Tuesday, November 27, 2012


by Ernesto T. Solidum

Providing Tourists Safe, 
Comfortable Pleasure Trip

On October 3, 2012 island cruise mishap occurred in Boracay that claimed three Taiwanese tourists. Commdr. Armand Balilo, Philippine Coastguard spokesman said that 30 passengers were aboard Keon 2, a wooden hull pumpboat that capsized off the coast of Manoc-manoc. Witnesses claimed the sea craft encountered a squall causing passengers to panicked, congregated to one side of the boat causing it to tilt and finally capsized. Dead on arrival at Aklan Baptist Hospital, Caticlan, Malay were two elderly women: one 72 and another 49 years old. A 2 year old child died later. All boat passengers wore life jackets.  

Island cruise is often included as package deal visiting Carabao Island, Romblon and around Boracay. Typhoon Mercer on that above date was mercilessly pounding Zambales province and parts of Central Luzon accompanied by drenching rain and thunderstorm. Southern Tagalog and the Visayas were not threatened according to PAGASA. 

Given the situation at hand, boat cruise went ahead on schedule. Local authorities said it is a freak accident but has claimed more than a hundred lives since the early 1970’s when jump off point of tourists to Boracay was Alimbo-Baybay, Nabas that took longer hours travel. Pump boats during that time were much smaller than the ones currently being used.

Engr. Jonathan Salvador, Manager Metallica Marine Consultancy Fabricators and Services, Poblacion, New Washington, Aklan said, “there is a need to develop a sea class boat capable of providing maximum safety and security to our tourists. A world class tourist destination like Boracay must abide with the international marine safety standard in order to stem the alarming deaths, injuries, and loss or damage to property. Foreign tourists are covered by accident/travel insurance in their countries of origin as they board any public conveyance like plane, car and ships. However, they are not covered by insurance policy once they board wooden pumpboats which are not sea worthy.”

As a licensed shipbuilder, Salvador recommends an all fiberglass luxury yacht trimaran model that could withstand wave distance of 45 meters and above between crests. This yacht can navigate even during typhoon signal No. 1. The volume displacement is 33 cubic meters for main hull and 4.5 cubic meters for “outriggers”. It has overall dimension of 14 meters by 7.2 meters and capable to transport 25 passengers at a trip. Other features include centralized air conditioning and three independent engines. Stability is guaranteed, unsinkable and durable. This boat is ideal for island cruising and affordable to tourist-oriented establishments which costs P7.0 million more or less. 

Those who could not afford the high acquisition cost of a yacht could opt for a taxi boat or Mandarin type that cost about P2.8 million. Overall dimension is 12 x 4.6 meters, made of fiberglass, ideal for Caticlan – Cagban Jetty ports.

For the proposed roll on, roll off Jetty Port service Pook – Boracay route, Engr. Salvador envisions a 50 x 20 meter steel hull ship capable to ferry 600 passengers and 15 medium size delivery trucks at a time. This is based on 300 tourist’s arrival per day to Boracay. With 3 to 4 trips daily, all the food and construction needs could be transported direct from Pook, Kalibo to Boracay customers. This would eliminate unnecessary expenses, time and effort like transport and handling that reduce cost. This however requires bigger investment of P80 – P120 million. 

The logic to building safer and affordable water craft is to assure tourists of safe, comfortable and fast travel in Aklan especially in Boracay.

Engr. Salvador noted that trade winds (amihan and habagat) in Aklan are more violent now than they used to be. A 30 kph wind if synchronized by on-going high tide invariably result to a .3 meter crest enough to rattle a person’s senses on board a pumpboat with flimsy bamboo outriggers. In Boracay, it is normal to have 10-20 meters distance between crests. Above this level, there is typhoon that the Philippine coastguard issues corresponding warning and stoppage of sea transport operation. 

Considering that Boracay is strategic tourists’ destination and dollar earner, proper legislation must be crafted leading to the adoption of sea worthy passenger vessels. Wooden hull pump boats made of cheap marine plywood is outdated.

Mr. Niven Maquirang, administrator of Caticlan Jetty port disclosed that the mooring facility can accommodate only five pumpboats at a time. With a trimaran boat, present capacity can be doubled, boost income and improved efficiency.

Some 50 years ago, Boracay native islanders once used “parao” or a slick wooden boat with sails to navigate island hopping trips powered by wind. Its use was limited to pleasure water craft for sports enthusiasts. It’s time now for changes to cope up with the present demand. To stand still is to lose the competitive edge to other scenic tourist spots. /MP        

Entrepreneurial Farmer

Ambrosio R. Villorente

Aklan’s P1.19 Billion 2013 Budget

Mr. Odon S. Bandiola, secretary to the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) of Aklan reported that SP Aklan has completed the review of budget proposal of eight (8) provincial government departments. According to Bandiola, SP of Aklan through its committee on Appropriations, Finance and Ways and Means had completed the review of the budget proposals of the Office of the Governor, Provincial Agriculturist, Budget Office, Treasurer’s Office, Accounting Office, Human Resource Mgt. Office, Provincial Prosecutor’s Office and Public Attorney’s Office.

The Prosecutor’s Office and Public Attorney’s Office are national government offices but part of their maintenance and operating expenses is charged to the provincial government’s General Fund Budget.

In the 2013 budget, LGU Aklan has proposed P1.19 billion appropriation for General Fund and Economic Enterprise Development (EEDD). Of this proposed amount, P684.112 million will be spent for provincial government operation. The remaining amount is for EEDD.

While the provincial governor exercises full control of the budget appropriations of all executive and EEDD offices, the Office of the Provincial Governor has exclusive total appropriation of P172.301 million, Bandiola stressed.

Out of the P1.19 billion allocated for 2013, some P25.25 million will be spent for subsidy to LGUs, 3 million – subsidy for NGO/POs; P14 million – donations; P7 million – scholarships; P25.087 million – indigency program; P9 million intelligence expenses; and P2 million for sports development. 

A meager amount of P10.828 million will be spent for agriculture. This is a very cute amount considering agriculture as one of Aklan’s twin program. These may not be even enough for personal services. 

Moreover, part of the amount is envisioned to be spent for rice hybridization, Lambaklad, fruit and tree plantations, livestock farms and agri-aqua services. 

What a meager amount for a province which principal industry is agriculture and a great majority of the population are farmers. This explains why most of our farmers maintain their status as “depressed” and highly qualified to join the 4Ps.

The way I vision it, the present agricultural programs both national and provincial will not graduate the Aklanon farmers to food sufficiency, empowered and be among scientific producers of swine and dairy cattle without becoming congressman. They may not be political leaders; suffice that they have resources to sustain their requirements to live a decent life.

Kalibo Ati-atihan Preparation

According to Mr. Meñez, chairman of KASAFI, LGU Kalibo is now 80 percent prepared for the holding of the Kalibo Sto. Niño Ati-atihan Festival 2013. Meñez reported the funding sources, the sponsors, the promotions made to entice visitors to come and join the Ati-atihan 2013 festival in Kalibo.

One weakness Meñez pointed out is the inadequate fund to promote the Kalibo Sto. Niño Ati-atihan. A suggestion made is for KASAFI to request business firms to include the Ati-atihan Festival in their spot announcement in radio/TV programs of international coverage such as in CNN and BBC. 

PNP Provincial Director Escarilla briefly discussed security and safety measure to follow in the maintenance of peace, order, and security during the Ati-atihan festival.

Some details of the Aklan Products Exhibits to be made in March 1-31, 2013 was also discussed in the recent meeting of the Aklan Provincial Tourism Council. This event will be done at the Intercon Hotel, Makati City. Indigenous Aklanon foods, fiber products from abaca, piña, buri, bariw will be featured among others. This project will be jointly handled by the Aklanon businessmen and LGU Aklan. /MP 

Gelito Urges SP: Establish Brgy. Plant Nurseries


In a resolution, the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Aklan has urged barangay government officials to establish and operate tree and plant nurseries in their respective jurisdiction aimed to mitigate the disastrous effects of the prevailing phenomena brought about by the global climate change.

SP member Edina T. Gelito, the Provincial Federation President of the Liga ng mga Barangay sponsored the said resolution. All members of the Aklan SP are co-authors. Resolution No. 2012-312 encourages barangay officials to set up and to operate plant nurseries and institute measures and mechanisms for its continued maintenance in their barangays.
According to Gelito, “each individual has a responsibility to save Mother Earth and must act to mitigate the ill-effects of the global phenomenon.”

Further, she said, “all Sangguniang Barangays in each municipality shall see to it that such plant nurseries are properly maintained and supplied with adequate saplings of any variety through establishing mechanism and system of operations.”

She suggested that applicants for a clearance to cut trees shall be required to contribute at least five (5) saplings of any kind for every tree he intends to cut. Non-compliance of it shall mean rejection to issue a clearance.

Gelito emphasized that the Sangguniang Barangays shall promote, conserve and protect the environment and regulate the cutting, gathering and/or utilization of timber and other forest resources as embodied in the Environment Code of Aklan and existing national laws. /MP

Pedestrian Safety Is DPWH Concern

by Ernesto T. Solidum

A resident of Kalibo or any first class municipality or city who decides to take a morning or afternoon stroll in one of the streets will inadvertently and force to use the car lane. The sidewalks are continuously used by businessmen’s commercial activities or usurped by shadowy characters.

Normal stroll even without a bag of groceries could be difficult with the maze of distractions on the sidewalk. These are illegally parked cars, motorcycles, bicycles, tricycles, not to mention those who do vulcanizing and repair of motor vehicles that easily snag a lady’s blouse or pants. 

Businesses spilling over the roadside are in the fruit stand and flower shops, motorcycle display and ukay-ukay or garments in Kalibo. These scenarios are evident  also in Boracay where tourists are “deluged” by merchandise, peddlers and people. My God! our country is one big China town! 

Road easements are established by law to provide space to walk and protect pedestrians from accidents and to allow quick access. How can a person enjoy the view as a visitor to Kalibo if his eyes are focused on obstructed gutters, posts and pavement that are grotesquely uneven, dented and slippery? A visitor in Kalibo smells manure by the roadside where toilets are built. Dear God, please demolish it like the one along Veterans Avenue.

DPWH Secretary Rogelio Singson is determined to implement a policy that the nation’s sidewalks be cleared of illegal constructions. This is prompted by DOH study that road accidents is No. 4 top cause of mortality in the Philippines. Of this data, more than half of road accidents victims were pedestrians and not motorists. The reported road fatalities in 2009 totaled 34,483.

Priorities for the 2013 implementation are the dismantling of buildings and houses, squatter shanties, stores, shops and other commercial establishments, billboards and signages, fences and walls, basketball courts, garbage receptacles, plant boxes, parked vehicles, junks and construction materials on sidewalks. Most of the junks along the road are engineering equipment.  

Since all illegal construction is involved, humps that are unnecessary, lacks permit and ill maintained be demolished. Humps are road hazards especially at night where they are not of standard size and shape, and unpainted. Actually, they must be sparingly used as in school proximity, hospital or military establishments. Humps must not arbitrarily used for selfish end.

Secretary Singson must insure successful implementation of this program by enlisting the support and cooperation of LGU’s and civic organizations. Local ordinance against illegal construction on sidewalks have been enacted but not implemented in the face of rampant violations. Those people who are violating those ordinances are urged to self-demolish, desist or pay corresponding fines. The DOT jingle of “it’s more fun in the Philippines” may boomerang if pedestrians and tourists are made to walk literally in harm’s way or in the path of speeding vehicles. The Secretary must be lauded, encouraged and supported for his campaign for pedestrian safety considered urgent priority of road infra development. /MP   

Aklan’s Outstanding Debts as of 2013 Is P394.46-M


From the original principal amount of P579.294 million loans Aklan Provincial Government contracted starting in 2004, only P394.46 million remains unpaid. The Provincial Government of Aklan will service the balance starting 2013.

This was revealed during the 2013 Annual General Fund and EEDD Budgets briefing the Provincial Local Finance Committee (PLFC) conducted for the Sangguniang Panlalawigan members on Nov. 20, 2012 at the SP Session Hall.

The briefing was a prelude to the budget hearing proper scheduled starting Nov. 22 up to the mid December when budget proposals of every department of the provincial government shall have been deliberated.

The biggest principal loan incurred by the Province was with the Philippine National Bank, as an agent bank of the Province in floating bonds worth P260 million which financed the renovation/rehabilitation of the Caticlan passenger terminal building, jetty port enhancement and the recovery of the Caticlan coastline.

The loan was incurred on April 30, 2012 but the reclamation component of the project was temporarily shelved after the Supreme Court issued a Temporary Environmental Protection Order (TEPO) on petition of a group of stakeholders. As of this date, the balance of the principal of this particular loan is P187.777 million.

The loans the Aklan Provincial Government contracted to finance some projects with outstanding balances as of Nov. 26, 2012 are as follows: 1) DRSTMH EXPANSION - P 51,765,402.17; 2) Prov’l. Capitol Main Bldg. Improvement - P53,625,000.00; 3) School of Nursing Building - P15,156,928.62; 4) DRSTMH EHMIS - P10,693.233.03; 5) Calancang Sports Complex - P39,214,592.96; 6) Unified Ticketing System, Jetty Port - P13,727,797.83; 7) Repair, Damaged Revetment Wall, Caticlan Jetty Port - P22,500,000.00; and 8) Repair, Damaged Ramp Caticlan Jetty Port - P9,000,000.00.

Except for MDFO-LOGOFIND as source of fund, all loans were contracted from Land Bank of the Philippines Kalibo Branch. 
For Budget Year 2013, a total of P114.089 million is required to service these debts, P77.45 million as amortization for the principal and P36.624 million for interest.

The Audit Report of the Commission on Audit for 2011 cited the aggressive borrowings of the Aklan Provincial Government to fund provincial, social, economic and infrastructure projects.
Aklan Gov. Carlito S. Marquez has prepared and submitted the 2013 budget amounting to P1.19 billion for discussion and approval of the Aklan Sangguniang Panlalawigan. /MP

Obama Blinks None On Miriam’s VFA Brouhaha


Los Angeles, California – Was it a case of bad timing?

Several days after Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago filed a joint resolution seeking the termination of the RP-US Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), the Philippine government has not received any official reaction from the White House.

The lady senator had threatened to file the resolution while newly reelected President Barack Obama was about to embark on a three-nation tour of Asia where he dodged the Philippines recently.

Apparently, Obama was unfazed by Defensor-Santiago’s threat even as observers viewed his recalcitrance as a sign that his administration is willing to let go of that vital joint military project.

Or the timing of Defensor-Santiago’s resolution could have been bad as experts consider the long-raging rivalry between China and five neighbors for control of strategic and resource-rich waters in the Scarborough Shoal in South China Sea to be more urgent than the VFA fiasco.

Obama made it clear during the campaign period he was hell-bent in slashing the military budget as part of his administration’s “peacniks” policy. 

During his first term, President Obama disclosed a “new military strategy” that would cut the Pentagon budget by hundreds of billions of dollars over the next decade.


The new military strategy includes $487 billion in cuts over the next decade. An additional $500 billion in cuts could be coming if Congress follows through on plans for deeper reductions. The announcement came weeks after the U.S. officially ended the Iraq War and after a decade of increased defense spending in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States, reported the USA Today.

Obama said that the military will indeed be leaner, but the U.S. will maintain a budget that is roughly larger than the next 10 countries’ military budgets combined.

“I just want to say that this effort reflects the guidance I gave throughout this process,” Obama said. “Yes, the tide of war is receding. But the question that this strategy answers is what kind of military will we need after the long wars of the last decade are over. And today, we’re moving forward, from a position of strength.”

Obama added: “Some will no doubt say the spending reductions are too big; others will say they’re too small,” Obama said. “It will be easy to take issue with a particular change. But I would encourage all of us to remember what President Eisenhower once said — that ‘each proposal must be weighed in the light of a broader consideration: the need to maintain balance in and among national programs.”

Obama has vowed to “strengthen our presence in the Asia Pacific, and budget reductions will not come at the expense of this critical region.”


Defensor-Santiago’s Joint Resolution, her second attempt since 2010, accused the US of non-compliance and violation of Philippine law and international norms and customs on the protection and preservation of the environment.

The resolution came in the heels of the controversy involving a US Navy contractor that allegedly dumped hazardous wastes in Subic Bay. A number of senators have called for an investigation on the allegation. It was also in prime news in the Philippines while President Obama’s tour in Asia was in progress and when he recently attended the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and leaders of Southeast Asia at the Peace Palace in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

The senate resolution also sought to direct the secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs to give notice of termination to the United States. “If adopted, the joint resolution, although victimized by the President’s veto power, will become a historic compulsive force that can still gather together the broken pieces of national sovereignty shattered by the infirmity of the political leadership,” Santiago said in the measure.


The VFA was signed in February 1998 and was ratified by the Philippine Senate in May 1999. It is not a mutual security agreement but a support deal to the Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT).

In August 2010, Santiago also filed a joint resolution calling for the termination of the VFA.  It was never passed and remained pending in the committee. In her first resolution, Santiago said the US does not recognize the VFA as a treaty because its Congress never ratified the agreement, which the Philippine Senate did in 1999.

Defensor-Santiago was supported by Senator Joker Arroyo and Teofisto Guingona III who argued that the country had supposedly not benefited from the agreement. /MP

Sugilanon Ni Tita Linda

Ni Tita Linda Belayro

Hacienda Durano

Si Selmo hay tawong may edad eon. Pirmeng makita nga naga winarang sa karsada. Naga empa-empa eon ngani kon magtikang. May pagka buktot ag bulag ro sambilog nana nga mata. Owa mat-a imaw naga pakalimos. Naga balibad ngani kon taw-an it maskin anong pagkaon. Naga pamueot imaw it basura nga anang guina baligya sa junk shop. Ro kabak-eanan, imaw ro anang guina bakae it pagkaon. 

Idto naga estar si Selmo sa idaeom it tulay. Kaibahan nana ro mga eskwater nga owa it dogalingon nga baeay. Maatag si Selmo. Naga ta-o imaw it pagkaon sa ibang onga nga naga estar man sa idaeom it tulay.

Isaeang adlaw, may nag sungbil kana it pagkaon. Anang guin balibaran. Hakibot ro eaeaking nag sungbil kana it pagkaon. Busa guin sundan nana kon siin naga estar si Selmo. Pag abot ni Selmo sa baeay, abo nga naga hueat kana nga mga onga. Ro iba masakiton ag ro iba man hay may diperensyang pisikal. 
Nagsueod ro eaeaki. Hakita ro kwarto ni Selmo nga mahipid ro mga igdaeapat. May hakita man imaw nga retrato sa kwadro nga may tawong naga baton it diploma. May una man nga kwadro nga naga baton it kadungganan halin sa isaeang ka prehisteryoso nga organisasyon. Sangka kwadro man nga may lisensya it pagka piloto sa pangaean ni Anselmo Durano. 

Guin usisa ko eaeaki ro eskwelahan nga guin tapusan ni Selmo. Idto imaw nakasayod nga isaeang ka piloto gali si Selmo. Ro anang eroplano hay nabag-bag sa kabukiran it Sierra Madre, patay ro tanan nga pasahero ogaling ro piloto hay owa makita ra eawas. Nabuhi si Selmo ag guin sapupo it isaeang ka mangangahoy. Nagtenir imaw sa lugar ngaron ag nagpananum hasta nangin asawa nana ro onga it mangangahoy.

Ogaling sa pagbu-ot it Diyos, namatay sa pag unga ro anang asawa, pati pa man ro eapsag. Nagpanaw lang imaw sa siyudad nga owa it nakakilaea kana tongod sa anang hitsura nga abo nga mga pali it sunog. Sa siyudad, guin pabangdan imaw nga aswang o mangkukulam. May naduea nga unga ag guin sugid-sugid nga imaw ro nagkaon. Ko olihi nasayuran nga nag ea-as gali ro onga ag hakita it mga pulis sa lugar it mga eskwater. 

May guin hold-up man sa lugar ngaron ag si Selmo man guihapon ro guin pabangdan. Ko olihi, hadakpan it mga pulis ro minatu-od nga hold-upper busa guin paguwa sa presohan si Selmo. 

Abo ro habuligan ni Selmo nga mga eskwater. Nangin idolo imaw sa royon nga lugar. Abo nga napa bag-o nana nga mga adik sa alcohol ag mapait nga bueong. Ro mga estambay hay guina taw-an nana it pangabuhi-an. Abo nga guinikanan ro nagpasaeamat ay naglinong ro andang lugar ag nangin malimpyo. Nakaabot sa media ro tanan nga natabo. Guin interbyu si Selmo sa radyo ag telebisyon. 

Hakita imaw ko anang mga igbata sa telebisyon. Insigida nag adto sa siyudad ro anang pamilya ag imaw man ko tawo nga nagsapupo kana sa kabukiran. Nagkilita ro tanan sa estasyon it radyo. Ro anang eogta nga guin hawanan hay may nagbakae agod obrahon nga ranchohan. Ogaling owa nana igbaligya. Guin daea nana tanan idto ro mga eskwater agod idto mag estar. Makaron, ro lugar hay nangin Hacienda Durano sa Mindanao. /MP

Guadalupe Bridge

At right is a bridge constructed under the Presidential Bridge Program in Madalag, Aklan. The construction began in 2011 but it is difficult to tell if it is already completed, though inaugurated and named Guadalupe Bridge just recently.

This picture was taken at about 4:30 in the afternoon, Saturday, November 24 facing toward east or Brgy. Daguitan, Banga. It’s about 200 meters long made of fabricated steel.

Is the bridge completely finished? Picture at right was taken at the end of the steel bridge facing west or Poblacion, Madalag, Aklan. The river bank seems to be 200 meters still in the Poblacion, Madalag side. 

During good weather, people can go to Poblacion, Madalag from Daguitan or Daguitan to Madalag using the bridge. 

However, during rainy season, it will be difficult to cross the bridge as this portion will be submerged in water. (ARV photo) /MP

My Beef Cattle And Goat

I’m glad to present to you my beef cattle. Her name is Tessa. In 2010, Tessa delivered her first offspring, a male and was sold at reasonable price for breeding. 

Last Wednesday, November 21, Tessa delivered a twin, a male and female. The male is named Arnold while the female is named Normie. Both offsprings are doing good. They are serving as grass cutters in the farm.  They are shown in the above picture. 

I am also delighted to introduce to you our goat. It started with two goats acquired from the dispersal program of the Department of Agriculture in 2010. Since then, these two goats have delivered six offsprings for three times at two kids per delivery. 

The latest two were born last Sunday, November 25. Of the six offsprings, one was dispersed to a friend, one was butchered, and another died when our pet dog played with it. Look at our goats, five of them serving as grass cutters   in our orchard. Can you give a name to each of them? (by Doc  Botoy Villorente) /MP

Aklan SP Completes Review of 2013 Budget


On Thursday, Nov. 22, the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Aklan, through its Committee on Appropriations, Finance and Ways and Means chaired by SP member Selwyn C. Ibarreta has completed the review of budget proposals of six (6) provincial government departments. This  includes the Provincial Prosecutor’s Office and the Public Attorney’s Office, national government agencies which claim part of its maintenance and operating expenses from the province’s budget.

The operation of these offices are funded under the General Fund Budget of the Aklan provincial government which carries a total appropriation for 2013 of P684.112 million.

General Fund and Economic Enterprise Development Department (EEDD) budgets for 2013 provides for P1.19 billion appropriations.

The SP last Thursday recommended approval the budgets of the Office of the Provincial Governor, Office of the Provincial Agriculturist, Provincial Budget Office, Provincial Treasurer’s Office, Provincial Accounting Office, Provincial Human Resource Management Office, Provincial Prosecutors Office and Public Attorney’s Office.

Although the Provincial Governor exercises full control of the budget appropriations of all executive and EEDD offices, the Office of the Provincial Governor alone has an exclusive total budgetary appropriation of P172.301 million.

Of the total 2013 allocation for the Office of the Provincial Governor, included are appropriations for Subsidy to LGUs in the total amount of P25.25 million, subsidy to NGO/POs of P3 million, donations of P14 million, scholarship program of P7 million, indigency program of P25.087 million, intelligence expenses of P9 million and sports development program of P2 million.

The review of the P10.828 million budget of the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist was likewise completed. Income earning programs and projects of the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist such as the rice hybridization program, Lambaklad projects, fruit and tree plantations, livestock farms, among others, had been transferred to the EEDD- Agri Aqua Services.

Budget proposal of other departments already reviewed by the SP are: Prov’l. Human Resource Management Office-P9.322 million; Prov’l. Budget Office-P9.402 million; Prov’l. Treasurer’s Office-P16.691 million; Prov’l. Accounting Office-P16.472 million; Prov’l. Prosecutor’s Office-P0.65 million; and, Prov’l. Attorney’s Office P0.726 million.  /MP

Friday, November 23, 2012


Improving Tourist Products of Aklan

Atty. Helen J. Catalbas, Reg’l Director, Department of Tourism (DOT) Region No. VI was the keynote speaker of Brainstorming and Tasking Session of Aklan Provincial Tourism Stakeholders held at Corazon L. Cabagnot Tourism and Training Center, Old Buswang, Kalibo on November 14, 2012. She was ably assisted by Ms. Vicky Ramos Antonino, co-chairman, Aklan Provincial Tourism Council (APTC).

Director Catalbas, in a powerpoint presentation, discussed the Regional Tourism Plan for 2012 that targets 4.9 million international tourists and 3.8 million domestic tourists. International tourists come from abroad for pleasure, attend festival, visit friends and relatives, stay in a host country not less than 24 hours but not more than a year. 

Domestic tourists come from within the Philippines. They may be a foreigner by virtue of their changes of citizenship but of Pilipino descent. It is expected the host country provides the best tourist products like memorable experience from the time they arrive to the time they leave Aklan. 

The place of origin is tourists market or place like France where people demand the tourist products, accommodations and souvenirs. For example the top 10 markets of Aklan in 2011 were South Korea, Taiwan, China, USA, Australia, Russia, United Kingdom, Japan, Germany and Hongkong.

Aklan tourism products, said Atty. Catalbas consist of nature based tourism, cultural tourism, sun and beach tourism, leisure and entertainment, meeting and convention center, health and wellness tourism, cruise and nautical tourism and education tourism. Out of the 29 official clusters, Western Visayas is ranked No. 5. To improve the region’s tourism standing with the help of the many stakeholders in Aklan, it is not long and far to reach one notch higher after a year or two.

The brainstorming session produced prodigious data and information as to the nature based tourism and cultural tourism activities. The session recommended the separation of domestic flights from international flights, additional facilities at Kalibo International Airport like runway extension, taxi parking, and terminal building expansion among others, Pook Development Eco Park and Jetty Port, additional hotels and convention center and product showcase will be great addition.

Presently, Aklan has 600 tourist oriented business establishments, 274 transport facilities (Soutwest – 34 units, Island Star – 40, and KIATA – 200). The sustainability of tourism in Aklan could be achieved by adopting a multi destination strategy with tourists spending at least two days in mainland Aklan, three days in Boracay.

A total of 47 accredited stakeholders, municipal tourism officers and representatives of government line agencies attended the affair. (with the report of Ernesto T. Solidum) 

Tourism Situation In Aklan

Tourism situation in mainland Aklan is considered poor or inadequate. The brainstorming session concluded: 90 percent of investments have been poured into development of Boracay largely by foreigners and Filipino businessmen. The return on investment if rated at 30 percent could easily double since foreign currency is used. (The government does infrastructure improvement.)

The tourism facilities like hotels, resorts, diving sites and cruise ship in mainland Aklan are gradually developed by stakeholders in Kalibo, Tangalan, Ibajay, Nabas, Malay, Buruanga, New Washington and Libacao. The target is to complement, reinforced other natural assets and richness of Aklanon heritage. It does not compete with Boracay, rather compliment.

Business prospects are limited to nature – based tourism (mangrove eco parks), cultural (Sto. Niño festival) handicraft products), cruise and nautical tourism (Lagatik – Tinagong Dagat river cruise). However, the program is hampered by the shortage of facilities and convenient accommodation for guests.

The Aklan Provincial Tourism Council is in the right track of implementing aggressive program to inform and educate Aklanons and foreign tourists on multi-destinations approach. If the average length of stay of tourist is five days, at least he spends two days in mainland Aklan. 

The Ati-atihan town of Kalibo comes up with a package tour that covers visit to mangrove ecopark, Aklan museum, Kalibo Cathedral, piña and ati village. Nabas, Tangalan, Ibajay and Buruanga all accessible to transport have their own tourist sites that are very affordable compared to Boracay’s.


The brainstorming session recommends the following:

1. Private-Public Partnership: Closed coordination between organized stakeholders like Boracay Foundaton Inc., Boracay Transport Coop, Kalibo International Airport Transport Assn.) and concerned government agencies (DOT, DTI, DOTC – LTO, DENR, PNP, Philippine Coastguard/MARINA) and LGUs in the implementation of pertinent laws on tourism must be established.

2. Financial incentives through banking institutions for novel projects. 

For private stakeholders engaging in novel projects like river cruise and nautical tourism, medical tourism, agri-tourism, learn abaca/piña culture for cultural and technological exchanges are encouraged. The government offers liberal credit, tax incentives or tax holidays.

3. Improved road access to tourism sites as majority of waterfalls and sports sites like bamboo rafting, mountain biking and horseback riding trails are extremely difficult. Aklan provincial roads total 308 kms but 170 kms. are in bad shape. 

4. Media promotion and marketing of tourism sites in mainland Aklan. Kalibo Ati-atihan is outclassed and outranked by other festivals celebrated in the Visayas due to the inadequate and unfit marketing program. The promotion program has been left to a novice. Aklan, specifically LGU Kalibo must balance the effort of festival production with marketing thrust. /MP

Entrepreneurial Farmer

Ambrosio R. Villorente

Discourtesy In The Jetty Port

“If nothing is done to improve the process of reception to visitors in the jetty ports in Caticlan and Cagban, Malay, I will resign”, declared Mr. Albert Meñez, member of the Board of Directors of the Aklan Provincial Tourism Council (APTC). 

Mr. Meñez lamented the discourtesy the receptionist at the Jetty Port accorded him during his visit to Boracay island recently. 

Mr. Meñez is also the chairman of the Kalibo Sto. Niño Ati-atihan Foundation, Incorporated and former member of the Sangguniang Bayan of Kalibo.

The revelation of the shabby treatment accorded him was during the meeting of the APTC on Wednesday afternoon, Nov. 21 at the Provincial Governor’s Conference room. 

In that meeting, Ms. Lenette R. Mendoza also revealed the same treatment she received during her visit to Boracay Island with a group three weeks ago. 

Jetty Port Administrator Niven Maquirang who was present during that meeting explained why those discourtesies happened. 

First, he cannot hire a highly qualified personnel because of meager compensation being paid. 

Second, the job is tedious as the receptionists work continuously for eight hours a day with all kinds of people and nationalities they served; and

Third, there is no systematic recruitment process of personnel to follow.

The jetty port management in Malay, Aklan is aware that more than one million visitors are now visiting Aklan with final destination in Boracay. These visitors come from not only in the Philippines but from several countries abroad. The main purpose of their visit is to seek pleasure and happiness. Hence, they must be happily welcomed and received with utmost courtesy.

The receptionists at the jetty port will portray the kind of people the Aklanons are. The receptionists mirror to the visitors our culture, our breeding. Are Aklanons polite? kind? respectful?
With those observations, several suggestions were given. Ms. India Dela Cruz Legaspi suggested “to impress upon the receptionists in the jetty port that they are there to assist the visitors and not to accost (para buligan, owa ga sita).

Submit Proposal

There is a need for the jetty port administrator to submit to official concerned a proposal to promote effective personnel management and services for the best interest of Aklan and the Aklanons. It is also to provide maximum favorable services to the visitors.

The personnel management proposal will include the positions required in the jetty port, the terms of reference like qualification standard, compensation package and tour of duty among others.

Since the duties and responsibilities mainly involve people management, priority be given to applicants who are psychologically qualified with excellent communication skill, high tolerance, amiable, of pleasing personality, diligent and honest. If possible, there must be psychologist and linguist to handle some communication problems. /MP

Night of Philippine Cuisine, Music & Dances

Hon. Bob Herron and Hon. Cathy E. Muñoz (5th & 6th  front row), state legislature members of Alaska led a Trade and Tourism Mission to the Philippines on Nov. 15 - 19. They specifically visited Aklan province. They are shown above among Aklan LGU officials and businessmen after their business meeting held at Capt. Gil Mijares Memorial Bldg., Kalibo, Aklan.

Hon. Cathy E. Muñoz (3rd from right) dressed in elegant piña long gown Vice Gov. Gabrielle V. Calizo-Quimpo specially made for her.  (more pictures in the next issue...)

Aklan Division Says Yes to YES-O Congress

DepEd Order No. 52, Series of 2011, entitled “Strengthening Environmental Education in Public and Private Schools” mandates the Department of Education – Center for Students and Co-Curricular Affairs (DepEd – CSCA) to lead pupils and students’ environment programs, projects, activities and advocacies in school. It also directs the designing and developing various forms in connection with the application, registration, establishment, assessment, monitoring and evaluation of the Youth for Environment in School Organizations (YES-O) both public and private. Hence, the DepEd issues the mandated programs, projects and activities (PPAs), various forms and targets pertinent to the YES-O programs. 

In support to this, the youth for the YES-O of the Division of Aklan under the leadership, guidance and supervision of the YES-O Advisers Association headed by Mrs. Mary Cherry Lyn M. Dalipe through the support of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Local Government Unit (LGU) of Tangalan headed by Tangalan Mayor Gene T. Fuentes, Tangalan National High School headed by its school principal, Mr. Melfin D. Meren and Tangalan Elementary School headed by Mrs. Ma Fe T. Rabe, elem school principal I jointly conducted the 5th Division YES-O on Nov. 9-11, 2012 with the theme “Lupa at Tubig Kalingain, Hangin Linisin, Batas Tuparin”. 

The objectives of this YES-O Congress are: a. to inculcate among students the critical role of environmental protection to prevent and cope with the effect of climate change such as typhoons, floods, earthquakes, and droughts; b. to develop students’ awareness on the state of environment, focusing on significant issues and concerns; c. to motivate actual involvement of students in the worthwhile programs and projects for the environment; d. strengthen the implementation of the YES-O; e. to ensure students’ and pupils’ active participation; f. to determine action in the protection, preservation and rehabilitation of the environment and conservation of the natural resources in their respective areas; g. to learn Climate Change Adaptation and Disasters Preparedness; g. to motivate actual involvement of students in the worthwhile programs and projects for the environment; and h. to foster camaraderie and brotherhood among participants. 

Some 3,073 participants from all over the Division of Aklan registered and participated in the just concluded YES-O congress. 

There were On The Spot Poster Collage Making; Terra-Aquarium Making; Photo Tribute; Enviro-Essay Writing Contest  both in Aklanon and English; Enviro-Sayawit, Enviro-Quiz, Disco-Derby, Recycling Showcase, Enviro-Balagtasan, Enviro-Dokyu, Enviro-Poem Writing in Aklanon and English; Enviro-Mascot contest for elementary and secondary levels participants. 

Electronics Leaflet, YES-O Spotlight, Impromptu Dayalogo, Tall Tales, T-Shirt Design, and Enviro-Balagtasan contests for secondary level only.

The Talent Presentation of the Search for Lakan and Lakambini Ng Kalikasan and the Munting Lakan and the Munting Lakambini ng Kalikasan were held November 9, 2012 in the evening.

Pageant and Coronation Night were done in the evening on November 10, 2012 with Superintendent Jesse M. Gomez as chairman of the Board of Judges. /MP

STI Spearheads IT Consciousness Week Celebration


STI College Kalibo, Aklan spearheaded the two-day program of Kalibo IT Consciousness Week last November 15-16, 2012. The celebration was held at the different designated venues around the town of Kalibo.

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) headed the Committee on Program and Promotions. Edsel Tupas, Career Adviser/Marketing Officer of STI College prepared a comprehensive program for the eight (8) participating schools in the province of Aklan. 

On November 15, the participating schools/colleges and sponsors held a motorcade around Kalibo. This was followed by a short program at APSTA Center. Engr. Diosdado P. Cadena, Jr, DTI Aklan Provincial Director gave the words of welcome. Kalibo Mayor William S. Lachica was represented by SB member Ariel Fernandez who delivered his message. Aklan Provincial Governor Carlito S. Marquez in his message said: “Use your skills to find a good job and be good at it, for once you are determined and responsible at what you do, you will be definitely be successful in your chosen career.”

After which, he presided the Induction of Officers of the 1st Kalibo Aklan Information Technology Enablers (KAITE) led by Mr. Noli Resterio, the first elected president. The closing remarks of Resterio – Aklan Catholic College (ACC) ended the program.

Other KAITE officers installed are: President – Noli Resterio (Aklan Catholic College); Vice-President – Jeff Clarin – ACC; Secretary; DTI PD Diosdado Cadena, Jr; Treasurer – Ms. Mevelyn R. Mendoza – Provincial Planning and Development Office; Auditor – Mr. Rommel M. Nejar – Garcia College of Technology. The members of the Board of Directors are Hernan de Honor – Aklan State University–CIT, Engr. Paul Erwin Sarabia – STI College Kalibo, Mr. Raul Bernasa – Kalibo Cable, and Mr. Jose Mari Aldecoa – Phil. Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Aklan Chapter.

TRANSCOM and TELETECH, Iloilo City facilitated the JOB’s Fair for Business Providers Outsourcing (BPO) Recruitment after the short program. 

Two alternative classes were held simultaneously in the afternoon at Venue 1 (APSTA Center) for the student delegates How to Write a Good Resume and Job Interview Tips and Netiquette was discussed by Ms. Kathy B. Lima, area manager of Smart Communications. At Venue 2 (STI College) for the IT Faculty and Personnel discussed the ICT Trend in the Philippines, Preparing Higher Education Institutions for IT-BPO Explosion by Dr. Jesse M. Gomez, School’s Division Superintendent of Aklan.

An Inter-School Competition was held on Friday, Nov. 16 at the Learning Resource Center (LRC), Kalibo Pilot Elementary School. All the IT participating schools/colleges in Aklan competed in Hardware Servicing, Digital Arts and Web Page Design followed. An IT Quiz Bowl was held with resounding success. /MP

Obama Skips Philippines; Wary of Toxic Waste Issue?


Los Angeles, California – Filipinos are among the minorities in the United States that recently gave President Barack Obama overwhelming support to thwart Gov. Mitt Romney in the November 6 presidential election.

But in his first tour of Asia after securing his reelection, the 51-year-old first African American to hold the top office in the White House, skipped the Philippines to prioritize Thailand, Burma, and Cambodia.  

White House did not explain why the United States’ 44th president did not include Philippines, its closest ally in the Asia pacific region, in the tour but assured critics that his landmark trip to Burma (now Myanmar) “was not a premature reward for a long-isolated nation still easing its way toward democracy.”

“This is not an endorsement of the government,” Obama said November 18 in Thailand as he opened a three-county dash through Asia. “This is an acknowledgement that there is a process under way inside that country that even a year and a half, two years ago, nobody foresaw.”

Was the American president aware of the stimulated environmental issue currently brewing the Philippines?


Obama’s Asia tour coincided with reports that a US naval ship dumped toxic waste in Subic Bay in Olongapo, Philippines. The hazardous waste materials were allegedly dumped by Glenn Defense Marine Asia, a US naval ship service contractor. The waste materials were reportedly taken from US naval ships in the area.

The furor prompted Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago to call for termination of the Philippines-US Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) “for non-compliance of international norms and customs on the protection and preservation of the environment.”

An expert in constitutional and international law, Defensor- Santiago, in a speech delivered November 16 at the annual convention of the Philippine Academy of Medical Specialists, said she would file a resolution with the Senate directing the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) secretary to give notice of termination of the VFA to the US.

“I charge the United States for failing to comply with, and for violating, Philippine law, as well as international norms and customs on the protection and preservation of the environment as these obligations are now codified respectively in articles 192 and 211 of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS),” boomed Defensor-Santiago.


The feisty lady senator stressed that Glenn Defense Marine Asia could be characterized as civilian personnel employed by the United States Armed Forces under Article I (2) of the VFA.
She explained that “the illegality of Glenn Marine Asia’s acts in toxic dumping ceases to be an individual act but is actually a breach of obligation in international law attributable to its principal, namely, the United States Government. It is thus an act of State.”

Defensor-Santiago added: “The reason why toxic wastes are being dumped in Subic Bay is because of the existence of these US Navy ships; thus, the act of pollution by dumping is within the concern of the VFA. Clearly, it is a breach of obligation under Philippine law against pollution from ship.”

“One party will simply notify the other in writing that it desires to terminate the agreement. Just like a bill, this resolution can be vetoed by the President; otherwise, it shall become a law as if he has signed it. But even so, I hope that this resolution will become a historic compulsive force among the Filipino youth, particularly in our universities. I call on students throughout the country to demand that the VFA should be scrapped,” Santiago added.


Obama became the first U.S. president to visit Myanmar with Air Force One touched down in Yangon morning on November 18. Obama spent just six hours in the country, and the much-anticipated stop came as the result of a remarkable turnaround in the countries’ relationship.

The president’s Asia tour also marks his formal return to the world stage after months mired in a bruising re-election campaign, reported AP’s Julie Pace. For his first post election trip, he tellingly settled on Asia, a region he has deemed the region as crucial to U.S. prosperity and security.

Aides say Asia will factor heavily in Obama’s second term as the U.S. seeks to expand its influence in an attempt to counter China.


China’s rise is also at play in Myanmar, which long has aligned itself with Beijing. But some in Myanmar fear that China is taking advantage of its wealth of natural resources, so the country is looking for other partners to help build its nascent economy.

According to Pace, Obama has rewarded Myanmar’s rapid adoption of democratic reforms by lifting some economic penalties. The president has appointed a permanent ambassador to the country, also known as Burma, and pledged greater investment if Myanmar continues to progress following a half-century of military rule.

But some human rights groups say Myanmar’s government, which continues to hold hundreds of political prisoners and is struggling to contain ethnic violence, hasn’t done enough to earn a personal visit from Obama.

The largest port of the United States for its naval forces in Southeast Asia was formerly based in Subic Bay.

The military based was closed down in 1992 when the Philippine Senate voted to reject a US request to extend the term of its naval station at Subic and Air Force Base at Clark Air Force Base in Pampanga province. /MP