Sunday, August 30, 2009

Entrepreneurial Farmer

Ambrosio R. Villorente
The Night of Dances*
*I wish to share my message presented to the NVC Community during the NVC Palaro 2009-2010 which featured ‘Night of Dances’ in the evening, August 27 at Carmen Salas Quimpo Gym, Estancia, Kalibo, Aklan. It states: "Ms. Melrose Q. Martelino, Chairperson, Board of Trustees; Atty. Allen Salas Quimpo, President, Northwestern Visayan Colleges; Ms. Erlinda Q. F. Wilson; Dr. Reinalda I. Magdaluyo, Dean, College of Education and Graduate School; Ms. Mary Grace Luces, President, NVC Supreme Student Council, members of the faculty, students, parents, and guests.

Welcome to the "Night of Dances". This evening’s affair is a very important component of the Northwestern Visayan Colleges’ three day "NVC Palaro" which started early this morning.

This year’s NVC Palaro has chosen its theme as "Love of Country Through Culture and Sports". I believed, understanding our Filipino culture will develop among the youth the genuine love of country. Engaging in sports will hasten camaraderie, teamwork, and cooperation.

In the words of a contemporary philosopher, Javier Perez de Cuellar, he said, "culture is the source and ultimate goal of development, which gives it its impetus, its quality, its meaning and its enduring foundation and that informs the promises of tomorrow".

Tonight’s affair is NVC’s way to lead our youth among others, to instill among them the love of country as well as to increase, to cultivate, and to improve their talents.

In the name of the NVC administration, management and the Supreme Student Council, from the bottom of my heart and mind, I welcome you all to a Night of Dances.

I truly wish the NVC community which includes the adminis-tration, management and staff, the members of the faculty, students, parents, visitors and guests will all enjoy tonight’s affair.

I truly congratulate all the participants to this night of dances. You are all winners. To the board of judges, thank you.

Good evening and let us enjoy the night.

Interim Financial Report

Hon. Raymar A. Rebaldo, mayor of the Ati Atihan town of Kalibo, took seven months after he released his "Interim Report of Revenue and Expenses" of the Sto. Niño Ati Atihan Festival 2009. To my understanding, interim means temporary, or provisional. This means, Mayor Rebaldo’s report is subject to change. Any question on it, he can always reply, that is only my provisional report. There are entries which maybe removed, changed, or added.

Examining the first page of the report, it is prepared by Ms. Nannie A. Roldan, head, budget, accounting and cashiering. It was submitted by Hon. Gregorio R. Malapad, Jr., chairman, budget, finance and solicitation. Mayor Raymar A. Rebaldo, chairman, KAMB noted the report. Who is responsible for the report? Ms. Roldan. She prepared the report.

The report states, it has a total revenue of P3,503,367.11 while its expenses are P340,835.59. There is an excess revenue over expenses of P162,540.42. However, the excess decreased to only P107,844.33 after deduc-ting the depreciation expense of P54,439.14 and taxes of P256.95.
Compared to the P140,246.54 Ati Atihan 2008 celeration, the P107,844.33 excess revenue is smaller by P32,402.21.

The principal sources of revenues are financial assistance, sponsorship, nights and gates, donations - festival events, income - sales of beers & soft drinks and subsidy for Higante parade.

The report stated there is P750.86 interest on bank deposit. This is income out of the use of money already earned. This is not a festival income. /MP

Joint Meeting for Progress

Improvement/Expansion of Caticlan Airport became the hot issue during the joint meeting of the Provincial Development Council, Task Force Bantay Boracay, Provincial Tourism Council, and Aklan Rivers Development Council.

The meeting also discussed the Environ-mental Master Plan which was presented by Dr. Alicia L. Lustica, Regional Technical Director of the DENR. Atty. Allen S. Quimpo, Executive Director, Aklan Rivers Development Council presented the Hydrologic Study and Assessment of Aklan River and Jal-O River in Balete. Engr. Roberto J. Cabigas, District Engineer, DPWH Aklan reported some completed and on-going public works projects.

Cabigas reported the on-going P164 million widening and opening of Loctuga – Manika road in Libacao, Aklan, the P100 million Aklan river dredging project in Numancia, the P46 million retrofitting of Kalibo Bridge, and the asphalt overlay project in Nabas. Cabigas also reported the unfinished Altavas – Jamindan road funded for P30 million.

In the case of the Caticlan Airport expansion which was presented by Mr. Lino Barte, there were several negative reactions especially its effect to the Kalibo Airport and the eastern part of Aklan.

According to Barte, Caticlan Airport will be improved on a Built Operate and Transfer (BOT) scheme. The runway will be extended from the present 0.95 kilometer long to 2.1 kilometers. The mountain in the south end of the present runway will be leveled to four (4) degrees slope to provide safety to the landing and take off of plane and its passengers. The present terminal building will be reconstructed in accord with international standard. Second floor will be added.

Hon. Elverita T. Templonuevo, mayor of Numancia suggested that part of the fund for dredging Aklan river be re-programmed to finance the construction of dikes to prevent flood in Numancia. According to her, with the present program, Numancia is becoming the catch basin for excess water. With that proposal, Gov. Marquez suggested that before the start of future projects of the national government, consultation must be done with the local officials as provided in the Local Government Code.

Governor Marquez welcomed the participants. He also gave the rationale of the joint meeting. Congressman Joeben T. Miraflores also gave his message. /MP

Culture & Sports Hasten Love of Country

"Love of Country Through Culture and Sports" is the theme of the 2-day NVC Palaro for the school year 2009-2010.

It started with the parade of athletes from the NVC Administration Bldg., Kalibo to the Carmen Salas Quimpo Gym, Estancia, Kalibo with Kalibo Chief of Police Arnolito Laguerta as guest speaker.

The 2-day sports competition will feature cheer dance competition, academic and cultural contest, ball games, night of dances, and "Laro Ng Lahi", said Mrs. Erlinda Q. F. Wilson, NVC Executive Vice President.

According to Atty. Allen S. Quimpo, the NVC Palaro is participated by students from all levels of the Northwestern Visayan Colleges; elementary, secondary, and tertiary. Atty. Quimpo looks ahead of the highly exciting exhibition basketball game (girls) between NVC Kalibo and NVC Boracay.

The games started on Thursday, August 27 and will end on August 29 where the students will devote their time in landscaping and beautification in the school campus. /MP

Senior Citizen Privileges and Survival

by Ernesto T. Solidum

Kapehan sa Aklan guests on the topic Senior Citizen are shown in the above picture. They are (l to r) Mr. J’Roel Del Rosario, Atty. Arnaldo Tejada, Sr., and Ms. Roselyn G. Salazar.

Kapehan guests on August 22, 2009 discussed the topic "Senior Citizens". Resource speakers were Ms. Roselyn G. Salazar, Social Welfare Asst.; Atty. Arnaldo M. Tejada, President – Federation of Senior Citizens–Aklan; and J’Roel del Rosario, Manager – Philhealth–Aklan.

According to Dr. Ambrosio R. Villorente, senior citizens on the basis of their acquired knowledge and experience must have vital roles in nation building however limited due to physical disadvantages. They should perform as models for the youth. Yet, it appears that senior citizens are subjects of social supports.

Atty. Ronquillo C. Tolentino cited Article IV, section 4 of the Cons-titution stating that it is the duty of the family to take care of its elderly members while the State may design programs of social security for them. RA 9257 of 2004 grants additional benefits and privileges to senior citizens. Salient provisions of this Act are the following: a) motivate and encourage the senior citizens to contribute to nation building, b) encourage their families and the com-munities they live in to reaffirm the valued Filipino tradition of caring for the senior citizens, c) give full support to the improvement of the total well being of the elderly and their full participation in society, d) recognize the rights of senior citizens to take their proper place in society, e) provide a comprehensive health care and rehabi-litation system for disabled senior citizens, and f) recognize the important role of the private sector in the improvement of the welfare of senior citizens and actively seek their partnership.

Atty. Tejada said, the first Senior Citizens Act was passed in April 1992 during the time of Pres. Corazon C. Aquino. This was inspired by the Senior Citizens Movement founded by Mrs. Aurora Aquino, mother of Ninoy. RA 9257 created the Office of Senior Citizens Affairs (OSCA) whose head in a town is appointed by the Municipal Mayor for a term of three years. OSCA implements policies and guidelines related to contributions of senior citizens to the community (tutorial/consultancy services), privileges (20 percent discount from all business establishments) and government assistance (employment, education, health). To be qualified of benefits/privileges, persons at least 60 years of age must secure ID issued by OSCA.

The present OSCA building in Kalibo headed by Mr. Fernando dela Cruz is under renovation and is expected to open by December 2009 revealed the former Alderman. It is a pity that electrical installations worth P30,000 have been stolen from the building, hence its temporary closure.

Violations under this Act shall be fined P50,000 and imprisonment of not less than six months for first offense. Subsequent violations shall be fined P100,000 and imprison-ment of not less than two years. Atty. Tejada confirmed that qualified senior citizens are recently given P500 out of the "Katas ng Vat".

Ms. Salazar cited the role of DSWD under RA 9257 which are the following: a) Self and social enhancement services (socializing, organizing, creative expression) actively undertaken by OSCA Libacao, b) After care and follow-up services (counseling), c) Neighbor-hood support services (caregiving) and d) Substitute family care (residential care for neglected, abandoned, homeless senior citizens).

Salazar announced that October 1 – 7 is senior citizens week celebration and all senior citizens in the province are cordially invited to attend the program on October 1 at the ABL Sports Center, Kalibo.
Mr. Del Rosario said that PhilHealth provides medical insurance coverage to qualified members, 60 years of age and above and who have remitted their premiums of P120.00 per month. Privileges are also granted to their children less than 20 years of age including illegitimates and their spouses. The agency covers govern-ment employees in the active service, retirees, SSS members, and self employed persons paying their monthly premiums.

Indigent senior citizens are provided health insurance coverage under the Universal Insurance scheme generously funded by P10 million contributed by Cong. Joeben T. Miraflores and Gov. Carlito S. Marquez. Presently, there are 53,000 beneficiaries of the program with only P8.7 million spent so far said Del Rosario. Nabas, Makato, and Tangalan have supported the program out of IRA funds.

PhilHealth deductions from hospital bills amount to 20 percent while another 20 percent is granted to a qualified senior citizen.

Issues and concerns are difficulties faced by senior citizens in availing the 20 percent discounts in medicine, transport fare, supermarkets and other business establishments despite presentation of ID’s and purchase booklets. Apparently aging population are weak, senile, and dependent hence their legal privileges are often ignored or withheld.

For instance, pres-cribed maintenance drugs for the elderly patient (diabetic, hypertensive, and others) need to be updated by a competent physicians and reflected on the procurement booklet. This means consultation fee of P180 which in effect totally negate the 20 percent senior citizen discount. Again, the drugstores require that prior written certification of the patient must be secured if patient delegates it to someone. This is unnecessary paperwork since some patients are seriously debilitated that even signing their name is a great ordeal. Why can’t they make simple guidelines?

Worse, offenders can be tricycle drivers and bus conductors who routinely choose to ignore and flaunt the law. Presently, OSCA building has even closed for over a year and obviously no case has ever been filed and acted for the period.

Apparently, programs and social services designed to develop and assist the elderly are very inadequate. Listings of senior citizens who have reached age 60 are far too numerous now compared to previous generations because of government reorganization, and company downsizing. Their talents and training expertise could be invaluable assistance to less fortunate sectors of society but because of absence of credible and sustained program, this important resource is not appreciated. Bottom line is that senior citizens in this country have little impact on nation building or empowered as a group to avail of privileges under the law and improve chances of survival in this tough economic times. /MP

PCA Celebrates Regional Coconut Week

by Grechelle Gay G. Magbanua
The Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) along with the Department of Agriculture (DA) conducted the 13th Regional Coconut Week, and the Guimaras 9th Kalubihan Festival with the theme" Natatangi Itong Yaman, Oil na, Ginto pa". It was held at the Event Center, SM City, Mandurriao, Iloilo.

The event’s main purpose focused on showcasing the products which are created from coconuts and to make the Ilonggos familiar with the goods through the exhibits displayed in various places around the Event Center.

"The affair was in fulfillment to a presidential proclamation to alleviate the coconuts and to salute the coconut industry, as well as the coconut farmers and producers," Joey S. Cruz, PCA’s regional manager for Region VI pointed out.

All the provinces of Region VI participated in the exhibit which were provided each with small booth around the Event Center to showcase their respective local goods and products.

Products on display were made from the coconut trees ranging from native bags, hats, footwear, costumes, mats, textiles, fans, delicacies, sauces, and the famous virgin coconut oil.

Presidential Assistant for Western Visayas Dr. Raul Banias was the keynote speaker. Director Noel Reyes of the Agricultural Fisheries Information Service DA, Quezon City, and DA Regional Executive Director, Larry P. Nacionales also graced the occasion.

"A coconut is a tree of life, it is also money because hundreds of products can be produced from it", Dr. Banias stressed in his speech. He also pondered on the fact that coconuts could not just produce products, but it can attract tourists as well.

The celebration was a three-day affair, which started on August 19. The first day began with a ribbon cutting of exhibits and opening ceremony, "Coconut Rampahanay" followed in the afternoon which included an On the Spot Poster Making and Binalaybay and Composo Contest. A symposium on major products from coconuts was held on the second day. The activities ended with the "Nanay sa Kalubihan" pageant. /MP

Disqualified Pinoy Boxer: ‘No Foul Blow In Rematch’


LOS ANGELES, California – Team Concepcion is back here a day after Bernabe Concepcion blew away a chance to wrest the World Boxing Organization (WBO) featherweight diadem from champion Steve Luevano with a dismal seventh-round disqualification loss, August 15 at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada.

"I didn’t hear the bell. I was surprised when the referee declared me winner by disqualification," confessed the 21-year-old speedster from Virac, Catanduanes who impaired to 28 wins (16 knockouts) and three defeats.

Top Rank chief Bob Arum said there will be a rematch in December, "and I will do my best to capture the crown. There will be no foul blow, this time," said Concepcion, whose failed title bid against the 28-year-old Luevano, was his fifth appearance in Las Vegas.

Concepcion, who is partly managed by Manny Pacquiao, was trailing in two of the three score-cards, 67-64 (Luevano), 68-65 (Luevano),66-67 (Concepcion) when round seven expired.

Before the illegal punch was unloaded, Luevano (37-1, 15 KO’s) wobbled Concepcion with accurate rights and jabs. The five feet and seven inches tall southpaw from La Puente, California had secured the last four rounds after faltering in rounds one and two.

Concepcion, who fights for Aljoe Jaro stable in Binangonan, Rizal in the Philippines, was impressive in the first two rounds peppering the taller champion with hooks and effective shots to the body.

The five feet and four inches tall challenger digged into Luevano’s breadbasket and protected his slight lead in the second canto with crisp body shots.

There was initial confusion when referee Jay Nady raised Luevano’s hand after the dis-qualification as Con-cepcion’s cornermen leaped in frustration but simmered down after being chided by Nady whose verdict was upheld by the Nevada State Athletic Commission which supervised the duel along with the WBO.

"It was not intentional but it was a good call," admitted Concepcion’s trainer Freddie Roach.

Concepcion is being groomed as "the next Manny Pacquiao" and was once lined up to challenge Puerto Rican phenom Juan Manuel Lopez underneath the Pacquiao-Oscar De La Hoya tussle on December 5, 2008.

His manager, Aljoe Jaro, however, rejected the "last-minute" invitation as Concepcion was moving up to the 128-lb category.

Jaro, who co-manages Concepcion, has predicted that his ward would become world champion before reaching 25.

The loss was over-shadowed by Nonito Donaire’s 12-round unani-mous decision victory over Rafael Concepcion for the World Boxing Association interim super flyweight championship. /MP

KTMC Inducts Officers for 2009-2010

Kalantiao Toastmasters Club (KTMC) – 767889 of District 75, Division D, Area 32 celebrated Cocktail Hour and Installation of Officers with the theme: Unleash Your X-factor to make a difference". The affair was held in the afternoon of Thursday, August 27, 2009 at Hernani’s Mix ‘n Match Bar & Restaurant, L. Barrios St., Kalibo, Aklan.

The guest speaker was Distinguished Toastmaster (DTM) Noli Espina of Cebu City. He is the District 75 Governor, Philippines.

The officers inducted for 2009-2010 are: Melrose "Megs" Lunn – president (founder), Dr. Felma Dela Cruz – VP for education, Dr. Cynthia Dela Cruz – VP for membership, Chita Dela Cruz–Heap – VP for public relations, Mr. Juim Jimlan – VP assistant to PR, Dr. Ramona Magayanes – VP for socials and fellowship, Rhoda Elias – secretary, Judith Tindog – treasurer, Grace De Jose – asst. sec. treas., Salvador "Buddy" Balleza – Sgt. at Arms., Hon. Celia Carpio Dela Cruz – Ex-Officio. Dr. Dureza "Dors" D. Abad – member, Dr. Ambrosio "Botoy" R. Villorente – Charter President

Toastmasters Inter-national promotes "Better Thinking, Better Listening, Better Speaking". KTMC is now on its 5th year of existence. /MP

105 Brgy. Officials and Lupon Members Undergo Brgy. Human Rights Training

Some 105 barangay officials and members of the Lupong Tagapamayapa from the 16 Barangays of Kalibo underwent a 3-day Barangay Human Rights Training held at the Social and Conference Hall at the Municipal Building, Kalibo, Aklan on August 18 to 20, 2009. The training was sponsored by LGU Kalibo, Liga ng mga Barangay of Kalibo and DILG-Kalibo.

The Barangay Human Rights Training is themed, "Accessing Justice Through a Responsive Barangay Justice System". Lawyers from the Public Attorneys Office discussed related laws, gender and human rights, and the overview of the Katarungang Pambansa including its frameworks and procedures, alternative dispute resolution and effective communication.

Kalibo Mayor Raymar Rebaldo, during his Opening Remarks cited the people living in the barangay can have access of the Barangay Justice where petty cases may be resolved except for VAWC cases or violence against women and children as a way to unload the Kalibo Police Station and the municipal courts with cases.

The participants were provided books regarding the rights of women and children, including the provisions and penalties provided by law. /MP

Safeguards Planholders In Final Pre-Need Code

This week, Sen. Mar Roxas vowed to push for the interests of pre-need planholders over industry players in the final version of the Pre-Need Code, which will soon be under congressional bicameral deliberations.

Roxas, chairman of the Senate trade and commerce committee, assured he will frontload consumer rights and give priority to the viability of the industry when the bicameral conference committee begins reconciling the differing versions of the bill passed by the Senate and the House of Representatives.

The Senate approved the proposed Pre-Need Code of the Philippines on June 11 2008. The House approved its own version only last August 12. No date has been set for the bicameral meetings.

"Will look out for the interest of the consumers in our deliberations. It is important to protect the future of the industry without sacrificing the consumers’ own future," Roxas said.

He stressed the need for the adequate protection and security of consumers by way of a restructured trust fund mechanism; and for pre-need companies to be subject to strict dis-closure requirements, including the disclosing of risks associated with buying pre-need plans.

"We need to fix the industry. I pity those who were scammed by the likes of Celso de los Angeles into losing savings meant to ensure their family’s future," Roxas said.

More Teeth In OFW Protection

Also this week, Senator Mar Roxas called for stronger government protection for the estimated 10 million Filipinos working abroad, especially against abuses by their employers or host countries.

At the same time, Roxas vowed to press for reforms in government policy involving the deployment of skilled and non-skilled workers to other countries as he noted the growing number of Filipinos overseas and the rising number of sad OFW-related incidents.

"I believe that the best thing we can give to our OFW is security for them. We need to give them all the support and protection so they will be spared of abuses while they are abroad," he said.

The government must also reduce the financial burden of Filipino overseas workers by removing the 0.15 percent Documentary Stamps Tax (DST) on money remittances to the country, Roxas suggested. It is a "significant financial burden to (OFWs) con-sidering that the country is already experiencing unprecedented highs in food and oil prices," he said.

Roxas also pushed for the professionalization of the Foreign Service system, which he said would ensure that only the most talented and most qualified are recruited by the government to ensure that our OFWs will get quality assistance from personnel and officers of the Department of Foreign Affairs.
He also pressed Malacanang to release the P50 million for the OFW Social Reintegration program to the Department of Labor and Employment. The program provides "balikbayan" OFWs with sufficient knowledge of how to use their savings as well as investment opportunities and other forms of reintegration assistance.

The government must ensure that OFWs have access to communication wherever they are to easily call Philippine offices in their areas in cases of employer problems and that free legal services for those facing legal problems are readily made available, Roxas recommends. Pre-departure orientation and preparation seminars should likewise be given to departing OFWs to brief them of their rights and on what they should and could do should they encounter difficulties in their jobs, he added.

But all these reforms, he stressed, could only take place once an activist government – one that cares for and listen to its people – takes over from the current administration, which has consistently shown insensitivity to the plight of its workers abroad. /MP

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Entrepreneurial Farmer

Ambrosio R. Villorente

Bread & Butter! Western Visayas
Best Bakery Shop!

In 1986, the couple Guidon & Cynthia Dela Cruz started to sell pandesal in their neighborhood at Barangay Estancia, Kalibo, Aklan. With one baker and a small oven, the couple started to experiment on making bread. The fresh bread was sold in a four (4) square meter store located along Osmeña Ave., Kalibo, Aklan.

The bakery products were well received by a growing number of customers. New products were developed and new stores were built. The bakery shop was built right at the back of an old house.

The success of Bread & Butter spread to leading supermarkets and stores in the neighboring provinces of Capiz, Antique and Iloilo.

In 2002, the company ventured into franchising and opened its 1st Franchise store at Kalibo, Aklan.

In 2003, Bread & Butter opened the biggest bakery commissary in Northern Panay Island. This is serving the growing number of Bread & Butter stores in Panay Island. Today, Bread & Butter has 21 stores. More stores are planned to open.

Bread & Butter has received various local and national awards and recognition for its innovative and marketing practices. The most recent is the award given by the Philippine Marketing Excellence Awards as the Most Outstanding Bakeshop – Visayas Awards for 2005.

Bread & Butter is a member of the Philippine Franchise Association and the Aklan Ati-Atihan Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Inc. It was also endorsed and recognized as a SME model of the Bank of the Philippine Islands and the Dept. of Trade & Industry.
801 Aklan TESDA Scholars

The Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) appears proud for giving scholarships to 801 Aklanons for the period April – June 2009.

According to TESDA report, 100 Aklanons enrolled in "Tek Bok", 150 in May, and 551 in June. Tek-Bok courses include: 1. Household Service Worker NCII, 2. Commercial Cooking NCII, Food and Beverage NC II, and 3. House-keeping NCII.

As TESDA scholars (Pangulong Gloria Scholars), they enjoy free tuition and a minimum daily allowance of P60. Those who have successfully completed the course and passed the TESDA assessment are issued National Certificate (NCII) which is used to apply for work in the Philippines and abroad.

Are TESDA courses and training programs designed to develop human resource who will stay and develop the Philippines into a progressive country? TESDA itself may make its own assessment of its policies, programs, projects, and activities. Is TESDA producing graduates for the Pilipinos and the Philippines? Is TESDA training Pilipinos for the foreigners and foreign countries?

I’m afraid, one morning, Pilipinos in the Philippines will wake up finding the best and the brightest Pilipinos have left the Philippines. TESDA must realize that the most important and valuable resource of any country is her human resource.

All resources like land, money, water among others are rendered inutile sans progressive human resources. The Philippines is the world’s richest in natural resources which are left wasted and under-developed because our best and brightest citizens have gone abroad. /MP

Gordon Inducts BFI Officers

Text and photo by Ambrosio R. Villorente

Henry O. Chusuey (left) and Loubelle B. Cann handing the Certificate of Appreciation to Sen. Gordon for his valuable assistance in developing Boracay.

Sen. Richard Gordon, extreme left, is shown in the above picture inducting the officers and members of the Board of Trustees of the Boracay Foundation, Inc.

Sen. Richard Gordon was the main speaker and induction officer during the Induction Program of the new set of Board of Trustees and new members of the Boracay Foundation, Inc. (BFI). The induction ceremony was held in the evening, Sunday, August 16 in Boracay Regency Beach Resort and Convention Center, Malay, Aklan.

The NVC Performing Arts group led in the singing of the Philippine National Anthem. They also gave intermission numbers such as the cultural show and the "Barter of Panay" for the pleasure of the guests, visitors, and officers and members of BFI.

Mr. Jose Macavinta, VP – Internal Affairs welcomed the guests and visitors. His welcome remarks included the rationale of the BFI organization.

Hon. Ceciron S. Cawaling was not available to attend the program. However, he was ably represented by Hon. Wilbec Gelito, SB member of Malay.

Aklan Governor Carlito S. Marquez was represented by Engr. Roger M. Esto, provincial planning and development officer of Aklan. He read Gov. Marquez’ speech. He congratulated the officers and members of BFI for their best effort to make Boracay number one tourists destination. He promised P600,000 for Boracay development.

Cong. Florencio T. Miraflores, in his message, talked about the short history of Boracay as a tourists destination. He mentioned some problems, which are impeding Boracay’s development and what are the projects already done as well as the plan to further improve Boracay to be the premier tourists destination in the world.

Before his speech, Sen. Gordon installed to office the officers of the BFI who are: Loubelle B. Cann – president; Henry O. Chusuey – chairman, BOD; Jose Macavinta, VP– Internal; Patrick Tan, VP– external; Helen Atanacio– secretary; Connie Helgens – treasurer; Raffy Leyson– auditor; Edwin Raymundo –PRO; Nenette Graff, Dionisio Salme, Lowell Talamisan, Erlinda Q.F. Wilson, Jupiter Galinero, Fermin Dayao, and Mike Labatiao–Board of Directors members.

In his speech, Sen. Gordon talked about his principles, and philosophies that brought him to success. He talked about his accomplishment in Olonggapo and Subic which places are now serving as models in development like in manufacturing and job creation. He spoke about Warm Over Winter (WOW) Philippines he implemented while he was the secretary of the Department of Tourism. He believes money alone will not usher a leader to Malacañang. It must be hard work, sincerity, and determination.

Sen. Gordon con-cluded his speech with a promise to provide Boracay with Blood Bank and rubber boat.

Loubelle B. Cann was re-elected for another two years in the BFI. She and Henry O. Chusuey – Board Chairman pledged to redouble their efforts in making Boracay the most conducive place for tourists to enjoy in order for Boracay to be the premier tourists destination of the world.

In the presentation of Sen. Gordon, Boracay in 2008 was second as to the number of visitors who visited Boracay. The first was Cebu.

The induction program ended with the closing statements of Helen Atanacio. Aileen Cabrera ably served as toastmaster of the evening. /MP

Raising Healthy Infant By Breastfeeding

by Ernesto T. Solidum

Kapehan guests on breastfeeding are shown (l to r) Eula D. Magwale with her breastfed child, Cecille De Lemos, Dr. Myrtle M. Pelayo, Dr. Vic Santamaria, Letty Arguelles, Rossini T. Mortalla, and PO2 Nida L. Gregas.
While July is Nutrition month, August is declared World Breastfeeding month with DOH–PHO leading the celebration. Kapehan highlighted the celebration on August 15, 2009 with a bevy of health practitioners as guests and enthusiasts. They are Cecille R. De Lemos, Breastfeeding Coordinator–PHO, Rossini T. Mortalla, IYCF Coordinator, Crescini S. Roxas, Provincial Nutrition Coordinator, Dr. Victor A. Santamaria, Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Myrtle M. Pelayo, Aklan DOH representative, Letty Arguelles, Pres. BHW, Lezo Chapter, Eula D. Magwale, Breastfeeding Champion of Aklan and PO2 Nida Gregas.

Atty. Allen S. Quimpo testified that all of them – 10 siblings were exclusively breastfed. Despite afford-ability and availability of infant milk formula, bottle feeding is considered taboo. The former Aklan solon once romped away with the prize on healthy baby contest. Because of health and economic benefits all his three kids were breastfed with excellent result. Atty. Quimpo believes integ-rating breastfeeding education into our educational, social and religious milieu would encourage more adherents to the program.

Dr. Santamaria pointed out that based on National Demographic Health survey of 2008, some 50 percent of mothers practice breasfeeding.

The international theme for this year’s observance is "Breastfeeding – A Vital Emergency Response, Are You Ready?" Local theme is "Gatas Ni Nanay Laging Handa Sa Oras ng Pangangailangan". Santamaria said that information campaign is basically on developing awareness on advantages derived from breastfeeding and the need of sustained efforts till the baby has attained six months old and beyond. Studies indicate that extended method of child rearing provides 50 percent of a child’s nutrition for the first year and 33 percent for the second year.

Breastfed babies according to Dr. Santamaria are physically and mentally alert, not prone to obesity and allergies. They are emotionally stable because of mother’s bonding. Marked improvement of intelligence quotient is also attributed to mother’s milk because of wholeness, digestibility and protective attributes as human food.

PO2 Nida Gregas mentioned that despite her tight schedule, she finds time to breastfeed her baby. During slack time that she is in the office, she takes the opportunity to personally deliver the "goods". Now Police Officer Gregas has active, alert baby, anyone could be proud of.

Magwale gave up her lucrative job in Manila, went home to Aklan just to breastfeed and care for her baby. "Breastfeeding is a vital lifeline in times of emergencies that may happen anytime in our lives," said Magwale.

De Lemos mentioned E.O. No. 51 of DOH that strongly recommends mothers to breastfeed their babies for at least six months. De Lemos stated that the first milk known as colostrum is rich in vitamins. It serves as first immunization against many infections.

Starting this August, all 135 priority barangays will be targeted for intensive training on breastfeeding and nutrition said Ms. Roxas. This will be coordinated with Barangay Health Workers, Brgy. Nutrition Scholars, Brgy. Officials and other agencies.

Issues and concerns are on 2008 data of National Demographic and Health survey which shows that only 50 percent of mothers subscribe to breastfeeding compared to 53 percent in 2003. A number of reasons can be postulated among which is the power and influence of milk companies in product promotion.

The World Bank recently reported that one third of Filipino families subsist on one dollar a day income. Hence, buying imported milk would be absurd. Why buy when you can provide? Data suggest that breastfeeding has the potential to save 10 percent of budget for dairy milk.

Based on tradition, our forebears practiced breastfeeding as a natural way to good health and social acceptance. It has also a parallel view in Africa where buxomed women were the reigning beauties and popular choice of full bloodied males because of milk reserves.

This was disrupted however during the American colonial regime when milk, soya, wheat, and sorghum meal were rationed as part of US Food Aid programme. Of the products above, milk and wheat stuck to our culinary taste and approval.

Strange alchemy of Hollywood stars and local artists through deceit and misrepresentation conveyed the impression that breastfeeding is outdated, unfashionable and unthinkable is wholly accepted as biblical truth. Pan de sal is widely accepted although it is basically carbohydrates rich food. This made our milk and dairy products along with wheat importers very happy indeed.

Now turning the tables around could be doing the same tactic of popular endorsement by movie stars, business icons, and beauty gurus. It plays to do some commercials and selective advertisements.

While breastfeeding must be highly encouraged and supported as a strategy to ensure a baby’s health must also be considered. A significant percentage of pregnant–lactating mothers are suffering from nutritional anemia and will most likely jeopardize the mother’s health unless proper nutrition is first fully addressed. Dr. Santamaria cautions that mothers may be prohibited to breastfeed their babies if they suffer from com-municable diseases like TB, HIV/AIDS.

Obviously, others can be mental patients and users of prohibited drugs. Ms. De Lemos says however, that all measures must be exhausted to convince our mothers focusing on positive values.

It is unfortunate that both PHO and DOH has set no target number in breastfeeding acceptors for the current year. Although included in the Provincial Investment Plan, nonetheless program must be given due emphasis with proper funding con-sidering that a strong nation starts with a healthy mother and child. /MP

17 M Irrigation Project To Boost Capiz Rice Production

NEW DA DIRECTOR - Department of Agriculture Secretary Arthur C. Yap (left) swears in to office Larry P. Nacionales as Regional Executive Director of DA-RFU6 at the DA Central Office, Quezon City on August 10, 2009. Director Nacionales, an Ilonggo has been in public service for more than 30 years.

The Department of Agriculture (DA) has turned-over a P17.3 million worth irrigation projects in Barangay Cogon, Panay , Capiz, recently. The amount was spent for its construction and rehabilitation.

Larry P. Nacionales, Regional Exec. Dir., DA-6 personally turned-over the irrigation project to farmer beneficiaries. He advised farmers to help maintain the project to boost rice production in Capiz.

The project includes rehabilitation and construction of pump houses and stilling pools, water pump engine, pipes, and existing canals, among others. It is expected to irrigate 560 hectares of ricelands with some 466 direct farmer beneficiaries.

Panay River is the main source of the irrigation system.

Nacionales also said, "DA will augment a P1.3 million budget " Bagsakan Center ." The Bagsakan ia a venue for direct selling of agricultural products.

He also assured that DA will give the farmers its full support through its Fertilizer, Irrigation, Extension, Loans, Dryers, Seeds Program.

The project is DA’s endeavor to ensure the livelihood development and food security throughout the region.

Present during the ceremony were Panay Municipal Mayor Dante Bermejo, Vice Mayor Gualberto Bernas III, Capiz City Mayor Vicente Bermejo, and Vice Governor Felipe Barredo.

This is the second irrigation system projects turned-over this year. The first one was in Moises Padilla, Negros Occidental. /MP

Tough Time for Philippine Postal Corporation

Worldwide economic recession can be bad for many business and service establishments. The Philippine Postal Corpo-ration (PPC) is a sterling example which faces a more challenging task ahead. The Bureau of Post used to be the country’s prime mover of letter, parcels, and money orders.

With modern telecom-munication and servicing like mobile phone, i-pods, laptop/PC and electronic money transfers, customers of PPC dwindled. The Bureau of Post was converted into Philippine Postal Corporation as a government owned and controlled. But PPC failed to adjust to the technology advances and lost great part of its business.

Ma. Cristina V. Morales, Acting Post-master of Kalibo says that revenue for January to June 2008 was P2.3 million. "This is barely enough to keep us afloat in these hard times." Local PPC has 30 employees in its plantilla.

To counteract, we conduct promotion campaigns on postal ID and International Express Mail Service (IEMS). A postal ID is issued upon payment of P315. It is processed after all requirements are submitted and released in 20 minutes.

IEMS takes five working days for letters/parcels to reach their addressees says Morales. Customers can also avail of registered mails for overseas with return card which costs very reasonable. Domestic airmail with proof of delivery cost only P14.00.

Presently, residual customers are credit card companies, banking insti-tutions, pawnshop establish-ments and government agencies like DOJ (RTC/MTC), DOTC, and DOH. Payment in Civil Service and Entrance tests are paid through purchase of money order.

Express parcel deliveries and money transfers are dominated by private companies because of speed, reliability, accessibility, and courtesy of personnel.

Morales wishes to increase the annual revenue target PPC set to 10 percent over the previous year. "I’m afraid this may not be possible because of financial crisis, and rapid advances in telecommunications" which government cannot speedily adjust.

In mail delivery, incomplete information of addressee, absence of zip code and no return address adversely affect PPC efficiency. Some of them are promptly returned to addressee. A big number is forwarded to Dead Letter Office.

GSIS Pension

The GSIS pension payment being coursed through the banks and withdrawn by e-Card is a big blue to PPC. Pension checks handled by PPC are more convenient, the benefits enjoyed as they were paid down to the last centavo. But not anymore. I believed Mr. Winston Garcia, President of GSIS must understand that it is immoral for him to require say an aging, sickly pensioner from Buruanga to go to Kalibo to collect his money, said Morales.

In the United States, postal agency recently laid off thousands of its employees due to reduced demand for its services and in part because of economic downturn.

Other government agency with financial trouble and at-risk of being phased out in this digital world is Bureau of Telecommunications (BUTEL), a facility that provides domestic and international telephone exchanges and telegraphic transfer. Both PPC and BUTEL are under the Department of Trans-portation and Com-munications which lost its claims to high technology and for its failure to adjust with time. In Kalibo, the government is maintaining BUTEL officials and employees without customers to serve. /MP

Brgy. Polo Bags 2009 Most Outstanding Barangay Tanod

The Aklan Police Provincial Office applauded Barangay Polo, New Washington, Aklan for bagging two (2) categories in the just concluded 2009 Search for Outstanding Barangay Tanod in the Province of Aklan with the reckoning period of heroic deeds or acts have been performed within the period of July 1, 2008 - June 30, 2009.

The group and individual categories are entries bagged by Brgy Polo, New Washington by leading the other four (4) barangays of Poblacion, Banga; Balabag, Malay; Aranas and Morales, Balete; all of Aklan Province.

In group category, Bgry Polo garnered 98.50 points while Brgy Poblacion, Banga earned 88.72 followed by Brgy Balabag, Malay, and Brgy Aranas, Balete, Aklan. In the individual category, Sergio D. Perucho of Brgy Polo, New Washington won first place with an average points of 85.75 followed by Arnel S. Repolito of Linabuan Sur, Banga with 84.70 points, and Arnold Oquendo of Brgy Morales, Balete, Aklan with 69.40 points.

The search aims to recognize the best performing Barangay Tanods not only in the provincial level but in the whole Western Visayas in the implementation and management of Peace and Order Council Programs (POC) and projects through the initiatives of the coordinative agencies.

The judges are composed of DILG family, Philippine National Police, the Bureau of Fire and Protection, Bureau of Jail Management and Penology, National Police Commission, PPSC and Local Government Units.

Aklan PPO Officer In-Charge, Police Senior Superintendent Ruperto T Floro, Jr said, the search will help strengthen the volunteer system and auxiliary network among public and private responders. It will also strengthen the monitoring system at various levels and provide vehicle for improvement of skills, knowledge, and techniques in the preservation of peace and order, and public safety.

Their spirit of volunteerism and un-wavering concern for the community deserves recognition and honour through the conduct of the 2009 Search for Outstanding Barangay Tanods, Floro added. /MP

Power To Seize Defective LPG Tanks Single Agency To Regulate LPG Industry

Senator Mar Roxas lifting a defective LPG tank as fire victim Abigail Eugenio looks on during a press conference. Roxas warns the public of the proliferation of millions of sub-standard LPG tanks nationwide.

Senator Mar Roxas last week suggested the government should have the power to seize defective LPG cylinders that are proliferating all over the country.

He also said regulation, monitoring, and quality control of the LPG cylinder industry should be given to only one government agency.

"Scrupulous businessmen sell these defective LPG tanks. If government does not stop and run after these unfit tanks, the illegal activities of these businessmen will not also stop," he pointed out.

"So many people have died and millions worth of properties have been destroyed because of these substandard tanks. These should be confiscated and pulled out from the market as soon as possible," he stressed.

Under the current set up, the pre-qualification and inspection of tanks fall under the Department of Trade and Industry while the LPG filling and refilling is supervised and regulated by the Department of Energy.

Such a setup is tedious and confusing when government liability is pursued in cases when a defective tank explodes, kills or destroys properties, according to Roxas.

The LPG Industry Association and the Bureau of Fire Protection has recorded about 1,700 fires from 2001 to 2008 caused by defective cylinders. Industry records show some six (6) million tanks, either already scrapped or in need of new inspection and certification, remain in circulation at the local market.

"In the bill that we are finalizing now, we will just put all the powers over the industry under one agency to stop all these finger-pointing. We will make one agency responsible and accountable so we can run after it when more serious issues arise," Roxas disclosed.

The Senate trade and commerce committee, which Roxas chairs, is now finalizing discussions on the proposed LPG Act. It seeks a stronger government campaign against substandard LPG cylinders and will lay down new guidelines in the regulation of the industry. /MP

Thursday, August 13, 2009


No Hunger, No Recession In Aklan
by Venus G. Villanueva

Aklanons have what it takes to do business or be entrepreneurs.

In Aklan, there is no recession and there is no hunger despite typhoons.
ASEC Ma. Theresa "Angel" Pelayo Ty expressed this strong belief in the ability of the Aklanons. She is Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Asst. Secretary and the guest speaker during Aklan’s One Town, One Product (OTOP) Congress held recently at the Gov. Corazon Cabagnot Tourism and Training Center, Buswang Old, Kalibo.

ASEC Pelayo-Ty was all praises of the Aklanons’ craftmanships, ingenuity and patience in coming up with world-class products like the loom-woven piña cloth, nitocrafts and other items uniquely produced in the province.

"I visited one piña cloth and nito factory in Kalibo. I was surprised to see a very old woman still adept at weaving piña cloth. I saw how intricate and difficult it is to weave the piña. "It is shameful to bargain," Pelayo Ty said.
Loomwoven products, like the world-class piña cloth, abaca and raffia are Kalibo’s identified OTOP. It is also the Regional Model OTOP for Region 6.

According to Pelayo-Ty, OTOP, pushed by Ms. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in 2005, patterned after Japan’s One Village, One Product (OVOP) prog-ram, is a very effective tool in job generation.

"The reason why we are here is we are united to give OTOP a chance," Pelayo-Ty told the participants, composed of town mayors and other representatives of various local government units in Aklan, business community/entrepreneurs, officers and members of the Provincial Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise Development Council (PMSMEDC) and the local media.

Pelayo-Ty cited the commitment of local leaders who are running their respective munici-palities like corporations, and the local businessmen who opened themselves to risks. "The risks are as big as rewards, when it is very sweet," Pelayo-Ty stressed, apparently speaking of her own experiences as an entrepreneur before joining the government through DTI.

"When OTOP was launched in 2005, many criticized it as just a copy, and very backward. Today, however, 99 percent of businesses registered are either micro or small enterprises, and it is time to recognize them and thank them for their effort," Pelayo-Ty pointed out.

According to her, 312,000 new jobs are created through OTOP which gave the country an additional revenue of P12 billion and another revenue from trade fairs worth P3.7 billion, excluding export sales.

In Aklan, at least 140 new OTOP MSMEs were established while domestic and export sales from 2005 to present reached P319.7 million and $469,600 respectively.

With the activity’s theme "Negosyo… Kaya Mo!," Pelayo-Ty said "kayang-kaya ng mga Aklanon magnegosyo".

On the basis of what she saw in Aklan, there is big hope, there will be no recession or hunger, even with typhoons.

Aklan, gushed Pelayo-Ty, is very lucky because it has Boracay Island, the world-class piña cloth, abaca, nito products, and lately, organically-produced fruits and vegetables.

Numancia: Best OTOP

The town of Numancia, which produces organically-produced fruits and vegetables through vermicast, the muni-cipality’s OTOP, garnered all the top awards in the OTOP Congress as Best OTOP LGU Implementer, Outstanding OTOP MSME, and Most Supportive OTOP Partner through its cooperative. "With your support, OTOP will be very successful", she said.

Aklan towns’ OTOPs range from swine/livestock, organic fruits and vegetables, grouper culture, eco-tourism, coco-based products, Indigenous fiber-based loom-woven products, potteries, abaca fibers, seafoods, bariw crafts, abaca slippers, deboned bangus and vermicast organic fertilizer.

Pelayo Ty urged Aklan leaders to look into the state of entrepreneurs.

The DTI ASEC, daughter of Candaba, Pampanga Mayor Jerry Pelayo traced her roots in Aklan. She expressed her willingness to be an Ambassador of Aklan – being proud of the province’s loom-woven products, good food, beautiful sceneries, charming people and many other assets. /MP


Is There May 2010 Elections?
by Ambrosio R. Villorente
In 10 months from today, there will be some changes in the political leaderships in Malacañang, Congress of the Philippine, provinces, cities, and municipalities. There will also be changes of the officials holding political or co-terminus positions in the government.

There will be status-co however if the presidential election in May 2010 will not take place. There will be extension of tenure of office which majority of the Filipinos rejects.

Should the Cons-titutional Amendment is pushed through the May Presidential Election is postponed, and hold over capacity is in effect, its will be God’s mutual blessing to places, its officials and people whose officials are productive and whose performances are highly appreciated.

But who among the 87 million Filipinos agree for the extension of stay of Ms. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo? There are many of them of course. Those who are now enjoying favor, resources and power as a consequence for being in the inner circle of the Macapagal Arroyo domain. Prestige? It is highly doubtful if those serving in the Arroyo cabinet is enjoying prestige. Of course they enjoy on the basis of their personal and social relations with the Filipinos. But it is doubtful if they are accorded respect and admiration of their official collegial actions and decisions.

Those who are receiving financial assis-tance such as from the 4Ps wish the present Malacañang occupant and her minions will have a continued stay so they will also continue receiving assistance.


For the last two months, Ms. Arroyo suffered of some flacks. First is the P20,000 US dollar dinner in New York City which was badly criticized by the New York Post. According to the New York Post, it is so immune for govern-ment officials to spend lavishly for a dinner in a high class restaurant while the people back home is deeply buried in poverty.

Another paper in Washington D.C. similarly criticized Ms. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo for spending so much for her and her party’s trip. But is there any good result of her visit?

Second, the Malacañang choice of seven awardees for "National Artist" was strongly objected. The committee which is mandated to conduct the search and evaluation submitted four nominees for the National Artist Awards. Out of the four, Malacañang removed one and added another four that made it seven. But the four additionals. Malacañang added included the chairman of the National Council for Culture and the Arts (NCCA). NCCA recommends the people who should be awarded the "National Artist" award.

In the nomination to fill up the vacancy in the Judiciary, the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) is empowered to conduct the search, evaluation and recommend the most qualified persons for appointment to the vacant position.

The JBC recom-mended to Malacañang four qualified nominees to the vacant positions in the Supreme Court of the Philippines. But Mala-cañang returned the list to the JBC with the advise to add more names in the list. The JBC insisted of the four names. It did not add any more names.

Malacañang finally appointed two qualified nominees the JBC endorsed for appointment to the positions of Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines. /MP

Libacao’s 4Ps Beneficiaries Get Cash Grants

Ms. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo congratulates on her arrival in Libacao, Aklan Mayor Charito Navarosa. At her back is DENR Secretary Lito Atienza.

Ms. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo should have witnessed the beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pampamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) of Libacao town get their first cash grants through Automated Teller Machine (ATM) specially installed by the Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) in Libacao, Aklan for the purpose.

But a strong tornado struck in Libacao the night before. It spoiled the first-of-a-kind experience for them. All the same, they got their cash grants from the President during her first-ever visit to this hinterland town in Aklan on August 7.

The 4Ps is a poverty reduction strategy that grants cash to extremely poor households to improve their health, nutrition and education particularly of children aged 0-14 years.

Ms. Arroyo led in the distribution of cash grants to the 2,602 household beneficiaries from 24 barangays with cash grants amounting to P3,842,000 covering sub- sidies for the months of May and June. The release has started on July 22 this year to a total of 806 household beneficiaries coming from 12 barangays amounting to P1,195,100. The remaining 1,796 beneficiaries in 12 barangays received their cash subsidies amounting to P2,645,900 last Friday, August 7.

Under the program, a household beneficiary can receive as much as P1,400 for a maximum of three children that includes P500/month for nutrition and health expenses and P300/month per child with a maximum of three children per household for educational expenses.

Rowena Ladate, one of the beneficiaries of 4Ps of Barangay Alfonso VII said the program is a big blessing to her family. Tearful but happy, she said this will augment her family’s needs, having four small children. As a beneficiary, she will get P500 per month and P300 each for her three children of school age.

Juvy Agustin of Sebalew, Libacao has a three-week old baby left at home as she waited for her turn to get her cash grant under the hot sun. Married at 18, she has five kids already at 29, the eldest being 11 years old. With misty eye she expressed thanks to this program of Ms. Arroyo, as this will help her family a lot. Her husband, she said, has no permanent job.

Most of the benefi-ciaries are mothers, who said that their children are regular schoolgoers, one condition that will enable them to continuously receive the cash grants within five years.

Besides cash distribution for 4Ps, the President also inaugurated the 1,280 lineal meter River Revetment Wall Resting on cut-off wall project at Poblacion, LIbacao. The project costs P40 million from LOGOFIND Libacao LGU borrowed from World Bank. Project started on June 1, 2007 but Typhoon Frank damaged the initial constructed structure. It was continued without additional costs and was completed on June l5, 2009.

Seven POs from various Aklan munici-palities also received checks for DENR’S Upland Development Program amounting to a total of P2,596,626.20.

DENR Sec. Lito Atienza gave a briefing on solid Waste Management, while Climate Change Presidential Adviser Sec. Heherson Alvarez briefed on Climate Change.

Libacao Mayor Charito Navarrosa, welcomed PGMA and party and thanked her for gracing Libacao with the first-ever Presidential visit. He also thanked the President for including Libacao as one of the beneficiaries of her flagship program, the 4Ps. (PIA/Venus G. Villanueva)/MP

Environment Management in Aklan

Atty. Florencio Gonzales discussing the effect of continued tree cutting in Aklan during the August 1 Kapehan. At his left is Mr. John Kenneth Almalbis
and Mr. Derlito Rico.

Environmental concerns about air, water and solid waste were emphasized at the weekly Kapehan on August 8, 2009. Panelists discussed the topic, "Environment Management". Invited speakers were Engr. John Kenneth C. Almalbis, AKENRO, Mr. Derlito C. Rico, PENRO and Atty. Florencio Gonzales, former SP member and environmentalist.

Atty. Ronquillo C. Tolentino cited Article 2, Section 16 of the 1987 Constitution that the State shall protect and advance the right of the people to a balanced and healthful ecology in accord with the harmony and rhythm of nature. He said "there have been drastic climatic changes in the country for the last 40 years with occurrence of El Niño in 1972, 1983 and 1997. Everyone is reeling from its impact because of magnitude, severity and frequency."

Engr. Almalbis said that DENR is responsible for the protection and conservation of natural resources particularly on the existing 49 percent forest cover and overseeing implementation of the proposed Environmental Code of Aklan.

The DENR office have community-based forest management project implemented by People’s Organizations (PO’s) and beneficiaries of Integrated Social Forestry (ISF). This is found in Ibajay, Tangalan, Makato, Nabas, and Libacao. ISF program was instituted in 1982 based on LOI 1260 where bonafide forest occupants are given stewardship certificates usually 3 – 5 has. for agro-forestry. Duration is 25 years subject to renewal according to Derlito Rico. Presently, 79 families have expired ISP contracts, hence on-going evaluation.

Atty. Gonzales lamented the deplorable condition especially the quality and the bio-diversity of Aklan rivers, lakes, seas and forest cover. He said, "bottom line of all these is greed". Citing facts, Aklan river has never cleared up since typhoon Frank last year. Rich fishing ground at the mouth of Aklan river has disappeared completely. Once abundant coral reef formation from New Washington down to Buruanga is nowhere to be found. Where once healthy stand of mangrove trees grow, are now replaced by fishponds. Now where do you think our hardwood lumber went?" he asked. "It’s found in homes of influential people."

Meanwhile, Atty. Allen S. Quimpo underscored the key to solving environmental problems lies with the people themselves. It is about attitudinal change and participatory approach. Kalibo’s Bakhawan project now covering 110 hectares is a sterling example of community mobilization. Just recently PGMA turned over a check of P336,000 as financial support for eco-tourism and livelihood projects.

Mr. Edwin Ramos, Info Officer, PIA reported that an average person produces 15-20 kilograms of carbon dioxide (CO2) per year. CO2 ­ is one of several lethal gases in the stratosphere that traps heat called greenhouse effect and causes earths’ tempe-rature to rise. Global warming spawns erratic weather like El Niño, La Niña, earthquakes and tornadoes. Ramos said that it is highly recommended that a minimum of 30 trees be planted by each person per year to mitigate global warming.

Issues and concerns are indifference and apathy on environment management by a large segment of the population. Solid waste generated by every person per day amounts to one half kilogram. This means a total of 247,561 kilograms of solid wastes daily produced by 500,000 Aklanons. Considering that 20 percent of these wastes, mainly non-biodegradable, are not properly collected and disposed, it invariably ends up into rivers, creeks, and drainage canals. In addition, all the 17 towns in Aklan do not have sanitary landfills as mandated by RA 9003.

Conversion of Kalibo’s 2.7 hectares dumpsite into state of the art sanitary landfill has a tab of P20 million. Now, where will other cash strap municipalities turn to for help?

Mr. Rico has vowed to put more teeth in the proposed Provincial Environment Code. Yet, there is lukewarm public acceptance and support given the limited logistics and trained manpower.

Undoubtedly, LGU Numancia is at the forefront in solid waste management where garbage is religiously segregated, recycled, reduced and re-used. One Town, One Product implemented by DTI is remarkable for converting biodegradable wastes into vermicast, an earthworm based organic fertilizer.

Sabah, Malaysia may have only a fraction of our 100 laws, decrees and ordinance, but her forest management is one of the world’s best. In that country, forest concessionaires dutifully observe their rights and responsibilities as stipulated in the memo-randum of agreement. For every harvestable tree logged, 17 forest tree seedlings are planted, cared and protected until next harvesting cycle of 25 years. Indeed, her program is profitable, sustainable and desirable.

We have similar forest concessions in the Philippines, but the DENR, PNP and LGU officials collude with illegal loggers to make a mockery of our forestry laws.

DENR data show that at the turn of the 20th century, 80 percent of our 30 million hectares were forested. Presently, what is left is merely 1.5 million hectares. Downward slide is triggered by illegal loggers also known as carabao logging, kaingeros, and firewood gatherers. Our forest destruction per day is 17 hectares while reforestation efforts is barely 3.0 hectares. With most of our forest gone, our endemic species of flora and fauna deteriorated. Younger generation may find them only in zoos and or museum as stuff animals.

Kalibo has one of longest, and natural comfort rooms in Aklan. Infamous area is Purok 1 to 4 where fecal matter is wrapped in plastic. Households living closed to Aklan river bank think it’s natural for them to do their thing and dispose other kinds of garbage. It is urgently necessary that 30 meters fallback ordinance on dwelling units be implemented by municipal government of Kalibo.

The provincial capital town is also known for its obnoxious comfort room at Pastrana Park. Perhaps charging service fee of P2.00 – P5.00 from each person who uses the comfort room is very reasonable for its upkeep and cleanliness.

Street drainage has been a growing problem in Kalibo as excess rainwater creates cesspools and gigantic carabao pools. Basically, old drainage canals are mangled beyond recognition by real estate owners. Dark fetid water moves at a snail pace in Andagao and New Buswang creeks. MMDA Chairman Bayani Fernando has cleared esteros of unwanted dwelling units and tons of garbage on waterways in Metro Manila which can also be done in Aklan.

Our forest laws are the best in the world but are not implemented. It is a big disappointment if illegal logging or mining exist and justice not meted out to violators. Mayor Edward Hagedorn of Puerto Princessa City was fined after he was found guilty littering.

Environment management thrives only when there is conscious collaborative effort to succeed. Critical issues like climate change, ecology, productivity, human health and tourism are inextricably link to environment. It is therefore necessary that priority and additional funding be instituted to address deplorable condition of the environment. /MP

“Muling Pagtanaw, Bagong Pananaw”

Aklan’s Concert at the Park will present "Muling Pagtanaw, Bagong Pananaw".

This is a cultural, historical dance perfor-mances to be held on the forthcoming September 14 at the ABL Sports Complex, Capitol Ground, Estancia, Kalibo.

The Aklan Provincial Government with the Provincial Tourism Office, Region VI; Girl Scouts of the Philippines, Aklan Council; and the DepEd Aklan will present a wholesome family entertainment which highlights the country’s rich Filipino history, culture, and heritage. This will be a live show consisting of a varied performance, rituals, songs, and costumes.

This all will be performed by the ECD Dance Company of the Philippines, an internationally acclaimed dance troupe.

While it is enjoyable, it aims to instill interest in the appreciation of our Philippine history, culture, and tradition. It is also designed to educate the students on the importance of preserving Filipino varied dance traditions which inspire the present and future generations.

There will be two presentations. One will be at 9:00 o’clock in the morning and the other will be at 2:00 o’clock in the afternoon. A modest amount of P20.00 per ticket for students and P50.00 for patrons will be charged per show.

Re-greening and Beautification Project Resumes

Aklan Re-greening and Beautification Project, now on its second phase of implementation resumed on July to December 2009. A project of the Provincial Government of Aklan, it aims to rehabilitate the province from the aftermath of typhoon "Frank", announced Gov. Carlito S. Marquez.

To ensure continuity and sustainability thereafter, the project will be implemented subsequently every six (6) months or semi-annually. Last year’s initial launching in Nov. 2008 has transformed Aklan’s major road networks into a clean and vibrant display of varied floral and other ornamental plants making it a show window of creativity, resourcefulness and teamwork among the constituent barangays and municipalities.

The project is designed in the form of a contest involving the different constituent barangays and private residential owners residing along national highways and provincial roads, to plant and beautify their respective designated areas to transform the same into a tourist attraction.

There are two (2) segments of participants involved in the contest, the Eastern and Western districts of the province. Each barangay participant shall be provided a financial subsidy of P10,000 and engineering support from the Prov’l. Engineer’s Office.

The project has three (3) phases of implementation. First phase, Registration and Submission of Entries by each participating barangay and individual residential owners, respectively. Second phase, Judging of Entries in Sept., 2009 for the First Evaluation, and November, 2009 for the Second Evaluation. Third phase, Awarding of Winners in December, 2009.
Prizes to barangay participants consist of a trophy for all winners and cash prizes of P50,000 for the First Prize, P35,000 for Second Prize and P20,000 for Third Prize respectively. For participating individual residential owners include also a trophy for each of the winners and cash prizes of P15,000 for the First Prize, P10,000 for Second Prize, and P5,000 for Third Prize. A Certificate of Appreciation shall be presented to all the contest participants. /MP

Hilary and Bill: Inspired by Cory’s ‘Quiet Strength’

by ALEX P. Vidal
LOS ANGELES, California – When she was alive, the late former Philippine President Corazon Cojuangco Aquino had inspired two prominent political figures in the United States: former U.S President Bill Clinton and his wife, Secretary of State Hilary.

In a statement released from Washington hours after the death of the first Filipino woman president at a Manila hospital at age 76, Secretary Hilary Rodham Clinton disclosed that "like millions of people worldwide, Bill and I were inspired by her quiet strength and her unshakable commitment to justice and freedom. We join the American and Filipino people in honoring her life and memory."

She declared: "I extend my deepest condolences to the Aquino family and all the people of the Philippines on the death of former President Corazon Aquino."

"Cory Aquino was beloved by her nation and admired by the world for her extraordinary courage after the assassination of her husband, and later, during her service as president. She helped bring democracy back to the Philippines after many years of authoritarian rule with a faith in her country and its people that never wavered," Secretary Clinton added. The 76-year-old Aquino, icon of people power in the Philippines and around the world, passed away at 3:18 a.m. Saturday. The official cause of death was cardiorespiratory arrest.

Cory or "Tita Cory", as she was popularly known, was diagnosed with colon cancer in March 2008 and was treated with chemotherapy.

Aquino underwent surgery to have parts of her colon removed last May 2009. She was brought back to the Makati Medical Center in June due to loss of appetite.

She stayed there, as her declining condition sparked a wave of emotion in the country and prompted the widespread appearance of yellow ribbons - on trees, car antennas, and even the Web as inspired by a popular song in the 70’s, "Tie A Yellow Ribbon In The Old Oak Tree", which, incidentally, became the theme song of her husband’s release from jail.

Aquino, widow of the assassinated opposition leader Benigno "Ninoy", died of colon cancer at about 3:30 in the morning of August 1 (Philippine time).
Her body was to lie in state until August 3, morning and then be moved to the Manila Cathedral until her funeral on August 5. She was buried beside her beloved husband Ninoy in Manila Memorial Park, Paranaque, Metro Manila. /MP

Aklan PPO Police Community Relations Performance

The Aklan Police Provincial Office topped the 2nd quarter performance evaluation for the period 01 April to 20 June 2009, besting eight other Police Provincial Offices in Western Visayas.

The Regional Police Community Relations Division spearheaded by the Officer-In Charge Police Superintendent Ranulfo I Demiar conducted the evaluation.

The quarter evaluation rated the accomplishments of PPO’s on Sambayan and Santinig efforts, programs/projects and activities with accumulated points of 157, Administrative accomplishments with 5 points. The Aklan PPO scored 137. 25 points.

The Aklan PPO has topped the evaluation rating last 2005. It always placed on the 3rd to 4th place. However, through the all out efforts and support exerted by different police stations, it turned out positive result. It scored high in community assistance development garnering 39.82 out of 44 points, impact projects, Salaam Police Center accomplish-ments and Integrated Transformation Program.

The Aklan Police Provincial Office was adjudged "Best Provincial Police Office" in Western Visayas last year.

Search for Outstanding Barangay Tanod Starts
The Aklan Police Provincial Office in coordination with DILG, Bureau of Fire and Protection, Bureau of Jail Management and Penology, National Police Commission, PPSC and Local Government Units are now evaluating the documents of qualified entries in the provincial level for the Search of Outstanding Barangay Tanod.

The search has four categories: Best performing Barangay Tanods as Individual, groups, posthumous/exemplary performer and heroism.

Some six entries of barangays are now on the process of evaluation prior to recommen-dation in the Regional level. The barangays of Poblacion for group category and individual in Linabuan Sur from the municipality of Banga. Also group category for Brgy Aranas, Balete, while individual categories in Brgy Morales, Balete, Brgy Poblacion, New Washington; and Brgy Balabag, Malay.

The search aims to recognize the best performing Barangay Tanods not only in the provincial level but the whole Western Visayas in the pursuit of the implementation and management of Peace and Order Council Programs (POC), projects and through the initiatives of the coordinative agencies.

It will strengthen the volunteer system and auxiliary network between and among public and private responders. To strengthen the monitoring system at various level and to provide vehicle for improvement of skills, knowledge and techniques in pursuit of the preservation of peace and order and public safety.

DILG Provincial Director Jenny Destua said, barangay tanods serve their barangays on a purely voluntary basis risking their lives and limbs to preserve peace and order in their locality, for minimal or negligible financial remunerations.

Their spirits of unwavering concern and volunteerism deserve recognition and honour through the conduct of the 2009 Search for Outstanding Barangay Tanods, Destua stressed./MP


Sen. Chiz Escudero last week said the tragic death of 10 OFWs in a helicopter crash in Kandahar, Afghanistan should convince the government to ensure that Filipino citizens are not deployed to countries where the peace and order situation remains volatile.

"I believe there is a ban on deploying workers to Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon and Nigeria. And yet, it seems many are able to land jobs in these countries, despite the risks involved in going and working there" he noted.

According to Escudero, the uncertain circumstances surrounding the hiring of the 10 OFW’s bring up speculations of illegal deployment to facilitate their employment right under the noses of government officials.

"It is not enough to just clamp down on illegal recruiters or impose stricter controls at immigration counters. We must also ensure that laws concerning the entry of OFWs to a number of countries are observed," he pointed out.

Since there are at least 12 million OFWs in 190 countries, Escudero called on the government to provide more funding to all Philippine embassies and consulates so that they can attend to the needs of all Filipinos.

"We must ensure that our embassies and consulates have enough funds and personnel to react to all possible situations. More importantly, we must empower them to prevent the abuse of our workers," Escudero suggested.

He also said foreign offices should identify the comparative advantages of OFWs vis-a-vis the country to which they are assigned.

"This is important so we can specifically target the skills required by the host nation in order to be able to send the best qualified OFW."

Remittances last year from OFWs, which make up around 11 percent of the Philippine population, totaled $15.9 billion, more than 50 percent higher than $10 billion in 2005. /MP

Shaping the Future of Altavas Through Local And Regional Economic Development Initiatives

by Rhea M. Ledesma

The stakeholders of the Municipality of Altavas are one in saying that they are the Center of Trade and Industry, booming with economic activities that stirs the growth of their local economy. The Municipality of Altavas, a fourth class municipality, has high hopes of achieving a third class status in the months ahead. It has started looking at strategic focus and options where their resources can have maximum results.

Last month, Altavas embarked on a strategic and development planning process, which we referred to as the Local/Regional Economic Development (LRED). It aims to forge public private partnership to promote holistic economic growth in Altavas. This LRED initiative is headed by Mayor Kathryne Refol to enlist everyone’s participation to come up with viable economic projects that will stimulate economic growth. Organized by the Department of Trade and Industry-Aklan represented by its Provincial Director, Engr. Diosdado P. Cadena, Jr. with its partner agency, the German Technical Cooperation represented by Ms. Rhea Ledesma, the GTZ Regional Coordinator for Western Visayas organized LRED.

LRED is an approach to bring people together from the private and the public sector to have a dialogue and discuss possible strategic inter-ventions to identified problems. LRED involves the conduct of the Rapid Economic Appraisal (REA) to capture the local economic condition by conducting interviews with the private businesses, the academe, NGOs, LGUs present in the locality. The result of the REA is an important input as to how the action plans will be formulated, an output of the LRED planning process.

LRED is also one of the major interventions in the SMEDSEP program (Small and Medium Enterprise Development for Sustainable Employment Program). SMEDSEP is a development cooperation project between the Philippines and Germany. It aims to: 1. improve the business and investment climate for SME in the Philippines, especially in the Visayas, and 2. contributes to the efforts of the Philippine government to improve the framework conditions for private sector development in the country. It is implemented in partnership with DTI at national, regional and provincial levels on behalf of the Philippine government and the German Technical Cooperation (GTZ) on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

GTZ is an international cooperation enterprise for sustainable development with worldwide operations owned by the German Government. For 30 years, it has been providing forward looking con-tributions to political, economic, ecological and social development in partner countries. GTZ supports reform and change processes in an increasingly globalized world, often working under difficult conditions. GTZ’s major approach to facilitate change is promoting capacity development of people and partner organizations as well as improving institutions and frame conditions in partner countries. The joint projects and programs are outcome and impact oriented that contribute towards socioeconomic progress. /MP

Sunday, August 09, 2009


D.A. Completing 21 Priority
Irrigation Projects
The Department of Agriculture (DA) is completing 21 priority irrigation projects in strategically located sites of the Philippines in line with the government’s goal to attain food security, sufficiency, and to raise the farmers’ income by providing efficient irrigation system to their farms.

The National Irrigation Administration (NIA), which is implementing these projects, identified seven projects in Luzon, six in the Visayas, seven in Mindanao , and small re-servoir projects nationwide.

In a report to DA Secretary Arthur Yap, NIA administrator Carlos Salazar said these ongoing projects that were laid out by President Arroyo in her 2006 State-of-the-Nation Address (SONA) include the Banaoag Pump Irrigation Project in Ilocos Sur; Agno River Irrigation Project in Pangasinan; Casecnan Multipurpose Irrigation and Power Project and the Aulo Small Reservoir Irrigation Project, both in Nueva Ecija.

The other SONA-identified projects are the Addalam River Irrigation Project in Quirino; Libmanan-Cabusao Irrigation Project in Camarines Sur; Balog-Balog Multipurpose Project in Tarlac; Bago River Irrigation System and Rehabilitation and Improvement Project in Negros Occidental; Bohol II Irrigation Project in Bohol; Help for Catubig Agricultural Advancement Project in Northern Samar; Southern Philippines Irrigation Sector Project for Regions 6, 7 and 13; and the Dolores Irrigation Project in Eastern Samar; Basey Irrigation Project in Western Samar.

Also in the priority list of SONA-identified projects are the Balingasag Irrigation Project in Misamis Oriental; Talakag Irrigation Project in Bukidnon; Sta. Josefa Pump Irrigation Project in Agusan del Sur; Malaig River Irrigation Project in Lanao del Sur; Rugnan River Irrigation Project also in Lanao del Sur; Kabulnan II Multipurpose Irrigation and Power Project in Sultan Kudarat; Malitubog-Maridagao Irrigation Project Stage 2 in Maguindanao; and the Small Reservoir Irrigation Projects, which are being implemented nationwide.

Yap said that focusing on irrigation and other rural infrastructures had already yielded positive results with palay production expanding by 5.1 percent or double its average growth a year ago. The NIA’s rehabilitation and restoration work has allowed farmers to plant an additional 69,000 hectares of farmland or 5.7 percent more than last year.

"Such gains are the result of the President’s increased spending on agriculture– P25.36 billion in 2007; P36.55 billion in 2008; and P46.86 billion this year," Yap said.

Presidential economic adviser and Albay Gov. Joey Salceda has recommended that the government pour more "stimulus funds" into Philippine agriculture, particularly into irrigation, to sustain the sector’s resilience and its status as a primary growth driver even in the midst of a global financial contagion.

He directed NIA to give priority to dys-functional existing irrigation systems, especially the restoration and rehabi-litation of facilities, rather than starting new projects as this strategy has an immediate impact on the potential farmer-beneficiaries and will prove to be more cost-effective in the long run.

According to him, NIA is expected to vigorously pursue the restoration and rehabilitation of inactive irrigation service areas, both national and communal, and spear-head the completion of several big-ticket foreign- assisted projects.

On the rehabilitation and restoration of existing irrigation systems, the NIA is targeting an area covering a total of 368,000 hectares under a program being imple-mented till 2010 under President Arroyo’s FIELDS program.

FIELDS, enumerates the six areas where government support is being focused under the government’s food security and sufficiency agenda, stands for Fertilizers, Irrigation and other rural infrastructure like farm-to-market roads, extension services and education for farmers, loans, dryers and other post harvest facilities, seeds and other genetic materials.

NIA has so far rehabilitated 103,568 hectares existing com-munal and national irrigation systems and restored 122,909 hectares since 2006 using funds it has received totalling P7.27 billion.

For 2009, the government has allocated P8 billion to NIA to restore facilities servicing 133,000 hectares and rehabilitate those covering 68,000 hectares.

Salazar said that besides rehabilitating and restoring irrigation systems, the agency is also implementing a three-step approach to increase cropping intensity, which means increasing irrigated areas of farmlands.

This approach involves 1) the quick turnaround (QTA) program. This encourages farmers to plant three times a year or adding one more in between the regular dry and wet season crops; 2) adoption of water management practices to maximize the available water supply; and 3) organization and development of farmer-beneficiaries to increase their capability to manage and operate irrigation systems.

But what is the irrigation project of NIA in Aklan included in this multi billion irrigation program? /MP