Palawan News November 2018

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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

Gatchalian: PALECO takeover needed to solve Palawan power supply woes


Senator Win Gatchalian on Monday backed the plan of the government to take over the beleaguered Palawan Electric Cooperative (PALECO) to solve the province’s worsening power supply problem.

Gatchalian made the call after President Rodrigo Duterte recently gave PALECO a stern warning that the national government would be compelled to take over the power distributor’s facilities should frequent blackouts in Palawan persist until the end of the year.

The senator lamented that exasperated Palaweños have long complained about the lengthy rotational brownouts they have experienced in their province, and PALECO’s seemingly chronic inefficiency in coming up with solutions to the problem.

As chair of the Senate energy committee, Gatchalian facilitated a dialogue and held a committee hearing with stakeholders of the PALECO power situation more than a year ago to determine the cause of the long brownouts in the province.

The senator said he has been urging the National Electrification Administration (NEA) to take over PALECO since his committee conducted a formal dialogue in August 2017 with representatives from the Department of Energy, the Energy Regulatory Commission, NEA, the National Power Corporation, PALECO, Delta P, DMCI Power, and affected local government units.

“Matagal na natin naririnig ang mga reklamo ng ating mga kababayan sa Palawan tungkol sa mga mahahabang brownout na nararanasan nila mula nung ako’y pumasok sa Senado. Bilang chairman ng Senate Committee on Energy, palagi nating pinupukpok ang PALECO na solusyunan na itong problema, pero puro pangako na lang ang naririnig natin sa kanila,” Gatchalian said.

PALECO, which has the second largest franchise area in the country, provides power to 18 municipalities and Puerto Princesa City, serving a total of 135,284 consumers as of April 2018.

Citing data from NEA, Gatchalian pointed out that each PALECO consumer experienced an average of 126 power interruptions in 2017, which he said was beyond the NEA standard of 25 interruptions per consumer per year.

This resulted in an average of 16 hours of power interruption every month or a total of 187 hours in 2017, according to Gatchalian.

Based on the NEA standard, the acceptable frequency of power interruption is 45 hours per consumer per year.

Gatchalian noted that in July 2017 alone, power consumers had to endure 31 hours of blackouts due to unreliable power providers which had failed to fulfill their obligations.

Palawan traders warned: Follow the rules, keep province clean

By Nathaniel Mariano

In a bid to prevent a Boracay-type environmental disaster, President Rodrigo Duterte urged local officials and concerned citizens of Palawan to observe the tourist influx in the island, calling on hotels and business establishments to simply “follow the rules.”

Duterte said he would not want to see Palawan suffer the same fate as that of the famed Boracay island.

“Just clean it. Do not overload. You will be the guards here. Boracay is a classic case of overloading. It can carry only so many people,” the President said in his speech during the 1st Subaraw Biodiversity Festival in Palawan.

“If you fill it up with all the waste, it will tumble down. That’s why it’s [needs to be] controlled. You have to control the number [of tourists here],” he added, reminding local officials to keep a watchful eye on the arrivals of tourists.

The President also stressed that owners of hotels and establishments in Palawan need to play a role in preserving the province’s environment.

“Do not allow the hotels near the easement. They should stay away. Tell them to really move far,” he said, noting that hotels, as seen in the case of Boracay, throw their toilet wastes directly to the ocean.

Stressing that the national government has jurisdiction over the country’s beachfronts, Duterte said it is his administration’s duty to protect it from violators as he decided to place all hotels in the island on “notice.”

“So, I’m giving notice to all hotels that are operating near the sea. Do not connect your tubes directly to it. If you want to build a hotel, add another many million to have a water treatment,” Duterte said, maintaining that hotels must have proper toilet management system as he observed how Canada turns its wastes into something useful by turning urine into clean drinking water.

“You protect your crown jewel of the Palawan, which is really the beautiful sceneries. And avoid overcrowding,” Duterte said. “For the hotels and the resorts, follow rules. You will not have a problem with me.”

“Let us work together in protecting the environment so that the government’s action to close Boracay Island will not be repeated elsewhere in the country,” he added.

Disgusted over the environmental issues of Boracay, which he previously labeled as “cesspool,” the President had closed Boracay for six months to give way for its rehabilitation and reopened the world-famous island resort to the public last month.

‘Local players’ warned to fix Palawan power woes till yearend

By Azer Parrocha and Celeste Anna Formoso (PNA)

MANILA -- President Rodrigo R. Duterte urged the energy distribution cooperative in Palawan to improve the province’s power situation or else he would expropriate its franchise and sell it to “major players” who can do it.

The President gave the ultimatum Saturday to the Palawan Electric Cooperative (Paleco) and provincial government officials led by Mayor Lucilo Bayron and Governor Jose Alvarez during a visit here to join the Subaraw Biodiversity Festival 2018, in line with the commemoration of the “Puerto Princesa Underground River (PPUR) Day.”

“I hold nothing against cooperatives, they are pioneering spirits. But on the extreme, maybe, I will give you about towards the end of the year [to have] a new set up that would provide enough energy so that it can operate and it can move. You have to upgrade your source of energy. Kung hindi, ang gagawin ko maghahanap ako ng may pera talaga – China, nangangati ang kamay nyan just to get hold of developments here (If not, what I will do is I will look for a [power player] with money – China, its hands are just itching to get hold of developments here),” he said.

Duterte made this remark while lamenting Palawan’s power supply crisis causing frequent power outages.

“Yung inyong sitwasyon dito, yung inyong ilaw dito (Your situation here, your lights here) at this late of the date of development in the country, may brownout kayo na (you experience brownouts) six to eight hours--that is not acceptable to me,” Duterte said.

“Kung walang power, walang gumagalaw, walang produkto (If there’s no power, there’s no one working, there’s no products). That is the problem. I will simplify it for you,” he added.

Duterte said he would buy out cooperatives and allow major players to improve the province’s power situation, noting that the long-term power outages can be very critical to the progress and growth of the whole province and the everyday lives of occupants.

“I will expropriate your franchise. Bilihin ko ‘yan at a valuation that is fair – just compensation. Kung ganoon [lagi] dito… to end this impasse, i-expropriate ko yan, pabayaran ‘yang cooperative then ipabigay ko sa mag-o-operate na bago. If you want, may mga major players. I don’t care kung sino. Marami ‘yan sila, may [mga] partners. Gusto ninyo? (I will buy it at a valuation that is fair – just compensation. If it’s always like this her… to end this impasse, I will expropriate it, I will have the cooperative paid then I will have it be given to a new operator. If you want, there are major players. I don’t care who. There are many there, they have partners. Would you like it?),” he said.

He added that he will not seize Paleco just to grab hold of it as a business, but the city and the province need to develop with the help of reliable power service.

If it can provide the energy requirement that is needed before the end of the year, then he will not interfere.

“Either you do it or I will do it for you. I will expropriate. There are basic powers of government - police power, the power of taxation… power of eminent domain. If there is not enough money, you have to bring in help. If there is no relief in sight, better begin to talk to the people who can help us,” President Duterte pointed out.

He told Bayron and Alvarez that he wants to sit with them in Malacañang to talk about the problem and help them find a solution.

Puerto Princesa City and the whole province have been dealing with persistent power outages since early last year.

Paleco, the distribution franchisee, has blamed the prolonged electricity disruptions on the failure of its independent power producers (IPPs) to upgrade their facilities to deliver reliable energy supply when the demand peaks.

Based on the demand and supply for the Palawan main grid, the actual peak in the province as of October is 52.22 megawatts (MWs) opposed to the actual peak for the year in May which is 53.85 MWs and the forecasted 50.97 MWs.

A PWD’s guide to enjoying Palawan

By Elizabeth Lolarga (CONTRIBUTED, Philippine Daily Inquirer)

Hobbling on a cane didn’t stop her from enjoying a holiday, from island-hopping to a dip in therapeutic pool

Whoever said fun times for a senior with disability are over will eat her words and get dunked in Kayangan Lake by me who remains still tan after four days in Palawan.

Persons with disability (PWD) need not be marginalized, and deserve as much as courteous assistance from the tourism industry.

I bless elder cousin Beng Valdellon, a balikbayan from Burke, Virginia, who always spends her holiday money in the Philippines, and invites our gang of panganay cousins to share her loot.

In 2015, we went to Puerto Princesa where we were awestruck by the underground river’s wealth, and sunburned while dawdling on a dune with the finest sand in the middle of the sea.

But things were different this most recent trip. I was hobbling on a practically deformed-by-osteoarthritis knee joint and depended on a cane to get around.

Beng’s invitation stood firm—we were going to have what could be a last hurrah before all our knees give way to aging’s inevitable curse.

Thus, the request to La Natura Resort on Mabintangen Rd., Barangay 6, Coron, to billet us in a ground-level room.

Was there air-conditioning? Nope, but we had a large ceiling fan that did the wonders of ventilating the room.

From the get-go, the staff of Cebu Pacific prepared a wheelchair for me and an aide pushed me around and helped me to my seat in the departure area.

Climbing the short staircase to the plane was a cinch with a security guard assisting me from behind to break any misstep, just in case.

The flight attendants were as solicitous, helping me store my cane and carry-on bag in the luggage bin. They ensured that there was a wheelchair awaiting me when it was time to disembark at Francisco B. Reyes Airport in Busuanga.

The PWD toilet in the airport was neat and equipped with handrails and tissue paper.

The highway leading to Coron was generally smooth, except for a few rail bumps that are meant for cattle crossing.

When the van took a left to Mabintangen Road leading to the resort, it was a rough ride over crater-wide potholes. Barangay funds still need to be poured into that dirt road, but come to think of it, other holiday seekers, especially those foreigners, may find the road with the surrounding flora and rustic views of nipa huts tres exotique.

At the hotel

Waiting for us at La Natura’s front desk were cool towels to wipe away the weariness of early-morning travel and tall glasses of fresh calamansi juice with organic bamboo straws.

We ordered an early lunch from a mixed menu that offered Filipino, Italian, American and other popular dishes. The chicken curry in thick coconut sauce came highly recommended.

While waiting for our room to be cleared, we had occasion to admire the garden where butterflies as large as our hands flitted among the flowers, particularly the blooming kamuning, our first time to see one, familiar as we are only with the name of a Quezon City district.

The architecture of the rooms is inspired by the nipa hut with palm fronds for the roofing. We entered through glass and screen sliding doors to a cool place.

Partly because of the unpolluted rural setting, the air wasn’t humid even if the fan was still turned off.

The resort arranged tours with the tour operators in the town proper. Everyone met at the pantalan or pier. We got there through the resort’s suki tricycle driven by Jayron, who believed in going ecology-wise with his electric vehicle. Sure, it may not move as fast as the ones fueled by gas, but it doesn’t harm the environment.

For the city tour, one can have the van exclusively to one’s group or one can have “joiners.” The latter meant that one had strangers sharing the ride and tour, and following the itinerary.

We were with two Taiwanese girls who insisted on catching the sunset at the top of Mt. Tapyas, which could be reached through 721 steps. Naturally, we sat that one out. It was too early for sunset.

The driver said the girls could be dropped off toward that hour later, after we finished our itinerary which included stops in a souvenir shop for the usual bags of cashew nuts, a visit to St. Agustin’s Church where we would have wanted to light candles for our beloveds, but no one was selling candles.

Last stop as the afternoon moved to evening was Maquinit Hot Spring in Sitio Maquinit, Barangay Tagumpay, accessible through paved and unpaved roads.

Again there were gentlemen-guides who volunteered to assist me gingerly get down for more than an hour’s soak in the 30°C pool. There were concrete seats surrounding the pool so one could sit and relax and let the therapeutic waters do their healing, while we watched the full moon rise over the trees.

By the time I emerged from the waters, I could feel the heaviness from my aching joints dissipate. Why, I could almost walk straight without a cane! This must be how pilgrims felt after visiting Lourdes, France.

The next day was set aside for what was called The Ultimate Adventure. This involved island-hopping to several destinations in one full day. At least four able-bodied men helped me board the motorboat.

The same number of men also kept me secure and safe as I climbed down the ladder to the sea while wearing a life jacket. They were there to give my buttocks a push when it was time to leave the waters. Coron’s waters are temperate and perfect for just swimming around or cycling one’s gravity-free legs.

The third day of our stay we were rained in. Outdoor play was ruled out. I settled down with a book, Rachel Friedman’s “A Good Girl’s Guide to Getting Lost.”

When it was time to return home, it was back to the wheelchair to board, one hour of flying time, then getting off the plane to another wheelchair.

Smile! I just crossed another trip off a bucket list. But until when?

El Nido set to limit number of tourists in island destinations

By Jervis Manahan (ABS-CBN News)

EL NIDO, Palawan- One of the country's top tourist destinations will soon limit tourists in its key attractions.

Tourists visiting key island destinations in El Nido will soon be limited to preserve the area, El Nido municipal administrator RJ Dela Calzada told ABS-CBN News Friday.

"We do not want to follow the footsteps of Boracay," Dela Calzada said, noting that tourist arrival in El Nido has reached 200,000 in 2017. He said the figure is much higher in 2018.

The local government has set the tourist limit at the island's Big Lagoon to 60 per hour with kayak trips at 30 per hour. For the Small Lagoon, only 30 tourists and 15 kayak trips are allowed per hour.

Dela Calzada said they may also redesign their tour packages to regulate the number of tourists.

As of now, El Nido offers 4 standard tour packages, consisting of 5 to 6 attractions per package.

Tour packages may soon be expanded to 7 with fewer destinations per package.

The number might seem small compared to other tourist spots, but it's already big for a "secluded" beach destination like El Nido, Dela Calzada said.

To visit El Nido, one must fly to Puerto Princesa and then travel for around 6 to 7 hours by land to El Nido. Boat trips to the beaches meanwhile usually take an hour or 2.


Unlike Boracay, tourists in El Nido aren't concentrated in a single strip of a shoreline. Tourists go island hopping, but most of them stay downtown, which has several hotels, inns, and pension houses.

"One has to see the serenity, listen to the chirping of the birds, and enjoy the view. How can you do that if El Nido is crowded with people?" Dela Calzada said.

With the increasing number of tourists, El Nido banned earlier this year single use plastics in its tour packages, particularly water bottles. Coast guard personnel inspect boats and confiscate plastic bottles before they are allowed to sail.

The local government has also intensified its crackdown on illegal tour operators, and have started apprehending boat tour operators with no proper documents.

The local government admitted they imposed stricter rules when Boracay was closed down.

Ninety-eight percent of the planned demolition on the town's main shoreline has been completed, to comply with the easement rule while the remaining 2 percent of demolition is already underway.

Restaurants are also only allowed to put tables on the beach from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m., and these must not block tourists' walkway.

‘Dugong’ netted accidentally released back to sea in Palawan

By Celeste Anna Formoso (PNA)

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, Palawan -- A 200-kilogram live female “dugong” (sea cow) that was accidentally caught recently by fishermen in the municipal waters of Brooke’s Point, was released back into the wilds by last Monday.

Richen Mission Bajar, administrative aide of the Office of Municipal Agriculturist of Brooke’s Point, said the “dugong” was freed on the shores of Barangay Maasin, Brooke’s Point, on Nov. 5, the same day fishermen unintentionally caught it with the use of a beach seine (sinsoro) gear.

“Thank you, dear responsible fishermen, dahil pinakawalan ninyo siya! Sana dumami pa sila sa lugar natin, especially sa MPA (because you release it! I hope they increase in population in our place, especially in the Marine Protected Area),” she said on Wednesday in a Facebook post.

According to the Marine Wildlife Watch of the Philippines (MWWP), “the dugong stands out as the largest and only sea-living mammal which grazes on seagrass.”

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List has described the dugong as “vulnerable”.

Puerto Princesa celebrates Underground River Day

By Celeste Anna Formoso (PNA)

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, Palawan -- The city government and the management of the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park (PPSRNP) here are inviting the public to celebrate “Underground River Day” through the Subaraw Biodiversity Festival.

Jan Elmer Badilla, PPSRNP management information officer, said Tuesday the festival opened on Nov. 2 and will end on November 11.

Nov. 11 of every year was declared as “Puerto Princesa Underground River Day” based on Proclamation No. 816.

The Puerto Princesa Underground River (PPUR) has been added to the UNESCO World Heritage Sites and affirmed as the New Seven Wonders of Nature of the World on 11.11.11.

Badilla said Palaweños will enjoy the Subaraw, which has a lot of activities on biodiversity, as well as entertainment events. The word Subaraw comes from the words, suba (river) and taraw (limestone cliff).

“We are inviting everyone to join the Subaraw. This festival is not only for the benefit of a few people. It is for the benefit of our tourism industry, which is our primary livelihood, and the conservation and protection of the PPUR,” he said.

Badilla said it was made grand on its fifth year of celebration, just like the Sinulog of Cebu, Masskara of Bacolod, and Panagbenga of Baguio City.

He noted that the festival’s theme, “Keeping the Balance of Transformative Tourism and Ecological Integrity”, is one of the internal key messages of the PPUR.

“This theme is like our mantra -- in everything that we do, we always keep the balance between sustainable tourism and ecological integrity,” he explained.

Subaraw will be the country’s first celebration of the rich biodiversity of the underground river, which helps build up Palawan’s already outstanding image as “Best Island in the World.”

Badilla said the public can access the official Facebook pages of the Puerto Princesa City Information Office, the PPSRNP, and the Subaraw Biodiversity Festival 2018 to get more information regarding the schedule of events.

ITCZ affects Palawan, Visayas, Mindanao

By Lily Ramos (PNA)

MANILA -- An intertropical convergence zone (ITCZ) is affecting Palawan, Visayas and Mindanao Tuesday, according to the weather bureau.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), in its latest weather bulletin, said Visayas, Zamboanga, Caraga, Northern Mindanao and Palawan will have cloudy skies with scattered rain showers and thunderstorms caused by the ITCZ.

PAGASA said Metro Manila and the rest of the country will be partly cloudy to cloudy with isolated rain showers due to localized thunderstorms.

Flashfloods or landslides are possible in these areas due to thunderstorms.

Northern Luzon, the eastern sections of Central and Southern Luzon and Visayas will have moderate to occasionally strong winds coming from the northeast with moderate to occasionally rough coastal waters.

Temperature in Metro Manila ranges from 24-33 degrees Celsius; Tuguegarao City 23-32 degrees Celsius; Baguio City 15-25 degrees Celsius; Angeles City 24-33 degrees Celsius; Lipa City 22-29 degrees Celsius; Metro Cebu 25-31 degrees Celsius and Metro Davao 25-34 degrees Celsius.

Palawan judge fined for using court as residence

By Evelyn Macairan (The Philippine Star)

MANILA, Philippines — Courtrooms cannot be used for residential or commercial purposes.

The Supreme Court’s First Division stressed this in a recent ruling as it fined a judge in Palawan for using her sala as her house in the past seven years.

Evelyn Cañete of the Brookes’s Point-Sofronio Española-Bataraza Municipal Circuit Trial Court was ordered to pay a fine of P11,000 after she was found guilty of violating Administrative Circular 3-92 issued by the high tribunal.

In a seven-page ruling penned by Associate Justice Mariano del Castillo, the SC also warned Cañete of a more severe penalty if the same or a similar offense is committed.

“There is always a price to pay for tainted offerings, however innocuous or harmless they may appear... The price is almost always loss of integrity or at the very least compromised independence... That is a stiff price to pay, especially by a member of the judiciary, whose basic, irreducible qualification is unimpeachable integrity,” the SC ruling read.

Court stenographer Edgar Abiog filed a complaint against Cañete for serious misconduct, dishonesty, conduct unbecoming of a judge and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of service.

Records showed that Cañete started using the courtroom, which was also reportedly extended upon her supervision, as her living quarters in August 2011. The SC also cited instances when the family members and friends of the judge used the courtroom, with the municipal government paying for their water and electricity bills.

Cañete denied the allegations, saying the complainant was referring to the space previously occupied by the prosecutor, public attorney and clerk of court. She said the municipal government repaired the area to express its gratitude for her contribution to the community.

Cañete said it was convenient for her to stay in her office because she often work overtime.

The Office of the Court Administrator said it found sufficient evidence that Cañete “exploited” her title to enjoy the privileges accorded to her by the municipal government of Brooke’s Point.

The SC also cited a supposed agreement between Cañete and Mayor Mary Jean Feliciano that instead of giving the judge an additional representation and transportation allowance (RATA), the local government is allowing her to use her office as her residence.

The high tribunal said it is not the obligation of the local government to pay Cañete’s RATA.

“If we give weight to respondent judge’s explanation... all judges might as well reside within the premises of the Halls of Justice,” the SC said.

CENRO vows to go after illegal loggers in north Palawan

By Celeste Anna Formoso (PNA)

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, Palawan -- Environment authorities in the northern Palawan town of Taytay vowed to step up their patrol and monitoring operations against illegal loggers as they turned over another batch of 23 unregistered chainsaws to the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development (PCSD).

Voltaire delos Angeles, Community Environment and Natural Resources Office-Quick Response Team (CENRO-QRT) team leader in Taytay, said Thursday they turned over the chainsaws to the PCSD’s Environmental Critical Areas Network-Regulatory Enforcement Division (ECAN-RED).

“Second batch na ito ng mga tinurn-over na unregistered, tampered, at assembled chainsaws. Noong una pa may nauna na din kaming na-turn over na 15 units (This is the second batch of unregistered, tampered, and assembled chainsaws that we’ve turned over. We have also turned over 15 units before),” he said.

Delos Angeles added that most of the owners of the first batch of 15 units have already undergone judicial inquiries for the filing of illegal logging cases in the municipality of Taytay.

The turnover of the chainsaws, he said, symbolizes the commitment of CENRO in Taytay to run after owners, who use their chainsaws to devastate the forests.

“Hindi kami titigil sa responsibility namin na pangalagaan ang kalikasan sa Taytay. Bawal sa Chain Saw Act of 2002 ang pagkakaroon ng ganitong gamit na hindi nire-rehistro (We will not stop to protect the forest lands of Taytay. Under the Chainsaw Act of 2002, it is prohibited to have unregistered chainsaws),” he added.

Under the Act, possessing a chainsaw without the proper permit and is used for illegal logging and forest destruction shall be meted four to six years imprisonment, and a fine of not less than PHP15,000 but not more than PHP30,000.

TIEZA formally opens TEZ Office and Tourist Information Center in San Vicente, Palawan

(Balikbayan Media Center)

SAN VICENTE, PALAWAN – The Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA) inaugurated on October 28, 2018 the TIEZA Tourism Enterprise Zone (TEZ) Office and the Tourist Information Center (TIC) located in the Municipality of San Vicente, Palawan, one of TIEZA’s Flagship Tourism Enterprise Zones.

The markers for the newly inaugurated buildings were unveiled, followed by the formal turn-over of the TIC to the Municipality of San Vicente. The event was attended by the Provincial Government of Palawan, the Municipal Government of San Vicente, various national government agencies (NGAs), tourism enterprise owners, and other stakeholders.

“This (San Vicente Flagship TEZ) will be the model of sustainability and inclusiveness”, said TIEZA Chief Operating Officer Pocholo Paragas, who led the inauguration and turn-over ceremony.

The construction of the TEZ Office and TIC began in 2016. Now, the two buildings are officially open to tourists and visitors.

Both located in Barangay New Agutaya, the TEZ Office and TIC are among the support infrastructure projects of TIEZA for the San Vicente Flagship TEZ. The TEZ Office will serve as TIEZA’s on-site office and as link between and among the Municipal Government of San Vicente, the Department of Tourism (DOT), property owners and operators of private enterprises, and other stakeholders. The TIC will be the first stop for tourists and visitors where vital information will be provided for their stay in San Vicente, such as the accessible facilities, stations, establishments, and activities within the Flagship TEZ.

“Five years ago, it was very difficult to get here. You had to take a private plane or fly to Puerto Princesa and drive for five hours,” said Atty. Joy Bulauitan in closing the event. TIEZA Officer-In-Charge – Assistant Chief Operating Officer for Administration and Finance Atty. Joy Bulauitan was nostalgic as she reminisced how five years ago the San Vicente Flagship TEZ was just an idea and how the local and national governments worked together to implement the vision.

The San Vicente Flagship TEZ, known for its 14.7-kilometer long unbroken stretch of pristine beach, is the newest eco-town in the Philippines. It is envisioned to be an environmentally and socially sustainable tourist destination that will be a catalyst for inclusive economic growth through public and private partnership.

3 coops get P1.3-M loan from Palawan gov’t

By Celeste Anna Formoso (PNA)

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, Palawan -- Three cooperatives in Palawan have received a total of PHP1.3 million loan from the provincial government to support their growth.

Victoria Ladica, Provincial Cooperative Development Office (PCDO) chief, said Monday the loans without interests were sourced from the Upgrading Support for the Advancement and Development of Entrepreneurs in Cooperatives (USAD) and the Sustained Livelihood Opportunities and Growth for Cooperatives (SULONG) programs of the provincial government.

Under SULONG, Sofronio Española Farmers Multi-Purpose Cooperative (SEFMPC) and Coron School of Fisheries Multi-Purpose Cooperative (CSFMPC) each received a loan of PHP500,000.

The Agricultural Cooperative of Sofronio Española (ACSE), on the other hand, received PHP300,000 under USAD.

Officials of the three cooperatives received the loans on Oct. 25 during the 10th Provincial Cooperative Convention held in Puerto Princesa City.

Ladica said the loans are offered to active cooperatives without interest for their development and growth, and as poverty alleviation initiative.

“Binibigyan natin ng four months grace period at pinababayaran natin ito sa kanila for 12 to 24 months para hindi sila mahirapan (We give them a four-month grace period and we ask them to pay in 12 to 24 months, so they won’t have a hard time),” she said.

To make sure the loans are handled well, she said officials and members of the cooperatives regularly undergo training-workshops to expand their financial skills and knowledge to manage their growth.

Cooperative conventions and conferences are also held for the cooperatives in the province to get acquainted with new developments in “cooperativism” that they may use in daily activities in their areas.