Iloilo’s 'summer capital' gets boost with FLUP

Barangay Bucari in Leon, Iloilo, dubbed as the “Summer Capital” of the province, is seen to enhance its eco-tourism potentials, with the signing of the Forest Land Use Plan (FLUP) of the town.


Leon mayor Rolito Cajilig said the FLUP will serve as their bible in the implementation of environmental programs, primarily that for the development of Bucari.


“Bucari will serve as a learning center, not just an area for planting trees,” Cajilig said.


Jim Sampulna, regional director of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, and chief signatory, said the signing of the FLUP is the first to be done in the country.


He said this is because the town of Leon is capable of sustaining the management of its forest resources, promotion of its eco-potentials, which will in turn attract investors.


Sampulna said all village chiefs in Leon will be trained as forest protectors to preserve the areas for generations to come.


Meanwhile, Livino Duran, regional technical director for DENR-Forestry Management Services, said the LGU and the DENR should share management, development, regulatory and accountability functions in the implementation of the FLUP.


Under the Joint Memorandum Circular 98-01, all local government units, together with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the Department of the Interior and Local Government, are mandated to share responsibility of sustainable management and development of forest resources.


He cited the characteristics of Bucari which will help boost its economic potentials: cool climate, pine tree plantation, and natural vegetation, which earned for it, among others, the title “Vegetable Basket of Iloilo”.


For his part, PENRO-Iloilo Raul Lorilla commended the town officials for being strong and decisive by embracing the challenge of crafting their FLUP to boost Bucari’s potentials.


According to the DENR, the FLUP provides the framework for identifying sustainable management strategies and investment priorities and promotes community participation in forest resources planning and management.  (DENR/JSC/ESS-PIA Iloilo)

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Red tide alert up in Iloilo

Vice Governor Raul Tupas on Thursday warned the public against consuming shellfish from the coastal waters of Gigantes Island in Carles which were tested positive of red tide toxin.

The acting governor also told the fishermen that the ban to gather, transport and market shellfish from the area has been imposed in the area until the shellfish toxicity has gone down to allowable level.

Tupas issued the warning following the latest shellfish advisory from the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Director Asis Perez.

According to the advisory, the red tide toxin, which causes paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP), level in shellfish samples collected from the area on October 14 was 45-104 µgSTXeq/100g, above the regulatory limit of 60 µgSTXeq/100g of shellfish meat.

Perez, however, clarified that the fish, squid, shrimp and crab harvested from the area are “safe for human consumption provided that they are fresh and washed thoroughly and their internal organs such as gills and intestines are removed before cooking.”

BFAR, in coordination with the Iloilo Provincial Bantay Dagat Task Force, will continuously monitor the coastal waters of Gigantes Island in Carles until the area is declared negative of red tide toxin.

He said BFAR will conduct a weekly sampling activity for plankton and shellfish which strted Thursday (October 23). (PNA)

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Traffic code hopes to minimize traffic in Boracay

A traffic code to be implemented soon hopes to minimize the worsening traffic condition in this resort island.

Cezar Ocson Jr., senior officer of the Malay Transportation Regulation, said that they are now on the final stage of the proposed traffic code. The code hopes to be implemented before the Asia Pacific Economic Conference (APEC) hosting in Boracay in 2015.

"Among those stipulated (in the code) is the putting up of limit of service vehicles of each resort depending on the capability of the hotel," he said

It was gathered that several hotels here are intending to buy more service vehicles because of the increasing number of tourist arrivals.

Aside from tourists vehicles, to be regulated also are those delivery vehicles operating in Boracay.

Oczon said they have been receiving concerns on traffic condition for the APEC. (PNA)

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Women in ARMM are more empowered than other Mindanao regions - PSA

The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) Friday declared here that women in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) are more powerful as compared to those in other regions in Mindanao.

Suod Barodi, PSA-ARMM interim regional director, said results of the National Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS) conducted by PSA in 2013 show that women in the region have better participation in family decision-making, control over their earnings and rarely experience acts considered to be violence against women (VAW).

“Women in the ARMM are more empowered compared to their counterparts in other regions in Mindanao,” he said.

The ARMM was created in 1989 and is composed of the provinces of Basilan, Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi, and the cities of Lamitan and Marawi.

PSA says the 2013 NDHS “provides up-to-date information on the population and health situation in the Philippines.”In the ARMM, the NDHS show that 44 percent of working women have control over their earnings and have greater participation in decision-making on family matters such as health care and other major household concerns.

Only 2.7 percent of women in the region experienced VAW, which includes sexual, physical and emotional abuse.

In terms of help seeking behavior, 26.3 percent of them sought help to stop violence, a likely indicator of the women’s awareness on VAW and of government advocacies addressing it.

Further, the average percentage of pregnant women who experienced VAW is lower in the ARMM - 1.4 percent - compared to the national average of 4.2 percent.

Citing the same statistics, Barodi said VAW cases in other regions in Mindanao are comparatively higher.

Zamboanga peninsula registered 3.9 percent, CARAGA 9.3 percent, Northern Mindanao 9.6 percent, Davao region 9.8 percent and SOCSARGEN 11.4 percent.

“The NDH survey is reflective of the advancement on gender and development (GAD) code fostered with the Bangsamoro culture on its high regard for women,” Barodi said.

Barodi said ARMM is also considered to be the safest place for women based on data released by the Philippine National Police (PNP) in August this year.

Only 82 of the 23,622 crimes against women committed during the first semester of 2014 happened in the autonomous region. (PNA)

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Antique town goes on full recovery from Yolanda devastation

“We are rising up from the rubbles of super typhoon Yolanda and we are rising up stronger from that devastation,” said Mayor Gerry Necor of Barbaza town, a first term mayor of one of the hardest hit towns of Antique by the strongest and most devastating typhoon Yolanda.

In an interview with this writer last Wednesday, October 20, 2014, Mayor Necor said that everything is going smoothly now after some delays in the releases of funds that also delayed the implementation of the various restoration projects.

“We have completed the restoration of our covered gymnasium and Evacuation Center and I am proud to say that we were able to finish for a small amount of only P2.4 million,” he said.

“Our gymnasium was totally damaged by typhoon Yolanda. What remains of it were only the posts. The G.I sheet roofs were torn and blown away while the whole steel truss and beams were destroyed. Some of its parts were also blown away. We replaced it with a cuatro-aguas design which according to our municipal engineer is more durable and could withstand stronger typhoons,” the Mayor said.

The restored gym is funded by the municipal government’s 20% development fund in the amount of P1.4 million and P1 million from the DILG.

The municipal government is also reconstructing the Rural Health Unit and Birthing Center. The ground floor of it or the Phase 1 of the RHU is worth P4 million and the Phase 2 that will be started in January 2015 is worth P7 million that would include some equipments. The fund is provided by the Department of Health.

Also being implemented, according to Mayor Necor is the re-construction of the public market in the Poblacion which was totally damaged by the typhoon. It is worth P5.8 million while the repair of the public market in Barangay Palma was completed last June.

Mayor Necor further said that the repairs and restoration of the damaged school buildings have been completed and classes are back to normal.

“After one year, here we are standing stronger and we are committed to stand anew if another tragedy comes. We have learned our lessons and we hope Yolanda would be the last so that the economic progress of Barbaza will be attained soon,” Mayor Necor further said.(PNA)

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Bulacan scribes marks 5th year anniversary of Maguindanao massacre

Local mediamen and journalism students joined hands Thursday as they deplored the slow grind of justice for journalists and other victims brutally killed in the now 59th month old infamous “Maguindanao massacre” during a one day ceremony at the Bulacan State University here.

The group of Bulacan-based media men belonging to the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP)-Bulacan chapter led by acting chairman Rommel Ramos of GMA News also lit candles for the victims of impunity or members of the working press who were killed “with their boots on”

They also paid tribute to the late chairman of NUJP-Bulacan chapter Dino Balabo who passed away recently.

“Even the heavens are shedding tears on the slow grind of justice for our fallen comrades in the Maguindanao massacre and others who were killed in the rage of impunity against journalists,” Ramos said in his message after noticing the dark clouds hovering while they were holding the commemoration of the 56th month anniversary of the Maguindanao massacre.

Ramos , who is celebrating his 39th birthday on Friday, said that he wish that the killings of journalists will stop and that he may live long to see that justice has been given to their fallen comrades.

He urged budding journalists to keep the embers of freedom burning and not rest until those responsible for the rage of impunity against members of the working press be given justice.

Of the 54 victims who perished, at least 34 were journalists who were only covering the local political scene in the said province.

NUJP director Fred Villareal also led the launching of the moth long campaign of the Maguindanao massacre.

NUJP media safety officer Dabet Panelo also briefed participants on the status of the trial against the powerful but now jailed Ampatuan clan who were accused as the masterminds behind the senseless and most bizarre killing of journalist in history.

Ramon Efren Lazaro, president of the Philippines Science Journalists Association-Bulacan Chapter said that various activities were also lined up to foster camaraderie among local journalists. (PNA)

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Short horror film festival opens doors for young Ilocanos’ creativity

The Ar-aria (ghost) short horror film festival opens screening Friday with at least 14 entries produced by budding Ilokano filmmakers here.

Sponsored by the provincial government of Ilocos Norte under the administration of Governor Imee Marcos, the short horror film competition is open to all young Ilocanos aged 14-30 to showcase their skills and talent in filmmaking and introduce Ilocos Norte as a growing destination for creative media arts.

Now on its fourth year, the short horror film festival is part of the weeklong Semana ti Ar-aria (Ghost week) festival with a series of fun and creative activities for local residents and tourists.

The screening of the 14 entries locally produced in Ilocos Norte starts at 6pm today, October 24 at the west Capitol parking lot. The special screening will run until Saturday and a replay on October 30-31. Each entry runs for about 6-10 minutes using mostly Ilocano as prime language, including Tagalog and English.

Rey Arcanghel, organizer and coordinator for the Ar-aria short horror film festival, said there is a notable increase of participants this year, with students from various universities participating since 2012.

Over the past two years, Ilocos Norte is gradually making its trademark as a competing innovative and creative hub in the country.

Earlier, the Marcos administration initiated the first creative media arts festival dubbed as “Looking for Johnny Moon” aimed at discovering young Ilocano talents in the field such as scriptwriting, digital photography, cinematography, animation, acting, and game development.

The annual event was inspired by one of the first globally recognized Filipino artists and Ilocos Norte’s renowned son Juan Luna, whose birthday was commemorated by Ilocanos particularly in his home in Badoc, Ilocos Norte. Johnny Moon is a modernized name for Juan Luna.

The provincial government has been promoting Ilocos Norte particularly the Paoay Sand Dunes, including Burgos and Bangui windmills and Pagudpud beaches, as one of the various film locations in Ilocos Norte.(PNA)

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Solon files bill granting benefits, incentives to contractual teachers

Manila -- A lawmaker has filed a measure granting benefits and incentives to long time contractual public school teachers in the country.

Rep. Gavini C. Pancho (2nd District, Bulacan) said House Bill 5034 recognizes the need to protect the rights of volunteer teachers against abuse and economic exploitation.

According to Pancho, the Philippine Association of State Universities and Colleges (PASUC) has more than 13,000 part-time teachers with service contracts in 103 state universities and colleges during the academic year 2011-2012.

"Due to the scarcity of available plantilla positions in the Department of Education (DepEd), many contractual teachers are hired by local governments at lower salaries to fill in the shortage of teachers in our SUCs," Pancho said.

Pancho said the Magna Carta for Public School Teachers provides that the remunerations of public school teachers shall compare favorably with those paid in other occupations requiring equivalent qualifications, training and abilities such as to insure teachers a reasonable standard of life for themselves and their families.

"Service contracts do not establish an employer-employee relationship, making volunteer teachers denied of benefits such as PERA, Cost of Living Allowance (COLA), Representation and Transportation Allowance (RATA), mid-year bonus, productivity incentive, Christmas bonus and cash gifts," Pancho said.

"They do not enjoy security of tenure, and coverage by the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) even if they are often rehired on the same terms, year in and year out, even more than five years," Pancho said.

"Currently," Pancho said, "there is no national legislation to provide the just and moral compensation of volunteer teachers in the government-run-schools in the country."

Under the measure, all contractual teachers who have been serving for at least three years in any post-secondary institutions as state universities and colleges (SUCs), local universities and colleges (LUCs), whether nationally or locally funded, including those in technical and vocational schools and alternative learning system of the DepEd are entitled to receive benefits and incentives as provided by law.

The contractual teachers shall be covered by the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PHILHEALTH), and the Home Development Mutual Fund or Pag-IBIG, and full entitlement to all the benefits in accordance with the pertinent provisions provided by law.

Both the institution and the volunteer teacher shall shoulder premium payments or contributions with each proportionate share in the premium payments or contributions.

The measure also allows Christmas bonus of at least one half of what their regular counterparts received as mandated by law.

An annual service incentive leave of five days with pay per year shall be provided to the volunteer teachers but unused leaves may not be converted to cash and are not cumulative or may not be carried over to the succeeding years.

An instructional materials allowance amounting to P1,500 per month will be given to volunteer teachers of basic and higher education nationwide including those serving in the alternative learning system of the Department of Education.

The concerned teachers are exempted from paying tuition and matriculation fees for his or her continuing education in any state college or university.

The DepEd with the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) shall come up with a specific programmed budget needed to cover the expenses for the granting of benefits for all contractual teachers for a period of at least five years to allow the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to make the necessary budgetary adjustments to facilitate the smooth implementation of the proposed Act.

The DepEd and the CHED, together with the DBM, GSIS, Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), PhilHealth, and the Home Development Mutual Fund or Pag-IBIG shall promulgate necessary implementing rules and regulations to carry out the purposes of this measure.

The DepEd and the CHED, in coordination with the DOLE, the GSIS, the Phil-Health and Pag-IBIG shall develop and implement a continuous information dissemination program on the provisions of the Act, both at the national and local level. (Jazmin S. Camero/Media Relations Service, Public Relations and Information Bureau/Congress)


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