NEWS BRIEFS

>> Friday, October 7, 2016


Mt Province emergency responders given training
BONTOC, Mountain Province -- The Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council conducted basic incident command system training here at Ridgebrooke Hotel and Restaurant last week.
This was to enhance skills of emergency responders and increase effectiveness and minimize slip-ups during emergency operations.
Resource persons were from the Office of Civil Defense -Cordillera Administrative Region led by assistant regional director engineer Jose Ignacio Valera.
Gov. Bonifacio C. Lacwasan, Jr. expressed his gratitude for the training opportunity given to the province saying , “Through this training, capability on DRMM are enhanced. There is no better armor against any eventuality than being prepared. This training will further enhance our disaster preparedness as we strive for a disaster resilient Mountain Province,” he remarked.  -- Laycha K. Marra

Baguio minors to be prohibited from pawning
BAGUIO  CITY-- A Baguio  councilor wants that minors will be barred from pawning or selling items to pawnshops.
According to councilor Edgar Avila, he filed resolution prohibiting minors below 18 years old from pawning or pledging or transacting with any pawnshops in the city. He said this will help stop youth find accessibility to drug abuse.
In his explanation, the prevalence of drug and other substance abuse among today's youth has spawned different ways and means by which they can sustain their  habit. "Just so they can raise the money needed to purchase drugs, alcohol, or other dangerous substances, or simply to maintain a carefree lifestyle beyond what their ordinary school allowance can be provide, many young people go to the extent of pawning or pledging property of value, whether obtained from legal or illegal sources," Avila.
The councilor said that the present wording of Presidential Decree No. 114 or the "Pawnshop Regulation Act" contains no prohibition of minors from transacting with pawnshops. He added that in practice, there is a marked laxity among pawnshop owners and operators when extending loans for property pawned or pledged. -- Aldwin Quitasol

Abra TESDA opens training for dropouts 
PIDIGAN, Abra -- Many have flunked and quit school because they are poor in English or Math. However, language, number and other mind intelligence are not the only options to earn for a living today but more on possessing skills and developing them.
 Rodulfo Bragas, administrator of Technical Education and Skills Development Authority Provincial Training Center here, said this, as he urged individuals to enroll in their training courses.
There are many adults who have not completed their basic education and out-of-school youth who wanted to go to school but are embarrassed to do so. Because of that, they are left with no choice but become low-wage workers over strenuous labor, he said.
“But that was before. Now they can come here in TESDA. Learn new skills, enroll in courses, go abroad and make money.”
He added they have produced many graduates in Automotive NC1 and NC2, Welding NC1 and NC2, Electrical Installation and Maintenance and others who are now in Australia, Canada and other regions.
With availability of the center’s facility and equipment, Bragas said they expect to produce 1,500 course completers this year and more in the coming years.
“The wealthiest people in the world today are known for their skills that they developed to the utmost. Some even were college dropouts. That is why we encourage people to enroll in TESDA,” Bragas said. -- Ginalyn B. Brioso

Ifugao town reconstitutes local peace, order council
LAGAWE, Ifugao  -- The local government unit here has reconstituted its municipal peace and order council.
Mayor Martin Habawel, Jr. said   the reassignmentand designation of members affected performance of the council.
“The reorganization of the MPOC is to ensure the operation, accomplishment and execution of programs and projects for the constant maintenance of public peace and order as well as the safety of the citizenry,” Habawel said.
The MPOC is chaired by the municipal mayor with the vice-mayor as vice-chairperson. Members are some heads of municipal offices, representatives from government and non-government offices, religious sectors, barangay captains, and Sangguniang Bayan committee chairperson on peace and order.
The MPOC is tasked to formulate plans and recommend measures that will improve or enhance peace and order, monitor the implementation of peace and order program and projects and the operation of civilian volunteers, self-defense organizations and other counter insurgency programs, among others. -- Marcelo B. Lihgawon

Baguio trash hauling getting more expensive
BAGUIO CITY -- Councilor  Peter Fianza urged waste segregation and recycling or re-using of non-biodegradable materials to reduce solid waste production in barangays and lessen city government expenses on hauling of waste.
Fianza stressed this during the public consultation on proposed legislations of Environment and Natural Resources sector with Councilors Elaine Sembrano, Lilia FariƱas, and Mylen Yaranon.
According to Fianza, the city waste generation stands at 140 to 150 tons per day, and the city government pays P1, 350 per ton for the tipping and transport of the generated solid waste.
That is why the city council is reiterating its call for every barangay to continue to reduce waste production and strengthen recycling efforts and advocacies in your respective localities, he said.
He said the city has no integrated solid waste management system yet and that the 10 – year Solid Waste Management Plan(SWMP) approved by the Solid Waste Management Commission is up for revisit. This he said did not pass through the Sangguniang Panlungsod and public consultation before it was submitted to the Commission.  He assured that all the proposals in the consultation will be taken into consideration when they revisit the city’s 10 – year SWMP. -- Carlito Dar

29 individuals donate blood in Mt Province
BONTOC, Mountain Province --  Twenty nine individuals recently donated   13,050 cc of blood to help save lives.
Veronica Tactay, Chapter administrator of Philippine Red Cross here, said 26 of the donors were extracted at the Sagada rural health unit and the other three at the Sadanga RHU.
Tactay said extracted blood was used by patients undergoing dialysis at the Bontoc General Hospital. The rest are stocked at the Red Cross office here.
The bloodletting activity was conducted by Philippine Red Cross – Mountain Province Chapter in partnership with the Provincial Health Office, Department of Health Provincial Office, Sagada and Sadanga RHUs, Bontoc General Hospital and the Luis Hora Memorial Regional Hospital.
 The Red Cross is intensifying its advocacy on blood donation with the increase in the demand of blood by patients from the province who are confined at the provincial hospital   as well as confined in the different hospitals in Baguio and Benguet.
Red Cross volunteers are  scheduled   to conduct training on first aid, basic leadership, water and sanitation hygiene for elementary pupils in Catao and Bagabag elementary schools in Buringal, Paracelis on Sept. 19 – 30. -- Juliet B. Saley

NFA-Kalinga assures rice supply for typhoon months
TABUK CITY, Kalinga  --The National Food Authority assured sufficient rice buffer in Kalinga during the typhoon months.
Provincial assistant manager Ric Baliang reported their latest inventory showed current stock of 8,000 bags rice and 11,000 bags ready to mill palay which when milled would yield a total stock of 17,000 bags of rice.
The provincial station had earlier supplied rice to its more than 80 bigasan outlets in various strategic locations to ensure available and affordable quality rice to people in far-flung areas during the typhoon months, Baliang said. NFA rice sells at P27-32/kg.
Meanwhile, in line with its “calamity rice loan program” allowing local government units to make rice withdrawals for distribution during calamities, Baliang informed that the NFA has already signed a memorandum of agreement with some LGUs.  He reminded other LGUs to follow suit.
The move stemmed from disaster response evaluations that showed the need to earlier dispatch basic needs like food to far areas which may be isolated because of landslides and related risks due to typhoons. -- Larry T. Lopez

Baguio congressman files bill to raise SSS pension
BAGUIO CITY --  Rep. Mark Go  has filed House Bill 1853  which seeks to amend the1997 Social Security Act by increasing the current minimum pension from P1,200.00 to P3,200.00
Go said the bill was filed with the private sector retirees in mind, “so that they can cope with the high cost of living expenses against inadequate financial source.”   
“It is sad to note that since the enactment of RA 8282 in 1997, SSS pensioners have not received any significant pension hike that will augment the meager amount they currently receive as monthly pension for their food sustenance, and maintenance medicines, especially senior citizens,”  he  added.
The lawmaker said while he understands that the SSS administration worries about the “SSS fund’s actuarial life, the fact is that the current pension rate is measly and hardly enough to protect against the hazards of disability, sickness, death and other contingencies, which results to financial   burden.” The  actual value of the P1,200.00 per month SSS pension is worth only around P500  because of the inflation. 
Go said  SSS fund’s life can be protected by better fund management.

Bauko ecological solid waste board reconstituted
 BAUKO, Mountain  Province -- Mayor Abraham B. Akilit   reconstituted the Municipal Ecological Solid Waste Management Board (MESWMB) to enhance its programs.
The MESWMB is composed of the mayor as chairman. Members include engineer Domingo E. Pilpilen, Sanitary officer of the Luis Hora Memorial Regional Hospital; Councilor Susan B. Awisan, SB chair on environmental sanitation; ABC president Faustino Sili; municipal health officer, Dr. Samuel Masidong; agriculturist Carolyn Wandalen; planning and development coordinator Walter Dalang; engineer Alfredo Diano of  Municipal Engineer’s Office; Christopher Bosaing of provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office and Archie Pakipac of the Municipal Sanitary Office.
Secretariat of the Board includes Irene Pangpangdeo of the Office of the Municipal Planning and Development Corrdinator and Archie Pakipac of the Rural Health Unit. -- Juliet B. Saley

CRSHS heads La Trinidad Inter-school  press confab
LA TRINIDAD, Benguet -- The Cordillera Regional Science High School headed the first  La Trinidad inter-school campus press conference here  at CRSHS Sept. 17 to enhance journalistic competence and orient  campus writers on trends in campus journalism, Said event was dubbed SURAT (strengthening and upgrading journalistic skills of writers and advisers of Trinidad.)
Keynote speaker Karlston S. Lapniten, a Baguio-based Correspondent of CNN Philippines, urged the 96 participants to go online as 21st century campus journalists.
“Go online. Use social media to globally tell stories in your own perspective as campus journalists,” he said.
Lapniten urged participants to make their school publication present in the internet saying through this, more people and the whole world would read their stories.
In consonance with the theme “21st century writers: the catalyst of change,” Lapniten said campus writers are agents of change in their respective schools, community, or neighborhood. “This is because student writers are the torch bearers who will shed light on issues affecting their schools and communities.”
One-hour lectures and competitions on different journalistic events were held wherein seven public secondary schools in La Trinidad participated.
Daniel D. Peredo, CRSHS principal, suggested this event could be an annual activity among secondary schools in this strawberry-producing town, which the school paper advisers agreed upon during their meeting. --- Augustin  A.  Dao-anis

Kiangan LGU  strengthens  moral recovery  program
KIANGAN, Ifugao- - The municipal government here is strengthening   its moral recovery crogram (MRP) initially with orientation and planning workshop among barangay chaplains and service providers.
The government has embarked on the MRP to “recover the moral deterioration and redirect the people towards righteous governance and good citizenry adopting the core values of Makatao, Makabansa, Maka Dios and Makakalikasan.”
Facilitated by the Municipal Social Welfare and Development Office (MSWDO) and the Municipal Human Resource Office, the workshop was venue for participants to know more about MRP and to prepare their action plan.
MSWDO head Mario Indopia told participants the MRP has a two-pronged focus which are the clients in the barangay local government units (BLGUs) and other institutions and the service provider groups or the Municipal Chaplaincy.
Chaplain, as explained by lawyer Leticia Morales, is a person of any status designated by the government, the governor or the mayor to preach or bring the good news or moral recovery in designated areas.  Chaplaincy on the other hand is the extended ministry outside the four corners of a church and its focus is moral or deals with the words of God and not of church doctrines.
Chaplain Albert Ngitit presented the code of ethics which is purely biblical and culturally accepted ethics in which moral attitude and values should be incorporated in biblical teachings but not church doctrines.
Chaplain Roland Dimog expounded on the principles of counseling saying counselors should never dictate on what people should do but to come up with the best decision for themselves by bringing out the good in every individual. They should never let the counselee feel threatened and guilty but act as the model of the love and grace of Jesus Christ exemplified on earth and taught in the Bible.
The group made their action plan that includes regular conduct of Bible exhortation in the Sangguniang Bayan, BLGUs, police, general assemblies and other occasions such as the Nutrition Day, Family Day and others.
They will also conduct training for barangay councils and employees, orientation of ministers and workers on chaplaincy, officially include Bible exhortation during the Family Development Sessions of the 4Ps, Interfaith Prayer Gathering, quarterly get together or fellowship and continuous monthly chaplaincy meetings and education. -- Daniel B. Codamon

Bangued mayor urges public: Help solve garbage problem
BANGUED, Abra -- Mayor Dominic B. Valera urged cooperation and patience of residents in this capital town to help in solving grbage problem.
Valera said the local government closed the dumping site along Abra River bank in BarangayCalaba following complaints from local officials of Ilocos Sur of garbage being washed out downstream when the Abra River swells.
The mayor said the LGU is trying to work out for the establishment of a municipal dumpsite that would meet the standards of the DENR to prevent further hazards to the environment.
In the meantime, the LGU put a halt on garbage collection and asked the households and establishments to segregate their wastes and put up their own compost pits in their backyards and not to dump their garbage in the rivers and creeks. -- Maria Teresa B. Benas

Nat’l Food Showdown set Oct. 19-21 in Baguio 
BAGUIO CITY - - Mark your calendar and  prepare to come up to  this Summer Capital  to witness    the   country’s culinary experts as they   battle it out for the 2016 National Chef War in the Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism (HRT) Week  from  Oct.  19 to 21.
Hosted by the Hotels and Restaurants Association of Baguio (HRAB), this year’s HRT Week   will showcase the National Food Showdown. This will be highlighted by the Chef War wherein the best culinary experts from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao will display their talents and skills before local and international food experts.
HRAB president and Baguio Country Club general manager Anthony De Leon, in media forum here, said the 2016 National Food Showdown is themed|  “Agree to agri: Putting our best food forward”   to showcase the country’s agricultural produce.
Aside from regular culinary competitions for students and professionals in the hotel, restaurant and tourism industry, other activities line up include Search for Mr. &Ms. HRAB 2016 and HRAB’s Got Talent, trade fair and expositions, jobs fair, seminars and other learning sessions that will be held in three venues namely, Baguio Country Club, CAP – John Hay Trade and Cultural Center and the Baguio Convention Center. 
De Leon said they expect around 10,000 visitors for the events. He said security and safety of the delegates will be among their top priority.
There is no lean season anymore here in Baguio, travel time is now much shorter that even weekdays people come up. It is a good sign of economic activity, showing the spending power of the different classes, he added. -- Carlito Dar

Sibud-Sibud Cave in Abra now under DENR program
TINEG, Abra -- The Sibud-Sibud Cave  in this upland town is one of the 39 caves in the Philippines placed under protection and management of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources recently.
Saturnina Miguel of the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office said an area receives protection from DENR for its recognizable beauty and natural and cultural reserves.  This is  necessary to preserve the caves so the public could enjoy them.
Sibud-Sibud Cave is found along the road of Tineng.  An ideal place for nature lovers, it can be reached after travelling a distance of around 33 kms.  
It is categorized as Class III since it is less explored and visited.  Accordingly, Class III caves may also be utilized for economic activities like extraction or collection of guano or bird’s nest.
The local government units and residents are looking forward to developing the premises of the  Sibud-Sibud Cave  and establishing physical amenities and public utilities for the comfort of tourists and spelunkers.
Economic activities are expected to grow like tour guiding and collection of bird’s nest which is sold to foreigners as souvenir. Guano or bird’s nest is also made as soup and home remedy for certain illness.
Sibud-Sibud Cave is a threshold to all other potential natural and wildlife sanctuaries in Abra deserving protection, stressed Miguel.  -- Ginalyn B. Brioso 

Japanese Suzu City officials visit Ifugao
BANAUE, Ifugao --  Five Japanese officials recently visited the province  to see for themselves  the landscapes and hear from the implementers and local stakeholders the best practices in facilitating sustainable development in the Globally Important Heritage Systems(GIAHS)  site of Ifugao .
Suzu City Mayor Masuhiro Izumiya accompanied by the City’s Planning and Financial Division Chief Naoyuki Kaneda, Masako Koinuma, the Director of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Ifugao Satoyama Meister Training Program (ISMTP) Project Leader Koji Nakamura and his associate Dr. Rizalina Edpalina, were welcomed at the Ifugao State University (IFSU) in Lamut with a program.
Mayor Izumiya said that although this was his first time to visit Ifugao, he heard great stories about the culture of the people and the scenic spots such as the Ifugao Rice Terraces.  
He commended the twinning project between the Ifugao and Japan GIAHS stakeholders and expects that the ISMTP would continue to foster stronger relationships between the province and Suzo City. He shared that his city, like Ifugao, is also faced with the challenge of a decreasing population due to outmigration of the younger generation in search of better future outside the place.
ISMTP is a joint undertaking of the IFSU under president Serafin Ngohayon, Kanazawa University of Japan, University of the Philippines-Open University, JICA and the Ifugao Provincial Government that envisions to help maintain the World Heritage Sites in the province by identifying endeavors that the people may embark and support scholars that will be trained to spearhead such endeavors.
The program that began in 2014 and will end this year. The scholars after their training here and in Japan will help empower the people in the heritage sites improve their quality of life by harmonizing heritage conservation, environmental preservation and economic activities.  
The group   visited Banaue as part of their two-day itinerary in the province.  In their tour of the town, Ifugao Governor Pedro Mayam-o related stories about the culture, agricultural practices of the Ifugaos while Mayor Jerry Dalipog admitted that the conservation of heritage sites to be successful really needs the common efforts of all stakeholders hence appreciated very much this joint endeavor with the ISMTP.
The Ifugao Rice Terraces is the only GIAHS site in the Philippines.  -- Daniel B. Codamon

Mayor allays fears on shift to solar vehicles
BAGUIO CITY -- The transport sector has nothing to be afraid about the proposed shift from gas or diesel-powered motor vehicles to solar powered vehicles as alternative mode of transport, said Mayor Mauricio Domogan.
The mayor told a media forum the city government is still testing capability of said alternative mode of transport in the city.
If the pilot test will generate positive results, “then the next step will be to look into the actual cost of the vehicle to determine its affordability for the benefit of the members of the transport sector,” he explained.
The city government has approved the request of the Glad to be Green group led by businesswoman Gladys Vergara-de Vera to pilot test the use of the solar-powered bus in the city for two months. 
This tests   the vehicle’s ability to maneuver in the mountainous terrain which will determine its possible areas of operation as it might have limitations especially with the very steep roads around the city. Also included in the on-going pilot test is a study on the affordability of solar-powered vehicles which is a main consideration prior to its use by certain members of the transport sector.
Accordingly, solar-powered vehicles do not emit smoke which will result to cleaner air for the City, which will result to better health for the public that will in turn translate to lesser expense in terms of keeping themselves healthy thus improving productivity and quality of life.
Domogan said that the acquisition of franchise will only be applicable when the study on the use of the solar power vehicle will have been proven feasible and beneficial.

Benguet overshootsrabies vaccination target
LA TRINIDAD, Benguet -- The free massive anti-rabies vaccination campaign in the province was successfully conducted even overshooting its target.
Provincial Veterinarian Dr. Miriam Tiongan said they have exceeded the target of the dog population by 7.34 percent which is above the national target of 70% and the region’s target of 80%.
Of the total dog population of 35,069 in the 13 towns of the province, 30,628 dogs were vaccinated.
The capital town of La Trinidad had the highest number of dogs vaccinated with 6,479 out of the   7,652 dogs.
Other towns that had high rate of vaccination are   Bakun, Kapangan and Buguias.  
The campaign is aimed to eradicate rabies by 2020. Fortunately, no rabid dog case is recorded this year so far, Tiongan said.
The OPVet is still doing vaccination  but already with a minimal charge. The Office  is also continuously conducting information education and administering spay and neuter as a means of controlling dog population. -- Susan C. Aro



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