Palawan News June 2013

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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

PCSD sees no technicality in case vs 12 Sino fishers on pangolins

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

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, June 29 (PNA) -– The Palawan Council for Sustainable Development (PCSD) sees no technicality in the case it is preparing to file against the 12 Sino fishers of F/V Min Long Yu involving hundreds of dead pangolin meat confiscated on board when the vessel was still stuck-stranded in the Tubbataha Reefs Natural Parl (TRNP) in April.

In an interview over a local radio station, PCSD Staff spokesperson Alex Marcaida said as soon as they receive the final result of the DNA testing of the pangolin meat samples, they will file the case against the Chinese fishermen for violation of the Philippine Wildlife Act.

He said that when they inventoried the contents of F/V Min Long Yu, they were with representatives of the Prosecutor’s Office and the lawyer of the Sino fishers to observe.

Marcaida explained that the first time they were supposed to board the vessel, inventory was cancelled as they were advised to do it in the presence of the representative of the prosecutor and the lawyer of the foreign fishermen.

The second time they succeeded, representatives were already present. “That technicality had been checked; the Chinese fishermen’s lawyer was there,” he said.

The Chinese fishermen, who are already detained at the Palawan Provincial Jail (PPJ) for illegal entry charges, will be sued by the PCSD for violating Republic Act 9147, or the Philippine Wildlife Act.

Search missions for missing pilots, downed OV-10 still on

By Priam Nepomuceno [(PNA), HBC/PFN]

MANILA, June 29 (PNA) -- Despite lacking positive visual sighting of the two missing pilots and the OV-10 "Bronco" attack plane that went down last June 23, the Western Command in Palawan announced that search missions are still ongoing.

"Our search missions are still ongoing for our missing pilots and our downed OV-10 aircraft," 1st Cheryl Tindog, Western Command spokesperson, said.

However, despite the lack of visual sightings, search teams have recovered various parts of the crashed OV-10 aircraft which include part of its nose, cargo bay doors, and landing gear.

The Philippine Coast Guard earlier announced a fishing ban over a 5.9 nautical miles area off the Puerto Princesa airport.

The area is believed to be the place where the turbo-prop aircraft crashed shortly after its night proficiency flight last June 23.

Coast Guard officials said the ban seeks to minimize interference in the search, which has been going on for nearly a week.

Earlier, the Western Command activated a task force to oversee search efforts for the two pilots of the OV-10.

These men were identified as Maj, Jonathan Ybanez and 1st Lt. Abner Trust Nacion

The crash had prompted the Philippine Air Force to ground its fleet of OV-10 aircraft while an investigation is ongoing.

COMELEC-Palawan assures smooth implementation of regular, youth registration

By Celeste Anna R. Formoso [(PNA), HBC/CARF/JSD]

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, June 28 (PNA) – The Provincial Commission on Elections here assured that 10 days are enough for them to accept and approve new registrations for regular voters and the youth for the coming Sangguniang Kabataan elections.

Mon Garduce of COMELEC-Palawan said that based on their national office’s calendar of activities, new applicants to become registered voters, even for the SK, will start in Puerto Princesa and the whole province on July 22-31.

Aside from new applications for registered voters, Garduce said they will also accept and entertain applications for transfer and reactivation of voters’ status.

Youth applicants, he reminded, must appear personally in COMELEC offices in Puerto Princesa and in the municipalities to be able to register.

Their offices will be open only from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. He also clarified that old voters of the last SK election will need to register again.

He assured that 10 days are enough since the bulk of new applicants will no longer be as many as the last registration before the 2013 elections.

“Ayon sa calendar of activities po ano, ang start ng registration para sa barangay ang SK election ay sa July 22. Bale 10 days lang po iyan. Yong mga nag-register noon sa SK na di naman na rin SK, ay kailangan magpa-rehistro para maging regular voters sila (According to the calendar of activities, registration will start on July 22. That is for only 10 days. Those who registered before has to register anew since they are no longer within SK age and so that they will become registered regular voters),” he said.

Sonar search for missing PAF pilots bears ‘significant findings’

By Frances Mangosing ( Agence France-Presse


MANILA, Philippines—A sonar equipment used in the search of two Philippine Air Force pilots who have been missing since their twin-engine propeller plane went down Sunday night off Puerto Princesa City has detected “significant findings,” the military said.

First Lieutenant Cheryl Tindog, Western Command spokesman, told the sonar imaging search found Thursday morning an object at about 200 feet deep.

Tindog expressed hope that the detected object would be wreckage of the OV-10 Bronco, which failed to return to an air strip on the western island of Palawan during a night flying mission.

Two Philippine Air Force pilots, Major Jonathan Ybañez and First Lieutenant Abner Trust Nacion, remain missing.

A diving team from the Naval Special Warfare Group arrived Thursday to conduct underwater search, Tindog said.

The crash is the latest in a string of deadly accidents involving surplus and often old foreign aircraft acquired by the Philippine military.

The air force’s fleet of 30 Broncos were acquired from the United States in 1991 and Thailand in 2004.

Developed in the 1960s as a counter-insurgency aircraft by the US Air Force, the Broncos can carry heavy ammunition for a few hours in the air.

They are used primarily for close air support missions against Muslim and communist insurgents, mainly on the southern island of Mindanao.

However, they are also used to monitor the archipelago’s extensive coastal areas, as well as for search and rescue missions in the disaster-prone Philippines.

Task force formed to find 2 missing pilots off Palawan


THE military formed a task force that would oversee the ongoing search for the two pilots and the wreckage of an Air Force OV-10 plane that crashed off the waters of Puerto Princesa City last Sunday.

Armed Forces of the Philippines Western Command (Westcom) chief Lieutenant General Rustico Guerrero activated the Joint Task Force Bronco on Wednesday, said Westcom spokesperson 1st Lieutenant Cheryl Tindog.

The task force is headed by Brigadier General Condrado Parra Jr., the chief of the 570th Composite Tactical Wing.

"JTF Bronco will oversee the search, rescue and retrieval operations of the ill-fated OV-10 Bronco 630 and its two pilots that have been missing since Sunday night," said Tindog.

"Naval, air and ground units of the AFP in the province shall compose the JTF Bronco and put in effect all necessary and possible means to locate and retrieve the missing aircraft and pilots," she said.

Tindog said more debris have been retrieved on Wednesday. She said the recovered debris were turned over to the 570th Composite Tactical Wing for technical procedures to determine if these indeed came from the aircraft.

The aircraft crashed last Sunday night while making a final approach to land at the Puerto Princesa City airport. It was coming for a night flying proficiency training.

Tindog said search and rescue continued on Wednesday amid heavy rains.

The two pilots, Major Jonathan Ybanez and 1st Lieutenant Abner Trust Nacion, have remained missing as of Wednesday afternoon.

"Western Command maintains high hopes for positive results from the search operations with the employment of the sonar equipment which was contracted by the Philippine Air Force to augment and complement the equipment being used by the search team," said Tindog.

Coast Guard-Palawan on public-friendly mission to mark Seafarer's Day


PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, June 25 (PNA) -- The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG)-Palawan District conducted beach cleaning and tree planting activities on Tuesday simultaneously in coastal areas province-wide to mark the Seafarer’s Day.

As the PCG is dedicated to protect the beaches and the coastal belt, the beach cleaning and tree planting program was seen as the most appropriate way to celebrate Wednesday’s Seafarer’s Day.

In his message, PCG-Palawan commander Commodore Efren Evangelista commended the efforts of all officers and sailors of the Coast Guard for the dedication they exhibited while performing duties entrusted to them.

“The Coast Guard should make every endeavor to protect the seas and coastline to make our seas safe, secure and serene,” Evangelista said.

The activity, he said, is the Coast Guard’s contribution to the National Greening Program set by Executive Order 26, and a full support to the Marine Environment Protection Program of the Philippine Coast Guard.

BFP to conduct safety training to Puerto Princesans


PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, June 24 (PNA) -- Nearly 40 percent of visitors to hospitals, airports, shopping malls and office buildings in this city are unaware of the location of fire exits, and more than one in four do not follow appropriate fire evacuation procedures in the event of an alarm, according to random interviews conducted recently by the local Bureau of Fire Protection.

To put this statistics to a minimum, the Puerto Princesa City Bureau of Fire (PPCBF) will conduct a month-long free fire safety training to residents starting July 1 to raise awareness of the important role that the public plays in fire safety, the agency's chief Herald Castillo said.

PPCBF opens the fire safety training to residents of this city aged 18 years and above, with a full-scale fire drill and evacuation exercise in some of its prominent commercial buildings and tourist spots.

Castillo said the training aims to familiarize people with alarm systems; help them practice evacuation procedures in the event of emergencies; help fire wardens monitor safe and timely evacuation; ensure all alarms and monitoring systems are in perfect working condition; and ensure all emergency control systems are in place.

Trained fire wardens and deputies will conduct the training with a certificate of completion that can be used as reference for job applicants that requires such, he added.

"As part of a safety and prevention effort, your fire bureau will be conducting free lessons, training, and certificates for residents of Puerto Princesa," Castillo said.

Fire safety training is an essential requirement in order to protect property and people and to ensure the integrity of the local government.

"Fire safety training is important - that's why it makes sense to arrange your training with the experts. All of our courses are run by experienced fire officers, who have been carefully selected for their training skills and expertise in all fire related matters. This gives you the benefit of the security and peace of mind that comes from knowing that training has been given by people with a wide experience of fire in different environments and circumstances," Castillo said.

He added that fire safety is an important responsibility for everyone. Consequences of poor fire safety practices and lack of emergency planning are serious in a highly urbanized city. In an effort to prevent fires and minimize the damage to property and loss of life or injury to people when they occur, it is required to develop and implement Fire Safety Plans.

Owners should be proactive in the area of fire safety by developing and implementing a Fire Safety Plan, even in premises that are not required by law to have one, Castillo said. "Developing and implementing a Fire Safety Plan will demonstrate your interest in promoting fire safety."

“The drill is designed to exercise and enhance emergency response procedures and coordination,” Castillo said. “Conducting fire safety training in a safe and controlled environment builds familiarity with procedures, so that should an actual mishap occur, responders have developed some amount of muscle memory.”

A very technical component to this training is the ropes and rigging to ensure the safety of the victim and the rescue team, he said.

The rescue systems that will be practiced on different sites in Puerto Princesa are the same rescue systems that can be used in multiple types of emergency rescue incidents, he fire chief said.

The training is open to residents of Puerto Princesa 18 years old and above, and is free of charge. Registration is ongoing and will close on June 30 at the City Fire Office (in front of the City Police Office) along National Highway, Barangay San Pedro.

Endangered helmet shells, logs seized

By Raymund F. Antonio

Manila, Philippines -- Endangered helmet shells, also known as “Budyong” from Jolo, Sulu, and illegally cut logs aboard a motor launch in Palawan were confiscated by the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) in separate maritime operations.

PCG personnel found 711 pieces of Budyong concealed in 30 sacks on board roll-on, roll-off (Ro-Ro) vessel, MV Kristel Jane 3, in Zamboanga when it underwent inspection.

Lieutenant Junior-Grade Jomark Angue, station commander of PCG Zamboanga, said the helmet shells weighing 50 kilograms were found at the cargo deck of the vessel.

These are believed to be endangered ornamental marine shells, said Angue.

Helmet shells are a predatory marine gastropod of the family Cassidae, characterized by a thick heavy shell with a broadened outer lip. They are being used as decorations and for production of watch parts. They are also carved into objects such as an engraved gem and other items of jewelry.

Based on the assessment of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), it placed the market value of the seized helmet shells at P853,200.

The tip proved to be positive.

Angue said there was no passenger, who claimed ownership of the marine resources. Authorities are still trying to trace the owner of the hot cargo.

In Palawan, the PCG apprehended a motor launch carrying an undetermined number of illegal logs that were about to be shipped to Sabah, Malaysia.

ML Nursamsi was sighted at the vicinity of Balabac, Palawan, the Coast Guard said.

Southwest monsoon to bring rainy Sunday to west Luzon, Palawan

By Jaime Sinapit (

MANILA, Philippines -- It will be a rainy Sunday for the western section of Luzon, including Metro Manila, and Palawan province as the southwest monsoon is expected to bring moderate rain showers and thunderstorms to these areas.

In its late Saturday afternoon update, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Administration said the rains will also affect the Ilocos, Cordillera, Central Luzon and Calabarzon regions.

“The rest of the country will be partly cloudy to cloudy with isolated rain showers or thunderstorms mostly in the afternoon or evening,” PAGASA said.

Coastal waters in Luzon will be moderate to rough, it added.

67 families in Brooke’s Point, Palawan remain in evacuation centers due to heavy floods

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

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, June 21 (PNA) –- Around 67 families evacuated since Thursday morning in three major barangays in Brooke’s Point in southern Palawan remain cooped up in the convention center of their town, where they are temporarily taking shelter after heavy floods hittheir homes.

Gina Quimat, a resident in Brooke’s Point, told the Philippine News Agency (PNA) that the families composed of 370 individuals are from barangays Pangobilian, District 1, District 2, Tubtob and Barong-Barong, where their homes have been inundated by flood waters neck-deep high from nearby rivers.

She said many residents in the center of the town are growing tensed because this is the first time that flood waters rose as high as their neck. The situation, she said, is particularly worst in Roland Subdivision, District 2, where people had difficulty evacuating because flood waters rose high.

“How do we cope with these flooding when we do not have drainage here to speed up their flow towards the sea or anywhere? If heavy rains continue to fall, where do we go?” Quimat said.

Meanwhile, Fatima Valdestamon, spokesperson of the municipal governmentaffected said that although the weather situation has calmed since Thursday morning, they still did not allow many of the residents who want to return to their homes as they want to make sure the waters have already subsided.

She added their foremost effort is concentrated on making sure residents are safe, and are supplied with food at the Brooke’s Point Convention Center, where they are temporarily billeted.

“Sa ngayon po ay medyo humuhupa na ang mga tubig baha saiba’t-ibang mga barangay na nag-umpisa kahapon hanggang kagabi, at sa ngayon kahit di pa sumisikat talaga ang araw ay mukhang maayos naman na (As of now, flood waters have dissipated in the affected barangays that started to accumulate Thursday until last night, and right now,although the sun has not shined, their condition seems to be okay),” she said.

At the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) Headquarters in Puerto Princesa, Commander Efren Evangelista told the media that a speed boat has already been deployed in Brooke’s Point to help in the rescue operations.

Coast guard personnel were also sent to provide additional support to troops from the Marine Battalion Landing Team 12 (MBLT) that first responded to the call for rescue of Brooke’s Point residents.

Mt. Mantalingahan Protected Landscape in Palawan to mark 4th anniversary with photo exhibit


PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, Palawan, June 20 (PNA) -- The Mount Mantalingahan Protected Landscape (MMPL), the mountain range that covers 120,457 hectares of rough and rugged lands in southern Palawan, is commemorating its 4th Year Anniversary with a photo exhibit on June 24.

Featuring 50 images taken from Mount Mantalingahan, the exhibit is themed “Protecting Ecosystem Services, Protecting Human Well-Being, and will run until June 28, according to Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)-Palawan head and Protected Areas Management Board (PAMB) member Juan Dela Cruz.

“The exhibit will highlight the importance and link between protecting MMPL and what it means to the well-being of the people of Palawan,” said Dela Cruz, adding it hopes to raise awareness on the MMPL, specifically its value and benefits, including threats and current efforts to protect it.

Mount Mantalingahan, the highest peak in Palawan province, became a protected landscape area by virtue of Presidential Proclamation 1815 signed on June 23, 2009 by then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

Conservation International (CI) Philippines, one of the non-government organizations heavily engaged in the mountain range’s continued protection, said that holding the exhibit means “to underscore that physical, economic, social and cultural well-being of the people are deeply connected to the conditions of our ecosystems.”

“Changes in the ecosystems of Mt. Mantalingahan will inevitably affect our sustenance, livelihood and survival,” explained CI-Philippines-Palawan Program Manager Jeanne Tabangay.

Virginia Catain, IEC Committee chairperson of the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development Staff (PCSDS), said bringing MMPL to a wider audience in the province "will enhance the awareness and participation of the public in the protection and conservation of MMPL.”

The proclamation of MMPL four years ago became an important step in protecting the country’s most important forest resource. It is one of only 10 sites of the Alliance for Zero Extinction (AZE) in the Philippines.

It is also among the 17 terrestrial Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs) and the 11 Important Bird Areas (IBAs) in Palawan. The protected landscape encompasses the municipalities of Bataraza, Brooke’s Point, Quezon, Rizal and Sofronio Española.

The largely forested MMPL provides various ecosystem services that benefit the local and indigenous communities with an estimated Total Economic Value (TEV) of US$ 5.6 billion.

These ecosystem services include water, soil conservation, flood control, carbon sequestration, non-timber forest products and the high potential of waterfalls, caves and other potential areas for tourism. MMPL is home to more than 12,000 local and indigenous population.

The CI-Philippines said that among the threats to MMPL’s ecosystem include illegal, uncontrolled and unregulated utilization of forest products (timber, fuelwood and minor forest products); increasing conversion of forestland to agricultural land; tan barking and mangrove conversion; wildlife poaching; in-migration, increase in population; destruction of watershed areas and water reservoirs; and mining claims within and in the periphery of its boundaries.

“The watersheds that feed numerous irrigation schemes in surrounding lowlands have experienced extensive loss of forest cover, and degradation of forest resources. Poor watershed conditions result in disrupted water supply, reduced crop yields, and reduced agricultural value of land,” it added.

BIMP-EAGA agribusiness confab to discuss expansion of hybrid rice program in Palawan


PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, June 19 (PNA) -- A senior consultant of SL Agritech Corporation (SLAC), a leading company in the research development and production of superior hybrid rice in the Philippines, is hopeful that the 1st Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines–East Asian Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) Agribusiness Cluster Meeting will be able to lay concrete plans to expand hybrid rice production in Palawan.

Dr. Frisco M. Malabanan, seed technologist and senior consultant at SLAC, said he hopes to present to the BIMP-EAGA cluster meeting new discoveries in hybrid rice production technology that can help the Philippines become self-sufficient in rice, and Palawan plays a key role in the strategy if only more public-private partnership (PPP) cooperative can be established.

“Under the BIMP-EAGA, under the food sufficiency cluster, hybrid rice technology has been identified as the priority project to attain food sufficiency in the region. That is why here in the Philippines, we, in the private sector, are focusing now on Mindanao and Palawan as part of the BIMP-EAGA project,” Malabanan said, adding they want to expand on hybrid rice production as its technology has already been proven to double or more than double the production on a per hectare basis.

Speaking to the Philippine News Agency (PNA) shortly before the opening of the 1st BIMP-EAGA Agribusiness Cluster Meeting at a hotel in Puerto Princesa, Malabanan said that currently, if the commercialization of the technology will be inspected, in Central Luzon, in particular in Nueva Ecija, hybrid rice production has already covered close to 60,000 hectares of land using the kind of rice SLAC promotes.

Last year, he said Nueva Ecija became the leading hybrid rice achiever of the Philippines, primarily because of the “dramatic” expansion of crossbreed rice production in the province.

“They were able to dramatically increase production, and on an average yield, they were able to attain 160 cavans per hectare which is eight tons compared to ordinary inbred rice. That is from four to eight metric tons. And SL Agritech can expand this in Palawan and in Mindanao,” Malabanan stated.

He explained that they have started hybrid rice production in southern Palawan two planting seasons ago in selected areas for technology demonstration and are currently expanding.

They now have hybrid rice production going on also in Quezon, Brooke’s Point, Bataraza, Sofronio Española, Narra, and Puerto Princesa. Unfortunately, Malabanan said the areas for hybrid rice production are still very small.

“Our target here is at least we can cover 25-50 percent of the irrigated rice areas for hybrid rice variety,” he said.

In Narra alone, he said there are 14,000 hectares of farmlands and they wish to cover around 5,000 to 10,000. “If we can cover that much area, then we can dramatically increase the rice production of Palawan,” he said.

Hybrid rice is a variety that is also conventionally bred but deals with “two parents” – male and the female – that when you crossbreed, the resulting progeny is hybrid or F1 generation, he explained.

Its difference to inbred is that it is not self-pollinating; instead it has a hybrid vigor that can increase production easily by 30 percent.

“Increase in production, therefore, increase in income, and this is enough to encourage rice farmers. The only question there is, why are you planting rice? If this is your business, then the technology will increase your production and will increase your income,” Malabanan said.

In Palawan, he said it is only a matter of educating the farmers, providing the resources to them, and giving them the right public-private sector partnership, just like in Bohol where SLAC provided the seeds to the farmers on time, the agri-biotech products and the chemicals so the hybrid rice can be grown healthily.

They partnered with trader mills that also supply the fertilizers and that also do the buy-back. He said this solves the problem of resources that the farmers often lack to buy the seedlings, and the market for their products.

“As a farmer, you are able to access the technologies and the resources to help you increase your production and income,” he said, saying further that Brooke’s Point and Narra have a lot of potentials for hybrid rice production.

More than 300 farmers in southern Palawan, he said, have been convinced to try hybrid rice production, but they are those whose farms are now “irrigated.”

“We really have to do partnerships. Farmers in Palawan have to establish partnerships with the private sector, they have to make effective partnerships with the local government units, and in the provincial government with the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist under the Office of the Governor to also provide support,” he furthered.

Globe upgrades Coron network


MANILA -- Globe Telecom Inc. on Tuesday said it has upgraded its network in Coron, Palawan to fiber optics, strengthening coverage in the tourist destination.

In a statement, Globe Telecom said the upgrade is part of its network modernization program, which aims to improve the telco's services across the country.

"The submarine fiber connection in Coron forms part of our efforts to boost network coverage and augment capacity given increasing demand for connectivity even while our customers are on vacation and to enhance overall network performance," Robert Tan, chief technical adviser at Globe Telecom, said.

The recent effort in Coron is expected to provide subscribers with high-speed Internet and a more reliable network for text and calls.

Globe Telecom's network modernization program launched in late 2011 entails two phases: the improvement of facilities, and the optimization of the firm's IT system.

Stranded foreigners rescued off Palawan

(KBK, GMA News)

Three foreigners were briefly stranded off Palawan after their United Kingdom-registered yacht stalled in the water due to engine trouble, the Philippine Coast Guard said Monday.

In a post on its website Monday afternoon, the Coast Guard said personnel from the Coast Guard in El Nido and Philippine Navy rescued the three, who were stranded some 35 nautical miles southwest off Malampaya gas field in Palawan.

Rescued were:

Ian Riley, British national
Glenn Cooke, 51, Australian national
Ryan Mann, 36, American citizen

The three were in good physical condition, the Coast Guard said.

"According to the crew, they were on their way to Kota Kinabalu when the yacht encountered generator problem due to a damaged pump belt. The derangement, which resulted to rapid exhaustion of fuel, coupled with prevailing bad weather condition prompted the crew to send a distress alert signal," the Coast Guard said.

An initial investigation showed the UK-registered yacht "Simone" encountered a generator problem, prompting the crew to send a distress alert to the Coast Guard.

Responding Coast Guard personnel guided the yacht to El Nido Pier where it refueled.

Philippines to host ASEAN agri meet in Palawan

By Elena L. Aben (PNA), LAM/CARF/JSD]

The Philippines will be hosting the 1st Agricultural Cluster Meeting with the representatives from Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, and Malaysia on June 18 to 20 to transform the sub-region into a ‘food basket’ or producer and exporter of various farm, fishery and processed food products for the ASEAN region, and the rest of the world.

The three-day meeting, which will be held in Puerto Princesa City, is expected to be attended by about 100 delegate-members of the Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) agribusiness cluster.

The meeting will be chaired by the Philippines, through Agriculture Undersecretary for Field Operations Joel Rudinas, representing Secretary Proceso Alcala, who will attend the 38th biennial conference of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in Rome, Italy.

Rudinas said BIMP-EAGA delegates will discuss joint initiatives to ensure the sub-region’s long-term food security, optimize sustainable production of farm and fishery products, promote sustainable livelihood, and increase economic opportunities of small farmers and fisherfolk.

Among the priority projects that the cluster will tackle include: joint venture on production of hybrid rice seeds; harmonization of seaweed good aquaculture practices standards, and export development; information exchange through a web-enabled Food Security Information Management System (FSIMS); and conduct of the 2nd BIMP-EAGA and Indonesia-Malaysia-Thailand Growth Triangle Agriculture Conference in 2014.

The other projects are: strengthening of smallholder coconut–based industries; Sulu Celebes Sea sustainable fisheries management project; and establishment of BIMP-EAGA food, agribusiness and logistics corridor.

The BIMP-EAGA sub-regional cooperation initiative was established as a key strategy of the four ASEAN countries to address the social and economic development of their less developed and more remote territories by increasing production, trade, and tourism through public-private partnerships and joint venture investments.

Palawan to hold 3rd Rice Congress in observance of National Year of Rice

By Celeste Anna R. Formoso [(PNA), LAM/CARF/JSD]

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, June 15 (PNA) -– The provincial government of Palawan is holding on June 24 the 3rd Rice Congress in observance of the National Year of Rice.

The congress themed, “Sapat na Bigas kaya ng Pinas,” will be led by the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist (OPA) in cooperation with the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) and Department of Agriculture (DA) Region IV-B.

Among the topics that will be discussed during the congress will be the 2013 Provincial Rice Situationer and the state of production of rice grain or palay, activities under Agri Pinoy for the program of rice grain in Palawan, and the irrigation system.

Beneficiaries during the congress will also be given certified rice seeds.

Eugene Gatpandan of OPA said the congress will be attended by farmers and seed growers from different parts of the province with Regional Director Cipriano Santiago of the DA-Region IV B as guest.

The Provincial Information Office (PIO) said the rice congress was scheduled following a memorandum order from the national government, which encourages officials and farmers to display tarps with the National Year of Rice texts, as well as pass laws that shall govern over the right use of the farm product.

On June 28, the OPA with the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) will also hold the Fisherfolk Congress.

Assistant Provincial Agriculturist Dr. Romeo Cabungcal said the congress will be attended by 150 participants that will include officials of the Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Management Councils (FARMC) in different municipalities of the province.

He said the congress will discuss the responsibilities of FARMCs in fisheries management through the establishment of marine protected areas and registration of fishermen in municipalities to become information in data bases for determining the number of fishermen in the province.

Some FARMCs in the municipalities of Narra, Roxas and Taytay, he added, will also share success stories to inspire other farmers.

Cabungcal said participants are expected to make an action plan they can implement in the second half of the year and for year 2014.

The agriculture sector is one of the important focuses of the provincial government under Governor Baham Mitra in his “H.E.A.T. is on” or Health, Education, Agriculture and Tourism.

The two congresses are going to be done in consonance with the celebration of the Baragatan sa Palawan 2013.

PN, PCG step up patrol off Tubbataha Reef


MANILA, June 11 (PNA) -- In wake of the Vietnamese intrusion off Tubbataha Reef Friday night, the Philippine Coast Guard and Navy have beefed up their patrols in the marine sanctuary in a bid to prevent a similar incident.

Coast Guard Palawan district head Commodore Enrico Evangelista said park rangers have also been on heightened alert status.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines' Western Command earlier announced that its naval component has already dispatched a patrol vessel to look into the alleged Vietnamese incursion.

1st Lt. Cheryl Tindog, Western Command spokesperson, said that Vietnamese craft, around 50 to 60 tons, was spotted off 3.4 nautical miles of North Atoll, Tubbataha Reef by 9 to 10 p.m. last June 7.

She added the Vietnamese fishing vessel was even said to be flying a Philippine flag when spotted by the Tubbataha Park Ranger Station radar east of North Atoll.

And when park rangers tried to approach the foreign vessel, the latter sped off prompting Philippine authorities to chase it.

"Our park rangers gave chase... up to two nautical miles," Tindog stressed, adding that some of the pursuing rangers are Navy personnel.

She also clarified that the vessel that gave chase to the Vietnamese ship was a park boat of the Tubbataha Reef Marine Park.

Tindog added that Naval Forces West was informed of the presence of the foreign vessel in the area and the latter reacted by deploying a patrol craft immediately.

Friday's incident was the third time this year that a foreign vessel has entered the Tubbataha Reef Marine Park.

In January, the U.S. minesweeper USS Guardian ran aground the Tubbataha Reef, which has been declared by the UNESCO as a world heritage site. The U.S. vessel remained stuck in the reef for more than two months before it was eventually removed March 30.

Just days after the U.S. warship was removed from the reef, a Chinese fishing vessel also ran aground at the marine sanctuary.

Mural painting commemorates Coral Triangle Day and 25th year of Tubbataha Reef natural park


PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, June 10 (PNA) -– Painter-activist AG Saño conducted a mural painting activity Sunday afternoon at the wall of the Veteran’s Bank Building here in celebration of the international Coral Triangle Day and the upcoming 25th anniversary of the Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park (TRNP) in August.

Saño, who was joined by volunteer local painters and supporters of Tubbataha, led by Angelique Songco of the Tubbataha Management Office (TMO), executed the mural painting on the external wall of the three-storey bank building along Jose Rizal Avenue.

The painter-activist said he hopes to raise awareness on the importance of Tubbataha Reef as a marine protected area to the residents of Palawan and as part of the Coral Triangle.

Saño’s love for mural art featuring dolphins and other marine wildlife started after watching the documentary The Cove, which is about the yearly carnage of over 20,000 dolphins in Taiji, Japan.

He quit his job as a landscape architect to answer the desire to paint murals all over the country to promote awareness about the predicament of dolphins. Working with local supporters and volunteers has been a great part of his campaign.

He said that through the public murals, he aims to “raise public awareness of the importance of the Coral Triangle and marine conservation, and to empower the public to take action to help conserve and protect the marine environment.”

Tubbataha Reef, where two recent grounding incidents have caused damage to corals in the south and north atolls, is a natural marine park in the Sulu Sea off the municipality of Cagayancillo in Palawan.

It is a marine protected area (MPA) that covers 97,030 hectares, though according to UNESCO, it measures 130,028 hectares.

In 1993, it was declared by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site under the protective management of the Philippines’ Department of National Defense (DND) under the technical supervision of the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development (PCSD) and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

In 1999, Ramsar listed it as Wetland of International Importance as a global center of marine biodiversity. Research studies conducted in the marine since 1980 revealed that it has no less than 600 fish species, 360 coral species, 11 shark species, 13 dolphin and whale species, and 100 bird species. The reefs also serve as nesting ground for Hawksbill and Green sea turtles.

The Coral Triangle, on the other hand, is a marine area located in the western Pacific Ocean that includes the waters of Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Timor-Leste and Solomon Islands.

The triangle is reported to have a staggering number of corals -- 600 different species of reef-building corals alone -- that nurtures six of the world’s seven marine turtle species and more than 2,000 species of reef fish.

It also sustains large populations of commercially important tuna that is responsible for a multi-billion global dollar tuna industry, according to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). Over 120 million people are said to be living in the Coral Triangle and depends on its coral reefs for food and income, and protection from the storm.

The Coral Triangle Day was celebrated internationally on Sunday, June 9.

Aquino administration elated over inclusion of country's three beaches in CNN's list of best 100 beaches in the world


MANILA, June 9 (PNA) -- The Aquino administration expressed elation over the inclusion of three beaches in the Philippines in the international news organization CNN's list of the best 100 beaches in the world, a Palace official said on Sunday.

Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte said in an interview aired over government-run radio dzRB Radyo ng Bayan on Sunday that the Palau Island in Cagayan Valley, El Nido in Palawan, and Puka beach in Boracay have been recognized as among the 100 best in the world.

A survey on the CNN travel website listed Palau on No. 10, the only Southeast Asian beach that landed in the Top 10. Palau Island was cited for "its glorious white sand, volcanic rocks and blue green water."

The Atlanta-based cable news channel said divers who visited Palau enjoy the sighting of white corals and rich marine species.

El Nido beach captured the 14th spot for "its powder-fine sand, gin-clear water, stunning views of karst limestone formations, lagoons and prehistoric caves."

El Nido’s surrounding waters contain more than 50 species of corals and endangered turtles, the CNN said.

In 84th spot was Puka beach, the second longest beach in Boracay Island. Puka Beach was cited for its puka shells which are being made into jewelry accessories and ornaments.

Last Thursday, the Department of Tourism said foreign visitor arrivals during the first four months of 2013 reached 1,649,458 million, or a 10.12 percent increase from the same period in 2012.

‘Dante’ maintains strength as new cyclone seen in Palawan–Pagasa

By Frances Mangosing (

MANILA, Philippines – A new weather disturbance near Palawan is being monitored by the state weather bureau, while tropical depression “Dante” maintains its strength as it moves north-northeastward.

The potential cyclone was last seen 100 kilometers north of Puerto Princesa City and will bring moderate to heavy rains over Palawan, especially the northern part, the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration said midday Saturday.

Meanwhile, even as “Dante” is too far to directly affect any part of the country, it will enhance the southwest windflow that will bring rains and thunderstorms over Southern Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.

Dante was last seen 740 kilometers east of Casiguran, Aurora as of 10 a.m., packing maximum winds of 45 kilometers near the center. It was moving north-northwest at 15 kph, Pagasa said.

While no storm signals were raised, it will bring moderate to heavy rains within its 300-km diameter.

Dante is forecast to be 920 kilometers east-northeast of Aparri, Cagayan by Sunday morning; 1,060 km northeast of Basco, Batanes by Monday morning and 1,180 km northeast of Basco, Batanes by Monday evening.

60 rubber farmers in Palawan undergo training on production technology

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

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, June 7 (PNA) –- In a bid to encourage farmers in Palawan to consider the viability of rubber tree farming, 60 rubber tree farmers were chosen to attend a two-day training on Rubber Production Technology Tuesday by the Office of the Provincial Agriculture (OPA) at the Provincial Capitol.

Frauline Castillo of the OPA said those who attended the training came from different parts of the province that want to make a stake on starting rubber farming.

She said that on the first day, the training gave the participants topics for discussion on the Natural Rubber Industry in Palawan, Establishment and Management of Rubber Nursery, Establishment and Management of Rubber Plantation, Intercropping Practices, Pest and Diseases of Rubber and Tapping and Processing of Natural Rubber.

Natural rubber, or also called India rubber, or caoutchouc, consists of appropriate polymers of the organic compound isoprene with minor impurities of other organic compounds plus water.

Forms of polyisoprene that are useful as natural rubbers are classified as elastomers. Currently the rubber is harvested mainly in the form of the latex from certain trees. The latex is a sticky, milky colloid drawn off by making incisions into the bark and collecting the fluid in vessels. This process is called "tapping".

The latex then is refined into rubber ready for commercial processing. Natural rubber is used extensively in many applications and products, either alone or in combination with other materials. In most of its useful forms it has a large stretch ratio, high resilience, and is extremely waterproof.

On the second day of the training, the farmer-participants had a practicum on setting up rubber farms and a hands-on demo on rubber tapping.

“Sa layuning matulungan ang mga kuwalipikadong magsasaka na nais magsimula ng rubber farming ay ipinatutupad ng pamahalaang panlalawigan ang programang “Plant Now, Pay Later” scheme na ipinapatupad ng pamahalaang panlalawigan kung saan ay nagpapahiram ng tulong puhunan ang OPA sa mga magsasaka (In a bid to help qualified farmers to start their rubber farming projects, the provincial government is implementing the program Plant Now, Pay Later scheme, where we lend small capitals through the OPA to the farmer),” she said.

She added that the program is to strengthen the presence of the rubber farming industry in Palawan, which has the capacity to flourish it if there are takers, or farmers who will take interest.

PH cockatoo's last refuge in peril

By Kim Arveen Patria (Yahoo! Southeast Asia Newsroom)

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, PALAWAN—A short boat ride from Narra, a quaint town some 90 kilometers south of Puerto Princesa City, will take you to Rasa Island, the last stronghold of the endangered Philippine cockatoo.

Nestled in the sanctuary made up mostly of coral and lined with lush mangrove forests are about 260 of the world’s remaining 1,000 red-vented cockatoos known to Palawan locals as katala.

The white-feathered birds perch on trees’ highest branches and build their nests in tree holes. When food is scarce, the katalas fly to Palawan mainland in search of food for its young.

Residents of Panacan, the Narra village closest to Rasa Island are used to occasionally seeing the white-feathered birds on trees in the neighborhood.

Their experience with the katala, they say, is a perfect example of how human communities can live in harmony with wildlife, instead of competing with them for resources.

But that might not be the case soon.

Now, locals feel threatened not only for themselves but for the birds as well, amid a conglomerate energy arm’s plans to establish a coal-fired power plant near Panacan’s shores, not a kilometer away from Rasa Island.

They also fear that big business, with its promise of profit, jobs and development, could turn local leaders and even neighbors, who they expect to be allies, into their enemies.

“Nanganganib ang kabuhayan at kalusugan namin dahil sa coal-fired power plant na ipapatakbo sa aming lugar (Our livelihood and health are at stake because of a coal-fired power plant that will be run in our area),” said Rolando Esperancilla, who filed a petition via the online platform against the coal-fired power plant.

Esperancilla, a fisherman, lives in spitting distance from the site where Consunji-led DMCI Power Inc. is expected to construct a 15-megawatt plant which will supply power to the Palawan Electric Cooperative (Paleco).

Citing the experience of other communities, Esperancilla said he is worried that ash, chemicals and other waste from the plant will pollute their community and drive birds and fish away from the shoreline.

“Mariin naming tinutulan ang proyektong ito pero di kami pinakinggan ni isinama sa proseso sa pag-apruba (We have strongly opposed this project, but we were not heard—and not even involved—in the approval process),” Esperancilla said.

In a move Esperancilla and other residents refer to as “a betrayal,” Panacan’s barangay council awarded DMCI with a permit for the project, one of four local permits any business venture in Palawan should secure.

The Palawan Council for Sustainable Development (PCSD), a multi-sectoral body headed by the island province’s governor, has also allegedly given DMCI green light.

The quasi-government body in its April meeting in Manila reportedly lifted the conditional endorsement it had earlier awarded in February and instead gave its full approval for the project.

Furthermore, the decision was made despite the fact that the 18-member PCSD was then only meeting as an “executive committee” due to the absence of a quorum.

“Di ba dapat dumaan muna sa pinakamababang lebel bago umakyat sa PCSD (Shouldn’t projects go through small government units before it reaches the PCSD)?” asked Josefina Danao, chief of Panacan Dos, one of the village’s two barangays.

“Kahit na may approval na ang barangay council ng Panacan Uno, sa municipal level wala pang approval, sa provincial level wala rin. Bakit ang PCSD na-approve (Even if the barangay council of Panacan 1 has given its approval, there are no approvals yet in the municipal and provincial levels. Why did PCSD approve)?” she added.

PCSD, under Republic Act 7611 or the Palawan Strategic Environmental Plan Law, is mandated to ensure, among others, the “social acceptability” of business ventures in the resource-rich island of Palawan.

“The people themselves, through participatory process, should be fully committed to support sustainable development activities by fostering equity in access to resources and the benefits derived from them,” the law says.

Palawan Gov. Abraham Kahlil Mitra, however, defended PCSD’s approval of the DMCI project, saying that reports reached him that it may push through even without all four local permits.

“I have yet to confirm this, but I heard that [Environment Sec. Ramon Paje] said the project may push through with only two of the four permits,” Mitra told Yahoo! Southeast Asia at the sidelines of a PCSD meeting May 31.

“Right now we have an endorsement from Barangay Panacan. The PCSD endorsement is the second,” he added, referring to the executive committee decision which is pending ratification by the council.

However, Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau Wildlife Division chief Josie de Leon, who represented the Environment department in the PCSD meeting, said she was not aware of such a directive from Paje.

In fact she doubts that Paje will make such a statement. “Sec. Paje insists that we follow the procedure strictly in all projects, so I don’t think he will bend the law for this single case,” de Leon told Yahoo! Southeast Asia.

From where they sat, de Leon, Mitra and the rest of the members of the PCSD faintly heard tensions rage outside between protesters for and against the multimillion project.

Tensions were quelled in the room where they held council, however, as the PCSD, for the third consecutive month, failed to reach a quorum with only eight voting members attending.

As Palawan stands at the threshold of a change in leadership with the election of Jose Alvarez as governor, the question on the DMCI power plant remains hanging.

“Somehow, this is also a reprieve for us, since the adjournment of the council meeting meant they can’t ratify the approval,” said Indira Lacerna-Widmann, program manager for Katala Foundation, Inc., which leads efforts against the project.

But she urged cautious optimism, noting that the PCSD can still either affirm or withdraw its support for the plant. “This buys us time, but will time change anything?” Widmann said.

Otto Energy starts drilling new wells in Palawan


MANILA, June 5 (PNA) -- Otto Energy has started drilling two new wells at the Galoc oilfield in Palawan.

In a disclosure with the Australian bourse, the oil and gas explorer and producer said drilling of the new wells started Tuesday.

“Driling is expected to take approximately 115 days including the flowing of the wells for clean-up,” it said.

Otto Energy is part of a consortium that was awarded the Service Contract (SC) 14. It has the majority share in the joint venture with 33 percent. The other players are Galoc Production Co. 2 Pte. Ltd., Nido Petroleum Philippines Pty Ltd, The Philodrill Corp., Oriental Petroleum & Minerals Corporation/Linapacan Oil Gas & Power Corp., and Forum Energy Philippines Corp.

The project, located at North West Palawan, is part of the Galoc Phase II development.

“First oil from the Phase II wells is expected during Q4 2013,” the company said.

The project has, to date, produced over 10 million barrels (MMbbls) since 2008.

10 Palawan cooperatives get P2-M livelihood assistance

By Clarinda I. Catimpo [(PNA), JBP/CARF/CIC/SSC]

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, June 4 (PNA) -- The provincial government has awarded more than P2 million worth of livelihood financial assistance to 10 organized cooperatives in Palawan.

In her report at the Provincial Capitol, Provincial Cooperative Development Office (PCDO) officer Victoria Ladica, said that under the Livelihood Credit Assistance Program, five qualified cooperatives were awarded P420,000 livelihood financial assistance, and P1,800,000 assistance to five more cooperatives under the SULONG Palawan project.

Some of the projects being implemented by the cooperative beneficiaries are rice trading, consumer store, credit/lending and cashew processing.

The credit assistance provided through the PCDO charges a minimal interest of 4 percent in six months. However, a rebate of 2.5 percent will be given to the association for payments made before the due date.

An impressive repayment rate of 97.4 percent was achieved, which, as of May 2013, Ladica said has reached more than P3 million.

The Livelihood Credit Assistance Program (LCAP) provides livelihood and enterprise development assistance to small cooperative beneficiaries in Palawan and members of the marginalized sectors by providing access to micro credit through accredited NLSF Program partners/conduits, supported by capability building/institutional development interventions, she said.

SULONG, on the other hand, is the primary credit facility of the provincial government of Palawan intended to augment the income of small cooperatives.

Ladica said that through the program, the recipients were taught to become self-reliant with the inculcation of the spirit of cooperativism.

“Natututo silang maging productive at kumita para makatulong sa kanilang pamilya. Natututo din silang magbalik ng kanilang hiniram sa tamang oras at kung minsan, mas maaga pa nga (They learned how to be productive and earn to help their families. They also learned to pay what they borrowed at the right time, and sometimes even earlier than the deadline),” she said.

As of now, Ladica also reported that through the Cooperative Strengthening and Capability Building Program, cooperatives in the province have improved dramatically and most of them have become self-sustaining.

OPA upgrades farm production in Palawan


PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, June 3 (PNA)-- The Office of the Provincial Agriculturist (OPA) has been empowered to encourage farmers to use at least one affordable bio-fertilizer that increases crop yields by as much as 20 percent to wean them from using costly, imported chemical inputs.

According to Palawan Provincial Agriculturist Teresita Guian, the use of this microbial-based fertilizer, with trade-mark name Bio-N, was infused to OPA employees in a three-day training at the Provincial Agriculture Center in Irawan, Puerto Princesa City, for them to effectively manage the facilities for the production of Bio-N fertilizer.

Bio-N was developed by scientists at the University of the Philippines in Los Baños, Laguna (UPLB), where the Bio-Tech trainer for this activity comes from.

The Bio-N package, Guian said, was funded by the Provincial Government of Palawan under the OPA.

Bio-N is a microbial-based inoculant that is available from suppliers in 49 newly established mixing plants nationwide.

Guian said experts from UPLB and the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) have recommended the use of Bio-N as affordable, growth-boosting, and environment-friendly alternative to imported chemical fertilizers after this substitute fertilizer was screened for its effectiveness on a variety of agricultural crops.

She noted that Bio-N supplies at least 50 percent of the nitrogen requirements of rice, corn, and vegetable crops and that five 200-gram seed packets are enough for one hectare planted to rice or corn.

Bio-N promotes shoot growth and root development in crops, increases the yield per hectare, and develops the resistance of corn crops to wind and certain plant diseases.

Further, Bio-N inoculants are environmentally safe and can eliminate the risk of ground water pollution caused by the leaching of nitrate, especially in loose soils, Guian said.

Production of the Bio-N fertilizer will begin in mid-June at the Provincial Agriculture Office. Guian announced that farmers who wish to buy Bio-N fertilizers may contact the OPA.

Palawan social welfare office projects: Strategies to fight poverty


PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, June 2 (PNA) -- The delivery of basic social services through the Palawan provincial government projects is a constant balancing act, as 10 towns in the province have directly benefitted from them through the priority development assistance fund.

The Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office (PSWDO), in a report, said that for the first half of 2013, more than 100 families have been given financial assistances and livelihood pushcarts in the northern municipalities of El Nido, San Vicente, and Roxas, and Aborlan, Narra, Sofronio Española, Quezon, Rizal, Brooke’s Point and Bataraza in the south under the Livelihood Assistance Program.

Apolonia David, PSWDO officer, reported at the Provincial Capitol in Puerto Princesa City that the livelihood assistance is part of their support in the employment component of the "HEAT is on program" of the provincial government.

“We ensure that deliveryof social services are met, so as to help the people of Palawan uplift their living condition through effective delivery of basic social services,” David said.

She also reported the continuing accreditation of day care centers using the new accreditation tool of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to ensure the quality of services for young Palaweños. In line with this, she said, the responsible parenthood class is sustained, which is covered by the Family Development session for the beneficiaries of the

Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program or more popularly known as the 4Ps program of President Benigno C. Aquino III.

David also reported that a total of 133 children have benefited from the Batang Masigla Learning Center since its operation in 2010 at the Provincial Capitol. The Batang Masigla Center was opened in response to Executive Order #340 that directed government agencies to put up a day care service for government employees’ children aged five and below that they cannot leave during work hours.

Under the Basic Sector Development and Community Based Project, PSWDO have helped more than 700 individuals needing various forms of assistance, such as medical, burial, food and referrals to other government and private agenices.

Day care workers in several barangays in Sofronio Española and Brooke’s Point have been accredited, she reported, alongside Accreditation Tools for Day Care Workers orientations and trainings in the municipalities of Bataraza, El Nido and Busuanga.

She also reported that PSWDO continuously conduct inventory of food packs for future relief operations in case of calamity strike in Palawan.

Social welfare program, David said, intends to provide communities with projects funded under the government’s stimulus fund to help fight poverty, especially in far-flung rural areas in the province.

It also aims to “reduce poverty, improve governance and empower communities, ensuring that the communities benefit from improved delivery of basic social services and are served by responsive, transparent and accountable government units,” she added.

The projects, she said, include connectivity systems, basic services for economic development, agricultural services and industry investments, economic investments in indigenous people’s areas and disaster-preparedness climate change adaptation interventions.

CSC gives new system, strategic management seminar to Capitol employees


PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, June 1 (PNA) -- The Civil Service Commission taught chiefs of divisions, programs and offices of the Provincial Capitol of Palawan regarding a new system of management and measures on effective execution of mandates in a seminar in this city.

This is part of the pursuit to follow Civil Service Resolution 1200481 dated March 16, 2012, and other Memo Circular that directs national government agencies to implement the Strategic Performance Management System and Strategic Human Resource Plan.

This seminar aims to introduce, explain and teach the SPMS and SHRP for its effective implementation, according to lawyer Judith A. Dongallo-Chicano, Regional Director of the Civil Service Commission Region IV.

“This is the strategy that will be used to determine the quality of service of officials and employees of the provincial government. This is the one that will replace the old system of measuring the quality of service, which is the Performance Evaluation System,” Chicano said.

She added that the Commission aspires to apply the culture of performance and accountability.

“We can see in the new strategy how their good service can have benefits through the new system,” she said.

She also explained that the vision, mission, targets and programs of various government offices and its connection to the entire vision and mission of the government which will be the basis for the SPMS.

To report its performances and accomplishments, each office will fill up an Office Performance Commitment Review and each employee will accomplish an Individual Performance Commitment Review.

The SPHR or Strategic Performance Human Resource Plan will concentrate on the information in relation to government employees, its improvement of ability and capability of each, and analysis of their weaknesses, strength and lack of expected training. This, she said, aims to improve the overall service of the government.

The Commission looks forward to the fulfilment of the provincial government of Palawan of the SPMS and SPHR, for transparency of each office and employees.

This way, Chicano said, government employees shall receive Performance Based-Bonus equivalent to their grades after verification and review of their IPCR.