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Province of Palawan - Archived News

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Contents

DOH launches 'Belly Gud for Health 2015 Challenge' in MIMAROPA

By Leilani S. Junio [(PNA), SCS/LSJ]

MANILA, Jan. 26 (PNA) -- In line with the Department of Health's mandate to protect the health of the people, the DOH launched on Monday the MIMAROPA Edition of the "Belly Gud for Health Challenges 2015" at the DOH-MIMAROPA Regional Health Office at the Quirino Memorial Medical Center in Project 4, Quezon City.

MIMAROPA stands for the provinces of Mindoro Occidental/ Oriental, Marinduque, Romblon and Palawan, also known as Region IV-B.

Leading the launching through series of danced numbers were DOH-MIMAROPA Regional Director Eduardo C. Janairo, Director IV Enrique "Eric" Tayag of the DOH-National Epidemiology Center (NEC) and other health officials.

Dr. Janairo said the launching of the MIMAROPA Edition of the "BG for Health 2015 Challenge" is part of the effort to keep employees in the region to be physically fit and healthy through healthy lifestyle practices and by reducing the incidence of over-nutrition.

Janairo told those who joined the weight loss challenge that unhealthy lifestyle practices and over-nutrition or consumption of too much calories can result to overweight and obesity problems.

“We underwent long vacations during the past week and also indulged in lots of food consumption, especially during the holidays. These excess fats in our belly should be trimmed accordingly though proper diet and regular exercise to avoid having cardiovascular diseases,” he said.

Janairo explained that all employees in the region will be included in the six-month challenge of trimming their belly to a more desirable waistline.

”They will be measured using high waist circumference (HWC) and will also undergo risk factor assessment such as glucose, cholesterol, blood pressure and body mass index,” he said.

He also noted that due to constant exposure to fast foods which have high-fat, high-sugar, high-salt, energy-dense but lack some nutritional requirements, many employees have lower levels of physical activity which tends to lead to obesity.

About 250 participants for the six-month program will undergo healthy diet, nutrition and physical activity interventions according to their preference, schedule and convenience.

Among them are directors, program managers, technical staff and rank and file employees.

Dr. Janairo also recommended jogging, aerobics and isometric exercises as ways for trimming down the waistline.

However, he strongly said a big “no” to resorting to taking of weight loss drugs or products that are commercially sold promising weight loss, as such can be dangerous to one’s health and life.

Monitoring and recording of the participant’s waist circumference will be made each month as part of the assessment of the result of the program.

Ideally, the desirable waist circumference is less than 90 centimeters for males and less than 80cm for females.

Participants who have reached or maintained the desirable waist circumference of less than 90cm or have the greatest cumulative reduction after the six-month period will be given incentives.

Meanwhile, in his speech, DOH Director Tayag reminded that gaining of weight or building up of fats in the body can also happen even if a person is not consuming too much fats.

“Excessive sugar intake can be converted to fats, so even if a person does not eat too much fatty foods but eats too much sugary foods, then such can result to accumulation of body fats,” Dr. Tayag said.

The "BG for Health" program will be extended to government agencies in the entire region of MIMAROPA, including local government offices in the provinces, to ensure that healthy lifestyle activities are properly promoted and will reduce cases of non-communicable diseases among government employees.

Norwegian, Filipina nabbed for using banned premium hardwood in resort

By Redempto D. Anda (Inquirer Southern Luzon)

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, Palawan, Philippines – Palawan’s provincial enforcement authorities on Sunday arrested and booked a Norwegian national and his Filipina partner following a raid at their resort facility in the tourist town of El Nido, which netted over P7 million worth of banned premium hardwood species.

Charged with forestry law violations was Jan Nielsen, a Norwegian passport holder, and Michelle Gasacao, a local. Both were brought to Puerto Princesa City by the apprehending team on Sunday for inquest before the Provincial Fiscal’s office.

The raid on the couple’s property, the El Nido Adventure Resort still under construction in Barangay (village) Corong-Corong, El Nido, on Saturday, yielded over 8,000 board feet of banned hardwood with an estimated black market value of over P7 million, according to Niño Rey Estoya, head of the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development Staff (PCSDS) Regulation and Enforcement Division.

The lumber were mostly Palawan Ipil, nato and amugis species, he said.

Estoya said the raid, which they conducted on the basis of an arrest warrant issued a day before the operation by Palawan’s “green court” judge Ambrosio de Luna, netted one of the largest haul of illegal logs in recent months.

“We have not yet established where all those illegal logs came from but it’s likely they were all from the forests of El Nido and the adjacent towns of Taytay and Roxas,” Estoya said.

He said the enforcers first received a tip from a local resident about the reported acquisition by the resort owners of illegal lumber, which prompted them to conduct surveillance operations prior to the raid.

Apart from the PCSDS, the raiding team included members of the El Nido police, personnel from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and officials of the village.

Estoya said the couple was charged with violation of Presidential Decree 705 or the Forestry Code, a law imposing a minimum penalty of six months imprisonment and deportation in the case of a foreign national.

NUJP: 4 years after Gerry Ortega slay, justice remains elusive

By Amanda Fernandez / LBG (GMA News)

On the fourth anniversary of the murder of Palawan broadcaster Dr. Gerardo "Gerry" Ortega, media watchdog group National Union of Journalists of the Philippines criticized the lack of action by authorities in bringing the perpetrators to justice.

In a press statement on Saturday, NUJP cited law enforcers' "failure" to capture the two suspects in the killing.

"Since this tragic event, the accused masterminds – former Palawan Governor Joel T. Reyes and his brother Marjo – have remained in hiding and the wheels of justice grind painstakingly slow," it said.

"On the hunt for the Reyes brothers, the government's early promises to get them have degenerated from rhetoric to amnesia. There is, in fact, no sign a manhunt is even taking place, insofar as the family and relatives of the victim are concerned," it added.

On January 24, 2011, a lone assailant gunned down Ortega in Puerto Princesa City after his radio program. The gunman was arrested immediately after the attack.

Ortega, 47, was the morning news anchor and commentator of Radyo Mo Nationwide's (RMN)'s Palawan station dwAR.

On the other hand, NUJP called on the government, particularly the Department of Jusice, to take action on the murder case trial.

"The case is pending in the Supreme Court, after the Court of Appeals curiously upheld the defense’s claim that the creation of a second panel by the DOJ, which indicted the Reyes brothers and their accomplices, was illegal," it said.

"A credible and simple recourse offered by the Ortega family is for Secretary Leila de Lima to resolve the petition for review that they filed after the first DOJ panel dismissed the complaint," it added.

However, the group said the DOJ has not budged on the issue, "allowing the murder trial to proceed under the ominous possibility the brains might be let off the hook without even facing the evidence of their guilt."

Palawan procures 341 units of light-heavy duty vehicles to accelerate infrastructure projects

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

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, Jan. 23 (PNA) – Confident that infrastructure development can further economic growth, Palawan Governor Jose Alvarez and the provincial government have started the procurement of 341 light-to-heavy equipment vehicles to support the goal for the advancement of the Palaweño life.

Costing P 1.2 billion, Provincial Information Officer Gil Acosta said Thursday that of the total number, the two shipments for the infrastructure support have arrived with the first delivering 66 units of light and heavy equipment facilities, and the second with 69 units only last January 18.

The second shipment, which was personally supervised by Alvarez with Balabac Mayor Shuaib Astami, was composed of 50 dump trucks, 14 boom trucks, and five drop-side trucks exported from Japan via a Malaysian cargo vessel.

“Earlier, 66 units of light and heavy equipment arrived in Palawan bringing to a total of l35 units for the first two shipments. The remaining 206 units are expected to arrive at the Puerto Princesa City Port soon,” the PIO said.

Based on a report of the Infrastructure Sector under the IHELP (Infrastructure, Health, Education, Livelihood, and Protection of the Environment) program, a total of 5,580 kilometers of road are targeted for construction and rehabilitation during the next 10 years.

Of this, 2,618 kilometers will be constructed; 719 kilometers of which are farm-to-market roads, while 2,242 kilometers of roads will undergo rehabilitation.

Acosta said that “as a pro-active and no-nonsense leader, the governor has envisioned a government that is equipped and ready to undertake necessary public service programs to serve as catalyst for Palawan’s long overdue development.

With these light and heavy equipment vehicles, the provincial government aims to undertake the infrastructure projects by administration instead of hiring contractors to rehabilitate Palawan roads in the northern and southern parts.

He has also engaged the support of the local government units (LGUs) and the barangays in the road construction and rehabilitation efforts through the “bakas-bakas system” or pooling of resources in the construction and maintenance phases of the road projects.

“In this scheme, the governor wants the local government units in the municipal and barangay levels to have ownership of the projects,” the information officer further explained.

Part of the Alvarez administration’s plan is to deploy the different construction equipment to the municipalities that will be clustered together.

Based on the Infrastructure Sector’s plan, 65 units of construction equipment will be deployed to Cluster 1 composed of Brooke’s Point, Bataraza, Sofronio Española and Balabac; 43 units will go to Cluster 2 comprised by the towns of Quezon and Rizal; 74 units for Cluster 3 consisting of Roxas, Aborlan, Narra and Cagayancillo.

Northern Palawan is divided into three clusters: Cluster 4, consisting of Dumaran, Taytay, Araceli, El Nido and San Vicente, will receive 88 units for the construction and/or rehabilitation of a total of 1,353 kilomters of roads.

Cluster 5 is composed of Coron, Busuanga, Culion and Linapacan, with a projected 459 kilometers of roads of which 276 kilometers are for construction, and 180 kilometers for rehabilitation, as well as 3 kilometers of farm-to-market roads. The cluster will get 46 units of heavy and light equipment.

Around 25 units will also be fielded to Cluster 6 composed of Cuyo, Magsaysay and Agutaya. These will be used for the rehabilitation of 171 kilometers of roads; construction of 58 kilometers more for a total of 229 kilometers.

With these road projects in the developmental agenda of the governor, the provincial government hopes to heighten investments in agriculture and tourism, and eventually increase employment opportunities and pave the way for a robust economy.

33 protected ‘bacoco’ turtles rescued in Palawan

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

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, Jan. 22 (PNA) -- A team from the Wildlife Traffic Monitoring Unit (WTMU) of the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development Staff (PCSDS) rescued Wednesday 33 critically-endangered Philippine freshwater turtles locally called "bacoco" at a jeep terminal in this city.

In an interview, PCSDS spokesperson Alex Marcaida said the critically-endangered freshwater turtles were rescued following tip-offs from concerned residents at a jeepney and bus terminal in Barangay San Jose here.

They were reportedly transported from the northern Palawan town of Taytay, where their population can be found.

Two of three species of freshwater species were Philippine spot turtle, and Southeast Asian box turtle.

Before they were confiscated and rescued, members of the team waited for anyone, who would claim the box where they were hidden. But no one went to the terminal, according to Marcaida.

Nonetheless, an investigation will be done by the WTMU to determine the identity of the owner of the seized box of critically-endangered freshwater turtles.

The Philippine box turtle, he added, can only be found in Palawan and with only small-sized population. This is the reason the Katala Foundation, Inc. (KFI) has taken the responsibility to protect the species.

The rescued freshwater turtles are now at the Palawan Wildlife Rescue and Conservation Center (PWRCC), where they will be observed before their release to their natural habitats.

Also known as Philippine forest turtle, the bacoco is said to be “an enigmatic freshwater turtle species that exerts great fascination for turtle hobbyists.”

Baragatan sa Barangay brings Palawan govt services to Aborlan town

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

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, Jan. 21 (PNA) – “It’s about time to bring government services to the barangays. If the people in the community need something from the provincial government, they will not come to the Capitol; we will go to them,” Governor Jose Alvarez told his department heads during the first meeting he called to organize the “Baragatan sa Barangay.”

Provincial Information Officer Gil Acosta said Wednesday that the effort aims to bring important provincial government social services to Palaweños, who have difficulty traveling to main offices at the Provincial Capitol Building.

Baragatan sa Barangay, which was launched on January 15, he said, will first roll in Barangay Isaub, Aborlan, which is part of a cluster of closely-knitted barangays that will also be served.

The clustering was done to speed up the delivery of basic health and other social services to beneficiaries.

Specifically, the services comprise of free medical, dental and medicine distribution; PhilHealth and Kalinga PPP services; local social pension for senior citizens; financial assistance for medical and health emergencies; micro-finance for market vendors and tricycle associations; employment opportunity services with the Provincial Public Employment and Services Office; Handog Titulo; solar home system installation for off-grid areas; free legal consultation; incentives for community volunteer health workers; Bottom’s UP Budgeting; mass wedding, among others.

Acosta said the Baragatan sa Barangay will also include seeds distribution of cacao, coffee, coconut and seaweeds, which is a livelihood support for Palaweños by the leadership of Alvarez.

“The governor sees this as something that would strengthen the relationship of the provincial government with the people of Palawan through their barangays,” Acosta added.

The program will move all around Palawan to cover over 400 barangays that have been clustered.

Arrival of brand new heavy equipment from Japan to speed up infra projects in Palawan

By Celeste Anna R. Formoso [(PNA), CTB/PR/JSD]

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, Jan 20 (PNA) -- Infrastructure developments in Palawan received a fresh boost following the arrival of the second batch of heavy equipment facilities recently.

Provincial Information Officer Gil Acosta told the Philippine News Agency (PNA) Monday that the second batch of heavy equipment facilities that the provincial government purchased had arrived January 18 to support infrastructure developments within the IHELP, or Infrastructure, Health, Education, Livelihood and Protection of the Environment.

He said Governor Jose Alvarez was personally at the Puerto Princesa City Port (PPCP) to see the delivery of 69 heavy equipment that included units of dump trucks, 4x4 trucks, and a boom truck from Japan.

They were delivered to Palawan by a Malaysian cargo vessel, and will be sent to the municipalities of San Vicente in northern Palawan, and Balabac in the south to support infrastructure developments there as soon as they have been completed.

Acosta did not say how many more are expected to arrive this year. It can be recalled that in 2013, Alvarez said the Palawan government “will be investing a lot in infrastructure to level up the province’s tourism industry competitiveness.”

Alvarez stressed then in a workshop for stakeholders on “Convergence Towards Palawan’s Competitiveness and Inclusive Growth in Tourism” that to strengthen tourism opportunities, the provincial government needed to invest in infrastructure.

“Infrastructures must be in place because investors look for them, and to be able to generate additional jobs, everyone must participate actively in flourishing the potentials of our tourism industry,” the governor said then.

Palawan coops held 50 skills training in 2014

By Celeste Anna R. Formoso [(PNA), RMA/CARF/EDS]

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, Jan. 19 (PNA) -- The Palawan Provincial Cooperative Development Office (PCDO) reported Monday that it was able to conduct 56 cooperative skills training-workshops in 2014 in different municipalities for coop members’ benefits.

Gina Socrates, senior cooperative development specialist of the PCDO, said training-workshops like financial management, conflict management and leadership and values orientation logged 1,849 attendees from different municipalities last year.

She reported too, that the 1st Southern Palawan Cooperative Congress held in the town of Brooke’s Point in October last year was a success, with 503 attendees from different cooperatives.

Socrates said tax-related issues for cooperatives, financial literacy programs, and cooperative success stories were tackled during the congress to upgrade the capacities and capabilities of cooperative members, and give them experiences to emulate.

A 1st Local Cooperative Convention in the town of Taytay in northern Palawan was also conducted in December last year that was attended by 209 cooperative members. Included in the event was the Health Expo for Cooperatives in relation to proper nutrition and self-reliance.

This year, Socrates said, the PCDO plans to hold the next congress for cooperatives in the southern town of Narra in October, which is also known as the “Cooperative Month.”

The PCDO also reported that in 2014, they distributed financial assistance amounting to Php 1.4 million to four cooperatives under the credit assistance program (CAP).

The cooperative recipients were Sofronio Española Farmers Cooperative, Sofronio Española Palawan Employees Cooperative, Brooke’s Point Elementary Teachers Multi-Purpose Cooperative (MPC), and Palawan Day MPC in Bgy. Sta. Monica, Puerto Princesa.

Five cooperatives are expected to be given the same financial assistance again this year under CAP.

Almost 2,000 flee ‘Amang’ in Sorsogon; 1,400 stranded in Mimaropa

By Shiena M. Barrameda and Maricar Cinco (Inquirer Southern Luzon)

NAGA CITY–Almost 2,000 people were evacuated by military and police disaster units in Sorsogon as Tropical Storm “Amang” crossed from Samar to Bicol before dawn Sunday, the Army said.

Amang (international name: Mekkhala) also rendered thousands of passengers and cargoes stranded in various sea ports in Mimaropa (Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon, Palawan) region.

Lieutenant Clint Antipala, spokesman of the Philippine Army’s 903rd Infantry Brigade covering Sorsogon, said 1,879 individuals were evacuated by the Army and Philippine National Police (PNP) personnel during the preemptive evacuations in the province which started Saturday night.

He said some of the residents voluntarily evacuated to temporary shelters in Sorsogon as Amang started dumping rains and strong wind over Bicol.

Captain Mardjorie Panesa, public information officer of Army’s 9th Infantry Division based in Pili, Camarines Sur, said 32 families were evacuated from Sorsogon City; 30 in Juban town; 12 in Bulusan; 164 in Casiguran; 110 in Prieto Diaz; and 77 in Magdalena.

Antipala said the local government units in Sorsogon and Masbate implemented preventive power outage in the provinces since last night before Amang hit Sorsogon at 3 a.m. Sunday.

He added that the evacuees may come home during the day since Sorsogon experienced very minimal damage.

The Mimaropa Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, in its bulletin issued early Sunday, said the number of stranded passengers reached 1,370. Also stranded were 118 rolling cargo and 22 sea vessels since the authorities suspended port operations on January 17.

Of the nine ports in the region, only those in Puerto Princesa and Coron, both in Palawan, remain operational. Trips and operations are suspended in the ports of Calapan City and Dangay in Oriental, Mindoro; Abra de Ilog in Occidental Mindoro; Balanacan and Cawit in Mindoro; and in Poctoy and Romblon in Romblon province, due to the inclement weather.

Mangoes from weevil-hit countries banned

(Business World Online)

THE DEPARTMENT of Agriculture (DA) has banned the importation of mangoes from various countries where the crop is known to be infested with mango weevils, after the Philippines was declared free of the pest except for Palawan.

In an administrative circular dated Nov. 11 and published in newspapers this week, DA reiterated its quarantine over Palawan because of the presence of Mango Pulp Weevil (MPW), whose scientific name is Sternochetus frigidus (Fabr.).

The whole country, meanwhile, was declared by the circular as free from Mango Seed Weevil (MSW), with the scientific name of Sternochetus mangiferae (Fabr.).

The DA circular ordered the Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) “to strengthen and strictly implement phytosanitary measures in areas where MPW is present.”

This entailed prohibiting “the movement, transfer and carrying of mango planting materials, fruits or parts thereof from Palawan,” except for limited quantities and for experimental purposes subject to permits secured from the Director of BPI.

The circular stated that “quarantine measures around the island should be strengthened” in accordance with Special Quarantine Administrative Order No. 20, series of 1987. The 1987 order empowers the BPI Director to ask for assistance from national and local officials, as well as the Armed Forces in Palawan.

Apart from reiterating the quarantine over Palawan, DA banned the importation of mangoes from nine Asia-Pacific countries infested with MPW, and 52 countries and territories worldwide infested with MSW.

Countries infested with MPW were: Bangladesh, Brunei Darussalam, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Papua New Guinea, Singapore and Thailand.

Meanwhile, countries infested with MSW were Brunei Darussalam, Bhutan, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Oman, Sri Lanka, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, Vietnam and Yemen. In Africa, affected countries and territories were the British Indian Ocean Territory, Central African Republic, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Nigeria, Réunion, Seychelles, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda.

In the Americas, affected countries and territories were Barbados, British Virgin Islands, Dominica, French Guiana, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Hawaii, Martinique, Montserrat, Puerto Rico, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago and US Virgin Islands. Produce from Australia, Fiji, French Polynesia, Guam, New Caledonia, Northern Mariana Islands and Tonga are at risk of weevil infestation as well.

Persons violating the order or forging, altering and destroying documents would be punished by a fine of up to P20,000, and subject to imprisonment.

The declaration that the country was free of MSW and partly free of MPW was a result of a 10-month detection survey carried out by the BPI in 2007 and funded by the United States Department of Agriculture Food for Progress.

“Strong scientific evidence that will prove absence of these pests in the Philippines (except for Palawan) will lead to an area freedom certification which will allow sourcing of mangoes for export from different areas of the country. This will also allow access to potential markets which have restrictions on mango importation from countries where these weevils are present,” read the survey’s abstract attached in the published circular.

The survey of 234,000 mango trees and 2.7 million fruits showed “not a single specimen (egg, larva, pupa, adult) of MPW and MSW was recovered which indicated that both MPW and MSW are absent in the Philippines.”

Palawan PESO succeeds in providing jobs for over 1,500 individuals

(PNA), FPV/CARF/PJN

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, Jan. 16 (PNA) -- One thousand five hundred and forty two (1,5420) Palaweños were successfully provided jobs by the provincial Public Employment and Services Office (PESO) in 2014.

PESO Chief Manpower Development Officer Richard Rebote said Thursday that the number surpassed their target of 1,500 locally-placed applicants.

Of all the months in the said year, the months of January and November registered as those with the highest placed applicants. Around 295 in January and 176 in November were recorded.

The employers who submitted their required employees for job hiring are from the private sectors, like the Robinsons Mall-Palawan and New City Commercial Center (NCCC).

Aside from those hired in different jobs locally, the provincial PESO said they also have in record 272 deployed applicants to work abroad.

They were those who were able to submit and pass the requirements for overseas employment by agencies such as MMML Recruitment Services, Whitedove International Agency, and Mirben International.

In this, 90% of those who were hired are now working blue-collar jobs – electricians, machine inspectors, plumbers and welders – in other countries, mostly the Middle East.

In addition, Rebote said that the provincial PESO was able to accumulate in 2014, a total of 8,813 listed job vacancies in Palawan and overseas.

In 2015, he said the PESO will plan to increase the target for more Palaweños to be given jobs locally and abroad. He said the most important thing to remember is the skills they have, and proper and complete documents to submit.

3rd District Rep. Hagedorn says drug trafficking rampant in Puerto Princesa

By Keith Anthony S. Fabro [(PNA), CTB/CARF/KASF/JSD]

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, Jan. 15 (PNA) – 3rd District Rep. Douglas Hagedorn said Wednesday that there is “rampant drug trafficking” in this city and the province, and vowed that he will exhaust all effort using own money to ensure that the city and Palawan province become narcotics-free again.

Hagedorn, who is the first government official to acknowledge the return of the drug-trafficking problem in Puerto Princesa and Palawan, issued the statement during a seminar with barangay officials dubbed Barangay Drug Clearing Operations (BDCO) with Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) Usec. Arturo Cacdac, also the agency’s director general, and other related government agencies.

Hagedorn said it is saddening that Puerto Princesa, which once demonstrated an extraordinary image of peace and order, is now seeing again the rise of misconduct due to the proliferation of illicit drugs.

“One of the elements of criminality is drugs,” Hagedorn told the Philippine News Agency (PNA), adding that in 2012 from confiscations of 112 kilos of shabu (methamphetamine hydrochloride), and in 2014 it was 720 kilos per report of PDEA.

In addition, Cacdac said out of 497 barangays in Palawan, 52 or 3.9% are drug-affected, and 15 are located in Puerto Princesa.

The House of Representatives official said the PDEA’s report was a far cry from what were accomplished in the city by the Task Force Drug Enforcement Action Division (DEAD), which he headed then, and during the leadership of former mayor Edward Hagedorn.

Back then, he said, 255 individuals were jailed due to connection to drugs in 2002 to 2013. It was the time, Hagedorn said, that Puerto Princesa was recognized as a “drug-free city.”

“Once we proved that with concerted efforts, we can win the battle and eliminate drugs from the city,” the congressman said.

“If we did it before, we will again declare and claim to the whole world that we are worthy of such title,” he said, swearing that he will expend all his determination, even his own financial resources to end the problem.

Being a member of Committee on Appropriations, Drug Enforcement and also Public Order and Safety in Congress, he also promised to help increase the budget to fight the proliferation of illegal drugs.

Meanwhile, Cacdac said that the fight against illegal drugs in the city should start at the barangay level.

“The advocacy [of eradicating drugs in society] is to address it at the community level,” said Cacdac to hundreds of policemen and barangay officials.

He added that PDEA, in cooperation with Philippine National Police (PNP), National Bureau of Investigations (NBI) and Bureau of Customs, could do better with the help of barangay officials by strengthening the Barangay Anti-Drug Abuse Councils (BADACs).

As the first row of defense, Cacdac said the BADAC should do information campaigns, anti-drug activities for the youth, regular monitoring of illegal drug-related incidents, and to never cover up involvement of even family members before it is too late.

Puerto Princesa enamors Costa Victoria cruise ship’s guests

By Celeste Anna R. Formoso [(PNA), RMA/CARF/EDS]

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, Jan. 14 (PNA) -– European tourists transported to this “Princess of Ports” by the Victoria-class cruise ship Costa Victoria were enamored by the kindness and gentleness of the city's residents.

Roberto Janary, a cruise ship passenger from Italy, said the beauty of Puerto Princesa was a bonus during their trip here Sunday. What was striking was the “kindness and the gentleness” the residents have shown during their 7-hour sojourn.

“I’ve always been amazed when I meet people who are kind and accommodating. That is very rare since I am a total stranger… I’m new here,” Janary said.

Agnes Novilla, one of the passengers too, from Europe, said right from getting down Costa Victoria, they have already been met by “very friendly” residents, who were eager to make sure they have a nice stay though short.

“Very friendly people indeed,” she said, even if she said she waited a long time under the heat of the sun for the shuttle van that would take them to a city tour.

City Tourism Office Aileen Amurao said Tuesday in local interviews that it was not only the beauty of Puerto Princesa that they wanted to showcase, but also the warmth and friendliness of the residents as they were one of the reasons too, why tourists would want to go back.

“We are happy with the cooperation of our residents, of course. Sometimes, what other things they’re looking for and we do not have becomes forgotten when we show kindness; when we are ready to welcome them with smiles, and a kind hearts. This is important if we want to keep them coming back,” she said.

Mayor Lucilo Bayron, on the other hand, said too Tuesday, that the cooperation that the residents of the city were showing made him proud as the chief executive.

“We are happy that the cooperation from the residents are exemplary,” he said, assuring that the city government is working hard to ensure that despite the lack of promotions, Puerto Princesa is a prime destination for cruise ships in the Philippines.

Costa Victoria, which brought 1,515 tourists and 600 crewmen to Puerto Princesa, was only one of 26 other cruise ships that are set to sail to Palawan seas in 2015, according to Amurao.

This year, Costa Victoria was the first cruise ship to have dropped anchor at the Puerto Princesa City Port.

Financial support thru Cash-for-Work will continue for Yolanda victims in Palawan

By Celeste Anna R. Formoso [(PNA), CTB/CARF/SSC]

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, Jan. 13 (PNA) -– The cash-for-work (CFW) program of the provincial government of Palawan will continue this year for the survivors of super typhoon Yolanda through the Health and Other Social Services Unit (HOSSU) under the Infrastructure, Health, Education, Livelihood and Protection (IHELP) development program.

Abigail Ablaña, program manager for the Social Services Sector (SSS) of IHELP said Monday that the cash-for-work will continue this month until March for families that were affected by Yolanda in November 2013 in Coron and other municipalities in northern Palawan.

Started in October 2014, she said P7.1 million has been allocated by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD)-MIMAROPA to continue the support for the families, particularly those located in Coron.

Ablaña furthered that last year, the program has already utilized P1.7 million for 565 beneficiaries from the towns of Coron, Culion and Busuanga.

This January, the CFW will be implemented in the municipality of Agutaya, also in the north, since families have been affected there too.

Most of the beneficiaries, she added, are also qualified recipients of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps).

However, those who will benefit, Ablaña stated, are those who know how to do carpentry since they will be in charge of repairing and rehabilitating schools that have been destroyed by the super typhoon.

“Rest assured that we will continue the cash-for-work program this month until March,” she said.

In related news, Ablaña said around 20,000 residents of Palawan have been given their PhilHealth cards for 2014 by the provincial government. For this, a budget of P48 million was spent by the Palawan leadership.

Aside from this, the program Point of Care (PoC) under PhilHealth also benefited P1,947 residents for the same year.

Of this figure, 36 individuals were enrolled to the PoC at the Southern Palawan Provincial Hospital (SPPH), while 1,911 individuals sought help from the Community Affairs Division (CAD).

Per report too, of the SSS, P4.6 million fund was used to the PoC program out of a total budget of P12 million. The PoC is for qualified beneficiaries, who have no PhilHealth Insurance confined in hospitals.

Brillantes: SK, recall polls hampering preps for 2016 elections

By ROUCHELLE DINGLASAN (KBK, GMA News)

Less than a month before his retirement as the country's poll chief, Commission on Elections chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. on Monday said the poll body is preparing for two more elections before 2016.

These include the Sangguniang Kabataan Elections on February 21 and an upcoming recall election in Puerto Princesa in Palawan, Brillantes said during the weekly Kapihan sa Diamond Hotel press conference.

While Brillantes claimed that the poll body is getting ready for the SK elections next month, he said that they still hope that the polls will be deferred anew to 2016 in sync with the October barangay elections.

"Ang SK Election naka-set naman talaga sa February 21. Ang problema lang may postponement sa House of Representatives pero hindi pa dumarating sa Senate. Kapag hindi dumaan at hindi na-approve sa Senate, matutuloy," he said.

Senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos, the Senate local government committee chairman, cannot be immediately contacted for comment.

Brillantes said P1.1 billon has been allocated for the SK election, but they have been prudent in spending because the polls may be postponed.

"Gusto sana namin sabay na sa October 2016 barangay elections. Nakakaabala sa preparation namin para sa 2016. Magususpindi pa kami ng registration ngayon because anytime there's an election you have to suspend the registration," he explained.

Recall election

Meanwhile, Brillantes noted that a recall election will pursue in Puerto Princesa, Palawan, as ordered by the Supreme Court last year.

The high court last November said that an election recall may push through for the mayoral post in the said city.

"Kami [sa Comelec] ayaw na sana namin ng recall, nakakaabala 'yan sa preparasyon namin sa 2016, kaya lang may order ang Korte Suprema na ituloy at meron daw kaming funding, may savings kami na pwedeng gamitin so tinutuloy na namin. Tuloy 'yan," Brillantes said.

The poll chief said that it will push through before May 2015 as recall elections should not be done one year prior to an election.

He said that election recall in Bulacan and Cagayan de Oro may not push through anymore due to lack of time.

Brillantes is set to retire on February 2, 2015.

Linapacan oil redrilling readied

By Alena Mae S. Flores

RMA West Linapacan Ltd. of Thailand is preparing the redevelopment of the West Linapacan oil field after signing a contract with Transocean Ltd. of Switzerland to drill an oil well off northwest Palawan.

RMA said in a report it also placed an order for the equipment required in the development of the oil field.

“Other major services tendered and contracts are ready for signing. Well trajectory and drilling program draft prepared. Subsea tree order placed with drill-equip for delivery in December 2014 to February 2015,” it said.

RMA said the contracts for the floating, storage and offloading vessels were ready for signing.

RMA is the operator of Service Contract 14 C 2 in West Linapacan lying in offshore northwest Palawan with a 29-percent stake. Other consortium members are Pitkin Petroleum Plc with a 29-percent interest and Nido Petroleum Ltd., which controls 22 percent. The balance is held by smaller oil exploration companies.

Nido Petroleum managing director Philip Byrne earlier said the SC 14 C 2 consortium might drill two or three wells to redevelop the West Linapacan A field.

He said the joint venture was considering a phased development, including a less expensive expandable early production system.

“The company is continuing discussions with its banks in order to upscale its available debt capacity to partly fund the West Linapacan A redevelopment [in addition to revenue from the Galoc field],” Byrne said.

Nido earlier bared plans to redevelop the West Linapacan oil field in northwest Palawan with production planned by the third quarter 2015.

He said RMA was finalizing the engineering design work for the project, “including securing key long lead drilling items, advancing discussions with FPSO [floating, production, storage and offloading vessel] and rig owners, and finalizing the field development plan.”

Nido earlier estimated that redeveloping the West Linapacan oil field would cost around $100 million.

Latest independent assessment by Gaffney Cline and Associates showed that the West Linapacan field had a potential ranging from 11.6 million stock tank barrels to 22.8 mmstb. The oil field has produced 8.5 million barrels from 1992 to early 1996 before it was shut-in.

West Linapacan A was discovered in 1990 and later reached peak a production rate of over 18,000 barrels of oil per day.

West Linapacan B, meanwhile, was discovered in 1993 and tests from the single well drilled on the structure flowed close to 2,900 bopd but it was never developed.

Palawan Archived News

The older news reports are kept here.

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