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Thursday, April 29, 2010

Aklan’s Piña & Fiber Festival getting better, buyers say

    Kalibo, Aklan -- The Aklan Piña & Fiber Festival is getting better and better through the years, according to buyers who regularly come to Aklan to witness the event.

    This is one of the feedbacks received by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) on the recent trade event in Aklan, held simultaneously with the province's week-long celebration of its separation from Capiz.

    Aklan became a separate province 54 years ago on April 25, 1956.

    Now on its 11th year, the Piña & Fiber Festival had a lot of improvements and a lot of much better things seen by the visitors, according to Engr. Diosdado P. Cadena, Jr., DTI-Aklan Provincial Director.

    "There are new designs, there are new products, and higher sales in the recent Fiber Festival", Director Cadena said.

    Cadena said that this year, the festival exceeded its target sales of P6+ million.

    "Our figure is not yet complete, but as of Tuesday, April 27, closing of the festival, there is already around P6.3 million in sales,' he said.

    The sales were generated through booked orders and cash sales. The reported festival sales include only those transacted inside the trade hall. Cadena said that if the sales report of the garden, the OTOP booths of the LGUs and other booths get included, the total and final sales will be bigger.

    The bulk of booked orders came from twelve buyers who came to the festival, worth almost P4 million. Getting most booked orders were Piña Fiber producers, furnitures and furnishing sector, crafts and gift items and the Fruit of Life, selling coconut-based products.

    Meanwhile, Director Cadena said the hot weather condition or El Niño which could affect the supply of raw materials for Aklan's unique products made of Piña and abaca cloth and nito is not yet felt by Aklanon producers.

    "Even then, this potential problem is being addressed already. Realizing not only the effect of El Niño but Typhoon Frank on abaca, the Fiber Industry Development Authority (FIDA) has already conducted a forum among farmer-growers, traders and manufacturers to ensure the source of raw materials," Cadena said.

Cadena said it takes 3 years for an abaca plant to produce quality fiber. (PIA/Venus G. Villanueva)

Hundreds of Aklanon students to benefit from SPES

    Kalibo, Aklan – Some 760 poor but deserving students from Aklan's 17 municipalities will benefit from this year's Special Program for the Employment of Students (SPES), better known as Summer Job.

    This program is implemented yearly by the provincial government of Aklan and the 17 local government units together with the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) for students who belong to the "low income bracket" but with passing marks in school.

    Under the program, the students will work for 22 days in their respective municipalities according to the tasks assigned them – like continuing the Aklan Regreening and Beautification Project, clean-up activities in their municipalities, assisting in office jobs, skills mapping and many others.

    According to Norma Janabon of DOLE-Aklan, the students will be paid based on the existing wage rates in their respective municipalities through the 60-40 scheme, with the local government unit paying 60 percent of the daily rate and DOLE, 40%.

    Besides the provincial government, the DOLE and the LGUs, majority of Aklan's schools are also joining the program, serving as employers under the same payment scheme.

    Almay Iyo, 17 years old of Caiyang, Batan and incoming second year college student of Aklan State University (ASU) here said the salary she will receive from the program will be a big help to her this coming school year, as her father is already dead and her mother working as an all-around maid. Assigned to conduct office tours around Kalibo's government offices to gather names of agency heads and to obtain respective functions of different agencies to produce an official directory, Iyo said she now knows where to go or to direct people where to go when planning to avail of government services.

    Elizabeth Sonajo, 19, of Ortega Libacao and Elvie S. Perucho, 18 of Guinbaliwan, New Washington, Aklan, also agreed that the SPES will be a big help to them in paying their school fees this coming school year.

    Vivian Solano, Provincial Employment Service Office (PESO    ) Manager, said that this year, 9 towns have their own budget for the program, while 8 towns will be assisted by the Provincial Government in paying the students.

    The students have already started to render services in their respective municipalities April 19. (PIA/Venus G. Villanueva)

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Circulate your coins, BSP calls on Aklanons

    Kalibo, Aklan -- The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) – Kalibo Branch is appealing to Aklanons to use their coins for their daily cash transactions and keep them circulating to address the artificial/perceived "shortage in the lower-denominated coins such as 1 peso, 25 centavo, 10 centavo and 01 centavo coins.

    According to Leonora S. Templonuevo, Deputy Director of BSP – Aklan, as of 2009, the BSP has circulated 15.6 billion coins worth P16.9 billion.

    These coins, however, slowly disappear from circulation, according to Templonuevo, as they are either kept in piggy banks/containers left at home or some find it inconvenient to bring coins for their regular shopping. Coins then become scarce that results to inexact change received from transport facilities or candies given in lieu of coins from groceries, pharmacies and stores. If the prices of all items are rounded off, people could be found paying more for the basic commodities usually priced with centavos like fuel, groceries and medicines.

    "We are not discouraging the public from saving coins. Rather, we encourage depositing accumulated coins with any bank. We also welcome your donationof coins to the "Tulong-Barya Para Sa Eskwela," Templonuevo told Aklanons.

    The "Tulong-Barya Para Sa Eskwela" is a coin circulation project of BSP and DepEd for the benefit of school children. The coins gathered for this project, however, should be regularly retrieved and deposited to the TBPSE account with any bank which will form part of the bank's resources in servicing their client's needs for coins.

    Aklanons should now make a habit of having adequate coins in their purses for payment of daily expenses to facilitate the regular circulation of coins nationwide, according to Templonuevo.

    "If successful, we will reap the benefit of receiving exact change or "sukli" for our transactions; the business sector, particularly retail outlets, will have sufficient coin suppy to serve their customers; and the government will generate substantial savings in terms of lower coin production", she emphasized.

    To further drive home the message, BSP-Aklan is conducting a Consultative Dialogue on Coin Circulation April 23 at the Hernani's Mix and Match here.

    The presentation on Coin Recirculation will be given by Pedro T. Todilla, Jr., Managing Director, Regional Monetary Affairs Sub-Sector. (PIA/Venus G. Villanueva)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Aklan to honor 2010 Outstanding Aklanons

    Kalibo, Aklan -- Seven Aklanons who excelled in their chosen careers and fields of endeavor will be honored as Aklan celebrates its 54th anniversary as a separate province from Capiz on April 25.

    This year's outstanding Aklanons were selected by the Committee on Outstanding Aklanons and will be feted through an Awarding Ceremony in the evening of April 25 at ABL Sports and Cultural Center here.

    The awardees for this year are Mr. Rufino C. Leyson in the field of Banking and Finance; Geronimo D. Ortega, Public Service; Dr. Oseni Maribojo-Millamena, Science and Technology (Researh); Stella Mijares Tejada Dy, Business and Industry; Cecille Laserna Motus, Community Service; Germa "Jim" Cortes Palmani, Broadcast Journalism; and Rev. Fr. Regino O. Cortes, O.P., PH.L.,S.T.L., S.S.L., Posthumous Awardee in the field of Religion.

    Leyson graduated Cum Laude from NVC with a BS Commerce degree, becoming one of the four pioneer employees of BPI in 1972, and through the years, became an officer and a member of various socio-civic and religious organizations like the Akln Bankers Association, the Kiwanis Club and Diocesan Finance Council of Kalibo, making waves.

    Geronimo, on the other hand, worked his way to college, getting employed while studying, and rising from the ranks – from clerk-typist of the Rehabilitation Finance Corporation now Development Bank of the Philippines, he rose as Clerk Stemnographer, Collection Clerk Senior Bookkeepper, Senior Credit Investigator, Teller QuedanBranch Accountant, Asst. Branch Manager and and Branch Manager. He also caused the positive turn-around of other businesses he handled.

    Dr. Millamena is a recipient of numerous awards and honors to her researches and works, while Mrs. Dy is a silent and anonymous donor of various church and community projects not only in Metro Manila but in aklan province.

    Cecile Motus is currently an Assistant Director at the Scretariat of Cultural Diversity of the U.S. Conference of the Catholic Bishops. She is part owner and used to manage the Associated Resources for Management and Development (ARMDEV) a consulting company which plans and implements community development, microfinance, environmental protection, and peace projects funded by the World Bank, Asian Development Bank, as well as the Philippine government departments in various parts of the country.

    Palmani is a pioneer radioman of Aklan and one of the founding fathers of the broadcast industry in Aklan. Father Cortes is a Filipino Biblical Expeprt at the forefront of the Catholic Church. He is an appointee of the late Pope John Paul II at the Vatican's Pontifical Biblical Commission, and has written a book entitled "The Story of La Naval" and various articles.

    The awarding of Outstanding Aklanons is one of the major and permanent highlights of the Aklan Day celebration.

    Aklan became a separate province from Capiz on april 25, 1956. (PIA/Venus G. Villanueva)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Creative, versatile Aklanons to figure in 11th Piña fiberfest

    Kalibo, Aklan -- Creative and versatile Aklanons, who would be showcasing products made from the world-class Piña cloth will once more take center stage as the Aklan Piña & Fiber Festival opens April 21 at the Trade Hall, Capitol Site here.

    The Fiber Festival will run from April 21-27.

    The Piña & Fiber Festival, now on its 11th year, has long been one of the major highlights of Aklan's celebration of its anniversary as a separate province from Capiz.

    The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) here, prime mover of the Fiber Festival together with the Aklan Piña Manufacturers and Traders Association, Hugod Aklanon, the Provincial Government of Aklan and the Fiber Industry Development Authority said the Fiber Fest will be featuring Aklan's creativity and versatility in producing premium quality products like piña, abaca, and raffia loomwoven fabrics and fashion accessories; gifts, furnishings, and decorative crafts; processed meat and fish products, bakery, and confectionery products; and ornamental plants and cutflowers.

    Other exhibits will include Contemporary Lifestyle Setting of Living Spaces, One Town-One Product (OTOP) booths of all 17 municipalities of Aklan and Agri-Aqua products of community-based organizations and agencies.

    Other partners of the Fiberfest include the Congressional District Office and the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, making the activity a showcase of Public and Private Partnership (PPP).

    This year's VIP guest, according to the DTI, is Ms. Patis Tesoro, President of the Katutubong Filipino Foundation Incorporated.

    Congressman Florencio T. Miraflores and Governor Marquez will lead provincial officials and the people of Aklan in the celebration.

This year, Aklan will be commemorating its 54th year as a province, made possible through Republic Act 1414 signed by then President Ramon Magsaysay on April 25, 1956.

    Instrumental for the bill which "weaned" Aklan from Capiz was Congressman Godofredo P. Ramos, best loved and well-remembered as the Father of Aklan. (PIA/Venus g. Villanueva)

Monday, April 19, 2010

Aklan to hold 4th Dog Show

    Kalibo, Aklan -- The province of Aklan will be holding its 4th Dog show on April 23.

    The Dog Show is one of the major highlights of the province's celebration of its 54th year as a separate one from Capiz.

    Dr. Ronald Lorenzo, Agriculturist II from the Office of the Provincial Veterinarian (OPVET) here said the holding of the Dog Show aims to showcase responsible dog ownership.

    "If a person is a responsible dog owner, he should not let his dog roam around. This way, we could limit the transmission of rabies," Dr. Lorenzo said.

    Dogs should be regularly vaccinated too, according to Dr. Lorenzo.

    Presently, Dr. Lorenzo said Aklan has an estimated dog population of 56,064. However, through information dissemination campaign, the province is aiming to control the population of stray dogs to prevent the spread of rabies.

    Aklan, according to Dr. Lorenzo, is fortunate to be one of the beneficiaries of the Melinda and Bill Gates Foundation, which is a five-year program aiming to eradicate rabies in 2015. The rest of the provinces of Western Visayas will also benefit from this program.

    Besides the Philippines, other countries in Africa will also benefit from this program.

    Aklan will be implementing this program full blast after the May 10, 2010 Automated Elections, according to Lorenzo, in charge of Aklan's Provincial Rabies Control Program. (PIA/Venus G. Villanueva)

Aklan’s livestock sector to get P2.7 M for El Niño mitigation

    Kalibo, Aklan -- The province of Aklan will be availing a total of P2,702,500.00 from the Department of Agriculture for its El Niño mitigation activities involving the livestock sector here.

    The fund, according to Glen Mariano, Agriculturist II of DA-6 Regional Office, will be used for information/education and training, information advocacy campaign and production of leaflets.

    Mariano was in Aklan recently as invited resource person of the Office of the Provincial Veterinarian (OPVET), month-long sponsor of the province's flag-raising ceremonies at the Provincial Capitol.

    Some 500 heads of piglets will also be dispersed to farmers affected by the El Niño here.

    Part of the fund will also be used to buy vaccines for livestock disease prevention, which will be given free to farmers.

    Presently, Mariano said the DA is conducting close monitoring of the extent of El Niño damage in Western Visayas. (PIA/Venus G. Villanueva)

Friday, April 16, 2010

BIR’s ‘Premyo Sa Resibo’ now institutionalized

    Kalibo, Aklan-- The Premyo Sa Resibo (PSR) of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) is now institutionalized.

    This means this BIR promo is continuing, so everbody could keep on texting their receipts to the BIR year-round, according BIR-Aklan's Revenue District Officer, Ricardo J. Osorio.

    In the process, these receipts texters will have a chance to win cash prizes and other items from the BIR.

    Osorio said the promo helps the government a lot in collecting taxes. Shoppers are encouraged to ask for receipts so they could join the promo, while business establishments are obliged to print and issue official receipts or face complaints from the buying public.

    According to the BIR, the Premyo sa Resibo is one way of its mechanics to determine whether establishments from where purchases are made are duly registered or not.

    Currently, prizes range from P30 prepaid load, P5,000 cash, brand new cars and P1 million cash.

    In recent years, Aklanons have had its share of PSR winners.

    Osorio said that presently, BIR is undertaking many on-going tax collection programs – taxes, being the lifeblood of the government.

    Besides these, BIR is also accommodating walk-in requests, such as processing certificates of non-filing of income tax returns which are needed by parents whose children are applying for scholarships for the coming school year. (PIA/Venus G. Villanueva)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Aklan’s rice supply to last 4 months

    Kalibo, Aklan- Aklan's rice supply, as inventoried by the Bureau of Agricultural Statistics (BAS) as of April 1, will last up to four months and 6 days, if Aklanons refrain from selling their stored palay to traders.

    BAS-Aklan Provincial Head Manuelito Delegencia said that currently, Aklan households have 21,467 MT of stored palay and basing on the daily consumption of Aklanons of 170 MT, Aklan's rice supply will last up to August 6 of this year.

    The rice stocks inventoried by BAS do not include government rice from the National Food Authority and those kept by private traders and millers, Delegencia emphasized.

    Meanwhile, Delegencia revealed that some 2,900 hectares of rainfed and irrigated ricelands in Aklan were partially damaged by El Niño.

    BAS was recently tasked by the DA to validate El Niño damages to crops reported by the Aklan farmers here.

    Delegencia said El Niño brought decreased yields in rice harvest as well as totally parching some rice farms.

    "The town of Balete suffered the most, with some 78 hectares rainfed rice fields damaged," Delegencia said. Other towns had damages too, like Altavas, Madalag, Malinao, Nabas, Kalibo, Ibajay and Makato.

    Ricefields planted to certified and hybrid seeds also suffered losses.

    Converted to cash, the losses could reach from P18 million to 20 million, according to Delegencia.

    Despite the onslaught of El Niño in Aklan, which was assessed by PAGASA to be moderate in the province, farmers gave their assurance that as soon as water is available through rains or irrigation, they will start planting.

    Just recently, the NFA revealed that its rice inventory is cocntinuosly increasing due to the arrival of imported rice and the on-going intensive palay procurement.

    As of first week of April, the agency has some 30 millionbags rice inventopry sufficient for 42 days food security requirement based on the country's daily rice consumption rate of 726,000 bags. Present inventory will even be enough for 509 days based on the agency's average daily sales of 58,811 bags. (PIA/Venus G. Villanueva)


Aklan banks to accommodate BIR tax filers

    Kalibo, Aklan – The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) here is deploying examiners in three banks in Kalibo to accept payments from income tax filers expected to come in big numbers on April 15, the deadline of filing.

    BIR-Aklan's Revenue District Officer Ricardo J. Osorio said that these banks include Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP), United Coconut Planters Bank (UCPB) and Metrobank.

    RDO Osorio also assured that BIR-Aklan will be accommodating income tax filers the whole day on April 15.

    "For as long as there are filers in the office, we will accommodate them even after five o'clock," Osorio said.

    BIR-Aklan also held offices two Saturdays before the deadline – on April 3 and 10 – to accommodate those who could not leave their offices during weekdays.

    Income tax filers in Boracay Island need not come anymore to BIR-Aklan to file, as there is already a satellite office there.

    "We have two examiners and two collection officers in Boracay Island, so there is no need for filers there to go to Kalibo on April 15," Osorio revealed.

    Osorio also said that the manner of substituted filing practiced by government agencies and private offices whose employees have fixed income has helped a lot in avoiding big crowds in BIR offices on the last day of filing during the past years.

    BIR offices in the municipalities will also be opened the whole day on April 15.

    Besides income tax filers, BIR-Aklan also expects a big number of business tax filers to come to their office during the deadline.

    Osorio also revealed that for the first three months of the year, BIR-Aklan has exceeded its monthly collection targets, attributing this favorable development to people's awareness of paying their taxes promptly, on the information campaign waged by BIR in the media, and an improving economy.

    He also said that 30% of tax collected by the BIR here comes from the island of Boracay. (PIA/Venus G. Villanueva)

Monday, April 12, 2010

Give the right data during census, NSO urges Aklanons

    Kalibo, Aklan -- The National Statistics Office (NSO), which is embarking on its biggest project this year nationwide, is urging Aklanons to give correct and accurate data to field enumerators when they come knocking on their doors.

    This project, which the NSO calls "flagship" is the 2010 Census of Population and Housing, which will be undertaken a week after the national and local automated elections in May 2010.

     Blas Solidum, Provincial Statistics Officer of NSO-Aklan, said the census will be held from May 17 to June 11.

    "Please welcome enumerators in your homes when they come to visit you for the Census and ask about things. The information you are going to give is important in preparing government plans as well as those of private sectors to improve the quality of life of the Filipinos," Solidum called on Aklanons over RMN-DYKR, a local radio station here.

    According to the NSO, a total of 526 teachers and hired enumerators will conduct the house – to house census.

    Rodelyn Panadero, Statistician II of NSO-Aklan said the teachers will be receiving honorariums for doing the job and their days of services will also be added to their leave credits, while the hired enumerators will be paid on a daily basis.

    Panadero said the 2010 Census of Population and Housing differs from the one conducted in 2007 because it involved population and demographic profile.

    "Questions such as the status of the lot, the date of construction of the house, the size of the lot, fuel used and source of water will be asked from the respondents in the 2010 Census," Panadero said.

    Panadero appealed to Aklanons to be responsible interviewees. Although household heads are preferred, 15 year-old interviewees are qualified to answer, provided he or she knows important data like the birthdays of household members.

    To ensure a smooth conduct of the Census, the NSO has enlisted the assistance of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Department of Education and the Department of Public Works and Highways.

    The DILG will provide police assistance while the DepEd will help through a MOA to provide its teachers, and the DPWH will help transport materials for the census.

    Babies born on May 1, 2010, will already be counted in the census. Those staying in institutions like hospitals, jails, convents, army and police camps will also be counted, provide they have stayed in the institution for at least 6 months. Workers in Boracay Island who have stayed in the island will also be counted, even the Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) who are on contracts and is out of the country at the time of the interview. (PIA/Venus G. Villanueva)

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

NSO slates 2010 population count

    Kalibo, Aklan -- The country will soon have its population counted when the National Statistics Office (NSO) conducts the 2010 Census of Population and Housing starting May.

    According to Blas Solidum, Provincial Statistics Officer of NSO-Aklan, the 2010 Census of Population will be conducted from May 17 to June 11.

    In Aklan, Solidum said some 526 enumerators will be conducting the house to house census in the province's 17 towns.

    "We will be fielding teachers from the Department of Education as well as private enumerators in the conduct of the Census of Population," Solidum said. He said this is so, as some public school teachers might still be tired or have extended duties for the 2010 Automated National and Local Elections, and the new school year would have started by the start of June.

    Solidum also said it is preferable for enumerators to come from their own areas of assignments, as they know the place and the people better.

    Babies born on May 1st of 2010, students who are home at the time of the census, and Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) will be included in the population count, according to Solidum.

    People in institutions, like hospitals and jails will also be counted. According to Solidum, patients who have stayed in the hospital for 6 months will be counted as coming from institutions. Prisoners or detainees, on the other hand, must have stayed for a year in jails in order to be counted.

    "Resort workers in Boracay Island, who have worked there for six months, will also be counted," Solidum bared.

    People staying in boarding houses for a long time will also be counted. As to houses, Solidum said for as long as people stay in a dwelling no matter how small it is, eat there, and sleep there - they will be counted and recorded.

    "Even people living under bridges will be counted," Solidum said. According to him, they have done this in their past population count.

    The NSO has instructions too to conduct a population count on Aklan's Indigenous People.

    This 2010 Census of Population, Solidum, said, is a flagship project of the NSO, results of which will be used for economic planning and many other programs and projects of the national and local government units.

    In 2007, Aklan's population was short of more or less 5,000 for the province to be divided in two (2) congressional districts, which could have been beneficial to Aklanons, who could have 2 representatives to work for more progress for the province.

    "The result of this year's Census of Population in Aklan is widely anticipated. Please participate, cooperate and be counted," Solidum appealed to Aklanons. (PIA/Venus G. Villanueva)