Tuesday, September 30, 2014

DepEd tabs LC school principal as ‘Ulirang Guro’

By Dominic B. dela Cruz
Staff reporter

Laoag City—The Dept. of Education chose Apaya Elementary School principal Joel N. Remigio as one of the 12 awardees of the Ulirang Guro in Filipino nationwide search.

Laoag City schools division superintendent Dr. Cecilia Aribuabo proudly made the announcement stressing that the Laoag principal was chosen among thousands of teachers in the entire country.

The search, spearheaded by the Komisyon ng Wikang Filipino (KWF), had national artist Virgilio S. Almario as chairperson.

Dr. Aribuabo hopes that this award would serve as an inspiration to other local teachers, especially those in her division, to follow Mr. Remigio’s footsteps.

She added that the fact that Mr. Remigio is the sole awardee from Region I makes the city division especially proud of this award.

Mr. Remigio, for his part, thanked the city division as well as the DepEd regional office for the trust and confidence given to him to represent the entire region for the search.

He added that the award is not only for himself but to the whole city division.

The criteria used in the selection are the teacher’s performance ratings in the initiatives made in Filipino language, and the awards and citations received in all levels.

Mr. Remigio disclosed that he believes one of the biggest factor in his selection is the instructional material book he made titled “Gurong Giliw, Gabay sa Pagtuturo sa Filipino.”

The search is open to all teachers teaching the Filipino subject in all levers.

Mr. Remigio received a plaque and a medallion from KWF.

PhilRice recommends El Niño-ready rice

PHILIPPINE Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) breeders encourage farmers to plant early maturing and drought-tolerant rice varieties in preparation for the likely coming of El Niño this cropping season.

El Niño is expected to hit the country the last quarter of 2014 and will last until the first quarter of 2015, based on the recent advisory by the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA).

PAGASA predicted changes in the normal rainfall pattern generally resulting in varying dryness in most parts of the country.

To maximize use of rainfall, PhilRice recommends the use of early-maturing varieties this 2014 wet season.

“Early maturing varieties can be harvested before the drought comes so farmers can avoid it during the production period,” said Dr. Nenita V. Desamero, PhilRice breeder.

For irrigated lowland PSB Rc10 (Pagsanjan) is highly recommended. Farmers may also plant NSIC Rc134 (Tubigan 4) and PSB Rc160 (Tubigan 14).

For rainfed lowland however, farmers may choose from NSIC Rc192 (Sahod Ulan 1), PSB Rc14 (Rio Grande), and PSB Rc68 (Sacobia). These varieties are also known for their drought-tolerant properties, preferable in areas where El Niño is expected to hit worst.

Based on PAGASA’s El Niño vulnerability map for rice, highly vulnerable areas include Cagayan, Isabela, Nueva Ecija, Tarlac, Pangasinan, Camarines Sur, Ilo-ilo, Negros Occidental, Bohol, Leyte, and some areas in Mindanao.

“With drought-tolerant varieties, rice could still thrive even with limitations in water supply,” Desamero affirmed.

There are a number of newly released drought-tolerant varieties for rainfed lowland being promoted through participatory varietal selection (PVS).

These varieties are NSIC Rc272 (Sahod Ulan 2), Rc274 (Sahod Ulan 3), Rc276 (Sahod Ulan 4), Rc278 (Sahod Ulan 5), Rc280 (Sahod Ulan 6), Rc282 (Sahod Ulan 7), Rc284 (Sahod Ulan 8), Rc286 (Sahod Ulan 9), Rc288 (Sahod Ulan 10), Rc346 (Sahod Ulan 11), and Rc348 (Sahod Ulan 12). Some of these varieties are early-maturing and has a maximum yield potential of up to 6.7t/ha.

For upland environment, recommended varieties are PSB Rc80 (Pasig), PSB Rc9 (Apo), and NSIC Rc23 (Katihan 1).

“Drought-tolerant varieties are recommended in areas that are regularly stressed and lack water supply. But for rainfed areas with enough and fully distributed water from planting to harvesting, irrigated varieties can be used to exploit their high yield potential,” Desamero noted.

With all these choices, Desamero reminded the farmers to wisely decide on which varieties to plant.

“They may plant a 10-tonner (high yielding variety) which may yield only 2 tons when affected by drought, or a 5-tonner (drought tolerant variety) that may produce 3 tons even after water stress. It’s up to the farmers if they will take chances,” Desamero explained.

PhilRice, however, is always open and willing to extend support to the farmers in terms of seed availability and distribution, technical support, and proper information dissemination.

“PhilRice is ready and united to provide the needed support to mitigate the negative impacts of this extreme climate event on the livelihood of our farmers,” Executive Director Dr. Eufemio T. Rasco Jr. said.

Some of the seeds mentioned are available at the PhilRice Business Development Division. For more information please contact the PhilRice Text Center at 09209111398.

Senate praises bravery of Filipino peacekeepers

By Yvonne Almiranez
Senate PRIB

The Senate adopted a resolution commending the Filipino peacekeepers stationed at the Golan Heights for exhibiting bravery and resolve during a tense standoff against Syrian rebels.

Senate Resolutions 876, taking in consideration Senate Resolutions 877, 881 and 899, introduced by Senators Manuel “Lito” Lapid, Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino IV, Teofisto “TG” Guingona III and Antonio “Sonny Trillanes IV lauded the “extraordinary valor” shown by the Filipino peacekeepers.”

According to the resolutions, the Filipino peacekeepers, together with the United Nations peacekeeping force, have been stationed in Golan Heights since 1974 to monitor a ceasefire between Israel and Syria.

Of the 331-strong Filipino contingent serving as part of the United Nations Disengagement Force in the Golan Heights, 75 were encamped at the region’s Positions 68 and 69.    

On August 28, 2014, Syrian rebels surrounded the two encampments and demanded that the Filipino peacekeepers surrender their firearms. Filipino peacekeepers refused, resulting in a standoff.

On August 30, 2014, 40 Filipino soldiers valiantly held their ground as around 100 rebels attacked Position 68 while 35 Filipino peacekeepers from Position 69 managed to leave their encampment with Irish peacekeepers securing their escape route. At midnight of the same day, the 40 Filipino soldiers from Position 68 also managed to flee, walking 2.3 kilometers to safety, as the rebels slept.

“Our Filipino peacekeepers exhibited extraordinary valor above and beyond their call of duty, demonstrating once again that Filipinos are among the bravest peacekeepers in the world,” Sen. Guingona said.

“Our soldiers’ brave front only proves that Filipinos will not back down from any challenge that we face,” said Senator Bam Aquino, who dubbed the Filipino peacekeepers as the new “action heroes of the world” for their bravery and resolve during a standoff with Syrian rebels in Golan Heights.

Young Ilocano artists honor FEM in ‘Makoy Literary and Arts Contest’

Young Ilocano artists enlivened the centennial arena stage as they battled and showcased their skills and talents in the Makoy Literary and Art Contest on September 12, 2014.

The competition held annually is part of the week-long celebration of the 97th birth anniversary of Ilocos Norte’s favorite son Ferdinand Edralin Marcos, fondly known in Ilocos as “Apo Makoy”.

Spearheaded by the Provincial Education Office and Sirib Youth Office, various contests included ‘Kalesart’ exhibit, Ferdie and Imelda sing-a-like and look-alike contest, creative storytelling, quiz bee, and group singing contest.

The ‘Kalesart’ exhibit featured uniquely-designed kalesas with Apo Makoy and Ilocos Norte’s famous icons such as the Paoay Church, Bangui Windmills and Burgos Lighthouse.

The sing-a-like and look-alike contest was a search for singing partners in their Ferdie and Imelda get-ups performing Ilocano and Tagalog love songs.

Elementary pupils creatively retold stories based on “The Real Makoy,” a documentary film featuring Ferdinand Marcos life stories from childhood to presidency, on the Creative Story Telling Contest.

The quiz show on the other hand, tested the knowledge of high school students on Ilocos Norte history and Marcos biography in a three-round competition.

The group singing contest transported the audience into the 70’s and 80’s eras as they perform the decades’ hit songs—such as Sharon Cuneta’s Sana’y Wala Nang Wakas, Juan Dela Cruz’s No Touch, VST & Company’s Awitin Mo at Isasayaw Ko and Annie Batumbakal—in a medley form. (PGIN)

Malacañang assures help for typhoon Mario victims in Ilocos Norte

Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos meets DILG Sec. Mar Roxas at the Ilocos Norte Provincial Capitol (Lei Adriano)
By Leilanie G. Adriano
Staff reporter

Laoag City—Touching down at the Laoag International Airport on Sept. 22, Dept. of Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas along with Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda, Rep. Rodolfo Farinas  (1st district, Ilocos Norte) and party arrived in the province to assure Ilocanos help is on the way to fast track recovery of typhoon victims in the province.

In a briefing held at the Ilocos Norte Capitol attended by department heads and various local and national government agencies including Ilocos Sur Governor Ryan Luis V. Singson, Mr. Roxas said good coordination of both the national and local governments in times of disaster helped a lot in ensuring public safety and preparedness.

Responding to Ilocos Norte Governor Ma. Imelda “Imee” R. Marcos’ call for help, a C130 plane of the Philippine Air Force containing over 3,000 food packs from the national headquarters of the Department of Social Welfare and Development Office arrived in Laoag City earlier on the evening of Sept. 21 to assist about 6,698 families affected by typhoon.

Upon hearing the concerns of Ilocanos hard hit by typhoon Mario and aggravated by the southwest monsoon rains that flooded at least 4,541 houses, Mr. Roxas said the DSWD and the Dept. of Agriculture will provide immediate assistance in the form of cash-for-work and food-for-work program of the national government for the next three months including the release of certified seeds and fertilizer to affected farmers.
A PAF C130 plane touches down at the Laoag Int'l Airport bringing in relief goods. (Alaric Yanos) 
Also, homeowners of the 177 totally damaged houses will be given financial assistance pegged at P7,000 each and P5,000 each for the at least 195 partially damaged houses.

Ms. Marcos and Mr., Singson likewise appealed to the national government to immediately release their provinces’ share of RA 7171 or the tobacco excise tax  for the repair and rehabilitation of long time dilapidated irrigation systems and dams of Ilocos Norte.

So far, only 38 percent of the two cities and 21 municipalities remain energized as it may take at least four more days for linemen of the Ilocos Norte Electric Cooperative to fully energize the whole province.  

With the help of Ilocanos here and abroad jointly with the national government and attached agencies, Ms. Marcos said: “Early recovery is possible at least in the province of Ilocos Norte.”

Meanwhile, in Ilocos Sur Mr. Singson said at least 14 of their upland towns remain isolated as of press time and reports of partial damages have risen over P82 million in agriculture. 

He said estimated worth of damages may get worse by doubling or tripling the amount of initial reported damages as they have yet to receive reports from the isolated  barangays in Ilocos Sur.  

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Another solar power plant eyed in Burgos

By Leilanie G. Adriano
Staff reporter

Burgos, Ilocos Norte—Following the installation of additional 21 wind turbines in this windy town of Ilocos Norte, Energy Development Corp. (EDC), the geothermal power company of the Lopez Group is again exploring the possibility of setting up a solar project here.

Burgos Mayor Cresente Garcia said a public hearing was recently conducted among concerned stakeholders for the proposed solar power project at Brgy. Saoit.

As of press time, the proposed solar farm is currently being reviewed by the municipal council if it would be feasible to allow the same company to lay down solar panels in a private lot without causing any significant damage to the environment.

In support of the national government’s priority agenda to provide clean and affordable energy to Filipinos under the National Renewable Energy Program (NREP) also known as the “Green Energy Roadmap of the Philippines, the provincial government leads the way in hosting various renewable energy projects, thus increasing more investors’ confidence to expand their business here.

This time, the EDC is set to diversify its investment through its proposed solar project.

After increasing the Burgos wind project’s total generating capacity to 150 MW from 87 MW, the largest wind farm in the Philippines is set to commence this October, according to the Department of Energy.

In Currimao town, the DENR has also recently approved a 60-hectare forestland for solar energy development in Barangays Bimmanga and Salindeg-Paguludan.

The Aquino administration has provided a roadmap to promoting renewable energy by harnessing the potential of each renewable energy resource from geothermal, hydropower, biomass, solar, wind and ocean.

Soon, Ilocos Norte hopes to realize its vision to become the best little province in the country and become the Center for Renewable Energy in Southeast Asia for having working windmills, solar power and geothermal plants.

Wednesday morning amnesty for illegal aliens?

President Obama announced on Saturday that he plans to put off executive action on immigration until after the midterm elections on Tuesday, November 4. “Executive action” means the President will enact immigration rules and regulations by himself without congressional action.

So on Wednesday morning, November 5, expect the President to unveil (unleash?) his “executive action”. Many believe that he will grant amnesty to the estimated 12 million illegal aliens in the United States. Of course he will not call it “amnesty”. That word generates strong negative reaction from law abiding citizens. He will probably call it “path to citizenship,” or “deferred action for humanitarian reasons” or something palatable.

Why will the President do that? Politics. Imagine 12 million new Democratic voters. The Democrats will control the country.

Why is the President postponing his “executive action”? Politics. If he does it before the November midterm elections, the majority of the American people who are against amnesty will be so angry that they will go to the polls to vote against the Democratic senatorial candidates. Republicans will thus win at least 6 senatorial seats thereby enabling them to control the Senate.

Can the president grant amnesty to illegal aliens? This President can do anything he wants. Who can challenge him? He has already demonstrated the power of “executive action” in the field of immigration when, after Congress refused to grant amnesty to children brought here illegally by their parents, he told his underlings to create a program called “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals” (DACA), thereby defying congressional will. Under DACA such children can remain in the United States, get work permits, study, get driver’s licenses, Obamacare and welfare benefits, and do everything that a lawful permanent resident can do. The President’s backers call it “prosecutorial discretion”. Under this theory, the prosecutor, in this case the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), can exercise its discretion whether or not to prosecute or deport such illegal aliens. But prosecutorial discretion is to be exercised on a case by case basis based on national interest and on the equities presented by the alien, not on a wholesale basis. In DACA, prosecutorial discretion was exercised on a wholesale basis. That is abuse of discretion.

If the president uses the DACA model to give “amnesty” to the 12 million illegal aliens, they will not be deported but will also be given work permits, Obamacare benefits, welfare benefits, driver’s licenses, and enjoy other benefits that lawful permanent residents have. If you have all those things, who cares about status, who cares about citizenship?

If that happens, woe unto the Filipinos, especially in Hawaii who are working in such jobs as hotel housekeepers, landscapers, and in similar jobs. The amnestied aliens will swarm Hawaii with its good weather and beautiful scenery and compete with them. Employers are likely to hire these amnestied aliens because they will accept lower pay.

If I were president (I am not going to say “If I were Obama” because I do not want to be like Obama), and I really cared about immigrants, especially those who abide by the law, like most Filipinos, I would—

—allow the over-aged children of lawful immigrants to enjoy the same priority date as their parents and immigrate with them to the United States.

—allow beneficiaries of approved immigrant visa petitions who are waiting for the availability of their visa numbers (many for over 20 years) to come to the United States as non- immigrants and wait for their immigrant visas to become available.

—include the Philippines in the visa waiver program so that Filipinos can come to the United States without a visa for six months, visit relatives and friends, see the United States, spend money and improve the economy.

But as pointed out by a Filipino habitué at the daily “kapihan” at Jack in the Box in Honolulu, the Obama administration seems to care more about illegal aliens than legal immigrants.

(Atty. Tipon has a Master of Laws degree from Yale Law School and a Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of the Philippines. He specializes in immigration law and criminal defense. Office: 800 Bethel St., Suite 402, Honolulu, HI 96813. Tel. (808) 225-2645. E-Mail: filamlaw@yahoo.com. Websites:  www.MilitaryandCriminalLaw.com. He is from Laoag City and Magsingal, Ilocos Sur. He served as an Immigration Officer. He is co-author of “Immigration Law Service, 1st ed.,” an 8-volume practice guide for immigration officers and lawyers. Listen to the most funny, interesting, and useful radio program in Hawaii on KNDI at 1270 AM dial every Thursday at 7:30 a.m. This article is a general overview of the subject matter discussed and is not intended as legal advice. No attorney-client relationship is established between the writer and readers relying upon and/or acting pursuant to the contents of this article.) 

800 Ilocano farmers get crop insurance

Farm land devastated by a typhoon (IT file photo)
By Leilanie G. Adriano
Staff reporter

Laoag City—At least 800 Ilocano farmers will be selected as beneficiaries of a crop insurance the government grants to protect farmers from the impacts of climate change.

According to provincial agriculturist Norma Lagmay, Ilocos Norte, which has been frequently hit by typhoon in this part of Luzon has been included in the more than P1 billion fund the Department of Budget and Management released as financial assistance to farmers around the country.

Ms. Lagmay said the beneficiaries of the program have yet to be identified by the department.

The government’s crop insurance program is meant to help farmers cope with financial losses once hit by typhoon and other natural calamities.

A crop insurance is a risk management tool, enabling farmers to become more resilient and continue production despite severe weather and other challenges that impact their business.

Since 1982 up to this date, the Philippine Crop Insurance Corp. (PCIC) has recorded many catastrophic typhoons, floods, droughts, plant diseases and pests that wreaked havoc on food crops, resulting to multi-billion losses in the agriculture industry.

Early last year, the Department of Agrarian Reform has also entered into a partnership with the Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation (PCIC) to insure Ilocos Norte land reform beneficiaries against crop damage or losses.

Like the Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries-Agricultural Insurance Program, farmers are also protected against losses due to pest and disease infestations, natural calamities and extreme weather conditions brought about by climate change.

The program has accounted for a P17.1 billion crop insurance coverage plan between the DAR and PCIC, an  agency of the Department of Agriculture, in which the DAR provides a premium subsidy worth P1 billion.

The P1.5 million in indemnity payments were made to farmers covering 21 municipalities and two cities of Ilocos Norte where some 900 hectares of un-milled rice were destroyed by typhoons.

FM's 97th birth anniversary celebration

FM’S 97TH BIRTH ANNIVERSARY. In celebration of the 97th birth anniversary of President Ferdinand E. Marcos, a mass was held September 11, 2014 in Sta. Monica Church, Sarrat, Ilocos Norte attended by the Marcos Family and friends, local chief executives and local parishioners. The late President Marcos was born in Sarrat. (Alaric A. Yanos)

Da Real Makoy Concert featuring Rocksteddy held in celebration of the 97th birth anniversary of the late President Ferdinand E. Marcos on September 11, 2014 at the Ilocos Norte Centennial Arena in Laoag City. (Alaric A. Yanos)

Piddig gov’t programs, services go on air

Piddig FM station

By Leilanie G. Adriano
Staff reporter

Piddig, Ilocos Norte—The local government unit of Piddig is set to operate a new FM station located in a cubicle at the second floor of its newly-inaugurated municipal building.

Citing the importance of fast and reliable communication particularly in times of natural calamities, Piddig Mayor Eduardo “Eddie” Guillen said his administration initiated the establishment of an FM radio station to provide better and faster delivery of programs and services to its constituents.

“We have so many on-going projects and programs in the municipality. So, we thought of putting up our own radio station to facilitate faster information dissemination drive especially when there is typhoon warning and the public needs to be alerted,” he said.

As of this posting, the government-run 105.1-DWCN FM station is the first to be set up by a local government unit in Ilocos Norte covering a 40-kilometer radius which may also reach parts of the neighboring towns of Carasi, Solsona and Batac.

After securing the necessary permits and business license, the Piddig FM station will operate soon.

Reality check

Next door Hong Kong is, for many Filipinos, a shopping excuse that is just a two hours flight away.

But the decision by China to restrict voting reforms for the former Crown colony set back the cause of free democratic elections. Effects will ripple out beyond those shopping malls.

The National People’s Congress Standing Committee  decision drew battle lines in what pro-democracy groups  say is  a deepening confrontation over Hong Kong’s  political future—and of China, the New York Times notes.

It clamped procedural barriers on candidates for the city’s leader’s post. These would ensure Beijing remained the gatekeeper to that position—and to political power over the city.

What does that mean for those next door to Hong Kong, specially the Asean countries?

The move shuts off dissent. Under President Xi Jinping, China is pressing its offensive in Hong Kong, “Beijing has chosen a showdown with a protest movement unlike any it has ever faced on the mainland.”

Protestors assert that the curbs set by Beijing for selection of the chief executive, made a mockery of the “one person, one vote” principle that had been promised to Hong Kong.

“After having lied to Hong Kong people for so many years, it finally revealed itself,” said Alan Leong, a pro-democracy legislator. “Hong Kong people are right to feel betrayed. “

“We are no longer willing to be docile subjects,” added Benny Tai, a co-founder of Occupy Central and an associate professor of law at the University of Hong Kong. “Our hope is Hong Kong has entered a new era, an era of civil disobedience.”

Perhaps, one of the more   insightful commentators is the British Broadcasting Corporation’s China editor: Carrie Gracie. Here is a recap of her take on the issue:

“The Chinese government decided that facing down a campaign of civil disobedience, in the short term, is preferable to allowing Hong Kong a political process which might create meaningful challenges to its own authority in the long term.

Beijing left no room for compromise. It insisted all candidates must secure more than 50% support from a nominating body it controls.

This unyielding line is part of a wider political picture.  Under the leadership of Xi Jinping, China itself moved further against any suggestion of democratic reform. The Communist Party today is ever more entrenched in its monopoly on power.

Hong Kong remains the only place where Chinese citizens can criticize the one party-state or commemorate the Tiananmen democracy protests of 1989.  Free speech and freedom of assembly in the former British colony already stretch Beijing's patience thin.

Still, it seeks to avoid appearances of   reneging from the promise of direct elections in 2017. But it decided—not to risk the emergence of a leader who might confront its own interests outright.

This is the way the Chinese government prefers to do its politics.  Beijing espouses market competition in some areas of the economy, it wishes to send a message throughout China that no such principle should apply in politics.

Thus, a familiar defensive—and xenophobic—strain is emerging in the Chinese narrative surrounding the Hong Kong issue.

An article in the Communist People's Daily said that some in Hong Kong were colluding with outside forces. “Not only are they undermining Hong Kong's stability and development, but they're also attempting to turn Hong Kong into a bridgehead for subverting and infiltrating the Chinese mainland.”

It's hard to assess how many people in Hong Kong or elsewhere in China actually believe this. Many argue instead that Hong Kong's success has been built on its cosmopolitan society and international focus.

The Hong Kong government has thrown in its lot with Beijing. Chief Executive Leung Chun-Ying said, “Mainstream Hong Kong society” agreed with Beijing on how electoral reform should proceed.

In the opposing camp, the Occupy Central movement has warned the battle for hearts and minds will now begin in earnest. “By refusing to trust the voters of Hong Kong to make free choices, Beijing may now have triggered the emergence of the “chaotic society” it was so keen to avoid, Gracie thinks.

The Hong Kong protest movement plans to launch a civil-disobedience campaign in October 1 to protest Beijing's decision.  Some shaved their heads as a pledge to non-violent resistance

This coincides with the weeklong holiday around China's National Day on Oct. 1—traditionally one of the biggest shopping weeks of the year in Hong Kong, when a lot of mainlanders visit the city.

Wall Street Journal, however, tracked “a loss of momentum following   announcement of the Chinese decision on Aug. 31. This is proving to be a reality check for a movement that has tried to rally a city focused on stability and whose bottom line is: What is in it for us?”

Shoppers can buy anything in Hong Kong. Well, almost anything—except freedom.

Friday, September 26, 2014

St. Nicolas De Tolentino Feast Day free medical, dental mission

Hundreds of San Nicolenses availed of the free medical-dental and mobile bloodletting activity conducted by the San Nicolas municipal government headed by Mayor Dr. Melanie Grace Valdez and Vice Mayor Dr. Alfredo P. Valdez Jr. in cooperation with the San Nicolas Parish Church. The mission was held at the F.E. Marcos Mini Cultural Center on September 7, 2014. (Doms dela Cruz)

Out of the box

OUT OF NOWHERE, this tiny third class municipality famously known for the Basi Revolt during the Spanish era has been making a lot of noise lately.

It first surprised the province by starting a coffee plantation with an eye on at least making a dent in the highly profitable coffee market in the country. With a 10-hectare plantation being planned and which would be implemented as public-private partnership, the Piddig municipal government, through Mayor Eduardo Guillen, has also entered into a supply agreement with a coffee corporation or the establishment of a modern coffee plantation and later on a milling center to supply quality grade coffee to at least 200 supermarkets and 150 hotels and restaurants in the Philippines, Canada and the United States.

Aside from this, the municipal government, through Mayor Eduardo G. Guillen, is now also implementing an honest-to-goodness health care system that looks after their poorest constituents from birth to burial. And according to the mayor, the health care package is actually available to all Piddig residents as the municipal government has deposited an amount at Mariano Marcos Memorial Hospital in Batac for all concerned to be admitted at the hospital without question.

In a rare exclusive interview with The Ilocos Times, Mr. Guillen stressed that the progress of a municipality—or a city, province or country for that matter—lies on a healthy population; once they are no longer worried about getting ill, they can then focus on being very productive and this would drive growth.

The mayor added that all developed countries had to improve their agriculture first before they can reach industrialized status. And this is the blueprint he wishes to implement in his tiny municipality. For this reason, the municipal government is leaving no stones unturned as they attempt to boost agriculture productivity in the town by providing all the basic needs for farmers from water, fertilizer, seeds and the motivation to improve their skills and thus their productivity.

Piddig may be just a small municipality, but as their mayor emphasized they dare to dream big. But not to be seen as trying to overreach, the idea is to dream big so that even if they unfortunately fail, they would still have achieved a lot.

As in history, success comes to those who dream—and dare. And as this tiny municipality led by an inspiring local chief executive moves to grasp their dream, we can only hope that they achieve all their aims and goals not only for themselves but also for the whole province to see, hear and understand that all things—big and small—come from having a vision and the pure motivation to achieve them.

Congress receives Bangsamoro Basic Law draft

President Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III watches as Senate President Franklin M. Drilon receives the official draft of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) from Bangsamoro Transition Commission Chairman Mohagher Iqbal during the turnover ceremony at Rizal Hall in the Malacañang Palace on September 10, 2014. Also joining the ceremony are House Speaker Feliciano M. Belmonte Jr. and Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Secretary Teresita Quintos-Deles. (Photo by Rey Baniquet/NIB/Malacañang Photo Bureau)

PGIN sheep dispersal

A total of 105 sheep were loaned to 80 recipients coming from the municipalities of Marcos, Banna, Vintar, Bacarra and Currimao on September 4, 2014. The animal raisers will return the first offspring of the lamb to the Provincial Government of Ilocos Norte in order for it to be awarded to a new batch of recipients. (Alaric A. Yanos)

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

All set for SK registration in LC

By Dominic B. dela Cruz
Staff reporter

Laoag City—The Laoag Commission on Elections office announced that they are now ready for the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) registration scheduled on Sept. 20-29, 2014 in preparation for the Feb. 21, 2015 SK elections.

City elections officer Flordelina Gagarin made the announcement as her office received Comelec Resolution No. 9791 which officially reschedules the SK elections to February next year.

The resolution also specifies that the last day to post notice of hearing of applications for registration will be on Oct. 6, 2014 while the last day to file opposition to applications will be on Oct. 13, 2014.

The Election Registration Board (ERB) has also set for a hearing to approve or disapprove applications for registration on Oct. 20, 2014.

Ms. Gagarin said all eligible SK voters who already filed their registration last July 22-July 31, 2013 need not register anew, unless they turned 18 years of age on or before February 21, 2015, wherein their names will be deleted in the existing SK lists.

She said SK member who are qualified to vote must be from the age of 15-17 on or before February 21, 2015.

Ms. Gagarin said her office personnel will be divided into two on the said registration dates because of their other activities going to barangays for the biometrics for the old and existing voters in preparation also for the 2016 local and national elections.

With these two major activities of the Comelec, Ms. Gagarin appealed to the public for understanding since they are very few. However, she promised that all the concerns will all be taken and acted on well.

In a random interview of students with the ages of 15-16, they expressed their agreement with regards to SK elections because according to them, they also have the right and privilege to express their thoughts and knowledge for the betterment of their fellow youth.

They added that the latest resolution is indeed the first step to once again voice out what the youth want towards nation-building.

Reacting to this, Laoag councilor Joseph H. Tamayo also favored the conduct of SK elections, however, it should be studied very well.

Mr. Tamayo said that the 15-17 years old qualification for SK would still prioritize their studies and that their roles as SK officials might be disregarded.

In view of this, Mr. Tamayo recommends a higher age qualification to have a more responsible leader and who has more time to attend to his responsibilities public servant.    

Meanwhile, Ms. Gagarin announced that only 23 percent of entire Laoag voting population remains to undergo their biometrics submission.

“This is the reason why our office go out to the different barangays in time for the Agserbi 24/7 program of the city government giving service closer to the people especially those who has no time to go to the Comelec Office due to a lot of household chores hoping it will be 100 percent completed before the year ends,” Gagarin said.

Relative to this, Ms. Gagarin also appealed to the barangay officials to help disseminate to their constituents regarding the biometrics so that problems would not arise during the election.

Batac set to adopt public solicitation law

By Dominic B. dela Cruz
Staff reporter

Batac City—The city government here is set to adopt and strictly implement Presidential Decree 1564, or the ‘Public Solicitation Law’.

Batac councilor Florencio P. Laud, who sponsored the measure said the implementation will also include Administrative Order No. 14 series of 2007 by the Dept. of Social Work and Development. or the revised rules and regulations on public solicitation.

Mr. Laud, who chairs the social services committee of the Batac council, said the resolution aims to regulate the solicitation activities conducted by individuals, groups, organizations, corporations and associations and to promote transparency and accountability that solicited funds are purposely for charitable and public welfare.

Relative to this, the local government unit is the one responsible for issuing licenses and permits and suspend or revoke the same for any violation pursuant to law or ordinances enacted.

Mr. Laud said this was one of the main concerns on a consultation dialogue on the administrative order held April 25, 2014 at the DSWD regional office attended by provincial, city and municipal social welfare and development officers which is the need to intensify the strict implementation of PD 1564 and AO 14 series of 2007.

Under the city and municipal level, Mr. Laud said fund raising activities with charitable purposes shall adapt provisions like the documentary requirements as basis for the issuance of the permit.

It also includes the processing fee in the amount of P500 and fund proceeds with 15 percent to be utilized for the administrative cost and 85 percent shall be utilized entirely for the projects/programs for the targeted beneficiaries.

Relative to this, Mr. Laud hopes that the people will be reminded that permits and licenses are strictly needed in case of solicitations as well as fund raising activities for legal purposes from the DSWD.

After the said activity, there is also a need to submit the financial statement which is not being followed in order to determine what projects they would fund from their solicited amount.

However, Mr. Laud said that simple solicitations like voluntary contributions are exempted from the rules as part of their social obligations especially for public officials.

Sustainable development of Small Island Developing States a global litmus test

We want more than just survival. We strive for sustainable development—FAO Director General at SIDS Summit in Samoa 

Apia, Samoa/Rome—Coping with climate change should be seen as more than just a question of survival for small island countries - the international community should view it as a challenge to take unified action and notch up efforts to shift to a sustainable model of development, FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva said Sept. 3.

“Climate change is happening before our eyes. Rising sea levels, higher air and sea surface temperatures, and changing rainfall patterns are affecting countries worldwide. But there is no doubt that Small Island Developing States (SIDS) are more vulnerable,” the FAO chief said during remarks delivered at the 3rd International UN Conference on SIDS in Apia, Samoa (1-4 September).

Climate change has particularly profound implications for the development of SIDS, affecting their food security, livelihoods, and economies, he noted.

Long-term thinking and a more holistic approach are necessary, said Graziano da Silva, explaining: “To ensure food security you cannot simply give a person bread. You need to help him produce food; you need to adapt to climate change; you need to ensure him access, including by social protection; you need to ensure a diversified diet that guarantees adequate nutrition.”

SIDS are a group of island countries, mostly from the Pacific, Caribbean, Atlantic and Indian Ocean regions that, while diverse, face similar development challenges. These include small populations, limited resources, susceptibility to natural disasters, vulnerability to external shocks and a high level of dependence on international trade.

The growth and development of SIDS is often further hampered by high transportation and communications costs, expensive public administration and infrastructure, and limited opportunities to create economies of scale.

SIDS also struggle with a spectrum of malnutrition-related challenges, ranging from undernourishment to obesity, Graziano da Silva added, noting that according to the World Health Organization (WHO), nine out of the 10 countries with the highest female obesity rates are Small Island Developing States.

Tackling nutrition issues in the developing world will feature front and center during discussions this coming November at the 2nd International Conference on Nutrition (ICN2), being convened by FAO and WHO in Rome (19th-21st).

Areas for action
Graziano da Silva highlighted three key fronts where action is needed to promote greater resilience and sustainable development in SIDS:

Helping them improve their management and use of natural resources; boosting local food production and building local and regional consumption circuits; and strengthening the resilience of communities in the face of natural disasters and emerging climate-related challenges

FAO's contribution
FAO is working with governments and other partners to promote resilience and sustainable development in SIDS on a number of fronts.

Over the past two years, the Organization has invested over $40 million to support SIDS in their efforts to tackle issues related to food and nutrition security, agriculture, fisheries, forestry and natural resources management.

In the Caribbean, the Organization is supporting the development and implementation of resilience-building and disaster risk reduction plans.

In the Pacific, FAO is actively support the Food Security and Sustainable Livelihoods Program being developed by countries of the region.

And through its new Blue Growth Initiative, FAO is helping Small Island Developing States around the planet sustainably use their aquatic resources to advance food security, better nutrition, and poverty reduction.