Wednesday, January 30, 2013


by Ernesto T. Solidum

Senate Accountability Defies 
Common Sense

As a student of good governance, I am appalled at how our government officials notably the honorable members of the Senate, dispenses its office’s savings. The P30 million under normal circumstances must be returned to the Treasury based on COA regulations. Chiefs of offices are advised to exercise restraint in disbursing unspent funds for the current year since there is perennial shortfall in government collections against expenses. It is patently absurd that we keep on borrowing from IMF and WB only to squander them on petty expenses like Christmas gifts, “pasalubong and pabaon.”

Senate Pres. Juan Ponce Enrile according to news reports acted as Santa Claus handing out P1.6 million as individual cash gifts to his colleagues deemed as personal supporters but only P250,000 to his arch critics. Stung by adverse reaction later this was modified to Maintenance and Other Operating Expenses. (MOE) at a time when the year 2012 was drawing to a close. What in the world is happening to our leaders?

That such action was carried out in ruthless disregard of fairness and sobriety. The money was handed out only to win loyalty and to punish those who are offensive to his taste. Senator Enrile’s status as a seasoned politician and former henchman of Pres. Marcos must have known that leadership demands liberality, forgiveness and restraint. Yet on this instance, he showed his true color. It is outright discriminatory and degrading for four Senators to receive mere pittance from a Chief of Office that claims authority to disburse public funds. Fiscal responsibility however dictates that public funds must be wisely used to the best interest of the service. In no case must people’s money be labeled Christmas gift since it is not his. It is public fund. Santa gives money and gifts to people because it belongs to him. 

Senator Miriam D. Santiago’s angry outburst on the Senate floor as well as Senators Antonio Trillanes IV, Allan Peter and sister Pia Cayetano only proved how well money can dominate our lives. Remember the several impeachment proceedings against PGMA that didn’t materialize? It was because of the PDAF or pork barrel that was dangled right on Congressmen’s noses. Presently, there is a rumor of unseating Enrile. At best the only way to resolve the problem is to reward friends and punish detractors. The act is despicable indeed. 

Our legislators enrich themselves by passing legislation like raising monthly salaries, funding of congressional staff, perks such as bonus, RATA, PDAF and all others. Our 287 congressmen get PDAF or pork barrel at P70 million per year while our senators P200 million. The majority of the fund is expended without observing strict accounting procedure since they belong to the elite honorary members of Congress. Practically, the P1.6 million Christmas gift or MOOE is considered unnecessary, unjust and unethical. The 30 million could have been spent to feed and clothe victims of typhoon Pablo in Eastern Mindanao.

During the celebrated trial of CJ Renato Corona, the Department of Budget and Management testified that they have issued a policy against acceptance of gifts by public servants. Although directive was more on judges, lawmakers must be more lenient or circumspect since it involves ethical standards of behavior in the government service. “Justices and judges should not accept gifts, donations, discounts, loans and gratuity given in the expectancy of getting something in return”. Basic question is, has this been implemented or pushed under the rug?

The rest a nugget of wisdom on money. “Money will buy a bed but not sleep; books not brains; food but not appetite; finery but not beauty; a house but not a home; medicine but not health; luxuries but not culture; amusement but not happiness; religion but not salvation; and a passport to nowhere but not heaven.” Who says money is powerful and desirable? Think again. /MP  

Comelec Rules On Political Ad Airtime

Senator Chiz Escudero welcomed the Commission on Elections’ (Comelec) ruling shortening the airtime that a political candidate may buy for campaign ads, saying the move would level the playing field for all candidates.
 “Those who have deep resources will no longer lord over the airwaves and leave those who have meager resources way, way behind,” Escudero said at the Senate’s weekly Kapihan sa Senado media forum.
 “At least no single candidate can put one over the other in terms of airtime. It’s a fair game for everyone, it’s a welcome thing,” he added.
But the senator also said the Comelec’s regulations on internet campaigning remains a vague issue, given the innovative concept of the internet technology.
Comelec Resolution 9615, which covers the airtime acquisition ceiling, said “online advertisement, whether procured by purchase, or given free of charge, shall not be published more than three times a week per website during the campaign period.”
Chairman Sixto Brillantes said online election propaganda include ads posted on social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook.

Escudero said internet regulations have many loopholes, and the Comelec has not yet developed the core competence to provide and define standards for its usage.

“It leaves more questions than answers. How can Comelec monitor it? For example, how do they count the minutes used by a particular candidate? What if someone uploads an ad without the candidate’s knowledge or permission? Will that be counted against his airtime? What if ill-meaning protagonists will use this free uploading just to discredit a political rival? These are realities that I hope the Comelec will tread with caution and consideration,” Escudero said.

In Aklan, the Comelec laws, rules and regulations are being violated left and right. Can the Comelec implement these laws? Very doubtful. There must be implementers to compel all to obey the laws. However, the Comelec does not have them.  

Shooting In Cebu Court

Senator Chiz Escudero slammed the shooting incident inside the Metropolitan Trial Court in Cities (MTCC) Branch 6 in Cebu City which left three people dead – including the shooter and one person injured.

Escudero, chairman of Senate committee on Justice and Human Rights, said, “this incident is upsetting. I would like to extend my deepest sympathies to all the victims. The shooting incident should not have happened, inside a judicial court at that. What irony it is that it happened inside a place of refuge for justice, a place where legal rights are emphasized.”

 The shooter, Canadian national John Pope, shot dead Dr. Rene Rafols and his lawyer, Giovanni Achas, while a hearing on a case against the shooter was going on.

Pope was being sued by Rafols for malicious mischief.

Reports said after shooting the two victims, Pope turned on other people in the courtroom, and shot and injured Cebu City Assistant Prosecutor Maria Teresa Casiňo.

 A responding policeman shot Pope, who died while receiving treatment at a hospital. 

The senator expressed concern over the security in judicial courts all over the Philippines. Escudero noted the members of the judiciary are in constant threat, and that many have been killed in relation to the cases they handled.

“Members of the judiciary have to look over their backs constantly due to threats to their lives. They should not be subjected anymore to this same kind of unease once they step into our judicial courts. There should not be any threats anymore,” Escudero said.

He called for a stricter imposition of security arrangements in courts, maximizing the use of physical and electronic deterrents and other security equipment.

“Our courts should be insulated from threats, harms for everyone. We must ensure that all courts are orderly and safe where the public can take refuge, and ascertain that within its halls their rights are protected and emphasized,” Escudero said. /MP

Aklanon Completes PHD In Diplomacy At ANU

Juan Enriquez Dayang, Jr. has successfully completed a Doctorate degree in Diplomatic Studies (with distinction) at the prestigious Australian National University (ANU), Canberra, Australia last Dec. 14, 2012.

Dayang’s doctoral studies was under the auspices of the Australian government’s Australian Leadership Award (ALA) grant for outstanding international leaders and intellectual  in the Asia-Pacific region.

The youthful Dr. Dayang, who hails from Kalibo, Aklan, is the only son of former Kalibo town Mayor Juan P. Dayang and Ofelia A. Enriquez.

Dayang, who was selected  as a visiting scholar at the Institute for the Study of International Migration at Georgetown University in Washington DC, wrote a doctoral dissertation entitled “Defending the Heroes: Consular Protection of Migrant Workers by the Philippines and Mexican Governments.” 

 Jed, as he is fondly called by his colleagues, graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Management from San Beda College, Masters of Business Administration (Valedictorian) at the Graduate Institute of Peace Studies, Kyung Hee University, Seoul, Republic of Korea and a Masters of Public Administration (Phi Alpha Alpha Honors) degree at the University of Oklahoma, USA.

 Dayang, a Foreign Service Officer who served as Consul at the Philippine Embassy in Seoul, South Korea, is currently Director in the Office of ASEAN Affairs, Department of Foreign Affairs, Manila. /MP

Marquez: Era ENDS On June 30


From the second semester of 2004 to the end of the first semester this year, 2013, an era of almost a decade of provincial governance will end.

It is the Gov. Carlito S. Marquez’ era about to end. What is in store for the provincial government of Aklan during the post-Marquez era? It remains to be seen.

Suffice to say, LGU- Aklan’s stability is strengthened through the years within the 3-year-3-terms of Marquez. What will be needed starting July 2013 is to maintain or even increase the momentum of growth and stability Marquez’ administration attained.

I was too privileged as a journalist to chronicle events and developments leading to what Aklan is now since the time of the late former Aklan Gov. Roberto Q. Garcia, through many OIC-Governors during the revolutionary government of Pres. Cory, the late former Gov. Corazon Legaspi Cabagnot, the former Governor now Congressman Joeben Miraflores, until this Marquez time:

- Garcia from 1972-1986, OIC-Governors Tupas, Mobo, Legaspi, Pelayo, Fernandez, Rodriguez and Parohinog from 1986-1988, Cabagnot from 1988-1995, Miraflores from 1995-2004 and Marquez from 2004-2013 -

Marquez era is certainly a standout, having awarded LGU-Aklan’s Seal of Good Housekeeping, 1st runner-up Gawad Pamana ng Lahi and 1st runner up EXCELL Awards in Region Vl. These are among the proofs of his good governance transforming Aklan into a first class province and causing it to join the elite billionaires’ club of LGUs with distinct programs and projects for local economic development truly his own.

Marquez made true former Gov. Cabagnot’s dream of a Kalibo International Airport, Marquez made true Cabagnot’s dream of an Aklan Sports Complex in Calangcang, Makato, Aklan.

Marquez likewise made Miraflores-initiated bond flotation to initially finance the construction of the jetty port in Caticlan, Malay. The Department of Finance’s success story book on fiscal management included the said bond floatation.

I likewise, as a journalist, chronicled events and developments due the performances of our representation in the national legislature:

From the terms of Minister of State for Public Information and Batasan Spokesman Soñing Tumbokon, Assemblyman Paeng Legaspi, Congressman Ramon Legaspi, Congressman Allen S. Quimpo, Congressman Billie Calizo now Quimpo and Aklan Vice Governor and Cong. Joeben Miraflores.

In terms of national legislation, Quimpo was a standout being: the Father of the Aklan State University, the father of DepEd, Father of the CHED, Father of the Science and Technology Scholarship and the TESDA. /MP

Sugilanon Ni Tita Linda

Ni Tita Linda Belayro

Eaging Kastilyo

Sambato ro nasiong Englatera sa mga kilaeang abo ro dumaan nga Kastilyo. Rondayang kastilyo ro guina estahan it mga tawong may dugong hari-anon. Kaabu-an hay mga kaigbataan it hari o reyna. Ka’t mamatay ro katapusan nga hari, bihira eon lang nga mga duke, konde o baron ro naga tener sa Kastilyo tongod kaabu-an kanda hay nakaasawa eon. Idto sa modernong lugar naga tueo-on ro andang mga onga. Naga adto eamang sanda sa kastilyo kon magbakasyon o kon tiyempo it pagpangayam.

Si Duke Calixto nga igkampod it namatay nga hari hay namatay man nga owa it onga sa tunay nga asawa. Ogaling may onga imaw sa anang kabulig nga si Katrina. Pagkasayod ko dukesa sa hanabo kay Katrina ag sa Duke, guin paea-as nana si Katrina nga naga mabdos it limang buean. Parabil nagpanaw si Katrina hay guin taw-an imaw it medalyon ko duke nga owa nasayuri it dukesa.

Guin ta-o man ni Katrina sa anang onga nga si Almero ro medalyon. Anang guina kulentas hasta nag-abot imaw sa edad nga kinse dag-on.

Maila-on magmunot si Almero sa anang lolo kon magpahangeab it baka ag karnero maeapit sa eaging kastilyo. Ogaling abo guid ro pagbawae ko anang lolo sa pagsueod sa kastilyo. Maskin bawae, ro bata-on nga paino-ino ni Almero hay owa napunggi ka’t guin tuman nana ro tik-eod ko anang baeatyagon nga tukibon ro mysteryo ko eaging kastilyo.

Sinueod nana ro kastilyo nga owa nasayuri ko anang lolo. May hakita imaw nga mabahoe nga retrato sa kwadro nga bukon it iba kana. May guina kulentas ro eaeaki nga kapares ko anang medalyon. Guin suguid nana ro tanan sa anang ina ag lolo ro anang hakita sa sueod it kastilyo. Tongod karon, guin sugid eon lang ko anang ina ro tanan. 

Abo ro bu-ot mag angkon ko kastilyo. Ro iba hay naga pakuno-kuno nga igbata kuno sanda it duke ag dukesa ogaling owa sanda it pruweba. Guinpakita ni Almero ro anang medalyon. Guin pilit nga buksan ro bueawan nga palawit ag idto naka sa-ad nga tunay nga maga panubli ro naga angkon o naga hupot ko medalyon. 

Guin ta-o kanday Almero ro kastilyo. Guin kaayad ro kastilyo. Busa abo ro mga naga pamasyar ag naga pa retrato sa lugar. Una eon man naga estar sanday Almero. Ko olihi, nakakita imaw it simpli eamang nga babaye nga anang nangin asawa. Makaron, una sanda naga estar kaibahan ko anang lolo ag mga unga. Nangin duke man ko olihi si Almero tongod imaw man hay may dugong hari-anon. /MP  

Empowering Educators Through ICT


Photo shows Mr. Jestoni Babia, facilitator of the two-day seminar workshop at Adee’s Restaurant, Kalibo, Aklan. Photo taken by Eleazar Polinar/VIBAL Cebu City.

“Learning is a continuous education.” It is a lifelong process where individual, be a teacher, a student or simply a learner strives to learn. The education is transferred to others, through formal or non-formal education. 

With the advent of technology where teachers must compete with internet and with latest generation is getting busier as digital learners online rather than in the four corners of the wall. There are companies that are willing to facilitate among our educators to develop their knowledge and skills in information technology in order to answer the call of the 21st century. 

To empower the molders of our young minds, the Vibal Publishing House, Inc. hosted a two-day seminar workshop for Teacher from the different private schools in Aklan on January 21-22, 2013 at Adee’s Restaurant, Kalibo, Aklan.

Mr. Jestoni Babia, trainer of Coalition for Better Education from Cebu City discussed two topics on (Session 1) Developing Critical Thinking Skills Through the Art of Questioning (UbD Application) and (Session 2) Hands on Training in the Effective Utilization of Instructional Media & Innovative Teaching Strategies.

“We need to empower our teachers to effective classroom management techniques through the art of listening and asking critical questions, and at the same time, manage the behavior and emotions of the students,” stressed Mr. Babia. 

The speaker is a Magna Cum Laude graduate from Xavier University – Ateneo De Cagayan and a Masters of Art in Education for Special Education from Cebu Normal University, Cebu City. He is presently a full time College professor at the University of San Jose- Recoletos, Cebu City. He is also a MAKABAYAN Trainer of DepEd Region 7 Teacher Training Program, a member of the Philippine Association for Teacher Education and Ateneo Most Outstanding Graduate. 

The public schools are developing to 21st Century, while private schools are striving towards the 21st Century. The quantity and quality of lessons/activities integrating technology in the school is beneficial but the insufficiency of the teacher’s competence and experience with the use of technology is also detrimental to their growth. 

Filipinos can adapt easily to changes. However, some Filipinos has small minds, according to one businessman. Our young minds must realize that we can do better and dream bigger. Educators can integrate this kind of thinking to the young minds of the students. The essential skills that students should learn today are critical thinking, problem solving, communication and collaboration. Moreover, the 21st century skills that our students must learn are life and career skills. Students must be taught how to be wise in spending money. Teachers should tap this learning for students to become innovative; 

Other 21st Century Interdisciplinary themes are Global Awareness, Financial, Economic, Entrepreneurial and Business Literacy, Civic Literacy, Health Literacy and Environmental Literacy. 

“There is access to varieties of educational resources online and we are providing schools a mobile learning technology, our latest development to improve the teaching process and not to replace the teachers”. 

According to Babia, “Problems seen at present why integrating technology throughout the educational system reform is tough because of geographical divide, low ownership, technical barriers, low implementation rate and no monitoring.” 

The different private schools which participated in the two-day seminar workshops are: Aklan Valley High school, Aklan Learning Center, Infant Jesus Academy Kalibo Campus, Aklan Catholic College, St. Anne Montessori, Sto. Nino Seminary, Northwestern Visayan Colleges, Garcia College of Technology, Banga Elementary School and Torralba Elementary School. 

Vibal Publishing House, Inc. is a leader in publishing educational textbook. It pioneered e-textbook in the Philippines. Vibal is also into partnership with McGrawhill, Houghton Mifflin, Harcourt (HMH), and Pearson for Global Education bringing global standards to Filipino learners.  This year, Vibal celebrates its 60th Anniversary with the theme: Innovating and Providing a Lifelong Learning to our Filipino youth. /MP

NGCP Warns Right of Way Violators

The National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) admitted, “it is having a hard time solving Right-of-Way (ROW) problems that affect its field operations.”

In an interview with NGCP Spokesperson Atty. Cynthia P. Alabanza, she identified the various ROW violations that hamper the maintenance of NGCP’s transmission facilities. 

“Common ROW violations we encounter are growing trees within the ROW corridor, grass fires at or around our facilities, squatting and putting up of structures under our transmission lines, and kite flying. All of these activities can disrupt the transmission of power and cause power outages. More importantly, these activities damage our lines and compromise the safety of the public,” explained Alabanza.

ROW issues have been a concern of the transmission business even before NGCP took over the operations and maintenance of the country’s transmission facilities in 2009. “In fact, the bulk of our ROW concerns are inherited from the National Transmission Corporation (TransCo).Last year, in the Visayas alone, there were 10 outages or line trippings caused by ROW violations. A national total of 44 incidents were recorded last year for such ROW violation-related outages. 

Apart from being the cause of the problem, some ROW violators compound the problem by preventing our people from coming in and fixing damaged lines. The net effect of all these is the so many residents relying on our prompt delivery of electricity suffer for the actions of a few,” Alabanza stated. “These problems also made it more difficult for NGCP linemen to efficiently and effectively maintain the lines because, in addition to maintenance works on the actual transmission facilities, they devote more amount of time to clearing the land first of vegetation,” she stressed.

Alabanza said, “ROW violations imply additional cost to the company to clear the land of vegetation and structures before we can perform maintenance work. In cases where the ROW violations cause damage to facilities, the cost implication multiplies like the cost of repairs and restoration, cost of additional manpower and man hours which could have been utilized for more inspection and maintenance activities.” 

In addition to operational problems, NGCP also warned the public of the safety hazards for ROW violators. Transmission lines are open lines that carry a minimum of 69,000 volts and a maximum of 500,000 volts. “You don’t even have to touch the lines to be electrocuted.  Electricity induction may occur once the safe clearance is breached.  If you get near enough, even without touching the lines, you are in danger of being electrocuted,” Alabanza explained.

“Our lines carry electricity that is more than 300 times the power of the electricity flowing in our households, which is just 220 volts. Breaching our safety clearances can be fatal,” warned Alabanza.

As a preventive measure, NGCP conducts regular safety information campaigns all over the country through print and broadcast media. They also conduct information and safety fora at the barangay level in communities to remind the public to take extra precautions when near the transmission lines. NGCP also coordinates with LGUs to inform the public about the risks and hazards of living under transmission lines. 

“ROW violations affect our power delivery service. In turn, the distribution utilities and the public at large suffer and are most affected,” Alabanza stressed.

NGCP is a privately owned corporation in charge of operating, maintaining, and developing the country’s power grid. NGCP transmits high-voltage electricity through “power superhighways” that include the interconnected system of transmission lines and towers, substations and related assets. NGCP’s regular maintenance activities and expansion projects aim to enhance the reliability and quality of electricity delivered to customers. /MP

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Dredging Project: Beyond Audit And Accountability


The decision of the provincial government of Aklan to engage the STL Panay Resources LTD to dredge the Aklan River downstream the Kalibo-Numancia bridge to its mouth at the north towards the Sibuyan Sea highlights a very big question to the minds of our people, the AKlanons.


The implementation of that DPWH dredging project was considerably delayed even after Typhoon Frank and therefore, the total appropriation for the said project was consummated and the dredging deemed completed.

This incoming proposed dredging project of the provincial government with a private firm will only indicate less or nothing had happened to mitigate the flooding of the capital town of Kalibo and the neighboring towns of Numancia and other towns by the Aklan River.

Abnormal heavy rainfall brought by Tropical Depression Quinta proved that the P100 million dredging project at the Aklan River in the aftermath of Typhoon Frank was worthless after just a matter of a couple or more years.

The draft agreement between the STL Panay Resources LTD on one hand and the provincial government for the dredging project shall entail no cost on the part of the LGU-province. The provincial government shall be compensated P5 per cubic meter of dredged materials commercialized by the private party.

Critics said the arrangement is a sell-out at P5 per cubic meter. STL Panay Resources is expected to dredge about 15 million cubic meters, or, P75 million income for Aklan province without investing any resource.

Of course, implementers of a dredging project will always conveniently reason out that siltations and sandbar formations will always return to the dredged area after completion of the dredging due to natural phenomenon in a river system.

Dredging projects can always become a lucrative business for dredging contractors with less accurate monitoring and accounting of funds disbursed by the government agency-implementor.

No one can also be held accountable for siltations and sand bar formations to develop in the dredged area even in the immediate aftermath of a dredging project completion. /MP

Kalibo Ati-atihan 2013

BLACK BEAUTY BOYS, First Prize of P150,000.00, Tribal Category (BIG GROUP) 
Recto Vidal photo.

 LILO-ANONG ATI AG SI DATU MARIKUDO, First Prize - Balik Ati Category 

Aklan Gov. Carlito S. Marquez congratulating in his speech the local government of Kalibo officials  (photo at right) during the blessing and inauguration of the newly constructed Kalibo Stage and Evacuation Center  on Friday, January 18 at Magsaysay Park.

One of the Sr. Sto. Niño “karo” during the procession which started at 3:00 o’clock in the afternoon, Sunday, January 20, 2013. The procession, the religious aspect of the festival and highlights the 2013 Kalibo Sto. Niño Ati-atihan Festival (Recto Vidal photo)


Higante Parade & Ati-atihan Shots

Photo by Ambrosio R. Villorente

Rice Pests and Diseases Incidence Drop In WV

by James Earl E. Ogatis

Iloilo City–Total number of hectares of agricultural crops affected by pest and diseases dramatically dropped in Western Visayas in 2012 compared to the 2011 incidence.

According to Rene B. Famoso, entomologist of DA-Regional Crop Protection Center (DA-RCPC), defoliators which affected 9,179 hectares in 2011 has affected a total of 3,510 hectares only in 2012. 

Other insect pests infestation also dropped like stemborer from 7,846 has. in 2011 to 2,003 has in 2012; brown plant hopper (BPH) from 1,354 has. to 306 has.; green leaf hopper (GLH) from 299 has. to 176 has. and rice bug (RB) from 5,946 has. to 1,189 has. 

Famoso emphasized that only rice black bug (RBB) infestation increased from 22 has. affected in 2011 to 100 has. in 2012 due to the increase in the number of municipalities affected. Last year, new incidence of RBB had been monitored in 5 municipalities of the 3rd district of Iloilo. 

He added that favorable weather conditions and heavy usage of chemicals considerably killed friendly insects contributing to the increase in population of rice black bug.

Rice diseases such as rice tungro virus (RTV) also decreased from 656 has. to 23 has.; rice blast from 3,541 to 65 has.; bacterial leaf blight from 293 has. to 149 has. and sheath blight from 28 has. to 13 has.

Famoso said that rodents which affected 30,748 has. in 2011 has only infested 24,679 has. The rats’ incidence which is prevalent during dry season crops in Iloilo and Capiz had decreased due to sustained baiting, mass physical killing and sanitation activities by local government units and distribution of rodenticides by DA-RFU 6.

He encouraged farmers, agricultural extension workers and members of bantay peste brigade to sustained their efforts to regularly monitor pest incidence in their respective locality to eradicate/minimize pest and diseases incidence this year. /MP

Tuesday, January 15, 2013


by Ernesto T. Solidum

Harnessing Aklan River For Prosperity

It has been well said that if the industrial revolution was started in mid 19th century the fruit of success plus its unwanted side effect should have overwhelmed its population in the 21st century. Fossil fuels like coal, crude oil and natural gas all contribute to long term carbon footprints. According to the UN’s Energy Agency, there is a 1.6 gigatone rise in carbon dioxide emissions in 2011 stoking fears of global temperature rise of 2.0 degrees Celsius.

Toxic wastes in the form of methane, carbon dioxide and others form a dense cover of the earth’s stratosphere causing heat to be trapped leading to a phenomenon called greenhouse effect or global warming. The main culprits are motor vehicles where the Philippines has six (6) million and growing at 10 percent per year. Newsweek (February 4, 2011) said that insatiable demand for oil is 90 million barrels per day.

The thinning of polar ice caps, subsequent rise of sea water and increased ocean temperature that cause the El Niño are some of dramatic events that hamper country productivity and survival. This is true in small archipelagic islands of the Pacific and Oceania. Because of phenomenal natural disasters, the Philippines was listed by the UN in 2011 at No. 1 said Margareta Whalstrom, Sec. General for Disaster Risk Reduction.

While disaster risk reduction and management was created by the government to cope with climate change, it can mitigate only a portion of the losses in human lives and property. Resources poured into this Agency by LGU’s are scanty and inappropriate to the magnitude and scale of the problem. Well, consider Typhoon Sendong and Pablo which hit Mindanao in 2011 and 2012 respectively. The recorded human deaths alone are more than 1000 each while several hundreds more are missing. Repercussion on economic and public infra losses are immediate running to billions of pesos. Hardest hit are agriculture (plantation crops like bananas, $720 million industry, coconut,  pineapple, mango and sugar cane) and aquaculture. Bridges, school buildings and dams were busted because of flash floods and landslides.

What can be done in order to mitigate natural disasters?

It is conceded that we can’t avoid typhoons, flood, earthquake and tsunamis. The basic idea is that we must be prepared at all times in order to avert the worse that may happen to us. Others call it survival strategy or doomsday peppers.     

Here in Aklan, we failed to tame river system that straddles the municipalities of Libacao, Madalag, Malinao, Banga, Lezo, Numancia and Kalibo. Aklan river since time immemorial is primary source of food and livelihood but also death and destruction. 

To tame Aklan river, basically consider structural engineering plan and strict implementation of rules and regulation. Evidently damming the tributary at Libacao and Madalag for hydropower offers the best and practical solution. Potable water could be pumped and diverted to water deficient cities of Iloilo and Roxas. Discharged water from underground turbines could be used for irrigating crops like rice, corn and vegetables. Ultimately, this massive diversion and or volume reduction of surface water could dramatically reduce destructive impact of Aklan river on population centers especially Kalibo and Numancia.

Obviously, the big draw break is where to get the funding. Considering that there are other provinces involved, it is best to resolve the issue with the Regional Development Council and NEDA. The whole Panay Island is presently deficient of power requirements and the balance is sourced from Leyte through the submarine cable. Furthermore, there is increase of five (5) percent annual power demand not to mention the 2-3 percent increase in power cost. The proposed project is environment-friendly, renewable and cheap compared to conventional power sources. 

Aklan may not be rich compared to developing economies like India, China and Brazil where their river ecosystems are tapped for various uses. However, Aklan through coordination with other provinces in Region 6 could achieve its dream of prosperity and well being. Practically, the initiative lies with our elected leaders who must exert all resources to realize it. After Frank and Quinta, Aklanons could no longer afford to lose their lives and property to recurring disasters of typhoons and floods.

Perhaps, it is apt to consider the principle behind Sen. Franklin Drilon’s filing of Senate Bill No. 2857 “People’ Participation in the National Budget Process Act of 2011” that humility is the knowledge that the government does not know everything hence the cogent need for people participation.   /MP

Entrepreneurial Farmer

Ambrosio R. Villorente

The Ati-atihan Town of Kalibo has a new chief of police. Can he implement the laws, ordinances, rules and regulations? 

Supt. John Limuel Villafranca assumed the post of Chief of Police of Kalibo on Sunday, January 13. His installation took place a day before the kick off of the Sto. Niño Ati-atihan Festival, the major activity of the municipality. 

Villafranca is a native of Iloilo. He graduated at the Philippine National Police Academy, Tanglaw Lahi Class 1999.

Can Villafranca maintain peace in Kalibo? His hand is filled with heavy responsibilities. After he does it well, he must be crowned. If he failed, he has no reason to stay in Kalibo any longer. 

First, Villafranca has the responsibility to maintain and sustain peace and order in Kalibo during the Ati-atihan season and beyond.

Second, with the cooperation of his staff members, implement provincial ordinance regulating the transport of bamboos. This ordinance has been effected for many years but no chief of police of  Kalibo has ever implemented it; in addition, he must implement other laws, ordinances, and regulations effectively; 

Third, to weed out goods for sale displayed by the sidewalks to make Kalibo the desirable Provincial Capitol of Aklan. Remove vulcanizing and other repair shops;

Fourth, along sidewalks, improve the circulation of pedestrian traffic and promote road safety and security. This can be done via the rigid implementation of traffic laws, rules, ordinances, and regulations; and 

Fifth, minimize if not totally stop robbery and other petty crimes in Kalibo. 

If these above cited daily occurrences are stopped, it is the crowning glory of Supt. John Limuel Villafranca, the glory of Kalibonhons and the happiness of all Aklanons. 

NVC Conducts Tracer Study of Its Graduates

Northwestern Visayan Colleges (NVC), College of Criminal Justice Education and the College of Education will conduct a tracer study of its graduates. Headed by Dr. Eva G. Guanzon, Research Coordinator, she will be assisted by five (5) research committee members who are Dr. Dennis I. Ibutnande, Dr. Reinalda I. Magdaluyo, Dr. Gabriel M. Delfin,  Dr. Antonia Escalona and Dr. Ambrosio R. Villorente.

The study will find out the status of graduates of the College of Criminal Justice and College of Education from academic Years 2007 to 2011. It seeks to answer the employment, business and professional works, how alumni assess their stay at NVC (Institutional goals, academics, institutional and academic support services and facilities). It will also find out what are the skills/competencies acquired by the graduates and their significant relationship between the skills/competencies that are relevant with their present job/business.

Furthermore, the study also aims to determine the graduates’ satisfaction level of the services NVC offers such as curriculum, guidance, quality of lectures and infrastructures, assess the employment status and the entrepreneurship they are engaged in. It will also identify the strengths and weaknesses of NVC, College of Criminal Justice Education and College of Education and recommend measures, programs and activities to better prepare the future graduates to the needs of the market and their profession.

The said study started in November 2012. It is expected to be completed in August 2013. /MP

Numancia Beauties Overwhelm Aklanons Mutya Ag Lakan It Kalibo Ati-Atihan 2013


Mutya Ag Lakan It Kalibo Ati-atihan 2013 winners Rosalie Castañeda Arcenio and Edross Taay (center),  Jane Escalona & Jan Vic Basia - 1st Runner Up and Lailani Sualog &  David Matthew Bunganay - 2nd runner-up

Rosalie ‘Lheng’ Castañeda Arcenio, 17 years old of Camanci Norte, Numancia, Aklan  was crowned Mutya it Kalibo Ati-Atihan 2013 in a pageant and coronation night, January 11, 2013 as one of the highlights in celebration of Kalibo Sto. Niño Ati-atihan Festival. 

Arcenio is a Business Administration student of Garcia College of Technology, Kalibo. She also won three minor awards: Best in Swimsuit, Best in Illumina Attire and Best in Long Gown. For the corporate awards, Arcenio won the Miss Airphil Express. She was chosen Miss Kapuso of GMA Network by GMA Kapuso Artists Aljur Abrenica and Mark Herras who served as judges and special guests.

Another Numanciahanon is 1st Runner Up Jane Escalona, 21 years old from Bulwang, Numancia, Aklan. She represents Northwestern Visayan Colleges. 2nd Runner Up is Lailani Sualog, 18 years old of Malay, Aklan. 

Edross Taay, 19 of Tigayon, Kalibo, Aklan won the title of Lakan it Kalibo Ati-Atihan 2013.  Jan Vic Basia, 17-years old of Poblacion, Kalibo, Aklan is 1st Runner-up and David Matthew Bunganay, 16 years old of Batan, Aklan – 2nd runner-up. 

The other Mutya award winners are: Karla Jane Gallardes of Balete, Aklan – Best in Interview and Best in Talent; Jasper Cahilig of Malay, Aklan – Best in Illumina Attire for Lakan and Satinder Phal Gai of Ibajay, Aklan – Best in Swimwear. Special award for Jan Vic Basia – Mr. Maribert Inland Resort and minor award for Best in Formal Attire. David Matthew Bunganay was awarded Best in Talent.

Other winners of the special and corporate awards are: Harchelyn Joy Agudon – Miss Photogenic & Christian Chinn Alvarez – Mr. Photogenic; Sherame Jardeleza – Miss Globe Texters Choice & Clyde Vincent Briones – Mr. Globe Texter Choice; Clyde Vincent Briones – Mr. Kapuso; Kizza dela Cruz – Miss Maribert Inland Resort, David Matthew Bunganay – Mr. Blackwater, Harchelyn Joy Agudon – Miss Ever Belena and Everlyn Teston – Miss Careline.

The panel of judges are Julia Haresco, Anne Lukban – Manila Travel and Tours owner/manager, international fashion designers PJ Arañador and Barge Ramos, Amit Oberoi of Shangri-La Boracay Resort and Spa general manager, Kenneth John Suyao – ramp model, business tycoons Leopoldo ‘Bong’ Tirol and Cedric Sazon, Emman Adigue and Jerome Ibarra – Ginoong Bicolandia 2012 and Mark Herras and Aljur Abrenica – GMA Kapuso celebrities. 

Mutya Ag Lakan contestants wore the ‘Illumina’ collections in the production number followed by the Beachwear ‘Sunset’ collections of Iloilo fashion designer Alfie Desamparado. The evening gowns exclusively designed by international lifestyle designer PJ Arañador for the Mutya it Kalibo Ati-Atihan candidates. The stunning gowns were inspired by the tropical seawater “Flora and Fauna of Boracay.” The silhouettes reflect the charming Filipino “baro’t saya” with “serpentine” cut skirts. The hand loom “raffia” modern wraps was specially woven for the pageant by Millie Rentillo. 

Lakan candidates also presented the Barong Tagalogs of international designer Barge Ramos. 

GMA Kapuso stars Mark Herras entertained the crowd with a song number and Aljur Abrenica serenaded the Mutya candidates on-stage. The Kasafi Dance Company performed a theatrical dance interpretation. 

Final walk of the Mutya Ag Lakan It Kalibo Ati-Atihan 2012 winners Ivy Rose Vidal and Shem Regalado; Liezl Dumaguin - 1st runner-up and Daisy Batch and Elvin Tiel, 2nd runner-up.

  The annual search for Mutya Ag Lakan It Kalibo Ati-atihan is organized by Kalibo Sto. Nino Ati-Atihan Foundation, Inc. (Kasafi) chaired by Albert A. Meñez in partnership with the local government of Kalibo. 

Gaynor Alejaga-Calizo and Jason Cleope Gregorio, GMA Kapuso TV6 Iloilo reporter were the pageant hosts during the grand finale at the Gov. Augusto B. Legaspi Sports and Cultural Center, Kalibo, Aklan. /MP

Driving On The Roads And Streets of Beloved Aklan Province

by Gabriel M. Delfin

I like to drive around in our beautiful Aklan province. Yes, because while driving, I can see the beauty of the countryside, of our province. Then, I can also see our provincemates drive their own vehicles, as they drive their own way, freely.

Here in Aklan, I can drive on any lane, left or right, especially on our new four-lane roads or middle of the road and park anywhere even on corners. And when I get to any corner inside the town or on the highway, I can just proceed as I want to. That is, without stopping to look at either side, whether there are incoming vehicles or not. I can do what I want. Pagusto ako.

While running fast, I can drive very fast beyond the prescribed unposted speed limit, without any traffic Cop running after me. In fact, I can pass (overtake for you) any vehicle on the highway, left or right. That is without even respecting the other drivers’ rights. And that is, I can pass the other vehicles even it is about to pass, or overtake, another vehicle. Why? I consider myself, sometimes, like many others around here, king of the road. Who can match my abilidad on the road?

Well, there is really complete FREEDOM in our province of Aklan especially on our roads. When I say freedom, I can just do what I want to do. Pagusto-gusto ako.

There are “No Parking” signs. And in front of these road signs are parked motorcycles, tricycles, even expensive cars. And with traffic enforcers, tanod, or whatever they are called, standing behind the traffic signboard. But lo and behold, those traffic enforcers/tanods with their backs on those road signs could not see those parked vehicles. Visitors ask me, what are those signboards and road traffic signs for? For who are those? I just cannot answer the strangers who asked me those questions.

These are on streets inside the town. Be it Kalibo, New Washington, and Banga. Is Aklan really a free country?

And believe it or not, no one gets a traffic violation ticket, or apprehension, or whatever, for traffic violation. That means that apprehension is not in the language of the Aklanon traffic enforcers. No one enforces traffic rules. No, not the “volunteer” traffic enforcer. Neither does the police officer on the beat. Neither does the PNP traffic officers. 

And who directs traffic? The best spectacle maybe seen at the Kalibo-Banga-New Washington junction. There are a good number of traffic officers directing traffic with regular police officers behind them. But what is really happening? Some dance, others just keep on blowing their whistle continuously (I’m afraid their stomachs may be filled with air and…) They certainly entertain the public (the tourists?) Good entertainment really. Others just signal to go this way and that way. And what really happens? Drivers just do what they want. They disregard the ordered flow. Again, I’d say, there is complete freedom on our roads. 

I can even drive at full speed in front of police stations and schools. This is especially true for motorcycles. Without fear of apprehension for traffic violation. Are our police officers afraid to apprehend me (not just me really but other fellow Aklanons as well especially the “may kaya” or the “poderoso”) those occupying high government positions or those again, “may kaya”?

Disappointing Story

When finally I was apprehended and issued a ticket, I didn’t care. I was not afraid to pay the fine. A friend politician can always take my side (remember this is election year). A friend cop once told me a disappointing story. Once he apprehended a traffic violator, an influential person. A few days later, he was summoned by a town official (not a mayor). That friend police officer was scolded in the presence of the traffic violator.

He related to me he was made to return the confiscated driver’s license. My friend asked me, “who is the guapo police officer who’ll do again, apprehend a traffic violator and be scolded? Humiliated? Shamed? And do his sworn duty?

Sometime ago, a police officer was stabbed by an errant tricycle driver in one of our barangays simply because that driver was apprehended by that police officer for traffic violation. He was issued citation ticket. So the police paid for it, for doing his duty.

The highway road signs are just decorations. No one respects them. Example: the “no passing” or “no overtaking” signs. Government officials don’t see these, they just pass, or overtake, in front of these signs.

But I admire, really respect some police officers who religiously obey these road signs on the highway. I can vouch for this since I had the opportunity to hitch a ride with a police vehicle from a neighboring town to Kalibo. They are good examples to emulate. No, not our bigwigs. 

How about “smoky” vehicles? Can’t they be apprehended as well? Why?

When taking a public transport, a bus, or a non-aircon car and when following a tricycle, a car or truck, you eat and smell smoke in the process. Why? These vehicles ahead of you exhaust a lot of smoke. This is also true with trucks hauling cement. Cement dust flies all over. Who suffers? The poor riders following them and the residents living along the highway.

By the way, don’t our vehicles undergo smoke belching test before these are registered? Or when they renew their registration? What happens after they get their registration or renewal papers? They smoke again more profusely. Drivers tinker with some gadgets so that their vehicles become more smoky again, those badly maintained vehicles.

Do our education and local officials see the smoke all over surroundings of public and private schools campuses? Do they know that second hand smoke affects the development of the brain growing children (as research studies reveal)? Can our local and education officials see these? And if they have not seen these, what do they see? What have they done? Are they afraid to act, to do what should be done?

There are certainly lots to be done. And do it well, courageously with authority.

It seems that I have said a mouthful. Need I say more?  /MP