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Albay News

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List of Municipalities in the Albay Province within Region V in the Republic of The Philippines
Bacacay | Camalig | Daraga (Locsin) | Guinobatan | Jovellar | Libon | Malilipot | Malinao | Manito | Oas | Pio Duran | Polangui | Rapu-Rapu | Santo Domingo (Libog) | Tiwi
Cities in the province of Albay: Legazpi City (Capital) | City Of Ligao | City Of Tabaco

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List of Provinces and Cities in each of the 17 Regions of the Philippines.
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Capital Region
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Ilocos
II
Cagayan
III
C. Luzon
IV-A
Calabarzon
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Mimaropa
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VI
W. Visayas

VII
C. Visayas

VIII
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IX
Zamboanga
X
N. Mindanao
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XII
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Caraga
XIV
CAR
XV
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Contents

Girl scouts lauds Camalig for support and extreme camping experience

By Jed Villanueva

The girl scouts lauded Camalig for the full support and extreme camping experienced during their overnight stay at Quituinan Hills held last January 30-31, 2015, participated by at least 400 girl scouts including scout masters coming from the different school districts in Albay.

The campers enjoined the various histo-cultural adventure activities prepared by the Camalig Tourism Promotion Team and Camalig Tourist Guides such as hiking, pinangat making, WWII Tunnels hopping, BESA ATV ride, horseback riding, heritage walk and the usual camp fire presentations. Also, campers experienced the extraordinary Quituinan breeze, daylong windy-cold weather.

Mayor Caloy Baldo received satisfactory remarks from the campers for having good-open venue, enjoyable activities, secured facilities, great support and warmth welcome. The GSP Albay Council assured to come back and hold succeeding camping in Camalig particularly in Quituinan Hills which was positively acknowledged by the youthful mayor.

Camping is one of the activities offered in Quituinan Hills open to tourists visiting Camalig. Added night activities to offer are stargazing, camp fire, culinary treat and many others.

Rare megamouth shark dies in Albay shore

By Mike de la Rama (PNA), FPV/FGS/MLR/CBD/EDS

A 15-foot megamouth shark died at the shore of a town in Albay province on Wednesday.

The shark was believed to have died after it was trapped in a fishing net for several hours off Barangay Marigondon in Pio Duran town, GMA News stringer Michael Jaucian reported.

Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources-Regional Emergency Stranding Response Team head Nonie Enolva said the megamouth shark is considered the 66th documented in the world and 15th in the Philippines.

Megamouth shark is also considered an endangered species.

Photos posted by GMA Bicol's Maila Aycocho on Twitter showed the megamouth shark's remains in ice.

OWWA-Bicol offers assistance to HIV-positive, affected families

By Mike de la Rama (PNA), FPV/FGS/MLR/CBD/EDS

LEGAZPI CITY, Jan. 29 (PNA) -- The Overseas Workers and Welfare Administration (OWWA) Bicol regional office Thursday announced that it is extending financial assistance to former Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) found to be positive to human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) or to their families.

The assistance is part of the program for OFWs who can no longer afford to work abroad due to some reasons like disabilities or health problems.

Jocelyn Hapal, OWWA Bicol regional director, assured the clients and the affected families that their office strictly observe confidentiality.

“The financial assistance can help OFWs with HIV to establish their own livelihood,” Hapal disclosed.

The Albay AIDS Council reported that proper coordination was made between the office and the OWWA to assist OFWs with HIV to avail of the financial assistance for livelihood.

Recently, a male OFW from Malaysia received financial assistance from the OWWA regional office in Bicol.

Aside from the OWWA, the Philippine Social Security System is also extending support to persons with HIV as long as they are individual members.

An HIV-positive person can avail of the permanent disability pension, however, it would depend on their previous monthly contribution.

DSWD offers 3,450 field jobs for this year’s Listahan in Bicol

By Danny O. Calleja [(PNA), LAP/FGS/DOC/CBD/]

LEGAZPI CITY, Jan. 28 (PNA) –- The regional office for Bicol of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) here has announced that it is in need of 3,450 field workers for the conduct this year of the Listahanan project.

The project, which will be the second round of household assessment formerly called the National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction (NHTS-PR), targets a total of 1,087,720 households to be assessed in the region.

This number of households is 312,706 or 7.12 percent bigger than 775,014 assessed in the region during the project’s first round implemented in 2009 and verified by means of a Proxy Means Test (PMT) in 2011 which identified 59.5 percent or 461,242 of them as poor.

Listahanan is an information management system that makes available to national government agencies, local government units LGUs) and other social protection stakeholders a comprehensive list of poor families in need of assistance.

The Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) or the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) of the DSWD as well other agencies involved in the delivery of basic government services like the Departments of Health, Education, Public Works and Highways, and Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (Philhealth) have been the main users of the targeting system.

PMT, on the other hand, is a statistical model that estimates the income of families using the proxy variables that include family composition, education of family members, family conditions, and access to basic services.

In an announcement reaching the Philippine News Agency here Wednesday, the DSWD regional office said it is now accepting college graduate applicants for this job hiring under contract of service and job order that would include 91 area coordinators, 453 area supervisors, 2,266 enumerators as well as encoders and verifiers numbering 320 each.

The area coordinators will supervise and train area supervisors who are tasked to lead a team of enumerators in conducting family interviews using the Family Assessment Form (FAF).

The FAF is a four-page questionnaire with 52 variables that are pertinent in determining a household’s welfare level.

The encoders will input the data collected by the enumerators to the Listahanan database, while the verifiers will check if the data entered are consistent and accurate.

Interested applicants may submit their resume and application letter addressed to: Director Arnel B. Garcia, CESO II, PBN-Buraguis, Legazpi City, or submit it to the Social Welfare and Development (SWAD) office of the province, city or municipality nearest to them.

Garcia said through the assessment,a new batch of poor and near-poor families will be identified and prioritized for appropriate programs and services while enabling the social welfare department to track changes or developments in the lives of poor households who were identified in the previous assessment.

Nationwide, the DSWD will be hiring 47,644 applicants for this project to reach and assess 15.3 million households in 1,490 municipalities and 144 cities.

Albay to build village-based evacuation centers

By Samuel M. Toledo [(PNA), CTB/FGS/SMT/CBD/]

LEGAZPI CITY, Jan. 27 (PNA) -- Albay will construct decentralized barangay-based evacuation centers (DBBEC) that would shelter residents against natural calamities -- particularly landslides, floods and strong typhoons -- without the risk and inconvenience of moving out of their barangays.

Cedric Daep, chief of the Albay Public Safety and Emergency Management Office, on Tuesday said one evacuation center costs at least P2.2-million, as it is designed to resist strong typhoons and will be equipped with facilities simulating the comfort of a home.

Daep said that at least 10 DBBECs had already been bidded out in Libon town last December and another six units will be bidded in Oas town next month.

These will be funded out of the calamity fund savings.

Due to funding constraint, however, the building of evacuation centers will be prioritized in barangays pre-identified as high risk areas in terms of landslides and flooding.

“But, as their counterpart for the DBBEC, we are requiring the barangays to provide us titled lots certified as safe zone by the Mines and Geo-sciences Bureau (MGB),” Daep told PNA.

He said these structures would do away with the usual risk and inconvenience of moving residents away from their houses and stay in evacuation camps that do not provide the comfort of a home.

Albay Gov. Joey Salceda said they target to finish construction of these decentralized evacuation structures in every barangay of Albay by 2020.

“Of course, we want this project to fully materialize so that risk to life would be minimized and our goal for zero casualties in times of disasters would continue to be achieved,” Salceda said.

Albay pioneered the pre-emptive evacuation and zero-casualty schemes as part of its campaign for disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation (DRR/CCA).

DPWH-Bicol bares construction of national roads totaling 2,344 km in length as of 2014

By Connie B. Destura [(PNA), LAP/FGS/CBD/]

LEGAZPI CITY, Jan. 26 (PNA) -- The Department of Public Works and Highways Bicol regional office has reported having constructed a total national road length of 2,344.40 kilometers as of the end of 2014.

A report released by Lucy Castaneda, DPWH Bicol public information officer, on Monday said that of this total 2,344.40 kilometers of national roads, 1,132.44 km are arterial while 1,211.97 km are secondary.

Castaneda said the road length increased in 2013 due to the newly converted roads in Camarines Norte and Masbate's 2nd Legislative District.

The report showed that as of 2014, the region’s national roads are 90.6-percent paved, corresponding to a total length of 2,124.14 km and the remaining unpaved is 9.4 percent, equivalent to 76.8 km.

For 2014 alone, the region paved 76.8 kilometers and from year 2010 up to 2014, the DPWH Bicol had accrued 256.4 paved roads.

For the national artillery road, 1,067.86 km or 94.3 percent had already been paved as of 2014, with a remaining unpaved length of 64.6 km.

These remaining unpaved section are funded under the CY 2014 General Appropriations Act (locally funded and foreign assisted) and the FY 2015 DPWH Budget.

For the national secondary road, 1,056.28 km or 87.2 percent are paved while the remaining 155.68 km or 12.8 percent are still unpaved, the report added.

Of this unpaved roads, about 42 km are funded in CY 2014 GAA while under the FY 2015 PDWH budget, the programmed length is 39 km.

The remaining length of about 75 km will be proposed for completion by 2016 and beyond, including the newly converted roads in CY 2011.

DPWH Bicol Regional Director Melvin B. Navarro said he has instructed his office’s 16 implementing offices, the construction division and 15 district engineering offices to hasten implementation of the remaining unpaved national roads as they will be constructing more horizontal infrastructure to help hasten the economic development of the Bicol Region, especially the sector of tourism.

Albay 3rd district gets Php2B in projects from 2015 national budget

(PNA), CTB/FGS/DOC/CBD/PJN

LIGAO CITY, Jan. 25 (PNA) -- The 3rd congressional district of Albay has been allotted this year some Php 2 billion for programs and projects intended to improve the living condition of its people, according to Rep. Fernando Gonzalez.

“We were fortunate that during the budget deliberation last year, this representation’s proposal for various programs and projects in the district worth over Php2 billion has been included for funding under the Php2.6 trillion national budget approved by Congress and signed by President Benigno Aquino III before Christmas,” Gonzalez said over the weekend here.

Most of the allocation approved for the district, which covers this city and six municipalities whose economy are all agriculture-based, are principally intended to improve the farm and fishery productivity of its people, he said.

Majority of these projects are infrastructure designed to address, among others, the nagging problem brought about by constant flooding that most of the time submerge some towns, disrupting the flow of trade and commerce and the farms and destroying large volumes of crops.

“We are now in the process of making the entire district flood-free which was started in this city way back during my term as its mayor. With this fresh fund, we could start addressing the flooding in the municipalities of Libon, Oas, Polangui and Guinobatan by way of establishing permanent structures like concrete dikes and river control facilities,” the congressman said.

Some of these municipalities are within the Bicol River Basin that serves as the receiving end of flashfloods from the slopes of Mt. Mayon and swelling of the Bato Lake in the neighboring town of Bato, Camarines Sur, during heavy downpours.

Among these anti-flood infrastructures are the constructions of two boxed culvert bridge worth Php1 million in Barangay Iraya, Oas, to replace the two old small bridges that cause the clogging.

Another undertaking called the Upper Bicol River Basin-Repair/Maintenance of Iraya Norte, Oas Flood Control Project will soon be implemented by the Department of Public works and Highways (DPWH) in the same municipality starting this month for an amount of about Php2 million, also taken from this year’s national budget for the district, Gonzalez said.

“I am assuring the residents, particularly those from the Poblacion areas of Oas, that I am working hard to finally resolve flooding not just in their area but the rest of the 3rd District of Albay,” he said.

Apart from flood control projects, part of the Php2 billion district fund from the 2015 General Appropriation Act (GAA), is the Php1.4 million intended for the construction of a multi-purpose building cum covered court in Barangay Cotnogan, Polangui town, as requested by its barangay council headed by Punong Barangay Isidro Oliva to be used as a post-harvest facility and activity center for the barangay.

It will be implemented by the DPWH soon, Gonzalez said.

The district also has allocations under the current national budget for small irrigation systems, farm-to-market roads cum palay and corn drying facilities and other farm productivity projects, without neglecting basic programs and services such as scholarship for the poor but deserving students, public health services, water system, disaster control, fishery development and tourism promotion, he said.

"We are not left behind in terms of national government attention because we see to it in Congress that all necessary projects and programs in the district that need government funding are included in the preparations of the national budget,” Gonzalez said.

For transparency, he said, the list of these projects is uploaded on the DBM website in real time so that the public could review and scrutinize them, and for the bidding stage, all bid notices and awards have been required to be posted on the Philippine Government Electronic Procurement Systems (PhilGEPS).

What makes the national budgeting system now more exciting is that congressmen need to do more legwork if they want to deliver the goods to their respective constituencies.

“Since we perform dual functions—national legislators at the same time representatives of our people to the national government, our work at home is to find out what are needed by our constituents, especially in the barangays. We submit the list of these needs to concerned agencies which, in turn, will validate the same for inclusion with their proposal for funding under the next year budget,” Gonzalez said.

It is as simple as that and congressmen can no longer involve themselves in the implementation of whatever project they recommended, except in the monitoring.

Officials of barangays that are project beneficiaries are now the ones linked with the implementing agency, hence, barrio folk and national government workers are drawn face to face with each other making the relationship more cordial and mutual, the congressman added.

Feature Social pension eases life agonies of elderly in distress

By Danny O. Calleja [(PNA), RMA/FGS/DOC/CBD/SSC]

DARAGA, Albay, Jan. 24 (PNA) -- A shabby house, which is almost empty of furnishings except for a folding plastic bed where 85-year-old Quintin Alegre is confined with his 81 year-old wife Edith sitting by his side, presents a gloomy scene of old-age poverty.

He has been bedridden for almost a year after sustaining a crippling sprain from a stair fall with no one left to pay close attention but her.

The old couple has seven children also languishing in poverty with their own families.

Only their youngest son, a tricycle driver, would occasionally come to deliver a handful of basic goodies and small amount of money, hardly enough for their food.

“Living has been very difficult for the two of us at our age and situation as we wait for the final day that our lives will be taken back by God. Our hope to die at least a happy death has been fading away until one day, in the middle of last year, when some government people came doing a survey,” Editha said in local dialect when reached by the Philippine News Agency on Saturday.

The couple lives in a far away communist insurgency-infested rural barangay here and their house can only be reached by foot after one hour over a muddy path passing through a rolling terrain.

The “government people” she was referring to were enumerators fielded by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to reach out to the poor in the 3,471 barangays within 107 municipalities and seven cities of Bicol’s six provinces.

Their tasks were to find the 10,643 senior citizens listed as beneficiaries of the government’s Social Pension for Indigent Senior Citizens program and validate their life status and social condition.

The program falls under the poverty alleviation thrust of the administration of Pres. Benigno S. Aquino III being carried out by the DSWD.

“We located these beneficiaries to determine through first-hand information their status. Our field workers specially hired for this job were sent out to interview them right where they reside, wherever it is, and notwithstanding the distance and terrain,” Legazpi City-based DSWD Regional Director Arnel Garcia said.

This special validation process involved 300 enumerators hired by the DSWD and fielded in all barangays—up to the farthest-- of the region where the beneficiaries reside.

Some areas took one whole day for validation teams to reach and another day to conduct the interview on target beneficiaries who were scattered in barangays and have to be reached by way of trekking rolling hills and muddy paths, Garcia said.

The purpose of this special validation was to verify the poverty status of the pensioners who were not registered in the DSWD’s Listahanan database of poor households and when verified according to the requirements of the social pension program, they continue receiving their monthly pensions.

The Alegre couple has been a beneficiary of the program since 2011 but their pension was put on hold as of January 2014, after it was found out they were among the 10,643 social pensioners in Bicol who were discovered to be not included in the database.

The 2011 Listahanan listed 775,014 households in Bicol and 59.5 percent or 461,242 of them were identified as poor.

Listahanan or the National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction (NHTS-PR) is an information management system that identifies who and where the poor are and made available to national government agencies and other social protection stakeholders a database of poor families as basis in identifying potential beneficiaries of social protection programs and services.

In this listing, the island province of Masbate accounted for 160,257 households, of which 103,478 or 64.6 percent were identified as poor to top the regional list in percentage of families living in poverty.

Albay, with its 88,242 households or 62.3 percent of 141,617 identified as poor ranked second in poverty rate; Camarines Sur comes third with 136,208 equivalent to 60 percent listed as poor of its 226,714 households; Camarines Norte, fourth for having 40,802 poor or 56.5 percent of its 72,227 households; Sorsogon, 75,769 poor or 53.6 percent of 141,388 households placed fifth; and Catanduanes, with 16,743 or 51 percent poor out of its 32,811 households appeared in the bottom of the list.

The social pension program is under Republic Act 9994 otherwise known as the Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010 that provides additional government assistance in the amount of Php500 monthly stipend to augment the daily subsistence and other medical needs of an indigent senior citizen.

As defined in Section 3 of the same Act, indigent senior citizens refer to any elderly who is frail, sickly or with disability; without pension; and no permanent source of income, compensation or financial assistance from relatives to support his/her basic needs.

After the validation which was completed during the last quarter of 2014, Garcia said, the 10,643 social pensioners validated were subjected to Proxy Means Test (PMT) which finally confirmed their social classifications under the NHTS-PR.

PMT is a statistical model which determines whether the individuals and households validated through interviews are poor or not.

By early this month, the social pension of Alegre couple and all those validated has been restored.

“Dakulaon na tabang samo ang pension na nakukua mi sa DSWD, dahil digdi nakakabakal kami ning bulong asin iba ming mga kaipuhan na mag agom (The pension that we receive from DSWD is a big help to us. Because of it, we are able to buy medicines and our other needs)" Editha happily shared.

Hence, the social pension has relived hope that the couple will spend the remaining days of their lives without much daily living trouble.

XTERRA Triathlong kicks off Albay's 2015 tourism blitz and festival season

By Johnny C. Nunez [(PNA), CTB/JCN/RSM]

DARAGA, Albay, Jan. 23 (PNA) -- The launching of the XTERRA Albay Off-Road Triathlon here February 8, to coincide with the opening of the month-long Cagsawa Festival, kicks off Albay’s 2015 tourism blitz and festival season.

Famous triathletes from around the world are expected to join local sports buffs and tackle the world renown volcanic terrains of the province with the near-perfect cone Mayon Volcano in the background.

Now on its fourth year, the Cagsawa Festival is celebrated by Albay and the local government of Daraga to showcase the rich cultural and historical heritage centered on the 201 year-old world famous Cagsawa Ruins.

Albay Gov. Joey Salceda said the Cagsawa Festival 2015 will be doubly significant, with the launching of XTERRA Triathlon, which the province hosts in the next three years. Thousands of visitors are expected to witness the event and add up to the festive mood.

Organizers said XTERRA Albay will bring to the province popular triathletes such as current female pro champion Renata Bucher, veteran Ben Allen, Bradley Weiss, Joseph Miller, Charlie Epperson, Fabrizio Bartoli, Mauricio Mendez, Jacqui Slack, Carina Wagle, Daz Parker, Mieko Carey, Dimity Lee Duke, and Flora Duffy.

Senator Pia Cayetano, herself a triathlete pro, has also confirmed her participation along with local celebrities Ryan Agoncillo, Matteo Guideceli and Christine Torres among others.

The XTERRA routes will bring contestants to Albay’s most scenic places. The Swim course takes off and ends at the Lidong Mayon Riviera in Legazpi City, known for its black sand and deep but calm waters.

The Bicycle course, on the other hand, follows a wide open trail, a single loop point to point, over roads, sands, grasslands and rocky paths at the foot of Mayon volcano, in Legazpi City. The Run course takes participants through the famous Mayon ATV Tour routes, over rocky and sandy terrains, grasslands and riverbeds. Participants will race the route through the Mayon ATV Tour area for the Legazpi run; the rocky, sandy terrain, grasslands and riverbeds around majestic Mayon.

The finish line is set at the historic Cagsawa Ruins grounds, in Daraga town. Athlete registration, event expo, race briefing, a press conference, Governor’s Night and Welcome dinner are set at the Albay Astrodome here in Legazpi City.

XTERRA Albay is expected to bring in some 3,000 guests, kins and friends of the participants, and tourists to the province. It serves as the qualifying event for the 2015 XTERRA World Championships in Maui, Hawaii in November.

The Cagsawa Ruins is a historic reminder of the violent and massive Mayon Volcano eruption 201 years ago which buried under lahar an entire community and over 1,000 of its residents. What remains of it above ground is the top portion of the baroque Cagsawa Church belfry.

Arrangements for the staging of XTERRA Albay were completed last year by Governor Salceda and Wilfed Uytengsu, Jr., CEO of Alaska Milk Corporation and XTERRA franchise holder for the Philippines.

2015 Listahanan to find out if access to electricity in Bicol has improved

By Danny O. Calleja [(PNA), LAP/FGS/DOC/CBD/EDS]

LEGAZPI CITY, Jan. 22 (PNA) -- The implementation of the Listahanan project of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) this year will determine, among other vital facts, if access to electricity of households in Bicol has improved from its dismal record three years ago.

According to DSWD Regional Director Arnel Garcia based here, electricity has become very important in today’s culture being a crucial part in making a society smoothly functional, given that apart from its social benefits, it is also a driving factor of economic progress.

Its usage, which ranges from communication and transportation to production, has undeniably become a modern need of mankind as people from different walks of life use electricity to communicate, in work and even in entertainment, to make their lives easier.

Basically, everything people use in their households is powered by electricity and families would definitely be productive in their chores if they have access to electricity, Garcia on Wednesday told the Philippine News Agency.

He lamented, however, that based on the July 2011 data of the National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction (NHTS-PR) or the Listahanan the poor households that have no access to electricity in Bicol were still halfway from the total number of poor households in the region.

Listahanan statistics show that 52.9 percent or 122,918 of the total number of households in rural areas have no access to electricity while 38.5 percent endures the same predicament in urban areas all throughout the Bicolandia.

The areas still with no access to electricity were found in the provinces of Masbate, Camarines Sur, Albay and Sorsogon and it is lamentable that lack of access to modern energy services in these places indicates poverty, deprivation and limited economic development.

"Limited access to electricity is a barrier to the betterment of lives of the poor families and this situation calls for every organization like local government units (LGUs) to implement projects to solve this dilemma as well as to extend their help to those families who still do not have access to electricity, particularly in these four Bicol provinces mentioned,” Garcia stressed.

Latest assessment through Proxy Means Test (PMT) reached 775,014 households in the region and 59.5 percent or 461, 242 of them were identified as poor, with Masbate having the biggest percentage, followed closely by Albay; Camarines Sur, third; Camarines Norte, fourth; Sorsogon, fifth; and Catanduanes, sixth.

PMT is a statistical model that estimates the income of families using the proxy variables that include family composition, education of family members, family conditions, and access to basic services.

Estimated income of a family is compared to the poverty threshold per province to determine if it is poor or non-poor.

Two separate models are used to estimate income for urban and rural households.

The PMT assessed in Masbate 60,257 households and 103,478 or 64.6 percent were identified as poor while of Albay’s 141,617 households, 88,242 or 62.3 percent were poor and Camarines Sur with 226,714 households had 136,208, equivalent to 60 percent, listed as poor.

The same statistics shows Camarines Norte having 40,802 poor or 56.5 percent of its 72,227 households; Sorsogon 75,769 poor or 53.6 percent of its 141,388 households; and Catanduanes, 16,743 or 51 percent poor out of its 32,811 households.

“Comes the second round of the Listahanan this year and we will find out if there has been any improvement in the access to electricity of poor Bicolano households after the three-year period gap from the listing as of 2011,” Garcia said.

Listahanan is an information management system that identifies who and where the poor are and made available to national government agencies and other social protection stakeholders a database of poor families as basis in identifying potential beneficiaries of social protection programs and services.

DSWD is the agency tasked to lead the implementation of this project in coordination with other national government agencies (NGAs) and LGUs.

Garcia said the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) would not be a success if it failed to target the real poor.

The 4Ps is one of the biggest programs which extensively uses the Listahanan.

It now benefits nearly 400,000 households in Bicol where poverty incidence, according to the latest statistics released by the NSCB, was at 36 percent.

Through the Listahanan, programs and resources are given to the rightful beneficiaries and to further ensure it, the upcoming second round of assessment will apply new features in the PMT to minimize the inclusion and exclusion error rates, Garcia added.

After personal encounter with Pope Francis, cerebral palsy victim to cross-stitch pontiff's face

By Rhaydz B. Barcia [(PNA), CTB/FGS/RBB/CBD/]

LEGAZPI CITY, Jan. 21 (PNA) -- John Angelo “Angel” Ortiz, 27, a man with cerebral palsy from Riosa village, Tabaco City, cannot ask for more despite his handicap.

He has already fulfilled his dream not only to see Pope Francis but also to come in close contact with him and personally handed his gift to the Holy Father -- a cross-stitched image of Madonna Dolorosa, which he made for more than two months using his feet.

Angel gave his gift to the Pontiff during the “Encounter with Families" at the SM Mall of Asia Arena on Jan. 16, where he and his family personally met the down-to-earth Pope who was in the Philippines for a five-day state and apostolic visit.

In an interview Wednesday, Angel said he was very happy to see the Pope personally. “It was only a dream for me but my aspiration to see the Pope became a reality and was made possible through the help of Bishop Joel Baylon,” he said.

When asked what he told the Pontiff during their meeting, Angel said he expressed his love to the visiting Pope.

“I told him, I love you, Lolo Kiko. He smiled and blessed me during our encounter. It was an unexplained feeling but I felt something that the Holy Spirit was within me,” he claimed.

Bishop Baylon of the Diocese of Legazpi requested the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines to give Angelo a chance to see the Pope and for him to be able to personally give his gift, a crafted masterpiece he made using his feet.

After a thorough coordination made by the prelate, Msgr. Esteban Lo, project organizing committee on Family Life, informed Baylon that Angelo and his family would have the privilege to see the Pope and personally hand over his gift to the Holy Father.

The diocese included Angelo, his parents and siblings in the delegation after the CBCP decided to have every diocese bring at least 100 delegates for an audience with the Pope.

Angelo, his parents—Edgar, 56, and Herminia, 60 -- and siblings John Carlo, 28, and Catherine, 25, accompanied him to Manila for the audience with the Pontiff.

Ortiz was born prematurely on February 27, 1987 and was diagnosed with cerebral palsy. He graduated from the Special Education (SPED) Center of San Lorenzo High School in Tabaco City.

Angelo moves his body through the support of a wheelchair but despite his disability, he is talented.

Angel loves to cross-stitch and has made several images using his feet, all religious ones, and sells his craft.

His interest in cross-stitching began in younger years but he developed it at the age of 12 following the encouragement of his cousin Maria Theresa de Dios Laco.

Angelo mastered his craft and passion for 16 years.

Today, he is already starting to cross-stitch the face of Pope Francis.

Angelo hopes to give it to the Pontiff once he returns in the country, hopefully, next year.

He also expressed gratitude to Baylon and Fr. Rex Arjona, social action director, for making his dream possible.

PNP-Bicol to award members of Task Force Santo Papa with medals of honor

By Nancy Ibo Mediavillo [(PNA), CTB/FGS/NIM/CBD/SSC]

LEGAZPI CITY, Jan. 20 (PNA) -- Chief Supt. Victor P. Deona, Philippine National Police-Bicol regional director, said his office will give medals of honor to the members of the Task Force Santo Papa who had helped provide order and security during Pope Francis' visit in Tacloban City and Palo town, both in Leyte, on Jan. 17.

The Task Force members stayed in the area for eight days in a very tiresome and sleepless but spiritually rewarding mission, Deona stressed, as he profusely heaped praises for his men.

He said each police officer who was part of the 1,500-strong Task Force to reinforce the PNP personnel in Region 8 was full of professionalism, dedication and discipline.

Rich in a once-in-a-lifetime experience of providing security to the Holy Father of the Catholic Church, these Bicolano men in uniform are now back to mainland Bicol with a fully and professionally accomplished mission, the PNP Bicol chief said.

"Certainly, the inspiration and example shown by the Pope will leave forever not only in their hearts but also in the hearts of all Filipinos," Deona added.

He said his office will schedule the awarding of medals of honor as soon as possible to the Task Force members in their respective provincial police offices (PPOs).

The 1,500-man contingent went to Tacloban City the other Sunday on board 32 buses, three police vehicles and an ambulance of the Bicol regional office.

In coming back, Deona said, the contingent was divided into three groups in boarding the vessel at the Allen port in Samar as the members could not be accommodated at a time in the roll-on-roll-off sea transport.

The first group was composed of PPOs of Camarines Sur, Camarines Norte and Naga City.

Next were those from Albay, Catanduanes and Masbate; then from PPO Sorsogon.

DOT-DPWH to open more tourist access roads in Bicol this year

By Danny O. Calleja [(PNA), LAP/FGS/DOC/CBD]

LEGAZPI CITY, Jan. 19 (PNA) -– More tourism sites in Bicol are going to be opened this year through huge allocations provided for the construction of tourist access roads under the 2015 General Appropriation Act (GAA), according to the Department of Tourism regional office here.

Maria Ong-Ravanila, DOT regional director, on Monday said the opening of the Matnog-Sta. Magdalena-Bulusan coastal road has been approved for Php300 million and initially allotted under this year’s GAA some Php50 million to start with.

It will be a more or less 20-kilometer road traversing the ridges along the Pacific Ocean coastline linking the towns of Matnog, Sta. Magdalena and Bulusan -- all towns at the southeastern tip of Sorsogon that are considered as among the eco-tourism wonders of the province.

Matnog, through its sprawling roll-on, roll-off ferry terminal, is the jumping board between Bicol and the Visayas and home to the famous Subic Beach that is also called La Playa Rosa owing to its long pinkish sand shoreline kissed by turquoise waters that makes it a perfectly unique destination.

Near Subic Beach is Tikling Island that is known for its spectacular rock formations hidden behind its lush forest and colorful corals and sea plants that add a tinge of color to the breathtaking view of the island’s towering cliffs.

Sta. Magdalena is famous for its untouched beaches of wide sugary fine grayish to blackish sand whose waters featuring different colorful coral reefs and rich in aqua marine animals are safe for snorkeling and scuba diving.

Bulusan plays host to Bulusan Lake at the bosom of Bulusan Volcano Natural Park, a 3,672-hectare protected area serving as home to various species of endangered animals and considered the most exciting ecotourism site in the province.

“Hopefully, this project is completed in 2016 along with all the other tourist access road projects now ongoing implementation in the province and in Albay,” Ravanilla said.

Another project is the Bacon-Manito-Legazpi City Road whose construction was started by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) in 2013 for a Php100-million budget.

This project is another coastal road that would open an alternative route between Sorsogon City and this city passing through scenic spots between Albay Gulf and the verdant forests of mountain ranges below the 250,000-hectare reservation covered by the Bacon-Manito geothermal energy field atop Mounts Pocdol and Inang Maharang.

The road will end at the Legazpi Boulevard, a four-kilometer stretch of wide concrete roadway bordering the long beach of Albay Gulf and serving as an artistic milieu for physical fitness activities that is well-lighted at night, clean, easily accessible, secure and free from air pollution.

Other tourist access roads now under construction are the Php769.2-million upgrading of the Pioduran-Donsol-Sta. Cruz Road and the Php700-million concreting of the 24.9-kilometer Guinobatan-Jovellar-Donsol Road whose works were stated last year.

Works on the Pioduran-Donsol road involves the improvement to concrete of the 26.5-kilometer stretch starting from Barangay Borboran, Donsol, to the junction of Ligao-Pioduran Road at the poblacion of Pioduran.

Works on this project that also involve the construction of two concrete bridges with a total span of 59.10 linear meters have been in progress since 2012.

Both road projects that are scheduled to be completed by the middle of 2016 or before the end of President Benigno Aquino III’s term are designed with 6.7 meters pavement width and thickness of 230 millimeters.

All these projects that form part of the DPWH-DOT convergence program under the Aquino administration’s 2011-2016 National Tourism Development Plan (NTDP), when completed, would facilitate growth to the local tourism industry, enabling tourists to travel with ease, Ravanilla said.

The convergence program is also in support to, among other key tourism development undertakings in Bicol, the Albay-Masbate-Sorsogon (AlMaSor) tourism alliance which was conceptualized as the tourism road map for Bicol designed to achieve development not only in the mainland provinces of Albay and Sorsogon but also in the island of Masbate.

The cluster features Albay with this city as the province’s tourism capital, Mt. Mayon and Cagsawa Ruins as among the tourism marvels of the province; Sorsogon offers its butanding interactions in Donsol; while Masbate has its unspoiled world-class beaches.

Barely 16 years ago, Donsol that sits 540 kilometers southeast of Manila, was described as a sleepy rural community where weathered vehicles spurred swirling clouds on dusty, unpaved roads.

Over the years following its discovery as seasonal sanctuary of whale sharks, it captured international attention with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF)-Philippines spearheading a holistic conservation program which ranges from satellite butanding tagging and photo-identification, to the effective management of tourism impacts.

Since then, the national government has been pouring in funds to improve the 29-kilometer main road linking the area to the Maharlika Highway and road networks within the municipality to make it more accessible to land trips.

So far, Ravanilla said, the biggest among these road improvement projects are the ongoing Donsol-Pioduran and Donsol-Guinobatan roads that would open new convenient and shorter routes between Albay and Donsol.

The road connection between Donsol with Pioduran, she said, would also allow tourists to move around ecotourism sites along the coastline of Ticao Pass and jump through the Pioduran port to Burias, Masbate, a quaint island that offers unexplored ancient landmarks and pristine beaches away from the hassles of urban life.

The Donsol-Jovellar-Guinobatan road, on the other hand, will make travel shorter between Donsol and areas covered by the third district of Albay where Mt. Mayon’s southwestern quadrant could be closely viewed as well as Ligao City, the site of the alluring Kawa-Kawa Hill and Nature Park, she added.

Remain in evacuation centers or safe shelters despite improving weather -- Albay official advises

By Nancy Ibo Mediavillo [(PNA), CTB/FGS/NIM/CBD/]

LEGAZPI CITY, Jan. 18 (PNA) -- A top disaster response official of Albay has asked those in the evacuation centers and temporary safe shelters to remain there and not to go home yet despite the already-improving weather condition after tropical storm "Amang" affected but did not directly hit the province.

Dr. Cedric Daep, Albay Public Safety and Emergency Management Office, made the strong advice through local radio and television stations as typhoon signal number one, he said, is still raised in the province.

Daep said the threats of flooding and landslides are high, especially in the first and third districts of Albay.

He said the reported flooding in several barangays in Legazpi City was due to the rains brought by Amang, coupled by high tide.

The APSEMO head said the floods would eventually subside once the typhoon leaves the Bicol Region.

Daep said his office is still awaiting for reports on damages coming from the various local government units of the province.

Pope Francis fever hits Albay

By Nancy I. Mediavillo [(PNA), LAP/FGS/NIM/CBD/SSC]

LEGAZPI CITY, Jan. 17 (PNA) -- Wherever one goes in Albay province, one can feel the enthusiasm and joy that Albayanos exude with the presence of Pope Francis in the Philippines, though the province is not among the itinerary of the Pontiff.

Souvenir items bearing the Pope's picture can be bought from commercial establishments and different churches in the province.

There are those who have their pictures taken with the standee of the Pope or large billboards with his photo.

Social media, like Facebook and Twitter, are full of photographs of Pope Francis and articles about him.

Those who have money to spend for a trip in Manila and Leyte to personally see the Pope left as early as Thursday morning.

Employees of the provincial government thanked Governor Joey Sarte Salceda for his decision to suspend work at the capitol and classes at all levels in all schools in the province to give Albayanos an opportunity to go to these places or see Pope Francis on television.

Meanwhile, they are fervently and continuously praying for good weather in the whole duration of the visit of the Holy Pope for his safety and those of the pilgrims, especially those going to Region 8 as they would be crossing seas.

Albayanos praise Pope Francis' homily as inspiring

(PNA), LAP/FGS/MSA/CBD/RSRSM

LEGAZPI CITY, Jan. 16 (PNA) -- "It was a very inspiring and challenging message," Christene Dayap Villanueva, a teacher of Daraga North Central School in Daraga, Albay, said after she watched on television the first Mass in the Philippines of Pope Francis held at the Manila Cathedral.

"We really want to attend the Mass on Sunday in Quirino grandstand together with my husband and my son, but unfortunately my son is not feeling good. Watching the Holy Father on television still makes me teary. It feels different," Villanueva added.

She is only one of the many Albay residents watching and monitoring the five-day pastoral visit of the pontiff in the Philippines.

Pope Francis' stand against corruption is very timely, most especially in our country, the teacher added.

"His message during his courtesy call in Malacanang Palace is very appropriate to remind all the Cabinet members and politicians present in the Palace," Ivy Suzylyn Lucilo, a senior law student, said in her reaction after watching the Pope deliver his message on television.

Orpha Chong Barba, a pilgrim from Catanduanes, an island-province of the Bicol Region, traveled for 17 hours just to personally see Pope Francis.

"It was a once-and-a-lifetime experience and I don’t want to miss the opportunity," Barba explained.

Most Albayanos who did not go to Manila to personally meet the Pope will attend a synchronized Mass on Sunday in Albay Astrodome.

"He reminded us -- bishops, priests and religious -- that our vocation and ministry are based on love patterned after that of Christ, and its is a ministry of reconciliation calling us to help those whom we serve, like he told Peter: 'If you love me, feed my sheep'," according to Bishop Joel Baylon of the Diocese of Legazpi.

PHL-hosted 2015 APEC Summit sets 2 meetings in Legazpi

By Danny O. Calleja [(PNA), CTBFGS/DOC/CBD/]

LEGAZPI CITY, Jan. 15 (PNA)—The National Organizing Council (NOC) of the Philippine-hosted 2015 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) has assigned two of its 29 meetings to this premier Bicol metropolis recently adjudged as one of the country’s three “Most Livable Cities.”

Latest communication received here by City Mayor Noel Rosal from Ambassador Marciano Paynor Jr., the NOC’s director-general, said the two events the city will be hosting are the Meeting/Workshop on Rebuilding Resilient Infrastructure to be held on July 23-24 and the Senior Disaster Management Officials Forum on Sept. 14-15.

Both gatherings will be held at the Oriental Hotel, a plush resort-hotel located on a hillside fronting Mt. Mayon from a distance of some 15 kilometers and overlooking the scenic cityscape and the picturesque Albay Gulf.

The other 27 meetings are distributed among venues also known as tourist favorites such as Manila, Makati; Cebu, Boracay; Tagaytay; Clark, Pampanga; Bagac, Bataan; and Iloilo.

The 2015 APEC leaders’ meeting, said to be the biggest and most high profile annual gathering of world leaders from 21 member-economies in the Pacific Rim, will be hosted by President Benigno S. Aquino III.

As one of the venues, this city has shown deep optimism that the APEC meetings would be a good opportunity to flaunt its popular tourist attractions, not only Mt. Mayon but also its newly-developed scenic boulevard along Albay Gulf, the longest outside Metro Manila and the famous ATV (all-terrain vehicle) adventure course over lava hills along the foot of the world’ most perfect cone-shaped volcano, among others.

“We will make it sure that the visitors will be accorded with all the amenities, fun and comfort that a 'livable city' and 'city of fun and adventure' like ours could offer.” Rosal told the Philippine News Agency here on Thursday.

This premier Bicol urban locality, known in the travel industry world as the “City of Fun and Adventure” shadowed by the beauty of the majestic Mt. Mayon, was named one of the three winners in the Livable Cities Design Challenge in grand ceremonies held at the Philippine International Convention Center, Pasay City last October.

Legazpi placed second to Iloilo in the ranking followed by Cebu which placed third.

The Livable City Challenge, sponsored by the United States Assistance for International Development was organized by the National Competitive Commission, APEC 2015 NOC, World Wildlife Fund, Alliance for Safe and Sustainable Reconstruction and Asia Society and Urban Land Institute.

In the search, each competing city was required to come up with strategic vision and plan for a resilient and livable city and in developing an APEC meeting venue.

Rosal said that with the help of the city chapter of the United Architects of the Philippines headed by its president Maridel Baldano, the city government came up with a strategic plan for a highly resilient and livable city featuring a safe and green environment aimed sustaining good public health, which impressed the search judges.

The plan themed “Healthy City, Happy City” presents far-reaching innovations that inspire a more dynamic development of the city into a very safe and healthy locality for its people and visitors, as well.

In choosing this city as one of the venues of APEC meetings, the NOC evaluated its available facilities and infrastructure, including back-up sites, the stability of power and water services, cleanliness, peace and order, disaster preparedness plans, medical services, tourist services and the strength of the local government’s links with the national government and the private sector.

Another key criterion is the locality’s plans for carrying out its APEC programs well beyond the summit, particularly when it comes to infrastructure taking into account that the government is looking to invest in infrastructure for the chosen sites not only for the event itself but as part of the country’s long-term planning.

The government is building permanent infrastructure here and other APEC sites and the benefit is not the meeting but beyond the meeting so that the place is built for business and good for repeat visitors, rather than for one-time tourists, Rosal said.

Part of this infrastructure network is good roads, airports, telecommunications networks and private facilities, including hotels and restaurants.

For now, the national government has earmarked an amount of Php140 million for the ongoing widening from two to four lanes of Yawa Bridge, a key link between the city and the first district of Albay where Misibis Bay Island Resort sits and would be used as among the official residences of the APEC delegates.

The Aquino administration had also earmarked an amount of Php2 billion for the city’s urban drainage system featuring a series of water pumping stations designed to put an end to the perennial flooding problem confronting the city’s downtown area during heavy downpours.

“At this point and time, we are already prepared to showcase our culture, heritage, art and creativity to APEC delegates and guests,” Rosal said.

The city is expecting a total of around 1,000 official delegates to the two meetings and some 5,000 support staff, observers and media reporters.

“We are bent on making the visit memorable for each one of them as we believe that it’s not just about coming in, staying in a world-class hotel but having a great experience out of the taste of our cuisine, a look at our art and even listening to our music,” Rosal said.

Digging on the records of past APEC meetings abroad, Rosal said every host country did a good job of projecting their culture and “we’ve worked on it for our hosting.”

Local preparations actually started mid-last year as the Informal Senior Officials Meeting (ISOM)--the first APEC meeting -- was scheduled to be held here last Dec. 8-9 but moved to Manila due to typhoon "Ruby" that threatened the city on the same days.

PNP-Bicol Task Force Santo Papa brings with it professionalism, discipline in its mission -- Deona

By Nancy Ibo Mediavillo [(PNA), FFC/FGS/NIM/CBD]

LEGAZPI CITY, Jan. 14 (PNA) -- Professionalism, discipline and dedication are the three important things the 1,500 members of the Philippine National Police Bicol Task Force Santo Papa have brought in their mission to Region 8 during their eight days in Tacloban City, Chief Supt. Victor P. Deona, PNP-Bicol regional director, said.

"These virtues are with our men in ensuring the safety of Pope Francis and the public as reinforcement to the police force of Region 8," he said.

Deona said the men also have their personal hygiene kits, food and other emergency provisions.

"But they will not use adult diapers," the Bicol police chief said.

He said the three battalions of senior police officers in Bicol left on Sunday and arrived on Monday morning in Tacloban aboard 32 buses, three police vehicles and an ambulance for the medical team.

Aside from these, Deona said, his office has also set up motorist assistance centers from Tabogon, Daet, Camarines Norte, to Matnog, Sorsogon.

Meanwhile, Controlled Points have been established in Sorsogon City and the towns of Irosin, Juban, Casiguran and Matnog due to the continuously increasing number of travelers and vehicles in the port of Matnog going to see Pope Francis in Tacloban City.

Mayor Rosal extols Bicol volunteer aides

By Emmanuel P. Solis (PNA), LAP/FGS/EPS/CBD/EDS

LEGAZPI CITY, Jan. 13 (PNA) -- Legazpi City Mayor Noel E. Rosal has underscored the role of the members of the Bicol Volunteer Aides Association as well as security guards and barangay tanods who he called multiplier force for maintenance of peace and order in the community.

“These volunteer peacekeepers assist our policemen in maintaining peace and order in our locality,” Rosal stressed.

He welcomed the officers and members of the VPA during its recent 2nd Regional Convention at the city’s Embarcadero Celebration Plaza.

The gathering had for its theme: “VPA, committed to serve.”

Rosal also asked the VPA members to always assist their probation officers by way of monitoring all the parolees and probationers at their respective areas to prevent repeating the commission of crime and to make sure that they always follow the parole conditions given to them by the Office of the Parole and Probation Administration.

He urged them to initiate a strong support to the victims and to always participate in the parole and probation program of the government to reduce criminal activities in the community as part of strengthening the justice system in the country.

The city chief executive disclosed that one of the requirements to become the best haven for investment and a favorite of tourist destination is to have a good peace and order condition.

“That’s the reason why we have maintained tranquility and peace in the city, which is now considered in the tourism world as one of the most exciting venues of different tourists personalities,” he added.

The VPA convention is the second of the initial 16 gatherings for this year’s listed conventions to be conducted in this city.

The first was the STI National Youth Summit held last Jan. 8, followed by the Bicol Youth Conference on Poverty Alleviation scheduled on Jan. 23-24, then the 2015 Philippine-American Military Retirees Association National Assembly on Feb. 15-17, Fiesta Tsinoy on Feb. 19, National Defense College of the Philippines National Development Study Tour on March 2-3; 16th Sub-District Conference of Lions Club International District 301-A2 on March 26-29, Association of Municipal Health Officers of the Philippines;

National Convention on April 8-11; Annual Communication of the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons in the Philippines on April 23-26; Commission on Culture National Convention on April 27-May 1; National Convention of the Philippine Coast Guard Auxiliary on May 21- 23;

41st Annual National Directorate Meeting and Convention of the Geodetic Engineers of the Philippines on June 24-27; APEC Meeting/Workshop on Rebuilding Resilient Infrastructure on July 23-24; Mayon Triathlon on Aug. 9; APEC-Senior Disaster Management Officials Forum on Sept. 16; Pacific Asia Travel Association Adventure and Travel Conference on Nov. 25-27.

In 2014, this city posted 33 international, national and regional conventions, seminars and other similar gatherings.

Albay hosts XTERRA triathlon

(MST Sports)

Held in Bicol for the first time and as part of the CAGSAWA Festival 2015, the XTERRA Albay will take triathletes on a route within the Mayon’s perimeter exclusive zone, testing them in the area’s tough terrains.

The 1.5K swim will be start on the shores of Lidong in Mayon Rivera while the 35K bike stage will be a single loop point to point race passing through fire roads, grass lands, and sand and rocky trails. The finishing 10K run will follow Mayon’s ATV trail featuring sandy and rocky areas, river bed and grass lands.

World-class triathletes headline the upcoming XTERRA event organized and produced by Sunrise Events, Inc. with Swiss ace Renata Bucher, a former XTERRA Mexico champion, out to defend her Female Pro crown against a stellar field led by Bermuda’s Flora Duffy, the 2014 XTERRA world champion, who will be racing in the Philippines for the first time.

South Africa’s Bradley Weiss, runner-up in the 2014 XTERRA Philippines, and Australia’s Ben Allen, third-placer last year, will head the chase for the male pro diadem, which is left vacant with the retirement of 2014 ruler Dan Hugo.

XTERRA protégé Mauricio Mendez, a 19-year-old Mexican who placed 15th in the 2014 XTERRA World Championship on his first year as a pro, will also vie along with Guam’s Charlie Epperson, Italy’s Fabrizio Bartoli and Simone Calamai, who will be making their debut in the Philippines, as well.

Others tipped to crowd the fancied bets in the event, backed by official courier and logistics partner 2Go and supported by Columbia, Department of Tourism, Prudential, Finisher Pix, Garmin, Intercare, Davids, Shotz, Akari and Devant and hydration partner Coca Cola Femsa, are United Kingdom’s Jacqui Slack and Daz Parker, Australia’s Dimity Lee Duke, and Guam’s Mieko Carey.

PNP-Bicol contingent on way to Tacloban City

(PNA), CTB/FGS/RBB/CBD/SSC

LEGAZPI CITY, Jan. 11 (PNA) -- Thirty-two buses carrying 1,500 police officers of the Philippine National Police in Bicol left this morning for Tacloban City to provide security for the Papal visit.

Chief Supt. Victor Deona, Bicol police director, said the 1,500 PNP-Bicol members are all senior police officers who are veterans and involved in multi-discipline tasks such as security, disaster management and crowd control manpower, specifically during Penafrancia Festival celebration in the Bicol Region.

Deona said the 1,500 cops will re-enforce security forces in Tacloban City for the Papal visit this coming week.

Many Bicolanos will be going to Manila and Tacloban City to see the Pope during his historic visit in the country.

With this, Deona directed the police force across the region to prepare contingency measures as the Bulan port will be used by the people going to Tacloban for the visit of Pope Francis.

Similarly, the Army’s Southern Luzon Command led by Major Gen. Ricardo R. Visaya ordered all its units to beef up security measures to ensure the safety of the people passing through Bicol and Southern Tagalog regions going to Manila and Leyte in connection with the visit of Pope Francis on Jan. 15-19.

The PNP Bicol and Armed Forces in the Philippines have secured the Maharlika Highway by enforcing checkpoints and also augmented the forces of the Philippine Coast Guard in major ports in Bicol and Southern Tagalog regions.

"There are no monitored threats, however, we will continue monitoring and intensifying our security operations and not discount the possibility of some spoilers," said Visaya.

In Sorsogon province, an Army K9 unit has augmented the PCG in security operations at Matnog Port.

Also, a platoon-sized unit will be deployed to ensure the security and safety of the travelers going to Tacloban to attend the Papal visit.

"We have intensified checkpoints and security forces along the national highway to preempt any untoward incident to happen," Col. Cesar M. Idio, commanding officer of the Army’s 903rd Infantry Brigade, said.

Albay Archived News

The older news reports are kept here.

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