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Thursday, June 28, 2007

Aklan provincial employees get pay hike too

Kalibo, Aklan –Aklan’s Provincial Capitol employees will enjoy a 10% pay hike too this July.

This, after members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan here, in their 19th regular session, unanimously approved Aklan Governor Carlito S. Marquez’ request for augmentation of appropriation in the annual budget of different offices for Personnel Services Savings in order to grant a 10% salary increase of the provincial employees.

The granting of the 10% salary increase was authorized by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo through Executive Order No. 611 authorizing compensation adjustments to government personnel.

Government employees had their last salary adjustment in 2001, or more than five years ago, notwithstanding periodic wage adjustments granted to the private sector and the continuous rise in the prices of basic commodities.

Through Executive Order No. 611, military and uniformed personnel under the DILG, Coast Guards and National Mapping and Resource Information Authority are also granted P30 per day increase in their subsistence allowance and a P120 per month increase in their hazard pay effective July 1, 2007.

The 10% salary increase covers civilian officials and employees of national government agencies including state universities and colleges, government-owned and controlled corporations, Government finanacial institutions and local government units which are covered by the Compensation and Position Classification system under RA 6758.

Employees under the Economic Enterprise Development Department (EEDD) of the province will also receive 10% increase in their salaries.

Besides approving the 10% pay hike of Provincial Capitol employees, the Aklan SP also approved many enactments/ordinances of the different municipalities as well as their several resolutions/requests for supplemental budget.

The SP session held June 27 was the last one presided by outgoing Vice Governor Ronquillo C. Tolentino.

Next week, a new set of provincial legislators will have their first session, composed of some reelected members and newly-elected ones in the May 2007 elections. It will be presided by newly-elected Vice Governor Gabrielle Calizo. (PIA/Venus g. Villanueva)

Aklan sustaining advocacy, promotion of breastfeeding

Kalibo, Aklan – Nothing compares with mother’s milk, and so Aklan health workers are sustaining the province’ campaign on the promotion of breastfeeding.

To institutionalize the campaign, a task force on breastfeeding was formed in the provincial level, while other Aklan municipalities have started forming theirs, according to the Provincial Health Office (PHO) here.

Also, health workers in the provincial and municipal health offices, and at rural health centers here always make it a point to orient would-be mothersduring their visits on the health benefits of breastfeeding for them and for their babies.

Data obtained from the Technical Services Division here bared that in the first quarter of this year, of the 2,815 infants seen by health workers at 4 months, 2,370 were found to be breastfed exclusively for four months.

The babies are from Aklan’s 17 towns. Health workers are in the process of gathering another set of data on breastfeeding for the second quarter, according to PHO-TSD personnel.

Cecile de Lemos, Supervising Midwife and Breastfeeding Coordinator of PHO Technical Services Division said that with the enforcement of Executive Order 51 or the National Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes, Breastmilk Supplement and other Related Products,” it is seen that more babies would be exclusively breastfed which would be good for the babies’ health as well as for the mothers.

Breastfeeding has a very big economic benefit too to the family, as opting for infant formula would be very expensive and would take a big percentage from the family income, according to De Lemos.

Provisions of Executive Order 51 include the prohibition of the use of any picture or text in informational and educational materials which may idealize the use of breastmilk substitutes; prohibition to manufacturers and distributors from giving directly or indirectly, samples and supplies of breastmilk substitutes or gifts of any sort to the public, hospitals and health institutions, and personnel of the health care system; prohibition of point-of-sale advertising, giving of samples or any other promotion devices to induce sales directly to consumers at retail level; and prohibition of the use of the health care system to promote breastmilk susbstitutes.

The executive order mandates health workers to encourage and promote breastfeeding too.

“Posters promoting a brand of milk formula at health centers are a no-no,” De Lemos stressed. “Even the display of small logos representing a breastmilk substitute product is not allowed. Giving away of milk samples in hospitals and centers are strictly prohibited, or any goods or supplies with markings of milk brands”, De Lemos explained.

While she admitted that a mother opting to feed her baby with infant formula cannot be prevented to do so, De Lemos strongly believes that in time, most Aklan mothers would choose to breastfeed their babies for health and economic benefits, as well as for development of an emotional bonding between a mother and her child.

Scientific evidence shows that breastfeeding is the single most effective intervention to prevent childhood deaths. Despite this, breastfeeding rates have declined in most developing countries in East Asia and the Pacific, where now just over one third of mothers exclusively breastfeed their babies for up to six months. In the Philippines, the rate of exclusive breastfeeding at four to five months of age has fallen from 20 percent in 1998 to 16 percent in 2003.

It is also estimated that Filipino families spend $465 million annually to formula-feed their infants. Milk companies, on the other hand, spend more thatn $100 million a year to promote their products. (PIA/Venus G. Villanueva)

Milk, other canned goods prices up in Aklan, others remain stable

Kalibo, Aklan—Prices of some milk products and other canned goods have increased in the wetmarket and some supermarkets here in Kalibo.

The increase in prices of these canned goods is contained in the Monthly Price Monitoring Report of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) here, copies of which had been furnished to DTI higher offices, the Office of the Provincial Govenor here, Congressional District Office, other concerned government agencies and various print, radio and cable television stations in Aklan.

Based on the latest DTI monthly monitoring report, items were found to have increased in prices in both the wet market and at supermarkets here.

These items include Alaska Condensed Filled Milk 300 ml., which had a 7.13% increase in price in the wet market while at supermarkets it had a 7.14% increase; Alaskas Evaporated Filled Milk 370 ml., - 7.02% increase in wet market, 7.03% price increase at supermarkets; Alaska Powdered Filled Milk 180 g., 7.14% price increase in wet market, 9.62% at supermarkets; Bear Brand Powdered Filled Milk 150 g., 13.87% increase in wet market, 10% increase at supermarkets; Nido Full Cream Powdered Filled Milk 150 g., 9.53% in wet market, 9.59% at supermarkets.

Other goods that increased in prices in the wet market include Gusto Meat Loaf 150 g., which increased its price by 7.41%; CDO Corned Beef, 150 g., 17.50%; Purefoods Corned Beef 150 g.,10% and Rufina Patis 325 ml., 5.07%.

At supermarkets, other items that had price increases included Maling Luncheon Meat 397 g., 5.21% and Merit Writing Notebooks 90 leaves (Bond Paper), 5.97%.

The DTI report included a table for comparison of item’s prices. For example, Alaska Condensed Filled Milk 300 ml. which had a price increase of 7.13% in the wet market, is sold now at P42.85 while last month, it could be bought for P40.00. At supermarkets, the same item is now sold at P42.75 but last month it only cost P39.50.

According to the DTI here headed by Provincial Director Ermelinda P. Pollentes, the above-mentioned items had significant increase in prices due to higher purchase cost.

The DTI here assured however, that supply of other commodities monitored is sufficient with prices remaining stable. (PIA/Venus G. Villanueva)

Unity the best and fastest way to serve the people – Iggy Arroyo

Kalibo, Aklan -- The best and fastest way to serve the people and give them a better life is by having unity, according to Congressman Iggy T. Arroyo of the 5th District of Negros Occidental.

Arroyo issued this statement as Guest of Honor in the Oath-taking of Provincial and Municipal Officials of Aklan at the ABL Sports Complex here today, led by reelected Congressman Florencio T. Miraflores and reelected Governor Carlito S. Marquez.

The oathtaking was witnessed by the families of elected officials and the different contingents from the municipalities and national government and provincial heads and employees of Aklan.

Arroyo said unity should be observed not only by the national but by the local leaderships as well, and that unity should be practiced in words, mind, deed and spirit.

“A brighter future must be on top the the leaders’ priorities,” Arroyo stressed.

In the same occasion, Arroyo announced that President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has authorized the release of P50 million for the construction of a new terminal building at the Kalibo Airport, as the President is now prioritizing the development of the airport.

The Kalibo Airport, since May, has received direct international flights from South Korea courtesy of the Asian Spirit Airline.

According to Congressman Miraflores, the Asian Spirit, with initial direct flights from South Korea to Kalibo three times a week, will have daily flights for the route starting July of this year.

In his keynote speech, Congressman Arroyo assured Aklan Congressman Miraflores that he (Arroyo) will support any bills sponsored by the Aklan solon if vital legislative measures are needed so people will not be deprived of benefits. (PIA/Venus G. Villanueva)

Rise in Aklan dengue cases in first quarter noted, less cases in 2nd quarter

Kalibo, Aklan -- Aklan had more dengue cases in the first quarter of 2007 compared with the same period last year, according to Dr. Maria Magpusao, Chief of the Technical Services Division of the Provincial Health Office here.

Dr. Magpusao said that last year’s dengue cases during the first quarter numbered 4, but this year 2007 for the same period, the cases reached 25.

Fortunately, Dr. Magpusao said there was no dengue casualty for that period.

For the month of May, Dr. Magpusao said 7 cases were listed by the Provincial Health Office while as of this time, 5 had been recorded for the month of June. No cases were recorded for the month of April.

Dr. Magpusao said that dengue is a self-limiting disease that could be avoided by increasing one’s body resistance through consumption of fruits and other resistance-building foods; having enough rest and maintaining healthy habits. The 4 o’clock habit, that of cleaning one’s surroundings and clearing and destroying possible breeding places of mosquitoes, according to her, must also be practiced by everyone.

The Department of Health is reiterating its advice to local officials that the cleaning of surroundings should be done every six months to prevent the breeding of mosquitoes that spread diseases like malaria and dengue.

A health issue that also needs immediate attention is the 6.8 percent increase in dengue cases in the country. The current dengue fever situation has become “hyper-endemic”, which means that efforts to reduce the number of cases to its previous level are no longer feasible. This is because all four strains of the dengue-causing virus are active and are being spread by the mosquito aedes aegypti at the same time, unlike last year when only one strain of the virus was being spread. Since a person only gains immunity from one strain of the virus, as potential agents of the infection, a person can become ill with dengue four times.
Global warming is contributing to the surge of dengue cases because warmer temperatures make mosquitoes hungrier for blood and therefore bite people more often. Blood makes the mosquito lay eggs more othen thus resulting to an increase in the mosquito population. More eggs laid results in more mosquitoes being born which grow into more carriers of the deadly dengue virus strains.

The public is advised to strictly observe the following anti-dengue measures: seek and destroy mosquito breeding places, self-protection, and seek medical treatment immediately.

The DOH has ordered hospitals to reactivate their Dengue Express Lanes. (PIA/Venus G. Villanueva)

Census to bring positive changes in Aklan - NSO

Kalibo, Aklan -- The 2007 Census of Population (POPCEN) will bring about possible and positive changes in Aklan.

This is according to Provincial Statistics Officer Blas Solidum of NSO-Aklan, in announcing the 2007 POPCEN to be conducted here in August.

Solidum said the Census is designed to take an inventory of the total population of the Philippines and collect information about their characteristics which are vital for the formulation of policies and programs for development.

Covered by this year’s census are all households in Aklan including household population and institutional population of hospitals, military camps and rehabilitation centers, according to Solidum.

The census will use a house-to-house approach to be conducted by some 212 private enumerators under the supervision of 41 team supervisors and 17 census area supervisors.

Solidum said NSO-Aklan will serve as “supervisors at large”. His office is currently coordinating with municipal mayors of the province through the Municipal Census Coordination Board for the recruitment of the census enumerators in their respective municipalities.

The census, which starts August 1, should not exceed 25 days.

“This 2007 Census of Population is very important. The last one was conducted in 2000 yet and with this year’s conduct, many changes will be discovered. For example, with the 2007 census result, it might already be possible for Aklan to be divided into two Congressional Districts; we will know how many Aklanons are now employed as well as those unemployed; what skills they possess so specific jobs will be determined; and how many disabled persons are in Aklan already so the government can plan and improve programs and services for them”, Solidum explained.

Solidum also said even foreigners will be counted in the census to know how many are settling in the province for a year or more.

Solidum said Aklan’s projected population for this year is at 516,000, but the factual one will be known once the POPCEN result is out.

In hiring private enumerators, Solidum reasoned that the census schedule is in August with teachers already occupied in school, and requesting the teachers for the census will disrupt classes. (PIA/Venus G. Villanueva)

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Serbilis center in Aklan also serves other provinces inside and outside Panay

Kalibo, Aklan -- The Civil Registry System Serbilis System based in the office the the National Statistics Office (NSO) here not only serves Aklanons but Capiznons, Antiqueños and residents of the provinces of Romblon and Masbate.

This was revealed by Provincial Statistics Officer Blass Solidum, who said that they receive at least 250 to 300 clients daily who are requesting for security papers of birth, death and marriage certificates.

The peak periods, according to Solidum, when requests overwhelm NSO-Aklan office are during enrollment time and during preparation time of would-be takers of board examinations.

“Those who are processing passports or seaman’s book also come to us for requests”, Solidum said.

For birth and death certificates, Solidum said the requesting party shells out P125 while those requesting for copies of marriage certificates pay P180.

For a requesting party transacting in the morning, copies of his request could be released in the morning but for those requesting when printing is already on-going, their papers could be released in the afternoon.

Sometimes, Solidum says the system goes offline, and this delays the release of requests.

Solidum said the Serbilis center is very convenient and beneficial to Aklanons as they need not go to Iloilo or Negros to have their papers processed. Capiznons, Antiqueños and those from Romblon and Masbate also prefer to transact in Kalibo for it is much nearer to their provinces.

“Those from other provinces like Capiz and Antique sometimes transact in Aklan with a sidetrip too. While waiting for the release of their papers, they go to Boracay Island and then just get their papers the next day. In a way, the Serbilis Center also helps our tourism industry here”, said Solidum.

Solidum said the Serbilis Center in Aklan started operating in 2004. (PIA/Venus G. Villanueva)

Census to bring positive changes in Aklan - NSO

Kalibo, Aklan -- The 2007 Census of Population (POPCEN) will bring about possible and positive changes in Aklan.

This is according to Provincial Statistics Officer Blas Solidum of NSO-Aklan, in announcing the 2007 POPCEN to be conducted here in August.

Solidum said the Census is designed to take an inventory of the total population of the Philippines and collect information about their characteristics which are vital for the formulation of policies and programs for development.

Covered by this year’s census are all households in Aklan including household population and institutional population of hospitals, military camps and rehabilitation centers, according to Solidum.

The census will use a house-to-house approach to be conducted by some 212 private enumerators under the supervision of 41 team supervisors and 17 census area supervisors.

Solidum said NSO-Aklan will serve as “supervisors at large”. His office is currently coordinating with municipal mayors of the province through the Municipal Census Coordination Board for the recruitment of the census enumerators in their respective municipalities.

The census, which starts August 1, should not exceed 25 days.

“This 2007 Census of Population is very important. The last one was conducted in 2000 yet and with this year’s conduct, many changes will be discovered. For example, with the 2007 census result, it might already be possible for Aklan to be divided into two Congressional Districts; we will know how many Aklanons are now employed as well as those unemployed; what skills they possess so specific jobs will be determined; and how many disabled persons are in Aklan already so the government can plan and improve programs and services for them”, Solidum explained.

Solidum also said even foreigners will be counted in the census to know how many are settling in the province for a year or more.

Solidum said Aklan’s projected population for this year is at 516,000, but the factual one will be known once the POPCEN result is out.

In hiring private enumerators, Solidum reasoned that the census schedule is in August with teachers already occupied in school, and requesting the teachers for the census will disrupt classes. (PIA/Venus G. Villanueva)

Barangay polls in ’07 has supporting law – DILG

Kalibo, Aklan -- Since the holding of the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections on October 2007 has a supporting law, elections should push through, according to Department of Interior and Local Government-Aklan Assistant Provincial Director Marina Ricaforte.

In supporting this view, APD Ricaforte is citing Republic Act No. 9340, which was enacted on September 22, 2005 and stipulates the resetting of the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections.

“In fact, I believe all barangays, as directed by the DILG, has set aside a portion of their budget to be used for the coming elections,” Ricaforte said.

For their part, some barangay captains in Kalibo said they favor the holding of barangay elections this year.

Poblacion Kalibo Barangay Captain Peter Jene Lao said he favors the holding of the barangay elections to give others who are also capable to lead the barangay a chance to lead and serve, effect beneficial changes and initiate other developmental programs and services for the constituents, even as he can cite that his best accomplishments are the completion of the three-storey barangay hall, one of the tallest hall in the country; the procurement of a motorcycle patrol, maintenance of a rescue truck and instituting a solid waste management program together with the SK.

Lao also said new SK chairmen should be elected as some incumbent ones are already overaged for the position.

On the other hand, Andagao Barangay Captain Ronce Reyes said he favors a change in leadership in his barangay so other developmental projects could be introduced, or at least complete what he has started in Andagao – the concreting of most barangay roads which he cites are 75% completed, and the lighting of streets of the barangay.

Both Barangay Captains Lao and Reyes confirmed that their respective councils have already a reserved fund for the coming barangay polls.

Republic Act 9340 states that the subsequent synchronized Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections after the initial one held on July 15, 2002 is rescheduled on the last Monday of October 2007 and every three (3) years thereafter.

The term of office then of said officials elected in the October 2007 election and subsequent elections shall commence at noon of November 30 next following their election.

Section 8 provides that the amount necessary for the implementation of this law shall be taken from the appropriations of the Commission on Elections under the General appropriations Act and/or supplementary appropriations thereafter. In addition, the savings of the COMELEC not exceeding Php300 million shall be used to augment said appropriations.

On the part of the Department of Budget and Management, Secretary Andaya assured that some P2 billion has been reserved for the election of Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan officials. “It is in the budget so wala tayong problema kung idadaos talaga yung eleksyon…Nakatabi na po …P2 billion for that electoral exercise…” Andaya said. (PIA/Venus G. Villanueva)

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Aklan government workers welcome next month’s pay hike

Kalibo, Aklan --Government workers here in Aklan are happy that they will be getting increases in their salaries effective July of this year.

Most of them said here that the increase will go a long way and would help much in their daily expenses considering the continuous rise in the prices of basic commodities.

Through President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s Executive Order No. 611 authorizing compensation adjustments to government personnel, government workers are assured of getting a ten percent (10%) increase over their basic monthly salaries as of June 30, 2007. These workers are civilian government personnel whose positions are covered by the Compensation and Position Classification system under RA No. 6758, as amended effective July 1, 2007.

Civilian government personnel include officials and employees of National Government Agencies including State Colleges and Universities, Government-Owned and Controlled Corporations, Government Financial Institutions and Local Government Units.

Military personnel of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and all uniformed personnel under the Department of the Interior and Local Government, Philippine Coast Guard, and National Mapping and Resource Information Authority will also be granted a Thirty Pesos (P30) per day increase in their subsistence allowance and a One Hundred Twenty Pesos (P120) per month increase in their hazard pay effective July 1, 2007.

Secretary Rolando Andaya Jr., whose office, the Department of Budget and Management, had been directed to implement the pay hike, said P10.3 billion is already reserved in this year’s budget for the salary increase.

Andaya pointed out that this is the first-ever increase in the salary of government workers since 2001.

The subsistence allowance of the military and uniformed personnel, on the other hand, was last adjusted in 1998, while the hazard pay has remained at P120/month since its last initial grant in 1987.

Andaya said this is just the start, because after President Arroyo delivers her State of the Nation Address (SONA), they are planning to file a bill which will “overhaul our compensation system, Salary Standardization Part III, and we are looking at around almost P100 billion till 2010 in the form of salary increases.” (PIA/Venus G. Villanueva)

Monday, June 18, 2007

DepEd: Flag reminds Filipinos of independence

Kalibo, Aklan -- The Philippine flag reminds us Filipinos how we became independent.

This is according to the Department of Education here in a recent radio interview on the importance of observing the National Flag Days.

The National flag Days is being observed from May 28-June 30 which was marked by the launching of Paggalang Sa Watawat event, one of the highlights of this year’s Independence Day celebration.

According to DepEd Aklan through Division Planning Officer Edna Ayon, the observance of the National Flag Days is a vehicle to honor our flag and to highlight this, DepEd-Aklan held a flag-raising ceremony on June 12, Independence Day at the Division Office here followed by a short program with a short talk from Dr. Victorina Laroza, Schools Division Superintent, on the importance of our flag and the role it played for our independence.

The flag’s history and evolution were also discussed during the short program.

On the part of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, Capt. Antonio Tumnog, Civil Military Relations Officer of the 47th Infantry Battalion here said they pay reverence to the Philpiine flag always by holding flag raising ceremonies daily and observing flag retreats with all the Philippine Army’s officers and men every Friday at 5 o’clock in the afternoon.

When raining, Captain Tumnog said the 47th IB has a specific space to display the flag. There are also specific guidelines, according to him, in draping the Philippine flag on coffins of departed military men, veterans, national artists and civilians who have rendered distinguished service to the country.

DepEd emphasized that under Republic Act 8491, the flag shall be displayed in all public buildings, official residences, public and private institutions of learning everyday throughout the year, it shall be permanently hoisted, day and night throughout the year, at Malacanang Palace, the Congress of the Philippines building; Supreme Court building, Rizal Monument in Luneta, Manila; Aguinaldo Shrine in Kawit, Cavite, all international ports of entry; in private buildings and residences of raised open on flag-staffs in front of said buildings every April 9 (Araw ng Kagitingan); May 1 (Labor Day); May 28 (National Flag Day) last Sunday of August (National Heroes Day); November 30 (Bonifacio Day) and December 30 (Rizal Day); and on such other day to be declared by the President and/or local chief executives.

Prohibited acts involving the flag include mutilation, defacing and trampling, and the flag should not be used as a drapery, festoon, tablecloth; as covering for ceilings, walls, statues or other objects; and as trademarks, or for industrial, commercial or agricultural labels or designs.

DepEd and the Philippine Army also stressed that the flag must not be worn in whole or in part as a costume and uniform; and to print, paint or attach representation of the flag on handkerchiefs, napkins, cushions, and articles of merchandise.

This year’s Independence Day theme is “Sama-Sama Tayo Tungo Sa Pag-asenso.” (PIA/Venus G. Villanueva)

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Aklan techvoc high school face good prospects this school year

Kalibo, Aklan –A technical and vocational (techvoc) high school here in Aklan is facing good prospects this school year.

The school is Aklan National High School for Arts and Trades (ANHSAT) and presently enjoying a big number of students.

According to Richard Flores, Principal of this public high school located at Andagao, one of Kalibo’s barangays, the surge in enrollment might be due to its being a technical vocational high school, as the trend now is for students to learn livelihood skills early which they could make use of later even if they could not go to college.

ANHSAT is one of Aklan’s five technical vocational schools here and currently being extended priority assistance by the national and provincial governments and non-government organizations (NGOs) here.

Flores mentioned the on-going construction of a one-room concrete classroom under the Principal-Led program and two others soon to begin construction this school year under the same program; the soon-to-be constructed 2-storey 4-classroom building through the office of Congressman Florencio T. Miraflores and the $15,000 fund for the purchase of tools and equipment for the school’s shops.

The Principal-Led program comes with funding direct from the Department of Budget and Management, according to Flores.

ANHSAT, according to Flores, also enjoys a computer facility. It has 21 computer units and multi-media projector from the Office of the President through the Commission on ICT. The units are brand new with gadgets for internet connection.

The Department of Trade and Industry also gave the school 20 computer units while SMART gave two, and from the Rotary Club of Kalibo, 1.

“Because of these computer units, the school will now offer computer subjects to all ANHSAT students from first year to fourth year,” Flores said.

For this school year, ANHSAT is a recipient of 2 teacher items, according to Flores. The provincial government under Governor Carlito S. Marquez has also assured ANHSAT that the province will provide it with four teachers to be paid under the Provincial School Board this school year and pledged four more to be paid under the same program if funds allow.

Meanwhile, DepEd Secretary Jesli Lapus revealed that some 650,000 tech-voc jobs are available in the local market, but the vacancies cannot be filled because tech-voc applicants lack the required tech-voc skills.

This is why, according to him, the DepEd made the “bold move” of pushing for technical-vocational education in public high schools. According to DepEd computations, the tech-voc program will require at least P200 billion. This school year, the “re-designed tech-voc” package will get P207 in program funds.

According to DepEd, tech-voc high school graduates starting next year will be getting NC 1, short for national certification on their skills, from the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), in addition to the usual high school diploma. (PIA/Venus G. Villanueva)

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Aklan posts 81.51% voters’ turnout; females outnumber males

Kalibo, Aklan -- Aklan achieved a total of 81.51 voters’ turnout in the May 2007 national and local elections, and of the province’ 273,709 voters, females outnumbered males. Males numbered 133,848 while females numbered 139,861.

This information is based on COMELEC-Aklan’s post-election report on the total number of registered voters who actually voted in the recent elections.

Males who actually voted numbered 110,781 while actual female voters totaled 112,329 which posted a total of 223,110 Aklanons who actually voted.

Kalibo, Aklan’s capital town with the highest number of registered voters posted a total of 28,356 constituents who actually voted or 78.41%; while Ibajay, with its 22,116 registered voters posted 18,722 or 84.14%. New Washington, the third municipality with the highest number of voters at 21,898, had a total of 17,724 or 80.94% who actually voted.

Lezo, the municipality with the smallest number of voters at 7,289, however, emerged having the biggest voting percentage of 86.64%, or 6,315 actual voters.

Other towns which registered high percentage of voters’ turnout include Makato with 85.29%; Tangalan, 84.45%; Altavas, Madalag, 83.46%; 83.14%; Numancia, 83.01%; Nabas, 82.80%; Malay, 82.54%; Banga, 82.14%; Batan, 82.07% and Buruanga, 80.89%.

Along with Kalibo which got below 80% voters turnout are Malinao, with 78.35%; Libacao, 77.07% and Balete, with 76.06%.

For the May 2007 elections, Aklan had a total of 1,330 clustered precincts. (PIA/Venus G. Villanueva)

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Army men to do share in greening Aklan

Kalibo, Aklan -- Officers and men of the 47th Infantry Batallion here, based in Camp Jizmundo, Libas, Banga, Aklan will do their share in greening the province of Aklan on June 29 by planting trees.

The army men will be planting trees along the highway in Panayakan, Tangalan, Aklan, in support of the Green Philippines program of the government, and in observance of Environment Month this June.

According to Oriel Tesorero, Forester III of DENR-CENRO here, officials of the 47th IB had already coordinated with their office for availment of tree seedlings to be used in the tree planting activity.

Tesorero said that presently, DENR-Aklan has some 55,000 tree seedlings at its Jawili nursery in Tangalan, and 8,000 seedlings at its Makato nursery. The current number of seedlings, said Tesorero, is more than enough to support and sustain the Green Philippines program.

Tesorero also said the Army Reservists Command (ARESCOM) also based in Libas, Banga, will also have a tree planting activity with the planting site adjacent to that of the 47 IB’s.

Another group which had recently coordinated with DENR-Aklan for tree planting materials is the Bugtong Bato Sand and Gravel Association in Ibajay, Aklan. The group will be planting trees in a 3 hectare lot also in support of the Green Philippines program, Tesorero revealed.

Last year, the DENR here, in coordination with the Department of Public Works and Highways and the different local government units along the national highway from Caticlan, Malay to Cabangila, Altavas joined in the nationwide greening of the roadsides under the Green Philippines Highways Project (GPHP) in support of the Strong Republic Nautical Highway program of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

The project generated a unified support from Aklan officials, local government units, barangay residents, students, government agencies and other sectors in the effort to beautify the roadsides along the national highway, the route of RORO buses of the SNRH, and help eliminate air pollution.

Presently, according to Tesorero, several groups from local government units have started coordinating with the DENR for procurement of tree seedlings to replace those planted in roadsides which have not survived during the hot weather here.

DENR-Aklan, according to Tesorero, is open to any government agency or group asking for tree seedlings for tree-planting activities but a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) must be signed between the requesting party and the DENR.

Tesorero said the MOA is essential so obligations between the two parties would be set in place - for the DENR, to provide seedlings and technical assistance, and the organization or group, to maintain and protect the planting site.

DENR-Aklan is headed by Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Officer Raul Lorilla, with the Community Environment and Natural Resources Office headed by Baltazar Gerardo. (PIA/Venus G. Villanueva)

2nd Visayas OTOP fair earns P3M, Region 6 top seller

Kalibo, Aklan --The recently-held 2nd Visayas OTOP Fair in Boracay Island, Malay, Aklan joined in by three Visayan regions – 6, 7 and 8 netted a total of P3,105,321.50 in sales.

Figures provided by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) here revealed that the top seller in the fair was Region 6 comprised by the provinces of Western Visayas, which earned a total of P2,220,450.00 in cash, booked orders and under negotiation arrangements; while Region 7 earned P545,386 in cash and booked orders, and Region 8 – P339,485.50 in cash, booked orders and under negotiation arrangements.

The Visayas OTOP Fair was held from May 23 to May 27 at the La Carmela de Boracay Resort, Boracay Island.

Of Region 6’ more than P2 million sales, P1,674,590.00 was generated by the province of Aklan with Yabut’s Pottery of Lezo, Aklan (pottery being the OTOP (One Town, One Product of Lezo) as the top seller.

Some 102 Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) from the three regions participated in the OTOP Fair, according to DTI-Aklan.

The 2nd Visayas OTOP Fair focused on selling the products produced by the SMEs of the three regions.

OTOP is one of the priority programs of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to promote entrepreneurship and create jobs in the countryside.

OTOP also encourages the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) to produce and market distinct products or services using indigenous raw materials and manpower of every municipality or city.

The 1st OTOP fair was held in Cebu in 2006. It focused on product development initiatives of the DTI highlighting the tourism and market potentials of the Supra Region, the Central Philippines. Sales generated was P3.77M for the 4-day fair.

This year’s Visayas OTOP Fair in Boracay Island had Sec. Cerge Remonde of the Presidential Management Staff (PMS) and at the same time the SME czar as keynote speaker. (PIA/Venus G. Villanueva)

Aklan assured of enough rice supply

Kalibo, Aklan -- Aklan has enough rice supply to last until the next harvest season.

This was the assurance made by Delano Tefora, Provincial Agriculturist when asked on the current status of Aklan’s rice supply.

The National Food Authority here, headed by Provincial Manager Pablito Gemarino, also gave the same assurance.

According to Tefora, the bulk of rice stocks in Aklan are in households now, at millers’ bodegas, wholesalers, retailers and private bodegas of rice traders and at NFA-Aklan.

NFA-Aklan, on the other hand, revealed that rice sold through the 79 Tindahan Natin outlets located in the different municipalities of Aklan and at Bigasan ni Gloria outlets in public markets is at P18.00 per kilo. A household consumer can also buy a bag of NFA rice directly from the NFA warehouse in Linabuan Sur, Banga, Aklan for P900.00 pesos.

NFA-Aklan also currently distributes iron fortified rice.

The food agency also revealed that more rice stocks are arriving from Iloilo to bolster Aklan’s rice stocks.

Currently, prices of commercial rice sold at public markets here vary – depending on the variety and quality. The highest price at public market is at P28 a kilo, while others are priced lower.

The NFA here advised Aklan rice consumers to always buy the commodity by the kilo and not by the ganta. (PIA/Venus G. Villanueva)

Aklan high school badly needs teachers, classrooms

Kalibo, Aklan – A public high school here in Aklan’s capital town, Kalibo, just like other public schools, is not wanting for incoming students – but badly needs more teachers and more permanent and safe classrooms for conducive learning this school year.

The school is the Aklan National High School for Arts and Trades (ANHSAT), and this has been the problem ever since this school came into being in 1999.

Opened in 1999 as an extension of Nalook National High School, this public high school became ANHSAT in 2005, according to Mr. Richard Flores, Principal I of this school.

Flores said that this school year, the number of interested incoming first year high school students is still surging, but the school cannot accommodate them all as ANHSAT lacks teachers and classrooms.

Flores said that presently, the school has 8 permanent classrooms and 33 temporary classrooms.

By temporary, Flores means that the classrooms are makeshift, with nipa thatch roofs and sawali/bamboo walls.

The permanent classrooms, built in 2005, were inaugurated by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in 2006 during one of her visits to Aklan.

Flores said many requests had been made by the school for more teacher items and concrete classrooms, and this school year, they will be reiterating these same requests.

This school year, Flores said ANHSAT will only have 38 teachers, as others left – some had been given national teacher items and had to go to the area where the item belongs; some had been recalled by their mother schools as they were only detailed at ANHSAT; while others resigned because the compensation being received is not enough, coming only from the PTCA fund.

This school year, Flores said they were promised to be given two national teacher items, but the school badly needs – and has requested the provincial government for eight additional teachers to be funded by the Provincial School Board.

“Actually, we are only asking for replacements for the eight who left the school for many valid reasons. We were supposed to reduce the sections in school, but with the surge of enrollees, I guess we have to retain the number of sections, but we have to distribute the students equally to the different sections,” Flores said.

Flores also said that with this trend, the ratio of the teacher to students will be 1:65. The first year level will have 8 sections this school year, 8 for second year, eight for third year and 7 for fourth year.

More or less 1,900 students will troop to ANHSAT this school year, according to Flores.

“I don’t know why many students want to enroll in ANHSAT. We want to accommodate them all, but the school simply can’t absorb them all,” said Flores.

For his part, Aklan Rep. Florencio T. Miraflores, according to the principal, has informed them that several classrooms will soon be constructed for the school under the regular school building program this year.

Also, under the leadership of Mr. Flores as Principal, several single classrooms had been constructed under the Principal LED program, and possibly, more will be constructed.

Flores said under the Principal LED program, it is the principal who initiates the construction including the conduct of bidding, with funding directly coming from the Department of Budget and Management (DBM).

ANHSAT, said Flores, sits on a one-hectare lot donated by the Aklan State University Kalibo Campus, so there would be no problem regarding school building construction as the land is already titled.

The school, just like other public high schools nationwide, only charges very minimal miscellaneous fees, according to Flores.

ANSHAT and the Regional Science High School are the only nearby public high schools here at Kalibo town proper. The rest are already in the barangays, and most high schools here in Poblacion Kalibo are privately-owned. (PIA/Venus G. Villanueva)

DepEd says school opening in Aklan smooth, orderly

Kalibo, Aklan -- Aklan’s public elementary and national high schools had an orderly and smooth school opening here yesterday.

This is the assessment of Aklan Schools Division Superintendent Victorina Laroza when asked on her observations on the opening of classes here June 4.

“The all-out compliance of school heads and school teachers in Aklan of the DepEd order to accept enrollees without charging any fees contributed much to the orderly and smooth opening of classes here”, according to Laroza.

Laroza also said there is a noted increase in enrollment in elementary and high schools. She revealed however, that Aklan schools still lack teachers.

“In Manoc-Manoc, Boracay Island for example, incoming Grade 1 pupils I heard number more or less a hundred. But we cannot divide them into two sections, as there is no teacher to handle the other group. This problem on our lack of teachers here is now a big headache for mayors, especially in Kalibo, and for the provincial government under Governor Carlito Marquez.

Dr. Laroza said Kalibo, under Mayor Rebaldo, maintains a big number of teachers paid under the municipal school board, while the province also has teachers all over the province paid under the provincial school board.

“Some teachers under the municipal school boards are only paid at least P2,000.00 pesos a month. However, some are luckier, like those in Malay and Kalibo, for they get more or less P5,000.00 a month. Others just volunteer to teach,” Dr. Laroza revealed.

Last year, with Aklan’s 300 elementary schools, only 8 teacher items were given to DepEd Aklan, while the national high schools fared better as they were given 28 items, according to Dr. Laroza.

Presently, there are still schools here in remote areas practicing the multi-grade system, a set-up wherein a teacher teaches more than one grade level in just one classroom.

Meantime, this scenario in Aklan is seen to improve with DepEd’s high budget for 2007. According to its officials, DepEd has hired 16,390 additional public school teachers to attain a 1:45 teacher to pupil ratio in all public schools nationwide and fill up the shortage of teachers within the year. It was able to expand its Government Assistance to Students and Teachers in Private Education (GASTPE) programs wherein DepEd gives students in private schools a P4,000 subsidy to stay enrolled and prevent a migration to already congested public schools. The DepEd was able to arrange for the construction of 6,000 additional classrooms that will hopefully be completed by the end of the year.

DepEd Secretary Jesli Lapus expected few problems on the first day of classes, owing to the inter-agency efforts initiated by DepEd and the Oplan Balik Eskwela Command Center to ensure that all school opening concerns are addressed.

The DepEd Secretary reiterated that public school enrollees are not required to pay anything. Contributions for PTA, boys and Girl Scouts, anti-TB drive RedCross and school paper are voluntary.

In Aklan, Dr. Laroza said she opened her lines and her office for complaints yesterday in the conduct of enrollment and school opening, but none reached her office.(PIA/Venus G. Villanueva)

Wanted: ecotourism entrepreneurs

Kalibo, Aklan – Blocks of P50,000 worth of grants to deserving groups or individuals with feasible entrepreneurial/business proposals in eco-tourism sites in the country are at stake with the opening for applicants for GREET – or Grassroots Entrepreneurs for Ecotourism.

The GREET program is in line with the directive of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to promote and safeguard the country’s eco-tourism sites through the provision of essential services for tourists.

The program has been conceived to enhance the livelihood opportunities for promising entrepreneurs who can best explore the inherent tourist drawing potentials of ecotourism sites which can readily be sources of income within their respective protected areas.

Information materials obtained from the Provincial Tourism Office here bared that qualified to join the GREET program are applicants who are Filipino citizens, 18 years old and above and has some training/experience related to their business idea; must be a resident of the town or province where the ecotourism site is located for a minimum of two years; at least high school graduate and of good moral character.

Entrepreneurs who wish to establish new or expand existing tourism products and services may also apply. All applicants must be able to present their business plans/proposals in person to the GREET Screening and Evaluation Committee.

For organizations – qualified to apply are community organizations, business associations and local tourism offices based and operating in town or province where an eco-tourism site is located and is duly registered with the appropriate government agency.

Merits will be given to organizations that have demonstrated successful delivery of programs for community and have a well-developed network of key stakeholders and private sector partners. The organizations must also manifest functionality and must have at least a minimum amount of organizational funds to sustain the current operational level of its existing activities and projects.

Examples of activities or projects eligible for funding are the following but not limited to: Tourism Products – Operation of new activities (Whitewater Rafting, Water sports, hiking, etc); Operation of new services (Tour Guiding, Interaction Guiding, ground handling ); Tourism facilities – accommodations, foods and beverages establishments, souvenir shops and gears and equipment shops.
It is seen that with Aklan’s other eco-tourism sites besides the world famous Boracay Island, the GREET program will gather many Aklanon applicants.

Several municipalities also boast of tourist attractions and eco-tourism potentials. These municipalities – like Kalibo, Aklan’s capital town has its Manggad it Kalibo Eco-tourism program composed of the Bakhawan Eco Park, the Ati-Atihan Village and the Piña Village; Tangalan has its Bugna it Tangalan Community Based Ecotourism composed of Marine Sanctuary and Coral Garden, Jawili Falls, Bughawi Beach and Recreation Project and Campo Verde which is ideal for mountain trekking, biking and horseback riding; Malay where Boracay is, and so are the Malay Ecological Garden in the mainland, Dalamuan Falls, Agnaga Falls and Cold Spring and the Nabaoy River where Boracay sources its water supply for tourists and residents alike; Libacao, with its Wild River ideal for bamboo rafting, kayaking and water bases sports; its water falls, its mountains ideal for hiking and trekking and Nabas, packaging itself as nature’s haven for its cold springs, pebble beaches, clean rivers and mountains also ideal for mountain hiking and trekking.

Individuals interested to apply may secure application forms at Municipal tourism offices and DOT Regional offices. Forms can also be downloaded from the GREET Website at

Deadline for submission of entries is on June 30, 2007 while the awarding of grants is on September 2007. (PIA/Venus G. Villanueva)

KAMPI, LAKAS bets win majority of Aklan local posts

Kalibo, Aklan –Overall result of the recently-concluded May 2007 elections show that in Aklan, most of incoming local officials are either from KAMPI or LAKAS parties.

COMELEC-Aklan records show that twelve (12) of the elected mayors of Aklan’s 17 towns are from the KAMPI party while two are from LAKAS. Three other winning mayors were elected under the Nacionalista Party.

For incoming vice mayors, LAKAS has 10 elected while KAMPI has four and NP, 3.

Second-termer Rep. for the Lone District of Aklan, Florencio T. Miraflores ran and won under KAMPI while re-elected Governor Carlito S. Marquez ran and won under LAKAS. Vice-Governor-elect Gabrielle Calizo, former representative of Aklan, ran under the NP.

Of the 10 elected Sangguniang Panlalawigan members, 2 won under KAMPI while 3 won under LAKAS.

Of Aklan’s total of 136 Sangguniang Bayan posts from its 17 towns, 46 candidates won under KAMPI while 43 won under LAKAS. NP bets got 23 SB posts while the rest of the slots were shared by LP, UNO, GO, PDP-Laban, PMP and LDP parties.

Several Aklan towns exhibited preference for KAMPI and LAKAS, like Malinao, which has 4 elected KAMPI SBs and 4 LAKAS; Ibajay, 7 KAMPI SBs; Libacao, with 4 LAKAS and 3 KAMPI; Batan, 3 KAMPI and 4 LAKAS; and Makato, with 5 LAKAS and 3 KAMPI SB winners.

Of Aklan’s 17 elected mayors, four are women – Elverita Templonuevo of Numancia, Kathryne Refol of Altavas, Delfina Ramos of Batan and Maria Lourdes Miraflores of Ibajay – who all ran under KAMPI.

Meanwhile, based on COMELEC-Aklan records, 10 party list groups which got the highest number of votes are the following: Kasangga – 5,997; Buhay – 4,786; Bayan Muna, 4,118; CIBAC, 3,888; AVE, 3,292; A Teacher – 3,122; ARC – 3,011; Gabriela – 2,682; Senior Citizens – 2,551; and Anak Pawis, 2,523.

Grand total of party list votes obtained in Aklan is 67,380 shared by 93 groups. COMELEC-Aklan currently has no complete figure yet of the percentage of voters who voted in the recent elections and the number of those disenfranchised due to various grounds. (PIA/Venus G. Villanueva)

Aklan rabies-free by 2010 – health officials

Kalibo, Aklan -- The province of Aklan aims to be rabies-free by 2010.

This is according to Dr. Emma Cortes, Provincial Health Officer II here when she welcomed the guests and participants to the Update/Meeting on Rabies Prevention and Control Program held recently at the Gov. Corazon L. Cabagnot Tourism and Training Center at Old Buswang, Kalibo.

Dr. Cortes said rabies is a very fatal disease and the Philippines is one of the top 10 countries with high incidence of human deaths due to rabies.

According to Dr. Cortes, Region 6, where Aklan belongs, had the highest number of rabies deaths in 2005 with 39, while Region 3 had 33 and Region 5, 30.

“Aklan had three rabies deaths in 2006 and in the early part of 2007, one already died, from the municipality of Altavas,” Cortes disclosed.

Based on updates on Rabies Prevention and Control of the Office of the Provincial Veterinarian headed by Dr. Gervase Radislao, 7,671 heads or 13.8% of the total dog population were vaccinated in 2006 while from January – April of this year, 961 dogs were vaccinated. OPVET – Aklan aims to vaccinate 80% of Aklan’s total dog population now numbering more than 55,000 to attain Aklan’s vision of being rabies-free by 2010.

On the other hand, the Provincial Health Office here noted in its 2006 accomplishment report that of the dog bite cases in Aklan, mostly bitten are males 15 and below. The PHO also found out that in Aklan, there is a low percentage of dog vaccination; implementation of Rabies Control Ordinance in municipalities is poor and weak; pet owners are irresponsible, municipal rabies control committees are not organized; and there is an inadequate supply of dog vaccines.

The meeting/update was highlighted with the lecture/talk of Dr. Alberto Gabriel, currently holding the position of Army Chief Surgeon of the Philippine Army, who discussed the Rabies Control Program Updates.

Dr. Gabriel talked on the different manners of transmission of rabies from dogs to humans, rabies prevention and the guidelines on the management of animal bite patients.

Dr. Gabriel revealed that rabies could be transmitted through exceptional cases like the inhalation of virulent aerosol; man-to-man transmission of infected corneas; and by eating dog meat or “kilawin”.

He also revealed that in 98% of dog bite cases, 88% were caused by pet dogs while only 10% were due to stray dogs and although there are two clinical forms of rabies – the esophalitic and the paralytic, both will progress to coma and death.

Dr. Gabriel also talked on the proper care of wounds cause by dog bites as well as the different bite categories and what to do according to the categories.

“When bitten by a dog, first thing you must do is to wash the wound vigorously with soap and water for 10 minutes, then apply antiseptic or alcohol. Keep the wound open and do not apply any ointment or even garlic,” Dr. Gabriel emphasized to the more or less 50 participants composed mostly of government doctors, nurses, midwives, Provincial Health Office Officials and representatives of various national and provincial offices and the local media.

“Rabies is 100% fatal disease but preventable,” Dr. Gabriel stressed. (PIA/VGVillanueva)