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DTI-Palawan monitors stores selling sub-standard helmets

By Jumong Ustares

The Department of Trade and Industry in the Province of Palawan is continuously monitoring the compliance of stores selling motorcycle helmets ensuring they meet the quality standard set by the government.

DTI Provincial Director Rosenda Fortunado said the monitoring activities are focused on checking motorcycle helmets being sold in stores in Palawan to make sure these have Import Commodity Clearance (ICC) sticker as embodied in the Motorcycle Helmet Act (Republic Act 10054).

The law aims to protect motorists from severe impact, specifically on the head, in case of accident. Based on previous recorded motorcycle accidents those who died were not wearing helmets or they used helmets which are not durable to withstand the impact.

The stricter implementation of Motorcycle Helmet Act started in 2013 and the monitoring activities of DTI continue until today.

In Palawan, there are local government units that strictly implement the law by passing a supporting ordinance to compel motorists to wear helmet while driving motorcycle.

City Council seeks regulation in the conduct of medical missions


The City Council of Puerto Princesa has approved during its regular session an ordinance authored by Councilor Roy Gregorio Ventura which regulates the conduct of medical, dental, optometric missions and the like in the City of Puerto Princesa.

The highlight of the ordinance is to be stricter in the issuance of permits of medical missions from the City Health Office.

Councilor Ventura said that thru the ordinance, the welfare of citizens will be more protected. It was observed that some of the medical missions were conducted without any permission from the concerned authorities. He believes that since it concerns the health and well-being of the people, proper implementation must really be ensured all the time.

Meanwhile, medical missions during calamities or accidents will be exempted and will be issued an automatic permit.

Based in the ordinance, there will be a P1, 500 fine for the first violation. A fine of P3, 000 and P5, 000 will be imposed for the second and third violations respectively. The latter’s penalty also includes imprisonment of not less than six months.

Implementing Rules and Regulations is expected to be formulated immediately following the approval of the said ordinance.

Solid Waste Management Office to provide 600 additional garbage bins

By Grace Belostrino

Starting Monday, February 8, the City Solid Waste Management Office (SWMO) will add 600 more garbage bins in different areas of Puerto Princesa City.

According to Andrew Russel, head of the SWMO, the new garbage bins ranging from medium to large sizes have just been delivered and are ready for disposal anytime.

Populated areas, national highways will be prioritized as these are strategic areas.

As of this writing, SWMO is still conducting studies of which particular places that the bins must be located. Russel urged the public to take care of the garbage bins and not to use it for personal purposes.

To regulate the proper use of the garbage bins, a resolution was filed before the City Council to penalize those who will be caught using such inside their residence.

The SWMO assured the public that the 14 garbage trucks are fully-functional collecting around 120 tons of wastes or garbage every day and haul it to the sanitary landfill.

He likewise advised all residents of the city to be very particular with the specific schedules of garbage collection at their respective barangays to help the local government unit in the maintenance of cleanliness in the “cleanest and greenest” city in the country.

Starting Monday, February 8, the City Solid Waste Management Office (SWMO) will add 600 more garbage bins in different areas of Puerto Princesa City.

According to Andrew Russel, head of the SWMO, the new garbage bins ranging from medium to large sizes have just been delivered and are ready for disposal anytime.

Populated areas, national highways will be prioritized as these are strategic areas.

As of this writing, SWMO is still conducting studies of which particular places that the bins must be located. Russel urged the public to take care of the garbage bins and not to use it for personal purposes.

To regulate the proper use of the garbage bins, a resolution was filed before the City Council to penalize those who will be caught using such inside their residence.

The SWMO assured the public that the 14 garbage trucks are fully-functional collecting around 120 tons of wastes or garbage every day and haul it to the sanitary landfill.

He likewise advised all residents of the city to be very particular with the specific schedules of garbage collection at their respective barangays to help the local government unit in the maintenance of cleanliness in the “cleanest and greenest” city in the country.

City Council expects more concrete plan from CTMO to lessen traffic problems after dry-run

(Palawan News)

The City Council of Puerto Princesa is hoping that the City Traffic Management Office (CTMO) will layout a more concrete plan on how to reduce traffic problems at New Market area after the 15-day dry run period inside the Puerto Princesa Land Transportation Terminal.

The Council in its recent regular session approved Resolution No. 1439-2016 giving authority to the CTMO to implement a new scheme in San Jose area to help solve the worsening traffic problems in the city.

This approval came after a thorough study of the Committee on Transportation led by Councillor Miguel T. Cuaderno IV. The members of the Council requested all the drivers, commuters and the general public who will be affected by the experimental traffic scheme to be open-minded and support the said program.

Cuaderno assured the public that they will make sure that the problems will be properly addressed in due time. The dry-run started February 1 and will end on the 15th.

Hydro power project in Langogan to commence construction

By Catherine Santos

After seven years of struggling for their project application, Mike Wotton of Langogan Power Corporation (LPC) finally announces the construction of 6.8 megawatt hydroelectric power project in Barangay Langogan, Puerto Princesa City immediately after its ground-breaking ceremony Friday, February 5.

As presented by Steve Dorland of LPC during the kick-off ceremony, the said project is about to produce 32 million kwh per year. This ‘run of the river’ type project is around 21 kilometers from its powerhouse located at upper Sitio Manggapin down to the existing 69 KV backbone gridline at barangay central. The target commissioning of the construction project is March 2018 and is expected to last for two years.

LPC assured the public of the sustainability of Langogan River based from series of comprehensive hydrologic studies. Using the satellite historic information from NASA, the rainfall is converted to run-off or river flow, the river will not dry even in 50 years time. Environment and watershed management involving different stakeholders and the community will be incorporated in the project to ensure the river’s sustainability.

Palawan Electric Cooperative General Manager Ric Zambales believes that this new power supply agreement upon operation will help a lot in the stability of power supply in the province. It will also help reduce the power cost, he added.

City Mayor Lucilo R. Bayron who was also present in the even expressed his excitement in the first-ever renewable energy in the City. He is even more thrilled by the promise of LPC of 20, 624 tons reduction of carbon dioxide emission per annum compare to other typical power providers.

The Ambassador of Great Britain Asif Ahmad graced the occasion in support to British investors helping Filipinos. “Gusto ko na mapabuti ang buhay ng mga Pilipino,” he fluently aforesaid in Filipino to the delight of the attendees of the said event.

Langogan Bgy. Captain Camilo Bebit and Bert Madamay, a Batak Chieftain expressed happiness to the realization of the project. According to Madamay, it will benefit their tribe in terms of easy road access, free of charge of electricity and possible employment of some members of their indigenous cultural community.

Aside from project in Langogan, the LPC holds other service contracts to develop hydro power projects in Palawan one of which is an 8 megawatt facility located at Batang-Batang, Narra. Palawan and an under application 3.5 megawatt facility along Talakaigan River in Aborlan.

New city possible in southern Palawan if oil palm industry flourishes


PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, Feb. 5 (PNA) -- The possibility of creating a new city in southern Palawan is not far from happening with the help of the oil palm industry, according to the chief executive officer of a Malaysian agro-industrial company Thursday.

Camarul Osman, chief executive officer (CEO) of the ALIF Agro Industrial, Inc.(AAII)-Philippines said the southern Palawan town of Narra can be a spanking urban area if the oil palm industry flourishes.

He said this following the launching Thursday in this city of the Palawan Integrated Oil Palm Hub (PIOPH).

The début is anchored on the fact that AAII has a number of oil palm pilot projects in various barangays in Narra totaling about 5,000 hectares.

These pilot projects, he said, can make the province accessible to more investors not only in oil palm, but others as well.

Osman’s optimistic projection about creating a new city in Palawan comes despite the failure to prosper oil palm farming in Palawan years ago.

Thursday’s launching of the PIOPH hopes to push the industry again under the public-private partnership. This effort is led in Palawan by the Palawan Palm Oil Industry Development Council (PPOIDC) composed of numerous stakeholders.

PIOPH’s launching was the product of a palm oil summit held September last year in Puerto Princesa, where it was held as among the highest yielding crops in the world compared to coconut.

Osman said Palawan, with its large tracts of land is ideal for flourishing the industry in the Philippines. Out of 350,000 hectares of land in the country, about a hundred thousand hectares are in Palawan and can be planted with palm oil.

He said that if their pilot projects are able to survive challenges, Palawan will not only be in the world map of palm oil industry, but will also have opportunities in the development of additional urban areas.

To refresh the interest of Palaweños in taking on the industry, Osman said ALIF is willing to help train them in adopting the technology that Malaysia is utilizing for its successful oil palm farming.

Oil palm is easy to plant and compared to coconut, it does not need much time for maintenance, harvesting and even marketing. It is also said to have many comparative advantages over other crops.

Similar to the best hybrid corn, oil palm H hybrid grows fast and is very sturdy once planted in the field. Oil palm trees are greener in weedy fields, where coconut trees may appear chlorotic due to weed competition.

El Nido draws more local tourists

By Raoul J. Chee Kee (Inquirer Lifestyle)

With the reopening of Lagen Island last December, the four properties that comprise the luxurious El Nido Resorts are once again fully operational.

In the next few years, LiO—an Ayala Land development being constructed in phases in El Nido, Palawan—will complement the resort’s Miniloc, Apulit, Pangulasian and Lagen islands.

Once completed, LiO will consist of residences, commercial establishments and several bed and breakfasts (B&Bs).

Business has certainly picked up in this sleepy seaside town. There are now four daily flights in 50-seater planes that take off from the Island Transvoyager hangar in Manila. In the past, there were only two flights in tiny planes with a handful of passengers at a time.

El Nido Resorts group director of operations Marc Cerqueda said there are also more Filipino travelers now compared a few years ago when it was mostly foreign tourists. The ratio now is 45 percent Filipinos and 55 percent foreigners.

That Palawan has been awarded by Condé Nast Traveler as Best Island in the World for two years now has no doubt drawn more attention to this “piece of paradise.”


We would often hear this phrase during a recent visit to Lagen Island. It’s easy to understand, seeing how the staff takes great pride in their place of work.

Resort manager Jennifer Zafra narrated how she and her staff hand-carried the Machuca tiles imported from Spain to the different villas to avoid breakage. The tiles were then carefully assembled in the verandas of each villa.

Architect Conrad Onglao came up with the tropical colonial look that is more modern and easier on the eye. Earth tones abound, paired with slashes of graphic black and white.

Woven details like the solihiya headboard and lamp bases in the guest rooms, as well as the framed botanical prints by Father Blanco on the wall, complete the look.

“We knew that if there were too many breakages, additional tiles would have to be ordered and we don’t know when those would arrive from Spain,” Zafra said.

This admirable passion for work and determination to avoid wastage continues even in the company-managed small-sized farm in El Nido town that provides 55 percent of the resorts’ vegetable needs. Nine screened-off vegetable plots are devoted to growing pechay, arugula, lettuce and eggplant.

Nearby is a piggery. Vegetable cuttings, kitchen scraps and the pigs’ manure are composted and used to fertilize the plots.

“We started growing vegetables back in 2006,” said the resort’s marine biologist Marigs Laririt. “We supplied only 15 percent of the resorts’ needs at the time but we’ve been increasing that amount every year. We are also able to provide work for residents; 80 percent of our staff is from Palawan.”

Laririt later told Inquirer Lifestyle that “sustainability” is a word El Nido Resorts takes seriously.

“It’s important to come up with more activities for guests like line fishing, a process still used by local fishermen involving squid as bait, a length of nylon thread and a lot of patience,” Laririt noted.

El Nido also offers locally sourced dishes like seafood and bahay kubo vegetables. “Unlike the chefs of the past whose concept of five-star fare is steak and sea bass, younger chefs are more willing to experiment,” she said. “They’re up for the challenge of taking these local ingredients and presenting them in a number of delicious ways.”

These and many other initiatives have made El Nido Resorts a favorite of a growing number of Filipino travelers. “We have entire clans, from grandparents to grandchildren, who book several villas,” Cerqueda said. “They make their first big family trip to Palawan instead of Singapore or Hong Kong; there are lolas who tell us they tried snorkeling for the first time at the resort or when they go island-hopping.”

DOST leads launch of ICT-based business centers in Mimaropa

By Macon Ramos-Araneta

The first-ever international information and communication technology business incubator in the Mindoro-Marinduque-Romblon-Palawan region was opened at the Palawan State University-Main Campus in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan to provide Filipino technology entrepreneurs in Palawan a hub to incubate and accelerate ICT business enterprises.

The ICT business incubator was launched by the Department of Science and Technology-Mimaropa Palawan State University, Palaweño ICT Association, and Make a Difference Industries of Malaysia.

The Palawan International Information and Communications Technology Business Incubator cum Start-up Hub, also known as Palawan ITBI, caters to the growing number of technology-based start-ups.

The TBI provides start-ups a platform where they can develop their tech-relevant ideas into products that will be able to compete in the global market.

Josefina Abilay, DOST-Mimaropa regional director, said the newly launched start-up hub is where “ideas can be transformed into products and start-ups can be guided to become fully-fledged entrepreneurs.”

“It is timely that this initiative is finally offering incubation services to young professionals and aspiring entrepreneurs so that their ideas or start-up products will be accelerated through the Palawan TBI,” she added.

DSWD’s sustainable livelihood awards PHP450K to fishermen in Palawan town


PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, Feb. 1 (PNA) -- The Department of Social Welfare and Development’s (DSWD) Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP) recently awarded PHP450,000 to a fishermen’s group in Cuyo, Palawan to help them establish fish cages.

Jason Eco Oliverio of the DSWD-MIMAROPA Social Marketing Unit (SMU), said over the weekend that the amount was awarded to the Cuyo Fishermen SLP Association that has 45 members in Barangay Suba, Cuyo.

The association that was created under the SLP modalities is one of the recipients of the Enterprise Capital Assistance (ECA) that provides start up capitals.

The fund, Oliverio said, was coursed through the Post-Yolanda Recovery and Rehabilitation Program (YRRP) which aims to give livelihood support to super typhoon Yolanda affected communities.

With the assistance fund, the association is expected to generate PHP135,000 per month from 1.3 tons of fish caught.

SLP, a community-based capacity-building program that seeks to improve the socio-economic status of its participants, is implemented using the Community-Driven Enterprise Development approach which enables participants to contribute to production and labor markets by looking at available resources and accessible markets.

DOH, PPC local aids council members develops roadmap for HIV prevention and control for Palawan


MANILA (PNA) -- The Department of Health (DOH) – MIMAROPA (Oriental/Occidental Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon, Palawan) together with various members of the Local AIDS Council headed by local officials of Puerto Princesa City (PPC), Palawan said Friday that they had consolidated and established a sustainable program that will provide and implement quality HIV and AIDS program and services in the city during a recent two-day workshop activity held in Puerto Princesa City.

“A viable response system with coherent and collective approach at the local level for the prevention and control of the increasing HIV/AIDS infection in Palawan, particularly in PPC must be ensured to combat the spread of the disease in the community,” Regional Director Eduardo C. Janairo said.

“The impact of HIVAIDS in the province will continue to increase and we need a coherent strategy that will bring together leaders of all sectors of the community, service providers and welfare organizations to prevent the spread of the disease and to provide care for people living with HIV and AIDS and their families," he added.

The workshop has developed a local AIDS response program for members of the council by recognizing their roles and responsibilities in the prevention and control of HIV/AIDS.

“Everyone must be involved - civil society, local government agencies, schools, churches and make sure that everyone works together to combat its spread through prevention and health education, care and support, treatment and care for children affected by the disease,” Janairo said.

The PPC Local AIDS Council was created through Ordinance No. 620 in August 2014 authored by City Councilor Roy Ventura. It is mandated to craft and recommend policies, propose budget requirements for the implementation of projects, programs and initiatives.

According to the August 2015 HIV/AIDS and ART Registry of the Philippines (HARP), more 18-24 years old are getting HIV in Palawan Province. The basic knowledge on HIV is very low, especially below 25 years old. The start of initiation to sex is as early as 15 years old, first anal sex at 16 yo, first condom use at 17 yo and first HIV test at 21 yo.

From among the diagnosed HIV cases in the province of Palawan, Puerto Princesa City tops the list with 63 percent; municipality of Narra with 7 percent; Roxas 5 percent; with Taytay 4 percent; and the rest of the province with 18 percent.

Among the causes of new HIV infections are male to male sex with 44 percent, males who have sex with both males and females with 42 percent and male to female sex with 15 percent.

POEA to set-up a field office in Palawan?

By Jumong Ustares

The Provincial Board of Palawan finds it necessary and beneficial if the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration could establish a field office in the province considering the increasing number of overseas workers whose families are based in Palawan.

In a resolution approved recently by the provincial board authored by Board Member Eduardo Modesto V. Rodriguez, it is requesting Department of Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda D. Baldoz through POEA Administrator Hans Leo J. Cacdac to set up a field office in Palawan.

This is to ease up the processing of documents of Palaweños planning to work abroad particularly in securing the Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC) which is currently being processed in Manila.

DSWD-MIMAROPA conducts hands-on training on food processing tech in Palawan town


PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, Jan. 29 (PNA) -- The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD)-MIMAROPA in cooperation with the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) and the local government of Cuyo, Palawan announced Thursday the completion of the three-day hands-on Training on Food Processing Technology for a Nutritious Economy Menu to beneficiaries.

Jason Eco Oliverio of the Social Marketing Unit of DSWD-MIMAROPA said the three-day training which ended Thursday had 120 residents, who participated, from 17 barangays in Cuyo town in southern Palawan.

The skills training is part of the social welfare department’s disaster rehabilitation effort in restoring livelihoods and helping people rebuild their lives from the destruction of super typhoon Yolanda in 2013.

The DSWD-Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP) provided starter kits, including cooking kits and ingredients to attendees amounting to PHP282,210.

The SLP is a community-based capacity-building program that seeks to improve the socio-economic status of the participants, he explained.

It is implemented using the Community-Driven Enterprise Development (CDED) approach, which enables participants to contribute to production and labor markets by looking at available resources and accessible markets.

The DSWD-MIMAROPA and its partners hope that after the three-day training, the participants would be able to use what they have learned to finally begin the process of gaining what they have lost during the onslaught of Yolanda.

23,000 Palaweños now registered as PhilHealth beneficiaries

By Jesus M. Ustares [(PNA), LAP/CARF/JMU/EBP]

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, Jan. 28 (PNA) -- The number of beneficiaries enrolled by the Palawan provincial government to the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) for the years 2014 and 2015 has reached 23,000 residents, according to a data by the Pangkalusugan Para sa Pamilyang Palawenyo (KALINGAPPP).

Maridel Gajardo, senior administrative assistant of the provincial government, said Wednesday that the Health and Other Social Services (HOSS) is prioritizing to enroll them to PhilHealth free of charge, especially those who are confined in hospitals since they can immediately avail discounts.

Gajardo said their priority is based on the fact that regularly enrolled members have to wait until they can avail of the PhilHealth discount.

Gajardo is encouraging families that have relatives who are confined in hospitals to get in touch with them at the Provincial Capitol to enroll them in PhilHealth.

If the prospective beneficiary is in a distant location, all that must be done is to go to Southern Provincial Hospital, Northern Provincial Hospital, Coron Hospital and Aborlan Hospital to process the membership on their own since these institutions are authorized by PhilHealth.

This year, she said they expect to enroll more to PhilHealth, since it is one of the goals of the administration of Palawan Governor Jose Alvarez.

She furthered that the objective is that each family is enrolled in PhilHealth in 23 municipalities of the province.

Centre for Sustainability, gov’t agencies push for sustainable farming of groupers

(Palawan News)

As demand for grouper (lapu-lapu) in China is increasing, there is a need to ensure a sustainable source of live fish that will not deplete the volume of supply in the wild thus the Centre for Sustainability and other government agencies are pushing for good aquaculture practice.

The price of grouper is high when sold alive. In order to catch live fish from the coral reef, fishermen regularly use illegal fishing methods and this has a big impact on the health and productivity of coral reefs according to CFS.

An increasing number of fishermen catch undersize grouper, which they use for grow-out purposes. This means that less and less groupers reach maturity to breed and multiply. This has resulted to strong decline in the number of wild grouper and other important fish species.

CFS is an educational organization which bring academic and industry expertise to the wider community by providing sustainability education and training programs for individuals, organizations and communities.

CFS has constructed a nonprofit grouper hatchery and nursery facility in Palawan. It is working hand in hand with a number of partners including the City Government of Puerto Princesa, the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development and BFAR. In their state of the art facility in Bgy. Sta. Lucia, Puerto Princesa, different species of grouper fingerlings are produced and dispersed at cost price to small-scale grouper farmers throughout Palawan.

As part of the endeavor to increase the sustainability of the grouper farming sector in the province, the agriculture office of Taytay town has teamed up with PCSD and CFS to organize a series of trainings to grouper farmers.

With an aim to improve the sustainability and profitability of grouper farming practices, a training was held recently in the town of Taytay with 30 farmers from different grouper farming cooperatives.

The two-day training was led by Municipal Aquaculturist Hedilisa D. Pacionela and Municipal Agriculturist Gaspar L. Pacionela. It was supported by the local government of Taytay through Vice-Mayor Christian V. Rodriguez.

The main speaker for the event was Palaweño Al Gonzales, a grouper hatchery and grow-out expert with experience in the Philippines and in numerous countries aboard who is now managing the Centre for Sustainability hatchery.

As the training course was received so well by local fish farmers, the organizers plan to organize more of such events in the future and the next training is already planned for fishermen from Balabac. Ultimately the organizers are hoping to create a truly sustainable aquaculture industry in Palawan that has the potential to lift thousands of coastal residents out of poverty.

Aside from CFS, LGU of Taytay and government agencies, the Interchurch Cooperative for Development Cooperation (ICCO) also supported the activity by providing financial support.

Palawan PDRRMO ready for long-term effects of El Niño

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

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, Jan. 26 (PNA) -- The Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office (PDRRMO) is prepared to provide support to farmers in Palawan, who will be affected by the El Niño long dry spell.

PDRRMO Chief Gilbert Baaco said over the weekend that the PDRRMO has readied PHP10 million to support farmers and families that will be affected by the El Niño phenomenon, particularly if a state of calamity is declared.

“We have PHP5 million for southern Palawan, and at the same time, we also have PHP5 million for northern Palawan in preparation for the El Niño. So far, we’re already experiencing the effect, and we are prepared anytime,” Baaco said.

Despite not receiving any report from farmers in the municipalities, the PDRRMO chief said the ill effects of the warm phase are descending on them, affecting farm crops, especially rice and vegetable crops.

“If we’re talking about the hotness of the weather that we are feeling right now, it’s even warmer in other provinces,” he said.

Baaco added that it’s not only the PDRRMO that set aside funds. Each municipality also prepared a 5-percent calamity fund for the El Niño.

He said too, that if farm fields are affected, families can, for the meantime, try the farming of seaweeds (tambalang) that the provincial government is supporting as an alternative livelihood.

SLP beneficiaries trained on mudcrab project in Busuanga


BUSUANGA, Palawan, Jan. 25 (PNA) -- The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) MiMaRoPa thru the Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP) conducted Skills Training on Mudcrab Fattening and Culturing Project for about 100 beneficiaries in barangays Sto. Nino, Sagrada, Quezon and Old Busuanga.

DSWD has allocated Php754,000.00 under the SLP Post Yolanda Recovery and Rehabilitation Program (YRRP), to give livelihood support to Super Typhoon Yolanda affected communities.

Mudcrab pens are also constructed in mangrove areas in the municipality in partnership with the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR).

SLP, a community-based capacity-building program that seeks to improve the socio-economic status of its participants, is implemented using the Community-Driven Enterprise Development approach which enables participants to contribute to production and labor markets by looking at available resources and accessible markets.

NFA assures Palaweños of enough rice supply amidst striking El Niño phenomenon

By Celeste Anna R. Formoso [(PNA), PGL/CARF/RSM]

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY (PNA) -– The National Food Authority (NFA)on Thursday admitted that Palawan is beginning to really feel the effects of the El Niño phenomenon on the production of rice and other farm crops.

However, NFA-Palawan assistant provincial director Lilibeth Ignacio assured residents in local media interviews that they have nothing to worry about because they are on top of the situation.

“The biggest effect of the El Niño is on the rice yield… the average yield of the farmers will, of course, fall because of lack of needed irrigation on their rice fields. If we cannot produce palay, we cannot produce rice. That’s usually the problem during El Niño,” Ignacio said, adding most rice farmers only depend on the rain to supply their farms with water.

Ignacio explained that long before the phenomenon was felt, they have been implementing measures to coordinate for rice supplies from other provinces in the MIMAROPA region.

As of current, there are 84,000 sacks of rice stored in NFA warehouses in Palawan, and Ignacio said these can cover the need for one month.

“Even though the forecast of PAGASA is that there will be a long dry spell in Palawan, or drought as they categorized, we assure everybody that we have enough stocks. Let us not worry because even if palay production falls, the NFA is here and we will see to it that we will not run out of combined palay and rice supply enough to last for 29 days,” she said.

She assured further that they are also continuously monitoring stocks in their warehouses to ensure that there will be enough supply.

The assurance came as rice vendors and even consumers expressed worry over the long dry spell that is already being felt.

Rice vendor Geraldine Baguyo said that although there still seems to be supply, they can’t help but feel it getting scarce as each day comes.

“The supply is still good these days but our suppliers are beginning to increase prices as they too, said there is now an impending deficiency. When the prices are high, we are also forced to raise our prices per kilo,” she said.

In Puerto Princesa, the city government has created the Task Force El Niño to prepare to respond to any needs the whole dry season. It will coordinate with other offices to be able to accomplish measures.

The Puerto Princesa City Water District (PPCWD), on the other hand, said that if the long dry spell pursues, it might resort to water rationing.

Nido Petroleum Q4 net production up by 103.5% from Q3

By Juzel L. Danganan [(PNA), LGI/JLD]

MANILA (PNA) -- The net production of Nido Petroleum Ltd. from its interest in the Galoc, Nido and Matinloc blocks for the fourth quarter of 2015 jumped by 103.5 percent from the third quarter of 2015.

In a disclosure from the Australian bourse, the company bared its netted barrels from the Galoc, Nido and Matinloc oil fields increased to 409,112 barrels during the fourth quarter of 2015 from 201,003 barrels for the third quarter of 2015.

Its netted barrels from the Galoc oil field totalled 399,539 barrels for the fourth quarter, compared to the previous 194,414 barrels during the third quarter.

For its interest in the Nido and Matinloc oil fields, however, the production also improved from 6,589 barrels for the third quarter to 9,573 barrels during the last quarter of 2015.

Nido's sales, on the other hand, fell to US$ 8.8 million from US$ 21.38 million for the third quarter. It was mainly earned from Galoc's production, namely Cargo 48 and 49.

Cargo 48 was sold for US$ 47.04 per barrel to Singapore Petroleum Co. It was lifted on Oct 10, 2015.

The company also said Cargo 49 added to its earnings, despite at a lower price of US$ 37.59 per barrel to Thai Oil Public Co. Ltd in Thailand. The payment was received in January 2016.

However, Nido Petroleum bared it had not received cash receipts from the Nido and Matinloc oil fields for the fourth quarter.

The oil and gas firm also reported it ended the quarter with cash on hand of US$ 17.5 million and an outstanding debt of US$ 88.2 million.

Overall, the production from the Galoc oil field totalled 525,024 barrels for the fourth quarter, while the Nido and Matinloc oil fields had a production of 36,109 barrels.

The Galoc, Nido and Matinloc oil fields are located along the Palawan basin.

Nido Petroleum Limited is an Australian-listed company, engaged in oil and gas exploration and production projects in the Philippines and Indonesia.

Nido has invested in eight service contracts in the Philippines, holding and dominating shares in three of the service contracts.

38 hatchlings of endangered olive ridley sea turtles released in Puerto Princesa

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

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, Jan. 22 (PNA) -- The Pawikan Conservation Project (PCP) in this city released Wednesday around 38 hatchlings of the endangered olive ridley sea turtles as part of its conservation efforts in Palawan.

Bon Tobias of PCP said in a local television interview Thursday that the release of the endangered sea turtle hatchlings in Barangay Simpucan on the west coast of Puerto Princesa was backed by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) as part of its forest, terrestrial, and marine ecosystems conservation efforts.

The olive ridley sea turtle (Lepidochelys olivacea), also known as the Pacific ridley sea turtle, is a medium-sized species of sea turtle found in warm and tropical waters.

The sea turtle species is most known for its behavior of synchronized nesting in mass numbers.

“This species of sea turtle is actually very rarely seen now in Palawan,” said Vivian Soriano of the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (PENRO), who joined the afternoon release of the hatchlings in Simpucan.

The time of release in the ocean, she explained, was because the hatchlings were sensitive to extreme sun heat. It is also a strategy for the hatchlings not to be immediately detected by predators as only one in a 100 usually survives.

“The category of the olive ridley sea turtle is endangered that is why we need to conserve and protect them, or we will lose the species from our seas,” she said.

In the west coast, the PCP is monitoring at least 17 nesting areas of the olive ridley sea turtles with currently 1,000 eggs that need to be protected until they hatch.

El Nido, Palawan: Tips for the budget traveler

By Mark-Anthony Villaflor (
Traveler Mark Villaflor and his wife Camille have packed up and moved to El Nido, Palawan. Here are his top tips for your budget trip to the beautiful island paradise

Of course, many of us have grown up with a negative misconception that vacationing in certain corners of our beautiful country isn’t doable. However, with the growing scene of backpackers and DIY travelers we are discovering that it is not only possible to travel to places, but possible to do so on a tight budget.

Slices of paradise we’re hearing about on travel blogs, magazines, and social media channels are within our reach.

Our focus today: El Nido, Palawan, a haven for 5-star island resorts and a town proper mixed with budget digs and moderately priced hotels.

For those with a smaller budget the sections below breakdown your options:

Getting there

You’re likely going to roll into Palawan via Puerto Princesa. From there walk two minutes out of the airport to the street and flag down a P50 tricycle to the bus terminal.

There are two bus companies, Cherry and Roro, that leave the bus terminal each hour for the 6-hour ride to El Nido. You can take a regular bus (P280) or an air-conditioned bus (P380).

Alternatively, you can get a van shuttle for P400 and save yourself an hour on the journey.

Tip: If you go to the bus terminal, you can negotiate your fare lower as van shuttles and buses are competing to fill up seats and leave.


Once you arrive, walk towards the street and then flag down a tricycle (P10 per person per way) towards town.

A few options about where to stay:

Check into OMP Hostel (P350 per person, including breakfast). In October 2015 I checked into El Taraw Inn for 400-500 php good for two people without breakfast. Both options were in El Nido town which can be a bit congested and noisy.

You can find rooms for P1000 - P1500 and might be able to squeeze in 4 people on two double beds. The Birdhouse, our glamping hotel (disclosure: this is a project of the author and his wife), is opening in the next few months and will have P2000 options for up to 4 people.

Orange Pearl Resort offers beachfront rooms but the bargain with them is in their tents. During 100% occupancy they rent out tents for people willing to sleep under the stars in front of the crashing ocean. These two options are located at Marimegmeg Beach.

Tip: Go directly to hotel’s websites and Facebook pages and contact the hotels directly. Many agents and online booking services get a 10-25% commission.

Island-hopping Tours

The standard tour price is P1200-1400 plus 200 for the environmental fee (good for 10 days). Alternatively, negotiate your own private banca ({2500-3000 Tour A/D; P3000-4000 Tour B/C) good for 6-8 passengers.

That averages to about P315-500 per person assuming you get 8 passengers on your boat. Keep in mind this doesn’t include any food. In preparation for your tour, pitch in P100 each and buy some fresh fish from any of the local fisherman or from the public market located across the bus terminal.

These are the tour options:

•Tour A: Big Lagoon, Small Lagoon, Simizu Island, Secret Lagoon and 7 Commandos Beach
•Tour B: Entalula Island, Pinagbuyutan Island, Snake Island, Cudugnon Cave and Cathedral Cave
•Tour C: Hidden Beach, Helicopter Island, Secret Beach, Matinloc Shrine and Star Beach
•Tour D: Bukal Island, Ipil Beach, Nat-Nat Beach, Cadlao Lagoon and Paradise Beach
Land Tours

If you're looking at discovering some of the mainland beaches you can hire a tricycle for as cheap as P1000-P1500 for the entire day, good for 4 people. Our recommendation would be to go to Nacpan Beach in the morning, do a hike up on the hill at the end of the beach for spectacular views of the twin beaches.

Come back to town for a cheap lunch and then have your driver take you to Marimegmeg Beach (Las Cabanas) for the rest of the day and walk down the beach for sunset.

Tip: For swimming, opt for Marimegmeg Beach rather than Nacpan as there’s a strong rip tide/current.

Kayak Tours

Kayak rentals start at P300 for half day or P500 for the entire day. From the town proper you can make your way to Cadlao Island (Bukal Beach or Pasandigan Beach) or Ipil Beach in about an hour.

From the Corong Corong area you can visit 7 Commandos Beach and Papaya Beach. If you go early in the day you’ll likely have some of these beaches to yourself as tours usually park themselves closer to town near the end of the day.

Tip: Ask for snorkel gear to be included or at least discounted.

El Nido on a budget

For a busy 3 days and two nights you can spend around P5000 per person with activities each day exploring the El Nido area:

Here's a sample itinerary for 3D/2N:

•Airfare: on a Cebu Pacific or Air Asia promo= P1500
•Bus round trip: {280 x 2 ways = P560
•Island Hopping Tour: P500
•Land Tour: P1000/4 people= P250
•Kayak: P600 full day/2 people= P300
•Food: P100 meal x 3 days x 3 meals= P900
•Lodging: 2 nights x P500 = P1000

Total: P5010

El Nido, once a sleepy town, has waken up to a huge boom in tourism. In the recent past El Nido was synonymous to a playground for the wealthy to vacation on private island resorts.

Things are changing and the backpacking scene is growing in the noisy, cramped town. These alternatives to the luxury hideaways are creating a huge market for the frugal to come in and island hop past the private islands and onto gorgeous beaches. However, with the increase of accolades El Nido and Palawan in general are receiving the best time to go is now. The prices increases are steadily happening and with the rush in development the charm may wear off.

Over 4,000 senior citizens in Palawan benefit from Local Social Pension


PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, Jan. 20 (PNA) -- More than 4,000 senior citizens have received their local social pension (LSP) from January to June 2015 from the Palawan government.

Helen Bundal of the Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office (PSWDO) said the number represents 22 of 23 municipalities with only senior citizens from the island town of Cagayancillo waiting to receive their pension.

Admitting the delay in the release of the senior citizens LSP's from Cagayancillo, Bundal assured these will be distributed in February to include those for July to December 2015.

The provincial government’s LSP program allotted PHP17-million for 2015, which is higher by PHP2-million from 2014 of PHP15-million.

She explained that each beneficiary undergoes examination by the PSWDO, the Municipal Social Welfare and Development Office (MSWDO) and the Office for Senior Citizens Affairs or OSCA.

The implementation of the social pension for indigent senior citizens is under Resolution 11305-2014 passed by the Sangguniang Panlalawigan in 2014.

Under the resolution, each verified beneficiary will receive PHP250 every month as stipulated in Republic Act 9994 or the Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010.

The Act orders all local government units (LGUs) to provide monthly pension to indigent senior citizens that can help defray medicine expenses.

Bundal added that senior citizens who have not yet avail of the program may get in touch with their office at the Provincial Capitol Building.

DOH, DepEd to implement Nat’l School Deworming Day in Palawan

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

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, Jan. 18 (PNA) – - The Department of Health (DOH) and the Department of Education (DepEd) are set to implement in Palawan on the last week of January the National School Deworming Day in close ties with the Provincial Nutrition Office.

Provincial Nutrition Action Officer Rachel Paladan said Monday that in Palawan, they have called on parents to enlist their children between the ages 1-12 to participate in the national health campaign.

Called “OPLAN: Purga Kontra Bulate,” Paladan said the deworming program will be done twice in a year to ensure that children are free of worms.

On Jan. 27, she said all students from Kinder to Grade 6 in public and private schools would receive free medicines for deworming.

Children who do not go to school yet as they are between the ages 1-4 can be brought to rural health units (RHUs) and barangay health stations (BHS) to receive their free anthelmintic drug.

The deworming program will be assisted by community volunteer health workers (CWHWs) in the municipalities composed of Barangay Environment, Agriculture and Nutrition Scholars (BEANS), BHWs, and employees of RHUs.

Paladan said the national deworming activity hoped to bring down the cases of students with helminths parasites, such as roundworm, flukes and tapeworms, that cause them to lose energy, loss their appetites, and for having low intelligence quotients or IQ.

Based on a memorandum from the DOH, there are different kinds of worms that can occupy the human body – hookworms, whipworms, and also pinworms.

The worms enter the human body when children walk without slippers on soils where they have eggs, breathing in eggs of pinworms or when they eat with their unwashed hands.

Symptoms that manifest in a child who has worms inside his body are pale in color, malnourished, bulging stomach, stomachache, loss of appetite and sometimes, with blood in feces.

Palawan gov’t to participate in ASEAN Tourism Forum 2016

By Celeste Anna R. Formoso [(PNA), PGL/CARF/SGP]

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, Jan. 18 (PNA) -- The provincial government of Palawan is participating Monday in the ASEAN Tourism Forum (ATF) 2016 that brings member countries together to discuss the fast-tracking of the growth of the leisure industry in the region.

Under the leadership of Governor Jose Alvarez, Palawan was chosen with Bohol to represent the Philippines’ tourism industry in the ATF until January 25 at the SMX Convention Center, Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.

Provincial Information Officer Atty. Gil Acosta Jr. explained that the ATF is a cooperation effort of member countries Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines to promote the region as a travel destination.

This year, the theme of the forum is “One Community for Sustainability.”

In the event, Acosta said Palawan is looking forward to participate in the three-day ASEAN Tourism Forum Travel Exchange (ATF TRAVEX), where business matching, product and tourism services exchanges will be done by participants.

“Sa pamamagitan nito ay mas mapapadali ang transaksiyon ng mga kalakal sa pagitan ng mga miyembrong bansa (Through this, transactions can be sped on trade and commerce too, among member countries),” he said.

On the third day of the event, Acosta said Alvarez is expected to participate in a media briefing with the international press to share Palawan’s success in winning as World’s Best Island in Conde Nast.

Meanwhile, Caesar Magbanua, coordinator of the tourism alliance cluster of the provincial government, said Palawan’s representation was prepared together by the Provincial Tourism Office (PTO) and the Palawan Tourism Council (PTC).

Magbanua said the booth showcases tourism products from the province, such as different destinations that are truly worth any visitor’s holiday.

As Conde Nast International Travel Magazine’s World’s Best Island, Palawan expects to draw attention from attendees of the forum that can be translated to more tourism visitors.

Just another day in paradise

By Bernard L. Supetran

RELIGIOUS leaders, philosophers, literary giants, musicians and even romantics have for ages immortalized the perpetual quest for the proverbial paradise on Earth and beyond. Countless pieces of literature and music have paid tribute to this mystical place of eternal bliss.

Down on Dimakya Island in Coron, Palawan, the perpetual search for heaven on Earth may have ended at an upscale resort hotel which embodies your vision of a tropical paradise.

Located within a Unesco Biosphere Reserve in northern Palawan, Club Paradise is a triple-A hideaway worthy of its name with its world-class facilities, luscious cuisine and exhilarating experience.

Bask in pristine white-sand beaches and crystalline water, diverse flora and fauna and a myriad of outdoor activities away from the madding crowd of the more popular beach getaways.

Yet, this dream destination is closer than you think, despite being in the middle of nowhere. This virtual paradise on a 19-hectare island is a scenic 60-minute land and sea trip from Busuanga airport which you will hardly notice because of the soothing sky of blue and sea of green along the way.

The resort does not only claim to being the Valhalla on this part of the country, it also claims to be your proverbial home away from home. You will be surprised at the effort they would exert to make every visit a homecoming.

Here are some of the sure-fire ways of spending just another day in paradise, with apologies to Phil Collins.

Explore the underwater world

The resort traces its genesis to being primarily a dive resort targeting the European market. And while it is undergoing a rebranding since being acquired by the Discovery World Resort group, it cannot simply say good-bye to its first love.

And how can you, when you are listed as among the world’s top best scuba-diving sites by Forbes Traveler Magazine no less. Club Paradise Divers, operated by its sister firm Discovery Fleet Corp., can satisfy your craving for the Neptune’s playground.

The island’s House Reef, which is touted for its abundant marine life and has been protected for the last 15 years, and boasts of a healthy profusion of marine life, as well as “critters” dear to macrophotographers. It has various reef systems filled with soft and hard corals, where cephalopods come to mate and lay eggs during the colder months. The reef also boasts of an array of reef fishes, such as damsel, parrot, flying gurnards, frogfishes and species of nudibranchs.

On a typical day the sighting of its school of jacks is a certainty and the probability of spotting and interacting with a seaturtles or dugong (seacow) is high. If you do not dive, worry not, as you can snorkel and view the thousands of jacks circling around a few meters away.

Half an hour away is the Kyokuzan Maru, one of 12 diveable Japanese World War II wrecks around Busuanga. If you like to take it to the next level, you can do a day trip to the Apo Reef Natural Park, the world’s second-biggest contiguous coral reef and a diving mecca in the Philippines.

Prestigious international travel magazine Condé Naste has named Palawan the world’s best island (or make that islands) for the past two years. Hence, every bit of land formation in the province is a world-class retreat and island-hopping an obligatory recreation.

Start off with the islets surrounding Club Paradise, that are mostly uninhabited. Isla Walang Lang-aw, literally island without trees, whose glistening powdery sand and crushed corals can be seen in the horizon, is the first stop. In between Dimakya, where the resort stands and mainland Busuanga, is a chain of islets, each with an interesting story to tell and activity to do. Dimalanta Island is top for snorkeling for its lush coral gardens and aquatic creatures just a few feet deep.

After leapfrogging around the mini-archipelago, you can foray into Coron town and swing by the usual tourist circuit—Hidden Lagoon, Siete Pecados, Kayangan Lake, Twin Lagoon, CYC Island, Barracuda Lake, Mount Tapyas, and often ends with a dip at the Maquinit Hot Spring.

On the other side of Busuanga is the Calauit Wildlife Safari, a sprawling wildlife preserve for spotting exotic African animals, such as giraffe, zebra and deer, as well as the endemic pilandok or mouse deer, the smallest of its kind in the world.

Indulge in aquasports

Surrounded by water, engaging in aquasports is a must. Paddle around the resort or the neighboring Isla Walang Lang-Aw aboard a see-through kayak and see the amazing marine life beneath.

Go back-to-the-basics and cruise aboard the native paraw sailboat and be soothed by the seawind caressing your skin. For an adrenaline-pumping adventure, ride the waves on a banana boat with your family and friends.

And after all the physical activity, you can pamper yourself at Glow Spa with a rejuvenating therapeutic massage in an aromatic room.

Feast on a gastronomic treat

Despite the logistical challenges in the transport of food supply and ingredients, the resort’s Ocean Restaurant can remarkable whip up delectable dishes which are at par with its counterparts in the metropolis.

A typical day begins with a hearty breakfast spread of international and local delights to start on a bright note. At lunch, you can pore at the wide selection of à la carte tropical gourmet delights. Chefs have built dinner buffets around a theme cuisine for the day, such as Korean, Chinese, Filipino, Italian, Mediterranean and so forth, to make it more varied and exciting.

And if you want an out-of-the-box chowtime in a tropical setting, Club Paradise can go the extra mile to make lunch or dinner more creative by setting up a picnic by the beach, al fresco casual dinner or boodle fight at a nearby island. There is also the option of a sunset cruise with cocktails as the resort’s resident string cumbancheros serenade you.

In between meals are, likewise, special with their wide array of pizzas, pastas and sandwiches. In a recent taping for her Kris TV show, Kris Aquino sank her teeth on the Quattro Formaggi (four cheese) pizza cooked in the traditional brick oven, which became her staple for a couple of meals.

For a nightcap, the club has a bar where you can sip your favorite spirit and concoction.

Hike to Eagle’s Point

A terrestrial activity often recommended to guests is the trek to the island’s highest peak aptly called Eagle’s Point, which gives you a commanding view of Dimakya, the neighboring islets and the vast expanse of the sea within the 360° view. With the moderate ascend through the forestal area, the hike is a refreshing exercise with the whiff of crisp mountain air at the zenith.

While the natural setting is already paradise in itself, the resort has made its rooms worthy of being in the mythical place. The Garden View Cottages, Garden Suites, Sea View Cottages and Beachfront Cottages have designs and amenities which thoughtfully designed for utmost privacy and tranquility. The well-appointed rooms, which are undergoing a makeover, masterfully blend modern comfort, tropical allure and the warmth of a home, so it will be just another day for you and me in paradise.

PHO gives Palawan jail detainees HIV counseling, free testing


PUERTO PRINCESA CITY (PNA) -- The Palawan Provincial Health Office (PHO) provided human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) counseling and testing to about 20 detainees of the Palawan Provincial Jail Management Division (PJMD) through the activity “HIV 101 Voluntary Counselling and Testing @ PJMD” outreach program.

Dr. Ma. Rebethia Alcala, head of the PHO outreach program and Detect TB, said Thursday in a press statement that the PHO's outreach program was done to provide the detainees with information on HIV and test them.

She said the detainees who were counseled are those who have been tested with tuberculosis (TB) in an earlier Detect TB outreach program.

Alcala said a detainee with TB has a big chance of acquiring HIV, stressing that this is the reason for the counseling and HIV testing.

She added that the activity is one way to encourage detainees to voluntary submit to HIV testing after providing them with several presentations and important data on HIV and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS).

Through the counseling, Alcala expressed optimism that the detainees would benefit from having knowledge about HIV.

Palawan to receive BP apparatuses, glucometers from DOH-MIMAROPA


PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, Jan. 15 (PNA) -- The province of Palawan will receive blood pressure (BP) apparatuses and glucometers from the Department of Health (DOH)-MIMAROPA for health workers and volunteers to closely monitor patients with diabetes and high blood pressure problems.

In a press statement released Friday by the DOH-MIMAROPA, it quoted Regional Health Director Eduardo C. Janairo in saying “the two pieces of apparatus will be used by health workers in the community to consistently obtain accurate blood pressure readings and glucose levels for the management and control of patients with recurring high blood pressure and diabetes.”

Janairo said monitoring diabetes and high blood pressure patients is an “essential part of managing non-communicable diseases (NCDs) because it allows a patient to acquire the required measures and take better control through diet or an increase in medicine intake.”

“That's why getting regular, accurate blood pressure and blood-glucose readings are vital to a person’s long-term health,” the statement quoted Janairo further.

Initial sets of the apparatuses have already been distributed in Oriental Mindoro and Marinduque.

For Oriental Mindoro, 85 BP apparatuses and 261 glucometers were provided and for Marinduque, 35 BP apparatuses and 45 glucometers.

The DOH-MIMAROPA director assured Palawan and Romblon will also receive their allocations before the end of the first quarter of the year.

Aside from this, the DOH-MIMAROPA will also be training health workers in the local level because of the increasing number of people with NCDs, especially in remote areas, where cost-effective interventions are not often accessible.

A total of 23 health workers from MIMAROPA, including municipal health officers, provincial health nurses and midwives, were duly trained to provide minimum standard interventions for the management and care of NCDs.

According to the World Health Organization, high blood pressure, and hyperglycemia (high glucose level) and hypoglycemia (low glucose level) are significant risk factors for heart attack, stroke, kidney disease, and vision loss. They are known as “silent killers” because they rarely cause any symptoms until considerable organ damage has occurred.

Among the risk factors are tobacco use, physical inactivity, the harmful use of alcohol and unhealthy diets.

“Let us prevent the spread of NCDs by encouraging every member of the family to practice healthy lifestyle and proper nutrition for a longer, healthier and more fulfilling life and decrease the risk of developing chronic illnesses than can prevent many diseases,” Janairo was further quoted.

DOH-MIMAROPA gears-up for the National School Deworming Day


MANILA, Jan. 14 (PNA) -- The Department of Health (DOH)–MIMAROPA (Oriental/Occidental Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon, Palawan) said Thursday that it had completed the Orientation on Harmonized Schedule of Community and School-Based Mass Drug Administration for Selected Neglected Tropical Diseases for teachers and health workers in the region.

“This is to ensure a smooth and safe implementation of the deworming program and provide proper information dissemination and management and precautionary measures for possible serious adverse events following administration of the tablets,” said DOH-MIMAROPA Regional Director Eduardo C. Janairo during Monday's opening of the three-day orientation program held at the Ramada Hotel in Manila.

Director Janairo said that they have directed teachers and health workers to encourage children to have full stomach before giving the medicines.

Janairo added that such was a preparation for some possible adverse reactions that may occur or experience by those that will be dewormed such as allergy, mild abdominal pain and diarrhea.

“These are common and could manifest within the first 10 hours after ingestion of the medicine. These are mild and transient,” the health official said.

He added that this year’s campaign will target three neglected tropical diseases namely soil-transmitted helminthiasis, filariasis and schistosomiasis.

The recommended drugs are Albendazole 400mg and Mebendazole 500mg tablets which will be given to school age children, 5-12 years old.

The drug will be administered as a single dose once every six months.

The start of administering of the said drugs among school children is set on Jan. 27, 2016.

After six months or by July 2016, the next schedule for deworming will be done for the effective elimination of all types of worms such as hookworms, roundworms and whipworm.

According to Dr. Janairo, it is still the cheapest, the safest, most effective and World Health Organization (WHO) recommended treatment against worms.

He assured that health personnel at the community level will be present and ready to provide emergency medicines and support in the event of any adverse events.

“We are encouraging all parents and guardians to participate during the mass deworming program and have their children dewormed and to protect them from being infected with intestinal helminth infections,” Janairo urged.

MIMAROPA ranked 9th during last year’s mass deworming activity with 422,543 (88%) children dewormed out of the 480,278 target children. Marinduque with 34,459; Palawan with 152,062; Occidental Mindoro – 65,087; Oriental Mindoro – 101,889; Romblon – 48,097; Calapan City – 4,487 and Puerto Princesa City – 16,462.

Deworming is recommended among school children to ensure that children will become active, alert and enjoy good health.

If children are dewormed, the nutrition that they take in will not be get by the worms and therefore the children will not be pale and anemic.

Another beneficial effect of deworming is increased in school attendance of children as children will not get absent.

This program which is done in school is part of the government’s investment on the health of children who are perceived to be tomorrow’s promising and competitive partners in economic growth and even great leaders.

It is said that health itself is already the wealth of the nation because no economic growth can emerge from a country whose workforce cannot compete because of sick population.

Delta P bags additional power supply deal in Palawan


Delta P, Palawan’s biggest independent power producer, has bagged a new power contract to supply an additional 26.6 megawatts of electricity in the island province.

The firm was awarded the 15-year power supply contract after successfully passing the Competitive Selection Process and Swiss Challenge conducted by the Bids and Awards Committee of the Palawan Electric Cooperative (Paleco).

Paleco chairman Atty. Raymund Acosta issued the Notice of Award to Delta P. He said the additional capacity will address the current power shortage being experienced in Palawan.

The 26.6 megawatt power project is expected to be completed by the third quarter of this year at an estimated cost of P1.6 billion. Gigawatt Power Inc. (GPI), a major shareholder of Delta P, will supply the brand new bunker-fueled engines. These will be shipped to Palawan from their current storage area in Bauang, La Union.

Delta P is one of three independent power producers in Palawan. It operates a 16-MW bunker-fired power plant comprising four (4) units of 4-MW generator sets. However, growing consumer demand has led to a serious power shortage in the province.

“We will strive to provide our best service to Paleco and its customers and help solve the perennial blackouts. Consumers have suffered long enough,” Delta P said in a statement.

Paleco General Manager Ric Zambales said that with Delta P’s new project, Palawan will have sufficient generating capacity to meet increased demand in the next five years.

The Delta P plant is also expected to add stability, reliability and flexibility to the grid and complement other independent power producers. “We will have sufficient supply of power for the next five years with the addition of 26.6 megawatts,” he said.

In a pre-bid conference held September last year, two companies manifested interest during the pre-bid conference but did not appear during the formal opening and evaluation of comparative proposals. Thus, the BAC decided to award the project to Delta P, the original proponent of the proposed project.

Established in 1997, Delta P is 50-50 owned by GPI and Vivant Energy Corp., a wholly-owned subsidiary of listed Vivant Corporation.

Napocor grants 300 kWh genset to Rizal, Palawan


MANILA, Jan. 12 (PNA) -- The National Power Corporation (Napocor) provided a 300 kilowatthour (kWh) generator-set to Rizal, Palawan province which will light up the area with electricity for 24 hours.

The state-owned corporation noted the area initially had power for 16 hours.

According to Napocor president Ma. Gladys Cruz-Sta Rita, the operation extension was due to the high net reserve of the Rizal diesel power plant, which amounts to 480 kilowatthours (kWhs).

Earlier, the area had a power demand of 337 kWh, while its power supply from the existing diesel power plant was at 570 kWh.

Sta. Rita also said in a statement that Napocor expects the improved power supply will help boost the local tourism industry in the area.

The area is known for watersports, trekking and its clear beaches.

Rizal, Palawan is also near the entrance of Mount Mantalingahan, which is the highest peak in the province.

Aside from the area, Napocor also extended the operations of the following areas to 24 hours: El Nido, Taytay, San Vicente, Culion in Palawan; Caluya in Antique.

On the other hand, Siasi in Sulu increased its operations to 22 hours.

New 50-bed capacity medicare hospital up in Aborlan, Palawan by June

By Jesus M. Ustares [(PNA), RMA/CARF/JMU/EDS]

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, Jan. 11 (PNA) -- The Provincial Information Office (PIO) said Monday that the 50-bed capacity medicare hospital being constructed in the southern Palawan town of Aborlan might already be completed in June for use of residents.

Information Officer Atty. Gil Acosta Jr. said this to the Philippine News Agency (PNA) Monday after receiving reports that the jointly funded medicare facility was almost 100 percent complete.

Funded cooperatively by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), the Department of Health (DOH)-MIMAROPA, the Palawan government, and the local government unit of Aborlan, the hospital was part of 15 others being constructed in different municipalities in the province, including the island town of Coron.

The medicare is located in a 1.5-hectare property in Barangay Magsaysay, Aborlan, and costs around Php 50 million to construct.

Acosta said it would have upgraded facilities and equipment that would respond to the emergency and medical care needs of indigent residents of Aborlan.

Taking two years to construct, Acosta said Palawan Governor Jose Alvarez was happy that the medicare hospital can already start to serve residents of Aborlan, who, for the longest time, needed to travel to Puerto Princesa for medical emergencies.

“By June, the residents of Aborlan will already have a hospital that would take care of their medical emergencies,” he said, adding that having the facility will actually lessen the number of patients who seek medical help at the Ospital ng Palawan (ONP).

Aside from Aborlan, Acosta noted that the construction of the same medicare hospitals in Rizal, Cuyo, and Coron towns might also be finished soon.

“We are also looking forward to the completion of the construction of three other hospitals that would be a great benefit to the Palaweños,” Acosta said.

The project is implemented by the provincial government, on the other hand, under IHELP, or Infrastructure, Health, Education, Livelihood, and Protection of the Environment.

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