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Palawan News August 2017

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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
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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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A Barangay Clearance is NEEDED in order to get a Business License.
So why is the barangay name not in most business addresses?
Ask your Barangay Captain/Chairman to create a Resolution to make it mandatory to put the barangay name in all Business addresses.
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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

A Palaweño entrepreneur takes to racing

By Beth Mason

Anthony Baisa is a 36-year old father of four, an entrepreneur, and most recently, a karting race champion who learned the sport just a week before winning a national competition.

It was initially a fun sports idea for his kids. “I had no interest at all before. I thought it was not for me. My wife Jowylyn Baisa got interested in karting for our kids, so we went to Carmona, Cavite last June to try the fun karts there…” said the businessman now also racer, who also revealed that he actually didn’t know there’s already a race track in Palawan.

Anthony’s first competition was last July in the said Cavite town, in the national-level Philippine ROK Karting Series, where he raced for the first time and just a week after he started official training. Despite being the only newbie among 35 other kart racers, he pulled an unexpected win and went home with two trophies.

“I don’t have any cart. I don’t have any experience, I just joined the national race, with zero expectation of winning,” he recalled.

Almost exactly a month after, last August 13, he was racing again, this time in Palawan for the Petron X30 Senior Challenge where he again defied expectations for a new racer and went to bag the gold.

Now the Palaweño businessman turned racer, who manages several shops in Puerto Princesa, has set his eyes on bigger goals: to build a strong karting community in Palawan and to conquer the international racing arena.

Learning to Race

Learning to kart race wasn’t a breeze, of course. For Anthony, at least, it included spending a night in a paddock in the race facility itself, with tires for pillows, lying next to a chassis.

He recalled the first day of official training when he went back to Carmona to learn the sports so he can teach his son Brice Vincent Baisa (8 years old) & eldest daughter Tammy Victoria Baisa (12 years old).

“I wanted to go home already,” he mused, recalling how he wanted to quit after the first few laps. “After the first day of practice, my ribs were really painful. I couldn’t open my hands, they were stuck as if holding the steering wheel. But I had to look after myself. Carmona Cavite is very far, so I tried to get taxis but there was nothing available. There were no hotel or accommodations available either. My wife told me she can book me online at the nearest hotel but I told her I was already so tired, so I was forced to stay in one of the paddocks where I rented the go kart. I slept on the floor just using the tires as my pillows. Beside me was a chassis.”

The physical labors eventually proved fruitful when he went to join and win the national competition, which he entered upon a friend’s suggestion. “In winning nothing hurts anymore. When I stood up in the podium, it was the first time a Palaweño stood there,” he beamed.

Anthony also went to learn why speed is not only name of the game in kart racing. The new champion, who can drive a single lap in the Carmona race circuit in 46 seconds, says the sport is more than just driving fast. “When I was younger and single, I used to drive very fast. My wife used to tell me I belong to car racing. Of course, in professional karting, it is not about driving fast. It is about technical driving. About discipline. Hindi naman ‘yan straight na kalsada eh.”

Palawan’s karting community

Anthony didn’t forget why he wanted to learn kart racing in the first place, of course, and quickly went to pushing for such goal. When he came back to Palawan after winning in Cavite, he has a new mission: he’s going to teach karting to Palaweño kids.

The first thing he learned, however, is that there was no one coaching potential kart racers in Palawan, this despite the province having one of the only four standard race tracks in the country (the other three are found in Carmona (Cavite), Clark (Pampanga), and Batangas.

“Here in Palawan, there is no one coaching. There are karting enthusiasts here. But no one is coaching. There are local racers here. But majority do it just for fun and hobby.

In Carmona, there are kids doing the karting and so I felt confident that my kid can also do it. I saw kids as young as 7 years old, but when they are on the race track, they can compete with a 40-year old racer. So I started coaching my kid and other kids here in Palawan. That made me feel this is a good sport for my kid. Sometimes their parents would ask, is it safe and I tell them, there’s my kid out there. I will not risk my kid if this is not safe. So they felt relieved.”

Anthony’s desire to introduce kart racing to more Palaweño kids has lead him to get in touch with well-seasoned karting experts, whose advice he now used in coaching young racers. “I am getting great advice from the experts in karting here in the Philippines like Michael Jordan and his son Mikey Jordan of Jordan Racing Team and Indy Villalon of AUTS racing team,” he said.

Among his biggest goals is to form race tracks association in the province to convene professionals and enthusiasts. “Compared to other sports in racing, you cannot bring karting out of the race tracks, so we’re more disciplined. We are hoping to be able to form race tracks association here so we could discuss. Be more responsible.”

Going International

The young entrepreneur’s calendar is now filled with plans to join other karting competitions.

“We are planning to hold a National and probably an Asian race here in Palawan next year. We are looking forward to winning it because we came from here. We need to train karters here in Palawan. I am hoping to be one of the best karter produced by Palawan, because I came here,” he happily shared.

“This coming October 12 & 13, will be the next round of Petron X30 Karting Competition. I am targeting to have 6 to 10 drivers for my team. All competitive drivers. We are preparing for the international race next year. We would like to be the one, being Palawenos, winning the race.”

“We want to have support, the materials available here in Palawan. We have the home court advantage so we aim to be the champion. He who wants badly to be the champion will be the champion,” Anthony shared.

City to aim for a Guiness record during tourism month

By Kia Johanna Lamo

The City government will attempt to establish a world record for the biggest Cuyuno dance event as the highlight of its tourism month celebration in September.

Tourism officials said on Thursday they are finalizing plans for a “Soltero” mass dancing that it will attempt to enter into the Guiness Book of World Records.

Michie H. Meneses, operations officer of the City Tourism Office, said that this year’s tourism month celebration aims to promote solidarity among city residents through the “Solteros”, a Cuyunon dance that will be participated mostly by elementary school students.

“Gusto namin kasi gawing unity dance ang Solteros at magkaroon ng record na pinakamaraming sasayaw ng Solteros,” said Meneses.

Another highlight of the celebration, Meneses added, is the Tandikan Festival which is also a calendar event for the month.

Taking center stage for the event is the Palawan peacock-pheasant (Polyplectron napoleonis), an indigenous bird that is also depicted in the official seal of the city of Puerto Princesa.

The tourism month which was adopted by the United World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has the theme “Sustainable tourism- A tool for development”.

The City government also plans to hold a “tourism summit” on September 28 to lay down Puerto Princesa City’s 10-year tourism development plan.

Meneses added that the activity will also highlight the “Caraenan, Carantan I’g Caambengan sa Dalan” which will be held along Rizal Avenue to San Miguel (Runway) that is being branded as the “Tourism Mile of Puerto Princesa”.

This will showcase the Filipino’s culture of singing and delicacies that will be catered by tourism key players from accommodation establishments, restaurants, travel and tours agency and others.

“This is also a marketing strategy, kasi we focus sa kung anong makakakuha ng pansin ng turista,” said Meneses.

Palawan to boost rice production by opening loans to farmers

By Celeste Anna Formoso (PNA)

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, Palawan – A measure that seeks to grant fertilizer loans to farmers in Palawan has been approved by the Sangguniang Panlalawigan to boost the province’s rice productivity.

Resolution No. 13296 was approved to establish the Productivity Rice Reform Development (PRRD) project under the Livelihood Component of I-HELP (Infrastructure, Health, Education, Livelihood and Protection of the Environment).

Ariston Arzaga, the project's manager, said Thursday the measure would pave the way for the provincial government to open loan grants to farmers for the purchase of fertilizers, soil conditioners, expenses for transplanting, and others.

“Under this program, the rice seeds that will be used are hybrid and the mode would be transplanting (lipat-tanim) instead of direct seeding (sabog-tanim) to increase or double productivity,” he said.

Rice farmers who will participate, Arzaga said, shall be insured to protect them from flooding, crop burning, and others.

He said the passing of the measure also gave Governor Jose Alvarez the authority to enter into contracts of agreement with the beneficiaries and other stakeholder agencies as implementation partners.

City to push for preservation of Acacia tunnel

By Keith Anthony Fabro

The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) 3rd Engineering District has asked the City Council to pass a resolution endorsing an alternative route to save the Acacia Tunnel in Barangay Inagawan.

Heeding an online petition calling for the preservation of the existing acacia trees, Matthew Mendoza, chairman of committee on public works and infrastructure, invited DPWH officials to present the six-lane road widening project that that will pass through Inagawan.

DPWH’s Engr. Arthur Torillo told the City Council that the project could hit the century-old acacia trees and will consider the possibility of diverting the road to avoid.

“Sana kung makakahingi kami ng resolution na mag¬e-endorse na maghanap tayo ng pagdadaanan talaga ng kalsadang ito na hindi ganoon kalalaking acacia ang tatamaan namin,” he said.

Torillo stressed that even DPWH also wants to preserve the standing trees.

“Sayang naman kung aming puputulin,” he said.

Manuelito Ramos, senior environmental management specialist of the City Environment and Natural Resources Office (City ENRO), said that “development activities should not compromise the status of the environment, especially in Puerto Princesa.”

Ramos said the City ENRO understands it will be undertaken in the name of development but they hope the importance of those fully grown trees, which absorb carbon dioxide, as one of the benefits they provide, should be considered.

City Tourism Officer Aileen Cynthia Amurao, said the Acacia Tunnel is being eyed by the city government as an ecotourism destination and is included in the city’s masterplan being drafted by the consulting firm Palafox Associates Inc.

She said the tourism masterplan will be presented to the city government in September.

Torillo said that the issue will be raised by their district engineer in their unified regional directors’ meeting on Aug. 24-25.

Unlike the 1st and 2nd Engineering District, Torillo added that construction in the 3rd Engineering District has yet to begin, given that the authority for projects beyond P100-million budget will still be decided by their regional office.

The P30-billion infrastructure project — part of the national government priority program — traverses El Nido town in the north to Bataraza town down south, spanning 600 kilometers of the entire mainland Palawan.

Concerned citizens and civil society groups are wary that expanding Palawan’s national highway from two to six lanes may come at the expense of the environment, as hundreds or even thousands of roadside trees across the province may have to be felled, driving biodiversity loss, among other environmental problems.

Marines hold outreach program for Palawan IPs

By Celeste Anna Formoso

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY – Government troops in southern Palawan on Sunday brought humanitarian aid to tribal communities affected by military operations against the New People's Army (NPA).

Captain Wanel Ansa, environment management and civil military officer of the Marine Battalion Landing Team-4 (MBLT-4), said Monday that the "All-in-One Outreach Program” benefited more than 400 Pala'wan indigenous peoples (IPs) in Sitio Kamantian, Barangay Samariñana, Brooke’s Point, southern Palawan.

“The warm welcome of our Pala'wan IP brothers only proves that they no longer want the CPP-NPA-NDF’s intrusion in their communities because they only make life hard for their peaceful way of life,” Ansa told the Philippine News Agency (PNA).

It can be recalled that in June this year, troops belonging to MBLT-4 under the Joint Task Group South (JTGS), overran a drill camp of the NPA in Barangay Samariñana.

MBLT-4 commanding officer, Lt. Col. Danilo Facundo, said that the overran camp was used for marksmanship training of NPA members.

The humanitarian aid provided for the Pala'wan tribes includes free medical check-up, feeding program, gift-giving from Brooke’s Point Mayor Mary Jean Feliciano’s office, anti-rabies vaccination, distribution of vegetable seeds, distribution of medicines and vitamins for domestic animals, and distribution of treated bed nets against malaria-carrying mosquitoes.

Ansa added that the outreach activity also paved the way for the conduct of a site survey for a proposed water system project in Kamantian that already has an allocated budget from the local government.

Around 16 domestic goats were also distributed to the Pala'wan IP beneficiaries as alternative livelihood, said Ansa.

“These native goats can be farmed by the beneficiaries to be source of additional income for their families,” he said.

The humanitarian outreach program was conducted In partnership with the local government of Brooke’s Point, Rural Health Unit (RHU), Municipal Engineering Office (MEO), Municipal Registrar Office (MRO), PhilHealth, Nutrition Office, Agriculture Office, and other stakeholders.

Government troops have so far overran three major encampments of the NPA -- two of these were allegedly used to train members to manufacture improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and 12 gauge shotguns.

DTI 'Mentor ME' program to support more small firms in Palawan

By Celeste Anna Formoso

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, Palawan -- The Department of Trade and Industry's (DTI) second round of "Kapatid Mentor ME" (KMME) program aims to support more small business owners here in partnership with the Office of the 3rd Palawan District and the Philippine Center for Entrepreneurship-Go Negosyo (PCE-GN).

Jointly launched here on Friday, the Kapatid Mentor Micro Entrepreneurs (ME) or KMME program welcomed in the event 150 micro- and small-enterprises (MSEs) from the 3rd Palawan District represented in the Lower House by Rep. Gil Acosta, and two other districts of the province .

The initiative is to help the country’s MSEs through coaching and mentoring approach, where they are tutored by large corporations on the different aspects of business operations; adopt-a-SSF (shared service facility) by providing them access to SSFs in their community; and inclusive business (IB) business model where they are linked to large companies’ value chains.

Like the first KMME in the province, DTI-Palawan Provincial Director Rosenda Fortunado hopes the program would be able to provide the MSEs with additional information and training in order to level up their ventures may they be new or have been engaged in their businesses for a long time.

“This is open to individuals who are dreaming to have their own businesses, or those that have been engaged in the businesses they do but want to expand them,” Fortunado said.

Fortunado said the second "Kapatid Mentor ME" initially wanted to only target participants from the 3rd Palawan District because of Rep. Acosta, but due to the clamor, the congressman agreed to also open the opportunity to others in the first and second districts.

Agnes Acosta-Magdaug of the Office of the 3rd Palawan District said the interest in jointly implementing the second batch took off in one of the meetings of the Committee on Business and Entrepreneurship Development, where congressmen were encouraged to bring the program to their districts.

“From there, the congressmen were invited to bring the Kapatid Mentor ME to their districts for their constituents to benefit. In our district, there are associations of small entrepreneurs we are helping and they will be screened by the DTI to see if they can join in the program and be mentored,” Magdaug said.

Palawan sanitary inspectors complete ‘FIT’ program

By Celeste Anna Formoso (PNA)

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, Palawan -- Sanitary inspectors in this city and the province of Palawan recently joined 40 others in completing the three-day strict Food Inspector Training (FIT) spearheaded by the Department of Health (DOH)-MIMAROPA.

In a press release received on Friday from the DOH-MIMAROPA, Regional Director Eduardo Janairo said the participants were from various municipalities in five provinces of the region, They completed the FIT program held in Quezon City and ended on Thursday.

The “Basic Food Safety for Food Handlers” and “Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) Principles and Practice for Catering” is the first part of a two- set FIT program. The second part is a three-day “Food Safety Compliance Officer Training”.

“This training was strictly conducted with the inclusion of a written and practical examination after every lesson in order to assess and verify that participants have understood the concepts presented and being taught. Those who will not pass the examination will have one chance to retake the test,” Janairo stated.

“It’s never safe to assume that sanitary inspectors are already well-informed without having been properly trained. That is why it is important that they understand the risks associated with producing unsafe foods and be familiarized with terms like food safety, cross-contamination, (the transfer of a potentially hazardous substance to another surface or food) and various types of bacteria that are potentially dangerous if present in food,” he emphasized.

The training aims to update the skills and provide sanitary inspectors the right knowledge on the proper handling, preparation, and storage of food in ways that prevent foodborne illness and food poisoning.

“Sanitary Inspectors are indispensable part of our healthcare system because they protect the public from food and water-borne illnesses and unsanitary, misbranded or adulterated foods that proliferate and being sold carelessly in the market,” Janairo explained.

“The prevention and control of diseases depends primarily on their proper implementation of food safety policies and environmental sanitation regulations in the community,” he added.

The Basic Food Safety Training coverage includes introduction to food safety, food hazards, illness from food, high-risk food, time and temperature control, personal hygiene, food safety training, premises and equipment, cleaning and sanitizing, pest control, staying safe in the kitchen and the flow of food.

The HACCP Principles and Practice for Catering training coverage includes conducting hazard analysis, developing corrective actions, determining critical control points, conducting verification, establishing critical limits and keeping documented information.

Under the Food Safety Act of 2013, the DOH shall be responsible for the safety of processed and prepackaged foods, foods locally produced or imported and the conduct of monitoring and epidemiological studies on food-borne illnesses;

The local government units, through their sanitary inspectors, shall be responsible for food safety in food businesses such as, but not limited to, activities in slaughterhouses, dressing plants, fish ports, wet markets, supermarkets, school canteens, restaurants, catering establishments and water refilling stations including the street food sale and ambulant vending.

The FIT Program for MIMAROPA Sanitary Inspectors was conducted in partnership with the Food Safety and Hygiene Academy of the Philippines (FoodSHAP®) and in charge of developing the National Food Safety Training & Examination System and the first training and examination provider in food safety and hygiene for food handlers.

P63-M MMDA-like traffic operations center eyed in Puerto Princesa

By Celeste Anna Formoso (PNA)

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, Palawan-- Residents in this city welcomed the proposal to establish a PHP63-million state-of-the-art traffic operations center (TOC) to improve road vehicle flow and increase overall public safety and security.

Councilor Rolando Amurao on Monday proposed for a Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA)-like TOC that would keep an eye on major transportation corridors here complete with real time closed-circuit television cameras (CCTV).

“I am for it because it will also help solve crimes in Puerto Princesa. We need that if we want to keep our residents safe from crimes being committed on the road, like those perpetrated by these riding in tandems,” businesswoman Grace Arambulo said onThursday.

She said her car got dented while it was park along Rizal Avenue, a major road artery in Puerto Princesa, and she did not know who to run after as no one saw what happened.

But with CCTVs, this problem can be addressed, she said.

She also wished for the number of tricycle franchise owners to decrease, especially in the national highways. “Maybe while they are waiting to set that up, they should already think about lessening the tricycles passing in our national highways daily, or maybe re-route them to ease the traffic,” she said.

Joseph Vargas, a checker in a construction supplies store, said it was about time that the city has a TOC that could help ease its growing traffic problem. “Grabe na katindi ang traffic natin. Minsan kahit maaga ka, talo ka pa rin sa sobrang traffic (Our traffic is now in worst condition. Even if you go to work early, you will still be late.),” Vargas told the Philippine News Agency (PNA) also Thursday.

Amurao on Monday said his resolution would be called the “Puerto Princesa City Traffic Operations Center.”

“I went to visit the MMDA’s Metro Base Traffic Operations, and I observed how it is operating, and I saw how effective it is monitoring traffic violations and even crimes being perpetrated,” he said.

After his visit, he wrote a letter to Mayor Lucilo Bayron to request him to include the fund for the proposed TOC in the 2018 Annual Budget of the city government.

“What we encountered as an issue about this was the specifications of the cameras, and we were told that including that and the labor to set it up, the fund that we would need would reach the said amount,” Amurao said.

He did not say what was Bayron’s reaction, or if he was told to first file a measure in the Sangguniang Panlungsod about it.

“What we want to happen here is, first, monitoring of traffic; monitoring of criminality – help solve riding in tandem cases with the CCTV; and discipline erring drivers and even passengers,” he said.

Studies will also be made on how internet speed in the city can help run the TOC. “That is one thing we need to study if,” and the MMDA engineers are willing to help, Amurao said.

Fil-Chinese capitalists eyeing investments in Palawan

By Celeste Anna Formoso (PNA)

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, Palawan – A group of Filipino-Chinese businessmen is looking at the possibility of venturing in fish port and water system development projects in this city, and tourism investments in the northern town of San Vicente because of their competitive advantages compared to other areas in the country.

Federation of Filipino Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc. (FFCCCII) vice president Mary Go Ng said their interest was kindled by a presentation Tuesday night of an interesting development master plan made by Palafox Associates.

“We are thinking of your fish port and your water system that were presented. These are very interesting for us,” Ng said in a media conference Wednesday.

She said the development master plan has not yet been officially presented for approval to the Sangguniang Panlungsod.

“We’re very impressed with your local government. Your local government presented to us a very, very impressive plan. We have never gone to any region that made any presentation like what your local officials, who are proactive, did,” she said.

Part of the presentation for the members of the FFCCCII is the Environmental Estate in Barangay Sta. Lucia, which the city government has been trying to develop into an eco-tourism park and environmental center.

Businessman Jeffrey Ng, owner of Astoria Palawan eco-friendly resort, who is also a vice president of the FFCCCII, said the competitive advantages of Puerto Princesa compared to other cities are access to abundant lands that are still very reasonably priced, the Puerto Princesa Underground River (PPUR), and the recently opened international airport.

“I’m sure these will bring in a lot of tourists from other countries like Japan, China, Taiwan, and Korea. These are your three big competitive advantages, which is why we invested in Astoria Palawan. We’ve been doing good business for the past two years, and we know it will be improving dramatically in the next few years,” he said.

Sterling Paper Products Enterprises (SPPE) owner and hybrid rice pioneer of SL Agritech Dr. Henry Lim Bon Liong, who is the executive vice president and board member of the FFCCCII, said he has invested in several hectares of properties in San Vicente but only visited the area on Tuesday.

“San Vicente can really rival Boracay because it is only five kilometers of white sand beaches while San Vicente is three times longer, and has the longest beach in the Philippines,” said Lim, adding he is very optimistic about the place.

Lim said the completion of the regional airport has made investors in San Vicente very excited but it still needs to be upgraded into an international airport.

Meanwhile, paint and realty tycoon and FFCCCII president Domingo Yap said Puerto Princesa and the province of Palawan have better-run local governments that will confidently bring in more investments in the next few years.

“We saw those ambitious plans last night, and in our minds we are thinking that when we go back to Manila, we will also tell these to other businessmen. Maybe some of them might come here and invest,” Yap said.

The visit of the members of the FFCCCII in Puerto Princesa was hosted by the city government of Puerto Princesa, and the Palawan Economic Development Council (PEDCO) led by its president, Engineer Benedicto Guaño Jr.

Guaño said he hopes the businessmen would come back to Puerto Princesa and help its economic growth by investing on worthy tourism projects and other ventures.

Vice Mayor Luis Marcaida, in his message at the press conference, said Puerto Princesa has been clamoring for visitors like members of FFCCCII who can open business opportunities for residents, as well as boost the local economy.

"Right now, the biggest employers here are the city and provincial governments. But investments are starting to pour and we would like to accept more investments in the tourism industry," he said.

VP Robredo, UNPF launch 'Babaenihan' drive in Palawan

By Ruth T. Rodriguez (PNA)

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY -- Vice President Leni Robredo on Friday led the launch here of the “Babaenihan”campaign which aims to raise awareness about the urgency of addressing teenage pregnancies through investments in education, health, and economic breaks.

The campaign targets teenagers, particularly girls in pubescent age, said Robredo at the Western Philippines University (WPU) campus in the city. She was welcomed by University president Dr. Elsa P. Manarpaac and other school officials.

A partnership project between her office and the United Nations Population Fund (UNPF), the vice president said the campaign is a platform by which both can work to incite the public and private sectors to immediately act on the matter.

She said WPU and other educational institutions have the means to do something and help unravel the dilemma among young girls during school time.

“This is not just the fight of the school, not just the fight of parents. This is the fight of everyone. And by this campaign, we hope schools and parents will work together to enrich the lives of our young people. They can be more in the future without the problem of teenage pregnancy,” Robredo said.

The Philippines is the only country in Southeast Asia where teenage pregnancy is on the rise, said UNPF country representative Klaus Beck.

He cited the country's 2013 National Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS) which noted that out of 10 million young girls between the ages 10-19, one will become a mother by the age of 19.

“Urgent action is needed to enable women and girls to expand capacities,” Beck said, adding they should also ensure their reproductive health and rights are protected, find decent jobs, and contribute to sustainable economic growth in their areas.

He added teenage girls need to have access to correct information, advice and services to understand early pregnancy in order to avoid them.

The Babaenihan campaign is in Puerto Princesa as part of its objective to conduct community-based talks throughout the country.

City to create tourism brand

By Kia Johanna Lamo

The City government is set to hold a strategic workshop to brainstorm a “branding” for Puerto Princesa City as a tourist destination.

City Tourism Officer Aileen Cynthia Amurao said the workshop, scheduled on August 10 and 11, will aim to brand the city’s tourist spots, culture and its people that will create a trademark for the city and support its marketing strategy and promotions.

“Ang dami dami nating ginagamit na tag line, logo, so it’s time to decide kung ano ba talaga ang gusto natin para sa Puerto Princesa,” said Amurao.

She added that the branding of the city taps different groups of the community to collate ideas that are from a Princesan’s heart.

“We have a diverse group of people in creating the brand for the city, for people to know the heart of Puerto Princesa,” said Amurao. Amurao said that the branding of the city is also needed due to the boom of tourism in the city.

Amurao said that the the branding also needs to identify its target audiences.

She added that the strategy also necessitates to determine the capability of stakeholders, ports and establishments to cater to tourists in the city.

“Yes, we also determine if they (establishments) can accommodate tourists,” said Amurao.

Amurao however said that there is a big question mark on whether the establishments and stakeholders are ready for a higher strike of tourist arrivals and visits.

“We can be ready but the question is, are the stakeholders ready?” said Amurao.

Special mango industry roadmap forum sought for Palawan

By Celeste Anna Formoso (PNA)

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY – A Palawan solon has requested the Department of Agriculture (DA) to conduct a special mango industry roadmap forum to find a far-reaching solution to the decades-long mango pulp weevil (MPW) problem besetting the local mango industry.

The request came in the form of a proposed resolution filed Tuesday by Board Member Roseller Pineda of the 1st Palawan District at the regular session of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan.

Pineda told the Philippine News Agency (PNA) Tuesday afternoon that he was pushing for the meeting to be held in Palawan since DA Secretary Emmanuel Pinol is now conducting a series of mango industry roadmap forum in different regions in the country to address issues raised by mango farmers and growers.

“Through this forum, perhaps the DA can now help Palawan resolve its mango pulp weevil problem by presenting current available technologies to mango growers.

"The mango industry in the province has already lost millions if not billions of pesos because we are unable to market our produce,” Pineda said.

He said Pinol is “fully aware” of the infestation that has been perennially pestering Palawan mango farmers, and has in fact, said in February this year, that the DA will provide them an irradiation machine that can detect and get rid of the weevils.

“It is with utmost urgency that the province of Palawan be included in the selected venues for the mango industry roadmap forum for our farmers and growers to finally have the chance to market their produce,” Pineda said.

The board member stated he is saddened by the fact that until now, nothing has happened to eradicate the mango pulp weevil problem, and that local mango produce are losing against those traded in from other provinces.

According to Justin McKinley, Adam Sparks, Valerien Pede, and Bart Duff in the “An Economic Assessment of the Impact of Mango Pulp Weevil on the Agricultural Sector of Palawan, Philippines” study, since 1987, the province has been prohibited by the Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) to export its locally-produced mangoes.

This was done to prevent the spread of the pest through the declaration of BPI Administrative Order Number 20.

The study said the administrative order was the reason the growth of the Palawan mango industry was restricted to the province.

“Evidence of the MPW was first discovered in southern Palawan when a survey of 33 mango-producing Filipino provinces was administered. Palawan is the only province in the Philippines under mango quarantine,” the study claimed.

1,500 signatures sought to save ancient Acacia trees in Palawan

By Celeste Anna Formoso (with reports from Catherine SantosPNA)

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, Aug. 8 -- An appeal for 1,500 signatures has been launched in a petition website to save a number of ancient Acacia trees from the planned Php30-billion six-lane road widening project by the Palawan government.

Presented as “Please save Palawan's Acacia Tunnel,” the online petition that was posted at Change.org three days ago, now only needed 131 signatures to reach the target.

It was addressed to provincial government officials of Palawan, national government officials, Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Palawan Council for Sustainable Development (PCSD), and officials of Puerto Princesa City.

The row of age-old angiosperms has become a popular attraction for travelers, extending from Barangay Irawan to Barangay Inagawan in this city, as it looks like an underground passage.

In fact, its popularity among visitors of the city and province has earned it the appellation “Acacia Tunnel.”

According to the online signature petition, the superhighway project “has been approved to boost the economy of Palawan,” and that the DPWH has allocated Php30 billion for its implementation.

With the looming realization of the superhighway project to speed up traveling time from southern to northern Palawan, the petitioner, Medy Beroy, said the Acacia trees are worth saving because it might be one of the “largest Acacia canopies in the world.”

"Local and foreign tourists, as well as commuters, who pass through the Acacia tunnel are in awe of its breathtaking beauty. The pure, clean air of oxygen in an aircon-like atmosphere is priceless,” the petition claimed.

To prevent their destruction, the petitioner suggested that the area where they are found be turned into Acacia Tunnel National Park.

The petition furthered that in other countries, beautiful areas like Acacia Tunnel are set aside as a natural park; an income generating project that could provide government revenues while tourists flock, take pictures and enjoy the beautiful scenery.

"There are various ways on how to protect the Acacia Tunnel, not just for us but for our future generations,” the petition said.

It also suggested that the proponent of the superhighway create a tunnel or build a high bridge similar to the metro rail transit (MRT) in large cities to avoid the Acacia trees.

“Destroying millions and millions of trees in Acacia Tunnel would cause deforestation that adds to global warming and climate change. We already have enough trouble due to pollution. Growing trees and vegetation is the only way to remove carbon dioxide in the atmosphere,” it added.

The online petition also said destruction of the said trees would mean removing the habitat of wildlife in the area, and warmer and drier climate that could annihilate plants in the area.

Earlier, the Palawan NGO Network Incorporated (PNNI) already expressed opposition to the road expansion.

PNNI Executive Director Bobby Chan, who is also a lawyer, said the six-lane superhighway is not needed in Palawan, and is not excused from the environmental clearance certificate (ECC) and Strategic Environmental Plan (SEP) clearance requirements.

“We don’t need it; and even if we did, it is not exempted from an ECC and SEP clearance, considering there are hundreds of roadside trees that will be affected. At best, four lanes can be acceptable, any above, that is simply and obviously money-making,” Chan said.

The DPWH has started implementing the project in the central part of the province with an initial Php3-billion fund.

The fund is being handled by the 2nd Palawan Engineering District involving expansion plans from Narra to Bataraza towns in the south.

Meanwhile, DENR Palawan chief Felizardo Cayatoc said in an earlier interview that the road widening project needs social acceptability before it pushes through.

Cayatoc said that a week ago, a meeting was held about the project, where he made it clear that he wanted to see its description to be used as basis for inventory on how many trees are going to be distressed.

He also said that ECC application should be per area as he is not sure about the specific areas that already have clearances.

Puerto Princesa, DA partner on mango processing, marketing

By Celeste Anna Formoso (PNA)

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, Aug. 7 – The city government here is partnering with the Department of Agriculture (DA) for the establishment of a facility for the processing and marketing of locally-produced mangoes.

The project, which is worth Php15-million, will be set up at Sitio Tagumpay, Barangay Inagawan Subcolony, an outlying barangay located in the southern part of Puerto Princesa.

City Agriculturist Melissa Macasaet said in local interviews that operation of the mango processing facility is expected to operate in January 2018.

The mango processing facility, she said, will be established to support the agriculture sector, particularly mango farmers in Puerto Princesa.

She said the processing facility will substantially help in the mango pulp weevil problem that is currently plaguing the city’s mango industry, and being faced by growers.

“Until now, our mangoes still have the mango pulp weevil problem. But with this processing facility, we hope to give our mango growers the chance to make profit out of their produce,”

Macasaet said the province of Palawan, and its capital, Puerto Princesa, are among the major producers of mangoes in the country.

However, marketing the city’s and the province’s mangoes has suffered serious declines in the past years due to the problem of mango pulp weevil (MPW).

The pest, which is believed to have come from neighboring Malaysia, started infesting mango farms in Palawan in 1987, according to the International Pest Control (IPC).

The IPC said its sporadic infestation in Puerto Princesa City started to be recorded in 1995 after the mango disease spread throughout the province of Palawan.

Mango pulp weevil (Sternochetus frigidus) is a serious exotic pest that burrows into the flesh of mangoes, making them unfit to eat. The MPW looks akin to the mango seed weevil, but eats the flesh rather than the seed.

PCSD, WPU to assist in abalone culture

By Gerardo Reyes Jr.

The Palawan Council for Sustainable Development (PCSD) is set to roll out a program for coastal communities geared towards the production and culture of abalone.

Jovic Fabello, spokersperson of PCSD, said the project will start in a coastal barangay of Taytay, benefiting its local residents.

“Halos perfected na ang technology at ito ay ready for dispersal na. Nakikita natin na hinog na ang technology at may application na talaga,” Fabello told Palawan News.

Fabello said they are in the pre-implementation phase of the project which is being conducted in partnership with the Western Philippines University (WPU).

The research on abalone farming using indigenous materials was conducted by Dr. Lota Creencia, John Roderick Madarcos, Jaysee Matillano, and Riza San Juan, according to the PCSD.

Abalone is a common term for a group of edible marine snails. They are shellfish whose shells are lined with a hard white material (called mother-of-pearl). Three species of abalone survive in Philippine marine waters: the donkey’s ear abalone (Haliotis asinina) local name – “lapas” or “sobra-sobra” in Ilonggo, H. varia with local name “kapinan”, and H. ovina. H. asinina grows to a maximum size of 10-11 cm in shell length while the other two are relatively smaller with maximum shell length of 6-8 cm. There are existing commercial abalone fisheries in the provinces of Iloilo, Guimaras, and Negros, it was learned.

Fabello explained that research on marine and fisheries products like abalone, crabs, and pearls is beneficial to communities. “Ito ‘yung mga research na akma para sa Palawan. At dapat din na ma-implement at ma-commercial din natin ito,” he said.

The country used to be the top frozen abalone exporter to Hong Kong. It also supplied abalone to other Asian countries such as Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Australia, and Singapore. Locally, abalone costs around P750–800 per can, but demands a higher price across international waters when exported—givinh it a one-billion dollar world market value.

IP groups gets support for organic farming

By Venice Teresa

An indigenous community in Bgy. Iwahig, Bataraza is seen to have a potential for organic farming, based on a soil analysis of the area conducted by a vegetable importer-exporter.

The Vegetable Importer Exporter Vendors Association of the Philippines (VIEVA Philippines) will be providing the technology to the farmers after the Rio Tuba Nickel Mining Corporation (RTNMC) organized the indigenous community of Bgy. Iwahig who will be beneficiaries of the project.

VIEVA Philippines is an association of vendors from different parts of the country helping the cooperative and community associations in terms of providing technologies from land preparation to marketing of produce.

Each farmer will receive start-up assistance from RTNMC and Coral Bay Nickel Corporation’s Social Development and Management Program (SDMP), as a support to the project which will focus on producing organic vegetable, spices and ginger.

The farmers have volunteered to also provide its share as part of the start-up capital.

“Tingin namin malaki ang pag-asa naming umunlad ngayong kami ay sama-sama,” said Jaina Ompang, a tribe official.

The harvest of the community will be sold in part to VIEVA Philippines and a portion will be set aside for seedling propagation.

“Basta sama-sama at may pagkakaisa ang isang samahan, posible ang pag-unlad at pag-angat ng kabuhayan,” said Madio Mansari, association president.

Aside from Bgy. Iwahig, VIEVA Philippines has also forged partnership with seven organized cooperatives of RTNMC and CBNC like the Sapa Farmers Producers Cooperative, Taratak Agri-based Producers Cooperative, Ocayan Farmers Producers Cooperative, Iwahig Farmers Producers Cooperative, Sandoval Farmers Producers Cooperative, Igang-Igang Producers Cooperative and Tarusan Farmers Producers Cooperative.

The project is in line with the goal of two companies to have a sustainable food source to sustain the need of the community of Bataraza.

Palawan calls on LGUs to highlight August as ‘Lung Month’

By Grace Ann N. Belostrino (PNA)

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY -- The provincial government of Palawan is enjoining local government units (LGUs) to hold special activities this month in celebration of the “Lung Month,” according to the Provincial Information Office (PIO).

This after the Sangguniang Panlalawigan recently approved 2nd Palawan District Board Member Sharon Abiog-Onda’s resolution that calls for increased information and communication drives about common lung diseases that residents should know.

According to the PIO, which is headed by Atty. Gil Acosta Jr., Onda’s measure is timely because Palawan is celebrating August as National Lung Month under Presidential Proclamation No. 1761 which was implemented in 1978 under the presidency of the late Ferdinand Marcos.

The measure said more information dissemination should be conducted on lung ailments such as pneumonia and tuberculosis, which still cause deaths among poor Palaweños.

The PIO said information drives on these illnesses should include preventive measures, and where residents can seek help if they have them.

“The public should also know where they can get free medicine from the government and private organizations that support anti-TB and anti-pneumonia programs,” the PIO statement said late Wednesday afternoon.

It is also this month, the PIO said, that the provincial government will further implement the anti-smoking law, especially the prohibition of smoking by minors in municipal areas.

The PIO said selling cigarettes or other tobacco products to minors are also prohibited under the anti-smoking law, and anyone caught violating this will be seriously penalized.

Activities regarding Onda’s resolution and the anti-smoking law should be done in municipalities, according to the information office, and should be led by the municipal health offices (MHOs).

Palawan welcomes ASBC junior boxing delegates

By Celeste Anna R. Formoso (PNA)

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, Aug. 2 -- A welcome dinner was hosted Tuesday evening by the provincial government of Palawan to welcome guests who are here to be part of the Asian Boxing Confederation (ASBC) Junior Boxing Championships.

The ASBC tourney, which will begin Wednesday afternoon till August 8 at the Puerto Princesa City Coliseum, will feature boxing delegations from Nepal, Saudi Arabia, Uzbekistan, South Korea, Chinese-Taipei, India, Thailand, Kazakhstan, Japan, Iraq, Mongolia, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, Bhutan, Jordan, United Arab Emirates, Tajikistan, China and the Philippines.

The “Drawing Ceremony” for the Asian boxing event was held at Hotel Centro. It was led by ASBC Asian Confederation Junior Boxing Championships Mohamed Kamel Shbib, where Nepal and Saudi Arabia have been accepted as fresh joiners in the history of the event.

ASBC Vice President Yousuf Ali Al Kazim said 138 youth boxers from 19 Asian countries are currently in the city for the boxing tourney. Their ages are between the ages of 15-16.

Kazim, who was welcomed by Vice Governor Dennis Socrates, said the warm reception that was shown by the provincial and city governments was unexpected, and gave credibility to what they have been told that Palaweños are thoughtful and friendly to all their guests.

He said he will definitely tell the story of Palawan’s generosity to his friends so they too, can experience it, by visiting the province soon.

The Philippines’ sixth-time national champion in several age groups, Criz Russu Laurente, will be the main gold medal contender in the light flyweight (48kg) against China’s Cai Yujun in the first preliminary round.

The opening stage of the event, meanwhile, will feature Laurente’s teammate, John Vincent Pangga, against Uzbekistan’s Heydar Aliyev Junior Cup winner Amirbek Ibodullaev.

The welcome dinner also had for guests ASBC Executive Director Bagdaulet Turekhanov, Supervisor Dr. Mohamed Kamel Shbib, Anas Alotaibah and Tibor Kincses.

Philippine Sports Commissioner Ramon Fernandez and Maria Karina Picson of the Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines (ABAP) also attended.

PetroEnergy gets ECC for green power project in Palawan

By Krista Angela M. Montealegre

A UNIT of Yuchengco-led PetroEnergy Resources Corp. has obtained an environmental clearance for the first green power project in Puerto Princesa, Palawan.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources -- Environmental Management Bureau Region 4B issued on July 28 the environmental compliance certificate (ECC) for the proposed 10-megawatt solar power plant in Puerto Princesa of PetroGreen Energy Corp. (PGEC), the listed company said in a disclosure to the stock exchange on Monday.

This means the renewable energy arm of PetroEnergy has “satisfied all the requirements for the ECC application and cited the key conditions and measures expected of PGEC during project implementation.”

Prior to the ECC issuance, PGEC secured the approval of the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development on June 9 for the Strategic Environmental Plan of the solar project.

Likewise, local government units in Puerto Princesa have issued the necessary clearances and resolutions, formalizing their support for the facility.

Palawan -- a province rich in natural resources -- derives its power from diesel and bunker plants.

Considered the first renewable energy-sourced power facility in the city and the province, the solar power plant with a contingent battery storage will help mitigate the power problems in Puerto Princesa.

PGEC is discussing with the Palawan Electric Cooperative the technical requirements for linking the facility to the grid system.

PetroEnergy plans to raise P1 billion through a stock rights offering this year to finance the equity portion of power generation projects with a total price tag of P6.75 billion.

PetroEnergy President Milagros V. Reyes previously said that the company was projecting a 33% increase in its net income this year.

In the first half, income reached $6.55 million, nearly three times more than the $2.34 million posted in the same period last year.

PetroEnergy was founded in 1994 to undertake upstream oil exploration and development. Since then, it has diversified into renewable energy and power generation.

The listed company’s shares were unchanged at P7.88 apiece.