Baguio Kayang, Hilltop buildings’ removal set

>> Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Ultimatum given to city public lot renters 

By Aileen P. Refuerzo
BAGUIO CITY – The city government gave renters of city-owned lots who refused to sign the renewal of their contracts after objecting to the city’s conditions until Dec. 31 this year to remove their buildings and improvements from the city’s properties.
This is to give the city a free hand to draw a development plan and bid out the area they occupy “to get reasonable proceeds from the said properties.”
Mayor Mauricio Domogan last October gave this ultimatum in a letter to the lessees of over a hundred city-owned lots mostly located along Kayang and Hilltop streets.  
Most of these renters constructed buildings on the lots which they use for commercial purposes.
The mayor expressed disappointment that despite lengthy discussions with the lessees, they still refused to accept two terms in the contract – the reckoning date of the new contract which the city insists must fall on January 1, 2016 since the old contract expired on December 31, 2015 and the inclusion of a condition that “after the said period (of lease) all the improvements existing thereon will become property of the city without paying the value of the same.”
The mayor said the effectivity of the new contract must start immediately after the expiration of the old one “to avoid vacuum.”
“It is therefore not negotiable on the part of the city to accept your proposal that the contract will commence to start upon signing of the same.  To allow that to happen will be tantamount as allowing you to use the property of the city without any contract and with a measly rental that the City did not agree to.  This is not fair,” the mayor wrote.
On the new condition of giving up the improvements after the lapse of the contract, the mayor said it is but fair for the city to impose this term considering that the lessees have been occupying the lots for at least 47 years now with a measly rental that started at 25 centavos per square meter per day and later increased to 75 centavos.
“If it is renewed for another 15 years then the total period that you will be leasing the said property even with an increased rental of 6 pesos per square meter per day will not be less than 62 years,” the mayor said.
“The Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) law, as amended, has a maximum period of 25 years. You nearly doubled already the 25 years even without an extension of 15 years,” the mayor added.
The mayor recalled that the city committee’s initial stand on the issue was to not renew the contracts so the city can bid them out to get the best offer.  However, the renters appealed for the renewal of these contracts for another 15 years and to increase the rental rate to P6 to which the city consented subject to the conditions added.
He said an evaluation of the city treasury office under assistant city treasurer and in charge of office Alex Cabbarrubias showed that some of the buildings have been earning as much as P35,000 a month vis-à-vis their rental payment to the city of only P1,370 a month so that even if they will pay under the new rate a monthly rental of P10,950, they will still have an income of P24,040 per month which the mayor said “is still very advantageous” to these businessmen.
“There is therefore no doubt that even for the period of 47 years that you had been leasing the property with that measly rental to the City, it is very safe to conclude that you had already more than recovered your investments,” he said.
The mayor said the lessees’ rejection of the conditions “clearly means that there is no more renewal of (their) contracts.”
“Since there is no more renewal of your contract, to be fair with you and the City Government, we have no recourse but to respectfully inform you that you are given on or before December 31, 2016 within which to remove your building/improvement on the said property so that the City Government can prepare the master development plan of the said area and bid out the same to get reasonable proceeds from the said property,” the mayor said.
He however said the lessees can participate in the bidding if they wish.


Philex wins PMSEA awards in reforestation, field events

TUBA, Benguet –Philex Mining Corp. has won awards in reforestation and field events at the recently concluded annual conference organized by the Philippine Mine Safety and Environment Association (PMSEA), in Baguio City.
 The gold-and-copper producer, which entered this year its sixth decade of operations rooted on responsible mining, was adjudged First Runner-Up for Best Mining Forest, Metallic Category, granted Nov. 18 by PMSEA, which held its 63rd Annual National Mine Safety and Environment Conference (ANMSEC), at the CAP-John Hay Trade and Cultural Center.
Philex Mining’s Silangan Project, in Surigao del Norte, was also granted the Platinum recognition—for Exploration—under the Presidential Mineral Industry Environmental Award (PMIEA). Owned by the Silangan Mindanao Mining Co., Inc., a subsidiary of Philex Mining, the Silangan Project also won First Runner-Up, Exploration Category, for Best Mining Forest Award, as well as Runner-Up, Exploration-A Category, for Safest Mines Award.
                “There is no doubt that Philex Mining has, through the years, adhered to its tenet of responsible mining,” the company’s CEO and president, Eulalio Austin, Jr., said. “We have even raised it a notch higher—that of putting a human face on responsible mining through social projects, such as free education, health-care services and public infrastructure, as well as environmental protection covering our host and neighboring communities.”
At the PMSEA Mine Field Events, held Nov. 18 at the grounds of Melvin Jones Grandstand after a parade done on the last day of the four-day 63rd ANMSEC, Elmer Dapdapig, a miner at the Mine Development Dept. of Philex Mining’s Padcal operations, was named champion in Hand Mucking while Norlie Cabacungan and Jonathan Ay-yato were champions in Machine Drilling.
Joey Catubing and Reyes Asan, also miners at Padcal’s Mine Development Dept., were Runners-Up in Machine Drilling while Joe Andrew Estorpe, an underground mechanic at Padcal’s Mine, Mechanical and Related Services Dept., clinched the First Runner-Up award in Firefighting.
Roosevelt Rosalin, manager of Padcal’s Safety/Loss Control Dept. who led the company’s 33-man delegation to the PMSEA field events, said his team was happy with their performance. “We did our best, and the team spirit was high. We will try to do better and improve our record next year.”
Taganito Mining Corp. was the winner in Best Mining Forest for its Nickel Silicate Ore Mining Project, in Surigao del Norte, while Aglubang Mining Corp.’s Mindoro Nickel Project, in Oriental Mindoro, led Silangan for Best Mining Forest, and Mt. Labo Exploration and Development Corp.’s Mabilo Project, in Camarines Norte, prevailed over Silangan in the Safest Mines Award.
                Philex Mining holds an Integrated Management System (IMS) Certificate, granted by the Germany-based technical services provider TÜV Rheinland, which covers the miner’s environmental management system and safety management. The latter includes operations in mining, milling, and tailings storage facilities.
                The certification consists of ISO 14001:2004—from the International Organization for Standardization—which is a systematic approach to improving environmental-protection efforts, and OHSAS 18001:2007, a British Standard and external assessment of Occupational Health & Safety (OH&S) Management Systems.  
                 Philex Mining, which was listed on the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) in Nov. 1956, has shelled out P65 million for reforestation program since 1987 that involves the planting and nurturing of eight million different tree species, with a 90-percent survival rate, at its mine site in Tuba and Itogon. A community-based reforestation in the area was begun in the 1960s as a livelihood project for the stakeholders.  


19 Isabela police chiefs relieved

By Liezle Basa Iñigo

THE FIRST BATCH OF police chiefs relieved in Region 2 came from Isabela province and more are expected to follow in the current clean-up campaign in Cagayan Valley region.
               In Isabela, 19 out of 36 towns saw their chiefs of police relieved from their posts on Monday.
Supt. Ronald Laggui, public information officer of Isabela Police said the relief order was issued by PNP regional headquarters after performance evaluation relative to anti -llegal drug campaign Project Double Barrel.
Relieved from their position as chief of police were PSI Alex Orbillo, Luna; PSI Rolando Gatan-San Agustin, PCI Edgar Pattaui –  Reina Mercedez, PSI Sherwin Concha – Naguilian, PSI Reynaldo Baggayan – San Pablo, PSI Mariano Marayag – Quirino, PSI Ruel Meña – Delfin Albano, PSI Noriel Lacangan – Cabatuan, PSI Lord Wilson – San Isidro, PCI Jayson Cabauatan – Cabagan, PCI Benny Asuncion – Tuamauini, PCI Jeffey Taposas – Sta.Maria, PCI Charlemaigne Tabije – Mallig, PSI Anglelito Ramirez – Burgos, PSI George Maribbay – Gamu, PCI Remelvin Dungca – San Guillermo, PSI Danny Alingog – Angadanan, PCI Santos Tecbobolan – Alicia. PSI Torrijos – Benito Soliven.
Meanwhile, Supt. Chavalier Iringan, Police Regional Office 2 said that lists of other relieved COPs in region 2 or Cagayan Valley region will be released Monday.


Gas poison kills three miners in Itogon tunnel

ITOGON, Benguet – Three small scale miners were successively killed by gas poisoning inside a private mine tunnel here Tuesday at Sitio Fatima, Barangay Ucab.
A police report said the series of incidents happened 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. that day at mine tunnel owned by victim Rosalino Api-it Narciza, 54.
Other victims were identified as Barry Rimando Api-it, 36 and Santiago Falikao Banganan, 32.
The report said Narciza entered alone his abandoned mine tunnel that morning to take his equipment.
                However, he did not come out prompting Api-it to follow him and see what happened to his uncle but he did not also come out.
A concerned citizen came to know about the incident and a certain Santiago Banganan who just arrived from his private mine tunnel entered said tunnel to rescue the two victims using a blower to remove poisonous gas inside but he did not manage to go out prompting rescuers to use larger blower before entering the tunnel to extract the body of the victims.
The rescuers extracted first the body of Banganan from the tunnel who was declared dead around 3:30 p.m. by Dr. Oliver Guadania.
After several minutes the body of Api-it and Narciza were also extracted and both were declared dead by the same doctor.
After examination, the attending doctor did not find any physical injury
on the body of the victims.
The death of the three is the latest among long list of deaths inside mine tunnels in Itogon.

              Mayor Victorio Palangdan called on small scale miners, mostly unaided by breathing apparatuses, to exercise extra care in their work.


Suspension of mayor and councilor met by protest

By Freddie G. Lazaro

 TAGUDIN, Ilocos Sur — The serving of the 60-day preventive suspension against Mayor Roque Versoza Jr. and Councilor Arthur Chua here was welcomed by a protest rally of their supporters in front of the municipal hall here Wednesday.
Ilocos Sur Gov. Ryan Luis V. Singson has approved the 60-day preventive suspension order upon recommendation of members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan through Resolution No. 16 Series of 2016 to give way for impartial investigation of the complaint.
The decision to implement a suspension order against Verzosa Jr. o Chua now depends on the Department of the Interior and Local Government.
Singson said the provincial government served the order on Verzosa and Chua on Wednesday.
The preventive suspension order of the two town officials stemmed from the administrative complaint filed by Noreen Sibayan, Gemma Tiu, Joel Pastores, permitting officer, and Reymund Sinay, the Ilocos Sur’s Environment and Natural Resources Officer to the Provincial Board.
The complaint cited grave misconduct, gross insubordination, abuse of authority and conduct unbecoming of public officials of Mayor Versoza and Councilor Chua on July 1, 2016, after the respondents refused to honor the legality of quarrying permits issued by the provincial government and DENR to commercial sand and gravel permit holders.
 Noreen Sibayan, Gemma Tiu, Joel Pastores and Provincial Environment Officer Raymund Sinay sought the officials’ suspension before the provincial board saying they believed the town mayor and SB member committed grave misconduct, gross insubordination, abuse of authority and conduct unbecoming of public officials.
               After the complaint was filed against the two, the Sangguniang Bayan of Tagudin issued a resolution directing immediate halt to quarry operations along rivers in the town.
However, the provincial board turned down the resolution, seeing it as a move to get back at the complainants.
               With a vote of 12-0, the Sangguniang Panlalawigan approved Resolution No. XVI Series of 2016 in July endorsing the suspension of the two, saying “there is a great probability that the continuance in office of the respondents could influence any witnesses or pose a threat to the safety and integrity of the records and other evidence, hence it merits suspension.”
Ilocos Sur Gov. Ryan Luis Singson ordered Mayor Verzosa and SB member Chua’s suspension Wednesday after receiving the recommendation of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan.
“Under the Local Government Code, it is the province that has the authority to cancel or revoke the quarry permits that have been legally issued and not the municipal mayor,” Singson said.
He added Mayor Verzosa clearly abused his power by stopping quarry operations.

“It seems that they are bullying the provincial government, so we have to act on this in a legal forum to remind Mayor Verzosa the scope of his powers as local chief executive.”


3 killed in Agoo, La Union road mishap

By Erwin Beleo

AGOO, La Union  — Three men were killed when the motorcycle they were riding rammed into a van along the national highway here Nov. 20.
Chief Insp. Silverio Ordinando, Jr., La Union police information officer, identified the fatalities as Jayvee Romero, 16, the motorcycle driver; his passengers Dinesan Albay, 13; and Orlando Llavore, 37; all residents of Barangay Leones, Tubao, La Union.
Investigation showed that the motorcycle was traveling along the road in Barangay San Francisco when the driver lost control of the steering wheel and collided head-on with the incoming van driven by Romeo Gapuz, 36, of Barangay Damortis, Sto. Tomas, La Union.

Due to the impact of the collision, the motorcycle driver was declared dead on the spot while his passengers were later declared dead at the hospital.


Big biz complex beside Athletic Bowl to be built

By Aileen P. Refuerzo

BAGUIO CITY – A developer will set up a multi-million commercial complex here at the old site of the city orchidarium to include parking facility to recoup expenses in development of  the Athletic Bowl beside the area.
The developer will run the complex for 25 years to recoup expenses and
operate other facilities like the Athletic Bowl swimming pool, tennis court, pay-parking and other support facilities except the oval and bleacher areas.
But this will happen after two years when the facility is fully developed.
The planned development of the Baguio Athletic Bowl into a world-class sports facility is currently in the works with the city government now in the stage of completing the project details and cost estimates for the proposed multi-billion project.
Mayor Mauricio Domogan said the project will be ready for bidding once these requirements have been completed.
He said the project was one of the city’s ventures under the public-private partnership (PPP) concept of development.
The city council approved the terms of reference (TOR) including those cited above for the project in September 2012.
The TOR provides the parameters for the proposed development project to cost P4.3 billion and these terms were prepared by a technical working committee which the mayor formed to ensure that the proposed project will not contravene the master development plan drawn by the University of the Cordilleras for Burnham Park which the city adopted as blueprint for the development of city’s premiere park.  
As per the approved TOR, the project will cover an area of 77,257 square meters and will involve the reconstruction and installation of tartan track and oval stadium with international standards, grandstand with 4,000-5,000 seats, surrounding fence, bunker and dugout, treatment unit, lounge, business office and media room, lighting system for night games and bleachers that can accommodate 3,000 people at the same time.
It will also cover the reconstruction of the indoor swimming pool into international standards and other sports-related facilities like indoor tennis court, table tennis room, basketball court, indoor simulation golf range, convention room and sports-related shops and restaurants.
It also includes construction of parking facilities and support facilities and amenities like building as rentable spaces, accommodation facilities and others where the investor can recover investments.
“However, athletes and joggers will not be denied the privilege of using the (facility) as a jogging place and will not pay anything if they will jog in the area,” the city council said.
The terms also called for a review of the preliminary conceptual designs and selection of most advantageous design by the Athletic Bowl Development Committee, preparation of the feasibility study, presentation to the City Development Council for adoption of the finalized project with the study, presentation to the city council for approval of the finalized project with study, presentation of the Regional Development Council for approval, submission and approval of the Investment Coordination Committee.

The construction period will be for two years and upon completion of the project, the athletic oval will immediately be turned over to the city government which will continue to manage and operate the same with all income accruing to the city government.



Dayan’s arrest eases tension in P’sinan town
URBIZTONDO, Pangasinan – Life in Barangay Galarin here is expected to return to normal now that Sen. Leila De Lima’s former driver, Ronnie Dayan, has been arrested.
Dayan’s residence and that of his relatives are located in the village of Galarin. Days before Dayan’s arrest, journalists and law enforcers frequented the site, which created tension among village folk.
Mayor Martin Raul Sison II said Dayan’s arrest would bring back peace in his town.
               “It’s like a heavy load was taken off me and my dad. We are happy because no untoward incident occurred during his arrest,” Sison said. – Eva Visperas

Baguio City wins CROWN award
BAGUIO CITY- The city through Mayor Mauricio Domogan and members of the Baguio City Nutrition Council will receive the Consistent Regional Outstanding Winner in Nutrition (CROWN) award on Dec. 13 at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC), Pasay City.
With the award is P500,000 to be given during the national Nutrition awarding ceremony; Assistant Secretary of Health Ma. Bernardita Flores informed the mayor through a letter.
The CROWN award for 2015 is conferred to a city after consistently winning the Outstanding City in the Region for three years, the Flores’ letter states, based on the recommendation by the interagency Regional Nutrition Evaluation Team (RNET), approved by the Regional Nutrition Committee and favorably endorsed to the National Nutrition Council central office.    
Flores also informed Mayor Domogan that with the awarding ceremonies will be the launching of the Philippine Plan of Action for Nutrition (PPAN) 2017-2022 through the nutrition summit.
Included in the summit are directives, objectives and targets to address child stunting and wasting, prevent micronutrient deficiency and obesity increase among children, adolescents, pregnant women and lactating mothers, Flores said.
National government agencies, local governments, Non-Government organizations (NGOs), communities and other stakeholders are then guided to implement nutrition and nutrition-sensitive interventions, Flores added.
A commitment and declaration of war against malnutrition and PPAN 2017 will also be presented to President Rodrigo Duterte during the occasion. – Julie G. Fianza         

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

DDB clarifies liquidated funds
Only P60 million of Dangerous Drugs Board funds remain unliquidated, DDB chairman Benjamin Reyes has clarified.
Reyes said P54 million were liquidated in August while local government units are expected to file the liquidation reports for P74 million used for the construction of drug rehabilitation and treatment centers in their respective areas.
He said the remaining funds are due for liquidation by partner agencies of the DDB, adding that they have been calling the attention of the beneficiaries.
“We are in touch with COA  (Commission on Audit) and have sent demand letters to agencies that received the funds,” Reyes said.
             The DDB chairman made the clarification in response to a COA report that the agency had P189 million unliquidated funds as of December 2015.
              Reyes said the DDB allocates the funds in tranches. It takes up to two years to construct the facilities and another one to two years to fully liquidate, he said.

24 Chinese manufacturing fake cigarettes arrested
VILLASIS,  Pangasinan – At least 24 Chinese nationals were detained after a raid at four warehouses here in Barangay Unzad on Nov. 18.
The raid was conducted by the personnel of Bureau of Customs  and Bureau of Immigration and Deportation, assisted by Pangasinan Police and Villasis PNP.
Then four warehouses yielded equipment and apparatus used in the manufacture of fake cigarettes.
Supt. Jackie Candelario, spokesman of Pangasinan Provincial Police Office, said operatives also seized cartons of cigarettes and raw materials of different brands, the total amount of which is still being inventoried.
The 24 Chinese nationals are being held for investigation and detained at the BID regional office in La Union.
Candelario said that fake cigarettes could have been distributed in Pangasinan and nearby provinces. -- Liezle Basa Iñigo

Mark Anthony’s arraignment set
ANGELES CITY – Movie actor Mark Anthony Fernandez will be arraigned on Dec. 13 on charges of illegal possession of marijuana and on Jan. 12, 2017 for resistance and disobedience to authorities.
Ma. Socorro Garces, clerk of court of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 58, said Fernandez’s arraignment on drug charges was originally set on Nov. 8.
The date was moved to Dec. 13 after government prosecutors filed a motion seeking to include a “grinder” for marijuana on the list of items recovered from the actor.
Fernandez was arrested in this city on Oct. 3 after police officers found over 500 grams of dried marijuana in his car.
The drug case was initially filed before the RTC Branch 60, but Judge Eda Era inhibited from the case as her husband is a co-member of Fernandez in the Guardians Brotherhood.  
The case was re-raffled and landed in the sala of RTC Branch 58 Judge Meredith Malig, who set the arraignment on Nov. 8.
Meanwhile, the case of resistance and disobedience was filed with the Municipal Trial Court Branch 1.
The charges stemmed from the actor’s alleged attempt to escape when authorities discovered the marijuana during an inspection at a checkpoint.
Pursuing police officers shot the tires of the actor’s car and cornered him in nearby San Fernando City.
Fernandez was briefly detained at the Angeles City district jail and was later transferred to the provincial jail in San Fernando. -- Ding Cervantes

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

La Union power rates going down
SAN FERNANDO CITY, La Union  – Electricity rates in La Union have gone down by P1.50 per kilowatt-hour (kwh) and are expected to decrease by another 20 centavos.
             Bernardo Valero, La Union Electric Co. (Lueco). general manager, said rates dropped to P4.38 per kwh since August.
“Generation cost is now at P4.38. By next month, we expect that it will go down to P4.20,” Valero said.
He said the decrease is due to the adequate supply of electricity.
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“There are a lot of electric companies… There is an ample supply to serve as back up in cases of emergency,” he said.
Valero said Lueco is getting its supply from the Sual power plant, which generates up to 12 million kwh per month. – Jun Elias 

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

Pangasinan’s Casa Real  restoration on as museum
LINGAYEN, Pangasinan -- The restoration of the province’s  260-year-old Casa Real here into a museum is nearing the final stage of completion, the Department of Public Works and Highways said.
The DPWH said the first and second phases were already implemented together with the Department of Tourism to the tune of P35 million.
DPWH region 1 director Danilo Dequito said phase 2 of the rehabilitation covers concrete beam and slab, masonry walls, roofing system and ceiling works, electrical works including installation generator set and power house, and office furniture.
The building is also retrofitted with high-definition screen and audio system, security cameras and plumbing works including cistern tank and fire sprinkler system.
An additional P50 million will be spent for the third and final phase which will take place soon, DPWH said.
“What was long been abandoned will soon be home of artifacts with significance to Pangasinan’s rich history and cultural heritage,” said Dequito.
Casa Real is one of Lingayen’s oldest public buildings that once served as Pangasinan’s seat of government during the Spanish occupation.
It was devastated during World War II.
In 2008, typhoon Cosme ripped off the building’s roof, and it has since been abandoned until restoration plans were successfully proposed. -- Argyll Cyrus Geducos

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

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

Doctor 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 Kalinga Science and Technology Center said their office provided P149, 000.00 for the purchase of one set oven, one set dough roller, one set dough kneader, and a blender while the proponent shared P140, 000.00 counterpart.
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

Baguio sets regulations on use of ambulance
 BAGUIO CITY – The city government set regulations on the use of the three government-operated ambulance units serving the city’s constituents.
 In Administrative Order No. 112, Mayor Mauricio Domogan authorized the city treasurer’s office to collect fees from patients using city-owned ambulances for transport within and outside the city.
The fees will be minimal or “socialized” and will go to the maintenance of the vehicles, gasoline, meals for volunteers and toll fees.
The three ambulances are assigned in three separate offices – the health services office, the Bureau of Fire Protection and the City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Committee (CDRRMC) under the city administrator’s office.
The HSO maintains the Baguio City Emergency Medical Services (BCEMS) as the pre-hospital emergency management arm of the CDRRMC which includes ambulance services under the Health Emergency Management System.
The mayor said while the BCEMS uses the HSO ambulance to transport patients for medical treatment at hospital facilities or referral for higher management within and outside the city, the transport of patients is not the priority function of BCEMS.
“As the pre-hospital emergency arm of CDRRMC, its main function is primarily emergency medical responders,” he said.
On payment of the regulatory fees, the process: applicants secure payment slips from the office where ambulance is assigned indicating the amount to be paid at the city treasury office. 
The offices will record all official receipts before transporting the patient and will prepare necessary official travel order for the personnel in the ambulance team to be signed by the department or assistant department head and approved by the city mayor.   
The city treasury office will collect the amount based on the payment slip issued by the concerned offices based on the following charges: For every trip within Baguio City, the client will pay P500 one way and for trips outside the city, the client will pay P75 per kilometer. – Aileen P. Refuerzo


Benguet winds up events of 116th Founding Day, Adivay Festival

By Susan C. Aro

LA TRINIDAD, Benguet- - The province winded down  last week celebration of its 116th founding anniversary through the Adivay Festival.  
          Gov. Crescencio Pacalso said earlier the provincial government decided to forego with activities such as parade and cañao and festivities considering the province was declared in state of calamity as a result of destruction wrought by Typhoon Lawin.     
           For this year, Adivay Festival was themed, “Benguet gains – our pride: Adopting change for inclusive human development”.
Activities included ecumenical service and kick-off program, pre-pageant of Mr. and Ms. Benguet at Ben Palispis Hall at Provincial Capitol on Nov. 12.
Buguias Foundation Day was also commemorated at Abatan, Buguias; Nov. 12 -13.
Dongba ni Kavajo was held at Benguet Sports Center in Wangal with horse parade and opening program during the first day to include Amateur Muay Thai Combat at La Trinidad municipal gym and Twisted, The Highland Tour at the Capitol Grounds.
Opening of the two-week trade fair at the Benguet Sports Center was also held Nov. 12 in Wangal.
Adivay Bodybuilding Competition was held at Ben Palispis Hall, Capitol.
On Nov. 13 was Adivay Unplugged: Acoustic at the Trade Fair Stage, BSC.
On Nov. 14 was start of one week Health Fair at  BSC, and opening of the two-day Jobs Fair and Livelihood Interest Group Product Display at the  Capitol.
On Nov. 15 was a mass wedding at the San Jose Church here and the opening of the Agri-Tourism Fair at the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council Building, Wangal.
There was also be a two-day cultural conference which started Nov. 16 at the Ben Palispis Hall with various lectures on culture and the arts and a Mass Wedding at St. Paul Parish, Sayangan, Atok.
The following day was a Hataw Contest at the Multipurpose Gym, BSC.
On Nov. 18 was  an environmental forum in major thoroughfares like Halsema Highway, Benguet-Nueva Vizcaya Road, Kennon Rd., Marcos Highway.
Slated also were Small and Medium Enterprises Congress at Ben Palispis Hall and Barangay Health Workers Congress at the Multipurpose Gym, BSC and Healthy Lifestyle Day at the Trade Fair Stage, BSC.
On Nov. 19 was opening of the two-day 3rd Adivay Invitational Arnis Championship at the Covered Court, Capitol, Coronation Night of Mr. and Ms Benguet at the Multipurpose Gym, BSC and the Team Lakay Championship sports activities in Lomon, Kapangan.
Nov. 20 was Battle of the Bands at the Multipurpose Gym, BSC.

On Nov. 21 was  a Skilled Workers Competition at  BSC, Small Scale Mining Congress at the Ben Palispis Hall, Capitol, Small Scale Mining Congress at the Ben Palispis Hall, Capitol, Farmers Event at the Benguet Cold Chain, Wangal, Eye-Check up Screening Day at the Covered Court, BSC. 


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