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Showing posts from October, 2020

Pagudpud opens resort for drug reformists

  By Leilanie G. Adriano  (Staff Reporter) Pagudpud , Ilocos Norte—A beach resort at Brgy.   Burayoc in this town was officially opened on Sept. 30, 2020 to temporary house former drug dependents. In a simple program during the opening and blessing of the “Kanlungan ni Kuya”, a two-story building with a beach front, overlooking the West Philippine Sea,   Pagudpud mayor Rafael Ralph Benemerito II hopes the facility will be put into good use through the active participation of the 36 former drug surrenderers who will be housed in the area for at least 30 days under the watch of the local government unit and the Philippine National Police in Pagudpud town. “I hope that they will become productive during their stay here as guests,” he said. The “Bahay Silangan”, locally known as “Kanlungan ni Kuya" is a reformation center for Pagudpud residents who had been victims of drug abuse. The program offers values formation and livelihood opportunities which are meant to empower them a

Laoag dad proposes CCTV coverage expansion

  By Dominic B. dela Cruz  (Staff Reporter) Laoag City —To ensure the safety, security and well-being of every citizen, Laoag councilor Jason Bader Perera authored a measure amending city ordinance No. 019 series of 2009 on the installation of closed-circuit television (CCTV) system for business establishments in this city. Mr. Perera presented his proposed ordinance for second reading expanding the coverage in the application, requirements for a minimum specifications, number and location to be installed and regulating the examination, duplication and recording of CCTV footages. He added that the purpose of the ordinance will not only to deter crimes but to aid in the investigation of any “contestable act”, however several establishments refuse to let their CCTV be examined to give a duplicate copy which defeats the very purpose of the CCTV ordinance. With the help of CCTV systems, numerous criminal activities and accidental occurrences were captured and this could be of gre

Strong and Free at 63

The Ilocos Times marks this month its 63rd Anniversary as a bastion of the free press in Northern Philippines. Community newspapers here and elsewhere have come and gone but this paper has endured the test of time, and while it ceased printing for a couple of months at the height of the quarantine, it continued to serve the public through its Facebook Page, website, and blog. On this occasion, I remember with gratitude and affection my dear friend Steve Barreiro who risked life and limb with his exposés and scathing commentaries. The man behind  “ In and Out”  always fought for what was just and right . Ironically justice continues to elude him for the murder that sent him out of this temporal world and into the Great Beyond. Out too early, Steve lingers in the minds and hearts of fans, and that includes me at the forefront. We all miss his spunk. Then there’s Michael Esmino, the brilliant managing editor who is the paper’s journalistic mind silently working in the background. A r

LGUs reduce market stall rentals

By Dominic B. dela Cruz  (Staff Reporter) Laoag City —As the novel coronavirus pandemic rages on, local government units in Laoag, Batac and San Nicolas offered discounts to their respective public market rentals. In this city, the Sangguniang Panlungsod here passed an ordinance that grants 30 percent discount in rentals, including surcharges and penalties, for lessors at the Laoag City Public Market and Commercial Complex who are categorized as “non-essential goods” businesses. These non-essential goods businesses were earlier restricted to open by the national government during the enhanced community quarantine that lasted from March to May, 2020. As a result, these businesses are still trying to cope and mitigate the economic and financial fall-out from the two-month strict lockdown, wherein only those essential businesses were allowed to operate. Laoag councilor Justine Clarence Chua, who authored the ordinance, said the grant will begin immediately upon approval of Laoag

PGIN, ‘Arkila’ to hire displaced PUV drivers

  Laoag City —The provincial government of Ilocos Norte (PGIN) and "Arkila," a local delivery service provider, have collaborated to employ displaced public utility vehicle (PUV) drivers as delivery riders to service customers in various parts of the province. According to Atty. Nikki Pilar, Metro Ilocos Norte Council (MINC) project head, the provincial government has been creating COVID-19 recovery projects to alleviate the condition of the stakeholders in the public transportation sector. “One way to safeguard the livelihood of our affected PUV drivers is working with delivery entities since 50% of the transportation sector is only allowed to operate in the province. We contacted Arkila, the first delivery service provider that showed interest to our ‘IN BUYanihan Recovery Program’, to partner with the hiring of displaced drivers,” she remarked. Five driver-riders were already hired, with beneficiaries targeted at 50. They will follow a rotational shift in deliverin

Ilocos Norte adopts ‘SafePass’ app to manage Covid-19

  By Leilanie G. Adriano ( Staff Reporter) LAOAG CITY—As the province of Ilocos Norte relaxes its borders to tourists and returning residents, the provincial government of Ilocos Norte is urging all its residents and visitors to adopt the use of the “SafePass” app to manage COVID-19 cases. Instead of scanning piles of logbook and reviewing CCTV footages for contract-tracing purposes, “SafePass” is a digital incident mitigation and management system developed to address COVID-19 safety protocols, and now has free versions that can be used by anyone from anywhere. In a three-page Executive Order, which Ilocos Norte Governor Matthew Joseph M. Manotoc issued on Oct. 21, 2020, the governor said there is a need to adopt SafePass to minimize the adverse effects of COVID-19. According to Wilfredo Lorenzo Jr, the provincial government’s information technology department officer-in-charge, he said that starting October 21, 2020 all Capitol employees will use the “SafePass” app when ent

Chinese consul visits Ilocos Norte border personnel

Pagudpud , Ilocos Norte—Officials of the Chinese Consulate in Ilocos Norte, headed by consul Zhou Youbin, visited the northern provincial border in this town and gave border personnel meals and face masks on October 1, 2020. In time for the Mooncake Festival, the time of the year the moon is at its fullest that symbolizes reunion, the consulate also offered mooncakes. Likewise, October 1 marked the 71 st anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China. "We are proud to support brave Ilokano frontline workers. I would like to extend our deepest respect to all police, soldiers, medical workers, firemen, and local officials. Thank you for your selfless service to protect the whole community,” Mr. Zhou said. "We value the longstanding friendship between Filipinos and Chinese. Together, we will finally win the battle against the virus. Wish everyone a Happy Mooncake Festival," he added. Since the onset of the pandemic, Ilocos Norte's Chinese consula

Imee: Rescue local rice farmers struggling with imports

  By Bernardo B. Ver II  (Contributor) Senator Ma. Imelda Josefa “Imee” R. Marcos is urging the government to put off rice importation until after the peak of the wet season harvest this October, so that farmers can recover from farmgate prices being kept low by rice traders. Ms. Marcos, who chairs the Senate committee on economic affairs, warned that farmgate prices of palay may again plunge from the present PHP12 to PHP15 per kilo to PHP7 to PHP8, as it did last year when rice imports caused an oversupply and dragged down prices. “Importation does not mean the end of all regulation,” Ms. Marcos noted. “Scheduling importation is one way of helping our local rice farmers while the rice tariffication law remains in place,” she explained further. The senator also urged the Bureau of Customs to “go a step further” after it exposed rice traders who mis-declared and undervalued their imports last year by more than PHP1 billion. “Beyond collecting deficient payments on import

‘Smart kids’ in Ilocos Norte get cash award

By Leilanie G. Adriano  (Staff Reporter) LAOAG CITY—Young achievers in the province of Ilocos Norte received their cash stipend in a simple ceremony held at the Ilocos Norte Centennial Arena. Running for nine years now, the Provincial Capitol workers’ children who are performing well in school get cash reward from the provincial government of Ilocos Norte. According to human resource management officer Fe Siazon, this year’s 52 beneficiaries have increased compared to previous years which ranges from 20 to 30. The beneficiaries graduated in elementary, senior high school and college on top of their classes and each of them received PHP6,000 cash reward. For a parent like Lyn Marie Asuncion from Laoag City, she said she is grateful to the provincial government under the administration of Ilocos Norte Governor Matthew Joseph M. Manotoc for inspiring more government workers and rewarding their children who do well in school. “The cash incentive is a great boost to our childr

Imee: Why are we import-crazy?

Senator Ma. Imelda Josefa “Imee” R. Marcos said the government must help local livestock raisers become more price-competitive to survive the surge of imports that make up more than half of the poultry and pork products in the market. “Stop the importation madness. Filipinos first!” Ms. Marcos stressed. The neophyte senator, who chairs the Senate committee on economic affairs, cited the August inventory of the National Meat Inspection Service (NMIS) that showed imports making up 81% of the 43,124 kilos of frozen pork surveyed in the market. The NMIS inventory also showed that imported dressed chicken made up 58% of the total 60,810 kilos surveyed. Ms. Marcos said the high volume of imported poultry products and their lower market prices were making the situation worse for local raisers who are already hurting from the sudden slash in market demand due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Domestic demand for local pork and chicken has dwindled among food companies, hotels and restaurant

Smart GIGA Study expands e-Learning offers with Canvas and NEO LMS

  Manila—PLDT Enterprise, together with Smart Communications, Inc., has recently expanded the Smart Giga Study data pack by offering access to both Canvas and NEO Learning Management Systems (LMS) to cater to the current e-learning requirements of schools and universities nationwide.  “With e-Learning being the new norm, we want to help our students and teachers remain productive at home by providing the necessary tools they need for online education," said Jovy Hernandez, ePLDT President & CEO and SVP & Head for PLDT and Smart Enterprise Business Groups. “We at PLDT Enterprise are committed to onboarding more LMS platforms for us to assist and serve more schools, more teachers, and more students in making their e-learning efforts easier.” Smart Giga Study is PLDT Enterprise's academe-centric solution to the current need for online learning. It is a prepaid data pack specifically geared towards students and members of the academe allowing easier access to a selec

More health personnel undergo training to improve Ilocos Norte’s testing capability

Laoag City —Medical technologists and nurses assigned in several local government units in Ilocos Norte underwent a capacity-building training on September 24, 2020 to scale-up the province's testing capacity as part of its coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) response.   Held at the Provincial Capitol Auditorium, the training was a joint initiative of the Task Force Salun-at and the Mariano Marcos Memorial Hospital and Medical Center (MMMH&MC).   According to Dr. Modesty A. Leaño, head of MMMH&MC’s molecular biology laboratory MC, the training aims to empower city and municipal health offices in conducting the proper procedure in collecting, packaging, and transporting of COVID-19 specimen.   “The goal of the Task Force Salun-at and MMMH&MC is for all persons involved in contact tracing, the locally stranded individuals [LSIs], and the Returning Overseas Filipinos are subject to prompt, proper, and timely testing. Importante ang proper collection [of swab sampl

Planned Ilocos Norte agri-fisheries extension center to boost farming practices

  Laoag City —As one of the five pilot provinces in the Philippines to lead the Department of Agriculture’s synergized agriculture and fisheries extension services, Ilocos Norte has started building its three-story research and extension center to boost local farming practices. On September 10, 2020, Ilocos Norte Governor Matthew Joseph M. Manotoc led the groundbreaking ceremony of the construction of the Ilocos Norte Agriculture and Fisheries Extension System (INAFES) at the Provincial Agriculture Compound in Laoag City. "After devolution, naging fragmented na ang agriculture extension services natin. Kaya naisipan naming i -collate lahat ng efforts, skills, at resources upang mabigyan ng mas mabisang solusyon ang mga problema ng mga magsasaka at mangingisda ," provincial agriculturist Norma Lagmay shared during the press briefing at Sangguniang Panlalawigan Hall, on September 24, 2020. Accordingly, the provincial government will apply a participatory rapid appra

Ilocos Norte cemeteries close from Oct 29-Nov 4

  Laoag City cemetery clean-up. Laoag City police station personnel and officials and BPATS of Brgys. 1, 2, 3, 58, 57 and 30B conduct a clean-up drive at the Laoag City north cemetery in preparation for the All Saints/Souls Days celebration. (Photo courtesy of PNP-Laoag) By Leilanie G. Adriano  (Staff Reporter) LAOAG CITY–Following the guidelines issued by the Inter-agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) on the observance of “undas”, a Filipino tradition of remembering the dead by going to the cemeteries and lighting up candles or offering prayers and flowers, Ilocos Norte Governor Matthew Joseph M. Manotoc retracted his earlier pronouncement, saying they will now close all public and private cemeteries in the province from Oct. 29 to Nov. 4, 2020. In his latest Executive Order No. 96-20 posted on the evening of Oct. 8, 2o20 in the official social media page of the provincial government of Ilocos Norte, the governor said visiting hours fo

Manotoc asks to prioritize families, livelihoods as Region I reopens tourism

Laoag City —“When we discuss tourism, it's not the economy and visitors but more so the families and livelihoods that rely on this powerhouse of an industry. Let us make sure that we prioritize the people behind this dear industry and make sure that they are the ones that benefit the most from this reopening." Ilocos Norte Governor Matthew Joseph M. Manotoc urged during the launching of the “Ridge and Reef Travel Corridor” at the Baguio Convention Center on September 22, 2020. National and regional tourism chiefs, Region I local chief executives, heads of tourism councils, and presidents of tourism organizations spearheaded the "Ridge and Reef" launch, alongside presenting available itineraries and local products. Meanwhile, the Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat, reiterated that the previous memorandum of agreement signing aimed to foster the establishment of green lanes for tourists and promote safe travel and seamless interconnectivity of land voyage,

PUJ drivers receive aid thru MINC’s ‘cash-for-work’ project

  Laoag City —The Provincial Government of Ilocos Norte (PGIN), through the Metro Ilocos Norte Council (MINC), has started the distribution of cash assistance to public utility jeepney (PUJ) drivers who were displaced during the suspension of public transportation services under the Luzon-wide Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) on August 27, 2020. The provincial government provided PHP1,275 to 297 recipients out of 995 PUJ drivers in exchange for clearing drainages, unclogging canal systems, and cleaning the surroundings in their respective municipalities. “ Itong cash-for-work program namin ay in partnership with the Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office at Environment and Natural Resources Office. Ang first batch ng recipients natin ay ang mga naunang nakapagpasa ng mga dokumento. Nauna na ang mga Jeepney Operators and Drivers Associations na may ruta dito sa Laoag City, Pasuquin, Bacarra at San Nicolas,” Lauren Eman Bayangos, MINC personnel, said. Eddie Aquin

From learner to teacher: How Mandarin changes a young Ilokana's life

  By Ma. Joreina Therese A. Blanco  (Contributor)  “We must be willing to let go of the life we planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us.” This is one of the quotes about life that Melody Allado from Paoay, Ilocos Norte held on to as the opportunity to study in the People's Republic of China came knocking at her door in the year 2016. She was a high school student back then, but a great destiny is already ahead of her. The Chinese Consulate in Laoag, an embassy of China located in Laoag City, set up an academic scholarship to support local students to study in China. Through the help of the local government, the embassy scouted for outstanding candidates who are fit to study in one of the largest countries. Through the help of her friends and her Mandarin teacher at Paoay National High School, Melody went beyond her comfort zones and willing to let go of a planned life for a life that is something bigger than her. “With the encouragement of my good frien

Laoag City voter registration reopens

By Dominic B. dela Cruz ( Staff Reporter) Laoag City —The city’s Commission on Election (Comelec) office is now open for voter’s registration starting on September 1, 2020 onwards. The elections office is open from 8:00 am to 3:00 pm. City elections officer Atty. Julius Balbas announced that the filing of applications for registration start on Tuesdays thru Saturdays without satellite voter’s registration. He added that applicants must be 18 years old on or before May 2022 election period. He also stated that the elections office will also accept transfer and corrections of records application. Transferees should bring with them their identification cards or certification from their present barangay where they are staying; while new applicants should bring with them birth certificates and valid IDs. The elections officer also advised applicants to bring with them their application form, which they can download at ; applicants, however should be fill out t

LCGH execs deny bankruptcy issue

  By Dominic B. dela Cruz ( Staff Reporter) Laoag City —Laoag City General Hospital (LCGH) officials strongly denied allegations that the hospital is on the “verge of bankruptcy”. In a press conference held October 1, 2o20 at the LCGH, chief of clinics Dr. Mary Ann Yasay-Luis and hospital administrator Dr. Elizer Asuncion presented the accounts payable of the hospital since June 2011 to June 2019, in the amount of PHP78 million. The debt is to hospital suppliers. The longtime LCGH administrator said the new administration “unluckily inherited” these payables. He added “it’s not easy to manage the hospital without fund available on its day-to-day operation, however, the operation of the hospital must continue to operate in order to serve the people who are in need of medical assistance”. Mr. Asuncion also pointed out that when the new city administration assumed the reins of power, LCGH was already living akin to “ isang kahig, isang tuka ” existence. Due to the PHP78 millio