Palawan News November 2017

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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

Puerto Princesa adopts ID system for indigent residents

By Celeste Anna Formoso (PNA)

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, Palawan -- Indigent residents here will soon have identification cards that will allow them to avail of some city government services.

This after the Sangguniang Panlungsod approved on Monday afternoon an ordinance allowing the creation of an ID card system for them.

They can benefit from services such as medical check-up, subsidies, scholarship grants, financial assistance, housing, and access to public facilities.

Authored by Councilor Nesario Awat, the future ID card owners will be determined by the City Social Welfare Development Office (CSWDO).

Awat said the ordinance would authorize Mayor Lucilo Bayron to enter into a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with medical institutions, hospitals, schools, doctors, social development organizations, charitable institutions and the likes to provide the services to ID card owners.

The CSWDO and Persons With Disabilities Office will also be tasked to formulate the implementing rules and regulations providing guidelines for the effective implementation of the ordinance.

The city government will allocate funds from the general fund yearly to support the ordinance.

Do-it-yourself dome homes to be built in Palawan

By Celeste Anna Formoso (PNA)

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, Palawan -- A team of mostly architects and engineers are currently in this city holding a workshop on building low-cost, high-quality, eco-friendly do-it-yourself dome homes called “AirCrete.”

Headed by Hajjar Gibran, the founder and chief executive officer of DomeGaia, the team is composed of 26 individuals from 16 countries, who are mostly seasoned engineers and architects.

They arrived in Palawan early November to hold a 10-day workshop on the fine arts of AirCrete Architecture, an inexpensive, lightweight cementitious material that contains stable air cells uniformly distributed throughout the mixture, described Gibran on Monday afternoon.

“It is a concrete that employs a stable air cell rather than traditional aggregate. It is also called cellular concrete, foam concrete, light weight concrete, aerated concrete, etcetera,” he said.

The DomeGaia team is conducting the workshop and building the first AirCrete home in Puerto Princesa at Sitio Sabang, Barangay Cabayugan, hosted by Carlo Ausan Morente of Dabdab Resort.

Gibran said one AirCrete home would be built during the workshop, “and six more to follow with space to build.”

Sabang was chosen to be the first site of AirCrete home in the city and province of Palawan as it is protected and not overly developed, and Dabdab Resort was selected as host because of collaboration efforts with the owners since it is a healing and arts center in the famous Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park (PPSRNP).

“As it is protected, the area is not overly developed or touristic. Yet it has the world famous underground river, a short walk to Sabang Falls, which is a freshwater waterfalls that run to a beautiful and clean beach,” explained Gibran.

Palaweños won’t have difficulty building their own AirCrete homes since all materials needed are available in Palawan. The cost of each AirCrete depends on several factors. The density, the cost of cement, the additives, and others.

“To calculate the approximate cost of AirCrete for a dome structure, including subfloor slab - multiply the square feet X (multiplied by) the inches of thickness. For example a 1,000 square foot dome four inches thick will cost about USD4,000 (PHP201,542.48). The one we are building costs less than USD1,000 (PHP50,387.25) in materials. With USD10,000 (PHP503,893.98), it can include all finishes, like toilet, sink, and finishing,” he said.

Gibran also said AirCrete is the “home of the future” not only because it is economical but because it had “all the amazing of concrete, the building material of civilization,” and owners could build themselves.

“You can make AirCrete yourself with materials that are available everywhere in the world. Cement, dish detergent, milk, water... it's very easy to work with. You can cut and shape it, and even work it with a spoon into any shape. Along with the fabric reinforcement, the Dome has high tensile strength," he added.

The DomeGaia CEO also stated that AirCrete is exceptionally resilient under extreme weather conditions.

"They're exceptionally resilient. So, they are aerodynamic, which makes them really effective structures in high winds like typhoons and hurricanes and tornadoes. They're completely waterproof, they won't be damaged by floods or heavy rains, they're insect proof, fireproof insulating, and rot proof. Being a structurally reinforced Dome, they're strong against earthquakes. Super duper strong," he stressed.

10 places to eat in Puerto Princesa, Palawan

By Kara Santos

PUERTO PRINCESA -- One of the best aspects of traveling is getting to try homegrown restaurants and sample unique eats each destination has to offer.

For first-time visitors to Palawan, here are some of the best dining experiences you can enjoy in the capital Puerto Princesa.

1. KaLui Restaurant

One of the most popular restaurants in Puerto Princesa, KaLui is a native restaurant that showcases beautiful Palawan artwork and serves meals based on the fresh catch of the day. The artistic restaurant highlights Palawan’s seafood specialties like blue marlin, tuna, sashimi, crabs, lobster and shrimps as well as fresh fruit shakes infused with local ingredients.

KaLui Restaurant is located at 369 Rizal Avenue, Puerto Princesa City. Open daily except for Sundays. Lunch 11 a.m. - 2 p.m.; Dinner 6-10:30 p.m. Reservations recommended.

2. Kinabuch's Grill & Bar

Kinabuch’s Grill & Bar is a popular evening hangout for foreigners and tourists. This laid-back sports bar has open-air dining, pool tables and live music, which attracts the crowds. Kinabuch’s serves Filipino favorites like crispy pata, grilled pusit and gising-gising.

Kinabuch’s is one of the places where you can order tamilok, an exotic Palawan delicacy. Also known as woodworm or shipworm, tamilok is not a worm but rather a mollusk that lives in mangrove areas. It's served either classic-style like kinilaw, just soaked in vinegar or deep-fried and breaded. The classic tamilok tastes like creamy oysters, with a slimier texture and saltier flavor. This is best washed down with a cold beer.

Kinabuch's Grill & Bar is located on Rizal Avenue, Puerto Princesa City. Open daily 5 p.m. – 1 a.m.

3. Badjao Seafront Restaurant

Badjao Seafront Restaurant is built on stilts over a mangrove area that offers a stunning view of Puerto Princesa's seascape especially during sunset. Like other top restos in the city, Badjao Seafront Restaurant specializes in fresh seafood and grilled specialties.

Badjao Seafront Restaurant us located on Abueg Road, Puerto Princesa. Open daily, 10 a.m. – 11 p.m.

4. Ka Inato Restaurant

Ka Inato is a native restaurant decorated with colorful wooden sculptures and carvings that Palawan is known for. The restaurant specializes in chicken inato (a version of inasal) and other Filipino dishes like sinigang, inihaw, grilled squid and crocodile sisig.

Aside from the festive atmosphere and delicious food, another reason to patronize the restaurant is the fact that Ka Inato employs deaf and mute waiters. Customers are encouraged to use sign language when ordering. Good vibes all around in terms of food and ambiance, though service can be slow during lunch time because of the volume of diners.

Ka Inato Restaurant is located at C4 Compound, San Manuel, Puerto Princesa City. Open daily from 10 a.m. – 10 p.m.

5. Viet Ville

Palawan used to have a large Vietnamese community and chao long, a local version of the Vietnamese beef stew noodles or pho, is considered one of the “must-eats” here. Viet Ville, located just 5 kilometers away from the city center, offers a taste of authentic chao long served with a plate of basil leaves, bean sprouts and chili paste and garlic French bread. This is a classic heartwarming Palaweno meal everyone should try at least once.

Viet Ville is located in Barangay Sta. Lourdes, Puerto Princesa. Open daily from 9 a.m. - 9 p.m.

6. Namaskar Vegetarian Cafe

In many provinces, options for vegetarians and vegans are still very limited when it comes to dining out. Namaskar Vegetarian Cafe is a welcome alternative to those who prefer healthy dining. This hole-in-the-wall cafe in Puerto Princesa serves tasty and very affordable vegetarian food including veggie chao long, spring rolls, veggie kebabs, raw salad, vegetarian salmon and refreshing fruit shakes.

Namaskar Vegetarian Cafe is located at 75-P Burgos St, Puerto Princesa. Open daily from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

7. Señordamla Restaurant at Microtel Puerto Princesa

Microtel Puerto Princesa is the only beachfront hotel in Puerto Princesa City, giving guests picturesque views of white sand shores and mangrove forests. Even guests who aren’t checked-in at the hotel can enjoy meals at their in-house restuarant Señordamla located right next to the pool, which serves specialties like lechon kawali, chicken adobo, gising-gising and seafood dishes. By special request, hotel staff can set-up dining tables right by the beach under the trees for romantic dinners.

Señordamla Restaurant at Microtel Puerto Princesa is located on Emerald Beach, San Jose, Puerto Princesa. Open daily from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.

8. Veranda Restaurant by Skylight Hotel

If you’re in a large group, one of the best places you dine in Puerto Princesa City is Skylight Hotel’s Veranda restaurant, which serves oriental and international cuisine. The restaurant’s bestseller is the Pork and Chicken Barbecue, which comes at a very affordable price of P130 with unlimited rice and drinks.

But the newly launched menu featuring live seafood is simply mouthwatering. Be sure to try the Aligue Rice (with aligue paste and lato or seaweed in rice), tropical salad (mixed fruits with lato in coconut shell), Mixed Seafoods Sinigang (featuring seafood of Palawan - crab, fish and squid), Slipper Lobster, Butter Garlic Crabs, Pineapple Shrimp (pineapple fruit with shrimp) and Garlic Squid Adobo.

Veranda Restaurant by Skylight Hotel is located at 210 A. Rizal Avenue, Puerto Princesa. Open daily from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.

9. Palaweño Brewery

If you’re a beer-lover, you’ll want to pass by Palaweño Brewery, the first and currently the only craft beer brewery in Palawan. They serve a line-up of craft beers named Ayahay, a local slang term for chill or relax.

Palaweño Brewery produces five core brews and a few seasonal brews that make use of locally sourced ingredients and flavors unique to the island, including Palawan honey, chili, mangoes, coconuts and more. This includes Ambog Ale, Palawan Wit, Honey Kolsch, Ayahay IPA and Honey Nut Brown Ale.

Tap Room, next to the brewery, is an intimate spot to enjoy a few bottles of their craft beers or a beer flight sampler of their beers on tap. Read more [here].

Palaweño Brewery is located at 82 Manalo Street, Puerto Princesa City. Open Monday to Saturday from 1 p.m. – 9 p.m.

10. McCoy’s Pizza House

For those craving good comfort food, McCoy’s Pizza House is considered the best pizzeria in Puerto Princesa City. This fastfood joint that’s popular with locals, serves brick-oven pizza, pasta, oven-roasted chicken, mojos and steak and more. Because of the resto’s location near the airport, McCoy’s Pizza House is a good stop for a heavy snack or light dinner before your flight back home.

McCoys Pizza House is located at 20 National Highway San Miguel Puerto Princesa City. Open from 8 a.m. - 10 p.m.

AirAsia has daily flights from Manila to Puerto Princesa City in Palawan.

Rekindling Mimaropa and 'the long lost connections'

By Joyce Ann L. Rocamora (PNA)

ODIONGAN, Romblon -- Aside from promoting the Philippines' archipelagic heaven located right in its heart, 2017's Mimaropa festival has more familial reason behind it.

In a press conference before the actual parade to highlight talents from Occidental Mindoro, Oriental Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon and Palawan (Mimaropa), Romblon Governor Eduardo Firmalo told visiting reporters from Manila that the purpose of the festival is to "rekindle long lost connections".

He explained that a lot of Romblomanons are now residing in parts of Mimaropa, similar to how other locals from the region's provinces are also distributed to its counterparts.

"The festival's purpose is to promote closer ties with the rest of the region, especially in Romblon we have kababayans living now in Palawan, living now in Occidental Mindoro, living now in Marinduque, for sure this will rekindle affection we have lost from our kababayans," Firmalo said.

True enough, people flocked to the stretch of Odiongan roads during the street parade and supporters from the five provinces flooded Romblon's sport complex on the night of Nov. 22 to support delegates who showcased each of their unique, colorful and spirited performances.

Seven groups from all over Region IV-B participated in the dance parade and competition, wherein Occidental Mindoro topped as the champion followed by Puerto Princesa and Calapan City.

Watching the show live gave the foreign and local tourists the feels that there are more to Mimaropa than meets the eye, something that inexplicably make them curious to know more about it -- the rich culture and history behind the locus of lush natural resources it is prominent for.

For instance, one would not know that the largest wild animal in the Philippines can only be found in Mindoro, or that the Banton cloth, the earliest known warp ikat (tie-resist dyeing) textile in Southeast Asia was found in a wooden coffin in Banton Island, Romblon, or that the last Japanese soldier from World War II to surrender scrooched down in the jungles of Lubang, Occidental Mindoro.

During the showdown, performers perfectly captured the narrative of the region's unique stories weaved into one dance.

For one, they put a spotlight on the distinguishing characteristic of Romblon as the marble capital of the country, on Mindoro as home of the Philippines' Tamaraws, on Marinduque's Moriones festival, and on Palawan's one a kind underground river.

The Mimaropa festival, which offcially ended Nov. 25, will be next held in Mamburao, Occidental Mindoro for its fourth edition.

'Spotlight on Romblon'

As this year's host of the Mimaropa festival, local tourism office in Odiongan opened its doors to the media with highlight on the province's rich marine resources.

In all honesty, Romblon offers mighty fine beaches comparable to the pristine white sands of Boracay. One of which is the Binucot Beach in Ferrol, Romblon, which welcomes its guests with unspoiled and uncrowded coastline.

A short swim away from its beach will also take one's breath away with abundant sights underwater such as colorful reef fishes you'd thought can only be seen through Pixar films.

Also experienced by the media was the awe-inspiring 48-hectare Looc bay marine refuge and sanctuary, to which, according to "bantay dagat" volunteers, is home to over 100 different marine species including octopus, eels, reef fishes, marine turtles, lobster and lionfish.

As per the Looc Tourism Information Center, four species of giant clams are also found in Looc Bay that can be seen within easy swimming distance of the kiosk.

The lofty floating kiosk, which can cater around 60 persons, is where foreign and local tourists usually visit to see the wonders beneath the sea.

The kiosk, located in the middle of the sanctuary tied in an old lighthouse, is open to all visitors. For an entrance fee of PHP100, visitors can use the facility and fare to and from the raft.

According to Daniel Gabuna, a volunteer "bantay dagat", marine biodiversity did not only flourish since the establishment of the sanctuary in 1999 but also made the livelihood of fishermen in Looc "sustainable" due to crackdown on illegal fishing.

Aside from this, he added that the 35 "bantay dagat" volunteers of the sanctuary are now getting incentives.

For the month of January to October 2017 alone, tourist arrivals at the Looc fish sanctuary already reached 13,102 compared to the total visitors for the entire 2016 only reaching 7,508.

Apart from Tablas Island where Odiongan is located, Firmalo said Mimaropa festival will play a huge part in the "expected" increase in tourist arrivals in the entire Romblon, which includes two other main islands, namely, Sibuyan Island and Romblon, Romblon

China donates 100,000 fingerlings to Palawan

By Celeste Anna Formoso With reports from Keith Anthony Fabro (PNA)

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, Palawan -- China is donating 100,000 red grouper fingerlings to Palawan as part of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Philippines on technical training on fisheries.

The donation of the high-value commodity fish seeds, commonly known as “red suno” in the Philippines, is for 80 marginalized fish farmers and cage operators in Palawan, particularly in the northern town of Taytay that is known for its robust live fish industry.

The donation is part of the MOU signed this November by the Philippines’ Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) and China’s Ministry of Agriculture.

“China wants to support our fisheries sector and it is a very big opportunity for us to receive such a donation. They want us to grow this high-value species and eventually export those to them,” BFAR-Mimaropa OIC Director Elizer Salilig said during a media conference Thursday.

The BFAR OIC regional director said the boat that will transport the red suno fingerlings from China will arrive in December, and will dock in Taytay, where they will be temporarily kept for distribution to beneficiaries.

The beneficiaries will be identified with the help of the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development Staff (PCSDS).

“But before it will be loaded to the vessel, a Filipino quarantine and risk assessment team will go to China and check the fingerlings to ensure they are disease-free,” Salilig added.

Nelson Devanadera, executive director of the PCSD, welcomed the donation, and said that the donation will diminish the pressure of capturing the red suno from the wilds as it is now a threatened species in the Philippines.

“With grouper fingerlings that will be made available locally for free, the pressure of capturing these economically-important reef-fish-for-food (RFF) from the wild would be less,” Devanadera said.

Currently, the PCSD is implementing a five-month closed season policy for the catching of Red Grouper (Plectropomusleopardus), Green Grouper (Epinepheluscoioides), and Tiger Grouper (Epinephelusfuscoguttatus).

Seasonal control is one of the key provisions of the PCSD Administrative Order No. 05, series of 2014, or the policy that would ensure the sustainability of the province’s lucrative but now threatened industry.

He guaranteed that the fingerlings from China are the same species grown in the province.

“These are the same species in Palawan. They are not introduced, exotic species. And fisheries authorities have put all the safety nets to ensure they are not invasive as we don’t want them to compete with our local grouper,” Devanadera said.

Under Republic Act No. 9147 or the Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act, introduction of foreign species is prohibited, unless a clearance from the environment secretary or the authorized representative is first obtained to ensure they undergo an environmental impact study.

For his part, Wu, through an interpreter, said that in the long-term, fish farmers in the Philippines will benefit from the technical training and exchange on fisheries by lifting the red suno out of the threatened species list.

He also encouraged its export as China is the largest buyer-consumer of live fish in the world.

“Last year in October, President Rodrigo Duterte and President Xi Jinping of China met, and they forged agreements that included the fisheries sector. As you know, China is a big market of high-quality food fish, and if this succeeds here, you can export to us. This will also promote local economic development, and hence, help upgrade the quality of life of local fish farmers,” Wu said.

On that day, eight representatives from China arrived in Palawan for the “China-Philippines Technical Conference on Aquaculture Technology”, with delegates led by Wu from the South China Sea Fisheries Institute-Chinese Academy of Fishery Sciences in attendance.

They will be in Palawan until Saturday to check on at least four mariculture sites to check on grouper hatcheries, and the possibility of investing in the local aquaculture industry.

These sites are located in Puerto Princesa, San Vicente, Roxas, Taytay, Coron in northern Palawan, and Narra and Quezon in the southern area.

This was part of the Joint Philippines-China Fisheries Cooperation, an initiative sealed in 2016 under the leadership of Duterte, to forge a government-to-government cooperation on fisheries technical training and exchange between the two countries.

Palawan gov’t to use drones for aerial mapping

By Celeste Anna Formoso (PNA)

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, Palawan -- The Palawan provincial government is eyeing to use unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), more commonly known as drones, to help development planners to make decisions on public and private land development proposals.

Several Palawan government workers underwent training on how to use (UAV) to upgrade their knowledge on modern technology.

The UAV is an air vehicle that requires no human pilot aboard, and is a component of an unmanned aircraft system (UAS) that also includes a controller on the ground, and a communication system that can help do aerial mapping, said Provincial Information Officer Gil Acosta Jr. on Friday.

Acosta said the training was facilitated for employees of the Provincial Planning and Development Office (PPDO) of Palawan on November 21-22 by Franz Fabian Bellot, technical advisor of the Deutsche Gesellschaftfür Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), a German cooperation development agency based in Mindanao.

“This project was implemented for PPDO employees in preparation for the crafting of the Comprehensive Land Use Plan (CLUP) framework in Palawan, and also for the inventory of existing roads in the whole province,” said Acosta.

Drones are perfect for aerial mapping since accurate flight makes it the ideal platform for near-ground mapping, he said.

“Today’s technology like this inexpensive flying device, aids mapping at levels of details that were not probable before,” he furthered. By managing the flight pattern, as well as speed and camera frame rate, he said, drones can achieve perfect coverage and overlay to gather data and make great maps.

Playing with dugong ‘Aban’ in Calauit

By Stephanie Tumampos

A few weekends back, this reporter finally met the elusive but beautiful dugong, or sea cow, a vulnerable species that’s almost endangered in Calauit, Busuanga, Palawan.

Overwhelmed by its size compared to mine, while this reporter was trying to freedive at the back of the dugong, “Aban,” as what the tribes call this sea cow, was very playful and has been acquainted with the presence of humans.

Going to Calauit Island was very challenging. We immersed ourselves among the Tagbanua tribesmen for four days and three nights. We thanked them for accommodating us and for taking care of this wonderful creature.

We had to walk past eight mountains and a climbed one. Our group had to stay overnight in the middle of the forest before heading to Calauit Island. There, we learned a lot of the struggles being hurdled by the Tagbanua tribe in protecting their land—our land and natural resources.

In fact, the Tagbanuas were among the only few who are willing to guard the protected areas without pay. Nonetheless, they remain one of the most humble Filipinos who perfectly exemplifies what Filipino hospitality is.


A legend being told by tribal elders in Palawan tells of a sea creature with a tail like a mermaid that is gracefully swimming through the waters around the Calamianes Group of Islands.

It is said through that the sea creature was actually the blind wife of a cheating fisherman, who used his poor wife as an anchor of his boat while fishing and left her there under the waters to attend to his mistress. Their three kids, however, longed for their mother.

Their three children, waiting for their mother by the seashore, sing of songs longing: “Mother please feed your milk to Neneng, please show yourself to us. Dodong is also sad without you. Whatever your face is now, we are not afraid of you, Dodong-Dodong, Dodong-Dodong.”

One day, a big brown creature with small eyes appeared along the shore, laid down and offered its breasts to give milk to the brother who has been longing for his mother’s milk.

From then on, every morning, the children went by the seashore to wait for the creature which they called “Dodong-Dodong.” The name passed on to generations, which eventually became “Duyong,” to the current dugong, the sea cow, where in Malay term literally means, “the lady of the sea.”

Dugong of Palawan and their importance

“They have been here for as long as our elders know,” Jimmel Novero said to the BusinessMirror in Filipino. Novero is part of the Calamian Tagbanua tribe, head of Bantay Dugong and part of the Committee on Ecotourism in Calauit, Palawan, where a dugong-conservation area exist.

The Calamianes Group of Islands is located north of Busuanga Island. It is a three-hour van ride from Coron City, where tourism has been booming since it was hailed as the world’s best island by Travel and Leisure magazine, Conde Nast Traveler and National Geographic Traveler for more than once.

It is owned solely by the Calamian Tagbanua tribe after they have won a Supreme Court case, and was awarded a Certificate of Ancestral Domain Title over more than 22,000 hectares of land and sea in 1998. This includes the island of Calauit where the dugongs are conserved.

There are over 50 dugongs already identified by the Tagbanuas with the help of partner nongovernment organizations, such as the Community Centered Conservation (C3) Philippines, government agencies, such as the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, and partner institutions, including universities and research groups.

The Tagbanua tribe protects the dugongs as they believe that gifts from nature must be taken cared of, Novero said.

“There will be nothing else left to see by our future generation if the dugongs will be gone,” he added.

For Novero, it is both a privilege and responsibility for them, the Tagbanua tribe, to protect and conserve what they have, including the forests. “We don’t want to abuse what we have, we want to protect it as it protects and provides for us.”

Threat to extinction

“The population of this species is shrinking due to many factors,” Novero said. One of the factors is the loss of habitat and feeding grounds. An attempt to seaweed farming was held because it can disrupt and destroy the feeding grounds of the dugong.

The dugong (Dugong dugon) is a mammal that eats seagrass. It is specifically categorized as the only marine herbivorous mammal and the only living representative of the once-diverse family Dugongidae. Its closest relative, the Stellar’s sea cow was hunted and became extinct in the 18th century.

The dugong is largely dependent on seagrass and feeds on it. It is largely present in Indo-West Pacific region, which includes Australia, Indonesia and the Philippines. They occur in wide, shallow, protected areas, such as bays and mangrove channels, yet they are restricted in coastal habitats as they are threatened.

For thousands of years, the dugong has been poached and hunted for meat and oil. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, the dugong is listed as vulnerable to extinction, while the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species has resolved to limit or ban the trade of products derived from the dugong.

“They are like people,” Novero said. “They care for their young ones extensively, get stressed when there’s too much disturbance of their environment, which sometimes causes their death, and are compassionate animals.”

Along with the its slow rate of reproduction—with females giving birth only a few times during their life, and fertility and sexual maturity reaching only between 10 years to 17 years, and with a long lifespan of 70 years—the dugong is especially vulnerable to extinction.

Protection, conservation and sustainability through ecotourism

With the help of C3 Philippines, the Tagbanua tribe guarding the dugong-conservation area have been educated and trained on how to take care of this vulnerable creature.

“C3 Philippines have been instrumental in educating us on how to protect the dugong, and on how we can also benefit from it without harming it or destroying its habitat,” Novero said.

The dugong ecotourism attraction started in March but, way before this date, tourists have already been flocking to see this creature.

“We needed to limit our tourists to only 20 to 25 a day,” Novero explained. “We have a booking system where a tourist needs to book a day [earlier] in order to see the dugongs.”

The Tagbanua tribe has a strict schedule. Tourists are only allowed to see the sea cows from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and walk-ins are not allowed.

“This is to avoid them [dugongs] to get stressed, and so they can eat and rest normally without the interruption of humans.”

Novero explained that if the dugongs are gone, the tribesmen’s livelihood would be affected, too, as many of them rely on the existence of the dugong. Besides a source of income through ecotourism, it is also a venue for other areas to be protected.

“Marine-protected areas grew when the dugongs were finally conserved,” Novero added. Several areas around Calauit Island have been raised and established as protected areas, hence, they give the tribes more resources to fish for food and business. Not only that, C3 Philippines also initiated the establishment of many forest conservation areas after the dugong was declared as protected.

Ginelle Jane Gacasan, who works for C3 Philippines at the Salvacion site, told the BusinessMirror that the Bogtong forest reserve has been created because “we believe that, whatever happens to the sea, where the dugong lives, is also affected by the disruptive activities of the mountains and the forest.”

Which is why C3 Philippines, together with the Tagbanua tribesmen, have been supported by GIZ, a German development agency that provides support and services in the field of international development cooperation. The Tagbanuas volunteered as the protectors of the conserved areas, especially the forest reserve.

Over 2,600 hectares of open woodlands and grasslands forest have been protected by an ordinance in Barangay Bogtong and Chewey. Endemic birds and wildlife are now protected and the tribes are pushing forward to declare their area as a national protected site.

Disaster response training pushed for village watchmen

By Celeste Anna Formoso (PNA)

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, Palawan -- A member of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan here on Wednesday urged the provincial government to help train village watchmen or barangay tanod in disaster response.

Board Member David Ponce de Leon said training the barangay tanod, also known as barangay safety officers, on being “first responders” would help Palawan’s 433 barangays (villages) in 23 municipalities in addressing deficiencies in some aspects of disaster risk reduction management.

Ponce de Leon has filed a resolution calling for the capacity-building and training of the village watchmen to be better prepared during calamities.

“There is a need for the barangays all over the province, through their barangay tanod, to enhance and strengthen their capacities as first disaster responders as they are strategically situated for the provision of emergency services and public assistance during or immediately after disasters or calamities within the jurisdiction of their respective barangays,” Ponce de Leon said.

The board member said first responders are people trained to provide basic medical care to patients until the advance one can be provided.

“Since they also respond first when there are incidents or disasters in their barangays, they must be equipped with necessary disaster response skills, such as emergency first aid and the likes,” he added.

These skills training seminars can best be done in coordination with relevant government agencies like the Bureau of Fire Protection, Philippine National Police, Philippine Coast Guard , Philippine National Red Cross, and others.

Chinese investors set eyes on aquaculture prospects in Palawan

By Celeste Anna Formoso (PNA)

The businessmen are expected to arrive on November 23 to check on the five mariculture parks in the province for the possibility of establishing hatcheries for high-value species of groupers such as leopard coral trout or red suno, green grouper or loba, and tiger grouper or lapung-baboy, said Roberto Abrera of the Regional Fisheries Research and Development Center of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) on Tuesday.

The proposed sites are located in barangays Sta. Lucia and Binduyan in Puerto Princesa, the towns of Coron and San Vicente in northern Palawan, and Narra and Quezon in the south.

“This is a reciprocal visit, actually, after we went to China in January this year upon the orders and guidance of President Rodrigo Duterte to look for mutual economic support opportunities in fisheries development,” Abrera told the Philippine News Agency (PNA).

Each site for possible multi-million investment measures 200-700 hectares. It will be shown to the Chinese businessmen, who will be accompanied by representatives of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fishery of China, Abrera said.

“In China, 70 percent of their fish production is already through aquaculture for high-value fish like grouper. Here in the Philippines, we rely on fish catch for this species, and to be able to revive their population, we have to impose a close fishing season,” Abrera said.

Aquaculture, or fish farming, has gained momentum as a feasible method to produce seafood since “high demand for fresh fish days these days has already put a strain on natural populations”, he added.

“Palaweño fishermen will benefit a lot once they’ve been trained to practice the raising of fish for food in controlled environments,” he said.

Aquaculture also means low impact risks to the environment since the method does not damage the environment while supplementing the increasing demand for fish.

Puerto Princesa bay now red tide-free

By Celeste Anna Formoso (PNA)

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, Palawan -- The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) on Monday declared that samples of shellfish harvested from the Puerto Princesa bay tested free of the red tide toxins and now safe for human consumption.

“Negative results for Paralytic Shellfish Poison (PSP) were obtained from three consecutive weeks of sampling in the areas,” according to the Shellfish Advisory No. 41 dated November 18 and signed by Department of Agriculture Undersecretary for Fisheries and BFAR National Director Eduardo Gongona.

BFAR added that shellfish harvested from the said bay “are now safe for human consumption,” and can already be sold in the market.

However, in Shellfish Bulletin No. 38 also dated the same day, Gongona said the consumption of certain species of crustaceans, mussels, and the likes harvested from the Inner Malampaya Sound in Taytay town, northern Palawan, remains prohibited due to the lingering presence of PSP.

Based on latest laboratory results of BFAR, collected samples from the Inner Malampaya Sound are still “positive for paralytic shellfish poison that is beyond regulatory limit.”

“All types of shellfish and Acetes sp. or alamang gathered from the area remain not fit for human consumption,” the bulletin said.

Aside from the Inner Malampaya Sound, the shellfish ban remains over the coastal waters of Daram Island and Irong-Irong Bay, Maqueda Bay, Villareal Bay and Cambatutay Bay in Western Samar; Matarinao Bay in Eastern Samar; Carigara Bay in Leyte; coastal waters of Mandaon, Masbate; and Bataan coastal waters.

Honda Bay in Barangay Sta. Lourdes, also in Puerto Princesa, remains safe from red tide toxins, the bulletin also said.

The BFAR raised the red tide alert over Puerto Princesa bay and the Inner Malampaya Sound, Taytay last August.

SM Puerto Princesa invites Palaweños to celebrate ‘Thanksgiving’

By Celeste Anna Formoso (PNA)

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, Palawan -- SM City Puerto Princesa is inviting Palaweños to give thanks and celebrate with their loved ones as they enjoy the mall’s “Thanksgiving” treats and exciting activities.

Public Relations Officer Russell Fernandez said Friday that to celebrate, there will be a grand parade for the celebration on November 23 with a vibrantly costumed marching band, playful and animated mascots, rousing store displays, and many more incredible triggers of joy and pleasant surprises.

“Mall shoppers can indulge too, in deliciously roasted feasts that will be served for their families and friends at selected dining outlets in SM City Puerto Princesa,” he said. This will start on November 20-26.

He added that now is a great time for residents to plan a special dinner with their families or social circle, and make the event as a means to promote positive emotions.

On November 10, one of the biggest malls in Puerto Princesa unveiled its Christmas centerpieces with city officials led by Mayor Lucilo Bayron.

“We’re starting the season on high gear with unique musical performances and the grand reveal of enchanting Yuletide displays,” Fernandez added.

He added that from carols in the malls and amazing deals to being a one-stop Christmas wonderland for holiday needs, SM always makes it a point every year to provide shoppers a whole new Christmas experience for the entire family to remember and cherish forever.

It is because of this dedication that SM has long been a part of every Filipino family’s Christmas traditions and celebrations.

Complete with sparkling lights, whimsical archways, amazing discounts, and fun activities, 65 SM Supermalls nationwide will join the whole country in drumming up anticipation for Christmas.

SM Supermalls is also continuing its gift-giving program, SM Cares brings back Bears of Joy, which allows Filipinos to share the Christmas cheer to children.

Anyone can join by simply buying an SM Bear of Joy at any SM branch. For every purchase of the cute stuffed animal, SM will also give one to children from charitable institutions.

Puerto Princesa starts P75-M road concreting projects

By Celeste Anna Formoso (PNA)

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, Palawan -- The city government has started its 13 road concreting projects estimated to cost more than PHP75.46 million in eight urban barangays here.

City information officer Richard Ligad on Friday said the projects, which started this month, are part of Puerto Princesa Mayor Lucilo Bayron’s efforts to ensure infrastructure development in the city.

“Concrete roads are durable and safe for the riding public, and they are less prone to wear and tear defects. This is for the people of Puerto Princesa, who want to get to their workplaces and homes safe, without the inconvenience of muddy, rough and rugged roads,” he said.

Ligad said Bayron went around the road concreting projects on November 10 in barangays Sta. Monica, San Jose, Tiniguiban, Kalipay, San Pedro, Maunlad, Sta. Lourdes and Iwahig to talk to residents and barangay officials to personally tell them to monitor the road concreting projects, and to immediately report to the city government any untoward activities.

The city information officer said the road concreting projects are done by the administration and not by contractors, which means heavy equipment and manpower that will be used are facilitated by the city government.

“Each centavo will go to the road concreting project, nothing will go to contractors,” Ligad stressed.

Palawan LGUs receive maps for disaster readiness

By Celeste Anna Formoso (PNA)

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, Palawan -- The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) had given the Palawan provincial government and its 23 municipalities copies of a map they could use to manage watersheds, determine flood-prone areas, and prepare for disasters.

Provincial Information Officer Gil Acosta, Jr. said Wednesday that the maps were turned over by the DOST through the Development of the Philippine Hydrological Dataset Watersheds from LiDAR Surveys (PHDWLS) on November 10.

“The provincial government and the LGUs (local government units) received maps that employed the Phil-LiDAR 2 technology to identify watersheds for their management and further protection, and that can be used to prepare for floods,” Acosta said.

Phil-LiDAR 2 supplements current programs of national government agencies and helps LGUs in mapping the Philippines’ natural resources.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), “LiDAR stands for Light Detection and Ranging, a remote sensing system that employs light in the form of a pulsed laser to measure ranges – variable distances – to the Earth.”

The light pulses, when combined with other data recorded by the airborne system, generate precise, three-dimensional information about the shape of the Earth and its surface characteristics.

Acosta said with the maps, mapping experts in Palawan can examine natural and man-made environments with precision and flexibility to make models for use in geographic information systems (GIS), especially focusing on the management and control of watersheds.

Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO) officer in charge Zaldy Ablaña said the maps could also assist the provincial government and the LGUs in planning and preparing emergency response operations when there are catastrophes.

“Municipalities can use this map to plan and prepare for times of calamities, like flooding,” he said.

Puerto Princesa restricts motorcycles to outer lanes

By Celeste Anna Formoso (PNA)

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, Palawan-- Motorcycles regularly passing major roads and highways in this city are now restricted to the outer lanes.

The new traffic policy came after the City Council ordered the City Traffic Management Office (CTMO) to direct all motorcycle drivers to use the outer lanes as “motorcycle lanes”, Allan Mabella said Tuesday.

Mabella of CTMO said they held a dry-run at the National Highway along Barangay San Pedro on Monday.

“Those who will use the middle of the road are the four-wheel drives and other large vehicles,” he said.

Mabella cited the traffic congestion in San Pedro as the reason why the dry-run is being carried out in the barangay.

Other major roads will be included in the scheme in the following days, he said.

These are Malvar St., where SM City Puerto Princesa is located; Rizal Ave., Puerto Princesa’s major road artery; and the section of the northern and southern national highways covered by barangays Tagburos and Irawan, respectively.

Monday’s dry-run proved to be successful as motorcycle drivers followed the new traffic law. “Based on our observation, it appeared like this will be a welcome change and might indeed reduce traffic congestion,” Mabella said.

Over 3,000 indigent elderlies receive pension in Palawan

By Celeste Anna Formoso (PNA)

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, Palawan – More than 3,000 indigent senior citizens have received their monthly pensions from the Palawan government’s local social pension this year for the months of January to July.

Dubbed the “Kalinga Para kay Lolo at Lola” program, the social pension received by the beneficiaries amounted to over PHP4 million, said Helen Bundal, population program officer of the Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office (PSWDO).

“These indigent elderly citizens are those who do not receive pensions from the national government,” she said in an interview Monday. Each pensioner receives PHP1,750 for seven months.

Aside from the local social pension, the elderly are also provided with financial aid and medical services, Bundal said.

“The distribution of their local social pension is under Resolution No. 11305 that was approved by the Sangguniang Panlalawigan in 2014. Since then, the provincial government has been strengthening its support to them,” she added.

The measure aims to provide a monthly pension of PHP250 to all indigent senior citizens in Palawan 60 years old and above.

Before they are placed as beneficiaries, Bundal clarified that they undergo evaluation carried out by the PSWDO, Office for Senior Citizen Affairs (OSCA) and Municipal Social Welfare and Development Office (MSWDO) of the municipality where they reside.

The Kalinga Para kay Lolo at Lola or KPLL is in line with the Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010 that holds local governments to afford monthly pensions to indigent senior citizens to help them pay for food and medicine.

Bundal said the PSWDO is currently preparing the fund for the second semester of the year.

Peñalosa becomes WBC Asia silver champ; Borres takes ABF belt

By Ivan Stewart Saldajeno (PNA)

PUERTO PRINCESA, Palawan -- Carlo Peñalosa took home the WBC Asia silver flyweight title after subduing fellow Cebuano Salatiel Amit in the headliner of Battle of Palawan: Night of Champions at the Puerto Princesa City Coliseum on Friday night.

The nephew of boxing legend turned fight promoter, Gerry Peñalosa, took charge late in the 10-round main event of the key highlight of the 55th OPBF Convention, but he had to settle for a split decision win as Amit showed grit until the final bell.

The match started slowly, but both fighters made good connections, setting up a tight showdown.

Carlo Peñalosa then caught fire in Round 5, pouring it on with renewed aggression, and the strikes continued until Round 9.

Amit, however, never wavered and even put one final push right in the final round, eventually getting the nod from Judge Noel Flores.

Flores gave a 96-94 edge for Amit, but Ferdinand Estrada and Alberto Dulalas both scored the match 96-94 for Peñalosa.

Meanwhile, former IBF youth flyweight champion Robert Onggocan fell prey to virtual unknown Jeronil Borres in the co-main event.

Now based in La Trinidad, the Butuan native completed a giant-slaying over the Biñan-based pug via majority decision to take home the Asian Boxing Federation flyweight title.

Borres began turning the tides of the bout at the middle of the 10-rounder, tagging Onggocan with solid strikes.

But Onggocan showed his pedigree by keeping his resilience, in the end, eventually keeping the game close.

Jaime Mata gave a 95-all stalemate, but Greg Ortega and Lim Jun-Bae both had identical 96-94 cards favoring Borres.

Seaweed seedlings for distribution in north Palawan

By Celeste Anna Formoso (PNA)

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, Palawan -- The provincial government of Palawan’s livelihood management unit (LMU) is set to distribute seaweed seedlings to residents of a coastal community this month in the northern municipality of Taytay.

LMU head Myrna Lacanilao said 40 beneficiaries residing at Sitio Amogues, Barangay Calawag in Taytay would get the seedlings on November 28.

“One of the benchmarks we are looking for before the distribution of seaweeds to beneficiaries is that they need to be living next to a clean marine environment,” Lacanilao said.

Over four tons of seaweed propagules would be distributed and each beneficiary would receive around 100 kilos from the livelihood project that is being assisted by the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR)-Palawan, she said.

The recipients are all members of the Seaweeds Industry Development Program (SIDP) of the provincial government.

“Ang programang ito ay bilang tulong sa mga mangingisda na mabigyan ng alternatibong pangkabuhayan ang kanilang pamilya sa pamamagitan ng pagtatanim ng seaweeds (This seaweed dispersal program is aimed at giving alternative livelihood project to our fishermen so, they have extra income for their families),” Lacanilao added.

All the seedlings were grown in seaweed nurseries that can be found in the municipalities of El Nido, Dumaran, Araceli, and Taytay. Lacanilao expects that in the following months, more seaweed nurseries can be set up in other municipalities.

Regular monitoring of the seaweed nurseries are being conducted by the LMU to ensure that propagules are up to standards before distribution to beneficiaries, she said.

Palawan health personnel undergo sanitation training

By Celeste Anna Formoso (PNA)

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, Palawan -- The Department of Health (DOH) in MIMAROPA region is training sanitary inspectors and health personnel at the local level to prevent environmental hazards in the community.

DOH regional director, Dr. Eduardo Janairo, said the “promotion of public health and protection of the community, as well as the environment, is vital in order to prevent another onset of gastrointestinal outbreak such as diarrhea, cholera and gastroenteritis.”

Janairo made this statement as the DOH here opened on Tuesday a four-day training on Community-led Total Sanitation (CLTS) for sanitary inspectors and other health personnel.

He said the training is needed at the local level to properly equip and coach them on how to identify the critical components in effective sanitation and cleanliness program and how to recognize the impact of sanitation and hygiene for the benefit of Palaweños.

“We want all sanitary inspectors and health personnel at the local level to be properly equipped and trained on the organization, management, education, enforcement, consultation, and emergency response for the prevention of environmental health hazards in the community,” Janairo stated.

The four-day training will be until November 10 and will focus on the proper identification of pathogens, their signs and symptoms, causes and prevention.

“Sustainable sanitation can only be achieved through the support of the local government units and local health officers. By recognizing their responsibility and providing them the necessary tools and skills, outbreaks and disease transmission at the local level can be avoided immediately,” he said.

The major cause in the transmission and spread of gastrointestinal infections, such as intestinal parasitism, is improper waste disposal, according to him.

It is also responsible for the contamination of water supply sources which can result to outbreak of diseases like cholera and gastroenteritis.

The Water and Sanitation Division (WSD) of the Environmental and Occupational Health Office (EOHO) of the DOH identified environment factors such as air and water pollution, sanitation conditions and hygiene practices, to be contributory to the spread of diseases, he said.

These account for 22 percent of the reported illnesses and 6 percent of the reported deaths in the country.

Palawan bats for stronger PWD groups

By Grace Ann Belostrino (PNA)

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, Palawan -- The Persons with Disability Affairs Office (PDAO) here is due to strengthen its plans and programs for Palaweños who are physically and mentally challenged.

Annie Paez, focal person of the PDAO, said Tuesday that plans are underway to guarantee organizations assisting persons with disability (PWD) all over Palawan the provision of vital support as well as their active participation in local community activities and events.

PDAO is under the Palawan Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office (PSWDO).

“Marami pong mga plano at programa ang pamahalaan para sa mga Palaweñong may kapansanan (The provincial government has a lot of plans and programs to help Palaweños with disabilities),” Paez said.

Presently, PDAO is working on the PWD identification cards, which they can use to receive financial assistance, seminars and training for family members, and also for medical help.

“Persons with disabilities still face a lot of problems; they’re being mocked and our society remains indifferent towards them. This is where we want to focus on, in removing this, so they can actively participate in community activities,” she said.

Paez, who is a PWD herself because of cerebral palsy, said although there are a number of local programs, these need to be well-disseminated and should focus on what are really essential.

Puerto Princesa bans use of sidewalks as store extensions, work areas

By Keith Anthony Fabro (PNA)

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, Palawan -- The Sangguniang Panlungsod here on Monday approved the ordinance prohibiting the use of city sidewalks as working areas and store extensions.

The ordinance is meant to prevent encroachment on sidewalks which obstructs normal pedestrian flow, said Councilor Jonjie Rodriguez, author of the law.

“It has been observed that many business entities utilize, convert and appropriate street sidewalks or its portions as [extension of] their shops, offices, working areas, or for other purposes in the conduct of their business,” Rodriguez said following the ordinance’s approval.

He stated that sidewalks are paved path to keep pedestrians safe, and using it for other purposes “causes disturbance.”

“Street sidewalks are principally dedicated to provide a safe path for people to walk along that is separated from the motorized traffic and aid road safety by minimizing interaction between pedestrians and motorized traffic,” he added.

Violators of the “street sidewalk working ban ordinance” may be fined PHP1,000 and PHP3,000 for first and second offenses, respectively. Third offense entails a fine of PHP5,000 and/or revocation of license to operate at the discretion of the City Licensing Office (CLO). The city government will also confiscate “all tools, materials, equipment and other instrument belonging to or under the control of the erring person, company or entity.”

Rodriguez said programs and activities run by the city government which require the use of sidewalk for a certain period of time are exempted in the ordinance.

He added that the current administration’s “Task Force Ayos,” composed of the City Traffic Management, City Anti-Squatting, City Licensing, City Police and other concerned authorities, will take charge with the ordinance’s enforcement.

“This is an answer to the request of the majority of our constituents who’ve been affected by the improper utilization of sidewalks,” he said.

The ordinance will take effect 15 days after the date of approval by the City Council.

3 die during Undas in Busuanga, north Palawan

By Celeste Anna Formoso, Ruth Rodriguez (PNA)

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, Palawan – Two sisters and their cousin died Wednesday in a river in the town of Busuanga in northern Palawan in what was considered a Tropical Depression Ramil-related drowning incident.

The victims, who died in Demachikchik River in Sitio Demegan, Barangay Salvacion in Busuanga, were identified Wednesday afternoon by SPO2 Rolando Bernas of the town’s municipal police station as Grade 7 Catherine Apolinario, 13, and Grade 6 Katrina Apolinario, 12, who were sisters; and their cousin Laiza Mayo, 21, all residents of the barangay.

They were part of a group of eight friends and relatives who went on a picnic by the river.

Bernas said the three drowned shortly before 3 p.m.

“Initial investigation revealed that after hearing mass in the morning, they and their friends decided to have a picnic in the river. When they were already swimming, one of their companions was brought to a deep part of the river where the current was strong. The one being rescued held on to one of the victims, then the three of them held each other, but the current was strong and they did not know how to swim,” he said.

The police officer said actually five persons held on to one another, but two were saved.

The three victims were rushed to the Busuanga rural health unit, where they were declared dead.

“The three were not saved since they strayed in a much deeper part of the river. It was their friend who called for rescue, and the team from the MDRRMO immediately responded but to no avail. The rain wasn’t really strong here, but the river current was really strong and they didn’t know how to swim,” Bernas added.

MDRRMO is the municipal disaster risk reduction and management office.

In an interview with reporters, Busuanga Mayor Beth Cervantes confirmed the drowning deaths, saying the municipal government has already extended help to their families.

“It’s really a sad incident. We are extending support to the families of the three victims since we also heard the parents of the two siblings are in the hospital too,” Cervantes said.

She said that despite ‘Ramil’, the rain was not that strong in Busuanga.

“Actually, the reason why the MDRRMO was able to respond at once was that we were ready for ‘Ramil’,” the mayor said.

Busuanga, which is in the Calamianes Group of Islands, northern Palawan, was put under Signal No. 1 by the state weather bureau.

As of 4 a.m. Thursday, ‘Ramil’s’ center was estimated at 230 km. west of Coron, Palawan, with maximum winds of 55 kph near the center and gustiness of up to 65 kph, and was moving west at 15 kph.

Pinoy boxer to fight Venezuelan for Interim OPBF title

By Lito Delos Reyes (PNA)

DAVAO CITY -- Hard punching Jelbirt Gomera of the Philippines will fight the undefeated Omrri “El Rayo” Bolivar of Venezuela for the interim OPBF featherweight title on November 10 at the Puerto Princesa City Coliseum in Palawan.

The Gomera-Bolivar title-fight is one of the four championships in the boxing card of the annual 55th Oriental and Pacific Boxing Federation (OPBF) Convention slated on November 9-12.

The 12-rounder championship is promoted by international promoter Brico Santig of Highland Boxing Promotion.

The 25-year-old Gomera (12W-4L-0D, 6 KOs) won his last fight at the Puerto Princesa City Coliseum via unanimous decision against Eduardo Mancito to capture the vacant Philippine Boxing Federation (PBF) featherweight title last December 3.

But Gomera lost his last three fights including his battle for the vacant OPBF super bantamweight crown by a unanimous decision against Hidenori Otake last March 17 at the Korakuen Hall in Japan.

Gomera, a native of General Santos City, also bowed to Korean Nam Joo Lee by a unanimous decision in Suncheon, South Korea last June 24 before he suffered another setback in his previous fight by a majority decision to Michael Escobia last September 2 in Tayug.

Bolivar is still unbeaten with five straight wins and three knockouts. He won his last two fights both by technical knockouts last year.

Bolivar first TKO’d Filipino Gerry Patenio in the first round only in Bacolod City then stopped Indonesian Ricky Manufoe also in the opening round at the Yong Chan Arena in Chong Qing, China.

“Bolivar is a dangerous fighter. But Gomera is a tough and more experienced boxer,” said Santig.