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Thursday, July 5, 2007

Ladderized education answer to unemployment woes – TESDA

Kalibo, Aklan -- The ladderized education program is the government’s answer to the country’s unemployment woes.

This is according to Ely Arensol, Technical Education and Skills Development Specialist of TESDA- Aklan provincial office here when asked on the relevance of ladderized education in today’s educational set-up.

According to Arensol, the ladderized education program, mandated under EO 358, enables a student to work after studying for two years if he has earned enough qualification and knowledge for a skill that he could use for the meantime that he is working so he could save in order to continue his studies and complete his four-year course in a school employing the ladderized education curriculum.

Arensol even said that a student who wishes to continue his studies in another place will have all his subjects credited provided that he enrolls in a school that also offers a ladderized education curriculum.

Here in Aklan, schools that employ the ladderized education curriculum are the Aklan Polytechnic College (APC) and the Panay Technological College (PTC).

APC offers ladderized maritime courses, while the PTC offers the ladderized Hotel and Restaurant Management (HRM) courses.

Arensol said students who have learned special skills and who wish to seek jobs in the country or abroad could submit themselves to TESDA for assessment tests, and if qualified, they would be issued Certificates of Competency, which they could use in applying for jobs. This way, Arensol explained, a student need not wait to finish his four-year course, as he could work and earn, therefore help diminish the number of unemployed persons in the country.

Assessment tests are now compulsory for people who want to work abroad as domestic helpers or seamen. According to Arensol, for would-be domestic helpers, one has to undergo assessment tests on household services and the only accredited Assessment Centers here in Region 6 are the St. Therese College in Iloilo City and at the New Lucena Polytechnic College in Iloilo province.

For Steward, Maritime, Deck and Engine rating, the assessment center is John B. Lacson College, also in Iloilo.

For caregivers, Arensol said the assessment centers are the Riverside College in Bacolod City and the New Lucena Polytechnic College.

With the ladderized education, it is seen that many Aklanons whose skills are more on tourism related jobs will find employment in Boracay Island and other tourist spots in the province and in the country which would help reduce Aklan’s unemployment rate.

A resort here in mainland Aklan, the Sampaguita Gardens, is also planning to put up its own training academy to train bartenders, housekeeping staff, food and beverages staff, etc.

Many Aklan schools are also applying to integrate the ladderized curriculum in their colleges, and have sought the assistance of TESDA-Aklan for this.

Provincial Director Edwin Villanueva heads TESDA-Aklan. (PIA/Venus G. Villanueva)

Boracay Island a potential source of more Pag-IBIG Fund members

Kalibo, Aklan -- Boracay island is a big source of potential members for Pag-IBIG Fund membership.

This was revealed by Maribel Tolentino, Officer-In-Charge of Pag-IBIG Service Center here, who said that currently, Aklan has more or less 8,000 Pag-IBIG members and still growing, owing to the regular visits she conducts in Boracay to convince owners and employers of resorts, hotels, restaurants and other tourism-related establishments to have their workers registered as Pag-IBIG members, which gained positive results.

Tolentino said Aklan needs at least 10,000 Pag-IBIG members in order to be considered or be qualified as an extension office.

Daily, Tolentino said the Pag-IBIG office caters to at least 30 members, who come to the office to apply for multi-purpose loans, housing and retirement.

For housing loans, the office caters to at least 2 applicants a month. Tolentino said that this year, the Pag-IBIG fund offers low interest rates for housing loans. For a loan of 100,000 to 300,000, the interest is pegged at 6%; for more than 300,000 to 750,000 – 7% while loans higher than 750,000 has 9% interest.

Housing is one of the major programs now prioritized by the government in its legacy phase commitment to make the Filipinos enjoy the benefits of economic reforms. The lowered interest rates on housing loans is to make a substantive difference in the lives of its millions of members and make housing affordable and accessible to ordinary workers. The latest cut in interest rates targets members in the middle income bracket or those earning P16,000 to P20,000 per month, and based on the National Statistics Office, they constituted 23 percent of the labor force.

Here in Aklan every month, the Pag-IBIG office accepts remittances of contributions and payments of loans of government and private offices , collecting more than P2 million within the two-day period excluding the payments made by establishments in Boracay Island which are directly deposited at the Land Bank branch in the island.

“Here in Kalibo, Pag-IBIG office is being assisted in accepting payments and remittances by two government banks, the Land Bank and the Development Bank of the Philippines,” Tolentino said.

Tolentino added that many government officials and private employers are happy that Pag-IBIG has a monthly schedule of accepting payments in Aklan, so they need not go to Iloilo to remit or pay anymore and spend an exhausting travel time, effort and money.

“We even cater to residents of nearby towns of Antique, as they say that it is nearer to transact here than to go to Iloilo. In the near future, Pag-IBIG is working out to include these nearby towns as part of Aklan’s service base”, said Tolentino.

Pag-IBIG, or Home Development Mutual Fund, is headed by Atty. Federico Romero Quimbo, its Chief Executive Officer, who was recently honored as one of the Ten Outstanding Young Men (TOYM) representing the government sector.

On the other hand, Maribel Tolentino, who heads the Pag-IBIG Service Center here as OIC, was recently elected as Aklan Public Information Officers Association (APIOA) President. (PIA/Venus G. Villanueva)

Aklanons urged to have lands titled through DENR

Kalibo, Aklan –The Department of Environment and Natural Resources here is enjoining Aklanons whose lands are still untitled to avail the services of the office in having their lands titled.

Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Officer Raul Lorilla said that here in Aklan as well as in other parts of the country, people can have their lands titled through the DENR through three different categories – free patent, homestead and miscellaneous sales.

Lorilla said there are still many Aklanons whose lands are untitled, even as they had been staying on these lands for many years. Lorilla also appreciates the fact that here in Aklan, land is well distributed to the people, unlike in other provinces in Western Visayas where land ownership is only limited to a few well-off families.

“Almost all Aklanons here own land, no matter how small the area is. Land ownership and distribution are very apparent here in Aklan”, Lorilla said.

To have their lands titled, Lorilla said Aklanons can go straight to the DENR office here and assigned personnel will attend to their needs.

A person can have his land titled through free patent if he has been occupying the land for more than 30 years and has been religiously paying its property tax. He can only avail of a maximum of 12 hectares, and if the land he is applying for title is only 5 hectares and below, the PENRO can approved it; if more than 10 hectares, the DENR Regional Executive Director will be approving, but if it is more that 10 hectares, the DENR Secretary will be the approving official, according to Lorilla.

A homestead title on the other hand, could be granted to a person seeking to establish an abode and land cultivation. He could apply for a maximum of 5 hectares with a very minimal application fee. Under the miscellaneous sales application, meanwhile, the land applied for is for residential purposes only, with the person actually occupying the unencumbered land where he has already introduced improvements. Maximum area that could be applied for is less than 1,000 square meters. The land will be appraised by an appraisal committee depending on location, and the applicant could opt to pay for the land in cash or on a staggered basis.

Lorilla said this is the scheme applied to residents of Sooc River Bed here in Kalibo, and numerous residents had already availed of DENR’s titling program under this scheme.

“Residents who availed through the miscellaneous sales titling are even up to date in payment of their dues”, Lorilla revealed.

PENRO Lorilla assures that upon completion of requirements, processing of titling papers will be fast as there is an administrative division taking charge of the services at DENR-Aklan.

“The titling program through the DENR is continuing and affordable because this service is subsidized by the government,” Lorilla emphasized. (PIA/Venus G. Villanueva)

Aklan pre-school kids to benefit from government feeding program

Kalibo, Aklan – More than a thousand pre-schoolers enrolled at day care centers in three municipalities here in Aklan will benefit this school year from the government’s supplemental feeding program.

According to the Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office here, some 1,048 pre-schoolers from the towns of Lezo, Tangalan and Buruanga will be the beneficiaries of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s Accelerated Hunger Mitigation program.

As supplemental feeding beneficiaries, these pre-sschoolers will enjoy free fresh milk, coco pandesal and vegetables-enriched noodles everyday, according to the PSWDO.

The three municipalities were selected as feeding base here, having been classified as 5th to 6th class municipalities.

For 160 days, the pre-schoolers will enjoy the feeding program. The feeding sessions will be supervised by the day care worker and assisted by mothers of the children who will prepare the food and do the marketing.

Every week, according to the PSWDO, each day care center is tasked to liquidate the expenses so the following week, it would be given the same amount for purchase of food for the period.

According to the PSWDO here, headed by Mrs. Elma Malbas, the President’s supplemental feeding program started yet on November 2005 but was sustained as there was a noted improvement in the nutritional status of the pre-schoolers and attendance of school kids in classes also improved.

This year, the supplemental feeding program, which is implemented nationwide, has a budget of P1 billion. Under the Food for School program, other agencies involved are the National Nutrition Council, the Department of Interior and Local Government, the Depaprtment of Social Welfare and Development, National Economic Authority, the Department of Education and the National Food Authority.

In the same municipalities, Grade I pupils also avail of 1 kilo rice everyday from the National Food Authority here under the program to also improve their nutritional status and help their families as well as to encourage them to go to school everyday. (PIA/Venus G. Villanueva)

DENR assures enough seedlings to green Aklan

Kalibo, Aklan – DENR-Aklan has enough seedlings to sustain the greening of Aklan.

This assurance was made by Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Officer Raul Lorilla who said that currently, some 111,000 seedlings are available for tree planting activities of government and non-government offices here and other sectors.

The further greening of the province of Aklan, which has the biggest forest cover in Region 6, is in line with the Green Philippines program of the government.

Lorilla also said that the Green Philippines program of the government not only to beautify the country but also to address global warming, which is the most current environmental issue not only in the Philippines but in the whole world.

“I can say that the recent summer season was the hottest in the country. We enjoin everybody to participate in a massive tree planting, to restore the environment so our children will have cleaner air to breathe,” Lorilla said.

According to Lorilla, several Memorandums of Agreement have been signed by him and several parties which have conducted tree-planting activities in the province. The 47th Infantry Battalion is also set to have its tree-planting activity initially scheduled June 29 but was moved to a later date to better prepared for the activity.

The Philippine Army targets to plant some P10,000 trees in Panayakan, Tangalan Aklan.

Last year, the DENR here, in coordination with the DPWH and the different municipalities traversed by the national highway from Caticlan, Malay to Cabangila, Altavas joined in the Green Philippine Highways Project by planting at roadsides ornamental plants and trees to beautify and green the road network also utilized for the Strong Republic Nautical Highway program of the government. Now, Lorilla said the planting areas had been expanded to include vacant public lands for planting.

This year too, Lorilla said they are making sure that they plant in the right areas along the highway, as they have observed that due to repair and rehabilitation of some road sections, thriving plants which were planted last year under the greening program were destroyed.

Lorilla assured any group interested to hold tree planting activities that they can go to DENR-Aklan anytime and request for planting materials after signing a MOA with the office. (PIA/Venus G. Villanueva)

Great politics means great service, new Kalibo officials told

Kalibo, Aklan -- Great politics means great service to the people who have gifted you with leadership.

This was the message given by Presidential Management Staff Director-General Cerge Remonde to Kalibo’s newly-elected officials whom he inducted into office during the Oath-taking Ceremonies held at Magsaysay Park, Kalibo.

Remonde told Kalibo officials, led by reelected Mayor Raymar Rebaldo, Vice Mayor Nilda Tambong and the Sangguniang Bayan members of Aklan’s capital town.

“As the people has gifted you with leadership, cherish and value this gift, for you were elected to serve,” Remonde told the officials.

Remonde also reminded the officials and their constituents who witnessed the oath taking ceremonies that Kalibo is a town with great potentials.

In the same occasion, Remonde announced that President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has realigned the amount of P50 million which will be released soon for the expansion of Kalibo Arport’s new passenger terminal.

The need for a bigger passenger terminal is due to more flights landing at the airport, and because of direct international flights from South Korea to Kalibo bringing to Aklan more plane passengers who are mostly going to Boracay Island.

In the same speech, Remonde instructed PMS-Iloilo to monitor the release of the notice of cash allocation at the Department of Transportation and Communication and the Department of Budget and Management so the passenger terminal building could be developed right away.

The Oath taking of Kalibo’s new officials was also witnessed by Cong. Florencio t. Miraflores, some Sangguniang Panlalawigan members and heads and representatives of national and provincial government agencies. (PIA/Venus G. Villanueva)