Palawan News August 2016

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Palawan - Archived News

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Dietary supplement is a product that contains vitamins, minerals, herbs or other botanicals, amino acids, enzymes, and/or other ingredients intended to supplement the diet. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has special labeling requirements for dietary supplements and treats them as foods, not drugs.

Manufacturers and distributors of dietary supplements and dietary ingredients are prohibited from marketing products that are adulterated or misbranded. That means that these firms are responsible for evaluating the safety and labeling of their products before marketing to ensure that they meet all the requirements of DSHEA and FDA regulations.

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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

Wars of ancient history were about possessions, territory, power, control, family, betrayal, lover's quarrel, politics and sometimes religion.

But we are in the Modern era and supposedly more educated and enlightened .

Think about this. Don't just brush off these questions.

  • Why is RELIGION still involved in WARS? Isn't religion supposed to be about PEACE?
  • Ask yourself; What religion always campaign to have its religious laws be accepted as government laws, always involved in wars and consistently causing WARS, yet insists that it's a religion of peace?


There are only two kinds of people who teach tolerance:
  1. The Bullies. They want you to tolerate them so they can continue to maliciously deprive you. Do not believe these bullies teaching tolerance, saying that it’s the path to prevent hatred and prejudice.
  2. The victims who are waiting for the right moment to retaliate. They can’t win yet, so they tolerate.
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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

Gov’t launches "BROWN4good" Challenge in Palawan

By Alliae Alexie Garcia

Through a program held at Palawan State University’s Gymnasium on Tuesday, August 30, the Department of Agriculture launched in Palawan the #BROWN4good Challenge, a RICEponsible advocacy campaign that aims to boost the economy and production of brown rice in the country. The said campaign primarily aims to help the country’s local farmers, and Philippine society as well.

Participants from different schools were encouraged to support DA’s campaign by joining the #BROWN4good Challenge, a social media-anchored activity that runs from August 28- October 21, 2016. Celebrity Erika Padilla of GMA Network, who graced the event, provided the challenge’s mechanics: “a participant is asked to take a photo of a cooked brown rice and to post it in social media sites (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) with the caption #BROWN4good and #region4MiMaRoPa, along with tagging one’s friends.”

Dr. Marissa Romero of the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PRRI) provided four reasons why people should eat brown rice: 1) It is rich in vitamins and minerals rather than polished rice, 2) It increases rice production 3) It helps in increasing the income of the farmers and, 4) every time a participant joins, he/she can feed the lowly.

Another celebrity who joined the event, actor Mikael Daez, led the participants in reciting the “Panatang Makapalay” to show support for DA’s campaign; participants also received packs of rice, shirts and prizes from the said event

Palawan to host Mimaropa sports competition

By Robert A. Evora

SABLAYAN, Occidental Mindoro—The municipal government has questioned the authority given by Department of Education (DepEd) to provincial governors to approve the hosting of regional sports competitions.

This cropped up as Occidental Mindoro Gov. Mario Gene Mendiola disapproved the hosting by Siblayan of the Mimaropa Regional Athletic Association (Mimaropa RAA) sports meet scheduled in February 2017 despite official endorsements from the DepEd and other government agencies.

The DepEd, through Regional Director Dig Digno and Occidental Mindoro schools division superintendent of Danilo Roxas, formally invited the Sablayan local government to participate in the bidding after it was validated by the former as qualified to host the annual regional sports event.

But at the eleventh hour of the bidding with its rival town, Brooke’s Point, of Palawan, Roxas announced that “with the absence of Governor Mendiola’s endorsement, and even if Sablayan wins the bidding, my hands are somewhat tied.”

In his letter to Digno, Mendiola stressed that “there is a need first for ample time for discussion with authorities before the provincial government could endorse the bid to the department.”

The DepEd policy states that hosting by any municipality in any province requires first the endorsement of its governor to ensure that the “whole province is indeed in support of the activity, so that not only the host municipality will be disrupted by the activity.” It also requires, Digno said, that the letter of intent be endorsed by the provincial governor.

Councilor Walter Marquez, however, questioned the DepEd policy. “If the provincial governor has the crucial and final approval of the province’s hosting, why was the invitation to bid not directly addressed by DepEd to the province’s officials?” he asked.

Owing to political bickering, Occidental Mindoro has not hosted a regional sports event since 1971 or 45 years ago. Palawan province has been successively hosting the Mimaropa RAA because of the active participation and cooperation of its leaders regardless of their political affiliations, they said.

Mendiola heads the local Liberal Party while Sablayan Mayor Eduardo Gadiano heads the ruling PDP-Laban, the political party of President Rodrigo Duterte.

Marquez also asked “why the bid of any municipality can be superseded by the sole decision of the governor where in fact the bidding and all the preparations, especially budgetary requirements, are already on their way.”

Gadiano was also appalled by the “unpredictable change of mind” of Mendiola since the local government unit (LGU) is already preparing to host the games.

“The construction of an Olympic-sized swimming pool costing P20 million to be shouldered by us is about to start this September. It will be fully completed in time for the start of the 2017 sports meet,” he said.

As part of its preparation, the Sablayan LGU, Gadiano said, will also give incentives to student-athletes and other delegates from five island provinces and two cities of Mimaropa. These incentives are free five sacks of rice, free transportation within the municipality, and free sightseeing tours within the duration of the regional sports meet.

“The provincial government has a budget of P8-million for the athletic event and Sablayan can provide a counterpart amount. Or we can shoulder it wholly even without the provincial government’s financial support,” Mayor Gadiano said.

Sablayan municipality is a first class agricultural municipality of Occidental Mindoro with an annual internal revenue allotment (IRA) of P442,468,122, not to mention its local income. It is the country’s, or probably Southeast Asia’s, largest municipality for having a land area almost thrice that of Cavite province.

Even Mendiola himself in the 2015 provincial sports meet attended by delegates from 11 Occidental Mindoro municipalities announced during its opening ceremony that “the 2017 Mimaropa regional sports meet will certainly be held here in Sablayan.”

Gadiano said he “cannot understand the sudden change of mind of our governor. This is so because we lost this much-awaited opportunity” to show the outside world what Sablayan can offer.

He added that by hosting the regional sports event, they can tour the students around Apo Reef Natural Park, acknowledged as a World Heritage Park; the Mt. Siburan Forest, the last refuge of endangered birds and other wildlife and fauna; the Mt. Iglit-Mt. Baco Tamaraw Reservation, the only one in the world; the world-famous Sablayan Zipline, the longest island-to-island zipline; and even the 9,000-hectare Sablayan Penal Farm.

The municipal mayor also criticized the provincial governor for “depriving the youth of the province the chance to experience various sports events very necessary to discipline them as future leaders of our country.”

HIV, maternal mortality rate, teen pregnancy still high in Palawan – health advocates

By Catherine Santos

If health professionals were to be asked, addressing reproductive health issues continue to be a challenge in Palawan. In a press conference held today, August 26, health advocates discussed the remaining issues that the province faces in terms of reproductive health problems such as maternal mortality rate, under-nutrition, teen-age pregnancy and HIV infection. According to the participants, the number of cases for these issues remain high.

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Mary Ann Navarro said the solution is the full implementation of the Reproductive Health Law, commonly referred to as RH Law. Navarro lamented, however, that the law has barely reached half implementation in Palawan. “Kaya lang hindi pa tayo nangangalahati. Madami pang component ang hindi talaga nabibigyan ng pansin kahit batas na,” she said. She remains optimistic, nonetheless, adding that, “Ang maganda naman, paunti-unti nasisimulan na.”

Navarro’s view was echoed by Amina Swanepoel of NGO group Roots of Health. According to her, “Napakalayo pa ng RPRH into full-blown implementation. Kasi yung dalawang mahalagang component, wala pa eh.” Swanepoel referred to the availability of commodities (contraceptives) for all women and comprehensive sex education, both of which are still facing challenges. Rural health centers in the province are still challenged by accessibility, while the inclusion of sex education in DepEd’s K-12 curriculum still faces budget constraints in terms of teacher training.

Implementing the RH Law also continues to be undermined by different political views. Board Member Eduardo Modesto Rodriguez, author of the ordinance that created the Provincial Family Health Council, said that it is indeed challenging on his part to push for RH in the Board because of conflicting opinions among the province’s government leaders. Navarro shared Rodriguez’ sentiments, who said that even at the municipal level implementing the law is restrained by leaders who have opposing views. “Halos kalahati ng mga mayors, hindi suportado ang RH,” Navarro said.

Even at the ‘moral’ front, implementing the RH law remains challenged. This was stressed out by Dr. Ronaldo Santos, a medical consultant and specialist on the bioethics of contraception, who discussed the challenge in dealing with RH problems based on a moral perspective. Emphasizing that he respects the stand of the Church against RPRH, Santos explained that the ultimate decision-maker should be the couples, particularly on whether to follow a natural or artificial family planning method. “They (the Church) are just doing it according to their conscience. Kami din naman. Kumbaga, walang basagan ng konsensya,” he added.

In a statement, Gerardo Andamo, Executive Director of Health Action Information Network, said that the Duterte Health Agenda calls for zero unmet needs in the next six years. The province hopes to show significance compliance to the national government’s call by strengthening the local health sector and improving reproductive health in the province.

Captivated by Coron

By Claire Marie Algarme

PALAWAN cannot be described in a single page. There is so much to see and talk about that I have to depict its beauty piece by piece. Let’s start with Coron, found in the northern part of Palawan. I had the opportunity to explore its exquisite beauty six years back and the memory of its lush surroundings and breathtaking landscape still lingers in my mind. Typhoon Haiyan has already ravaged this part of the province but Coron has risen from the challenge.

Overlooking the Bay

There were about 720 steps to climb before we reached the peak of Mt. Tapyas where a huge white cross stood tall. The steps were even paved and there were handles on both sides where one can hold on to. Still, I was running out of breath as I got somewhere in the middle of the climb. The reward was spectacular though – the magnificent view of the bay, including the rugged peaks of what they call as the sleeping giant.

It was a good prelude to our Coron adventure because during our island hopping, we had to do another climb to get to Kayangan Lake, tucked inside an island. Going back to our boat, we needed to climb the same steep barrier, which divides the lake from the bay, to enjoy the beautiful scenery of Kayangan Bay that has always been a postcard symbol of Coron.

Around Calamian Islands and Into The Wild

Hopping from island to island is a must when you are in Coron, which is part of the Calamian archipelago. Islands that were practically deserted had a different kind of charm that rendered us breathless. The beaches of Banol, CYC, Black Island, and Calumboyan welcomed us in their bosoms where we floated at sea and relished on the fresh air and natural beauty of the surroundings while time seemed to have stood still.

One particular island we ventured into was Calauit. It is a wildlife sanctuary where zebras, giraffes, and other animals roam freely in its savannah. Some animals that are considered dangerous were placed in certain portions for safekeeping. It was a fun experience to explore certain areas of Calauit inside a caged jeepney while the animals were out in the open.

Under the Sea

A garden of corals of various shapes, colors and sizes was really a sight to behold. Fishes and other sea creatures played with us as we snorkeled in certain parts of Coron Bay. Sunken ships and Japanese war wrecks can also be found undersea, which have been transformed into a home for various marine species.

Yet, the best part was when we were snorkeling and we saw sea turtles also swimming in the area. It was a beautiful experience seeing them in their natural habitat, enjoying life as we did. Palawan is truly a paradise. Let’s explore Puerto Princesa in my next column.

TESDA training for drug returnees to kick off in Palawan

By Catherine Santos

TESDA-Palawan, in collaboration with the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), the Department of Health and the Palawan Provincial Police Office, is ready to kick off a skills training for drug surrenderees in Palawan, said Provincial Director Renato Pantaleon in a press conference held today, August 25, as part of TESDA-Palawan’s 22nd anniversary celebration.

“May action plan na. Ii-endorse na lang sa region. And’yan ang PPSAT, may mga kurso na nakalatag sa Palawan,” Pantaleon explained. He also added that the courses to be offered are based on the choices of the potential beneficiaries and on the needs of the community. “Isa kasi sa ugat ng problema sa drugs ‘yung kahirapan, so, kaya magiging malaking tulong ang mga training na ito para sa kanila,” he underscored.

Regional Director Edwin Andoyo said that the large number of turn-ins will not be a problem for TESDA when it comes to accommodating their training. “May sapat tayong tao. May mga accredited private schools din tayo, fully-supported naman ‘yan ng TESDA so hindi problema,” he pointed out.

Pantaleon clarified, however, that not all of the surrenderees will be automatically enrolled in the program; TESDA will still rely on the endorsement of PNP and concerned agencies.

As of the latest records of Provincial PNP, there are 3,671 drug turn-ins in Palawan; 231 of them are pushers.

According to Deputy Director General Diosdado Padilla, “This skills training must be done soon. ‘Yun naman ang gusto ng Presidente (Duterte). Kung ano ang pangangailangan, gawin agad.” He clarified that the said TESDA program is not only for Palawan but for the whole country as well.

City Gov’t gives free passes to Underground River for ‘Alay sa Puerto 2016’

By Alliae Alexie Garcia

The Puerto Princesa Underground River (PPUR) Office is giving away free entrance passes to the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park (PPSRNP) for selected dates of September as part of the annual celebration of ‘Alay sa Puerto 2016’.

Booking arrangements for the free passes is currently being held at the PPUR Office in the City Coliseum and is running from August 22 to 26. Booking hours are limited to 1:30 to 3:00PM for the said dates. One hundred and fifty visitors will be accommodated per day. The only requirement is to be a resident of Palawan, plus an ID card for verification.

Palawan News recently visited the ongoing booking sessions and saw a long line of locals patiently waiting for their free passes. The PPUR Committee was properly accommodating the potential visitors to the famous tourist spot by handing out numbers and stamps.

“This is a great opportunity para sa kagaya ko na first time pa lang pupunta, pati na rin sa mga gustong bumalik, nakakaexcite,” a college student expressed her excitement for the free visit.

The PPSRNP is a UNESCO World Heritage site and was hailed as one of the New Seven Wonders of Nature.

Secondary schools in Bataraza receive P6.8M assistance for senior high

By Catherine Santos

Through a turn-over ceremony on Monday, August 23, five secondary schools in Bataraza, namely Bataraza National High School (NHS), Tarusan NHS, Sumbiling NHS, Rio Tuba NHS and Sayab NHS, received PhP6.8M worth of learning materials and equipment from Coral Bay Nickel Corporation (CBNC) and Rio Tuba Nickel Mining Corporation (RTNMC). The said donations specifically come as a form of assistance for senior high students.

According to Ernesto Llacuna, SDMP Executive officer for CBNC/RTNMC, the said assistance projects are originally supposed to be in the form of infrastructure programs, but the company had to adjust and redirect funds due to a “sense of urgency and necessity”. “Mabilis naman ang aming procurement process. Mas okay, para may magamit na mga bata at hindi mag-iimagine lang. Mas maganda hands-on, hindi theory lang,” Llacuna explained.

Dawin Omar, Principal of Bataraza NHS, underscored the importance of public-private partnership (PPP) in the endeavor. Emphasizing that he duly recognizes the full support of DepEd, Omar shared that, “Iba pa rin kapag may support from private partners.”

The ceremonial turn-over was witnessed by Provincial DepEd Supt Servillano Arzaga represented by Aurella Marquez, SB Member Carlos Austria, SB Melvin Narrazid, ABC Federation of Bataraza’s President Yusa Musa, representatives from the Municipal Mayor’s Office, heads of school recipients, students from Bataraza NHS and the donors’ Community Relations Officers, among other personnel.

Learning materials, including equipment, for senior high students in Palawan remain yet to be fully supplied by DepEd. Roselyn Vicente, Division Coordinator for Senior High School, said that the materials are still on the process of delivery while the rest are still undergoing procurement process based on a ‘needs analysis’. There are currently 80 schools offering senior high in Palawan.

WPU collaborates with NCCA in cultural values seminar

By Alliae Alexie Garcia

The Western Philippines University (WPU), in collaboration with the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), recently conducted a seminar on “Instilling Cultural Values” at selected venues in Puerto Princesa City. The said seminar, which was held from August 18-19 at Asturias Hotel and at The Palawan Heritage Center, were attended by personnel from the Department of Education (DepEd), along with Planning and Tourism officers from the different municipalities of Palawan.

In a statement, Ms. Marlene Jagmis, Chairperson of WPU’s College of Arts and Sciences (CAS), said the event aimed to raise cultural awareness among participants. Aside from that, she wished that the information learned from the seminar will be integrated in the tourism/cultural programs of the participants’ respective local government units.

The first part of the event tackled the role of culture and the arts in a sustainable community; the segment educated the people on preserving culture and traditional practices, and also introduced the role of the academe and the local community in preserving the cultural identity and values of Indigenous People (IPs). The role of the National Commission on Indigenous People (NCIP) in preserving and promoting culture in Palawan was also discussed, along with an emphasis on the impact of cultural diversity in attaining sustainable development. Issues and concerns surrounding the role of culture and the arts in sustainable development were also identified and discussed through a workshop.

Lastly, the importance of inculcating cultural values among Palawan youth was also included in the seminar discussions.

PCG conducts humanitarian mission to Pag-asa Island


MANILA, Aug 23 (PNA) -- The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) said Tuesday that it successfully conducted its first humanitarian mission in the communities living in Pag-asa Island in Palawan.

Commander Armand Balilo, PCG spokesperson said that the supplies were boarded by BRP Batangas (SARV-004) vessel last week to provide assistance to the countrymen residing there.

The goods were provided by contingents from Philippine Air Force at Philippine Navy Western Command containing clothing, rice, canned goods, cooking oil and other condiments.

Also included in the supplies provided were gasoline stored in drums, motorboats, and some gallons of paints.

Commodore Ferdinand Velasco of the Coast Guard District Palawan, said that they also deployed aluminum boat AB-074 to be used as service boat in Kalayaan Island.

He said that at least eight personnel from PCG were deployed to serve as relievers for those who were earlier assigned there.

In turn, other officials, staff and workers together with their families from the Municipality of Pag-asa in Puerto Princesa City were also transported in the said ship.

He further said that the transportation service was part of the assistance and support that the agency committed to LGU of Kalayaan.

It can be recalled that PCG had also earlier deployed licensed teachers from PCG to assist in the educational needs aside from fulfilling their mission to ensure maritime security at the West Philippine Sea.

General assembly turns into ‘surprise drug testing’ for RTC judges, employees

By Catherine Santos

Judges and employees of Palawan’s Regional Trial Court (RTC) were greeted with a surprise drug test after gathering for a supposedly general assembly on Monday, August 22.

According to Executive Judge Jose Bayani Usman, the surprise drug test, which was facilitated by the Provincial Health Office (PHO) to around 160 personnel of the Court, was in support to President Rodrigo Duterte’s call for a drug-free country.

“Change must come from within. We have to start now. Pangarap ng ating Presidente na maging drug-free, so magsisimula tayo doon,” explained Usman, who emphasized that he wants to conform with the changes initiated by the President.

The six-hour long drug tests were led by the presiding judges of different RTC branches, followed by the rest of the employees.

Judge Usman said that whoever will be proven positive for illegal drug use will be subjected to termination regardless of one’s nature of appointment. “But of course, it will go through a due process,” he pointed out.

Usman assured that no transaction or scheduled hearings at the Courts were affected by the said surprise drug-testing activity.

‘Marooned’ in Palawan

(Malaya Business Insight)

Adventurer and survivalist Ed Stafford is back, pushing his survival skills to the limit and pitting himself once again versus Mother Nature in the brand new second season of “Marooned,” which premieres with an episode featuring Coron in Palawan on August 30, 8:10 p.m. on Discovery Channel.

Watch as Ed tackles new challenges in which he is left high and dry in some of the most inhospitable and extreme environments – equipped with nothing but an emergency phone, medical kit and his camera to record his adventures.

Shot in remote locations ranging from the arid and rocky Gobi Desert in Mongolia to the tropical jungles of Guatemala and the Namibian bushveld, each location presents a unique and deadly test as Ed strives to not just survive, but thrive in some of the world’s toughest environments.

In each self-contained episode of “Marooned,” Ed goes into isolation for approximately 10 days in a remote and potentially deadly location. He’s completely on his own – unless extreme circumstances take hold. All he’s got is a camera to capture his adventure and his survival know-how.

He attempts to survive on a secluded beach on Coron Island in the episode on August 30. The seashore is covered in litter, potentially useful for survival but a depressing reminder of the state of our seas. Ed hasn’t been abandoned on an island since his ordeals on “Naked and Marooned” and when he gets seriously ill, he starts to struggle with ghosts from the past. Lying on his sick bed of palm leaves, Ed realizes that if he doesn’t push himself to find water and food quickly this survival mission is over. But hemmed in by towering granite cliffs he’s concerned there may be no water to be found.

In the next episode (Sept. 6), he is in Argentine Patagonia where he faces extreme exposure to both intense sunlight and freezing temperatures. It will be the first time “Marooned” is on a cold location as Ed goes to Norway in the Sept. 13 episode. The conditions are so extreme that Ed is compelled to wear clothes, but as usual takes no food, tools or knife.

Ed Stafford is the Guinness World Record holding first man to walk the length of the Amazon River, a journey documented in the Discovery Channel series “Walking the Amazon.” He is an established adventurer and survivalist for Discovery and earned a position in the prestigious commissioning course at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst and was commissioned as a British Army Officer in July 1999.

Ed went on to command platoons in the Devonshire and Dorset Regiment, gaining his Northern Ireland medal in 2000 for his tour of Crossmaglen, South Armagh.

World's largest? 34kg pearl surrendered to Palawan tourism office

By Aya Tantiangco (with reports from Ruth T. Rodriguez/LBG, GMA News)

The Puerto Princesa Tourism Office is now looking to certify that the pearl surrendered to their care is the biggest in the world.

City Tourism Officer Aileen Amurao said that a 34-kilogram pearl was given to them by a relative who had been hiding the organic gem for a long time.

Although Amurao and her office are expecting that the hefty pearl would attract tourists, she strongly discouraged locals from disturbing or removing giant clams from the sea as that disrupts the biodiversity of Palawan.

The current known largest pearl in the world, Pearl of Lao Tze, is also found in Palawan. It was first discovered in the 1930s and weighs 6.4 kilograms.

Puerto Princesa City pushes for P2.1B waste-to-energy project

By Catherine Santos

Puerto Princesa is set to have a waste-to-energy project soon, following the signing of a joint-venture agreement between Mayor Lucilo Bayron and Gregory James Burton of AustWorks, a power generation company, on Thursday, August 18. The city is specifically set to build a PhP2.1B worth of waste-to-energy project, with a 6-megawatt capacity, at the city’s sanitary landfill in Barangay Sta. Lourdes.

According to Bayron, the venture, which is one of the key thrusts of the ‘Super Apuradong Administrasyon’, is a perfect example of ‘trash-to-treasure’ initiatives. The energy reclamation facility is among the several renewable energy projects that the local government is pushing under his leadership.

“It will reduce the growing demands of electricity,” Bayron explained, highlighting the main benefits of the project. He also added that with the construction of a waste-to-energy project, there will be no need to construct another P150M-worth of landfill.

Meanwhile, Burton of AustWorks said that their company was impressed with the concern of Puerto Princesans towards environmental protection and conservation, particularly on solid waste management. They saw the potential of the city in pursuing the project and expressed their willingness to be partners and even be called as “Kuya” (big brother) in the public-private partnership. Burton also emphasized that AustWorks will comply with the “strictest” environmental laws in the country to push the partnership.

Ric Zambales of Palawan Electric Cooperative and Juan dela Cruz of DENR-PENRO have both expressed their support to the venture.

AustWorks aims to start construction of the facility early next year after completing relevant paper requirements with other concerned agencies.

Coast Guard's 1st multi-role response vessel BRP Tubbataha arrives


MANILA, Aug. 18 (PNA) -- The BRP Tubbataha, one of the 10 multi-role response vessels (MRRVs) ordered from Japan, was formally delivered to the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) Thursday morning.

PCG Spokesperson Commander Armand Balilo said the handover took place around 9 a.m. at Pier 13, Manila South Harbor.

BRP Tubbataha was delivered by Japan Marine United Corporation (JMUC) sailing personnel with 12 observers from the PCG. It departed the JMUC shipyard in Yokohama, Japan last Aug. 11.

Balilo said the commissioning date is tentatively set on Aug. 22.

The BRP Tubbataha has a length of 44 meters, a draft of four meters and a maximum speed of 25 knots, a range of 1,500 nautical miles and a crew of 25 officers and enlisted personnel.

The BRP Tubbataha and the nine other MRRVs would be classified as "Parola (lighthouse)" class vessels and named after lighthouses. The Tubbataha Reef, a marine reservation area in Palawan, has a lighthouse similarly named.

The MRRV is equipped with special features for search and rescue and law enforcement operations such as fire monitors, night vision camera, radio direction finder and a workboat. It also has a bullet-proof navigational bridge.

The remaining MRRVs will arrive one after another every quarter or until 2018.

The PCG's MRRV program stemmed from the Maritime Safety Capability Improvement Project being implemented as an Official Development Assistance project, via a tied loan extended by the Japan International Cooperation Agency.

Under the project terms, the MRRVs will be used for:

• Primary rescue vessels within the PCG District’s areas of responsibility (AOR) when the extent of the disaster is beyond the capability of floating assets deployed within the area;

• Assistance in the control of oil pollution and protection of the marine environment;

• Enforcement of all applicable maritime laws within the designated AOR, particularly relating to illegal fishing and sea patrol;

• Service as platform for rapid response during relief operations in the area;

• Transport of personnel and logistical support.

Australia’s Nido Petroleum considers Phase 3 project in Palawan oil field


MANILA, Aug 17 (PNA) -- Australia-based and listed firm Nido Petroleum Ltd. considers the undrilled Galoc Mid Area (GMA) located in northwest Palawan basin as a “potential Phase III development project.”

The GMA is part of the Galoc Oil Field along with producing Central Field Area.

Nido Petroleum has released on Wednesday the results of an independent contingent resources assessment of Galoc Field which was undertaken by ODIN Reservoir Consultants Pty. Ltd.

Under its technical review, it noted that the Service Contract 14C1 joint venture are currently considering the drilling of Galoc-7 appraisal well to appraise the GMA.

“In the case of Galoc-7 success, the GMA is being considered as a potential Phase III development project using conventional horizontal drilling and sub-sea completion technology,” the technical review read.

With the preliminary development plans for the GMA, it is expected to start oil production by 2019.

Nido Petroleum however noted that the development plan has not yet submitted to Philippine authorities for approval.

The company is engaged in oil and gas exploration and production projects in the Philippines and Indonesia.

DMCI unit invests PHP600-M for bunker-fired power project in Palawan


MANILA, Aug. 16 (PNA) -- DMCI Power Corp. (DPC), a subsidiary of DMCI Holdings, Inc., is investing PHP600 million for a 2x4.95-megawatt bunker-fired power plant in Aborlan, Palawan.

“We are investing approximately PHP600 million in Aborlan to address the continuing increase in electricity demand in the province due to the rise of local tourism and commercial establishments,” said DMCI Power President Nestor D. Dadivas.

DPC said its new power project aims to stabilize electricity supply in the franchise area of Palawan Electric Cooperative, Inc. (PALECO).

According to DPC, about 5,400 out of 7,263 households in Aborlan have electricity connection. About 26 percent of the total households in the first class municipality are still not connected to the grid.

To date, DPC has a total contracted capacity of 56 MW with its projects in Masbate, Calapan in Oriental Mindoro and Sultan Kudarat through supply contracts with electric cooperatives.

Southern Palawan rehabs & expands Buliluyan port in preparation for BIMP-EAGA trading


PUERTO PRINCESA CITY (PNA) -- Palawan is now gearing up to do open trading with neighboring countries in the East ASEAN Growth Area (EAGA), particularly with Sabah and the Sultanate of Brunei Darussalam, according to the Provincial Information Office (PIO) in a statement released to the press on Friday.

To keep moving to the goal, the PIO said that currently, the provincial government was working on the rehabilitation and expansion of facilities in Buliluyan Port in the southern Palawan town of Bataraza that would play a major role in the open trading.

The activities, the PIO said, were being done to accommodate vessels that were expected to sail the trade routed from the province to Kota Kinabalu, Sabah.

The port development project was funded by “the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) with a budget of Php 125-million” that was made possible through the representation of Governor Jose Alvarez in behalf of the provincial government.

According to the statement, the Buliluyan Port project underwent bidding in February 2016 with Garnick Construction of Bulacan winning at a cost of Php 121-million.

The construction works are currently underway, the PIO said.

The expansion of the existing port facilities involves the construction of a perpendicular platform at the tip of the existing port, and the erection of the loading/unloading dock for RORO vessels.

Additional facilities will also be installed for efficient port operations, the PIO added.

Once completed, the port will serve as the transit point for the movement of people, goods and services to and from BIMP-EAGA port destinations.

Further, the opening of the transport hub is expected to boost the local tourism industry with increased tourist arrivals notably from the neighboring Kota Kinabalu, which is approximately eight hours from Palawan by vessel.

The port will connect two World Heritage Sites in the sub-region.

The Brunei-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) is a sub-regional economic cooperation among developing economies in the East ASEAN region, namely the states of Sabah and Sarawak and the federal territory of Labuan in Malaysia, the entire Sultanate of Brunei Darussalam, the provinces of North Sulawesi, Kalimantan, Maluku and West Papua in Indonesia and the island of Mindanao and the province of Palawan in the Philippines.

It covers an area of 1.6 million hectares and a population of 57.5 million people. It aims to strengthen multilateral ties on trade and commerce, tourism, investments, culture and ease in movement of people within the sub-region.

Palawan town is finalist in Search for Outstanding FARMC of Gawad SAKA 2016

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

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, Aug. 13 (PNA) -- The southern Palawan town of Narra has been chosen as a finalist in the National Search for Outstanding Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Management Council (FARMC) Awards by the Gawad SAKA 2016 that is being organized by the Department of Agriculture (DA).

Lawyer Benjamin Tabios Jr., assistant director for administrative services of the DA, and who is the chairman of the technical evaluation team of the search, said this Friday.

Tabios arrived on Thursday to personally assess the accomplishments of Narra in relation to the town’s nomination to the search.

His team is composed of representatives from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the academe.

Tabios said the search for outstanding FARMC was not merely focused on agriculture, but on the support that the municipal government of Narra was providing to it and fishing.

Tabios explained Narra’s nomination, as well as the others, would undergo strict evaluation as finalists.

“It is big to be a finalist in this search, but it is even better if they will win because the prize is huge, including the incentives that the DA is willing to give. There will not only be program grants but also cash incentives,” he said.

The DA sponsors the search annually to look for model local government units (LGUs) that can be inspirations to farmers and the fisherfolks to continue enriching the agricultural sector.

The winner of the search will receive a plaque that shall personally be awarded by President Rodrigo Duterte, and a cash prize. Tabios did not disclose how much the cash prize is.

This year, six LGUs will vie against each other in the FARMC category of the Gawad SAKA 2016. These are towns from San Fernando, La Union; Cagayan De Oro; Bacoor, Cavite; Narra, Palawan and two others from Mindanao.

The Gawad SAKA is an annual search of the DA to recognize outstanding models in the fields of farming, fishing, and livestock raising that can contribute to the agricultural industry.

49 indigents undergo free cleft surgery in Palawan

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

MANILA, Aug. 12 (PNA) -- In line with the Corporate Social Responsibility of Coral Bay Nickel Corporation (CBNC) and Rio Tuba Nickel Mining Corporation (RTNMC), affiliates of Nickel Asia Corporation (NAC), some 49 indigents underwent free cleft surgery in Palawan as part of the mining firms' "Operation Smile Philippines" (OSP) project.

Nine-year-old Joana Lei Abian, accompanied by her mother Darlene from Cambian, Agutaya, travelled 29 hours all the way to Taytay, Palawan just to undergo oral cleft surgery.

In recalling their ordeal in coming to Taytay, Darlene said they had to wait for the weather to improve as Palawan was battered by heavy rain at that time.

"Nagdalawang-isip kaming pumunta sa mission kasi nga masama ang panahon (We had second thoughts of coming to the mission because of the bad weather)," said Darlene.

Apparently, the weather improved, a good sign for them to travel to Northern Palawan Provincial Hospital (NPPH) in Taytay where the mission took place.

"Salamat sa Diyos, gumanda ang panahon kaya natuloy kami sa pagpunta sa mission (Thank God, the weather improved so we were able to go to the mission)," added Darlene as tears rolled in her eyes.

After knowing about the OSP mission in Palawan, Darlene was determined to bring her daughter for an oral cleft surgery because this could be the only way for Joana Lei to pursue her studies without hindrances.

"Gusto niyang maging abogado paglaki niya kaya para matupad niya ang pangarap niya kailangan niyang magtapos sa pag-aaral (She really wants to become a lawyer someday, so in order for her to fulfill her dream, she really has to finish school)," said Darlene.

Darlene added: "Malaking bagay itong mission sa amin dahil wala naman kaming pera para ipa-opera si Joana Lei (The mission was very important for us because we cannot afford to pay for Joana Lei’s operation)."

Roberto J. Manzano, Country Director for Development of Operation Smile, said the congenital defect disfigures the patients’ faces and impairs their speech, leaving them open to rejection and bullying.

"The impact of these deformities on a child is really very serious. I mean it’s not just a medical problem, it’s actually a social problem for the child with a cleft lip or cleft palate deformity," said Manzano.

If the deformity will not be treated, it affects the self-esteem of the individual, Manzano said, adding that “the child will never be able to have a normal social life, he will be bullied."

Ernesto Llacuna, external affairs consultant and spokesman for CBNC and RTNMC, said most of the time, children with cleft problems grow up uneducated and isolated with no employable skills in adulthood.

"Unless we treat them, they will have no future," said Llacuna.

Joana Lei was among the 49 cleft lip and cleft palate patients operated by an all-Filipino volunteer team of cleft care professionals from Operation Smile.

The Operation Smile team comprising of plastic surgeons, anesthesiologists, a pediatrician, dentists, nurses, speech biomedical and patient imaging technicians, travelled more than 200 kilometers from Puerto Princesa City just to perform the free surgeries.

Operation Smile Executive Director Gian Trebol said the Taytay mission targeted to operate at least 75 patients but only 49 qualified to undergo surgery.

Prior to the surgery, Trebol said they have to screen the patients first to make sure that they are qualified for the operation.

He added that the operations normally cost around PHP80,000 for cleft lip and PHP120,000 for cleft palate, so many poor patients could not afford to undergo such surgeries.

But because of the generosity of CBNC and RTNMC, Trebol said indigent patients can now enjoy free surgery with the aim of making Palawan the first-ever cleft-free province in the country.

"With the help of our sponsors -- CBNC and RTNMC -- we are willing to frequently return in Palawan until we have reduced the number of cleft cases to zero," he said.

Operation Smile is set to conduct another round of free oral surgeries on Nov. 7-12 at Southern Palawan Provincial Hospital in Brooke’s Point to cater to the needs of residents in the southern part of the province.

In expressing gratitude to OPS, CBNC and RTNMC, Dr. Ryan Estrada, Chief of NPPH, said the mission does not only benefit Taytayanos but also residents from far-flung areas such as Agutaya, Roxas, Dumaran, San Vicente and El Nido.

"We are very thankful to Operation Smile, CBNC and RTNMC for choosing Palawan to be their beneficiary. This will definitely help our less fortunate cleft patients to avail of the free surgery," said Dr. Estrada.

Reynaldo dela Rosa, RTNMC’s Community Relation Manager, said they are doing this as part of the two companies’ socioeconomic contributions to Palawan.

The free cleft surgery was part of the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) of CBNC and RTNMC and not included in their Social Development Management Program (SDMP), he added.

Operation Smile is the pioneer in cleft care in the Philippines. Since its founding in 1982, following a mission in Naga City, it has held 302 missions in 79 cities and municipalities across the country, operating on more than 29,000 Filipino children and young adults.

In Palawan, it already conducted cleft surgeries to 51 patients of Puerto Princesa in 2006 and 31 patients of Taytay in 2007.

The children’s charity organization has also expanded its presence to 80 countries in five continents, holding missions in 60 of them and treating over 220,000 worldwide.

This year, Operation Smile has already conducted missions in eight sites in the Philippines benefitting 925 Filipinos with oral cleft. Five more are scheduled for the balance of the year, including the Brooke’s Point mission.

Palawan gov’t’s energy dev’t program lights up homes using solar home systems

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

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, Aug. 11 (PNA) -– Remote villages in the hinterlands of Palawan will soon have their homes fitted with individual solar home system (SHS) units to finally have power.

“The long wait is over,” said Provincial Information Officer Gil Acosta Jr. Thursday as his office announced in a statement that the Palawan government’s Energy Development Program (EDP) is now making fast progress in the distribution of the SHS.

The solar-powered lighting system will benefit the homes of qualified beneficiaries composed of marginal rural farmers, poor fisher folks and indigenous peoples dwelling in the fringes of mountain slopes dotting the provincial landscape.

Acosta said that the communities that have no access to regular electricity services will benefit from the project that has been the goal of the administration and leadership of Palawan Governor Jose Alvarez.

He said that the provincial government has prioritized earlier the allocation of a substantial amount for the procurement of 35,000 units of SHS to be distributed throughout Palawan, especially in island barangays that are not connected to the grid.

Acosta’s press statement quoted Governor Alvarez in saying: “Let us bring the services of the provincial government to the people in the barangays, especially to our poor constituents. This will be awarded free of charge. No fees will be collected from the beneficiaries.”

The first shipment consisting of 27,200 units had already been delivered to the provincial government, and distribution is now on-going in target communities traversing off-grid areas.

Acosta said that among the areas served by the project included priority barangays in the municipalities of Brooke’s Point, Aborlan and Narra.

The distribution in the municipality of Balabac – the southernmost tip of the province – is calendared on the third week of August 2016.

The solar home system set is composed of two lightbulbs with two individual switches, one portable lantern and one battery pack that could also be used to power cellphones.

Local households situated not less than 400 meters away from the existing electric post are qualified to apply for the project.

Validations of qualified beneficiaries are done by the Community Affairs Division in coordination with municipal and barangay local government units.

The distribution of solar home systems in the island municipalities particularly in northern Palawan is scheduled in the latter period of this year.

PSU Elections: Students expect changes from new president

By Alliae Alexie Garcia

As the proclamation for the new president of Palawan State University draws closer, students from the University’s different colleges recently cast their votes and offered their expectations of the next administration. The results of such vote-casting will be released at the end of this week.

The students particularly expressed their sentiments on three main issues concerning PSU’s past administration, namely 1) gate rules 2) enrollment process and 3) enhancement of structural facilities.

The issue on the gate rules focuses on the strict requirements for the types of haircut, hair color, shoes and uniform accepted in the school. A ‘silent protest’, which gained considerable massive attention in social media pages such as Facebook, was recently organized by students who criticized the said policy. Interviews with a number of students further supported the complaints towards such policy, which many believed trampled on the students’ rights.

Regarding the enrollment process, students hoped that the “e-enrolment” system will be implemented by the new administration. “Sana yung sinasabi nilang e-enrolment ma-implement na,” a Mass Communication student said.

Students also aired dissatisfaction for the lack of facilities in many classrooms in the University. “Yung sa mga facilities, rooms at fans sana dagdagan”, an engineering student expressed his concern on the lack of equipment in the colleges. “Yung CR talaga, minsan kasi walang tubig or flush, sana magawan ng paraan”, a Psychology student added.

Lastly, the students also hoped for transparency within the administration regarding the fees paid by the students.

Palawan set to have five drug rehabilitation centers

By Catherine Santos

The Palawan Provincial Government in partnership with DOH-MIMAROPA and Hope Burst, a non-government organization, is set to establish five (5) drug rehabilitation centers in the province, specifically in Puerto Princesa, Brooke’s Point, Culion, San Vicente and El Nido, this according to Provincial Information Officer Atty. Gil Acosta Jr.

Acosta said that this is in response to the massive drug crusade of President Rodrigo Duterte, as well as to address the increasing number of drug turn-ins in the province. Based on Palawan Provincial Police Office’s latest records, there are around 3,446 drug ‘surrenderees’ in the province.

According to Acosta, there are two major considerations as to where the centers will be established. “Una diyan, ‘yung number of surrenderees. Ano ang gagawin natin sa mga sumuko? At saka focus din natin ‘yong mga tourist destinations,” he said. He further explained that they are targeting to establish a 300-bed capacity rehabilitation center in Barangay Irawan for Puerto Princesa, while the other four municipalities will have 150-bed capacity centers. The centers will serve both men and women, including minors.

The provincial government is also eyeing the possibility that in the future, when the number of drug addicts needing rehabilitation in the province has significantly declined, the rehab centers will be converted into homes for children in conflict with the law.

Acosta is optimistic that before the year ends, construction of at least two rehab centers will be started. There are just things that need to be polished, he added.

It’s official: ‘MIMAROPA Region’ replaces ‘Region IV-B’; Cong. Acosta lauds law enactment

By Catherine Santos

It is not necessary anymore to call the collective island provinces of Mindoro (Oriental and Occidental), Marinduque, Romblon and Palawan as ‘Region IV-B’, following the enactment into law of Republic Act 10879 which officially establishes the South Western Tagalog Region, comprised of the said provinces, as the ‘MIMAROPA Region’ on July 17, 2016. Third District Representative Gil Acosta, in today’s session of ‘Kapihan with the Press’, expressed his delight in welcoming the news, citing that the law finally stabilizes Palawan’s regional identity.

According to Acosta, the official creation of the ‘MIMAROPA Region’ under a Republic Act will make the composition of the region more intact. It should be noted that before such law enactment the clustering of the said island provinces under a single region was anchored merely on an Executive Order. He said that RA 10879 will give MIMAROPA a distinct regional standing from its present status, thus boosting its economic position.

Acosta also sympathized with the sentiments of some Palaweños who view the ‘labeling’ of MIMAROPA as ‘Region IV-B’ as having connotations of ‘second-class’. He said calling the provinces simply as ‘MIMAROPA Region’ or ‘Southwestern Tagalog Region’ sounds much better.

“Magandang balita yan, kung RA na? Maganda ‘yan. Natatandaan ninyo when I was still in the Provincial Board? Talagang nag-ingay ako noong tri-nansfer tayo sa Region 6 without consultation,” Acosta shared to the press. It can be recalled that in XXXX, then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo issued Executive Order (EO) 429 which transferred Palawan to the Western Visayas Region. The EO was later deferred following opposition from majority of Palaweños. “Unlike kung EO, ‘pag magpalit ng presidente baka ilipat na naman tayo,” he added.

The MIMAROPA Act is one of the 29 bills submitted during the term of former President Benigno Aquino III that have lapsed into law. Article VI, Section 27 of the Constitution states that “the President shall communicate his veto of any bill to the House where it originated within thirty days after the date of receipt thereof; otherwise, it shall become a law as if he had signed it.”

DOH-MIMAROPA strengthens health services delivery to poor families through TSeKaP


MANILA, Aug. 7 (PNA) -- The Department of Health (DOH)– MIMAROPA said it has started to intensify its efforts in bringing health services to the people of the region so that these can really be felt, especially by the poor communities.

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

DOH Regional Director Dr. Eduardo C. Janairo said they started the efforts in the province of Oriental Mindoro last Aug. 4, targeting poor families under the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) Program of the government.

“We are bringing health service directly to the communities. The objective is to provide every CCT member an executive check-up and if diagnosed with a health concern, the DOH will handle all the expenses from medicines to hospitalization until the patient recovers,” Director Janairo said.

Under the CCT or the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), the beneficiary families are assisted with monthly cash grants by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) with the aim of keeping the children of the beneficiaries healthy and in school.

The poor families under the program have been identified through the National Household Targetting System for Poverty Reduction (NHTS-PR).

NHTS-PR is currently renamed as “Listahanan or Listahan ng Mahihirap na Pamilya" after a nationwide survey was held in 2015.

Dr. Janairo said they want to make sure that every CCT or 4Ps member will be provided with utmost care that they deserve in line with President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s aim to ensure that poor families needing health services will not be deprived and be given priority.

He said that a total of 237 CCTs members in Oriental Mindoro were given physical check-up, random blood sugar and blood testing, urinalysis, sputum exam, eye check-up, complete blood count and malaria smear testing.

“There were 10 members who were diagnosed with cataracts, goiter and with end-stage renal disease… These patients will be closely supervised… They will be given referral to government-hospitals for evaluation and immediate operation will be undertaken when necessary," Director Janairo added.

He assured that all medicines, hospitalization and all essential care will be given free and the poor will not need to pay anything or the "No Balance Billing" (NBB) policy will apply.

It can be recalled that upon assumption to office of DOH Secretary Dr. Paulyn Jean B. Rosell-Ubial, she cited that one of the marching orders of President Duterte is that he wants the poor people to be provided with the health services that they need.

Secretary Ubial said the DOH regional offices will be given full support in implementing the said order to ensure that the poor’s health condition needing immediate intervention will be given attention as what the President has directed.

The Health secretary even said that they are trying to explore other means to help the poor and to ensure that what is being done in Davao, wherein the poor going to government hospitals are not spending even in transportation cost because they are transported back and forth for free.

Meanwhile, in the intensified health activities being done by DOH-MIMAROPA, the "Tamang Serbisyo para sa Kalusugun ng Pamilya" (TSeKaP) program is being done in coordination with the local social welfare officers, local chief executives, the Philippine National Police and Barangay Health Workers who are instrumental in transporting families from far-flung areas and bringing them to the designated centers for health evaluation.

In Romblon, orientations for the TSeKaP program were conducted on Aug. 5, 2016 in Barangays Ligaya, Poblacion, Odiongan, Tabing-Dagat and Liwayway.

The said areas will also serve as focus areas for the conduct of health delivery service in the island of Tablas on Monday, Aug. 8.

Marinduque is also set to conduct its medical and health services in the municipality of Sta. Cruz, and Occidental Mindoro in the island of Lubang.

“The program will be done simultaneously and will continue until all the CCT members in the region have been served,” Director Janairo said.

Palawan receives first sea ambulance from DOH, motorboat racers of Japan

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

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY (PNA) -– A medical health foundation and a motorboat racers association in Japan donated Thursday a sea ambulance to the Department of Health (DOH) Region IVB MIMAROPA and the Culion Sanitarium and General Hospital (CSGH) in the Calamianes Group of Islands.

Designed to respond to any coastal emergency medical service requirement in the four towns of Culion, Coron, Busuanga and Linapacan in the Calamianes, the sea ambulance was donated and funded by the Sasakawa Memorial Medical Health Foundation and the Association of Professional Motor Boat Racers of Japan.

It was turned over to DOH IVB MIMAROPA Regional Director Eduardo Janairo at the Culion Centennial Marker in the said town, according to Community Affairs and Media Relations Officer Glen Ramos.

Janairo was quoted in saying that the “sea ambulance is an essential part in the delivery of health care services that will attend to emergencies, disaster and rescue operations in far-flung island communities of Palawan.”

“It will bring health care closer to people in need of health specialists and hospital health care,” said Janairo during the turnover ceremony.

Janairo was further quoted in saying that the donation of the sea ambulance “can now lessen impediments in health care delivery due to geographical location and it is the only means to immediately deliver patients from distant island areas to CSGH in need of medical care.”

Ramos said the motorboat as sea ambulance is equipped with needed basic life support facilities, such as oxygen, resuscitator, defibrillator, and immobilization devices so that person with serious injuries can be first stabilized and transported faster to a hospital.

It is powered by a Mitsubishi 6D16 engine, and equipped with radar, GPS, depth finder, pilot control shifter, radio, siren and emergency lights. It can go from 0 to 25 knots.

The vessel is manned by one emergency doctor, one emergency nurse, two health attendants and two boat personnel.

The CSGH is a DOH-retained secondary hospital and the only general hospital operating in the Calamianes Group of Islands that provides general and public health care services to municipalities in the Calamian Group of Islands namely Culion, Coron, Busuanga, Linapacan as well as the northern island municipalities of El Nido, Cuyo, Dumaran, Agutaya and Taytay.

DOH-PCG provides license to 28 lifeguards in Palawan


MANILA (PNA) -- The Department of Health (DOH)–MIMAROPA, together with the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) District-Palawan, awarded lifeguard license to 28 out of 30 selected beach and swimming pool attendants in Palawan in a graduation ceremony held on Tuesday at the A&A Plaza Hotel, Wescom Road, Puerto Princesa City.

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

The 28 lifeguards were among the first batch of Water Search and Rescue (WASAR) trainees in Puerto Princesa City selected by the PCG to undergo the 12-day Lifeguard Licensure Training.

A lifeguard duty is to enforce rules in order to anticipate problems/injuries, supervise the use of other equipment when allocated to that duty (such as water slides or any other activities taking place), carry out rescues and initiate other emergency action as necessary, provide immediate first aid in the event of injury, check a swimming pool's chlorine and pH levels, act as a general information point.

“We will continue to increase the number of licensed lifeguards in the region, especially in areas where swimmers and divers frequent such as pools, beaches and open seas to ensure a safe water environment for the public and also to prevent injuries and water incidents,” DOH-MIMAROPA Regional Director Eduardo C. Janairo said during the graduation program.

“We are expecting these new lifeguards to perform and provide rescues, provide immediate first aid and CPR and prevent and reduce the risk of drowning and near-drowning among high-risk groups, more particularly children, as a result of aquatic activities such as fishing, recreational swimming, boating, kayaking –- and even natural calamities like floods, tsunami and flash floods,” he added.

According to a 2012 study conducted by the DOH-University of the Philippines College of Public Health (UPCPH), drowning is the leading cause of death among children under 18 years old in the Philippines.

It is estimated that eight Filipinos die from drowning everyday and there are 10 victims of near drowning as reported by the Philippines during the World Conference on Drowning Prevention (WCDP) in 2011.

Before acquiring a license, a beach or pool attendant, including divers, must first undergo a five-day WASAR Training conducted by PCG before being selected to the 12-day lifeguard licensure program. The PCG is the only agency that is authorized by law to provide license to lifeguards.

Lifeguards are required to attend occasional in-service trainings and workshops conducted by the PCG to update and further strengthen their lifeguarding skills.

The Lifeguard Licensure Training is an initiative of DOH-MIMAROPA under its Health in Tourism Program to provide health and safety for tourists and to the community as well in cooperation with the PCG-Palawan District and the local tourism office.

There are currently 354 WASAR-trained personnel in Palawan.

DOH-MIMAROPA aims to train at least 500 aquatic personnel in the whole region and provide them with the necessary license to become effective water rescuers.

“Once we have completed a pool of licensed lifeguards in the region, we will organize a water rescue operation center where they will be the frontline rescuers who will lead in water rescue operations together with other government agencies who provide emergency treatment and care. Also, they can provide immediate rescue assistance in case of conflict in open seas,” Dr. Janairo said.

Operation Smile Int'l to bring free cleft lip and palate surgical services to northern Palawan

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

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, Aug. 4 (PNA) -– Operation Smile International (OSI) and its Philippine counterpart are bringing free cleft lip and palate surgical services to northern Palawan on Aug. 9 to 12 in a bid to help patients with the facial and oral malformations.

Provincial Information Officer Gil Acosta Jr. said Wednesday the OSI and its counterpart Operation Smile Philippines (OSP) will bring the on-the-house surgical operation to Taytay at the Northern Palawan Provincial Hospital (NPPH).

Currently, pre-screenings in the rural health units of northern Palawan municipalities are ongoing because it is important that patients, who will avail the services are not ill, are in good health, and are in the right weights before they undergo surgical treatment.

He said the final screening of patients will be on Aug. 8 at the NPPH, and patients are advised to visit Taytay on this day to be included in the list of those who will undergo surgical operation the next day.

Dr. Lilian Arcinas, program manager of the Community Outreach Dental Program of the Provincial Health Office Dental Clinic, said too, Wednesday that the non-stock and no-profit OSI and OSP will be bringing volunteer cleft lip and palate-experienced surgeons, pediatricians, nurses, dentists and speech therapists.

“Operation Smile is an international children’s medical charity that has been doing quality and free life-changing surgeries to children with cleft lip and cleft palate to bring smile to their faces,” Arcinas said, adding they believe all children affected with the facial malformations deserve the right to have beautiful smiles and to avoid the social stigma that can give them depraved futures.

Arcinas furthered that around 150 patients will be catered by Operation Smile on Aug. 9. The team that will come will also allow surgical repairs of cleft lip and cleft palate.

The good news, she added, is that the Rio Tuba Nickel Mining Corporation and the Coral Bay Nickel Corporation are willing to shoulder the expenses of patients from Southern Palawan to get to Taytay for the pre-screening and the surgery.

In October, she said Operation Smile will also be brought to southern Palawan.

Operation Smile is sponsored in cooperation with the provincial government and RTNMC and CBNC.

10th PNHRS Week to highlight research and innovation for health and the environment

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

MANILA, Aug. 3 (PNA) -- The country’s health research community will once again celebrate the annual Philippine National Health Research System (PNHRS) Week on Aug. 10-11, 2016 at the Citystate Asturias Hotel in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan.

With the theme “Research and Innovation for Health and the Environment,” the 10th PNHRS Week will be hosted by the MIMAROPA Health Research and Development Consortium (MHRDC), together with the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD), according to Dr. Jaime Montoya, PCHRD executive director.

“The PNHRS Week provides a platform for interaction, learning, and collaboration of different stakeholders in health research and development. PNHRS [also] gives members of health research community opportunities to share information and experiences, voice their concerns, and contribute research-based solutions to health problems,” Dr. Montoya said.

“This is a perfect venue for various stakeholders to swap notes, brainstorm and collaborate on all things in research and development,” DOH-MIMAROPA Regional Director Eduardo Janairo said.

He added said that the event will be a good platform to focus on formation of critical thinking and creative problem solving on environmental health concerns.

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

Plenary and parallel sessions will revolve around key areas, namely: innovation technologies in addressing climate change; science for safe water resources; information technology for health; ecosystem conservation; food protection and alternative functional foods; convergence in health and environment sustainable governance; government and community response to climate-induced health hazards and climate change pressures; and role of media in building health and environmental protection awareness and actions.

Topics to be featured in the upcoming event are:

• “Ethical Issues in Health and Health-related Research.”

• “Climate Change Hazard Adaptation Strategies for Health."

• “Developing a National Research Program on Disaster Risk Reduction.”

• “Indigenous Health System and Environmental Pressures.”

• “Research Fairness Initiative.”

In addition, Student and Professional Research Competition will also be held in the duration of the event.

PNHRS is an integrated national framework for health research in the country which aims to promote cooperation and integration of all health research efforts and stakeholders in the country to ensure that research contributes to evidence-informed health policies and actions.

Palawan is ready for Ms. Universe – Vice Governor Socrates

By Catherine Santos

Following the announcement of Department of Tourism Secretary Wanda Corazon Tulfo-Teo that the Philippines will host the Miss Universe pageant on January 30, 2017, Vice Governor Victorino Dennis Socrates said in a media interview that the province is ready to host some of the competition’s pre-pageant activities.

“I think we are on that level, kaya na natin,” Socrates said, addressing some speculations that El Nido will host the pageant’s swimsuit competition.

Socrates cited the effort of the private sector, primarily through the Palawan Tourism Council, in uplifting tourism in the province, making Palawan capable of hosting an international event like the Miss Universe.

Meanwhile, the provincial government and the Palawan Tourism Council have launched “Palawan World’s Best Island Tourism, Travel and Trade Expo” on July 29-31 at the Robinsons Mall.

Socrates said the Expo will showcase why Palawan was recognized as the “world’s best island” by international bodies such as the Conde Nast magazine. Although still unable to show figures, he believes that the recognition signicantly helped the province in increasing tourist arrival. Socrates also added that more importantly, the award cemented Palawan’s reputation as a premiere tourist destination.

First Special Olympics Games kicks off in Palawan

By Catherine Santos

To help mothers and their intellectually challenged kids, the Special Olympics Philippines (SOP) – Palawan Chapter conducted the first-ever Special Olympics Games (SOG) in Palawan on July 16 and 23, 2016 at the Ramon V. Mitra Sports Complex in Tiniguiban Heights, Puerto Princesa City.

Headed by Edgar Clamor, the activity gathered more than 200 beneficiaries, 300 parents and guardians to a colorful two-day sports event that encouraged camaraderie, and provided an avenue for special individuals to express their unique talents.

“This is a great opportunity for all the parents to rub shoulders with each other and share the wonderful stories they have with each other. I believe that this event will strengthen them as they see their children compete in the spirit of sportsmanship,” said Marvi Trudeau of Pilipinas Shell Foundation.

With the help of expert coaches, SOG was able to organize and supervise four games: track and field, tennis, swimming, and bocce. A football exhibition game and cheer dance competition was also conducted for the kids to explore their talents. The participants, however, have undergone medical screening by the City Health Office assisted by the City Social Welfare and Development Office.

“What pure a joy to see that everybody takes part in actively organizing this activity,” said Angie Mendoza, Director of SOP-Palawan. “This is indeed a great success for all of us and a dream come true both for the parents and their children,” she added.

A series of activities including parade of athletes, motorcade, medical mission, young athletes training, stress management workshop for parents and caregivers have been organized in a two week celebration of the NDPR Week.

The SOG in Palawan was held in time with the celebration of the 38th National Disability Prevention and Rehabilitation (NDPR) Week with the theme “Karapatan ng May Kapansanan, Isakatuparan… Now na!”