Sunday, November 30, 2014



Amado I. Yoro
Ewa, Hawaii

Yumbik dagitoy: kinasudi ti ayat
sagutko kenka ita nga aldaw
adtoy ti balonko sangakopita a diro
arak ti rabii ti pammasangbay
Riknaek ti dungngo dayta pusom 
No umayak ita saan a 
Naliday a sallapingaw
Ngem naamo a kalapati
Ti ayat 
Bay-am a simsimak nga umuna
Ti sardam; palludip iti apagdeppel
Agek-iliw; karayo Iti bibig ni ayat.
Ay-ayatenka: yumbi manen toy pusok
Bay-am nga ubbaenka nga isala
iti danggay ti samiweng sonata
Anem-em ti diro ti darikmat
Sirok ti bubongan-langit
Ayan-ayatta, adtoyak!
agkasingin a riknata
Bay-am a mabartekak iti rabii
Denggem-denggek naisangayan
A talukatik ket ammomton
Ti kaipapanan rinibu a kinaumel
Iti nagtengko a nagsapalan
Pasetnakon ti nabayag a panaguray
Adtoy beggang ti ayat !

Protest mars inauguration of Pagudpud windmill farm

Protesters from Barangay Malasin, Bangui, Ilocos Norte.
Lei Adriano

By Leilanie G. Adriano
Staff reporter

Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte—A silent protest by about 15 families affected by alleged intrusive transmission lines put up by the Ayala-led North Luzon Renewable Energy Corporation marred the November 19 inauguration of the 81-megawatt Pagudpud wind farm.

On board a white van with streamers decrying constitutional right abuses, the family of Joseph Baloaloa along with other families including children from Brgy. Malasin of neighboring Bangui town went to the NLREC main station at Brgy. Caparispisan  herein  Pagudpud as they held each other’s arms shouting for help from the government to mediate the possible relocation of some NLREC’s towers passing through their residential houses.

Tulongan niyo kami. Nilabag ang aming karapatan. Huwag niyo kaming patayin. Ilayo kami sa kaba at alisin ang tower malapit sa bubong ng aming bahay,” the protesters shouted as they were prevented by NLREC security personnel from getting inside the project site while there was a ceremonial ribbon-cutting ceremony and blessing of one of the 27 wind turbines led by St. Jude Parish priest Franklin Gorospe.

The ceremony had Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. and Ilocos Norte Governor Ma. Imelda “Imee” R. Marcos as well as mayors, vice mayors, barangay officials and main proponents of the wind project.

In her speech, Ms. Marcos reiterated the importance of corporate social responsibility of large companies for their host communities.

Citing a family of protesters at the bottom of the hill where she passed by on her way up to the project site, Ms. Marcos said the issue of transmission lines and cables passing through their homes is a “simple and basic problem we can address together.”

“Perhaps, it’s time that we realize that even large companies like Ayala group finally belong to the local community and that no large project—national or international it maybe can take off without local support. I hope you recognize the community in which you live and you will work,” Ms. Marcos told representatives of the UPC Renewables, Philippine Investment Alliance for Infrastructure (PINAI) and Ayala Corporation Energy Holdings Inc. who were present at the inauguration. 

These three giant companies joined together to develop wind projects here through the NLREC as their joint venture company.

As Ilocos Norte continue to lead the way of renewable energy in Southeast Asia, Mr. Marcos who flew in by a helicopter to the project site has lauded investors for taking relevant steps towards easing expected backlog of electricity by 2015.

He likewise reiterated his sister’s call saying, “I hope you get the message clear. Those in the private sector should recognize the sacrifices of the local residents.”

In response, John Eric Francia, AC Energy Holdings Inc. president, has assured the Marcoses and Ilocos Norte residents that they will take into consideration the constructive feedback.

“As one of the key shareholders in this project, I can assure you that we will take all these to heart and we will ensure that we will be partnering truly to the local community here and moving forward. This is one of the challenges that we make sure we will successful in,” Mr. Francia said.
Some of the 27 wind turbines with a full capacity of 3 MW each are now connected to the grid, producing clean energy source of electricity. 
Lei Adriano

Launched last September 2013 with US$220 million dollar investment portfolio, the 27 wind turbines are now fully energized and connected to the grid, generating at least 3 megawatts each.

Aside from the 27 wind turbines, the NLREC plans to expand more by installing more 70-MW as next phase of the project at the same site.

Senator Bongbong Marcos, UPC Renewables chairperson Brian Caffyn, and AC Energy Holdings Inc. President John Eric Francia inspect the facility of the 81-MW wind farm in Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte. 
Lei Adriano

OCD holds earthquake, tsunami drill in Laoag City

PREPARING THEM. Schoolchildren of Caaoacan Elementary School in Laoag City participate in a nationwide simultaneous earthquake drill on November 14. The drill was organized by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council. (Andy L. Mangapit)
 By Dominic B. dela Cruz & Leilanie G. Adriano
Staff reporters

Laoag CITY—The regional Office of Civil Defense (OCD) spearheaded a five-day earthquake and tsunami drills in the city’s 14 coastal barangays.

The drill, participated in by all barangay officials concerned, also included a discussion on the signs of tsunami as well as its catastrophic effects.

The OCD officials and the City Risk Reduction and Management Council (CDRRMC) chose Brgy. Caaoacan as site with the Ilocos Norte National High School campus as evacuation center.

Laoag mayor Chevylle V. Fariñas thanked the OCD officials for their efforts as well as the CDRRMC members, barangay officials and Caaoacan residents for their cooperation,

Based on the drill’s results, Ms. Fariñas said Laoag is now more prepared for these types of calamities though she wished nothing like those would happen.

She disclosed that she has approved all CDRRMS requests pertaining to the search and rescue team, including their taking of search and rescue seminars.

She added that a 4x4 pick-up truck to be used by the search and rescue team is expected to be delivered soon. The funding for the purchase was sourced from the city government’s Corporate Social Responsibility program.

However the mayor also said there are still room for improvements, specifically on having a nearer evacuation center.

Ms. Fariñas also pushed for the disaster reduction and management trainings in all the city’s barangays to prepare all Laoag residents.

PRTF also took part
MEANWHILE, the Provincial Resiliency Task Force (PRTF) composed of inter-government agencies both local and national level was also at Brgy. Caaoacan.  

“Evaluation result will serve as a room for improvement and it helps us manage the operation of disaster,” Provincial Social Welfare and Development Officer Lilian Rin said.

Another scenario that highlights the disaster exercise at the same site is a tsunami drill, a natural calamity that usually comes after a strong quake with an offshore epicenter.

Meant to build the Ilocanos’ resiliency in times of natural disaster, the PRTF continuously set up drills to prepare and make people aware on what they will do in case major calamities like earthquakes and tsunamis happen.

The Philippines sits on the Pacific Ring of Fire, where about 90 percent of the world’s earthquakes and 81 percent of the world’s largest earthquakes happen.

Most Americans against Obama immigration amnesty

USA Today published on November 18, the results of a poll it conducted showing that 46% are against President Obama’s plan to issue an executive order granting amnesty to millions of illegal aliens while 42% were in favor.

Considering that USA Today is generally regarded as a liberal (translation pro Obama) newspaper, one can speculate that the margin of error is at least 10%, meaning that 56% could be against amnesty.

A question of fairness and the rule of law
During our radio talk show on community issues at KPRP in Honolulu on Monday morning the three panelists—Atty. Abraham Mariano, newspaper editor Rafael Alimbuyuguen, and this writer—albeit with different political persuasions, were unanimous in opposing Mr. Obama’s planned amnesty on the ground that it would be unfair to Filipinos who are following the law and patiently waiting in line for the visas of the relatives they petitioned to become available. I described the situation as akin to that of a movie theater’s patrons with tickets waiting in line for the doors of the theater to open and then suddenly a lawless group breaks into the line and shove the patrons aside. The manager gives amnesty to the lawless and allows them to enter ahead of the patrons. 

If amnesty is granted, Mr. Obama will have to take hundreds of immigration officers currently assigned to process petitions away from their duties in order to process the petitions of the amnestied. This will delay even further the processing of the papers of the law abiding. This is what happened when the Obama administration granted amnesty to the children illegally brought by their parents to this country (DACA).

The Obama administration cannot just hire new immigration officers. It takes at least a year to hire a new immigration officer based on my experience when I was hired. Immigration has to test the applicant’s knowledge of immigration law, skills, character, fitness for the job, mental health, physical health, drug tests, and interview the applicant’s neighbors and references.

After our radio show, I went to the coffee shop across my Honolulu office and conducted an informal poll of the Filipino habitués, many of whom are Democrats. They were also unanimous in opposing amnesty.

I later visited my friend Atty. James A. Stanton, one of the best immigration lawyers in Hawaii, with whom I work in handling a number of deportation cases, what he thought of Mr. Obama’s planned amnesty. He said that although it is possible some of our clients might benefit from it, he was not in favor of amnesty and added that he could not imagine any Filipino supporting it.

Obama amnesty will spawn frauds and scams
But there are. I got a call from a Filipina who refused to give her name but whose telephone number is recorded in my cell phone saying that a “friend” has been in Hawaii for about 20 years and that her tourist visa had expired. Somebody had asked her friend to pay $1,000 so that “the somebody” could fix her amnesty application, plus another $1,000 for the filing fee. She asked how much I charge. See, Obama amnesty has already spawned rackets and scams and Mr. Obama has not yet issued the executive order. There will be other rackets and spams. In 1986 I was asked by the San Francisco INS District Director who was my friend to assist without remuneration in the processing of the applications of illegal aliens granted amnesty by an immigration reform act which required that the illegal alien must have been in the country before January 1, 1982. Obama amnesty will also likely have a cutoff date. To prove that they were here before the cutoff date, several aliens produced pre January 1, 1982 rental receipts. They were evidently carbon copies with only the dates changed. Some aliens produced pre January 1, 1982 electric bills which were photocopies. How can the electric consumption be exactly the same for several months? There were also fake sales receipts from stores in the Mission District that did not even exist before 1982. After a few days, I told the director that I could no longer stomach this massive fraud against the United States.

Hawaii Governor-Elect David Ige and his wife Dawn with (from left) Ernie Abara, Atty. Emmanuel S. Tipon, and Noel Calixto, leaders of the Friends of Bongbong Marcos who spearheaded the Filipino effort to elect Mr. Ige, a virtual unknown a year ago, which was decisive in the election. (Photo courtesy of Emmanuel Tipon)

(Atty. Tipon has a Master of Laws degree from Yale Law School and a Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of the Philippines. He specializes in immigration law and criminal defense. Office: 800 Bethel St., Suite 402, Honolulu, HI 96813. Tel. (808) 225-2645. E-Mail: Websites: He is from Laoag City and Magsingal, Ilocos Sur. He served as an Immigration Officer. He is co-author of “Immigration Law Service, 1st ed.,” an 8-volume practice guide for immigration officers and lawyers. Listen to the most funny, interesting, and useful radio program in Hawaii on KNDI at 1270 AM dial every Thursday at 7:30 a.m. This article is a general overview of the subject matter discussed and is not intended as legal advice. No attorney-client relationship is established between the writer and readers relying upon and/or acting pursuant to the contents of this article.)

Eye from the heart

THEN AND NOW. With the help of Dr. Miramar Bumanglag and other donors, Cruzel Mae Bartolome of Bacarra, Ilocos Norte is given a new artificial eye. (Photo courtesy of Argie Lorenzo)

A pencil scribbled the painful stage in the life of Cruzel Mae Bartolome, four-year old, of Barangay Sangil in Bacarra, Ilocos Norte.

When she was only one-year old, a pencil accidentally pierced her right eye. Since then, only one eye is making sight possible for Cruzel Mae—a reality which darkened a part of her life.
Initially, she was given an artificial eye. But it was too small that it often fell off from her eye socket. Also, it looked so hideous that sometimes it made her a laughingstock in their neighborhood and in her preschool classes.

Her parents—who are farmers—couldn’t afford to buy her a new artificial eye. But, they didn’t stop looking for ways to ease the pains of Cruzel Mae.

In their desire to find help for their daughter, they approached Argie Lorenzo and Hanz Mabunay. Lorenzo and Mabunay are correspondent and video journalist, respectively, of the news team of GMA Ilocos assigned in Laoag City and Ilocos Norte.

The news team immediately made a feature story on the situation of Cruzal Mae. It was aired in 24 Oras Ilokano, formerly titled Balitang Ilokano.

After the story was aired, help came pouring in. Among those who gave their assistance to Cruzel Mae is Dr. Miramar Bumanglag of Batac City.

Besides her cash donation, Dr. Bumanglag referred her to the ophthalmology department of Mariano Marcos Memorial Hospital and Medical Center. The said department carefully studied the case of Cruzel Mae so that she will be given the proper artificial eye.

And after a few days, happiness overflowed on the face of Cruzel Mae—she was given the realization of her wish. Her new artificial eye fits very well that it looks like a real eye. It underscored her beauty, giving her new hope, new life.

The Bartolome family expressed endless gratitude to all who gave them help.

Cruzel Mae has other wishes, like financial assistance for her pursuit for education. Well, the world is full of kind-hearted people, full of God’s instruments—thus, fulfilment of such wishes is not far from her reach.    
BARD NOTES: Happy bard-reading to Governor Imee Marcos, Laoag City Mayor Chevylle Farinas, Laoag City Vice Mayor Michael Farinas, Provincial Treasurer Josephine Calajate, Laoag City Treasurer Elena Asuncion, Dr. Castor Bumanglag, Dr. Miramar Bumanglag and PNB Laoag Manager Metty Guerrero.

Happy reading also to the members of the Bad Circle Runners and to the employees of AMA Laoag, PNB Laoag, DEPED Laoag and Vertext. 

Rice research to use drone tech

A multi-functional flying device called “Drone” is being considered as potential monitoring instrument that will help researchers gather accurate data and conduct studies efficiently.

Roger Barroga, lead of Future Rice Program in the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice), said that a training program on drone technology will be conducted following its recent introduction to the savants early this month.

To be implemented with the University of Southern Mindanao next year, the training program will highlight flight tutorials and application of the drone`s features.

The technology features a high definition camera, flight stabilizer, and GPS (Global Positioning System) that allows users to program its flight path. It can fly for 8-10 min and can travel up to a maximum distance of 2 km.

Mr. Barroga said that the technology can be maximized for research activities such as data collection, tracking growth patterns, and pests and nutrient management.

Meanwhile, Dr. Dindo Tabanao, head of PhilRice Plant Breeding and Biotechnology Division, said that in a wider scale, drone can be used to inspect damages during calamities, monitor rice fields during crop establishment, and assess real time conditions in areas to be possibly hit by El Niño.

Researchers also said that the device can help reduce cost in multi-location monitoring and trials.

“We will further explore the technology`s features so researchers could spend their time efficiently,” Dr. Tabanao added.

The drone is available in the country and is sold for at least P25,000. (PhilRice)

Cheers for coffee: Public, private organizations unite for coffee farm development in Piddig

Members of the Technical Working Group of the first Regional Convergence Initiative initiated by the local government unit of Piddig led by mayor Eduardo Guillen conducted a field inspection on Friday at the on-going organic coffee farm development in sitio Lammin, Barangay Dupitac, Piddig, Ilocos Norte. (Lei Adriano)

By Leilanie G. Adriano
Staff reporter

Laoag City, Ilocos Norte—Who can say no to coffee?

For at least 18 national and local government organizations in Region 1, the awakening aroma of world-quality coffee which will soon be brewing in Piddig, about 18 kilometers from the Laoag International Airport gave birth to the first Regional Convergence Initiative (RCI) which is expected to boost agribusiness and eco-tourism development in the upland area of Piddig, which is covered by tall pine trees.

The technical working group tasked to extend support for the sustainable development of the P 62 million worth  Piddig coffee plantation initially funded by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources through its National Greening Program gathered at the Palacio de Hotel in Laoag City on Nov. 6 to provide their inputs and ensure successful implementation of the project.

Once fully developed, the total cost of the Piddig coffee plantation project is pegged at P400 million.

For the first time, the RCI meeting attended by mostly regional directors and heads of national agencies such as the  Department of Agriculture, Department of Environment and Natural Resources,     Department of Public Works and Highways, Department of Agrarian Reform,  Department of Social Welfare  and Development, Department of Tourism, Department of Science and Technology, Department of Interior and Local Government, Department of Health, Department of Labor and Employment, Department of Trade and Industry, Department of Interior and Local Government, National Anti-Poverty Commission, National Commission On Indigenous People, National Economic Development Authority,  Cavite State University,   Benguet State University,  Mariano Marcos State University and the local government unit of Piddig under the new administration of town mayor, Engr. Eduardo Guillen who  proposed the coffee project for funding.

Covering an area of some 1,130 hectares of lowland coffee (Robusta and Barako) and 560 hectares of highland coffee (Arabica) situated about 1,000 meters above sea level at Brgy. Dupitac, Sitio Lammin in Piddig town, the upland and lowland coffee farm had been already planted with at least 15,000 seedlings.

Adopting the public and private partnership scheme in support of the National Convergence Initiative for Sustainable Rural Development under the Aquino administration, the Piddig coffee farm is expected to benefit almost 1,000 families or two hectares maintained by each family to have a regular income. Most of the beneficiaries include members of the 4Ps (Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program) including small and marginalized farmers and other individuals interested in agribusiness.

Seen to boost agri-business and eco-tourism development because of its cool weather surrounded by tall pine trees, the potential of coffee industry in the Philippines is huge as at least 85 percent of the coffee supply in the Philippines or 138 million kilograms worth Php 6 billion, is imported from Vietnam every year.  (Lei Adriano)
In 2013, the local government of Piddig and the Rocky Mountain Arabica Coffee Co. (RMACC), a leading producer and exporter of Arabica coffee in the Philippines agreed to partner for the development of a coffee plantation in Piddig.

Pierre Yves Cote, RMACC director, expressed support to the project saying his company would put up a modern eco-friendly coffee plantation and milling center in Piddig.

RMACC has been supplying quality grade coffee to at least 200 supermarkets and 150 hotels and restaurants in the Philippines, Canada and the United States.

Officials said the potential coffee industry in the Philippines is huge citing at least 85 percent of coffee supply in the Philippines, or 138 million kilograms worth P6 billion, is imported from Vietnam every year.

After the whole-day meeting, the participants conducted a project site inspection both at the on-going development of both upland and lowland coffee plantations in Piddig including the adjacent municipality of Carasi, Ilocos Norte. 

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Batac eyes big increase in its 2015 budget

Batac mayor Jeff Nalupta
By Dominic B. dela Cruz
Staff reporter

Batac City—The city government here is expecting a multi-million peso increase in its 2015 annual budget after the passage of their new revenue code.

The local finance committee however is still finalizing the consolidated estimated local revenues and expenditures as of the second week of November.

Batac mayor Jeffrey Jubal Nalupta is hopeful they would complete and pass the budget in time for its approval by the Sangguniang Panlungsod.

He disclosed that next year’s budget would be higher that this year as the forecasted increase in revenues from the newly amended revenue code has been factored in.

The Ilocos Times learned that the delay in the finalization of the proposed budget was due to the new revised revenue code, which the local finance committee waited for.

The approved revenue code however will still need the final approval of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan.

Batac officials however have used the new revenue code as basis for the computation of the proposed budget.

In addition to this, the executive department has also submitted drafts for the new market and slaughterhouse codes to the council for finalization and approval.

Mr. Nalupta stated that this will be the first time that Batac will have separate marker and slaughterhouse codes as it has always been included in the general revenue code.

He explained that the Batac public market is one of the city government’s biggest earners and as such should have a revenue code of its own.

Batac’s budget for 2014 topped P300 million and officials here expect a big increase for next year as a result of the new revenue code.

Relative to this, Mr. Nalupta appealed to his constituents to be more understanding since it has been a long time that the city had amended its revenue code. He added that the old revenue code was enacted when Batac was still a municipality and they now need change to suit its conversion to a city.

Mr. Nalupta also stressed that real property taxes should have been revised four times in the past but they have not done so,

He also disclosed that the market and slaughterhouse codes are still being discussed at the council as market officials have been called in for queries.

Acknowledge and overcome our blindness

THAT gospel story about Bartimaeus, the blind man who unashamedly begged Christ that “I may see” (ut videam) (Lk 18,35-43) is a story worth reiterating since it contains precious lessons for all of us.

First is that we, like Bartimaeus, should acknowledge our own blindness. Though we may enjoy good vision at the moment, we have to realize that to be able to see things properly and completely, we simply do not rely on our eyes nor any of our senses.

Our eyes and senses can only capture a little part of the whole reality that governs us. They can only perceive what are called the sensible realities, still light-years away from the intelligible, not to mention the spiritual and supernatural aspects of reality.

Still what they get and gather are very useful and in fact are indispensable, since the data they give are like the raw material that will be processed by our more powerful faculties of intelligence and will. In this sense we can already consider ourselves as suffering from some kind of blindness.

We need to be more aware that nowadays there is a strong tendency to base our knowledge of things mainly on the material and sensible realities alone. That’s why we have these disturbing phenomena of materialism and commercialism comprising our mainstream world of knowledge and understanding.

We have to correct this tendency because that simply is not the whole of reality. Our senses can only have a limited view of things. And what is worse, that limited condition is aggravated by the effects and consequences of our sins that not only limit but also distort reality.

Thus, if our thinking, judging and reasoning are simply based on the sensible and the material, we would miss a lot of things and would unavoidably get into trouble. We end up making our own world, our own reality which is actually a fantasy, an illusion, if not a delusion.

This is where we have to very strongly acknowledge our blindness so that we recognize what is lacking and wrong with us, and start to look for where the remedy and cure can be found.

We should imitate Bartimaeus in that when he realized it was Christ passing by, he immediately screamed, “Son of David, have pity on me!” We have to acknowledge that we are blind and that we are in great need of help that can only come from God who is our Creator, Father and Provider for everything that we need.

Being the Creator, God is the one who has designed everything in the world. He is the one who knows its ins and outs, what is real and not real, good and bad, etc. It is from him and with his light that we can see things clearly and completely.
We should not simply depend on our senses, nor on our intelligence and will and the other faculties we have, like our memory, imagination and other talents. At best, they are meant to be mere instruments and means to express the will of God for us contained in our living faith.

They should not be made as the ultimate source of truth and primary means to know the whole of reality. Obviously, to acknowledge this would require a great amount of humility, since we tend to make our own selves as the ultimate god, reflecting the very error of the first sin that took place in Eden with our first parents.

And nowadays, with the great progress of our sciences and technologies, we have a formidable temptation to make ourselves our own god, the master and not just the stewards of the universe, deciding on what is true and false, good and bad, and on the destinies of everyone.

We can be so intoxicated by our own powers and achievements that our pride and self-absorption with their consequent blindness can appear invincible and incurable. We are actually drifting toward this kind of situation today.

We have to be most wary of this danger, and so we have to realize ever more deeply that the more power we have, the more achievements we make, the more our humility should be.

We have to make sure that every advance we make in any field of human knowledge should not dull but rather should sharpen our need for God, our sense of gratitude to him, our awareness that we need to do everything with him and for him.

This is what a deepening sense of humility would entail. And this is what would put us in the right path, avoiding the danger of blindness.

LGUs gearing up for Tan-ok

By Dominic B. dela Cruz
Staff reporter

Laoag City—All local government units (LGUs) in the province are in the thick of preparations for the coming 4th Tan-ok Festival of Festivals set on Nov. 29, 2014.
Tan-ok showcases all the festivals of Ilocos Norte’s municipalities and city.

Laoag set to defend title
Laoag City mayor Chevylle V. Fariñas said the city will continue the story of Pamulinawen Festival, last year’s grand champion.
Ms. Fariñas said the Pamulinawen Festival tells the story from Laoag’s discovery up to the present.
She said the choreographers have conducted auditions for dancers, which primarily would be from elementary and secondary schools.
Ms. Fariñas disclosed that the city government has allocated P1 million for their participation for this year’s Tan-ok. She related that the big budget would be for participants, which would include drummers, their meals and snacks, honoraria for trainers and choreographers, and for costumes, props and others.
She hopes the allocation would suffice since old props from last year can still be utilized for this year.
“We are praying really hard for the gold”, the mayor said adding that it’s not the cash prize that matters but it’s the fame and prestige for Laoag.
Laoag is the defending back-to-back champions, winning in 2012 and 2013.

It was learned that Laoag already won twice in 2012 1nd 2013 since Tan-ok was launched in 2011 where the city of Batac were the first champion.

Batac to reclaim throne
Batac City, the grand champion of the 1st Tan-ok Festival in 2011, is also in the thick of preparations to reclaim the top prize.
Batac City government administrator and organizer Atty. Chito Nalupta said that this year’s Batac Empanada Festival presentation will have three scenes that focuses on the Spanish times.
The city’s performers/dancers for this dance drama will be played by the city’s pride beauty queens and basketball players while the original dancers will serve as background performers.
Mr. Nalupta disclosed the allocated budget for the city’s Tan-ok presentation is not more than the grand prize of last year, which is P350,000.00.
He added that props would be recycle and only the costumes would be new.

Dingras, San Nicolas ready
Dingras mayor Erjo Valenzuela, meanwhile said that their contingent is now busy practicing.
Mr. Valenzuela said the Ani Festival will be more presentable and competitive this year compared to the past years.
The past Ani Festival presentations depicted the legend of Dingras but this year it would be purely focused on harvest time.

The mayor said that he also consulted the Dept. of Education for their assistance regarding the old history of harvesting with the hope that Dingras would also be on top this year.

The Damili Festival of San Nicolas is also being prepared for a “mega presentation” this year. 

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The Ilocos Times Nov. 24-30, 2014

 Click the photo for the pdf file

Prov’l board probes road projects in Ilocos Norte

By Leilanie G. Adriano
Staff reporter

Vintar, Ilocos Norte—Sangguniang Panlalawigan members have initiated the conduct of field visit of an alleged sub-standard farm-to-market road in the remote upland Brgy. Isic-Isic, this town.

Led by SP member Vicentito M. Lazo in his capacity as chairperson of the committee on ways and means and ex-officio board member Domingo Ambrocio, federated president of the Philippine Councilors League-Ilocos Norte chapter, a coring test was conducted on Nov. 4 by the Department of Public Works and Highways in the province’s first district.

A coring test is usually performed using a machine to determine density or cracks on a road pavement.

Result of the field visit will be presented to the Sangguniang Panlalawigan.

Early this year, the Isic-Isic farm-to-market road project worth P24.2 million was funded by the Department of Agrarian Reform through its agrarian reform communities program. There is also an on-going road widening and canal lining project in the area being monitored by the DPWH.

Under the DAR Infrastructure Support Project Phase 3, the DPWH has implemented the construction of 126 farm-to-market projects to serve agricultural communities in the country.

In Region 1, at least 17 farm-to-market roads with a total length of 54.46 kilometers worth P296 million were already completed. This includes the construction, improvement and rehabilitation of the Isic-Isic road.  

Education summit, PTA congress seen to address family issues

By Leilanie G. Adriano
Staff reporter

Laoag City, Ilocos Norte—The Provincial Government of Ilocos Norte and the Department of Education organized a province-wide education summit cum Parents and Teachers Association (PTA) congress on Nov. 11 to explore the major issues and challenges faced by Ilocano families today.

Attended by educators, government workers, church leaders, parents and youth organizations, the first of kind PTA congress and education summit brought to the fore a public discussion affecting every family household such as incidence of teen pregnancy in Ilocos region, migrant parents, depression and suicide including drug problems.

Dubbed “Pasingkedan ti kinasinged ti pamilia dagiti Ilokano (Strengthening Ilokano family ties),” as theme of the whole-day congress, different resource speakers talked about these major issues affecting Ilocano families and how  can this be addressed with the help of good parenting, counselling and awareness of the children’s perspective.

Funded by the Ilocos Norte government, Governor Ma. Imelda “Imee” R. Marcos said provincial statistics shows an increasing number of suicide incidents, teen pregnancy and drug abuse which are among the prevalent issues in the local community.

The governor said it is about time the government and all concerned stakeholders talk about it to formulate plans and strengthen family ties the way it used to be.

After a series of lectures, a workshop was conducted to gather all the participants’ inputs as a basis in formulating guidelines and policies meant to build a stronger and closer family in the province. 

Dingras council OKs P101 million 2015 annual budget

By Dominic B. dela Cruz
Staff reporter

Dingras, Ilocos Norte—“The earlier, the better”.

This was the statement of Dingras vice mayor Jeffrey Saguid after the Sangguniang Bayan passed the P101,963,867.80 2015 annual budget on Nov. 3.

The annual budget includes the 20 percent development fund as the highest amount allocated particularly on the economic, social and other services.

The maintenance of street lights, water supply program, improvement and upgrading of day care centers and the improvement of Gulayan sa Paaralan are under the social services.

Mr. Saguid also said that the municipality also allocated an amount of P800,000 for tourism development as one of the pet projects of Ilocos Norte Gov.  Ma. Imelda “Imee” R. Marcos.

As an agricultural town and “rice granary” of the province, the municipality also allocated P1.2 million as assistance to farmers and about P250,000 for agrarian reforms support in the municipality.

Construction and maintenance of local roads and bridges were also allocated with the amount of P1.2 million, livelihood projects in the amount of P150,000 and the engineering services particularly on infrastructure projects in the amount of P3.7 million.

The Dingras public market was also allocated s P2.4 million loan amortization from the existing P3.5 million yearly.   

Mr. Saguid also said that the municipality also supports the beautification, and clean and green program of the provincial government and was given an allocation of P500,000; P1.2 million for solid waste management program; and P800,000 assistance to affected calamities.

Compared to this year, the municipality has a total budget of P108 million or P7 million less because the local income failed to meet the target collection.

Dingras mayor Erjo Valenzuela meanwhile thanked the members of the Sangguniang Bayan for approving the proposed annual budget for Dingras. He said he expected the budget ordinance to be passed later but was approved ahead of his expectation.

Dingras is the first local government unit in the province that submitted its proposed budget last year to the Sangguniang Panlalawigan for review and final approval.

What is good, the mayor added was the members of the Sangguniang Bayan already joined a series of budget hearings conducted by the executive branch so that they can already ask their questions, queries and give suggestions on the said budget to avoid any delay once the proposed budget is submitted for approval.

Being the local chief executive, he said he was contented with the proposed budget because it was ironed out very well with the presence of all the concerned office heads and SB members.

The mayor admitted that they were too aggressive this time in looking for additional possible local sources because if there are more collections, there would also be more services.

He said that expenditures were controlled based on the estimated income. As such, only priority projects were given attention in order to balance the P7 million decrease from last year’s budget.

Bangui vice mayor assumes mayoralty post

By Leilanie G. Adriano
Staff reporter

Bangui, Ilocos Norte—The vice mayor of this town, retired Gen. Fidel Cimatu has assumed the mayoralty post in an acting capacity on Nov. 17  following  the suspension of Bangui mayor Diosdado Garvida for six months.

Ilocos Norte Governor Ma. Imelda “Imee” R. Marcos’s suspension order for Garvida was received by the Office of the Mayor on Nov. 14.

The governor suspended Dr. Garvida for six months as a result of an administrative complaint filed against him at the Sangguniang Panlalawigan for indiscriminate firing while trying to apprehend an illegal quarry operator in this town.

Municipal employees however remain confused as to whom to follow between Mr. Cimatu and Dr. Garvida as the suspended mayor continues to hold office at the municipal hall.

On Nov. 17, Dr. Garvida attended the flag ceremony and proceeded to his office telling all municipal employees that he is still the elected mayor of Bangui town. 

By normal operation of law, provincial legal officer Jason Pereira said the vice mayor automatically becomes the ‘acting mayor’ after Dr. Garvida begins serving his suspension.

Dr. Garvida however questioned the vice mayor’s new designation as there is no official order yet designating him as the “acting mayor”.

As of press time, Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) provincial officer Roger Daquioag said his office have yet to make an official statement regarding the issue as the DILG has yet to receive a copy of the mayor’s suspension document.