Monday, May 28, 2018

Dingras (Ilocos Norte) continues to improve dam as tourist site

By Dominic B. dela Cruz
Staff reporter

Dingras, Ilocos Norte—The local government here continues to improve Madongan Dam as a tourist attraction.

This summer, however, local officials admit that the summer season has caused a shortage of water in the dam.

Despite this, Dingras mayor Erdio Valenzuela said picnickers continue to flock to the dam as it maintained its “natural beauty with its water curtain”.

“So far adda met payla danum na ta adu met pay dagitay map-mapmapan a turista though we admit a talaga nga adda pinagkisang iti danumen gagangay ta dagitoy a gundaway ket nakittid ti ayos iti karayanen”, the mayor said.

Mr. Valenzuela said they have coordinated with the police and the Brgy. San Marcelino council to keep the area safe, especially this summer.

The Ilocos Norte provincial government has provided tourist ambassadors and aids, as well as first aid nurses last year.

Brgy. San Marcelino operates and maintains the dam located at Sitio Nalasin. The municipal government, however, supervises security.

Aside from the dam, Mr. Valenzuela said the provincial government also provided people to help man other tourism areas here, including the Balay ti Ili, where the they displayed the town’s traditional farming ways.

Meanwhile, the mayor said they also plan to develop the Brgy. San Francisco waterfalls and the Brgy. Sulquiano caves.

Relative to this, the mayor requested for funding from Department of Tourism (DOT) for the additional tourist attractions here.

Ilocos Norte IPs formally forms INCC

NUEVA Era mayor Caroline Garvida and Nueva Era vice mayor Atty. Aldrin Garvida lead the signing of Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with officials of the other three tribal communities Carasi, Dumalneg and Adams. The MOA formalizes the Ilocos Norte Cultural Communities (INCC) with the four towns as primary members. (Doms dela Cruz)

By Dominic B. dela Cruz
Staff reporter

Nueva Era, Ilocos Norte—Four Ilocos Norte municipalities formally formed the Ilocos Norte Cultural Communities (INCC) after their representatives signed a memorandum of agreement.

The MOA signing coincided with the 18th INCC Festival held April 26, 2018 in this town.

Nueva Era mayor Caroline A. Garvida identified the signees as the towns of Nueva Era, Adams, Carasi and Dumalneg.

The four towns formed INCC based on Republic Act 8371, or the Indigenous People’s Right Act (IPRA) of 1997. The said law provides that the state shall recognize, protect and promote the rights of the Indigenous Cultural Communities and IPs.

Mrs. Garvida said that for almost two decades, these tribal municipalities and the ethnic tribes like the Tinguians/Itnegs, Isnegs/Isnags and the Yapayaos/Igorots conducted activities through the spirit of mutual understanding.

The MOA, Mrs. Garvida stressed, will further strengthen and solidify the camaraderie and friendship through their respective beliefs, customs and traditions.

The agreement aims to establish a closer relationship and strengthen the spirit of unity among these tribal municipalities and protect the rights and preserve the customs, beliefs and traditions of the INCC municipalities.

They will also conduct joint activities supported by available financial resources relative to the welfare and development of the ICCs/IPs towards the enrichment of their culture, economic stability, tourism industry that pave way for the upliftment of the economic well-being of the community.

It also offers the assistance to the IP community in the event, occurrence or aftermath of calamities, disaster, catastrophe or in crisis situations.

The understanding also jointly and cooperatively assert assistance from the national government agencies and international organizations towards ICC and IP programs and development IPs.

As of press time, Mrs. Garvida said that there are at least 20,000 IPs in Ilocos Norte; this town alone has around 8,000 IPs.

IPs in the province initially launched the INCC festival in 1997 “through the spirit of mutual understanding” wherein they celebrate it every year with all the four towns taking turns in hosting it.

They, however, suspend the festival during local and national elections.

This year, Nueva Era as host, organized different activities including the first IP health summit attended by the DOH, provincial health office, Batac Hospital, PhilHealth and personnel from the MMSU. MMSU’s College of Medicine Dean Dr. Rick Guanson served as special guest.

During the Tribal Congress, The National Youth Commission (NYC) discussed the IP Youth Council.

Vintar IPs, particularly from Brgys. Gubang and Isic-Isic participated in this year INCC, with Ert Agbayani and Macarid Gudayan as representatives, respectively.

Other highlights of this year’s INCC is Search for Mr. & Miss INCC 2018 held right after the MOA signing.

The winners are: Mr. Ilocos Norte Cultural Communities Glendelwin Salmasan of Nueva Era; Ms. INCC Jinky Yarcia also of Nueva Era; Mr. INCC Tourism Sade Sayno Acosta of Adams; Ms. INCC Tourism Jowana Rose Vidad of Adams; Mr. INCC Goodwill, Chris John Cacuyong of Nueva Era; and Ms. INCC Goodwill Wenslette Imee Balauro of Nueva Era.

DFA opens office in Ilocos Norte

San Nicolas, Ilocos Norte—After seven years of annual mobile e-passporting services with the Provincial Government of Ilocos Norte (PGIN), partnering with the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), a consular office finally opened on May 6, 2018 in a mall in this town.

Meanwhile, Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter S. Cayetano reassured that “DFA is committed to make its passport and other consular services more accessible to our people.

“The opening of these two consular offices [Ilocos Norte and Isabela] is a firm example of that commitment,” he added.

With an estimated 60% of families in Ilocos Norte receiving remittances from relatives working abroad, quick and accessible passporting has been a constant need. (PGIN-CMO)

DENR opens search for model CBFM people’s org

By Leilanie G. Adriano
Staff reporter

LAOAG CITY—The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has announced that the search is on for outstanding Community Based Forest Management model people’s organization in the country.

Forester Isabelita Austria said the nationwide search aims to recognize the best practices of the different people’s organization in the country particularly in safeguarding natural resources and at the same time, boost the livelihood of local communities.

According to Ms. Austria, the mechanics of the program highlights the elements of sustainable forest management such as: resources security, social, economic and cultural aspects, biodiversity conservation and soil and water conservation.

The search will kick-off at the municipal level then the selected winners will compete for provincial, regional and national levels.

“Starting this April, nominees are now accepted ready for the awarding of national winners by November which will coincide with the CBFM Practitioners Congress,” said Ms. Austria.

The CBFM is national strategy for the sustainable development of the country’s forestland resources. A CBFM agreement which is renewable for 25 years provides communities security of tenure over a defined area to promote sustainable use of natural resources.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Fair hike: Once more with ‘open’ feelings

As the debate rages on the proposed tricycle fare rates increase, the riding public now wants more involvement—both in the deliberations and public hearings.

An open letter has made its rounds at the Sangguniang Panlungsod. It chastises the proposed PHP15 and PHP2 per kilometer after the first kilometer. It also drives home the point the city’s public transportation system state as broken.

From overcharging to refused conveyance; over-speeding and cramped tricycle designs; up to tricycle franchise issues; and down to the inefficient, inexact and basically inexistent distance rate; the open letter points out all that is wrong with the city’s public transportation system. And how our local officials are essentially winging it when it comes to managing public transportation.

The letter also points out that when the city government raised basic fare rate to PHP11 from PHP8 in 2011, gasoline prices then averaged PHP59.39 per liter. During the first quarter of this year, gasoline prices averaged PHP55.26—and yet tricycle operators and drivers want an even higher PHP4 basic fare hike and another PHP1 hike for succeeding kilometers after the first kilometer.

The letter, however, does not mention that in the past, the basic fare rates cover the first three or two kilometers; and yet the proposed rate now only covers the first kilometer.

On top of this, the city government should now also decide whether to base the fare rates on distance or number of passengers. Unfortunately for everyone concerned, no one seems to notice that public transport operators cannot have it both ways as this is very detrimental to the riding public.

In their proposed rate, a single passenger will pay PHP15 for the first kilometer, while two passengers pay PHP30, and the multiplier effect goes on as the number of passengers increase. And if they travel farther, they suffer an additional PHP2 per kilometer; and the passenger multiplier effect still applies. Will those decision-makers factor this in? Or will they become too busy doing something else that they will treat this issue with shallowness instead of thoroughness and serious research?

If lawmakers can only see what is in front of them and do not understand all the effects of what they are drafting, then they are simply trying to wing it—at the expense of a constituent they vowed to serve.

The proposed fare rate increase is not a simple issue. We all know that. But we can only hope that those tasked to make the decisions know this too. The open letter put it succinctly that this issue not only concerns the tricycle operators and drivers but more so, the riding public—as they will have to shoulder the additional financial burden.

And whether they admit it or not—they like it or not—these officials are in the hot seat; and the public will see a glimpse of their true worth soon enough.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

DPWH spares century-old trees along Ilocos Norte nat’l hi-way

By Leilanie G. Adriano
Staff reporter

LAOAG CITY—Some century-old acacia trees located along the national highway in Ilocos Norte’s second district are not likely to be cut yet even if there is an on-going road clearing operation within the right of way.

According to 2nd district engineer Mathias Malenab, there are trees along the right of way which they should cut but due to a very tedious process of securing permit from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, it may take a longer time before they grant an application for tree cutting permit.

Last year, he said the DPWH conducted an inventory of trees along the national highway and submitted it to the regional office. However, up to this time, the DENR has yet to act on it. 

“Please bear with us. We painted them [trees] for visibility purposes. Kung minsan, ayaw tanggalin because they are part of the landscape kaya hindi rin namin tinantanggal. Nakapanghihinayang naman na tanggalin dahil 100 years old na,” Mr. Malenab admitted.

Under the law, the DENR and its attached agencies have the sole jurisdiction on approving tree-cutting permits. Applicants need to secure a letter application, an endorsement letter or certification of no objection from the local government units, copy of land title for private property, photographs of trees to be removed and a site development plan and environmental compliance certificates (ECC) for big projects.

Earlier, environmentalist groups in Ilocos Norte including the Diocese of Laoag appealed to local authorities here to think and reconsider the cutting of trees and ensure that not to compromise the welfare of the environment over infrastructure development.

Burgos (Ilocos Norte) villagers step up campaign to save Pusuak Spring

By Leilanie G. Adriano
Staff reporter

Burgos, Ilocos Norte—In time for the April 22 celebration of Earth Day, officials and residents of Barangay Poblacion in this town launched a campaign to save Pusuak Spring, located about 300 meters from the town proper.

“Pusuak" is an Ilokano word which means a natural water fountain.

Over the years, the Pusuak Spring has served as the lifeline for its residents, supplying clean and potable water to local residents.

Amidst prolonged drought caused by climate change in this northern part of Luzon, locals said the natural spring never runs out of water.

During the summer season, a number of residents gather in the area to wash clothes, swim or have a family picnic.

In fact, the spring is the main source of an on-going Department of Public Works and Highways water system project worth PHP14 million.

With a swimming area measuring 25 meters by 12 meters, Brgy. Poblacion chairperson Joegie Jimenez said the local government here is promoting the site as an alternative tourist destination.

But to ensure the Pusuak Spring will remain for the next generations, Mr. Jimenez urged his constituents to help nurture and maintain cleanliness in the area.

With the theme, “End plastic pollution,” the barangay-initiated Earth Day celebration took place at the Pusuak Spring on April 20, 2018 to further generate public awareness about caring for the environment.

Among the highlights of the activity include a posh walk for pusuak, tree-planting, clean-up drive, symposium and the signing of covenant to help save Pusuak Spring.

Barangay organizers also put up signages to discourage littering.

A boodle fight, potluck style culminated the activity.

Every year, Brgy. Poblacion here regularly celebrates Earth Day, joining thousands worldwide to demonstrate support for environmental protection.

Ilocos Norte gov’t plans more 3G parks

By Leilanie G. Adriano
Staff reporter

LAOAG CITY—To promote a more active lifestyle and overall wellness in the community, the Ilocos Norte government plans to establish more three-generational (3G) playgrounds and fitness parks in several schools in the province.

A 3G-park refers to a communal space wherein children, adults and the middle-aged, and seniors can come together and engage in active play or exercise in an environment that is both secure and ripe for recreation.

To date, the provincial government has set up at least five 3G parks: beside the Provincial Capitol and at the municipal parks of Dingras, Badoc, Bacarra and Batac City. Since its public opening in December 2016, hundreds of families gather in these sites, aside from a trip to the malls, to divert children's time and attention from computers and other forms of technology at home.

Funded by the provincial government through its special educational fund, Senior Sangguniang Panlalawigan member Matthew Joseph M. Manotoc said they are eyeing more or less 12 schools in the province to have its own 3-G park.

However, the Department of Education is yet to identify the schools, said Mr. Manotoc, who is chairperson of the provincial board’s committee on youth and sports.

Mr. Manotoc said the planned 3G parks in schools will remain open to the public even after classes and weekends.

The 3G parks is in line with Ilocos Norte governor Ma. Imelda Josefa “Imee” R. Marcos' vision to transform Ilocos Norte into a province that is “livable, sustainable, and resilient through the provision of recreational activities to strengthen community relations”.

Thriving industry lures Adams senior high students into wine-making business

By Leilanie G. Adriano
Staff reporter

Adams Ilocos Norte—Some students of the Adams National High School (ANHS) are going into wine-making business.

As a growing eco-tourism destination for local and foreign tourists, this town is known as the “fruit bowl capital” of Ilocos Norte and became famous for its bugnay fruit wine and other local spirit wines such as tapuey (rice wine), roselle, dragon fruit, pineapple, lemongrass and turmeric among others.

Inspired by the thriving wine industry here, Jessie Bayeng, Teacher 1 of the ANHS said Grade 11 and Grade 12 students are taking up entrepreneurship subject. The subject teaches the student how to process fruit wines and how to sell it in the market.

“Our students learn how to ferment local fruits into wine and they are also required to make a business plan out of it,” said Mr. Bayeng.

During the fruit season, these students gather whatever fruits available and ferment it for at least six months. After that, they put it in a clean bottle with proper label ready for selling.

According to Mr. Bayeng, bugnay wine is among the best seller fruit wines in this small town. The fruit is known to contain phytochemicals with potent antioxidants, which functions to protect the body from free radical damage.

Some of the tribal communities here with roots from Cordillera perfected the fermentation of rice wine and then other fruit wines followed suit.

Aside from the wine-making, the school is also teaching its students how to make soft brooms.

To further strengthen the entrepreneurial spirit of students, Nobleza Hidalgo, principal of the Adams school said she is planning to open technical vocational learning for the senior high students so that they can become more productive should they opt to pursue a business later on.

After finishing high school, some students living in far-flung areas fail to pursue a college degree because their parents cannot afford to send them to the tertiary level.

But with the opening of TVL courses for senior high students, more students will have the opportunity to gain more skills for better livelihood.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Ilocos Norte dad wants more teeth for ‘anti-epal’ measure

By Leilanie G. Adriano
Staff reporter

LAOAG CITY—A provincial lawmaker is pursuing the passage of an ordinance to strengthen an anti-epal bill, prohibiting the display or posting of government official’s names and photos in all government projects, services and vehicles.

Adopting Surigao del Norte Rep. Robert Ace Barbers’ House Bill 3952, or the so-called Anti-Epal Act of 2016, Sangguniang Panlalawigan member Vicentito “Toto” M. Lazo said the proposed local ordinance, which is similar to Mr. Barbers, aims to give “more teeth” to the measure once approved by the provincial board.

In a joint committee hearing, with mayors, councilors, barangay chairpersons as well as representatives from the Department of Public Works and Highways and other local government units in attendance, held at the SP session hall, Mr. Lazo reiterated, “We are all guilty of epal but we should not tolerate such small things— for small things can become big.”

Citing several measures such as the Commission on Audit Circular 2013-004 dated January 2013 and a DPWH Department Order No. 21 series of 2017 that prohibits the posting of names and photos of government officials using taxpayers’ money, Mr. Lazo encouraged all concerned officials to give meaning and honor existing guidelines from COA, DPWH and even the Department of Interior and Local Government, which earlier issued the same order in 2010.

“The problem with the existing ([law] is that we don’t know where to pinpoint liability. So, we have to input provision to give more teeth to the law,” Mr. Lazo explained during the joint committee hearing conducted by the SP’s committees on laws and public works.

Once approved, Mr. Lazo’s proposed anti-epal ordinance seeks to penalize the setting up of epal signages in the province. Violators face a six-month to one-year imprisonment and a fine of PHP5,000.

Like in various parts of the country, there are existing epal posters in the entire province mostly found in government-funded roads, bridges, schools and welcome arcs including government-owned vehicles.

MTRCB promotes ‘Matalinong Panonood’ in Ilocos Norte

Staff reporter

LAOAG CITY—The Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) was in Ilocos Norte on May 10, 2018 to promote responsible viewing among Ilocanos.

In a press conference held at the Capitol Auditorium, Marisa Laguardia along with three other companions—Atty. Marites Candido, Paolo Santos and Pablo Reyes enjoined parents and guardians here to take an active role in self-regulating most specially their children at home.

With the theme, “Matalinong Panonood Para sa Pamilya nina Juan at Juana,” the nationwide information campaign aims to empower the public, to guide and protect the welfare of the viewers, especially in determining the kinds of media and entertainment the children should consume and enable viewers to understand and appreciate ratings and classification system for film and television.

Narito tayo ngayon para sa mas malawak na kaalaman ng mga manonood,” said Ms. Laguardia as she enjoined Ilocos residents to support MTRCB’s program to highlight the role of family in value formation and responsible television and film viewing.

Should there be abuse or any violations observed while watching television, Ms. Laguardia said, viewers should call the attention of the MTRCB through call, text or email for proper action.

In coordination with the Provincial Government of Ilocos Norte, the MTRCB conducted an information drive at the Laoag university and at the Provincial Capitol Auditorium.

They also conducted surprise inspection among public utility buses which shows movies during trips.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

DAR cascades new policy issuances

ATTY. Melvyn T. Guillermo (fourth from left), chief of the legal division of Department of Agrarian Reform-Ilocos Norte, led the delegation of DAR Ilocos Norte to the cascading of new policy issuances conducted by DAR Regional Office 1.

The legal
division of the Department of Agrarian Reform Regional Office 1 (DARRO1) recently held a cascading of new policy issuances, leveling-off activity and legal case monitoring system (LCMS) data updating workshop.

The legal division personnel of the different provincial offices of DAR in the entire region attended the activity held in Baguio City.

Atty. Armi Christie C. Pe Benito, chief of the legal division of DARRO1, said among the topics discussed was Administrative Order No. 2-2018 of DAR Secretary John R. Castriciones.

The said administrative order pertains to “the 2018 omnibus rules for cancellation cases of emancipation patents, certificates of land ownership awards and other titles issued under any agrarian reform program.”

It is DAR’s response to the instruction of President Rodrigo R. Duterte on the reduction of all requirements and processing time for all the applications for department approval or agency action.

Also, the administrative order’s prefatory statement stressed that the priority for action is the streamlining of all legal processes in DAR.

The delegation of DAR Ilocos Norte to the activity composed of the following: Atty. Melvyn T. Guillermo, legal division chief; agrarian reform program officer II (ARPO II) Mae Alnie C. Agaludud; ARPO II Jorge Richard P. Guerrero; ARPO II Melissa G. Guerrero; ARPO II Elizabeth S. Nicolas; and stenographer II Delia C. Ramiro.

The legal division personnel of DAR Ilocos Sur, DAR La Union and DAR Pangasinan also joined the said event.

BARD NOTES: Happy bard-reading to Ilocos Norte Governor Imee R. Marcos, Ilocos Norte Vice Governor Angelo Marcos Barba, Laoag City Mayor Chevylle V. Farinas, Laoag City Vice Mayor Michael V. Farinas, Badoc ABC President Virgilio Calajate, Ilocos Norte Provincial Treasurer Josephine P. Calajate, DAR Ilocos Norte PARPO II Vic M. Ines, DAR Ilocos Norte CAO Rudy Acacio and PNB Pasuquin Branch Manager Metty V. Guerrero.
Greetings also to the employees of AMA Laoag, Laoag City PNP, DAR Ilocos Norte, DepEd Laoag, DepEd Ilocos Norte and PNB Pasuquin.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

NFA rolls out ‘Tulong sa Bayan’ in Ilocos Norte

By Leilanie G. Adriano
Staff reporter

Laoag City—The National Food Authority (NFA) and other rice stakeholders displayed several truckloads of rice in front of the Provincial Capitol on April 25, 2018.

The move ensures a stable supply of good, quality rice in the market.

Dubbed as “Tulong sa Bayan,” traders, millers and retailers sell rice to consumers at PHP39 per kilo in support of President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s effort to make affordable commercial rice while waiting for replenishment of National Food Authority (NFA) rice buffer stocks.

In Ilocos Norte, they delivered the first batch of low-priced commercial rice in Laoag and Batac City outlets on April 25.

NFA officials said “This effort is a joint project of the Office of the President, the Confederation of Grains Retailers Association of the Philippines, Inc. (GRECON), the Philippine Confederation of Grains Associations (Philcongrains) and NFA.”

For Ilocos Norte vice governor Eugenio Angelo M. Barba, who witnessed the program launch in front of Capitol, he said Ilocos Norte has no problem with rice production as it has long been rice sufficient but traders are selling it outside the province which affects the supply and demand in the province.

By May, the NFA reported they expect about 250,000 metric tons of imported rice to arrive in the country. This, they believe, will lower rice prices in the markets nationwide back to PHP27-PHP32 per kilogram price range.

To date, commercial rice in the province sells at PHP45 per kilo, but with the ‘Tulong ng Bayan’ program, it now sells at PHP39 per kilo0

“This is a great help for our constituents under the initiative of our president and governor to ease the burden in their daily living,” said Sangguniang Panlalawigan ex-officio member Domingo Ambrocio, the board’s agriculture committee chairperson.

After the kick-off launching of the program in this city, the program will also bring more truckloads of lower-priced rice in the other 21 towns in the province.

DENR distributes 500 agricultural patents

By Leilanie G. Adriano
Staff reporter

LAOAG CITY—Around 500 agricultural patents were distributed to Ilocos Norte farmers on April 22, 2018 courtesy of the government.

Led by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in collaboration with the Provincial Government of Ilocos Norte, Land Registration Authority, Department of Agrarian Reform and the Regional Trial Courts, Victor Dabalos, provincial environment and natural resources officer of the Ilocos Norte said the Handog Titulo Program aims to lessen boundary conflicts and confirms ownership of land occupants.

As part of the 10-point agenda and priority programs of the Duterte administration on improved land administration and management, Mr. Dabalos said the program works both ways for the government and its people.

“This is in line with our president’s desire to promote social justice through equitable distribution of lands in order to spur progress and development. It increases the collection of real estate taxes too. For landowners, it gives them security and peace of mind and they can make use of the land titles as collateral when they seek for financing in the bank,” Mr. Dabalos explained.

After the certificate of original land title was handed to her by no less than DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu during the ceremonial launching of Tayo ang Kalikasan movement at the Plaza del Norte Hotel and Convention Center in Brgy. Balacad, this city, Brenda Tamayo of Bangui, Ilocos Norte said she is thankful that she is now holding a proof that she owns the land her family has been tilling for a long time.

“I am so happy that finally I have secured my land title. This is an answered prayer,” said Ms. Tamayo.

Ms. Tamayo is among the 500 new land owners who received agricultural patents under Republic Act 6940.

In addition, the DENR also released five special patents under Section 4 of Republic Act 10023 covering the Bangui National High School, Lanao National High School, Camp Valentin S. Juan in Laoag City and the local stations of the Philippine National Police and Bureau of Fire in Dumalneg, Ilocos Norte.

Since 2011, the land titling program locally known as “Titulo a Natalged: Sagut ni Ilokano” was launched as it primarily aims to resolve issues of land ownership in the province.

Through the REGALA (Revenue Generation and Land Administration Reforms) project and free land titling program, local government units in Ilocos Norte now have a systematic land information and efficient transactions on real properties.

Badoc villagers help release baby sea turtles

By Leilanie G. Adriano
Staff reporter

LAOAG CITY—About 23 baby marine turtles, locally known as “pawikan”, emerged from their nest near a picnic area at Brgy. Pagsanahan Norte in Badoc, Ilocos Norte and crawled into the open sea to begin their voyage from their birth place.

A villager Danlito Gamaio witnessed this as he was supposed to gather seaweeds at about 6:30 a.m. he immediately reported the said incident to the barangay chairperson and the nearest office of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources Office (DENR).

According to the barangay’s residents, their coastal village is a favorite nesting place of sea turtle.

Through information drive from environmentalists, some people here have become aware that sea turtles are endangered species and must be protected.

Rhoel Valdez Marcelo, ecosystems management specialist of the DENR confirmed this as he reported another villager Roman Madalipay narrated that on December 28 last year, he saw a sea turtle crawl toward the shoreline and dig a hole to lay its eggs.

The DENR was able to verify the report as two other nests were found near where the hatchlings emerged.

To protect the nests from predators and poachers, the DENR advised local officials and residents to immediately report it to concerned authorities so they could put up fence and help secure the area.

Over the years, local environment officials have continuously monitored the stretch of Ilocos Nortes shoreline from Badoc to Pagudpud towns for sea turtle nesting areas.

The provincial fishery division of the Ilocos Norte government and local government units have included in their information campaigns the conservation and protection of this endangered species.

“The presence of sea turtles in Ilocos Norte is a manifestation of its rich and clean environment,” said fishery regulatory officer Arthur Valente of the Ilocos Norte Provincial Agriculture Office who also helped in the release of the marine turtles.

Authorities appealed to fishermen to turn over to them sea turtles and other marine mammals in case they catch them.

With this, the local government is now planning to establish a sanctuary for the preservation of these endangered species.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Piddig gives ‘grants for the grads’

Piddig mayor Georgina Salazar-Guillen with a Piddig graduate. (Berong Ver)

By Bernard Ver

PIDDIG, Ilocos Norte—The municipal government here, led by mayor Georgina Salazar-Guillen gave “grants for the grads” in a bid to boost students’ enthusiasm to study harder.

The Piddig government sourced the funding for the project from the supplementary funding support to public basic education.

Under the program, high school valedictorian receives PHP20,000; PHP 15,000 for salutatorian; PHP10,000 for the first honorable mention; and PHP 5,000 each for second and third honorable mentions.

For elementary pupils, the class valedictorian receives PHP5,000; PHP3,000 for the salutatorian; and PHP2,000 for the first honorable mention.

Mrs. Guillen emphasized that the fund is different from the Special Education Fund (SEF). The SEF comes from an additional one percent tax on real property that LGUs are mandated to impose and collect by virtue of Republic Act 7160, the Local Government Code of 1991.

“The LGU Piddig is in full support of the DepEd’s vision on sustainable development in education on the road to excellence,” said Mrs. Guillen.

Farmers Festival 2018

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Ilocos Norte gov’t cracks down on public workers in casinos, cockpits

By Leilanie G. Adriano
Staff reporter

LAOAG CITY—The Ilocos Norte provincial government is cracking down on government officials and their direct descendants on going to casinos, cockpit arenas and other gambling areas.

The crackdown stems from a memorandum circular from MalacaƱang prohibiting all government employees in casinos and other forms of gambling.

Ilocos Norte Governor Ma. Imelda “Imee” R. Marcos reiterated this recently as she directed personnel of the Ilocos Norte Police Provincial Office to implement President Duterte’s order.

Memorandum Circular No. 06 issued by the Office of the President enjoins all government workers to observe the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees by promoting high standard of ethics in public service and to live modest lives and uphold public interest over personal interest.

Pursuant to Presidential Decree (PD) No. 1067-B, series of 1977 and as amended by PD 1869, series  of 1983, it states that playing and gambling in casinos is prohibited specifically among government officials connected directly with the operation of the government or any of its agencies, members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, including the Army, Navy and Air Force, and persons under 21 years of age or students of any school, college or university in the Philippines.

Previously, there were reports of violations, hence the Duterte administration wants to strictly enforce this order.

In Ilocos Norte, police provincial director Jose Melencio Nartatez Jr. said they have intensified their monitoring as signages were also established in casinos and cockpits to discourage government officials and employees from going there.

According to Mr. Nartatez, they have already formulated a plan on how to  strictly implement the order.

The PNP also sent a letter and a copy of the memo circular to the Vice Governor, League of Mayors of the Philippines-Ilocos Norte Chapter, Association of Barangay Councils and department heads to solicit their all-out support regarding this matter.

Some police personnel were also deployed in the seven cockpits and two casinos in the province to monitor the entry of any government official or employee.

Sarrat spruces up welcome arch

By Bernard Ver

Sarrat, Ilocos Norte—The local government here began enhancing its welcome arch.

Former Pres. Ferdinand E. Marcos Sr. was born in this town.

Mayor Remigio B. Medrano personally checked on the project’s development on April 19, 2018.

Mr. Medrano, an engineer, said he seeks to innovate their landmarks through advanced crafts that visualize Ilocano culture. He added that he wants to use century-old Hispanic styles by installing local bricks which he will associate with modern designs.

In the Philippines, welcome arches are considerably the most noticed landmark of a certain place; a structure that welcomes the people upon entering a place and noteworthy for boundaries of different territories.

Tourist influx in Ilocos Norte continues

By Bernard Ver

LAOAG CITY—Provincial officials said an estimated 500,000 tourists visited the province during the Holy Week.

They also mentioned that they expect more influx of tourists in the province for the coming holiday and summer season, as well as the shifting of the country’s school calendar.

Among the top destinations in the province include the St. Augustine Church in Paoay; the Kapurpurawan rock formation in Burgos; the windmills of Bangui; the Blue Lagoon at Balaoi, Pagudpud; La Milagrosa Cove and Gateway of Badoc; Marcos Heritage Trail in Sarrat; Davila Seafood Area; the Cape Bojeador Lighthouse in Burgos; and the Empanada food stalls and church of Batac City.

Tourists are coming in both from land and air. Bus companies servicing the Ilocos Norte route said they are ready to cater to the tourists. Laoag International Airport (LIA) manager Ronald Estabillo, for his part, said the airport is ready to welcome both domestic and foreign tourists.

Meanwhile, Ilocos Norte government tourism office Aian Raquel said the recent closure of Boracay Island, a popular tourist destination, became a “big plus” for the province. He, added though, that the Boracay issue should serve as an “important reminder” to all tourism stakeholders both in the province and in the country.

“The closure [of] Boracay sends a very important message to all destinations in the country, including Ilocos Norte. What’s very important now is for us to keep our development sustainable and we should be able to manage the environmental impacts of tourism in the province, so that, we will not experience that situation,” Mr. Raquel said.

The Department of Tourism's (DOT) data on monthly visitor arrivals in the country hit all-time high of 732,506 in January. DOT officials credited the impressive figure, indicating a 15.97 percent rise from January last year up to present. These figures are gathered by the DOT Tourism Research and Statistics Division under the Office of Tourism Planning.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Imee calls for more safety measures at road safety summit

San fernando city, La Union—Ilocos Norte governor Ma. Imelda “Imee” R. Marcos called for closer cooperation and a “hierarchy of control” among government agencies tasked with ensuring road safety in light of recent accidents in the Ilocos Region resulting in several fatalities.

Speaking before the Road Safety Summit, Ms. Marcos said: “In many cases, the DPWH [Department of Public Works and Highways] and LGUs [local government units] have been unable to provide adequate safety precautionary measures to prevent accidents and fatalities.”

The regional offices of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) conducted the summit at the La Union Provincial Capitol on April 30, 2018.

As chairperson of the Regional Peace and Order Council (RPOC), the Ilocos Norte governor initiated the immediate gathering of agencies and stakeholders of the transport and road sectors at the last RPOC meeting on April 18, 2018 in Lingayen, Pangasinan.

According to statistics, authorities recorded a total of 4,000 incidents in the Ilocos Region for the first quarter of 2018, surpassing figures from the same time period in 2017 and 2016. Among the 4,000 incidents, they documented 260 deaths.

Moreover, they also reported a total of 73 vehicular stoning incidents also for the first quarter of this year.

Ms. Marcos pointed out, “This has also been a real issue on account of many construction, maintenance, and repair efforts on the Manila North Road and other roads. Even as we welcome President Rodrigo Duterte’s ‘Build, Build, and Build’ program, these accidents have been rampant.”

She emphasized the need for cooperation among the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), the Land Transportation Office (LTO), the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), together with the PNP, DPWH, and LGUs.

Road safety should be systematic, hierarchical
It is important to come up with a safe system approach, with ‘system’ meaning ‘kabuuan’hindi lamang yung pulis na manghuhuli ng mga overspeeding, hindi lamang ‘yung LGU na maglalagay ng barrier,” Ms. Marcos added, “It is time that we discuss a hierarchy of control.”

She pointed out that confusion over which agency has jurisdiction on various road safety issues would only lead to more accidents and fatalities.

Hindi pwedeng isaalang-alang at itulak ang responsibilidad ng road safety sa ating kapulisan lamang. Kailangan, lahat tayo ay tumulonglahat ng stakeholders, mga bus drivers, bus operators, jeepney drivers and motorists, hobbyists, tricycles, at iba pa,” she urged.

In the summit proper, representatives from the Police Regional Office I, LTO-RO1, and DPWH-RO1 presented statistics regarding vehicular accidents; traffic regulations, violations, and penalties; road obstructions and proper signages; and road safety tips.

Aside from representatives of the aforementioned agencies, other participants of the Road Safety Summit were heads or managers of different bus lines operating in Northern Luzon as well as provincial, municipal, and city officials from all over Region One.

Ms. Marcos further suggested that LGUs be stricter in implementing anti-drunk driving measures and curfews. She also encouraged the media and academe to help in disseminating advisories and conducting pedestrian education.

In addition, she shared that tourism growth in the region would necessitate upgraded safety of passengers, especially youth, senior citizens, and persons with disabilities (PWDs). (PGIN-CMO)