DPWH vows to finish Angeles City road works ahead of schedule



Created on Friday, 27 June 2014

Officials of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) said road projects in Angeles City will be finished ahead of time amid the ultimatum they gave contractors to fast-track the snail-paced rehabilitation works.

DPWH regional director Antonio Molano Jr., said the department is aware of the inconvenience that the delayed road works has been causing the motorists.

This, he said, was the reason why they have given contractors the ultimatum to finish the projects before the deadline.

Molano also said they will also be holding regular dialogues with the contractors, for the purpose of monitoring the status of the projects.

The DPWH regional director also said they are closely working with the city government of Angeles for the progress of construction works.

Among the delayed road projects are the Pandan-Magalang Road upgrade (Php60 million), the MacArthur Highway along the Balibago commercial district (Php41.5 million), the Friendship Road (Php100 million); and the Don Bonifacio Road drainage system widening and upgrade (Php19 million).

The ongoing rehabilitation works are in preparation for the country's hosting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meet next year. (PNA)

U.S.-PHL naval exercise not connected to any regional issue



Created on Friday, 27 June 2014

Top naval officers of the Philippines and the United States said the Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) exercise the two countries opened has nothing to do with the territorial rift the Philippines and China are into.

“This is just training exercise to be prepared for any contingency and not connected to any regional issue,” said Rear Admiral Jaime Bernardino, Philippine Fleet commander of the Philippine Navy.

“With this exercise with the United States Navy, we are kind of prepare to respond to emergencies like what happened in Tacloban City,” he said.

Bernardino led the formal opening of CARAT Thursday on board BRP Ramon Alcaraz docked at the Rivera wharf inside the Subic Bay Freeport.

“The United States Navy is a global navy that operates in international waters and we have been doing this exercise with the Philippine Navy since 1995,” said Rear Admiral Stuart Munsch, Task Force 74 commander of the USN.

Bernardino said their actions are dictated by the national leaders.

“What they wanted us to do, we will abide,” he said.

He said they have committed to the exercise two relatively new ships and two helicopters to enhance its capabilities.

“We are configuring BRP Alcaraz to improve its capability to be able to detect aircrafts, submarines and other surface assets. On the two helicopters acquired last year, we wanted it to become multi-role helicopters,” Bernardino added. (PNA)

Benguet town prods farmers to venture into organic farming



Created on Friday, 27 June 2014

Municipal agriculturist Nida Organo is pushing for organic farming in this municipality.

In an interview Friday, Organo said there are only 400 farmers practicing organic farming in this municipality out of 7,000 farmers.

Organo said La Trinidad is not surrendering the idea of promoting organic farming.

The agriculture office intends to increase the farmer’s participation by implementing programs based on Republic Act 10068 or the Organic Agriculture Act of 2010 which provides for the promotion, development and implementation of organic agriculture in the Philippines.

Organo said many farmers practice conventional farming using chemical fertilizers and pesticides for a better harvest.

Organic farming, according to Organo is labor intensive reason why most farmers prefer the conventional way.

There are 20.5 hectares of production area for organic farming in La Trinidad and the biggest is in Puguis.

The municipality of La Trinidad has been a pilot area of agricultural programs such as the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and Japan Agricultural Exchange Council (JAEC).

Japanese agricultural technologies were transferred through these programs such as the mokusako or the wood vinegar production used as an organic pesticide.

The safe vegetable production technology is aimed at eliminating the use of chemical-based fertilizers and pesticides.

The 400 organic farmers are members of the La Trinidad Organic Practitioners Multi-purpose Cooperative (La TOP-MPC) and La Organica. (PNA)

CIDG bags suspected killer of DENR employee in La Union



Created on Thursday, 26 June 2014

Operatives of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) has successfully bagged the suspected killer of Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) during operations in Barangay Antonio, Balaoan town, La Union Wednesday.

Arrested was Ronald Omo. The suspect was reportedly behind the killing of Barangay Calautit chair Thelma Bocalbos.

The latter was shot dead by Omo on Oct. 2, 2011.

CIDG operatives in La Union, headed by Senior Supt. Francisco Esguerra, successfully nabbed the suspect by virtue of warrant of arrest issued by the Regional Trial Court of La Union for the crime of murder.

Omo is also a member of the notorious "Ordinado" criminal group engaged in gun-for-hire, extortion and robbery activities operating in La Union, the CIDG said. (PNA)

Sta. Ana Pasig River ferry station to open on June 27 – MMDA



Created on Wednesday, 25 June 2014

The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) will open the Sta. Ana Pasig River ferry station on Friday, June 27.

 

MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino said, the repair of the old Sta. Ana station in Manila is in coordination with the Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission (PRRC) and other concerned agencies.

 

“With the opening of the Sta. Ana station, we will be expanding our routes to service more passengers,” Tolentino said.

 

According to MMDA, the revived Pasig ferry system has five terminals - Guadalupe, Makati City, Pinagbuhatan, Pasig City; Escolta, PUP Sta. Mesa and Plaza Mexico in Manila.

 

The Sta. Ana terminal, located at the southeast bank of Pasig River, will benefit passengers going to and from Manila, particularly Paco, Pandacan, and San Andres.

 

It is also near barangays Old Zaniga and Vergara in Mandaluyong City and Carmona, Kasilawan, and Tejeros in Makati City, among others.

 

The old Parish of Our Lady of the Abandoned of Santa Ana church is also located near the newly opened ferry terminal.

 

Since its revival last April, the Pasig ferry system has extended operating hours on June 1 to accommodate more passengers, especially students going back to school.

 

The ferry service operates from 6 am to 6pm daily. (PIA)

[Photos] Wattah Wattah Festival 2014 in San Juan



Created on Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Local firefighters (top photo) join in the fun as they drizzle merrymakers with potable water from their fire hose during the celebration of the Feast of John the Baptist in San Juan City on Tuesday (June 24, 2014).

Dousing passersby with water is a tradition in San Juan's Wattah Wattah Festival, held every June 24 in honor of St. John the Baptist. Photo shows a motorist being doused with water as young revelers armed with water cannons wait for passersby and vehicles in San Juan City. (PNA photos courtesy of Ben Briones)

JICA raises three key points in post-Yolanda rehab



Created on Tuesday, 24 June 2014

The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has raised three key points on what local authorities should do to prepare for future disasters, drawing experiences from the impacts of super typhoon "Yolanda" and Japan's reconstruction after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

 

Speaking to hundreds of officials from the national government and local government units Tuesday, JICA Deputy Project Team Leader Akira Inoue strongly suggested to adopt new measures in the implementation of recovery and rehabilitation.

 

"There are three main things that we can do now -- understand hazard correctly, get ready to evacuate properly and quickly, make appropriate mitigation measures for both structural and non-structural," Inoue said in a seminar held at the Ritz Tower de Leyte.

 

The JICA official stressed the need to develop hazard maps for all types of natural calamities -- storm surge, strong wind, earthquake, flood, tsunami and landslide -- for use in assessment, planning and land use zoning.

 

"Local government units ordered forced evacuation, however, some people refused to leave their house because the meaning of storm surge was not understood. They thought their house was safe since they did not understand the hazard," Inoue recalled.

 

To be highly considered in mitigation measures are land use planning, evacuation plans and regular conduct of drills.

For effective evacuation, JICA highly recommended to enforce early evacuation on daytime, talk to affected communities about evacuation, know in advance evacuation route, and conduct evacuation drills.

 

For structural measures, the Japanese agency recommended the planting of mangroves as first line of defense, tidal embankments, elevated roads, and road improvements.

 

Non-structural measures to reduce the risk are relocation, early warning system, early evacuation, and land use control.

 

Shuya Takahashi of the reconstruction policy division of Higashimatsushima City, one of the most affected areas of the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011, shared their experience in the implementation of a 10-year reconstruction plan.

 

Immediately after the typhoon, JICA dispatched Japan Disaster Relief Medical Teams and provided 60 million yen worth of emergency supplies, covering a wide range of the affected area.

 

JICA also dispatched Expert Teams that conducted a needs survey focused on mid- to long-term recovery and reconstruction, and worked with the Government of the Philippines to establish a framework for the grant aid program.

 

The Japanese agency, in their emergency development survey, found serious damage among housing and public facilities.

 

This prompts JICA to implement series of quick impact projects to "respond to the needs of people who have lost the means to make a living." (PNA)

Convergent Strategy Program against poverty launched in Region 1



Created on Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Local people’s participation in planning and budgeting geared towards more active communities and better access to basic services are among the components of the new poverty reduction program strategies of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in Region 1.

DSWD Region 1 Director Marcelo Nicomedes J. Castillo said that the anti-poverty reduction program is called as “Kapit – Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan (KALAHI) - Comprehensive Integrated Delivery of Social Services (CIDSS) Community Driven Development Program (NCDDP).”

“The program has started its way in 11 municipalities with 26.5 % poverty incidence in the region,” he added.

These towns include Alilem, Burgos, Nagbukel, Quirino, Sigay and Sugpon in Ilocos Sur; Pugo, Santol, San Gabriel in La Union and Burgos in Pangasinan.

With the KALAHI-CIDSS NCDDP, local communities will be capacitated,Castillo said.

The manners of implementation of the program were explained during the first KALAHI-CIDSS NCDDP orientation among the local chief executives and their concerned staff at Fort Ilocandia Resort Hotel, Laoag City, Ilocos Norte on Friday.

The program investments of at least Php2 million and maximum of Php20 million per cycle (worth of projects per municipality) will create significant impacts as observed in other areas in the Philippines that were first to implement the program.

The participation of local residents on planning, budgeting and implementation of community projects, co-ownership and attentiveness to project details will ensure that projects are better kept.

Meanwhile, Deputy Program Manager Alexander Glova quoted the late South African president Nelson Mandela as saying that " poverty is man-made and it could be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human being."

“With the KALAHI-CIDSS NCDDP, the local residents, the Local Government Units and partners draw solutions to ‘felt and imperative needs’ in the communities,” Glova said. (PNA)

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