Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Philippine Holy Week and Summer

The Zamboanga del Norte Provincial Police Office (ZNPPO) has started intensifying its security in preparation for the Holy Week and summer vacation.

ZNPPO officer-in-charge Sr. Supt. James Buslig Mejia said that the closing of the school year this week and other occasions such as the observance of the Holy Week, town fiestas and Flores de Mayo are expected to generate an exodus of commuters and tourists to the province.

He said "the people will be traveling from one place to another which may pose peace and order concerns like traffic congestions, accidents and crimes."

Mejia said the ZNPPO has started its comprehensive security operations for the Lenten Season and Summer Vacation (SUMVAC) to ensure the safe, peaceful and meaningful celebration and vacation of local and foreign tourists who will be coming to the province.

"Whether there is threat or not, the PNP provincial command is not taking any chances, it is prepared and committed to provide security to everybody," Mejia said.

Mejia said he has already ordered all PNP units in the cities and municipalities to re-activate "Oplan Bantay Lakbay" to ensure the safe travel of motorists and commuters to their various destinations.

He also called on all municipal police stations throughout the province to intensify their Police Integrated Patrol System (PIPS) and Police Assistance Centers (PACs) to be established under the "Oplan Bantay Lakbay" in any strategic locations and major thoroughfares to serve as quick reaction points for police emergency and medical response, advance command post for traffic management and security operations.

Effect of Sabah hostilities on Philippine economy

Philippine President Benigno S. Aquino III warned Monday on the possible effect of the Sabah hostilities on the Philippine economy.

Aquino said that if the violence in Sabah would prolong, many of the estimated 800,000 Filipinos there might flee from the Malaysian state and will return to southern Philippines.

He said the government has to take care those Filipinos who will flee to the country and "this will surely affect our economy. "

Based on rough estimate, he said if about 160,000 Filipino families would return to southern Philippines from Sabah, the government has to allocate around 37 billion pesos (about 911.33 million U.S. dollars) for food and shelter alone for a span of one year.

He said other basic necessities were not yet part of the estimate that the government needs to earmark for the families who would be displaced further.

Over 2,000 Filipinos already fled from Sabah for fear that the Malaysian authorities would arrest them for allegedly supporting or aiding the followers of the Sulu Sultanate that invaded Sabah on Feb. 12 to reassert their claim over the minerals- and oil-rich Malaysian state.

"Which program are we going to suspend so that we can provide their (Filipino returnees) needs? What can we provide to other Filipinos who also need the state's attention?" Aquino said.

He again blamed those who instigated the Sabah invasion for their own self interest.

The president said he would not allow force to be used in addressing the Sabah claim as his administration is now conducting a study on the issue.

He said part of the study being conducted by the Departments of Justice and Foreign Affairs and the Office of the Executive Secretary is to come up with "a road map towards a peaceful resolution of the Sabah issue."

Skyjet can take tourists to Virac in 40 minutes

Instead of spending a six-hour trip travelling to Virac and Caramoan Island from Manila passing through Naga City, sightseers can reach the place in only 40 minutes by taking a faster route.

The newest, and service-oriented airline in the Philippines, Skyjet can take tourists to Virac in 40 minutes with a total time from Manila to Caramoan by air, land and boat travel, all in two hours only.

According to Skyjet president and CEO, Joel Mendoza, the entry of Skyjet will help boost local tourism and showcase unique cultural attractions of Virac, Catanduanes.

Caramoan Island is widely known as the venue of Survivor USA and is part of Camarines Sur, not Virac which is the nearest way to get into the island.

"We study the time from departure in Manila until we arrive at the island of Caramoan and it took us a total of two hours compared to the other route that takes them six hours from Legaspi to Caramoan vice versa," Mendoza said, in a statement.

"This means that there is potential to increase tourists to visit Virac, he said, adding that Caramoan resorts are already accepting tourists from both sides because they are prepared to handle the demand."

Virac is now recognized as a world-class surfing destination by the International Surfing Community where lies the Puraran Beach.

"[We are] geared to tourism. Our culture is so rich, [we] need to invest in it," Mendoza said, explaining how he targeted places that were not entirely economic-driven but getting there.

"I'm not here to compete, I'm here to create more traffic," he added. "We should start where our asset is."

Skyjet Airlines launched its first scheduled service by flying to Basco, Batanes, on December 14 last year and achieved success in supporting the Batanes local community by providing alternative income through Cultural Tourism.

Flights from Manila to Busuanga in Palawan (four times a week) began early February, while flights to Caticlan began this month. Next flights lined up will be to Virac and Surigao City.

The aircraft, used by the Royal Family of London, is a utilized British Aerospace manufactured 4-engine BAE-146 series 200 (94-seater) and series 100 (76-seater) jet aircraft– called a whispering jet for its quiet engines.

City Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO)

The Cebu City Council has passed a resolution directing the City Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) to explain and report on the alleged dumping of solid waste and waste water at the Bulacao River.

Cebu City Councilor Nida Cabrera, chairperson of the council's committee on environment, expressed alarm about the matter, saying that garbage will pollute the river.

Cabrera said reports reaching her indicated the dumping of garbage beside the sanitary landfill in Barangay Inayawan, this city. The landfill has been closed in 2012.

In her resolution, Cabrera said that under City Ordinance (CO) 2234, which created CENRO, the office is mandated to report to the council the status of bodies of water and recommend legislation, policies or programs for environment management and waste and pollution control.

CENRO head, Engr. Randy Navarro, said the garbage allegedly being dumped at the Bulacao River are from a private materials recovery facility (MRF) in Inayawan.