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Palawan News May 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
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Undergroud River in Palawan
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Underground river in Pureto Princesa, Palawan
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Baracuda Lake, Coron, Palawan
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A Barangay Clearance is NEEDED in order to get a Business License.
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Ask your Barangay Captain/Chairman to create a Resolution to make it mandatory to put the barangay name in all Business addresses.
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U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines Kristie A. Kenney and USAID/Philippines Environment Office Chief Daniel Moore witness the safe and sustainable collection of ornamental fish by certified Marine Aquarium Council collectors in Palawan

Contents

DOH-MIMAROPA healthworkers compete for HCT certification

(PNA), RMA/LSJ/EDS

MANILA, May 31 (PNA) -- Department of Health (DOH) – MIMAROPA (Oriental/Occidental Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon, Palawan) on Monday started holding a 5-day Training for HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) Counseling and Testing (HCT) to 25 health workers from various hospitals and clinics of the region.

The training being held at the Best Western La Corona, Hotel in Malate, Manila will be completed by June 3, 2016, with the objective of providing certificates to participants.

“HIV counseling and testing is the starting point to HIV prevention, support and treatment services. It is fundamental to all HIV program that is why it is crucial that counselors must be competent and psychologically fit for the position,” DOH MIMAROPA Regional Director Eduardo C. Janairo said.

Janairo said that increasing awareness, education and the capacity of health workers to assist the increasing number of people living with HIV (PHLIV) would make handling of social hygiene clinics, counseling and testing centers more effective.

He also said that participants would undergo a strict training to cope up and address the increasing demand for HIV counseling and testing services.

“Frontliners in HIV advocacy such as health workers and HIV counselors must be updated on how to effectively deliver the counseling and testing services,” Janairo added.

According to the latest DOH report, from 2000 to 2004, age of HIV cases ranges from 30 to 39 years old; from 2005 to 2009, it was 25 to 34 yo; and from 2010 to 2015, it was 20 to 29 years.

Records from the 2015 HIV/AIDS and ART Registry of the Philippines (HARP), more 18-24 years old are getting HIV in Palawan Province.

The basic knowledge on HIV is very low, initiation to sex starts as early as 15 years old, first anal sex at 16 years old first condom use at 17 yo and first HIV test at 21 years old.

The HCT certification will be provided by the National HIV AIDS STI Prevention and Control Program (NASPCP) of the DOH – National Center for Disease Prevention and Control (NCDPC) to the successful trainees.

There are currently 17 HIV counseling and testing centers in MIMAROPA located in Puerto Galera - Social Hygiene Clinic (Landline: (043) 4420182 / Mobile: 09178252929); Puerto Princesa City - Social Hygiene Clinic (Landline: (048) 4346581/Mobile: 09189466686), Puerto Princesa City Provincial Health Office (Landline: (48) 434-9996), Ospital ng Palawan, Palawan Red Top Center, (Mobile: 0920 440 8720), Agape Rural Program, Inc. (Mobile: 0917 543 2150), MMH Coop Hospital (Mobile: 0917 928 5379) and Amos Tara! Community Center;

-Calapan City, Oriental Mindoro - Social Hygiene Clinic (Mobile: 0908 529 9183); Mamburao, Occidental Mindoro - Social Hygiene Clinic (Mobile: 0932 877 7011);

-San Jose, Occidental Mindoro - Social Hygiene Clinic (Mobile: 0920 931 9336); Sta. Cruz, Marinduque - Social Hygiene Clinic (Mobile: 0917 552 4912);

-Boac, Marinduque - Social Hygiene Clinic (Mobile: 0998 196 2489); Odiongan, Romblon - Social Hygiene Clinic (Mobile: 0918 959 1565);Coron, Palawan - Social Hygiene Clinic (Mobile: 0908 893 7202); El Nido, Palawan - Social Hygiene Clinic (Mobile: 0917 801 1925) and

-Narra, Palawan - Narra Social Hygiene Clinic (Mobile: 0920 414 8050).

Brigada Eskwela ‘16 kicks off today

By Catherine Santos

The Department of Education—Schools Division of Palawan through its Schools Division Superintendent Servillano Arzaga officially opened today the Brigada Eskwela ‘16 in 861 elementary and secondary schools in the province. The said activity will last until June 4, 2016.

The ceremonial opening was held at Roxas National Comprehensive High School, the second to the largest Senior High center in the province, after Quezon NHS.

Dr. Lorna Dino, DepEd-MIMAROPA Regional Director, graced the said programme as keynote speaker. She underscored the values of Bayanihan implied in Brigada Eskwela and as anchored in the trust of DepEd to the parents and the community, and vice versa.

She appealed to parents and stakeholders that Brigada Eskwela should not merely be for cleaning the schools, elaborating that “mas marami pa tayong bi-brigadahin.” She said that by-stander pupils, out-of-school youth and drop-outs must be given attention, and be brought back to school. She also emphasized the responsibility of teachers, parents and communities in making sure that students will not get involved in illegal drug use and teen-age pregnancy.

Relatedly, Roxas Mayor Maria Angela Sabando pledged her support to DepEd in terms of uplifting the quality of education in her municipality.

Meanwhile, Superintendent Arzaga directed all teachers to ensure that all preparations for school opening through Brigada must be finished as scheduled. “Ayoko na sa unang araw ng pasukan, may makikita akong mga estudyante na maglilinis at magdadamo. Baka madala.”

Brigada Eskwela is an annual program held by DepEd every two weeks before the official start of classes. It brings together nationwide voluntary effort in contributing to the preparation of classrooms, building and other school amenities, among other forms of contribution to the schools.

Water supply 95% stable – GM Romasanta

By Catherine Santos

Puerto Princesa City Water District General Manager Antonio Jesus Romasanta assured consumers today that water supply in the City is considered 95% stable, this after Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) declared the onset of rainy season last Tuesday.

“It’s (supply) getting better, pero nasa adjustment period pa din tayo,” Romasanta said.

According to Romasanta, except for Campo Uno, the main source of surface water in the city is already ‘overflowing’. Nonetheless, the agency has yet to fully lift the implementation of a rationing schedule for water availability. He added that some places are back with a 24-hour water supply while some elevated areas are still experiencing water interruption.

Water tankers are also still being utilized to augment water supply in areas with low pressure.

He also added that some of the recent good indications is the reliance of the Water District to surface water through gravity. Little by little, we minimize the used of our wells especially those wells using generator sets, Romasanta explained.

Romasanta further explained that he is still not fully confident that the supply is very stable because the threat remains. PAGASA said the effect of El Niňo will last until the end of June.

Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines to participate in historical exhibit in Palawan

(PNA), RMA/CARF/PJN

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, May 28 (PNA) -- Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines will come to Palawan end of this month to participate in a historical exhibit about culture and arts in Southeast Asia.

Slated on May 30, the three countries will join each other in “The Legacy of the Islands Exhibit” at the Palawan Heritage Center, Legislative Building, Provincial Capitol Grounds, according to main coordinator Mary Rose Caabay.

Caabay said this would be the first time that the three countries come together for such an exhibit that shall also be facilitated by the Prehistoric Heritage in Southeast Asia (PREHSEA).

“It is a great honor for Palawan to be chosen as the site of this exhibit this year,” Caabay said Saturday.

The exhibit, she said, would open to the public on June 1 and last for six months. It is expected to showcase to the public the rich cultural heritages of the three countries through artifacts and documented researches of archeologists from PREHSEA, including the establishment of the National Museum in the Philippines.

Aside from PREHSEA, “The Legacy of the Islands Exhibit” will also be sponsored by the European Union (EU) through the National Museum and the provincial government of Palawan.

Representatives from the participating countries are expected to come during the opening, as well as archeologists and researchers on history, culture, traditions and anthology even from other countries.

The PREHSEA is a network that provides the basis for a trendsetting and sustainable international collaboration in the area of research on hominid evolution in Southeast Asia, equally available to all participating partners.

DOH-MIMAROPA fulfills dream of new set of 'lifesavers' in destinations spots

By Leilani S. Junio [(PNA), SCS/LSJ]

CORON, Palawan, May 27 (PNA) -- The Department of Health (DOH)- MIMAROPA, together with its partners in the Water Search and Rescue (WASAR) program, completed the training of new batches of “lifesavers” on Friday (May 27) at the Kawayanan Heights Inn in Coron, Palawan.

The 17 new set of lifesavers belong to the 4th batch of trainees who finished the five-day rigid course through the partnership of the DOH-MIMAROPA Regional Office under Director Eduardo C. Janairo, the Palawan local government unit and the Department of Tourism of Palawan.

The training was facilitated through the cooperation of the officers from the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) who shared their expertise in order to make the island provinces of MIMAROPA a safe choice when looking for tourist destination spots by coming out with skilled lifesavers that can be relied on in times of emergency and rescue operations.

Originally, a total of 30 participants were targeted for the fourth batch of the program. However, due to the difficulty in training and for other priorities, some participants decided to back out and only 17 remained and finished the training.

MIMAROPA consists of the island provinces of Mindoro (Occidental and Oriental), Marinduque, Romblon, and Palawan.

The participants received certificates and buoys after they finished the training.

Majority of them are working as hotel staffs and boatmen who want to make use of their extra time as "trained lifeguards" that can provide quality and safety services to their guests/visitors.

Interestingly, this batch has a 17-year-old male participant who happens to be a family member of a resort owner. He is Steven Claud S. Idaño, the third son of the owners of Jungle View Resort.

Steven said he was encouraged by his parents to join the training as it could enrich his knowledge and capabilities.

After receiving his completion certificate, he said he has indeed learned a lot from the training and is now more confident and ready to be a lifesaver and willing to teach and share to their resort staff as well as his family everything that he has learned.

Another successful participant, a policeman deployed in Coron, Palawan, said that for him as a duty bearer, which is being relied on at all times, the training has improved his capabilities in protecting the lives of the people in the region where he can be assigned in fulfilling his duties.

“I hope other policemen in the region will also be encouraged to undergo the same training so that we can extend help in times wherein the need arises,” said Police Officer 3 Ryan Servien Ablaña.

Ablaña, who is already in his 10th year of police service, said the training is very important and can be a further tool in saving lives, especially in MIMAROPA which is often visited by local and international tourists who will prefer a safe travel as they see the beauty of the provinces of the region which is surrounded by water with different captivating resorts.

The first batch of training was held last year in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan with a total of 38 participants.

It was followed by a similar training, also in Coron, Palawan with 42 trainees. The third batch of training was held in El Nido, Palawan with 35.

DOH-MIMAROPA Regional Director Eduardo C. Janairo said it is important that personnel and staff of travel organizations and agencies are skilled in WASAR.

“It is very important that they are equipped to provide first-aid procedures in any accidents that may occur during island tours and deep sea diving. They are the ones who will be the first line of defense in saving lives at risk in the event of an emergency,” he stressed.

The training involves arm-up exercises and jogging to keep the bodies of the tourist guides physically fit.

The five-day course includes water safety, swimming strokes, rescue techniques (non-swimming and swimming rescue), survival techniques, basic life support, mass casualty incident operation, and endurance swim.

The DOH and its partners share responsibilities in the expenses of the trainings as part of ensuring that the goal of having enough lifeguards that can make the stay of the visitors as well as the local citizens safe as they will know that in cases of emergency, there are people ready to rescue them at all times.

Almost mythical Masked Booby bird returns to Tubbataha Reef after 20 years of absence

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

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, May 26 (PNA) -- The Tubbataha Management Office (TMO) of the Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park (TRNP) recently announced in its website the return of what it calls “almost mythical bird” Masked Booby (Sula dactylatra) that has not been sighted in the area for over 20 years.

Photos published by the TRNP website taken by Dr. Teri Aquino showed that after a lengthy absence from the marine park off mainland Palawan in the Sulu Sea, the said bird was recorded again at “the Bird Islet in the North Atoll of the Park” on May 11, “when it made an appearance in the midst of a sea of breeding great crested terns and brown boobies.”

According to the TMO, the Masked Booby bird was last spotted by divers on the said islet in 1995.

According to the Tubbataha website, Dean Worcester reported the presence of the Masked Booby on the Bird Islet in 1911.

In 1982, Robert S. Kennedy observed around 150 adults. Over 10 years later in 1992, ornithologist Arne Jensen recorded only one pair with three sub adults. In 1995, a pair was photographed in the islet for the last time.

The lone Masked Booby was first observed by volunteer ornithologist Amado Bajarias Jr. of the Wild Birds Club of the Philippines (WBCP) during the 2016 Seabird Survey conducted by the TMO from May 10-14, 2016. The survey was led by TMO consultant Arne Jensen.

Described in various websites, the said seabird is large in the family Sulidae, and it breeds on islands in tropical oceans, particularly in the Caribbean, across the Pacific Ocean, to Hawaii, Australia, and Indonesia. Occasionally, it can be found in the Gulf States of Louisiana, Texas and Florida.

No population of masked booby is known in the Philippines. It is still unknown if the lone bird, perhaps a male, will recolonize the Bird Islet.

Baragatan sa Palawan no more?

By Catherine Santos

The Provincial Government of Palawan is yet to issue an official statement on whether or not there will be a celebration of “Baragatan sa Palawan” this year.

Mr. Merwin Ledesma from the Office of the Governor and Provincial Information Office admitted that as of today, there are no grand preparations yet, this in spite the fact that the celebration’s usual kickoff date–around middle of June–is fast approaching.

According to Ledesma, there definitely will be activities to commemorate the founding anniversary of the civil government of Palawan on June 23. “That’s definite. But so as to other major activities for Baragatan, that still needs to be finalized,” he said.

‘Baragatan sa Palawan’ is an annual local celebration where the province’s 23 municipalities converge to celebrate the Foundation Day of the Palawan. Traditionally, booths for each municipality are set up at the Provincial Capitol to showcase the salient features of each municipality, such as in terms of popular product, activities or tourist destinations. The Baragatan is considered as one of the most-anticipated annual events organized by the provincial government.

There are reports received by Palawan News that there are municipalities that expressed no interest in participating in this year’s Baragatan because of budgetary difficulties, while other chief executives lose last May 9, 2016 elections.

While people has to wait if a Baragatan celebration will officially materialize this year, Ledesma assured that “Mayron naman…hindi nga lang siguro kasing bongga ng dati,” he added. (“There will be [a celebration], only that it will not be as grand as previous ones,” he said.

DOH-MIMAROPA highlights Malaria Awareness Day in Palawan town

(PNA), SCS/LSJ

MANILA, May 24 (PNA) -- The Department of Health (DOH)– MIMAROPA said on Tuesday it highlighted the recent celebration of Malaria Awareness Day with activities such as blood smear test, RDT (Rapid Diagnostic Test) and ICT (Immunochromatographic Test for Filariasis) and deworming to indigenous people's (IP) communities in Rizal, Palawan.

The activities covered a total of 476 residents who underwent blood smear testing. At least 44 of them tested positive for malaria.

According to DOH-MIMAROPA Regional Director Dr. Eduardo C. Janairo, the malaria blood testing was done with the aim of recognizing the disease immediately in order to provide timely care and treatment to a patient and prevent further spread of infection in the community.

“Malaria is a major health emergency that must be given priority and treated accordingly,” said Janairo during his visit to Sitio Ogis, Barangay Ransang in Rizal, Palawan on May 20, 2016.

Dr. Janairo added that delay in the diagnosis and treatment of malaria can cause death among patients.

He assured that appropriate anti-malaria treatment will be provided to them immediately.

Meanwhile, during the event, sleeping mats, blankets, mosquito nets, hygiene kits, kiddie T-shirts and RIMO (Rice-Mongo curls and blend) products and groceries were given to 250 families.

Five pamphlets on Malaria IEC (Information, Education and Communication) translated into local dialect and flip chart were turned over to Barangay Health Workers (BHWs) to be used in malaria classes for proper information and dissemination.

In Palawan, there are 18 endemic towns and one city with 829,360 endemic residents. Health authorities said a total of 2,805 malaria cases were recorded from Jan. 1 to April 30, 2016.

In 2015, Rizal town topped the municipalities with the most number of cases totaling 1,729, followed by Bataraza with 736; Brooke’s Point, 689; Quezon, 247; Puerto Princesa City, 241; and Sofronio Española, 232. There were 13 deaths reported.

Among the major causes of the spread of malaria in the province are the insufficient knowledge about the disease, shortage of RDTs, itinerant habits of the IPs, wrong beliefs and customs about the disease, and poverty.

“We need to provide our health workers, including local government units (LGUs) with the essential tools and support so that they can manage and fully implement the malaria control program and protect vulnerable residents from the disease. With these logistics in place, we can significantly reduce cases and eventually eliminate malaria in the country,” Director Janairo said.

DOH-MIMAROPA consists of the island provinces of Oriental/Occidental Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon and Palawan.

Survival expert shoots cable series episode in Palawan

By Oliver M. Pulumbarit (Philippine Daily Inquirer)

“IF YOU like watching people suffer, it’s quite a good show to watch,” survival expert and TV host Ed Stafford described his Discovery Channel series, “Marooned,” to the Inquirer in a phone interview.

The second season of the show, which will begin airing on May 24, 8 p.m., pits the British adventurer against a variety of environments, where he is abandoned and expected to fend for himself.

In a future episode, the series will feature a location in Palawan, which the adventurer described as “an amazing place” that posed certain challenges.

“It was a coastal environment—it was quite similar in a way to [my previous show] ‘Naked and Marooned,’ when I was on [an island in] Fiji,” said Stafford. “Finding fresh water was a big challenge. I lived off [of] coconut water for about the next four days and eventually, I found a swamp in the rock that had stagnant rain water. I made a filter using sand, charcoal and organic matter. I filtered that water and boiled it.”

The episode will air in the third quarter of 2016. Stafford added that the visit was a memorable experience. “I would love to come back to the Philippines. Everyone is extraordinarily helpful and friendly. The island is stunning, absolutely beautiful.”

Stafford’s other TV project, apart from “Naked and Marooned” and the first season of “Marooned,” was Discovery’s 2011 docuseries, “Walking the Amazon,” an 860-day jungle expedition along the Amazon River.

For his current show, Stafford chose to present his adventures in more direct ways, compressing time in isolation to 10 days: “We picked the most interesting part [for the episodes], the period where you’ve got to do all of the things you need to get to the stage where you’re comfortable.”

On the lack of clothing, and comparisons to a Discovery Channel series, “Naked and Afraid,” Stafford said while snickering, “I have shorts now, which is nice, because I’m 40 years old—and no one wants to see a 40-year-old naked. I think ‘Naked and Afraid,’ as much as it has been very popular, has become a bit of a stunt … I don’t think there’s any need to be naked anymore. Wearing a pair of shorts is enough to show that you haven’t taken anything in there to help you. ‘Naked and Afraid’ is … very different. They have a camera crew. The contestants, they’re not really survival experts.”

Fan response has been positive, so far. “When people message me through Twitter [or] Facebook, they tend to respond to the honesty of it, the fact that I’m doing things for real. It’s not all about success; it’s equally about failures.”

The new season of “Marooned” will show more locales to explore, including remote spots in Namibia, Guatemala and Mongolia. “[There are] different obstacles to overcome in the jungle,” he said. “I got dropped off in the Gobi Desert, and I had difficulty finding water … Every environment has a different challenge—and that’s what makes it fun.”

One important thing to remember about being abandoned in potentially harsh environments, according to Stafford: “If you panic, things are going to be increasingly difficult. If I keep myself in a good place psychologically, then everything falls into place.”

PDRRMC prepares for La Niňa

By Catherine Santos

The Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (PDRRMC) has started its preparation for the possible worst effect of La Niňa now that the El Niňo Southern Oscillation is on “decaying stage.”

PDRRMC Vice-Chairman and Provincial Administrator Atty. Joshua U. Bolusa alerted members of the council to be proactive in dealing with the worst scenario that can arise from the phenomenon. According to Mr. Sonny Pajarilla of the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Services Administration (PAG-ASA), La Niňa watch has already been activated although there is still an existing advisory for El Niňo or drought. La Niňa is expected to hit the country until the end of June.

The Philippines is expecting typhoon starting July of this year. The manifestation of La Niňa is 80-100%, near normal starting July and will worsen towards the end of 2016 and January of 2017, Pajarilla added.

Atty. Bolusa directed the PDRRMO to intensify Information and Education Campaigns or IECs on precautionary measures for the worst effect of La Niňa. PDRRMC tied up with the Department of Education (DepEd Palawan) to integrate the importance of emergency preparedness in student lessons in schools.

The Council is set to convene again in the first week of June to update preparations against La Niňa.

Ipilan Nickel authorized to develop part of Palawan exploration area

By Janina C. Lim

GLOBAL Ferronickel Holdings, Inc. said its Palawan-based affiliate Ipilan Nickel Corp. (INC) received approval for its feasibility study from the Mines and Geosciences Bureau and is cleared to start operations for part of its exploration area.

The company said in a disclosure to the bourse on Wednesday that INC “is now ready to operate with the granting by the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) of its Partial Declaration of Mine Project Feasibility covering a 343.3 hectare parcel of Mineral Production Sharing Agreement (MPSA) No. 017-93-IV.’’

The remaining area of more than 2,000 hectares, however, shall still be subject to further exploration.

FNI is set to start the development of the approved area and conduct trial shipments by the fourth quarter of this year. The approved annual production rate for INC totals one million dry metric tons (DMT) or 1.538 million wet metric tons (WMT).

According to the Competent Person’s Technical Report, prepared in accordance with the Philippine Mineral Reporting Code, the explored portion of the property has proven and probable ore reserves of 28.6 million WMT at 1.43% for nickel and 24.01% for iron from a measured and indicated mineral resource of 50 million DMT at 1.23% nickel and 24.0% iron.

The report recommends further exploration in untapped regions to expand the ore reserves and to extend the mine life beyond 12 years. It also suggested an increase in mine production capacity to 3.0 million WMT within two years.

Global Ferronickel said it plans to pursue the report’s recommendations “depending on market conditions and to further increase capacity pending the results of exploration and approval of permits.”

DOH opens 'Amos Tara' in Puerto Princesa City

(DOH)

MANILA, May 20 -- MIMAROPA (Oriental/Occidental Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon, Palawan) formally opened the "Amos Tara!" a community center located in along Abad Santos Street in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan that will provide testing, treatment and referrals for the growing number of individuals availing HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) services.

“One of the purpose of this center will be to reach out to vulnerable individuals in the community and encourage them to voluntarily submit themselves for HIV testing,” Regional Director Eduardo C. Janairo stated during the formal opening of the facility.

“Amos Tara! will provide fast, free and convenient HIV assessment and education services for those wishing to have themselves examined, properly informed and updated regarding new strategies in HIV prevention and control,” he explained.

The center will conduct HIV tests including pre- and post-test counseling and will open from 10am – 8pm, Wednesday to Sunday and closed during the Holidays.

According to the Philippine HIV and AIDS Registry there are now nine (9) HIV positive cases and sisty-nine (69) asymptomatic or carriers of the virus showing no signs and symptoms in Puerto Princesa City from 1994 to date. Most cases range from 25-34 years old with 37 noted cases with male having the most number of cases with 78. Leading mode of transmission is homosexual intercourse.

“Community education is one important prevention tool that helps reduce the stigma surrounding HIV and this center will provide the relevant, community support system to reduce barriers to vulnerable residents with the objective of lessening the risks of getting infection,” Janairo emphasized.

“Now is the time to focus on developing new and appropriate public health approaches to address the rising needs of vulnerable populations and communities to be able to provide a healthy and safe environment for individuals availing HIV testing and treatment,” he pointed out.

The Amos Tara! Community Center was established by virtue of a Memorandum of Agreement between DOH-MIMAROPA together Pilipinas Shell Foundation, Inc. signed on March 14, 2016. The center will be operated by Project H4-Palawan, Inc. and LoveYourself, Inc.

Internet famous couple visits Batak tribe in Palawan

By Azer N. Parrocha [(PNA), LGI/ANP]

MANILA, May 19 (PNA) -- After Bohol and Bicol, the internet-famous couple who gained fame for their photo series on Instagram shared a photo of both of them visiting Batak indigenous peoples in Puerto Princesa, Palawan.

Russian photographer Murad Osmann and his wife Nataly Zakharova became instant social-media celebrities for sharing hundreds of photos which featured different places but with the same "hand-holding" pose.

It was not clear when the couple visited Palawan, however, the Osmanns were both in Bohol last March.

The couple also visited the Mayon Volcano and Cagsawa Ruins in Legazpi City, Albay in Bicol as seen in one of their photos posted late April.

To date, the photo of their visit to Palawan has acquired over 200,000 likes.

Mr. Osmann's photo series began in 2010 when his wife (then girlfriend) would pull his hand away every time he would attempt to stop to take photos of her in their travels.

Their photos have been published in a book. They are also currently shooting a travel TV show in Russia.

Batak means “mountain people” and are similar to Aetas due to their dark skin and kinky hair.

They are one of the smallest tribes in Palawan with only around 300 people left.

Palawan is Conde Nast poll’s best island in the world

By Earl D.C. Bracamonte

Palawan topped Conde Nast Traveler’s annual poll, Reader’s Choice Awards 2015, with a rating of 85.937. The clean-and-green western Philippine island also received the same accolade in 2014; winning the poll two years in a row.

128,000 took part of last year’s poll. Two other idyllic Philippine islands were included in the Top 20 list: Boracay, placing 15th with a rating of 80.856; and Cebu, placing 19th with a rating of 80.404.

The travel magazine has, once again, invited travelers to cast their votes for the 2016 poll. Pollsters are advised to give their choices through cntraveler.com/vote on or before June 1 at 11:59 pm (EST).

The full results of the 2016 poll will be announced in November.

Following Palawan in the poll are the islands of Bora Bora, French Polynesia (84.756); Moorea, French Polynesia (84.65); Waiheke Island, New Zealand (84.447); Bermuda (84.245); Great Barrier Reef and Whitsunday Island, Australia (83.42); Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada (82.495); Bali, Indonesia (82.73); Santorini, Greece (81.947); Tasmania, Australia (81.81); Cook Islands (81.326); British Virgin Islands (80.96); St. John, US Virgin Islands (80.939); Mykonos, Greece (80.938); Boracay (80.856); Maldives (80.833); Orkney Island, Scotland (80.603); St. Lucia (80.569); Cebu (80.404); and Hvar & Dalmatian Islands, Croatia (80.264).

DOH-Mimaropa wellness program combines consumption of organic products

(PNA), PGL/PR/EBP

PALAWAN, May 17 (PNA) -- The Department of Health (DOH) Region IV-B strengthens the wellness program in Marinduque by promoting the consumption of organic food and livestock, which are generally produce and raised in various municipalities of the province.

“We are directing to combine the wellness program to the organic farming and livestock raising in the province because the consumption of organic food and natural livestock is essential in the development of a healthy body and strong resistance from illness. The expected outcome will be lesser medical consultations and hospitalization,” regional director Eduardo C. Janairo stated during his visit this month in Marinduque.

“It will complement the objective of the wellness program which is disease prevention, promotion of healthy lifestyle and reducing the dependence to maintenance medicines of patients who are suffering from chronic diseases,” he emphasized.

There are currently 180 enrolled families who are undergoing health classes and training on proper nutrition and healthy lifestyle to empower them to make healthy choices and take control of their health and well-being.

The residents enrolled will then be accommodated at the Carmen Eco Park in Sta Cruz, which will provide everything needed for them to find balance and complete health and wellness.

The program was piloted in 10 barangays of Boac, Marinduque on September 2015. Fifteen families were selected by the Provincial Rural Health Units and two members with existing medical conditions out of the families were included in the program.

According to Janairo, it is primarily intended for indigent members of the community with limited access to medications, medical supplies and hospitalization. Various modalities practiced in Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) and in Integrative Medicine will be used in the treatment and care of selected participants.

DOH-MIMAROPA together with the Marinduque Provincial Government, Department of Agriculture Provincial Office and the Marinduque State College (MSC) will be providing technical assistance in setting up community gardens for the participants who will cultivate organic vegetables and local herbs for a continuous supply of nutritious products and also native livestock like goat, chicken and swine.

“We must recognize the therapeutic value of food as did our ancestors. Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food,” Janairo quoted from the adage of Hippocrates, the father of medicine.

DOH-MIMAROPA and its midwife grantees seal 'Return of Service Agreement'

By Leilani S. Junio [(PNA), SCS/LSJ]

MANILA, May 16 (PNA) -- The Department of Health (DOH)-MIMAROPA (Oriental/Occidental Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon and Palawan) and its 20 midwife grantees who passed the 2016 Midwifery Licensure Examination sealed a "Return of Service Agreement" during their oath-taking ceremony held at Citystate Hotel in Malate, Manila on Monday.

DOH-MIMAROPA Regional Director Dr. Eduardo C. Janairo led the contract signing with the new midwives from the five island MIMAROPA provinces.

Director Janairo said that under the “Return of Service Agreement,” the grantees agree and commit to render free services in MIMAROPA provinces for the first two months and will receive stipend for the next four succeeding months under the Human Resource Augmentation Program (HRAP) or Rural Health Midwife Program (RHMPP).

“These licensed midwives will ensure access of basic health services, most especially in disadvantaged and underserved community where they are assigned,” Dr. Janairo said.

“Their role in health assessment, monitoring and evaluating the status of a patient is vital in the facilitation of proper diagnosis for the rural physician in addition to their effective competency in health promotion, health education and advocacy which provides beneficial information to the community,” he added.

The rendering of service will be without pay for two months to the government entity that the grantor represents commencing from June 1, 2016 to July 31, 2016.

The program was the first of its kind in the MIMAROPA Region with the main goal to reduce health inequities wherein they want the said licensed midwives to be the ones who will penetrate deeply into the hard-to-reach areas to deliver health services needed not only to ensure safe deliveries of pregnant mothers but also as health workers that can render services in providing healthcare for other members of the community.

“These grantees are actually those midwives who are already in the field and working there for a long time but are not able to pass or take the Board exam due to some barriers like financial conditions,” Janairo said in an interview with the Philippines News Agency.

“Dahil sa dinami-dami ng graduates ng midwifery (sa Pilipinas), di naman sila nagpupunta doon sa indigenous people at sa malalayong lugar… Kaya it’s about time na tulungan natin itong mga midwives natin na nakapasa at naka-graduate naman pero di nakakuha ng Board exam,” the Regional Director said as he recalled what prompted their desire to conceptualize and pushed with the DOH-MIMAROPA Midwifery Review and Licensure Examination Grant Program.

He said he is hopeful that the new administration will also consider to replicate the same initiatives in other areas of the country with similar geographical features and situations that serve as barriers to healthcare delivery.

A total of 30 scholars for review were selected under the scholarship program but only 20 of them passed the examination last April 20.

Meanwhile, Director Janairo said they will still facilitate another set of review for the other 10 midwifery graduates not able to make it so that they can also be absorbed by the system and will be of help in places where they are familiar and their families are also staying.

Prior to their oath-taking, the new midwives were oriented further on their role as midwives by Registered Midwife Morena Espiritu Catama, Midwife VI, DOH-MIMAROPA Field Health Operations.

They also shared some common struggles they had endured as they took the review and how they overcame them.

Most of them said that they were thankful for the opportunity to take the Board exam. They added that they were not able to take the exam for a long time because most of them already have their own families and cannot prioritize its taking because that will be costly on their part.

According to Anna Birtha L. Datinguinoo, DOH-MIMAROPA Head of Field Health Operations, the grants on scholarship review include cost of tuition, dormitory fees, allowance, Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) application, oath- taking and other related expenses.

All of the grantees expressed thanks for the program and promised to deliver what is expected of them once they go back through the “Return of Service” contract.

According to Dr. Janairo, the grant applies to residents of MIMAROPA only.

The potential grantee must be a graduate of a midwifery course, hails from a Geographically Isolated and Disadvantaged Area (GIDA) or IP Community, and/or preferably an IP under-board midwife. The Provincial DOH Offices screen and recommend grantees to the regional office.

P521.6-M radar basing projects of Air Force up for bidding

By Jaime Sinapit (InterAksyon.com)

MANILA - The Defense department's Bids and Awards Committee has set for May 27 the opening of bid documents for two components of the Radar Basing Support System Project of the Philippine Air Force, worth a combined P521,648,939.26. Both radar components face the West Philippine Sea, where the Philippine government has ramped up efforts to modernize defense features.

The two lots comprise site development, rehabilitation/repairs, new constructions, and other requirements at Mt. Salakot to include Antonio Bautista Air Base in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan (Lot 1); and at the Paredes Air Station in Pasuquin, Ilocos Norte (Lot 2), said the Department of National Defense.

Both radar stations face the West Philippine Sea (WPS), where Masinloc, Zambales' Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal and the Palawan municipality of Kalayaan Island Group (KIG) are located. Beijing has de facto occupied Panatag Shoal since 2012, routinely driving away Filipino fishermen; and harassing even local government officials in the KIG.

A ruling by a UN arbitral tribunal in The Hague on a case filed by Manila against Beijing is expected in mid--2016.

Meanwhile, the DND-BAC chaired by Assistant Secretary Roy Deveraturda had earlier opened the bid for all three lots, including Lot 1, for a total Approved Budget for the Contract (ABC) in the amount of P712,659,553.18.

The committee has not yet revealed who won Lot 1, which has a total budget of P191,010,613.92 -- for the Gozar Air Station Radar Site and the Philippine Air Defense Control Center Project in Lubang Island, Occidental Mindoro.

In December 2015, the DND signed a deal with Israel-based Elta System Ltd. for the procurement of three air surveillance radars (possibly ELM 2288 Radar system) worth P2.68 billion to boost maritime surveillance in the WPS.

Palawan eyed for Alcatraz-type prison

By Christina Mendez
 (The Philippine Star)

MANILA, Philippines - Sen. Vicente Sotto III yesterday suggested constructing an Alcatraz-like detention facility for hardened criminals and high-level drug traffickers on one of Palawan’s 1,028 islands.

Sotto, former chairman of the Dangerous Drugs Board, broached the idea after the camp of incoming president Rodrigo Duterte considered the possibility of building a structure similar to the famous top-security federal prison in the US among the means to curb the rampant drug operations in the country.

“In fact, I already talked with Palawan Gov. Pepito Alvarez for the site. Palawan has 1,028 islands. He is giving me a list of possible rocky islands with no beaches and plenty of sharks,” Sotto said.

There is already a penal colony in Palawan, and the other prison facility – if isolated – will not likely hurt the province’s tourism, observers noted.

Sotto, who wants a good working relationship between Duterte and the Senate, urged the incoming administration to look into his proposed bill 3226, which establishes a detention program and facility for high-level drug offenders within the national penitentiary system under the Bureau of Corrections, and see if this could be included among the priority measures in the upcoming 17th Congress.

Isolating high-level drug convicts, he added, could be an alternative to the calls for the re-imposition of death penalty.

The lawmaker added that he is not taking offense at Duterte’s reported plans for hardened criminals and convicted notorious drug traffickers “as long as they give credit where credit is due.”

Under his proposed “Anti-Drug Penal Institution Act,” a facility for high-level drug offenders would be built and an Anti-Drug Board, composed of the secretary of justice as chairman and the heads of the interior and local government, social welfare and development, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), Dangerous Drugs Board and Commission on Human Rights as members.

Sotto explained that the present treatment system and detention security measures of the Bureau of Corrections have not been effective in dealing with hard-core criminals, citing reports of the high-level inmates’ continuing drug operations even behind bars.

“These incidents prove that convicted drug lords could continue their illegal drug business inside the premises of the national penitentiary, probably with the aid of regular inmates with whom they are co-mingled,” the senator added.

Sotto said his proposal also aims to decongest existing penal institutions and accommodate the increasing number of inmates committed to the existing seven prison and penal farms in the country.

Aside from this, isolating high-level drug offenders would also cut any chance of interaction with ordinary offenders.

Comelec-Puerto Princesa proclaims 2016 poll winners

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

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, May 13 (PNA) -– Three days after the delay in the canvassing of election returns here due to technical glitches, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) finally proclaimed the winners, who are mostly reelectionists.

Reelectionist candidate Lucilo Bayron, who emerged with a final vote count of 56,874, was proclaimed winner of the mayoralty race around 7 p.m. Thursday evening against staunch opponent Edward Hagedorn, who only gathered 40,736 votes.

Wearing his signature campaign color yellow polo shirt, Bayron’s hand was raised in proclamation by Comelec Acting Officer Mangumbaya Madale with reelectionist Luis Marcaida III and the 10 councilors, who are all under his political line up.

The winning councilors are Nancy Socrates, Matthew Mendoza, Jimbo Maristela, Jonjie Rodriguez, Jimmy Carbonell, Roy Ventura, Victor Oliveros, Henry Gadiano, Rolando Amurao, and Nesario Awat. They will compose the 15th Sangguniang Panlungsod.

In the 3rd Palawan Legislative District, Gil Acosta will come in as the new House representative after emerging as the candidate with the highest number of votes at 46,982 against strong rival reelectionist Douglas Hagedorn, who collected a final vote count of 43,881. Also proclaimed was lone board member winner Al Rama.

The proclamations came amid an attempt through a petition by former congressman Hagedorn to freeze the proceedings.

Candidate and former mayor Hagedorn briefly told the local media that the May 9 election was the end of his political career, and that for a while, he will leave the city to return later not as anything but a tourist to the city that he introduced to the world.

Bayron, on the other hand, is positive on calls for unity now that the election season is over.

Road Trek like no other

By Dino Ray V. Directo III

If you’re the country’s dominant auto maker and you want to highlight the overall performance of your vehicle lineup, how will you do it? Toyota Motors Philippines did one for the books by flying in a select group of motoring journalists to the island of Palawan.

“This ride and drive will enable you to test the cars while enjoying the good roads and the natural beauty of this famous island,” says Satoru Suzuki, president of Toyota Motors Philippines .

After spending the night in Puerto Princesa, our intrepid group of pen pushers geared up for the 53-kilometer ride to Astoria, Palawan.

Toyota prepared brand new units of the Innova, Hi-Lux and the Fortuner SUV as the participating media men were divided into groups of four per vehicle. For the first leg of the ‘Road Trek”, my group composed of Brent Co of Autoindustriya; Ira Panganiban of Inquirer Radio, Al Mendoza of the Business Mirror and this writer representing The Standard/Interaksyon rode in a Hi-Lux G 4x2 automatic. The fuel efficiency rating which we had to beat in our category was 10.7 kilometers per liter.

Apart from the fuel efficiency contest, the organizers prepared a series of mental and physical games to make the experience a more memorable one. I drove for the first leg, while Panganiban drove the latter part of the driving experience, this time on board an Innova.

At the end of the day, our team managed to rack up an impressive fuel efficiency rating of 16.8 kilometers per liter, with the A/C on full blast and me driving like there’s an egg at the back of the accelerator pedal. The Innova was able to get a thrifty 20 km per liter while the Fortuner V was able to hit the 17km per liter mark.

After the “working” part of this year’s Road Trek, the Toyota convoy drove for another four hours to the Lio airport, where a 45 minutes boat ride awaited us for our final destination in island paradise of Lagen Resort.

For the “leisure” part of the Road Trek, Toyota billeted us at the Lagen Island resort in El Nido. Nestled between a lush four-hectare forest and a calm, shallow lagoon, Lahen Island is one of El Nido’s Eco-Sanctuary island resort. Luxurious bungalows strategically placed along the shoreline with a dense forest and a limerock face surrounding us, we all felt that we were in for some serious fun and play for the next couple of days.

Now on its 12th year, the Toyota Roadtrek is an annual road trip organized by TMPI. This four-day event requires its participants to engage in a friendly competition and stock up some precious points. It also has fun competitions, with this year’s theme requiring all media participants to compete for top honors for social media and fuel efficiency drive contests.

A major component of the Roadtrek is the driving part. Participants traversed the roads of Puerto Princesa and drove for six hours to the Lio Airport. We doff our autoracing cap to the marketing team of Ariel Arias and Jade Sison for their buckets of blood, sweat and tears in pulling off another successful Road Trek event.

Resorts join hospitality management group

(Manila Bulletin)

Hospitality Innovators, Inc. (HII) is bringing their experience of operating and managing some of the country’s highest rated hotels and residences to the latest developments in the country’s top travel destinations.

Teaming up with Luana Lifestyle & Leisure, Inc., HII will be operating and managing the design forward Hue Hotels and Resorts, mixed-use properties that are set to elevate the entertainment, dining, shopping, and accommodation offerings in Boracay and Palawan.

Both developments are equipped with world-class facilities and amenities that complement the natural beauty of the islands the resorts are located in.

Situated in Puerto Princesa, and just 15 minutes away from the airport, the Hue Hotels and Resorts Palawan with its 122 rooms is a great destination for those looking for rest and relaxation in the island paradise. The property is set to open by October 2016.

A mere three-minute walk from White Beach, and located right at Station 2, Hue Hotels and Resorts Boracay boasts large open spaces and extensive shopping and dining options within the property. Its 126 luxe rooms will provide colorful stays and experiences to leisure and business travelers alike.

Hue Hotels and Resorts Boracay will be open to guests by January 2017.

Partial and unofficial: Bayron takes lead in Puerto Princesa polls vs Hagedorn

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

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, May 10 (PNA) -- Incumbent Mayor Lucilo Bayron of this city is leading by 13,108 against former mayor and staunch opponent Edward Hagedorn, according to partial and unofficial tallies of the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV).

As of 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, Bayron has already gathered 43,712 votes against Hagedorn’s 30,604. Both are the only candidates vying for the position in Puerto Princesa.

In the vice-mayoralty marathon, where three candidates are vying, incumbent Vice-Mayor Luis Marcaida III is ahead of main opponent former councilor Gregorio Austria by 4,194 – or 35,008 versus 30,814. Third candidate Joseph Allen Quiñon, on the other hand, has 2,550 votes, according to the PPCRV.

In the gubernatorial race in Palawan, incumbent Governor Jose Alvarez has gathered partial and unofficial 150,884 votes against main opponent Arthur Ventura, who has 70,027 votes.

Incumbent Vice-Governor Dennis Socrates is also leading in the race with 166,255 votes against opponent Perfecto Pe, who has 20,971 votes so far.

In the congressional in the 1st Palawan Legislative District, Franz Josef George Alvarez, the son of former congressman Antonio Alvarez is leading against rival Mariano Parangue with 77,499 votes. Parangue only has 24,159.

Incumbent Congressman Frederick Abueg, who ran uncontested in the 2nd Palawan Legislative District meanwhile, has 79,788.

In the 3rd Palawan Legislative District, it is a tight race between candidates Gil Acosta and Douglas Hagedorn. Acosta is leading by 2,038 votes against Hagedorn, or 41,406 versus 39,368.

Polls start early in Palawan

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

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, May 9 (PNA) -- Elections started generally peaceful at 6:00 a.m. in this city with only intermittent reports about long queues and defective vote counting machines (VCMs).

Surprisingly, there are less reports recorded about missing names, flying voters, and other common election problems, according to Commission on Elections (COMELEC)-Palawan spokesperson Jomel Ordas.

Ordas said they expect the local elections to be continuously peaceful until the polling precincts close at 5:00 p.m. and canvassing of ballots start.

In Puerto Princesa, 127, 664 registered voters will trooped to 53 polling centers located in 66 barangays.

Since Sunday night, no untoward incident were recorded by the Provincial Joint Security Control Center (PJCC), according to Brig. Gen. Elvin Velasco of the 3rd Marine Brigade and also the head of Joint Task Force Peacock (JTFP) of the Western Command (WESCOM).

The PJCC is composed of the militari, the police, and presided by the COMELEC in Palawan.

PPCRV-Palawan all set for 2016 polls

By Catherine Santos

The Parish Pastoral Council For Responsible Voting (PPCRV) – Palawan Chapter is all set for the forthcoming May 9, 2016 local and national elections, says Rev. Fr. Jasper M. Lahan, PPCRV Coordinator.

“We are still on the process of updating our volunteers, but definitely, handa na po kami,” he said.

He said that the role of PPCRV prior to the election focuses on voter’s education. He underscored bases of voting that they are teaching to the voters are anchored in 3 aspects such as Karakter, Kakayahan and Katapatan.

On election day Fr. Lahan said that PPCRV will have four aspects of volunteerism. First, their volunteers will act as polling precinct poll watchers. Second, they will set-up voter’s assistance desks in all schools. Third, they will serve as special witnesses of truth (this is in partnership with the Legal Network for Truthful Elections); and fourth, they have prayer warriors for secure and fair elections.

According to Fr. Lahan almost all polling precincts has PPCRV volunteer poll watchers except for the municipality of Bataraza and other small precincts in Quezon, Espanola and Rizal, due primarily to security concerns for the volunteers. However, they will still set up voter’s assistance desks in the said municipalities.

All PPCRV volunteers will have their last wave of orientation on poll watching on May 7. For any queries regarding the elections, PPCRV will be happy to know thru its hotline 09504673105, Fr. Lahan added.

Seven PSU bar examinees pass bar exam

By Catherine Santos

The Palawan State University School of Law has produced seven additional lawyers after the bar exam results came out today, May 3.

The new Palawan lawyers are: Adia, Iris Jazelle P., Erfe, Nazi Jester U., Escala, Vicente Jr. T., Ordaneza, Mary Joy O., Ordillo, Sabra Rachel P., Pablico, Riza Jane B., and Umali, Francis Rainier B.

The seven new lawyers took the bar exam with nine others last November 2015.

According to the examination results published today, out of the 7, 146 examinees from all over the country, 1,731 passed the bar.

Rachel Angeli Miranda of the University of the Philippines topped the highly competitive exam, garnering an 87.4 average percentage. The bar passing rate is 75%.

Masbate, Palawan to get generators

By Voltaire Palaña

Off-grid energy supplier DMCI Power Corp. (DPC) is deploying generators totaling 10 MW to the islands of Masbate and Palawan in preparation for the May 9 polls.

Five units of 1 megawatt (MW) generating sets will be sent to Irawan in Palawan while seven generating units totaling 5 MW will be delivered to Masbate.

The decision to augment the generating capacity in the said missionary areas was reached after DPC’s recent dialogues with the Boards of Palawan Electric Cooperative (PALECO) and Masbate Electric Cooperative (MASELCO).

“Adequate and uninterrupted power supply is critical to the conduct of orderly and credible elections. We are committed to doing our part in ensuring the success of the electoral process,” DPC president Nestor Dadivas said on Thursday.

The provinces of Palawan and Masbate have around one million registered voters.

Recently, DPC was also tapped to supply power to the municipalities of Brooke’s Point, Bataraza and Española in Palawan for six weeks, after the National Power Corporation (NPC) scheduled preventive maintenance work on its 69 kilovolt southern transmission line.

To avert power outage in the three towns during the maintenance process, DPC operated eight generation sets with around 5 MW dependable capacity 24/7 on island-mode.

Palawan health care providers train on management of patients with tuberculosis

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

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, May 5 (PNA) -– The Palawan Provincial Health Office (PHO) recently led a series of training for health care providers on how to manage patients afflicted with the infectious disease tuberculosis (TB) in municipalities in the province.

Pamela Garcia, the program coordinator in Palawan of the National Tuberculosis Program (NTP) said Thursday that the goal of the training is to further expand the knowledge of the health care providers regarding the infectious disease, particularly the midwives, nurses, doctors and volunteer health workers.

Garcia said the first training was conducted last week of April, and it was the Training on Interpersonal Communication and Counselling of Clients on TB for Midwives.

The health care providers who attended were from the municipalities of Aborlan, Narra, Sofronio Española, Brooke’s Point, Bataraza, Rizal and Taytay.

Among the topics were about Understanding TB Care and Services, Roles and Responsibilities of Frontline Health Workers in Case Finding and Case Holding and Communicating with Counseling TB Clients.

This was followed by a three-day Supervisory Training for doctors and nurses of Rural Health Units (RHU) in different municipalities. The training was focused on the dissemination of correct information about TB, and guides on handling TB cases.

Participants in this training, Garcia said, will become trainors too, who will pass on what they have learned to community volunteer health workers (CVHW). The CVHWs will use this to do their community work in protecting residents against TB.

In close cooperation with the PHO was also the Innovations and Multi-Sectoral Partnerships to Achieve Control of TB or IMPACT, a non-government organization based in the United States that helps areas with tuberculosis problems.

Among the speakers of the recently concluded training series on TB were Dr. Alberto Ong, area facilitator of the South Luzon-National Capital Region and Jonathan Nebril, social mobilization officer of IMPACT.

With IMPACT is the Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP), which is a corporate-led social development foundation in the Philippines that is composed of 260 small to large corporations in the country that aims to help alleviate poverty.

30MW power generation facility breaks ground in Puerto Princesa

(PNA), FFC/CARF/EBP

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, May 4 (PNA) -- A new 30 megawatt regular fuel oil (RFO)-fired diesel engine generation facility by independent power producer (IPP) Delta P, Inc. (DPI) broke ground recently in this city to support the provision of stable power supply to the increasing number of residents and business establishments.

The generation facility, according Tuesday to the Provincial Information Office (PIO), will have four generating sets that has 7.5MW capacity each, and is expected to be completed and operational before the year ends.

Located in the outlying barangay of Sta. Lourdes, the generation facility is expected to stabilize the need for uninterrupted power supply in Puerto Princesa’s 66 barangays.

The PIO said Governor Jose Alvarez welcomes the new development in Puerto Princesa’s and Palawan’s power community, and expects it to take to heart the welfare of the consumers, who are after stable power supply.

It said the provincial government’s goal on power is to get every resident to the grid, and for all to enjoy steady flow of electricity in their homes.

Puerto Princesa City upgrades CCTV cameras

By Chris Dela Cruz

A total of 77 closed-circuit television cameras are currently being installed in strategic areas in Puerto Princesa City particularly along Rizal Avenue up to Junction 2 to efficiently respond to various road accidents.

According to Patrol 117 Program Head Dax Matillano, the city government is spending P3.8 million for the upgrading and installation of the CCTV system.

“Sa ngayon tuloy-tuloy ang pagkakabit ng grupo natin. Inuuna lang muna ang main thoroughfare pagkatapos isusunod na ang Junction 2, Sicsican, Irawan, Tagburos hanggang sa Sta. Lourdes. Inaasahan natin na matatapos ito ngayong buwan ng Mayo”, said Matillano. (“The installation being conducted by our team is on-going. We are prioritizing the main thouroughfares, then we’ll install CCTV cameras at Junction 2, Barangays Sicsican, Irawan, Tagburos up to Brgy. Sta. Lourdes, “said Matillano. )

The Patrol 117 group will also install CCTV cameras near public schools that have bigger student population and are near the national highway.

Seven new screen monitors are expected to be delivered to Patrol 117 Command Center before the end of May.

Unlike the previous videos captured by CCTV cameras which were blurry, Matillano assured that with their upgraded ‘Internet protocol’ camera the videos are clearer and the subject is more recognizable.

In case of emergencies, the Patrol 117 hotlines are the following: 0918 608 0022/ 0927 797 2009/ 434 8808/ 433 5324 and 434 0340.

AFP mobilizes all assets to aid transport of voting paraphernalia

(PNA), BNB/PFN

MANILA, May 2 (PNA) -- The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Monday said its land, sea and air assets are now helping the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) transport the vote-counting machines and other paraphernalia needed for the coming May 9 polls.

This is especially true in far-flung areas not served by commercial and logistics compannies, said AFP public affairs office chief Col. Noel Detoyato.

He added that COMELEC representatives are usually present in these missions which started late April.

"We will never do it on our own, (transport missions) are always done with the presence of COMELEC officials," Detoyato stressed.

He said that the transport role of the AFP is part of job description which comes from being a deputized agency of the COMELEC.

"As long as it is election and security related movement, we are deputized, we take orders from the COMELEC," Detoyato pointed out.

The AFP public affairs office chief said the military is always ready to support the poll body in its mandate.

As this develops, the COMELEC in Palawan has requested the AFP for three Lockheed C-130 "Hercules" missions to bring election paraphernalias to isolated areas in Palawan and Pagasa Island.

These flights will take place on May 3 and 8 with return flights scheduled on May 10 and 11.

PPOC wants Bataraza, Aborlan and Puerto Princesa City under Comelec Control

By Catherine Santos

The Provincial Peace and Order Council (PPOC) has requested the Commission on Elections to declare the towns of Bataraza, Aborlan and Puerto Princesa City as under its control and supervision due to the reported encounters, ambush and presence of Moro National Liberation Front. The PCOC believes these activities pose threat to the peace and order of the province.

In a letter of PPOC dated April 22 addressed to Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista, it was stated that the establishment of an MNLF camp at Sitio Sawmill, Inagawan Sub-Colony Reservation and the sending out of armed groups are election-related activities.

The letter signed by Palawan Governor Jose Chavez Alavarez said that “the MNLF leaders may be utilized as part of the politician’s private armed group and the local members could be persuaded to support the political hopefuls who are upholding and supporting the establishment of MNLF camps in the province.”

“We have to be proactive. It is our responsibility. We cannot afford to add more election-related violence (in Bataraza),” said PCOC focal person Atty. Teodoro Jose Matta.

Atty. Matta admitted that their petition might not be sufficient in form but the Capitol is willing to comply if the Comelec En Banc says so.

Provincial Election Supervisor Atty. Percival Mendoza, in a previous interview of Palawan News, emphasized that he will not entertain the idea of placing Bataraza under Comelec control because the LGU will operate as if under Martial Law.

“Ultimate na ‘yun, kasi, pag sinabing comelec control, parang Martial Law na ‘yan eh,” Atty. Mendoza said.

Meanwhile, Provincial Comelec Spokesperson Jomel Ordas said that he cannot give the exact schedule as to when the request will be acted upon by the Comelect commissioners.

“Hindi natin masasabi, kasi direct na ‘yan sa Comelec En Banc, sila ang magdedesisyon,” Ordas said.

The town of Bataraza is now under Category 1 in the Comelec’s watchlist or ‘Areas of Concern’.

According to Comelec Resolution 10077, among the parameters in classifying a certain area as an ‘Area of Concern’ are the 1) History of/or current intense rivalry among the contending parties. Such rivalries could motivate people to engage in violent acts; 2) Violence may be facilitated by the employment of private armed groups; and 3) Abetted by loose firearms in the hands of unqualified individuals.

If there is a serious armed threat posed by the New People’s Army (NPA), Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) and rouge elements of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) and other analogous group, the category may be elevated to ‘Areas of Immediate Concern’.

If all the mentioned parameters are present, the Comelec En Banc has the power to declare Election Areas of Grave Concern or the ultimatum as Comelec Controlled Areas.

Under the same resolution, placing areas under Comelec controls means that the Comelec shall take immediate and direct control supervision over all national and local officials and employees are required by law to perform duties and comply with certain prohibitions relative to the conduct of the elections in the political division, subdivision, unit or area concerned.

The Commission will also exercise full control and supervision over all local and national law enforcement agencies as well as military officers and men assigned or deployed in the political division, subdivision, unit or area concerned.