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Province of Palawan - Archived News

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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


Lacson to lead launching of Sawali Livelihood Center in Coron


PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, Palawan, October 31 (PIA) – Presidential Adviser for Rehabilitation and Recovery Secretary Panfilo Lacson will lead the launching of the Community Sawali Livelihood Centre & Showroom on November 4 in Bgy. Guadalupe, Coron which was ravaged by typhoon Yolanda almost a year ago.

The sawali center and showroom is part of the Guadalupe Community Sawali Livelihood Project initiated by the International Labour Organization (ILO) through Partnership of Philippine Support Service Agencies (PHILSSA) and the Dept. of Labor & Employment (DOLE) to help the community to rebuild their lives by providing access to sustainable livelihood.

Sec. Lacson will be joined by Director Lawrence Jeff Johnson, ILO Country Office for the Philippines Country Director. Also invited to grace the event are DOLE Secretary Rosalina Baldoz and TESDA Director General Joel Villanueva.

About 500 individuals in the barangay are already benefitting from the sawali-making production project, which was turned-over to the community by ILO-DOLE last May.

Philippine tourism: Palawan is ‘Top Island in the World’

(Manila Bulletin)

Everything’s coming up roses for the tourism sector. The campaign “Visit Philippines Year 2015” launched by the Department of Tourism after the success of “It’s More Fun in the Philippines,” has been bolstered by the accolade “Top Island in the World” awarded to Palawan island-province based on survey of 30 fascinating islands worldwide by New York-based Conde Nast Travel Magazine for its 27th Readers Choice Awards for 2014.

Palawan was followed in the top 10 list by Kiawah Island, South Carolina; Maui, Hawaii; Kauai, Hawaii; Bazaruto Archipelago, Mozambique; Great Barrier Reef and Whitsunday Islands, Australia; Santorini and Cyclades, Greece; St. John, US Virgin Islands; Kangaroo Island, Australia; and Big Island, Hawaii.

In the Conde Nast survey, Boracay Island was No. 12. In another category, Shangri-La Boracay Resort and Spa was awarded 11th place among Top 20 Resorts in Asia.

Conde Nast particularly cited Palawan’s most popular tourist destination, the Puerto Princesa Underground River. “Palawan’s natural wonder is one of the longest underground rivers in the world, and longest in Asia, traveling five miles through a subterranean cave system. Boat tours take visitors down a portion of the waterway, where karsts, natural rock formations created by dissolving limestones, loom in every direction.” The underground river was one of New Seven Wonders of Nature in 2012, and was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999.

Palawan has great locations for snorkeling, swimming, and diving. Coral and rainbow reef walls surround the coasts and coves teeming with marine resources. It has diverse ecosystems – rainforests, mangroves, white-sand beaches, clear blue waters, limestone cliffs, and a variety of fishes such as manta ray and the rare marine mammal dugong.

Favorite destinations for water sports activities are diving sites Tubbataha Reefs National Marine Park (also a World Heritage Site), El Nido Marine Reserve, Honda Bay, Coron Island, Irawan Eco Park, Pambato Reef, and Starfish Island. Palawan is among the world’s Best Islands listed by National Geographic; the Best Value Travel Destination by Lonely Planet; and among World’s Best by Travel + Leisure Magazine.

Philex Petroleum widens loss on unit's exit from Palawan project

By Euan Paulo C. Añonuevo (

MANILA – Losses at Philex Petroleum Corp nearly doubled in the first nine months of the year.

In disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange, Philex Petroleum said it losses hit P376.9 million in the January to September, almost twice the P190.2 million in the same period last year.

"The increase in net loss was mainly due to an impairment loss related to Service Contract (SC) 6A recorded by Pitkin Petroleum Plc," Philex Petroleum said.

The losses shouldered by Pitkin, which is 53 percent owned by Philex Petroleum, arose from its decision not to pursue the development of SC 6A in offshore Northwest Palawan. Had it pursued development of the contract, Pitkin would have secured a 70 percent stake in the project.

As a result of Pitkin's decision to exit SC 6A, the latter recorded an impairment loss of P338 million.

The company targets to reassign its interest in the oil and gas block to its partners by December.

Philex Petroleum is the upstream oil and gas subsidiary of Philex Mining Corp. is the online news portal of TV5, which like Philex is chaired by Manuel V. Pangilinan.

Fire engulfs over 100 homes near mine site in Palawan


A major fire completely razed to ground over a hundred homes at Sitio Marabajay, Barangay Rio Tuba near the Rio Tuba Nickel Mining Corporation (RTNMC) and Coral Bay Nickel Corporation (CBNC) over the week, a report from the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) said Tuesday.

In local interviews, SFO1 Jomar Nueva said initial investigation they conducted claimed the fire may have started from the faulty electrical wiring in the home of another resident.

The home was reportedly empty with residents but some of its electrical appliances and its lights were switched on and were plugged.

With the number of homes gutted, over a hundred families are now without homes and are staying in temporary evacuation centers from Marabajay near a river. At least 20 million worth of properties were lost, including vehicles and several stores.

Further investigation into the cause of the fire is standard operating procedure (SOP), according to the fire officer.

Incidentally, the homes that were destroyed by the fire used to stand near the river with the same name, which is habitat for saltwater crocodiles (Crocodylus porosus) that are known lately to attack residents.

With the fire incident, barangay and municipal authorities are now seriously considering the permanent relocation of families with a proposal to build affordable homes for them away from the river.

Barangay Rio Tuba Chairman Gomer Miano said a private company has proposed to the municipal government a low-cost housing project ever since, and the homeless residents of Marabajay can avail of this to have permanent homes away from the danger of being attacked by the saltwater crocodiles.

The same was pronounced by Municipal Social Welfare and Development Officer Maria Erlinda Quisto, who told local interviews that with the low-cost housing, the residents of Marabajay will have a new chance from the fire incident.

She also said that with it, their homes will no longer stand closely to each other which is really dangerous and prone to fire.

The fire at Marabajay was declared under control around 3 a.m. Sunday with fire truck support from the RTNMC and CBNC, as well as private individuals, who own trucks that transported receptacles filled with water.

DBM to release P8 billion for Yolanda victims' housing units

By Kathryn Mae P. Tubadeza / VS (GMA News)

The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) will release P8 billion to the National Housing Authority (NHA) to complete the funds needed for the construction of over 64,000 housing units for the victims of typhoon Yolanda.

In a statement on, the department said NHA requested P19 billion for the construction of 64,982 housing units in areas in Palawan, Masbate, Capiz, Antique, Iloilo, Aklan, Negros Occidental, Cebu, Eastern Samar, Biliran and Leyte.

It released P11 billion in Oct. 20.

"Ultimately, our goal is to restore normalcy in these communities and improve their resiliency to disasters. It will also ensure that the affected families will have quality, permanent housing that will enable them to weather future disasters safely," Budget Secretary Florencio Abad said.

Government aims to build permanent housing for the victims in safer areas, he added.

Upgrade of Palawan facilities to continue

By Edith Regalado (The Philippine Star)

MANILA, Philippines - Gov. Jose Alvarez vowed to exert more effort in improving Palawan after it was named as the World’s No. 1 island destination by the Conde Nast Traveler Reader’s Choice Award for 2014.

“We welcome such recognition and we are proud that Palawan has made it to No. 1. But we still have a lot of things to improve on,” Alvarez told The STAR.

The idyllic island of Palawan claimed top spot 88.750 points based on over 76,000 votes. Boracay, on the other hand, placed 12th with 82.683 points.

Alvarez said the provincial government is working on improving the facilities as well as the road network that would make travel across the island easier for tourists to go from one destination to another.

“Right now we are also working on improving the coastal areas wherein we have to make sure that they are always clean,” the governor said, adding that massive work is now being done to make El Nido and Coron and other leading destinations in the island more attractive to tourists.

Palawan gained international fame when its Puerto Princesa Subterranean River, the longest navigable underground river in the world, was recognized as one of the New Seven Wonders of Nature in 2012.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) declared the subterranean river a World Heritage Site in 1999.

Condé Nast Traveler recommends boat tours in the underground river “where karsts, natural rock formations created by dissolving limestone, loom in every direction.”

Boracay, meanwhile, is described in the New York-based magazine as being “as close to the tropical idyll ideal as you’ll find in the Philippines, with gentle coastlines and transporting sunsets.”

Alvarez also said his administration is working on connecting with international tour groups to make Palawan the choice destination for more tourists.

Bishops call for support for anti-pork barrel signature campaign

By Tina G. Santos (Philippine Daily Inquirer)

MANILA, Philippines – An official of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines urged Filipinos Saturday to participate in a national signature campaign against the pork barrel system.

In a post on the website of Church-run Radio Veritas, Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo, who chairs the CBCP’s Episcopal Commission on Public Affairs, said the sign-up would be held after the morning masses in various churches nationwide on Sunday.

The signature campaign is part of the effort to institute reforms in the government and against corruption.

Among the churches that will join the national sign-up day led by the group Peoples Initiative Against Pork Barrel include the Redemptorist Church in Baclaran, Sta. Cruz Church in Manila, Quiapo Church or the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene, and the church of the Apostolic Vicariate of Puerto Princesa in Palawan.

Other churches in the Diocese of Sorsogon, Romblon, Borongan in Eastern Samar, Archdiocese of Tuguegarao, Archdiocese of Cebu, and Diocese of Kidapawan and San Carlos have also expressed their intention to join the activity.

Pabillo said that apart from expressing objection to the pork barrel, it is important for Filipinos to push for a bill that would abolish pork barrel or would prohibit the allocation of lump sum funds that were left to the discretion of members of the Congress, the Department of Budget and Management and the President of the Philippines.

He added that the pork barrel and other lump sum funds would only promote patronage politics and corruption, resulting in the malversation of public funds that should have been allocated for social services.

Pabillo said there should be a law that would prohibit any government official from using government funds for personal as well as his political allies’ interests.

The national movement for the people’s initiative, which was launched in Cebu on August 23, hopes to gather the signatures of at least 6 million registered voters by early next year.

At least 3 percent of voters for each congressional district and at least 10 percent of the total number of voters are needed for a referendum on a new law to be held.

The Commission on Elections will verify the list of signatures submitted to the body.

The Supreme Court declared unconstitutional the pork barrel (Priority Development Assistance Fund or PDAF), and the Aquino administration’s Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP). The PDAF is allotted to congressmen for their projects, while the DAP has been implemented by the Aquino administration using the savings of agencies to hasten the completion of big-ticket infrastructure projects and urgent antipoverty programs.

US to pay PH P87M for damage to World Heritage Site

By Pia Ranada with a report from Paterno Esmaquel II (

The amount represents the P58M that the Philippines asked the US and the P28M fuel and repair costs incurred by the Coast Guard. It is lower than environmentalists' estimates of P737.8M to P1.2B.

MANILA, Philippines – Almost two years after an American navy vessel damaged coral reefs in a UNESCO World Heritage Site off the coast of Palawan, the United States is finally compensating the Philippines.

The US is set to pay the Philippines P87 million (US$1.9 million), the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) confirmed on Friday, October 24.

The news came 4 months after the US received a formal request for compensation from the Philippine government on June 13, 2014.

DFA spokesman Charles Jose said in a text message: "When asked on the status of US payment for Tubbataha, SFA [Albert del Rosario] said we are now in the documentation stage. When asked how much we are asking from US, he replied, '87 million pesos.'"

But Kurt Hoyer, press attaché of the US embassy told Rappler that no amount has been finalized yet. The US embassy is also yet to release a statement on the matter.

"We will have a statement when all is finalized. Hopefully soon," he said via text message.

The USS Guardian obliterated 2,345.67 square meters of coral reef when it crashed into Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park, the world-famous marine park and protected area in Palawan province on January 17, 2013.

US Ambassador Philip Goldberg in June did not release the amount of compensation in Manila's request, but the Philippine government had pegged the cost of the damage at P58 million ($1.3 million).

Environmentalists who had gone to the Supreme Court to force the government to demand compesation from the US had a higher estimate of damage: P737.8 million ($16.8 million) to P1.2 billion ($27 million).

The US Embassy, however, chose to negotiate directly with the Philippine government instead of entertaining petitions from other groups.

The Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and considered the "crown jewel of Philippine seas" because of its rich marine life.

Angelique Songco, superintendent of the Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park told Rappler that the P87 million is the combined amount of payment for the damage of the reefs and costs incurred by the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG).

Of the amount, P58 million is to compensate for the damage of the park, while around P28 million will pay for fuel and repair costs incurred by the PCG while assisting the US Navy.

8 flights cancelled due to aircraft situation


At least eight flights were cancelled Thursday morning due to an aircraft situation, the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) said.

DOTC said in a Twitter post that the flights that were canceled include 5J-907 (Manila-Caticlan), 5J-908 (Caticlan-Manila), 5J-373 (Manila-Roxas), 5J-374 (Roxas-Manila), 5J-447 (Manila-Iloilo), 5J-448 (Iloilo-Manila), 5J-637 (Manila-Puerto Princesa), and 5J-638 (Puerto Princesa-Manila).

DOTC did not say what type of aircraft situation that cancelled the flights which belong to Cebu Pacific.

More areas for hybrid rice eyed in Palawan, Mindanao

By Reuel John F. Lumawag

THE Philippine-East Asean Growth Area (P-Eaga) is targeting to expand plantation area for hybrid rice in Palawan and Mindanao starting this year, in a bid to increase the production of rice and achieve food sufficiency in these areas.

"The Philippines is the lead country in the Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines-Eaga implementing the hybrid rice planting as part of the Food Basket Pilar. The province of Palawan and the whole of Mindanao are part of the P-Eaga areas," said Dr. Frisco M. Malabanan, senior technical consultant of SL Agritech Corp. (Slac) in a Status Report on the Hybrid Rice Planting in the P-Eaga Regions, which he presented during the 2nd BIMP-Eaga Agribusiness Cluster Meeting at Grand Regal Hotel on Tuesday.

He said the project is a private-public partnership (PPP) between the Department of Agriculture (DA) and private seed companies headed by Slac, who are spearheading the hybrid rice planting in the P-Eaga areas, which includes Palawan and the whole of Mindanao.

Expansion of the hybrid rice plantations will begin during the 2014-2015 dry season cropping, wherein they are targeting 23,567 hectares (has.), up to 2015 wet season and 2015-2016 dry season cropping , wherein they are targeting 40,782 has.

For the 2014-2015 dry season cropping, 1,454 has. have been targeted for Palawan, 4,186 has. for Zamboanga Peninsula, 2,000 has. for Northern Mindanao, 5,678 has. for Davao Region, 4,200 has. for Socsksargen, 1,493 has. for Caraga, and 4,556 has. for Autonomous Region in Muslin Mindanao (Armm).

For the 2015 wet season and 2015-2016 dry season cropping, 2,456 has. have been targeted for Palawan, 8,372 has. for Zamboanga Peninsula, 4,000 has. for Northern Mindanao, 11,356 has. for Davao Region, 2,500 has. for Socsksargen, 2,986 has. for Caraga, and 9,112 has. for Autonomous Region in Muslin Mindanao (Armm).

In 2013, the hybrid rice plantations in the P-Eaga is at 36,982 has., located in Zamboanga Peninsula at 9,325 has. Malabanan said based on their internal study, they have observed an increase in the average yield of the farmers who used the Slac hybrid rice variety.

"The average yield of SL Agritech hybrid rice variety was 6.6 metric tons per hectare in the P-Eaga compared to only 4.4 metric tons per hectare for inbred [rice]. This data showed a 50% yield advantage of hybrid rice compared to inbred [rice]," he said.

Malabanan said they are hoping to replicate this in other areas in the BIMP-Eaga like in some provinces in Malaysia.

Palawan voted 'top island in the world'


MANILA - Palawan, which is home to one of the world's newest natural wonders, was hailed as the best island in the world by the readers of an award-winning US travel magazine.

On Monday, Conde Nast Traveler released the results of its 27th annual Readers' Choice Awards on its website.

Palawan was named the "Top Island in the World" based on over 76,600 votes. The island destination scored a rating of 88.750, mainly because of the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River.

"Palawan's natural wonder is one of the longest underground rivers in the world, traveling five miles through a subterranean cave system," the magazine wrote.

"Guided boat tours take visitors down a portion of the waterway, where karsts, natural rock formations created by dissolving limestone, loom in every direction," it added.

Palawan beat out the likes of Kiawah Island in South Carolina, Maui in Hawaii, Bazaruto Archipelago in Mozambique, the Great Barrier Reef and Whitsunday Islands in Australia, and Santorini in Greece.

Meanwhile, Boracay Island also placed in the list at No. 12. The island received a rating of 82.683 from readers of the magazine.

"This itty-bitty island in the Western Philippines is as close to the tropical idyll ideal as you’ll find in the Philippines, with gentle coastlines and transporting sunsets. Add in a thriving nightlife scene, and you have one of the top tourist spots in the region," Conde Nast Traveler wrote.

"The aptly named White Beach is Boracay’s main draw, with powdery white sand and shallow azure water ideal for swimming and snorkeling," it added.

Shangri-La's Boracay Resort & Spa also received acclaim, ranking 11th in the list of "Top 20 Resorts in Asia."

"Providing 'a great resort experience that everyone should enjoy, this property on 30 acres debuted in 2009. The main building is an open pavilion with a pitched roof and an exterior of local coral stone," the magazine wrote.

"Public areas create a sense of place with ten-foot-high tribal drums, carved wooden sculptures, and local art. Room interiors showcase handwoven textiles, sconces made of local capiz shells, and oars framed as art," it added.

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