Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Sinking Boat in Dumaguete City, Philippines

A month has passed since the cargo ship M/V Ever Transport III ran aground off the coast of Barangay Calindagan here last December 17 but it seems no effort has been made to salvage it until today.

Despite reassurances from the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), public concern has surfaced anew over the possible effects on the marine environment and potential risks to mariners and the public with the vessel still not being retrieved from its current location.

The Steel Ray Salvaging Services has won the bid over another contender, the Uni-Orient Pearl Ventures, Inc., to salvage the grounded cargo ship, but its application for a permit from the PCG national headquarters has yet to be approved, Lt. Commander Agapito Bibat, chief of the PCG station in Dumaguete disclosed Wednesday.

According to Lt. Commander Bibat, the application for a permit to salvage is now sitting at the desk of the PCG Commandant at their central office for signature. Without such permit, the Steel Ray Salvaging Services cannot commence its operations to refloat and tow the M/V Ever Transport III, a cargo ship with a gross tonnage of 494.87 owned by Kheri Lines, Inc. based in Zamboanga City.

The Ever Transport III, which listed on its port side and with almost half of the ship submerged in water at high tide, has reportedly not shown signs of being dislodged from its original position since it ran aground last month due to tropical storm Sendong, as based on GPS plotting, said Bibat.

Philippine Broom - production of walis tambo

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has recently granted at least P1 million to residents involved in the production of walis tambo (reed broom) in this municipality.

DOLE provincial officer Engineer Pedro Fernando, Jr., said the grant was given to a group of broom makers in Barangay Maugat here.

This, as the broom making industry received another big boost as various agencies, including the local government unit (LGU) led by Mayor Arvin Salonga, featured walis tambo during the celebration of the 169th Feast of San Antonio Abad that culminated on Tuesday.

In a street dancing competition held here, participants wore costumes decorated by materials used in producing walis tambo such as panicles of tiger grass, bamboo sticks and strings to highlight the booming industry.

Tiger grass grows in abundance, particularly in swampy areas, in this town.

"Really, it's more fun in this part of the country where people go to the streets and witness the excellent performance of our students in street dancing," Dr. Angelita Salonga-Esquivel, co-chair of the fiesta celebration,said.

While the showdown was ongoing, several stalls that offered solely walis tambo with appropriate markings that showed they were made in this town were on display at the vicinity of the municipal gymnasium.

Gawad Kalasag Awards

The Office of Civil Defense (OCD) has conferred the "Gawad Kalasag" Awards to individuals and organizations, who have shown exemplary service in saving lives and properties in Region 1 during the onslaught of calamities last year.

The awardees were led by the Police Regional Office 1 (PRO1) headed by Police Chief Superintendent Franklin Jesus B. Bucayu, who received Certificates of Recognition from the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council 1 (RDRRMC1).

The occasion was made during the recent Regional Awards Recognition of Excellence in Disaster Risk Management and Humanitarian Assistance held at the PRO1 Grandstand recently.

Gawad Kalasag is the recognition scheme of OCD in its search for excellence on disaster risk management and humanitarian assistance. It aims to recognize the outstanding performance of Local Disaster Coordinating Centers (LDCC's), private volunteer organizations, non-government organizations, donor agencies, and other stakeholders, in providing humanitarian response and assistance to affected communities.

The ceremony was spearheaded by the OCD Regional Office 1 under the leadership of Director Melchito M. Castro, who is also the chairperson of RDRRMC1.

"Gawad Kalinga also aims to recognize individuals, groups or institutions that have shown exemplary courage, heroism, self-sacrifice, and bravery against all odds in times of natural and human-induced emergencies and disasters," said Director Castro.

Other PRO1 personnel who were also awarded individual recognition included Police Chief Superintendent Roman A. Felix, Deputy Regional Director for Administration; Police Senior Superintendent Mansue N. Lukban, Deputy Regional Director for Operations;

Police Senior Superintendent Reynante G. Partible, chief of the Regional Police Community Relations Division (RPCRD); Police Senior Superintendent Alejandro M. Valerio, Jr., Battalion Commander of the Regional Public Safety Battalion 1 (RPSB1); Police Senior Superintendent Noel B. Amoyen; and Police Superintendent Angelito D. Dumangeng, acting chief of the Regional Operations and Plans Division (ROPD).

Bamban to Moncada Towns

The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) is fast tracking the improvement, widening, and concreting of the 53-kilometer road which starts from Bamban to Moncada towns.

The P790-million road project, which started October last year, is expected to be completed middle of this year.

DPWH regional director Antonio Molano said about 35 percent of the project is already completed.

To ensure the speedy completion of the project, DPWH assistant project engineer Edwin David said they are closely monitoring the construction, in close coordination with the affected local government units (LGUs) and the Traffic Management Group.

David said utility service providers such as the Tarlac Electric Cooperatives (Tarelco) 1 and II, telecom networks (PLDT, Smart, Globe) and water utilities have committed to transfer their facilities in order that the construction work will proceed without interruptions.

Motorists are also advised to take the alternate route at La Paz (SCTEX) to their destinations, he said.

The road project runs through three congressional districts of Tarlac.

In District 1, the scope of work from Paniqui to Moncada town consists of widening, bridge construction, upgrading, and asphalt overlay. The project costs P147 million.

District 2 project covers the widening and upgrading of road, the construction of canals, and asphalt overlay from Tarlac City to Gerona. Construction of the infrastructures would cost P412 million.

In barangay San Rafael, Tarlac City, one kilometer of the road is to be upgraded by at least half a meter to address the perennial problem of flooding in the area. This area had been identified as the lowest portion in the Tarlac segment of the Manila North Road (MNR).