>> Monday, October 16, 2017

 Samahang Ilocano chief warns members: No hazing 

BAGUIO CITY—“Do not violate the anti-hazing law”, this was a stern warning from Samahang Ilokano Global Alumni Council (SIGAC) national chairperson Mark Anthony Baliton during his message recently.
 Addressing the delegates to the SIGAC National Executive Council meeting held here recently, he added, “the group will not tolerate violators of the law. If any members violate the anti-hazing law, we (the national council) will not help you.”
              Baliton issued the warning on the note that a law student from the University of Sto. Tomas recently died, a victim of hazing during their fraternity rights.
              The death of Horacio “Atio” Tomas Castillo III, at the hands of alleged members of the Aegis Juris law fraternity is now subject to a Senate inquiry regarding the incident and bring forth possible amendments to the country’s Anti-Hazing Law.
              According to Baliton, Brgy. Capt. Benjie Macadangdang, SIGAC- Baguio-Benguet Council chairman is currently designing new rules and regulations for “service” guidelines before being accepted to the fraternity.
 Baliton said, SIGAC, will no longer honor its age long practice initiation or hazing, instead, new recruits or neophytes will be obliged to do public service before becoming a full pledged member of the fraternity.—SIGAC press release


Father, son rule Baguio Scrabble

BAGUIO CITY -- Father and son Mohammad and Bobby Suma took the Baguio Day Scrabble Tournament by storm as they placed first and second recently at the Baguio Museum.
Father Mohammad was at his best as he topped the expert division with a 12-4 card and a spread of 427 for the sole place at the top.
Son Bobby, on the other hand, shared the second to fifth spots with three others but took the highest spot with an eye popping 1,101 spread, the best in the two day tournament backed by the city government of Baguio.
Ferdinand Lucas was at third place with spread of 597, while retired banker Robbie Onate was fourth with spread of 128 and closely followed by retired police colonel Tony Malonzo.
Anna Tabora, meanwhile, edged three others via a higher spread to win the novice/student division.  Tabora finished with eight wins along with Orlando Pocya, Jupiter Batong and Crichel Lao but she had a slight edge in spread.
Tabora had spread of 380, 11 up on Pocya and 62 more on Batong as the three took the top three spots.  Lao settled for fourth spot after spread of 291.
Three players had seven wins each but Gillian Rae Billeson took the fifth spot with spread of 169. Sheree Nolasco came in sixth with spread of 95 and Michael Angelo Subas was eighth with spread of 52.
Ric Malilin had the highest score of 516, Huub Luyk had the highest bingo of  118, while the latter’s wife, Becky, had the l;osing score of 414.  – Pigeon Lobien

No texting for Central Luzon cops on duty

CAMP OLIVAS, Pampanga – Central Luzon police officers are no longer allowed to send text messages while on duty, based on an order issued by the regional police director Chief Supt. Amador V. Corpuz.
Corpuz said the “no text policy” is effective immediately in the entire region.
Corpuz said a number of police officers are often preoccupied with sending text messages or fiddling with their mobile phones while on duty.
“The no text policy is my marching orders and the alibi that they are making report in texting is already an old alibi,” Corpuz said.
He said the public feels safer if there are police officers on duty who are alert and not preoccupied with texting.
“There will be greater challenges ahead and we need to build a stronger community; you are old enough to do what is right,” Corpuz told his men. -- Mar T. Supnad

 Wi-fi connections eyed for 2,300 buses

At least 2,300 provincial buses and their riders will benefit from the free, high-speed wi-fi connections and other services  that will be provided by communications giant PLDT Inc. to  members of the Provincial Bus Operators Association of the Philippines (PBOAP).
The PLDT said over the weekend that the partnership, forged through its corporate business unit PLDT Enterprise, would involve providing PBOAP members with wi-fi connectivity, closed-circuit television monitoring and vehicle tracking through the SmartBus suite of services from the Smart Biz LTE bundle.
“Giving the commuting public easy and fast access to the internet through our Smart Biz LTE can take their mind away from the daily grind. It will also  enable them to perform  tasks online while in transit,” the PLDT said.
“Our partner bus operators said the Smart Bus suite gives them the assurance that their buses, personnel and the riding public are secured,” Jovy Hernandez, senior vice president and head of PLDT Enterprise, said. 
PLDT’s SmartBus product enables bus operators to comply with the government’s plan to modernize the country’s public transport system.

PH’s bronze in Archery won with blurred vision

SAN FERNANDO CITY – She has blurred vision, constantly wears glasses in school or at home and can hardly read without them.
She is 19-year-old Mary Queen Ybañez who took home the bronze medal in Archery at the recent the 2017 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Interviewed by this writer in Barangay Madayegdeg, this city, last Monday, Ybañez said she got into the sport at an early age when her vision was perfect.
Struck by astigmatism (blurred vision) in her teens, she had to wear corrective glasses.
Still, she continued training herself to hit the target 70 meters out even if international competitions meant having to do it without the aid of her spectacles.
“Matagal ko na kasi ito ginagawa sa paglalaro ng archery at nag-start ako 11 years old malinaw pa ang mga paningin ko,” she said.
On competition day, Ybañez recalls how she had to trust her pulse. As to her vision, she said: “Binabase ko na lang po sa kulay ’yung target, kahit malabo sa paningin ko (I had to base the target on the colors, since my vision is blurred).”
Ybañez together with her recurve team, Kareel Hongitan from Baguio City and Nichole Tagle from Dumaguete City, gave the Philippines its 4th bronze in Archery at the SEA Games.
Her vision might have been blurred, but something remains crystal clear in Ybañez’s memory: “It was a great feeling to plant the Philippine flag on the podium. I never expected to win on my first-ever SEA Games,” she said.--  Erwin G. Beleo

Kalinga 4Ps get rice aid

TABUK CITY, Kalinga – More than11, 000 Pantawid Pamilya program beneficiaries in the province started receiving rice subsidy from the program.
Under the Duterte Administration, Pantawid beneficiaries are extended additional P600 monthly rice aid.
Lorna Lumiwan, 4Ps Provincial Link, disclosed the Dept. of Social Welfare and Development released the rice assistance for January because the period was covered under the “suspension of evaluation on compliance” due to super typhoon ‘Lawin’.       
But starting February until end of the year, release of rice aid will be back as compliance-based, Lumiwan said.
Under the 4Ps program, indigent beneficiaries receive monthly cash benefits provided they comply with conditions set on health, education and attendance to family development sessions.
Pantawid families are required to have regular health monitoring at rural health units, qualified children should be in school and undergo regular family development sessions.  -- PIA Kalinga

Central Luzon OFWs to be hired as teachers

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga – The Dept. of Education in Central Luzon announced that it will be hiring 43 returning overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) to teach in different schools in the region.
Michelle Catap-Lacson, DepEd3 Project Development Officer II said the 43 returning OFWs will be given permanent teaching positions in public schools near their residences in the provinces of Aurora, Bulacan, Bataan, Pampanga, Nueva Ecija and Tarlac.
“They will be automatically given permanent teacher items, and be assigned to schools with shortages,” she said, adding that 25 teachers will be assigned in the elementary level while 18 will be assigned in the Junior High School level.
She added that the Schools Division Offices have been instructed to conduct thorough interview and demonstration teaching and address noted gaps through the conduct of teacher trainings and other apt interventions.
The hiring of OFW-teachers is under the “Sa ‘Pinas Ikaw ang Mam at Sir” (SPIMS) Program of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) in partnership with DepEd, which was launched in 2014 to assist OFWs who are passers of the Licensure Examination for Teachers (LET) working abroad as professional teachers or household service workers to be employed as teachers when they return to the country.
-- Franco G. Regala

Tabuk City ups drive against minor drivers

TABUK CITY, Kalinga --  The City Public Order and Safety Office has intensified its campaign against  minor drivers amid reports of high violations.
POSO Dionisio P. Falgui III reported their office had recorded 1,911 traffic violators in the city from January-June, mostly minor drivers and driving without license.
This explains why road accident is the top cause in cases of physical injuries in the city police report, Falgui said.
In line with the campaign, mobile check points along the city’s main thoroughfares has  been intensified. Because of strict traffic regulation enforcement, the POSO had collected P574,350 in penalty fees for the period.
But Falgui said collection of penalty fees is just secondary to their mandate of assuring public order and safety.   
We impose penalty because we want drivers to follow proper traffic rules to avoid accidents, he said.   
He appealed to parents to cooperate with the authorities by preventing their minor-children from just going on fun-driving  without the assistance of licensed drivers.  -- PIA Kalinga  

Ban on sale of tickets mulled in Baguio

BAGUIO CITY – The local legislature has passed on first reading a proposed “anti-scalping ordinance” in the Summer Capital.
Authored by councilor Leandro Yangot, Jr., the measure is applicable to all local residents and individuals operating with or without ticket offices or official booths within the city’s territorial jurisdiction.
Scalping is the mass purchase and resell of tickets at more expensive prices while a scalper is one who sells airline, bus, theater, concert tickets and similar undertakings with or without profit outside the ticket office or official booth or place designated for the purpose.
The proposed ordinance makes it unlawful for any scalper to sell airline, bus, theater, concert tickets and similar undertakings with or without profit outside the ticket office or official booth or place designated for the purpose.
It also prohibits any person to finance, manage or operate scalping which is pernicious or inimical to public interest.
Violators of the measure’s provisions shall be meted a fine of not more than P5,000 or by imprisonment of not more than three months or both, upon the discretion of the Courts. – Gaby Keith

  Kalinga farmers learn ratooning technology

CITY OF TABUK, Kalinga --  The Provincial Agriculturist Office educates farmers on the ratooning technology to increase rice production.
Joe Casibang, Kalinga rice program coordinator, said ratooning could add at least 40 percent of the average yield per hectare to farmers.
Under the technology, farmers are taught to apply some interventions to palay plants left out during harvest and could still get additional yield. Farmers just apply additional two bags of urea per hectare compared to the usual 8-10 bags of fertilizer per hectare in the regular cropping.
Casibang said the ratooning period runs for about 60 days, which is actually the regular cropping interval, before the ratooned palay is ready for harvest.
The technology is applicable to both hybrid and inbred rice. Rice farmers get an average of 120 bags of palay per hectare.
A 50-hectare demo-farm is being used for the technology in this City, the province's major rice producing area.  -- PIA Kalinga  

DSWD sets 30,000 family food packs for rainy months

BAGUIO CITY – Dept. of Social Welfare and Development in the Cordillera Administrative Region has set family food packs for disaster augmentation this rainy season particularly for  landslide-prone areas in the region.
 DSWD-CAR regional director Janet Armas said 30,000 food packs have already been brought to provinces for distribution in case of disasters.
She said 6,200 food packs are in Mountain Province; 5,000 in Ifugao; 2,642 in Abra; 1,500 in Apayao; and 15,601 at their warehouse in Puguis, La Trinidad town in Benguet.
A food pack contains 6 kilograms of rice, half dozen 3-in-1 instant coffee, 8 canned goods, brown rice bar (energy bar) and infant dry-cereals.
Armas said the goods will augment food supplies in cases of disasters in Cordillera as landslides frequently occur due to the terrain.
DSWD-CAR, she said, spent about P13 million for the family packs. About P21 million was also spent for non-food items like blankets and tents.
Cordillera the past days has been experiencing strong rains and thunderstorms brought by the southwest monsoon. A number of roads were closed to vehicular traffic due to landslides. -- PNA

 PVET teaches farmers organic feed formulation

HUNGDUAN, Ifugao --The Provincial Veterinary Office (PVET) here recently conducted skills training on organic swine and poultry raising and feed formulation to 83 farmer- recipients of native pig raising project of the provincial government.
The training was to enable pig raisers gain more profit in their backyard livestock endeavor by formulating their own organic feeds using ingredients and materials that are abundant and indigenous in their places rather than relying on commercial feeds which are very expensive, said PVET training coordinator Ferdinand Dunuan.
By adopting organic farming  that  includes feed formulation to reduce feed cost,  they can produce not only animal meat products which are safe and fit for human consumption but also earn more profit because organically produced farm products nowadays are in great demand.
Dunuan   lectured to participants on animal husbandry, issues on bio-organic inputs and good agricultural practices.
Gilbert Caclini, also of PVET, demonstrated the preparation of the feeds using the indigenous materials with the hands on participation of the farmers  so that they can learn and experience on the spot organic feed formulation.
The ingredients and materials used during the actual preparation of  50 kilograms (kgs) of organic feed include 20 kilos rice bran, 5 corn grits, 5 corn bran, 3 chopped banana stalk, 3 chopped camote trunk and leaves, 3 ofipil leaves, 10 ofazola, a kilo of brown sugar, another kilo of indigenous micro-organism (for fermentation) and two liters of rice wash.
The farmers said were happy with what they learned and promised that they will immediately start preparing their own feed supply. -- Daniel B. Codamon


Children International donates goods to MP folks

PARACELIS, Mountain Province -- More goods and commodities continue to pour in for Mountain Province residents after Children International Philippines, donated and distributed various items like caps, shirts, food packs, soaps and school supplies in the far-flung municipalities of Barlig, Natonin and Paracelis, this province.
The donation and distribution is a partnership program between the late Rep. Maximo B. Dalog and the CI which started in 2014. Aside from the recently distributed items, the foundation had been donating textbooks, medical supplies and equipments, toys, threads, shoes, and other mixed commodities.
Despite the late congressman’s death, the family is continuing the partnership program with Children International Philippines through Atty. Maximo Y. Dalog, Jr. and Atty. Cyphrine Maxcel Dalog, chief of staff of the Office of the Congressman whose role in the partnership is to handle the customs and transportation charges of the donated goods and to make sure that the items will reach the beneficiaries on time.  
Recipients of the donated goods were: Day Care Centers, Supervised Neighborhood Play (SNP) Centers, Kindergarten Centers, Elementary and Secondary Schools, women groups and the community.
Rebecca Fuellos, chief of programs of Children International Philippines, said in an interview that the foundation works to eradicate poverty through diverse programs that provide children access to medical and dental care, educational support, life skills and leadership trainings that empower them to create lasting and positive changes in their communities.
The foundation’s core focus is on education, health, nutrition, youth development, child abuse prevention, infrastructure building, disaster preparedness and risk reduction. “We require the commitment of all stakeholders concerned – our beneficiaries, the community and the partners from various sectors of the society that support these worthy causes,” she said.

Fuellos added that among the reasons why the foundation continues to choose Mountain Province as a beneficiary is it had always been compliant with the submission liquidation reports and photos to document the distribution and in ensuring that the goods have finally reached the beneficiaries. -- Erlindo Agwilang, Jr.


RDC urged: Stop water, hydro rights given to firms in Cordillera

>> Sunday, October 15, 2017

By Ramon Dacawi 

BAGUIO CITY -- At the rate the National Water Resources Board (NWRB) and the Department of Energy (DOE) are issuing “water rights” and hydroelectric dam construction permits to outside companies, nothing would be left to jumpstart autonomy or self-rule in the Cordillera that is supposed to be the watershed cradle of Northern Luzon.
Alarmed over this continuing depletion of the region’s resource base, the Benguet Electric Cooperative (Beneco) has asked the Regional Development Council (RDC) to ask the NWRB and the DOE to issue a moratorium on the issuance of permits for hydroelectric projects and water rights in the Cordillera without prior knowledge and consent of the RDC and the would-be host communities, municipalities and provinces”.
In a resolution it adopted last Sept. 26, the Beneco board warned that “ the proliferation of water rights and hydroelectric power development permits in the Cordillera has (resulted in) the depletion of resources that the region, on its own, can eventually tap and develop for its own growth”.
The directors led by cooperative president Rocky Aliping pointed out that “the proliferation of water rights and hydro-electric plant development by and for giant and even foreign-led companies continues to be an irritant between them and residents of host communities who are often the last to know that their water resources have become subject of water rights of outsiders out to develop them into hydroelectric facilities”.
The board warned that the “debilitating impact of these would be deeply felt should the region succeed in its quest for autonomy or self-rule as there would be mo more water resources it can develop to spur its own progress as these habe been assigned to private companies.
Beneco argued that “the idea and viability for the region to own hydroelectric plants for its own development through grant support has already been shown in Ifugao Province where the G-7 Countries commissioned Japan as a member in developing the Ambangal Mini-hydro in Kiangan town and then turning this over to the municipal government, with the condition that part of the income generated from its operation shall be used for the restoration and protection of the rice terraces in Kiangan, Mayoyao, Banaue and Hungduan towns where the most extensive rice terraces are found”.
“Likewise,” the resolution said, “the Japan International Cooperative Agency has financed and is now constructing a bigger hydroelectric dam in Ifugao which shall be turned over to the province once completed”.
Beneco pointed out that “the potential of the region in obtaining support through fund grants to develop hydroelectric plants would dramatically improve should the Cordillera become an autonomous region, with hydroelectricity development becoming a crucial; driver in the region’s development and providing substance to autonomy”.
“Curiously,” Beneco observed, “the “informed prior rights” consultations with the host communities are only after the permit to develop and the water rights have been issued in a “cart-before-the-horse” scenario.”
The board said the FPIC (free, prior and informed consent should precede the issuance of water rights and permit to develop hydros in the Cordilllera.
Only recently, one private hydro developer, Hedcor Kabayan, went to court, accusing Beneco of interfering with or influencing the on-going Free and Prior Informed Consent (FPIC) the corporation is conducting for its hydropower project in Kabayan., Benguet.
Hedcor Kabayan, part of the Hydroelectric Development Ccorp. Now developing dams in various parts of the Cordillera, earlier filed the case for injunction and damages,  accusing Beneco of allegedly influencing the FPIC and “violating the exclusive rights of Hedcor as renewable energy developer or Kabayan II hydropower generation project.
Judge Jennifer Humiding of the Regional Trial Court, however, dismissed the case, noting the Kabayan people had all the right to seek information from Beneco on matters affecting their interest.      
While pushing for a moratorium, the Beneco board said water rights and hydroelectric development permits can still be issued to the communities who have been host to these resources since time immemorial , to electric cooperatives and those covered by fund support to the local government units or to the electric cooperatives.
Likewise, the Beneco asked the NWRB and the DOE to first obtain the endorsement of the would-be host region, province and community before approving applications for water rights and energy development in the Cordillera.
The board also asked the NWRB and the DOE to provide the region, the host province, host municipality information on previous water rights and energy development permits issued by these agencies and to cancel permits if these are opposed by the would-be host communities and local government units.
Copies of the resolution will be provided the local governments in the Cordillera and electric cooperatives in the country.


Ilocos Norte gov’t officials award nine ‘model families’

By Mizpah Grace G. Castro

LAOAG CITY -- The provincial government of Ilocos Norte awarded nine families and three mothers as "Model Family" and "Best Nanay" recently  her at the Plaza del Norte Hotel and Convention Center.
Model Families is a program headed by the Gender and Development Office, with the selection committee composed of representatives from public offices and the private sector.
This year's selection committee was chaired by lawyer Juan Conrado A. Respicio II of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan, who heads the SP committee on family welfare.
Vice Gov. Angelo Marcos Barba, representing Gov. Imee R. Marcos, said "one of the objectives is to bring out the best in each family. This will be a big boost in our nation-building effort.”
According to Shirley B. Hidalgo, planning officer of the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office and member of the selection committee, the families were evaluated with set of criteria.
These included self-reliance, health and sanitation, and values and spirituality, specifically: success earned through hard work, regular and legitimate sources of family income, overall health of the family as certified by a physician; the practice of proper waste management and segregation as well as environmental protection; attendance to church or spiritual activities; participation in community activities; financial management; and constancy of family communication, among others.
Hidalgo commended the 36 total finalists.
Bagging first place in the professional category was Ruben Pascua and wife of  Pagdilao, Pinili." Starting out as an overseas Filipino worker, Ruben spent two years working in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, before deciding to return home to be with his family and support them by working a farm while his wife Marison served as a special education teacher in Bacarra.
Runners-up were Mr. and Mrs. Antonio Balbas from Badoc and Mr. and Mrs. Armando Califlores from Nueva Era, respectively.
Topping the non-professional category was Mr. and Mrs. Elpidio Agregado Sr. of Alsem, Vintar, who have seven children and described their family as the "toughest but the happiest.
They were followed by Mr. and Mrs. Emilio Ortal of Batac City and Mr. and Mrs. Paulo Rarugal of Sarrat, the latter a family solely of farmers and agriculturists.
Meanwhile, Mr. and Mrs. Ludelito Rubio of Brgy. Quiling Sur, Batac City, bagged first prize in the OFW category.
After years of working away from home, Ludelito's wife returned to Ilocos Norte after their youngest daughter finished her college degree. Together, the couple established a refreshment store as their business, which keeps them busy as they manage it together and thus make up for the years of distance.
"Success is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure," they said, as they are finally reaping a good and comfortable life as a result of their hardships, sacrifices, and overcoming adversity as an OFW family.
At second and third place, respectively, were Mr. and Mrs. Domingo Cuanang Sr. of San NIcolas and Mr. and Mrs. Saturino Pepito of Badoc.
For the "Best Nanay" category, Dr. Thelma Benemerito of Pagudpud, a mother of seven children, bagged first place. She is also the third national awardee of the "Make Your Nanay Proud" Organization founded by Dr. Boy Abunda, Asia's "King of Talk."
Dr. Benemerito shared, "Faith in Jesus propels us to do things we otherwise would not do. It motivates us to act."

At second place was Mrs. Constancia Muñoz of Solsona, with Mrs. Cresencia Ramos of Sarrat at third place. 


Winners known in MP gov’t Cordi Hymn Challenge

By Rose D. Dagupen

BONTOC, Mountain Province-The provincial government conducted an inter-department Cordillera Hymn Challenge as closing of Civil Service month-long celebration here at the Capitol quadrangle on Sept. 28.
As a means of encouraging the internalization of the hymn among government employees, Gov. Bonifacio C. Lacwasan, Jr. urged participation of all offices in a choral competition.
Provincial Human Resource Management Officer Leonila Milagrose F. Malla-ao said  the groups enjoyed their performances in the competition.
The competition formed 14 clusters out of 28 departments. However, participants from the Paracelis District Hospital were not able to attend the activity.
The Provincial Engineer and Motor Pool Office cluster emerged as champion.
 The Provincial Assessor’s and Provincial Accountant’s Offices’ cluster came in second while the Provincial Security Office made it to the third place.
The prizes amounting to P33,000 were sponsored by the provincial government. Overwhelmed by the performance of the participants, some provincial government authorities also shelled out some amount for the additional prizes to all group participants and as incentives to key players who helped make the event a success. Lacwasan gave P21, 000 in appreciation and in support to the said activity while some department heads readily gave theirs in various amounts.
A total of P15,000 was awarded to first place, P10,000 for second and P7, 000 for third. The remaining ten groups received P2,000 each as consolation prize.
Based on the activity mechanics, the participating groups must have at least 15 or more members, must sing the Cordillera Hymn in a capella, and must come up with their warm up song.  The criteria of judging was : tone quality, 30%; musicianship, 30% and mastery of piece,  30%. Sstume and stage presence was 10% for a total of 100 points.
 Lacwasan earlier issued a memorandum directing the inclusion of the Cordillera Hymn Challenge as part of the 117th Philippine Civil Service Anniversary Celebration.
The music and lyrics of the Cordillera hymn were composed by Julia Saganib and Juanita Madarang, respectively.


Philex graduates first batch of geologic aids

TUBA, Benguet – Adhering to its mandate of helping improve the industry it belongs in through R&D, or research and development, as well as seminars and workshops, Philex Mining Corp. has recently facilitated the completion of training and/or retraining by 23 geologic aides through a company-organized, -funded, and -run program, which espouses continuous learning that leads to “better life situations” for the participants and graduates.
“I support and agree to continue this program provided there are interested trainees,” said the company’s CEO and president, Eulalio Austin, Jr., in a speech during formal ceremonies to honor the first graduates of the Geologic Aide Training Academy (GATA), held Wednesday, Sept. 20, at the Social Hall of Saint Louis High School – Philex, in Itogon’s Brgy. Ampucao. “We must not forget that education is the greatest inheritance we can have.”
Roy Ronald Luis, manager at Padcal’s Exploration Group, said the program had focused on improving the skills set of the company’s geologic aides and other participants and, consequently, on developing the information dissemination of exploration activities to the communities concerned.
“Geologists of ongoing exploration activities on the different sites of Philex Mining’s MPSA-156 needed more skilled geologic aides to assist them in the conduct of field activities,” he stressed. “And the company’s current geologic aides also required refresher and additional training covering a wide range of subjects to satisfy the different needs of the ongoing exploration projects.”
MPSA, or Mineral Production Sharing Agreement, 156 as well as the company’s MPSA 276 cover more than 5,010 hectares (has.) of land in Tuba and Itogon, but Philex Mining utilizes a measly 580-ha. area of these for its mining operations—410 has. for mining facilities and 170 has. for residential and institutional use.
Eleven of the 23 graduates either had worked or have been working at the Geology and Exploration Division, of Philex Mining’s Padcal operations, in this province, while the rest hailed from the different villages of the company’s host municipalities of Tuba and Itogon.
“I congratulate the organizers of this academy, as well as the graduates for having participated in this training program,” Redempta Baluda, VP for Exploration at Philex Mining, said. “Dear graduates, do not stop learning; continuous learning will lead you to better life situations. Learning fulfills your dreams to having a successful life.”
Austin said, “Congratulations to those responsible in organizing and implementing this program, considering our continuing project to extend the mine life of Padcal [beyond 2022] because the chances of opening new sites in other areas are difficult. Thus, we need to continue exploring adjacent communities where people are already familiar with what a mine looks like.”
Luis, who was one of the brains behind GATA, said the program consisted of about 30 sessions that were completed in four months, with materials/booklets and snacks provided free of charge. A team of Philex Mining geologists, on the other hand, had administered the lectures and guided the field works—done after office hours and during weekends—also pro bono.
 He also said that besides being well-equipped to work as geologic aides, the graduates—who had learned, among other subjects, structural and geologic mapping, sampling procedures, and drilling—could now serve as vehicles for the dissemination of information on Philex Mining’s ongoing exploration projects in their respective villages.
“We congratulate the graduates of this first batch of geologic-aide trainees composed of the dependents of company employees as well as those from the host towns of Tuba and Itogon,” said Aurora Dolipas, manager for Community Relations (ComRel) at Philex Mining’s gold-and-copper operations in Padcal, whose department provided the P209,600-budget for GATA through the Development of Mining Technology and Geosciences (DMTG). “ComRel is more than willing to be a partner in any exploration activities.”
DMTG, which provides for the pursuit and implementation of programs to develop the mining industry, is one of the company’s major programs on CSR, or corporate social responsibility. And as mandated by the mining-industry regulator, Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB), a government body under the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), DMTG, the Social Development and Management Program (SDMP), and the Information, Education and Communications (IEC) campaign get an annual budget of 1.5 percent of a miner’s total operating costs in the previous year.
Dolipas earlier said P11 million had been set aside by Philex Mining for the 2017 DMTG; P16.6 million for IEC, which is tasked to disseminate information on the benefits derived by society from the mining industry; and P82.9 million for the SDMP, through which the company has implemented its community projects on health, education, livelihood, and public infrastructure.
Ulysses Wais, a community officer at ComRel who used to work as a geologic aide at the Geology and Exploration, took a refresher at GATA and said he looks forward to sharing the knowledge and experience he has acquired to his peers and neighbors in Tuba’s Brgy. Camp 3. “My experience as a dragger, hauler, core-checker, geologic logger, and, now, a community organizer will surely help me continue working in Philex Mining and with my community,” he stressed.
That is the challenge—how to involve the host and neighboring villages in community organizing, negotiations, and social-projects implementation—according to Austin. “I congratulate you, and be the models for the next batch of trainees,” he added, addressing GATA’s newly minted geologic aides, who are all at least high-school graduates.


Regional dialysis center in MP now in operation

By Wabilyn Leanne Lomong-oy 

BAUKO, Mountain Province – The Dialysis center of the Luis Hora Memorial Regional Hospital (LHMRH), the lone regional hospital in the Cordillera Administrative Region is now open to cater to patients with chronic kidney disease as the hospital received its license to operate including its accreditation from the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PHIC).
The dream for a hemodialysis unit for the LHMRH started in 2010 when the late Mountain Province Congressman Maximo B. Dalog initiated the funding of the hospital’s capital outlay for construction of a hemodialysis building.
Dalog facilitated inclusion of dialysis machines not only for LHMRH but also for the Bontoc General Hospital.
When Dr. Glenn Mathew Baggao was chief of the hospital,  groundbreaking for the construction of the dialysis building was done on May 18, 2016.
After 10 months, 10 dialysis units were delivered to the hospital on March 8.
On April 12, the blessing and inauguration of the Dialysis Building took place.
When current hospital chief, Dr. Eduardo Calpito took over, he assisted in processing of documentary requirements and accreditation for the dialysis center.
Effective Sept. 22, the license to operate was given to the hospital following effectivity of the PHIC accreditation on Oct. 6.
Around this time, the hospital is ready to accommodate patients for hemodialysis treatment.
The LHMRH dialysis center is composed of a team headed by Dr. Cheryl Menia.
Menia said since there is an increasing number of dialysis patients in the Cordillera especially in Mountain Province and given the expensive cost of treatment of the disease, it is hoped that opening of the dialysis center will ease the burden of the patients and family members. 
Menia also announced the requirements for patients who wish to transfer at LHMRH for hemodialysis treatment: Endorsement letter; latest laboratory-hepatitis profile; latest treatment sheet and updated PHIC MDR.
On the part of the Office of the Congressman, lawyer Cyphrine Maxcel Dalog, daughter of the late congressman, said the office will assist patients with kidney disease through the Medical Assistance Program (MAP).
She said she will facilitate and follow up appropriation of additional fund for LHMRH in the amount of P1,500,000 particularly for the medical assistance program to replenish depleting funds allotted for 2017.
Ms Dalog urged dialysis patients who are not yet members of the Kataguan Dialysis Patients Organization of Mountain Province to apply for membership so that they can avail of the benefits being given by the recently launched Maximo B. Dalog Foundation.


B’guet mentors: Lower teacher retirement age

By Augustin Dao-anis

LA TRINIDAD, Benguet—The teachers in this province aired supportto  the proposed lowering of mandatory retirement age  of public school teachers from 65 to 60 years old and optional retirement age from 60 to 55 years old.
During the recent 3rd Benguet Teachers’ Day celebration, the National Association of Public Secondary School Heads, Inc.(NAPPSHI)-Benguet Chapter launched a signature campaign for the cause.
“More or less 2, 500 teachers responded to our signature campaign,” said NAPSSHI-Benguet Chapter president Wilbert H. Cuidno, school principal of Benguet National High School-main campus.
He said the NAPSSHI-Benguet Chapter would attach the said copy of signature campaign with a resolution to Benguet Rep. Ronald M. Cosalan.
“We will draft a resolution to be submitted to Congressman Ronald Cosalan for his reference at the House of Representatives,” added Cuidno.
He said teaching is rigorous job so it is difficult to handle for a teacher who is beyond 55 years old.
Sen. Francis G. Escudero earlier filed Senate Bill 89 that lowers the retirement age of the Department of Education employees from 65 to 60 years old.
Prior to this, the committee level in the House of Representatives approved in 2015, the House Bill 4501, which seeks for the lowering of mandatory retirement age  of public school teachers from 65 to 60 years old and optional retirement age from 60 to 55 years old.
In the same year, ACT Party-list Representative Antonio L. Tinio filed House Bill 5533 which also seeks for the lowering of public school teachers retirement age.
“The lowering of teachers’ retirement age means enjoyment of remaining years outside classroom setting,” said Janet S. Cabael, a teacher at La Trinidad National High School, Lubas, La Trinidad.


Ifugao town creates anti- crime body

LAGAWE, Ifugao—the municipal government here has created an anti-criminality body to help police in peace-keeping.
Mayor Martin Habawel, Jr. issued executive order No. E-9 series of 2017 creating the Municipal Anti-criminality and General Service  including its duties and responsibilities for a peaceful community.
The MAGS was tasked to maintain public order and safety within the vicinity of Lagawe with the supervision of the local police; help the Philippine National Police in the enforcement of traffic rules and regulation on roads and streets, municipal ordinance and others; conduct civic activities and assist during calamities.
Members of the MAGS should be residents of Lagawe with ,at least 21 years old after appointment, with good moral character, no police record and high school graduate preferably with additional training on safety, security and search and rescue.

For effective and efficient exercise of duties and functions of the MAGS, the chief of police shall have the supervisory functions over the members and arrange their daily details and duties.  – PIA-Ifugao


Ilocos Norte bags second ATOP-DOT Pearl Award

By Mizpah Grace G. Castro

LAOAG CITY -- For the second year in a row, the Ilocos Norte Tourism Office (INTO) won second place or first runner-up for Best Tourism-Oriented LGU (local government unit) at the 18th Association of Tourism Officers in the Philippines and Department of Tourism (ATOP-DOT) Pearl Awards held in Iloilo City last Oct. 4-7.
The Pearl Awards was part of the ATOP National Convention, an event that celebrates the best of Philippine tourism through bringing together tourism officers and showcasing premier tourism practices, products, and service from all over the country.
Ilocos Norte tied with the Province of Samar for first runner-up, while Davao del Norte bagged first place.
"We dedicate this award to all the hardworking private and public stakeholders, our PGIN family, and everyone in Ilocos Norte who have been supporting the tourism programs of Governor Imee R. Marcos," Tourism officer Aian Raquel wrote in his Facebook account.
"We are committed to continuously working for all Ilocanos and to win bigger Pearl Award next year," he added.
"From the very start, during the screening, we were already told that it was a very difficult competition, hence they decided to award two first runners-up," said Xavier Ruiz, tourism operations officer II at the INTO.
Raquel said the INTO is "truly honored to be with the best tourism provinces in the country."
Ruiz also added that a strong factor in the awarding process is "how [the local tourism industry] benefits people from across the province regardless of their levels of society, regardless of their gender, even, and whether they're directly or indirectly involved in tourism, so it's a good sign."
Also among the criteria were legislation, such as a tourism code, investment code, cultural code, and environmental code, which have been in place in Ilocos Norte for years.
For example, the province's cultural policy under Provincial Ordinance No. 041-2015 implements nine strategies for the protection and conservation of cultural properties, including the establishment of new art venues; training of for artists and a cultural workforce; and promotion of the province's cultural sites, products, and events.
Ruiz also cited the Media Incentives Desk (MID) under the Office of the Governor, which pioneered film tourism in the province through an exchange of benefits and promotion coordinated among local government units (LGUs), private establishments, and production companies looking to film within Ilocos Norte.
Other criteria were infrastructure, demonstrated with the province's master plan created by Palafox Associates in 2010, and public-private partnership, which are a staple in provincial events as INTO partners with private establishments and organizations like the Ilocos Norte Travel Agencies Association (INTAA), Bakers and Restaurants Association of Ilocos Norte (BRAIN), and Hostels and Restaurants Association of Laoag and Ilocos Norte (HARALIN) for nearly all activities, according to Ruiz.
Final screening of finalists was held Sept. 22, involving a short presentation from potential awardees and a panel interview. Ilocos Norte was represented by INTO, headed by Raquel; Senior Provincial Board Member Matthew Marcos Manotoc; and local stakeholders from travel agencies, the academe, program beneficiaries like tour guides, and the youth sector coming from the Ilocos Norte Youth Development Office (INYDO).
INTO urges city, municipal tourism offices to participate in Pearl Awards
During the awards program, representatives coming from the City of Batac, Dingras, Vintar, Sarrat, and Pinili were present, pointing to growing participation from local tourism officers of Ilocos Norte.
"We've encouraged them already to try to submit proposals and bids for other awards next year," Ruiz said, saying that INTO already sees potential for certain towns especially for best community-based tourism, best tourism association, and best sports event awards.
He added that the award is a "very good sign that we're actually doing something right in the Provincial Government in terms of tourism, and it would be good to see that even the efforts of our LGUs acknowledged as well.
"This is the largest and only nationwide tourism award as of the moment," he said. “These  are validations that our work in terms of tourism, related industries, and hospitality is recognized by the experts of tourism in the country."
Ilocos Norte's tourism industry has experienced  growth since the start of term of Governor Marcos in 2010. From a total of 259,148 visitors in 2012, the province welcomed 2,031,884 tourists in 2016.


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