Palawan News July 2013

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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
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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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

Contents

BFAR-Puerto Princesa intensifies warning vs Honda Bay shellfish consumption

(PNA), FFC/CARF/RTR/EBP

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, July 31 (PNA) -- The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) here has reiterated its warning against consuming shellfishes collected from Honda Bay in Barangay Sta. Lourdes due to red tide contamination since last week.

BFAR said the shellfish ban is still imposed in the area.

Paciano Gianan, BFAR head in Palawan, said the algal bloom is still present in the islands chain area up to the waters off Barangay San Miguel to Canigaran Beach in Barangay Bancao-Bancao, just a stone’s throw away from the Puerto Princesa Airport.

The BFAR official made the new warning after reports reached his office that residents in the area continue to gather, consume, and even try to sell shellfishes in the public markets.

“The toxicity level is very high; residents in the area should refrain from consuming or selling them because they might affect anyone,” Gianan said.

The BFAR issued a shellfish ban last July 24 after it detected a toxicity level of 108 micro-organisms per 100 grams of shellfish meat due to red tide. The figure is higher than the allowable level.

It said the public is being warned against consuming hard- and soft-shelled clams, oysters, mussels, seaweeds (lato), and small fishes that are prone to red tide contamination because they feed by sifting microscopic food out of the water.

Gianan said that as soon as the red tide has dispersed, they will again issue a notice so people can go back to eating shellfish.

Palawan PSWDO conducts family dev't sessions to 4Ps beneficiaries in Roxas

(PNA), HBC/CARF/UTB

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, July 30 (PNA) -– To promote unconditional love and support among families in Palawan, the Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office has spearheaded the conduct of Family Development Sessions and Family Planning Program.

Norma Medina, population program officer of the PSWDO, said Monday the first session conducted by their population division was in the town of Roxas attended by 244 couples on July 23-26.

The attendees were from the barangays of Abaroan, Tagumpay, Magara and Caramay – all in the town of Roxas in northern Palawan, in cooperation with the Municipal Responsible Parenting Management Team.

Medina said the couples who attended are beneficiaries in Roxas by the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) of the Dept. of Social Welfare and Development.

Among the topics discussed were responsible parenthood, family planning, and the steps and ways on how to do these, such as natural family planning, home management, and others.

The PSWDO also conducted information dissemination on the mosquito-borne diseases dengue and chikungunya in support of the Provincial Health Office’s campaign to combat their infestation in Palawan.

Medina said this is because the PSWDO is also a member of the Dengue Task Force that was organized to fight dengue, especially in municipalities were there presence have been strongly recorded.

Professional female organization, mining corporation support National Greening Program in Palawan

(PNA), LAM/CARF/UTB

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, July 29 (PNA) -– The young professional female organization, JCI Puerto Princesa Peacock, Inc. (JCIPPPI), and the Rio Tuba Nickel Mining Corporation (RTNMC) conducted the “Think Green” tree planting project Saturday at a mined out area in the southern Palawan town of Bataraza in support of the National Greening Program (NGP) of President Benigno S. Aquino III.

The tree planting of around 100 saplings of endemic trees was done at a mined-out area of the RTNMC in Barangay Rio Tuba, Bataraza.

Venice delos Angeles, president of the JCIPPPI, said the Think Green is a national project of the JCI Philippines Inc. in support of the NGP. Local organizations nationwide are enjoined to implement the project in the cities and provinces where they are located.

“With today’s clamor to mitigate and manage the ill-effects of climate change, our local organization in Puerto Princesa City is committed to bring the implementation of the Think Green to anywhere, even in a mined-out area to show we care for the environment,” she said.

Accompanied by some members of the local organization, she was assisted by Nickel Asia Corporation (NAC) community relations manager Jane Timbancaya-Urbanek and RTNMC rehabilitations manager Dr. Bibiano Ranes, and some of the indigenous peoples’ workers of the mining corporation.

The NAC is the Philippines’ largest producer of lateritic nickel ore and one of the largest in the world. It has a long operating history, starting with the sale of ore in 1977 from its first mine in Rio Tuba, managed and operated by RTNMC.

“It is an eye-opener what the RTNMC is doing for the environment in Rio Tuba. We are amazed at how they are able to rehabilitate what used to be a mining site with all the trees they grow in their nursery. Truly, responsible mining can happen, and the Think Green was able to help,” she said.

Rio Tuba, one of the populated barangays in Bataraza, is about 236 kilometers from Puerto Princesa City, the provincial capital.

Palawan PDRRMO conducts relief operation in Quezon town

(PNA), JBP/CARF/JSD

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, July 28 (PNA) -- Over 60 families in the southern Palawan municipality of Quezon benefited from the recent relief operations conducted by the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO) following heavy rains that submerged their rice lands.

Returning from Barangay Panitian, Quezon, PDRRMO head Gilbert Baaco said Saturday that since July 23, they have been extending much-needed support to the families whose farmlands have been flooded, and whose homes too, by waters from high tide.

Baaco said the relief operation was conducted with the Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office (PSWDO), and distributed rice, canned goods and other grocery items though there was really no typhoon.

He said that under the administration of Gov. Jose Alvarez, the PDRRMO had been tasked to respond in the same manner it will when there are typhoons.

Per the data the PDRRMO collected, 100 hectares of farmlands were destroyed by heavy rains, or 1,854 cavans of palay lost during the floods.

The families, he said, will have to wait until flood waters have subsided before they can begin planting again.

Gov’t prodded on farm-to-market links

By Amy R. Remo (Philippine Daily Inquirer)

Projects to reduce logistics, spoilage costs

The Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry has urged the government to fast-track the construction of infrastructure projects and improvements on existing ones as these will allow local farmers to cut logistics and spoilage costs and earn more from their produce.

At the same time, these projects will allow end-consumers to enjoy the farm goods at reasonable prices, the PCCI said in a statement.

According to PCCI, the chambers of commerce in South Luzon, in particular, were seeking “physical connectivity of South Luzon to markets through the privatization, rehabilitation, expansion and modernization of the Philippine Railway System traversing Manila to the Bicol region.”

Also being recommended was the “immediate rehabilitation and expansion of the Naga airport; subsidy for the establishment of inter-island missionary routes, and the completion and activation of several sea passenger and trade routes linking several islands of Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon, Palawan and Batangas, among others.”

“Connector roads are basic to cutting the costs of logistics. The earlier that perishable goods and services from South Luzon are delivered to markets, the lower the costs of spoilage, the lower the borrowing costs, and the earlier the entrepreneurs earn their returns,” PCCI president Miguel B. Varela said.

“Improved transport infrastructures have deep impact on the creation of more jobs, generation of higher incomes in South Luzon and dispersing the benefits of high economic growth to the poor,” he added.

The South Luzon chambers, according to Varela, were urging the government to immediately start the process for plans that were “already on the shelf.” They acknowledge the fact that it often took a certain period before the government could complete the feasibility and engineering studies and then conduct the bidding and awarding of the projects.

This particular proposal is part of a package of recommendations by the South Luzon chambers—representing Regions 4A (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon or Calabarzon), 4B (Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon and Palawan or Mimaropa) and Bicol. All these proposals are aimed at increasing investments and incomes in the agricultural sector, supplying more farm goods to consumers and creating jobs.

Discovery World to launch IPO in August

By Shadz Loresco (Rappler.com)

MANILA, Philippines -- Discovery World Corp., developer of luxury resort Discovery Shores Boracay, has the approval to hold P1-billion initial public offering (IPO) in August, announced the Philippine Stocks Exchange (PSE).

In an offering memorandum on Friday, July 26, the PSE said its board has allowed the sale of Discovery World's 306 million primary shares at P3.28 each. The maiden share sales will run from Aug.12 to 19 while tentative listing on the main board of PSE is on Aug. 29.

The property developer will have a public float of 40.05% and market capitalization of P2.5 billion after the IPO.

The offer shares will be distributed as follows: 60% to the general public, 30% to trading participants and 10% to local small investors. Discovery World tapped Abacus Capital and Investment Corp. as the issue manager and lead underwriter for the share sales.

The company was reported to defer its IPO last week, the offering originally intended for listing on Aug. 1.

Read: Genting's PH unit postpones IPO amid volatility

Proceeds from the IPO will be utilized to fund investments in new businesses, to repay debt and for working capital purposes.

Expansion plans include P575-million business projects, among which is a resort in Coron, Palawan. Further, Discovery World seeks to venture into Palawan's upscale market by featuring luxury hospitality facilities.

The company is investing P100 million in Discovery Fleet, a cruise operator, and allotting P250 million to acquire 20% interest in Enderun Colleges, a school specializing in hospitality management and culinary arts. The remaining P125 million will be spent on building 12 new villas in Discovery Shores Boracay.

The leisure property developer president, John Tiu, said that the other hospitality facilities owned by the group -- including Discovery Hotel in Ortigas, a 7-room bed and breakfast in Tagaytay and a high-end hotel in Makati central business district -- may also be folded into Discovery World after the initial offering.

Discovery World is owned by the Tiu family, the 3rd of their firms to be listed in the PSE. They also run remittance firm I-Remit Inc., manufacturing firm TKC Steel Corp., Sterling Bank of Asia and property firm JTKC Land Inc.

MIMAROPA draws up plans to develop rubber industry

(PNA), DSP/KMC/ PR

MANILA — The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon and Palawan (MIMAROPA or Region 4B) and other regional offices of national government agencies (NGAs) recently facilitated the drawing up of plans to support and boost the rubber industry at the local level.

“By doing so, the private sector has to do its part, work hand in hand with the government, and start it right,” DTI in Region 4B Officer‐in‐Charge Joel B. Valera said during the recent Regional Rubber Industry Planning Workshop in Puerto Princesa City.

This workshop was attended by 83 participants, including rubber farmers, and representatives of national government agencies (NGAs), non-government organizations (NGOs), Philippine Rubber Industries Association Incorporated (PRIA), finance institutions, local government units (LGUs), and the academe.

During the workshop, the partakers have identified MIMAROPA as region with vast tract of land potentially suitable for rubber plantation and Palawan as a province with experienced rubber farmers. They have also recognized the high market demand for rubber, and the potent support of regional government agencies for this industry.

Considering these strengths of the industry along with its weaknesses, opportunities and treats, the participants identified and presented the industry’s specific plans, programs, and projects for the approval of the concerned agencies. The plan covers 2013 to 2016.

Likewise, they have recognized the need to organize regional and provincial rubber industry cluster team or committee. This task is to be undertaken by the DTI and the Department of Agriculture (DA).

DTI Assistant Regional Director Sitti Amina M. Jain cited the importance of expanding rubber production due to the high demand in the local and export markets. Jain is also the DTI national rubber industry cluster manager.

Last year, the DTI, together with other government agencies, government finance institutions (GFIs), and rubber industry stakeholders signed a joint statement of commitment to support the Philippine rubber industry development.

In this statement signed during the 1st Philippine Rubber Investment and Market Encounter or PRIME 2012 in Clark, Pampanga last September 2012, the DTI, Department of Agriculture (DA), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Department of Environment (DENR), Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), Department of Science and Technology (DOST), Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP), Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP), PRIA, and representatives of rubber producers and processors affirmed to support the rubber industry through the programs, projects and activities in the Philippine rubber industry road map.

This statement of commitment identifies the extent of market and business opportunities in the country’s rubber industry. If supported, these opportunities are foreseen to generate investments, increase domestic and export sales, and create job opportunities that will contribute to inclusive growth and poverty alleviation.

Palawan to host 3rd International Prehistoric Heritage Management in Southeast Asia Confab

(PNA), JBP/CARF/EBP

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, July 24 (PNA) -- Palawan will be hosting on July 30 the 3rd International Prehistoric Heritage Management in Southeast Asia (PREHSEA) Conference.

The conference aims to have participating countries discuss and exchange ideas on the preservation and protection of remaining historic artifacts that museums in different countries are safekeeping.

In the Philippines, the artifacts include those that were found at Tabon Caves, Lipuun Point in the municipality of Quezon in southern Palawan.

In a media release by the Provincial Information Office (PIO), it said that the confab will be attended by representatives from Indonesia, Thailand, French Embassy, European Union (EU), United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), University of the Philippines and National Museum of the Philippines, who are all experienced in the field of historic artifacts preservation from the first known civilization.

The first world conference of PREHSEA was held in Quezon in 2011, and the second in Indonesia last March.

Charina Cabading, officer-in-charge of the province’s Cultural Heritage, said it is important that Palawan becomes a part of the PREHSEA as it is considered the Philippines’ “cradle of civilization,” owing to the Tabon Caves as the place where the Tabon Man was found.

The Tabon Man is the fossilized remains of modern human discovered in the Tabon Caves, Lipuun Point, Quezon on May 28, 1962 by Dr. Robert B. Fox. These remains, the fossilized fragments of a skull and jawbone of three individuals, were believed to be the earliest human remains known in the Philippines.

Palawan mayor sets forest-inspired feast

By Robert A. Evora

Puerto Princesa City — Mayor Lucilo Bayron will lead this year’s “Pista Ng Kagubatan,” to reforest a denuded highland barangay here.

“The new administration will continue the yearly celebration of ‘Pista Y Ang Kagueban’,” a statement from the office of the mayor said.

Bayron’s predecessor, Mayor Edward S. Hagedorn, who ended his term in 2013 by running in the 2013 senatorial race but lost, conceived in 1990 the idea of regreening the watershed of Bgy. Irawan.

Slash-and-burn agriculture and illegal logging in the 1980’s caused massive denudation which required remediation of 100 hectares to save wildlife.

“Ang Pista Y Ang Kagueban” was derived from Cuyonon dialect in Palawan, which means “Feast of the Forest.”

Under Bayron the festival will be held on July 27 this year.

Lawyer Regidor Tulali, chief of the city environment and natural resources office, inspected the site joined by the local media.

According to him, other events are Baragatan Sa Palawan (June), Balayong Festival (March), Love Affair With Nature (February), and the Puerto Princesa City Fiesta (December).

El Nido Resorts lands Travel + Leisure US cover

(BM, GMA News)

Palawan's El Nido Resorts has made the cover of top travel magazine Travel + Leisure with a photo of a sandbar within the resort shot by Filipino photographer Francisco Guerrero.

The magazine's August issue, which names the winners of its World's Best Awards, chose Palawan the "number one island overall" in a feature that showcases the Big Lagoon of Miniloc Island and Bacuit Bay in El Nido.

The resort also recently received the Tourism for Tomorrow Community Benefit Award by the World Travel and Tourism Council for having been “the driving force behind sustainable development of El Nido Municipality on Palawan Island in the Philippines for more than two decades,” according to the WTTC site.

Cloudy day in Palawan, Visayas, Mindanao

(Rappler.com)

MANILA, Philippines - Light to moderate rain and thunderstorms will accompany cloudy skies in Palawan, Visayas, and Mindanao on Monday, July 22.

An intertropical convergence zone (ITCZ) is also affecting weather across Visayas and Mindanao, state weather bureau PAGASA said in its 24-hour foreast Sunday, July 21.

The rest of the country, including Metro Manila where the State of the Nation Address (SONA) will be held, will have partly cloudy to cloudy skies, accompanied by isolated rain or thunderstorms.

No tropical cyclone is within the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR), the bureau said.


Palawan offers the best underwater world

By Christine V. Tupaz (www.elnidoresorts.com)

ONE of the most beautiful islands in Palawan today is El Nido. Considered by many as a favorite tourist attraction, El Nido has one of the most diverse ecosystems in the country. Untouched and protected, it is blessed with exceptional botany, a thriving animal kingdom, as well as pristine geologic formations including limestone cliffs, white-sand beaches, rain forests, mangrove forests and marine habitats that boast of endemic and threatened species of birds, dolphins and turtles. It is also home to the Palawan Spiny Rat, the Palawan Anteater, the Northern Palawan Tree Squirrel, corals and about 813 species of fish.

Vacationing in a private island-paradise such as El Nido has now become a more attainable dream for couples or families seeking a memorable experience. Once accessible only through a private airline with limited seats and flights, Apulit Island, one of the four El Nido resorts, can now be reached more easily through a variety of ways, including budget flights to Puerto Princesa.

Apulit, one of El Nido Island Resorts’ properties, is four hours away from the provincial capital through shuttle vans that travel from Puerto Princesa to Taytay, which is the biggest municipality of Palawan and the jump-off point for a four-hour boat ride to the destination.

Indicative of its newfound attraction to travelers, who can save as much as 40 percent when traveling to Apulit through Puerto Princesa, the island’s attractions more than make up for the half-day journey.

According to a guest who traveled with his family, Apulit, like the rest of Palawan, is uniquely beautiful. He described it as a “last frontier type of place.” Another reviewer was more expressive: The corals, the fish, the colors, the shapes and sizes—all a few feet below the surface—“entirely belong to another universe.”

A vacation at Apulit includes transfers from the Taytay pier to the island, which upholds El Nido Resorts’ commitment to provide environment-centered getaways that combine personalized service. Once one steps onboard the boat, a passenger is handed cold towels, cookies and a drink—precursors the kind of pampering one receives at this resort.

Apulit is distinguished from the three other El Nido Resorts properties by its cottages set on the water’s edge, which is accessed via stairwell from one’s accommodations directly to some of the best snorkeling spots in the world. No need to bring your own equipment. The resort provides visitors the gear they need. Buffet meals, a host of activities from kayaking and island-hopping to wind surfing and rappelling are also included in the room charge.

Nevertheless, the relationships one makes in Apulit are what make the place truly different. Guests are greeted with a welcome song upon their arrival by a whole group of employees, headed by the resident manager. Mostly residents from this municipality who are yet to be spoiled by commercialism, they come across to the visitor as unaffected locals eager to share the attractions of their part of the world.

Intimate meals expressly prepared by the staff and exclusively set up by the beachfront or in a special nook of the resort for a couple or a family are part of the Apulit experience. Those meals, as well as the regular buffets, are made all the more special by the rich variety of seafood available in this body of water within the protected Malampaya Sound.

“There can’t be that many places in this planet that offer this kind of exquisite underwater world,” an Apulit guest said.

Only up to August 31, Island Transvoyager Inc., the only airline that flies directly to El Nido town from Manila, will offer 50-percent savings on its roundtrip flights to the municipality. The offer is subject to availability of seats. Booking conditions apply.

Coast Guard: 4 missing fishermen return safely to Palawan

(KG, GMA News)

Days after they were reported missing, four fishermen turned out to have returned safely to their home in Araceli town in Palawan province, the Philippine Coast Guard said Thursday.

In a post on its website, the Coast Guard said the fishermen, who were reported missing July 10, were aboard the motor banca Princess Neri.

The Coast Guard identified them as:

Marcelo Velasco, 40
Tirso Sacamay, 27
Argie Abay-abay, 27
Alfonso Santiana, 42

An initial investigation showed the four were fishing off the waters of Palay Island in Araceli but encountered engine trouble and failed to immediately return home.

But it turned out the four repaired the vessel and arrived at Sitio Maduldulon on July 13.

"They were reported to be in good physical condition," it said.

Alay sa Kaeskwela' launched in Palawan

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

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, July 18 (PNA) -- The Marine component of the Western Command (WESCOM), the 3rd Marine Brigade and the 7th Marine Brigade Reserve in close partnership with the Latter Day Saints and the Alagang Kapatid Foundation of TV 5 launched Thursday in Palawan the “Alay sa Kaeskwela” project in selected schools north and south of the province.

The project which will begin implementation July 18 until 21, will undertake the distribution of school kits comprised of bags, notebooks, and other school supplies to 150 children for each school.

The schools that will benefit are Mauricio Reynoso Sr. Elementary School, Virgilio Magbanua Elementary School in Puerto Princesa; New Agutaya Elementary School in San Vicente; Caroroy Elementary School in Taytay; Calasaguen Elementary School in Brooke’s Point; Panitian Elementary School in Sofronio Española; Berong Elementary School in Quezon; and Magara Elementary School.

Col. Andrei Costales, the commanding officer of the 3rd Marine Brigade, said the project is in support of the provincial government’s education goals under the IHELP of Palawan Governor Jose Alvarez.

It is also a bayanihan project of the AFP and other civilian partners to support the youth and education sectors in the province.

The AFP desires and partners with either stakeholders to promote quality education in Palawan and in the country in general.

8th Performance Governance System Boot Camp set in Puerto Princesa

By Victoria Asuncion S. Mendoza (LBR/VSM/PIA4B/Palawan)

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, PALAWAN, July 17 (PIA) -- The Institute for Solidarity in Asia (ISA) in collaboration with the Philippine National Police brings to Puerto Princesa City the 8th Performance Governance System (PGS) Boot Camp.

The PGS Boot Camp is a developmental conference focused on building the capacity of PGS practitioners, and developing the values and skills to raise the standards of governance and performance in their organization.

The basic class takes place starting July 17-20 at the Hotel Centro in this city to be participated by those involved in executive management, technical working groups, strategy management, multi-sector governance councils, and other strategic units and departments of the local government units, national agencies and the private sector.

It will feature modules on cultural transformation and change management, communicating strategy, strategy designs and execution, managing initiatives for results, and monitoring strategic performance.

Dr. Jesus Estanislao, ISA Chairman and former Finance Secretary is expected to grace the event and lead invited thought leaders and specialists coming from the ISA’s distinguished Society of Fellows and Associates.

Palawan records 152% rice sufficiency in 2012

(PNA), PDS/CARF/UTB

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, July 16 (PNA) -– The Office of the Provincial Agriculturist (OPA) in Palawan reported Monday that for the year 2013, the province was able to record 152% rice sufficiency.

Provincial agriculturist Engr. Teresita Guian made the report as she encouraged everyone to commemorate 2013 as the "National Year of Rice."

According to Guian, the OPA has two main programs which are crops and fisheries resource management. Under crops component is palay, which in the past year has recorded 152% rice sufficiency level.

She said this showed that Palawan has sufficient rice supply, and was able to transport outside around 233,000 sacks to other provinces.

Under the corn program, the OPA was able to distribute 500 sacks of white and yellow variety to farmers during months of April and May at the start of planting season.

The support of the OPA, she added, is also continuing for farmers of high value commercial crops, such as rubber, coffee and organic vegetable through the provision of workshops and technical training.

On resources management, the OPA’s support on those that farm seaweeds also continues through the seaweeds propagules and the distribution of implements for planting with the help of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR).

She said that last year, Palawan led again as one of the provinces that were able to produce the most tonnage of seaweeds in the Philippines. On Coastal Resource Management (CRM), Guian said they are also able to maintain the protection of marine protected areas and ecosystem approach.

She reported too, that under their institutional support system, sustenance for the members of the Farmers’ Association, Rural Improvement Club (RIC) and 4-H Club that is composed of families of farmers.

Fireworks device, not a bomb, at wharf near Palawan underground river

By Elmer Badilla (InterAksyon.com)

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY – Palawan police on Monday directed organizers of a fireworks display of a local hotel to explain their failure to secure permits to transport devices used for the event after one device, mistaken for a grenade, caused a scare and cancelled tours to the world-renowned underground river here.

Puerto Princesa City Police Office (CPO) chief Senior Supt. Abad Osit said a hotel in Sabang celebrated its anniversary Sunday with a fireworks display, but apparently one of the devices used for the display had fallen on the wharf as the organizers were moving things on Monday. A beach hat vendor saw the device, mistook it for a grenade or an improvised explosive device, and promptly alerted authorities.

As a precaution, officials cancelled all boat trips from the wharf going to the Puerto Princesa Underground River. Hundreds of tourists flock to the place daily since it was named one of the New 7 Wonders of the World last year.

Earlier raw reports coming from the PPUR area had claimed a grenade-like explosive device detonated around 8:20 a.m. Monday morning.

Senior Supt. Osit went to the area and personally led the investigation.

New park manager Elizabeth Maclang, in a brief interview with the Philippine News Agency (PNA), would only say that “no one was hurt” where the explosive detonated at the wharf. She said it appears like someone just wanted to “scare” them and the visitors of the PPUR.

A woman who was selling beach hats at the wharf said in a radio interview that she personally held in her hand what looks like a round object placed in a plastic with other fruits.

When she checked it, she said her companion told her that it looks like a “bomba” or grenade. They immediately left the place and reported their discovery to authorities.

PNA quoted a source saying it appears like it was the police that detonated the bomb after it was reported to them.

Bill seeks to increase health volunteer incentives in Palawan

By Victoria Asuncion S. Mendoza (LBR/VSM/PIA4B/Palawan)

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, Palawan, July 14 (PIA) -- A resolution is now under study in the Committee on Health and Social Services of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan that seeks to grant increase in the financial incentives for community volunteer health workers in Palawan.

Sponsored by Provincial Board Member Eduardo Modesto Rodriguez, the resolution recognizes the selfless services of the thousands of volunteer health workers delivering basic health care to the communities.

Once approved, the resolution will increase to P500 per month the financial incentives of 3,664 volunteer health workers in 367 barangays in 23 municipalities in the province. At present, the workers get a meager P250 monthly released on a quarterly basis.

The community volunteer health workers are composed of 2,300 accredited Barangay Health Workers (BHW), 766 Barangay Environment, Agriculture, and Nutrition Scholars (BEANS), 276 Barangay Malaria Microscopists, and 322 Barangay Sanitary Inspectors.

In his sponsorship speech during the regular session this week, Rodriguez said that the increase in financial incentive will boost the morale of the health workers and is also a manifestation of the provincial government’s appreciation of their vital role in the reduction of morbidity and mortality in the countryside.

The proposed resolution is expected to get the nod of the provincial executive office under Palawan Governor Jose Chaves Alvarez who has prioritized health as one of the flagship programs of the new administration.

10 people hurt in bus accident in northern Palawan

(PNA), LAM/CARF/RTR/PJN

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, July 13 (PNA) -- Ten people were hurt and rushed to the Northern Palawan Provincial Hospital (NPPH) when a bus liner crashed Saturday morning at Sitio Ibangley, Barangay Abongan in the municipality of Taytay.

Police Officer Emmanuel Nangit of the Taytay Municipal Police Station (MPS) said those injured were rushed to the NPPH for emergency treatment.

Nangit said Bus 385 owned and operated by the San Isidro Bus Express figured in a road accident at around 9 a.m. Saturday after its driver Arnold Bacomo lost control of the brakes in a sharp curve of the road in Sitio Ibangley, Barangay Abongan.

The driver, a resident of the neighboring town of Roxas, immediately surrendered to the Taytay MPS, the police officer said. The traffic police is currently investigating the incident for filing of appropriate charges.

DSWD-MIMAROPA Region conducts consultation-dialogue with PWDs

By Celeste Anna Formoso [(PNA), HBC/CARF/UTB]

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, July 12 (PNA) -– The Dept. of Social Welfare and Development in the MIMAROPA Region held a consultation-dialogue with various stakeholders in Palawan involved with the implementation of Republic Acts 7277 and 9442 for Persons with Disabilities.

Regional focal person for PWDs Geneliza Gabilan said Thursday the consultation-dialogue was done to review and point the different roles of stakeholders in the implementation of the Magna Carta for Disabled Persons and the Magna Carta for Disabled Persons for Other Purposes, Granting Additional Privileges and Incentives and Prohibitions on Verbal, Non-Verbal Ridicule and Vilification Against Persons with Disabilities, as well as identify problems that are faced by PWDs.

The activity, which was attended by health and budget officers, municipal social welfare and development officers, Sangguniang Bayan members, and different representatives from public and private sectors, was done in cooperation with the provincial government of Palawan through the Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office.

Gabilan said Palawan is the last they have visited in the MIMAROPA for the purpose.

Based on her presentation, Palawan is the second province in the whole MIMAROPA that has a high number of PWDs, whose needs must be taken care of and given proper attention.

She said PWDs also need government assistance, and must not be discriminated in job hiring and other employments where the will qualify despite the condition of their physicality.

Meanwhile, in a message, PSWDO officer Apolonia David, she informed the DSWD-MIMAROPA that the provincial government under the new leadership of Gov. Jose Alvarez, will continue to provide assistance to the PWDs

She said that under the development agenda IHELP, PWDs will be treated equally for all services available.

Sustainable development council in Palawan strengthens Kiddie Wildlife Saver’s Club

(PNA), LAP/CARF/UTB

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, July 11 (PNA) -– In a bid to deepen the children’s understanding about wildlife to eventually become advocates of biodiversity conservation, the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development Staff (PCSDS) has increased familiarization activities for the members of its Kiddie Wildlife Saver’s Club.

Just recently, the PCSDS, the implementing arm of the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development (PCSD), conducted for its kiddie club members a Kiddie Wildlife Familiarization Seminar in a bid to increase their knowledge about the protection, conservation and preservation of Palawan’s wildlife.

In an interview with Melo Ponce de Leon of the PCSDS, she informed the Philippine News Agency (PNA) that only on June 29, a wildlife familiarization seminar was conducted to over a hundred children with speakers from the Philippine Freshwater Turtle Conservation Program (PTFCP) of the Katala Foundation, Inc. (KFI), Palawan Wildlife Refuge and Rescue Center (PWRRC), and environment advocate Diana Limjoco.

Dr. Sabine Schoppe of the PTFCP introduced the Palawan Forest Turtle or Philippine Forest Turtle (Siebenrockiella leytensis) by using puppets to entertain and interact with the kiddie club members.

Schoppe presented to them how critical the survival of the said turtle in the wilds, and how its population is suffering due to habitat loss and illegal collection by wildlife traders. The Palawan Forest Turtle can only be found in Palawan.

Ponce de Leon said that Limjoco, on the other hand, presented the Philippine Pangolin (Manis culionensis), and talked about the wildlife’s special diet and its life in the wilds.

The children were happy to note that a wild animal lives by feeding on ants and termites to control their population. Limjoco narrated that she once had a pangolin she named “Balin” that was given by a neighbor because its mother was killed and eaten.

To the excitement of the young biodiversity advocates, Limjoco also introduced them to the civet cat (Paradoxurus hermaphroditus), alamid or musang in Tagalog, that was also found orphaned.

The third speaker, Dr. Rebong, brought a ball python (Python regius) to show the kids. In the wild, the pythons help in controlling the rodent population since they only hunt small mammals like rats.

They live in grasslands and sparsely wooded areas. They are called ball python because when threatened, they coil into a tight ball with its head and neck tucked away in the middle.

Dr. Rebong showed the children how to handle the snake. He also allowed them to pet it to let them feel its skin texture.

Ponce de Leon said the Kiddie Wildlife Saver’s Club will have more activities in the following months to instill in them not only love for nature, but what else can be found in it which has an important role in the eco-system.


Philippine seaweeds face brighter future

By Victoria Asuncion S. Mendoza (LBR/VSM/PIA4B, Palawan)

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, Palawan, July 10 (PIA) -- The Philippine seaweeds industry will face a bright future as indicated by recent developments across Asian regions.

This was the result of the recently concluded 1st Agribusiness Cluster Meeting in the Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) held in this city.

In a press conference, Atty. Benjamin Tabios Jr., assistant director of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), said the BIMP-EAGA has the advantage because we have the supply for raw materials and processor for carageenan, a by-product of seaweeds.

Philippine seaweeds production is dominated by Palawan, Tawi-Tawi, Sulu, Bohol, and Zamboanga Sibugay, accounting for 70 percent of the Philippines’ volume of production of 1,751,050 metric tons in 2012. The country is the world’s third largest seaweeds producer with Indonesia as the second.

“We have in the region the second and third largest producers of seaweeds in the world, and Malaysia as a significant processor of these seaweeds. If we join together, through a formidable alliance, we can dictate prices,” said Tabios.

Tabios said that the demand for seaweeds keeps on growing worldwide and BFAR is continuously in full support of the industry by providing training and technical assistance to ensure its quality.

“Also discussed in the meeting was the setting up of standards by which seaweeds may be measured, including the standardization of aquaculture practices,” Tabios said.

In the Philippines, a series of workshops have already been conducted to respond to this need for standardization. Harmonization of the Philippine EAGA Good Aquaculture Practices and Product Standards was already conducted in Puerto Princesa City, Davao City and General Santos City.

The BIMP-EAGA seaweed development project was one of the agenda in the cluster meeting, composed of the Working Group on Agro-Industry and Working Group on Fisheries Cooperation. The Philippines chairs the cluster for three years.

Palawan celebrates 39th Nutrition Month with commitment to end hunger and malnutrition

(PNA), LAP/CARF/UTB

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, July 9 (PNA) -– The Palawan Provincial Nutrition Office (PNO) has vowed to end hunger and malnutrition in the province as it celebrates the 39th Nutrition Month under the Infrastructure, Health, Environment, Livelihood and Protection of the Environment or IHELP targets of the provincial government.

With the theme “Gutom at malnutrition, sama-sama nating wakasan!” the PNO is focused on ending hunger and malnutrition by nurturing the awareness level of Palaweños on the importance of proper nutrition, encouraging various nutrition stakeholders to help in providing solutions to the problems, and by urging strong political will to finally put an end to it in the province.

On July 16 to 18, the PNO is conducting an awareness program to employees of the provincial government at the Provincial Capitol to encourage them to stick to proper nutrition attitude in their families.

This will be done through a Nutri-Bingo game at the Provincial Engineering Office (PEO) and the Provincial Health Office (PHO). The game deals with information regarding proper nutrition.

Among others, the PNO will also host on July 23 the Bantay Kalusugan with activities such as Fasting Blood Sugar (FBS), Body Weight and Body Mass Index, and blood pressure check.

It will also do dietary counseling, as well as dental check-ups, NutriKid, and a Mini-Forum on diabetes, hypertension and kidney disease.

900 board feet of abandoned logs recovered in southern Palawan

(PNA), HBC/CARF/CIC/UTB

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, July 8 (PNA) -– Around 900 board feet of assorted and abandoned logs were recovered by environment authorities in the southern Palawan town of Rizal Saturday as a result crack downs against illegal loggers operating in the area.

The team that led the recovery of the illegally cut logs was headed by the Rizal PNP Municipal Station following a tip off from a concerned resident in Barangay Iraan, Rizal.

Police Insp. Bernard Dela Rosa said they immediately conducted an operation in Iraan to catch the illegal loggers. Unfortunately, they had left the area where the logs were found.

The recovery of the logs is part of the heightened patrol and monitoring activities against illegal logging that was ordered by Governor Jose Alvarez, who has made it part of his IHELP (Infrastructure, Health, Education, Livelihood and Protection of Environment).

The recovered logs are now under the custody of the municipal police station of the town of Rizal.

PRC to have testing center in Palawan for teachers' licensure exam

By Ruth T. Rodriguez (Philippines News Agency, InterAksyon.com)

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY -- The Professional Regulatory Commission confirmed it will again have its testing center in this city on Sept. 29 for the teachers’ licensure examination.

Wayne Crispin of the PRC’s Office for Professional Teachers said that based on a request by Palawan State University (PSU) President Dr. Jeter Sespene which was strongly backed by Palawan Governor Jose Alvarez, PRC has decided to bring it to Puerto Princesa again to help examinees avoid too much cost if they go to Manila.

“There was a request from the president of PSU, and this has been backed up by the good governor of Palawan so, after some deliberations, the chairman of the PRC made a resolution to have it in your province again,” Crispin said in an interview with the local press.

He said the resolution was personally written by PRC chairperson Teresita Manzala, and approved by the PRC board.

On Friday, the PRC ended its four-day schedule for accepting applications for the licensure board exam for teachers.

Crispin said the number of applicants may even exceed last year’s 1,500 examinees from all over Palawan.

“The resolution is final; we will have our testing center there again with the help of the provincial government and various stakeholders. Last year, we had 1,500 and just recently we have exceeded that,” he said.

The provincial government, on the other hand, is ready to coordinate with the PRC to identify what else are needed for the licensure examination.

Provincial information officer Gil Acosta said the provincial government is currently coordinating with the PRC to be briefed before September.

"Kitang-kita natin ang pangangailangan ng ating mga kababayan patungkol sa pagkakaroon ng testing center sa lalawigan ng Palawan kaya sisiguruhin na pagtutulungan ito (We can see the need of the Palaweños on having a testing center in Palawan for future teachers so we will see to it that the PRC and the provincial government will cooperate in making it easier for the applicants),” Acosta said.

Helmet of missing PAF pilot found off Palawan

(Rappler.com)

MANILA, Philippines – A local fisherman recovered the helmet worn by one of the two missing Air Force pilots of the OV-10 Bronco that crashed off Palawan on June 23, as authorities continued their search.

Col Miguel Ernesto Okol, Air Force spokesman, said the helmet was found by a fisherman, floating two miles south of Palawan's Sombrero Island on Saturday, July 6.

The helmet was immediately turned over to Joint Task Force Bronco, the team investigating the incident. It confirmed that the helmet belonged to one of the missing pilots.

Okol said JTF Bronco has been relentless in its search for the missing pilots, 13 days after the crash. Authorities are scouring all the probable locations using all available assets.

On Saturday, JTF Bronco was to search south of the suspected crash site all the way down to Rasa Island. They were to be aided by underwater cameras and equipment from the Department of Science and Technology and the Navy, and the Coast Guard vessels with side scanning sonar.

A search team equipped with sonar has been scouting the seas around the last known location of the aircraft, taking into consideration the sea current that might have caused the plane to drift away.

At the same time, personnel from the 570th Composite Tactical Wing are also searching along the coastlines of Barangay San Rafael all the way to Barangay Gagogan and nearby islands for any signs of the pilots.

Okol said Shell Philippines also provided its own remotely operated vehicle (ROV) to help in the search. The ROV proceeded to the suspected crash site but was unable to locate any trace of the missing aircraft.

"The ROV had been recalled by Shell back to Malampaya but will be back after completing its company mission," Okol said.

The Air Force Chief, Lt Gen Lauro Catalino dela Cruz, gave assurances that they will not stop searching for the pilots.

“We will pursue the search for the wreckage as it will provide the investigators enough evidence to ascertain the cause of the crash and eventually the fate of the pilots," he said.

Mindanao, Palawan to intensify hybrid rice and corn seed production for export

By Kris M. Crismundo [(PNA), DSP/KMC/UTB]

MANILA — Provinces in Mindanao and Palawan are set to boost the production of hybrid rice and corn seeds to export among the members of BIMP-EAGA region (Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-the Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area).

The country leads the BIMP-EAGA Agribusiness Cluster which targets to achieve food self-sufficient among member countries by 2016.

Philippine-EAGA Signing minister and Mindanao Development Authority (MinDa) Chairperson Luwalhati Antonio said the Department of Agriculture has identified an initial 30,000 hectares in Mindanao and Palawan for production of hybrid rice seeds.

This 30,000 hectares will be able to produce 300,000 tons of hybrid rice seeds since a one-hectare farm is expected to produce 10 tons for every planting season.

This can be translated to a total of US$ 120 million for every planting season.

Rice production has two planting cycles in a year. Hence, the production can create US$ 240 million revenue in agriculture industry for hybrid rice alone.

This large production will also be able to supply the BIMP-EAGA members.

“Since hybrid rice offers higher yield factor, the production of the variety strategically supports BIMP-EAGA’s food basket strategy,” said MinDa International Relations Chief Jonathan Miral.

Moreover, Miral added that aside from the production potential of hybrid rice seed, local hybrid corn seed is also competing in quality.

He said the local corn seed surpasss the standards of Indonesian corn seed.

The Philippine-based Asian Hybrid Inc. is now operating a 2,500-hectare demo farm in Jember District and another 4,000 hectares in Malang District both in Java.

“The company is closely working with its Indonesian counterparts to identify more production sites particularly in the country’s BIMP-EAGA focus areas, which include Sulawesi,” Miral said.

He added that investors from Brunei and Malaysia also show interests to venture into hybrid rice and corn seed production with the two other EAGA members.

Developing the agriculture sector is included among the priority sectors of the government.

MinDa, as the official coordinator of the country to BIMP-EAGA, is promoting farm products among other members not only to benefit the member countries but most of all to provide jobs for Filipinos especially those in Mindanao and Palawan areas.

BIMP-EAGA was created in 1994 which intends to develop the lagging sub-economies of its members including the entire Brunei Darussalam, 10 provinces in the Indonesian islands of Kalimantan, Sulawesi, Maluku and Irian Jaya, Sabah, and the Malaysian states of Sarawak, Labuan, and Mindanao and Palawan in the Philippines.

Palawan has been cited by the New York-based Travel + Leisure magazine as the “World’s Best Island.”

By Eugene Santos

Known globally for its beaches, Palawan joins a worldwide roster of hotels, transportation modes, and destinations that made it among the magazine’s World’s Best Awards.

“Two countries written off in recent years—Zambia and the Philippines—are safe to visit once again, and thriving with cool new safari camps and island thatched-roof villas,” wrote Heidi Mitchell in the article “Hottest Travel Destinations of 2013.”

“The archipelago of Palawan, a UNESCO biosphere reserve in the Philippines, just added a resort with a scuba center; hop a two-hour flight from Hong Kong, and you’ll soon be diving with the sea turtles,” she added.

The awarding ceremony is slated on July 18 in New York City.

It will be hosted by Travel + Leisure editor-in-chief Nancy Novogrod and vice president and publisher Jay Meyer.

On the other hand, international media outlet CNN ranks the Philippines’ Cloud Nine in Siargao Island as number 9 among the World’s 50 Best Surf Spots.

Brewing cyclone spotted off Palawan

By Louis Bacani (philstar.com)

MANILA, Philippines - A low pressure area was spotted northwest of Puerto Princesa City, Palawan on Wednesday afternoon, the state weather bureau reported.

In its 5 p.m. update, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said the potential cyclone was located at 210 kilometers of Puerto Princesa City and is embedded along the Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ).

PAGASA said the ITCZ is affecting southern Luzon and Visayas.

Metro Manila and the rest of Luzon and Visayas will experience cloudy skies with light to moderate rains and thunderstorms. Mindanao will be partly cloudy to cloudy with isolated rains and thunderstorms.

In an advisory past 5 p.m., PAGASA said a thunderstorm is affecting ‎Metro Manila, Rizal, Bulacan, and nearby areas within two hours.

"All are advised to take precautionary measures against heavy rains, strong winds, lightning and possible flashfloods. Keep monitoring for updates," the agency said.

Environmentalists, militants seek TEPOs vs. US warships

By Perfecto T. Raymundo, Jr. [(PNA), DSP/PTR]

MANILA, July 2 (PNA) -- Environmental activists and militant groups Tuesday filed an urgent motion before the Supreme Court seeking for the issuance of a series of temporary environmental protection orders.

The TEPOs aim to stop the ongoing US military exercises and port calls of US warships in the Philippines.

The motion is part of an earlier petition for the writ of kalikasan regarding the USS Guardian grounding case in the Tubbataha Reefs Natural Marine Park.

The petitioners were led by Palawan Bishop Pedro Arigo.

The urgent motion comes in the wake of reports the Philippines is now considering different modalities that would allow greater US military presence and access to Philippine facilities, including former military bases such as those in Subic, Zambales.

"The growing rotational presence in the country of these US troops renders our marine protected areas highly vulnerable to destruction and degradation given the influx of military personnel, weaponry and naval and ground vessels. The unlimited access being given to these warships, without any clear environmental guidelines, reveals the fatal problems of the Visiting Forces Agreement,” said Renato Reyes, Bayan spokesman.

"The environment, particularly the fragile and vital coastal and marine ecosystems, is not a concern under the VFA. The move to grant the US military greater access to our facilities may imperil the future of our marine resources, people's livelihood in the Philippines, as well as the strategic role that the Philippine resources play as a 'center of marine biodiversity'," he added.

"We urge our Supreme Court justices to expedite the hearing on the Writ of Kalikasan to protect our marine environment particularly the World Heritage Site, the Tubbataha Reefs Natural Marine Park from further risk of destruction from US military exercises and maneuverings in our territorial waters," said Clemente Bautista of environmental group Kalikasan-People's Network for the Environment.

Last Jan. 17, the US Navy ship USS Guardian grounded at the Tubbataha Reef destroying at least 2,346 square meters of pristine and highly diverse coral ecosystems.

In an investigation report dated May 22, 2013 of the grounding incident, the US Navy admitted its fault saying the incident was caused by failure of leadership of the USS Guardian Command and human error.

In their urgent motion, the petitioners asked the SC to order the respondents to stop all port calls and military exercises in the absence of clear environmental guidelines, duties, and liability schemes for breaches of those duties.

They also asked the SC to require respondent US officials and their representatives to place a deposit to the TRNP Trust Fund, defined under Section 17 of RA 10067, as a "reasonable guarantee" towards full reparations in the sum of at least P58,375,080 or US$ 1,459,377.00.

Likewise, the petitioners asked the SC to grant the motion to proceed ex parte as against US respondents.

They also urged SC to provide just and equitable environmental rehabilitation measures and such other reliefs as are just and equitable under the premises.

New Palawan governor launches iHELP goals of administration

By Celeste Anna R. Formoso [(PNA), HBC/CARF/UTB]

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, July 1 (PNA) –- Newly-elected Palawan Gov. Jose Chaves Alvarez, who took his oath of office formally Sunday, will be anchoring his leadership of the provincial government to the platform program IHELP or Infrastructure, Health, Education, Livelihood, and Protection of the Environment.

Alvarez, who took his oath jointly with newly-elected Vice Governor Dennis Socrates, 1st Palawan District Rep. Chicoy Alvarez, 2nd Palawan District Rep. Eric Abueg, Puerto Princesa Mayor Lucilo Bayron, Vice Mayor Luis Marcaida and municipal government officials at the Cory Park, Provincial Capitol Compound, said IHELP will be focused on eliminating corruption and providing a better life for many Palaweños who have been floundering in scarcity of basic social services.

In his speech, Alvarez stressed that more than 80% of Palaweños still live in poverty in Palawan despite it receiving a large internal revenue allotment, shares from the Malampaya Natural Gas Project, and funding support from different national government offices.

“Napansin ko tila napag-iwanan na tayo ng mga ibang probinsya na may maliit pang kita at walang likas na yaman. Mahigit walumpung porsyento pa rin ang mahihirap. Napakarami pang barangay na walang maayos na kalsada, walang malinis na tubig inumin, walang kuryente, walang maayos na serbisyong pangkalusugan, at walang pagkakataong mag-aral dahil sa kahirapan (I noticed that we have been left behind by other provinces that have small income and no natural resources as rich as ours. More than 80% remains in poverty. Many barangays are not connected by roads, no clean water, no electricity, no suitable health services, and no chance to get education due to poverty),” he said.

A successful businessman, the governor said he will run the provincial government employing his background on running his own businesses, and his knowledge on using funds fittingly.

“Sa aking pamamahala dala ko ang karanasan sa pagpapatakbo sa isang malaking organisasyon, ang aking kaalaman sa tamang paggamit ng pondo, at ang aking kakayahang magpatupad ng mga programa o proyekto. (In my leadership, I will be bringing with me my experience in running a large business organization, my knowledge in the appropriate use of funds, and my experiences in implementing programs and projects.) I will not be a perfect leader to all, no one will ever be,” he said, adding he hopes for everyone’s support.

Alvarez said he knows there will be days that he and his supporters will differ in opinions in some issues, but he committed that there are two things they will always agree on, and this is “eliminating corruption and giving Palaweños the opportunity to improve their lives.”

For the next six months, Alvarez said he will begin the implementation of several programs and projects based on available funds remaining from the last term for the next six months.

“We will try to start resolving some problems for the remaining six months this year, but that depends on the funds that the provincial government still has which we will still need to find out,” Alvarez said.

On infrastructure, the governor said more farm-to-market roads will be constructed to connect distantly located barangays, particularly farm fields and popular tourist spots in the province.

New clean water projects will also be constructed in all more than 400 barangays in Palawan using modern technology. He did not expound what this is.

On health, more hospitals will be constructed in municipalities in Palawan that will be modernly-equipped emergency rooms, with free medicine for the people, with services of doctors and other health care professionals, with active and working ambulance transport, and which will provide free services through the use of PhilHealth cards.

Alvarez committed that he will hold dialogues with the mayors of Palawan’s 23 towns to convince them to upgrade health services in their areas of jurisdiction.

On education, the Palawan governor said scholarships will be offered by the provincial government in universities and vocational and technical institutions, prioritizing students who will enroll as freshmen and who will take appropriate courses that are currently in demand in some industries.

More school buildings with enough classrooms will be constructed to accommodate the growing number of students, as well as repair and rehabilitation of many that time has dilapidated over the years of use with the help of the Dept. of Education.

He said that DepEd is getting ready to bid 700 new classrooms for Palawan before the end of 2013, and to this, his leadership will try to add 300 more classrooms to complete 1,000.

For livelihood, the provincial government will allocate funds for poor families to be able to take up loans and start up small businesses at very low interest.

He added those who will need to take up loans will have to submit project proposals and sign agreements that they will pay what they will borrow.

The agriculture sector will also get more attention from the new provincial government leadership to improve the lives of farmers who tend the fields and take care of Palawan’s food security.

Fisherfolks will also be provided support to acquire new fishing tools and trainings on fishery culture to upgrade their livelihood incomes.

On the protection of Palawan’s environment, Alvarez said his government leadership will give priority to providing forest guards with the help of local government units (LGUs) to safeguard the forests.

A massive tree planting program will be done too, particularly in land areas that are left undressed to increase forest cover.

Marine protection, he said, will also be paramount in his priorities on sustainable environment protection, conservation, and preservation.

He assured barangay and municipal government officials, who attended the joint oath-taking that they will receive the importance they have been seeking from the provincial government to be able to implement programs and projects based on what they deem are appropriate for their areas.

He said all these will be done with the help of the three Palawan congressmen and municipal government officials who will not regret giving his leadership their support.

Alvarez’ oath-taking was attended by his family and businessman friends, and more than 1,000 guests.