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Province of Palawan - Archived News

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Contents

AirAsia offers island transfer

(MST Business)

AirAsia teamed up with Lexxus shuttle service to offer passengers arriving at Puerto Princesa International Airport affordable, convenient and seamless connection through an island transfer service to El Nido, Sabang and other parts of Palawan.

The new service provides exclusive land transfers for AirAsia passengers arriving at Puerto Princesa International Airport directly to their hotel without the hassle of long queues and irregular public transits.

Island transfer service is now available on board all AirAsia flights between Manila and Puerto Princesa for only P700 one way, per person for El Nido and P300 for Sabang. Upon arrival at the airport, an air-conditioned van will bring passengers to their preferred destination and drop-off points in Sabang Wharf and El Nido town proper.

Additional charges, however, shall apply for transport service located outside these stations.

“We are thrilled to announce another value-added service from AirAsia as we partner with Lexxus to complete our passengers’ superb experience with us by making their land transfers between the airport and their hotels around El Nido, Sabang and Palawan easier, comfortable and affordable,” said AirAsia Philippines chief executive Joy Caneba.


A premium holiday destination for the discerning traveler

By Tessa Prieto-Valdes (My Square Meter, Philippine Daily Inquirer)

The Philippines has some of the best beach properties in the world. With over 7,000 islands, white sand beaches with turquoise waters are found in several of these tropical paradise destinations.

Cradled in the clear waters of one of Southeast Asia’s last frontiers is a pendant island called Huma Island Resort & Spa, a premium holiday destination for the discerning traveler seeking a personalized experience of exploration and discovery.

Huma Island Resort & Spa is a spectacular hideaway nestled in Busuanga, Palawan—a remote tropical paradise renowned for its wildlife and natural splendor. Surrounded by colorful marine life and sunken wrecks of dozens of Japanese warships and planes, this resort has been hailed as one of the top 10 best diving sites in the world.

Villas

Designed like the water villas in the Maldives, Huma has 64 roof villas on stilts over the azure Pacific. There are 81 villas all over the island with some beachfront rooms that are perfect for families with young children.

Each water villa has spectacular views of the beautiful seascape with outdoor Jacuzzi and a spacious deck. The interiors of the villa have a tropical vibe with printed fabrics on the pillows and hand-painted runners by Art of Gold.

Thoroughly contemporary in furnishing and amenities, each features an open-air Jacuzzi, luxury bathroom facilities, complimentary Wi-Fi and other modern urban conveniences.

For a global gastronomic experience, the island has eight gourmet dining stations. From exceptional Lebanese cuisine at Al Fairuz, exquisite Italian dishes at Al Dente, the seafood grilling station On The Harbour, a superb wine and cheese collection at Rudi’s, to luscious cocktails at the Blu Bar and all-day international fare at Waves, you’ll find that the flavors of Huma truly span the world.

The Kapuruan Spa at the island has floors of glass in unique over-water spa pavilions. A view of the colorful marine life is seen while having luxurious treatments. The ancient healing philosophies of Ayurveda, Asian-inspired and traditional Filipino therapies and an authentic Arabic Hammam ritual steam bath are all available as well.

Premier facilities

The resort’s premier facilities include an infinity pool, kids club, library, beauty salon, fitness center, resort shop and PADI-accredited dive center. The resort provides a 24-hour Villa Host service to cater to guest needs.

The gift shop has wonderful Filipino products and apparel as well as snacks and amenities needed. Home furnishings like serving trays and pillowcases are also sold.

Just an hour away from Manila by air, Busuanga is accessible daily via Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific and Skyjet flights from Manila and Cebu. For more select, exclusive transfer, guests may opt to take the resort’s private seaplane service that lands directly in front of the resort.

As an introductory offer, Huma is offering a special rate starting at P16,200/$360 net person per night (minimum of two nights, double occupancy) for a limited time until March 31, 2015, only.

The Dream Island experience includes accommodation in a Water Villa, round trip land and boat transfers, full board gourmet dining, welcome spa treatment, resort facilities and many more.

This holiday season, Huma has planned several festive activities like Christmas caroling, cocktail parties, cultural dancing, Zumba lessons and yoga classes. These are all complimentary as well as the use of the jet skis and sailing boats.

Just until Jan. 5, 2015, the Huma festive promo package includes room accommodations at a water villa, buffet breakfast and lunch in Waves All-Day Dining Restaurant and a three-course dine-around dinner option in selected dining outlets. Return land and boat transfers from Busuanga Airport are also included. Visit their website www.humaisland.com for their festive season rate. Or call (632)5530119 and email to reservation@humaisland.com.

Happy Holidays!

Palawan govt employees to get additional bonuses

By Celeste Anna R. Formoso (Philippines News Agency)

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY -- All employees of the Palawan provincial government will be getting additional bonuses, the Provincial Information Office (PIO) said.

On Thursday, the PIO said bonuses of P20,000 will be given to regular and co-terminus employees as productivity enhancement incentives, and P 5,000 each for all contractual, job order, and casual employees.

The PIO said the bonuses will be given after the Sangguniang Panlalawigan approved in its last session for the year Palawan Governor Jose Alvarez’ request.

The governor said the additional bonuses are well-deserved, and is not only because of the season, but to encourage them more to serve the provincial government and the people thoroughly.

Palawan govt inks MOA with New Tribes Mission for soon-to-be built Agutaya Airport

(PNA)

Palawan Governor Jose Alvarez has signed the memorandum of agreement (MOA) with representatives in the Philippines of the New Tribes Mission (NTM) for a partnership project involving the construction of an airport in Agutaya town in the northern part of the province.

Provincial Information Officer Gil Acosta said Wednesday that Alvarez and Agutaya Mayor Mary Jane Raguin signed the agreement with Philip Le Roux of NTM on December 16 at the Provincial Capitol Building.

The international, theologically evangelical Christian mission organization NTM based in Sanford, Florida, USA is willing to help the Palawan government with P12 million for the construction of an airport in Agutaya.

It can be recalled that the NTM with Le Roux, Werner Scneudmiller and Joe Morris met with Alvarez on October 13, to present their proposal.

The proposal, according to the information officer, was based on the NTM of Alvarez’s pronouncement that he wanted to construct airports in several municipalities in Palawan to help their tourism industry for better local economies.

Acosta said the planned construction of the airport in Agutaya will be sped up with the help of the NTM, a group that spreads the gospel of the Lord.

In the said meeting, Scneudmiller, spokesperson of the NTM group, told Alvarez that the P12 million was the remaining fund from their solicitations to help the Yolanda survivors in Palawan.

The representative added that using the amount to help construct the airport in Agutaya has the blessing of all donors because it will also help them reach the town with ease for their religious mission.

Acosta said Alvarez, on the other hand, assured the representatives of the NTM that their donation will not be squandered, and will be used to construct the airport.

The governor also reportedly told them that the provincial government will allocate funds and other support for the construction of the airport, such as heavy equipment for the construction and for land development.

The information officer said the airport's construction is expected to start in 2015.

Palawan ventures into cacao farming

(PNA), FPV/PR/JSD

MANILA, Dec. 17 (PNA) -- The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) recently signed the Cacao Production and Purchase Agreement with Kennemer Foods International, Inc (KFI) involving 54 hectares of idle lands in Apurawan, Aborlan, Palawan to help agrarian reform beneficiaries’ (ARBs) need for sustainable farming and high-income enterprises.

Provincial Agrarian Reform Program Officer (PARPO) II Conrado S. Guevarra said the cacao production project is a partnership between the DAR, KFI, Department of Agriculture and Land Bank under the Agricultural Production Credit Program.

Guevarra said the Land Bank of the Philippines released an initial capital of PHP 406,000 to 33 ARBs venturing into cacao farming for the first time.

Earlier, similar undertakings had been forged between KFI and a number of agrarian reform beneficiaries organization (ARBOs) involving 200 hectares of agricultural land in selected agrarian reform communities (ARC) in Zamboanga del Norte and more than 250-hectare agricultural land in Davao City.

Guevarra added that one hectare of cacao farm is expected to yield 2000 kg of dried cacao beans per year. With cacao’s average selling price of 40/kg in the international market, an income of 96,000 per hectare per year for cacao farmers.

Guevarra added that DAR-KFI also conducted trainings on cacao production and maintenance to help the ARBs and field implementers to understand the requirements of land preparation and cacao production management through the proper application of KFI’s technologies.

“We are so thankful to the Department of Agrarian Reform and Land Bank of the Philippines for providing us financial assistance to pursue our dream to become a cacao capital in the province, and even in the whole country,” Jaime Favila, Sr., chair of Sto. Niño Multipurpose Cooperative, said.

Shell signs 5-yr. agreement to support protection of Tubbataha Reefs

By Celeste Anna R. Formoso [(PNA), FPV/CARF/JSD]

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, Dec. 16 (PNA) -- Shell companies in the Philippines (SciP) through its social arm Pilipinas Shell Foundation, Inc. (PSFI) signed Monday night with the management office of the Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park (TRNP) a memorandum of agreement (MOA) that is committed to support the protected marine park for five years at Php 2.5 million per year.

PSFI Executive Director Edgar Veron Cruz signed the agreement with Tubbataha Management Office (TMO) Superintendent Angelique Songco and other representatives of concerned agencies during the Paskuhan 2014 Christmas Party that it hosted with the Malampaya Foundation, Inc. (MFI) and the Malampaya Joint Venture Partners composed of the Department of Energy, Chevron Malampaya LLC, PNOC-EC, and Shell Philippines Exploration B.V. for their program partners, friends, and community supporters in this city and the province.

Cruz told the Philippine News Agency (PNA) in an exclusive interview that “the partnership with Tubbataha began when Shell International and the UNESCO World Heritage Center provided technical support to assist in the development of a business plan.”

The partnership continued with the provision of SciP of Php 3 million for information, education, communication and capacity building activities via the project “Sustaining Conservation Gains in the TRNP.”

Accordingly, “the project has so far benefited nearly 2,000 fisher folk and over 7,000 students, as Shell continues to provide funding for public outreach, capacity building and research activities.”

Cruz said that with the new MOA, SciP and the PSFI are committed to provide Php 2.5 million each year for five years to Tubbataha that can be used in monitoring and research.

“It’s for five years… the memorandum of agreement we signed is for five years…five years of support, we will be providing them funds amounting to Php 2.5 million each year. All in all Php12.5 million for five years so, they can have enough funds for them to be able to do monitoring… assessment of marine resources, water quality, coral research, avian treasures on the islets… those that need to be protected,” Cruz stated.

He added that “eventually, SciP and PSFI will help the Tubbataha secure funds from the national government to further protect the marine park that is a treasure of the Philippines.”

“It is only right that the Filipino people give protection to Tubbataha because though it is in Palawan, it is theirs too,” he added.

“We are very happy that we will rest for a while in looking for funds for our monitoring activities in Tubbataha because of Shell’s partnership with us,” Songco said.

Before the MOA, Songco explained that “year after year, they would be looking for funds for the marine park.”

With Shell’s support, they can rest easy for a while to do their information campaigns to protect the marine park, and to conduct research activities that are needed to determine its overall health.

Palawan gov't, DOLE, POEA hold Jobs Fair in Palawan

By Celeste Anna R. Formoso [(PNA), LAP/CARF/JSD]

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, Dec. 15 (PNA) –- The Provincial Public Employment Services Office (PESO) in cooperation with the DOLE-Palawan and the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) will hold a gift-giving jobs fair for Palaweños Tuesday.

Dubbed “Pamaskong Handong Jobs Fair,” the project is aimed at providing Palaweños job opportunities this Christmas Season.

Four overseas manpower agencies registered to the POEA and 18 local agencies and companies will participate in the jobs fair to look for skilled workers.

Based on the list of participating agencies, the following will be looking for qualified workers: Joseline International Manpower Corporation, Mayonview International Manpower Corporation, Sunway International Manpower Corporation and OPAS or Overseas Professional Achievers International Manpower Corporation.

Local companies that will be participating are Robinsons Retail Holdings Inc, Kennemer Foods, Stanrich Marketing, NCCC Mall-Palawan, Rizal Microbank, Link Ri Logistics Inc, FVCS Construction & Supply, Princesa Garden Resort & Spa, Jeco Distributors, Berong Nickel Corporation, Palawan Pawnshop, Sheridan Beach Resort & Spa, Supreme link Communications., IPP, TSKI, CBNC, RTN and PCBSI.

PESO Chief Manpower Development Officer Richard Rebote said Monday that Governor Jose Alvarez and Vice Governor Dennis Socrates will grace the opening with a special message for those who will visit the jobs fair.

Director Teodoro Delson, OIC Regional Director of DOLE-IVB MIMAROPA, is also expected at the event with Tita Hernandez and Roda Avillarozo of the POEA.

A similar jobs fair, said Rebote, will also be done Wednesday in the municipality of Brooke’s Point in southern Palawan.

He said the governor wants to bring the jobs fair to the residents in southern Palawan who cannot come to the city, and in the north at another schedule.

He added that part of IHELP’s goal is to ensure that employment is provided to Palaweños so they could support their families. The best time to give the gift of opportunity, Rebote furthered, is during the Christmas Season.

Kepco plant to run on pure diesel

By Alena Mae S. Flores

The Ilijan combined-cycle natural gas power plant will undergo early next year two weeks of tests feeding on pure diesel instead of biodiesel, or diesel with 2 percent blend of coco-methyl ester, in an attempt to maximize its capacity.

Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla has directed Kepco Philippines Corp., operator of the Ilijan natural gas station in Batangas province, to conduct technical tests using pure diesel for one of the plant’s power units.

Petilla said the tests would determine if one unit of the Ilijan plant could increase its capacity to 600 megawatts from the current 420 MW when fed by pure diesel.

Each unit of the Ilijan natural gas plant in Batangas has a rated capacity of 600 MW. It runs on natural gas from the Malampaya gas field in northwest Palawan but shifts to diesel when there is constraint in gas supply.

With the impending 30-day shutdown of the Malampaya gas field from March 15, 2015, the plant will shift to biodiesel.

“Theoretically, it should be able to run, according to Kepco, at a higher capacity if it is pure diesel but they {Kepco] have not tested it and we’re actually asking them to do the test,” Petilla told reporters.

The energy chief said the testing was originally scheduled in February but Kepco moved it to January because of low power demand.

Petilla said the results of the tests would determine if there was a need to suspend the Biofuels Law, which mandates the use of 2 percent CME blend on diesel for all power plants and retail stations.

Petilla added Congress approved a resolution granting emergency powers to President Benigno Aquino to exempt the Ilijan plant from the Biofuels Law.

“The tests are needed because we might be suspending something that will have no effect,” he said.

Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp. earlier said the “proposed fuel shift from biodiesel to pure diesel will not provide assurance that the load of the plant’s Block 1 would increase from 420 MW to 600 MW whenever the natural gas supply from the Malampaya is not available.”

PSALM president and chief executive Emmanuel Ledesma Jr. said only the Ilijan plant’s Block 1 would be available in 2015, as Block 2 would be on planned maintenance outage during the Malampaya shutdown from March 20, 2015 to April 20, 2015.

DOT unveils newest TVC featuring Palawan

By Azer N. Parrocha [(PNA), RMA/ANP]

MANILA, Dec 13 (PNA) -- Palawan’s famous Underground River was in the spotlight in the Department of Tourism’s (DOT) newest TV commercial (TVC), aimed at promoting the Philippines’ top tourist destinations here and abroad.

The 31-second commercial begins with a foreign tourist and her friends navigating underneath the Underground River’s cave calling out a “Hello” to no one in particular and listening to the sound of her voice echo from the cave’s walls.

DOT’s latest TVC, can be viewed on video-sharing website YouTube has over 3, 000 views and over 70 thumbs-ups since it was uploaded last Dec 4. It has also been virally shared in various social-networking sites.

“The Huffington Post calls it “the best island in the world” And we can’t help but agree!” the description on the TVC said.

“Anyone who’s been to Palawan can attest to its rich marine and wildlife, incredible landscapes and beautiful blue waters whether underground or above!” the description added.

Aside from Palawan, other provinces, cities and tourist destinations already featured in the DOT’s earlier TVCs include Bohol, Boracay, Cebu, Davao, and Manila to name a few.

The Tourism Promotions Board (TPB), the DOT’s marketing arm, said that the TVC will also be shown in digital billboards aside from those already available for viewing in YouTube.

Palawan last month received recognition from US news site, Huffington Post describing it as the “Most Beautiful Island in the World.”

Last October it was also ranked as “the top island destination in the world” by most readers in a survey conducted by a US travel magazine Conde Nast Traveler magazine.

Nido Petroleum offers USD 108 million for 33 percent interest stake of Galoc field

By Leslie D. Venzon [(PNA), /JLD]

MANILA, Dec. 12 (PNA) – Nido Petroleum has offered USD 108 million cash for Otto Energy’s 33 percent working interest in the Galoc oil field in Northwest Palawan Basin.

”Nido Petroleum Limited and Otto Energy Limited are pleased to announce that the companies have executed a Sale and Purchase Agreement (SPA) whereby Nido will acquire 100 percent of the shares in Galoc Production Company WLL (GPC), the holder of Otto’s 33 percent working interest in the Galoc oil field,” Nido Petroleum Limited said in a disclosure with the Australian Stock Exchange Friday.

Nido said the amount was recommended by Otto Energy’s board, higher than the previous SPA signed with Risco Energy Investments last Sept 22, which amounted to USD 101.4 million.

Based on the deal, Nido will provide an initial deposit of USD 10.8 million, 10 percent of USD 108 million.

Last July 1, Nido Petroleum has already paid USD 1 million, while another USD 9.8 million was scheduled to be paid within 10 days, according to Otto Energy’s disclosure at the Australian bourse.

With the completion of the USD 10.8 million payment, Nido had assumed all production rights and liabilities, completely absorbing Otto Energy’s 33 percent working interest share.

It has increased Nido’s share in the Galoc Field to 55.88 percent, enabling it to become SC 14’s operator.

Consequently, it has added to Nido’s production base, soaring to more than 4,000 barrels of oil per day.

However, the completion of the transaction is still dependent on the decision of Otto’s stockholders.

Another aspect of the deal to be decided by shareholders is whether there will be a loan security package, over the company’s account for receipts from the Galoc production. It will be voted upon the incoming Annual General Meeting in 2015.

Nido’s current cash reserves and debt facility, through Thailand listed -- Bangchak Petroleum Public Company Limited of Thailand -- will pay for the transaction. It owns 81.41 percent of Nido.

Nido said the loan will reach USD 120 million, to be paid with an initial annual interest rate of 6 percent plus LIBOR.

In a separate disclosure, Otto Energy said Risco Energy Investments will not match Nido Petroleum’s present offer.

Based on Otto Energy’s production and financial summary, For the 3rd Quarter of 2014, Galoc yielded 715,783 oil barrels (bbl)and a net production of 236,208 barrels in the 3rd Quarter this year. SC 14C has an average production of 7,780 barrels per day.

Revenues for Service Contract 14-C was noted to increase by 2.57 percent from March 2014's USD 21.676 million to USD 22.232 million in September.

Otto Energy is an oil and gas company listed in the Australian Stock Exchange, engaged in exploration, development and production. It has projects in the Philippines and Tanzania.

Further, Bangchak Petroleum is involved with refining, marketing and selling of petroleum products in Thailand.

Meanwhile, Australia-listed Nido Petroleum, is a South East Asian oil and gas exploration and production company.

Emergency power won’t be abused, vows solon

By Marc Jayson Cayabyab (INQUIRER.net)

MANILA, Philippines – Congress is set to keep an eye on the implementation of the joint resolution granting President Benigno Aquino III emergency powers to address the looming power crisis in 2015 as safeguard against possible abuses.

In a press conference, Oriental Mindoro Representative Reynaldo Umali said the technical working group (TWG) formed by the Joint Congressional Power Commission (JCPC), which he co-chairs, will not be dissolved so it could still monitor possible abuses in the implementation of the resolution.

The lower chamber, in a vote of 149-18, approved the resolution on third and final reading on Wednesday.

He said the resolution was amended to show that the President may authorize to source from the Malampaya fund the reimbursement for the owners of self-generating facilities or back-up generators over their fuel expenses and reasonable recovery of use.

The Malampaya fund, or royalties from a gas field off Palawan, figured in a corruption scandal over allegations that some P900 million from the fund went to ghost projects for kickbacks through the bogus foundations linked to Janet Lim-Napoles. Napoles faces a plunder complaint in connection to this, as well as a plunder charge before the Sandiganbayan on a separate pork barrel scam case. “We did not dissolve the TWG of the JCPC so that it will continue to function to foresee its implementation, so we will avoid excesses or abuses,” Umali said.

According to the amended resolution, “The President is hereby authorized to source from the Malampaya funds the amount necessary to implement the provision.”

Umali said this portion of the resolution is meant to downplay criticisms that Congress may lose its mandate to dictate on the executive how to use the Malampaya fund, which is now required by the Supreme Court to be used only for energy-related projects.

“We put in the amendment that the Malampaya as the source to clarify issues that the Supreme Court decision says Congress should not surrender its mandate to dictate on the executive how to use the Malampaya. This is to clarify that the authority to use the Malampaya fund for this purpose emanates from Congress through this joint resolution,” Umali said.

Pressed on possible abuses on the joint resolution, Umali could not give any, saying the resolution was drafted precisely to prevent excesses besides its purpose to avert the power crisis.

“I am not thinking about that. I am positive about this,” Umali said.

“We will be on top of the situation. We will rely on reports, more than those from Malacañang, also from power stakeholders including the private sector so that we will know if there are problems. And we will do it proactively, not reactively,” he added.

House Joint Resolution No. 21 seeks “to provide for the establishment of additional power generating capacity as mandated by Republic Act No. 9136, also known as the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (Epira), to effectively address the projected shortage of the supply of electricity in the Luzon grid from March 12 to July 2015.”

In a letter to Congress, President Aquino said granting him the authority to contract additional power capacity will help him address the factors of the power shortage, such as the anticipated El Nino phenomenon, the Malampaya plant shutdown, prevalent outages of power plants, among others.

The resolution was amended on the plenary to show that only 782 megawatts, from the earlier forecast of 1,004 MW, is the maximum projected shortfall during the period.

Of this, 135 MW, from earlier forecast of 600MW, is needed to meet the required regulating reserve, while 647 MW, from 404 MW, is needed for required contingency reserve.

Also, the resolution said there is a projected two weeks of red alert, when brownouts will occur, and at least 15 weeks of yellow alert, or thinning power reserves. This was amended from an earlier forecast of four weeks of yellow alert only.

According to the resolution, “additional generating capacity shall be sourced from the Interruptible Load Program (ILP), fast tracking of committed projects, and plants for interconnection and rehabilitation.”

The ILP is seen as the solution to the anticipated power shortage. Under the ILP, big industrial and commercial customers who have the ability to produce their own electricity through generating sets should cut off or reduce their supplied electricity, particularly during peak periods of the day, and instead use their own generator sets.

Palawan Archived News

The older news reports are kept here.

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