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Showing posts from February, 2021

Only accredited traders can buy, sell hogs in Ilocos Norte

By Leilanie G. Adriano  (Staff Reporter) LAOAG CITY—The province of Ilocos Norte has intensified its efforts to protect the province from African swine fever (ASF) by requiring hogs and chicken suppliers to register with the Provincial Veterinary Office (PVO) here. Sangguniang Panlalawigan member Domingo Ambrocio, chair of the committee on agriculture, said the move is meant to keep the province protected from the highly infectious and contagious disease that has been affecting the hog industry since it entered the country in August 2019. As one of the three remaining provinces in mainland Luzon that is free from the viral disease, Ambrocio said there is a need to implement more stringent measures and help stabilize exorbitant pork prices. " Viajeros [traders] and their partner buyers shall be both responsible for anything related to each and every hog shipment. Both partner and viajero , when found in violation of any or part of the ordinance, or any guidelines and pro

Ilocos Norte Sangguniang Panlalawigan on lockdown

By Leilanie G. Adriano  (Staff Reporter) LAOAG CITY – The offices of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan were placed on lockdown effective Feb. 22, 2021 as its more than 100 employees and officials underwent reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test. Dr. Josephine Ruedas, Ilocos Norte provincial health officer, in a telephone interview, said these employees are considered “primary contacts” of one of the secretaries of a provincial board member who was confirmed positive for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) on Feb. 20, 2021. “Should they test negative or not, all of them have to complete the 14-day quarantine period,” Ruedas said, noting the life-saving importance of self-quarantine when a person was exposed to a person who contracted the virus. It was learned that IN-C767, a 62-year-old provincial government employee from Brgy. 29, Santo Tomas this city, was previously exposed to IN-C759, who is her daughter-in-law. Both patients are symptomatic and current

Asenso Pilipinas upskills more than 10,000 students, public officials

Over 10,000 public officials and students across the Philippines participated today in Microsoft Philippines’ largest-ever public sector cloud summit to date, " Asenso Pilipinas : Building Digital Resilience”. The Feb. 2, 2021 gathering aimed to enable stakeholders across the Philippine government and broader public sector to accelerate digital transformation on a national scale. These support the Philippine government’s ambitions to reignite economic growth in 2021 and beyond and return the Philippines to the ranks of high growth developing economies. "We confront the same challenges in 2021 that we did 2020,” said Microsoft Philippines Country General Manager Andres Ortola. “Management of the COVID-19 public health crisis will drive daily agendas for months to come. Meanwhile, as access to vaccines becomes more prevalent, the transition to economic recovery will be the top concern for governments across the world, including the Philippines. We at Microsoft seek to serv

‘Malasakit Center’ opens in Ilocos Norte

  Unveiling of the Malasakit Center By Leilanie G. Adriano  (Staff Reporter) LAOAG CITY—A one-stop shop “Malasakit Center” for patients in need of medical and financial assistance is now open at the Governor Roque B. Ablan Sr. Memorial Hospital, or more popularly known as the provincial hospital, to ensure that government health services should be accessible for all Filipinos. With an initial fund of PHP5 million, with the check personally turned over to Ilocos Norte Governor Matthew Joseph M. Manotoc by Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong" Go and his party who arrived in the city for the launching of the country’s 101 st “Malasakit Center”. “ Ang requirement lang po dito sa ‘Malasakit Center’ ay basta Pilipino ka. Walang pinipili ang center na ito ,” Go remarked. “ Kami po ay nandito upang makapagbigay ng kaunting tulong sa mga pasiente. At kung may pasiente kayo na hindi kayang operahan sa inyong hospital , willing kaming tumulong sa Maynila pati pamasahe ay sasagut

96.7% of deposit accounts nationwide fully protected by deposit insurance

As more savers opt to keep their money in banks, more deposit accounts in the Philippine banking system continue to benefit from deposit insurance provided by the Philippine Deposit Insurance Corporation (PDIC) up to the maximum deposit insurance coverage (MDIC) of PhP500,000 per depositor per bank. Latest data released by the state deposit insurer showed that as of September 30, 2020, 96.7%--or 76.1 million—of the 78.7 million total deposit accounts maintained in 537 banks nationwide are fully insured by PDIC. The total number of fully insured accounts was 11.8% more compared to the 68.1 million recorded in the same period in 2019. In terms of amount, 11.6% or PHP1.7 trillion of the PHP14.3 trillion total deposits is fully covered by deposit insurance and represents an increase of 11.3% from the PHP1.5 trillion insured deposits in the same period in 2019. The PDIC reported that the double-digit growth in the number of fully insured accounts year-on-year mirrored the double-digit

USAID, RMN partner to promote marine conservation in the Visayan Sea

(From left) Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Region 6 Regional Director and Lead Convenor for Fisheries Management Area 11 Remia Aparri, Acting USAID Environment Office Director Paul Seong, USAID Fish Right Program Chief of Party Nygiel Armada, RMN Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Erika Sanchez, and RMN Chairman and President Eric Canoy formally launch the USAID-RMN partnership on marine conservation. Manila —The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Radio Mindanao Network (RMN) Foundation formalized a media partnership to promote marine conservation in the Philippines.   The partnership will target coastal communities that rely on radio as a source of information and entertainment in the Visayan region, the country’s seafood capital and home to more than 140,000 small-scale fishers.   USAID, through its Fish Right project, and RMN, will produce and distribute messages on biodiversity conservation and sustainable fisheries manag

Red Cross lauds Laoag resort’s blood-letting initiative

Zyrill Ianna Pauline D. Pe Benito, Ph.D., Ed.D.  (Contributor) Saving lives amid the pandemic. A mobile bloodletting activity was held recently at Brgy 38-A Mangato East in Laoag City upon the initiative of Paraiso ni Aniben, a resort located in the said barangay. The activity, carried out with the Philippine Red Cross-Ilocos Norte (PRC-IN) chapter and barangay officials, was coordinated by Mr. and Mrs. Michael P. Pe Benito. Edna Orcino, chapter administrator, expressed joy that in the middle of the pandemic, blood donation efforts continue with the strict observance of Covid-19 protocols. “Our desire to help should be over and above our fears,” Orcino stressed. She considered it heartwarming that private citizens, like the management and staff of Paraiso ni Aniben, “unselfishly take the lead in recruiting and gathering volunteers in order to maximize community participation.” From the activity, a total of 46 bags equivalent to 20,700 ml were collected. From the targeted 5,000

LANDBANK opens new Agri-Hub in Sta. Maria, Ilocos Sur

STA. MARIA, Ilocos Sur—State-run Land Bank of the Philippines (LANDBANK) opened its first “Agri-Hub” in this province, the LANDBANK Sta. Maria Agri-Hub, on January 15, 2021. The LANDBANK Sta. Maria Agri-Hub will provide financial and technical services to the Bank’s clients, especially to more than 10,000 farmers and fisherfolk in the municipalities of Sta. Maria, Burgos, and San Esteban. LANDBANK’s “Agri-Hubs” are strategically located in the top rice-producing provinces in the country and designed to provide a wide array of services. This includes banking services such as account opening, withdrawals, and check encashments; lending services such as the processing of loan applications; and agrarian services such as processing of AR bonds and handling of agrarian-related concerns from landowners, bondholders, and Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries (ARBs). The LANDBANK Sta. Maria Agri-Hub will also offer LANDBANK’s various digital banking platforms, including the digital onboarding sys

MMMHMC welcomes moms, babies to new milk bank

HUMAN MILK BANK. The medical personnel of the human milk bank of Mariano Marcos Memorial Hospital and Medical Center processes a 10-liter donated human milk on Dec. 28, 2020. The first of its kind in the Ilocos region, the facility is established for the purpose of ensuring that babies, particularly those born prematurely and are undernourished, will have immediate access to breast milk. Photo courtesy of Mariano Marcos Memorial Hospital and Medical Center. City of BATAC—Newborn babies here will no longer lack of safe breast milk as the first human milk bank (HMB) in Ilocos Region is now open in the biggest public hospital in Ilocos Norte. More than two years in the making, the HMB in Mariano Marcos Memorial Hospital and Medical Center (MMMH&MC) here was established to aid in the nutrition and protection of babies especially those who are born prematurely and undernourished. In a country often plagued by natural disasters, HMBs also play a vital role in ensuring that babies

First youth fellowship program for democracy in PH opens

Young Filipinos intending to have a positive impact in their communities are invited to apply By Bernardo B. Ver II  (Contributor) Applications are now being accepted for the Youth Leadership for Democracy (YouthLed)’s 2021 Leadership and Democracy (LEAD) Fellowship, a first-of-its-kind program aiming to empower youth for civic participation and democratic governance. Thirty youth leaders, ages 18-30, are targeted to participate in a series of leadership and skills development activities, real-world application training, and network-building engagements spread out from May 2021 to March 2023. “We are looking for youth leaders from diverse backgrounds, particularly those who are active members of a private, public, civil society organization, educational institution, and community organization. We need champions of civic engagement, democratic participation, and activities for the benefit of the community. The program is completely free” says Ching Jorge, Chief of Party, Youth

Vintar still has no 2021 annual budget

Vintar municipal health officer Dr. Heidi Albano (standing, right) speaks to the members of the Sangguniang Bayan presided over by Vintar vice mayor Amado Victor Racimo (seated, left) on the Jan. 18, 2021 regular session regarding the plan of the said municipality for the procurement of COVID-19 vaccine. (Doms dela Cruz) By Dominic B. dela Cruz  (Staff Reporter) Vintar , Ilocos Norte—Of the 23 local government units (LGUs) in the province, Vintar is still among those few which has yet to pass its 2021 annual budget. In an interview with Vintar Sangguniang Bayan member Arlene Ruadap, she disclosed that the proposed budget of said municipality for CY 2021 was still under review due to lack of documents needed and they are still incorporating additional items. In the proposed budget, Ruadap, who chairs the committee on finance and appropriations, said the municipality of Vintar deemed it proper to incorporate financial assistance for the transport sector, like the tricycle and jeepn

Imee: Importation may kill local pork industry faster than ASF

By Bernardo B. Ver II  (Contributor) Senator Ma. Imelda Josefa “Imee” R. Marcos has called on the government to prevent pork importers from taking over local market supply and pushing Filipino producers out of business. “The slaughter of our local hog raisers will begin if the Department of Agriculture (DA) executes its plan to raise the minimum access volume of pork imports by as much as three times the present 54,000 metric tons,” Marcos said. “The DA may be overcompensating in its rush to increase imports to reduce consumer prices. It may deal the coup de grace to our pork industry before Vietnam could release a vaccine against African swine fever (ASF) later this year,” she added. Marcos, who chairs the Senate committee on economic affairs, said the DA should instead speed up its investigation into the hoarding of pork products that may be causing an artificial hike in market prices amid the spread of ASF, particularly in Luzon. “Many local hog raisers have already shut

Pagudpud villagers find, release another green sea turtle

By Leilanie G. Adriano ( Staff Reporter) Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte—Coastal villagers at Brgy. Caparispisan, this town, cheered with glee as they watched a female green sea turtle measuring 102 centimeters long and 97 centimeters wide crawl its way to the sea on Jan. 14, 2021. Henelyn Alterado, president of the lifeguard association in this town said in a phone interview that a fisherman spotted the green sea turtle nestling in a beach front owned by the family of Pagudpud mayor Rafael Benemerito at about 3:00 am on Jan. 14, 2021. "The fisherman immediately reported what he saw to a village chief tanod and relayed it immediately to local authorities,” said Alterado who is also an active member of the Pagudpud Pawikan Conservation Group. Following the conduct of a training on Pawikan conservation, Alterado said more and more villagers are now becoming more aware of their responsibilities towards nature particularly on saving these endangered species. Since November last year,

DepEd fetes Ilocos Norte dad

  By Bernardo B. Ver II (Contributor) LAOAG CITY—Sangguniang Panlalawigan member Saul Paulo A. Lazo received a plaque of appreciation for his “invaluable assistance and generous support” from the Department of Education-Division of Ilocos Norte on January 7, 2020. Lazo is one of the recipients from the provincial government who supported the education sector. He is also provincial board’s education committee chairperson. The stakeholders in the education sector are helping DepEd in “building quality education in the new modalities of learning in today’s academic challenges”. According to senior education program specialist Valerie Talamayan, the distinctions are an aspect of the “partnership appreciation” program as a “sign of gratitude in attaining excellence in education”.

Laoag City council appeals to COA to open padlocked CTO office

  By Dominic B. dela Cruz ( Staff Reporter) Laoag City —In line with the PHP85.4 missing money form the city government’s coffers, the Sangguniang Panlungsod here appealed to the Commission on Audit (COA) to open the padlocked office of former city government treasurer Elena Asuncion, who has since absconded. All council members present during a regular session unanimously approved the resolution for an inventory of the city government properties at the said office; and preserve those which needs to be preserved and to allow the use of the said office space by the city government in a manner the city deems appropriate. Laoag councilor Juan Conrado Respicio, who moved for the resolution’s approval, said that in June 2016, Asuncion absconded, which led to the discovery of the loss of more or less PHP85.4 million in taxpayers’ money of the city. After the discovery of the missing funds, Respicio said COA padlocked the office, and has remains so until now. Relative to this, he sa

DOT oks P7M for PCR tests for tourism workers

  By Leilanie G. Adriano ( Staff Reporter) LAOAG CITY—To boost the confidence of tourists to travel again, the Tourism Promotions Board of the Philippines, the marketing and promotions arm of the Department of Tourism (DOT) has approved PHP7 million for the RT-PCR (reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction) testing of tourism workers in the province. Covering at least 2,000 DOT-accredited tourism workers composed of tour guides, driver-guides, hotel and restaurant workers among others, RT-PCR testing bearing negative result is required before they can mingle with pre-registered tourists visiting Ilocos Norte. Xavier Ruiz, tourism operations officer II of the Ilocos Norte Tourism Office said they were able to secure the fund since November last year as they were supposed to roll out the free RT-PCR testing of tourism workers in December if for the rise cases of COVID-19, mostly in this city. “The free RT-PCR tests of tourism workers is meant to lessen the burden of tourism