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Showing posts from November, 2020

Imee: Hold PUV modernization

  By Bernardo B. Ver II  (Contributor) Senator Ma, Imelda Josefa “Imee” R. Marcos said that economic, logistical, and health considerations should prod the Department of Transportation (DoTr) to indefinitely put its public utility vehicle (PUV) modernization program on hold and allow traditional jeepneys to resume operations. Ms. Marcos, who chairs the Senate committee on economic reforms, said the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has not only rendered most jeepney drivers jobless for the past seven months of community quarantine restrictions but has now made it impossible for them to afford modernized jeepneys with Euro-4 capability that cost PHP1.4 million to PHP2.2 million pesos each. The DoTr’s subsidies of PHP80,000 to buy a modernized jeepney and an extra PHP5,000 for gas were clearly insufficient, Ms. Marcos pointed out. The senator added that the short supply of modernized jeepneys for less than 5% of about 170,000 jeepney drivers, the lack of social welfar

MMK’s gift

It was bound to happen. Laoag City now has the highest incidence of COVID-19 cases in Ilocos Norte. It also has, as I write this, the highest number of active cases, making up 74 percent of total infections in the province. As a capital city with the biggest and most dense population, this was not unexpected at all. Last November 14, 2020 alone, 14 new cases were announced, all from Sitio Dungtal in Brgy. 23. It was a record high, not only for Laoag City but for the entire Ilocos Norte province. In the middle of this spike in cases, Laoag applied a new measure: home isolation now in place for COVID-19 patients in Brgy. 23 and also in Brgy. 5. As with anything that is new, home isolation was met by people with apprehension and fear. Some were understandably wary about having COVID-19 patients a stone’s throw away from their own homes, not least because the enemy is unseen, and they would embrace paranoia with arms wide open if that is the best way to be safe. I myself was surpr

BDO Network Bank continues with education support programs amid pandemic

CONTINUING EDUCATION SUPPORT PROGRAMS AMID PANDEMIC. BDO Unibank donated nearly PHP3 million-worth of protective supplies, online learning tools, and other school materials to more than 1,100 public schools nationwide as part of its corporate social responsibility programs supporting public schools. Receiving the items are (left) Mr. Pepito Cagunot, assistant principal and (middle) Dr. Ruben Opeňa, principal IV of Nagpayong Elementary School. Representing BDO Network Bank-Salary Loans Group is Mr. Sonny Agapito, regional sales head-NCR. Despite challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, BDO Network Bank (BDONB) pushed through with its corporate social responsibility programs supporting public schools. The rural banking arm of BDO Unibank donated nearly P3 million-worth of protective supplies, online learning tools, and other school materials to more than 1,100 public schools nationwide. The programs, namely the Brigada Eskwela & Balik-Eskwela (DepEd initiated activities supporte


  Laoag mayor Michael M. Keon personally hands over a PHP100,000 check to Reymunda Raras of Brgy. Gabu Norte on Oct. 26, 2020 at her residence. The check is the city government’s incentive for Nana Reymunda as she turned 100 on Sept. 11, 2020. The centenarian has five children with multiple grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Joining them during the handover is Brgy. Gabu Norte chairperson Rodel Legaspi, CSWD officer Perlita Cabello and BASCA president Jovito Sablay. ( Alwin Formantes photo)

Batac proposes P735M budget for 2021

  Batac mayor Albert D. Chua leads the distribution of 161 goats to farmers affected by typhoon “Ompong” as part of the city's rehabilitation program for affected farmers in cooperation with the Dept. of Agriculture regional field unit I. (CMO Batac photo) By Dominic B. dela Cruz  (Staff Reporter) City of Batac —The city government executive branch here has proposed an allocation of PHP735,688,227.36 annual budget for 2021. The budget proposal is at least PHP1 million short compared to this year’s budget of PHP736,647,586.14. The Sangguniang Panlungsod here is already tackling the budget proposal. During their October 26, 2020 session, the budget proposal was on its first reading and was referred to committee of the whole in preparation for budget hearings. Based on the budget message of Batac mayor Albert D. Chua, the proposed allocation breakdown is PHP73,114,406.36 for the beginning balance; PHP630,883,521.00 for general fund; and PHP31,690,300.00 for economic enterp

PGIN creates COVID-19 contact tracing center

  By Leilanie G. Adriano ( Staff Reporter) LAOAG CITY—A proposed coffee room at the west wing of the Ilocos Norte Capitol building was converted to a contact tracing operation center with at least five dedicated personnel to further improve the provincial health task force’s coronavirus disease 2o19 (COVID-19) contact tracing efforts. Equipped with three computers and a life-size projector, the provincial government officially inaugurated the Contact Tracing Operation Center on October 27, 2020 to process data of the contact-traced individuals. Catholic priest Rev. Father Ian Rabago blessed the center with provincial officials led by Ilocos Norte Governor Matthew Joseph M. Manotoc and other health personnel and contact tracers in attendance. Wildredo Lorenzo Jr., the provincial government’s information technology officer said in an interview, "the operation center will operate 24/7, and will collect and consolidate the contact tracing data gathered on the field."

Laoag quickly gives aid to fire victims

By Dominic B. dela Cruz  (Staff Reporter) Laoag City —Mayor Michael M. Keon and the city social welfare and development office (CSWDO) personally visited the families of Mrs. Fe Cadelinia and Mrs. Anita Ventura of Brgy. Dibua South this city immediately after a fire incident on November 5, 2020. Reports said the houses of Mmes. Cadelinia and Ventura were totally damaged by the fire; while the house of Ofelia Cadelinia, located near them, was partially damaged. In an interview with Mrs. Ventura, she said all their belongings inside their house were all burned and they were unable to save anything. CSWDO officer-in-charge Perlita Cabello said each of the three families received food packs from the city government consisting of eight kilos of rice, 12 packs of noodles, 20 sachets of coffee, 12 cans of sardines and eight cans of corned beef. The CSWDO also gave additional food packs for each family: six kilos of rice, four cans of sardines, four cans of corned beef and five twin

Laoag council Oks new traffic code

By Dominic B. dela Cruz  (Staff Reporter) Laoag City —After a thorough study and a series of deferments, the Sangguniang Panlungsod has approved this city’s new traffic and order code. Laoag councilor Edison Bonoan thanked Laoag vice mayor and council presiding officer Vicentito M. Lazo for helping him in finalizing the ordinance as well as other council members who supported the measure. Mr. Bonoan, as the movant, noted that the ordinance applies to the operation of motorized vehicles—either private or public, animal-drawn vehicles and bicycles including electric bikes—and the conduct of pedestrians.   Traffic routes In the ordinance, the traffic route along Jose Rizal Street is designated as two-way street with parking not allowed on both sides. Likewise, the new code also designates “one way west bound”, “one way east bound”, “one way north bound” and “one way south bound” with their respective traffic signs. During peak hours, there will be “no left turn from” 7

COVID-19 slows Ilocos Norte’s multibillion infra projects

  By Leilanie G. Adriano  (Staff Reporter) LAOAG CITY—Three colossal projects in the province of Ilocos Norte are taking their tool in view of the ongoing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, which delays the delivery of equipment and construction materials including skilled laborers sourced by contractors as far as Manila and Pampanga. Assistant provincial engineer Lanie Daquioag confirmed this as she reported "there are some changes in the original plan and design." Known as the “Big 3” projects, the provincial engineering office said the on-going construction of the Provincial Capitol expansion building, reconstruction of the Dap-ayan Food Park, and the full rehabilitation of the President Ferdinand E. Marcos Memorial Stadium, all in the city of Laoag is only about 10 percent completed. Funded through a soft loan from the Development Bank of the Philippines during the last term of former governor and now senator Ma. Imelda Josefa “Imee" R. Marcos, t

Select Laoag tourism sites now open

Laoag City —Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the city government of Laoag has opened the Laoag sand dunes and Aurora Park for tourists. City tourism officer Ana Carmela Remigio made this announcement after the two sites’ closure for months when the city was under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ). In an executive order (EO) issued by Ilocos Norte Governor Mathew Joseph M. Manotoc, the province has re-opened tourism sites but only to the provinces in Region I and Baguio City under the “Ridge and Reef Travel Corridor” with a set of guidelines and facilities that support safe leisure travel starting October 1, 2020. It also states the need to revitalize the tourism sector and assist those who rely on it. For the sand dunes, Mrs. Remigio said operators are “on call” with the help and guidance of Laoag tour operators. In addition, the city tourism office has trying to innovate something to offer to tourists like the promotion of the Cataban Weavers Association products made of wate

Laoag City proposes lower 2021 budget

By Dominic B. dela Cruz  (Staff Reporter) Laoag City —The city government of Laoag has proposed PHP910,121,177.48 million annual budget for 2021, an amount lower compared to this year’s budget of PHP928,331,364.63, or a decrease of PHP18 million or 1.96 percent. The local finance committee said the proposed 2021 budget was a result of a “thorough study, review and evaluation” on the proposals of the different offices of the city government. According to the said committee, the decrease was due to the effects of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, which slowed collections on local sources since the national government declared a public health emergency in March 2020. The economy started to slow down as a result of the sudden closure of business establishments and other sources of income.    The budget was adopted using the mechanism of a participatory budgeting to “ensure prudent, transparent and accountable allocation and use of the public funds to improve the q

Father of the Philippine Army

  The officialdom of the City of Batac, headed by mayor Albert D. Chua commemorates the 154 th  birth anniversary of the “Father of the Philippine Army”, Gen. Artemio Ricarte. General Ricarte was born in Batac. ( CMO Batac photo)

New Batac police OIC

P/Lt. Col. Roger Digmayo pays a courtesy call at the SP session hall during a regular session on October 5, 2020 as the newly detailed OIC police chief of the city effective October 1, 2020. Mr. Digmayo said that he will focus on the national headquarters programs: anti-criminality on drugs, traffic accidents along national highways, enforcement of local ordinances and other programs and activities by the past chief of police. Batac vice mayor and council presiding officer Windell Chua asked Mr. Digmayo his full support in the implementation and campaign on the COVID-19 health protocols and in maintaining peace and order situation in the city. (oms Dela Cruz)

Ilocos Norte PDLs adopt composting, grow own food

  By Leilanie G. Adriano  (Staff Reporter) LAOAG CITY—Persons deprived of liberty (PDLs) at the Ilocos Norte Provincial Jail will soon have a stable source of fresh vegetables grown on a healthy soil which they themselves produce out of scraps from the kitchen. As a pilot site for household composting and community gardening project, at least 162 PDLs at the INPJ are currently being trained to turn their food wastes into organic soil. The organic soil comes from fermented food wastes mix with locally-available materials that helps in faster decomposition without foul odor. Using improvised bucket with tight cover and a faucet for draining purposes, food wastes are properly segregated so that these may no longer be transported to the city landfill which are becoming congested due to increasing waste production. During the launching of the household composting project, Estrella Sacro, chief of the provincial government’s environment and natural resources office said, “It is h

No fiesta in Batac this December

By Dominic B. dela Cruz  (Staff Reporter) City of Batac —Mayor Albert D. Chua announced that the city of Batac will not celebrate this year’s annual fiesta due to the continuing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Mr. Chua said the city government will strictly follow all the Inter Agency Task Force for Managing Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) guidelines all other agencies concerned on the pandemic. Among these, Mr. Chua said is the prohibition of gatherings which the fiesta would be. Other than the city fiesta, Mr. Chua added they will also not allow barangay fiestas this year until further announcement. Batac is among the province’s local government units which holds various programs and activities every December. Mr. Chua, however, disclosed that the city government may conduct gift-giving events in staggered basis during the Christmas season.

Batac asks PCIC to include mango growers in insurance

By Dominic B. dela Cruz  (Staff Reporter) City of Batac —The city government here has requested the Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation (PCIC) for the inclusion of mango growers in their insurance program. The city government said the insurance should cover damaged mango fruits caused by insect pests and diseases, and natural calamities. Reports showed that mango, which is considered to be the national fruit, is the third most important fruit crop in the country, next to banana and pineapple. The Philippines have lands and good climate that favor the cultivation of one of the best mango variety in the world—the Philippine Carabao Mango—and other indigenous and introduced varieties, strains and selections. It also shows that the country played an important role in the mango global market since 1980 with exports. Batac councilor Kichel Jomarie Pungtilan, who moved for its approval, said the city has around 181 farmers engaged in mango growing, where majority of them has a s

Laoag SK prexy to face raps at the Office of the President?

By Dominic B. dela Cruz  (Staff Reporter) Laoag City —The city’s Sangguniang Kabataan federation president and Sangguniang Panlungsod ex-officio member Anzhelyka Faye Lao expressed surprise on the issue of an alleged case filed against her at the Office of the President. Ms. Lao, in an interview during a regular session, said she does not know anything about any complaint filed against her at the Office of the President; she, however said she is aware of an administrative charge filed by Barangay 47 (Bengcag) SK chairperson Mary Diane Domingo. Ms. Domingo filed an administrative charge at the Office of the Sangguniang Panlungsod for “grave misconduct and gross inefficiency resulting to loss of confidence against Lao”.    The complaint stemmed from an event in November 2018 during a seminar, training, team-building session attended by all Laoag SK chairpersons, which the budget or funding was allegedly questioned. The complaint also indicated the alleged incompetence of Ms. La

Laoag council OKs priority lanes

By Dominic B. dela Cruz ( Staff Reporter) Laoag City —As the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic rages on, the Sangguniang Panlungsod here approved an ordinance providing priority lanes for differently abled persons (DAB), senior citizens (SC) and pregnant women in commercial establishments and government facilities. Laoag councilor Handy Lao said the ordinance aims to address reports that DABs, SCs and PWs are the people most adversely affected by the socio-economic situation; and they also encounter other barriers in entering public and private facilities. Mr. Lao, who authored the measure, stressed that these additional “barriers” for the said groups just add more burden to them, especially in these times. He noted that “giving compassion and respect to these marginalized sectors”, this should translate to giving them priority and express lanes in entering aforementioned establishments and facilities. Mr. Lao disclosed that establishments’ non-compliance with the

Sounding the alarm on suicide

Raising the alarm on the rising incidence of suicide in the province, a rise that is also observed almost everywhere in the planet, Ilocos Norte Governor Matthew M. Manotoc made an appeal for everyone “to lend a helping hand while we can… to look after all of those around us,” and mean it when we ask others, “ kumusta ka na ?” The multitude of difficulties brought by this pandemic has made life even more unbearable to those who are already suffering, mostly in silence. To me, this phenomenon is personal. I have seen the monster in the eye, and I know the feeling from both sides of the equation: as the lender of help, and also as its desperate recipient. Over 10 years ago, I would stare at an empty chair in a classroom where I taught, and, ridden with guilt, would ceaselessly ask myself if there was something I could have done to save a life. He was a college freshman from a small town. His classmates said they never noticed anything wrong with him. His parents likewise observed