Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Disaster Management framework needs localized strategies—PIDS study

Following the conclusion of the 3rd United Nations World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction, hosted by Japan last March, the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) offers relevant input on how the country’s decision-makers can improve the Philippines’ disaster risk reduction and response framework.

Drs. Marife M. Ballesteros and Sonny N. Domingo, research fellows at PIDS, argue that despite the fact that the Philippines has an elaborate framework for disaster risk reduction management (DRRM), there is a critical “gap in policy execution”. This gap leaves sectors like micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to suffer crippling economic loses when disasters strike. The authors believe that the problem lies in a number of things, which can be summed up as the ineffective translation of the national framework into localized and sectoral plans.

Their discussion paper, titled Building Philippine MSMEs Resilience to Natural Disasters, reviewed the current policy environment and the best international practices, then offers strategies for localizing the DRRM framework and embedding its principles in the business sector.

The Philippines is the third most disaster-prone country in the world. According to a 2013 UNDP report cited by the authors, local business are crippled by disasters beyond recovery. MSMEs lose out the most, which is alarming because their continuity and resilience are vital to national development.

There are current laws and national development plans that appear relevant and conducive to encouraging MSMEs to create measures for business continuity and resilience. But the authors insist, “There is a need to review and translate national frameworks and development plans into workable subnational and sectoral plans.”

Localized strategies must specifically target business resiliency and cover context-specific vulnerabilities.

As it stands, MSMEs are less likely to avail of risk management tools provided by the government, primarily because they are often informal and noncompliant with industry norms and regulation. In post-disaster scenarios, MSMEs have little access to the available resources for recovery, forcing them to rely on informal loans, family loans, remittances, or to simply stop operating altogether.

There are weaknesses that are external to MSME control, such as the government’s uneven focus on prioritizing response capabilities, at the expense of prevention measures. This particular shortcoming also augments the issue that the current DRRM framework is “traditional”, in that it remains far too focused on household and individual recovery, and has yet to be translated specifically for the benefit of building economic resilience among the MSMEs.

Adding to the review of the DRRM policy framework, the authors reviewed the best international practices that the Philippines can replicate to develop business continuity plans and resilience. Some of these involved managing risks and building organization resilience to disaster and post disaster response, recovery and rehabilitation, and regional cooperation for ensuring business continuity and supply chain resilience.

The authors specify policy and program recommendations that the government can use to help MSMEs approach its wanting disaster resilience on three fronts: “organization capacity build-up, policy and institutional support tacking socioeconomic drivers of risks in pre-disaster stage, and prompt and sustained economic restoration and support efforts in the aftermath of disaster”.

They also propose practical strategic options for preparing the business environment for before and after scenarios.

In the pre-disaster stage, the authors propose that the government, private sector, and MSMEs focus on strengthening supply chains by making pre-disaster agreements with relevant stakeholders.  They also suggest that the government inform entrepreneurs of the hazards of their business locations and safety measures they can undertake, and to create a culture of adaptive capacity among management and employees”, whereby everyone, through enhanced business networks, training, better work relationships, and other such means, becomes resilient to the interruptive impact of disasters.

After disasters, it is important to have the measures to enable businesses to recover and normalize immediately, but also to make it easier for them to rehabilitate their operation for the long term. Some of the ideas the authors proposed include the quick address of damages to public services and key infrastructures, humanitarian assistance and recovery workshops for the local workforce, the application of special grants of incentives for businesses to participate in clean-ups and repairs, tax reprieves, and access to specially-restructured loans and capital for rehabilitation.

The authors underscored the importance of cooperation among the government, private sector, and MSMEs because the losses do not stop with MSMEs. A production network involves many participants, with supply chains becoming increasingly more global. A break in the supply line sets back all of them. There must be collaborative commitment from the private sector, government, and the MSMEs themselves, to make economic activities resilient through all phases of disaster. (PIDS)

The Ilocos Times November 4-10, 2013

Click photo for the PDF file

There's money in the quarry business

By Alfredo Garvida Jr.

The rush of construction activities in Ilocos Norte is defining the upsurge of commerce in this place, which uplifted in effect this province's economic state in the context of employment and taxation needs. Whereas on the employment side the impact is visible and notably felt in this province's residents, there is grave concerns on the taxes side however if the call of some influential members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan to abolish the Provincial Quarry Council of Ilocos Norte on reasons of this office's ineffectiveness in timely processing quarry applications, alleging as well the prevalence of corruption, is substantiated.

SP member Joel Garcia has lately upped the ante on this issue with his allegation that the quarry fees due to the stakeholders, i.e., the province, municipalities, barangays, etc., have drastically and noticeably gone down since the creation of the Council, an assertion that seems to be fortifying the SP's original charge of ineffectiveness—and corruption—at the Council's end. 

This writer had the privilege of interviewing last month the Provincial Quarry Council, the agency created by Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos through Executive Order 238-14 on June 20, 2014 with the task of evaluating and approving applications for quarry permits and whose predecessor was the Task Force Quarry that was created on January 29, 2008. The council's early functional stage was marred however by disturbing allegations of irregularities attributed to the council's inspection team, headed by a certain “PJ”, which caused his summary relief allegedly upon orders of the governor. 

In that interview, Atty. Erme Labayog, the soft-spoken council chairman, and four other members—Ilocos Norte ABC Federated President Charles Tadena, PENRO Juan P. de los Reyes, Jr., Engr. Gaerlan and another unidentified member—explained that the allegation of slowness in the processing phase had to be the result of the council's newly instituted bar-code system, which means that contrary to what had been the previous practice in quarry permit applications, the documents could be hand-carried anymore by no one as the same will move along naturally until they reach the level for final resolution. De los Reyes explained that this new system will foster efficiency while it eliminates red tape—and therefore, corruption at all levels.

Tadena bewailed the allegation of corruption prevailing in the council by his colleagues at the SP as unfair and baseless. He asserted that the applicants would rather go through intermediaries or "fixers" than file their applications straight with the council, which otherwise would "totally eliminate bribery and ensure speedy processing of the application."

On the issue of the drastic decline in quarry fee collection, some knowledgeable people in the construction industry, on condition of anonymity, are attributing this situation to the, yes, slow processing of permit applications, under-declaration on delivery receipts and flagrant illegal quarrying activities in all towns, the latter two reasons attributable squarely to the ineffectiveness of the council's monitoring function.

Independent observers interviewed by this writer are bitterly complaining that the government appears not to be in possession of enough political will to rescue once and for all this death-bed state of the council's monitoring function given the fact that practically all the mayors of Ilocos Norte are the main contractors in public works projects in their respective jurisdictions. So, these observers were asking what "an unarmed monitoring team from the province would do to check proper delivery and illegal quarrying activity if confronted by goons of these powerful politician-contractors?" 

These observers were wondering as a consequence if it was time that "our strong-willed governor of Ilocos Norte get these mayor-contractors in line and subject them to a serious indoctrination of what moral values and adherence to law are all about."  After all, "Gov. Imee is feared and respected by her subordinate politicians in the province, reason why the monitoring function of the council should meet no impediment at the municipal levels when faithfully implemented."

A noted businessman in the province, on condition of anonymity likewise, suggested, which this writer fully supports, that one of the most effective ways to determine the correct gravel and sand delivery in the province is to get the district and provincial engineers involved directly in the monitoring function of the council by providing the data on consumed gravel and sand based on program of works submitted by contractors and/or project proponents to their respective offices on government projects. Further, city and municipal engineers should be required as well to provide data to the council, based on program of works likewise submitted to their respective offices on private constructions as well as their LGU-funded public works constructions. 

The Council, he asserted, should likewise require contractors to submit periodic reports to them on their actual gravel and sand consumption on a work-completed basis, complete with the name of the quarry provider, to be stored in a data base which, when reconciled with the program of works, will form as the basis for approximating how much gravel and sand must the quarry operator in that particular locality pay for in fees. Under this system, this businessman further opined, the quarry fees due the provincial, municipal and barangay governments are closer to reality since "the program of works cannot lie, as the quarry operators likewise won't be able to." 

This writer believes as well that in this system, the illegal quarry operators will be flushed out in the open given that the contractors are compelled to declare on their work-completed report where they had sourced their gravel and sand deliveries from. We believe further that this system will also serve as a counter check to the open-secret modus operandi of contractors to cheat on their material billings to the government.

This is a method that the council and the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Ilocos Norte should take serious consideration of in view of the anomaly now prevailing in the collection aspect of the quarry fees. And given its mandate to upgrade the quarry system in the province, the council, this writer hopes, should adopt this method to preclude any further issues of inefficiency and corruption strewn at its doorsteps.

Notices for July 6, 2015

Republic of the Philippines
Local Civil Registry Office
Province of Ilocos Norte
Municipality of Bangui


   In compliance with Section 5 of R.A. No. 9048, a notice is hereby served to the public that RAFAEL EARL A. RUFFNER has filed with this Office a petition for change of first name from EARL to RAFAEL EARL in the birth certificate of EARL AGULLANA RUFFNER who was born on July 12, 1959 at Bangui, Ilocos Norte and whose parents are Earl B. Ruffner and Generosa M. Agullana.
   Any person adversely affected by said petition may file his written opposition with this Office not later than July 20, 2015.
Municipal Civil Registrar
July 6-12, 13-19, 2015*IT

            Notice is hereby given that the intestate estate of the late REYNALDO P. JUAN consisting of a residential lot designated as Cadastral Lot No. 5608 of the Dingras Cadastre under TD No. 08-0022-00091 containing an area of 342 sq. m. situated at Brgy. Puruganan (formerly known as Barrio Puruganan), Dingras, Ilocos Norte has been adjudicated by his heir Luzviminda Vicente Juan and simultaneously sold to Eileen Helen M. Andam ratified and acknowledged before Notary Public Benjamin F. Alfonso as per Doc. No. 121; Page No. 25; Bk. No. XII; S. of 2015.
July 6, 13, 20, 2015*IT

                Notice is hereby given that the intestate estate of the late MACARIA DANCEL, MAMERTO DANCEL, NENITA C. DANCEL and MAMERTO DANCEL-ROQUE consisting of their one-half (1/2) share of a parcel of land designated as Lot No. 5576 of the Dingras Cad. covered by OCT No. 023-6674 containing an area of 1,028 sq. m. situated in the Municipality of Dingras, Ilocos Norte has been adjudicated by their heirs and simultaneously sold the ½ share of the above-described parcel of land containing an area of 514 sq. m. to Sps. Lawrence Bañaga and Katherine B. Bañaga ratified and acknowledged before Notary Public Francisco A. Musni as per Doc. No. 48; Page No. 10; Bk. No. LXXIII; S. of 2015
July 6, 13, 20, 2015*IT




SP. PROC. NO. 16588-16
x- - - - - - - -x

            A verified amended petition has been filed by the petitioner represented by his father Virgilio Danao Lorenzo thru counsel wherein he prayed that after due notice, publication and hearing, judgment be rendered ordering the respondent Local Civil Registrar of Laoag City to cancel second birth record/certificate of Jhanimine Lacar.
            Finding the Amended Petition to be sufficient in form and substance, the hearing of the same is hereby set on August 4, 2015 at 8:30 in the morning before this court sitting at the ground floor of the Marcos Hall of Justice, Laoag City.
            The Local Civil Registrar, Laoag City, the Civil Registrar General, Manila and any person having or claiming any interest under the entry whose correction is sought may, within fifteen (15) days from notice of the publication or from the last date of publication of this order file his opposition thereto.
            Let a copy of this order be published once a week for three (3) consecutive weeks in a newspaper of general circulation and a copy of this order and the amended petition be furnished the Office of the City Prosecutor, the Local Civil Registrar, Laoag City, the Civil Registrar General, Manila and the Office of the Solicitor General, 134 Amorsolo St., Legaspi Village, Makati City.
            SO ORDERED.
            DONE in the City of Laoag this 16th day of June, 2015.

July 6, 13, 20, 2015*IT



Re: Extra-Judicial Foreclosure of Mortgage Property under Act 3135 as amended
CASE NO. 20-2015
x- - - - - - - -x

“UPON extra-judicial petition for sale under Act 3135, as amended, filed by COOPERATIVE BANK OF ILOCOS NORTE, with principal office address at Brgy. San Pablo, San Nicolas, Ilocos Norte, against SPS. RENATO B. RAMOS and MARICHU D. RAMOS, with postal address at Brgy. Lanas, Dingras, Ilocos Norte to satisfy the mortgage indebtedness which as of May 21, 2015 in the sum of TWO HUNDRED FIFTY SEVEN THOUSAND PESOS AND 0/100 (P 257,000.00), exclusive of accrued interests, penalties, attorney’s fees, other charges and the expenses of foreclosure sale, the undersigned or his duly authorized deputy will sell at public auction on August 17, 2015 at 10:00 o’clock in the morning and soon thereafter, at the Office of the Provincial and City Sheriff, Marcos Hall of Justice, Laoag City, to the highest bidder, for cash and in Philippine Currency, all rights, shares and participations which the mortgagors have or might have in the hereunder described real properties together with all the improvements found thereon, to wit:
A residential Land declared under Tax Declaration 08-0016-01948 designated as Lot No. ____ situated at Brgy. Lanas, Dingras, Ilocos Norte. Bounded on the North,  by Lot 04 (1186) on the South by Lot 14(1189), on the East, by Provincial Road; and on the West by Lot 01(1187). Containing an area of ONE THOUSAND FOUR HUNDRED TEN (1,410) SQUARE METERS with a market value of One Hundred Twenty Eight Thousand Three Hundred Ten Pesos ( 128,310.00) with an assessed value of Twenty Five Thousand Six Hundred Sixty Pesos ( 23,660.00).
A residential building and all improvements and future improvements thereon; erected under ARP No. 08-0016-01959 and 08-0016-01953 respectively. Located at Brgy. Lanas, Dingras, Ilocos Norte with a total building area of 50 and 29.25 square meters respectively with a market value of One Hundred Fifty Five Thousand Pesos ( 155,000.00) and Forty Four Thousand One Hundred Seventy Pesos (44,170.00) respectively.

A residential land under Tax Declaration No. 08-0016-01949 designated as Lot No. ____ situated at Brgy. Lanas, Dingras, Ilocos Norte. Bounded on the North, by Lot No. 16(1190), on the East by Creek, on the South by Lot No. 09(1191) and on the West, by Provincial Road. Containing an area of SEVEN HUNDRED FOURTEEN (714) SQUARE METERS with a market value of Sixty Four Thousand Nine Hundred Seventy Four Pesos ( 64,974) and with an assessed value of Twelve Thousand Nine Hundred Ninety Pesos ( 12,990).

A residential building and all improvements and future improvements thereon; erected under ARP No. 08-0016-01952. Located at Brgy. Lanas, Dingras, Ilocos Norte with a total building area of 39.50 square meters. With a market value of Fifty Nine Thousand Six Hundred Forty Pesos ( 59,640.00).

            All sealed bids shall be submitted to the undersigned or his duly authorized deputy at the time and date above-stated.
            Interested parties are hereby enjoined to investigate for themselves the title to the said properties and the encumbrances thereon, if any there be.
            In the event the public auction should not take place on the scheduled date due to fortuitous event or if the aforesaid scheduled date is declared a non-working holiday, it shall be held on August 24, 2015 of the same time and place stated above, without further notice.
            Laoag City, June 16, 2015.

Prov’l./City Sheriff Ex-Officio
Sheriff IV
RTC Branch 15, Laoag City
Copy furnished:
Brgy. Lanas, Dingras, Ilocos Norte
San Pablo, San Nicolas, Ilocos Norte
·         RTC-OCC
·         Publisher

July 6, 13, 20, 2015*IT

DPWH set construction of first ‘cultural center’ in Northern Luzon

By Leilanie G. Adriano
Staff reporter
June 26, 2015

BATAC CITY—The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) broke ground for the first cultural center in Northern Luzon on July 2, in time for the 86th birthday celebration of former first lady and now Ilocos Norte 2nd district Rep. Imelda R. Marcos.

In her speech during the groundbreaking, Mrs. Marcos said the cultural center project is very important as she said “Culture is nature and nature is the law of God.”

“We are doing not something physical, not something material, not something intelligent but we are doing something spiritual. Because we are bringing out the soul of the Ilocanos to show to the world how beautiful, purely and great we have”, Mrs. Marcos added.

She also disclosed that she is very excited and happy as the groundbreaking coincided with her 86th birthday celebration.

The bigger Batac Cultural Center has long been envisioned by Mrs. Marcos to showcase the artistry and creativity of local talents here, as well as a venue for cultural exchanges both for national and international levels.

Imee: Art and work is the real economy
Ilocos Norte Governor Ma. Imelda “Imee” R. Marcos congratulated Batac for hosting the cultural center aside from having one of the best universities in the country.

“The city that after all has become the driver and engine of growth and therefore it is important that employment, cultural insights and all opportunities be found in all blown genuine city”, the governor said.

She said that this “dream project” and coincides with the “Pasingkedan Iti Kinatan-ok ni Ilocano” project of the provincial government.

“The said project highlights, enlightens, enhances, widens, deepens and broaden the rich cultures that we have and the pride of Ilocos Norte of its rich and comprehensive heritage and the unique tradition and customs,” Ms. Marcos added.

She stressed said that in many places, they say art and culture are only for the rich and famous but in Ilocos Norte, “Ang sining ay hanapbuhay at tunay na ekonomiya at kaunlaran”.

For this reason “Heritage is not a mere hobby or rich man’s pleasure better yet arts, culture and heritage are livelihood. They are employment, development and drivers of growth”, the governor added.

Batac mayor thanks Imelda
Batac Mayor Jeffrey Jubal Nalupta expressed his “deepest thanks” to the former First Lady for this “very rare arts and culture [project worth] hundreds of million pesos.

Mr. Nalupta remembered when this project was conceived when the governor became the guest speaker of the Cebu Cultural Center inauguration in Cebu City and which was attended by Ilocos Norte provincial officials and mayors.

During the said affair, the mayor had the chance to approach the congresswoman and he jokingly said that he also wanted the same cultural center in Batac but better and more beautiful compared to the Cebu Cultural Center, to which the congresswoman replied “Okay, we will do that”.

After this, the mayor said he did not expect that his joke would become real when a staff of the congresswoman called him to ask where he plans to put up the Batac Cultural Center.

Mr. Nalupta said that this project should have been started earlier as there was already a groundbreaking held last year but due to the PDAF issues, the project was put on hold.

The 1,022-seater cultural center to be named after Mrs. Marcos will rise in Batac City where great talents for arts and cultural performances are found.  The two-storey building, with a mezzanine, is likened to the Cultural Center of the Philippines built under the Marcos administration, except for its roof design which would resemble a ‘salakot’, a traditional Ilokano hat to conform to the local arts and design.

With a total funding of P300 million, district engineer Mathias Malenab of the DPWH Ilocos Norte 2nd Engineering district said the DPWH Central Office through Secretary Rogelio Singson approved an initial amount of P94.5 million for the first phase of the project.

Participated in by at least three bidders, the winning bidder, AJ Taylan Construction, is set to implement the first phase of the project which will immediately commence after post evaluation at the site.

According to Mr. Malenab, the initial fund of over P90 million will be used for casting and diving of piles to build up the building’s foundation.

DPWH regional director Melanio Briosos also presented an overview of the project, which would have a floor area of 4,911 square meters. The first floor has a 2,746 square meters area while the upper ground floor has an area of 165 square meters.

The project will be erected with a total land area of 11,655 square meters or more than a hectare area with a total cost of P327,260,000.00.

DPWH 2nd engineering district chief Engr. Mathias Malenab said that finally, the BCC has come to be realized after the formal groundbreaking was conducted.

The completion of the project will depend on the release of the fund wherein a bigger release would mean a faster and easier completion of the project.

The funding comes from the national government thru the initiative of Mrs. Marcos under her Local Infrastructure Project (LIP) Fund.

The inauguration was also attended by Ms. Fortuna Marcos-Barba, Atty. Irene Marcos, Ilocos Norte Vice Governor Eugenio Angelo M. Barba, members of the provincial board, mayors, and Batac officials.

Batac dads back ‘golden rice’ production

By Dominic B. dela Cruz
Staff reporter

Batac City—The Batac Sangguniang Panlungsod gave its full backing on the ongoing “golden rice” field trials being undertaken by the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) in this city.

Batac councilor Violeta D. Nalupta, who sponsored the resolution supporting the project, announced their full support for this after all members of the city council expressed their favorable action on the measure.

The Ilocos Times learned that there was prior field trial for the same program in the past but this did not yield satisfying results.

In view of this, Ms. Nalupta, who chairs the council’s agriculture committee, said they need to continue the field trials using different varieties as there would be many benefits one the trials give better results.

Based on research, the golden rice is rich in Vitamin A which prevents cancer, help builds immunity of children, helps perform bodily functions, plays a direct role in performing physiological functions and helps in the development of central nervous system.

Further research states that Vitamin A deficiency is still a public health problem affecting 15 percent of preschool children and 9 percent of pregnant women and one of the causes of blindness but also malnutrition and mortality in the Philippines.

Ms. Nalupta also said that this kind of rice also prevents signs of aging because of its high content of anti-oxidants.

The PhilRice is the lead agency for developing golden rice in the country and has chosen the Batac as one of their research sites in the Philippines.

She said that PhilRice uses the GR2-E hybrid rice in the experimentation and if ever this will succeed, the variety will be introduced to Batac farmers.

The field trial is being conducted at the PhilRice compound in Batac with an approximate area of more than a hectare. 

Turn of hunger! Turn on weight loss!—SnL Dietary Supplements

SnL Dietary Supplements: A safer, faster and more effective way to lose weight

Appetite Suppressant + Fat Burner + Skin Whitener Turn OFF Hunger! Turn ON Weight Loss!

Being overweight often leads to other health ailments and complications. Poor diet, lack of exercise and stress contribute weight gain. If left unchecked, carrying excess weight and obesity can easily cause more dangerous health problems like hypertension, diabetes, gout, heart problems, sleep disorders etc.

Today’s fast-paced lifestyle often leaves very little or no time at all for exercise and diet planning. This is why most people resort to alternative ways to lose weight. One simple way apart from physical exercise to lose excess poundage would be through supplements such as ephedra, stimulants and appetite suppressants which are often poses other more dangerous health risks.

There are safe alternatives however like l-carnitine that primarily helps speeds up the conversion of stored fat cells into energy to be used by the body. Apart from body fat to energy conversion however L-carnitine fails to address other variables to be an effective weight loss aid like curbing hunger and cravings.

SnL is a breakthrough weight-loss product to combine the natural fat burning qualities of l-carnitine with hoodia gordonii. Hoodia Gordonii is a leafless succulent plant found in South Africa and Namibia. Local bushmen have for years used it as an appetite suppressant during long hunting trips. Its active ingredient, P57 is credited with the appetite suppressing effect of hoodia gordonii.

Combined with l-carnitine, SnL makes full use of the appetite and hunger suppressing qualities of hoodia gordonii. Each capsule of SnL contains and equivalent of 20 kilos of raw unprocessed hoodia gordonii. Coupled with the fat burning l-carnitine and hoodia gordonii, losing weight through supplementation is made easier and faster by SnL.

Apart from weight loss with the l-carnitine and hoodia blend, what also sets SnL apart from other weight loss products is that it is also formulated with green tea extract and glutaNAC for anti-oxidant and glutathione boosting effect. This makes SnL a very potent weight loss aid and anti-oxidizing supplement.

SnL Dietary Supplement is available for Php2,250.00 in Mercury Drug, Watson Drugs and other leading drug stores nationwide.
2015 PROMO PRICE: PHP1,500.00/Box

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Facebook Fan Page account: I WANT TO BE SLIM (ADVT)

Monday, July 13, 2015

Ilocos Norte farmers seek gov’t help to produce rain

By Leilanie G. Adriano
Staff reporter

LAOAG CITY—Farmer-leaders in this northern part of Luzon have sought the help of government authorities here to plan for the conduct of cloud seeding operation to produce more rain.

Rogelio Ceredon, president of the Municipal Agriculture and Fisheries Council (MAFC) in Dingras, Ilocos Norte said  hectares of agricultural lands planted with hybrid rice failed to survive the prolonged dry spell, the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) reported it will continue until the end of this month.

According to Engr. Cynthia Iglesia, chief of the PAGASA weather station in Laoag said  most parts of Ilocos Norte is still experiencing water shortage or below normal rainfall even if it rained for three consecutive days now.

As more than 11 typhoons is expected to hit the Philippines until December, farmers expressed their concern a cloud seeding operation to induce rain may help them cope with the abnormal weather condition.

Cloud seeding is the process of spreading dry ice or silver iodide aerosols on the upper clouds to simulate the precipitation process and induce rain.

With the help of weather experts, the Bureau of Soils and Water Management (BSWM) under the Department of Agriculture have been conducting cloud seeding operations in rainless areas of the country to counter drought.

In a farmer-leaders forum held at the Sangguniang Panlalawigan attended by representatives of the Dept. of Agriculture, PAG-ASA, National Irrigation Administration and Philippine Rice Research Institute, Ilocos Norte Governor Ma. Imelda “Imee” R. Marcos assured farmers the provincial government will work things out for the cloud seeding operation in rainless areas of the province.

On the same day, a letter addressed to Dr. Silvino Tejada, executive director of the BSWM was made to request for the planned cloud seeding operation here.

The Ilocos Times October 28-November 3, 2013

Click photo for the PDF file

Applications for YSEALI Generation Startup Weekend now accepted

ManilaApplications are now being accepted for the 2015 Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) Generation Startup Weekend August 4-6 which takes place in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The YSEALI Generation Startup Weekend is hosted by Techstars SE Asia in partnership with the United States Department of State and YSEALI and will take place during the ASEAN Regional Forum which is being held in Malaysia the same week.

Interested applicants should join YSEALI if not already members and submit a one-minute video pitch describing their idea for helping Southeast Asia grow in the areas of economic development, civic engagement, environment and education.  The deadline for applications is July 3, 2015. 

One hundred and ten aspiring entrepreneurs from South East Asia, aged 18 to 30, will be selected to take part in the event.  Participants will receive entrepreneurship training and build online apps. The team that creates the best app will win a free trip to the United States to meet entrepreneurs, business and technology incubators, and key companies.  Second and third place winners will receive seed money.

All teams will receive long-term mentoring and coaching.  Training, transportation, food, and lodging are provided at no charge to selected participants. 

Complete instructions and the application can be found at yseali.state.gov/regional-exchanges.

Launched in 2013, YSEALI is U.S. President Barack Obama’s signature program to strengthen leadership development and networking in Southeast Asia. Programs and engagements include U.S. educational and cultural exchanges, project-funding, competitions, networking, and international/regional activities that revolve around the themes of environment, education, civic engagement, and economic development. More info and free registration can be found on the website youngsoutheastasianleaders.state.gov.

Mild quake jolts Laoag, parts of Ilocos Sur

Staff reporter

LAOAG CITY—A magnitude 4.0 quake shook  Laoag City, including Vigan City and Sinait in Ilocos Sur on June 24 at 2:18 am, a report from the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said.

The epicenter of the earthquake was at 39 kilometers southeast of Laoag with a depth of five kilometers.

Some Laoag City residents who were awakened that time felt a mild shaking of the earth while nearby Sinait felt shock of intensity II and intensity I in Vigan, Ilocos Sur.

The earthquake was of tectonic origin. No damage and aftershocks is expected.

The Philippines sits on the “Pacific Ring of Fire” where continental plates collide causing frequent seismic and volcanic activity.

Burned out?

WE all know that life has more to offer than what we can manage. There are surprises both of the pleasant and welcome ones as well as the terribly unwelcome ones. There are heavy pressures and insoluble predicaments. We have to be ready for these eventualities, though we also know we cannot be truly ready enough.
We have to learn to live with this fact of life and strengthen our conviction, based on our Christian faith, that there’s such thing as divine providence. God always governs all of his creation, and in his own mysterious ways directs all things to himself. If this is part of our bedrock belief, then we would be open, ready and game with anything in life.

A great part of his providence is beyond our understanding. What we know is that it is at once all-wise, all-powerful, all-just and all-merciful. If we would just be open to this truth about his providence, I suppose we would be ok even if along the way we commit all sorts of mistakes and even sins.

God knows what to do with our blunders. And if they happen, it’s because at least God knows how to draw good from them. Everything somehow happens for a purpose in the ever dynamic providence of God.

As St. Paul would put, To them that love God, all things work together unto good, to such as, according to his purpose, are called to be saints.” (Rom 8,28) These words of St. Paul should be the very kernel of the attitude we ought to have toward anything that can happen in life.

Of course, such divine providence does not take away our freedom which we can use unfortunately to go against his will and ways. In spite of the infinite wisdom and mercy of God in his providence, we can still manage to go against it.

Thus, Christ talked about a sin that cannot be forgiven—the sin against the Holy Spirit, when we “we speak against the Holy Spirit.” (cfr Mt 12,32). The Holy Spirit is the God who is sent to us to sanctify us. He is actually always around prompting us what to think, choose, say and do.

We have to remember that God completely gives himself to us. He is not sparing in this. He is now with us in the Holy Spirit. In a sense, he is all there for the taking. It’s really just up to now how to take advantage of this reality.

Thus, we are told that the proper attitude we ought to have toward the Holy Spirit is that of docility. But for this to take place, we also have to do our part. We need to learn to pray, to live always in the presence of God, to develop the virtues, to learn the doctrine of our faith so that we would know how to deal with the Holy Spirit, to avail of the sacraments, etc.

It also helps that humanly speaking, we develop a good sense of humor, and a practical sense of how to defuse the pressures, like indulging in some healthy hobbies and sports, or doing some physical exercises that can lighten the mind and spirit.

In the end, when things are just beyond us to cope, we have to learn how to live abandonment in the hands of God who knows what to do with all of our predicaments. In this, it might be good to meditate on that scene of the agony of Christ in the garden of Gethsemane.

There he prays most earnestly to his Father, and begs him to let “this cup pass by me.” He already has done a lot to accomplish his mission of saving us. Still there is one more thing yet to be done.

Later on, he kind of rectified himself: But not my will but yours be done.” And with that, he proceeded to face his arrest, passion, crucifixion and death. He gave himself completely to the cruelty of men and offered his life, only to resurrect on the third day.

We have to see in this scene the template of how we are to behave when faced with insoluble predicaments. We should not be afraid of the cross in whatever form it takes. When we have done everything that we could and still the predicaments remain, we just have to face and embrace it the way Christ did.

Its in that spirit that we can expect to rise also together with Christ. We can actually have as many resurrections as death-causing problems in our life!