Friday, December 16, 2011

Executive-Legislative Agenda Assessment and Monitoring Seminar-Workshop

by Jay Vincent V. Demain

In its overall performance last year, the province got a very high rating.

This was revealed during the Executive-Legislative Agenda Assessment and Monitoring Seminar-Workshop held recently at Davao City attended by the provincial government officials and department heads of the local government unit of this province.

The activity was aimed at evaluating the performance of the provincial government in 2010 and to identify what and how it has achieved its goals. This will also serve as basis for future plan of action for the next years to better serve the public.

The rating was the result of the State of Local Governance Performance Report (SLGR) by the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) for the province using the Local Governance Performance Management System (LGPMS).

The system covers five performance areas and 17 service areas. Performance areas are Governance, Administration, Social Services, Economic Development and Environmental Management.

On the other hand, service areas are composed of Local Legislation, Development Planning, Revenue Generation, Resource Allocation and Utilization, Human Resource Management and Development, Support to Health Services, Support to Education Services, Support to Housing and Basic Facilities; Peace, Security and Disaster Risk Management, Support to Fishery Services, Entrepreneurship, Business and Industry Promotion, Forest Ecosystem Management, Coastal Marine Ecosystems Management, Urban Ecosystems Management, Participation, Transparency, and Financial Accountability.

Export markets in New Zealand and Australia for their products

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is encouraging local entrepreneurs and producers to explore the export markets in New Zealand and Australia for their products.

The DTI Provincial Office here said that these markets are looking for products such as gifts, decors and housewares and marine products and they also belong to the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Preferential Trade Agreement (AANZFTA).

ASEAN stands for Association of Southeast Asian Nations of which the Philippines is a member.

Under the AANZFTA arrangement, 96.4 percent and 84.7 percent of all products that may be imported by Australia and New Zealand, respectively, can enter their markets duty-free, according to the DTI website- This means further reduced costs of doing business for Filipino exporters.

DTI-Iloilo said they facilitated a forum on Doing Business in Free Trade Areas (DBFTA) here last September to apprise local producers about export opportunities in the two ASEAN trading partners.

They said that local products have made it to markets in the United States, Japan and Taiwan, so it is high time that Ilonggo producers also ventured to other markets such as Australia and New Zealand especially, given the fact that they have preferential trade agreements, said DTI Iloilo.

Washing of chemical sprayers near rivers

by Francisco R. Jayoma

Municipal officials of Carmen here are now prohibiting the washing of chemical sprayers near rivers, penalizing those who will violate. This is according to Municipal Ordinance No. 20-2011 authored by Sangguniang Bayan Member Leobel Tomas Luis.

According to the said ordinance, sprayers within the town of Carmen are now strictly prohibited to wash any kind of material being used in spraying pesticides and insecticides for plants specifically mango and/or throw empty containers of poisonous chemicals near the river, creek, sea, brook, deep well, open well, jetmatic hand pump and in any source of potable water supply.

"It is imperative to protect the health and well-being of the community by inculcating proper attitude and instilling discipline in the disposition of waste and garbage," Vice Mayor Wilfredo Taglucop said.

Taglucop tasked Municipal Agriculturist Nimfa Fernando to conduct information dissemination to all mango sprayers of this town regarding the provision of the said ordinance.

For her part, Fernando said it is necessary to ensure health safety of the people as well as to uphold environmental environmental safety of the community. She added that their office will conduct a seminar regarding the proper handling of materials used in spraying plants and fruits especially mango and also throwing of empty containers.

Small and Medium Enterprise Development (SMED) Congress

by Flor Jackson

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI)- Biliran, jointly with the Biliran Provincial Micro Small and Medium Enterprises Development Council (PMSMEDC) conducted a one-day Small and Medium Enterprise Development (SMED) Congress on Tuesday, December 13 at the Naval State University (NSU) Audio-Visual Hall in Naval, Biliran.

The provincial SMED congress, which was attended by businessmen in the province; heads of national government agencies; officers and members of the Biliran PMSMEDC; and NSU students was aimed at promoting the programs, activities, and projects (PAPs) of the government line agencies that nurture the growth and development of the micro small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the province.

Likewise, the provincial SMED congress aimed at providing a venue for the government and private MSME development stakeholders to interact and build up mutual understanding of its distinct roles in the PAPs for the development of the MSMEs.

The activity, from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. was attended by Elmer Garado of the Small Business Corporation (SBC) for Region 8, and local representatives of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) and the Bureau of Fire Protection who talked about the functions of their respective agency functions in connection with the development of the SMEs in Biliran province.

Tiburcio Morales Jr. co-chairman of the Regional Development Council (RDC) in Eastern Visayas who is also the Biliran PMSMEDC co-chairman and private sector representative in his message, acknowledged the role and contribution of the businessmen in the development of the province.

Morales who represented Biliran Governor Gerardo Espina Jr., PMSMEDC chairman said that strong coordination and cooperation among the members of the business sector, and the concerned agencies will led to the growth of more SMEs in the area.

Development of Caraga Region

by Robert E. Roperos

Abante Mindanao (ABAMIN) Party-list Representative Maximo Rodriguez, Jr. on Thursday vowed to continue supporting the city government here for the development of the city and the entire Caraga Region.

In a press conference held at the City Mayor's conference room here, Rodriguez said that part of the pork barrel he is receiving will go to the Mindanao Rural Development Project (MRDP). He added the city of Butuan, through Mayor Ferdinand Amante, was able to receive some P1 million for the development of infrastructure projects.

Rodriguez also said the province of Bukidnon as well as in Surigao were also given appropriate budget for infra development.

He emphasized that part of the infrastructure development is the construction of drainage systems that will benefit majority of the people in Mindanao. He said he is happy to note that the city government of Butuan is also pushing for Solid Waste Management System which is in-line with the plans and programs of ABAMIN.

The official also stressed ABAMIN is also supporting the infrastructure development on school buildings as he believed that this is one of the factors in providing quality education to pupils and students in Mindanao.

For ABAMIN, Rodriguez believed that Mindanao is the "Tiger Economy" of the country.

"Mindanao will be the place where food in the country will be sourced out… We are the food basket of the country so infrastructure development on agriculture must also be prioritized," he said.

Rodriguez further said he will be pouring in more infrastructure projects along Butuan and Surigao corridor especially developing roads such as asphalt overlaying and road concreting that will bring more development to Caraga Region.

Firecracker and pyrotechnic products trading zone

by Alex A. Lumaque

The Roxas City government has designated an area along Primer de Mayo St. near the foot of the Roxas City Bridge as this year's firecracker and pyrotechnic products trading zone, in line with the Christmas and New Year's Eve celebrations.

Roxas City Fire Marshal C/Insp. Lester Kenneth Gimotea said that a fire truck will be positioned in the area as one of the preventive measures against fire incidents especially that the merchandise are very combustible and explosive in nature.

The BFP also requires firecracker retailers to use metal or iron materials in putting up stall partitions.

"If they have completed their paper works, they can start constructing their stalls," Gimotea said, adding that about 75 individuals have attended two separate sessions on fire safety at the Roxas City Fire Station last Nov. 25 and 28, respectively.

The lecture on fire safety is one of the important requirements among firecracker retailer applicants who also underwent an orientation from the Department of Trade and Industry, PNP and Roxas City Licensing Office last month.

However, Gimotea said not all those who attended the fire safety lecture will individually establish a stall as some will venture into the business in groups.

Abante Mindanao (ABAMIN) Representative Maximo Rodriguez Jr

by Robert E. Roperos

Following the power crisis that the entire island of Mindanao is experiencing since last year, Abante Mindanao (ABAMIN) Representative Maximo Rodriguez, Jr. is advocating "Power Mindanao."

Speaking before the local tri-media during the press conference held Thursday at the City Mayor's conference room here, Rodriguez said he is supporting the withholding of the selling of Agus-Pulangi Plant.

He also said congressmen in Mindanao are also supporting for the suspension of selling the said 700-megawatt hydropower complex to the private sector.

He added if this will be sold out, this will drastically increase the price of electricity. "We don't have to sell Agus-Pulangi," Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez also emphasized that he also considered talking with Aboitiz Corporation for the installation of small hydro-package mill. He said the current of the rivers is enough to operate the turbine.

"We have Agusan River here and this may possibly be a good location for the installation of a turbine… there's no need to have a dam anymore… the water current will allow the turbine to work," he said.

The official further said considering solar power system is Mindanao is a good alternative for electricity. He said this is the only cheapest power source. "We hope we can also bring in solar power in Mindanao because that is the only cheapest source of power we can have," Rodriguez said.

PAG-IBIG Penalty

Delinquent borrowers and unregistered employers are given a six-month period for the condonation of penalty by the Home Development Mutual Fund or Pag-Ibig Fund starting January 1, 2012 until June 30.

Per HDMF Circular No. 399, the program shall cover employers who did not enroll their employees with Pag-IBIG and those that did not also collect membership contributions.

These employers may apply for penalty condonation on the employer's counterparts' contributions of those coverable employees, according to Anthony Maglungsod, officer-in-charge assistant department manager for operations.

However, those employers who have previously availed of any penalty condonation offered by the Pag-Ibig Fund and employers who collected membership contributions and/ or STL amortizations from their respective employees but failed to remit the same to the Fund cannot avail of this program, Maglungsod added.

Employers, unregistered and existing, who wish to avail of the program are required to register with the Fund through its Online Employer Registration System prior to applying for penalty condonation not later than June 30, 2012.

Upon application for penalty condonation, employers are required to remit their contributions of current employees for the current remittance period and every month thereafter. Otherwise, the corresponding penalty chargers will apply.

The applications for penalty condonation is approved or disapproved not later than two months from the date of submission of the complete documents.

SME in the Philippines

by Lanie Pitao-Tupaz

NAVAL, Biliran, Dec 15 (PIA) –- The micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the country substantially contributes to the country's economic development.

This, said Celerina T. Bato, engineer and Director of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI)-Biliran provincial during the SMED Congress held recently at the Naval State University.

The congress was attended by members of the provincial Micro, Small and Medium Enterpise Development Council (PSMEDC), representqtives from the Small Business Corporation (SBC), Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth), Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP), and businessmen from the province of Biliran. Bato disclosed that MSMEs contributed in the country's economy particularly in rural development and decentralization of industries, creation of employment opportunities and more equitable income distribution, use of indigenous resources, creation of backward and forward linkages with existing industries, and entrepreneurial development.

Bato added that the MSMEs whose capitalization ranged from P100 million and less represent 99.6 percent of the country's total businesses; 61 percent have provided employment, and 35.7 percent contributed to the value added of the country's economy.

These businesses are engaged in wholesale and retail, manufacturing, hotel and restaurants, real estate, renting and business activities, and other community, social, and personal service activities.

Of the 17 regions of the country, Eastern Visayas ranks 14th in the distribution of MSMEs in the country, according to Bato.

The first ever SMED Congress in the province of Biliran aimed at providing a venue for the government and private MSME development stakeholders to interact and build up mutual understanding of its distinct roles in the programs, activities, and projects for the development of the MSMEs.

Pag-IBIG Fund

by Amor Saludar

In its 31st anniversary celebration bearing the theme, "Makabuluhan. Matatag. Maaasahan!" the Home Development Mutual Fund (HDMF), otherwise called the Pag-IBIG Fund, pledged to continue their relevant, stable and reliable services to its members in Central Visayas.

Pag-IBIG Fund Visayas Group Vice President Victoria de la Pena cited the significance of the fund to its members during the recent Kapihan sa PIA.

"Pag-IBIG Fund is very relevant and important as we are there to meet the needs of the people especially on the areas of savings in preparation for their future and housing, a very basic need. We stress the importance of savings for a better future," de la Peña said.

De la Peña added that in 2001, they experienced a threat to the members' savings but that its officials and members became united in their efforts to prevent other people to use the funds.

"Also, during calamities, we open our doors to provide loans to our members in need," de la Peña further said.

She recalled that during previous calamities in Manila and some parts of Luzon, Pag-IBIG personnel from various branches nationwide augmented Manila personnel to fast track the facilitation and processing of loans to its affected members.

To continue providing efficient and sincere services to its members, de la Pena cited some of their major plans for 2012. These include adoption of modern technologies in order to make their services faster and the strict implementation in collecting loan payments.

De la Peña also said they plan to have a wider coverage that now includes household helpers and drivers among others and processing of loan applications via online.

Firecracker capital of the Philippines

by Jose Mari M. Garcia

As the countdown to Christmas and New Year ticks, the Philippine National Police (PNP) warned that errant firework vendors selling banned explosives will face imprisonment and cancellation of their of business license.

In a visit to Bocaue town, known the firecracker capital of the country, PNP-Region III enumerated the illegal explosives which should not be sold pursuant to Republic Act No. 7183 which regulates the sale, manufacture, distribution and use of firecrackers and other pyrotechnic devices.

PSupt. Rafmil Corpuz, chief of Fire and Explosives Division of PNP-Region III, said firecrackers with more than one-third teaspoon of gunpowder were outlawed for sale including pla-pla, tuna, bin Laden, big triangulo, super lolo, Goodbye Philippines, Goodbye World and the piccolo which is famous among children.

"Those who will be caught will be removed of their license, their products confiscated and they might not be able to renew their permit," said Corpuz.

Under the law, firecrackers which are allowed for sale include baby rocket, bawang, small triangulo, pulling of strings, paper cups, El Diablo, Judas belt, and sky rocket.

Among pyrotechnics, allowed are sparklers, luces, fountain, Mabuhay, Roman candle, trompillo, airwolf, whistle device, butterfly, and all lighting devices.

The republic act which was approved on January 1992 also allowed the use of watusi, a small reddish stick usually ignited by friction to produce a dancing movement and a crackling sound; but Corpuz said the Department of Health (DOH) banned its manufacture due to threat of ingestion among children.

PhilHealth for OFWs

by Hazel F. Gloria

Individuals applying for health insurance coverage under PhilHealth's Overseas Workers Program (OWP) must be able to show proof of active status as OFW both upon registration and upon renewal of coverage.

PhilHealth Circular 19-2011 states that OWP covers active land-based OFWs while the sea-based contract workers are generally covered under the Employed Sector Program and the circular itemized supporting documents admissible for OWP registration or renewal.

Per Circular 19, PhilHealth accepts any one of the following (whichever is applicable): valid overseas employment certificate (OEC); valid e-receipt; valid work visa or permit; valid employment contract; valid company ID issued by the employer abroad; certificate of employment from current employer abroad; cash remittance receipt from the member abroad at least two months prior to the date of registration or renewal; other valid certificates or IDs issued to OFWs by a host country (e.g. Soggiorno for Filipinos working in Italy); or any other equivalent proof approved by an authorized PhilHealth officer.

PhilHealth also allows submission of photocopies or scanned copies, as the case may be, of the mentioned documents.

The agency also reiterates that the document submitted must clearly establish that the member is still an OFW, regardless of the number of days left in the validity period stated in therein.

OFWs who are unable to present the necessary supporting documents may instead register under the Individually Paying Program (IPP) and pay the corresponding premium for individually-paying members.

His or her member data shall only be updated under the OWP upon submission of the required supporting document.

Public school teachers in Philippines

Public school teachers have started getting their Productivity Enhancement Incentive (PEI) as the Department of Education (DepEd) continues to monitor its regional offices nationwide to ensure that teachers receive theirs in time for the holiday season. The P10,000 PEI is commonly referred to as the Christmas bonus.

"As soon as we got approval from the Department of Budget and Management, our disbursing officers have started the processing of fund release. We had our implementing units prepare the required documents so when the funds are available, we can fast track payment to our teachers and personnel" said Education Secretary Armin Luistro.

The education chief said the department hopes to complete the release of the Christmas bonus to all teachers before Christmas day if no major hitch comes up.

As of December 15, Regions 1, 2, and 7 reported that all teachers in their respective regions have received their bonuses. Bicol Region (Region 5) has paid 95% of its teachers while 90% of teachers in Metro Manila (NCR) have already received their bonuses.

Release of payments to teachers are still on-going in Regions 3, 5, 6, 9, 10, Caraga, the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) and the National Capital Region (NCR).

Meanwhile Regions 4A, 4B, 8, 11, and 12 are processing the fund transfers and aim to pay teachers on Friday, December 16 or early next week. They received their cash allocations on Tuesday, December 13 while others received it the following day.

The DepEd in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao is independently monitoring the progress of their payments.

"We are doing a round-the-clock monitoring in DepEd offices nationwide so that we can respond promptly in case there are delays in some areas," Luistro pointed out.

Infrastructure projects under the 2012 National Budget

In a landmark move to jump-start economic growth in the next fiscal year, Budget and Management Secretary Florencio B. Abad announced that at least P140 billion worth of infrastructure projects under the 2012 National Budget will be immediately implementable in January 2012.

"In contrast to 2011 when infrastructure spending was delayed, we intend to begin 2012 on a very strong note. Various infrastructure projects amounting to around P140 billion can be implemented by departments and agencies as early as the first working day of January 2012," he said.

"We earlier directed agencies to disaggregate their 2012 budgets into specific projects before the budget was submitted to Congress in July; and to already bid them out short of award, so that notices to proceed can be issued in January," he said.

In comparison, agencies in the past are only able to break-up their budgets, especially lump-sum funds, during the fiscal year, leading to delayed paperwork and implementation.

He said the amount is part of the P1.816-trillion General Appropriations Act (GAA) for 2012. He further noted that the P140 billion is on top of the infrastructure projects funded by the 2011 budget that will continue to be implemented next year.

President Benigno S. Aquino III today signed the 2012 GAA, the earliest approved since democracy was restored after the 1986 People Power Revolution.

"The swiftness of the budget signing also means that government can hit the ground running with its programs, starting with key infrastructure projects. It also reinforces the President's commitment to his Social Contract with the Filipino People, and underscores our mission to ensure economic development and transparent government spending," Abad said.

Abaca production in Negros Oriental

by Jennifer Catan-Tilos

DUMAGUETE CITY, Dec. 15 (PIA) -- Abaca production in Negros Oriental have reached over P30 million earnings this year, reported Fiber Industry Development Authority (FIDA) here.

Provincial Fiber Officer Nena Locsin of FIDA said the province shipped out more than 500 metric tons of high grade and loose abaca fiber to various businesses.

With 2,400 hectares currently planted with abaca, the province is expanding the implementation of abaca planting materials production as part of its strategy to increase production of quality abaca fiber.

Locsin said the three congressional districts in Negros Oriental have provided funding assistance to intensify abaca production and meet the increase demand in the local and foreign markets.

Hence, FIDA is undertaking the abaca planting materials production to support the planting material requirements of the 3,300 farmers for the expansion and rehabilitation of abaca plantations.

Target municipalities will be provided planting materials where farmers and landowners who have signified their intentions to join the massive planting program. Abaca is grown mostly in the towns of Valencia, Sta. Catalina, Siaton, Dauin, Pamplona, Guihulngan, and some areas in the first district.

FIDA official said Negros Oriental is a recognized producer of high grade abaca fiber in the country. It is used in the production of handicraft products such as fashion accessories, decorative accessories, furniture, garments, textile, packaging materials, table-top accessories, playthings for pets, sports paraphernalia ( The said fiber is also known worldwide as Manila hemp.

The increase demand of abaca is partly due to the advocacy on eco-friendly becomes more intense with the growing awareness and concern to care for and protect the environment.

A report noted "From a host of industrial products to home furnishings and housewares, fashion and its accessories to packaging of food, apparel and other items, eco-friendly materials like abaca are in greater need and importance."

1st Open Table Tennis Tournament at Pangasinan State University

by Venus H. Sarmiento

LINGAYEN, Pangasinan Dec. 15 (PIA) -- Staying true to the goal of honing the sports skills of local athletes, the provincial government hosted the 1st Open Table Tennis Tournament on December 9-11 at the Pangasinan State University.

The Open Ping-pong game, also known as the 1st Governor Amado T. Espino, Jr. Cup, drew a large number of participants including various universities outside the province like the University of the Philippines-Diliman.

Modesto Operania, provincial sports consultant, said the tournament is part of the sports and youth development thrust of the provincial government.

It was declared open so that homegrown talents will be able to compete and share experiences with other athletes outside Pangasinan, he said.

The game was in partnership with the Pangasinan Table Tennis Federation.

The province has been the venue of many regional and national sports competition because of its complete facilities and warm response to host the games. It won its bid to host the Palarong Pambansa 2012 in April.

Clearance from the Social Security System

by Venus May H. Sarmiento

DAGUPAN CITY, Dec. 15 (PIA) -- Before business owners can renew their licenses and permits, they are obliged to secure a clearance from the Social Security System.

This is to ensure that employers have reported the names of their employees and have remitted their corresponding contributions to SSS.

"Gusto nating i-seguro na nabebenipisyuhan ng tama ang mga empleyado (We want to make sure that employees are given their correct benefits)," said Engr. Primitvo Verania, section head of SSS' field inspectorate division.

Verania said those not remitting their employees' contributions will not be issued a clearance which is a requirement upon renewal of license or permits.

"Lahat ng pinagkakakitaan na gumagamit ng katulong o empleyado, kailangang magcomply sa batas na ito ng SSS (All that uses helpers or employees to earn are required to complied with the SSS law)," he added.

From sari- sari stores and jeepney operators to big companies, owners should report the name of the employees on the day the latter is hired with a grace period of 30 days, Verania said, dismissing notions that employees need to work for six straight months to be listed under SSS.

"Under the SSS Special Law, on the day they (employees) are hired, dapat maireport na ng employer sa SSS (Under the SSS Special Law, on the day they are hired, employers should have them reported to the SSS)," he explained.

Verania said every worker must be protected from the start of employment.

"Mahirap yung hintayin pa after two months. What if may nangyaring masama sa kanya within the period, sino ang sasagot sa benepisyo niya? (It is difficult to wait after two months. What if something bad happens to the employee with that period? Who will answer his benefits?) " Verania asked.

Smart Schools Program (SSP) 21st Century Leadership Training Program

by Monette H. Herrera

The Department of Education (DepED) recently conducted the Smart Schools Program (SSP) 21st Century Leadership Training Program to select elementary and secondary school principals nationwide, in cooperation with the SSP of Smart Communications, Incorporated and in partnership with Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP), that aims to provide the educational leaders with a platform to share their insights on various challenges they are facing in the areas of educational reforms and students' performance.

The training aims to enhance their skills to build 21st century schools which integrate the use of Information and Communication Technology in the development, evaluation and implementation of learning environment and the teaching strategies.

This training is in line with the Regional Development Plan that falls on strengthening the education for all program to achieve higher functional literacy by all in 2015.

Among the 30 primary and secondary schools selected in the whole region include Dona Consuelo Salazar Perez ES in Pangasinan; Vigan Central School, Burgos Memorial School East and Burgos Memorial West in Ilocos Sur; Irisan National High School and Pinsao National High School in Baguio City; Mabalacat Community High School in Pampanga; Tinago National High School in Naga City; and others.

Infrastructure development in Zamboanga Peninsula

Celebrating its 39 years in the service of the public, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) IX continue its share of infrastructure development in Zamboanga Peninsula.

With the collective efforts of the men and women, the DPWH IX ranked second (2) nationwide as far as implementation of infrastructure projects for CY 2011-2009 Current Year and Carry Over Projects, completing 330 as of November 30, 2011.

Despite of the peace and order problem in some parts of the peninsula, Region IX achieved a physical accomplishment of 65.60% of the 432 programmed projects for the year. This sums up to Php 3, 752, 495.6B allocated amount for project implementation under the leadership of DPWH IX Regional Director Jorge U. Sebastian, Jr.

For CY 2011, DPWH IX completed 47 projects, with a total of Php 2, 512, 195B. Funds for the lump sum allocation and Various Infrastructure and Local Projects (VILP) allocation was released on the second week of November were the twenty (20) additional projects are on its pre-construction stage as of to date. With this, Region IX was rated no. 3 nationwide.

These roads and bridges, school buildings, water system, multi-purpose buildings, flood control and drainage systems constructed in various areas in the region are concrete evidence that the DPWH has carried out its mandate in ensuring the safety and quality of infrastructure facilities.

Regional Development Council Region 10 (RDC-X)

by Rutchie Cabahug-Aguhob

The Regional Development Council, region 10 (RDC-X) has approved its Calendar Year (CY) 2012 budget amounting to Php5,182,665.52.

"The amount actually represents RDC-X's total financial requirements for the implementation of its programmed activities contained in the 2012 Work and Financial Plan (WFP)," Engr. Leon M. Dacanay, Jr., RDC-X Vice-Chairperson, said.

Dacanay, who is also the Regional Director of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), region 10, said the budget was approved by RDC-X, during its 90th Full Council Meeting, held here, recently.

The proposed budget is necessary to support the regular coordinative technical assistance and monitoring activities of the RDX and the implementation of special concerns for the year 2012, Dacanay said.

He said the following sources of funds have been assumed and considered in the formulation of the above-mentioned WFP:

Congress will appropriate the amount of Php4,332,000 for CY 2012, the same amount allocated and released for RDC-X Operational Funds for CY 2011.

The RDC-Regional Line Agency (RLA) will contribute Php110,000, and the local government units (LGU's), the amount of P740,665.52, also, the same as last year.

Meanwhile, the computation of the RDC-LGU member's contribution for the RDC-X operational funds for CY 2011 was on the following pro-rated share based on their respective Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA):

Bukidnon, the highest share of Php119,620.33 or 16.15%, followed by Cagayan de Oro City, Php82,296.58 or 11.11%, Iligan City, Php77,860.93 or 10.51%, and Malaybalay City, Php69,854.53 or 9.43%.

Misamis Oriental, Php67,123.37 or 9.06%, Lanao del Norte, Php66,732.70 or 7.93%, Valencia City, Php54,075.08 or 7.30%, Misamis Occidental, Php53,248.70 or 7.18%, and Gingoog City, Php48,348.87 or 6.53%.

Ozamiz City, Php31,537.41 or 4.26%, Oroquieta City, Php29,163.86 or 3.94%, Tangub City, Php24,857.81 or 3.36% and Camiguin, Php23,945.61 or 3.23%.

The following RDC-RLA members' contribution of Php5,000, each, will make up the amount of Php110,000:Departments of the Budget and Management (DBM), Agriculture (DA), Science and Technology (DOST), Education (DepEd), Health (DOH), Public Works and Highways (DPWH), and Labor and Employment (DOLE).

Departments of Interior and Local Government (DILG), Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Trade and Industry (DTI), Agrarian Reform (DAR), Tourism (DOT), Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), and Foreign Affairs (DFA).

Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) consisting of the Land Transportation Office (LTO), Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP), Philippine Ports Authority (PPA), Telecommunications Office (TelOf) and the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC).

Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), and Philippine Veterans Industrial Development Economic Center (PHIVIDEC).Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC), Bureau of Local and Government Finance (BLGF) and the Presidential Management Staff (PMS) of the Office of the President.

Ilocos Norte Electric Cooperative

by Cristina Arzadon

The Ilocos Norte Electric Cooperative has drawn a development plan focusing on the improvement of power lines to better cope with the power demand of big businesses in the province.

The five-year development plan was a result of the strategic planning that the Inec management conducted, having in mind the expanding business centers in the city and around Ilocos Norte.

Inec board president Rey Lazo said the plan involves replacement and improvement of existing power lines and the building of more sub-stations in the city.

"Our power lines are now 40 years old, they need to be replaced," he said.

Lazo said Engr. Renato Balintec, Inec general manager, has also presented a plan to loop Inec's power grid to neighboring northern provinces of Cagayan Valley and Isabela so that Ilocos Norte could have an alternative source of power supply when other energy sources in the southern sections are not available.

"If you notice, when there's a problem in the line in the southern part where we get our supply, we are affected. That's why there is a plan to loop our lines with Cagayan and Isabela so that we can have an alternative source if lines beak down from South," he said.

Lazo said the establishment of a new sub-station in Barangay 1 in this city is under study following the entry of big supermarts like SM Savemore and Puregold and the factory depot Wilcon.

"There will be a surge in power demand because of these big firms and we need to address that. The development plan will be our response to that demand," he added.

Meanwhile, Inec is drawing up another plan to open more communication lines for the benefit of consumers.

PSupt. Melvin G. Napiloy

by Cherry Joy Discaya

PSupt. Melvin G. Napiloy, a native from Cordillera assumed office today as the new Philippine National Police (PNP) chief of Laoag City.

In his speech during the turn-over ceremony, Napiloy expressed hope that the people of Laoag will support and help him in the implementation of programs of the PNP.

Napiloy, a former Regional Investigation Division Officer of the Police regional office in San Fernando City, La Union stressed the importance of the Police Patrol Integration System, Motor Anti-Street crime operations, and Laban sa Droga programs of the PNP-Laoag.

He gave assurance to the people that these programs will continue and he will intensify their implementation.

Napiloy also assured to work for the betterment of Laoag City, as he laid down his proposed programs to strengthen the police visibility and credibility in the city by bringing their services to the local bodies.

"Gusto ko na ang kapulisan mismo ang pupunta sa mga barangay para tanungin sa mga opisyales doon ang mga problema para mabigyan ng agarang solusyon (I want our police to be the one to go the barangays to ask officials about the problems and give immediate solution)" said Napilon.

Outgoing PNP Chief PSupt. Sterling Raymund P. Blanco, who will be assigned to the Ilocos Norte police provincial office located at Camp Capt. Valentin S. Juan, here also thanked the people for their trust and support during his administration.

Christmas surprises in the holiday bazaar sales

by Larry Lopez

Residents and visitors of the city would find Christmas surprises in the holiday bazaar sales organized by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) provincial office.

Benita Mangadap of DTI-Kalinga said the five-day holiday sale from December 15 – 19 showcases Kalinga products of fashion, décor items, ornamentals, gifts and home needs.

For wider array of display, organizers opened the activity to guest exhibitors from Benguet, Ifugao, Quirino and Apayao.

Started in 2001, through the auspices of the Chamber of Kalinga Producers, Inc (CKAPI), the Christmas bazaar has become a tradition in the province.

According to Mangadap, the activity is answer to the buying mood of people during the holidays when demand for gift items and home needs is up.

Most of the exhibitors invited are regular clients of DTI under its product promotion and development program.

This year, there are 21 exhibitors who participated with delightful products that would suit every buyer's choice and preference, Mangadap claimed.

World War II Photo Mural in Baguio City, Philippines

by Redjie Cawis

A photo mural will be unveiled here on Friday detailing the historical events of the city during World War II.

City officials, led by Mayor Mauricio Domogan and Congressman Bernardo Vergara and Benguet Governor Nestor Fongwan, are set to unveil the historical mural at the Philippine Veterans Bank – Baguio branch, in time for the celebration of the 70th anniversary of the Japanese forces invasion of the Philippines on December 8, 1941, which saw the bombing of several key locations around the archipelago including Baguio City.

Veterans Bank President and Chief Executive Officer Ricardo Balbido, Jr. said that this is the first of several WWII photo-murals the bank plans to set-up in other branches nationwide.

"Our objective is to provide an educational medium where if one wants to know what happened during World War II in a particular place, you can visit the Veterans Bank branch," said Balbido.

He said they are targeting the students first but everyone who wishes to appreciate the local WWII history of that place is welcome.

Baldbido explained, "Our intention is to bring these historical events to life, to share to the residents and visitors of Baguio City what our forefathers, our World War II veterans, went through. Many of us can relate to these vintage images as these are very familiar attractions in Baguio, and we can see through this mural that these sites are steeped in history. We also wish to honor our Filipino WWII heroes and portray their heroism to the public especially our youth."

Baguio City and Benguet Province are sites of significant WWII events such as the formal surrender of Gen. Tomoyuki Yamashita after his capture in Kiangan, Ifugao on September 2, 1945, marking the close of World War II in the Philippines.

Baguio City was also heavily bombed both at the onset of the war in December 1941 by invading Japanese forces and by the US forces during the Liberation campaign in 1945.

Project on anti-rabies mass vaccination of dogs

by Larry Lopez

The province is bent on attaining its goal towards becoming a rabies-free zone with its project on anti-rabies mass vaccination of dogs, showing high initial results.

Jointly undertaken by the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI), Provincial Veterinary Office, Provincial Health Office and local government units, the project has covered far-flung barangays in the province.

The activity went smoothly, except for short interruptions in supply of canine rabies, through the help of 400 trained volunteer animal vaccinators deployed in all barangays of the eight towns.

Mass canine vaccination is one of the efforts being implemented in pursuit of a rabies-free province, in line with the national goal to achieve a rabies-free Philippines by year 2020.

Seeing the bright side of the project, local chief executives committed strong support by allotting fund assistance, making the activity a sustained operation.

Provincial Epidemics and Surveillance Unit (PESU) officer Jose Pardito Jr said as we went around the municipalities, local leaders and residents displayed willingness to join the cause for a rabies-free province and drum-up the campaign even in the farthest parts of Kalinga.

The fight against rabies is drawing wide support from sectors because of the sustained education and information efforts of the rabies control office.

Benguet First District Engineering Office

by Susan Aro

The Benguet First District Engineering Office firmed up remedial measures and catch up plan to fast track completion of road projects along the three busy thoroughfares in this town.

Officer-in-charge District Engineer David Buliyat, who appeared in a session of the provincial board recently, said measures are undertaken to expedite the completion of the three projects along the stretch of Kilometers 3 and 4, Pico-Lamtang Road, and Buyagan-Poblacion Road.

Board Member Juan Nazarro, Jr. commended the immediate response of the DE I Office in directing the contractor, Ancel Construction, in refurbishing the defective asphalt overlay earlier drenched along the span of Km 3 and 4 highway.

Buliyat said their office had been battling with many factors, which delayed the road construction along the Pico-Lamtang area such as issues on road right-of-way (RROW) and the transferring of utility posts.

Buliyat said their office is on the process of negotiating with the residents along the area, who are resisting in the opening of the canals along the road span in establishing road delineation before proceeding with the construction.

For the electric utility posts, Buliyat said they were able to do remedial compromise with the Benguet Electric Cooperative (BENECO) in the transferring of electric posts. Negotiations are also being undertaken with other utility companies in the transferring of other utility posts.

Food Terminals under Agrikulturang Pinoy

Having seen the impact of barangay bagsakan projects, now called food terminals under Agrikulturang Pinoy, more proponents are coming out particularly in areas still wanting of the facility in the province.

Program coordinator Teresa Desay of the Office of Provincial Agriculturist (OPAG) said the Department of Agriculture (DA) may add more food terminal projects and centers in Kalinga next year because of pressing request among small farmers.

Food terminal facilities provide marketing and livelihood opportunities to proponents, who come from organized farmer's associations, irrigator's associations and farmer's cooperatives.

The Department of Agriculture (DA) has established17 food terminals that are fully operational in various barangays here, where 14 recently received capital build-up of P50,000 each.

Desay said evaluation has shown that established food terminals are gaining headway among farmer groups, which inspired DA to extend more support.

The project serves a two-way advantage to farmer-producers who are given market outlets of their farm produce and farmer-consumers who are given access to low-price products.

The project has two components, where food terminal project proponents get financial support for the purchase of equipments and higher cash assistance for building construction under the food center component.

Safety precautions to avoid fires and injuries

by Alice Sicat

The Bureau of Fire Protection will conduct activities to urge the public to make safety a priority during the holiday season.

Under its "Oplan Paalala," BFP employees will go around barangays from December 15 to 20 to remind residents of safety precautions to avoid fires and injuries amidst the celebrations.

Supt. Joselito Cortez of the BFP's Directorate for Operations said the agency has prepared safety guidelines that it will disseminate during the information campaign.

For instance, Cortez said, the public should use only government-approved Christmas lights and other electrical decorations. "Do not use electrical outlets and extension cords more than its capacity, as this might cause of fire," he added.

He also urged the public to turn-off Christmas lights and any electrical decorations before going to sleep or leaving the house.

Starting December 26, the BFP will focus its info drive on handling firecrackers. He discouraged the public from buying firecrackers, as the money spent can be used to buy food instead, especially in these difficult times. Instead, the BFP urges the public to use other means to make noise like paper trumpets or "torotot" and banging on metals objects like frying pans.

The BFP is also pushing for designating areas where the public can watch fireworks display to avoid fire and injuries.

Tomorrow, December 16, BFP representatives will be at the Rajah Sulayman Park in Malate, Manila where a fireworks display will be held at 6 p.m. A similar event will take place on December 27, in Brgy. 28 Caloocan City.

Fires caused by pyrotechnics

by Phres A. Evardone

QUEZON CITY, Dec. 15 (PIA) -- Fires caused by pyrotechnics are on the rise based on data from the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP), according to Superintendent Joselito Cortez, OIC of the Directorate for Operations of the BFP.

Cortez said that in 2009, there were 44 reported pyrotechnic-related fire incidents. This went up slightly to 50 reported cases in 2010. As of October 2011, however, there were already 34 pyrotechnic-related fire incidents reported to the fire bureau.

With preparations for the New Year's Eve celebration coming at full throttle, Cortez said this year's pyrotechnic-related fires may exceed the 2010 level.

To stem this upward trend, the BFP spearheaded the campaign dubbed "Oplan Paalala," a fire safety awareness and prevention information drive nationwide.

The said campaign will have BFP personnel going around communities to explain safety tips, using a public address system.

Typhoon in Philippines - Sendong News Update

The government agency's weather bureau and regional disaster council has warned residents in low lying and mountainous areas under public storm warning signals against possible flash floods and landslides, and those living in coastal areas against big waves or storm surges generated by tropical storm 'Sendong.'

The Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (RDRRMC), region 10, likewise urged the public and the local DRRMC concerned to undertake precautionary measures in their area of responsibility and subsequently advised local DRRMCs to initiate pre-emptive evacuation of families in low-lying and mountainous areas if situation warrants.

PAGASA in its "Severe Weather Bulletin No. 3," said, the center of TS Sendong, as of 10:00 p.m., yesterday, was estimated based on satellite and surface data at 430 km. East Southeast of Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur.

It has maximum sustained winds of 65 kph near the center and gustiness up to 80 kph moving West NorthWest at 30 kph and is expected to be at 100 km East Southeast of Dumaguete city, today by the evening; 100 km East Northeast of Puerto Princesa city, Saturday evening; and 390 km West Northwest of Puerto Princesa city, Sunday evening.

Meanwhile, PAG-ASA has raised Public Storm Warning Signal (PSWS) No. 2 with winds of 61-100 kph in Eastern Samar, Western Samar, Leyte Provinces, Camote Island and Bohol for the Visayas are while in Surigao del Norte including Siargao Island, Surigao del Sur and Dinagat Province, Agusan Provinces and Misamis Oriental in Mindanao.

On the other hand, Public Storm Warning Signal (PSWS) No. 1 with winds of 45-60 kph in Sorsogon, Ticao Island and Masbate in Luzon; Northern Samar, Biliran Island, Panay Island, Guimaras, Negros Provinces, Cebu and Siquijor Island in Visayas; and Davao Oriental, Davao del Norte, Samal Islanf, Bukidnon, Lanao Provinces, Misamis Occidental and Zamboanga Provinces in Mindanao.

Juan Luna Avenue in Mabolo into Pope John Paul II Avenue

by Amor Saludar

A Cebu City ordinance proposed to rename the Juan Luna Avenue in Mabolo into Pope John Paul II Avenue in honor of the late Pope.

City Councilor Edgardo Labella who authored the proposed ordinance said that it is but right to honor the late Pope who came to Cebu 20 years ago and touched the lives of many Cebuanos. It is also considered as a historical event, he added.

Labella added that the late pontiff's visit to Cebu was covered by international media putting Cebu City and the Apostolic visit of the Pope in 1981 as a major news story worldwide.

The ordinance was unanimously approved by the council.

Officials of the Cebu Catholic Church supported the move. Msgr. Achilles Dakay, Media Liaison Officer of the Archdiocese of Cebu, and Rev. Father Dan Delos Angeles were also present during the public hearing of the said ordinance.

The two Catholic Church officials in Cebu revealed the adherent support of the Church to the move in honoring the late Pope John Paul II here in the Queen City of the South.

The one kilometer road linking M.J Cuenco Avenue and Archbishop Reyes Avenue was once called San Jose dela Montaña before it was changed to Juan Luna Avenue.

Women should be loved and not violated

by Aurora J. Casimpan

"Women should be loved and not violated." So stated PC Supt Vicente Araña Loot, deputy regional director for Administration of the Philippine National Police in Eastern Visayas on the 18th day campaign to end Violence Against Women (VAW).

The opening statement of the keynote speech summarized the commitment of the PNP-8 delivered during the culmination of the VAW campaign throughout the country. The PNP collaborates with the Philippine Commission on Women (PCW), stakeholders, and service providers in its campaign on VAW.

The VAW campaign stated in Proclamation Number 1172 "Declaring November 25 to December 12 of every year as the 18-day Campaign to End Violence Against Women" shows the government's commitment to address all forms of violence against women and protects the human rights of women as enshrined in the 1987 Constitution.

The culmination of the VAW campaign ended with the simultaneous "Blowing of Whistles" during the Monday flag raising ceremony of the PNP at the regional command office at Campetic, Palo, Leyte.

Asked on the significance of the "Blowing of Whistles," PS Supt Elizar Patano Egloso, chief, Police Community Relations Division explained that, "in law enforcement operations whistles are commonly used to call attention or to signal the command STOP." Also, the whistle is considered as an essential item in emergency kits which can be used to call for help."

DTI-General Santos City, Philippines

The City Price Monitoring Council headed by the Department of Trade and Industry, this city, is closely monitoring the prices of noche buena products this month of December.

In the "Meet the Press" program over DXCP, Arnel Sayco, officer-in-charge of DTI-General Santos City, underscored the significance of intensifying the agency's monitoring tasks on most in demand food products in this merrymaking season to protect the consumers from scrupulous businessmen.

Sayco said posters on the suggested retail prices of noche buena products are displayed in supermarkets where consumers can refer to if they suspect overpricing or violation of the Price Act or Republic Act 7581.

Ken Wong, DTI-General Santos City's Consumers Arbitration Officer disclosed that once a consumer discovers an overpriced product, he/she may lodge his/her complaint with the Consumers Welfare's Desk of the establishment which might take efforts in settling the case.

School-building projects in the Philippines

by Bong Pedalino

The provincial government has set aside P50 million budget readied in a one-is-to-one counterpart scheme for any funding that will be poured into the province for the Department of Education (DepEd), especially in its school-building projects.

Lately, however, it was determined that the education department appropriated P25 million, so the provincial local government unit readily put up a similar amount, said Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) member Atty. Teopisto Rojas, chairman of the SP Committee on Education.

Rojas made the disclosure yesterday during the weekly radio program Media Forum live at dyDM.

The total amount of P50 million shared equally by the province and DepEd will go into school-based projects that will be implemented next school year, Rojas said.

In a related development, Rojas also disclosed that the provincial School Board passed a resolution authorizing the release of half a million pesos for assistance to schools all around the province, including Maasin City.

He noted that in the past, the city was not included in the distribution of education funds from the province, but under the leadership of Gov. Damian Mercado the city was taken in since it is a component city, where its resolutions and ordinances are still subject for review by the SP.

He cited the Maasin Central School as one of the recipients of the provincial assistance to schools, another was Guadalupe National High School, where it got P 30,000 to purchase musical instruments for its school band.

Reasons to smile this Christmas season

by Jeza Mae Sarah Sanchez

Members of the Indigenous Community in Lumintao, Quezon, Bukidnon has been given plenty of reasons to smile this Christmas season.

This, as personnel of Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP); local government of unit (LGU) in Quezon, Bukidnon; members of the Laureano Ledres Lodge N0. 271 of Free and Accepted Masons; and members of the Order of the Amaranth Bukidnon Court No. 52 visited them to conduct feeding, gift giving and tree planting activity in their barangay recently.

The feeding and gift-giving program is aimed towards extending joy to the residents and children and to bring the feel of the festive season into far-flung barangay.

The tree planting activity, on the other hand, is conducted to keep up with BJMP's commitment to help create a sustainable environment for the surrounding communities.

After the said activity, 250 residents and 80 children expressed gratitude to the benefactors and went home with full stomach, gifts in their hands and smile on their faces.

"Expect that we will continue to conduct these kinds of activities in reaching-out to the marginalized communities as we continue to strengthen the linkages established between government agencies and private sectors," said Senior Jail Officer 1 SJO1 Stephenson Cabacungan, Warden of Quezon, Bukidnon and at the same time Worshipful Master of Lodge No. 271.

Gender Advocates (GA) in Northern Mindanao

The Gender Advocates (GA) in Northern Mindanao will celebrate this season with an annual outreach program to deserving beneficiaries this city, December 22.

Formerly known as the Gender Advocates and Women in Government Service (GA-WINGS), GA has chosen the female inmates in the Cagayan de Oro City Jail, located at Lumbia, this city.

As agreed among its members, GA will be distributing goods that can be used on a daily basis by the inmates such as personal hygiene, clothing and food among others.

In similar development, newly elected GA president, Clarissa C. Rosales, said the member-agencies are currently initiating donation drives at their respective offices to this cause.

Gift-Giving Activity in the Philippines

by Juliet Caga-anan

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Misamis Oriental, Dec. 16 -- To celebrate the reason of the season, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) Regional Office 10 conducted a Gift-Giving Activity to the less fortunate kids at Fatima Chapel, Isla De Oro, Burgos St., Cagayan de Oro City, Dec. 14.

The activity was led by Regional Director Roberto S. Opeña who personally distributed the Christmas gifts and packed snacks to more than 100 children as beneficiaries of Isla de Oro.

Together with him are some agents, technical and admin personnel of the office who helped in the distribution and ensuring security of the place during the activity.

Director Opeña said "We choose Isla de Oro among few selected places in the city, for we believe these children deserve to be given for they don't have any regular benefactor than the others."

Programs and policies of GSIS

by Marivic Alcober

The Government Service Insurance Systen (GSIS) Region 8 called for a special meeting for Agency Authorized Officers (AAOs) of the different government agencies in Tacloban City to update them on the current programs and policies of GSIS.

Orientation and lectures on Electric Billing File, AAO Application, Electronic Remittance File, dishonored checks, clarificatory items, Memorandum of Agreements, reconcialiation billing issued, Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) Transfer, and Agency Remittance Advice, among others were given.

An open forum followed the lectures for clarification on some of the GSIS transactions conducted by the AAOs.

During the session, it was bared that since August 2011 the 1.4 million members of GSIS have already been allowed to get their loan proceeds and other benefits through their LBP ATM.

For the survivorship pensioners, GSIS has a new method which is beneficial to the grant of survivorship benefit. It was learned that a survivorship pensioner will still receive his/her monthly pension even if one has already a job or an income.

However, the qualified surviving spouse or dependent of the deceased pensioner is required to immediately apply for a funeral and survivorship benefits at the GSIS in order to qualify to enjoy such benefits.

Home Development Mutual Fund or Pag-IBIG Fund

by Aurora J. Casimpan

To make housing more affordable to every Filipino, the national government through the Home Development Mutual Fund or Pag-IBIG Fund in Eastern Visayas has been promoting the Pag-IBIG Group Housing Loan Program.

The said program came about in July 2011 after the Pabahay Caravan went around where Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council chairman and Vice President Jejomar Binay promoted its program.

Under the program, Pag-IBIG Fund will finance the housing loans of local government units (LGUs).

Engr. Paulino Talacay, Pag-IBIG Fund Tacloban manager, disclosed that the agency is ready to finance the housing loans of LGUs and that there is enough budget to aid LGUs in their housing programs.

It was clarified that the amount to be allocated for LGUs will be dependent on the needs of cities and municipalities.

The top man of the regional Pag-IBIG Fund is enjoining LGUs with pressing needs for housing projects for poor constituents to avail of the fund.

Pag-IBIG records show that Basey in Samar is the lone LGU which has ventured into housing projects intended for its workers and constituents; the LGUs of Catarman, Northern Samar and Carigara, Leyte have expressed interest to engage in the housing program.

Achievements and contributions of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs)

by Neil D. Lopido

In honoring the significant achievements and contributions of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) to the country's economy particularly in Eastern Visayas, the regional Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA-8) will be holding its OFW Family Day on Saturday, December 17, 2011 at the UP-Tacloban Multi Purpose Building here.

This was learned from Florence D. Panao, OWWA-8 information officer who said that the event will highlight among others the awarding of the OWWA wish winner and Outstanding OFW entrepreneur, the winner of the OFW Family Circle Parol Making Contest, trade fairs showcasing the products of selected OFW Family Circles, and blood-letting activity in partnership with the Philippine National Red Cross.

Panao said the Philippine Information Agency that the activity will start with the registration of some 1,500 expected participants at 8:00 a.m., and will be followed by a Holy Mass, then the program.

In the afternoon, product presentation will be showcased by corporate partners such as the PhilHealth, Pag-IBIG Fund, Social Security System, Bank of the Philippine Islands, Globe Telecommunications, and Banco de Oro.

This year's OFW Family Day will be celebrated in a festive mood with food, live band, raffles of door prizes, and giveaways.

Christmas in Samar, Philippines

by Ninfa B Quirante

Samar police Supt Nolasco Bathan, provincial police director, urged the public to celebrate the holidays safely by being vigilant.

Bathan, with his information officer Felipe Tan, were guests at PIA's Huruhimangraw Radio Program on December 15 at Aksyon Radyo DYMS.

He started by mentioning how peaceful and orderly Samar province is, as indicated by a successful 'Takbo Daang Maharlika Tungo sa Pagkakaisa' fun run last week.

"There was no disturbance whatsoever," Bathan said.

Then he continued to say that there is a 100 percent downloading of PNP personnel to the city streets to secure the public.

Bathan appealed to the public that security, peace and order is everyone's concern and that the public should not be afraid to report any criminality happening in the area and also to report suspicious looking individuals.

"During these times, our misguided brothers may also take advantage so, let us all beware," the police director said.

He said he has warned the PNP personnel to refrain from firing during the holidays.

"They should be disciplined enough to inspire discipline too," the police official said.

According to the police information officer Felipe Tan, PNP these days observe the so called Integrated Patrol System.

2011 Giant Lantern Festival

A total of 10 barangays of the city of San Fernando will be joining the 2011 Giant Lantern Festival scheduled tomorrow evening at Robinsons Starmills.

The City Tourism Office disclosed that the participating barangays include defending champion Santa Lucia; perennial contenders Del Pilar, Telebastagan, Santo Niño, and Dolores; San Juan, San Pedro, and San Jose; first time entrant Calulut and Del Carmen which is rejoining the race after 57 years.

The 10 Christmas lanterns, which are colorful modern-day replicas of the Star of Bethlehem, each has a diameter of 20 feet and are fitted with 4,000 to 8,000 bulbs.

An award of P100,000 awaits this year's winner while second and third placers earn P50,000 and P30,000 respectively.

According to historical accounts, the festival which is locally known as "Ligligan Parul" (Showdown of Lanterns) is believed to have started in 1908 when Francisco Estanislao built a giant lantern for a Christmas religious procession.

Through the years, several innovations were introduced in the competition namely the use of batteries in 1940, molding of steel wire as frame in 1950, and rotors in 1957.

Sendong Typhoon Hits Mindanao

As tropical storm Sendong is expected to threaten Northern Mindanao and Eastern Visayas, the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) has alerted the local Disaster and Risk Reduction Management Council (DRRMC) in all the provinces of the region today.

In a radio interview this morning, OCD-Caraga Regional Operations Chief Amado Posas said members of the local DRRMC in the five provinces of the region were asked to be prepared as the whole region is declared under storm signal no. 2 as of Friday morning.

He added that local chief executives especially those municipalities located near coastal areas are alerted to be ready for any eventuality that may spawned by Sendong. He also called on residents living in low-lying areas and landslide-prone areas to be vigilant for the possible rise of water-levels and landslide.

Posas also expressed readiness of some municipalities saying that vehicles of some municipal officials in the region are ready for evacuation when necessary.

Meanwhile, according to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), at 4:00 am today, tropical storm "Sendong" was estimated based on satellite and surface data at 300 km East Southeast of Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur (7.7°N,129.1°E) with maximum sustained winds of 65 kph near the center and gustiness up to 80 kph. It is forecast to move West Northwest at 24 kph.

Hospital in San Carlos, Negros Occidental, Philippines

A new city hospital worth P150 million is set to rise at Hda. Sta. Ana, Brgy. Palampas. Groundbreaking rites were already conducted last Dec. 8.

City PIO staff Noel Mondragon said the first phase of the project includes the construction of an emergency room, pharmacy, administrative office, clinical laboratories, admitting section, out-patient department, doctors' offices, among others.

The Department of Public Works and Highways, through Wilkinson Construction, implemented the first phase of the project with a budget of P20 million from the funds of Cong. Jules Ledesma and P2 million from Kasangga Partylist.

The city and the provincial government of Negros Occidental pledged P30 million each for the succeeding phases of the construction.

The contractor has 300 calendar days to complete the project and the City Engineering Department will monitor the quality of work.

PNoy has the support of his people

PNoy has the support of his people as he institutes government reforms. But at the way he crushes
no less than Chief Justice Corona, head of a co-equal branch of government, he sends a chilling message
to foreign investors eyeing to set up corporate headquarters in the Philippines to think twice before sinking
in their capital in the country.

Already, the country is notoriously rated as one of the worst in the world to do business with its corrupt, rotten 
bureaucracy; its international airport is rated likewise, and many more! Now, with its unstable political system
spawned by this brewing constitutional crisis, how can we induce right-minded businessmen to invest capital in
our country?

PNoy should speed up reforms with his blaring "wang-wang" alright, but should not be reckless in leading the
country to a "daang baluktot". Kuha mo?  - NTP

Typhoon in Philippines - Sendong News Update

Typhoon in Philippines - Sendong News Update
For: Strong to gale force winds associated with the surge of Northeast monsoon.

Issued at 5:00 a.m., 16 December 2011

Strong to gale force wind is expected to affect the seaboards of Northern Luzon and the western seaboard of Central Luzon.

Fishing boats and other small seacrafts are advised not to venture out into the sea while larger sea vessels are alerted against big waves.

The next update will be issued at 5 p.m. today. 

Typhoon in Philippines - Sendong Storm

Sendong Storm
Residents in low lying and mountainous areas under Public Storm Warning Signals are alerted against possible flashfloods and landslides. Likewise, those living in coastal areas are alerted against big waves or storm surges generated by this tropical cyclone.

Estimated rainfall amount is from 10 - 25 mm per hour (heavy) within the 400 km diameter of the Tropical Storm.

The public and the disaster coordinating councils concerned are advised to take appropriate actions and watch for the next bulletin to be issued at 11 AM today. 

Typhoon in Philippines - Signal No. 1 for Sendong Typhoon

Typhoon in Philippines - Signal No. 1 for Sendong Typhoon
Signal No. 1
(45-60 kph winds) Sorsogon
Ticao Island
Samar Provinces
Biliran Island
Panay Island
Negros Provinces
Siquijor Island
North Cotabato
Northern Davao Del Sur
Lanao Provinces
Misamis Occidental
Zamboanga Provinces

Typhoon in Philippines - Sendong Signal No. 2 Affected Areas

Typhoon in Philippines - Sendong Signal No. 2 Affected Areas
Signal No. 2
(60-100 kph winds) None Leyte Provinces
Camotes Island
Surigao Del Norte
Siargao Island
Surigao Del Sur
Dinagat Province
Agusan Provinces
Misamis Oriental
Davao del Norte
Compostela Valley
Samal Island
Davao Oriental

Typhoon in Philippines - Sendong Typhoon

Typhoon in Philippines - Sendong Typhoon
Severe Weather Bulletin Number FOUR
Tropical Cyclone Warning: Tropical Storm "SENDONG"
Issued at 5:00 a.m., Friday, 16 December 2011 Tropical Storm "SENDONG" has slowed down slightly as it continues to threaten Northeastern Mindanao and Eastern Visayas area.
Location of Center:
(as of 4:00 a.m.) 300 km East Southeast of Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur
Coordinates: 7.7°N, 129.1°E
Strength: Maximum winds of 65 kph near the center and gustiness up to 80 kph
Movement: Forecast to move West Northwest at 24 kph

Forecast Positions/Outlook: Saturday morning:
120 km East Southeast of Dumaguete City
Sunday morning:
40 km East of Puerto Princesa City
Monday morning:
530 km West Northwest of Puerto Princesa City