Baguio’s Verzosa Wins Ms. International 2016

>> Sunday, October 30, 2016

By Jobelle Anselmo Batanes

Kylie Verzosa of this tourism resort  was crowned the56th Ms. International 2016held on October 27, 2016 at the Tokyo Dome City Hall in TokyoJapan
She is the 6th Filipina who won the prestigious award besting more than 65 candidates from different countries.
Verzosa’s eloquent speech during the Top 15 round has astounded the audience, “Three things come to mind when I think of Miss International — culture, education, and international understanding. These three work together to make the brand of the Miss International pageant relevant to the global community in our time. If I become Miss International 2016, I will devote my self to cultural understanding and international understanding,” she said.
“Because I believe that it is with developing in each of us sensitivity to other cultures that we expand our horizons, tolerate difference, and appreciate diversity. All these enable us to achieve international understanding. And I believe I am prepared to take on this responsibility.”
On April 17, 2016, she represented Baguio City in the Search for Bb. Pilipinas at Smart Araneta Coliseum and won the Bb. International award and also bagged two minor awards.  Kylie also bagged two minor awards; Ms. Manila Bulletin and She’s So Jag on the coronation night.
Verzosa also amazed the world with her flawless answer when Olivia Jordan of USA Universe asked her,” Why do you deserve to win a Bb. Pilipinas crown tonight?” by USA Universe, Olivia Jordan during the Question and Answer portion of Bb. Pilipinas.
Ms. International is the eldest daughter among the five children of Ari and Raquel Versoza, who were both former flight attendants and now business owners in Baguio.
The 1st Runner Up is Ms. Australia while the 2nd Runner Up is Indonesia followed by Ms. Nicaragua and Ms. USA at the third and fourth runner-up spots, respectively.
The other candidates who made it to the Top 15 list were:Nicaragua, Indonesia, Finland, Mexico, USA, Japan, El Salvador, Canada, Domican Republic, Argentina, Australia, Russia, Thailand and Poland,
Verzosa humbly thank everyone who supported her especially her parents, realtives, friends, and her fans


Northern Luzon provinces declared in state of calamity

AS SUPER TYPHOON LAWIN exited the country, many provinces were declared in state of calamity last week to include Ilocos Norte, Cagayan, La Union and all Cordillera provinces Ifugao,  Abra, Apayao, Kalinga, Mountain Province and Benguet except Baguio City which had no casualty.
The regional Office of Civil Defense and Disaster office said the Welfare and Development office and Philippine Air Force airlifted food supplies to disaster-stricken areas even as it bared P1.17 billion worth of damages to infrastructure particularly roads. 
The Disaster office said power may be restored in Kalinga in one to two months.
As of press time, there were reportedly 20 casualties in Cordillera, with 15 confirmed dead, four injured and one missing.
Some 106,456 families or 464,724 individuals were affected.
Two construction workers died when a landslide buried their shanty in La Trinidad town in Benguet, while two villagers perished in another landslide and another was swept away in a river and remains missing in Ifugao province.
A 70-year-old man died apparently of a heart attack in an emergency shelter while another man died after being pinned by a fallen tree in Isabela province.
An 85-year-old woman identified only as Cariaga perished in Pasuquin town in Ilocos Norte.
National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council executive director Ricardo Jalad said landslides that hit two towns in Benguet claimed the lives of Jhon Carlos Hatop, a 19-day-old baby; Joshua Halle, 19, Jessie Hella, 28, all of Sagpat, Kibungan and 65-year-old Arsenio Lantaen of Abatan, Buguias.
Over in La Trinidad, 40-year-old Edgar Genese and Jonie Borja, 35, also died in a landslide that hit their village.
In Ifugao, a certain Junior Chawagan, 16, and Jeramel Alfaro, 17, perished in a landslide that hit residential areas in Hungduan town. 
A certain Larry Duyapat, also from Hungduan, was reported missing.
Jalad said forced evacuations from high-risk communities helped prevent a larger number of casualties.
Jalad said they forced the evacuation of 18,157 families from villages in the Ilocos region, Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Quezon) region, Bicol and the Cordillera . 
Meanwhile, the regional Highways office identified roads closed at presstime: Baguio-Bontoc Road, Cagayan-Tabuk Enrile Road, Bontoc-Banaue, Ifugao-Nueva Vizcaya and Mountain Province-Ilocos Sur via Tue.    
Some 39 national, provincial and municipal roads were closed at the height of Typhoon Lawin.
Seventy-six houses were totally damaged. More than P394 million worth of agricultural produce were damaged, while more than P6 million worth of fisheries products went down the drain.
At least 36 road systems remain closed several days, while major routes to the provincial centers including Baguio City have been restored. 
 Although power has been completely restored in Baguio City,  more than half of Benguet (59 percent) still is without power, while at Bangued, Abra’s capital town only Zone 1 had power Monday night.
 Electricity in Bauko, Sabangan, Tadian, Sagada, Besao, Bontoc and Sadanga have been restored Monday afternoon, while Apayao and Kalinga provinces are still suffering from power outages.
Cagayan, La Union
With relief supplies running low and dozens of towns and villages still in shambles in the aftermath of Lawin, the Cagayan provincial government placed the entire province under a state of calamity.
Cagayan Gov. Manuel Mamba appealed for immediate help from the national government, saying the province is now in dire need of help as their current food stocks have been diminished and could only last for several days.
“The province is now under a state of calamity,” Mamba said during a radio interview.
He said without help from the national government, it will take months for the province to recover.
Mamba said Lawin literally damaged or destroyed everything in the province.
“Even our provincial building was damaged,” he said, describing Lawin as the most powerful typhoon in history to hit the province.
Aside from food, medicine and potable water, Mamba also appealed for tents for temporary shelters for displaced residents, most of whom are living in makeshift tents set up along roadsides.
As of presstime, the province remained without power supply, with limited electricity being provided by generator sets.
The province of La Union was also placed under a state of calamity.
Government agencies, through the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, are currently organizing relief caravans for Cagayan, the Ilocos regions and CAR.
Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III launched an emergency employment program for affected residents.
Private donors that included the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) allocated P2 million to areas devastated by the typhoon.
A teachers’ organization is urging the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to immediately release the year-end bonus of public educators and other government officials in areas affected by Lawin.
“The severity of the blows suffered by many provinces in Luzon due to cyclones, most recently Super Typhoon Lawin, underscores the need to prioritize assistance to those affected,” the Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC) said.

Zero casualty for Lawin in Ilocos
The Ilocos region attained zero casualty during Typhoon Lawin, the Office of Civil Defense reported.  
Melchito Castro, OCD-Region 1 chief and regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (DRRMC) chairman, lauded the efforts of local government officials as well as the cooperation and support of the residents in preparing for the typhoon.
A reported death in Pasuquin, Ilocos Norte was not-typhoon related, officials said.
Ilocos Norte was placed under a state of calamity.
The provincial DRRMC said damage to agriculture and infrastructure was placed at P673 million. 
A state of calamity was also declared in Ilocos Sur. Damage to infrastructure was estimated at P324 million and P313 million to agriculture.
Meanwhile, the entire province of Abra is still without power due to electric posts felled by Lawin.
Power may be restored in Bangued sooner while the rest of the province may have to wait for a few more days, said Loreto Seares Jr., Abra Electric Cooperative (Abreco) general manager.

Seares said losses incurred by Abreco due to the typhoon reached P60 million. -- – With Raymund Catindig, Eva Visperas and Jun Elias


New law sets longer term for incumbent barangay officials

Bocap posts being peddled not for sale – Sueno

TABUK CITY, Kalinga – Barangay officials will remain in holdover capacity until the elections next year, Interior Secretary Ismael Sueno has reiterated amid reports that some positions are being “peddled.”
Sueno told local officials during his visit to areas affected by Typhoon Lawin here Wednesday that barangay officials could only be removed after the elections.
“There are people...asking who are interested to take over for a fee... That is not allowed,” he said.
President Duterte signed last week the law postponing the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections from Oct. 31 this year to Oct. 23, 2017. 
Under the law, the terms of incumbent officials will be extended for a year unless they are removed or suspended from office.
Meanwhile, the Commission on Elections said election officers should hold at least two satellite registrations in every barangay to encourage more voters to participate in the SK and barangay elections.
“The election officer shall intensify the conduct of mandatory satellite registration at least twice in every barangay,” the poll body said through Resolution 10166 dated Oct. 25.
The registration can be held in public places, including barangay halls, public and private schools, commercial establishments, detention centers, resettlement areas and indigenous community areas.
The poll body will entertain request to hold additional satellite registration subject to the approval of regional election directors or provincial election supervisors. – With Sheila Crisostomo
Incumbent barangay officials stand to enjoy an extended term of office under Republic Act 10923 or the law that resets this year’s barangay elections to Oct. 23, 2017.
Based on the law approved by President Duterte in Oct. 15, these incumbent officials would stay in office on hold-over capacity until their successors are duly elected and qualified.  
The law stated that barangay officials may be removed or suspended for cause.
Commission on Elections Chairman Andres Bautista welcomed the enactment of the law, saying he had been confident that Duterte would sign the measure.  
Bautista said since the law had been signed, the Comelec could now resume voter registration in November, wherein they expect an additional two million voters for the Sangguniang Kabataan and two million more for the barangay to sign up.
Bautista assured the public that some P6 billion intended for the barangay and SK polls are intact and will be used in 2017.  
The 411,000 official ballots that had been printed may be used by amending the dates indicated on it.
But for election lawyer Romulo Macalintal, the extension of term of office provided  by the postponement of the synchronized polls is unconstitutional.
Macalintal said it would be like allowing the officials to hold office although they no longer have the mandate of the people.
“Holdover constitutes appointment. In a word, these holdover officials are “appointed” by the legislators in violation of the constitutional provision that barangay officials should be elected by their constituents,” he added.
Macalintal cited the 2011 ruling of the Supreme Court on the Kida vs Senate case wherein the extension of term of office through holdover was declared unconstitutional.
“The holdover provision deprives the voters of the right to choose their leaders. It violates the electorate’s right to due process because Congress, whether we like it or not, imposes upon us these ‘appointed’ barangay officials without notice or hearing, when they are supposed to be elected and not appointed,” he said.
The law also states that pending the election of the new SK officials, its funds should not be used except for youth development and empowerment programs provided under the SK Reform Act of 2015.
This, as outgoing Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) chief Henrietta de Villa is in favor of postponing the barangay elections to next year.
De Villa, who will turn over the PPCRV leadership to former Comelec Commissioner Rene Sarmiento on Nov. 1, said past experiences showed there should be adequate spacing between elections


Folks want abusive troops out in North Luzon towns

NPA: ‘Ceasefire violations’ 

The New People’s Army assailed the Philippine Army for allegedly violating ceasefire declarations of government and Communist Party of the Philippines-National Democratic Front  by conducting counterinsurgency operations and terrorizing folks in Northern Luzon particularly boundaries of Benguet, Abra, Mountain Province, Ilocos Sur and Quirino. 
Salaknib Monteverde, spokesperson of the NPA’s Antonio Licawen Command in the areas said continuous operations of the 81st IB, Philippine Army in boundaries of Ilocos Sur and Abra started August 14 until now that some towns where they set up camp amid houses want the troops to pull out due to abuses. 
He said Charlie Co. of 81st IB set up camp in Cervantes, Ilocos Sur particularly Barangay Lamag, Quirino, and Barangay Tubtuba, Alangtin in Tubo, Abra and launched operations to hunt NPA guerillas.
“Even if the Government of the Republic of the Philippines declared ceasefire on August 21 (The CPP declared ceasefire earlier on Aug 19) the 81st IB unit still did combat operations starting August 22,” Monteverde said. 
The Army unit later reportedly set up “peace and development teams” in barangays Namitpit, Legleg and Iteb, in Quirino under the guise of “service to the People” but which they reportedly used to harass and identify alleged NPA sympathizers.
A team of a certain Lt. Oscar Baguio set up camp amid houses beside the Namitpit Elementary School in sitio  Iteb, Barangay Malideg and  Legleg. 
Monteverde said local folks are now living in a state of fear, their livelihood which is mostly farming disrupted since they are being accused as NPA members for refusing to join the Citizens Armed Forces Geographical Unit (CAFGU).
Army soldiers reportedly get drunk and patrol the streets until daybreak harassing local folks.
This reportedly made Quirino residents and officials hold a dialogue with the 81st IB on Sept. 18 attended by the army unit’s executive officer, a certain Maj.Amado Gutierez to make the army pull out from the area as they are living in a state of fear, their livelihood affected.
Despite this, there was reportedly also no action against abuses of government troops like a certain Ruby Jaime a.k.a. James Bagwis.

An NPA statement also called for a stop to search and destroy operations of the military in Ifugao and Kalinga.


Farmers to Faeldon: Nab file charges vs rice smugglers

By Liezle Basa Inigo

VILLASIS, Pangasinan – The Samahang Industriya sa Agrikultura (SINAG) yesterday appealed to Bureau of Customs chief Nicanor Faeldon to immediately file charges of economic sabotage against RPR International Trading, their brokers, agents and cohorts in government by attempting to smuggle 12 40-foot container vans of rice in Manila.
Rosendo So, SINAG chairman said the case will test Faeldon’s commitment and drive against smuggling. The agriculture sector noted that here is already a law in place, R.A. 10845 or “An Act Declaring Large Scale Agricultural Smuggling as Economic Sabotage, a non bailable offense.
The BOC earlier seized a dozen 40-footer container vans with an estimated P20 million of smuggled rice from China.
Faeldon, who personally supervised the inspection of the vans, said that bureau may donate the rice to the Social Welfare department.
SINAG believed that it is not enough for the BOC to simply suspend the accreditation of the consignee and grab photo opportunities beside the confiscated containers.
So is hopeful that this time the smugglers will be apprehended, charged and punished.
Many in the agriculture sector voted for then Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte because of his campaign promised to eliminate smuggling , according to So.
Under R.A. 10845 ,the amount of smuggled agricultural product, subject to economic sabotage is equal or more than P10 million for rice and equal or more than P1 million for other agricultural products such as sugar, corn, pork, poultry, garlic, onion, carrots , fish and cruciferous vegetables.

Smugglers and their cohorts will face penalty of life imprisonment and a fine of twice the fair market value of the smuggled agricultural product and the aggregate amount of taxes, duties and other charges avoided.


2 Benguet b’gay Lupons win top national awards

By Isabelo M. Cosalan Sr.

LA TRINIDAD, Benguet -- Two barangays in Benguet that consistently won municipal, provincial and regional awards in resolving  conflicts through the Lupon Tagapamayapa (“Lupon”), were top national awardees last week.
The Lupon Tagapamayapa of Barangay Tuding of Itogon town placed second in the 2015 national search for best performing Lupon in the First to Third Class Municipality Category, while Barangay Ambassador of Tublay placed third.
This was the result of the evaluation by the National Board of Judges and the Secretariat of the Lupon Tagapamayapa Incentive Awards National Committee of their on-site validation conducted Dec. 8 and 9, 2015.
Punong Barangay Martin D. Chavez Jr. received the Second Place plaque for the “Lupon” of Tuding, Itogon on October 27, 2016 at the Sofitel Hotel, Cultural Center of the Philippines.
Itogon Mayor Victorino T. Palangdan, MLGOO Cesar U. Ating, Lupon Secretary Krystine Joy P. Taguda, along with Lupon and Sanggunian members witnessed the awarding.
The Lupon Tagapamayapa of the Katarungan Pambarangay Law under RA 7160 is mandated to amicably resolve personal conflicts in the barangays through mediation, arbitration and conciliation.
No personal dispute or conflict within the authority of the “Lupon” may go to a regular court of law without a “certification to file action” issued by the “Lupon”. It was noted that all barangays have “Lupons” and that if all function well, better justice may be achieved.

Except for 2012 when Barangay Tinongdan, Itogon was nominated to the national awards, Barangay Tuding was consistently the municipal, provincial, regional and national nominee for “Best Performing Lupon” for First to Third Class Municipality Category from 2010 to 2016. 


Rehab awaited on MP P310-M road washouts, P96-M aggie damage, 648 houses wrecked

By Gina Dizon

BONTOC Mountain Province -- No casualty was recorded in the province due to Typhoon ‘Lawin’ but the super typhoon left P96 million worth of crops damaged and dead livestock; P310 million worth of damaged road systems, 648 houses destroyed with 31 totally wrecked,  four persons injured and residents who evacuated.
The Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council said damage to agriculture and road infrastructure was around P406 million.
Local government units and government agencies have yet to provide services due destruction of  facilities and economic  displacement especially in hardest hit agricultural  towns  of Paracelis  and Bauko incurring practically  78% of the total P96 million lost in agricultural damage.
The Sangguniang Panlalawigan and provincial governor and PDRRMC chairman Bonifacio Lacwasan issued resolution declaring the province in state of calamity.
Lawin left the province isolated from the main Halsema Highway linking the Province to Baguio City due the damaged Sabangan bridge and the Samoki jumbo bridge serving access to Banaue and Ifugao leaving Kalinga- Bontoc road the only passable route for motorists to pass on for those who go to Baguio or Manila.
The Nakawang Besao -Tadian Road was eventually opened for light vehicles who find exit through the Tadian-Abatan-Mabaay road  to the Halsema Highway to Baguio.
The Taccong Sagada-Sabangan road supposed to be an alternative road to Baguio has since been unrepaired and impassable due to weak retaining walls  which eventually gave way from rains last week of May this year.  

Agriculture rehab plan
PDRRMC officer Edward Chumawar in an interview said consolidated disaster data shall be forwarded for the response of the Department of Agriculture for the P96 million damage lost in crops and livestock.
The PDRRMC  disaster recovery plan  noted rehabilitation fund  for year 2016-2017  for the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist  (OPAG) to allot P19 million  for seeds, fertilizers and hoses  and assistance to eroded farmlands.
PDRRMC’s rehab plan for the year identified the provincial  veterinary office to provide P5.2 million in livestock and poultry species, cattle/carabao shed per municipality and rice assistance to affected livestock raisers.
A total of P2.3 million worth of livestock heads either died or gone astray during the super typhoon with some of these floating along the Chico River.
Corn producing Paracelis,  the second most populated town registered  the highest loss amounting to P60.7 million damage cost on  corn, rice and assorted fruits in the  eastern part of the province  close to the Cagayan region where typhoon Lawin entered from the Pacific ocean.
The vegetable producing town of Bauko and the most populated town registered P15.8 million crop damage mostly in assorted vegetables, bananas and livestock.
Besao municipality suffered third in agricultural damage  at  P6.5 million damage mostly sugarcane and assorted vegetables, fisheries at P1.5 million losses and livestock at P450,000 loss. 
Besao produces quality muscovado from sugarcane.
Sabangan incurred P6.5 million loses in assorted vegetables, bananas, and livestock, infra at P28.8 million and damaged private houses at P1.1 million. Sabangan profusely grows banana plants.
Barlig with P5.4 million damage heavily incurred losses in coffee, rice and banana. Bontoc incurred losses in livestock and assorted fruits and rice worth P1.2 million.
Sadanga incurred heavy losses in fishery and livestock while Sagada  suffered  losses in coffee production and 55 houses wrecked.
Calamity fund of local government units compose 5% of the internal revenue allotment  (IRA) where 70% of the amount is allotted for disaster preparedness in the form of equipment and trainings and the 30% used for quick response expense.

Damaged houses and public structures
Data on damaged houses incurred by private households were forwarded to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).
Paracelis which was the hardest hit had 10 totally damaged houses and 212 partially damaged   dwellings. Natonin located near hardest hit Paracelis registered 103 partially damaged houses. 
Bauko mayor Abraham AKilit said DSWD personnel evaluated the damage done to the personal properties of affected households. Akilit said DSWD informed the mayor that the  agency shall be giving P5,000 assistance per household.
Most populated Bauko registered 148 houses damaged with seven totally wrecked houses.
In Bontoc, a newly built three story concrete structure erected on a land fill area near the embankment at the Chico River toppled down. Some onlookers say the commercial building had some of its contents including  gasul tanks floating downstream at the Chico river.
Affected Bontoc households with 88 individuals living near the Chico River and at the Riverside at Samoki were evacuated at the Multipurpose Hall, Pearl CafĂ© and in private houses. Members of the Provincial National Police, Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP), Municipal DRRMC and Provincial DRRMC and volunteer-responders were quick to bring evacuees to evacuation points before any untoward and calamitous loss could happen. 
In Besao, mayor Johnson Bantog said the DWSD personnel from the Region are evaluating the state of damage.  Typhoon effects in Besao noted a total  P22.2 million  damage cost  on infrastructure at P11.9 million, damaged schools worth 2.6 million  and the rest in agricultural loss.  
Partially damaged infrastructures are Agawa elementary school, Agawa national high school, Ambagiw day care center, Masameyeo public school, Tamboan elementary school, 54 private houses; and totally damaged Lacmaan kinder building and 10 rice granaries. 
In Sadanga, 14 rice granaries and the Sadanga Central School building were partially damaged. A total of 32 affected families evacuated to their relatives particularly barangays Poblacion, Demang, Saclit, and Sacasacan where all barangay halls were activated as operation centers.
In Tadian, 106 individuals living in landslide prone areas at Balaoa and Kayan evacuated early at public  buildings Kayan barangay hall and Kayan elementary school and to relatives' houses.  Fourteen houses were partially wrecked and a two- storey of the TEEP building roofing at barangay Lubon was totally damaged.
PDRRMC assistant  officer  Edward Padcayan said any untoward onslaught of the super typhoon had the people evacuating at an early time to prevent loss of lives.  The support of the municipal disaster risk and management councils with volunteers in  the 10 towns of the Province and the PDRRMC itself made it possible that there was no loss of lives. Four injured- two in Paracelis, one in Bontoc and one in  Tadian- were  timely responded to, are safe and in stable conditions Padcayan said.
In the capital town of Bontoc  where the PDRRMC is located, the Mountain Province Emergency Operation Center  dispatched emergency service assets  or responders who acted as  support  team to assist evacuees  before the heavy Lain downpour and  were mobilized for clearing of blown and fallen trees after the typhoon. With the support of the responders, evacuees were temporarily sheltered at the Multi-Purpose Building and returned to their residences the next day after the typhoon.
The swelling Chico River water level was monitored all times and all road exits. Ambulance and emergency vehicles were mobilized and pick-up vehicles and vans were deployed for hauling evacuees.
PDRRMC members and volunteers disseminated weather updates and conditions to council members and stakeholders through text messages, phone calls and social media; and in close contact with the MDRRMCs for any updates within their respective areas of responsibility.
PNP personnel were mobilized to haul the road clearing equipments and relief goods from DSWD-CAR.
Relief goods from DSWD contained each box consisting of  6 kilos  rice, 6 packs of 3 in 1 instant coffee, 8 canned goods were  distributed  to the 10 municipalities:  Sagada of 1,100  packs, Sabangan of 1,100 packs, Sadanga of 1,000 packs, Barlig of 1,100 packs,  Besao of 1,300  packs, Bontoc of 600 packs, Natonin of 1,500 packs, Paracelis of 1,125 packs, Bauko  of 700 packs and Tadian of 1,200 packs.
DSWD already released P1.2 billion as stand by funds to ensure that typhoon victims have enough food in the coming  days.

Road rehab plan
Landslides and road washouts were P199.5 million worth in damage  in 10 towns of the province with provincial roads closed to traffic for days. As of October 25, roads open to traffic are Tadian to Lubon, Sagada to Besao, Nangongan to Bangaan Sagada, Bontoc to Mainit, Mabaay to Abatan, Sabangan- Data to Bangnin,  Bontoc to Maligcong, Otukan to Bila, Sadsadan-Balicanao to  Salin, and Balicanao to Amam. The rest of the provincial roads are undergoing clearing operations.  
National  roads  incurred heavy loses  with  landslides with damage  amounting  to P110.7 million  with the Baguio to Bontoc road having incurred heaviest losses at P54 million. Clearing operations are ongoing and vehicles stop at Sabangan due to the destruction of the Nacagang- Sabangan bailey bridge preventing motorists and passengers to travel to Sagada, Besao or Bontoc and vice versa.
To  go to the other side of the river and vice versa, residents from the nearby towns of Sabangan,Tadian and Bauko and passengers along the  Halsema Highway pass through a footbridge at sitio Lagan, Sabangan or be ferried along the Bayudang River to the other side of the road with waiting rides for Bontoc and vice versa at P20.00 per ferry and a motorcycle carried  at P200.00 each.
PDRRMC identified a rehabilitation plan of P119 million  for provincial access roads to be handled by the Provincial Engineering Office for year 2016-2017.
Mountain Province  District Engineering Office (MPDEO) district engineer  Wilbur Likigan said all national roads are open except for the  Bontoc- Banaue  road and the Baguio-Bontoc road. 
Likigan said MPDEO  is currently  scouting for salvaged bridge materials from other provinces to replace the destroyed bailey bridge in Sabangan which is preventing access to and from Baguio City along the Bontoc- Baguio road.
Vertical displacement of the Chico River Bridge weakened due to dislocated support foundation with noticeable sagging of the left and right railings preventing  vehicles to pass coming from the Banaue- Bontoc road and vice versa.
The Junction Talubin-Barlig Natonin Paracelis Calaccad road incurred various landslides with P3.3 million damage and the Mountain Province -Ifugao road having incurred P1.1 million damage. The Barlig -Paracelis road is open. 
Mountain Province-Ilocos Sur via Tue road with a P30 million damage and Mountain Province- Ilocos Sur  via Kayan road with a P2.8 million damage are undergoing clearing operations.
PDRRMC  plans the repair and reconstruction of   various national access roads to be handled by the MPDEO with P110.7million for year 2016-2017; and flood control systems to be installed along the Chico River with an estimated cost of P73 million  also for year 2016-2017.
On a general note considering washed out roads and landslides in the Province, Padcayan recommends use and construction of sturdy materials  for road infrastructure including installation of strong retaining walls  in its program of work considering a mountainous terrain prone to landslides.
Meantime, Mountain Province Electric Cooperative general manager Nicodemus Andawi said  all town  centers are  energized including Tinglayan, Kalinga and  Cervantes Ilocos Sur. Seventy (70%) percent of the  total 144 barangays of the Province were restored of electricity supply.

Andawi  projected that all barangays  be fully energized by  third week November yet dependent on the repair of damaged road systems especially  along the Bontoc-Banaue and the Baguio -Bontoc roads  to carry through electric poles and transformers. MOPRECO  estimates a replacement  cost of P15 million to change damaged  wires and electric poles all over the Province.


Philippine products sold online thru DOST website

LA TRINIDAD, Benguet - - The Department of Science and Technology urged Baguio and Benguet consumers to utilize the E – Commerce Web Application “oneSTorePH” wherein Philippine products made by micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) from various parts of the country are being offered on line.
Dr. Pita Picpican, DOST – Cordillera coordinator for techno transfer and commercialization, in a consumer welfare forum here said oneSTore was conceptualize by DOST to promote products and increase market competitiveness of DOST – assisted MSME .
It has expanded to include the other government agency-assisted MSME products.
Each DOST regional office will establish a database of MSME products that will be promoted and marketed in the oneSTore.
It will establish oneSTore hub, a physical store where the products will be consolidated, packaged and shipped per online order, Picpican said.
The hub will also be in charge of monitoring all transactions, sales and feedback and do monthly reports to be forwarded to the DOST regional office . It also carries out payment processes and delivery within the time span, she added.
She disclosed that the physical structure of the one STore hub for CAR is already under construction in La Trinidad.
Cordillera products are now being accommodated by DOST region 2 oneSTore hub.
There are already 55 products from the Cordillera MSMEs- three  from Abra, four from Apayao, 11 from Baguio, 12 from Benguet, six from Ifugao, 15 from Kalinga and four from Mountain Province.
As  oneSTore promotes easy shopping as promoted by its tagline “Bringing quality products at your doorstep”, Picpican reiterates DOST’s call for the people to visit its site at
The DOST- led consumer welfare forum was conducted in partnership with DTI – CAR, the National Consumer Affairs Council and Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.
For the forum DTI consumer protection division chief Samuel Gallardo lectured on Consumer Act of the Philippines and rights and obligation of consumers while engineer Rodel Inga-an of DOST-CAR oriented participants on their regional metrology laboratory. -- JDP/CCD 


LT crafts electronic collection scheme

By Susan C. Aro

LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – Town officials crafted a measure regulating an alternative mode of payment and collection of fees through electronic means which is the emerging trend in transactions deemed convenient e nowadays with information and communications technology.
The measure is anchored on Republic Act 8792 otherwise known as the Electronic Commerce Act of 2000 which underscores the need to create an information friendly environment which supports and ensures the availability, diversity and affordability of ICT products and services.
Under the ordinance, various modes and channels of electronic payment such as credit cards, debit cards, cash cards, mobile phones as prescribed in the guidelines under Department of Trade and Industry-Department of Finance Joint Department Administrative Order No. 2 series 2006 will be accommodated.
Accordingly this will instill among stakeholders good governance practices making use of the advantage of innovations in information technology for a convenient, efficient and effective collection system.

The measure is elevated to the Sangguniang Panlalawigan for review. JDP/SCA



Ifugao receives P9 million from DOLE for projects
LAGAWE, Ifugao— A total of P 9, 139, 955.50 for livelihood projects was awarded to provincial organizations  here following flag ceremony of capitol employees and officials Oct. 10.
The Department of Labor and Employment headed by regional director Exequiel Ronie Guzman with his assistant Teodoro Delson with Rep. Teddy Baguilat and acting governor Jose Jordan Gullitiw led the awarding.
P6, 314, 996 was awarded to the provincial government as accredited co-partner of DOLE.
This will be implemented and monitored by the provincial governor’s Office with the Public Employment Service Office.
The provincial government had  eight  approved proposals: Community enterprise development, carpentry and masonry tools and equipment of Panubtuban Masons and Carpentry Association; post-harvest facilities of Viewpoint Senior Citizens Association;  swine-raising of Mohicans Organization; upgrading of farm facilities of Lubu-ong Bimmoble Organization; water bottling enterprise of Hungduan Bibinnayug Indigenous People’s Organization; acquisition of mini- organic feed mill facility and mixer for production of swine poultry and tilapia of Alupapan Farmers Organization; food processing and production center of Aguinaldo, Mayoyao, Alfonso Lista Women’s Livelihood Association; and soybean processing of Nahamad Women’s Organization.
While, the municipality of Alfonso Lista received two checks one of which was under DOLE integrated livelihood emergency employment program on muscovado processing worth P551, 259. 50 and under tulong panghanapbuhay para sa ating mga disadvantaged workers, an emergency employment, a labor counterpart of DOLE in one of their community projects in the municipality received P 624, 000.
Tthe municipality of Tinoc had two: Kalanguya Cultural Multipurpose Cooperative Incorporation amounting P 839, 700 and Tinoc United Gardeners Development Federation receives P 810, 000. 
Regional director Guzman reminded beneficiaries to take care of the materials and equipment.
He said money given did not come from DOLE but from the people through taxes and the government was just returning it through livelihood projects.
He said he hoped this would help in the betterment of the lives of the Ifugao people most especially to those who are unemployed.
Baguilat said it was his vision for Ifugao to strengthen and bring more funds for sustainable livelihood. 
He said he hoped in 2017, there will be more livelihood projects but for now, he added there was an agreement with Gov. Pedro Mayam-o that they will have a monitoring scheme to see and ensure the success of these livelihood grants.
Gullitiw thanked the DOLE and Baguilat for the checks awarded to Ifugao. -- Florida B. Robles

2 dead in Ilocos trainer plane crash
SANTIAGO, Ilocos Sur --A pilot and his student died when a trainer plane crashed off the coast of Barangay Sabangan here Oct. 21.
The bodies of Capt. John Kaizan Estabillo, 21, and Paula Bianca Flores, 25, were recovered at around 7:10 a.m. Monday, said Eric Apolonio, Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines spokesman.
The light aircraft with body number RP-C7838 reportedly took off from the Vigan City airport  at 3:24 p.m. It was supposed to arrive at the San Fernando airport in La Union at 4:24 p.m.
Initial reports said the plane tripped on the zipline of the Vitalis Resort.
An investigation is underway.

37 public school-based BHS to BE set In Mt. Province
BONTOC, Mountain Province --Three  government agencies have forged a partnership to establish 37  public school-based barangay health stations (BHS)  in the province to make quality health care more accessible to the poor and vulnerable population.
Known as Philhealth TSeKaP (Tamang Serbisyo para sa Kalusugan ng Pamilya) accredited Barangay Health Stations, this is a  partnership  among  the Department of Education (DepEd),  Dept. of Health (DOH) and the Dept. of Interior and Local Government.
This will be established within public elementary schools in barangays without an existing BHS to ensure that affordable health services are within the reach of every Filipino especially those poor and vulnerable sectors. This may also serve as a school clinic.
Under this partnership, the DepEd provides a lot or portion of the property not being actively utilized in public elementary schools in barangays without an existing BHS and other government health service units.
Primo Aligo of the DepEd-Mountain Province Division Office bared that the DOH has allotted 37 school BHS in the province. Eleven of these are allotted for the municipality of Bauko, 9 in Paracelis, five in Tadian, two each in Bontoc, Barlig and Sagada, and one each in Natonin and Sabangan.
Aligo said the BHS is a pre-fabricated structure worth P1.3million each. -- Juliet B. Saley

OFW one-stop shop service center to open in Baguio
BAGUIO CITY – The city government and Dept. of Labor and Employment opened the Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) one-stop shop service center at the executive lounge of the Baguio Convention Center here yesterday (Oct. 29).
Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III and Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan  inauguration and formal opening of the center that will provide OFWs with easier access to the services of different government agencies in processing documents they need with lesser delays and inconveniences.
Earlier, President Rodrigo R. Duterte, in his first State of the Nation Address (SONA), directed to all frontline offices to establish one-stop shop centers to ensure that all requirements needed by the public are housed in one location for public convenience.
Secretary Bello issued a memorandum to all regional directors of the labor department instructing them to spearhead the establishment of one-stop shop service for OFWs in the different regions.
Included in the Baguio OFW one-stop shop service center are representatives from government agencies like Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), Professional Regulation Commission (PRC), Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA), Home Development Mutual Fund, Philippine Health Insurance Corporation, Social Security System, Philippine Statistics Authority, Bureau of Immigration, National Bureau of Investigation, Commission on Higher Education and Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority. – Dexter A. See

Ilocos Norte bags seal of good governance award
LAOAG CITY -- Ilocos Norte is among local government units (LGUs) to be awarded the Seal of Good Local Governance by the Department of the Interior and Local Government this year.
The DILG gives the award to LGUs that meet certain standards, including sound financial administration, human security, disaster preparedness, business competitiveness and peace and order.  The evaluation period was from March to September.
The award entitles recipients to access the Performance Challenge Fund, which they can use for development projects.

Coffee growers get boost
with BSU processing center
LA TRINIDAD Benguet -- The Department of Trade and Industry, in partnership with Benguet State University officially launched the Coffee Processing and Cupping Laboratory at the BSU Institute of Highland Farming System and Agro Forestry last July 7, here.
The P4 million Shared Service Facility (SSF) is set to benefit the over 3,000 Arabica coffee growers in the province and the rest of Cordillera  in terms of post – harvest processing and value adding that will help in increasing the growers’ productivity and better quality of products that will ensure better income opportunity.
Present during the launching of the Coffee Processing and Cupping Laboratory were DTI officials headed by Undersecretary for Regional Operations Zenaida Maglaya and Cordillera Regional Director Myrna Pablo and Benguet Provincial Director Freda Gawisan.
They were joined in the ribbon cutting, blessing and turn – over program by BSU President Feliciano Calora and Benguet officials headed by Governor Crescencio Pacalso and La Trinidad Mayor Romeo Salda.
Maglaya, in her keynote message, outlined the importance of DTI’s partnership with BSU for the SSF project. Aside from boosting the productivity of Arabica growers in the province, they can also ensure a certified quality coffee produce and by-products with the university’s coffee program and research and extension services.
The Coffee Processing and Cupping Laboratory is the 24th of the 120 SSF projects for Cordillera. -- Carlito Dar

Tabuk City to receive mobile dental clinic
TABUK CITY, Kalinga -- Delivery of dental services to poor and remote barangays in in this city is expected to be improved  with the turn-over  this month of a “mobile dental clinic” by the Department of Health to the city government.
DOH provincial field officer Bernadette Andaya said the dental van designed for outreach clinic is fully equipped including dental chair and generator.  The facility is provided under the DOH’s Pangkalusugang Pangkalahatan Program that aims to address quality health care to indigent communities in the country.
Tabuk City Mayor Ferdinand B. Tubban welcomed the DOH project saying this will help  the city government’s health program.
Tubban said the city government will share its counterpart and other necessary support to sustain the project to answer the dental needs of people in far-flung barangays where dental care and awareness is still a serious concern.
Trained CHO staff shall be designated to operate the facility to ensure proper handling and maintenance, he said.  -- Larry T. Lopez   

PVET teaches farmers organic feed formulation
HUNGDUAN, Ifugao --The Provincial Veterinary Office (PVET) here recently conducted skills training on organic swine and poultry raising and feed formulation to 83 farmer- recipients of native pig raising project of provincial government.
The training was to enable pig raisers gain more profit in their backyard livestock endeavor by formulating their own organic feeds using ingredients and materials that are abundant and indigenous in their places rather than relying on commercial feeds which are very expensive, said PVET training coordinator Ferdinand Dunuan.
By adopting organic farming  that  includes feed formulation to reduce feed cost,  they can produce not only animal meat products which are safe and fit for human consumption but also earn more profit because organically produced farm products nowadays are in great demand.
Dunuan told participants pointers on animal husbandry, bio-organic inputs and good agricultural practices.
Gilbert Caclini, also of PVET, demonstrated preparation of feeds using indigenous materials with participation of farmers.-- Daniel B. Codamon

Mountain Province dads enact volunteer nurses ordinance
By Juliet B. Saley
BONTOC, Mountain Province -- Every year thousands of nurses graduate and pass the board examination, with great hope and expectation to land a job locally or abroad but local employment opportunities are limited and foreign employment requires work experience as a condition before hiring.
In their desire to obtain work experience, these nurses agree to work as volunteers in local hospitals and clinics even without remuneration and continue to be dependent on their parents or guardians.
With such a situation, the provincial government stepped in to help these nurses and their parents.
The Sangguniang Panlalawigan here recently enacted Provincial Ordinance No. 232 known as the Mountain Province Volunteer Nurses Program Ordinance.
This program aims to provide an opportunity for new registered nurses to put into practice the skills and core competence they have learned in school and inculcate care enhancement qualities including core values for the attainment of quality health service. 
It also seeks to provide training and equal opportunity without discrimination to all qualified registered nurses to be of service to the people in the province and create a pool of good-performing nurses from which the national and local government units and other agencies (local and foreign) may recruit their staff.
Under this ordinance, each qualified volunteer nurse shall be entitled to a daily allowance of P100.00 while on duty-training.
It is also provided that the amount of not less than P1 million shall be appropriated in the annual budget for this purpose.

Kalinga crafts juvenile intervention program
TABUK CITY, Kalinga -- This province is formulating its comprehensive Local Juvenile Intervention Program (CLJIP) founded on rehabilitation and reintegration of the child in conflict with the law rather than retribution.
The technical working group of the provincial council for protection of children (PCPC) composed of concerned  line agencies and provincial local government met recently  to start crafting the three-year plan  funded from one percent of the province’s Internal Revenue Allotment(IRA) and implemented through an enabling ordinance by the Sangguniang Panlalawigan.
One input to the plan is for the Department of Labor and Employment to design a project for children of Overseas Filipino Workers who according to the Provincial Social Welfare Development Office are vulnerable of becoming children at risk and in conflict with the law.
It was also recommended that youth representative from in-school and out-of-school be included in the soon to be reconstituted PCPC.
The formulation of CLJIP was  pursuant to  Republic Act 9344 or the Juvenile and Welfare Act of 2006 as amended by RA 10630 or an Act Strengthening the Juvenile Justice and Welfare System. -- Peter A. Balocnit

DA distributes P2M vegetable  seeds in Abra
BANGUED, Abra -- The Department of Agriculture through the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist dispensed assorted vegetable seeds amounting to P2 million to all the 27 municipalities in the province recently.
Seeds distributed were okra, tomatoes, white cabbage, eggplant, and squash, among others. OIC Provincial Agriculturist Gilbert Barbero directed municipal agriculture officers and farmers to plant the seeds immediately.
He said some municipalities like Boliney, Langiden and Licuan-Baay which did not submit their calamity report last year, but all municipalities were given their share. He said it is a need next time they submit their report for them to know how many seeds to allocate to each one.
He urged farmers to join in the Philippine Crop Insurance to even out agricultural risks like consequences of natural disasters. They will be able to get indemnity for the losses in their crops and farm lands. --  Ginalyn B. Brioso

Ifugao council commits help against illegal drugs
LAGAWE, Ifugao -- The anti-drug council has started plans against illegal drug use and trafficking in the province.
Gov. Pedro Mayam-o recently led the members of the Provincial Anti-drug Abuse Council (PADAC) in signing a covenant to wage war against prohibited drugs use and trafficking. PADAC consists of heads of national and provincial and non-government organizations.
The PADAC members committed to cause the immediate arrest and prosecution of all drug pushers by reporting their presence to law enforcement authorities or invoke the power of the citizen’s arrest.
They also pledged to help in the seizure or confiscation by law enforcement authorities of any illegal drug paraphernalia as well as personal properties and vehicles being used in the proliferation of illegal drugs.
Some 250 persons  have voluntarily surrendered to police and local authorities from July 6 – 17 under the intensified anti drug campaign of the  Philippine National Police  dubbed “Oplan Tokhang” or ‘Oplan Kulkughummangan’ of the PNP –Marcelo B. Lihgawon

IFAD conducts  SIS Mission for CHARMP2 in Ifugao
BANAUE, Ifugao -- The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) conducted its 7th regular supervision and implementation support (SIS) mission in the province last July 6-8 for  the Second Cordillera Highland Agricultural Resource Management Project (CHARMP2).
The mission recently assessed progress of project implementationand  preparatory activities for additional funding and resolve constraints.
The IFAD Team was led by Tawfig El-Zabri with Ed Questalin, an environmentalist and consultant, and Greg Aris from the NEDA.
They had a meeting with the Ifugao Project Management Group and other project provincial stakeholders.
Together with local counterparts, they visited the project beneficiary towns of Asipulo and Hingyon and inspected projects like farm-to-market road and reforestation and agro projects in the areas, had dialogue with the various people’s organizations and held meetings with the municipal officials and other project stakeholders.
Since 2010, the IFAD conducted six missions for the CHARMP2 projects.  One of the recommendations of last year’s mission was for the CHARMP2 to be extended for one year without additional cost to scale up target outcomes.
This was approved and so the Project completion was extended to December 31, 2016 and closure by June 30, 2017.
Implemented by the Department of Agriculture, CHARMP 2 aims to reduce poverty and improve quality of life of indigenous people in upland communities in the Cordillera. -- Daniel B. Codamon

Sibud-Sibud Cave in Abra under DENR protection
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 km.  
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 

DA pours P300M to heirloom rice industry
BAGUIO CITY--The Dept. of Agriculture will pour about P300 million assistance to  waning heirloom rice industry in 2017.
A recent visit of   Agriculture Sec. Manny Pinol resulted to positive developments and changes the separtment will do in the industry. Among these is the categorization of the heirloom rice as high value crop.
 DA- Cordillera regional director Lorenzo Caranguian said the assistance will include the rehabilitation and reconstruction of damaged rice terraces and massive training of farmers with the aim of adding other sources of income.
 Towards this end, the DA also plans to give two cattle to every farmer to milk for value adding.
DA also aims to mechanize some of the indigenous methods of farming employed without necessary altering the produce.
The assistance is part of the Government’s goal of rice sufficiency by 2019.
The 2015 Cordillera’s Economic Performance revealed that among the sectors contributing to economic growth, Agriculture is the only sector that poised negative growth which contracted by 4.1 percent.
Caranguian explained that the loss of 7000 hectares standing crop of rice in Kalinga and climate change that brought Two Typhoons in the country contributed to the negative growth.
He added that the heirloom rice industry which spans 12 hectares in the province of Ifugao is pulling the region “down in terms of yield”.
The P300M for the heirloom rice industry, which is on top of the regular DA   funding is seen to make positive growth for the agriculture sector in the region. -- Brenden Kim Quintos

 Parenting style and education are top teenage pregnancy predictors
BAGUIO CITY --Parenting style and level of education are among top predictors of early childbearing in the Cordillera.
This was revealed in a Population Commission- funded research conducted by University of the Philippines Professor Josefina Natividad which was presented during a dissemination forum held recently here at Prince Plaza Hotel.
The research titled “Predictors and Timing of Early Childbearing in the Cordillera Administrative Region” sourced its data from the 2013 Young Adult Fertility and Sexuality Study 4 (YAFSS 4). The sample for the study is 262 women aged 20-24.
In the YAFSS 4, Cordillera had the highest proportion of young women aged 15-19 who had begun childbearing at 18.4 percent, much higher than the national rate of 13.6%.
Child bearing is defined as having given birth before reaching the age of 20.
Results of the study indicate that the proportion that had a birth before 20 is higher among non Cordillerans, rural resident and young women who were not raised by both parents compared with their respective counterparts.
By poverty status, there is no substantial difference between women classified as poor and the non-poor.
By completed education, high school undergraduates had the highest proportion with early childbearing experiences (57 %), followed by those with elementary level schooling (38%) and high school graduates (30%).The prevalence of early childbearing is lowest among those with college education at 16 %.
The study suggests that parenting styles may be protective against the risk of early childbearing, specifically, if the parents set clear standards for children to follow while growing up.
“The proportion that experienced early child bearing increases as the level of clarity of standards of the parents on the behavior of children decreases.”
On the time of early childbearing, it showed that the proportion of childbearing before 20 is higher among non Cordillerans with a sudden increase at age 19 and it is mostly accounted for by births at ages 18 and 19. However in terms of exposure to the risk associated with early childbearing, the Cordillera women may be more at risk because they started childbearing earlier having recorded the youngest to be 13 years old.
“By marital status, four in 10 of the currently married 20-24 year olds began childbearing before the age of 20. Similarly, four in 19 of the currently cohabiting also experienced early childbearing. A small proportion of four percent of the never married had experienced early child bearing.”
The study summarized that among 20-24 year old women in CAR, 25% percent or one in four had a birth before the age 20 or were teenage mothers. The risk of early childbearing is not affected by urban-rural residence, poverty status, ethnicity or being raised by both parents. All are equally at risk. Having a college education significantly decreases the risk of early childbearing. The timing of early childbearing shows that most teenage births happen in the late teen years ages 17, 18 and 19.
The research also recommended that interventions should be age- and gender specific noting that the reception of 13 years old varies from the reception of 19 years old. -- Brenden Kim Quintos

Employees in Abra town undergo drug test
DOLORES, Abra -- Government employees from the local government unit and line agencies in this town underwent drug testing initiated by Mayor Robert “JR” Seares.
 “This is not voluntary. This is compulsory,” Seares said, adding he can turn Dolores clean and drug-free by nabbing and turning over all drug personalities to the police.
Nine drug personalities in Dolores voluntarily surrendered to the police out of 393 in the whole province this month.
Seares said President Rodrigo Duterte personally advised him to run after drug personalities when he attended the president’s inauguration last June 30.
 “The president said I should look after my town and never allow it to cradle narco-politics. He personally told me to look after the future of the youth because if not today, then it will probably be too late.”
In line with Duterte’s strong anti-corruption campaign, Seares vows full support in the conduct of lifestyle check to all elected and appointed government officials.
“If we want change, let us be part of that change. If we are not hiding anything, why won’t we submit to lifestyle checking?”, he said. -- Ginalyn B. Brioso

 Ifugao farmers groups train on livestock raising
ASIPULO, Ifugao -- Members of two farmers organizations from this town and  Hingyon municipality underwent a training on poultry and swine production and hands-on preparation of fermented feeds  conducted by the Provincial Veterinary Officer (PVET).
The farmers were given lectures on the health and economic significance of utilizing home-made or processed fermented feeds for their poultry and livestock industry, good animal husbandry practices, animal health management and the various animal diseases such as the New Castle Disease of poultry and fowls.
There was also hands-on demonstration on how to process their own organic feeds using   raw and indigenous foodstuff that abound in the area.
The 22 members of the Haliap Farmers Organization of this municipality who attended the training received 13 piglets as their animal dispersal while the 23 members of the Bitu Resource Cooperative and Development Association, Inc. given 19 piglets.
PVET training coordinator Ferdinand Dunuan said that the project was funded by the Department of Agriculture which is mandated to exclusively promote organic agriculture in the country pursuant to Republic Act 10068. -- Daniel B. Codamon

Kalinga DENR hires 194 forest guards
TABUK CITY, Kalinga --  The provincial office of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources here recently hired  194  forest guards under job order  to  patrol  existing forests and reforestation projects.
Dennis Daligdig, chief   administrative officer, said 169 were hired as “bantay gubat” and 25 as forest protection officers (14 for Pinukpuk CENRO and 11 for Tabuk CENRO).  They are tasked to protect the forests and reforested areas especially from man-made hazards.
Meanwhile, Forester Magdalena Buyugan informed that they are now on the planting stage   of the National Greening Program (NGP) project this year.
The NGP which started in 2011 is one of the commitments of the Philippine government under the Aquino administration on the global action to mitigate climate change and global warming, is now on its fifth year of implementation.
Bayugan admitted there are some projects under NGP that failed but   there are also model plantations citing Kapanikian and Kalbayan in Pinukpuk; Balong this city; and Sisim in Rizal.
“Since the community people are our partner through their membership to people’s organizations, we appeal for your help in their implementation and protection,” Buyugan said.  She added that contracted POs are continuing the restoration of some burned areas.
Bayugan said they have increased their target NGP area in 2017 to 4,644 hectares for planting to specific species like bamboo, high value crops and fruit trees.  She said they are now on site validation to determine the suitability of these tree species to the soil. -- Peter A. Balocnit

Benguet overshoots rabies vaccination target
LA TRINIDAD, Benguet -- The free massive anti-rabies vaccination campaign in the province was successfully conducted even overshooting its target.
An interagency collaboration with the Department of Agriculture, Department of Health, Department of Education, Department of Interior and Local Government and municipal local governments, the anti-rabies campaign led by the Office of the Provincial Veterinarian, started in March as part of Anti-rabies Awareness Month observance and extended until June.
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 with minimal charge. The Office  is also conducting information education and administering spay and neuter to control dog population. -- Susan C. Aro

Baguio posts 82% passing rate in 2016 A&E exam
BAGUIO CITY- - The Department of Education – Alternative Learning System(ALS) Baguio Division again registered the highest passing rate in the April 17 Accreditation and Equivalency examination in the region  with an average of 82.78 percent for the elementary and secondary levels.
ALS Baguio Education program supervisor Arthur Tiongan said 42 out of their 45 (93.33%) examinees for the   elementary level while 410 out of the 501 takers in the secondary level passed the exam.
Passers include eight of nine examinees from the Baguio City Jail.
 Ifugao was second with a passing rate of 62.44% with 11 out of the 24 examinees in elementary and 732 out of the 1166 in high school passing the exam.
Mountain Province followed at third with 58.92% passing mark with 13 out 39 in the elem.  level and 357 out of 589 in the high school level making it.
Abra and Benguet followed closely with 57.58 and 57.16%, respectively, then Apayao at 43.05%, and Kalinga at 27.25%.  The Schools Division of Tabuk City registered 36.49% passing rate.
Overall, there are 130 elementary passers and 5,906 high school level passers in the region.
Tiongan explained these A & E passers will get their DepEd elementary and high school diplomas equivalent to those who finished basic education and can enroll in higher level.
ALS A&E test is a paper and pencil examination designed to measure the competencies of those who have neither attended nor finished elementary or secondary education in the formal school system. Passers are given a DepEd certificate/diploma certifying their competencies as comparable graduates of the formal school system
“Those who passed the elementary level can now go to high school, while those who passed the secondary can either take technical – vocation education or college courses”, he  said.  -- Carlito Dar

CCTV cameras  installed in Kalinga’s main road 
TABUK CITY, Kalinga -- The city-government had installed closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras along the provincial road leading to the city proper in a bid to strengthen its anti-criminality and traffic management efforts.
City Public Order and Safety Officer (POSO) Dionisio Falgui III informed there are 15 CCTV units installed at strategic points of the 7-kilometer road to help in the solution of cases, mostly traffic-related, that usually occur in the area. 
The CCTVs are operational under two centralized monitoring stations at the police provincial command and city POSO.
Falgui disclosed that the city government has approved an additional fund for the extension of the project to cover the entire stretch of the road up to the farthest barangay in Balong.
He also revealed the plan to install CCTV cameras near schools.
Police intelligence reports indicated that drug pushers are targeting schools in their illegal trade.
Other sites in the city earlier installed with CCTVs include public markets, landmarks, PNP compact posts, city hall compound and other crowded areas. 
In a related report, the provincial government recently held the blessing of the four-lane improvement project of the provincial road.  
Funds used for the project constructed in phases came from the province’s cash incentives on the Seal of Good Local Governance Award from the Department of Interior and Local Government for three years. --      Larry T. Lopez

Ifugaos sustain traditional forest management system
LAGAWE, Ifugao – This age when technology has invaded all aspects of life, Ifugaos are proud of still practicing the muyong, the traditional way of preserving the forest.
The “muyong” system   revolves around the concept of protecting the forest as watershed and preserving its flora and fauna, its wildlife and keeping the ecological balance. 
It is a private or clan-owned woodlot, which serves as a “forest zone where people can gather firewood and lumber for their house-building needs through selective harvesting.
The ‘muyong’ is one of Ifugao’s living tradition that is passed from generation to generation,” he said.
The vital water systems that irrigate the province’s famed rice terraces come from watersheds and headwaters, which traditionally have been maintained through the muyong approach.
Local officials said the muyong system should be replicated in other parts of the country as a solution to water shortage, floods, landslides that kill thousands of people every year. -- JDP/JBZ

Tabuk City shifts to high-tech waste management system
TABUK CITY, Kalinga- - This city is now going high tech in its waste management system.
The local government unit   has shifted to Technology for Waste Diversion Facility and installed a granulator “Markell” machine for the processing of bio and non-bio waste materials at its Dilag open dump site in Sitio Bayabay this city.
Salud Lammawin, City Environment and Natural Resources Officer, said the machine worth P6.5 million will reduce the garbage disposed at the site. She said the supplier has already conducted training on the operation of the diesel fuel-run waste processing equipment.
Other facilities currently being constructed in the area are a materials recovery facility (MRF) and a composting unit amounting to P1 million and P500, 000.00, funded respectively by the LGU.
The installation of these facilities is in compliance with the provisions of Republic Act 9003 known as the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000.
 Lammawin  also bared  rehabilitation of   dump site is underway with the  city government  providing P3 million funding for the first quarter this year particularly for  initial perimeter fencing, leachate pond, high density polyethylene (HDPE) liner, retaining wall,  guard house, gate, billboard, and  gas vent among others. -- Peter A. Balocnit

DOLE allots P6 million for 16 Kalinga groups
TABUK CITY, Kalinga -- Sixteen associations are set  to  receive financial assistance for livelihood projects from the Department of Labor and Employment.
Dr. Alexander Gumabol, DOLE provincial office head here, said they are preparing the checks worth around P6 million for distribution to livelihood proponents, mostly farmer groups needing post-harvest facilities.
Organizations to be given post-harvest facilities are San Isidro Farmers Asso. of Magabbangon (P352,700.00); Lumawig Clan of Pinukpuk (P481,000); Talac Yellow Corn Upland Rice of Gogbgog(P350,000); Matagoan Lapata of Tabuk(P350,000); Mengawisan Association of Masablang(P500,000); Bulitnao Tourism Manggayadan Farmers of Magnao(P353,000); Purok 3 Matayog Farmers(P200,000); Saltan Organic Farmers(P50,000); Amlao Farmers(P450,000); Guringad-Tope Clan(P350,000); Sumadel 1 Livelihood(P420,000), and Pakawit Pumiyaan(P350,000).
Others with different livelihood are Tuga National High School (P403, 050) for bakery and pastry making; Tabuk Ornamentals, Landscaping and Nursery Livelihood (P485, 000); Purok 3 Bulanao Indigent, Tourism, Handicraft Asso. (P383, 000), and Naneng Rural Improvement Club on red rice processing (P326, 000).
These projects  will have immediate impact on employment of members and additional income for their families, Gumabol said. -- Peter A. Balocnit

Doc pushes diabetes prevention among children
BAGUIO CITY -- Diabetes is now a global concern and intensive education among young ones who are potential victims, is still best prevention,
Dr. Domingo Solimen of the Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center (BGHMC)   said  during the Department of Health media forum last week.
The World Health Organization figues said  350 million people with diabetes around the globe, and disease is the direct cause of around 1.5 million deaths.
Solimen said diabetes, a non-communicable disease that is due to high blood sugar level, is the number one cause of kidney failure.  
At BGHMC, 60 percent of their dialysis patients are due to diabetic complications, he bared.
Diabetes is also considered risk factor to heart attack, blindness and traumatic amputation.
Diabetic complications can be fatal but the disease is also highly preventable and treatable especially if detected early on.
As a preventive measure, Solimen said their intensive information and education campaign is focused on orienting elementary pupils of healthy lifestyle given that obesity, a risk factor for diabetes, is now prevalent among children.
Obesity in the younger ages is related to the manifestation of diabetes in their adulthood, he said.
Solimen advised the general public to maintain a healthy lifestyle and have a balanced diet which includes avoiding salty foods, too much sweets and frozen foods, as well as smoking.
He also advised  diabetic family members and those feeling the symptoms (that include frequent urination, increased thirst and increased hunger) to have their blood sugar checked.
This year’s   World Health Day on April 7 focuses on diabetes with the theme, “Beat Diabetes” to scale up diabetes prevention, strengthen care and enhance surveillance. --  Leo  and G. Montecastro

Kalinga barangays, schools set
sites for pre-fab health stations
TABUK CITY, Kalinga -- Recipient barangays and schools of pre-fabricated barangay health stations (BHS) in the province are now busy identifying and preparing the sites.
Dr. Bernadette Andaya of the Center for Health Development reported that    barangay Dangtalan in Pasil was the first to prepare and concrete the site.
Andaya bared that the pre-fab BHS is 12x18 feet or 50sq.m. in dimension and   worth P240, 000.00. 
The pre-fab BHS project is funded under the Department of Health’s (DOH) Tamang Serbisyo sa Kalusugan ng Pamilya or TSeKaP .
She said a joint memorandum of agreement was forged between DOH, the Department of Education and barangay local government units. 
The nationwide construction of said BHS projects is contracted by a single contractor. An engineer will be hired per province to supervise project implementation, she added.
TSeKaP  strengthens  health systems; increase the efficiency and effectiveness of delivery of basic health services and enable a more equitable distribution of national health programs through the government’s Daang Matuwid Program
In another development, Andaya announced that DOH Sec. Janette Garin will visit Kalinga in April to distribute medical equipment packages to rural health units, and barangay health stations. – Peter Balocnit

NFA-Kalinga urges bigasan outlets to renew permits
TABUK CITY, Kalinga – The National Food Authority (NFA) provincial operation center here  urged bigasan operators to renew their permits in order to continuously to provide accessible and cheap rice.
Assistant  Provincial Manager Ric Baliang informed their office is open to renewal of 2016 permits to NFA-bigasan retail outlets and licenses for grains traders. 
NFA   is also accepting  new applications for its rice retail service especially in remote areas of the province where there is problem on accessibility.
There are at least 80 bigasan retailers stationed in various sites in the province selling NFA cheap quality rice at P27-32/kg, Baliang disclosed.
Baliang cleared there is no price adjustment in government rice but NFA allows minimal add-on cost to defray transportation expenses by retailers from far-flung barangays.
Meanwhile, the provincial NFA warehouse has a current inventory of 23,000 bags of rice, which according to Baliang is sufficient until the next quarter.
In the last cropping, NFA procured only 2,000 bags of palay due to the province’s low palay production arising from the irrigation crisis. 
Baliang hopes  their procurement operation would be back to normal with the resumption of regular operation of the National Irrigation Administration’s service in the province this cropping. -- Larry T. Lopez

DOST provides baking tools to women’s group
PINUKPUK, Kalinga -- The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) provincial office here recently  provided  bakery equipment to Barangay Dugpa Kalipi (Kalipunan ng Liping Pilipina) Organization this town for  its bakery project.
The group aims to produce baked products enriched with vegetables.
Raw material for the manufacture of baked products is not a problem since local raw products like malunggay and root crops are found in abundance in the place. Members of the organization will undergo training on good manufacturing practices from January 27-28.
 Meanwhile, Alfonso Berto, provincial DOST officer,  said they are processing approval of other proposals under the community-based program on Science and Technology Enhancement for the Advancement of Municipalities or STEAM. -- Peter A. Balocnit


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