Monday, December 24, 2018

SSS cracks down on erring Laoag City employers

By Dominic B. dela Cruz
Staff reporter

Laoag City—The Social Security System (SSS) intensified its campaign against erring employers in the city in line with the 8th Regional leg of the Run After Contribution Evaders (RACE).

SSS president and chief executive officer Emmanuel F. Dooc, along with other SSS officials, personally visited some reported delinquent establishments and employers in the city to instill awareness of their obligations under Republic Act   8282 otherwise known as the Social Security Law.

Ang RACE ay nakatuon sa mga employers na hindi tumutupad sa kanilang mga obligasyon para mabigyan ng social security protection ang mga mangagawang Pilipino sa pribadong sektor,” Mr. Dooc said.

He stressed that this is also to educate employers to become responsible through full compliance to the Social Security Law and focus this strategy in order to create a significant impact on contribution collection.

Under the said law, employers should be registered with SSS on the first day of their operation of business and report their employees within 30 days from their first day of work.

Employers should also submit their employee records to the SSS account officer for payroll audit and pay their employees contributions regularly.

Mr. Dooc said that the task force has gone to the different parts of the country to strictly implement the RACE campaign.

Puwede namin silang kasuhan sapagkat yan ay kriminal na gawain kasi nasa batas yan na maaaring ang kaukulang parusa ay anim na taon hanggang labindalawang taon na pagkakakulong,” he added.

The SSS gave visited establishments 15 days to settle based on the “show cause” order which indicates that the agency have conducted a preliminary inspection and which is displayed in front of the establishments.

Failure to comply shall subject the violator to criminal prosecution and upon conviction, a penalty of up to 12 years imprisonment without the benefit of probation.

Records show that the “show cause” orders were posted at Asia One General Merchandise, Silver Touch Flower Shop, Madrid’s Sari-Sari Store and Vegetable, Epoh’s Eatery, Xegent Net Solutions, and C&M Aluminum and Glass Supply due to non-remittance of SSS contributions with a total delinquency of P803,928.41.

In addition, Khay Kiddie Blocks and Kiddie Riders received the same notice as they failed to register their business with the SSS while Synergy Global Services also abandoned their duty to produce their employee records for payroll audit and with no remittance of contributions that resulted to a delinquency of P348,168.41.

Queen Solah Pasion Palaraoan


A Damilian, born in San Nicolas, Ilocos Norte, aka “Siudad Ti Banga” or paglakuan ti daga nga awan ti titulona; a St. Paulian as an active member of St. Paul’s Church of Honolulu under the stewardship of Rev. Canon Randolph VN Albano, vicar, a native of Bacarra, Ilocos Norte.
Solah won the title of Mrs. St. Paul’s Church as part of the 59th anniversary celebration of the church organized in August 1959.

“My goal is to win the title; and to help the church,” Solah said this before and during the canvassing on July 7, 2018. And it was done; her dream came true.

Solah with her Royal Court Princess Trinity Gabriel Cabigon and Princess Jannette Agustin were crowned during the coronation was held at the Hawaii Okinawa Center on August 26, 2018. Also part of the program was the awarding of the 5 Bishop’s Awardees 2018: Carlos Viernes, Nenita Agbayani, Phyllis Miller, Paul Cyrus Adapon and Danilo Duldulao.

The well attended program with about 500 guests was emceed by Dwayne Bueno. Singing the national anthems by the Coro Filipino. Invocation by Rev. Canon Albano followed welcome address by Bishop’s Warden Fay De Jesus.

Keynote speaker was Rev. Canon David Kennedy a longtime church leader in Episcopal Hawaii Diocese.

Family award was given to Mr. and Mrs. Marcelino and Eliza Marquez.

Acknowledgment was given by Junior Warden Maribel Duldulao.

The 59th Anniversary Celebration Planning and Steering Committee comprised of the Bishop Committee members: Fay De Jesus, Maribel Duldulao, Dwayne Bueno, Marcelo Acopan, Jr. Nenita Agbayani, Julie Aguinaldo, Felonila Casino, Lanie Dela Cruz, Julie Dureg, Fely Mariano, Phyllis Miller, Lolita Peralta, the 3 legs: WOSP, Phyllis Miller, president, LOSP, Marcelo Acopan, Jr, president;  YOSP, Eugene Tunac Marquez, president, BASP Emma Valdez, Eddie Agullana, Albina Gamponia and  Amado Yoro, a former Bishop’s Warden and now Vice Chair for the Board of Advisers served a general chairperson and co-chaired by Fay De Jesus and Maribel Duldulao.

Queen Solah Pasion Palaroan and her king Adelino (“Lino”) Acierto Palaroan have long been faithful and constant servants of St. Paul’s Church. Married in the church on December 6th 1986 by the late Father Timoteo Quintero.

Solah and Lino celebrated their 31 years of marriage. All baptized in the church, daughters Ashley Anne (29) and Alyssa Lynne (21), along with grandchildren Rylee Anne and Aysten Rane, share Solah and Lino’s faith in the Lord within the St. Paul’s community.

Who is Solah
At St. Paul’s Church, Solah and Lino are active participants in fundraising; she is one of the lay readers, and Lino as officer of Laymen of St. Paul’s [LOSP].

Solah was born on December 8th, 1963 to Venancia Duldulao and Conrado Pasion in San Pablo, San Nicolas, Ilocos Norte, Solah is the youngest daughter of eight siblings. She attended Bingao Elementary School before immigrating to Hawai’i on September 23rd 1973 with sister Erlinda and brother Joe.

Solah is an alumnus of Likelike Elementary School, Central Intermediate, and McKinley High School.  Prior to graduating from McKinley, Solah diligently held jobs both at the Bank of Hawai’i during the week and on weekends at Chunky’s Drive Inn.

Solah developed a loyal career with the Bank of Hawai’i where she was offered positions with their Credit Department and Student Loan Center. After taking additional course work, Solah earned an Executive Secretary position at the bank’s Facilities Department. In 2002, she transitioned to Heide & Cook for two years. Solah currently takes pride in her career at Island Controls, Inc. as Office Manager/Notary Public and Partner, and appreciates the support and camaraderie they have offered her and her family in her tenure.

Family Matters!
Solah believes that faith and a strong family bond are important! She and her family keep a weekly dinner outing to catch up and support each other. They enjoy traveling together and strive to schedule yearly adventure trips. This fun-loving woman loves to entertain and regularly (and spontaneously) opens her home to family and community members. She can often be found bouncing between whipping up delicious dishes in the kitchen, the dance floor, and chatting with guests! She, and her husband Lino are proud members of the San Nicolas Goodwill Foundation, Inc. (Damilians) where Solah currently holds the office of President.

Nothing makes Solah happier than being a great wife, mother, grandmother, sister, and friend! As a dedicated lay-reader within the church community, Solah’s biggest hope is to continue her service and fellowship with others in and outside of the St. Paul’s community for years to come!

No Maugotanen Ti Daga iti Asin 2

No Maugotanen Ti Daga iti Asin
Amado Yoro
Senario Dos:panagsursuro ken pannakatubay

Inayatdaka kas tarabay ken sanggir
dagiti nabangon a rangtay a kamang
ti ungto ti bullalayaw iti panagsukisok
iti karaberan dagiti nabunga nga ubas
dagiti natubbog ken nasam-it
nga unas ken pinia
uray iti panagkallautang
iti ibabangon kas kadagiti mapaamo a karnero
Dagiti mapaamo nga urbon a sumrek iti koral
Imasenda ti makapagsepsep iti asin
Iti daga ket kunnotenda ti mungay
Iti panagsursuro ken pannakatubay
Ngem anian, anian dagiti gundaway
Ti anag ti asin napukawen kas iti nagpsepsepan
Dagiti immuna a nagtagi-aklo main-inutdan
A maipaigid ti dalan
Iti panagmaymaysada malnaawandan
Nga agkutkutimermer
Iti pannakabaybay-a
Ken pannakaipusing
Ta awanen ti anag ti asin
A nagkunnotan
Dagiti kattungbol a parmata
Iti panagsursuro nga umaskaw
Kadagiti dalan iti kasamekan
ta nanglaylayen ti sabong nga ukkor
dagiti kassangpet
naibasuradan iti igid iti ngilngilawen a
karinderia ken abong-abong
iti tugpatugpa a nagturogan toy agsansana
iti darugsoy ti awan ti patinggana
a panagarubos ti ling-et
iti darang ti anawang
iti sidiran ti kalapaw
a nalipatandan ti ridawna
ket tugotda pinunas ti atab
ken dalluyon dagiti panaginkukuna
ti panawen
ti damsak
ti ugot
ti atab
dagiti makiraos
nga ipisok iti banga
dagiti makarudkod nga ittip
iti panagintutleng ken
iti nalikudan
ditoy, saanto nga agkir-in
ti kinaasino ni agsansana
ta isunto latta daydi immuna
a nagkurob iti karaang iti igid
daytoy a sangkakelleng a kadaratan
dagiti masagat a danum a
maisaang iti siliasi ken sinublan
asin no asin; tinapay no tinapay
kastoy ti kinapudno: adda rugi
adda puon, adda kalman
adda agdama, adda sumaruno a bigat.

No Maugotanen Ti Daga iti Asin

Setiembre 3, 2018 Labor Day
Amado Yoro
Senario Uno:  panangrugi ti panagsana

Ala, anusam Angkuan Deppa
Kutkotem ti kadaratan igid ti sabangan
Mangimuntarka ti dalikan ken karaang
Isamiram latta a kuroban ti kadaratan
Pakaurnongan ti masagat a danum baybay
Itakom ti sudo wenno sabot ti niog
Yallatiwmo iti sinublan wenno siliasi
A paglutuan ti aramidentayo nga asin.
Kiwar, ala, kiwarem pay
Agburbureken ti nasagat a danum
Iti kinuroban a kadaratan
Kasta ti biagtayo nga agsansana iti
igid ti baybay iti sirok ti kalapaw
karuantayo ti agaramid ti asin
imbag la nga intayo imaro
iti kaarrubatayo a barbario
dagiti sitio ken purok
asin ti nabirtud a rekado
pakbet man, dinengdeng wenno inabraw
paimasenna la ketdi ti pammigat, pangaldaw
ken pangrabii man

Nabannog kadin dagiti agsansana iti sabangan
 awanen ti rangen ti anawang ken
karaangda nga agpaburek iti nasagat a danum
nabannogda kadin kadagiti panagpuyat
iti kaltaang ti rabii

Natamnayen dagiti lutuenda a pinakbet ti kinakisang ti asin iti sagumbida
insaluketdan dagiti aklo iti kamalig;
napakleb kadin dagiti sinublan ken siliasi

iti suli ti abong abong- adda mangeg nga urok
nabannogan a nagkiwar iti pannakasisi
dagiti arig kristal nga asin

piman ni agsansana
impaklebda payen ti alludan ken bigao
iti laem ti abong abong
awandan iti dalan a mapan makimaro
iti kaarruba a barangay
iti inggudua, kaka; insubor, kabsat
uray bagas, nateng, mabalinen a kasukat ti asin.
(adda tuloyna)

Monday, December 10, 2018

Power company donates 15 laptops for Ilocos Norte public schools

By Leilanie G. Adriano
Staff reporter

LAOAG CITY—The Lopez-led Energy Development Corporation (EDC) based in Burgos, Ilocos Norte donated at least 15 brand new units of laptop computer to several schools in the province hardly hit typhoon Mangkhut [Ompong].

Sangguniang Panlalawigan member Mariano “Nonong” V. Marcos II, who received the donation from the wind power company said it is a good start for several schools in the province with damaged computers.

Over a hundred students at the Bingao National High School are attending their classes at the covered court while there is an on-going repair at the newly-constructed Senior High School Building 2.

Marilou Pasalo, BNHS officer-in-charge reported, that the second floor of the building which was just constructed last year was affected with 42 computer units destroyed at the height of typhoon Mangkhut when strong winds blew away its roofing and smashed its glass windows.

Earlier, provincial officials here led by Governor Ma. Imelda Josefa “Imee” R. Marcos called on big firms in the province to extend assistance to typhoon victims so they could immediately cope up after the calamity.

Ms. Marcos reported they also requested established call center companies in the province to just donate their used computers to schools as these companies regularly replenish their computers every two to three years.

Based on data from the Department of Education-Ilocos Norte, about PHP21 million worth of damages were recorded in public schools which include a total of 43 schools with major and minor damages, 145 computer sets destroyed, 388 learning materials and 20 pieces of school furniture.

Laoag City council passes measure that bans contrabands at city jail

By Dominic B. dela Cruz
Staff reporter

Laoag City—In a move to further shore up Pres. Rodrigo R. Duterte’s “war on drugs,” the Sangguniang Panlungsod here passed an ordinance that prohibits the entry of illegal drugs and paraphernalia; firearms and ammunitions; bladed weapons; cellular phones and similar devices for communication; cigarettes, tobaccos and electric cigarettes; and liquor and other intoxicating beverages on October 22, 2018.

The prohibition ordinance carries penalties for violators.

Laoag councilor Roger John C. Fariñas, principal author of the ordinance, said violators of the ordinance concerning illegal drugs and deadly weapons face a six-month imprisonment, a one-year ban from the penal institution and a PHP5,000 fine for first-time offenders. Succeeding violations carry a PHP5,000 ban, one-year imprisonment and lifetime ban from entering the jail premises.

On the other hand, persons caught smuggling cellular phones and similar devices used for communication, cigarettes or tobaccos, electronic cigarettes and liquor or other forms of intoxicating beverages face a fine of PHP5,000 and a one-month ban at the penal institution; and PHP5,000 plus one-year ban at the penal institution for the first and second offenses, respectively.

While a fine of PHP5,000.00 and a lifetime ban at the BJMP will be imposed for the third offense.

Mr. Farinas explained that the enactment of this ordinance “maintains peace and order situation and in order to prevent and suppress lawlessness, disorder, riot, violence, rebellion or sedition at the city jail”.

The measure also strengthens and empowers the BJMP to penalize the entry of said illegal contrabands and activities.

He stressed that prohibiting the entry of cellular phones and similar devices used for communication would prevent the inmates from coercing, intimidating, threatening complainants and witnesses or other forms of retaliation.

Reacting to this, city jail warden Herminigildo Rivera thanked the city council for the enactment of said ordinance.

PDIC to continue processing claims of Rural Bank of Luna (Apayao), Inc. depositors

The Philippine Deposit Insurance Corporation (PDIC) announced that depositors of the closed Rural Bank of Luna (Apayao), Inc. who have not filed their claims for deposit insurance may do so at the PDIC Public Assistance Center, 3rd Floor, SSS Bldg., 6782 Ayala Avenue corner V.A. Rufino Street, Makati City until August 17, 2020. Claims may also be filed by mail.

When filing deposit insurance claims at the PDIC Public Assistance Center, depositors are required to submit directly to PDIC their original evidence of deposit and present one (1) valid photo-bearing ID with signature of the depositor. It is recommended, however, to bring at least two (2) valid IDs in case of discrepancies in signature. Depositors may also file their claims through mail and enclose their original evidence of deposit and photocopy of one (1) valid photo-bearing ID with signature together with a duly accomplished and notarized Claim Form which can be downloaded from the PDIC website, PDIC reminds depositors to deal only with PDIC authorized officers.

Depositors who are below 18 years old should submit either a photocopy of their Birth Certificate issued by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) or a duly certified copy issued by the Local Civil Registrar as an additional requirement, with the Claim Form signed by the parent. Claimants who are not the signatories in the bank records are required to submit an original copy of a notarized Special Power of Attorney.  In the case of a minor depositor, the Special Power of Attorney must be executed by the parent. The format of the Special Power of Attorney may be downloaded from the PDIC website.

In addition, all depositors who have outstanding loans or payables to the bank have to coordinate with the duly authorized PDIC Loans Officer prior to the settlement of their deposit insurance claim.

The procedures and requirements for filing deposit insurance claims are likewise posted in the PDIC website.

PDIC, as deposit insurer, requires personal data from depositors to be able to process their claims and protects these data in compliance with the Data Privacy Act of 2012.

Rural Bank of Luna (Apayao) was ordered closed by the Monetary Board through Resolution No. 1332.A dated August 16, 2018. It is a five-unit rural bank with Head Office located in San Isidro Sur, Luna, Apayao. Its four branches are Abulug, Alcala, Allacapan and Buguey, all in Cagayan, Cagayan Valley.

For more information, depositors may contact the Public Assistance Department at telephone numbers (02) 841-4630 to 31, or e-mail PDIC at Depositors outside Metro Manila may call the PDIC Toll Free Hotline at 1-800-1-888-7342 (PDIC). Inquiries may also be sent to the official PDIC Facebook account at

PCS celebrates 118th anniversary

Length of Service Award.  Assistant Secretary Presidential Communications Operations Officer Atty. Mitchel Kristian Ablan hands over a certificate of recognition to Genedine D. Jambaro, an employee of the provincial government during the 118th anniversary of the Philippine Service Commission held at the Laoag City Hall Auditorium. Mr. Ablan served as the guest of honor and speaker for the 1st district of Ilocos Norte and Ilocos Norte vice Governor Angelo M. Barba (AM) for the second district. At least 900 government officials and employees were given certificates during the awarding ceremony. (Doms dela Cruz)

By Dominic B. dela Cruz
Staff reporter

Laoag City—In celebration of the 118th Philippine Civil Service (PCS) anniversary, at least 900 government officials and employees in the province of Ilocos Norte received a certificate of recognition for the “Length of Service Award” in a program held at the Laoag City Hall Auditorium on September 27, 2018.

PCS regional director Hedy Jose Lardizabal said the awarding was divided into two: the 2nd district in the morning; and first district in the afternoon to accommodate them all in an orderly fashion and to shorten the period of the awarding.

The award is given to all government officials and employees who rendered their services starting from 15 years and every 5 years thereafter.

Each of the awardees received a certificate of recognition though just a piece of paper, but it is a symbolic thing and the thought behind it, Mr. Lardizabal said.

He added that the “Length of Service Award” was based on the cumulative number of services he/she rendered regardless of the gap in services—cases in court whether suspension or dismissal—which is separate from the Loyalty Award which is also given by the local government units or agencies.

“Let’s say na-suspenso isuna iti three months, mabalin latta a makaawat iti Length of Service Award ngem ma-delay lang nukwa inggana na a maiserbi na didiay lackings na a three months”, Mr. Lardizabal explained.

The Loyalty Award includes cash incentives aside from the certificate of recognition.

He said that the “Length of Service” award encourages other government officials and employees to remain faithful and committed to their oath as public servants.

This is also one way to encourage them and to also as an example to others to follow their footsteps to remain loyal and committed to their jobs, he added.

Laoag Mayor Chevylle V. Fariñas also congratulated to all the awardees for reaching milestones in their respective careers in the government service.

Ilocos Norte Vice Governor Eugenio Angelo M. Barba and Assistant Secretary Presidential Communications Operations Officer Mitchel Kristian Ablan were the guest of honor and speakers for the second and first districts respectively.

Monday, December 3, 2018

Imee eyes senate seat

Laoag City—Ilocos Norte Governor Ma. Imelda Josefa “Imee” R. Marcos filed her certificate of candidacy for senator at the Commission on Elections office in Intramuros, Manila on October 16, 2018.

In filing her candidacy for the May 19, 2019 midterm elections, she said, “Naniniwala tayo na malaki ang maitutulong natin sa bansa sa usapin ng ekonomiya lalo na ngayon na halos walang patid ang pagtaas ng presyo ng mga bilihin. Inflation ang pangunahin nating problema sa kasalukuyan at nasasaktan lalo ang mahihirap dahilan sa 60% ng kanilang kita ay napupunta sa pagkain.”

Kaya naman ipinaglalaban ko ang agarang pagsuspindi sa VAT kahit isang taon lamang, para agad-agad na mapagaan ang bigat ng sobrang taas ng presyo ng petroleo at pagkain na nagpapahirap sa ating mga kababayan,” the governor added.

She also showcased Ilocos Norte as a proof of her public service after the province became one of the fastest and most efficient in reducing poverty rates in the whole country.

The governor said, they attained this even without any industrial or freeport zones as well as not hosting any big cities and being very far from Metro Manila.

Dadalhin ko ang tinig ng mga probinsya at kanayunan sa Senadobilang beteranong lider ng pamahalaang lokal, titiyakin ko na tutugunan ng ating mga batas ang mga kagyat na pangangailangan ng ating mga local na pamayanan sa kabuhayan, edukasyon at kalusugan na siyang mga susi ng kanilang paglaya sa kahirapan,” Ms. Marcos stressed.

Ms. Marcos served three terms as Ilocos Norte second district representative before serving another three term as Ilocos Norte governor. (MTE)

Laoag City police says kidnapping reports are ‘fake news’

By Dominic B. dela Cruz
Staff reporter

Laoag City—Police Chief Supt. Dominic Guerrero warned the public against believing several attempted kidnapping reports posted on social media recently.

He dubbed such social media posts as “fake news”.

He said all the alleged kidnapping reports are unverified and no alleged victim has reported such to the police.

In view of this, Mr. Guerrero appealed to the public to be more vigilant on the veracity of information and not to disinform and misinform anyone so as not to create panic and anxiety among citizens.

He vowed that the Laoag police will always be on top of these issues and matters specially for the safety and security of everyone in the city of Laoag.

Relative to this, the Laoag police issued anti kidnapping tips in order to avoid this kind of reports and these are: avoid same routines; screen and choose your personal staff; make friends with neighbors; secure your home; keep emergency numbers accessible; check house surroundings before leaving; avoid walking alone in isolated and dark areas; do not talk to strangers and avoid conspicuous and luxurious lifestyle like wearing expensive jewelries or displaying expensive gadgets.

The Ilocos Norte Police Provincial Office (INPPO) issued a press release also appealing to the public not to believe in such rumors that emanates from social media.

It stressed that Ilocos Norte is “generally peaceful with no reported incidents like kidnapping targeting students”.

The two police offices also asked anyone to immediately report suspicious activities to the nearest police station or call emergency hotline “911”.

Ilocos Norte gov't gives books to Dingras schools

By Leilanie G. Adriano
Staff reporter

Dingras, Ilocos Norte—Provincial officials want learners in the province to remember that reading books is sometimes better than relying on information from the internet.

Om October 12, 2018, the provincial government turned over at least 8,000 books featuring various subjects over to the 24 public elementary schools of this town.

Led by senior Sangguniang Panlalawigan Matthew Joseph M. Manotoc, chairperson of the committee on education, he said he hopes the distribution of more books for public schools in the province will develop children’s love for reading and learning.

Speaking at the Dingras West Central Elementary School, Mr. Manotoc challenged teachers and students to maximize the use of the reading and instructional materials.

 “In the age of computers and cellphones, I hope that the children will develop healthy and strong reading habits,” Mr. Manotoc said citing this is just the first step for students to learn the “extra mile”.

According to Mr. Manotoc, the distribution could have been made earlier in time for the opening of classes but the delivery of the items was delayed.

“It’s better late than never,” said Mr. Manotoc as he also informed them that the “Kuryente Mo, Sagot Mo” program of the provincial government continues to shoulder the electric utility bills of public schools in the province to help achieve universal free education among Filipinos.

Funder under Special Education Fund of the province, the Ilocos Norte government is distributing school equipment like computers, laptops, books and other instructional materials to boost the Ilocano youth’s global competitiveness.

The “Kuryente Mo, Sagot Ko” program covers the payment of electric bills of over 300 primary schools from the 21 towns and two cities of the province, which are receiving below PHP400,000 maintenance and other operating expenses (MOOE) annually.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Agencies train farmers in conflict-stricken areas

The Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) recently trained about 300 rice-based growers in Marawi, Lanao del Sur to help them resume farming, which was left for almost a year due to the city’s siege.

Teodora Briones, head of PhilRice’s Corporate Services Division, said farmers in the area expressed interest in going back to farming after Ramadan. However, the farmers have yet to restore their livelihood and regain capital to start again.

“Farmers’ present priority includes having enough food for their family’s everyday needs. Through rice-based farming, they will eventually recover,” Ms. Briones said.

Farmers were given about 376 sacks of quality rice seeds after the training. Rainfed cultivators in the villages of Patani and Sugod received NSIC Rc 286 seeds while upland farmers in the villages of Kilala and Banga were provided with Alo-al and Dapolog seeds.

Moreover, three sacks of organic and inorganic fertilizers were provided to each farmer. Vegetable seeds and farm tools such as shovel, hand sprayer, knapsack sprayer, and garden hoe were also distributed.

Abdul Racman Tampi, farmer from Banga, said government interventions help them increase their income.

“We appreciate this help from JICA and our government. We can start cultivating our land for crop production again,” he said.

The training is under the Rice-based Farming Technology Extension Project for Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. It focused on the use of quality seeds of recommended rice varieties, PalayCheck System or the integrated management of growing rice, and vegetable production.

A survey will be conducted in 2019 to assess whether the farming families were able to supply their own food and increase their income. JICA funds the project thru Technical Cooperation Project 5. (Allan Biwang Jr. with reports from Zenny Awing and Mohamadsaid Gandawali)

Culture-sensitive federalism fit for PHL—Luzon journos

Journalists from Luzon and the NCR agreed that a Filipino or “Filipinized” type of federalism that acknowledges the country's diverse cultures, traditions, religions, and regional dynamics will be applicable to the Philippines.

Amidst differing beliefs and apprehensions over the proposed federal form of government during the two-day seminar-workshop on Understanding Federalism in the Philippine Context conducted by the Philippine Press Institute (PPI) in Manila on October 11-12, with support from Hanns Seidel Foundation (HSF) and in partnership with the Pimentel Institute of Local Governance (PILG), thirty publishers, editors, and reporters expressed support for good governance no matter the form of government.

"Let's look at the CAR experience. We’ve been talking about autonomy for the longest time. In fact, our different tribes up there are the ones very much affected with all these issues on having an autonomous region," said Sonia Daoas, PPI trustee for Luzon and director of the Cordillera News Agency (CNA), one of the eight participants from Baguio.

Former senator and Senate president Aquilino 'Nene' Pimentel Jr., regarded by many as the Father of Local Government Code and PILG Chairman, a proponent of the draft charter on federalism, explained the context, logic, and aspirations of the measure that seeks to decentralize the power of the national government and share its resources to the regions. "Outside Metro Manila, our provinces get measly shares which I think is not fair," Pimentel said.

Worries on the rise of political dynasties and nepotism if there will be federated regions, were clarified by Atty. Barry Gutierrez, a law professor at the University of the Philippines in Diliman, who discussed the salient provisions embodied in the draft constitution.

Sa 1987 na Saligang Batas, nakasaad lang po doon ang probisyon na nagbabawal sa political dynasty pero subject pa rin siya ng batas na dapat maipasa ng Kongreso. Pero sa bagong draft, sa probisyon palang ay nakasaad na kung sinu-sino ay hindi pwedeng kumandidato sa pamilya. Sa ngayon po ang nakalagay ay nasa up to 2nd degree ng kapamilya ng isang politiko,” said Atty. Gutierrez.

Senator Pimentel who was one of the reactors to Atty. Gutierrez's presentation, said that the explicit provision on political dynasty seeks to end the commonplace dynastic politics and give chance to other candidates who are also qualified to run for any elective position.

After an intensive discussion on the pros and cons on federalism as presented by the speakers and panelists, the participants during the group activity and write-shop listed story ideas such as economic benefits to the regions, delivery of basic social services, shortening of bureaucratic processes, swift delivery of justice, ridding multi-party system, taxation, police, electoral reforms, among others. "These are more of questions waiting and wanting for answers. The public needs to know all these things," said Janet Valdez, a journalism professor at the Bulacan State University whose family partly owns Mabuhay, a multi-awarded community newspaper. Ms. Valdez who presented her group's output stressed the need for better understanding for better reportage.

The challenge now, according to her, is to echo the information to the grassroots, with local government units, civil society organizations, non-governmental organizations, academe, and media organizations doing their fair share in informing and educating the public about federalism. "The role of the media is to inform, educate, and stimulate critical thinking." (PPI)

Anti-Bullying Act lecture

LAOAG CITY police officers conduct a drug awareness lecture and the salient features of RA 9165 and the RA 10627, otherwise known as the Anti Bullying Act of 2013 to first year college students of a Laoag school. The lecture aims to raise students’ awareness on the intensified campaign plan of the city police to eradicate illegal drugs and to achieve a drug-free Laoag City. It also focuses on improving strategies and responses to incidents of bullying and help avoid the recurrence of said acts.  (Photo courtesy of Laoag PNP)

PSWDO, GAD award Ilocos Norte family role models


Laoag City—Recognizing and incentivizing successful Ilocano families, the Provincial Government of Ilocos Norte (PGIN) through the Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office (PSWDO) and Gender and Development (GAD) Office awarded the 2018 Model Families on September 28, 2018, at the Ilocos Norte Centennial Arena, this city.

Congratulating the awardees and finalists, Ilocos Norte Vice Governor Eugenio Angelo M. Barba said, “Kayong lahat ay may kanya-kanyang kwento ng hirap at tagumpay. We are proud to see you here today, the overcomers, the victors, now triumphant over everything that threatened your families.

“You have each won a battle for the very foundation of our society.”

Model Families is an annual program for families who have successfully trumped socio-economic difficulties as well as involve themselves in the community and are responsible in environmental and waste management. It comprises three categories: professional, non-professional, and overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).

Mark Nhel Jerard Doren, youngest son in the OFW family first-placer, shared, “I would always pray to God that someday, I would share the same stage with my father... that we would share our great achievements with each other.

“Today, after 20 long years, I am sharing the same stage with my father. It is really beautiful in His [God’s] time.” His father, Nelson Doren, had worked in Saudi Arabia for decades to earn for and support the family.

Doren added, “Para sa lahat ng pamilyang OFW: alam ko ang dinadanas natin. Damang-dama natin kung paano ang hirap ng pamilya ng isang OFW, pero alam ko na we always reap what we sow.”

Meanwhile, Geraldine Ortal, whose family won in the non-professional category, emphasized that “It’s not about the award. It’s about inspiring lives and giving back the glory to God. [My parents] courageously hurdled all the storms of life just to give us the education that they were not able to have.”

Mr. and Mrs. Franklin Ortal, from Brgy. Baay, City of Batac, together toiled through farming, raising livestock, and carpentry, along with other jobs, to put three of their children through college. Franklin is currently a member of the Federation of Senior Citizens Associations in the Philippines, while his wife, Jacinta, is a barangay health worker (BHW).

Pudno: awan aniaman a rigat a makatubeng iti aniaman nga arapaap,” said Geraldine.

Likewise, Engr. Amelita Josol from the professional-category winner, encouraged her fellow awardees and Ilocanos, “Let us continue to be model families, because our families are not only our treasures, but also our joy, our happiness, our enlargement, our expression, and even our next generation.

The Doren family hails from Pias Norte in Currimao. At second and third place in the OFW category, respectively, were Mr. and Mrs. Oscar Garcia from Burayoc, Pagudpud, and Mr. and Mrs. Crispin Gajes from Puritac, Pinili.

Following the Ortals, Mr. and Mrs. Amado Labasan from Dagupan, Vintar, and Mr. and Mrs. Victor Portela from Bacsil, Dingras, garnered second and third place in the non-professional category.

Engr. William Josol and his wife Amelita bagged first place in the professional category. They are from Caraitan, Badoc. Other winners were Mr. and Mrs. Rodolfo Duldulao of Cal-laguip, Batac City, and Mr. and Mrs. Expedito dela Cruz from Talugtog, Solsona.

Mr. Barba encouraged, “Each of your stories is a testament to the strength of the Ilocano: defying the odds in the face of countless difficulties, challenges, and obstacles.

“You have maneuvered the dynamics of family even under stress, proving and living out the principle of dealing with problems and crises not individually, but as a family—as one unit.” (Mizpah Grace Castro)

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Give Golden Rice a chance

Rice constitutes a huge portion of a regular diet of every Filipino. On average, a Filipino consumes 114 kilograms of rice every year. Rice, however, does not have much nutrients. It contains largely carbohydrates.

To make it healthier and to help address the pressing malnutrition problem in the country, Golden Rice is being developed. According to Dr. Reynante Ordonio, PhilRice Healthier Rice Project lead, Golden Rice is a new type of rice that contains beta carotene in its grain.  He said this nutrient, similar to what is found in orange-colored fruits and vegetables, is converted to vitamin A only as needed by the body.

Dr. Ordonio stressed that micronutrient malnutrition, such as vitamin A deficiency (VAD), is a serious public health problem affecting 2 billion people globally.  In the Philippines according to the 2013 report of the Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI), 2.1 M children Filipinos aging 6 months to 6 years are affected by VAD. Moreover, the report indicated that 9% of pregnant and 5% of nursing mothers are found to be vitamin A deficient.

While there are government interventions being conducted to address VAD, the problem still persists. Golden Rice, according to Dr. Ordonio, is designed as a food-based complementary strategy to help combat VAD.

Currently, the Golden Rice project is undergoing regulatory review for its application to conduct field trials in the Science City of Munoz, Nueva Ecija and San Mateo, Isabela. An important aspect of this review is the public consultation stage where there are discussions and many opinions about Golden Rice are raised. Let’s look at what the stakeholders from these sites have to say.

From the perspective of a mother and a teacher
Fely Urnos is a retired science teacher and a part-time business woman from Brgy. San Andres, San Mateo, Isabela. Ever since her teaching days, she has been actively participating in different organizations in their community such as the Local Council of Women (LCW), Rural Improvement Club (RIC), and groups under the supervision of their parish.

The first time she heard about the Golden Rice project was during the public consultation she attended last July 18. Upon learning about the current issue on VAD, she immediately became alarmed and concerned not only for her family but even for the other children in their community. Fely also considers the number of children and women whose life are at risk because of VAD.

“VAD is really an urgent concern especially since many children and mothers are at risk. Considering the VAD issue and the kind of lifestyle that we have now, we really need to go the extra mile to make sure that everyone has an adequate supply of Vit. A,” Fely expressed.

The pressing issue on VAD became her take off point to support the Golden Rice project. From her perspective as a biology teacher, Fely recognizes the potential of Golden Rice in addressing malnutrition and related diseases. Moreover, she believes that the deficiency of micronutrients, especially Vit. A, can hinder the youth from achieving their full potential.

According to Fely, her support for the Golden Rice project and other research initiatives that aim to solve the country’s pressing health concerns is her way of helping marginalized Filipino women and children to achieve a healthier, better life. As a mother and a homemaker, it gives her relief knowing that Golden Rice has complied with a rigorous biosafety regulatory process.

“Golden rice is one way to address the growing concern on VAD and we should not deprive pregnant women and children of this promising solution. What kind of children are we going to raise if they are deficient of the micronutrients they need? Now, we are being offered with a solution through Golden Rice and I think we should give it a chance,” she emphasizes.

Time to express support
More than expressing her support, Fely is also actively enjoining different stakeholders to view the Golden Rice research from a scientific perspective and continuously seek information from valid sources to avoid misconceptions. For her, learning about Golden Rice allows her to refresh the enthusiasm she has for science and biotechnology.

As science teacher for 40 years, she has already proven the importance of viewing things in an empirical and scientific way. For Fely, what the public needs is a massive information dissemination about Golden Rice so that they, themselves, can make meaningful decisions about it. This specific strategy is what she uses in convincing her groups, and fellow citizens in San Mateo to support the Golden Rice field trial in their town.

“The research on Golden Rice is a noble project and as a citizen of San Mateo, I firmly believe that this should continue to field trial. We have to open our minds and accept technologies like these so that we can continue to provide for the growing population and move forward,” Fely shares.

Fely is just one of the hopeful mothers and homemakers who dream to see their children and grandchildren achieve a bright and a healthy future. She believes that it can only be possible if these children will have access to food that can provide them the right nutrition and micronutrients that they need. Allowing the Golden Rice field trial is a step closer to this dream.

“Most of us support other science and technology initiatives. Let’s do the same for Golden Rice,” Fely ends. (Donna Cris Corpuz)