>> Saturday, March 12, 2016

Comelec finds counting machines up to task
BAGUIO CITY -- The Commission on Elections- Cordillera tested the formerly known Precinct Count Optical Scanner (PCOS) now branded as Vote Counting Machine (VCM) Feb. 25 at the Comelec regional office her and found these up to the task come May polls.
The VCM comprises a 1 gigabyte memory card comparing it to the 32 megabytes of PCOS machines used during the 2010 and 2013 polls. It has an extended 16-hour battery life and improved 7-inch LED screen from its 4-inch screen before.
With the VCM equipped with two bins designated for valid and invalid ballots, the machine also caters to persons with disabilities especially for visually impaired because of its installed headphones. Teachers and Comelec precinct personnel can also put thermal papers with ease without use of rulers unlike before.
Together with the -testing was the introduction of new Cordillera Comelec director Ederlino Tabilas, a lawyer. He is a member of the Philippine Bar Council and was the regional Election director of Region 2 in 2006. -- Ian Pajarillaga

Women’s Month activities set in Mountain Province  
BONTOC, Mountain Province – Participation of women’s and non-government organizations, government offices, academe, private sectors and other stakeholders was encouraged for Women’s Month activities.
Provincial Gender and Development head Mabel C. Cariño said celebration on March 8 will start with a “Parade for a cause” and participants are requested to wear violet.
A minimum donation of P20.00 from parade participants shall be collected to be given as financial assistance to kidney patients undergoing dialysis at the Bontoc General Hospital. The money shall be remitted to the cashier of the hospital, Cariño added.
After the parade will be a program at Provincial Plaza with Paula Acofo, the President of the Bontoc Market Vendors Association (BOMARVA) as the guest of honor and speaker.
In the afternoon, parlor games are prepared for all the women to relax and unwind. Also, manicure, pedicure, haircut, spa and massage at 50% discounts will also be offered at the lobby of the Multi-Purpose Building. Aside from these, lady lawyers in the province will also offer free legal assistance and counselling to women in the afternoon of March 8 and will be extended until March 11.
Part of the Women’s Month celebration is the Buntis Day on March 10.
The Bontoc General Hospital (BoGH) will be offering free services to pregnant women which includes urinalysis, prenatal and dental checkup, and ultrasound.
There will also be free acetic acid wash to women at the BoGH from March 7-11 except on March 10 at 2:00- 4:00 in the afternoon
The budget for the conduct of these activities will be from the GAD Fund of the Provincial Government of Mountain Province.
The theme for this year’s Women’s Month celebration is Kapakanan ni Juana, Isama sa Agenda.” -- Alpine L. Killa

Abra farmers receive farm equipment from DA
Abra farmers and farmer-groups received farm equipment for cassava and corn last week. The Dept. of Agriculture under its corn program turned over farm machineries and equipment amounting to P3.3 million to farmer-groups and local government units in the province.
The equipment and machineries were awarded by Secretary Proceso J. Alcala to beneficiaries during farmer’s forum Feb. 22 at the Abra State Institute of Science and Technology (ASIST) gymnasium.
Equipment included four wheel drive corn tractor, corn planter, cassava digger/ uprooter, moisture meter, mechanical corn sheller, cassava grater, cassava pulverizer, cassava granulator cum shredder and corn mill.
Five mechanical corn sheller/dehusker, two shallow tube well and 550 kilos of open pollinated variety (OPV) corn seeds were also distributed to farmer groups.
“Our crop yield particularly on white corn is gradually increasing because of the new technologies, trainings, post-harvest facilities and other farm equipment that was granted to us,” said Roberto Vellido, president of the Pidigan Corn Cluster Association.
Similar equipment and some additional farm tools like open source pump; and pilot farm mechanization and tractor pool will be awarded to Abra farmers this year to boost corn and cassava production. -- CK Rosario

Bangued’s   Dapil Festival kicks off
BANGUED, Abra- The Bangued Dapil Festival was held last week with thrilling activities like parade of colors, inauguration of the town plaza, trade fair and food bazaar and variety show.
‘Dapil’ as the official festival of this town is coined from the word ‘panagdapil’ which is an indigenous method of extracting sugar cane juice  using carabao to produce vinegar, wine, molasses, muscovado and a lot more.  
The most-awaited spectacle was the annual trade fair and food bazaar. Displayed were products of Bangued and Abra, mostly made of indigenous materials. Local exhibitors displayed impressive products made from cornhusk and coconut husk fiber like flowers, flower vases, bags, coin purse, and other body accoutrements. Different bamboo species like “rono”, “poser” and “bayog” were made into fine food trays, wine racks, tables, chairs, bar counter and other furniture. 
Bangued famous local dishes and sweet concoctions particularly pinakbet, empanada, chicacorn, miki, tablea and inladit crackers delighted visiting gourmands from other towns and provinces.
Meanwhile, Bangued Mayor Dominic Valera said  he wanted to bring one-stop-shop centers in the area so locals will no longer travel hours to get to other places to experience retreats, food tripping and recreations.
In time for Dapil festival, McDonalds opened an outlet joining the growing number of    food outlets like Jollibee, Mang Inasal, Mister Donut, and Chowking, among others.
With all the amenities and other natural attractions like the Calaba River and Casamata Hill, he said Bangued was one promising top tourist destination in the near future.
The newly opened Dancing Fountain was also one of the crowd attractions in town.--  Ginalyn B. Brioso

Lady forester heads DENR-Bangued
BANGUED, Abra -- A lady forester recently took over as  Community Environment and Natural Resources Officer here.
Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Cordillera  regional director Ralph C. Pablo presided  turn-over ceremony   of outgoing CENRO Dr. Fernando A. Ballacillo to Forester Shirley T Leaño at Casamata Hills here.
Leaño urged her colleagues to render sincerity, hard work and commitment in their jobs.
Meanwhile, a Salamat-Paalam Program was held for Ballacillo to thank him for  the 40 years he rendered in DENR.
Ballacillo said leaving DENR was hard for him as he considered it a second home, but added he was happy as others are promoted.-- Ginalyn B. Brioso

PMA host parents hold fellowship
BAGUIO CITY -- “A home away from home,” for cadets was the essence of the Philippine Military Academy host parents program here last week.
Marking  its 37th year, the PMA Host Parents Association Inc. headed by Baguio City Mayor Mauricio Domogan held their annual fellowship gathering at city hall here.
It was a night of camaraderie among host parents with games, raffle draws, line dancing, and the sharing of experiences in providing homes to PMA cadets.
Jane Fontanos, PMAHPAI official, said to become host parent requires a good moral character and values as cadets are needed to be treated as part of their family.
The PMA host parent program was formed in 1979 to fostergood relationship between the community and the PMA cadets and encourage  local folks to have a significant role in shaping the character and values of the cadets as future leaders.
Aside from married couples, widowers and widows can also become host parents  provided that they are living with their children. Childless couples can also join as long as they are above 40 years old and not more than 75.
Residence of host parents should be accessible by transportation.
For those who want to be a PMA host parent, you can get or submit your application to the Mayor’s Office at the Baguio City Hall or to the Office of the Military Affairs (MA) – 7 at the PMA in Fort Del Pilar, Baguio City. -- Lauren Alimondo  and Johji Yokota

DOH-Cordillera donates dental bus to Kalinga
TABUK CITY, Kalinga -- The Department of Health donated to this province a  bus in time for Dental Health Month.
The mobile dental clinic received by Gov. Jocel Baac, Provincial Health Officer Romulo Gaerlan and Provincial Hospital dentist Jennilyn Banganan, is equipped with two dental chairs and tools, lightings and other dental facilities.
A memorandum of agreement was signed between Sec. Janette Garin representing DOH and Baac for the province.
Meanwhile, a Good Samaritan from this province working abroad  sponsored a dental mission Feb. 17 at the Bulanao Centro barangay in celebration of the 21st Kalinga Founding Anniversary and Ullalim Festival.
With the theme ‘Dentistry from the Heart’, the dental mission sponsored by Joy Gunnawa Soriano offered free services on dental consultation, fluoride application,  and dental extraction with medicines .This was done in cooperation with the Kalinga Dental Society, National Commission on Indigenous Peoples, Red Cross, St. William’s Academy Batch ’85, Rotary Club of Tabuk, and Bulanao Centro LGU. -- Peter A. Balocnit

Mt. Province gov’t ups health care aid to P7M
BONTOC, Mountain Province -- The provincial government has increased its aid to the National Health Insurance Program to ensure that more indigent patients in the province have access to health care services through its  Point-of-Care (POC) enrollment program.
Gov. Leonard Mayaen, in his State of the Province Report, said this year’s budget for the POC program is increased to P7 million from last year’s P5M to ensure that more poor residents and non-PhilHealth members can be covered in the program once confined in the provincial government-run hospitals.
Under the POC program, indigent families upon admission in government hospital are assessed by the hospital’s social welfare office using the intake survey sheet prescribed by the Department of Health. If qualified, they are automatically enrolled in the program with the hospital sponsoring their annual premium contribution of P2, 400 for one year.
The POC enrollee will automatically enjoy the Philhealth benefits from the first day of confinement and will end up to the last day of the same year. 
Benefits include inpatient, outpatient (except primary care benefit) and to the No Balance Billing policy where patients shall no longer pay the balance of hospital charges, if any.
Implemented since November 14, 2013 under PhilHealth’s Circular 32 series of 2013, the POC enrolment program is aimed at giving the non-Philhealth members a full health package benefits at the time of their admission to the government-owned hospitals.
Mayaen said this year, all the four provincial government- run hospitals in the province will now be implementing the POC program. This includes Barlig District Hospital which was recently accredited by the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation to join the program.
Last year, the POC program was implemented at the Bontoc General Hospital, Paracelis District Hospital and Besao District Hospital with a total 1,064 enrollees benefitting from the program. -- Andrew Doga-ong

600 runners join Million Volunteer Run in Baguio  
BAGUIO CITY -- More than  600 runners joined the Million Volunteer Run3 of the Philippine Red Cross local chapter here last week.
Lawyer Erdolfo Balajadia, PRC-Baguio chairman,  participants in the fun run  raise funds for  humanitarian activities and sponsors. Mel John Fernandez,  62, participant,   said  being a part of the run was his way of helping the organization  augment  operational funds.
Many  South Korean students  who are studying in the city  and their teachers  also joined the event.   
PRC Baguio Chapter administrator Annie Tamayo said the funds raised during the MVR3 will be used to help the less fortunate and in beefing up disaster preparedness and rescue programs.
The MVR3, a humanitarian run which is participatory and non-competitive, aims to raise funds for the Red Cross. -- R. Hadap and M. Ranoy
Ullalim agro-industrial fair features  Kalinga coffee wine
TABUK CITY, Kalinga- - The Kalinga coffee wine was featured as product as new product in the recent Ullalim agro-industrial trade fair here.
Virgie Lapuz of Barangay Bado Dangwa, producer of the newest Kalinga coffee wine, said the wine comes in two tastes for men and ladies with strong and sweet mix, respectively.
Lapuz said the wine is fermented extract from Arabica coffee, one of the three major coffee varieties produced in the province. The other two are Excelsa and Robusta.
Benita Mangadap of DTI-Kalinga said a “free-taste” treat of the new product was held during the trade fair.
Coffee wine is the latest by-product from coffee, the province’s One Town One Product being promoted by DTI under its product development program.  
This year, 110 product exhibitors participated in the fair with 19 guest-exhibitors from Ifugao, Benguet and other places.
 Part of the 13-day fair was the search for special awards as incentives to performing exhibitors with cash prizes given the winners. – Larry Lopez

Free dental services held in Ifugao towns
IFUGAO, Ifugao - - The provincial government  conducted free dental services here Feb. 15 – 19 dubbed “Handog Kalusugan” and “Maphod an Imi” (good smile) in partnership with Dr. Bill Mays and Medical Relief International and Ifugao – Nueva Vizcaya dental association.
The activity was held here at municipal gymnasium for folks of Kiangan, Asipulo and Tinoc towns. The same activity was held at Lagawe Central School Feb. 16 for Hingyon and Lamut towns.
The group also held free dental clinic Feb. 17 at the Hungduan municipal gymnasium for Banaue, Hungduan and Tinoc townfolks and at the Mayoyao municipal gym on Feb. 18 for Aguinaldo and Banaue.
It culminated Feb. 19 at  Sta. Maria amphitheatre in Alfonso Lista town. -- Marcelo B. Lihgawon

Tabuk City’s real property tax collection up
TABUK CITY, Kalinga -- The city’s real property tax collection performance in 2015 increased by 13percent  compared  to the previous year.
Olivia Mendoza of the City Treasurer’s Office reported total collection of P6, 000,756 for the period over the P5, 268,956 in 2014.
Real property taxes of the city come from four major sources that include taxes on agricultural property posting the top with P2,669,109, residential – P1,848,977, commercial - P1,473,649 and industrial with P9,019.
According to Mendoza, the city has sustained annual growth in real property tax collection because of improved efforts on massive tax mapping, intensified tax campaign at the barangay level and massive information-education drive.
She admitted though there is still high need to educate people on taxation which  is considered as government’s life blood. Real property taxes accrue to the government’s general fund while the other half goes to Special Education Fund.
Mendoza urged eal property tax payers to avail of the 20% discount for advance payments made every December of the preceding year and the 10% discount for payments made in the first quarter of the year. Late payments are charged additional 2% monthly penalty fee.  -- Larry T. Lopez     

BFAR releases 300,000 tilapia fingerlings to Abra fisherfolk
BANGUED, Abra - - The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources regional office  released this month a total of 300,000 tilapia fingerlings  to  the province.
According to Provincial Fishery Officer Mr. Jesus Astrero, these fingerlings are distributed to fish folks and fish pond owners in the municipalities of Lagangilang, Sallapadan, Peñarrubia, Lagayan, Bucay, Pilar, Bangued, Dolores, San Juan, Tubo and Tayum.
 “Other tilapia fingerlings will be placed in communal body of water or rivers while fingerlings left in the office will be dispersed in Calaba River,” he said.
These fingerlings are expected to grow in number to help the community have additional source of living.
The first stock of fingerlings from BFAR was requested by Governor Eustaquio P. Bersamin to augment the loss resulting from strong typhoons that struck the province last year.  -- Ginalyn B. Brioso

PSA Baguio Serbilis outlet serves 1,410 clients daily
BAGUIO CITY - -  The Philippine Statistics Authority’s Baguio Serbilis Center  is already experiencing influx of clients getting civil registration documents especially birth certificates.
PSA data showed from January 4 to 13, the center was averaging 1,410 clients a day and going as high as 1,608 clients in January 11h compared to the 914 daily average clients for the year 2015.
Center Manager Gerard Tolito, in interview, explained that   the shift in school calendar is the first reason in the rise in the number of daily clients. Second semester starts this January many parents and students are getting birth certificates for enrolment purposes.
 Another reason is for local employment especially in the application for Philippine National Police recruits. Applicants are getting seven authenticated copies of their birth certificate, he added.
Tolito assured that PSA Baguio Serbilis outlet is always ready to respond to the challenge with the hiring of eight new staff to augment the personnel manning the six client/public assistance computers.
He also informed that PSA has six collection officers with two assigned to the priority lane to assist senior citizens, person with disabilities and pregnant/nursing mothers.
Tolito advises the public to plan ahead and come on lean days or months as birth certificate has no expiration if it will be used for enrolment purposes. He also appeals to those getting their civil registration documents not to bring companions especially children so that they will not add-up to the crowd inside the center.
Tolito also calls on the public to utilize the PSA’s BREQS (Batch Request Entry System) partner wherein for a little added amount, they can save travel time or avoid the long line at the Baguio Serbilis outlet.
PSA-CAR’s BREQS partners   provincial offices in Abra and Ifugao, and the  local government units of Paracelis, Bontoc, Tadian, Bauko and Barlig in Mountain Province; Balbalan and Tinglayan in Kalinga; Dolores Abra; Pudtol and Kabugao in Apayao,  and Kabayan, Buguias, Bakun and Tublay in Benguet. 
The public can also get their civil registration documents in SM City Baguio, he added. -- Carlito Dar

DA allots P630M for Kalinga
TABUK CITY, Kalinga -- Kalinga was allotted P630 million for various agricultural projects.
Director Lorenzo Caranguian of the Department of Agriculture Regional Field Unit, Cordillera Administrative Region (DARFU-CAR) announced this during Farmers’ Day and Cooperatives Day on Feb. 15 in celebration of the 21st founding anniversary of Kalinga and Ullalim festival, where he was the guest speaker.
Caranguian told the audience the province deserves the big support to boost its rice, corn, and coffee production industries.
He said bulk of the appropriations will go to the concreting of three farm-to-market roads (FMR) under the Philippine Rural Development Program in the amount of P501 million.
“P118M will go to the concreting of the Banneng-Gumbowoy FMR in Tanudan, P180M to the Bulanao-Amlao FMR, and P203M to Catabbogan-Wagod FMR in Pinukpuk,” Caranguian said.
The director also announced that P32M is appropriated for the Kalinga Integrated Coffee Processing Center, P8M total worth of livelihood projects to associations,  P35M to increase rice production, P20M for corn production, P12M for high value commercial crops, P3.5M for livestock, P9.2M for Pamana projects, P3.1M for bottom-up-budgeting, and other small projects.  -- Peter A. Balocnit

2,317 Abra folks employed under DOLE program
BANGUED, Abra -- The Emergency Employment Program (EEP) of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) in Abra benefited a total of 2,317 displaced workers, underemployed and unemployed local folks in the municipalities of San Juan and Dolores  last month.
George G. Lubin, Jr., DTI provincial head, said the EEP projects in the municipalities of San Juan and Dolores were funded by Party Lists in the House of Representatives worth P22.3 million.
The EEP is a special employment generation program of the DOLE dubbed as the Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers (TUPAD).
Funds for the special employment program were given particularly as a support to the victims of Typhoon Ineng that hit the province last August 2015 especially the farmers whose crops were damaged during the typhoon. 
For the municipality of San Juan, Mayor Marco M. Bautista reported that the P20M EEP fund was given by the Coop Natco Party List for the rehabilitation, improvement and de-siltation of the communal irrigation canals and clearing of barangay roads.
On the other hand, P2.3M funds for the municipality of Dolores from the Buhay Party List was used for the rehabilitation of irrigation canals and barangay roads damaged by typhoon Ineng, Mayor Robert Victor G. Seares, Jr. reported.
Aside from typhoon-affected farmers, other beneficiaries include those that are willing to help in the needed work in the fields. -- Maria Teresa B. Benas
Mt. Province  LGUs, school to employ 1,015 studes this summer
BONTOC, Mountain Province -- About 1,015 students are expected to work this summer vacation under the Special Program for the Employment of Students (SPES) under the auspices of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).
The Provincial Governor’s Office, Office of the Vice Governor, nine local government units in the province and the Xijen College of Mountain Province pledged a total amount of P6, 352,390.00 for the employment of these students.
Based on the data provided by DOLE Provincial field Office Chief Samuel T. Lasdacan, Natonin LGU pledged the highest amount of P2, 493,750.00 for the employment of some 285 students for 25 days.
The Governor’s Office committed P1 million to hire 200 students for 20 days while the Xijen College pledged P600, 000.00 for the employment of 50 students for 40 days.
The Office of the Vice Governor committed P170, 200 for 37 students for 20 days.
The other LGUs  that will  participate in the SPES include  Barlig which pledged P420,000 for 70 students; Bauko – P414,400 for 112 students; Tadian – P400,000 for 80 students; Sabangan – PP248,400 for 54 students; Bontoc – P168,000 for 30 students; Besao – P80,640 for 24 students, Sagada – P32,000 for 8 students. These seven LGUs will employ the students for 20 days.
Paracelis LGU which pledged the amount of P325, 000 shall employ 65 students for 25 days.
Lasdacan said the daily wage of students who will be hired under the SPES varies depending on the daily wage provided by each LGU. Sixty percent (60%) of the students’ salary shall be paid by the employers in cash while the remaining 40% shall be paid by DOLE in the form of education voucher.
Interested students and out-of-school youth who intend to continue their studies are advised to start completing the required documents ready for submission during application period scheduled by the employers. They may visit the Public Employment Service Office (PESO) in the different municipalities in the province and the Provincial DOLE Office to get the required documents to be accomplished.
The SPES is a regular annual job creation program of the national government intended for the poor but deserving students to augment their school fees by providing them work during summer vacation. -- Juliet B. Saley

Medical mission serves Abrenios
BANGUED, Abra -- The provincial government in partnership with Far Eastern University Medical Alumni Association of Northern Illinois, USA carried out a three-day medical mission at the Abra Provincial Hospital  here recently.
Cataract, hernia, cholecystectomy, thyrodectomy, parotidectomy, and excision of mass were some of the different ailments and disorders treated.
They also gave free eyeglasses to senior citizens and others who were examined with visual impairment. Dental extraction and treatment served children and adults with tooth decays and enamel defects.
To accommodate and make sure that all patients were attended, Gov. Eustaquio P. Bersamin’s wife Ruby who planned and organized the medical mission, invited 23 specialists from different fields of medicine from the US to be part of the medical mission.
Bersamin said all patients who undertook major and minor operations were advised to visit the hospital for follow-up check-up. -- Ginalyn B. Brioso

Baguio contractuals to enjoy SSS benefits
BAGUIO CITY  -- Some 83 police auxiliary workers and job order contractuals of the city government here will soon avail of benefits given by the Social Security system (SSS).
Said informal workers of the city government registered to be members of the AlkanSSSya program of the SSS.
The SSS headed by Baguio manager Nancy Umoso, the city government of Baguio headed by mayor Mauricio Domogan and the informal workers of the city represented by Julie Laureta recently signed the MOA at the Baguio City multi-purpose hall.
The MOA covers the mechanics for the implementation of the program which is aimed at facilitating an easy and more convenient remittance of the SS monthly contribution payments of the job orders.
In the MOA, the city government, through its duly authorized and bonded representative will deduct the monthly contribution of the informal workers and remit the monthly contributions together with its monthly collection report.
On the other hand, the SSS will provide information updates and other relevant literature to enhance the informal worker’s knowledge on the SSS and the e-AlkanSSSya implementation such as but not limited to collection, posting reports, periodic issuance of flyers among others.
The city council passed resolution numbered 277, series of 2015 authorizing mayor Domogan to enter into a MOA with the SSS for the implementation of the e-AlkanSSSya program which is beneficial to job orders and police auxiliary workers of the city who are not covered by the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) and with no SSS registered employers.        
Based from the MOA, SSS reserves the right to modify and/or enhance the program, provided that in case the SSS consider that the changes in the program will significantly alter the services offered under the same, the SSS shall advise the city government and informal workers of the changes at least 30 days prior to the date of its implementation.
The MOA may be terminated by the SSS in case of violation o the terms and conditions in the agreement by the informal workers and/or the city government.
The AlkanSSSya program is a micro savings program that aims to attract informal sector workers seeking access to social protection.   -- Jho Arranz

Poverty alleviation programs highlight Apayao anniversary
LUNA, Apayao -- The province of Apayao refrained from traditional festivities in celebrating its founding anniversary this year  in  respect to the loss of the founder of the province.
Gov.  Elias Bulut Jr. said the celebration focused on programs on poverty alleviation instead of traditional festive mood since the province is still mourning  the death of Apayao patriarch, Calanasan Mayor Elias Bulut Sr. who passed away  Dec. 5 last year.
Bulut Sr. authored Republic Act 7878 which separated the province of Apayao from the old Kalinga-Apayao province in February  1995.
He was responsible in shaping the future of Apayao and into what is it today through his long years as the province’s kingpin.
“The celebration for this year’s founding anniversary will be different from the traditional one. Instead of simply celebrating, we will utilize the special programs of the Provincial Government to focus on the alleviation of poverty in the province”, Bulut said in an interview.
The seven municipalities celebrate separately the province’s 21st Founding Anniversary which started on Feb.  9 until the end of the month.
The governor said activities include the launching of the province-wide anti-drug campaign, livelihood projects and the “Pabahay” program.
The “Pabahay” program is the main focus of the province’s anti-poverty campaign, and the provincial government has identified the poorest barangays in each municipality as intended beneficiaries.
The provincial government allocated P8 million for the “pabahay” program with counterpart from each municipality.
The Governor explained that lack of shelter is number one in the poverty indicator of the province as of 2015, followed by income or livelihood then lack of sanitary toilets.
The number of houses to be built will depend on the community-based monitoring system of each barangay.
The goal for livelihood is to strengthen the coffee production in the municipalities of Kabugao, Calanasan and Conner. Other livelihood programs will be based on the design to be created by each municipality.
“These programs are to address the poorest of the poorest”, said the Governor. Apayao is the second poorest province in the Philippines in 2011, and the 4th on the list in 2015.
He informed that the seven municipalities will also have additional activities on their own such as gallery-viewing as a tribute to the Father of Apayao, inter-barangay sports tournaments, street dancing competitions and variety shows but toned down.
Bulut Sr. served as Representative of the old Kalinga-Apayao and then the first congressman of the province of Apayao. He served as provincial governor from 2001 until 2010, and mayor of Calanasan since 2010 until he succumbed to a lingering illness at the age of 76.
 His mission for Apayao was to widen the opportunities of Apayao citizens and indigenous cultural communities in the areas of technology acquisition, intensified agri-industrial production, grains pooling, livelihood creation, and infrastructure building. -- Jillie Ominga

Panagbenga showcases live plants, flowers
BAGUIO CITY – This year’s Panagbenga Festival, which culminated last wseek, required participants to use potted or live flowers rather than cut ones to decorate their floats.
During its launch in November last year, the 2016 Baguio Flower Festival was geared toward using more live flowers for the float parade.
The potted plants and flowers that bedecked the 25 flower floats yesterday could be donated to schools so children can appreciate life and nurture it, city tourism director Venus Tan said.
Organizers admitted that in the past, cut flowers used in the floats, usually amounting to at least P250,000, only go to waste a day or two after the celebration.
“We have been looking for a 50/50 combination, but finally we settled on 25 percent potted plants and flowers and 75 percent cut flowers,” Tan said.
She said next year they may require participants to use only live plants and flowers for the floats.


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