Iloilo City News February 2018

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Moringa (Malungay) leaves compared to common foods
Values per 100gm. edible portion
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EDSA photo exhibit opens at Trinoma Feb. 22

By Ben Cal (PNA)

MANILA -- The spirit of the historic 1986 EDSA People Power peaceful revolution that restored democracy in the Philippines will be relived in a thousand- and-one photo exhibit by veteran photo-journalist Sonny Camarillo at Trinoma in Quezon City on Feb. 22.

Former President Fidel V. Ramos, one of the key players at EDSA People Power on Feb. 22-25, 1986, has accepted the invitation to be the guest of honor and speaker at the opening day of the exhibit.

The other key players during that historic event at EDSA were former Defense Minister Juan Ponce Enrile, who later was elected as senator, the late Jaime Cardinal Sin, arch bishop of Manila, former Army Colonel and now Sen. Gregorio “Gringo” Honasan, and the late Sen. Butz Aquino, to name a few.

Camarillo, a daring photo-journalist and past president of the Camera Club of the Philippines and Press Photographers of the Philippines, covered the historic event that stunned the whole world in that four-day peaceful revolt when over three million people went to Epifanio delos Santos Avenue (EDSA) in Quezon City following an urgent call by Cardinal Sin over Radio Veritas to protect the people gathered at EDSA where rebel soldiers led by Enrile and Ramos were holed out at Camp Aguinaldo and Camp Crame amid the threat of being attacked by government forces loyal to Marcos.

The millions of people gathered at EDSA prayed the rosary and refused to budge an inch and with Divine intervention the government troops sided with the civilians and military and police forces of Enrile and Ramos that toppled the 20-year regime of President Ferdinand E. Marcos.

Marcos and his family fled to Hawaii in exile.

Corazon C. Aquino, the presidential candidate of the opposition, was installed as the 12th President of the Philippines on Feb. 25, 1986.

Images in pictures taken and preserved for posterity by Camarillo during that historic event will be displayed during the photo exhibit for the public, especially the young generation to see.

Camarillo said that this year’s 32nd anniversary will be called “EDSA 1986, Before & Beyond – FVR Legacy of Philippines 2000” is sponsored by the Ayala Land, Inc., the National Historical Commission of the Philippines, Spirit of EDSA Foundation, EDSA People Power Commission, Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office, Philippine Amusement Gaming Corporation, JRS Express, CWC International Corporation, YKL Digital Imaging/Wonder Photo Shop and CAMERAHAUS.

DILG 6 introduces Project Barangay CHECK

By Perla Lena (PNA)

ILOILO CITY -- The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) has introduced a mechanism that will gauge the performance of barangay officials in Western Visayas.

Memorandum Circular 2018-12 introduced Project Barangay CHECK or barangay that is Compliant to laws, rules and regulations and exemplifying Honest, Empowered, Corruption-free and Knowledge-centric governance.

A regional office innovation, it is a process of determining the performance of barangay officials, said Lawyer Ferdinand Panes, DILG director for Iloilo City said on Thursday.

This mechanism is unique in Western Visayas since it is only in this region where this is being carried out.

“This time, the DILG has a monitoring system to determine what barangays are working as far as the DILG mandate is concerned,” he said.

Panes added there is a checklist that enumerates the roles and responsibilities of barangays based on the Local Government Code and existing guidelines of the DILG.

It is a three-phase project where the first phase will be a self-assessment tool. Barangay officials will be the one to check and thereafter will be initially be evaluated by the city DILG.

The validation will have representatives from civil society or faith-based organizations.

The result will be submitted to the regional office for their findings.

The same process will be done during the second phase but the result will be furnished to the office of mayor.

During the third phase, the result will be submitted to the Commission on Audit, Ombudsman and the mayor for appropriate action.

Panes added that maybe in the near future DILG can come up with “incentives awards” based on the CHECK for performing barangays.

He shared that it is similar to the Local Government Performance Management System that once served as a self-assessment tool for local government units.

Later on it served as basis in providing incentives to best performing LGUs such as the Seal of Good Housekeeping and Seal of Good Local Governance.

He said that this time around, the initiative was born in Western Visayas.

Iloilo-based teacher in top 10 of Global Teacher Prize

By Juzel Danganan (PNA)

MANILA -- Iloilo-based teacher Jesus Insilada has landed in the Top 10 of the Global Teacher Prize 2018, Microsoft founder and philanthropist Bill Gates announced in a statement on Thursday.

Insilada was recognized for his culture-based approach in teaching the subjects of English and creative writing that has engaged students to learn through traditional dances, songs, epics, local games, and crafts at the Caninguan National High School in Lambunao, Iloilo. He is also a member of the indigenous people's Panay Bukidnon community.

Insilada was the first in his family to become a professional, as he came from a family of farmers. Through his approach, Insilada's students have achieved their age-expected grades, assessed through tests, at 87 percent.

He also received other national and international awards for teaching, writing, and support for indigenous culture.

Varkey Foundation and Global Teacher Prize founder Sunny Varkey congratulated Insilada for being selected in the Top 10, adding he hopes Insilada's story will inspire those looking to enter the teaching profession while shining a spotlight on the work of teachers around the world.

The other nine global finalists are: Nurten Akkuş from Turkey, Marjorie Brown from South Africa, Luis Miguel Bermudez Gutierrez from Colombia, Glenn Lee from the United States, Diego Mahfouz Faria Lima from Brazil, Koen Timmers from Belgium, Eddie Woo from Australia, Andria Zafirakou from the United Kingdom, and Barbara Anna Zielonka from Norway.

The winner, who will be given a USD1-million award, will be announced during the Global Education and Skills Forum in Dubai on March 18, 2018 (Sunday).

All ten finalists were also invited to the award ceremony.

The Global Teacher Prize aims to recognize one exceptional teacher, who has made an outstanding contribution to the profession while shining a spotlight on the important role teachers play in society.

The 10 finalists were selected from over a Top-50 shortlist, coming from 30,000 nominations and applications from 173 countries across the globe.

Food safety assured during 2018 WVRAA meet

By Perla Lena (PNA)

ILOILO CITY -- Organizers of the 2018 Western Visayas Regional Athletic Association (WVRAA) meet that will begin on Sunday assured that food to be served during the duration of the weeklong event is safe.

Nicasio Valenzuela, Department of Education - Division of Iloilo sports coordinator, said that every delegation is responsible for the food that will be served to their contingent, from preparation to cooking.

The food preparation is being supervised by division supervisors in Home Economics in partnership with their district supervisors.

He cited that every contingent has to observe the clean and green policy of the Palarong Pambansa. Under this policy, the organizers will give four awards namely best billeting, best in discipline, most-organized, and the cleanest and greenest.

Ensuring food safety is already integrated in this policy.

“Their coming here is to compete not to go to hospitals due to food that is served them,” he stated. He added that every province has to improve an area in their billeting school like tree planting and beautification as part of the criterion in the clean and green policy.

Delegates, technical officials and the working committees are billeted at the Baluarte Elementary School, Iloilo Central Elementary School, Mandurriao Elementary School, A. Montes I Elementary School, La Paz I Elementary School and the Iloilo National High School.

Meantime, there are 17-member medical teams that are on-standby augmented by the Iloilo City medical team, Iloilo City Emergency Response and the Philippine Red Cross in cases of emergency. The provincial government of Iloilo also signed a memorandum of agreement with the West Visayas State University (WVSU) and other nearby hospitals to prioritize athletes needing medical intervention.

Valenzuela said the provincial government will foot the bill even of athletes needing medical attention even if they are from other delegations.

The 2018 WVRAA will gather 3,688 delegates from various provinces of Western Visayas composed of 2,953 athletes, 493 coaches, 79 assistant coaches and 163 chaperones.

This year’s WVRAA is hosted by the province and city of Iloilo in partnership with DepEd 6.

It will kick off afternoon of February 18 at the Iloilo Sports Complex in this city and will end on February 23.

PCOO brings ‘Rehabinasyon’ to Iloilo City

By Perla Lena (PNA)

ILOILO CITY -- All is set for Friday’s conduct of the “Rehabinasyon” roadshow and town hall meeting here to be spearheaded by the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO).

“Rehabinasyon aims to download to the public the programs of the government, especially on drugs, to totally rehabilitate our country,” said Iloilo City Administrator lawyer Hernando Galvez on Thursday.

“Everything is in proper order,” said Galvez, who was also the chair of the city government’s working committee for the roadshow.

He added that Mayor Jose Espinosa III has issued a directive to provide total support to the whole-day activity.

While the discussions may highlight the efforts of national government agencies, Galvez said that the city government’s community based rehabilitation known as “Crossroads” could be part of the presentation of the Department of Health (DOH).

The morning part of the roadshow will gather cross-sectors of the society such as student-leaders, civil society leaders, faith-based organizations, and local community leaders.

Expected to attend the town hall meeting in the afternoon will be the barangay community leaders and residents.

Rehabinasyon roadshows have been launched upon the directive of the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD), according to the city government’s public information office.

ICAD was formed on March 6, 2017 by virtue of Executive Order No. 15.

Rehabinasyon has three components: #RealNumber, #RealSolutions and #RealStories.

PCOO will bring officials from ICAD member-agencies to explain in details the government programs, as well as to answer queries from stakeholders.

“The all-encompassing government campaign against illegal drugs aims to communicate to the public the harmonized programs of different government agencies, debunk alternative truths, and showcase the results and benefits of the government’s efforts to fight the drug menace,” said PCOO Assistant Secretary Ramon L. Cualoping III in his letter to Espinosa.

Panel discussions include drug policies by the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB); enforcement cluster by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA); justice cluster, Department of Justice; rehabilitation and reintegration cluster, Department of Health (DOH) and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and advocacy by the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG).

Confirmed guests are DDB Secretary Catalino S. Cuy, PCOO Undersecretary Lorraine Marie T. Badoy, DOH Usec. Roger P. Tong-an, PCOO Assistant Secretary Ramon L. Cualoping III, DSWD Asec Jose Antonio R. Hernandez, PDEA Directors Maharani Gadaoni-Tosoc and Derrick Arnold C. Carreon, Prosecutor Kenneth John A. Amamanglon and DILG 6 assistant regional director Maria Calpiza J. Sardua.

Agri support to upland farmers reaches P48-M

By Elsa S. Subong (JSC/ESS/PIA6 Iloilo)

ILOILO CITY (PIA8) -- Upland farmers in Panay received a total of P47, 527,387 worth of agricultural projects under the second-phase implementation of the foreign-assisted program.

The Panay Upland Sustainable Rural Development Project is a partnership between the Department of Agriculture and the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) which started in 2015.

KOICA has allotted P40.5 million, while DA provided P6.9 million.

The DA said originally there were 15 project barangays and 10 of these were included in the second phase of implementation, where the first phase focused more on training and orientations.

Project Focal Person Manuel Olanday of the DA, said that Phase II aimed at increasing the agricultural productivity and income of the upland farmers.

“The project provided upland farmers, through their associations, farm tools and equipment, livestock, post-harvest facilities and other income-generating activities as needed by the community,” Olanday said.

“The farmers’ association has a total membership of 1,213 farmers, 530 of which are members of Indigenous Communities,” Olanday added.

On the other hand, the local government units covering these Project Phase II barangays, also provided their counterparts, such as a total of 1,105 bags of rice seeds, 240 bags of corn seeds, 128 kilos of assorted vegetables, and 8,355 bags of fertilizers distributed to the farmers’ association.

Olanday added that DA also provided 157 heads of goat and 494 native chicken for the multiplier farms established in most of the barangays.

The DA-KOICA team also partnered with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Department of Agrarian Reform, National Economic and Development Authority, National Commission on Indigenous Peoples, and other agencies involved in rural development.

“As the project aims at reducing poverty in upland communities by addressing their area-specific needs, we incorporate the Saemaul Undong spirit of diligence, self-help and cooperation and the Filipino’s bayanihan system in the implementation of the project,” Olanday said.

DA is now finalizing the plan for the third phase of the program this year, which focuses on improving the marketing system for upland food producers.

“We will put up Bayanihan Tipon Centers in 10 upland municipalities in Panay and a regional local food terminal in San Miguel, Iloilo.

DOLE provides livelihood assistance

By Lilibeth A. French (DOLE 6/JSC/laf/PIA6 Iloilo)

ILOILO CITY (PIA6) -- The Department of Labor and Employment 6 (DOLE 6) provided some P1,820,000 financial aid for the livelihood projects of a local government unit and a worker’s organization in Iloilo province.

On February 2 this year, DOLE 6 turned over a check worth P820,000 to the local government unit of Brgy. Poblacion, New Lucena as its share in the Fabricated Trisikad Project of the barangay costing P1,042,000.

The proponent barangay and the beneficiaries composed of self-employed farmers, working poor and youth provided P219, 600 equity to the project that intends to augment beneficiaries’ income and improve the means of transportation in the community.

Another recipient of a DOLE 6 check amounting to P1,000,000 was the Iloilo Pepsi-Cola Workers Independent Union of the Pepsi-Cola Products Philippines, Inc. with 88 union members.

DOLE 6 reported that the amount was its share to the Rice Retailing Project of the workers’ organization worth P1,353,615.00.

Both the Chairperson of the LGU-Brgy. Poblacion and President of the IPWEU thanked the leadership of DOLE 6 for providing them funds for their livelihood projects.

In 2017, DOLE 6 approved and funded 332 livelihood projects for both continuing and current appropriations. Of the total number, 89 were implemented under its Kabuhayan program and 243 under its Tulong Alalay sa Ating Disadvantaged or Displaced workers (TUPAD) or emergency employment program, benefiting a total of 23, 144 displaced or disadvantaged workers.

Iloilo seniors, PWDs get wheelchairs

By Cindy Ferrer (PNA)

ILOILO CITY -- A total of 290 senior citizens and Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) in the province of Iloilo received their customized wheelchairs and mobility devices courtesy of the Latter Day Saints Charities (LDSC) on Tuesday.

In a media interview, Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office (PSWDO) head Neneth Q. Pador said that this was the last batch of distribution to complete the 600 commitment of LDSC.

The distribution of wheelchairs started early 2017.

LDSC partnered with the Iloilo provincial government through the PSWDO last 2016 to distribute wheelchairs and other mobility devices to qualified PWDs and senior citizens in the province.

Padot said that some PSWDO personnel were deployed to identify and assess each recipient of the wheelchair. They also trained the beneficiaries and their family members or caregivers on how to use and take care of their wheelchairs.

She added that the beneficiaries or their family members were required to undergo community service for a couple of hours in their respective barangays.

Hernan Illastron of LDSC said they had chosen Iloilo province to be their project partner because of the provincial government’s commitment to promote the welfare of the PWDs and senior citizens.

He stressed that they were still interested to enter another agreement if the provincial government would request more wheelchairs.

It can be recalled that the Iloilo province was conferred the 2017 Apolinario Mabini Award for Local Government by the Philippine Foundation for the Rehabilitation of the Disabled (PFRD), Inc. in recognition of its programs and projects for the PWDs.

The successful wheelchair distribution in partnership with LDSC was one of the major programs cited by the PFRD in giving the prestigious award to the province.

The Tuesday's distribution of wheelchairs was conducted at the lobby of the Capitol.

Iloilo to lead national quake drill on Feb. 15

By Perla Lena (PNA)

ILOILO CITY -- At exactly 2 p.m. of February 15, a magnitude 8.0 quake will hit Iloilo City’s SM City that will cause injuries to 50 individuals due to the stampede and at the same time secondary hazard of fire.

These are the proposed scenarios in line with the Nationwide Simultaneous Earthquake Drill (NSED) this first quarter of 2018 with SM City, for the first time, was chosen as the regional pilot.

Drills will also be held in other provinces of Western Visayas.

While it is their first time to join the NSED, SM City regularly conducts its own drill and disaster preparedness measures, said Alleth Nogra, head of the Office of the Civil Defense (OCD) disaster risk reduction and management division.

The incidents will put “test mechanisms in place and how well they can respond in an earthquake,” she added.

The drill will be held during the time when mall-goers are at its peak.

While shoppers are encouraged to voluntarily join, employees of the mall are expected to do the “duck, cover and hold”.

“We will see how aware is our general public about the basic response of duck, cover and hold,” she said.

Meanwhile, she emphasized that the conduct of drills should be continuous to instill into public consciousness that we “are prone to earthquake but we don’t know when it will happen”.

She cited the need to put in place mechanism by local government units and participation of the community, volunteers and non-government organization.

By choosing SM City, she said that they would like to show the disaster risk reduction and management was not just the responsibility of the government but as well as of the business sector.

A post-debriefing will be conducted after the activity to determine areas for improvement and recommendations that need to be cascaded to the local, regional and national level.

The second quarter NSED will be held in Bacolod City.

‘Better, bigger’ 2018 Paraw Regatta fest vowed

By Cindy Ferrer (PNA)

ILOILO CITY -- The 2018 Paraw Regatta Festival, dubbed the “Oldest Sailing Event in Asia,” is expected to be better and bigger with Guimaras being part of this year’s event.

Kicking off the festival in Guimaras on Monday was the opening of the Exhibit of Miniature Paraw and Furniture Display at the Jordan Wharf.

The Paraw Regatta Foundation Inc. (PRFI) and the provincial government of Guimaras opened the exhibit.

PRFI president Ronald Raymond Sebastian stressed that this year’s festival is expected to be better and bigger with Guimaras being part of this year’s festival.

The Guimaras activities of the festival will be until February 10.

“The festival is very essential among Ilonggos,” he said.

Themed “Unity Amidst the Waves of Change”, Sebastian said the festival will further preserve the “tradition and culture of Ilonggos in sailing and seafaring.”

This year, the foundation has allotted PHP2.8 million for the festival, higher by PHP1.2 million compared to last year’s budget.

Meanwhile, Gumarin said that they are expecting increase in the tourist arrivals in their province with the hosting of some activities of the festival.

Aside from the exhibit of miniature Paraw and furniture display, Guimaras is hosting the Sinamba sa Regatta beach dance competition and Bangkera Pamunit sa Paraw , all scheduled on February 9; and Jetski Amazing Race, Miniature Paraw Race and the Lighted Paraw on February 10.

To secure the safety of the public who will flock in the different activities of the festival, the Philippine Coast Guard Iloilo (PCG-Iloilo) has assured that they are prepared.

PCG-Iloilo Lieutenant Commander Rodolfo Dela Peña said that they will deploy five aluminum boats as “floating assets” to respond to any untoward incidents that may happen during the events.

As to the number of personnel, Dela Peña said that they are still finalizing the number.

The Philippine Coast Guard Auxiliary (PCGA) will also augment the forces, Dela Peña added.

Russian envoy all praises for Ilonggo hospitality

By Merianne Grace Ereñeta (Iloilo City PIO/PN)

ILOILO City – Russian Ambassador to the Philippines Igor Khovaev thanked the city government for his “pleasurable” stay in the metropolis during the 50th Dinagyang Festival.

“I would like to express high appreciation for the wonderful and thoughtful hospitality accorded to me. It made my trip enjoyable and pleasurable,” Khovaev wrote Mayor Jose Espinosa III.

The Russian envoy said his visit was “a unique opportunity to experience a rich culture and tradition of the (Western) Visayas region and get to know the warm and sincere people of Iloilo.”

“The fond memories of my stay will definitely make me want to come back,” stated Khovaev.

The two-day highlights of the Dinagyang were on Jan. 27 and 28.

Khovaev met with Espinosa during a courtesy call and luncheon at city hall, and welcome dinner at the Iloilo Business Park hosted by the city government, Iloilo Dinagyang Foundation Inc. and San Jose Parish.

Iloilo-Clark direct flight to boost travel, business

(JSC/LTP/PIA6 Iloilo)

ILOILO CITY, Feb. 5 (PIA6) -- The Department of Tourism (DOT)-6 said that the new direct flights to and from Iloilo and Clark to which was launched by AirAsia on Feb. 3 will bring more travel and business opportunities for the Ilonggos.

In a media release, DOT-6 Regional Director Helen Catalbas said Clark is considered as one of the major hubs in the country and a gateway to international destinations.

“We welcome AirAsia’s new route in Iloilo as it will surely bring more travel and business opportunities among the Ilonggos,” she said.

These direct flights are scheduled every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday.

DOT-6 and DOT-3 in partnership with AirAsia organized familiarization tour and Business to Business (B2B) session between the tour operators and hotels from Central Luzon with the same sectors in Iloilo.

The said activity aimed at sustaining the direct flights to and from Clark through marketing and promotions by tying up with tour operators, hotels and restaurants from both Central Luzon and connected regions.

Catalbas added that she is looking forward for a stronger partnership among tourism stakeholders with AirAsia’s new flight offerings here.

Ambulances of Iloilo hospitals now equipped with life-saving AED

By Cindy Ferrer (PNA)

ILOILO CITY --The ambulances of the 12 Iloilo provincial government-run hospitals are now equipped with Automated External Defibrillators (AED).

Governor Arthur Defensor, Sr. turned over 12 units of AED to the chiefs of hospitals on Thursday.

AED is a portable electronic device that is used in cases of life-threatening cardiac arrhythmias, which can lead to sudden cardiac arrest.

Arrhythmia is a condition in which the heart beats with an irregular or abnormal rhythm. Through the application of electricity, AED stops the arrhythmia, allowing the heart to reestablish an effective rhythm.

Each device costs PHP125,000 according to Provincial Administrator Raul Banias, concurrent chief of the Hospital Management Office (HMO).

He said these AEDs were procured in compliance with the Department of Health’s licensing requirement for hospitals.

Hospital personnel especially those assigned in the ambulances will be trained on how to use the device, said Banias.

“This will enhance the capability of our hospital personnel to save lives, especially during emergency situations,” he added.

Paz Vencer Calopiz, chief of the Aleosan District Hospital, said the devices are really important in saving the lives of their patients.

“It is really needed that each ambulance should be equipped with this so that anytime the patient will experience cardiac arrest during transport, they will be revived using that device,” she said.

Since 2010, the provincial government has already spent more than PHP1 billion since 2010 for the hospital upgrading program which include improvement of hospital infrastructures, acquisition of state-of-the art equipment, procurement of medicines and other medical supplies, and hiring of more personnel.

P50-M Iloilo Freedom Grandstand up this year

By Perla Lena (PNA)

ILOILO CITY -- The new Iloilo Freedom Grandstand is expected to rise along this city’s Muelle Loney area, facing the Iloilo River before end of the year.

Architect Dolly Anne M. Zoluaga of the City Planning and Development Office (CPDO) said a “modern” structure will be built although it also takes cognizance of the old edifices within the area.

It will be built on the more or less 2,600 square-meter property the city government has acquired from Panay Railways, Inc.

The relocation of the grandstand will pave the way for the development of the historic Sunburst Park. The park is currently located at the back of the grandstand.

The city government has allotted PHP50 million for the construction of the grandstand, which has close to 1,000 seating capacity.

“The utilization is more optimized compared with the old one,” she said.

The plan to relocate the Freedom Grandstand was first aimed to coincide with the 50th year of the Iloilo Dinagyang Festival this January to accommodate more guests. However, due to time constraint the plan did not push through.

The grandstand has been a venue for various political activities, particularly grand rallies every during election period.

A post-war structure, Zoluaga said that based on their documentation, it only started as a small box where people gathered until eventually a structure was built to accommodate a bigger crowd.

PCA readies P24-M replanting program in west Visayas

By Perla Lena (PNA)

ILOILO CITY -- The Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) is banking on the participation of the community for its Accelerated Coconut Planting and Replanting Program in Western Visayas.

Francis B. Fegarido, officer in charge of PCA Western Visayas, said they have set aside PHP24 million to adopt the participatory coconut planting project where an interested coconut farmer will be paid PHP40 for every surviving coconut plant.

Under this scheme, the farmer has to produce and raise the coconut seedlings as the PCA will no longer distribute seedlings, Fegarido said.

Upon inspection, the farmer will be paid PHP18 for every seed nut. After three months, another inspection will be conducted and every surviving coconut seedling will be paid PHP22.

A coconut farmer may plant a minimum of 50 and a maximum of 500 seedlings. The PCA will continue to monitor the plantation up to three years where farmers may get other implements such as fertilizer if there is an available supply.

While the government pays for every surviving coconut plant, yet the coconut belongs to farmer, he added.

This year, Fegarido said they target to plant some 600,000 coconut seedlings that will cover 6,000 hectares in Western Visayas.

Currently, the region has around 9.5 to 10 million coconut-bearing trees -- the bulk is in Aklan and Negros Occidental provinces.

Meanwhile, PCA is ready with the list of legitimate coconut farmers should the record is needed. As of December 2017, there are 157,000 coconut farmers in the region, Fegarido said.

The number, however, is still subject to inclusion and exclusion proceedings because there are other farmers who have long been dead or there are double counting.

“We are continuously receiving survey forms,” he said.

He also announced that they have fully replaced those coconuts that were damaged by typhoon Yolanda.

He said that two million coconuts were planted using their “Yolanda” assistance and regular funds.

DSWD, Iloilo City to sign MOA on social pension fund transfer

By Perla Lena (PNA)

ILOILO CITY -- The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in Western Visayas is waiting for the memorandum of agreement (MOA) signed by the mayor of Iloilo City on the transfer of funds for the first-quarter pension of indigent senior citizens here.

The Sangguniang Panlungsod on Tuesday authorized Mayor Jose Espinosa III to enter into an agreement with DSWD-Western Visayas to facilitate the transfer of PHP19.8 million for January to March this year.

The MOA is necessary since the agreement signed in 2015 is set to expire this year. Together with the MOA, the city government also had to submit its liquidation report to the DSWD for the funds that were released for the third and last quarter of 2017.

Majority Floor Leader, Councilor Eduardo Peñaredondo, said the city had 13,190 indigent senior citizens receiving the PHP500 monthly pension, as mandated under Republic Act No. 9994 or the Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010.

The fund is intended “to augment their daily subsistence and medical needs,” he said.

Meantime, Elpidio Azuelo Jr., head of the Office of Senior Citizens Affairs (OSCA) of the city government, said the amount provided to them had really made an impact on the poorest of the poor in their sector.

He said the social pension was strictly for those who had no pension and not receiving support from members of their family or had no source of income.

Before they are admitted to the program, they have to present a certificate of indigency to support their claim that they belong to the poorest of the poor, he said.