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|Undergroud River in Palawan|
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|Baracuda Lake, Coron, Palawan|
U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines Kristie A. Kenney and USAID/Philippines Environment Office Chief Daniel Moore witness the safe and sustainable collection of ornamental fish by certified Marine Aquarium Council collectors in Palawan
Palaweños could expect full blast infrastructure development
- Source: http://www.pna.gov.ph/index.php?nid=2&rid=755997
- Saturday, April 25, 2015
- (PNA), JBP/CARF/KASF/PJN
PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, April 25 (PNA) -- Palawan Governor Jose Alvarez said Friday that Palaweños can expect full blast infrastructure development, specifically in the concreting of 5,570 kilometers of lateral-livelihood roads in the province when all 341 light-to-heavy equipment facilities have been completely turned over to municipalities.
This was assured by Alvarez on the blessing Friday of the equipment pool at the provincial government motorpool in Barangay Irawan here.
"Constructions have started in other towns, and if we’ve completed the distribution of all, they will be non-stop," said Alvarez to the Philippine News Agency (PNA).
Presently, some of the new equipment are now being used in the construction of hospitals, water system supply projects, school buildings, airports, and road constructions in the municipalities of Aborlan, Narra, Rizal, Brooke's Point, Bataraza and Taytay.
Towns of Coron, Busuanga, Agutaya and Dumaran are on the road too, to infrastructure development with the transportation of equipment units to the locations just recently.
The whole fleet is composed of 50 excavators, 27 6-way dozers, 10-low ground pressure dozers, 26-boom trucks, nine dropside trucks, nine self-loading trucks, 140 dump trucks, nine graders, and 20 compactors -- the largest the provincial government has purchased in recent times, amounting to over over PHP1 billion, "the thriftiest acquisition among local government units (LGUs) in the country," said Alvarez.
Meanwhile, Alvarez said Palawan is willing to lend the equipment units to the city government to usher infrastructure development in Puerto Princesa.
Going Green: Solar panels atop Puerto Princesa City Hall inaugurated
- Source: http://www.pna.gov.ph/index.php?nid=2&rid=755898
- Friday, April 24, 2015
- By Keith Anthony S. Fabro [(PNA), FPV/CARF/KASF/SGP]
PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, April 24 (PNA) – - The 20-year build-lease-transfer (BLT) "Puerto Princesa City Solar Showcase" strategically installed atop the new city hall complex was finally inaugurated Friday afternoon, making it the first Philippine-German green government infrastructure project in the country in terms of energy efficiency.
"This solar project further boosts Puerto Princesa's reputation as a city that is living and growing in harmony with its pristine natural environment," said Mayor Lucilo Bayron in welcoming the innovative solar project.
"We're using cutting edge clean technology to generate renewable energy and save taxpayer money while building our economy and creating new career opportunities for our people," he added.
The showcase, deemed to ease the city government's power bill encumbrance, is a fruition of the solar power agreement Bayron's administration had entered into late March with world-class renewable energy developer Vissolis Philippines, Inc. (VPI) that shoulders all of its financing, designing and installation.
"We're reproducing a lot of energy for Puerto Princesa [that is] good for the economy, the people and the environment," Thomas Hayes, Vissolis Chief Operating Officer told the Philippine News Agency (PNA).
He adds, "Visollis’ project which is clean, lower-cost, reliable and sustainable is all about energy for the people by the people."
Unlike the PHP10/kWh it has been paying to the Palawan Electric Cooperative (PALECO), the city government only has to pay PHP8/kWh electricity generated by the Vissolis solar panels.
"The best way to save is by producing your own electricity that you don't buy from someone else," said Hayes.
On its first year of tenancy, at the said city hall complex, the administration in 2014 had paid a total of PPHP6.8-million, or an average of PHP570,000 a month to the PALECO.
Roughly, it consumed a total of 1,292,900 kWh, or an average of 107,741.7 kWh a month.
Meanwhile, the solar showcase composed of three hundred 260-Watt photovoltaic (PV) modules that convert bright sunlight directly to electricity has 78-kilowatt peak capacity and can produce about 100,000 kilowatt hours of electricity a year.
Three solar inverters will transform the direct current of the modules into alternating current and match the grid frequency of the electricity circulating at the City Hall Complex.
Each solar panel has an economic lifespan of around 35 years. This means that once the20-yr. BLT contract has ended, the city government will finally operate the facility for the remaining 15 years for free.
Hayes, meanwhile, assures Vissolis has trained local Filipino solar energy team to keep the system running all throughout its economic lifespan.
The project is part of the worldwide dena Renewable Energy Solutions Program coordinated by Deutsche Energie-Agentur GmbH (dena) – the German Energy Agency, and co-financed by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) within the initiative “renewables – Made in Germany.”
The inauguration program held here was also attended by German Ambassador to the Philippines Thomas Ossowoski, along with Vissolis team, led by CEO Carlos Mayer and representative of Department of Energy among others.
(NewsFeature) U.P. professor says Palawan’s WW2 past is important in Philippine history
- Source: http://www.pna.gov.ph/index.php?nid=10&rid=755645
- Thursday, April 23, 2015
- By Celeste Anna R. Formoso and Ronces Paragoso [(PNA), LGI/RCK/CARF/EDS]
PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, April 23 (PNA) -- Dreams of the future is better than the past, but history has to be understood and preserved in order for people in the present to act to move forward, according to Ricardo P. Jose, Ph. D., of the Department of History, University of the Philippines (UP) in Diliman.
Jose, who was in this city Wednesday to attend the commemoration of the 70th Philippines Liberation Anniversary dubbed “A Salute to Valor: Palawan-70 Years of Freedom,” said this after stating that the province has a lot of WW2 narratives and incidents that have not yet been fully recorded.
“One thing that we found out here was there’s really none. Usually, recordings are main stream; in Leyte, Bataan, Manila,” he said.
Palawan is significant history, he said, because of its strategic position. “It covers the West Philippines Sea; the airfield here is very strategic and the Japanese knew this that’s why they built it here. They were the ones who did it first, actually,” he said.
When the Americans learned of this in 1944-1945, they immediately incapacitated the airfield that was built by the prisoners of war (POW), who were brought to Palawan, to cut Japanese supplies from coming in.
“Once they took over the airfield here, they used it as support to the invasion of Borneo, and then the South, and even reached Vietnam from here,” he told the Philippine News Agency (PNA).
He believes that when the supplies were cut, and the airfield under the command of the Americans, the surrender of Japan to the Allied Force was sped up.
Aside from the tactical airfield, he said that the support of the guerilla force under the Palawan Special Battalion (PSB) during WW2 is also significant because they were able to contain the Japanese Imperial Army forces until the arrival of American troops under the leadership of Gen. Douglas MacArthur.
“There’s only one real book about Palawan’s history, it’s called Palawan’s Fighting 1,000; it’s the only one written so far,” Jose claimed. The copy is now at the Palawan Special Battalion WW2 Museum privately-run by Higinio “Buddy” Mendoza, the son of local hero Dr. Higinio A. Mendoza, Sr.
Jose said he has materials from his trips to the United States several times, and some other travels, where he collected historical materials not only about Palawan but the whole country.
He added that he found reports from Palawan; maps, action reports from communications, and others.
Since he knows this, he said he might do it on his own to write about Palawan’s WW2 history. “The Japanese occupation here was not really well known,” he said.
Among others, he said he also discovered that there also circulated “guerilla money” in the province during WW2. Having the guerilla money, he said, was life or death then because the Japanese soldiers did not like it.
“The Filipinos were very ingenious in producing that in the mountains, and since Palawan is big, the issues were different for different islands and areas. Cuyo had them, Brooke’s Point too, had them, so, they are really among the rarest Filipinos here during WW2,” he furthered.
Having the guerilla money, Jose explained, only means that during WW2, Filipinos were very organized, very systematic against their Japanese enemies.
- What makes Palawan history important
There were three incidents that also make Palawan important in Philippine history. One was about two submarines of the Allied that were sunk within the vicinity of the southernmost municipality of Balabac.
Jose said the Japanese put mines in the area, and one submarine hit this and sunk. Palawan guerillas, he said, were able to rescue at least 10 people, and a week after, another submarine hit the same mine and also sank too.
“They are still there now, but the guerillas rescued the crews so, that’s another thing,” he said.
During the Battle of Leyte Gulf, or even before it started, there were major Japanese ships that passed west of Palawan. The guerillas spotted them and reported to the Allied Forces.
They also sank two cruisers, and damaged another, causing the Japanese ships to go back to Brunei.
“These were two very heavy cruisers, and one was a flagship of the Japanese admiral, who was forced to transfer to another ship. That’s just off Palawan so, these cruisers are still there under the ocean,” Jose stated further.
During WW2, the USS Dace of the U.S. Navy sank the heavy cruiser Maya near Palawan, and the 769 Japanese navy men, who were rescued from it were transferred to Musashi.
The wrecks of the battleship Musashi was recently discovered in the deep waters of Sibuyan Sea, Cebu by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen.
Musashi “capsized and sank in 4,430 feet (1,350 m) under the command of Captain Toshihira Inoguchi, who chose to go down with it; 1,376 of his 2,399-man crew were rescued.” About half of the battleship’ survivors were evacuated to Japan, and the rest took part in the war in the Philippines.
The Japanese battleships in Coron, which are also important, were different, he said.
“Coron was strategic because after Manila was being bombed, the Japanese vessels transferred there to try to seek refuge, but they were detected by the Americans, who sank them there,” he narrated.
Another important historical fact that went unrecorded was the arrival in Palawan seas of two submarines that reportedly provided support to the guerillas.
“We still do not know where they landed, but they gave supplies to the guerillas. This is not very well-documented. Added to that, there were also two submarines that came here and landed commandos, whose main mission is to help the guerillas developed and establish watch stations to man the coast,” he said, adding it was also for them to always check the weather.
Weather is reportedly very important during WW2 to both the Americans and the Japanese military operations. Some of the commandos, who were landed, were weather experts, who report to Gen. MacArthur.
- Preservation of cultural and historical sites in Palawan
With all these, Jose said it is very important that Palawan restores and rehabilitates its cultural and historical sites.
He particularly mentioned the Mendoza Park that is currently undergoing a facelift, and where local hero Dr. Mendoza was buried; the Plaza Cuartel, that he is glad now has a marker and will also be restored further; and the classic if not one of the best penal colonies, the Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm.
”The buildings in Iwahig are original, and to make it more important, in 1945, the suspected collaborators of the Japanese were incarcerated there, like Claro M. Recto, and two others,” he said, adding there’s a memorial that stayed there.
”Palawan’s history not only goes back in prehistoric times. Of course, there’s its strategic location in the West Philippines Sea,” he said.
With rich wartime history, Palawan could become one of the most important cultural and historical sites that tourists will visit.
Palawan heroes vs Japanese honored on liberation anniversary
- Source: http://www.philstar.com/news-feature/2015/04/22/1446674/palawan-heroes-vs-japanese-honored-liberation-anniversary
- Wednesday, April 22, 2015 3:49 pm
- By Alexis Romero (philstar.com)
PUERTO PRINCESA CITY - The anniversary of the liberation of Palawan from Japanese forces was celebrated here for the first time on Wednesday, 70 years after the historic yet forgotten World War 2 milestone happened.
Palawan guerillas served as coast watchers during the war. They also acted as blocking force that prevented Japanese troops from replenishing the supplies of their comrades.
"They (Palawan guerillas) hastened the end of the war by cutting the supplies of the Japanese. Strategically, they played a big role," University of the Philippines history professor Ricardo Jose told The STAR.
Palawan was also one of the first Philippine areas to be liberated by Filipino and American forces because of its strategic location. The province has an air field that proved to be crucial in supporting military operations in Borneo, Luzon and South China Sea.
However, Palawan's role is not even mentioned in history textbooks and is not highlighted in events commemorating the World War 2.
"When we study history, we tend to focus on big events - Manila, Bataan, Corregidor. We tend to forget smaller events, Jose said. Homepage ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1
"We still lack understanding about this event that happened 70 years ago," he added.
To fill the gap, the Palawan Liberation Task Force composed of government, private and international groups conducted research about the experiences of guerillas in the province during the Japanese occupation.
The task force consisted of the provincial government of Palawan, city government of Puerto Princesa, Palawan Tourism Council, Palawan Chamber of Commerce, Tourism department, United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Rajah Travel Corporation
The task force's effort paid off as it paved way to an event celebrating Palawan's liberation. Dubbed as "A Salute to Valor," the event honored Filipino and American heroes who sacrificed for Palawan's independence.
A wreath laying ceremony was held at the Plaza Cuartel, where Japanese soldier burned more than 100 American prisoners in their foxholes, an event known as the Palawan massacre.
Representatives from the Philippines and the United States laid wreaths in each of the two markers honoring the fallen soldiers.
Filipino and American war veterans were also given awards in the provincial capitol.
Surviving veterans who received a plaque and two medals were Patricio Bonales, Gaudencio Lucero, Eliseo Manaeg, Guillermo Sumanting, Quirino Bundal, Felix Aban, Silverio Abiog, Lorenzo dela Chica, Vicente Arrieta and Baltazar Padilla.
War heroes who were given posthumous awards were Dr. Higino Mendoza Sr., Gaudencio Abordo, Pablo Muyco, Antonio Palanca and Nazario Mayor.
Only about 40 of the more than 1,000 Filipino guerillas from this province are still alive, according to data from the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office (PVAO).
Among those who attended the event were PVAO administrator Ernesto Carolina, Palawan Gov. Jose Alvarez, Vice Gov. Victorino Socrates, Puerto Princesa Vice Mayor Luis Marcaida .III, Australian Ambassador Bill Tweddell, John Avila of USAID, retired Brig. Gen. Restituto Aguilar, Armed Forces Western Mindanao Command chief Vice Adm. Alexander Lopez, Brig. Gen. Steven Beach of the Oregon National Guard,war veterans and their families.
"Their (veterans) heroic deeds will be immortalized in the annals of Filipino and American soldiery," Carolina said.
Another highlight of the celebration is the launching of the heritage tour that seeks to promote Palawan's cultural tourism.
Alvarez said while Palawan is known for ecotourism because of natural wonders like the Puerto Princesa Underground River, they also want to market it as a cultural tourism site.
"The interest of tourists on Palawan should be varied," he said, noting that tourism contributes more than half of the local economy.
The tour package will include a visit to the Palawan World War 2 Museum, which displays authentic war uniforms and other hard-to-find memorabilia, Eulalia Park, Plaza Cuartel, Rizal Park, Mendoza Park and the Immaculate Concepcion Cathedral. The guided tour costs P600 per person and includes the vehicle and snacks.
Century Properties developing Php20-B integrated resort project in Palawan
- Source: http://www.pna.gov.ph/index.php?nid=3&rid=754865
- Tuesday, April 21, 2015
- By Leslie D. Venzon [(PNA), FPV/LDV]
MANILA, April 21 (PNA) -- Century Properties Group Inc. is pouring in Php20 billion in investments in the next 10 years to transform a 56-hectare beachfront land into an integrated resort and real estate destination in San Vicente town in Palawan, optimistic about the country’s tourism potential.
Jose E.B Antonio, founder and Chairman of Century Properties, bared the company’s investment plan following the signing of a memorandum of agreement for purchase of the development site.
“We have long identified tourism as a structural growth area for the Philippine economy and as such, we are very pleased to announce the purchase of this development site in San Vicente, Palawan. This is a deal we have been working on for a considerable period of time,” he said.
Antonio said the company will pursue a phased development plan for the project and has earmarked Php1.5 billion over the next three to five years to complete phase 1.
“The pace and timing of subsequent phases will in a large part be driven by the take up of the sale of hotel villas and the residential investment properties, which will form a significant part of the returns from this project,” he said.
Antonio said that by focusing on larger projects where the local tourism infrastructure is in place or under development, the company aims to capture the potential in the hospitality and lifestyle sector.
“This acquisition represents an important next step for Century Properties as it works towards positioning itself to benefit from the huge structural potential identified in the tourism and lifestyle sector in the Philippines,” said Tim Hallett, chief operating officer for Century Properties Hospitality Inc.
Hallett said Century will initially target the domestic market for the development project.
“But as the facilities and accommodation options increase in later phases of the project, we will then look to target both regional and international markets,” he noted.
Touted as the Philippines’ final frontier, Palawan is rated as one of the best travel destinations in the country.
It is the site of the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River and was declared as one of the new seven natural wonders of the world.
“Tourism brings inclusive progress to the country, and our company seeks to contribute to the growth of Palawan as the next tourism hot spot which we feel in time will rival or even surpass the prestige of Boracay as an international beach destination,” added Hallett.
Balikatan 2015’s ENCAP officially opens in Puerto Princesa, Palawan
- Source: http://www.pna.gov.ph/index.php?nid=2&rid=754578
- Monday, April 20, 2015
- By Celeste Anna R. Formoso [(PNA), RMA/CARF/EDS]
PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, April 20 (PNA) -- The bilateral exercise Balikatan 2015 officially started Monday morning in this capital city of Palawan, strengthening civil-military relations, and sharing experiences among military troops of the Philippines and the United States, through engineering civic action program (ENCAP) activities.
The formal start was jointly announced by Brig. Gen. Joaquin Malavet, commanding general of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Brigade (1MEB), and Brig. Gen. Guillermo Molina, deputy commander for administration and logistics of the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ (AFP) Western Command (WESCOM) at a media conference done in chorus with the one held at Camp Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo, Quezon City.
Molina and Malavet said that this year’s Balikatan in Palawan focuses on upgrading personal skills, firming relationships, and building partnerships among participating U.S., Filipino, and Australian soldiers through humanitarian civic actions, such as the construction of classroom buildings in communities where they are most needed.
“What we’re exercising here is the command post exercise, or CPX, and it’s critically important that the staff of the 1st MEB, my team, work closely and collaboratively with WESCOM. What is there is that it will allow us to plan, brief, and to think through how we might conduct operations in the future,” Malavet said.
He said that the ENCAP in the context of Balikatan was always significant as it subsidized the need of the participating troops to continually transform skills by learning from each other’s experiences and aptitudes in serving communities.
Molina, on the other hand, furthered that cooperating and working collaboratively, shoulder-to-shoulder together under Balikatan’s ENCAP is not a minor feat at all for both RP-US soldiers, and the participating Australian troops.
“It is even related to post-conflict scenarios. This would basically measure how rapidly we can build from the ground together structures that have been destroyed in conflict, or during calamities, when they come to help us,” he said.
The ENCAP of the 31st iteration of the bilateral exercise are currently constructing four school buildings with two classrooms each that can accommodate 40-50 per classroom in barangays San Rafael, Cabayugan, and Sta. Lourdes, Puerto Princesa City.
The CPX is a first between WESCOM and the 1MEB, where approximately 250 U.S. service members are currently working shoulder-to-shoulder with their Filipino counterparts.
It provides the framework to test jointly developed plans, and is based on completely fictitious scenarios.
Comelec asks President Aquino to declare May 8 as special non-working holiday in Puerto Princesa City
- Source: http://www.pna.gov.ph/index.php?nid=1&rid=754251
- Sunday, April 19, 2015
- (PNA), SCS/FGP/CDN
MANILA, April 19 (PNA) -- The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has asked President Benigno S. Aquino III to declare May 8, 2015 as a special non-working holiday in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan in connection with the scheduled recall polls in the city next month.
“There is a need to declare May 8, 2015 as a special non-working holiday to afford the registered voters of the City of Puerto Princesa, Palawan to participate fully in the recall elections,” said Comelec Resolution No. 9949.
Comelec Executive Director Jose Tolentino has been directed by the commission to furnish the Chief Executive with a copy of the resolution.
Meanwhile, the election period for the recall polls starts on April 20 until May 18.
During the period, prohibited acts include the alteration of territory of a precinct or establishment of a new precinct; the illegal release of prisoners; organizing or maintaining reaction/strike forces or similar forces; the transfer or detail of officers and employees in the Civil Service, including public school teachers; and suspension of any elective provincial, city, municipal or barangay officials.
It is also the start of the gun ban in the city, wherein the carrying of firearms or other deadly weapons is strictly prohibited.
Comelec Resolution No. 9949 provides exemption from the gun ban that include: Members of the poll body, the President, Vice President, Senators, Congressmen, Cabinet officials, justices and judges, officials of the Office of the Ombudsman, officials of constitutional commissions, law enforcement personnel, sea ports and airport personnel, and the Presidential Security Group, among others.
Violation of the prohibitions may result to facing election offense cases which carry the penalty of one to six years imprisonment, removal of right to vote, and disqualification to hold public office.
Earlier, the poll body approved the holding of the recall elections in Puerto Princesa after a petition was filed against Mayor Lucilo Bayron by petitioner Alroben Goh which was supported by a sufficient number of signatories.
‘Facebook’ monk crowdsources for goodwill in Palawan
- Source: http://www.rappler.com/move-ph/89658-facebook-monk-crowdsource-palawan
- Saturday, April 18, 2015 6:15 pm
- By Dindin Reyes (Rappler)
In Puerto Princesa Palawan, a Buddhist monk helps solve people’s problems by logging onto Facebook and finding connections
PALAWAN, Philippines – Every morning, just as the sun is rising along Clarkville beach in Puerto Princesa in Palawan, a monk walks down the shore in deep maroon robes with a small black bowl in hand.
He’s on his way to a small village in Barangay San Pedro where he’s to make his rounds among the houses, receiving food and giving blessings.
His name is Bhante Rakkhita. To the Filipinos, he’s Brother Ben.
- Finding spirituality in the barangay
When Bhante started on his morning walks in February of 2014, people had no idea what to make of him. Here was a bald, older Caucasian man with a British accent who walked around the whole place with only his robes on and without any shoes.
To bridge the communication gap, the owner of a wellness and detox retreat center near the village called Bahay Kalipay helped explain Bhante’s presence and the age-old Buddhist tradition he was trying to live out – you offer any available food you have in the bowl for the monk, and then you share in a blessing with him.
What started out as a conversation of 3 sentences – “Tao po?” “Let us pray” and “Salamat po,” grew into a relationship where people shared their stories with him, and more and more of them invited him into their homes.
Bhante seeks to offer a daily spiritual exercise where people come together to be quiet and pray while the rest of the world waits. When he speaks his mantra, the people go quiet and, though they may not have understood it before, the silence puts people’s minds and hearts together in unity.
These days when Bhante invites the Filipinos to pray, he plays a translation from a tiny speaker he places in his bowl and as they comprehend the words, people close their eyes. “Para sa isang kagalang-galang na tao na pinaparangalan ang kanyang kalikasan, ang apat na ito ay tataas: mahabang buhay, kagandahan, kaligayahan at lakas.“ (For one worthy of respect who constantly honors his nature, four qualities increase: long life, beauty, happiness, and strength.”
The more homes he shared himself with, the more Bhante grew to love the Filipino people even more. Their warmth and their co-dependency was everywhere and you could see it went beyond just giving what you already had.
During one of his morning rounds Bhante met a woman who adopted a baby after finding out the mother attempted to drown her newborn in desperation. This story of desperation and despair brought Bhante to investigate the incomes of the families he visited. In the process of investigating, Bhante heard the call for help.
- People helping people
People in the area call Bhante “the Facebook monk.” In the age when having an online connection eliminates barriers, Bhante uses social media to share the people’s stories and seek for help.
One of the people he’s helped is Nora. The fourth child of the Montemor couple, Nora was born with cerebral palsy.
Dealing with it was a challenge for Berting, with his chronic mouth ulcers, and Nancy, who had to close her sari-sari store to take care of her. Seizures were a part of their normal life and after trying different medicines, it seemed like it would be something that wouldn’t go away.
In one of his many rounds, Bhante saw 7-year-old Nora sitting in a wheelchair and as he usually does, he asked about their lives. Later on, he found funding for them to look for a new doctor who recommended a stabilizing medicine that has changed their lives.
Rhodora Valencia is an 18-year-old Bhante helped to get school supplies and a school uniform to continue with her tourism course. What she received in the end was much more than clothes and papers.
After seeing Bhante’s work she realized that instead of studying so that she could end up as an overseas Filipino worker, she wanted to stay home and help. When she talks about her interest is in welfare work, it sounds like nothing else seems desirable for her. She sees kids her age getting into drugs, sex, getting married early, not taking care of their children.
She’s started her welfare work by translating Bhante’s books on spirituality and meditation so that people from the community can read them as well. When people listen to the Filipino version of Bhante’s mantra, it’s Rhodora’s voice they hear.
Another man Bhante has connected with is Arsenio Sanio. Arsenio is a quiet man who always has a smile on his face. At first he seems like any other Filipino grandfather, silently going about his way, but with more observation, you’ll see the limp and drag of his left leg. Arsenio had a stroke in 2008 and his control of the left side of his body hasn’t been the same since. For 7 years now he hasn’t been able to do his life’s work as an electrician. After meeting him, Bhante connected him with a local healer, Fern Yanson, a hidden gem in Barangay San Pedro.
She’s an expert in figuring out how to heal people with different recipes and combinations of things you’ll find in nature. An accident gave her son paralyzed legs and she healed him with fruits, vegetables, and neuro-lymphatic massage. Bhante sends sick people her way for healing that won’t break their bank accounts. A guest of Bahay Kalipay Bhante brought over has even given her a blender so she could make green smoothies for the families whose daily diet only consists of noodles and rice.
Fern is a healer but she’s also in need. Her grandson has colon cancer and has to live with a colostomy bag. Without thinking twice, Bhante called out for help online and found two Filipinos who conduct a medical mission for diseases just like his, the World Surgical Foundation mission. Fern’s grandchild will be getting his surgery next year. This year, it was baby Renche’s turn.
3-year-old Renche Kuddana Jr was born with Hirschsprung disease. He was born without an anus. Earlier this year, his parents Renche and Rachel were about to fly to Manila with only good intentions and hope, believing that somehow they’d be able to pay for the surgery, for a place to stay, food, and anything else they may need.
Right before they were about to leave, they met Bhante. Overnight, the monk came back to them with news that a woman from the United Kingdom was willing to fund the operation, to be done by a medical mission in Bacolod.
Just this April of 2015, right before baby Renche was to get another procedure done, another donation came in for him through Bhante’s network – a Christian woman wanting to help a Muslim family, through a Buddhist monk.
- Filling in the gap through crowdfunding
Bhante isn’t on Facebook just because. He’s on the social network because he believes that there’s a gap in resources and assistance that humans from all over the world can fill in. The qualities that have endeared Bhante to Filipinos are alive online too. The warmth and co-dependency he found in the village was the same warmth and co-dependency people on Facebook showed him every time he would call out for assistance.
Search Bhante Ven Rakkhita Samanera and you’ll see that his Facebook feed is a diary of all the tears, fears, and hopes of Barangay San Pedro. It is an experience in sharing plights and being open to receiving solutions. The continuous help Bhante has received from people from all over the world has driven him to see crowdfunding as a tool that people in the village can use for themselves.
A small group of interested young people have come under Bhante’s wing to learn how to harness the Internet to connect with good souls all over the world. They’re slowly learning to use sites they had never heard of before because they want to break the cycle that poverty has introduced in all of their lives in one way or another.
It’s not just about filling in for the short-term needs.
The lives of the people in Barangay San Pedro have been recurring episodes of struggle. Having a hand to help them get back on their feet gives people new hope. Knowing there are people who support them gives them a new drive to strive for things better than what they already have. It’s a fresh infusion of goodness in their daily lives consumed by poverty. It’s a sign that it’s time for them to move forward.
DOH-MIMAROPA offers free training for lifeguards of hotels and resorts in the region
- Source: http://www.pna.gov.ph/index.php?nid=2&rid=753828
- Friday, April 17, 2015
- By Leilani S. Junio [(PNA), SCS/LSJ/EBP]
MALVAR, Batangas, April 17 (PNA) -- The Department of Health (DOH)-MIMAROPA Region has emphasized to the owners of local hotels and resorts the importance of having well-trained lifeguards to ensure the health and safety of tourists visiting the island provinces of Mindoro (Oriental and Occidental), Marinduque, Romblon and Palawan.
According to DOH-MIMAROPA Regional Director Eduardo C. Janairo, the resort and hotel owners can avail themselves of “free training” for lifeguards being offered by the regional office to help boost the capacity of the region as safe destination for tourists and other visitors.
Director Janairo said this during the second Provincial Health Summit dubbed as "Usapang Lokal Para sa Kalusugan" held at the Lima Park Hotel in Malvar, Batangas on April 16, attended by local chief executives and representatives from different agencies converging together to strengthen and assure the health and safety of the tourists, staff and community while boosting the capacity of the region as safe destination.
“There is a need to capacitate hotels and resorts owners that there are well-trained lifeguards that can handle and assist the tourists/visitors of the beautiful scenic spots of the island provinces in times of need,” Director Janairo said in an interview with the Philippines News Agency.
Janairo explained that the training cost will be shouldered by the DOH-MIMAROPA and the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) will administer or provide the training under a schedule to be arranged with the agency.
He said that interested owners of hotels and resorts who do not have yet lifeguards can avail of the training by submitting to them the qualified names of their respective first-aiders that can be accepted as trainees.
In the same health summit, Dr. Rommel Lizan, DOH Medical Officer IV, suggested that small hotel and resort owners who do not have the capacity to employ a lifeguard for their resort may coordinate with each other and hire one common trained lifeguard as part of ensuring the safety of their respective clients in order to make MIMAROPA known as a safe destination.
Dr. Lizan discussed before the hotel and resort owners how important is their commitment in attaining the goal of making the MIMAROPA region a safe destination for tourists who will not only speak good things about its beauty but also of the efficient services which include safety measures in line with the DOH vision.
Lizan also reminded them on the importance of compliance by hotels and restaurants in maintaining good hygiene and sanitation of their rooms and facilities, including proper disinfecting of equipment.
The medical officer also gave the participants some basic knowledge on emerging and reemerging diseases and what they need to do in case there will be a client that is sick or whose health is not in good condition.
He said that since employing doctors and nurses in hotels can contribute added costs which many of them cannot afford, it will be a good measure for the hotel and resort owners to have coordination with the local hospitals that can accept their clients, especially for emergency cases.
“They may have a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the hospitals so that the hospitals will immediately attend to the client/patient,” he said as he cited how important is proper coordination, especially if the resort/hotel is located far from hospitals.
He noted that hotel/resort owners should also be aware of the standard protocols in referrals, in case a tourist/visitor has signs of infectious diseases, to the proper regional hospital that can attend to them to ensure that spread of infections will not happen.
The health summit in Malvar town was the second leg of the health summits spearheaded by DOH-MIMAROPA to ensure that hotel and resort owners contribute in the promotion of a healthy population of MIMAROPA as well as its visitors so that tourists will choose it for they are assured not only of its beauty but also of the entire services it can offer to make their stay there a “pleasant experience.”
Palawan’s education program supports 18,000 college students
- Source: http://www.pna.gov.ph/index.php?nid=2&rid=753644
- Thursday, April 16, 2015
- (PNA), RMA/CARF/RCG
PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, April 16 (PNA) -– Around 18,000 college students are recipient this year of the free tuition fee program of the education sector under the Infrastructure, Health, Education, Livelihood and Protection of the Environment (IHELP) flagship program of the administration of Governor Jose Alvarez.
Some of these beneficiaries joined the graduation rites for the members of Class 2015.
According to Orphy Ordinario, program manager of the Programang Pang-Edukasyon para sa mga Palaweño (PPP), the beneficiaries of the program for school year 2014-2015 were enrolled in the two public universities in the province, namely the Palawan State University (PSU) and the Western Philippines University (WPU), taking up different college courses.
In previous interviews, Ordinario noted that the program covered granting of free tuition fees to beneficiaries in order to support as many students as possible.
“Governor Alvarez does not want to limit the number of students, who can avail of the educational benefits,” he said.
Aside from those taking up baccalaureate courses, the program also supports students taking up technical vocational courses.
Ordinario said those enrolled at the Puerto Princesa School of Arts and Trade (PPSAT) got full scholarship, which means that aside from the tuition fee, the program also covered the miscellaneous expenses of the technical vocational courses that ran for three to six months.
Just before the commencement exercises of the two state universities in the province this April, the provincial government had issued checks to WPU-Puerto Princesa campus covering payments for the first and second semesters.
The check for the first semester was in the amount of Php 8,357,325, while the check for the second semester was in the amount of Php 7,805,200 or a total payment of Php 16,162,525.
Likewise, the provincial government had also issued a check to PSU covering payment for the first semester in the amount of Php 15,273,000.
According to data, there are about 4,000 beneficiaries of the education program of at the PSU-Main Campus.
Checks are ready for release, on the other hand, to the PSU campuses in eight municipalities, namely El Nido, Dumaran, Araceli, Linapacan, Española, Roxas, San Vicente, Brooke’s Point. Checks for WPU Bataraza, Taytay and Busuanga are also ready for release.
Meanwhile, preparations are ongoing for applications for educational assistance for school year 2015 to 2016.
(FEATURE) Lake Manguao: An avian treasure chest in Northern Palawan
- Source: http://www.pna.gov.ph/index.php?nid=10&rid=753131
- Wednesday, April 15, 2015
- By Celeste Anna R. Formoso [(PNA), CTB/CARF/EDS]
PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, April 11 (PNA) -- With their dusky crowns, napes, shadowy eye stripes, bluish-grey mandibles, thin brown legs, and rusty cinnamon-colored heads and necks radiating under the heat of the golden morning sun, nearly two dozen Philippine ducks (Anas luzonica) can be witnessed frolicking and winging their ways over Lake Manguao in the once monarch-ruled town of Taytay in northern Palawan.
This duck which has been listed as “vulnerable” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) because of “rapid and continuing decline” in population due to “extensive hunting and widespread conversion of wetland habitats,” is one of the avian jewels of the 6.7-square kilometer inland sea that is said to have a 44-square kilometer conforming catchment area.
In addition to the wild duck species in the Anatidae family of birds, Joie Matillano of Western Philippines University (WPU), whose avian photos were published online on January 30, 2010, noted that there were also Oriental dwarf kingfishers (Ceyx erithaca); Blue-eared kingfishers (Alcedo meninting); Common flamebacks (Dinopium javanense); Hooded pittas (Pitta sordida); Common kingfishers (Alcedo atthis); Ashy-headed babblers (Malacocincla cinereiceps); Grey-cheeked bulbul (Alophoixus bres); Grey herons (Ardea cinerea); Great egrets (Ardea alba); Western osprey (Pandion haliaetus); Spangled drongo (Dicrurus bracteatus); and Pin-striped tit babblers (Mixornis gularis) that reside in the only freshwater lake in the province’s mainland.
One of the caretakers, who operates a motorized dinghy that takes tourists to sightsee on the lake, told the Philippine News Agency (PNA) in a visit before the Holy Week that around 5:30 a.m., Palawan hornbills (Anthracoceros marchei) or talusi can also be witnessed in flocks of eight to about a dozen hopping and settling on tops of trees, and leave before 7:00 a.m. when the sun has completely risen.
“Too bad you were late; they were here very early. They fly early to land on the trees near the entrance to the lake; sometimes, they are noisy,” said Gerry, whose family mainly subsists on catching the cichlid fish tilapia from the lake.
- Manguao’s avifauna
In a survey conducted by the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic, and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCAARRD) sometime in 2007, it noted that there were “a total of 126 species of birds recorded in the lake, wherein 24 were migratory, 76 residents, 14 restricted to range Palawan-endemics, seven Philippine-endemics, and five had both resident and migratory populations.”
Eight of the species are under the IUCN’s vulnerable category: the Chinese egret (Egretta eulophotes); Falcated ground babbler (Ptilocichla falcate); Palawan flycatcher (Ficedula platenae); Palawan hornbill, Palawan peacock pheasant (Polyplectron emphanum); Blue-headed racquet tail (Prioniturus plateni); Grey imperial pigeon (Ducula pickeringii); and the Philippine duck. Five species were recorded as near-threatened.
The year of the survey, the PCAARRD said, “constituted the first record of the Philippine-endemic duck in northern Palawan. “
“Matagal na ako dito, mga kulang-kulang 15 years, at mas marami sila noon. Kumunti na ngayon (I’ve stayed here for nearly 15 years, and before, there used to be a lot of wild ducks. Their number has greatly reduced),” Gerry, who does not want his full name mentioned, stated.
His testimonial seems to prove what PCAARRD reported that “threats to birds included hunting for local consumption and curiosity, rampant poaching of the critically endangered species, slash-and-burn farming, and selective illegal logging,” which could lead to homegrown extinction.
The PCAARRD survey result then said that due to Lake Manguao’s “high avian species diversity, its catchment can qualify as an important bird area for conservation.”
- Conservation efforts
Unlike before when no tourists would come due to the difficulty of reaching Lake Manguao, these days it has become popular to the few foreign visitors, who take interest and love to do less traveled itineraries in the first class town of Taytay.
Gerry said the ideal time of the day to appreciate the birds’ beauty in their natural habitat is around sunrise by using paddle boats that make less noise.
- Binoculars, or cameras with telephoto lenses, are the best tools to use when bird watching.
”But what birds will there be if focus on the protection, conservation, and preservation of Lake Manguao is not taken into mind by the local government unit (LGU)?” asked Rommel Cruz, one of the founders of Birdwatch Palawan (BP), a member of the Palawan Ornithological Society (POS), and who organizes bird tours under BirdingPal.org.
Cruz said he knows Lake Manguao is protected “in paper,” but does not remember when this happened.
He does not also know if the bird lake has a Protected Area Management Board (PAMB), “a multi-sectoral body responsible for the administration and management of a protected area created through the National Integrated Protected Areas System Act (NIPAS).
This Board decides on budget allocations, approval of funding proposals and planning on matters concerning the ecology, particularly the protected areas.
“I know there is none, I know there is none,” Cruz replied, feeling somewhat unhappy over what fate may become of the avian residents of Lake Manguao.
He is also not aware if the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development (PCSD) has the lake in its protection radar considering how vital it is as a habitat for various species of endemic and non-endemic birds, flora and other wildlife.
- Philippine duck
Lake Manguao, said Cruz, is a critical habitat, especially for the Philippine duck that is protected under the law because it is an endemic and listed as vulnerable.
“In Palawan, the only record of the Philippine duck, is in Quezon in southern Palawan, and Lake Manguao,” he said, adding that the duck species only stays there and does not migrate.
According to Birdlife International, the Philippine duck “is endemic to the country, being recorded from all the major islands and eight smaller islands. Records since 1980 derive from 30 localities say they’re mostly in Luzon and Mindanao.”
“Records from Siquijor and the Sulus remain unsubstantiated. A steep population decline was evident by the mid-1970s, with high numbers recorded at only a few sites in the following decade, like Candaba Marsh (Luzon) which probably supported many thousands in the early 1980s.”
Palawan, particularly Lake Manguao, is not even included in Birdlife International’s list of where they can be seen.
“The Philippine duck is a resident there; the lake provides habitat to it, and other wildlife that can only be found in Palawan. Looking at the profile of the lake… since it is low-land forest… there are large trees… trees that are cavity forming,” he said.
This means these trees provide nesting territories to birds like the Palawan hornbill, woodpeckers, parrots, cockatoos, and the likes.
Since there is no clear protection effort for Lake Manguao, Cruz stated it is prone to encroachment of squatters, illegal loggers, slash-and-burn activities, and others that can affect it as a biodiversity area.
Recently, he heard that some people want to stake claims over vital portions of the lake. If this happens, and intrusion will not be stopped, the Philippine duck might flee the area, where they can never be seen and appreciated closely anymore, and where they might be more in danger of being hunted.
For someone, who arranges birding tours like he does, Cruz knows what will be the long-term effects for Lake Manguao if “focused protection” is not imposed.
Cruz wants the lake protected, “there is no doubt,” he said. However, right now, their stand is somewhat uncommitted since when after they showed interest last year, the local government of Taytay responded without urgency.
“There was a response, but we didn’t see the urgency; Lake Manguao’s protection doesn’t seem to be in the local government’s list of priorities. They said they were busy,” he furthered, though what were said were relayed verbally.
- Manguao’s eco-tourism potential
Cruz group’s interest offered to the LGU of Taytay the conduct of an avian survey in the lake and the surrounding areas, as well as bird watching basics to expand tourism potentials that will be beneficial to its caretakers.
The survey will generate an estimate of what kinds of birds are in Manguao, their population size and the changes that affect them, as well as the collection of the causes of these changes in population or species diversity.
The bird watching basics, on the other hand, will familiarize locals on the understanding of the birds that can eventually turn them into bird guides.
Bird guiding, said Cruz, can be a source of livelihood for the residents in the area, or the 16 families that serve as caretakers of the lake.
“We proposed that while we’re conducting the avian survey, local guides are being trained simultaneously so, they can have additional livelihood,” the bird expert in Palawan said, supplying that they should be the one benefitting.
Birding tours, he said, can definitely provide income, and is one way of encouraging the protection of sites where they can be found.
“If they do not take care of the birds, then what is there to see?” he asked. “If we only talk conservation, and not see it happen, then what comes next? There should be balance; they benefit at the same time they protect.”
Lodging places for potential bird tourism are also a must, according to Cruz. This can be set up near the lake site, and made of sturdy indigenous materials that will not cause harmful effects to the environment.
This is because birding enthusiasts sometimes stay three-five days to appreciate the avian residents in their natural environment.
Although he is unable to provide any estimate as to how much the LGU could earn in environmental protection fees, local taxes, and others, Cruz believes Lake Manguao is not only an avian treasure chest, but can be a source of livelihood too, for the locals.
When it comes to Taytay, he claimed that except for the historical Fuerza de Santa Isabelle and the islands, there is nothing else to call its own since there are also the same in El Nido and Coron.
“Taytay is a very, very important gateway to El Nido; just one hour or so, you’re here. Tourists there can come here if they’re interested in the avian residents of the lake.”
If Lake Manguao is protected, Taytay can truly claim it “its own,” like Narra that has Estrella Falls to boast; El Nido that has the secret lagoons; Puerto Princesa that has the underground river, and Coron that has Kayangan Lake.
Cruz’ group still wants to pursue the further protection of the lake. But he said the initiative should come from the LGU of Taytay.
“The initiative should come from the LGU; it is theirs, we are here to help protect the lake and its wildlife,” he said.
Sea connectivity between Palawan- East ASEAN gets boost from cargo vessel maiden voyage
- Source: http://www.pna.gov.ph/index.php?nid=2&rid=752713
- Tuesday, April 14, 2015
- By Celeste Anna R. Formoso [(PNA), FPV/CARF/PJN]
PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, April 14 (PNA) -- Finally, after waiting for so long, sea connectivity between Palawan and the neighboring countries of Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, and Malaysia will get a boost Thursday when the first-ever vessel under the BIMP-East ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Growth Area leaves the port of the southern town of Brooke’s Point.
“At last, after waiting for 20 years, it’s happening; the sea link between Palawan and our neighbors in the BIMP-EAGA will now come to life when our first-ever vessel goes to Kudat in the state of Sabah, East Malaysia on Thursday,” Brooke’s Point Mayor Mary Jean Feliciano told the Philippine News Agency (PNA) in a phone interview Tuesday.
Brooke’s Point, a first class municipality located south of the province, and named after Sir James Brooke, a British adventurer, whose exploits in the Malay Archipelago made him the first White Rajah of Sarawak, is one of two areas in the Philippines, where sea networks have been established to improve trade and tourism among four member countries.
On Thursday, Feliciano said cargo vessel Princess Beatrice will set sail for the first time from the port of Brooke’s Point in Barangay Buligay to Kudat, Sabah, East Malaysia with raw palm oil products.
“When it returns from Kudat, it will also be bringing consumer goods here and others,” said Feliciano, whose excitement could not be hidden.
“Our town has been waiting for this for a long time. If I am not mistaken, this plan took off during the time of former president Fidel Ramos. After a few governors, now it’s finally happening through Governor (Jose) Alvarez’s persistent follow ups,” she said.
Feliciano said that the trip of Princess Beatrice is just the initial. What the provincial government is after, she said, is the eventual establishment of the Brooke’s Point-Kudat RORO (roll-on, roll off) service that shall bring tourists from Malaysia to Palawan to other parts of the country as a “gateway.”
“This is the start; we will check what the reception is, and maybe after five or six trips by the cargo vessel, the roll-on, roll-off service will come next,” she said, stating further that residents of Brooke’s Point are excited about the recent development.
She added that many Brooke’s Point residents are working in Malaysia, and if the RORO service becomes available, it would become easier for them to travel back home to their families.
Foreign tourists visiting Malaysia and its states, she said, can also have the opportunity to visit the Philippines through Palawan.
“Aside from trade opportunities, the sea connectivity will also present us with tourism prospects, particularly that our target is to help the country reach its goal of 10 million tourists within the next few years, and is important in the regional economic intergration,” the lady mayor said.
The sea connectivity will play a vital role in the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), which is aimed at “implementing certain initiatives to achieve a single market and production base, allowing the free flow of goods, services, investments, and skilled labor, and the freer movement of capital across the region.
The areas of cooperation of the AEC include “human resources development and capacity building; recognition of professional qualifications; closer consultation on macroeconomic and financial policies; trade financing measures; enhanced infrastructure and communications connectivity; development of electronic transactions through e-ASEAN; integrating industries across the region to promote regional sourcing; and enhancing private sector involvement for the building of the AEC.”
The port of Brooke’s Point is located 192 kilometers south of Puerto Princesa. Daily, it handles consumer goods, construction materials and products of agricultural and mining industries, and links the province to Cagayan de Tawi-Tawi, General Santos City, and Dipolog.
It has a listed commercial area of 2,329.51 square meters and operational area of 15,823.18 sq. m., or a total port area of 18,152.69 sq.m.
The port reportedly has an RC wharf of 12 meter wide by 60 meter long connected to pier approach of 6 m x 190 m.; depth of 6.0 meters; and one RORO facility of 12 meters by 15 meters.
Governor Alvarez is expected to attend the send-off program for the maiden voyage to Kudat of Princess Beatrice.
Malampaya gas plant expected to go online Tuesday
- Source: http://www.pna.gov.ph/index.php?nid=1&rid=752278
- Monday, April 13, 2015 5:34 pm
MANILA – The Malampaya natural gas facility in Palawan is expected to go online on Tuesday following a scheduled 30-day maintenance shutdown.
Shell Philippines Exploration B.V. (SPEX), which operates the Malampaya Deep Water Gas-to-Power Project, said the facility will resume supplying natural gas by 12:01 a.m., Tuesday.
“We will be back at 12 midnight later. That's 00:01 of April 14…Everything went as planned,” said SPEX managing director Sebastian Quiniones.
The facility was shut down on March 15 to give way for the installation of a second platform, which is aimed at maintaining fuel supply to the Sta. Rita, San Lorenzo, and Ilijan power plants.
Quiniones said the second offshore platform will help sustain the 2,700-megawatt production level of the three plants and address the natural decrease in pressure of the reservoir.
The tie-in of the second platform, which costs $765 million, will also help guarantee long-term security for the country’s power sector.
During the month-long shutdown, the three power plants were still able to produce power to Luzon, but using the more expensive liquid fuel. The plants in Sta. Rita and San Lorenzo used condensate, while the Ilijan plant shifted to biodiesel.
The shift to liquid resulted to higher rates of independent power producers (IPPs) by P0.17 per kilowatt hour and power supply agreements (PSAs) by P0.31/kWh.
Meralco power rates also went up by P0.27/kWh in April. The power distributor said generation charge for May could also increase due to the longer impact of the Malampaya maintenance shutdown and the expected higher temperature in the coming days.
RP-US Balikatan 2015 starts shoulder-to-shoulder work to build school in Puerto Princesa
- Source: http://www.pna.gov.ph/index.php?nid=1&rid=752278
- Sunday, April 12, 2015
- By Celeste Anna R. Formoso (PNA), CTB/CARF/PJN
PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, April 12 (PNA) -- The RP-US Balikatan Exercise 2015’ “shoulder-to-shoulder” engineering civic action projects (ENCAP) have started in Palawan with Filipino-American soldiers starting to lay the foundations of a school building in Barangay Sta. Lourdes on Thursday.
In a text message to the Philippine News Agency (PNA) Saturday, the Western Command’s (WESCOM) 6th Civil Relations Group, Civil Relations Service AFP announced the onset of the ENCAP of the 31st iteration of the bilateral exercise that will also be done in barangays San Rafael, Cabayugan and three others in this city.
”Balikatan 2015 has begun! The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is working shoulder-to-shoulder with partner nations here in Palawan.
Photos posted on April 10 at the Facebook Page of Exercise Balikatan, and documented by U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Wesley Timm showed U.S. Army Sgt. Brad Ball, an electrical engineer with the 643rd Engineer Company, 84th Engineer Battalion, 103rd Engineer Brigade, taking a break to chat with a little Filipino boy at the construction site for a school building project in this city.
The said project is part of both the RP’s and the US’ humanitarian civic assistance engagement.
In another photo, U.S. Army Spc. Jerome Ramsey, a carpenter masonry specialist, and Ball, can be seen bending reinforcement bars for the classroom building in a school that was not immediately identified.
Ball and Ramsey are part of the over 6,500 U.S. soldiers, who will join an estimate of 5,000 Philippine soldiers in this year’s shoulder-to-shoulder exercises in key areas in the country, such as Pampanga, Cavite, Nueva Ecija, Zambales, and Puerto Princesa in Palawan.
WESCOM Vice Admiral Alexander Lopez has been designated as Balikatan 2015’s exercise director.
On April 10, U.S. service members were reported to have participated already in a “subject matter expert exchange that focused on visual storytelling at the WESCOM. The activity reportedly “provides an opportunity for Philippine, Australian, and U.S. forces to continue strengthening relationships and work together.”
Balikatan is an annual scheduled multi-service combined exercises hosted by the Philippines, designed to promote regional peace and security by enhancing inter-operability and readiness of Filipino-American soldiers to terrorism and disaster management.
DOH lauds Puerto Princesa's assistance in fight vs measles, polio
- Source: http://www.pna.gov.ph/index.php?nid=2&rid=752143
- Saturday, April 11, 2015
- (PNA), JBP/CARF/PJN
PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, April 11 (PNA) -- The Department of Health (DOH) lauded the City Health Office (CHO) here for its support to the polio-free country program to downgrade measles affectation in 2014.
In a statement released Friday by the City Information Office (CIO), it said that in support of the health campaign of the DOH on September 1-30, 2014 in the country, the CHO conducted its own in Puerto Princesa that contributed to the immunization of the targeted 11 million children against measles and rubella, and 13 million, who received oral polio vaccines (OPV).
In the MIMAROPA Region, where the city is the capital of Palawan, the DOH reported that 339,520 children between the ages 9-59 months were targeted for measles-rubella vaccination, and 398,566 between 0-59 months for OPV.
According to the DOH regional office, the CHO made an accomplishment of 89 percent in target both for measles-rubella and OPV.
The CIO statement said this only proves that the Puerto Princesa government and its health officials and personnel are serious in the fight against measles-rubella and polio.
Through the DOH regional office, the CIO said the DOH thanked and lauded the “Apuradong Adminstrasyon (Prompt Administration)” of Mayor Lucilo Bayron in a letter sent earlier in March.
The older news reports are kept here.