Palawan News June 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

Mining firms donate PHP15-M for classroom in Palawan

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

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, Palawan, June 30 (PNA) -- In a move to help the government in providing quality education to Filipino youth, Coral Bay Nickel Corp. (CBNC) and Rio Tuba Nickel Mining Corporation (RTNMC) have started turning-over classrooms to various municipalities in the province of Palawan.

CBNC and RTNMC, both affiliates of Nickel Asia Corporation (NAC), have shelled out more than PHP15 million for the construction of classrooms in different municipalities as prizes for the first two seasons of the province-wide Palawan Basketball Association (PaBA) tourney.

One of the buildings donated by CBNC and RTNMC was a day-care center in Barangay Tagburos in Puerto Princesa City, which was inaugurated early this week.

Panfucio L. Inocente, Tagburos barangay chairman, in an interview during the inauguration, said the day care center was a big help for the community as more underprivileged children will have now access to free and quality education.

"Malaking tulong ito para sa edukasyon ng mga bata dahil hindi na nila kailangang dumayo sa ibang lugar para lamang makapag-aral (This is a big help to our children because they don’t need to go to other places just to study)," Inocente said.

CBNC Community Relations Manager Ma. Mary Anne O. Baribar said the construction of the day care center and other classrooms was part of the two mining firms’ corporate social responsibility (CSR) program not only in their impacted communities but for the entire province of Palawan.

Both CBNC and RTNMC have mining operations in Barangay Rio Tuba in Bataraza, Palawan.

"It is beyond of what is required of us. It is beyond our area coverage but that comes from the generosity of the two companies to share to other communities the benefits that we all have here in Rio Tuba. Tagburos is not part of the impacted community but then again the two companies are too generous to share within the province of Palawan," said Baribar.

Launched in February 2014, the PaBA has already played two seasons and in the process has already pledged a total of 14 classrooms, with two-time champion Puerto Princesa City winning nine classrooms in total.

RTNMC’s community relations manager Reynaldo M. de la Rosa said for Season 1, the beneficiaries of the new classrooms were Tiniguiban Elementary School and Mangingisda National Highschool in Puerto Princesa City and Narra National HighSchool in Narra, Palawan.

For Season 2, the beneficiaries were Tagburos Day Care Center, Manuel Austria Memorial National High School and San Jose Elementary School in Puerto Princesa City; Mary Edwards Memorial National High School and Paratungon Elementary School inBrooke's Point; Sandoval Elementary School in Narra and Sta. Teresita Elementary School in Roxas, Palawan.

Under the PaBA prizing, De la Rosa said, the over-all champion will receive two classrooms while the runner-up and conference champions will be given with one classroom.

Apart from the school buildings, cash prizes were also received by the winning teams -- PHP100,000 for grand champion, PHP70,000 for first runner-up and PHP50,000 for second runner-up.

Jose Bayani "JB" Baylon, NAC vice president for corporate communications, said before the league took off in 2014, De la Rosa thought about giving classroom buildings as additional prize, which will give extra motivation for the teams.

"With this kind of motivation, the result was great as players had more passionate support in every game," he said.

Baylon said PaBA does not only discover new basketball talents but it also helps in providing education to the youth of Palawan through the construction of classrooms.

PaBA was not only a tournament but it also helped in developing the skills of both the basketball players and referees, he added.

"De la Rosa said that prior to the staging of PaBA conference, "we usually hold skills development training for referees and clinics to basketball enthusiasts, which is a year round activity."

Anya Hospitality mulls Palawan expansion

By Keith Richard D. Mariano (Reporter)

THE JOINT VENTURE of Roxaco Land Corp. and Fuego Hotels and Property Management Corp. are close to completing their first development under the Anya brand, which they intend to bring to Palawan and other tourist destinations in the future.

Anya Hospitality Corp. has started selling the residential condominium component of the Anya Resorts & Residences in Tagaytay, its President and Chief Executive Officer Santiago R. Elizalde said in a media briefing in Makati City Tuesday.

The condominium is the last phase of the 7.2-hectare luxury residential and resort development that required an investment of around P1.5 billion. The first two phases involved the development of 54 residential lots and 88 resort units.

Anya Hospitality already sold out the residential lots, which owners could develop based on three different house designs, and about 80% of the resort component, which guarantee a revenue share for investors.

Construction is still ongoing for Phase 2, which the company targets to open in September after 18 months of development work, Mr. Elizalde said.

The third phase, meanwhile, will offer 134 residential units in 10 low-rise condominiums with prices starting at P9 million. Development of the third phase may take over three years.

Anya Hospitality has started pre-selling the first condominium under Phase 3, Mr. Elizalde said. “I think we launched the first block about a month ago and I think out of the 12 units in block 1, we sold 5 or 6 so far -- so, close to 50%.”

The company is primarily targeting end-users for the residential units although owners will have the option to lease them out.

“We will rent it out for them, we can manage the apartments for them as well because the management team of that resort will provide that service. So, it’s a built-in service because the resort is in place,” Mr. Elizalde said.

At the same time, Anya Hospitality is considering expansion in tourist destinations around the country.

“We have identified possible locations in Palawan, in Bohol, in Cebu so we have four or five destinations that have been identified for future development,” added Mr. Elizalde, who also serves Roxaco Land as senior executive vice-president.

Anya Hospitality will only require two to three hectares to develop a resort, Mr. Elizalde said, with the company maintaining an option to enter into joint ventures with the landowners aside from acquiring the properties by itself.

“We envision future Anyas not even going beyond 100 to 120 rooms because that’s really [what] we want to have -- highly exclusive, highly private boutique resort development,” he said.

The company intends to open one Anya development every two years.

With the first Anya project approaching its completion, Mr. Elizalde said the company will now start planning for the second project that it could launch in early 2017.

“For the next one, we might be leaning toward Palawan, specifically the Coron-Busuanga area [which] is now a destination that’s being talked about. Infrastructure needs a little bit improvement but at least the airport is in place,” Mr. Elizalde added.

Anya Hospitality is optimistic about the tourism industry’s prospects, with the incoming administration urged to tackle the country’s public infrastructure backlog.

“As far as we’re concerned, that’s a sunrise industry because we have 7,100 islands and there are many untapped destinations that can be promoted, but we have to be able to get there,” Mr. Elizalde said.

Asked about Anya Hospitality’s targets within the next 10 years, Mr. Elizalde said: “Next 10 years? We’re going to have five (projects)... and maybe go overseas and export the Filipino resort brand. That’s our ultimate aim.”

“We’ll look at Palawan first. We’ll take it one step at a time but there are opportunities everywhere. The tourism industry is huge all over the world.”

Anya Resorts & Residences announced in October 2015 its inclusion in the Small Luxury Hotels of the World, where only 5% of 1,000 membership applications received yearly would supposedly meet the group’s standards.

“The plan had always been to come up with a Filipino resort brand, hotel and resort. And it was something we wanted to add to our portfolio of real estate development,” Mr. Elizalde said.

Roxaco and, a wholly owned subsidiary of Roxas and Company, Inc., also counts the Club Punta Fuego and Terrazas de Punta Fuego among its leisure developments.

Palawan Cherry Blossoms’ Park to Rise in Puerto Princesa City

By Catherine Santos

The City Government of Puerto Princesa is currently planning to develop a Palawan Cherry Blossoms Park, to be dubbed as ‘Balayong Park’, which will be inspired by the famous Sakura gardens of Japan, said Mayor Lucilo Bayron.

However, unlike the Sakura Park reportedly to be established in Benguet, the Park, which will be located at the Palawan Sports Complex and nearby areas, will showcase Balayong aka Palawan Cherry Blossoms, a local tree species that resembles the Sakura Tree of Japan.

“Isang man-made destination, kasi kung mapupuno natin ng mga balayong trees ‘yan, pag nagbulaklak, magiging maganda sa paningin,” Bayron said.

He added that the local government unit is planning to relocate existing Balayong trees, if needed. “Kung kinakailangan bilihin, gagawin natin. Bibili tayo ng equipment na panghukay. Para may malalaki agad na balayong tayong malalagay (at the park),” he said.

According to Bayron, while the project will definitely be realized during his term, his team is admittedly still conducting a thorough study of the project. “Ginagawa pa yung over-all plan, para may direksyon tayo hindi yung tira tayo ng tira tapos sasabihin natin sa bandang huli ay mali pala ito,” he said.

Bayron further explained that establishing the ‘Balayong Park’ is part of the city government’s plan to re-direct tourism in the City. “Hindi talaga tayo pwedeng umasa sa mga kasalukuyang (natural) destination. Kahit na world wide na kilala ang Underground River, ‘yong Honda Bay, pero hindi puwedeng ‘yun lang.”

Along with the creation of Balayong Park is the enhancement of the Palawan Sports Complex where additional lights and amenities will be provided.

It is also proposed that the annual Balayong Festival, celebrated in time with the city’s Foundation Day, will be held at the Balayong Park once established.

PCSD reactivates PCSDKonek

By Catherine Santos (with excerpts from PCSDS’ Press Release)

The Palawan Council for Sustainable Development (PCSD) re-launched its community quick response system tagged as PCSDKonek on Sunday, June 19, in time for the 24th anniversary celebration of the Strategic Environmental Plan for Palawan Act (SEP Act).

The said program aims to widen the reach of PCSDS through maximizing people in the community as “eyes and ears” who will assist their enforcement team in fulfilling their tasks.

Levita Lagrada of ECAN Regulation & Enforcement Division of PCSDS explained the process of the said program where community members or any concerned citizen can report on environmental anomalies in their localities thru text messages (SMS). Lagrada explained that if one has something to report on illegal environmental activities all they have to do is to text “sumbongN4RS” with their message to 74447611.

Aside from reporting, one can also inquire on PCSD plans and policies and project status, requirements & status of application, among other similar concerns. There are corresponding keywords for every inquiry. For more details of text guide, visit

PCSDKonek was first launched in February 2005 but did not last long due to changing leaderships’ priorities.

DPWH to open road access west coast of Palawan


PUERTO PRINCESA CITY (PNA) -- The Palawan provincial government is readying to open a road project that would provide access to residents of the west coast in Aborlan.

Provincial Information Officer Gil Acosta Jr. said Tuesday that the road network will be 40 kilometers long from Barangays Barake to Santo Niño in the west coast of the second class municipality that has the only agricultural university in Palawan, the Western Philippines University (WPU).

He said that the road project is in reply to clamor by the residents of the area to have easy access to the center of the town.

Acosta said the road project was the product of 3rd Palawan District congressman-elect Gil Acosta’s and Governor Jose Alvarez’ request to both outgoing Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Secretary Rogelio Singson and incoming secretary Mark Villar early this month.

“If this project is included in the budget, then we can already start the paper and leg works,” the information officer said.

While waiting for the inclusion, he said that the provincial government has already started the paving of the road. The DPWH, on the other hand, will fund its concreting. He was unable to say how much budget was allocated for the project.

Once opened, the road project from Barake to the center of the town would allow farmers in the area to bring their products to the market, and would also speed up the delivery of basic health services to residents.

Palawan celebrates anniversary by distributing 2,000 solar home systems to indigents

By Catherine A. Santos [(PNA), LAM/CARF/CAS/RSM]

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY (PNA) -- Palawan province celebrated Thursday its 114th Civil Government Anniversary by distributing 2,000 units of solar home systems (SHS) to indigent families in the southern town of Brooke’s Point.

The distribution in the town was personally led by Governor Jose Alvarez.

Instead of their usual Baragatan sa Palawan anniversary celebration, Alvarez said it is more important that indigent families be given the SHS units as most of them have no electricity for a long time.

Usually, the province holds the Baragatan sa Palawan at the provincial capitol compound, where all local government units (LGUs) participate in month-long agro-trade fairs, street dancing, and nightly activities.

“Instead of spending for a grand celebration, I thought it would be nice to celebrate the anniversary by just giving services to the barangays, and providing what they really need, like power,” he said.

The 2,000 solar home system units distributed in Brooke’s Point were part of the 27,200 to be distributed throughout Palawan.

Alvarez said distribution to other areas is currently undergoing the process of re-validation.

Madelyn Panger, one of the recipients of the SHS in Barangay Imulnod, welcomed the distribution with excitement for she has never known electricity in the community, where her family lives.

“Since I was born, we were already living without electricity. This solar unit is a big help to us, especially our children, who now can better study even during the night,” she said.

The SHS have durable solar panel that is resistant to dust and heat. It has a lithium-based battery, bulbs, solar lanterns and charging cable for cellular phones, according to Angelo Valenton of Power4All and the president of Best Brands, Inc. (BBI).

Alvarez told the recipients that the solar home unit is free and the provincial government will not be collecting payments even for maintenance during its two-year warranty.

“My only request is that you don’t sell them. For those who have not received theirs yet, don’t worry because we will be distributing more,” he said.

Palawan welcomes first double decker bus

By Catherine A. Santos [(PNA), LAM/CARF/CAS/RSM]

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, June 24 (PNA) -- Palawan province welcomed on its roads the first unit of the u-Hop-powered double decker bus that would regularly ply the Puerto Princesa-El Nido route beginning next week.

u-Hop Transportation Network Vehicle System Inc. (u-Hop TNVSI) is a Filipino-owned company, whose main goal is to provide alternative solutions "to daily transportation service across the globe” and lessen the traffic volume by utilizing comfortable shuttle vans to limit private vehicles on the road.

u-Hop Palawan Marketing and Operations Manager Joy Tabuada said Friday that five more units are expected to arrive in this city to ply other routes in the province, such as towns in southern Palawan.

The double decker bus can accommodate 59 passengers as if they are being provided the services of an airplane, according to Tabuada.

It has a VIP lounge, where passengers can enjoy videoke while on travel. The seats can be reclined to enjoy watching television, or simply still communicating with families at home through the wifi.

Fitted with its own comfort room, the double decker bus will also have attendants to cater to the needs of the passengers.

Travel will as well be safe as the vehicle has closed-circuit television (CCTV) monitoring and a built-in global positioning system (GPS) for easy navigation.

The double decker bus arrived Tuesday, and was immediately presented the next day to re-elected Mayor Lucilo Bayron, who welcomed it as a new addition to the city’s growing transport community.

“As father of the city, I am happy to welcome it,” Bayron told the local press, who joined the ride to the City Hall in Barangay Santa Monica.

Double decker buses are being used for mass transport in Europe and other countries in Asia.

Puerto Princesa celebrates 26th Feast of the Forest June 25

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

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, June 23 (PNA) -- Around 70,000 seedlings of various indigenous trees are ready for planting on Saturday when this “City in a Forest” celebrates the 26th Pista Y Ang Cagueban (Feast of the Forest) at Sitio Impapay, Barangay Irawan, the City Information Office (CIO) of the city government said in a release Wednesday.

The seedlings will come from the City Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO), and labeling had already been completed, the release said.

This year’s theme of the mass planting event is “Sulong Para sa Buhay-Ilang,” in a four-hectare land areas in Barangay Irawan.

Special guests on Saturday will be the winners of the Miss Earth Philippines 2016 led by winning candidate Imelda Schweighart.

Free rides will be provided by the city government as early as 4:30 a.m. at the Palawan National School, City Coliseum, and Mendoza Park.

BFAR distributes fiberglass boats for Kalayaan fisherfolk

By Catherine Santos (with excerpts from BFAR’s press release)

The Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (DA-BFAR) rolled out fisheries livelihood support to more than 100 fisherfolk of the Municipality of Kalayaan during a ceremony at Naval Tide Pole, Puerto Princesa on Friday, June 17.

Among the beneficiaries of 20 units of 38-footer fishing boats are the Kalayaan Fisherfolk Organization and the Spratly’s Strong and Brave Women’s Association (SSBWA).

“This project is not just for food security. We (Bureau) are here (also) for maritime security. Kasi sabi nga nila, either we use it, or we lose it,” says Atty. Benjamin Tabios Jr., Assistant Regional Director who gave a message in lieu of Drusila Esther Bayate from the Office of the BFAR Director.

The fishing boats were constructed in BFAR’s boat building site in the municipality of Rizal, Palawan. BFAR will transport the boats to Kalayaan thru the assistance of Philippine Navy, which has been actively collaborating with them in facilitating fisheries livelihood for the people living in the said municipality, Tabios added.

Aside from the “unsinkable” boats with vacuumed compartments, fishermen received livelihood inputs like fishing gears and several units of shallow water payaos (fish aggregating device), as a means of promoting inclusive growth and improving the quality of life in far-flung fishing communities.

Outgoing Mayor Eugenio Bito-onon, Jr. of Kalayaan thanked BFAR and Philippine Navy for the realization of this project which according to him is a product of “long talk and process.”

Roberto Asiado, representative of Kalayaan Fisherfolk and Mary Joy Batiancila, president of SSWBA also expressed their gratitude for choosing them as recipients of the said project.

Aside from fisheries inputs, BFAR has also brought down rainwater collector facilities, which would allow communities to collect fresh water for their daily subsistence.

Meanwhile, Tabios also confirmed that there is an on-going exploratory talk between BFAR and concerned stakeholders on the possibility of launching a seaweeds project for the people of Kalayaan.

DTI says Palawan’s spicy, crispy dilis can be exported abroad


PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, June 17 (PNA) -- The crispy and spicy dilis (anchovy), one of Palawan’s most favorite pasalubong or take home food items on travels, has a big chance of being exported abroad, according to the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

“What needs to be done is to improve its packaging, labeling, and the quality of the product,” said Thursday in a media conference by Agnes Legaspi of the DTI’s Export Marketing Bureau.

The press conference was part of the Negosyo Fair the DTI opened in this city Thursday.

If repackaged, given a fresh label, and the quality improved, Palawan’s spicy and crispy dilis can be exported to the Middle East, Japan, and the United States.

”Foreigners are looking for the spicy and crispy anchovies,” Legaspi said.

The pasalubong item is made crispy by deep frying and toasting cornstarch-coated anchovies. It has been described as “tastier” than the dried anchovy, and eating it directly from the pack is a treat for those who love it.

Aside from the tiny fish product, Palawan’s handicrafts also have a chance of being exported abroad if the quality can be assured.

The only problem they think that potential entrepreneurs will have is if they can comply the documents required, and the processes they need to undergo to make their business legal.

Based on information gathered by the DTI, in 2010 some businessmen already started exporting fish. However, after a few years, exporting downgraded because of problems in legality. The only product that Palawan is exporting currently is nickel.

The Negosyo Fair, explained Legaspi, was specifically intended for the DTI to determine what products can be improved by small-to-medium scale entrepreneurs.

When this is done, owners can be assisted and guided on exporting and importing, and all they need to know to make their enterprises income-generating in Palawan and abroad.

The Negosyo Fair also targets to explain to the entrepreneurs their and the buyers’ rights, their responsibilities, the trade fair law that is about pricing, price tagging, law on proper product labeling and product standards.

Included too, in the information and dissemination campaign of the business fair are discussions on the Consumers Act, such as pyramiding and on candies being used as change instead of coins in grocery and department stores.

Napocor inaugurates 69-kV transmission line in Palawan

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

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, June 20 (PNA) -– The Palawan provincial government announced Monday that the provision of power supply in distant areas in the province received a boost recently with the inauguration of the 69 kilovoltage transmission line of the National Power Corporation (Napocor) in this city.

Provincial Information Officer Gil Acosta Jr. said the 69Kv transmission line, which was inaugurated last June 16, will have the capacity to carry electricity from Puerto Princesa to the northern Palawan town of Roxas with minimum losses and distortion.

The inauguration, Acosta said, was attended by Palawan Governor Jose Alvarez, congressman-elect Gil Acosta Sr. of the 3rd Palawan District, and Napocor President and Chief Executive Officer Gladys Sta. Rita at the power corporation’s compound in Barangay Irawan.

“There remain areas in northern Palawan that are yet to be reached by power supply, particularly in Roxas. This is the reason why Napocor and the provincial government are working together to include Roxas in the grid,” he said, adding that currently, the DMCI Power Corporation (DPC) only has four generating sets that are not enough to service other areas.

From Puerto Princesa City, the transmission line is 111 kilometers to the town Roxas, and has 37 steel towers. It will not only serve the DPC but also the generating sets on standby in the said town.

Acosta Jr. said further that Alvarez was thankful to the Napocor for responding positively on the need to provide additional need for electricity supply, especially in distant areas of the province in the north.

The transmission line project is part of the IHELP program of the provincial government, or Infrastructure, Health, Education, Livelihood, and Protection of the Environment.

Acosta Jr. assured that the advocacy to widen the coverage of 24/7 power will remain to ensure that development goes to far-flung areas, where they are already needed to uplift the standards of living of residents.

He said they expect the transmission line to become fully operational in July.

Far-flung Araceli town in Palawan to enjoy 24/7 power beginning July


PUERTO PRINCESA CITY (PNA) -- The far-flung fourth class municipality of Araceli in northern Palawan will soon be enjoying 24/7 electricity.

This was disclosed Friday by provincial information officer Gil Acosta Jr. to the local media. The project was formally inaugurated on June 16, 2016.

Acosta said Governor Jose Alvarez was with National Power Corporation President and CEO Ma. Gladys Cruz-Sta. Maria when the formal inauguration was done in Araceli.

The information officer said the provincial government expects that when the plant is fully operational in July, it will bring more economic development to Araceli town, where over 14,000 people live according to a 2010 census.

“This is a big help to the people of Araceli, who have been living there in darkness for years and years. In July, they will already have 24/7 power supply,” Acosta stated.

Acosta said bringing 24/7 electricity to the said town is part of the provincial government’s dream to bring power to even the farthest island municipality, particularly because Palawan is “best island destination in the world.”

For the site of the power plant, the provincial government will be lending the Napocor with heavy equipment to finish on time.

Distribution of 27,200 solar home system units to begin in Palawan


PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, June 18 (PNA) -- The Palawan provincial government will start the distribution of 27,200 solar home system units on June 23.

Provincial information officer Gil Acosta Jr. said Friday that the distribution will initially be done in southern Palawan, in distant barangays in the municipality of Brooke’s Point for 2,000 units.

The homes that will receive the solar home system units will be those that are not connected to the grid, and cannot be reached by the supply coming from the Palawan Electric Cooperative (Paleco).

The 2,000 which are part of the 27,200 units were purchased by the provincial government from D. Light, and costs PHP78,880 .

They will be distributed free, and will be given to homes that have absolutely not had power in so many years, Acosta said.

Palaweños plant over 30K propagules to celebrate ‘Pista ng Kalikasan’

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

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, June 17 (PNA) -– More than 30,000 mangrove seedlings and propagules were planted early Friday morning on the shores of the southern Palawan town of Brooke’s Point to celebrate the 22nd Anniversary of the “Pista ng Kalikasan.”

The mass planting was led by the Environment and Natural Resources Office (ENRO) of the Palawan government in Barangay Calasaguen, Brooke’s Point in the southern part of the province.

ENRO chief Atty. Noel Aquino said the mangrove planting activity was in cooperation with the local government unit of the said town and the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office (PDRRMO).

The Pista ng Kalikasan, he said, is continuously being implemented on the shores of Palawan in different towns annually as indicated in Ordinance No. 1296-13 or the “Environmental Code of Palawan.”

It is also Executive Order No. 23, Series of 2011, that aims to conserve and protect Palawan as it is a “Mangrove Swamp and Forest Reserve” in the country.

Aquino believes that out of the mangrove propagules and seedlings planted, 75 percent will have a chance of survival to provide new spawning areas for marine life and other wildlife species.

The mass mangrove planting event was attended by employees of the municipal government of Brooke’s Point, the academe, the military, non-government organizations, civic organizations, the business sector, and students of Brooke’s Point and other nearby municipalities.

”Pista ng Kalikasan” is actually celebrated on June 19. It is an annual event that started in 1994 in Palawan.

Palawan gov’t brings national greening program to Mt. Mantalingahan Range

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

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, June 16 (PNA) –- The Palawan government is active in bringing the National Greening Program to five municipalities that surround the Mount Mantalingahan Protected Landscape in the southern part of the province to further green the highland range.

Franquito Paduga, OIC Provincial Agriculturist, said Wednesday that the NGP will be implemented through the Provincial Agriculturist Office (PAO) in the southern Palawan municipalities of Quezon, Rizal, Sofronio Española, Brooke’s Point and Bataraza to protect Mount Mantalingahan that plays an important role in the ecology of the province as it is where many watersheds are located.

“We should always ensure that trees remain in some surrounding areas of Mt. Mantalingahan that have already been denuded. Let’s plant more trees there,” said Paduga, adding this will be done through the NGP.

The OIC provincial agriculturist furthered that based on the design of the NGP, the national government shall provide free seedlings of coffee, cacao, teakweed, gmelina, Brazilian tree, and Narra to claimants or owners of lands around the said protected landscape.

For every owner who will accept this, the government shall offer financial assistance amounting to PHP3,000.

Data from the PAO, said Paduga, reveals that 519.21 hectares of land in southern Palawan have been replanted through the NGP out of a total target of 4,100 hectares in the said five municipalities around Mt. Mantalingahan.

When the trees are fully grown, and their fruits and other tree products are ready, they can become sources of sustainable livelihood, he explained.

The NGP is a massive forest rehabilitation program of the government established by virtue of Executive Order No. 26 issued on February 24, 2011 by President Benigno S. Aquino III.

DTI to conduct ‘Negosyo Fair 2016’

By Catherine Santos (with an excerpts from DTI’s Press Release)

The Department of Trade and Industry is set to conduct ‘Palawan Negosyo Fair 2016” on June 15-17 at Victoriano J. Rodriguez Hall, Capitol, said Rosenda Fortunado, DTI Provincial Director.

The three-day activity initiated by DTI-Mimaropa and DTI-Palawan aims to help new micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).

“Malaki ang maitutulong ng negosyo fair sa mga bagong sibol na MSMEs, halimbawa ‘yung mga nagtitinda sa talipapapa para maibahagi sa kanila ang kaalaman sa pagnenegosyo,” Fortunado said.

Included in the event is a 10% offered discount for certified Palawan-manufactured products like processed foods, furniture, grains and other agricultural products.

There will also be a consultation to be conducted with DTI Negosyo Center, Department of Science & Technology (DOST), TESDA, Department of Agriculture (DA) and Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).

Fortunado said that matters on importing and exporting products to and from Palawan will also be featured in the Negosyo Fair. She also clarified that there will be no registration fee for the said event.

All concerns or questions can be coursed through 433-1092, 09177978267 or through, she added.

PHL plays host to 10th ASEAN Forestry meeting


MANILA, June 14 (PNA) -- The Philippines, through the Forest Management Bureau (FMB) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), plays host to the 10th ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Social Forestry Network or ASFN in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan from June 14 to 16, 2016.

“The Philippines was accorded the honor to host and chair this year’s ASFN meeting by Myanmar during the 9th ASFN meeting held last year in Inle Lake, Shah State, as part of the agreement among ASEAN member states that the hosting and chairmanship of the ASFN meeting shall be rotational and in an alphabetical order,” Forest Management Bureau Director Ricardo Calderon said.

Calderon said that ASFN is a government-driven social forestry network in Southeast Asia with the main goal to strengthen ASEAN cooperation in Social Forestry through the sharing of information and knowledge.

He also said that ASFN links government forestry policy makers directly with network members from civil society, research organizations, academe, private sectors and experts of related fields.

“ASFN supports the development of the ASEAN Community,” Calderon stressed.

Expected to attend the 10th Annual ASFN Meeting are delegates from 10 ASEAN Member States -- Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Thailand, Singapore and Vietnam -- to be headed by their respective ASOF/ASFN Leaders and Focal Points.

Representative of the Implementing Partners of ASFN such as the Center for People and Forests (RECOFTC), Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), Non-Timber Forest Products-Exchange Program (NTFP-EP), World Agroforestry Center (ICRAF), and the Southeast Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) are joining the meeting.

The agenda of the meeting include discussions on ASEAN Cooperation in Forestry, Promoting Policy and Practice of Social Forestry, including reports by ASEAN Member States and Implementing Partners and Development of Strategic Plan of Action of ASFN to support ASEAN and Global objectives.

The establishment of ASFN was endorsed by the ASEAN Senior Officials on Forestry (ASOF) during their 8th Meeting in Phnom Penh, Cambodia in August 2005.

Over 983 volunteer day care workers to attend convention on early childhood care program

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

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, June 13 (PNA) -- More than 900 day care workers in Palawan will come together on June 16 for the 23rd Provincial Day Care Workers Convention as part of implementing the Early Childhood Care Development Program (ECCD).

Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office (PSWDO) Youth Development Officer Odessa Del Mundo said the activity is done annually as part of updating their knowledge on ECCD and sharing experiences, where they could learn from each other.

“Our goal in doing this every year is to also know from our volunteer day care workers their current situation, what are the challenges they are facing in their municipalities, and how we can help them. This is also the time of the year when we recognize volunteer day care workers, who have done exemplary contributions to their communities,” she said.

These are the volunteers, who have been day care workers for 10-25 years. Their qualifications will be verified and authenticated by the Department of Social Welfare Development Office (DSWD) Region IV-B MIMAROPA with the PSWDO.

Aside from the Certificate of Recognition, the award would also include cash incentives, she added.

“The annual convention is a strategy that is effective to renew their dedication to being volunteer day care workers, and as second parents of the children when their parents entrust them to the day care,” she said.

Get hitched in El Nido

(Philippine Daily Inquirer)

IN RECENT years, destination weddings have become a popular choice for couples.

From traditional church weddings, a myriad of new options has emerged, such as cave ceremonies, luxury castle weddings and even on top of the glacier nuptials, giving newly engaged couples an opportunity to celebrate their ideal wedding in unique places.

A natural, calm and breathtaking venue amid sand and sea is a top favorite in celebrating lasting moments.

Weddings at El Nido Resorts in Palawan—voted most beautiful island in the world by readers of Conde Nast Traveler—are solemn, intimate, exclusive and always memorable.

The captivating limestones, vibrantly colored fauna and lush mountainside view, serve as a heavenly backdrop.

Each couple has the choice to be wed at any of El Nido Resorts’ four islands—Apulit, Miniloc, Lagen and Pangulasian. Ceremonies may be held by the beachfront, in a rainforest dome, by the dramatic sunset, or even in an exclusive neighboring island.

El Nido Resorts has its own events coordinator who personally handles every detail—from planning to execution, and even recommends special touches to surpass the expectations of the couple.

Customized packages are offered depending on the clients’ preferences. El Nido Resorts also caters to other special occasions such as engagements and renewal of vows.

As the saying goes, “to each his own.” In El Nido Resorts, each couple can envision a wedding like no other.

To know more about its wedding packages, e-mail; tel. 9025900.

US submarine tender now in Puerto Princesa, Palawan

By Priam F. Nepomuceno [(PNA), RMA/PFN]

MANILA, June 11 (PNA) --- US submarine tender USS Frank Cable (AS-40) arrived Saturday in Puerto Princesa, Palawan for a scheduled port visit.

This will allow personnel aboard to enjoy some rest and relaxation and provide an excellent opportunity for them to experience the Philippine culture.

USS Frank Cable skipper Capt. Drew St. John said these opportunities to enjoy liberty in a country with a close and historic relationship with the US are important to the mission of the United States Navy and his ship.

"Our two countries have strong ties we trace back to the shared sacrifices of World War II," St. John said.

"This visit is special to my crew, including many who have close personal ties to the Philippines. Our Sailors act as diplomats for the United States every day, and through their varied interactions with the local population they strengthen the bonds of friendship and cooperation between our two countries," he added.

One way American sailors can interact with the local community is through various community service projects, sponsored by the ship’s religious ministries.

USS Frank Cable is on a scheduled deployment in the US 7th Fleet area of operations to conduct maintenance and support deployed U.S. naval force submarines and surface vessels in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.

Palawan begins strict implementation of 'seasonal fishing ban' on June 16

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

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, June 10 (PNA) -– The multi-sectoral and interdisciplinary body Palawan Council for Sustainable Development (PCSD) will not bat an eyelash in imposing stiffer penalties against live fish shippers and traders who will violate the seasonal fishing ban on three important species of reef-fish-for-food (RFF) starting June 16.

The move to strictly implement the seasonal fishing ban is an attempt by the PCSD to save fish production from further dwindling in the Palawan seas.

The ban will be implemented by the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development Staff (PCSDS) that is tasked to provide machinery to coordinate the policy and functions, instigate programs and organize such services required by the PCSD in the exercise of its functions.

PCSDS Spokesperson Jovic Fabello said Thursday the seasonal ban, also known as “off-and-close season” is a cyclic prohibition they will impose on the catching of suno (leopard coral trout), loba (green grouper), and lapung baboy (tiger or brown-marbled grouper).

“For those who do not know yet, this is a seasonal fishing control, when there will be times we will be opening the fishing, and times we will be closing for a certain period so that fish production can recover, and for the species to be allowed to rest and spawn again,” Fabello said.

He explained that one of the basis for imposing the seasonal control is because fish production has seriously dwindled in the live fish industry.

“There is already a need for regulation so we can continue the sustainability of RFF for Palawan,” he said, adding even the catching, culturing, marketing, and transporting of RFF has to have a system now.

The seasonal fishing ban will be implemented under PCSD Administrative Order No. 5, he said, “for the sustainability of the live fish industry.”

Quoting a study made by the World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF) in 2011, Fabello said “the Palawan fishing ground is already in a state of decline in terms of volume of productivity caused by overfishing, heavily populated coastal habitats, mangroves being cut, continuing use of destructive fishing methods, including cyanide.”

“We all know that in the live fish industry, there are fishermen, who still use cyanide. We cannot hide that, and that is why we need to lay down a system,” he said.

In one year, there will be two opening and two closing seasons in Palawan.

Close season will start June 16 until August 31 or two and a half months; opening will be Sept. 1 until Oct. 15 or one and a half months; close again on Oct. 16 until Dec. 15 or one and a half months; and opens again on Dec. 16 until June 15.

The latter, Fabello said, will open the Palawan fishing ground for six months.

He clarified that during the close fishing ban, fishermen can still catch other species of fish.

“Only three species of grouper can’t be caught during the close fishing ban, these are leopard coral trout, green grouper, and the tiger or brown-marbled grouper. The other species of lapu-lapu or grouper, they can catch, of course,” he said.

Owners of fish cages that grow and culture the three species of grouper, he said, have to follow a system of reporting to the PCSDS the volume of their stocks.

This has to be done for them to be able to still trade their stocks that are really matured even during the close or off season.

“As long as the stocks came from their fish cages, and they submitted formal report that we can record that they really came from their fish cages, they can ship and trade them during the close season,” Fabello said.

The PCSDS will have teams that will make the rounds of areas in Palawan to conduct inspections on the actual stocks of fish cages to ensure that they will not violate the imposition of the seasonal control.

Under Administrative Order 12 of the PCSD, live fish traders who will be caught violating the ban will have their licenses cancelled.

Bait fishers, who will accidentally catch any of the three species, will have to follow the procedure of “catch-and-release.”

“If you catch them during the close season, then you have to return them to the sea. They have to be responsible as it is easy to remove the bait from the mouth of the fish so, they can be returned,” he said.

There will also be a size restriction that the PCSD will impose on the red coral trout or suno that will be caught during the open season. The size, Fabello mentioned, should only be 32 centimeters to 47.5 centimeters, or plate-size to a slightly larger ones.

Smaller than the said size would be a “juvenile” red coral trout, and larger would be a “mega-spawner” or those that can spawn strong mature eggs that can add to the fish stocks of Palawan seas.

FEATURE: Saving the Almaciga Tree, Saving the Future of Palawan’s Batak tribe

By Keith Anthony S. Fabro [(PNA), RMA/CARF/KASF/EDS]

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, June 9 (PNA) -- It is an ordinary day to wake up with the comfort of nature for the Batak community living at Sitio Kalakwasan, Barangay Tanabag in the northern outskirts of this city.

But on Monday, June 6, they considered it momentous as it was the day they all started to work hand-in-hand to breathe new life into the declining number of Almaciga (Agathis philippinensis) tree which produces marketable resin and has since been serving as their source of living.

“Almaciga tree is our lifeblood,” says tribal chieftain Dionisio Saavedra in a breathy voice as he and other members of the community trooped to the planting site.

“As time goes by, we have noticed a decline in the population of Almaciga trees in our area,” added Saavedra as he was tagged along by her child, Angel, who was holding an Almaciga seedling.

Before, the Almaciga trees were said to be abundant in their area but now it is estimated to be more or less 300.

Unsustainable resin collection practices, such as deep circumferential tapping and burning to increase resin flow are said to be the culprit causing the drop.

Almaciga resin is one of two major non-timber products extracted from the forests of Palawan, according to the 2015 State of Environment Report of Palawan Biosphere Reserve published by the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development.

Data from the Philippine Forest Statistics reveal that its production has been increasing from 50,545 kg in 2005 to 508,610 kg in 2013 -- a ten-fold increase in less than 10 years, as cited in the 2015 PCSD report.

According to the Laguna-based Forest Products Research & Development Institute (FPRDI),” Almaciga resin is used in the manufacture of varnishes, lacquer, soap, paint, printing inks, linoleum, shoe polish, floor wax, plastic, water proofing materials, paper sizing and many other products. Locally, it is used as incense in religious ceremonies, as fuel, torches, caulking substances and smudge for mosquitoes.”

Saavedra believes the community should act on this looming problem – the local extinction of Almaciga tree – before it’s too late. “It’s now or never,” he quipped with a determined voice as he roved his gaze at the lush forest where they will about to plant around 5,000 seedlings in the incoming weeks.

This initiative would not be possible without the help of Centre for Sustainability (CS), an eight year old Palawan-based non-government organization continuously working for the establishment of the Cleopatra’s Needle Forest Reserve. Its project areas are the barangays of New Panggangan, Tagabinet, San Rafael, Concepcion, Tanabag, Binduyan and Langogan.

CS deems the “Saving the Almaciga Tree” Project as a key program to encourage active participation among the indigenous peoples, Batak in the regeneration of their area located in the mountain range of Cleopatra’s Needle, an ecologically-important site in northern Puerto Princesa.


After 10 months of hard work to maintain the seedlings in nurseries, CS inaugurated its Almaciga Reforestation Program that day with the presence of the members of the Batak tribe, barangay officials of Tanabag and other community leaders from other barangays living near and within the vast expanse of biodiversity-rich Cleopatra’s Needle.

“Interestingly, this reforestation program of its kind is the very first not only in Palawan but in the whole Philippines,” claimed Edgar Jose, Field Manager and President of CS.

Jose said the inauguration finally put an end to their doubt as to whether or not it’s possible to propagate an Almaciga in a nursery.

“Unlike other tree species, it is difficult to grow an Almaciga,” he shared, adding that it was just experimentation at first, but later turned out to be a success.

The month-long tree planting activities being carried out in Barangay Tanabag and Binduyan are the first phase of CS's Almaciga Reforestation Program.

After which, the second phase will commence by August 2016 in Barangay Concepcion and Langogan.

"In the next phase, we will repeat again the process from organizing the communities, growing the Almaciga cones in nurseries up to the tree planting activity," said Jose.


Jose's group has identified 40,000 hectares within the Cleopatra’s Needle where the Bataks can plant the said key livelihood species.

"Hopefully, this program will provide another opportunity for the survival of these indigenous peoples," he envisioned.

Currently, Sitio Kalakwasan shelters more or less 200 members of the Batak tribe -- the smallest population among seven tribal groups in the province.

Saavedra says his constituents are elated with the project and they vow to actively support it so that the future generations of Batak tribe will be able to continue the tradition of collecting Almaciga resin.

"It's an old practice that has been passed down from generation to generation," shared 34-year old Saavedra.

"But how can I hand this down to Angel and to our future grandchildren if the Almaciga trees are gone? We have to act now," he added.

Tour guides in Dumaran, Palawan train on ‘tourist reception and guiding technique’

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

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, June 8 (PNA) -- Tourism opportunities have started focusing its sights on the third class municipality of Dumaran in northern Palawan that is now starting to become a sought-after destination and eco-tourism site due to its own natural and distinctive beauty.

Dumaran, which “shares common boundaries on the south by Lancan Bay, on the north by Pali Island, on the east by the interiors of Barangay Itangil, and on the west by the vast expanse of the sea in the northern part of the province, is slowly inviting interests by foreign and domestic tourists because of its powdery white sand beaches, sundry of flora and fauna, waterfalls, and pristine diving spots," according to the Provincial Tourism Office (PTO).

This is the reason, according to PTO Chief Tourism Operations Officer Maribel Buñi, that there is a need to bring tourism training-seminars to the town to familiarize this early its tourism front liners on how to handle the eventual influx of tourists to the town.

Buñi said Tuesday that to give the town of Dumaran - referred to as the “Maldives” of Palawan - the edge in the tourism industry in Palawan, the provincial government is currently conducting a “Tourist Reception and Guiding Technique” to tour guides that will last four days.

The training started Monday and will end Thursday, she said, and its goal is to provide the tour guides helpful skills on how to take care of their future visitors, and at the same time maintain Palawan’s title as “Best Island in the World.”

Local officials of the municipality are in attendance in the training, such as Mayor Medwin Pablico, Vice Mayor Richard Herrera, and Sangguniang Bayan member Jennifer Adier, who is the chairperson of the Committee on Tourism.

The training is being conducted by Paul Lim So, who is a Department of Tourism (DOT)-accredited trainor. Topics that will be discussed during the four-day training are Philippine Tourism Destinations and Map Reading, Hotel Procedures, Tourist Behavior Patterns and Market Profile, Practical Guiding Techniques and Managing Crisis Situation.

Shuttle van operators, drivers in Coron undergo tourism training with DOT

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

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, June 7 (PNA) -- A number of shuttle van operators and drivers in Coron started Tuesday a Department of Tourism (DOT)-led training on how to handle their tourism-related businesses properly and how to welcome visitors to their picturesque town as one of the tourism frontliners.

Liezl Ogdamin, Senior Tourism Operations Officer of the Palawan Provincial Tourism Office (PTO), said the DOT training, which will be until June 8, was sponsored by the provincial government to strengthen the knowledge of shuttle van drivers and operators on how to handle guests as frontliners since Coron is among the most visited towns in the province.

“The training was for them to have knowledge on how they can handle their guests well so they would return to Coron. They will be taught on how to handle their businesses as well for them to last in the tourism industry that is now one of the main sources of income in Coron,” she said.

Ogdamin said that basically, they will be taught on how to properly deal with the visitors of Coron since they are among the tourism frontliners, who greet them first when they arrive in the airport or the pier of the town.

Ogdamin said they have to present themselves well to the people – foreign or domestic, who go to Coron to ensure that they come back again.

“Handling them well when they come for vacation means inviting them back to Coron, or their friends, or bringing their families to see its beauty, and to meet the people they can trust with their lives while they are visiting,” she said.

DOT to make first Tourism Enterprise Zone in Palawan attractive to investors

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

MANILA, June 6 (PNA) -- The Department of Tourism (DOT) on Monday said that it has finished formulating a master plan for the first Tourism Enterprise Zone (TEZ) that will rise in San Vicente, Palawan to make it more attractive to investors.

In consultation with the municipal government and property owners, DOT has come up with an Integrated Tourism Master Plan (ITMP) to study the variety of tourism products in the area putting into consideration the property ownership and zonal values.

At present, the department is also in the process of crafting an Investment Promotions Program (IPP) which according to Jasmin, will help draw in more investments in the public-private partnership.

The San Vincente TEZ is the first TEZ under the initiative of the DOT and its attached agency, the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA) to seek out sites with viable tourism potential, have them masterplanned and develop them into sustainable tourism destinations.

It falls under the department’s Philippine National Tourism Development Plan (NTDP) which is meant to improve marketing competitiveness of the Philippine tourism product.

A TEZ is an area with at least five hectares meant for tourism-related development. The area must have historical and cultural significance, environmental beauty, or existing or potential integrated leisure facilities.

TIEZA Chief Operating Officer Guiller Asido said that San Vicente was identified as the first flagship TEZ for its forests, islands, coves, and most specially its 14.7-kilometer shoreline, which is said to be the longest in the world.

Guiller further said that the TEZ benefits from its location at the convergence of transport networks.

He said that the completion of Itabiak Road, which leads to the Long Beach area, makes it easier to reach the Tourism Enterprise Zone by land from other towns in Palawan.

Currently, the pier at Barangay Poblacion is being upgraded, but Guiller said that another docking area would be constructed at the TEZ.

Among the components of the TEZ is the San Vicente Airport which will be the main entry point for most tourists once operational.

“(It) will make San Vicente a good weekend destination for Manila residents since the flight is only one and a half hours from Manila,” Guiller said.

Guiller said that he expected the TIEZA Field office in San Vicente to be completed before the projected operation of the San Vicente airport by December 2016.

Palawan Governor Jose Chavez Alvarez meanwhile expressed confidence that the TEZ, as soon as completed, will launch San Vicente as a major tourist destination and create thousands of additional jobs for the local communities.

Last week, Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) deputy director general Rodante Joya said that the San Vicente airport could cater to charter flights in the third quarter this year.

He said that it will initially be open to propeller-driven aircraft but when it improves scheduled flights and air navigation equipment may also be added.

Mining companies set Php2.25-M for ‘Operation Smile’ in Palawan


PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, June 5 (PNA) -- Over 150 Palaweño children with cleft lip and cleft palate are expected to benefit from the free surgery mission that will be headed by Operation Smile, an international children’s medical charity “that provides free life-changing surgeries.”

Operation Smile’s stint in Palawan will be supported by the Provincial Health Office (PHO), and mining companies Coral Bay Nickel Corporation (CBNC) and Rio Tubo Nickel Mining Corporation (RTNMC) that set aside Php2.25 million for the free surgery charity mission.

The first leg of Operation Smile will be on August 8-13, 2016 at the Northern Palawan Provincial Hospital (NPPH) in Taytay, and October 24-29, 2016 in the southern provincial town of Brooke’s Point at the Southern Palawan Provincial Hospital (SPPH).

Dr. Mary Ann Navaro of the PHO said it is the target of all partners to bring down the number of cleft lip and cleft palate in the province, and to ensure that the beneficiaries will have life-changing events that can lead to better self-confidence and brighter future.

Navarro said that based on statistics given by Operation Smile Country Director Roberto Manzano, each year, about 5,000 Filipino children are born with cleft lip and cleft palate.

In Palawan, she said 10 percent of children are born with the condition.

However, she failed to give an exact figure on where it came from.

Interested parents, she said, may go to their Municipal Health Officers to avail of the free surgery.

US, Philippine navies to participate in CARAT 2016 from June 6-10

By Priam F. Nepomuceno (Philippines News Agency,

MANILA, Philippines -- Units from the United States Navy and Marine Corps will participate with various units of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in this year's CARAT Philippines 2016 in multiple locations across the Philippines and in waters near Subic Bay and Palawan from June 6 to 10.

CARAT is short for "Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training" exercises.

This year's CARAT Philippines will focus on combined operations at sea, amphibious landings, diving and salvage, maritime domain awareness, and community service events.

American sailors and marines will train with their AFP counterparts in a host of military engagements, professional exchanges and training seminars.

Civil action projects, community service events and combined military band concerts are also planned to foster relationships and bonds with the Filipino people.

“CARAT enables us to develop strong relationships with our Philippine Navy and Marine partners,” said Task Force 73 commander Rear Admiral Charles Williams.

“Through 22 years of engagement in CARAT, we continue to make steady progress in increasing the complexity of our training and enhancing cooperation between our navies.”

CARAT Philippines is part of a broader exercise series the US Navy conducts with nine partner nations in South and Southeast Asia to address shared maritime security priorities, strengthen maritime partnerships and enhance interoperability among participating forces.

The Philippines has participated since the series began in 1995.

"CARAT strengthens the strong and enduring relationships between the US and Philippine navies," said Philippine Fleet commander Rear Admiral Ronald Joseph S. Mercado. "We are looking forward to working alongside our US Navy and Marine partners during CARAT 2016."

US sailors and marines participating in CARAT Philippines 2016 represent a host of ships, squadrons, and units from across the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.

This year’s exercise features the guided missile destroyer USS Stethem (DDG-63), the landing dock ship USS Ashland (LSD-48), and the diving and salvage ship USNS Salvor (T-ARS-52), along with a P-8 Poseidon aircraft, Navy expeditionary forces, Marines assigned to the III Marine Expeditionary Force-3rd Marine Division, a platoon from Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit (EODMU) 5, staff from Commander, Task Force 73 (CTF 73) and Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 7, and the 7th Fleet Band Orient Express.

The Philippine Navy assets and units will include the minesweeper frigate BRP Rizal (PS-74), the Del Pilar Class Frigate BRP Gregorio Del Pilar (PF-15), a landing craft heavy, an AW-109 helicopter, an EOD team, diving team, construction platoon, a marine company and the Philippine Fleet band.

“CARAT provides a great opportunity for our navies to operate together at sea and train during realistic scenarios that better prepare our forces for real-world operations,” said Destroyer Squadron 7 commander Capt. H. B. Le.

"With more than two decades of experience working together we are able to execute complex exercises that address shared maritime security priorities and improve inter-operability between our navies,” Le added.

CARAT 2016 will be the most complex series to date. Its continuing relevance for more than two decades speaks of the high quality of exercise events and the enduring value of regional cooperation among allies and partners in South and Southeast Asia.

As US 7th Fleet's executive agent for theater security cooperation in South and Southeast Asia Commander, Task Force 73 conducts advanced planning, organizes resources and directly supports the execution of maritime exercises, such as the bilateral CARAT series, the Naval Engagement Activity (NEA) with Vietnam, and the multi-lateral Southeast Asia Cooperation and Training (SEACAT) with Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand.

Puerto Princesa to open 6 new eco-tourism sites

By Raymond M. Almodal [(PNA), JMC/CARF/RMA/EDS]

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, June 3 (PNA) –- Six new eco-tourism tour sites will be opened at Sitio Sabang, Barangay Cabayugan, the home of the Puerto Princesa Underground River (PPUR).

This was announced by PPUR Superintendent Elizabeth Maclang, who said that they are processing necessary permits and important documents, such as the sites’ Strategic Environmental Plan (SEP) Clearance and guidelines that the communities need to follow to be able to maintain them.

These eco-tourism sites are Lion’s Cave near PPUR that will be made into a museum, Isla Phenomena, Mount Bloomfield, Sabang Falls, Daylight Hole, and Wonder Cave in Barangay Tagabinet.

Maclang said Thursday that although they are in for a long haul in obtaining the required documents and permits to open the sites, they are doing everything to comply before the end of the year.

The sites will be part, she said, of the Community Based Sustainable Tourism (CBST), whose management is handled by members of the communities where the eco-tour sites are located.

It can be recalled that just recently, the Hundred Caves in Barangay Tagabinet was launched as an eco-tour site through the City Tourism Office (CTO) with the support of Pilipinas Shell Foundation, Inc. (PSFI) and other private sector members.

CBST is a special brand of tourism based on small travel enterprises that are managed and owned by local and indigenous peoples.

Premiere Horizon to launch Puerto Princesa project in Q3

By Keith Richard D. Mariano

PREMIERE HORIZON Alliance Corp. (PHA) will develop around 1,000 hectares in Puerto Princesa, Palawan into a “mountain and beachside lifestyle community” with the project slated for launch within the third quarter.

In a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange on Wednesday, the company unveiled its West Palawan Premiere (WPP) project covering several destination white sand beaches in the Bacungan-Napsan area.

“WPP’s total potential area for development will be around 1,000 hectares pending PHA’s finalization of its ongoing discussions with the owners and stewards of the neighboring properties,” it said.

PHA owns 512 hectares in Bacungan, Puerto Princesa. The company set aside P50 million from the P400 million raised in a placement of exchangeable notes last October to initially develop its Palawan property.

The company said the WPP project, which will have themed clubs, amenities and facilities, is expected to benefit from the Puerto Princesa government’s efforts to turn the city into a top tourist destination.

The number of tourists flocking Palawan has increased by 15%, on average, over the last five years, according to the listed company.

Citing projections from the city’s tourism development group, PHA said visitor arrivals in Puerto Princesa could number 2.5 million by 2025.

“(This is) a target that is seemingly possible given the increase in the capacity of the airport, from the current 330,000 passengers a year, to more than 2 million with its current expansion phase to become one of five international airports in the Philippines,” it added.

The Puerto Princesa International Airport is scheduled for completion by January 2017. The upgrade of the Bacungan national road connecting the city’s western and eastern areas is also underway.

The proposed WPP lies around 30 kilometers away from the international airport. This will take a 30-minute drive upon the completion of the national road’s upgrade, according to PHA.

The company divested its 32% stake in FirstArdent Property Development Corp. in March, as part of a strategy to focus its core businesses toward the countryside.

In this light, PHA has invested in businesses addressing gaps in mineral resource development, food security, tourism and housing.

The company reported a net loss of P25.6 million during the first three months, almost the same amount recorded a year earlier.

PHA saw its revenue surge 31 times to P172.7 million from P5.5 million during the period. Its expenses, however, ballooned almost five times to P195 million from P41.8 million.

Shares in PHA gained seven centavos or 17.5% to settle at 47 centavos on Wednesday.

DSWD to launch new ‘Listahanan’ database in Puerto Princesa

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

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, June 1 (PNA) -– The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) is set to launch in this city its new Listahanan database end of June.

SWD-MIMAROPA Regional Coordinator Ernie Jarabejo said Wednesday the new database shall involve the use of two modes in data gathering: the paper and pen Family Assessment Form (FAF) for rural barangays, and the FAF mobile version installed in android tablets for urban barangays.

The FAF is critical to determine the socio-economic status of families that contains verifiable indicators, such as household composition, housing structure, demographic profile, access to basic necessities, Person with Disability and Indigenous People, said Jarabejo.

Gathered data are encoded into a computer-based system and subjected to Proxy Means Test (PMT), a statistical model that estimates household income using proxy variables indicated in the FAF.

The estimated income will be compared to the poverty thresholds, wherein households, which income below the set provincial poverty line is considered poor.

From the 569,316 households assessed and validated, it appears 207,863 or 36.5 percent are identified poor in MIMAROPA or Occidental and Oriental Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon and Palawan provinces.

Palawan shares the highest percentage in the regional results at 40.2 percent or 83,520 poor households, while Oriental Mindoro has 25.7 percent share or 53,323 households.

Meanwhile, Occidental Mindoro has 18.3 percent or 37,983 households; Romblon has 9.6 percent or 19,860 households; and Marinduque has 6.3 percent share or 13,177 households.

The variation of shared percentage of poor households is parallel to the geographical size and the total population enumerated per province.

“Household assessments were conducted from March 2015 until the end of December 2015 administered by 1,772 field staff covering five provinces, two cities, 71 municipalities and 1,459 barangays in eight congressional districts,” said Jarabejo.

Listahanan is the government mechanism of identifying who and where the poor are, which started in 2009. It aims to have an objective selection of potential beneficiaries for social protection programs intended for the poor.