Environment reps confiscate 11 talking mynah birds, 2 leopard cats in Palawan

Created on Monday, 24 February 2014

A joint team of environment and police authorities confiscated Sunday 11 endangered talking mynah birds and two leopard cats in Barangay Marangas, Bataraza in southern Palawan.

Alex Marcaida, spokesperson of the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development Staff (PCSDS), the implementing arm of the policy-making body Palawan Council for Sustainable Development (PCSD), told the Philippine New Agency (PNA) that the leopard cats (Prionailurus bengalensis) and the talking mynah birds (Gracula religiosa) were confiscated inside the home of a suspected wildlife trafficker Genesis Palasigue Sunday morning.

Palasigue was said to be preparing the animals for transport in their cages when the joint team swooped down on his home. The suspect fled when he saw the members of the joint apprehending team.

Marcaida said police authorities are now looking for the suspect in the Bataraza area. He is facing charges of violation of Section 27 of Republic Act 9147. An act that provides for the protection and conservation of wildlife resources and their habitats in Palawan.

The confiscated wildlife species are now in the custody of the PCSDS, and being prepared for turnover to the Palawan Wildlife Refuge and Rescue Conservation Center (PWRRCC).

According to Marcaida, the confiscation would not have happened without tip offs from members of the community where Palasigue lives. (PNA)

PCSO branch opens in Ilocos Norte

Created on Monday, 24 February 2014

The Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO)-Ilocos Norte branch opened Monday at the ground floor of the Municipal Trial Court of San Nicolas town, about 3 kilometers from Laoag City that is expected to bring the office's services closer to residents in this northern part of Luzon.

The event was attended by PCSO officials led by Director Francisco Joaquin III.

“Now that we have a new branch of PCSO in Ilocos Norte, beneficiaries from here can now easily avail PCSO services including charity and medical services,” said Yamashita Japinan of the PCSO based in Pangasinan. The PCSO sub-branch in Pangasinan based in Urdaneta City acts as the central bureau in northern Luzon.

Among the services offered by PCSO include individual medical assistance, medical donations for local government units and ambulance donations among others.

The PCSO branches scattered in strategic places in the country such as the new branch in San Nicolas town is expected to fast tract its services. The operation, however, still remains centralized which means beneficiaries who may want to avail services need submit needed requirements at the nearest branch office and the latter will assess and forward needed documents to the central office.

According to Marphia Arcayna Miranda, acting branch manager of Ilocos Norte, the PCSO Ilocos Norte branch started its soft opening last January 29 and they have already served about 20 beneficiaries.

“Instead of going to La Union which is the nearest branch of PCSO, they can now come to our office to submit their applications,” she said.

While waiting for a full time social worker to attend the Ilocos Norte branch, Miranda said the new branch is still limited to accepting paper applications only and these are forwarded to La Union branch for assessment.(PNA)

NCIP affirms Aeta reservation in Boracay

Created on Monday, 24 February 2014

The National Commission on Indigenous People (NCIP) affirms last Saturday the 2.1-hectare property in this resort island as the lot donated for the Aetas.

The affirmation through the Ancestral Domain Sustainable Development and Protection Plan (ADSDPP) was made during the commemoration of the one year death anniversary of their fellow Aeta Dexter Condez.

Condez was shot to death by armed culprits February 22, 2013 fighting for the land they owned. Condez was the spokesman of the Boracay Ati Tribal Organization.

Though already identified, the suspect until now has remained.

The affirmation has been made as Aetas continue to be harassed by prominent resort owners in the island.

Earlier, NCIP Executive Director Marlea Nunez said they have spearheaded the demolition of illegal fence placed by private stakeholders at the Ati Village in Barangay Manoc-Manoc here.

Nunez said that it is illegal for the private stakeholders to put up the perimeter fence within the 2.1-hectare property. The court already gave the Certificate of Ancestral Domains Title (CADT) in favor of the Aetas. (PNA)

Tacloban recipient of 140 generator sets from ROK Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Created on Sunday, 23 February 2014


Some 140 generator sets were donated to the city of Tacloban by the Republic of Korea Ministry of Foreign affairs this month.


According to Vice Mayor Jerry T. Yaokasin,  the generator sets are intended for the 138 barangays of Tacloban and the other two for the Tacloban City Hall and the Tacloban legislative building.


Yaokasin said that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs coordinated with his office and requested his help because the Ministry were having a difficulty in unloading the generator sets from Cebu.


Yaokasin said that it was fortunate that he knows the owner of the shipping company, he was able to assist the group from Korea’s Ministry of Foreign affairs to unload the generators with-out delay.


According to Yaokasin the generators are solid and concrete donations without conditions.


The generators are not for personal use but for the constituency of the barangays.


These generators according to Yaokasin is of big help to the barangays especially that there are still areas in Tacloban that do not have their electricity yet wherein they can use it, to put up temporary streetlights for the peace and order of the barangay.


Yaokasin said that he is thankful of the many organizations government or no-government for all the support given to Tacloban after 100 days after Yolanda’s onslaught.


Yaokasin emphasized that really with a deep sense of gratitude he wanted to thank these organizations hoping thay they will continue their assistance until such time that Tacloban will be able to build back better. (PIA 8 with Lizbeth Ann Abella)

Drug pusher killed, 3 others arrested in Basilan buy-bust

Created on Saturday, 22 February 2014

A suspected drug pusher was killed while two policemen were wounded in a shootout that ensued during a buy-bust operation in this city, a police official disclosed Saturday.


Three other suspected drug pushers, including a militiaman, were arrested while another one managed to escape during the shootout around 6:25 a.m. Saturday in Barangay La Piedad, this city.


Local police commander Supt. Albert Larubis identified the slain suspect as Abi Jaji, who is the owner of the house where the buy-bust operation was conducted.


Larubis identified the wounded policemen as Police Officers 2 Esra Marinao and Jesseben Santua of the Isabela City Police Station (ICPS).


Arrested were suspected drug pushers Saliy Robenson, a militiaman, Jose Ramon Dayrit and Diane Martin.


One Kashmir Lim successfuly evaded arrest.


He said the shootout ensued when the suspects resisted after sensing that it was a buy-bust operation.


He said the combined operatives have recovered several sachets of suspect shabu, two caliber .45 pistols, one homemade .9-mm sub-machine gun, several rounds of ammunition and prohibited drug paraphernalia.


He said the buy-bust operation was conducted jointly by the ICPS, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), Regional Intelligence Division-9 (RID-9) and 15th Special Forces Company of the Army.(PNA)

DOTC mulls extending PNR special trips to Calamba

Created on Saturday, 22 February 2014

Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya said that the special coaches trips of Philippine National Railways (PNR) may extend to two more towns of Laguna.


Abaya said the PNR, led by Joseph Allan Dilay, is now making a study of extending the train trips from Sta. Rosa town to Calamba City, passing through Cabuyao town.


“I was told by the PNR team that the trips can be extended up to Calamba City,” Abaya said.


The DOTC earlier said the PNR will operate its special coaches trips starting March 3 in a bid to offer commuters a choice of alternative means of transportation as traffic flow is expected to be heavy in the metropolis within the next months due to the construction of major government infrastructure projects.


The special coaches will make use of PNR’s first class coaches which were donated by East Japan Railway Co. in 2012. The service will make use of air-conditioned train sets with features to ensure passenger convenience such as fixed seating, on-board comfort rooms, reclining seats, and a lounge section.


It can accommodate 120 people per trip with a fare ranging from P60 to P90.


The coaches were first fielded for PNR’s Tutuban to Bicol trips and vice versa which started in March 2012 but were stopped seven months later due to rail safety concerns.


PNR General Manager Joseph Allan Dilay said the special coach service will run four times a day. The usual Tutuban to Sta. Rosa and vice versa trips are only two -- one during the first trip and another during the last trip.


In between the first and last trips, the trains travel only from Tutuban up to Alabang and back.


Depending on ridership turnout, the PNR said it will evaluate whether it will be feasible to increase the number of trips further in order to serve more passengers.


In order to further help in lessening the expected gridlock, the PNR will also extend its commuter rail’s normal operating hours from the current 5 a.m. to 7 p.m., to a longer period of 4 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily.


Currently, the railway’s commuter line serves an average of 65,000 passengers on 70 trips per day. The special coaches trips can accommodate 480 passengers more.


Abaya also ordered Dilay to make the necessary construction works for the trains’ platforms so they cannot be easily accessed by free loaders and to make sure of passengers safety and comfort while waiting for a ride especially during rainy days.


Our concern are the platforms because the system has a leak. We need to put up the necessary measures since free loaders can easily take advantage of the situation. We have to adjust the platforms according to the length of the train. That won’t be a big problem),” Abaya added.(PNA)

Palace open to possibility of reviving Manila-Clark bullet train

Created on Friday, 21 February 2014

Malacanang on Friday said that it was open to the possibility of reviving the Manila to Clark bullet train given the country’s improved economy.

Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. in a Palace briefing said that the proposal will still have to be studied.

Coloma explained that the project concept, which was conceived during the term of former President Fidel Ramos, was a good one, although it did not push through because of conflicts in the past.

“It (bullet train) became a Philippines-China project but because there was a conflict it reached the point they charged us a commitment fee on the loan,” Coloma said in Filipino.

“The penalty, the cost was high, which we think is disproportionate to the actual benefit,” he added. “For all intention purposes, the project will not push through in the same terms and conditions before.

He also said that it was postponed because the Philippines was also “recovering from economic dislocation” during the 1980s.

“Our standing in the international finance community was low, we could not attract investment and financing package that could handle the project cost,” Coloma said.

“If we fast-forward it to now, our financial standing and investment grade is doing well, our interest rates are low and many counties want to invest in big projects,” he added.

“There is still a possibility that ways to revive this project will be studied,” he further said. (PNA)

Government prioritizes infrastructure projects in addressing traffic congestion, Coloma says

Created on Friday, 21 February 2014

The Aquino government is prioritizing major infrastructure projects to ease travel amid reports that the Philippines is losing over P2 billion daily in potential earnings due to heavy traffic in the metropolis, a Palace official said.

"According to a JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency) study cited by Socio-economic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan, the Philippines is losing more than P2 billion daily in potential income and foregone productivity due to severe traffic congestion in the metropolis," Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio B. Coloma Jr. said during the regular press briefing in Malacanang on Friday.

"This is why the government has prioritized two major infrastructure projects namely, the Skyway Stage III project and the North Luzon Expressway -South Luzon Expressway (NLEX-SLEX)) Connector Road," Coloma said.

When completed, the travel time from NLEX to SLEX will be reduced drastically from an average of two hours to less than 30 minutes, the Communications Secretary said.

"These projects will bring about an improved quality of life due to ease of travel across Metro Manila that will benefit the citizens, communities, businesses and industries in CALABARZON (Region IV-A), National Capital Region and Central Luzon, an area that presently contributes about 60 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product," Coloma said.

The President, in a meeting on Friday, directed the secretaries of Department of Public Works and Highways, the Department of Transportation and Communications and the Department of Interior and Local Government, and the Chairman of Metropolitan Manila Development Authority to fine-tune mitigation and remedial measures designed to minimize the citizens’ inconvenience.

President Aquino ordered the Cabinet secretaries of the concerned government departments to carry out their tasks in coordination with Department of Education, Commission on Higher Education, Department of Labor and Employment and Department of Trade and Industry.

According to MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino, traffic volume along South Super Highway has been reduced by more than seven percent from 131,000 to 122,000 vehicles daily since the start of construction last Monday evening, Coloma said.

"This shows that affected motorists have begun using alternate routes, adjacent to the construction area. Construction of the other major project, the NLEX-SLEX Connector Road, which follows the same alignment as Skyway Stage III, will start in July this year. This means that there is ample time to make further adjustments," he said.

Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson said efforts will be exerted to ensure that road projects in other areas will be implemented in a manner that will minimize disruption and inconvenience to citizens.

"He (Singson) pointed out that EDSA, which carries the heaviest volume of motor vehicles, will not undergo any major construction or repair. Those using this major artery will not be affected significantly," Coloma stressed.

"Malinaw ang benepisyo na idudulot ng Skyway III at NLEX-SLEX Connector Projects. Magkakaroon ng malaking ginhawa para sa mga mamamayan dahil sa pinaikling oras ng paglalakbay. Ngunit bago natin makamit ang mga benepisyo, kailangan ng konting sakripisyo. Ayon sa isang salawikain: “Kapag may tiyaga, may nilaga.” Di po ba, sulit na sulit naman ang magiging resulta ng ating pagpapasensiya," he said. (PNA)

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