gritties of job fairs because of their lack of education, old age, or they are physically disabled.

“These cobradores are earning more than P7,000 up to 8,000 a month, which is good enough to feed their families. By the end of the year, STL workforce is projected to double by 600,000. We saved them from vices (e.g. drugs) and from being exploited by criminals. At least we are giving our countrymen the opportunity to have a clean and decent job, and it’s not coming from illegal,” Balutan said.

The lottery game was conceptualized and implemented during the time of former President Corazon Aquino to eradicate the illegal numbers game jueteng being controlled by gambling lords who do not remit taxes to the government.

The PCSO Charter, or RA 1169, particularly on revenue allocation, provides that the revenue of the PCSO shall be allocated to 55 percent for prize fund (payment of prizes), 30 percent for charity fund (various charity programs and service) and 15 percent as operating fund (maintenance and operating expenses).

Donsol attracts Philippines' largest whale sharks

A whale shark feeds in the rich waters of Donsol, Philippines. Credit: Gonzalo Araujo

DONSOL, Sorsogon--A new scientific study by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Philippines and Large Marine Vertebrate Research Institute Philippines (LAMAVE) has revealed that whale sharks in Donsol, Philippines are uncharacteristically larger than those found elsewhere in the Philippines. The study, which describes the population dynamics and strong site fidelity of adult whale sharks to the coastal waters of Donsol, has been published in the journal Frontiers in Marine Science and represents the longest dataset on whale sharks in the country.

Up until the late 90s, targeted whale shark fisheries existed in the Philippines, though hunting did not traditionally occur in Donsol waters. In 1998, the municipal waters of Donsol were declared a whale shark sanctuary and soon after a national ban on whale shark hunting was imposed across the Philippines. Tourism developed soon after the ban, and today Donsol is the longest running community-based whale shark tourism site in Southeast Asia.

In this study researchers from WWF-Philippines and LAMAVE describe the population dynamics of the whale shark aggregation in Donsol through the collection of photo- identification data, which identifies individual whale sharks through their unique spot pattern, similar to a fingerprint. Research was initiated by WWF-Philippines in 2007, with LAMAVE researchers complementing the work in 2015 and 2016. Seasonal collection of these photographs allowed the collaborative team to identify not only the number of whale sharks visiting Donsol but also the frequency of visits made by individuals.

Between 2007 and 2016 a total of 479 individual whale sharks were identified in Donsol, 469 through the dedicated research and a further 12 individuals through photo submissions by the public recognised as “citizen scientists”. This number confirmed Donsol as the largest known whale shark aggregation in the Philippines (representing 44% of the currently identified whale sharks in the Philippines - Wildbook for Whale Sharks, April 28th 2017) and the largest aggregation in Southeast Asia. More than half of the whale sharks identified in Donsol returned during another season. The longest match was individual P-375 which was first identified by a citizen scientist in 1998 and was later resighted back in Donsol in 2011, 14 years later!

Interestingly whale sharks in Donsol were uncharacteristically larger than those found elsewhere in the Philippines, with 83 males considered mature based on their clasper morphology. The researchers estimated that maturity in males was attained at 6.8 meters, a smaller size than that estimated in other locations such as Ningaloo Reef, Australia and Mozambique.

Generally, whale shark aggregations worldwide are mostly juvenile male-dominated and encounters with mature whale sharks are rare. The Galapagos is one location where mature females are seen. The presence of mature whale sharks in Donsol paired with previous records from a neighbouring municipality of the two smallest whale sharks ever recorded in the world, highlights the importance of the area for this endangered species, not only as a pupping and foraging ground but also as a potential mating ground.

"This collaborative work between WWF-Philippines and LAMAVE, in partnership with the LGU of Donsol, the BIOs and the BBOA association, highlights Donsol as a global centre of importance for the endangered whale shark. Not only is it a major feeding aggregation, pups were found here and mating has been reported by locals. This is something we'll look into in detail over the coming years that has so far eluded scientists and enthusiasts alike" - Gonzalo Araujo, LAMAVE

Donsol is a unique whale shark site, hosting the Philippines largest seasonal aggregation. The area is of clear ecological importance, however, with the whale sharks attracting up to 27,000 tourists a year to the bay, it is also of economic importance. The preservation of this incredible bay is in the best interest of whale sharks and the local communities who rely on it. Ensuring a well-managed, and non-disturbing tourism industry is essential to protect these spotty giants.

Legazpi City Hospital to open on August 8

Photo via Mayor Rosal's Facebook account
LEGAZPI CITY (Bicol Standard) – The Legazpi City Hospital will open on August 8 (Wednesday), Mayor Noel Rosal confirmed.

This after the Level 1 Hospital recently received its License to Operate from the Department of Health.

The Legazpi City Hospital, according to the mayor, is the result of three years of hard work by the Sangguniang Panlungsod and the City Government team.

It is located at Zone 9, Bitano, this city.

It has an authorized bed capacity of 25, level 1 service capability, and is under general classification.

The LTO was signed by Atty. Nicolas B. Lutero III, Director IV, by authority of the Secretary of Health.

The hospital envisions itself to be the center of excellence in the provision of high-quality health care services for Legazpenos.

Among its services are: Emergency Room Service, Out-Patient Department Service, Labor and Delivery Room Service, Operating Room Service, Recovery Room Service, Pharmacy Service, Laboratory Service, and Radiology and Ultrasonology Service.

Rosal called the upcoming opening a “historic moment” and thanked Legazpenos for their support for the project.

Mayor Rosal announces road closures on August 12


LEGAZPI CITY (Bicol Standard) – Several national and city roads will be closed on Sunday, August 12, from 5 to 10 a.m. in this city for the Mt. Mayon Triathlon Asian Cup 2018 presented by the Ibalong Festival Executive Committee.

This was announced by City Mayor Noel Rosal in a news release to the media.

Included in the road closure are:

  • Sto. Domingo-Bacacay Diversion Road; Sto Domingo Poblacion to San Fernando Junction to portion of Bonga, Bacacay, Albay
  • Penaranda St. Legazpi City to Sto Domingo, Albay
  • Ramon Santos St. to Don Buenaventura de Erquiaga St. to Legazpi Boulevard.
“Those travelling via airplane and with appointments in the area covered are advised to leave earlier before the said time of closure,” Rosal said.

This is in close coordination with the local officials of the LGU concerned, DPWH, and PNP.

Poe to lead public hearing on media killings

Grace Poe
MANILA (Bicol Standard) – Senator Grace Poe is set to lead a public hearing on media killings at the Committee Room of the Senate on August 8 (Wednesday).

In an advisory sent to the Bicol Standard, the Senator’s media team said an inquiry in aid of legislation will be conducted on the performance of the Presidential Task Force on the violence against media workers, particularly in the recent death of Albay radioman Joey Llana last July 20.

This will be under the Senate Committee on Public Information joint with Public Order and Dangerous Drugs, the advisory said.

Said announcement was made in light of the reported high incidence of killings, violence, attacks, and threats towards media workers under the present administration, the media team noted.

SM City Daet to open in 2019

Photo via Rosa Mia King

DAET, Camarines Norte (Bicol Standard) – SM City Daet is expected to open its doors in 2019, according to the proposal presentation at the Sangguniang Bayan Session Hall in this town earlier this week.

The proposed site for the project is along Vinzons Avenue, a major thoroughfare on the north. Adjacent to the west side of the site is the United Daet Coliseum while residential structures can be found on the south side.

Spanning a land area of 48,590.00 sq. m., SM City Daet will have a ground level, level 2, level 3, and a roof deck level. There will also be 640 parking slots available, the presentation revealed.

Construction will commence later this year and will end on December 2019.

Monday, August 6, 2018

Naga City anti-smoke belching team to fine violators

File photo by CEPPIO
by Jason Neola, CEPPIO

NAGA CITY -- Seeking to reduce the amount of air pollution emitted by gas-powered vehicles in violation of emission standards set by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), the City Environment and Natural Resources Office’s (ENRO) anti-smoke belching unit patrolled the streets last August 2 to apprehend smoke belching automobiles.

The team, which is deputized by the Land Transportation Office (LTO), manned a roadside monitoring and apprehension checkpoint along the Maharlika Highway in Barangay Concepcion Grande and Bagumbayan Norte to conduct emission tests on vehicles through the team’s opacimeter machines for diesel and gasoline-fed engines.

The machines, which meet the requirements of the national standard (limits and measurement methods for exhaust smoke from compression ignition engine), and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), have the capability to continuously appraise the visible pollutants from the exhaust smoke with measured results directly achieved.

In the operation, Jayson T. Vargas, City ENRO’s pollution control officer and officer in charge of pollution control and management division, said his group was able to flag down and check 33 vehicles and made to fine 12 units for not passing the test.

Assisting the team are personnel from the Naga City Police Office and the Land Transportation Office. The city government which was commended by DENR in past years because of its standing ordinance and relentless campaign against smoke belchers has been up to the task since year 2000.

In that year and the following years since ASBU began operating, the city government was able to collect fines amounting to P300,000 from violators of anti-smoke belching provisions of Republic Act 8749, also known as the Clean Air Act.

Alexander Caning, ENRO chief, however, said that the primordial concern of the campaign is not to generate income but to compel the motorists to comply with the Clean Air Act.

“We should be happier if we got a lower number of violators as this would mean we have a lesser number of contributors to air pollution,” he said.

BSP closes Rural Bank of Sta. Elena in Cam Norte

Rural Bank of Sta. Elena Camarines Norte, Inc.
Photo: PDIC
The Monetary Board (MB) of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) prohibited Rural Bank of Sta. Elena (Camarines Norte), Inc. from doing business in the Philippines. Under Resolution No. 1239.A dated August 2, 2018, the MB directed the Philippine Deposit Insurance Corporation (PDIC) as Receiver to proceed with the takeover and liquidation of the bank. PDIC took over the bank on August 3, 2018.

Rural Bank of Sta. Elena is a single-unit rural bank located in Brgy. Sta. Elena (Pob.), Sta. Elena, Camarines Norte.

Latest available records show that as of June 30, 2018, Rural Bank of Sta. Elena had 744 deposit accounts with total deposit liabilities of PhP19.6 million. Total insured deposits amounted to PhP16.5 million equivalent to 84.2% of total deposits.

PDIC assured depositors that all valid deposits and claims shall be paid up to the maximum deposit insurance coverage of PhP500,000.00. Individual depositors with valid deposit accounts with balances of PhP100,000.00 and below shall be eligible for early payment and need not file deposit insurance claims, provided they have no outstanding obligations with Rural Bank of Sta. Elena or have not acted as co-makers of these obligations. These individual depositors must ensure that they have complete and updated addresses with the bank. They may update their addresses until August 8, 2018 using the Mailing Address Update Forms to be distributed by PDIC representatives at the bank premises.

For business entities and all other depositors who are required to file claims for deposit insurance, the schedule for filing of claims will be announced as soon as possible through posters in the bank premises and in other public places, the PDIC website,, and PDIC’s official Facebook account.

PDIC also reminded borrowers to continue paying their loan obligations with the closed Rural Bank of Sta. Elena and to transact only with designated PDIC representatives at the bank premises.

For more information on the requirements and procedures for filing claims for deposit insurance and settlement of loan obligations, all depositors and borrowers of the bank are enjoined to attend the Depositors-Borrowers' Forum which will be held in venues near the premises of the bank on August 13, 2018. Details will be posted in the bank premises and in other public places.

Depositors and borrowers may communicate with PDIC Public Assistance personnel stationed at the bank premises or call the PDIC Public Assistance Hotlines at (02) 841-4630 to (02) 841-4631 or the Toll Free Hotline at 1-800-1-888-PDIC (7342) for those outside Metro Manila. Inquiries may also be sent by e-mail to or via private message to the official PDIC Facebook account

BROWNOUT-FREE | Police station in Catanduanes turns to solar energy

Photo courtesy of Viga MPS
VIGA, Catanduanes (Bicol Standard) -- The municipal police station in this town is now brownout-free, thanks to its use of a hybrid offgrid (HOG) solar power system.

Police Senior Inspector Dexter D. Panganiban, Chief of Police of Viga Municipal Police Station said that the 1.020 kW HOG facility will power at least two desktop computers, two printers, the Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) system, a few electric fans, a few lights, or equivalent electrical loads.

This feat has probably not been achieved by other municipal police stations anywhere in the country, Panganiban explained.

The project, which was realized through modern-day barangayan and bayanihan by the Viga Municipal Police Station personnel, the Viga KASUROG Cops and Non-Uniformed Personnel, will enable the team to accomplish police services and tasks without being dependent on electricity.

Among these tasks are the processing of police clearances and blotter excerpts, the preparation and submission of reports, and the preparation of supporting documents needed in filing criminal complaints.

Sources of funds, legwork

In the news release sent to the Bicol Standard, Panganiban said they received support from Governor Joseph Cua, Vice Governor Shirley Araojo Abundo, and Dr. Christopher Tengco of Euro United Facebook Group.

Panganiban said the aforementioned persons "provided the 'fuel' to ensure the realization of the solar power project."

The REC solar panels, NPP solar batteries, solar cables, and the Axpert Mex 1.5 kW inverter that were used in this 1.02 kW HOG solar setup were purchased from Solarhomephil Corp through a certain Mr. Paul Summers, the police chief said. Other materials were sourced from One Point Systems, Ace Hardware, and from other hardware shops in Viga, Catanduanes.

Technical skills, meanwhile, were provided free of charge by Engr. Jim Reyes and his team of installers, including Francis V. Evangelista, Rolly Angeles Panti, Edsel R. Ceballo, and Cesar Landicho, all residents of Panganiban, Catanduanes; and Jethro Almojuela Tolentino, a resident of Virac, Catanduanes, in piecing together the solar power setup.

"With this project, we aim to kickstart a solar revolution not only in the 'Happy Island' of Catanduanes, but also in other parts of the country which experience frequent power outages," Panganiban revealed.

Sunday, August 5, 2018

7 anyos na aki, nasapotan nin salabay sa Caramoan

NAGA CITY (Bicol Standard) -- Saro pang aki, 8 anyos an edad an aksidenteng nasapotan nin salabay (jelly fish) mientras na nagkakarigos sa dagat, sa tungod kan Matukad Island, sa Brgy. Paniman, Caramoan, Camarines Sur.

Segun sa report na nakaabot sa hepatura kan pulis, an aki maogmang naglalangoy sa gilid na parte kan dagat kaiba an ibang miembros kan saindang familya kan masaprangan niya an kasyahan nang pagkadakula na salabay.

Nin huli ta malabog an dagat, dai narisa kan aki na igwa palan nin salabay sa lugar na saiyang pig kakarigoan.

Haros naubos na nagkurapot sa lawas kan aki an mga gamat kan salabay, na iyo an naging causa kan pagkasulo kan saiyang kublit.

Naaramman sa imbestigasyon na an biktima pig bubulong ngonian sa medical center sa Caramoan.

Enot kaini, kan sarong bulan maroromdoman na sarong 7 anyos na Italian National an nasapotan man nin salabay asin nagadan, mantang kan magkarigos sa kapareyong lugar.

Nagpaluwas na nin patanid an mga awtoridad na ibitaran an siring na aksidente, orog nang ngonian na mga bulan iyo an panahon na dakul an salabay.

An Paniman, Caramoan iyo an lugar na paboritong bisitahon kan mga turista nin huli sa gayon kan kapalibotan.

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