Iloilo City News September 2011

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Iloilo City - Archived News

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Aerial View of Iloilo City
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How to get the best out of the Malunggay
Moringa (Malungay) leaves compared to common foods
Values per 100gm. edible portion
Nutrient Moringa Leaves Other Foods
Vitamin A 6780 mcg Carrots: 1890 mcg
Vitamin C 220 mg Oranges: 30 mg
Calcium 440 mg Cow's milk: 120 mg
Potassium 259 mg Bananas: 88 mg
Protein 6.7 gm Cow's milk: 3.2 gm


Iloilo sees higher rice production


ILOILO CITY, Philippines — The Department of Agriculture (DA) is optimistic that the province of Iloilo can regain its title as the country’s top rice producer.

No less than DA Secretary Proceso Alcala said this is possible with the rehabilitation of the Jalaur River Irrigation System during the recent Agricultural Machinery (Agri-March) and Equipment Road Show-Visayas.

“With the rehabilitation, almost 34,000 hectares of rice in Iloilo will be irrigated,” Alcala said.

Currently, Iloilo is the third top rice producer in the country.

Data from the National Statistical Coordination Board revealed that Iloilo rice production dropped in 2010 to 659,970 metric tons from 944,050 metric tons in 2009.

Iloilo Gov. Arthur Defensor Sr. said the rehabilitation of the irrigation system will surely boost the production of rice yield of Ilonggo farmers.

“It will make our rice production more efficient and hopefully will make us the top rice producer in the country again,” Defensor said.

Alcala led the launch of the Visayas leg of the Agri-March Road Show where he inspected farm machineries including rice treshers, dryers, hand tractors, four-wheeled tractors, and drum seeders.

Meanwhile, Iloilo City-University of Iloilo (UI-Phinma) is urging the Ilonggo youth to pursue entrepreneurship.

“We are teaching students to become an employer rather than an employee,” said university president Dr. Meliton “Chito” Salazar Jr.

“Filipino students have long been taught to become working individuals and not as entrepreneurs,” Salazar.

With the technical guidance of Go Negosyo, UI-Phinma launched a program both for college and high school students earlier this week to encourage putting up a business at a young age.

Salazar noted that UI-Phinma’s College of Management and Accountancy has pioneered it in its Bachelor Science in Business Administration (BSBA) program.

Philippines:PFDA Eyes Rehabilitation of Iloilo Fish Port

(Dredging Today post)

The Philippine Fisheries Development Authority (PFDA) is eyeing the rehabilitation of its more than 25-year old fish port here and spur economic development in this city.

This was disclosed by PFDA general manager lawyer Rodolfo Paz Jr., during his recent visit here who met and discussed with Secretary Proseso J. Alcala the proposed development.

“We’ve been discussing it among ourselves upon instruction of Senator Franklin Drilon who would like very much that this be developed in order to ease the pressures in the Muelle Loney (Iloilo) river,” he said.

The proposed rehab involves dredging of the harbor basin, construction of breakwater, possible improvement of existing cold storage I and 2, installation of air blast freezer and provision of flake ice machine, installation of fish processing fish facilities, improvement of mooring facilities, harbor lights among others to meet the latest standard, he said.

Initial estimates for the proposed project is P270 million even as he mentioned that they still have to conduct detailed engineering plans.

PFDA is looking forward to start with the rehabilitation May next year if funds are available.

“Certainly this will attract investors to put up their facilities inside especially that we have just approved a private sector cold storage proposal. Along with that there will also be the same leasee who is interested to rehabilitate and complete the unfinished sewage treatment plant which we have in the Iloilo Fish Port,” he projected of the completed port facility.

However, Paz said that they are banking on the support of Senator Drilon to be able to source out funds for the project.

“We certainly bank (on the support of Drilon) and on the greater participation of the private sector because Iloilo in the late 80s used to be a prime industrial center, one of the biggest earner of the PFDA during the boom years of the prawn industry,” he said.

Indigenous Peoples oriented on rights, responsibilities

by Elsa S. Subong(JCM/ESS/PIA-Iloilo)

ILOILO CITY, Sept. 28 (PIA) -- Indigenous Peoples (IPs) of Western Visayas, should understand their rights as well as their responsibilities to be part of development, a lawyer at the Ateneo de Manila Law School said.

Atty. Sedfrey Candelaria, also director of the Katutubo Desk of Ateneo said the IPs should embrace a perspective that development, in general, do not necessarily have an adverse effect their communities and culture.

Candelaria was speaker on the International Labor Organization (ILO) Convention 169, or the Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Convention, during the Visayas Regional Assembly of Indigenous Peoples held recently in Iloilo City.

He discussed with the more than 200 IPs and key leaders, the salient provisions of ILO convention 169. These include a provision that recognizes IPs as “having traditional lifestyles, culture and way of life different from the other segments of the population, having their own social and political organizations, and have been living in historical continuity in a certain area.”

Candelaria particularly discussed the rights of the IPs with regard to the process of development, which gives them the right to influence assessment studies by any entity, the right to participate and decide on the kind of development they need and the right to control their own economic, social and cultural development.

Stressing the importance of IP participation in implementing the said provisions, he said that, “The job is a partnership and the IPs and tribal peoples, through good representations in the local councils, can help government serve them better,” Candelaria said.

The IPs and tribal groups participating in the assembly came from Panay, Negros, Mindoro, Palawan and other parts in Luzon, who were consulted on issues and concerns which will be consolidated as inputs for the National Indigenous Peoples’ Summit on Oct. 13-14.

The assembly was initiated by the office of Sen. Loren Legarda and the National commission on Indigenous Peoples, to call attention on the implementation of the Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Act (IPRA) which requires local government units, to appoint representatives of indigenous and tribal communities in policy and legislative councils.

Students trained to become entrepreneurs

by Lydia C. Pendon

MORE than 1,000 high school and college students in Iloilo City’s various schools, colleges and universities participated in the Go Negosyo Seminar facilitated by the University of Iloilo-Phinma Tuesday afternoon.

Go Negosyo Executive Director Ramon Lopez said the “Negosem para sa Estudyante ng Iloilo” will start building Iloilo’s young entrepreneurs, in line with the new directions of UI-Phinma College of Management and Accountancy to make entrepreneurship the focus of its program.

Also present in the Negosem, held at Cinema 6, is Jay Aldeguer of Island Souvenirs who gave an insight to the students to hopefully become successful entrepreneurs to help their communities grow.

Lopez said Go Negosyo made its maiden training of Iloilo entrepreneurs some three years ago at Central Philippine University in Jaro district, where more than 1,000 small and medium scale Ilonggo entrepreneurs participated in the seminar graced by Go Negosyo founder Joey Concepcion.

UI-Phinma had launched the Iloilo Young Entrepreneurs Society, which composed of high school students, trained to become entrepreneurs that will help build Iloilo’s business district in the future.

Lopez said students whether taking up courses on medicine, engineering and other courses not related to business management, will have to have to transform their attitude and practice entrepreneurship in all aspects of their work and livelihood.

Western Visayas eco-tourism spots urged to avail of tourism incentives


ILOILO CITY, Iloilo, Philippines — Eco-tourism spots in Western Visayas are urged to become tourism enterprise zones.

According to Atty. Helen Catalbas, assistant regional director of Department of Tourism (DoT 6), eco-tourism spots are the ones that should avail of tourism incentives under Republic Act 9593 or the Tourism Act of 2009.

“These are the places that would benefit the most from (said) incentives,” Catalbas said.

Officials of the Tourism Enterprise Zones and Administration of Incentives (TIEZA), formerly known as Philippine Tourism Authority (PTA), were recently in Iloilo as part of a nationwide campaign to attract private investors in venturing into tourism-related industries.

Atty. Joy Bulauitan, TIEZA deputy general manager for administration, noted that the program intends to jumpstart potential tourist destinations.

TIEZA can designate an area as a tourism enterprise zone if it has “historical and cultural significance, environmental beauty, or existing or potential integrated leisure facilities; strategic access through transportation infrastructure, and reasonable connection with utilities infrastructure systems; a strategic location such as to catalyze the socioeconomic development of neighboring communities.”

Bulauitan said even the country’s premiere tourist destination, Boracay can apply for TEZ accreditation.

Catalbas stressed that identified eco-tourism sites should avail of tourism incentives to boost the influx of tourists and spur the local economy.

She identified northern and southern Iloilo with their pristine beach destinations as well as central Iloilo towns Leon and Janiuay for its inland resorts as potential tourism enterprise zones.

Legarda airs support for preservation of cultural traditions of Sulodnon


ILOILO CITY, Philippines — Sen. Loren Legarda expressed interest in helping preserve the culture of indigenous group Sulodnon.

“I will help preserve their chants, rituals and dances with the limits of my resources, time and capability,” Legarda said during the Indigenous Peoples Regional Assembly-Visayas held at the Iloilo Provincial Capitol last September 23 and 24.

Legarda, who chairs the Senate committee on cultural communities, emphasized that cultural preservation is a key ingredient to nationhood and pride of place.

“The chant of Federico Caballero is so beautiful,” Legarda said referring to the epic chanter from Calinog, Iloilo, who has been declared as a National Living Treasure.

The Sulodnon is found in the mountains of Central Panay. Initially studied by anthropologist F. Landa Jocano, they have a rich cultural tradition that dates back to pre-colonial Spanish period and have been the cultural keeper of the longest known epic in the country called “Hinilawod.”

“I have a bill that seeks for the protection of these cultural properties,” Legarda said referring to Senate Bill No. 2831.

The Traditional Property Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act aims to document or make an inventory of all cultural properties as well as giving royalty rights to the indigenous peoples.

Legarda underscored that sustainability of cultural preservation is a collaborative effort between the private and public sectors, including the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP), the local government units (LGUs), the non-government organizations (NGOs), and the academe.

A preservation program for the Sulodnon, also known as Panay Bukidnon, was previously initiated by NCCA, NCIP, Center for West Visayas Studies (CWVS) of UP Visayas, and anthropologist Dr. Alicia Magos with the establishment of a School for Living Tradition.

Iloilo asks for aid to rehab irrigation systems

by Lydia C. Pendon

ILOILO Governor Arthur Defensor asked the Department of Agriculture (DA) to help in the repair of all irrigation systems in the province.

Defensor told Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala that Iloilo has slid down to number 3 from number 1 in rice production mainly due to faulty irrigation facilities that remained stagnant for many years.

Alcala was guest of honor during the Agri-Mach Roadshow on agricultural farm machinery and equipment held at the Punta Villa Resort in Iloilo City.

The program held September 22-23 was participated by agricultural leaders and DA officials and employees from Western, Central, and Eastern Visayas regions.

Defensor said Iloilo is the rice granary of Western Visayas and the biggest rice producer among the provinces in the region, registering the highest 60 percent increase in rice production in the whole country.

With the realization of the proposed Jalaur River multi-purpose project, Iloilo province is expected to open up additional farmlands of 34,000 hectares.

Defensor said, however, that the province badly needs the help of the agriculture office, especially the National Irrigation Authority in providing irrigation water to farms not being served by the river project.

City to partner with environment office, establishments

by Lydia C. Pendon

THE Iloilo City Government will partner with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and 17 establishments and non-government organizations on the “Adpot-an-Estero Program” to preserve natural esteros or canals in the city as waterways.

Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog said some natural esteros could not be found anymore as these were filled with soil or garbage to fill up the land area to accommodate houses or subdivisions.

The City Council said several barangays have been experiencing flashfloods during heavy rains due to the absence of waterways.

The Council on Wednesday approved the endorsement submitted by the City Mayor’s Office requesting for an authority to sign a memorandum of agreement by the City Government, DENR regional office and 17 establishments as donor or adopter of the estero program.

The initial list of establishments that answered the call for the program includes the West Visayas State University, Philippine Coast Guard, Iloilo Midtown Hotel, Pollution Control Association of the Philippines, Philippine Navy Auxiliary Disaster Response and Rescue Unit, Tibiao Bakery Inc., CCBP Iloilo, EON Centennial Hotel, QHP Realty, John B. Lacson Maritime University Arevalo, John B. Lacson Maritime University Molo, Cares Meat Food Inc., JD Foods R’Us, Assumption Iloilo, Pepsi Cola Products Philippines, Central Philippine University, and Mandaue Foam.

CHED Chief to keynote UPV graduate research conference

by Lilibeth A. French (JCM/LAF/PIA-Iloilo)

ILOILO CITY, Sept. 21 (PIA) -- Commission on Higher Education Chair Dr. Patricia Licuanan will be in Iloilo City to keynote the opening program of the 4th University of the Philippines Visayas (UPV) Graduate Research Conference on Saturday, September 24, 2011 at the UPV Auditorium.

Researchers, teachers, and students were invited to participate in this bi-annual conference organized by the UPV Graduate Program Office with the theme “Addressing the Challenges of Changing Environments.”

Dr. Rogelio M. Florete, Sr., Chair of the Florete Group of Companies and Dr. Robert Toledo, Chief of the Aquaculture Department of the Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center will also join Licuanan in the conference. Florete will be the guest speaker for the Management and Education cluster while Geobert Toledo will speak for the Natural Sciences and Fisheries cluster.

Aside from providing a forum for sharing ideas or insights on graduate research, the conference intends to promote a research culture among graduate students and provide an opportunity for dissemination of their research outputs in the current fields of Education, Management, Natural Sciences and Fisheries. It also aims to encourage inter-campus research collaboration.

After the opening program which will start at 8 AM, the poster and paper presentation sessions will follow.

The poster session will be held at the GCE Building Hallway while the parallel cluster sessions for the Natural Sciences and Fisheries Cluster and Management Education Cluster will be held at the GCEB Training and the UPV Auditorium.

Some 18 posters are expected to be presented during the conference, four of which belong to the field of Management and Education cluster and the remaining ones to the Natural Science and Fisheries.

Homes await Iloilo informal settlers

(Philippine News Agency, Manila Bulletin News Article)

ILOILO CITY, Philippines (PNA) — Around 2,000 informal settlers from this city will benefit from the P244-million housing project that will be established through a fund support coming from President Aquino and the National Housing Authority (NHA).

Iloilo City Urban Poor Affairs Office (ICUPAO) executive director Wilfredo Jurilla said beneficiaries will be those affected by the ongoing rehabilitation of the Iloilo River and road-widening projects.

To recall last month, the city government and the NHA signed an understanding for the P144-million fund intended for the site development and construction of a resettlement for 1,000 informal settlers coming from the Iloilo River, its tributaries to include Dungon, Mansaya and Rizal creeks and a river in South San Jose, Molo.

During recent regular monthly meeting of the Iloilo River Development Council (IRDC), another agreement was entered into by the said signatories for another P100 -million fund from Malacañang.

“I personally asked the President to set aside P100 million and this will be executed by NHA,” announced Sen. Franklin Drilon who was present during the signing.

Unlike the P144 million which is a combination of loan and grant, the P100 million was a grant from the Office of the President.

Meantime, Jurilla said currently, there are around 7,000 informal settlers left and are waiting to be provided with relocation not to mention those with court orders.

Indigenous Peoples regional assembly slated

by Elsa S. Subong(JCM/ESS/PIA-Iloilo)

ILOILO CITY, Sept. 19 (PIA) -- The Indigenous Peoples Regional Assembly will be held on September 23-24 at the Iloilo Provincial Capitol, according to the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) officer Josela Gregorio.

Gregorio said the assembly, which is expected to gather over a hundred IPs, was being organized by the office of Senator Loren Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committee on Cultural Communities. The aim was to ensure that a pending legislation will responsive to the IPs' needs.

Legarda will lead the consultations with the participants, composed of IP leaders, government agencies, members of the academe and other stakeholders.

In a press statement, Legarda said the regional assembly seeks to provide a platform in helping communicate and promote the IPs cultural inheritance and improve their welfare.

In the same statement, Legarda said the assembly will include discussions on climate change and its impact on the IP communities and some adaptation measures to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, and disaster risk reduction.

A capability-building forum on the International Labor Organization, or the Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Convention will also be conducted to strengthen government’s commitment to its duty to protect the rights of the IPs.

Further, the participants will be shown documentary films, “Buhos” and "Ulan sa Tag-araw," which describe the science of climate change and its social, economic and health impacts on vulnerable populations.

Sen. Legarda is also the chair on Committee on Climate Change and Committee on Foreign Relations.

Meanwhile, a highlight of the assembly will be the presentation of the NCIP of success stories on IP Cultural Enterprise and Creative Industry, and a presentation of the sustainable management of the Schools of Living Tradition by anthropologist and cultural worker Dr. Alicia Magos.

The assembly is also jointly undertaken by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the NCIP, with local government units as hosts.

Consultations have already been done among IP groups in Luzon and Mindanao, where IP leaders engaged in dialogue with stakeholders.

Infra projects boost for Iloilo

(Manila Bulletin News Article)

ILOILO CITY (PIA) — Senator Franklin Drilon expressed optimism that the P2.4-billion infrastructure projects which will be implemented starting November will help improve the economic situation of the city and province of Iloilo as well as generate more employment.

Drilon said during the meeting of the Iloilo River Development Council that President Benigno S. Aquino III supports the Ilonggos “to enable us to improve our infrastructure and spur economic development in the city and province of Iloilo.”

The projects will cover the Iloilo Radial Road, P217-million; Iloilo Circumferential Road, R1.7-billion; Jaro-Leganes Road, P423-million and Esplanade, P70-million.

The Ilonggo senator assured “transparency” in the implementation of the projects.

“On October 7, we will bid out the projects or portions of them so that this will signal the start of the construction of the projects,” Dri-lon said.

“We hope to be able to execute these on time,” he said expressing confidence “that by the next two or three years, there will be a lot of infrastructure activity in the city”.

Drilon also said that President Aquino has approved the request of the Iloilo River Development Council for an additional amount for the housing project for the informal settlers along Iloilo River.

The total amount for the housing project is now P244 million, Drilon said as he emphasized the urgency of the Iloilo River’s rehabilitation and conservation.

Iloilo City to ink cooperation agreement with Korea

(Positive News Media admin's post, PNA/scs/FFC/AJP/LMS/vlo)

ILOILO CITY, Sept. 17 (PNA) – The city government is set to sign soon a Cooperation Agreement with Korea’s Gwangju Metropolitan City after the Sangguniang Panlungsod passed Resolution No. 2011-996 during their regular session recently.

Through the resolution, Mayor Jed Patrick E. Mabilog has been granted authority by the City Council to sign for and in behalf of the city government.

The Cooperation Agreement is in connection with the 2011 Gwangju Summit of the Urban Environmental Accords (2011 UEA Gwangju Summit) to be held on Oct. 11 to 13.

Gwangju is known as environment-friendly, technologically advanced and highly industrialized city in South Korea.

“We want to establish a link between the two cities to exchange information and share necessary expertise and experiences in climate change, transportation, waste management, and waterworks and sewage treatment management,” Mabilog said.

The summit will bring together over 100 cities worldwide who have endorsed the UEA to promote environmental protection and preservation, and to showcase best practices of different countries.

3 major Iloilo projects set


ILOILO CITY, Philippines (PNA) — Sen. Franklin Drilon was scheduled to lead the signing Friday afternoon of a memorandum of agreement (MoA) on three important development projects in Iloilo City with members of the Iloilo River Development Council at the Hotel del Rio.

Iloilo City Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog said the first MoA is between the city government and the Department of Agriculture Regional Office 6 on a P40-million development assistance for the upgrading of the city slaughterhouse into a “Double A” category.

Last week, the city government received Drilon's special allotment release order (SARO) for the upgrading of the city slaughterhouse in Barangay Tacas, Jaro into a modern facility being designed for pigs and cattle with complete waste water treatment plant, vehicles and drainage system.

The second project that will have a MoA signing will be the P150-million esplanade project that will cover 2.5 kilometers from Treñas Boulevard to the Railway Bridge.

The third project will be the P100-million additional support to the present P144-million worth of housing project in a 5.6-hectare site in Barangay Lanit, Jaro for displaced riverbank dwellers with the National Housing Authority (NHA).

CSC to government employees: “Strive for heroism”

by Elsa S. Subong(JCM/ESS/PIA-Iloilo)

ILOILO CITY, Sept. 15 (PIA) -- The call for heroism is an endless call for everyone in government, said Atty. Raymund Gonzales, Director III, Civil Service Commission-6, during an interview in the cable TV program “Hangpanay” of the Philippine Information Agency-6.

As the Philippine Civil Service observes its 111th anniversary under the Aquino administration, the civil servants are urged to be servant-heroes (Lingkod-bayani) by being champions of the R.A.C.E. (Responsive, Accessible, Courteous and Effective) public service, Atty. Gonzales said.

In a previous PIA-Iloilo interview, CSC Chairman Francisco Duque said he believed all civil servants are servant-heroes and government is proud of the competence, skill and dedication of its employees.

Meanwhile, President Benigno Aquino III said in his message for the whole celebration that all government workers in his administration continues to recognize their competence and dedication.

Aquino also asked the civil servants to give importance to the best quality of service that can be offered to the public, and to continue to mold responsible, dependable and good civil servants so that progress can be hastened.

Meanwhile, Gonzales said Iloilo is proud to have a simple postmaster as Dangal ng Bayan Awardee for this year, Jelyn Duting. Duting took the effort to deliver letters on time or even earlier, to far-flung areas where transportation is scarce.

Gonzales said it is the heroism in performing one’s daily duty, and the perseverance in the midst of difficulties, which make a civil servant a hero, wherever he is.

97 WV LGUs eligible for Performance Challenge Fund in 2011

by Jaime S. Cabag, Jr.(JCM/JSC-PIA6)

ILOILO CITY, Sept. 14 (PIA) -- A total of 97 local government units in Western Visayas has been awarded with the Seal of Good Housekeeping by the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and is thus eligible to avail of the Performance Challenge Fund (PCF) incentive for LGUs this year.

This was announced by DILG Regional Director Evelyn A. Trompeta during the recent meeting of the Development Administration Committee of the Regional Development Council at the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) here. Trompeta also chairs the said RDC committee.

Forty-two of these PCF eligibles qualified in Round 1 (4th to 6th Class component cities and municipalities) of the Seal of Good Housekeeping (SGH) evaluation while 55 LGUs including all provinces in the region made it during Round 2 (1st to 3rd Class municipalities, cities and all provinces) of the SGH program.

The good housekeeping seal is a program designed to institutionalize DILG’s commitment to scale up interventions to elevate the practice of governance that values transparency, accountability, participation and performance.

The areas covered by the evaluation of good housekeeping seal are sound fiscal management on one hand and transparency and accountability on the other hand.

Fiscal management includes the COA annual audit report, use of financial resources, and presence of local revenue code and statement of receipts and expenditures. Transparency and accountability include compliance with Anti-Red Tape Law and full disclosure of local budget and finances, bids and public offerings.

It will be recalled that DILG memo circulars on the full disclosure of local budget and finances, bids and public offerings and that on strict adherence to Section 90 of the 2011 General Appropriations Act direct LGUs to post either at conspicuous places within public buildings, in print media of community or general circulation, and in the website certain documents ranging from their annual budget to the abstract of bids as circulated for the current year pursuant to the full disclosure policy of the government.

The Seal of Good Housekeeping qualifies LGUs to avail of the PCF which is a facility envisioned to help stimulate LGUs to put premium on transparency and accountability to enable them to avail themselves of financial support to jumpstart and sustain local socio-economic development initiatives supportive of national government goals and priorities.

The fund can be availed of by eligible LGUs upon submission of the requirements set by the PCF guidelines including a letter of intent, project proposal based on their annual investment program, and a Sangguniang Bayan resolution authorizing the local chief executive to enter into a memo of agreement for the PCF subsidy, among others.

LGUs can avail of the PCF up to a maximum amount of P1 million for a municipality, P3 million for a city, and P7 million for a province. The PCF subsidy should be matched by the LGU recipient on a 50-50 counterpart sharing scheme.

The fund may be used for projects that are aligned to the achievement of the following national thrusts and priorities: attainment of the Millennium Development Goals; local economic development; and, adaptation to climate change, preparedness for disaster and solid waste management.

Last year, only two LGUs in the region qualified for the PCF subsidy. These were the municipalities of Anilao in Iloilo and Balete in Aklan.

Non-handiccaping environment project to be expanded in WV

by Lilibeth A. French(JCM/LAF/PIA-Iloilo)

ILOILO CITY, Sept. 13 (PIA) -- The National Council on Disability Affairs (NCDA) and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) are planning to expand the Non-Handicapping Environment (NHE) Project in Western Visayas to further promote physical and social accessibilities in rural areas.

NCDA Planning Officer III Delfina Baquir said they target to implement the project in three other local government units in the region belonging to the 4th, 5th and 6th class category.

“This is open to rural LGUs like the town of New Lucena, Iloilo that are willing and committed to adopt the project including providing counterpart fund for the implementation of project activities,” said Baquir.

Baquir was here in Iloilo City, September 13 for the Universal Design (UD) Seminar initiated by NCDA and JICA that intends to update relevant stakeholders in the region and representatives from Opol, Misamis Oriental on the NHE project expansion and application.

Aside from New Lucena, the other pioneering municipality of the NHE project in the country is Opol, Misamis Oriental. The project was implemented in these municipalities starting October 2008 and is expected to end on September 2012.

The project is composed of five outputs that involve implementing mechanism, profiling, capacity development, advocacy and networking.

Baquir said interested local government units have until December 2011 to submit their application to the screening committee under the Regional Council for Disability Affairs in Western Visayas.

The half-day activity also provided the more than one hundred participants with insightful NHE experiences and the concept or practice of UD which is being promoted by the NHE project in creating barrier-free environment.

Mayor Liezel Seville updated participants on the NHE project implementation in New Lucena and JICA’s Short-term expert Dr Yoshihiko Kawauchi discussed the topic on Universal Design: Up-to-date Information and Best Practices of Japan.

Group pushes for creation of Metro Iloilo dumpsite and sanitary landfill

by Elsa S. Subong (JCM/ESS/PIA-Iloilo)

ILOILO CITY, Sept. 12 (PIA) -- A group of concerned city residents has called on the local government to establish a Metro Iloilo dumpsite and sanitary landfill far from the population centers here.

The Advocates of Metro Iloilo Dumpsite and Sanitary Landfill is also pushing for the closure of what they considered a poorly managed Calajunan Dumpsite, in Mandurriao, Iloilo city.

In a radio interview, group member Atty. Leopoldo Causing said the continued operation of the dumpsite clearly violated the provisions of Republic Act 9003, or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000.

Under the law, Causing said, all local government units should have converted their open dumpsites into sanitary landfills effective 2001 yet.

He recalled that in 2004, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources has ordered the closure of the Calajunan dumpsite but the city government, did not have enough funds to convert it into a sanitary landfill.

The group’s chair, Mr. Ramon Buenaflor said they are making the urgent call because of the danger the dumpsite poses on the health and safety of the people, besides the fact that the dumpsite, located along the margins of the Iloilo River can cause water contamination.

Buenaflor said, his group proposes for the immediate transfer of the dumpsite to a forestland area in the boundary of San Miguel and Alimodian, where it can be established as a common dumpsite for clusters of local government units, like Leganes, Pavia, San Miguel, Sta. Barbara and Leon.

He said these municipalities can jointly operate and finance the dumpsite.

“This will be more economical and will free population centers from all forms of pollution,” Buenaflor said.

Meanwhile, National Solid Waste Management Commission deputy executive director Eli Ildefonso said open and controlled dumpsites should have been non-existent since 2006 but the high cost of putting up and maintenance of a sanitary landfill is so high, LGUs tend to ignore the requirement.

Ildefonso, who was guest during the program, “Talking Points” of the PTV4, Radyo Ng Bayan and the Philippine Information Agency, said at present there are still about 435 open and controlled dumpsites illegally operating in many parts of the country.

He added that “final notices” have already been issued to all concerned LGUs, warning them of sanctions, if they continue to violate RA 9003.

He said, in a PIA dispatch, that the law prefers sanitary landfills as engineered forms of waste disposal because they reduce trash volumes and minimize underground water contamination.

He said there are currently around 36 engineered sanitary landfills in the country, with 63 more expected to open soon.

He further said, his agency is available for technical support to stakeholders and dumpsite operators to help them effectively and appropriately comply with the law.

Iloilo City girds for International Clean-up Day

by by TWVillavert (JCM/TWV/PIA6-Iloilo)

ILOILO CITY, September 11 (PIA) -- Some 10,000 volunteers from various schools, national and city government offices, private organizations, and the community are expected to join the clean up of coastlines of Iloilo City as part of the observance of the International Coastal Cleanup Day on September 17.

According to Coastal Marine and Management Officer Dennis Pinosa of the Department of Natural Environment and Natural Resources, Iloilo City, about 46 kilometers will be covered during the activity in 56 coastal barangays of the City.

He explained that Iloilo City has 56 coastal barangays, 26 of which are along the coastlines.

“The International Coastal Cleanup Day is now on its 26th year, and for Iloilo City it is the 9th year because we started only in year 2002,” Pinosa said.

Pinosa said that during last year’s activity, some 50 tons of bio-degradable materials like plastic bags, bottles and other harmful trash were collected from the coastlines.

City Councilor David Jamora, chairman of the Committee on Public Service, Environmental Protection and Ecology, said that the coastal clean up day should be everyone’s responsibility because “if this will not be addressed it will impact on the health of humans, wildlife and economy."

Jamora said that every item collected during the coastal clean up will be identified and recorded so that “we will have basis to pass necessary measures to address the deterioration of our environment, especially on our marine environment.”

Jamora said that the activity is expected to raise the level of awareness of the public on the threat posed by pollution to human life. He said cleaning of the shorelines must be done regularly, not only during the coastal cleanup day.

Iloilo forges friendship ties with US city

by Lydia C. Pendon

DALY City, California wants to forge friendship cooperation with Iloilo City to develop reciprocal exchanges enhancing culture, education, business, sports and tourism.

A cooperative proclamation between the cities of Daly City and Iloilo City was drafted August 22, 2011, signed by Daly City Mayor Carol L. Klatt, and was sent to Iloilo City for Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog to sign.

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The proclamation showed that Daly City and Iloilo City jointly wish to contribute to the promotion of friendship between the United States (US) and the Republic of the Philippines, and along with that effort contribute to peace and prosperity for both countries.

Mabilog said the latest friendship affiliation between two cities will pave the way for a sisterhood pact and in the future, a Friendship Agreement may be formalized with terms mutually agreed upon by representatives of both cities.

Iloilo has several sisterhood agreements with other cities and among these are the Stockton City in the US, Jing Dao in China, Dededo in Guam, Yulin in China and Makati City in the Philippines.

Philhealth implements new payment scheme

by Lilibeth A. French(JCM/LAF/PIA-Iloilo)

ILOILO CITY, Sept. 9 (PIA) -- The Philippine Health Insurance Corporation 6 will discuss with local government units and national government agencies in Iloilo, the new case rates and the “No Balance Billing” policy it is implementing effective September 1, this year.

Philhealth 6 Regional Head Marilyn C. Geduspan said the forum will be conducted on September 23 at the Westown Hotel, Iloilo City to inform participants of the new case rates and the new scheme of availing and paying the new benefits.

Based on Philhealth Circular 11, 2011 issued by Philhealth President and Chief Executive Officer Dr. Rey Aquino, the new case rates will cover selected medical cases and surgical procedures applicable to all members.

Geduspan said under the new scheme, members will know how much they can now avail of for certain medical conditions and surgical procedures. This will also enable faster processing of claims and reimbursements for the services they have rendered to members on the part of accredited providers.

The circular also grants the “No Balance Billing policy” where no other fees or expenses shall be charged or paid by Philhealth sponsored program members and dependents above and beyond the package rates for the most common medical and surgical conditions.

Other members could also avail the Maternity Care Package and the Newborn Care Package in accredited non-hospital providers under the NBB in consonance with the objectives of the Universal Health Care and in support of the United Nation's Millennium Development Goals of reducing maternal and infant mortality rates through affordable interventions.

Through the circular, Philhealth President and Chief Executive Officer Dr. Rey Aquino said this continuous improvement of member benefits to be consistently responsive to ever-changing demands is in consonance with the government’s thrust to attain Universal Health Coverage in three years.

“This also serves to keep members within the PhilHealth system as well as entice prospective members to join the social health insurance fund,”said Aquino.

W Visayas awards citizen-friendly police stations, outstanding tanods

by Edson J. Bañares (JCM/EJB/PIA 6)

ILOILO CITY, Sept. 8 (PIA) -- The most citizen-friendly police stations and outstanding barangay tanods in Western Visayas were awarded in recognition of their efforts in the field of public service during the culmination of the National Crime Prevention Week held in Iloilo City, Sept 7.

The most citizen-friendly police station in the municipal category went to the San Jose Police Station in San Jose, Antique , while the Cabatuan Police Station in Iloilo and the Boracay Special Tourist Police Office in Boracay, Aklan won the 2nd and 3rd places, respectively.

In the City Category, the San Carlos City Police Station got the 1st place and Bacolod City Police Station 3 got the 2nd place.

All the winners received a trophy, a certificate of appreciation and cash prizes.

In the individual category, Juvy Galon, a tanod of barangay Concordia, Sibunag Guimaras was declared champion in the Individual category, followed by Sergio Perucho of barangay Polo, New Washington, Aklan as the 1st runner-up and Willy Idioso of Barangay Mandalagan, Bacolod City as 2nd runner-up.

In the group category, Tanods from Barangay Polo, New Washington, Aklan were the champion, Barangay Igcocolo, Guimbal, Iloilo as 1st runner-up and Barangay Ilaya-Ivisan, Ivisan, Capiz became the 2nd runner-up.

All the winners for the Outstanding Tanod 2011- individual category received a plaque and cash prizes worth, P10,000 for the champion, P7,000 for 1st runner-up and P5,000 for the 2nd runner-up.

In the group category, the champion received P20,000 while the 2nd and 3rd received P15,000 and P10,000 respectively.

The search for the most citizen-friendly police station was spearheaded by the National Police Commission (NAPOLCOM) while the search for outstanding barangay tanod was led by the Department of Interior and Local Government.

More than 30 agencies to join “Gov’t Express”

by Elsa S. Subong(JCM/ESS/PIA-Iloilo)

ILOILO CITY, September 7 (PIA) -- More than 30 government agencies will participate in this year’s “Government Express Goes to the Mall," a one-stop shop of government front line services which will start on September 12 – 15 at SM City Iloilo.

Civil Service Commission 6 Information Officer Donna Marie Baldeviso said the four-day activity will give the public easy access, not only to the frontline services but also information on the different projects and programs of the participating agencies.

As of September 6, some of the agencies that have confirmed to attend are the National Statistics Office, Government Service Insurance System, Iloilo City COMELEC, Department of Trade and Industry, Ombudsman, Commission and Human Rights, Metro Iloilo Water District, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, Philippine National Police, and the Iloilo City government.

Also, the Department of Agriculture, Department of Health, Department of Social Welfare and Development, Department of Agrarian Reform, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, Technical Education Skills and Development Authority, National Irrigation Administration, National Food Authority, Maritime Industry Authority, Office of the Civil Defense, Philippine Coconut Authority, Cooperative Development Authority and Bureau of Fire Protection will join the one-stop shop.

The four-day event is part of the 111th Philippine Civil Service anniversary celebration in Western Visayas, focusing on the theme “Championing R.A.C.E: Public Service Excellence at Full Speed” which is anchored on President Benigno Aquino’s call for reform. This will be open to the public during mall hours from 10 A.M. to 9 P.M..

Other activities in line with the celebration include the Recognition Rites for the 2011 Honor Awards Program semi-finalist on September 13 at SM City and the Hataw Galaw and Simplified Cheerdance Competition on September 23 at the Jaro Covered Gym.

The Hataw Galaw is a 30 minute calorie burning exercise for government employees.

Red Cross pushes for voluntary blood donation, not replacement

by Elsa S. Subong(JCM/ESS/PIA-Iloilo)

ILOILO CITY, Sept. 5 (PIA) -- The Philippine Red Cross-Iloilo Chapter prefer voluntary blood donors to blood donors who get paid or offer blood under pressure during emergency cases.

PRC-Iloilo Blood Center Manager Dr. Judith Sol-Jimeno said they have stopped blood replacement donation to ensure that what they get is safe blood and that blood donation becomes a regular voluntary habit for Ilonggos.

“We advocate for zero replacement because we want people to realize that voluntary blood donation is a donor’s expression of goodwill and good health,” Jimeno said during the TV program “Hangpanay” anchored by the Philippine Information Agency.

She said the Voluntary Blood donation is in the National Blood Resource program of the Department of Health, and it is an appeal for continuing blood donation from able donors.

“Blood is needed all the time, and a donor can save not only one but two or three lives because of the different components of blood and blood products,” Jimeno added.

Jimeno said, for cases of dengue, there is the platelet concentrates, while for most common need, like bleeding or massive bleeding, fresh whole blood is needed.

A volunteer donor has to meet certain qualifications in order to be accepted, like a weight of not less than 50 kilograms, between 18-60 years old for first timers, while regular donors can be up to 75 of age.

A donor also undergoes physical and medical assessment/screening to be sure that blood is safe and donation is safe for the donor himself, Jimeno said.

Jimeno said the blood collected undergoes a testing process based on a standardized measure approved by the DOH, which examines if the blood is free from transmissible infections like Hepatitis B, C, HIV, Malaria and Syphilis.

She said that between 7 to 10 per cent of the blood collected are reactive to the above infections, while about 20 to 30 per cent of those who volunteer to donate are rejected for not having passed some medical and physical assessment.

As to having enough supply of blood, the PRC-Iloilo has enough per recent inventory, and maintains at least 100 units per day available to meet the demands of an average of about 30 to 50 clients.

“That is why we have to appeal for continuing voluntary blood donation, as safe blood is needed each day, and in a way that the person receiving it will not be harmed by another illness,” Jimeno said.

DENR briefs Forest Committee on logging moratorium

by Lydia C. Pendon

ILOILO CITY, Sept. 4 (PIA) -- The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is now prohibited from issuing logging contracts or agreements in all natural and residual forests of the country, according to DENR Region 6 Technical Director for Forestry Livino Duran.

Duran discussed this with the members of the Regional Multi-Sectoral Forest Protection Committee in Western Visayas when he briefed them on Executive Order No. 23 issued by President Benigno Aquino III that declares a moratorium on the cutting and harvesting of timber in the natural and residual forests of the entire country.

Duran added during the recent meeting of the RMFPC that President Aquino also prohibited the DENR to renew tree cutting permits in all natural and residual forests nationwide in the EO which he signed on February 1, this year.

In the EO, President Aquino said that “it is the obligation of the State to protect remaining forest cover areas of the country not only to prevent flashflood and hazardous flooding but also to preserve biodiversity, protect threatened habitats and sanctuaries of endangered and rare species, and allow natural regeneration of residual forests and development of plantation forests”.

The Department of Education (DepEd) is the priority agency in the use of all confiscated logs as stated in the EO.

Under EO No. 23, Duran said President Aquino also tasked the DENR to lead the Anti-Illegal Logging Task Force that will enforce the moratorium and develop a National Greening Program (NGP) in cooperation with other government agencies.

The NGP is a Department of Agriculture (DA)-DENR-Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) Convergence Initiative anchored on the government's goal of poverty reduction, food security, climate change adaptation and mitigation.

5 district hospitals get new ambulances

by Jaime S. Cabag, Jr.(JCM/JSC/PIA6)

ILOILO CITY, Sept. 3 (PIA) -- Five district hospitals in the province will be recipients of brand new ambulances.

Gov. Arthur Defensor Sr. said during his regular Thursday press conference at his office that turn over ceremonies of the ambulances will be conducted at the Provincial Capitol flag ceremony on Monday, Sept. 5.

Defensor said the recipient-hospitals are ALESOSAN (Alimodian-Leon-San Miguel) District Hospital in Alimodian, Ramon Tabiana Memorial District Hospital in Cabatuan, Federico Roman Tirador Memorial District Hospital in Janiuay, Don Valerio Palmares Memorial District Hospital in Passi City, and Iloilo Provincial Hospital in Pototan.

Each ambulance is worth P1.3 million.

The chief provincial executive said the ambulances are part of the overall development program of the provincial government to enhance the delivery of health services in the provinces through the district hospitals.

Part of this program are the counterpart provided by the provincial government for the health insurance premiums of indigent families under PhilHealth’s Sponsored Program and improvement of facilities and services of hospitals under its jurisdiction.

The support given by the provincial government to the national health insurance is in line with the government’s program on universal health care for all Filipinos.

Gov’t workers urged to join simultaneous flag raising on Monday

by Lilibeth A. French(LAF/PIA-Iloilo)

ILOILO CITY, Sept. 2 (PIA) -- The Civil Service Commission 6 has called on government workers in Western Visayas to join the simultaneous flag-raising ceremony on Monday, September 5, 2011 at 8 AM to be conducted in their respective offices.

CSC 6 Director IV Rodolfo Encajonado issued a memorandum requesting the participation of all government agencies in the region in the simultaneous flag-raising ceremony which will kick-off the month-long anniversary celebration of the 111th Philippine Civil Service Anniversary in the region this September.

The CSC Regional Memorandum Circular No. 02, s. 2011 was signed by Encajonado on September 1 addressed to all regional heads of departments, bureaus and agencies of the national government, local chief executives of local government units, and heads of government owned and controlled corporation and state universities and colleges.

Encajonado also encouraged the conduct of trivia games, and other activities on the PCS System as well as on R.A.C.E. or Responsive, Accessible, Courteous and Efficient Public Service as part of the flag raising ceremony program.

This year’s celebration of the 111th Philippine Civil Service anniversary celebration has “Championing R.A.C.E.: Public Service Excellenxe at Full Speed” for its theme.

Provincial gov’t readies aid for landslide victims

by Jaime S. Cabag, Jr.(JCM/JSC/PIA6)

ILOILO CITY, Sept. 1 (PIA) -- The provincial government of Iloilo has readied assistance for families who were badly affected by the landslides that occurred in the municipalities of Leon, Tubungan, Miag-ao, San Joaquin and Janiuay as a result of the recent heavy monsoon rains.

Governor Arthur Defensor, Sr. said the provincial government will extend a financial assistance of P10,000 and relief goods worth P2,000 to each of the families whose houses were totally destroyed by the geological hazard.

Defensor said the assistance will be given to affected families through their respective local government units. They will be the priority beneficiaries for now, he said.

The assistance from the provincial government is on top or in addition to whatever assistance the other local government units or national government would extend to the landslide victims.

Defensor added that the provincial government is also ready to lend a helping hand through the provincial special education fund regarding the schoolbuilding in Miag-ao that was damaged during the landslide.

Provincial Administrator Raul N. Banias said they have identified 16 families who are set to avail of the financial and relief assistance. He added that the relief assistance will be in the form of rice and groceries.

The Office of Civil Defense (OCD) said the landslides were caused by monsoon rains enhanced by typhoon “Mina” that visited the Philippines recently. The weather disturbance also caused flooding in the said areas and other parts of Iloilo including Iloilo City. Flooding displaced more than 1,000 families in the city.

The four municipalities are among the areas in Western Visayas that the Mines and GeoSciences Bureau said are highly susceptible to landslides and flooding. MGB has reminded communities in these vulnerable areas to be prepared for possible geological hazards with the onset of the rainy and typhoon season.

The reminder was issued by MGB as part of the overall disaster risk reduction and management program of the government.