Palawan News April 2017

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Palawan - Archived News

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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
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Protein 6.7 gm Cow's milk: 3.2 gm
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Undergroud River in Palawan
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Underground river in Pureto Princesa, Palawan
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Baracuda Lake, Coron, Palawan
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U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines Kristie A. Kenney and USAID/Philippines Environment Office Chief Daniel Moore witness the safe and sustainable collection of ornamental fish by certified Marine Aquarium Council collectors in Palawan

Palawan towns hold various activities to mark ‘World Malaria Awareness Month’

By Celeste Anna R. Formoso (PNA)

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY -– “End Malaria for Good” is this year’s theme of the Kilusan Ligtas Malaria (KLM) in Palawan as several of its municipalities simultaneously marked April as “World Malaria Awareness Month.”

Aileen Balderian, program manager of the KLM which is under the Palawan Provincial Health Office (PHO), said the theme speaks of ending malaria in the province for good with the help of local government units (LGU).

She said Palawan has 23 municipalities which are supporting the theme and the various activities that KLM lined up during this entire week to continuously inform the public about malaria prevention.

“In commemoration of the World Malaria Awareness Month this April, different municipalities in the province implemented several activities aimed at constantly increasing public awareness about how to prevent having the disease, and how the LGUs can help in putting an end to it,” said Balderian.

To help in the activities, the private firm Pilipinas Shell Foundation, Inc. (PSFI) donated PhP10,000.00, according to Balderian.

The foundation is one of the implementors of the KLM in 1999, before it turned over the program to the provincial government of Palawan.

Balderian said this year’s celebration of World Malaria Awareness Month is still part of their undeviating campaign for LGUs to help in the fight, especially municipalities that remain affected by the disease.

Among these towns are Taytay, Roxas, and Busuanga. Puerto Princesa also still has malaria cases.

Part of the week-long celebration in Palawan, Balderian added, was a training for barangay health workers (BHW) and rapid diagnostic test (RDT) personnel, who can help them in distantly-located areas.

The RDT personnel “assist in the diagnosis of malaria by providing evidence of the presence of malaria parasites in the human blood.”

The KLM is thankful, Balderian added, that the LGUs in Palawan, as well as non-government organizations (NGOs) like PSFI are taking a stronger stand in the fight against malaria.

Among the activities held this week were slogan writing contest, bed net impregnation, blood smearing for malaria parasite (BSMP), and on the spot painting contest featuring the celebration’s theme.

According to the KLM, malaria is a life-threatening disease of the blood that is caused by parasites transmitted through the bite of an Anopheles mosquito.

Once a bite has been made, the parasites reproduce in the liver of the host before it attacks the red blood cells.

If the public is well-informed about prevention, malaria can be stopped from claiming victims, said Balderian.

A person afflicted with malaria may show signs of shivering, fever, headaches, sweating, impaired consciousness, abnormal bleeding and signs of anemia.

Palawan products earn PhP1.1M in 65th Manila Fame Trade Fair

By Celeste Anna R. Formoso (PNA)

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY -– Palawan-made products took the center stage in the 65th Manila Fame Trade Fair, making the delegation from the Provincial Tourism and Development Department (PTDD) very fulfilled and happy with the PhP1.1-million profits earned for the province.

Supervising Tourism Operation Officer Arnold Valdez Jr. said Friday that six arts and crafts establishments in Puerto Princesa participated in the bi-annual showcase of design innovation and skilled craftsmanship in Philippine products at the World Trade Center, Pasay City on April 21-23.

These are Asiano, Rurungan sa Tubod, Bambuhay from Busuanga municipality, Sublit Laben Handikraft from Brooke’s Point, Palawentas, and DSF.

“Umabot sa PhP1.1-milyon ang kanilang kabuoang benta sa pagtatapos ng aktibidad at masaya ang ganitong tagumpay (Their profit reached around PhP1.1 million, and we’re happy with this kind of success),” Valdez said.

He said the direction of the leadership of Governor Jose Alvarez is for the province to participate in events that would showcase not only the craftsmanship of the Palaweno people but also their rich culture and traditions, displayed in the products they make.

“The goal is to support the Palawenos, who have exemplary skills and craftsmanship to put their products out there; to look for a niche for them in this kind of industry in the global market,” he added.

According to the website of Manila FAME, it is “considered as the country's premier design and lifestyle event. It features finely selected furniture and home furnishings, holiday gifts and décor, and fashion accessories designed and crafted in the Philippines for the global market.”

Organized by the Philippine Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) through the Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM), Manila FAME “is the second longest-running trade show in the Asia-Pacific, and is the only trade event in the country that is approved by Union des Foires Internationales (UFI), or the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry, a Paris-based association of trade fair organizers founded 90 years ago in Milan, Italy in April 1925.”

Palawan, Cebu, Luzon, Boracay are ‘world’s friendliest’ islands

By Yuji Vincent Gonzales (Reporter, CBB,

Four Philippine islands have been voted as the world’s friendliest by readers of the New York-based magazine Travel + Leisure.

The tourist-famous Palawan was hailed as the friendliest island in the world, followed by Cebu (2nd), Luzon (3rd), and Boracay (4th).

“While the politics of the nation have grown ever-more volatile, the people of the islands remain friendly to visitors exploring their scenic home. For many travelers, it’s especially helpful that English is one of the official languages of the Philippines, and that islanders are so welcoming of tourists,” wrote Jess McHugh in an article on the magazine’s website.

“In our annual World’s Best Awards survey, Travel + Leisure asks people to score travel experiences across the globe, evaluating everything from cruise lines and airports to resorts, cities, and hotels. When it came to islands, readers scored the best according to characteristics like romantic charm and the friendliness of the people,” McHugh added.

The four Philippine destinations bested other islands in the world, including Waiheke in New Zealand (5th), Ischia in Italy (6th), Tasmania in Australia (7th), Fiji Islands (8th), Bali in Indonesia (9th), the Great Barrier Reef Islands (10th), Moorea (11th), Paros in Greece (12th), Bora Bora (13th), Exhumas in Bahamas (14th), and Caye Caulker in Belize (15th).

A Travel + Leisure reader described the people of Palawan as “very welcoming, respectful, and friendly.”

“The island’s green-and-turquoise lagoons have long put it on the bucket lists of travelers around the world, and this year it is also the world’s most convivial island destination,” the magazine said.

It said Cebu’s greatest qualities are its “helpful locals,” while it described Luzon as “extremely diverse” and a “dynamic destination for travelers seeking a rich cultural experience.”

“Settle in at a spa or go diving for shipwrecks at this small island, which is just as beloved for its welcoming people as it is for its undeniable beauty,” the magazine said of Boracay.

New, upgraded Puerto Princesa Airport launching next week

By Caleb Velasquez

The Department of Transportation has scheduled the inauguration of upgraded Puerto Princesa Airport. The new and improved airport in Palawan was previously scheduled to open first quarter of this year, however, construction was extended 90 days because of the development of perimeter road.

“On May 3, 2017, the DOTr will inaugurate the Puerto Princesa Airport, a newly developed international airport which was designed to accommodate 1.9 million passengers annually,” DOTr said.

The P4 billion worth development project included the construction of new passenger and cargo building, apron, taxiways and navigation facilities.

In 2014, Kumho Industrial Co. Ltd.-GS Engineering and Construction joint venture (Kumho-GS) won the bidding for the $82.9-million design-and-build contract for the airport development project. The contract gave the joint venture 30 months to complete the project.

The project was mainly funded through a Korean Export Import Bank (KEXIM) loan amounting to $71.6 million which is payable in 40 years, inclusive of a 10-and-a-half-year grace period, at an interest rate of 0.1 percent a year. Bidding for the project was limited to South Korean firms.

DOH, PCG conducts water search-and-rescue training

By Aira Genesa Magdayao

In collaboration with the Philippine Coast Guard District Palawan (PCG), the Department of Health (DOH) MIMAROPA is conducting a five-day Water Search and Rescue (WASAR) training for tourist guides and boatmen in Puerto Princesa City this April 24-28.

In an interview with Glen Ramos, Media Relation Officer of DOH-MIMAROPA, the activity includes 44 participants (3 females and 41 males) mostly from Sabang, Nagtabon, and Bacungan, which were identified as critical areas with several cases of drowning incidents.

“Karamihan ng nand’yan from Barangay Bacungan, Nagtabon at Sabang, ‘yung mga areas na kritikal ‘yung maraming nalulunod tapos sabi ng DOT ‘di pa kasi accredited yung mga places doon kaya walang lifeguard. Karamihan ng mga pumupunta doon dahil wala pa atang bayad yung entry, free pa, kaya yung mga tourist guides dinadala doon ‘yung mga nakukuhang turista. ‘Yung iba para makatipid din diretso sila doon. Ang problema, wala tayong lifeguard doon, walang tumitingin ng safety,” Ramos said.

He also explained that the WASAR training is an important prerequisite to getting training and certification as a life guard. The training evaluates one’s capabilities and skills in water rescue, which are particularly needed in Palawan and its numerous beach destinations.

“Ang lifeguards training is two weeks. ‘Yung WASAR ‘yun ‘yung course before the lifeguard. Kung wala kang WASAR ‘di ka pwede mag-lifeguard, so ang pwede lang magbigay nito is PCG wala nang iba,” Ramos added.

In addition, the training is also seen as a necessary boost to business owners in tourist spots. Tourism-related establishments are particularly encouraged to have knowledge on WASAR, including 1-mile swimming, CPR, jogging and other survival techniques.

Cebu, Palawan projects eyed

By Victor Anthony V. Silva

A Japanese property developer is poised to continue doing business in Cebu as it sets its eyes on expanding in Palawan as well.

Haruna Yamaguchi, general manager at Ai World Park & Resorts in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan, said they have already prepared a 10-year master plan for several projects in the province.

“Initially, our focus was on developing condominium units to sell to Japanese investors. But now, we have decided to develop resorts since we found that tourism in the Philippines is a big market,” Yamaguchi told reporters in a recent familiarization tour in Puerto Princesa City.

Ai World Park & Resorts is owned and managed by Palawan-based World Ai Corp., a subsidiary of Cebu-based I Land Way Philippines Incorporated. Yamaguchi is also the manager of I Land Way in Cebu.

In Japan, I Land Way is a developer of condominiums, nursing homes, and house-and-lots.

The company recently opened to the public the 26-hectare Ai World Park & Resorts in Barangay Bacungan last February, the first component of which is Sapphire Hills, a mountain resort featuring themed swimming pools, restaurants, and café.

Yamaguchi said they also plan to finish construction and launch the high-end Shojin Resort, a sort of Japanese village, by the end of 2017.

By 2018, they are set to launch a 3.5-hectare project by the beach called Casa Blanca del Amor, meant for guests who would prefer the ocean over mountaintop resort experiences.

Back in Cebu, I Land Way is expected to have a soft opening for the 63-unit Rumah condotel in Barangay Busay, Cebu City by May.

Yamaguchi said all units have been sold to Japanese investors, all of whom will be getting a share of the profit from condotel revenues.

The developer also has projects on Mactan Island expected to be completed in 2017, the 200-unit The Reef condominium and 180-room South Reef condotel beside it.

“There are also other plans for Cebu,” she said, although she did not divulge what these are.

Before the firm was established in Cebu in 2013, executives saw potential in the province’s economic growth.

The population is growing while prices of real estate are still relatively cheaper compared to places in Japan or other Asian countries.

Pag-asa Island seen as new tourist destination


MANILA, April 23 (PNA) -- A Senator has backed the decision of the Duterte administration to turn Pag-asa Island in the Spratlys into a tourist destination noting its potential because of its beaches and pristine white sand.

"With its impeccable beauty, the island is an ideal tourist destination...the rich biodiversity and truly Filipino heritage truly reflects the beauty of a paradise that our country should be proud of," Sen. Juan Edgardo Angara said.

Angara made this remark after Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana announced that a total of PHP1.6 billion for the repair of the 1.3-kilometer runway of Rancudo Airfield, and PHP400 million for the construction of a fish port in the island.

He, meanwhile, urged his colleagues to support his measure, Senate Bill 944 entitled "Declaring Pag-asa Island Cluster in the Municipality of Kalayaan, Province of Palawan as an Ecotourism Destination and Protected Area, Providing Funds Therefor, and for Other Purposes."

Under the bill, the Pag-asa Island Ecotourism Cluster Governing Board shall be created composed of the governor of Palawan as its chairperson, congressman of the First District of Palawan as co-chairperson, regional executive director for Region IV-B of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources as vice chairperson, and the regional director for Region IV-B of the Department of Tourism (DOT) as co-vice chairperson.

Also in the board are the mayor of the Municipality of Kalayaan, barangay chairperson of Pag-asa Island, commander of the Western Command of the military, and one each from the pro-environment non-government organization, academe, business sector, and the private sector.

The Pag-asa Island (Thitu), located 480 kilometers off southwestern Palawan, is effectively occupied by the Philippines and the second largest island in the whole of Kalayaan Island Group (Spratlys). It's the only Philippine-occupied island in the Spratlys that is inhabited by civilians.

NIDO set to drill new well at Galoc Oil Field in offshore Palawan

(Power Philippines News)

A new well is set to be drilled at the Galoc Oil Field in offshore Palawan following a recent drilling showing no clear signs of oil and gas in commercial quantities, the Nido Petroleum Limited said.

NIDO said that the drill Deepsea Metro I has finished its drilling works through the Galoc Clastic Unit reservoir of the Galoc Mid Area.

The preliminary data says that the reservoir unit contains hydrocarbons and water, however, results were still inconclusive, the company said.

“At this stage the Galoc-7 well results are inconclusive in terms of the potential commerciality of the Galoc Mid Area of Block C1 of Service Contract (SC) 14,” Nido said.

Meanwhile, the Deepsea Metro I is now in the process of plugging and abandoning the Galoc – 7 well and is preparing to drill out the Galoc – 7ST – 1 well in the Galoc Central Field Area.

Nido said that it will continue to evaluate the results of the Galoc – 7 well and will incorporate this information into the relevant sub-surface model with the Galoc – 7ST – 1 results once it’s drilled.

The Galoc Oil Field consists of the producing Central Field Area and the undrilled northern extension Galoc Mid Area, where the drilling of the Galoc-7 appraisal well is considered to discover contingent reserves.

DOH-Mimaropa outlines reforms for 13,000 barangay health workers


MANILA -- The Department of Health’s (DOH) office in Mimaropa has promised to implement immediately reforms that would improve the welfare of the region’s 13,000 barangay health workers (BHWs).

During the First Mimaropa BHW Regional Congress, held at the Citystate Tower Hotel in Ermita, Manila on April 18-19, regional health office director Eduardo Janairo said it is about time the region's BHWs get their benefits, incentives and other support from the government.

"They are the real national heroes who voluntarily dedicate their lives in the pursuit of providing primary health care in their community without expecting anything in return,” Janairo said in a news release issued Thursday.

BHWs, health front-liners at the barrios, undergo training under government and non-government organizations accredited by the local health board based on guidelines set by the health department.

Janairo acknowledged that the sector has not been fully recognized and has not been given full support by both local and national governments these past years.

”But with the solid resolve of the present administration to provide health for all, we can make their dreams and aspirations a reality,” he said.

The region will provide an annual operational fund worth PHP500,000 for each provincial BHW federation in the next two to three years in support of their expenses, such as travel expenditures, patient’s expenses, and the conduct of workshops and training programs.

An additional PHP100,000 will be given to each federation for every congress or convention that will be conducted. Complete medical and hospitalization benefits will be afforded to each BHW member, including enrollment in Philhealth’s Point-of-Care Program and Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office assistance.

“You need not worry about anything to pay, the regional office will be giving you medical assistance,” he assured each BHW member.

In addition, bicycles will again be distributed to deserving BHWs, while stethoscopes and blood pressure apparatuses will be provided to BHWs who have trained in the use of these devices.

All BHWs in the region are also being given basic computer literacy skills to help them with their reports.

“We will also implement the one-child full scholarship policy for all children of BHWs who want to pursue a college degree,” Janairo said.

He also encouraged BHWs to create proposals for income-generating ventures that could be supported by the regional office using a PHP1 million fund. These plans will be evaluated by the regional office based on their sustainability and impact in improving the lives of BHWs.

He said these projects should be designed to empower each federation to become independent, resourceful and self-reliant and break the cycle of being dependent on government funds.

“I encourage each BHW to give importance to every provision and assistance afforded to you because these provisions will not be enduring. But we will continue to support you until you are qualified and self-sufficient,” he said.

BHWs’ benefits and incentives are set forth in Republic Act 7883.

Mimaropa covers the island provinces of Oriental and Occidental Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon, and Palawan.

US firm donates equipment to Coast Guard Palawan

  • Source:
  • Wednesday, April 19, 2017
By Aira Genesa Magdayao

DBG Maritime Consulting Incorporated, a US-based company, has formally awarded on Wednesday, April 19 several equipment to the Philippine Coast Guard in Palawan which the latter can use to effectively patrol the province’s off-shore areas.

The equipment, which include a container van that can be converted into an office, a generator set, and an outboard motor, was received by Philippine Coast Guard Palawan District Commander Joselito Dela Cruz.

According to PCG District Palawan Spokesperson LTJG Precious Zamora, the said equipment form part of the assistance for training facilities of the Coast Guard.

“Parte ito ng training na ibibigay nila sa atin kasi nakita nila yung need for the training facilities especially for maintenance and repair ng ng mga machines. Kaya sila nag-decide na magbigay sa atin ng mga ganitong kagamitan,” LTJG Zamora said.

Zamora said that there is a need to effectively maintain the facilities of the Coast Guard so the group can immediately respond to emergencies, particularly during on-peak tourism periods.

“For readiness kasi ito. Hindi naman natin alam kung kailan magkakaroon ng maritime incidents sa area of responsibility natin, so itong facilities/equipment na ito ang magmi-maintain at magre-repair ng ating mga sea crafts for easy deployment, especially during the season na marami tayong turista,” said Zamora.

One of Coast Guard’s activities lined up for the summer season is the Water Search and Rescue Training, which is supported by the City Government of Puerto Princesa.

Goat farming seen to help bring down poverty in Palawan

By Celeste Anna R. Formoso (PNA)

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY (PNA) -– Palawan Governor Jose Alvarez is hoping to bring down the province’s 63 percent poverty index with the help of goat farming.

According to Alvarez on Monday afternoon, he received bonuses from his companies, PhP3 million of which he gave to slain Rescue 165 and Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office (PDRRMO) chief Gilbert Baaco for the purchase of hybrid goat that will be distributed to farmers in the northern Palawan town of Taytay.

“We’ve distributed a lot of goats there (Taytay). This is personal money as a reward to me by my companies,” he said, expressing fear that the murderers of Baaco stole the money because it cannot be accounted for now.

“That money is from me, not from the provincial government; it’s my personal, and the goats are intended for poor farmers,” he said.

Five or six heads are distributed per family, depending on the size of the land they have available.

He said the project is now ongoing in Taytay, which is a pilot site.

“We are testing this, and if it turns out to be good, I will request the Sangguniang Panlalawigan to empower the Community Affairs Department (CAD) to have a fund for it,” Alvarez said, adding “so that the poor can be helped in livestock raising.

Right now, Alvarez said Palawan has made improvements in the poverty index, bringing it down to 58 percent.

“My hope is that we reach the average poverty index of 25 percent because if the standard of living in Palawan can’t be raised, I will consider myself as a failure. Whatever hospitals, or water works, or other buildings or infrastructure I am building in order to uplift the lives of Palaweños, nothing is achieved if the poverty index remains high,” he stated.

Alvarez said that before he leaves as governor, from 63 percent, he wants to bring down the poverty index to 25 percent.

If he can do this, he said he will be the happiest as it would mean fulfilling his mission to the Higher Being.

Puerto Princesa City out to boost image as country's top sports tourism hub

(The Web)

PUERTO Princesa is without a doubt one of the best tourist destinations in the country, but Mayor Luis Marcaida III is hoping to add another dimension to the city and that is to make it a regular venue for various sporting events.

The city government, according to Marcaida, is venturing to various sports undertakings this year, including water sports this summer and later on an action-packed motorsports.

“Even before, Puerto Princesa is known for hosting sports tournaments, not just local events, but also international competitions,” said Marcaidi, an avid and active shooter.

“Now, we’d like to regain that stature as a sports tourism destination. That is want we’d like to revive, we’d like to bring different international tournaments in our city and create attention,” added Marcaida.

Site of one of the Seven Wonders of the World (Underground River), Puerto Princesa has served as venue to various local and international tournaments like boxing and basketball in the past.

On May 28 to 30, the 2nd Pilipinas International Beach Sports Festival will be played at the Bay Walk Park in Puerto Princesa, organized by Optimum Sports in partnership with the city government.

The scheduled events include the 4th Pilipinas International Beach Water Polo and the 2nd Pilipinas Open Water Swim.

“It’s our way of helping the City of Puerto Princesa improve its sports tourism,” Optimum Sports president Dale Evangelista said as he met recently with Marcaida to plan the different events until 2018.

Going to Japan to see cherry blossoms? Try Palawan and its cherry trees

By Redempto Anda (Philippine Daily Inquirer)

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY—You need not travel to Japan to enjoy the sight of cherry blossoms during the Sakura Festival. Trees that flower like cherry blossoms are found in Palawan, right in the heart of the provincial capital.

With summer peaking, the local cherry trees, known as “balayong” (Cassia nodosa) which are found on main highways, public parks and campuses, are in full bloom, capturing the attention of tourists and locals alike.

The city government has taken notice and tapped the balayong to boost Puerto Princesa’s image branding for tourism.

Early this month, it held its 13th annual Mardi Gras-type Balayong Festival. While the colorful street partying has yet to attract mainstream tourists’ attention compared with Palawan’s popular nature destinations, the event has popularized the tree.

Pink hue

In residential nooks of the city center, Palawan cherry trees are planted at random—along sidewalks and in backyards.

When these trees flower from March to June, when the rainy season starts, they provide a dominantly pink hue to the neighborhood.

The best flowers are found on the main campus of Palawan State University in Barangay Tiniguiban and in front of an old hotel on the national highway in Barangay San Miguel.

A row of cherry trees planted along Rizal Avenue during past festivals are now fully grown, though some show signs that they are dying. The road leads to the airport.

Several properly trimmed trees are in the provincial capitol park.

Former Councilor Mike Cuaderno lamented that the Palawan cherry could not be found in other places in the city.

Not propagated

“If I were a tourist, I would be searching for [an area where I can see the trees in] abundance. We need to have a place where people will appreciate [their] beauty, not [see them dispersed]. It’s a pity that the ones along Rizal Avenue seem to be dying,” Cuaderno said.

Little, if any, is being done by local officials to propagate the tree species so that it can be offered as a tourist attraction.

Former Mayor Lucilo Bayron had announced that his administration was considering the creation of a massive Balayong Park in a government-owned property. The plan has yet to take off.

There is still a dearth of scientific information on the origins of the Palawan cherry.

Renowned botanist Leonard Co, who had done extensive field work in Palawan before he was killed in 2010, had claimed that the tree was not endemic to the province.

According to Co, the plant is a legume belonging to the family of the common acacia and is endemic to Borneo, an island shared by Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei.

Palawan gov signs twinning pact with Hainan, China

By Celeste Anna R. Formoso (PNA)

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY (PNA) –- Palawan Governor Jose Alvarez was recently in China for an official visit and to sign a twinning pact with Hainan province “to strengthen bilateral relations with emphasis on tourism promotions and development of the local economy.”

The information was disclosed Wednesday morning by a statement sent from the office of Provincial Information Officer Atty. Gil Acosta Jr. which said Alvarez traveled to Hainan, China to sign the agreement that was “rooted in the guiding principles of the China-Philippines Joint Statement geared on enhancing and developing friendship and cooperation between the two sides and promoting mutual understanding between the peoples of both countries.”

The sisterhood pact between Palawan and Hainan provinces was specifically signed on March 24, 2017.

Under the agreement, the two provinces will make determined efforts for accord on the “basis of equality and mutual benefits to promote people-to-people friendly contacts; economic and trade interflow between the two sides; and actively carry out exchanges and cooperation in the fields of tropical agriculture, tourism, marine fishery, and others.

Acosta’s office furthered that the trip was made as a “good gesture of reciprocity” to the visit made to Palawan by the Foreign Overseas Chinese Affairs Office of Hainan on February 13, 2017.

Director General Wang Sheng of the said agency led the Chinese contingent.

In an address to Palaweños in Brooke’s Point, Governor Alvarez echoed that the partnership and cooperation between Palawan and Hainan will complement local initiatives in furthering the marketing of the province as “World’s Best Island Destination.”

According to Wikipedia, “Hainan province is the smallest province of China in the southernmost, consisting of various islands” in the contested West Philippines Sea.

“Separated from Guangdong’s Leizhou Peninsula the Qiongzhou Strait, it is the largest island under People’s Republic of China (RPC) control and makes up the majority of the province.”

“The province has an area of 33,920 square kilometers (13,100 sq mi), with Hainan Island making up 32,900 square kilometers (12,700 sq mi) (97%) and the rest divided among two hundred islands scattered across three archipelagos.”

“It was administered as part of Guangdong until 1988, when it became a separate province; around the same time, it was made the largest Special Economic Zone established by Deng Xiaoping as part of the Opening Up of China,” Wikipedia said.

Palawan tapped as a major historical destination

By Azer N. Parrocha (PNA)

MANILA (PNA) -- When tourists picture Palawan, they imagine white-sand beaches, pristine waters and a diverse marine life. A travel firm however wants to add another feather in the island’s cap by tapping it as a go-to destination for history and heritage.

Rajah Travel Corp. on Tuesday expressed interest to aggressively position what has been cited as “The World’s Best Island” as a major historical destination, but it does not stop there — efforts to push for historical tourism will be done nationwide.

Aileen Clemente, Rajah Travel Corp. chairperson, said the firm began with Palawan two years ago to see if there would be a positive response among tourists and the public.

She said the firm wants to present Palawan as a key location in the defense and eventual liberation of the country during World War II, noting that this facet of Palawan has been “largely overlooked”.

"Today, Palawan is not only known for its Underground River and beaches. People are now going to the province for its historical and heritage tours,” Clemente said, adding that such tours will cater to all kinds of tourists -- from baby boomers all the way to millennials.

To date, Rajah Travel Corp, the provincial government of Palawan, and the city government of Puerto Princesa have redeveloped Plaza Cuartel, Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm as major historical destinations in the island.

The city council of Puerto Princesa has also approved an ordinance declaring April 22 as Palawan Liberation Day.

This year, the redeveloped Puerto Princesa Baywalk Park, which served as a seaplane base during World War II, has been added to the roster of historical spots.

More than 8,000 American and Filipino troops were involved in the liberation of Palawan, along with the Palawan Fighting One Thousand Guerrilla Unit. There were also 139 American prisoners of war who were found burned inside Plaza Cuartel.

"These places are reminders of the sacrifices they have done for our country. We are reclaiming lost pieces of history," Clemente said.

After Palawan, Rajah Travel Corp. will also be working with several cities in the country to do the same.

Clemente said that more market segments in the tourism industry will continue to be introduced as the country's tourism infrastructure continues to improve.

44 IPPF inmates in Palawan granted pardon


MANILA (PNA) -- Some 44 inmates of Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm (IPPF) in Palawan have been granted pardon as part of the government's effort to declog the country's penal facilities, Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) Director General Benjamin De Los Santos said on Sunday.

Delos Santos ordered their release during his visit at the IPPF during the sixth and final leg of his nationwide visit of various prisons and penal farms of the country.

The BuCor chief said the inmates have already served their sentences with good conduct time allowance.

The inmates, however, remain in prison due to the slow processing of release papers.

Since De Los Santos assumed office in December, he created a task force to speed up records management to solve the delay of processing papers in the bureau.

He said the priority program has eased backlogs and expedited decongestion in prison facilities.

Because of the task force, the BuCor was able to free last March around 234 inmates from the Leyte Prison and Penal Farm and another 34 from the Sablayan Prison and Penal Farm in Occidental Mindoro.

On the other hand, Delos Santos expressed his intention to make the IPPF more productive.

He observed “the agricultural potential of IPPF for rice, coffee and fruit bearing trees considering a vast 23 hectare reservation.”

“Ecotourism is also being planned as part of income generation both for the PDLs (persons deprived of liberty) and Bucor,” De Los Santos said in a statement.

The BuCor intends to put up more facilities at the IPPF which could accommodate 30,000 inmates.

Earlier, 66 inmates from the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) have been released.

BuCor operates and supervises the NBP in Muntinlupa City, the Women’s Correctional Institute in Mandaluyong, Davao Prison and Penal Farm in Davao, IPPF in Palawan, Sablayan Prison and Penal Farm in Occidental Mindoro, Leyte Regional Prison in Abuyog, and San Ramon Prison and Penal Farm in Zamboanga City.

‘Palawan to get share of Malampaya fund’

By Christina Mendez (The Philippine Star)

MANILA, Philippines - President Duterte has vowed to resolve the conflict regarding the share of the national and Palawan local governments from the proceeds of the Malamapaya natural gas project.

Duterte said he would look into the possibility of allowing the local government to get about P70 billion of its supposed share, which was not implemented during the Arroyo and Aquino administrations.

“I will check if there’s still money and I will give it to you. It’s rightfully yours, why would we claim it?” the President told residents after meeting with officials of the Western Command on Thursday.

Shell Philippines Exploration BV and Chevron Malampaya LLC operate the Malampaya gas project in the waters off Palawan. PNOC Exploration Corp. holds a minority share.

The service contract provides for a scheme in which the government gets 60 percent of the earnings after deducting certain charges.

However, proceeds of the project were reportedly diverted to spurious beneficiaries, including non-government organizations associated with suspected pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles. The alleged scam was the subject of previous Senate investigations.

Puerto Princesa cops set up security plan for Semana Santa 2017

By Archie T. Barone (PNA)

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY (PNA) -- The City Police Office (CPO) here has set up its security plan for a secured and peaceful commemoration of Semana Santa 2017.

CPO spokesperson Police Senior Inspector Pearl Lamban Marzo told the Philippine News Agency (PNA) Friday morning that police visibility will be increased starting Monday next week in preparation for the commemoration which will be on April 13.

Among the areas where security will be beefed up would be the Mt. Calvary pilgrimage site adjoined by barangays Sicsican and Sta. Lourdes, where residents of the city are known to flock during the Holy Week.

More police personnel would also be deployed in transportation terminals, churches, public markets, malls, popular beach areas, and other vital zones where there will be increased public presence.

"Our goal is for a generally peaceful and secured commemoration of Semana Santa this year, and that is what we will do in the CPO," Marzo said.

Marzo said bringing liquor and sharp objects or blades in highly public-frequented areas, like Mt. Calvary, during the Semana Santa, would also be managed carefully to prevent any untoward incident.

She called on residents of Puerto Princesa to cooperate with the CPO during the celebration as the security plan is for their own safety.

DSWD opens internship program for Palaweño youth

(Palawan News)

Nineteen youth interns from Palawan will be accepted by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in MIMAROPA as part of the regionwide Government Internship Program (GIP) that will serve in the department’s regional, provincial and municipal offices for 30 days from April 17 to May 29, 2017.

“This is open to single individuals who are 18-25 years old; high school graduates, TESDA or Alternative Learning System certificate holders, members of Pag-asa Youth Association of the Philippines, and youth under the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program family; youth belonging to families identified poor by Listahanan will also be prioritized,” social worker Amandy Nieves said.

The interns will receive a daily fee of Php 214, or a total of Php6,420 for the whole duration of the program.

DSWD is likewise accepting internship applicant from other provinces in the region with the following numbers and assignment: Twelve youth will be assigned in Oriental Mindoro; another 12 in Occidental Mindoro; eight in Marinduque; 14 in Romblon and 15 in Malate, Manila.

Interested youth may submit these requirements to the nearest DSWD or MIMAROPA SWAD offices or through email ( application letter, certificate of indigency, latest school registration, and copy of identification card of applicants and their parents/guardians. Deadline for submission will be on April 10, 2017.

GIP is one of the components of the Kabataan 2000 program and provides out-of-school and in-school youths with opportunities to experience working in various government agencies. It enables them to learn life skills in the workplace while earning money to help them meet their school needs.

Student rescues Palawan pangolin from stray dogs

By Cherry Camacho (ABS-CBN News)

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY - A college student rescued an adult-sized pangolin in Barangay Luzviminda, Puerto Princesa City Tuesday.

Estrelieta Longakit, a marine biology student, said stray dogs in the area were attacking the pangolin.

She immediately turned over the pangolin to the custody of the Palawan Wildlife Rescue and Conservation Center (PWRCC), which identified it as a Palawan pangolin, known locally "balintong."

The balintong is endemic in Palawan and can usually be found in the mainland and in adjacent islands including Busuanga, Calauit Island, Coron, Dumaran and Culion.

The Palawan pangolin is listed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as a threatened species.

Pangolins face daily threats of poaching and are losing their habitat due to illegal logging, slash-and-burn farming, and squatting.

Republic Act 9147 or the Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act prohibits the sale, trade and collection of pangolins.

Groundwork begins for 2 new RORO ports in Northern Palawan

By Celeste Anna R. Formoso (PNA)

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY (PNA) -– Basic ground works for two new roll-on/roll-off (RORO) ports have started in two municipalities in northern Palawan in a bid to strengthen the province’s sea connectivity to other regions in Luzon and in support of the Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East Asean Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) Vision 2025 transportation and trade targets.

Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) Member Albert Rama told the Philippine News Agency (PNA) in an interview early Monday afternoon that the two new RORO ports are being eyed to soon operate in Barangay Borac, Coron and Barangay San Fernando, El Nido – two highly tourist-frequented towns in northern Palawan.

“Groundwork have already started for these two RORO ports after we, in the committee, approved the provincial government’s application for endorsement for Forest Land Use Agreement (FLAg),” said Rama, who is the chair of the SP’s Committee on Environment and Natural Resources.

FLAg is a special land use permit or agreement granted by the state “to a person to occupy, possess and manage in consideration of specified return, any public forest lands for a specific use or purpose.”

Rama disclosed further that the RORO projects will be in partnership between the provincial government and the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA), although he cannot say yet how much budget was identified for the implementation.

“There is no reason why this project should be delayed, particularly because it is the goal of the leadership of the governor (Jose Alvarez) to connect Palawan to other areas to amplify its other economic potentials,” he stated, adding the upcoming ports would also be linked up to the BIMP-EAGA connectivity via Kudat, Sabah, Malaysia.

He said that a recent visit to Kudat showed the port there has been completed, and is ready to welcome any trade and tourism opportunity from the Philippines through Palawan also.

Under the BIMP-EAGA, the transport cluster’s goal is to connect sub-regions via “seamless and safe multimodal transport.”

In Palawan, the priority is to establish a sea link from the town of Brooke’s Point in the southern area, to also Kota Kinabalu and Sandakan, Sabah, Malaysia.

The two future RORO ports in Coron and El Nido, Rama explained, will be connected to the BIMP-EAGA sea linkage to be able to attract tourists that would come from Sabah.

The island town of El Nido is a first class municipality and managed resource protected area in Palawan. It is about 420 kilometers (260 mi) south-west of Manila, and about 238 kilometres (148 mi) north-east of Puerto Princesa, Palawan’s capital.

It is known for its white-sand beaches, coral reefs, limestone cliffs and as the gateway to the Bacuit archipelago.

Coron, on the other hand, is a first class municipality comprising the eastern half of Busuanga Island. Its main industries are fishing and tourism.

Puerto Princesa Underground River to open ‘Daylight Hole Cave’ tour

By Celeste Anna R. Formoso (PNA)

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, April 4 (PNA) – The management of the renowned Puerto Princesa Underground River (PPUR) here is set to open a new community-based sustainable tourism (CBST) attraction in Sitio Sabang, Barangay Cabayugan called the “Daylight Hole Cave.”

Jovic Fabello, spokesperson of the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development (PCSD) Staff, who went as part of a team to the PPUR over the weekend, told the Philippine News Agency (PNA) late Monday evening that the potential CBST is “a cavity within a contiguous limestone formation, which outlines part of the entire PPUR.”

Fabello said their team went to the site of the Daylight Hole Cave because it is a “significant cave” and, therefore, “should be assessed, surveyed, and mapped to determine its appropriate use and/or classification as stated in the Caves Act or Republic Act No. 9072” before it is opened to the public.

“The PCSD Staff, as a body under the PCSD, is mandated to provide machineries to coordinate the policy and functions, implement programs and organize such services in Palawan,” he said.

After the cave class has been determined, a participatory cave management planning should follow to ensure conservation measures and protection before a thumbs up is given for eco-tourism purposes.

He added a visitor management and safety plan must also be drawn to safeguard the site as part of the PPUR, which is a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Site.

PPUR Park Superintendent Elizabeth Maclang requested the PCSD Staff to conduct the cave assessment of the Daylight Hole Cave, according to Fabello.

Their team included Palawan State University (PSU) archeologist Dr. Jun Cayron, members of La Karst Palawan Cavers Association and PPUR staff.

Prior to operation, PPUR spokesperson Jan Elmer Badilla also disclosed that UNESCO would be sending infrastructure and activity guidelines, which need adoption by the Sangguniang Panlungsod (City Council).

“The guidelines are still being crafted; we’re waiting for it from the UNESCO. Probably they’ll be sent next week. Then, we will need to request the City Council to adopt it before we can open the new CBST,” said Badilla, adding it will probably take time before it is operated.

The guidelines, Badilla enlightened, will contain what type of infrastructures and activities will be allowed to develop the Daylight Hole Cave as part of the park’s fresh CBST attraction.

“With infrastructures, the idea is to build traditional homes of the indigenous peoples (IPs) that live around the park area,” Badilla added.

The Daylight Hole Cave, “no doubt,” has potentials for ecotourism, Fabello furthered, as it can be offered as an alternative site to visit for tourists when the waves are strong in Sabang and the PPUR cannot be entered.

“Most caves are generally unsafe to traverse during bad weather, but if safety measures are placed within the area, then there is a possibility the Daylight Hole Cave can attract tourists, who love the adventure,” Fabello said.

Located at the back of the PPUR, the said cave is not a through and through cave. Its twilight zone is good for viewing and photography, while the dark zone will be off-limits.

Cave formations or dripstones (Speleothems) are abundant in the area of the Daylight Hole Cave. Speleothems are “secondary mineral deposits formed in a cave. They typically form in limestone or dolostone solutional caves.”

At its base is where the inflow of the freshwater is located that gushes inside the PPUR. It is a huge cave that was formed thousands of years ago due to a phenomenon called “collapse,” according to Fabello.

The cave cavity is measured to be approximately 32 meters wide and 28 meters high.

It has been known to the locals since the 90’s, and has been one of the venue for cave rescue training during the 7th Philippine Speleological Society Caving Congress held in the PPUR.

Since its discovery, and recently, many outdoor enthusiasts and tour guides frequent the cave without proper permits and safety gears.

This had to be stopped, said Fabello, until the Daylight Hole Cave is allowed to operate by environment authorities.

It is accessible by land, and will only take 30-45 minutes to trek with a little bit of hiking through a second growth lowland dipterocarp forest mixed with limestone forest and a bit of two short river crossings.

Once it is given the green light to operate, a memorandum of agreement (MOA) will be signed among the PCSD, its barangay home, the city government of Puerto Princesa, and the Protected Areas Management Board (PAMB) for the management plan implementation.

Lake Manguao in Palawan: A sanctuary for wildlife

By Lynette dela Cruz (ABS-CBN News)

TAYTAY – This municipality's government is working on its application to declare a lake in the area a Wetland of International Importance.

If the application is granted, its ecological function and economic, cultural, scientific and recreational value will be recognized.

Lake Manguao currently serves as a tourist spot for residents of Palawan. Locals can freely visit and wade in the water.

Getting there only takes 15 minutes of land travel from the Poblacion.

The lake is also a source of income for nearby residents. Aside from fish, Lake Manguao is also home to various wildlife such as the white bellied sea eagle and wild duck or Philippine duck.

It is a protected area and a sanctuary for 138 species of birds from where at least 14 are endemic, as well as 29 species of mammals and 12 species of fish where 3 are endemic.

The lake was declared a Municipal Conservation area and Ecotourism Zone, but is still prone to illegal activities such as cutting of trees. This is why forest rangers are deployed in the area.

Lake Manguao is expected to be opened for tourism, but the Municipality of Taytay assured that the rich biodiversity will not be sacrificed while aiming for sustainable development assuring that the community will also be benefiting.

"Pinaghahandaan na namin yung paggawa ng visitors' center and then ino-organize na rin naming iyong community para maging cooperative," said Taytay Municipal Tourism Officer Joie Matillano.

"What we are looking at tourism in Taytay is 'yung community-based sustainable tourism talaga. Nature-based siya at the same time community-based,” he said.

DOH, LGUs sign local investment plan for health for MIMAROPA


MANILA (PNA) -- The Department of Health’s office in MIMAROPA and local government units (LGUs) of the region have agreed to carry out the Local Investment Plan for Health (LIPH) that would ensure the delivery of health services and facilities at the local level.

MIMAROPA covers the island provinces of Oriental and Occidental Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon and Palawan.

“We are expediting the implementation of essential health services and programs to further improve the health, safety and welfare of the 3 million residents of the region and we can ensure this in partnership with the local health leaders through the LIPH,” regional director Eduardo Janairo said following the signing of the memorandum of agreement, held at the Ramada Hotel in Binondo, Manila.

According to a news release issued Wednesday, Janairo said the health department and the people of MIMAROPA are working double time to provide the latter proper health services.

Under the LIPH, the MIMAROPA health office will provide desalinator machines to Oriental and Occidental Mindoro, convert the Oriental Mindoro Provincial Hospital into a training hospital for the region, upgrade the Ospital ng Palawan to a medical center, provide speedboats for island barangays for faster delivery of health services and transport of patients, establish a GeneXpert TB laboratory, and offer health science courses in government colleges and universities in the region.

Through the LIPH, a local government will receive financial support from the health department for the implementation of its approved Annual Operation Plan for 2017.

The LIPH guarantees the implementation of programs and projects at the local level, consistent with the Philippine Health Agenda (PHA) for 2016-1022, which assures health services for both the well and the sick, a functional network of health facilities, and financial freedom when accessing health services.

“We must strengthen our primary health care at the local level and empower our local government units to enable them to implement programs and projects and ensure the delivery of these services to the community,” Janairo said.