Albay News

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List of Municipalities in the Albay Province within Region V in the Republic of The Philippines
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Cities in the province of Albay: Legazpi City (Capital) | City Of Ligao | City Of Tabaco

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Province of Albay - Archived News

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Provincial Capitol Building of Albay, in Legazpi City
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DSWD gives Php 5.4-M more aid to Albay


LEGAZPI CITY, Sept. 18 (PNA) -- Aside from the thousands of various provisions – blankets, mats, mosquito nets, bottled water, noodles, powdered milk and bags of rice -- it received Thursday morning, the province of Albay again received in the afternoon of the same day Php 5.4-million-worth of about 8,000 essential kits and food items from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Regional Office here.

The kits are worth Php 4.7 million while the food items are valued at Php 734, 273.93.

The essential kits and food items were turned over to the Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office and will be given to the displaced families of Mt. Mayon’s impending eruption.

Governor Joey Sarte Salceda praised the DSWD for the very fast action on the request of the provincial government.

He emphasized that ever since, DSWD has been very responsive and supportive to the local government units, especially during disasters.

Aside from provisions, the DSWD will also conduct Family Development Sessions inside the evacuation centers, according to DSWD Bicol Regional Director Arnel Garcia.

Garcia said Social Welfare and Development Teams are still deployed in the different affected municipalities for monitoring and coordination with the LGUs.

Legazpi’s Children’s Right and Welfare Code to apply even before kids are born (Feature)

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

LEGAZPI CITY, Sept. 17 (PNA) -- The rights and welfare of children in this prime Bicol metropolis are going to be protected even before their birth.

This would be true once the draft of Legazpi City’s Children’s Right and Welfare Code prepared by the youngest member of the city’s legislative council, Councilor Vicente Baltazar III, is enacted by the Sangguniang Panlunsod (SP) into an ordinance and approved for implementation by City Mayor Noel Rosal.

Obtaining the highest number of votes in the 2013 local elections, Baltazar, at 23, emerged as the youngest local legislator ever voted here.

For being the topnotcher among the 10 elected members of the council, he is officially called “senior councilor.”

Actually, this young local solon is not new to legislative works as his exposure in this field started with his election in 2007 as president of the city chapter of the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) Federation, which sent him to the SP as ex-officio member.

After SK, he ran for barangay chairman in 2010 and won to be later voted as vice-president of the Liga ng mga Barangay-City Chapter that sent him back to the SP, also as ex-officio member, on election of the league’s city president, Joseph Philip Lee, as Albay chapter president and installation as provincial board member in the same capacity.

His young age though has never prevented Baltazar from being as dynamic as his older colleagues in the city council.

He has placed himself always at the forefront of productive activities involving the local youth, and now of children.

“This piece of local legislation will serve as the doctrine which will see to it that Legazpi is the most livable city for children. Its provisions that seek the protection of children’s rights and welfare apply soon after they are conceived by their mothers, up to the time that they are born and until they reach the legal age,” Baltazar on Wednesday told the Philippine News Agency here.

In his 24-page draft of the proposed code that collates for easy reference all executive orders, issuances, resolutions, ordinances, statutory and universal laws on children’s rights, Baltazar said its objectives are to make certain that children in the city are protected from all forms of abuse and exploitation; and ensure that the locality is conducive to their holistic development.

“The Code shall declare, as a matter of policy, that Legazpi is a child-friendly city, thus, it becomes incumbent upon the city government to ensure that the rights of children for survival, development, protection and participation are given priority,” he said.

Survival rights, he explained, involves, among others, prompt birth registration that will observe a child’s right to a name and nationality as embodied in Article 7 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

It also involves a provision ensuring that each and every child within the city’s territorial jurisdiction is provided access to basic health services, including pre-natal and childbirth service packages for the mother -- all for free.

Care for the prevention of communicable diseases through an intensified Reaching Every Barangay (REB) strategy to achieve at least 99-percent full immunization coverage of infants, active promotion of personal hygiene, safe food and water practices and protection from exposure to hazardous works or activities are also provided as a child survival right.

The creation of supportive environments that would serve as the overall guiding principle for people and environment to take care of each other and health promotion to create living and working conditions that are satisfying, enjoyable and stimulating is another provision of the Code under its child survival right protection.

In protecting the development right of children, Baltazar’s proposed Code seeks the city government’s setting up of day care centers that are provided with basic sanitation facilities, including safe drinking water and food services, toilets and proper waste disposals in all its 70 barangays.

Programs on child minding, special education, children’s literature and recreational and cultural facilities should also be instituted by the city government, including the implementation of Child-Friendly School System (CFSS) in support to the socio-cultural development of children, the proposed Code provides.

“Under this Code, the local government shall also regulate or control the exposure of children to Internet, particularly those who are in school and during school hours,” Baltazar said.

This Code, he said, will carry as prohibited acts -- other than all those that are defined and penalized under Republic Act (RA) 7610 on child abuse and exploitation; RA 7658 on child labor; and other pertinent laws—peonage of children, pre-arranged marriage and the use of girls as “commodities” in benefit dances, among others.

As its implementing mechanism, the City Council for the Welfare of the Children (CCWC) which will formulate the plan of action for children, incorporating projects and programs submitted by barangays, according to Baltazar, shall be created by the SP.

At the same time, Barangay Councils for the Protection of Children that among other responsibilities would foster education—at least elementary-- of every child; as village-level vanguards against child abuse and juvenile delinquency; as service delivery coordinator for health and nutrition and other basic services, shall be created by barangay councils, he said.

Finally, a seat shall be provided for a child representative in the CCWC, which should see to it that the child is able to genuinely participate in decision-making, particularly on matters involving children, Baltazar said.

“Any violation of this Code which is not penalized elsewhere in other sections or in any national law, shall be meted out the penalty of a fine ranging from Php 3,000 to Php 5,000 and imprisonment of 20-30 days at the discretion of the court,” he added.

Albay governor, PDRRMC to meet on Mayon evacuation plan

By Joel Locsin/DVM (GMA News)

Albay Governor Jose Salceda will on Tuesday convene a meeting of the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council to map out the evacuation of around 10,000 residents near Mayon Volcano, as the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology elevated the Mayon alert level to "3" Monday night.

An Alert Level 3 means Mayon "is exhibiting relatively high unrest and that magma is at the crater and that hazardous eruption is possible within weeks."

In a post on his Facebook page, Salceda said he plans to meet with the mayors of Legazpi City, Tabaco City, Ligao City, Guniobatan, Camalig, Daraga, Sto. Domingo and Malilipot.

The plan will call for the evacuation of residents from the 6-8 km extended danger zone.

Salceda also made it clear that there would be "no human activity" inside the 6-km permanent danger zone, and that the forced evacuation of all settlers, whether returning or newly settled, will be enforced.

"[O]ther settlers may have taken advantage of the interregnum since the Mayon eruption 2009," he said, reporting that around 300 settlers had re-entered the 6-km PDZ, even though they been resettled.

On Monday night, Phivolcs raised the Mayon Volcano alert to Level 3, as their scientists had noticed an “escalation of unrest" from 5 a.m. to 8 p.m. Around 39 rockfall events were also ascribed to "incipient breaching of the growing summit lava dome across the southeastern crater rim."

Mt. Mayon among world's most photogenic volcanoes


MANILA – The Philippines’ very own Mt. Mayon has been dubbed one of the 10 most photogenic volcanoes in the world.

In an article published on the CNN Travel website on September 12, writer Leslie Patrick ranked Mt. Mayon ninth in his list of most photogenic volcanoes.

“Anywhere. This volcano is known for its perfect conical shape,” wrote Patrick, referring to the best place within the vicinity of Mt. Mayon to get a photo-op.

An active volcano, Mt. Mayon is located in the province of Albay in the Bicol region. It last erupted in 2013, with the incident killing five climbers.

The “most photogenic volcanoes” list of CNN Travel was topped by Kilauea in Hawaii, followed by Kawah Ijen in Indonesia, Villarica in Chile, Mt. Fuji in Japan, Virunga Mountains in East Africa, Licancabur in Bolivia, Mount Etna in Italy and Arsenal in Costa Rica.

Cotopaxi in Ecuador, meanwhile, rounds out the Top 10.

Want to climb Mayon Volcano? Prepare to shell out at least P7,500 per person. More details here.

PATA chooses Albay as venue of its 2015 Travel Mart

By Johnny C. Nunez [(PNA), SCS/JCN/PJN]

LEGAZPI CITY, Sept. 14 (PNA) -- The Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) has chosen Albay as venue of its Adventure Travel and Responsible Tourism Conference and Mart in the Philippines next year.

he province bested other strong and giant bidders for the organization’s November 2015 event.

PATA is the premier organization of travel and tourism players in the Asia-Pacific region and a leading authority on the industry for over 60 years. It is a partner of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).

Its Travel Mart event this year is set Sept. 17-19 in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

Last year, its roadshow in Chengdu, China attracted 77 media, 550 seller and 473 buyer delegates, and registered over 10,000 business appointments in just two days.

PATA executive director Martin J. Craigs, in his letter to Albay Gov. Joey Salceda, said their members believe Legazpi “has much to offer in terms of adventure and would be a perfect destination for a conference and promotion support for Emerging Destinations.”

The 2015 PATA event in Albay features a day-long conference and sets aside another day for field trips to various tourism sites in Legazpi City and neighboring areas, including the world famous Cagsawa Ruins in Daraga town, which now awaits UNESCO’s declaration as a World Heritage Site.

The PATA Travel Mart is a signature event and a premier travel trade show in the Asia-Pacific region. It offers a dynamic program and remarkable platform to showcase travel products and services, bringing together in one market place hundreds of international buyers and sellers in the industry.

Salceda said the 2015 PATA event here will further boost Albay’s reputation as a leading travel and tourism growth area in the country.

The Department of Tourism has declared Albay as the Philippines’ fastest-growing tourist destination. It has posted a sustained tourism growth, leaping by 47% in 2012 and 66% in 2013. After a flat first quarter performance, it registered another 52% growth in the second quarter of this year.

Albay’s tourism has grown from 8,700 foreign tourists in 2007 to 339,000 in 2013. The province has been the venue of many international conferences this year, among them the 26th Joint meeting of the UNWTO Commission for East Asia and the Pacific and its Commission for South Asia, and the UNWTO-ASEAN International Conference on Tourism and Climate Change last May.

UNWTO Secretary General Taleb Rifai has praised Albay’s global tourism potential, with Mount Mayon, the world’s only near perfect cone volcano which is referred to as a “gem.”

PATA has close to 1,000 associate groups, education and hospitality, allied partner destinations, corporate, government and industrial links; and about 70 carriers and aviation partners.

5 Legazpi villages scoop up top slots in Albay’s education achievers awards


LEGAZPI CITY, Sept. 13 (PNA) -- Five barangays of this city were adjudged winners in this year’s search for top achievers in educational initiatives in Albay province, with two of them scooping up two of the three top spots, an announcement made Friday by the Provincial Education Department (PED) said.

The search is under the Barangay Kasangga sa Edukasyon (BAKAS), which is part of the Gawad Albay sa Edukasyon award system being pursued by the Albay provincial government under its zero illiteracy program.

It aims to recognize the significant contributions of barangays through their barangay officials and community to the cause of quality education in the province.

The award system also forms part of the Education for Quality Albayanos (EQUAL) program organized by the PED.

In this year’s BAKAS search, the third since it was launched in 2012, the PED declared Barangays Oro Site and Binanuahan West as Most Outstanding in the Barangays with Elementary and High Schools and Barangays with No Elementary and High School Categories, respectively.

All three barangays belong to this city.

Oro Site, headed by barangay chair Joseph Philip Lee, emerged this year as a Hall of Famer for winning the top slot under its category for three consecutive years.

The top spot for Barangays with Elementary School Only went to Barangay Napo, Polangui, Albay, according to the PED.

All these three top winners will receive cash incentives worth Php 100,000 each to be awarded during the ceremonies whose date was yet to be announced.

Other winners from this city declared as Outstanding BAKAS under the Barangays with Elementary and High Schools are Taysan and Bitano; and Buraguis under Barangays with Elementary School Only.

From outside the city, nine barangays were named as finalists by the PED.

These are Sogod in the municipality of Bacacay; Ilaor Norte, Oas; and Kilicao, Daraga -- all under the Barangays with Elementary and High Schools Category; Cotnogan, Polangui; Lidong, Sto. Domingo; Gabawan, Daraga; and San Rafel, Sto. Domingo under the Elementary Only Category; and Ilawod, Guinobatan and Binitayan, Camalig under the No Elementary and High School Category.

The search, which is a yearly activity, starts from the nomination of any of the 720 barangays of the province.

Each nominee is required to submit accomplished entry form with complete documents such as a copy of the barangay legislation on the creation of BAKAS as sub-committee within the education committee of the barangay council and the list of education initiatives implemented.

At the close of the nomination period, the PED chooses the Top 50 entries in the initial screening through review of documents submitted, visit on sites and informal interview with stakeholders.

In the second and final screening, oral presentations are done at the Bicol University Graduate School (BUGS) here by each of the barangay chairmen of the 50 finalists.

The search is being initiated in partnership with the BUGS and in cooperation with the provincial legislative board through its committee on education chaired by board member Arnold Embestro and the provincial federation of the Association of Barangay Chairmen headed by Lee as its president and board member.

DA names Bicol pilot region in anti-rabies drive

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

LEGAZPI CITY, Sept. 12 (PNA) – Cases of animal rabies infection in human in Bicol may be declining, but government authorities want the region totally free from this deadly malady.

In 2012, the region recorded 40 human deaths, the highest human rabies fatalities among the regions of the country.

In 2013, no death was reported of the 20 human rabies infection cases as well as this year, which is showing a more significant decline with only six cases as of last August.

Most of the 2012 fatalities were from the province of Sorsogon, prompting the Global Alliance for Rabies Control (GARC) to make its presence in the area -- thus, the decline.

Until today, GARC still works in the province for the total eradication of the deadly health menace.

“Although data show that human rabies cases in the region is on the decline, our ultimate goal is to make Bicol rabies-free. It is under this goal that the region is selected pilot area for the new program that the Department of Agriculture (DA), supported by various agencies, has recently launched,” DA Regional Executive Director Abelardo Bragas said in a statement reaching here Friday.

The program called “Stop Transboundary Animal Diseases and Zoonoses (STANDZ),” which is DA’s latest undertaking under its National Rabies Control and Prevention Strategy (NRCPS), was assured by the World Organization for Animal Health or Office International des Epizooties (OIE) of Php 40-million funding support.

The program was launched recently at The Oriental Hotel here where the OIE Sub-Regional Representation for South-East Asia headed by its special adviser, Dr. Gardner Murray, made the fund commitment.

During the launch, Bragas recalled Murray’s statement saying “rabies is a horrible disease but the control is very simple – vaccine.”

But, according to Bragas, vaccination, which is assigned to local veterinary offices, is not a simple task as it requires social change, communication and coordination as well as cooperation of the whole population in a particular place.

People can help by monitoring vaccination activities in their areas, reporting of rabies cases in animals and humans while local government units (LGUs), including provinces, should create ordinances that would force people to have their dogs vaccinated, he said.

The Department of Education (DepEd), on the other hand, may help in advocating responsible pet ownership among school children, he added.

City Mayor Noel Rosal here, who lauded Bicol’s selection as pilot area for the implementation of STANDZ and expressed appreciation to OIE’s funding support, told the Philippine News Agency that indeed, the goal of the program to eradicate rabies in Bicol by 2016 is a shared responsibility of the DA, the LGUs, DOH and the DepEd.

“We have applied this responsibility-sharing strategy, that is why the city has been rabies-free since the last four years,” Rosal said.

Rabies, a highly fatal yet preventable disease, is primarily transmitted via rabid dog bites.

Globally, it is estimated that rabies causes about 55,000 human deaths.

The OIE supports the global fight against rabies and stands behind the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) in eliminating rabies in the region by 2020. In the Philippines, the number of animal bites reported is around 1.2 million from 2009 to 2012, resulting in 966 deaths or more than 200 cases annually.

Considering that rabies is 100-percent preventable, these are unwarranted losses of human lives.

Salceda: Local control of police will curtail police criminality, improve performance quality


LEGAZPI CITY, Sept. 11 (PNA) -- Placing the control of the police under the local government will reverse its dysfunction, optimize its resources, enhance its institutional capabilities and curtail the current uptrend in criminality involving lawmen.

Albay Gov. Joey Salceda, reacting to the recent spate of police criminality, said its surging incidence “should compel us to seriously revisit the logic for a national police force vis-à-vis local community control over the police.”

A localized police, Salceda said, will result in an open and constant engagements with the community, particularly the vulnerable and the needy, whom the institution is sworn to protect and serve.

Police officers agree that administrative partnership with LGUs can produce good results, as in the case of the Albay PNP headed by Senior Supt. Mario Meneses, which was recently given the Silver Trailblazer Awards, during the Performance Governance System last May 27, second only to Nueva Ecija.

The Bicol PNP Regional Command also recently ranked second to the Cordillera Autonomous Region among the 17 police regional offices in the country in the manhunt for wanted criminals, largely due to its partnership with LGUs in the Bicol Region, Salceda noted.

Creating the PNP and taking its control from the hands of local officials “was largely on account of the martial law regime phobia and is reflective of the mindset of the 1986 Constitutional Commission and the 1987 Congress,” he added.

Salceda pointed out such fear was proven largely baseless as in the case of Albay, where “under our own initiative called Team Albay, we managed to optimize and mobilize the institution, the capabilities and resources of PNP provincial office and seamlessly fused them in our strategic interventions.”

Under the PNP’s present set up, hiring, firing, training and promotions are all national prerogatives. Towns and cities have limited day-to-day operations supervision while governors impinge on police management in our territory only upon the need to pick among the choices for a provincial director position brought down from Camp Crame, he said.

National in character, and with overwhelming and expanded concerns, the governor said a policeman can lose his grasp with the community and his role as protector of the man on the street and the primacy of the lowly villagers’ safety.

Team Albay, formed by Salceda primarily as a disaster risk reduction and management group, has proven that the police force can draw strength from its own local concerns to become an indispensable component of the LGUs.

“I believe if expanded, local control over the police would significantly curtail and reverse the current uptrend in police criminality,” said the governor. Veteran and multi-awarded Team Albay has to its credit eleven major humanitarian missions, impressive records in preemptive evacuation, tree planting, coastal clean ups, actions for climate mitigation and activities for climate change adaptation.

Team Albay’s most recent activities include the provision of security arrangements for the Albay International Gateway as well as the conferences last May of the United Nations World Trade Organization and upcoming Asia Pacific Economic Conference.

Salceda said even without the expressed national blessing, the conscious local exertion and intellectual leadership together with the doctrinal approaches of the local provincial police resulted in the optimization of police resources and the consequent enhancement of its institutional capabilities and the constant open engagements with local communities, especially the vulnerable and the needy.

Massive family development sessions for 4Ps couples held

By Mike de la Rama [(PNA), FFC/FGS/MDR/CBD]

LEGAZPI CITY, Sept. 10 (PNA) -– A series of massive family planning development sessions (FDS) is being conducted province-wide for couples covered by the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) as an integral activity that seeks to expand knowledge and enhance the skills of the beneficiaries.

Ryan Altavano, Albay population officer 1, said 4Ps beneficiaries are required to attend the regular FDS to help them appreciate and comply with health and education conditions.

“The focus of discussions in every session deals on health education, nutrition, disaster, livelihood, family planning and HIV/AIDS,” Altavano said.

He added that the objectives are to increase the contraceptive prevalence rate (CPR) demand generation but not coercion and address the unmet needs of reproductive age.

FDS is a year round activity for all 4Ps beneficiaries with different modules not limited to health education and family planning.

In Albay, there are 76,939 households officially enrolled in the 4Ps who are regularly attending the FDS.

A Population Commission report said families with too many children have lesser income, savings and expenditures and the challenges facing Filipino families are unachieved fertility goals among women and access to family planning.

Social Welfare and Development Secretary Corazon Soliman recently said after the impact evaluation of the program that the challenge to the government is to sustain these improvements in the lives of the families from the program.

"It is important that it reaches its target of 4.3 million poor households by 2016, and that household beneficiaries stay in the program by continuing to comply with its conditions. Toward this end, a coordinated approach is necessary where national government agencies involved in poverty reduction coordinate their activities and interventions to maximize government's investment in human capital,” Soliman explained.

The Pantawid Pamilya, also widely known as the Philippine conditional cash transfer program, is a human development program of the national government and a social protection strategy that invests in the health and education of poor children age 0-14 years old.

As of July 2012, the program has 3,041,152 household beneficiaries in 1,400 cities and municipalities in 79 provinces in all 17 regions nationwide.

DENR, DSWD, SMFI ink pact to bring back forest cover in Bicol


LEGAZPI CITY, Sept. 8 (PNA) -- In an effort to bring back the forest cover of Bicol and mitigate the adverse impacts of climate change in the countryside, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, the Department of Social Welfare and Development and SM Foundation Inc. have signed a memorandum of agreement for massive greening program in the Bicol region.

The MOA for the project, dubbed as “Grow a Million Trees,” was signed by DENR Bicol Regional Executive Director Gilbert Gonzales, DSWD Bicol Director Arnel Garcia and the SM Foundation Inc. (SMFI).

The project hopes to create healthier and cleaner surroundings and help provide sustainable livelihood opportunities to the people in the region.

It brings together the government, SM Group of companies, non-government organizations and people’s organizations into a synergy in a move to help create a better world for the next generation.

Gonzalez said a tripartite agreement on greening program has been forged by and among them to plant and grow a million trees in the countryside to mitigate the effect of global warming that triggers climate change.

The Bicol Region is the most typhoon-prone area and home of the most active volcano in the country, he said.

The “Grow a Million Trees” program is originally a partnership between DENR and SMFI following EO No. 26 or the National Greening Program(NGP) that seeks to promote sustainable development for poverty reduction, food security, biodiversity conservation and climate change mitigation and adaptation.

To strengthen the program, this year, the DSWD Bicol regional office entered into a covenant not only to intensify government’s program but to empower people’s organizations by providing values formation, team building workshops and entrepreneurial skills.

Garcia said that under the agreement, people’s organizations composed of Pantawid and non-Pantawid beneficiaries will plant and nurture the seedlings in the next three years.

The plantations are envisioned to be sources of livelihood for the PO member’s as well.

“This is in support to the environment and capability program empowering the poor and the community. We actually are building and nurturing communities,” Garcia said.

The SM Foundation will also provide at least Php290,000 fund for the various activities such as survey, mapping and planning, site preparation, seedling production, hauling of seedlings and maintenance.

The forest cover in Bicol is dwindling rapidly due to massive “kaingin” (slash-and-burn) farming and uncontrolled cutting of trees in the past here.

DOT-Bicol says AlMaSor booth a standout in 25th Philippine Travel Mart

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

LEGAZPI CITY, Sept. 6 (PNA) -– The AlMaSor booth, which showcases the best of Albay, Masbate and Sorsogon in tourism, is a standout in the ongoing 25th Philippine Travel Mart at the SMX Convention Center, Mall of Asia, Pasay City, according to the Department of Tourism (DOT).

The Travel Mart is a three-day exhibit organized by the Philippine Tour Operators' Association (PHILTOA).

Aside from local government units (LGUs), the exhibition also features booths from travel agencies and airlines that offer up to 70 percent in savings.

PHILTOA is the biggest association of tour operators and agencies that promote exclusively domestic and inbound tourism.

With a nationwide membership, it has been at the frontier of domestic tourism promotion, partnering with the DOT and its regional offices.

The yearly Philippine Travel Mart, the biggest travel trade exhibition in the promotion and marketing of domestic and inbound tourism now on its 25th year of staging, has been the longest running event of its kind in the Philippines.

In view of the forthcoming implementation of the ASEAN Integration in 2015, which aims to promote seamless and borderless travelling within the region and adaption of the Mutual Recognition Agreement among the ASEAN member-nations, the ongoing event for the first time now includes ASEAN regional packages and Twin City packages (Philippines+1 ASEAN City), according to PHILTOA.

It has more colorful exhibits, 25 "Pasasalamat" Sale ng Bayan, tour packages, bigger and exciting cultural events to make sure that the 25th Philippine Travel Mart is 25 times "More Fun In the Philippines," it added.

The AlMaSor booth, since the opening Friday of the exhibition, has emerged as one of the most visited by travel enthusiasts, DOT regional director Maria Ong-Ravanilla said here Saturday as she arrived from attending the event.

“Our booth could easily be distinguished because we have a whale shark mascot playfully prancing and dancing at its front, attracting visitors who would gamely pose for pictures with him.

There are 245 other exhibitors in the Travel Mart from all over the country and the AlMaSor booth stands as among the firsts to be visited,” Ravanilla said.

Travel enthusiasts, both young and old, flock to the AlMaSor exhibit, enjoying the different sights that one can expect to see when visiting Albay, Masbate and Sorsogon, she said.

“Visitors’ happy faces turn into delight as they sample delicacies offered by the booth in a food fare such as the unique sili ice cream from the Colonial Grill of this city, the famed longganisa of Guinobatan, Albay, the sumptuous and creamy pinangat from Camalig and Pili candies from Sorsogon” Ravanilla said.

Dorothy Colle, the Albay provincial tourism officer, in a statement reaching the PNA from the Travel Mart, said that “if the flow of visitors in the first few hours after the opening is to be an indication of what is to come in the three days of the exhibit, the AlMaSor booth may very well be among the top exhibits frequented by visitors, even among fellow exhibitors”.

Formed by the DOT Bicol regional office, in collaboration with the Regional Development Council (RDC), AlMaSor represents one of the two three-province clusters comprising the region’s tourism development areas (TDAs) as identified in the 2011-2016 National Tourism Development Plan (NTDP) of the DOT.

The other cluster is called “Triple C” which involves the provinces of Camarines Sur, Camarines Norte and Catanduanes -- which, like AlMaSor, also forms rich tourism destinations that perfectly complement each province, being closely attached geographically.

In the case of AlMaSor, the collaborative efforts given by the three provinces, Ravanilla said, has propelled the influx of tourists to in the region by leaps and bounds, with continued drive and exposure, like this travel mart, making the potential for growth unbounded.

Its maiden global exposure was at the 2013 Internationale Tourismus-Börse (ITB)-Berlin which put in place a more integrated and comprehensive promotion strategy to market the potentials of the regional tourism industry, eyeing some 650,000 foreign tourist arrivals annually within five years.

By featuring AlMaSor, which was tagged as the “Soul of the South” of Philippine tourism industry, ITB, the world's leading yearly travel trade held in Berlin, Germany on March 6-10 last year notably, helped increase arrivals of European visitors here and other parts of the cluster.

The cluster features Albay with its Mayon Volcano, Cagsawa Ruins and the various local tourism marvels of this city recognized in the world’s travel industry as the “City of Fun and Adventure”; Sorsogon offers its butanding (whale shark) interactions; while Masbate has its unspoiled world-class beaches.

Tour packages to these inviting destinations are offered to tourists, with Albay taking the lead “in view of its ethno-cultural logic.”

“Every part of Bicol is practically a tourist attraction, that is why all its six provinces are included in the Bicol tourism development cluster defined by the NTDP. What we are doing now under this clustering is formulate strategic directions and programs that would make their tourism products more competitive,” Ravanilla said.

This can be done through the improvement of market access, connectivity, destination infrastructure; and enhancement of tourism institutional, governance and industry manpower capabilities, she added.

4Ps program enhances responsible parenting

By Mike de la Rama [(PNA), CTB/FGS/MDR/CBD/]

LEGAZPI CITY, Sept. 5 (PNA) – The Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) is an effective initiative of the government that enhances responsible parenting and health demand generation, according to a poor couple that has been benefited by the program.

The couple lives in Barangay Mababangbaybay, one of the 21 coastal barangays of Claveria, Masbate.

It is actually not an island but could hardly reach by land transportation since it has no established road yet.

In 2008, the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) was introduced in Masbate and the town of Claveria was included in the Set 1 of the implementation of the program and about 130 families from Mababangbaybay was enrolled in the program.

The family of Protacio and Virginia Lequin were among the lucky beneficiaries.

Evelyn Jerusalem, regional information officer of the DSWD in Bico,l said that prior to the introduction of the program, the Lequin’s family was staying in the upland part of the barangay. They have farming for their livelihood and life was so tough for them, shared Virginia.

She is a plain housewife, and at 44 has five children -- four boys and a girl -- all in school.

Her husband was a farm laborer with no stable income.

Aside from receiving low pay, Porfirio’s job is also seasonal.

He works for a month or two, and be jobless, depending on the need for farm laborers.

Health and education are a problem which confronts the family.

The non-availment of health services by the family is very evident when one of the children died due to health problem.

The poor housewife was so desperate for which she described her surroundings to be engulfed by darkness, especially with the untimely death of her child.

For them to be able to forget the tragic experience, the family then decided to transfer to the barangay proper of Mababangbay.

Profirio then built a small house for their shelter.

To provide a living, the couple managed a coconut land for which they earn 15,000 per semester. “ Hindi sapat ang kinikita para sa araw-araw naming pangangailangan (Our income is not at all enough to support the daily needs of our family)," sighed Virginia.

The couple considered their family blessed because it was upon their transfer to the barangay when the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program started implementation.

The health and educational needs of the children were responded and the couple is regularly attending the Family Development Sessions (FDS).

Virginia said their role and responsibilities as parents were enhanced.

It was also through the FDS that they came to realize the importance of availing the health services, particularly for the children.

She never joined any organization before but because of the program, she became active in all the activities in the barangay and she was even chosen as a parent leader.

It was also in the same year when another poverty-alleviation program embraced the barangay; the Self- Employment Assistance-Kaunlaran Program (SEA-K) -- a scheme of the Sustainable Livelihood Program.

Virginia was among those who qualified for the program and after going through the process, she received a grant of of Php 10,000.

She used the amount in opening a sari-sari store.

While she manages the store, her husband is also working in the farm.

Within two years, they were able to pay back the capital assistance they got and with a good credit standing, a grocery in Pioduran, Albay (where she gets her merchandise) offered her to get Php 35,000 worth of goods on consignment basis.

She then did not hesitate to accept the offer and in one month Virginia was able to pay the whole amount.

A few months later, using a simple mathematics, Virignia made an accounting on how the business was doing.

Her husband is also engrossed in his farm work.

The couple‘s strong partnership in earning a living earned a good result and the two have also started their hog-fattening project.

The family has now enough food for the family and is now able to support the school needs of the children.

“Madalas ko na rin dalhin ang aking mga anak sa doktor para makasiguro ako na maayos ang kanilang kalusugan (I now regularly bring my children to the doctor to ensure that they are in good health)," Virginia claimed.

From an abode of somber cogon grass and bamboo, the Lequin’s now have a house made of concrete materials and can now call it a home suitable for dwelling.

Ask her about the life now, Virginia proudly enthuses that they can now get together more often, have enough food on the table and there is always money in their pockets for emergencies.

The couple became also active in all community activities.

Mabangbaybay is also a recipient of the Kalahi-CIDSS for which the involvement of the couple has been sought.

Protacio has been a volunteer in the construction of the farm-to-market road and also in the installation of water system, while Virginia is a member of the Barangay Sub-Project Management Committee.

Protacio and Virginia did not stop dreaming and striving to improve their status in life and with the proper attitude and right values, the fulfillment of their dreams is now within their reach.

Legazpi City, DOLE distribute livelihood project starter kits to 215 skilled persons

By Emmanuel P. Solis [(PNA), FFC/FGS/EPS/CBD]

LEGAZPI CITY, Sept. 4 (PNA) -- At least 215 skilled persons of this city are now ready to embark on livelihood projects with a set of Kabuhayan Starter Kit Tools each they received from the Legazpi City government through Mayor Noel E. Rosal and the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).

The recipients of the kits were 49 food processors wherein each one received a steamer, gas stove, gas tank, burger grill, aluminum stand and buffet tray; 40 beauticians, barbers and therapists who received blower, hair iron, scissors, razors, foot reflex, parlor chairs and exercise mats; 51 sewers who received one sewing machine each; and 61 carpenters, masons, welders, technicians and electricians who got a welding machine, hammer, grinder, electric drill, saw and planner each.

Fourteen other skilled persons received their own tools like fishermen, fishing engine and boat; peddlers, pedicabs; floral arrangers, a foam and floral wire; and the physically-challenged, guitar and key board.

Rosal said the starter kit project will open windows for opportunities to all the recipients to improve their skills and abilities.

The city chief executive said the tools and materials distributed to the beneficiaries will be used for their livelihood activities to increase their daily income that will result in the uplift of their living conditions.

He pointed out that the starter kit project is part of an income-augmentation program and sharing responsibilities between the city government and the DOLE.

Rosal thanked the national government through the DOLE for being a partner in this livelihood program.

He said the recipients of the project are skilled people who studied at the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) and other alternative learning centers and schools but they have no tools and materials for operating livelihood activities.

Rosal said that the city administration has given the recipients an orientation as part of enhancing their abilities and skills that they would become profitable and successful business persons.

He said only one member of every family is required by the DOLE to become a beneficiary of this program to give other people a chance to enjoy the benefit of the project.

This starter kit project is one form of livelihood strategy by the DOLE that is intended to improve socio-economic activities in the community.

UNICEF gives P 8.6M for Albay's health projects, DRR tools


LEGAZPI CITY, Sept. 3 (PNA) -- The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) allocated Php 8.6 million for Albay's health projects to develop tools and training modules in assessing health system resilience, UNICEF Country Representative for the Philippines Lotta Sylwander said.

The UNICEF forged a partnership with the provincial government of Albay and the Bicol University led by its President Dr. Fay Lea Patria M. Lauraya to develop resilient systems and build the capacities of local governments and national agencies on disaster risk reduction (DRR) projects here.

Sylwander said the partnership is in recognition of the great work of Albay as model of a climate change adaptation (CCA) and DRR.

"This partnership is in recognition of the great work of Albay Governor Joey Salceda in the area of climate change and disaster risk reduction. We want to tap the rich experience and expertise of Governor Salceda and his team to build systems and approaches that will help make other local governments more resilient," she added.

The partnership initially covers projects on health and DRR where the UNICEF poured in US 0,000 or an equivalent of PHP 8.6 million.

Cedric Daep, chief of Albay Public Safety Emergency Management Office (APSEMO), who represented the governor, said the project will greatly help in improving DRR by giving full support to the children -- making them more resilient, physically and psychologically.

Lauraya said her office entered into an agreement with UNICEF and the provincial government of Albay to make the higher institution closer to the community, specifically to the grassroots and local government units, as the best line of defense in DRR management.

"We developed partnership with local government units and provincial government officials led by Governor Joey Salceda as this is a very good opportunitybecause we're offering Master in Disaster Science. I'd like to thank UNICEF and the provincial government of Albay for giving this wonderful partnership to build a resilient community," Lauraya said.

Albay is the pilot area in the country for this remarkable program of the UNICEF and the tools that will be developed will be shared to 70 provinces across the country, where the children will be part of the DRR resiliency.

Albay marks Ola Day, inaugurates hero's museum


GUINOBATAN, Albay, Sept. 2 (PNA) -- The local government of Guinobatan, Albay, inaugurated on Tuesday the "Museo de Guinobatan" on the occasion of the 149th birthday of the last Filipino general to surrender to American forces during the Philippine-American War.

President Benigno S. Aquino III has declared Sept. 2 as Ola Day and is a non-working holiday in Albay in honor of Gen. Simeon Arboleda Ola.

The activity started with a mass at 7:30 a.m., followed by a flag-raising and wreath-laying ceremony at the Ola monument, blessing of the museum and military parade.

Guinobatan Mayor Ann Gemma Ongjoco said that in honor of the military exploits and heroism of Ola during the American war, they will open the museum to the public where people can see the records and memorabilia on his life and history.

The local government allocated Php 7.8 million for the Museo de Guinobatan located near Ola's statue.

"We will collect all the memorabilia of Ola from his relatives to display it in the museum. By this, we can show him that we are proud to be Guinobateṅos. This is our pride. We can be like him, we can be a hero -- not by death but by doing good deeds to other people," Ongjoco said.

Based on Philippine history, Ola was born in the town of Guinobatan on September 2, 1865 to Vicente Ola and Apolonia Arboleda.

Ola's first dream was to be a servant of God and so he enrolled in the Holy Rosary Minor Seminary in Naga City but he continued his studies in Philosophy at the University of Nueva Caceres, also in Naga City.

He, however, didn't finish the course as he later joined the local unit of the Katipunan in the neighboring Camalig town.

Ola was later promoted to the rank of captain by General Vito Belarmino, the zone commander of the Revolutionary Forces in the Bicol Region.

He was again promoted to the rank of major after an ambush mission that led to the capture of three Americans -- one Dubose, Fred Hunter and a certain Russel -- on January 23, 1900.

The Albayano katipunero continued to fight against the Americans in Arimbay, Legazpi City in February until August 1902 and led the attacks in the town of Oas and an American detachment at Macabugos, Ligao -- both in Albay.

Due to his continuous attacks in the province, the Americans decided to end Ola’s activities and sent emissaries -- Ramon Santos and Major Jesse S. Garwood of the Constabulary -- to negotiate for his surrender, but Ola refused.

He launched subsequent attacks in the towns of Oas, Ligao and Jovellar in Albay.

After realizing that he could never win the war, he immediately set an agreement with Colonel Harry H. Bandholtz, the assistant commander of the Constabulary in Lucena, Tayabas (now Quezon), on the condition that his comrades would be granted amnesty, justice and fair treatment.

Ola was put on trial, proven guilty of sedition and sentenced to 30 years in prison on September 25, 1903 but was granted executive clemency on October 8, 1904.

When he returned to Guinobatan, the revolutionary official later entered politics and won as town mayor in 1910 to 1919.

He died on February 14, 1952 and was interred at the Roman Catholic Cemetery of Guinobatan.

To recognize his greatness, the former American Regan Barracks was later named after him and now known as the Camp General Simeon A. Ola, the present regional police office, in Legazpi City.

Ola has a statue on horse back at the town proper of Guinobatan and another in the regional police office, which was built during the time of former Bicol police regional director, Chief Supt. Marcelo Navarro.

Albay province celebrating Gen. Simeon Ola’s 149th birth anniv


MANILA, Sept. 1 (PNA) -- Classes in all levels in Albay province will be suspended Tuesday in celebration of General Simeon Ola’s 149th birth anniversary.

Hailing from Guinobatan, Albay, General Ola led the Bicolanos in their fight for freedom. He is the last revolutionary general to surrender at the end of the Philippine-American War.

To commemorate his heroism, the government, through Proclamation No. 865, has declared September 2 as a special non-working day in the province.

Albay Archived News

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