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)

INEC holds RECO 1 fellowship

By Dominic B. dela Cruz
Staff reporter

Laoag City—"In Unity There Is Power”.

In view of this, the Ilocos Norte Electric Cooperative (INEC) hosted the Regional Electric Cooperative Association Fellowship at the Laoag City Centennial Arena on October 26, 2018.

INEC board president Enrico Ruiz welcomed the nine electric cooperatives from the entire Region I for the whole day fellowship event.

Mr. Ruiz said the fellowship was a team building activity for unity to all electric coops in Region I in order to provide more efficient service to all its member consumers. 

Other activities aside from fellowship were competitions for the “Singing Got Talents”, “Search for Mr. & Miss Front Liners” and the “Lux Awarding”.

INEC got the most number of attendees award during the recently concluded Annual General Membership Assembly meetings of INEC.

The award was given by the RECO I board.

Region I IP leaders, elders back federalism

By Leilanie G. Adriano
Staff reporter

LAOAG CITY—In a gathering of Indigenous Peoples here, various IP organizations and tribal councils in Region 1 crafted and signed a manifesto of support to the proposed federal form of government being pushed under President Rodrigo Duterte administration.

According to Atty. Jesus Agbayani, Provincial Officer of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples in Ilocos Norte said they convened a dialogue among the leaders and members of the Indigenous Cultural Communities here for them to fully understand the basic provisions of the federal system of government particularly and how this will create on impact on the lives of IPs.

“After a thorough study and exchange of ideas using our customary mode of decision-making, we are of the view that amendment of revision of the existing form of government is absolutely necessary to address the sad plight of the IPs and further strengthen the rights it already conferred to the ICCs/IPs,” said in the manifesto.

The IP leaders and elders said they are amenable in the amendment or revision of the constitution provided there is “full protection and promotion of IP rights and welfare.”

Under Article II, Section 22 of the 1987 Constitution, the state recognizes and promotes the rights of the ICCs within the framework of national government.

It also guarantees the recognition, respect and protection of their rights to develop their cultures, traditions and institutions.

Meanwhile, all local chief executives from the 21 towns and two cities in Ilocos Norte were also in favor of the proposed change in government.

With a federal form of government, provincial leaders are optimistic that economic growth will spread all throughout the country.

Ilocos Norte board eyes amendment of consignment ordinance

By Leilanie G. Adriano
Staff reporter

LAOAG CITY—Members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan proposed amendments to an existing ordinance on the consignment of drugs and medicines in government-run provincial and district hospitals here.

The consignment system is a “method of assuring availability of stocks wherein a consignor places its goods with the Provincial Health Office and/or the pharmacies of the provincial and/or district hospitals for sale, and the former being paid by the latter for only the actual quantity consumed using the money generated from the sale of the consigned goods within the agreed period of time.”

Under the proposed amendment, Dr. Roger Braceros, the Governor Roque B. Ablan Sr. Memorial Hospital officer-in-charge, explained that any consignment deals with accredited suppliers shall no longer pass through the Bids and Awards Committee as there is no “cash out” involved.

From the original 30 days needed to settle the consignment of drugs and medicines, Dr. Braceros reported this will be extended to 60 days to give more time for PhilHealth to settle the obligation.

“There are so many processes in the Bids and Awards Committee. So, to speed up the process, we have proposed these amendments,” he said.

Once approved, Dr. Braceros hopes this will solve problems being encountered at the hospital and ensure enough supply of medicine. This will also be beneficial to “no balance billing patients” as they no longer need to pay in cash upon receipt of the medicines inside the hospital.

This year, the Provincial Health Office has a total budget of PHP380 million. A bulk of the amount goes to the purchase of drugs and medicines including medical, dental and laboratory supplies.

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Incumbent Laoag City mayor, son files COC for Laoag City’s top 2 posts

City elections officer Atty. Julius Balbas assists Laoag Mayor Chevylle V. Farinas and city administrator John Michael V. Fariñas in filing their respective COCs for mayor and vice mayor, respectively. (Doms dela Cruz)

By Dominic B. dela Cruz
Staff reporter

Laoag City—Incumbent Mayor Chevylle V. Fariñas filed her certificate of candidacy (COC) on October 11, 2018 for her third and final term.

Her running mate is her son, current Laoag City government administrator John Michael V. Fariñas.

Prior to her official filing, they had a mass at the Laoag City Basketball Court, which non-government organizations, barangay officials and the public attended.

In her speech after the mass, Mrs. Fariñas thanked incumbent Laoag councilors Roger John Farinas and Shirley O. Sin; former Laoag councilors Sonia B. Siazon, Joseph Tamayo, Yvonne Ranada, Derick Lao, and new face Jardin O. Sin, son Mrs. Sin.

She also stressed that they will not resort to substitution as far as her own family is concerned.

Mr. Fariñas, in his speech, recalled the past elections in which the mayor and the late Laoag Vice Mayor Michael V. Farinas strongly supported the group even though they ran unopposed.

He said that even though his father has already gone, he is here to continue into his footsteps, especially on what his father dreamed for Laoag City and the people of Laoag.

Ita ngarud, dumawatak iti suporta, ayat ken talek yo. Believe me when I tell you, sisasagana ak a tumulong ken denggen amin a problema iti Laoag City,” the younger Fariñas said.

No siasinno man wennu adda man makalaban ko appo, I challenge him a rugyanan na met iti tumulong uray awan pay iti posisyon na,” he added.

After the mass, Mrs. Farinas led her group and proceeded immediately to the city elections office for the COC filing.

Also filing their COCs with Mrs. Fariñas and her son are re-electionist councilor Roger John Farinas, Jardin O. Sin, Evangeline Lao, wife of Derick Lao, and former councilor Sonia Siazon, all running for council seats under the PDP-Laban party.

In a press interview later, Mrs. Fariñas expressed her dismay with some of the incumbent Laoag councilors who made their earlier promises and assurances that they will join her political group. She however did not name those councilors.

The Ilocos Times learned that incumbent city councilors who were not around during the mass and filing were Laoag councilors Handy Lao, Roque Benjamin Ablan, Portia Pamela Salenda, Edison Bonoan, and Ferdinand Domingo.

There’s nothing worse than a person who cannot stand by his/her word. Uray ngata kasanut kinabaknang mo ken kinalaing mo no awan prinsipyom wennu awan pagtaktakderam ket para kaniyak a nanumo I give so much importance diay sarita nga inibbatak,” she said.

The only way nga ibatik iti maysa a kadwa ket no sika ti umuna a mangaramid kaniyak iti madi. Naundurak met a tao e. Kaya ka met a pakawanen ken pagtiyagaan but you have to admit nga adda met kamalim,” she added.

She disclosed that she waited for them up to the last minute because she took their words We are for you” seriously, but they did not show up.

Father forgive them for they know not what they are doing,the mayor ended as she described those who allegedly broke their promises.

OWWA gives calamity assistance to members in Ilocos Norte, Sur

OWWA officials process the calamity assistance for Ilocos Norte members at the Provincial Capitol cafeteria. (OWWA)

San Fernando City, La Union—After typhoon Mangkhut [Ompong] hit Ilocos Region last month, the Overseas Worker Welfare Administration Regional Welfare Office I (OWWA RWOI) gave Calamity Assistance to OFW-OWWA members and their qualified dependents who were severely affected by the typhoon.

OWWA, through its Welfare Assistance Program (WAP), gave assistance amounting to PHP3,000 for active OWWA members and PHP1,500 for inactive members.

Since the whole region was placed under a state of calamity during the typhoon, OWWA RWOI together with the local government of each provinces has to identify the top municipalities and cities that were hardly hit by the typhoon thus giving priority with the calamity assistance.

In Ilocos Norte, the processing for the calamity assistance was held on September 25-28 and October 4-6, 2018 at Provincial Capitol Cafeteria. OFW-members and qualified dependents who were residents of Batac City, Currimao and Pagudpud were able to claim their benefits.

On the other hand, the schedule for calamity assistance in Candon City, Ilocos Sur was on October 17-18, 2018 while Vigan City was on October 19-20, 2018. It was held on Candon City Hall and Ilocos Sur Capitol, respectively.

As of October 22, 2018, a total of PHP7,872,000 was released to 3,294 OFW-member recipients. PHP4,671,000 was released in Ilocos Norte and PHP3,201,000 in Ilocos Sur.

OWWA’s WAP Calamity Assistance is a one-time cash relief to affected OFW-members and their qualified dependents in areas under state of calamity. Aside from Ilocos Region, OWWA CAR and OWWA Region 2 are also giving calamity assistance to OFW members and their qualified dependents who were also affected by typhoon Ompong. (OWWA Region I)

Laoag City dad proposes monthly allowance for SK officials

By Dominic B. dela Cruz
Staff reporter

Laoag City—In a bid to encourage more Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) involvement and participation in their barangays’, as well as the city’s affairs, Laoag councilor Roger John Fariñas proposed an ordinance that will provide SK kagawads, secretaries and treasurers a monthly PHP1,000 allowance.

In his proposal, Mr. Fariñas cited Section 13 of Article II of the 1987 Constitution which emphasizes and recognizes the vital role of the youth in nation building and likewise promotes and protects their physical, moral, spiritual, intellectual and social well-being.

Mr. Farinas said the SK is one of the government institutions wherein the youth have an active participation spearheading activities and endeavors of promoting the youth development and empowerment.

The city government should therefore recognize the youth’s involvement and participation in the city’s social and development programs and projects.

He however, stressed that the monthly allowance will depend on the city government’s availability of funds

The council referred the measure to the committees on finance, laws and youth after first reading for thorough study.

The council also provided members of the local finance committee, barangay chairpersons, SK chairpersons and other offices concerned a copy of the said measure.

Mr. Fariñas added that he did not include SK chairpersons as they are already receiving monthly honoraria.

Reacting to this, Laoag SK federated president and council ex-officio member Faye Lao welcomed Mr. Fariñas’ move to recognize the effort and active participation of the youth in the development and progress in the community.

Ms. Lao believes that the lack of monetary incentives may be one of the reasons some SK officials are not keen to participate.

The Ilocos Times also discovered that there are barangays in this city that have no SK officials. Some have incomplete number of SK kagawads.

City interior and local government officer Andres Vendiola, meanwhile, said that the proposal is likely similar with the earlier proposed incentives for the third-term barangay officials but since there was no legal basis it was disapproved.

Mr. Vendiola said the Commission on Audit disapprove that measure stressing there was no legal basis for additional incentives to barangay officials other than their regular monthly honoraria.

City budget officer Angeline Baby Castro, for her part, said the local finance committee will look for a legal basis for this proposal with the help of the Dept. of Interior and Local Government.

Laoag City gov’t partners with Fil-Am group

By Dominic B. dela Cruz
Staff reporter

Laoag City—The Sangguniang Panlungsod here unanimously approved a resolution adopting the Filipino American Maharlika Association (FAMAS) as partner organization of the city government.

Laoag councilor Portia Pamela R. Salenda said this is the first Filipino organization so far to come out openly to advocate gender equality focusing on the rights and plight of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community, women and children.

Ms. Salenda, who sponsored the measure, learned that several members of the FAMAS traces their roots to Laoag.

The same organization earlier donated funds for the Ilocos Norte Medical Association to help in the puericulture centers and at the same time conducted medical missions in the province.

FAMAS desires that the city allows them to prioritize projects for the city aligned with their advocacies for quality health care for the women and children’s welfare and gender quality.

The resolution’s approval is in line with what the Local Government Code of 1991 which states that local government units should recognize the participation of private sectors in local governance particularly in the delivery of basic services to ensure the viability of local autonomy as an alternative strategy for sustainable development

Laoag councilors Handy Lao and Benjamin Roque Ablan co-sponsored the measure.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

DAR holds lecture on mediation

Atty. Leilani Carmelita R. Magbanua (3rd from left), Provincial Adjudicator for La Union and Abra, gave a lecture on mediation and alternative dispute resolution to the legal division staff of DAR Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, La Union and Pangasinan.
In order to further enhance the capabilities of its legal division manpower, the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) held a lecture on mediation and alternative dispute resolution (ADR) on October 9-12, 2018 at the Aureo Resort Hotel in San Fernando City, La Union.
In the said activity, the important provisions of Republic Act 9825 or The Alternative Dispute Resolution Act of 2004 were fully explained. The lecture was conducted by the Legal Services Division of DAR Regional Office 1, headed by Atty. Armi Christie C. Pe Benito.

Atty. Leilani Carmelita R. Magbanua, Provincial Adjudicator for La Union and Abra, stressed that mediation is a voluntary process in which a mediator, selected by the disputing parties, facilitates communication and negotiation, and assists the parties in reaching a voluntary agreement regarding a dispute.

“Mediation is a party-driven, interest-based, private, confidential, speedy and relatively inexpensive procedure,” Atty. Magbanua said.

The delegation of DAR Ilocos Norte was composed of Atty. Melvyn T. Guillermo, Jorge Richard P. Guerrero, Melissa Guarino-Guerrero, Elizabeth S. Nicolas, Marichelle V. Brillantes, Mae Alnie C. Agaludud and Delia C. Ramiro.

The activity was also attended by the legal division staff of DAR Ilocos Sur, La Union and Pangasinan.

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, Badoc ABC President Virgilio Calajate, Ilocos Norte Provincial Treasurer Josephine P. Calajate, INEC President Enrico “Cocoy” Ruiz, Provincial Agrarian Reform Program Officer II Vic M. Ines, DAR Ilocos Norte Chief Administrative Officer 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.

Ilocos Norte wins PH’s best tourism-oriented province

By Bernard Ver

Laoag City—After finishing as runners-up in the last two years, the Ilocos Norte government finally won the “Pearl Award” as the best tourism-oriented province in the Philippines.

The Association of Tourism Officers of the Philippines (ATOP) and the Department of Tourism (DOT) held the awarding ceremonies on October 5, 2018 in Cagayan de Oro City.

The search recognizes exceptional practices, projects and innovations in every local government’s tourism office in the Philippines as well as the men and women behind this great contribution in creative works and exceptional services and its cause.

After the two runners-up finishes, Ilocos Norte tourism officer Aian B. Raquel said felt challenged, which he said made them work harder and the result was satisfying.

“Since we started, we have accomplished the fundamental requirements for a well-functioning LGU in terms of tourism. We have legislations such as tourism code, investment code, cultural code, and environmental code, and we have established permanent positions for local tourism officers,” said Mr. Raquel, provincial tourism officer and head of the Ilocos Norte Tourism Office (INTO)

“It’s important that the executives have significant accomplishments in terms of administration and legislation,” he added.

“We almost quit sending an application for the award but thanks to the hard work of my colleagues at PGIN [Ilocos Norte provincial government] and the help of many friends, we finally made it! And yes finally, after all these years of fighting tooth and nail, blood, sweat, and tears, it feels great to be recognized by the tourism sector, especially by the hundreds of tourism officers in the country- the real backbone of the tourism industry,” Mr. Raquel posted on social media after the win.

Mr. Raquel also recognized the effort of Ilocos Norte Governor Ma. Imelda Josefa “Imee” R. Marcos and the provincial government for their “unending support since the beginning of their presentation”.

For years, the province has been keen on implementing strategies for the protection and conservation of cultural properties, including the establishment of new venues and platforms for local artists, and promotion of the province's cultural sites, products, and events.

Finalists include the province of Samar and province of Davao del Norte, which won third and second place, respectively.

IN’s pioneer tourism programs
In particular, Pearl Awards’ screening committee commended the INTO’s Summer Tourism Program. The program immerses both the young and elderly as tour guides in different museums and churches in the province.

“This is the first effort in the country, specifically in the tourism sector, that employs senior citizens as tour guides in museums and churches. This is very special because it shows that our provincial policy on inclusivity is applied in that we employ very diverse demographics—from youth to senior citizens,” Mr. Raquel said.

“Also, they [the committee] commended the fact that we were able to earn direct tourism revenues from out properties; data shows we were able to earn more than what we are spending in the INTO.”

Fees and rentals of government-owned tourist destinations such as the Kapurpurawan rock formation, Malacañang of the North, Paseo de Paoay, La Tabacalera Lifestyle Center, Cape Bojeador Lighthouse, and the Ilocano Heroes Hall all contribute to provincial revenue

Moreover, ATOP-DOT cited the Media Incentives Desk (MID), an initiative of Ms. Marcos. MID pioneered film tourism in the province through an exchange of benefits and promotion coordinated among LGUs, private establishments, and production companies looking to film within Ilocos Norte.

Last year, Artikulo Uno Productions, the maker of historical epic “Goyo: Ang Batang Heneral” filmed in the different municipalities of the province. Also, television series "Bagani," and several local and international travel magazine shows; cult classics “Himala,” “Ang Panday,” and “Temptation Island” have also used Ilocos Norte as a shoot location over the years.

Final screening of contingents was held on September 22.  Ilocos Norte was represented by INTO, city and municipal tourism officers, the youth sector coming from the Ilocos Norte Youth Development Office (INYDO), and other local tourism stakeholders. (With a report from Edison Justin B. Deus)

Chinese consulate donates rice, food for ‘Mangkhut’ relief

Laoag City—The Consulate of the People’s Republic of China in Laoag City has issued a donation through the Provincial Government of Ilocos Norte (PGIN) for relief of victims of typhoon “Mangkhut”.

The donation comprises 10 tons of premium rice valued at P480,000.00 and various grocery items such as sardines, corned beef, and meat loaf valued at P297,000.00, to be distributed during the “Paspas Takder” relief operations.

Chinese consul Wang Jianqun represented the consulate, while Ilocos Norte Vice Governor Eugenio Angelo M. Barba and Sangguniang Panlalawigan members Domingo Ambrosio Jr. and Atty. Donald Nicolas accepted the donation on behalf of Ms. Marcos and the provincial government.

According to Mr. Edwin Cariño, head of the Provincial Sustainable Development Center (SDC), the consulate had originally committed to donating only 10 tons of rice, but decided on adding canned goods worth P297,000.00 in consonance with the lucky Chinese numbers: 7-7-7.

“We are very thankful to the office of Consul Wang and the group, dahil seldom lang na ang isang ahensiya o grupo ay nakakapagbigay ng ganitong relief. Napalaking tulong iyon sa probinsiya natin.

“Even the governor is overwhelmed with gratitude for their immediate response,” he added, “kasi sila [the consulate] pa ang tumawag at nagtanong kung ano ang maitutulong nila.” (Mizpah Grace Castro)

Piddig pensioners get cash incentives

Piddig, Ilocos Norte—The municipal government here of Piddig led by Mayor Georgina Salazar-Guillen in cooperation with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) distributed cash incentives to social pensioners here on October 9, 2018.

The social pensioners’ incentive funds came from the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) share of the national government. Each pensioner received PHP200 per month, or a total of PHP2,400for 2018. They will receive the same amount for three years aside from their monthly pension amounting to PHP500.

Five of the town’s 23 barangays benefited: Brgys. 1, 2, 3, 20, and 21. They were the last barangays to receive the said amount due to technical error from the provider’s system.

Mrs. Guillen said, “These amounts are useful for pensioners’ daily consumption. Medical care is already provided by the municipality thru Piddig Cares 24/7 where they can ask for medicines and assistance, or an ambulance if needed.”

Recently, Piddig was named among 263 local government units which received the Seal of Good Local Governance (SGLG) for 2018. (Bernard Ver)

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Teachers take center stage in Ilocos Norte

By Leilanie G. Adriano
Staff reporter

LAOAG CITY—In time for the World Teacher’s Month celebration, around 5,000 teachers from the 21 towns and two cities of the province were gathered Tuesday at the Ilocos Norte Centennial Arena, this city for a simple tribute to all educators here.

After a thanksgiving mass officiated by Laoag Bishop Renato Mayugba, a simple program and electronic raffle draws followed suit in honor of teachers.

“Teachers are probably the most underappreciated sector in the society. They sacrifice so much yet they receive so little. You all deserve a day and a month of appreciation,” said Sangguniang Panlalawigan member Matthew Joseph M. Manotoc during the October 2, 2018 province-wide celebration for teachers.

As chairperson of the committee on education, Mr. Manotoc assured teachers of his full support to the education sector as he cited the Ilocos Norte government’s continuing efforts to promote quality education by expanding its scholarship programs for both students and teachers, payment of public schools’ utility bills, distribution of books and school equipment among others.

Being raised by a teacher himself, Ilocos Norte Vice Governor Eugenio Angelo M. Barba expressed his high regard for teachers as the noblest profession.

Ang propesyon ng pagtuturo ay isang napakarangal na propesyon at sana panatilihin natin ang tradisyon na ito, na kahit kadalasan ay salat sa kabuhayan ang gantimpala ay napakalaki naman lalo na ‘pag may mga naging matagumpay sa tinuruan na bunga ng pagpupunyagi,” said Mr. Barba.

With this year’s theme, “Gurong Pilipino: Turo Mo, Kinabukasan Ko”, the celebration aims to honor those in the teaching profession, acknowledge their loyal service and commitment in developing globally-minded citizens, nurturing families, strengthening communities and building a nation.

In Ilocos Norte, the fun-filled activity hopes to revitalize the image of and respect for teaching as a vocation through public awareness on the value of teachers and their role in the society.

Ilocos Norte execs report millions more in damages from Mangkhut

Ilocos Norte-Apayao Road

By Dominic B. dela Cruz
Staff reporter

San Nicolas, Ilocos Norte—The Dept. of Public Works and Highways 2nd Engineering District and local government units reported more damages sustained in their respective areas from typhoon Mangkhut (Ompong).

DPWH second engineering district engineer Mathias Malenab said they are still receiving reports of more damages in infrastructures.

As of press time, Mr. Malenab reported initial damages ranging from PHP700-800 million. He added that subsequent reports may increase the damages to PHP900 million.

He, however, emphasized that they will conduct a re-inspection of the damages whether they were just aggravated by previous typhoons and the weeklong monsoon rains.

The DPWH II reported estimate damages of at least PHP74 million in national roads from the monsoon rains.
Bungcag, Dingras, Ilocos Norte

Mangkhut, meanwhile, damaged flood control projects, school buildings, bridge approaches, and eroded earth banks, according to the engineer.

Dingras, Ilocos Norte
He also disclosed that they reported only PHP504 million in damages to President Rodrigo R. Duterte during his visit to the province a day after the typhoon lashed Ilocos Norte.

P168M damages in LC
In Laoag City, agriculture officer Marilyn Martin said they incurred an estimated PHP151 million damages for crops, livestock, fishery and including the roof of the city breeding station.

While infrastructure damages reached at least PHP17 million. These include government buildings and schools.

City social welfare and development officer Aurora Corpuz, meanwhile, reported that the typhoon affected all the 80 barangays in the city.

Ms. Corpuz said 13,531 families or 60,371 persons were affected; with 348 totally damaged houses and 3,719 partially damaged houses.

All the 17 centers and schools used as evacuation centers accommodated all families affected.

Reports showed that the city government evacuated at least 437 families.

The city government began distributing relief goods as soon as the typhoon subsided, which continued until they covered all of the city’s 80 barangays.

P30M agri damages in Batac City
IN Batac City, despite the strong winds and heavy rains, Mayor Albert D. Chua was thankful they suffered no fatality.

However, Mr. Chua reported that the typhoon damaged two to four thousand hectares of agricultural crops. He estimated the agricultural damages at PHP30 million.

Reports showed the city government evacuated at least 2,000 persons, or 400 families.

Barangay halls, schools and the City Hall served as evacuation centers.