>> Sunday, March 5, 2017

New Gapan City Center
GAPAN CITY, Nueva Ecija — The new City Plaza and Night Market here opened last week as a new destination for families and friends to bond and have fun.
Mayor Emerson Pascual led the opening of the city center which features various products and a variety of eateries.
It is open from 3 p.m. until the wee hours of morning and is secured by police, according to Pascual. -- Sheen Crisologo

Espino to rehab irrigation systems in Pangasinan
LINGAYEN, Pangasinan — Rebuilding and rehabilitation work on old and damaged irrigation systems in Pangasinan farmlands will push through, Gov. Amado I. Espino, III announced last week. 
Gov. Espino said cited Sangguniang Panlalawigan Provincial Resolution No. 477-2017, which authorizes him to enter into a memorandum of agreement for the benefit of Pangasinan farmers.
The provincial resolution, passed Jan. 23, allows the governor to enter into a MOA with irrigation project beneficiaries for implementation of rehabilitation and construction of irrigation systems all over Pangasinan.
Authored by Board Members Noel C. Bince and Liberato Z. Villegas, the resolution stated the MOA will serve as “vehicle for collaboration efforts between the provincial government and Irrigators’ Association, Farmers Association and Fisherfolks project beneficiaries to promote and develop the sustainability of irrigation projects of the province.”
Now, the government may apply their resources and assets for productive development or welfare purposes of the farmers, Espino said.
These include the construction or rehabilitation of a Communal Irrigation System (CIS)/Pump Irrigation System (PIS)/Installation of Shallow Tube Well Irrigation Project (STWIP), Small Impounding Project (SWIP), and Small Farm Reservoir (SFR). -- Liezle Basa Iñigo

Benguet agro-tourism  cultural village launched
LA TRINIDAD, Benguet -- Provincial officials headed by Gov. Crescencio Pacalso launched the Agro-Tourism and Cultural Village here at Barangay Wangal Feb. 18.
Pacalso, said the facility aims to promote Benguet culture and products, adding tourists can ask anything about the culture or related facts of the province’s municipalities.
Meanwhile, chief Tourism operations officer Clarita Prudencio said the provincial government wants to make the facility useful to municipalities for agro- tourism and showcase each town.
DOT Director Marie Venus Tan said the “cultural village is the identity of Benguet, It is a unique and facet of the province.”
The provincial government partnered with the 13 municipalities of Benguet and the Dept. of Tourism for the village.
The village is composed of the 13 provinces of Benguet with their own unique products and tourist sites that they have.
According to regional DOT director Marie Venus Q. Tan, the project aims to revive and revitalize Benguet culture.
Tan added the cultural village was added in the program of nearby Baguio’s  Panagbenga Festival and also included in their website and in the REV-BLOOM Campaign to be known nationally.
Tan said, after the Panagbenga Float Parade today (Feb. 26), she will bring DOT Sec. Wanda Corazon Teo with their undersecretaries, and chief operations officer Cesar Montano to visit the cultural village.
Also she will bring tour guides, local and national press, and travel agencies so that they will include or features the cultural village in their activities.
Tan said she was hoping municipal offices will include the cultural village in their activities and allot funds in their budget so the project will continue. -- Fely Guanzo and Aleja

Benguet elective officials wives group  formed 
LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – The regional Dept. of Tourism established organization for women called “Inspirational Women Cordilleras” wherein members are spouses of elected officials of Benguet. The IWC vice president is Jane, the wife of Gov. Crescencio Pacalso.
“The IWC is a movement of responsible empowered and delegated women of elected officials, that’s why I’m enlisting all of the wives of mayors and even kagawads to be part because we cannot do it alone,” DOT Cordillera director Venus Tan.
As a member of the organization every First lady must have a pet project like regreening, flowering, toilets, environment cleanliness and all projects under REV-BLOOM campaign.
She also asked the help and participation of communities to sustain responsible tourism and development. -- Fely Guanzo

DSWD Usec urges support for Lopez
BAGUIO CITY -- Social Welfare and Development Undersecretary Virginia Orogo urged the public here to support environment Sec. Gina Lopez in her fight to protect the environment during her speech in commemoration of Ibaloy Day.
“Despite the hard work we’re doing together, the destruction continues that’s why we have to support Gina Lopez. She’s alone right now fighting for all of us,” said Orogo.
She said “Lopez cannot do the job alone. She needs the help of everybody. The Filipino people should voice out their concerns that we should speak out in order for environmental problems be solved.
She added there have been many projects and the ones who are have suffered are indigenous people.     “There are so many issues yet to be done for all of us and I think we’re all together in this, even the lowlanders are suffering from it. Flash floods, typhoons, etcetera and maybe time will come when we will look for food because there are no more mountains and the lowlands there are no more rice fields, so we are actually appealing to the leaders of this country to lead us right,” she added.
Orogo appealed to “everyone to help protect the environment for future generations to see, enjoy and hopefully protect and preserve just like what our ancestors and fore fathers had done.” -- Karen Valle Copa
Teenage pregnancies high in Baguio: mayor
BAGUIO CITY – Teenage pregnancy in this city is high, Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan said, adding most are students from other nearby towns.
He said to prevent the rapid increase in teenage pregnancies, children should be taught correct values by their parents. “As far as the city is concerned, the Character City program has its “True love waits” component.”
He said that city officials are going around high schools where they speak to students on such matters including spiritual values. 
In Pasadang Pambarangay, the mayor said the issue of pregnancies are addressed, adding most young ladies who got pregnant early had troubled family background or due to outside factors such as friends and religious sectors. These factors should be looked into for it to be addressed earlier as not to lead into bigger problems such as teenage pregnancies, he said. – Fely L. Guanzo and Karen Copa

Land Bank opens regional lending center in Kalinga
CITY OF TABUK -- The Land Bank of the Philippines opened a regional lending center here to boost the capital capacity of investors and small clients in operating businesses.
 Norman Salagubang, head of newly-established Cordillera Administrative Region Lending Center, said the credit bank will cater to the provinces of Apayao, Kalinga and Mountain Province. 
This will serve the needs of local government units, state colleges and universities, and individuals.
Salagubang said 177 individuals including farmers were already extended financial loans for agriculture production and small enterprises
“In the case of LGUs, the loan amount depends on their borrowing capacity as certified by DILG. We can finance road constructions and improvements, and other development projects,” he explained.  “We can also direct loans to cooperatives as conduits then to their members,”he added.
Salagubang assured the lending center will deliver its best services to its clients. “No need to call 8888, we are here to serve you and respond to your needs,” he said. -- Peter A. Balocnit

Thursdays set as Abra People’s Day    
BANGUED, Abra -- The provincial government here  now holds   People’s Day on Thursdays at the Provincial Capitol Atrium to listen to people’s sentiments on issues.
Gov. Maria Jocelyn V. Bernos said People’s Day  was conceptualized to bring government programs and services closer to the people.
On People’s Day, all department heads  in the provincial government   are on standby to accommodate and entertain issues under their respective offices. Free medical check-up and oral-dental health care services are also provided. -- Ginalyn B. Brioso

Tapestry fashion show in Kalinga trade fair
TABUK CITY, Kalinga – Beautiful ladies wearing finest Kalinga woven dresses   wowed the audience in recent tapestry fashion show opening this year’s Kalinga Treasures Trade Fair here.
Aimed to promote the province’s native apparel, beauties were chosen to model Kalinga’s woven suits and accessories crafted from indigenous colorful materials.
Aurora Sanet of Trade and Industry provincial office that led the event, reported the fashion show took center stage in the trade fair from Feb. 10-19 as part of the 22nd Kalinga founding anniversary and 1st Bodong Festival celebration.
This year, 99 exhibitors displayed their hometown products from the line of native woven items, furniture, gifts and souvenirs, homewards, ornamentals with their partners from the agriculture sector with their organically grown produce.
As a practice, organizers had invited guest exhibitors from Ifugao, Nueva Vizcaya, Benguet and Baguio City.   
Sanet said last year’s sales performance reached P6.4 million .
Under DTI’s product development and marketing promotion, organizers  gave special awards to exhibitors .
To add fun and excitement, various cultural dance troupes performed in Banga Dance competition evening of Feb. 17. 

Tabuk government sets P20M for scholarship
CITY OF TABUK -- Poor students in this city have better chances of obtaining college education   with the city government allotting P20 million under its Education Assistance Program this year.
Mayor Ferdinand B. Tubban disclosed for school year 2017-2018, the city government increased scholarship support per student from P3, 500 to P4, 000 for tuition and other fees per semester.
As incentive, scholars finishing with honors, special awards and citations are also given cash awards. For summa cum laude, the cash incentive is P10, 000; magna cum laude, P7, 500; cum laude, P5, 000 and P2, 000 for academic awards and special citations.
Aside from helping raise professionals in Tabuk, the city government has included in the program obligation to instill social commitment among beneficiaries through involvement in community projects and programs. 
The city LGU also sends selected scholars to trainings and seminars.
Last March, 310 beneficiaries led by Joy Carol A. Palchan, who graduated magna cum laude in Bachelor of Science in Criminology at St. Louis College, Bulanao, completed various courses.
The City Scholarship Program Committee provides job placement assistance to graduates with meritorious achievements. -- Larry T. Lopez

Protect heart,  maintain healthy lifestyle: doctor  
BAGUIO CITY--  Health officials bared healthy lifestyle is still best preventive measure against illnesses of the heart.
Dr. Mylene Genuino of the Department of Medicine of Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center said heart attack remains top three cause of mortality or death in the country.
For BGHMC, it is the top five cause of hospital confinement with 50 percent survival rate.
Genuino said heart problems can be genetically acquired or lifestyle- related which risk factors include smoking, diabetes and obesity.
She reminded people with heart concerns and those with family history of heart problems to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
For those already with heart problem or at risk to have one, they were advised to manage their blood pressure as hypertension is a silent killer that triggers heart attack.
The doctor cautioned individuals to be always on alert for signs and symptoms of possible heart attack  such as chest pain, high blood pressure, shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort and nausea or lightheadedness. 
Early detection leads to proper medication and case management, she said.
Genuino was one of resource persons in the DOH media forum opromoting health advocacies for the month of February. -- Wesley Hortizuela

Medical mission serves 2,373 patients in Ifugao
LAMUT, Ifugao --  Foreign and Filipino health care providers  joined forces  anew to serve  more than 2000 people  during the medical surgical and dental services at the Panopdopan District Hospital here  recently.  
Provincial Health officer Dr. Mary Josephine Dulawan said 2,373 patients were served during the five-day activity by the Christ Compassion in Action - USA and CIA Philippines.
The CIA was led by doctors Robert Carpenter and Conrad R. Zapanta with 52 members of various medical expertise.   Provincial and municipal doctors and other health care providers in the province assisted  in the mission.
Dulawan said many patients underwent general consultation and availed of dental care services.  There were 64 patients who underwent audio tests and given hearing aids while  376 eyeglasses were given to patients.
The group  also conducted 44 major surgeries, 14 minor surgeries and 99 minor-OPD and 60 for pas smear test under obstetrical-gynecological services.
Dulawan said the beneficiaries were elated for the services especially those given hearing aids because they can hear again after many years of being deaf. -- Marcelo B. Lihgawon
OWWA distributes assistance to 700 typhoon- affected OFWs 
CITY OF TABUK, Kalinga -- The Cordillera  regional office of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration  gave  financial assistance to another  batch of  700  Overseas Filipino Workers  and their immediate dependents  affected by  super typhoon “Lawin” last year.
 OWWA-Cordillera Administrative Region regional director Evelyn Laranang led distribution of checks at the provincial capitol during recent celebration of the 22nd Kalinga founding anniversary and Bodong Festival at City Hall.
The assistance was under the Agency’s Cash Relief Assistance (CARE) program.  As provided   under Memorandum of Instruction No. 013,   OWWA  provides cash assistance to affected OFWs or their immediate families at  P3,000 for active OWWA members and P1,500 for non – OWWA member OFWs.
 OWWA has allocated P30 million for the CARE program in the Cordillera.  More than 22,000 applicants from the hardest-hit provinces of Apayao, Kalinga and Northern Abra applied for said assistance.
 Laranang   appealed to CARE applicants to have patience since OWWA is still processing other applications. “I assure all qualified applicants that they will receive assistance in the amount of P3, 000 per OFW family with active OWWA membership and P1, 500 per family whose OFW membership to OWWA has already lapsed or expired.”
She met affected victims particularly those with discrepancies in the application and advised them to correct papers or secure lacking documents.
OWWA earlier released financial assistance to 748 approved CARE applicants. -- Peter A. Balocnit

 CHARMP2 project includes 3 Ifugao b’gays
BANAUE, Ifugao -- Three  barangays in the province  are  included in the expanded    Second Cordillera Highland Agricultural Resources Management Project (CHARMP2)  to reduce poverty in its areas of coverage through agricultural production and productivity.
Charles Picpican of CHARMP2 told local officials that under the CHARMP2 Scale-up Project, three additional barangays - one each in Hungduan, Hingyon and Tinoc- were approved for coverage in the implementation of projects for 2017 and 2018. This will be implemented   jointly by the Department of Agriculture and the local government units with financial assistance from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). 
Picpican said provincial and municipal local government units are key partners in the project, hence it is necessary that they are oriented for a harmonious partnership and smooth project implementation.
The orientation  CHARMP2 Scale Up Project  at the Banaue Hotel here recently  was attended by provincial officials led  by  Governor Pedro Mayam-o,  and    department heads  of the    Provincial Engineering;  Planning and Development;  Agriculturist and  Veterinarian  offices  and  the mayors of Hungduan, Hingyon and Tinoc.
CHARMP2 was implemented in the Cordillera since 2009 covering the six provinces and has reached 45,000 household beneficiaries in 37 highland municipalities and 170 barangays of the Cordillera selected based on poverty categorization criteria among more disadvantaged and impoverished ones. -- Daniel B. Codamon

Museo Kordilyera open to public in UP
BAGUIO CITY -- Want to know more about the culture of the Cordilleras?
Visit the Museo Kordilyera at the University of the Philippines Baguio which opened recently.  
The first ethnographic museum in the region, the Museo Kordilyera serves as a repository of the tangible and intangible heritage of the Cordillera, UP Baguio Chancellor Dr. Raymundo Rovillos said.
Rovillos said Museo Kordilyera will be utilized to become a platform for cultural bearers from different parts of the Cordillera and other ethno linguistic groups to be known by a wider population through dialogues, symposiums, performances, and exhibitions
Three inaugural exhibits were opened January.  These focused on presentation of research works on the culture of tattooing the Cordillera, the traditions of the Buaya people of Kalinga based on the study conducted by Jules de Raedt in 1966, and the ethno graphic photographs depicting the indigenous communities through time.
The inaugural exhibit monographs were also launched as part of the event. These monographs were authored by Dr. Analyn Salvador-Amores, Prof. Victoria Lourdes-Diaz, and Prof. Roland Rabang and edited by Prof. Emeritus Delfin Tolentino, Jr.
Museo Kordilyera is located in a three-level architecture at UP Baguio which is said to follow a design that supports low-cost maintenance and ecological sustainability and preservation.-- Ma. Angela Baylon

Abra councils to intensify efforts to curb crimes 
BANGUED, Abra -- The Abra provincial peace and order and anti-drug abuse  councils chaired by Gov. Maria Jocelyn V. Bernos  agreed to  intensify efforts to  combat  crimes and sustain a drug-cleared province.
Noting that drinking liquor contributes to crimes like traffic accidents and physical injury, the councils thru the Philippine   National Police monitors the   strict implementation of provincial ordinances     prohibiting the selling, giving, offering, buying and drinking liquor in public places after 9 p.m. and prohibiting any person under the influence of liquor to wander, annoy, or create noise in public places. These are posted in all sari-sari stores here.
From Jan. 1 to Feb. 10, the PNP reported 32 vehicular accidents compared to the 31 for same period last year. Other non-index crimes that increased were violence against women and children. There was also an uptrend in index crimes like murder, theft, homicide and castle rustling.
Provincial Prosecutor Nestor Tolentino urged the council to embark on a wider community education on Presidential Decree No. 603 or Child and Youth Welfare Code Article 59, section 11. He said that the police can arrest parents who allow their minor children to drive vehicles because in the law it is child abuse.
Moreover, DILG provincial director Millicent B. Cariño urged the council to continue Project Salbar and other programs on war against illegal drugs to prevent resurgence of use and abuse of drugs in the province with the ceased operations of PNP Double Barrel due to alleged extra judicial killings.
LTC Thomas Dominic Baluga, 24th Infantry Battalion Commanding Officer, said Ifugao reflection camp rehabilitation model could be replicated to closely monitor and rehabilitate drug surrenderees in the province.
The province was recently  declared drug-free. -- Ginalyn B. Brioso

 La Trinidad strawberry fest on with exciting events
By Susan C. Aro
LA TRINIDAD, Benguet --  It’s fiesta time in as the Strawberry Festival is on even as Baguio City’s Panagbenga  Festival  unveiled  its major  events.
The Strawberry Festival showcased the town’s agriculture, culture, history, and arts Feb 20 to run until March 31. 
This year’s theme is   “Sustaining the Fruits of La Trinidad’s Agro-Eco Tourism”.
Mayor Romeo Salda said the Strawberry Festival started earlier this year to take advantage of the influx of tourists in the ongoing Panagbenga who may opt to visit the town.
The Panagbenga which opened Feb. 1 had its  crowd-drawing grand street parade and float parade on Feb. 25 and 26 respectively.
The Strawberry Festival Agro-Industrial Fair is open until March 31,  Coffee fest until  3,  Biggest and Sweetest Strawberries; Flower Arrangement Contest on Mar. 17 and  Strawberry Cake Competition on Mar. 21.
The main program will be held March 18 at the municipal gym. 
There were new activities and innovations introduced in this year’s festivities such as the Search for Strawberry Festival theme song,  strawberry local film fest on March 24-26 and float parade using a non-motorized float on March 19 from km 6 to municipal hall.
 Other activities:  Valley Clean-Up Drive held Feb. 24-25; art and photo contest on Feb 28 – Mar. 1 at the Art and Photo Lane, municipal park; Ecumenical Service and Opening Program on Mar. 6 at municipal gym; opening of Strawberry Lane on Mar. 6 at town park; job fair on Mar. 10 at municipal gym ; Concert at the park on Mar. 6 and 31 at municipal park; Duting tan Dukto and fun run on Mar. 11 at town park; dog show on Mar. 11 at town park; Mr and Ms. La Trinidad pre-pageant on Mar. 17 at town gym and civic parade on Mar. 18 from k.m. 6 to municipal hall;  Owik tan Tayao and multicultural celebrations on Mar 18 at towbn gym; street cance, drum and lyre, with float competition and parade on Mar. 19 from Km. 6 to municipal hall; strawberry cake fest on Mar. 19 at the Lednicky Hall; Feast of St. Joseph on Mar. 20 at the San Jose Parish Church; Strawberry Cake Competition on Mar. 21 and mass wedding on Mar. 24 both at municipal gym, Mr. and Ms. La Trinidad Pageant on Mar. 25 at  Cordillera Career Development College Gym; Dongba ni Kavadjo on Mar. 25-26 at the Wangla Sports Complex, Balikbayan Day on Mar. 30 at municipal gym, Barangay Night on Mar. 30 at the municipal gym and closing and awarding on March 31 at the municipal gym.
There are other community and sponsor-led activities such as mural competition, acoustic band contest, concert, battle of the bands, and music and arts fest, Tawang Agro-Eco Tourism Festival, Road Safety Seminar, 1st Regional Youth Assembly, Benguet Agri and Cultural Tourism Village Experience; Bloom Fest: A Coffee Festival and fireworks.
Sports events include Cordillera Motocross, Strawberry Tennis Cup, Arnis Competition, Badminton Cup, Mountain Bike XC race, Basketball Clinic, Dart wars, Strawberry Zumba, Amazing Race-LT, Flair Competition 2017, and Strawberry Marathon.  
Salda invited the public to participate in the month- long festivities not only to enjoy but to meet friends.

SSS Abra shares good news to its members
BANGUED, Abra -- The Social Security System (SSS) office here said initial  P1, 000 pension hike  for members would take effect this  January.
President Rodrigo Duterte approved  earlier this month an across-the-board pension increase of P2,000  to benefit more than two million SSS  pensioners  with the initial P1,000 effective this month and  another  P1,000 in 2022 or earlier.  Along with the President’s decision to increase pension was the instruction for SSS to incorporate reforms to ensure sustainability of the pension fund.    
 It’s possible to happen because they won’t promise it if they can’t, stressed SSS Provincial Manager Edward Urua following  reactions pension hike is highly improbable to materialize sooner because it may cut down SSS fund life in 10 years if not accompanied by higher contributions.
On calamity assistance loan, Urua said they are still waiting for go signal from the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council before they can allow their members who are victims of typhoon Lawin to apply for a loan.  -- Ginalyn B. Brioso

Youth participation in Baguio
disaster programs proposed
BAGUIO CITY – The City Council approved on first reading a proposed ordinance institutionalizing youth participation and representation in local disaster risk reduction and management in the city.
The ordinance authored by Councilor Leandro B. Yangot, Jr. stated there shall be a youth representative in the city and barangay disaster risk reduction and management councils and the National Youth Commission (NYC), in coordination with the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) City field office, shall formulate the guidelines for the selection of the youth representative.
Under the proposal, the qualifications of the youth representative to the said councils are: not necessarily college graduate but underwent training and have experience in disaster risk reduction and management or climate change actions, and is willing and capable of serving as a member of the councils;  a member of a community-based organization, preferably those that have disaster risk reduction engagements or have worked with the NYC; at least one year residency in the barangay to help ensure familiarity of the barangay he or she will serve. -- Dexter A. See

 OCD-CAR honors 2016 Gawad Kalasag awardees, partners 
BAGUIO CITY -- The Office of Civil Defense  recognized  exemplars and  partners in disaster risk reduction and management efforts and actions in Cordillera during the recent 2016 GawadKalasag awards here at Camp John Hay.
For the DRRM Commitment Awards (individual category), recognized were Benguet DRRM coordinator for Department of Education Nerissa Barbosa; Tublay MDRRMO AbnerLawangen; Licuan-Baay, Abra MDRRMO ErosbonSabedo; Mountain Province PRRMO Edward Chumawar; La Trinidad MDRRMO Yoshio Labi and Police Regional Office Deputy Director for Operations, PSSupt. AngelitoCasimiro.
OCD also gave recognition to 30 government agencies and organizations, private institutions and volunteer groups for their valuable contribution in the DRRM advocacy and efforts last year especially during the onslaught of super Typhoon Lawin.
Assistant Secretary Kristoffer James “Toby” Purisima, OCD deputy administrator for admin- operations cited importance of awardees’ work and leadership.

GawadKalasag’ (KAlamidad at SakunaLAbananSArilingGalingangKaligtasan) is an annual award that is given to individuals, non-government organizations, private sector and government organizations in recognition of their initiative in helping the Filipino government uplift the standard of disaster management in the country. -- Carlito C. Dar


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