Palawan News July 2016

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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

Chinese province inks friendship deal with Palawan

By Iris Gonzales (The Philippine Star)

NINGXIA – A maritime dispute has not stopped the Philippines and China from exploring other areas of cooperation.

The government of Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region in China lauded the signing this week of a landmark “friendship agreement” with Palawan province, the first of its kind after the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) ruled that the disputed West Philippine Sea belonged to Manila not to Beijing.

In a signing ceremony at the provincial capitol here on Tuesday night, Ningxia vice governor Wang Heshan said the agreement would continue to improve relations between China and the Philippines.

Palawan Gov. Jose Alvarez and Wang signed the agreement.

According to the agreement, “the two sides will carry out, in accordance with the principles of equality and mutual benefit, exchanges and cooperation between Palawan and Ningxia in various forms in the field of economy, trade, science and technology, culture, education, sports, health, personnel, etc. to promote common prosperity and development.”

Wang expressed hope that the relationship between the Philippines and China, which is roughly 600 years, would continue “for another 600 years.”

He also cited the pronouncements of President Duterte that he wanted to keep friendly ties with China and was open to direct talks over the maritime dispute.

For former foreign affairs secretary Delia Albert, the signing of the agreement is a good opportunity for both the Philippines and China to “get things on track.”

“The timing was very good to keep the momentum in terms of the relationship between China and the Philippines. We kept doors open and local governments are continuing the conversation. For both sides, it was a good opportunity to get things on track,” Albert told The STAR after the signing ceremony.

The Philippine delegation was also well received by the Ningxia government, Albert said.

“He (Vice Governor Wang) was very warm. He was very pleased that we were here. He was prepared to visit Palawan but what was positive for me was that he made reference to the positive remarks of President Duterte. For me, that was a positive sign,” Albert said.

The signing of the agreement is in accordance with the principles of the establishment of the diplomatic relations between the People’s Republic of China and the Philippines.

Ningxia is one of five autonomous regions in China and has an estimated six million ethnic Chinese Muslims-Hui.

Palawan blood donation campaign yields 25 gallons of safe blood -- DOH

By Lailani Samonte Junio [(PNA), JFM/LSJ]

MANILA, July 30 (PNA) -- The Department of Health – MIMAROPA together with the Philippine Red Cross–Palawan Chapter and ABS-CBN Palawan said that they had collected a total of 25 gallons of safe and quality blood during a voluntary blood donation activity held Friday at the New City Commercial Corporation (NCCC) Mall in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan.

MIMAROPA refers to Region IV-B composed of provinces of Mindoro (Oriental and Occidental), Marinduque, Romblon and Palawan.

“Blood is a constant need, thus donations are equally important to supply the daily demand of hospitals and clinics in the region. Not only that it is a humanitarian act but is also save lives,” said Regional Director Eduardo C. Janairo.

As a life saver, the blood is used when there is a need to transfer blood for some patients during accidents, excessive loss of blood for those who gave birth, and other suffering from conditions requiring blood transfusion.

When a person donates a blood he/she creates a connection to other people’s lives and doing a heroic act because the blood that he/she gives in the process serve as an instrument to save a life.

Director Janairo said that a regular contribution is essential for an adequate, safe and healthy blood supply to fulfill the needs of patients needing blood transfusions.

He said that there were a total 209 successful blood donors who donated with a total of 94,050 cc of blood.

The unsuccessful donors were those were deferred due to low hemoglobin counts and other conditions.

A person can donate at least 450cc of blood.

The collected blood will be turned over to the Palawan Provincial Blood Center for proper storage and distribution.

In support of the event, DOH-MIMAROPA provided 88 boxes of vacutainer tube used for blood collection.

According to Janairo, a simultaneous blood donation campaign is also being done in other provinces of the region to further increase its blood supply.

“I commend the organizers and the support of the people of Palawan for a successful campaign,” he said.

He assured that blood donation is safe.

“It poses no threat to the body and it reduces the risks of having cardiovascular diseases,” he said.

The DOH celebrates Blood Donation Month every month of July as stated by Republic Act No. 7719, also known as the National Blood Services Act of 1994 which promotes voluntary blood donation to provide sufficient supply of safe blood and to regulate blood banks.

Palawan gov’t muses on putting up rehabilitation centers for drug dependents, surrenderees

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

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, July 29 (PNA) -– Taking note of the results of President Rodrigo Duterte’s intensified campaign against illegal drugs, the Palawan government is seriously considering the establishment of reformatory center facilities for drug dependents, surrenderees, and those arrested for drug-related offenses.

According to Provincial Information Officer Gil Acosta Jr., Governor Jose Alvarez and the Palawan Provincial Anti-Drug Abuse Council (PADAC) are now working and mobilizing national and local support to address this concern.

PADAC Head Gilbert S. Baaco is reportedly spearheading the initiative to secure the funding for the project that contemplates on establishing the reformatory centers in strategic areas in the southern and northern parts of Palawan.

Acosta said that to date, data obtained from the Palawan Provincial Police Office (PPO) revealed that the government’s fight against illegal drugs has netted 1,991 individuals.

Of this figure, there are cases that need immediate counseling support, and rehabilitation for serious cases of drug dependency.

“Hence, the need for the drug rehabilitation centers,” he said.

The campaign of President Rodrigo Duterte to rid the country of illegal drugs in three to six months upon his assumption to office is reaping remarkable results due to its no-nonsense implementation in urban centers down to the rural areas.

Leading the way in the campaign are the officers of the Philippine National Police (PNP) in working tandem with the officers of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).

In Palawan, barely one month since the intensified campaign was launched, the PPO seemed overwhelmed by the massive turn out of drug users and peddlers, who voluntarily surrendered, said the PIO.

Alleged drug users and peddlers trooped to different local police stations en masse, to surrender to authorities.

They were required to fill up forms for voluntary surrender and make a pledge to reform their lives before local officials and police officers.

Since there are no existing facilities for their immediate rehabilitation, the surrenderees, after submitting for orientation and lecture of the local police, are sent back to their respective homes, but were asked to report periodically to police precincts for monitoring and evaluation purposes.

Palawan’s sustainable dev't council proposes 6-year forest regeneration program

(PNA), BNB/CARF/KASF/EDS

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, July 28 (PNA) -- In a bid to reverse the long-term decline of Palawan’s forest area, a proposal on introducing a six-year forest regeneration project has been conceived recently by the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development Staff (PCSDS).

A total of 189,504 hectares has been proposed by the PCSDS for reforestation.

The PCSDS is the technical implementing arm of the multi-sectoral and intergovernmental executive body, PCSD, which was created in 1992 by virtue of a landmark environmental legislation, the Republic Act 7611 or the Strategic Environmental Plan for Palawan Act.

The PHP7.4-billion program, which awaits approval of the PCSD, has 13 components that need to be considered to ensure its success, namely forest ecosystem benchmarking; forest enrichment; boundary demarcation (road project); livelihood generation; advocacy; recruitment of forest guards/stewards; wildlife management; policy and law enforcement; establish local quick response system (QRS) teams; climate change adaptation and disaster risk management; pursue integrated watershed management actions; forest conservation financing, and project monitoring and evaluation.

PCSD Executive Director Nelson Devanadera, who conceptualized the proposal, says the success of the program depends on the concerted efforts among Palaweños and also the government agencies, particularly the 24 LGUs across the province, and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) which has the mandate over Palawan’s forest.

“It requires dedication and commitment from both the government officials and the common people, most especially when it comes to observing laws and policies on forest land use,” says Devanadera.

Planning Officer-designate Ryan Fuentes, who developed the proposal, admits it is quite ambitious given the extent of the target reforestation area, and the financing requirement which may come through counterparting by the local government units (LGUs) and concerned government agencies.

“The challenge lies in the program’s magnitude, its ambitiousness,” Fuentes points out.

“But as we’ve said if we are going to dream for Palawan in the context of sustainable development, we don’t want it to be small but rather big,” says the Planning Division chief, adding that the proposal is commensurate to the status of the province, having been declared as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in 1990.

Fuentes, who created the proposal, says the success of the program depends on the concerted efforts among Palaweños and also the government agencies, particularly the 24 LGUs across the province, and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) which has the mandate over Palawan’s forest.

“It requires dedication and commitment from both the government officials and the common people, most especially when it comes to observing laws and policies on forest land use,” he adds.

Meanwhile, this proposal forms part of the “Palawan Natural Capital Management for Integrative Development,” a comprehensive project which aims to “sustain Palawan ecosystems of high conservation value and natural resource stocks of high economic value.”

Once pushed through and successfully implemented, the forest cover of Palawan – constituting 10 percent of the country’s forest cover – is projected to increase from 46% (692,000 ha.) to 59 percent (881,000 ha.) in six years, according to the estimation of the PCSDS.

“This would be equivalent to PHP47.3 billion gain of forest value,” says Fuentes, adding that the estimation is based on various scientific studies consolidated by the PCSDS Planning Division.

Conversely, Fuentes warns, without any conservation effort exerted, the province would stand to lose 128,000 ha. in 40 years.

“From the 46 percent remaining forest cover it would diminish to 38% -- this is tantamount to PHP32 billion decrease of forest value from its present PHP173 billion economic value,” he explains.

Several studies have established the alarming trend in deforestation rate in Palawan from 1983 to 2010 – a whopping 3,200 ha. per year or 8.8 ha. per day, Fuentes says.

He notes the province had substantial forest cover way back in 1946 with 91 percent or 1.3 million ha., which went downhill in the following years and dropped by half at 46 percent in 2010.

“While our forest suffers a dramatic drop in the past decades it still offers a big contribution in climate change mitigation as it stores carbon dioxide which is responsible for global warming,” he says.

According to the PCSDS, a conservative estimate of the carbon stock stored within the forests of Palawan is calculated at 206.6 million metric tons of carbon.Meanwhile, forest products extraction, agricultural expansion, infrastructure development and biophysical factors, such as typhoons, landslides, floods, drought, forest fires and climate change are said to contribute to the decline of forest cover in Palawan.

Forest degradation could not just be translated as loss of ecosystem goods and services, notably water, for the people directly and indirectly depend on the forest for a living – it also spells habitat loss for the terrestrial wildlife species.

In fact, Palawan harbors unique terrestrial flora and fauna, some of which are found nowhere else in the world.

Unless the province bank on in this “legit investment that really pays off in the long run,” Fuertes believes the next generation stand a good chance of enjoying the ecological benefits that Palawan’s forest offers.

“For now, some may fail to visualize its return of investment,” he says, “because, in the first place this ecological insurance is meant primarily for the future generations.”

“And because we want a big ‘payout,’ logic dictates we should also invest big.”

In the short run, this program is expected to contribute to climate change resiliency of Palawan.

Palawan to sustain ‘best island’ title through 3-day travel fair

(PNA), BNB/ANP

MANILA, July 27 (PNA) -- After its successful staging last year, the province of Palawan is set to hold the second edition of World’s Best Island Travel Expo this weekend this time, in the province itself.

“This time, we want to cater to the locals. We have discounts for local Palaweños and other (visiting) travelers,” Palawan Tourism Council president Debbie Tan told the Philippines News Agency.

The three-day expo will be held Robinson’s Place in the City of Puerto Princesa from Thursday to Sunday. Last year, the first expo was held in Glorietta, Makati City in August.

Tan said that the expo will spur mostly inbound tourism but noted that there will also be travel agents who could arrange outbound travels for locals.

The expo expects to bring together travel and tourism suppliers in the Palawan in one grand setting to sell tourism products amongst local buyers.

It will be bringing in eight Malaysian multi-media personalities and representatives from The Philippine Tour Operators Association (PHILTOA), Network of Independent Travel Agencies (NITAS) and Philippine Travel Agencies Association (PTA)

The main features of the fair include a Palawan packages on sale which will allow prospective buyers to book and buy promotional Palawan tour packages exclusively offered in the event.

A promotional product and program will be launched to entice tourism activities in the province.

There will also be cultural performances on stage featuring Palawan artists as they showcase their culture through songs and dances. Moreover, new provincial Palawan website will also be launched.

The event will also feature a series of lectures by noted speakers on the importance of history and culture in tourism and sustainable tourism.

Department of Tourism IV-B (DOT IV-B) Director Minerva Morada meanwhile expressed hope that the expo will further strengthen Palawan’s positioning as a top tourist destination and help drive economic activity in the province.

Palawan was recognized as “World’s Best Island” by Travel and Leisure Magazine in 2013 and the current year and as a “Top Island in the World” adjudged by Conde Nast Travel Magazine in 2014 and 2015.

DOH-MIMAROPA conducts random drug testing activities to ensure drug-free workplaces

(PNA), SCS/LSJ

MANILA, July 26 (PNA) -- The Department of Health (DOH)– MIMAROPA said on Tuesday that it continuously conducts random drug testing (RDT) activities as a way of ensuring drug-free workplaces.

MIMAROPA refers to the island provinces of Oriental/Occidental Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon, and Palawan.

According to DOH-MIMAROPA Regional Director Dr. Eduardo C. Janairo, the latest of such RDT activities was done in one of the health facilities located at the Oriental Mindoro Medical Center in Calapan City last July 22.

“This is a continuing program which we have started at the Regional Office and its satellite offices in the five provinces as a way of ensuring a drug-free workplace and we have included various health facilities all over the region to safeguard hospital employees and patients as well,” Dr. Janairo said.

He explained that drug testing is needed so that patients and their family members can be better protected from preventable harm that maybe caused by an impaired physician or a nurse who is a drug user.

The RDT activity at the Oriental Mindoro Medical Center targeted only 250 employees, but due to the overwhelming support from the staff, there were 52 employees more who voluntarily submitted for the test.

RDT deters drug use and helps to identify employees at risk for drug problems and enables them to seek assistance.

Urine testing is being used to detect drug users because it is easy to administer, cost-efficient, publicly-accepted and proven effective.

“Drug addiction can be prevented through proper information and effective drug prevention programs,” Director Janairo emphasized.

The DOH-MIMAROPA Region started its RDT activities in the provinces on Nov. 5, 2015 in Lubang, Occidental Mindoro with 215 health personnel tested. It was followed on Nov. 10 in Culion Sanitarium with 224 hospital staff, and 436 in Coron, including municipal health personnel, waste management staff, waiters and boatmen.

The RDT activity is a joint effort of the DOH-MIMAROPA Regional Office, the Dangerous Drug Board (DDB), the National Research Laboratory, the Dangerous Drugs Abuse, Prevention and Treatment Program together with the Oriental Mindoro Medical Center

“This activity is also in support to our government’s effort of eliminating illegal drugs and eradicating drug users in the government service, especially in the health sector,” Director Janairo said.

Travel guide: Touring El Nido's enchanting lagoons and beaches

By Joshua Berida (Rappler.com)

Planning a trip to see the beautiful lagoons and beaches in El Nido, Palawan? Here's a guide for your visit – complete with itinerary and budget

When we hear about El Nido, the first few things that come to mind are paradise, white sand beaches, and glasslike, azure waters.

Indeed, we found all of these to be true once we got to experience one of the island hopping tours or the rides to different towns on a motorcycle.

Paradise Beach (Tour D)

True to its name, this little island with a short stretch of bone-white sand, turquoise waters and dancing coconut trees is paradise. Depending on when you go, there is a chance that you might have this beach to yourself. Relax on the sand, lie on a hammock – with book in hand – or swim in the crystal clear waters.

Cadlao Lagoon (Tour D)

El Nido has many lagoons, you can’t miss with any of them, but Cadlao is on top of the list of must-see ones.

The towering lime stone formations hug the lagoon, which has an opening to the sea. This creates a visual spectacle as the waters turn from emerald to blue within just a few meters.

Climb one of the rocks and jump into the deep part of the waters or just swim around. There are snorkeling areas to see corals and different marine life.

Secret Beach (Tour C)

The long trip to get to this secluded paradise is worth it; there is a chance you might have the island to yourself. The blindingly white sand and the cerulean waters are just two of the things visitors will like about the beach.

Snake Island (Tour B)

Upon disembarking from the boat, you’d only see a typical white sand beach, but once you climb a hill, you can see a snake-like sandbar connecting 2 small islands surrounded by sky blue waters. Walk on the sandbar, laze on the beach, or swim in the inviting waters.

Pinagbuyutan Island (Tour B)

The beach may not be as nice as the other places on this list, but visitors come here to see what lies below its surface.

Just along the shore are coral gardens with hues of yellow, blue, and green, as well as shapes like trees, brains and others. You’d gladly spend minutes with your head underwater just to see colorful fish swimming about and vibrant corals.

Boats can’t dock on a certain part of the beach because of the corals, so visitors might have to swim around the island to get to the beach. However, there is a shorter route, but will not take you to see most of the coral garden.

Nacpan Beach (land trip)

The dirt and bumpy road to Nacpan Beach is worth the hassle because of the white sand that gently squeezes between your toes, but most of all: the breathtaking view from the hill.

The famous twin beach has 2 faces, cerulean on one side and a darker tinge on the other. Simply laze on the beach and get a tan, or dip into the waters for a refreshing swim.

A trip here is a perfect day or overnight camping trip for those tired of island hopping. This beach is accessible by private vehicle, tricycle or rented motorbike.

Big Lagoon (Tour A)

If you search ‘El Nido’ on Google, chances are photos of big lagoon will come up.

Entering Big Lagoon will tease you, and the towering karst formations will remind you why this part of Palawan is also called a last frontier, as the clear, emerald waters will entice you to dive into it.

Las Cabanas (land trip)

This long stretch of beach may not have the fine white sand and crystalline waters of the others, but its main draw is the mesmerizing golden sunset.

As the clock ticks and trickles into the end of the day, beachgoers will get a front row seat to the best sunset on the island. Sit back and relax with a drink in hand while the sky turns from blue to fiery red as the day ends.

Travel to Las Cabanas by tricycle for P150 (one-way trip).

Small Lagoon (Tour A)

This attraction may be small, but it is a noteworthy destination because of the surrounding lime stones that hide the lagoon. Swim into the small lagoon or just wade in the waters in or outside the towering rock formations.

Taraw Cliff Viewpoint (land trip)

If climbing is your thing, doing a short climb up Taraw Cliff must be on your list.

This deceivingly small hill provides quite a challenge because of the jagged and sometimes slippery lime stones. The reward after breaking a sweat is a captivating overlooking view of the town and waters below.

These are only some of the attractions you will see when you visit El Nido.

These places are on different tours (A, B, C and D or land). The price range of the tours are between P1,000 to P1,400 for the whole day, including boat transfers and lunch, but may exclude the environmental fee and the snorkeling equipment. Ask about these before paying.

Suggested itinerary for El Nido:

• For first time visitors,tours A and C are recommended because they include beaches and lagoons.
• Visitors can combine different tours (A and C on the same day) depending on the size of the group and demand. You might have to rent the entire boat if you want to do tour D, which includes Bukal, Paradise and Natnat Beach along with Cadlao Lagoon.
• If you don’t want to go on a tour, rent a kayak to get to Cadlao instead. If you’re staying for more than 2 nights, you can do all the tours from A to D.
• Las Cabanas beach is a good day trip as a break between doing island hopping tours or right after one, just to see the sunset or laze around the beach.
• Nacpan Beach is also a day trip from the town; you can also opt to spend the night, if you have time.

Expenses for your trip:

• Around P5,000 to P7,000 is enough for a budget trip to El Nido for two nights.
• Rent a tricycle for P150 one-way to take you to Las Cabanas.
• A tricycle for a day trip to Nacpan Beach could cost you around P800 to P1,000 return trip.
• Tours in El Nido cost between P1,000 to P1,400 per day. Alternatively, rent a boat for around P4,000 to P6,000 or more per day, depending on the size of the group and the boat.
• Food costs P100 to more than P200 per meal depending on where you eat. The town has plenty of options from local carinderias to French cuisine.
• Budget accommodations range from around P500 a night for private fan room or dorm bed – to more than P2,000 a night in a hotel or bed and breakfast.
• There are now ATMs and 24-hour electricity in town, which were not available as early as 3 years ago during my first trip.

El Nido is fast becoming a hotspot as many establishments are sprouting just outside and inside of town. Both local and foreign tourists flock to this paradise in northern Palawan, so the best time to visit might just be now, before the town completely transforms from idyllic to a bustling tourist haven.

Ayungin troops feted for sacrifices in securing PH sovereignty

By Frances Mangosing (IDL/rga, INQUIRER.net)

Military personnel who recently served in the marooned BRP Sierra Madre in Ayungin Shoal (Second Thomas Shoal) in the West Philippine Sea were awarded with medals on Friday.

The Western Command based in Palawan, led by deputy commander Brig. Gen. Elvin Hermogino, awarded the eight personnel with Military Merit Medal “in recognition of their sacrifices in securing the country’s sovereignty in the Kalayaan Island Group despite the volatile situation brought about by the territorial dispute.”

The BRP Sierra Madre was deliberately grounded in the shoal to prove Manila’s claim in the Spratlys.

In a Facebook post, Wescom said the soldiers have been deployed in Ayungin for three to four months away from their families and friends.

A representative from Wescom could not be immediately reached for additional details.

Navy and Marine personnel are rotated in and out of the Philippine-claimed detachments in the Spratlys every few months.

Shell joins fight against HIV/AIDS in Palawan

(Malaya Business Insight)

There are hundreds of new HIV/AIDS cases in the Philippines every month. In 2015 alone, 7,829 cases were recorded, according to the Integrated HIV Behavioral Serologic Surveillance (IHBSS) conducted by the Epidemiology Bureau of Department of Health. Furthermore, in Palawan under Region IV-B, HIV continues to increase, with 40 new cases in 2015. In the same year, figures show that its capital, Puerto Princesa, ranked 3rd out of 36 cities having the highest HIV prevalence among men having sex with men.

As a response to the healthcare need of the community, a multi-sectoral group composed of Project: Health, Help, Hope, Happiness (Project H4), The Love Yourself Inc. (TLY), Department of Health (DOH) Region IV-B, and Pilipinas Shell Foundation, Inc. (PSFI) came together in setting up a volunteer-run community center–a safe haven where people can take an HIV test without the fear of discrimination or prejudice.

Dubbed “Amos Tara!” or “Let’s go!” in the Cuyunon dialect, the community center is located in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan and was recently inaugurated to the public. “I hope people don’t see it as an HIV clinic, but a community center, a youth center, a place to be happy and safe,” said PSFI programme manager Marvi Trudeau.

Aside from counseling and testing, Amos Tara! will be the venue for HIV 101 mini-sessions, which aims to promote peer education, as well as livelihood and personality development among the youth.

According to PSFI executive director Edgardo Veron Cruz, businesses and even the economy of country will get affected if employees increasingly become afflicted with HIV/AIDS. As such, the foundation has started to become proactive in fighting the disease through its program called the Philippine Business Sector Response (PBSR) to HIV/AIDS.

PSFI launched the program with the aim of encouraging companies to have access to information, training, and services, necessary for the institution of workplace policies and programs on HIV and AIDS.

The program’s area of coverage initially focused on the National Capital Region, and then expanded to Batangas and Palawan, where Shell has work sites equipped with ground breaking technology for developing new energy sources. Through its involvement in the creation of Amos Tara!, PSFI has also stepped up the fight in helping save lives in the province.

National bangkarera held in Palawan

By Romina Cabrera (The Philippine Star)

MANILA, Philippines - A team of boat competitors from Boracay took top honors in the recently concluded National Bangkarera Competition staged in one of the world’s best islands, Palawan.

The first Pioneer National Bangkarera was held last July 15 and 16 at the Baywalk area in Puerto Princesa, through the initiative of Republic Chemical Industries Inc. (RCI).

Alben Manuel, RCI group product manager, said the boat race aims to promote camaraderie among the community, fishermen and boat racing enthusiasts.

Manuel said the company has been eager to hold the boat racing for a time and decided to choose Palawan for their first sponsored event as it is one of the safest waterfronts during the rainy season.

He added that the event went “a lot better” than expected as participants doubled in number from what they anticipated.

“When I drew up the budget, it was only for 50 participants. We ended up with 104. This was a good problem to have,” he said.

Rey Isiderio, 34, won the event’s grand prize of P110,000 for the 16-horsepower segment.

Isiderio, a fisherman, has been active in the competitive boat racing scene in the country for about 15 years. He admitted that his championship trophies are too many to count, a feat for somebody who makes an average of P300 per day from fishing.

“Hilig ko ’to. Kahit matalo kami, pupunta pa rin kami makasali lang sa competition,” Isiderio said.

His Boracay group, with boats owned by Nathan Sualog, also won the first and third places for the seven-horsepower segment.

Other winning boat operators were Wesley Noel from Cebu and Roselio Amador from Palawan for the seven-horsepower segment; and Anna Liza Camon from Pulupandan, Negros Occidental for the 16-horsepower event.

The winning boat owners for the paddleboat racing segment were Aiza Corpuz in first place, Samuel Basing and Adelo Antipuesto in second and third places, respectively.

Bangka racing reportedly originated from Muslim tribes in Southern Mindanao and had a following from fisherfolk from various provinces in the country.

The bangka “formula one” racing event, also known as the “Bangkarera” or “Bangkathon,” has been staged at least once a year in various places in the Philippines after it took off commercially in 2004.

Over 800 homes in Palawan's west coast receive solar home systems

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

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, July 21 (PNA) -- Over 800 homes in Aborlan town in the west coast of Palawan got their wishes to have electricity come true with the distribution of solar home systems.

The distribution in Aborlan was led by Board Member Albert Rama and Rep. Gil Acosta of the 3rd Palawan District.

Acosta said providing alternative sources of energy in far-flung towns is part of Palawan Governor Jose Alvarez's Energy Development Program-Barangay Electrification Project (EDP-BEP).

The recipients were from barangays Apurawan and Culandanum in Aborlan, specifically in the villages of Bubusawin, Daan, and Sto. Niño.

Acosta said 800 units of SHS are part of the 35,000 that are now being distributed in several areas that are not connected to the main power grid.

Qualified beneficiaries are homes that cannot be reached by regular power services, including poor families, he said.

Aside from the distribution of SHS, the provincial government also handed food packs to the residents in the west coast courtesy of the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office.

Pioneer Adhesives launches community, environmental efforts in Palawan

(Malaya Business Insight)

Republic Chemical Industries Inc. (RCI), maker of Pioneer Epoxy, and its affiliate Pioneer Adhesives Foundation Inc. (PAFI), have recently conducted community relations and environmental efforts last July 15-17, 2016 in Puerto Princesa, Palawan during a three-day event that includes a Bangkarera competition, mangrove planting and reef awareness activities.

The “ 1st Pioneer National Bangkarera” competition, a boat reace for fisher folks and boat racing enthusiasts, was held from July 15 to 16 at the Baywalk in Puerto Princesa and have gathered members from local fishing communities, as well as boat racers and delegates from all over the country.

“ The competition was initially served as fellowship among the fishing communities and also as kickoff of RCI’s long-term plan to establish sustainable livelihood projects in the future for the fisher folks in the country,” Marie Grace Panganiban, Pioneer Epoxy assistant manager, shared.

RCI and PAFI are also bringing their campaign “Our Earth. Our Responsibility” to Puerto Princesa following the implementation of a coral restoration activity in Boracay last year. The project involves the planting of 1,200 mangrove seedlings in Brgy. San Jose as well as the kick-off of its Coral Restoration Program entitled “Reef Fix “ in Tangdol Reef, Brgy. Bancao-Bancao. The event marks the start of the PAFI-DOST (Department of Science and Technology ) partnership to help restore coral reefs around the country.

Coral Bleaching is a global concern and the Philippines Islands are not spared. It has been identified that 90% of the corals in Tangdol Reef have suffered from bleaching and have been severely damaged. According to the local divers, the degradation is the effect of sea surface temperatures increasing and possibly due to UV- radiation exposure which was caused by EL NiÑo. The year 2016 has been registering record high temperatures globally.

PAFI and the DOST are building a partnership to address this environmental concern. The DOST has been using Pioneer EpoxyClay Aqua in its coral restoration projects in areas across the Philippines. According to them, the use of this product has resulted in higher success and survival rates of transplanted corals.

“With the support of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), we are partnering with Puerto Princesa City through their City Agricultural Office (CAO) to bring our coral restoration efforts to Palawan. Palawan has such rich biodiversity and we would very much like to take part in its preservation, “Martina Spakowski, PAFI executive director, stated.

RCI has committed to donate 2,500 tubes of Pioneer EpoxyClay Aqua to the city government which is expected to yield a minimum of 12,500 transplanted coral fragments to the reef of Puerto Princesa. PAFI, on the other hand, is set to donate bouys with solar powered light to the city of Puerto Princesa. The bouys will be deployed in Tangdol Reef to protect the coral nursery and the areas surrounding it.

Both the “1st Pioneer National Bangkarera” and “Reef Fix: A Coral Restoration Program” events are supportive of a healthier Philippine ocean and its immediate stakeholders in the sense that fisher folks participating in the Bangkarera are the ultimate beneficiaries of PAFI’s coral restoration program. Pioneer Adhesives is intent on creating programs that support sustainable and responsible fishing.

These programs are aligned with RCI’s overall mission to spearhead green initiatives to protect and conserve the environment through responsible practices in its business activities. Among RCI’s efforts include developing products that are low in toluene, and conserving power by utilizing solar panels in its Canlubang plant in Laguna.

Three Puerto Princesa City Councilors undergo drug testing

By Catherine Santos

In response to the challenge of City Councilor Gregorio Roy Ventura, three councilors of Puerto Princesa have undergone drug-testing and submitted the results to the Council’s Secretariat and the City Police Office. The three councilors included Victor Oliveros, Matthew Mendoza and Primo Loreno.

Oliveros was the first one to respond to the challenge, taking the test with his legislative staff. He was followed by Mendoza and Loreno whose results all turned out negative for illegal drug use. Oliveros has stated in one of his speeches that he will do the testing regularly to avoid questions on the test’s credibility.

Meanwhile, none of the other members of the City Council have indicated signs of following suit, despite their former agreement to undergo such test.

It can be recalled that the drugs issue was brought to the council by Atty. Nesario Awat when the councilors discussed the City Police Office’s alleged complacency in implementing Project Double Barrel in the city. Ventura challenged his colleagues to undergo drug-testing in order to set a good example to other officers in the city.

DSWD MIMAROPA conducts policy forum for 38th NDPR week celebration

(PNA),RMA/LSJ

MANILA, July 18 (PNA)--In observance of the 38th National Disability Prevention and Rehabilitation (NDPR) Week celebration, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD)- MIMAROPA will conduct a one day policy forum on inclusive development of Person with Disability (PWD) on July 27 in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan.

“ThiS forum aims to increase public awareness on disability issues and concerns that will strengthen the involvement of the different government and non-government organizations, civil society and PWD organizations,” said Focal Person Maricel dela Vega.

A total of 115 participants from the local government units, private establishments, PWD groups, and Palawan-based inter-agencies are invited to focus more on fulfilling the rights of persons with disabilities .

This year’s celebration theme, “Karapatan ng May kapansan, Isakatuparan…Now Na!”

The 2015 Listahanan database- a mechanism of identifying who and where the poor are, reveals that there are 14,453 poor persons with disability in Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon and Palawan or MIMAROPA provinces.

From the identified number of poor, 4,023 PWDs claimed to be household heads who are mostly male.

Also, there are 3,562 poor PWDs with occupation: 1,904 PWDs are laborers and unskilled workers; 1,658 PWDs are working in short-term, casual or seasonal jobs.

Dela Vega encouraged public to take active responsibility in uplifting the economic and social conditions of persons with disabilities.

She said that part of that was by giving the PWDs chance to be employed or let the PWDs, who are capable (with skills) to gain employment and be part of the productive workforce as part of promoting inclusiveness in the society.

Malacañang Proclamation No. 361 declares the third week of July as the NDPR week to culminate on the birthdate of sublime paralytic--Apolinario Mabini on July 23 each year.

More resorts using e-vehicles

By Richmond S. Mercurio (The Philippine Star)

MANILA, Philippines - Demand for electric vehicles is accelerating across big resorts in the country, the Electric Vehicle Association of the Philippines (EVAP) said.

Aside from being used for public transport in Makati, Las Pinas, Filinvest City and Muntinlupa, electric jeepneys are now fast becoming the vehicles of choice in resort establishments, EVAP president Rommel Juan said.

“These are used in ferrying guests around the resort and even to the nearest commercial establishments,” Juan said.

Among the popular resorts that are using electric jeepneys include Island Cove in Cavite, Plantation Bay in Cebu, Fairways & Blue Waters and Crown Regency in Boracay, Puerto Princesa in Palawan, Camp John Hay in Baguio, and San Benito in Batangas.

“It is the perfect mode of transport for luxury resorts because it is quiet and smoke free. No air and noise pollution. It will not spread toxic fumes in the environment and will thus make the stay of the guests more pleasant. Electric vehicles have all these benefits so that is why they are gaining more popularity,” he said.

With the growing popularity of electric vehicles in the country, EVAP is calling for more local battery makers, especially lithium ion battery makers, to supply the growing demand for batteries.

“For deep cycle lead acid batteries, we already have our world-class Motolite batteries which are proudly Philippine-made. Trojan batteries from the US are also very much active in the Philippines already. But for lithium ion batteries which are now increasingly gaining popularity among local electric vehicle players, there is still no major supplier, much more manufacturer, who has come in. We badly need a major lithium ion battery provider to set up shop and even do local assembly in the Philippines,” Juan said.

He said with more battery options, the Philippine electric vehicle industry would be stronger and more viable.

“These batteries are the cornerstone of one of the most important EV infrastructure, the battery charging and swapping stations. We need these to make EV fleet operations more viable,” Juan said.

Presidential adviser eyes lease of Busuanga Island to corporations

By Pia Ranada (Rappler.com)

Multinational corporations should be able to 'govern' these islands in the same way foreign troops run military bases under defense treaties, says Ramon Jacinto, an economic adviser to President Rodrigo Duterte

MANILA, Philippines – Newly-appointed Presidential Adviser on Economic Affairs and Information Communication Technology Ramon "RJ" Jacinto wants Busuanga Island in Palawan to become a "business utopia" for multinational companies.

Jacinto, in an interview with ANC's Cathy Yang, said leasing Busuanga to multinational corporations is something he might propose to President Rodrigo Duterte.

"The Philippines should lease islands to businessmen where they can build their own ports...Right now, we are looking at Busuanga. It's bigger than Singapore," he said during the live interview on Friday, July 15.

Busuanga Island is a thriving tourism destination in Palawan known for its beautiful white sand beaches and biodiversity. Coron, one of Palawan's most famous island-hopping destinations, is a town on Busuanga Island.

Jacinto said one of his criteria for choosing islands ideal for leasing to corporations is low population "so you don't have to displace many people."

Multinational corporations should be able to "govern" these islands in the same way foreign troops run military bases under defense treaties.

"If we can lease a military base, why not lease a business base?" he asked.

He said businesses leasing out the islands would be allowed to operate "autonomously but still subject to [Philippine] sovereignty."

The Philippine government can exercise this sovereignty by imposing requirements on the companies before granting the lease. Such requirements could include mandatory hiring of Filipinos, said Jacinto.

The Philippine government can also be selective when leasing out the islands such that the companies it awards the deal to form "a mix of industries that will benefit the country," added the new presidential adviser.

Leasing land to foreign companies was one of the economic proposals President Rodrigo Duterte mentioned during the presidential campaign.

Back then, he said he was open to leasing out lands and islands to companies for 30 to 50 years. He said he was against selling these lands.

Pilipinas Shell Foundation launches emergency sticker campaign

By Catherine Santos

In its aim to intensify emergency and disaster preparedness in communities, the Pilipinas Shell Foundation Inc. (PSFI), in partnership with various government agencies namely the City Police Office, Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP), Kilos Agad Action Center (KAAC), City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office (CDRRMO), City DILG, DepEd and Land Transportation Office (LTO), led the launching of a promotional project for various emergency hotlines in Puerto Princesa on Friday, July 15. The project primarily aims to enhance the public’s access to response systems that are available to them during emergency situations.

According to PSFI Project Officer Alexa Jeanne Lash, their first goal is to post stickers providing emergency hotlines in jeepneys, buses, tricycles and other public modes of transportation in order to take advantage of the vehicles’ visibility and mobility. Aside from that, they also intend to go down the grass roots level by partnering with different barangays of Puerto Princesa, reaching out to as many people as possible.

Representatives from LTO, PNP, BFP, KAAC and CDRRMC lauded PSFI’s initiative in creating the project; they believe it will be of great help in terms of disaster prevention or immediate rescue. According to Director Rey Maranan of the DILG, “Simple things mean a lot. Before we go to the complexity of disaster or emergency preparedness, we have to go back to basic, and that is information and communication.”

The following are the emergency numbers as promoted by PSFI:

KAAC (For ambulance): 4349426 / 09275755477 / 09504912599 BFP (For fire): 4340012 / 09257077717 / 097 78551600 CDRRMO/Patrol 117 (For disasters): 4335322 / 4348808 / 09277972009 / 09186080022 PNP (For crime): 4349889 / 4349887 /09778557732 / 09399022367

Provincial Government extends formal acceptance, financial aid to surrendering rebels

By Catherine Santos (with excerpts from News Release of PIO-Palawan/AFP’s CRG)

The provincial government of Palawan formally extended acceptance and granted financial aid to five former members of the New People’s Army (NPA) in a ceremony held at the Capitol on Wednesday, July 13.

Vice-Governor Victorino Dennis Socrates and Western Commands’ Commander Ronald Joseph led the simple program where the provincial government formally accepted the former rebels who surrendered under the Local Social Integration Program (LSIP) of the Provincial Government and the Comprehensive Local Integration Program (CLIP) of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG).

Socrates said he is elated with the development as it marks another milestone to both civilian authority and the military. He also encouraged other ideological rebels to do the same, emphasizing his hope for genuine peace to be attained in the province.

According to Lucita Padul, LSIP’s focal person, the five individuals voluntarily surrendered to authorities this year and are presently under the care of a government agency that supervises their rehabilitation process.

The LSIP is anchored on Ordinance 1540 “Establishing the Implementing Guidelines on the Provision of Assistance to Rebel Returnees” which grants the opportunity for rebels in Palawan to surrender and rehabilitate back to society. Part of the ordinance includes the granting of financial assistance ranging from PHP25,000 to PHP50,000 through the DILG. Based on the provision of the ordinance, a returnee is entitled to a monthly PHP2,700 allowance while undergoing rehabilitation. Aside from financial assistance, the government also provides the ‘returnees’ with counseling services, food assistance, shelter assistance and referral services.

The five (5) former rebels constitutes the first batch of ‘surrenderees’ in the province. The remaining cases are still being processed by the DILG. Around 20 former rebels in Palawan have surrendered to the AFP since 2014.

Wescom conducts disaster preparedness inspection

By Catherine Santos

In preparation to natural or man-made calamities, the Western Command conducted a Humanitarian Assistance Disaster Response (HADR) inspection at Wescom Grandstand today, July 12. Wescom Commander Rear Admiral Ronald Joseph Mercado led the inspection with Gilbert Baaco of the Provincial Risk Reduction Management Office (PDRRMO), Col. Gerald Gagan of Joint Task Force ICare and representatives from the Naval Forces West and 3rd Marine Brigade.

Mercado underscored in the said event the importance of disaster preparedness amidst challenge of climate change. He assured readiness among his men in responding to cases of disaster without compromising their main mandate to defend national territory and sovereignty.

Baaco, in his message, shared that the Provincial Government’s annual budget for disaster preparedness and response is around 110M, which is 5% of the province’s total annual budget.

“Yan po ang budget na puwede nating magamit anytime, pero sana ‘wag,” Baaco said. He assured everyone that in case calamities strike the province, the provincial government is fit to respond.

Meanwhile, in a separate media interview, Mecado denied that today’s inspection is in anticipation of a potential crisis in the West Philippines Sea. “It’s just a coincidence,” he said, clarifying that today’s activity is not connected to the scheduled ruling by the Permanent Court of Arbitration on the case filed by Philippines against China.

DSWD-MIMAROPA conducts activities for observance of National Disaster Month

(PNA), SCS/LSJ/EDS

MANILA, July 12 (PNA) -- The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD)-MIMAROPA Regional Office said on Tuesday that it joins the entire country in the observance of the National Disaster Consciousness Month this July with the theme, “Kahandaan at Pagtugon sa Sakuna, Tungkulin ng Bawat Isa.”

DSWD-MIMAROPA or Region IV-B Disaster Operations Focal Person Sheila Tapia said that to highlight it, DSWD will have a two-day basic life support training for internal staff in partnership with the Philippine Red Cross (PRC).

The training aims to equip DSWD staff with knowledge, skills and confidence to provide care to victims of disasters such as the proper application of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

Aside from the training, the DSWD has scheduled reorientation on the guidelines of Regional Quick Response Team (QRT) for disaster preparedness and management, Tapia said.

QRT is one of the disaster management components that enhance the coordination and reporting of disaster related-responses internally. It consists of DSWD regional, provincial and municipal-based staff.

According to the 2015 Listahanan database, a mechanism to identify who and where the poor are, there are 35,858 poor households in Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon and Palawan (MIMAROPA) who experienced displacement due to human- induced or natural disasters.

Most of them are found in the municipalities of Mansalay, Oriental Mindoro, with 2,038 poor households; Boac, Marinduque, with 2,034 poor households, and San Jose, Occidental Mindoro with poor households 1,694.

Meanwhile, Tapia said that DSWD is set to provide Emergency Shelter Assistance (ESA) amounting to PHP1.1 million to 119 typhoon "Ruby"-affected households in Calatrava, Romblon this month.

ESA is a cash grant provided to families whose houses are either totally or partially damaged by any form of disaster. It may be released in cash or in the form of construction materials, Tapia said.

Executive Order No. 137 declares the month of July of every year as National Disaster Consciousness Month and institutionalizing the civil defense deputization program to increase the awareness of every Filipino to the ever- threatening disasters.

By being aware and prepared, casualties and other serious consequences can be prevented or minimized as the people can apply what they know which can also be used in saving or rescuing others as well when needed.

The knowledge acquired can also help families to prepare what they need or can bring with them in case they need to evacuate or go to safer locations if the situation calls for it.

Two hawksbill turtles rescued in San Pedro, Puerto Princesa City

By Catherine Santos

Two Hawkbill turtles found in a mangrove area of Barangay San Pedro, Puerto Princesa City were rescued by officials and residents of the said barangay on Sunday, July 10.

Two other turtles were found in the said area, both decomposing, which were then later buried at the Irawan compound of the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development. Authorities are still investigating who might be responsible for bringing the turtles to the area; the perpetrator/s will be facing penalty under RA 9147 or the Wildlife Act.

Personnel from the DENR- Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) and Palawan Council for Sustainable Development (PCSD) documented and tagged the animals before they were released at the Puerto Princesa Bay.

The hawksbill is a critically endangered sea turtle belonging to the family Cheloniidae. It is considered as one of the smaller sea turtles.

3 PHL islands land in New York-based magazine’s World’s Best Islands

(PNA), RMA/ANP

MANILA, July 10 (PNA) -- Three Philippine islands— Palawan, Boracay and Cebu — have taken the world by storm by making it to New York-based magazine Travel + Leisure (T+L) magazine’s World’s Best Islands list this year.

In an annual survey conducted by T+L, readers were asked to rate destinations all over the world according to their activities, sights, natural attractions, beaches, food, friendliness and overall value.

Results this week revealed that Palawan clinched the top rank after receiving the highest score among readers at 93.71. This is the second time that Palawan topped the list since it first reached the top spot in 2013.

T+L writer Melanie Lieberman described Palawan as a place where “visitors are greeted with mountains rising out of impossibly turquoise waters, where shipwrecks and reefs make for prime scuba diving and snorkeling.”

“Palawan is every beach lover’s dream destination,” said one T+L reader, who regarded it as a “wonderful and magical place.”

Lieberman also cited Palawan for being home to a five-mile-long underground river considered one of the world's wonders of nature that visitors shouldn't miss the chance to boat through its limestone caverns.

Boracay ranked second on the list receiving a score of 90.47 while Cebu ranked sixth with a score of 88.65.

One reader deemed Boracay as “a natural treasure” while Lieberman praised it for one of its top resorts, the Shangri-La's Boracay Resort, which ranked eighth among this year's Top Resort Hotels in Southeast Asia.

Another reader said, “There is never a dull moment in Cebu,” claiming that the island was “perfect for travelers who don't want to spend a lot of money on recreational activities.”

Lieberman named hiking through canyons, swimming with whale sharks, and diving from the top of a waterfall as among the many activities visitors can try in Cebu.

“The Philippines’ predominance shows that discerning travelers are willing to travel great distances for the rewards of clear waters and sugary white beaches,” Lieberman said.

T+L’s World’s Best Islands from lowest to highest rank are: Bali, Indonesia; Kauai, Hawaii; Hilton Head, South Carolina; Maui, Hawaii; Cebu, Philippines; Santorini, Greece; Waiheke Island, New Zealand; Ischia, Italy; Boracay, Philippines and Palawan, Philippines. To read the full T+L article, visit http://www.travelandleisure.com/worlds-best/islands#intro

U.S. Deputy Chief of mission transfers maritime law enforcement equipment to PNP in Palawan

(PNA), RMA/PR/RSM

PALAWAN (PNA) -- U.S. Embassy, Manila’s Deputy Chief of Mission, Michael Klecheski, donated four patrol boats to the Philippine National Police (PNP) in Puerto Princesa to improve maritime law enforcement capabilities here.

Chief Supt. Jose Ma Victor ‎Ramos was in attendance to receive the donation on behalf of the PNP along with Sr. Supt. Edmund Gonzales.

In his dedication, Klecheski noted the importance of improving maritime police equipment in the region, highlighting that the maritime domain factors prominently into virtually all law enforcement and terrorism issues that the Philippines faces today.

He cited the impact that the Special Operations Units (SOU) have had on preventing illegal activity and assisting in regional cooperation with neighboring countries such as Malaysia and Vietnam.

The donation marks the latest significant milestone in a more than 10-year partnership between the PNP Maritime Group and the U.S Departments of State, Defense and Justice (through the International Criminal Investigative Training Assistance Program).

The goal of this high degree of cooperation is to modernize maritime law enforcement’s equipment to combat smuggling, drugs, human trafficking and other forms of seafaring crime.

The boats are all 30-foot vessels or larger and are collectively worth over USD 2.3 million. They were provided by the State Department Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) along with spare parts and supplies.

INL said it would continue to support this transition by funding the training of the personnel who will handle these vessels.

Since 2010 the State Department has donated 10 patrol boats that are the primary tools used by the SOU to rescue individuals or stop criminal behavior.

Palawan gov’t continues to provide social pension to indigent senior citizens

By Celeste Anna R. Formoso [(PNA), PGL/CARF/RSM]

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, July 8 (PNA) -– The Palawan Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office (PSWDO) has already distributed to 6,000 indigent senior citizens their local social pension (LSP) of Php1,500 each for the months of January to June.

This was reported Thursday by Helen Bundal, the Population Program Officer II of the PSWDO through the Provincial Information Office (PIO).

According to Bundal, the PSWDO just recently completed its social pension payout for the elderly citizens in all municipalities except Araceli island town.

As of current, Bundal said the total amount financial support they have already awarded to senior citizens under the LSP has reached Php9.9 million.

She also reported that they have already awarded all pensions for the year 2015, and no more balance remains.

Based on data by the PSWDO, the town of Taytay in northern Palawan has the highest number of indigent citizens, or 550. The lowest is in the island town of Kalayaan in the West Philippines Sea, numbering only 13.

For the year 2016, the provincial government’s LSP has allotted Php20 million for the elderly citizens, which is higher compared to last year’s Pph17 million.

The LSP for Indigent Senior Citizen of the PSWDO is in compliance to Republic Act 9994 or the Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010 that orders local government units (LGUs) to provide monthly pension to the indigent senior citizens that they may spend on food and medicine.

It was in 2014 when the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Palawan re-enforced the Act when it passed Resolution No. 11305 that aims to provide Php250 social pension to senior citizens 60 years old and above every month.

Mining firms donate PHP2.7-M worth of iMac computer to Palawan schools

By Lilybeth G. Ison [(PNA), JMC/LGI]

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, Palawan (PNA) -- As part of its corporate social responsibility to improve the living condition of communities, Coral Bay Nickel Corporation (CBNC) and Rio Tuba Nickel Mining Corporation (RTNMC) -- affiliates of Nickel Asia Corporation (NAC) -- have shelled out over PHP2.7 million for 45 iMac desktop computer units, which they donated to various public schools in Palawan province.

The 21.5 inch iMac desktop computer units were formally turned-over on Monday to winning schools, one of which is the Palawan National School (PNS).

Ma. Mary Anne Baribar, CBNC Community Relations (Comrel) Manager, said the iMac desktop computer units were presented as grand prize to schools that emerged as over-all champions in various academic contests during the "GroundBreak 2016: Palawan Ground Zero" held last March in the province.

Baribar said the winning schools each received five units of iMac desktop computers that could be of big help in setting up their own computer laboratory.

"This is one big factor that could contribute to the skills and knowledge of our students and could be part of our computer education and computer literacy program," said Baribar during the turn-over rites held at the Palawan National School (PNS).

For his part, Jose Bayani "JB" Baylon, NAC vice president for corporate communications, said the donation proves the commitment of the two mining companies in helping the government in enhancing the educational system even in remote areas of Palawan.

Rosabella Balmonte, PNS principal, thanked the two mining companies for the iMac desktop computers which could be used by the students in enhancing their learning skills.

"Salamat sa mga binigay nyong computers. Isa itong malaking biyaya hindi lamang sa mga guro kundi lalo na sa mga estudyante dahil makakatulong ito sa kanilang pag-aaral," she said.

Rachelle Ann Lauricio, RTNMC's Information, Education and Communication (IEC) Officer, said the donation is part of the company's support to the education sector in time for this year's school opening.

"Ito ay tulong edukasyon handog ng RTNMC at CBNC para sa mga mag-aaral ng Palawan. We are the government's partner in building a better future for our youth," she said.

Prior to the turn-over, winning schools’ representatives underwent a train the trainer seminar conducted by Angel Amerila III of A-Shop Apple Philippines last May.

Laurence Amores, CBNC Comrel General Supervisor, explained that it is important that school representatives undergo such training because Imac computer is rarely used especially in Palawan schools "so they need to familiarize its mechanics and operations."

"This training is indeed very significant because participants will impart the knowledge that they have acquired to teachers who will be using these Imac computers in their lessons," he added.

The academic contests were participated by students from elementary and high school, as well as colleges in Palawan North, Palawan South and Puerto Divisions.

It was divided into three categories that include Emahe, a poster-making contest; Excavate, an essay writing contest and Emanate, an extemporaneous speech contest with the theme centered on responsible mining.

The schools that emerged as the "best of the best" and received five units of iMac desktop computers include: San Vicente Central School (North Palawan), Aborlan Central School (South Palawan) and East Central School (Puerto Palawan) for the Elementary Division.

For the High School Division, the winners were: Central Taytay National High School (North Palawan), Narra National High School (South Palawan) and Palawan National School (Puerto Palawan).

For the College Division, Western Philippines University (South Palawan) and Palawan State University (Puerto Palawan) were declared winners.

RTNMC is primarily engaged in the exploration, mining and exporting of nickel ore and providing non-mining services with a mine located in Barangay Rio Tuba in Bataraza, Palawan, while CBNC operates a Hydrometallurgical Processing Plant in the same location.

DSWD launches 2015 MIMAROPA Listahanan database result in Palawan

(PNA), PGL/CARF/PJN

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY (PNA) -- The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD)-Region IV-B MIMAROPA launched here recently the Listahanan Database that contains results of poorest Filipino households in the whole region in 2015.

Abigail Ablaña, chief of the Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office (PSWDO) said Friday that the launching of the 2015 Listahanan Database on Thursday was led by Regional Director Wilma Naviamos of the DSWD- MIMAROPA.

The launching event, she explained, was aimed at informing government agencies and the private sector about the listahanan database result for them to determine the benefits that should be provided to the poorest Filipinos, and know what among them will be the priorities.

Ablaña said that from 207,863 poor households listed by the DSWD Region IV-B MIMAROPA, Palawan is recorded to have the highest number of poorest households numbering 83,520.

In addition to this, she said 28.2 percent or 58,258 poor households are from the indigenous peoples (IPs) of Palawan and Occidental Mindoro composed of Cuyunon, Tagbanua, and Iraya.

Some 20.9 percent or an estimated 130,448 of the poorest are fishermen, farmers, and residents, who depend on livelihood from their immediate environment or the mountainous terrains.

Municipalities in Palawan, she added, can already access the Listahanan database to determine the households that should benefit from their anti-poverty programs.

However, this should happen through a memorandum of agreement that they should sign with the DSWD for data sharing.

Listahanan or popularly known as the National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction (NHTS-PR) is a program under the National Household Targeting Unit (NHTU).

It is an information management system where households in the whole country are listed, particularly those that need special social development attention.

Listahanan, she furthered, is also a strategy to reveal the areas with the poorest households that should be the focus of the anti-poverty efforts of the national and local governments based on their needs.

Palawan to join Southern Luzon ‘Batang Pinoy’ Sports Summit

By Jesus M. Ustares [(PNA), RMA/CARF/JMU/SGP]

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, July 4 (PNA) – The provincial government of Palawan is now preparing to participate in the 2016 Batang Pinoy Sports Summit-Southern Luzon Qualifying Leg on July 25-30.

Sunshine Cabiguen, chief of the Sports Development Division (SDD) of the provincial government, said Monday that Batang Pinoy sports summit would be held in Lipa, Batangas on the said date, and would be participated in by selected athletes from Palawan and from different provinces in Southern Luzon.

Cabiguen said 13 athletes would represent Palawan in the Batang Pinoy from the municipalities of Cuyo, Brooke’s Point, and Balabac. They will be guided by three representatives from the SDD.

The athletes, he said, were currently training based on the aptitude they had shown in their sports expertise, such as sepak takraw and table tennis.

He believes that the players they have chosen to represent Palawan will do their best to bring honor and triumph to Palawan since they have done this in the past Batang Pinoy.

“Right now they are training and training while we are helping them with their documents. We have also requested the Department of Education (DepEd) here to be considerate to them as they need to leave their classes for a while,” he said.

The Palawan delegation is expected to go to Lipa, Batangas on July 23. Cabiguen said the players, who will win in the Batang Pinoy, would represent Southern Luzon in the National Championship to be held in Dumaguete in October.

The Batang Pinoy Sports Summit of the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) is an annually held athletic event sponsored by the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) under Memorandum Circular No. 2016-59.

8 women rescued from trafficking in Palawan

(PIA)

DAVAO CITY: Eight women were intercepted and rescued from an apparent illegal recruitment and human trafficking in Palawan, the Department of Justice (DOJ)-Region XI said.

The victims were rescued at Pilandok Terminal, Barangay Rio Tuba, Bataraza, Palawan by the operatives of the Philippine National Police-Maritime Group in Puerto Princesa headed by PSupt. Osmundo Salibo.

The DOJ-Region XI’s Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking in Persons Task Force reported that the rescued victims come from different cities and provinces.

The women were reported to be transported via backdoor channels to Malaysia and be further transported to Lebanon.

Palawan celebrates ‘Nutrition Month’ with 50 indigenous people families

(PNA), PGL/CARF/PJN

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, July 2 (PNA) -- The provincial government of Palawan brought the celebration of July as 'Nutrition Month' in the remote area of the municipality of Rizal in the southern part of the province, where there is a high case of malnutrition among children of indigenous people families.

With a theme 'First 1000 Days ni Baby Pahalagahan para sa Malusog na Kinabukasan,' the celebration started June 30 in Barangay Ransang, Rizal, according to the Provincial Nutrition Office (PNO).

PNO Action Officer Rachel Paladan said the celebration is in partnership with the Heaven’s Eyes Tribal Mission, Inc. (HETMI) that launched in Ransang the Backyard Gardening for Indigenous People project for around 50 tribal families.

The project featured the distribution of vegetable seeds, such as bitter gourd, eggplant, string beans, and squash that can be planted within the perimeters of their homes.

Paladan said Ransang was chosen to be the area of celebration of the Nutrition Month because it is the barangay with the highest number of malnourished children, most of them belong to indigenous people families.

“Imparting to them the importance of backyard gardening can help the IP families greatly in ensuring the health of their children, and even lactating and pregnant mothers.

Aside from gardening, the PNO also launched in Ransang, Rizal the National School and Community Deworming Month through the distribution of laxative drugs for children, and complementary feeding by HETMI.

Paladan added that July as nutrition month is celebrated nationwide to inspire Filipinos to value the health and nutrition of their families, especially the children.

The celebration is under Section 7 of Presidential Decree 411 that fosters awareness on the importance of health and nutrition.

PSU’s new lawyers share motivation behind success, say students should ‘love the law’

By Catherine Santos

If Palawan State University’s (PSU) newly minted lawyers are to share one important nugget of wisdom to current law students, it’s that they should love law. As Atty. Mary Joy Ordaneza, one of the seven newest lawyers produced by PSU, shared in a press conference today, “You have to love the law, kasi kung half-hearted, mabilis ka bumitaw.”

Ordaneza’s advice was echoed by her fellow passers, who also shared other ‘tips’ for those still struggling in law school. These included being patient in reading, exercising proficiency in English and promoting adherence to the mantra ‘study hard, work hard and pray hard’.

Aside from their inherent motivation, the new lawyers also cited the quality of education in PSU’s School of Law as a significant contributor to their success. Atty. Iris Jazelle Adia particularly praised her mentors at PSU, saying their alma mater is comparable to San Beda, Arellano and UP in terms of education quality. “Mas mahirap pa nga (ata) pumasa sa mga exams ng professor, kesa sa bar (mismo),” she quipped.

The PSU community organized a motorcade and press conference today to celebrate with the new lawyers after the batch took oath at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) in Pasay City last June 16. It can be recalled that 7 out of PSU’s 16 law graduates passed the bar exams last November 2015. These included Atty. Mary Joy, Ordaneza, Atty. Iris Jazelle Adia, Atty. Nazi Jester Erfe, Atty. Riza Jane Pablico, Atty Sabra Rachel Ordillo, Atty. Vicente Escala Jr. And Atty. Francis Rainier Umali.

There were 7,146 examinees in last year’s bar exams. Only 1,731 passed, registering a passing rate of 75%.