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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Aklan has 6 first-termer mayors

    Kalibo, Aklan -- The province of Aklan has 6 first-termer mayors elected during the May 10, 2010 automated elections.

    Most of these incoming mayors have taken their oaths of office already while others are holding theirs today, like incoming Kalibo Mayor William Lachica and incoming Numancia Mayor Adolfo M. Iligan.

    Two of these six first-termer mayors are actually come-backing, like Mayor Denny D. Refol of Altavas, who, after earlier completing his three terms, rested and then ran for mayor again in the recent elections; and Balete Mayor Teodoro V.Calizo, who won for a fresh term after completing three terms. In between, his sister, Noeme C. Cordero ran, won and served as mayor of Balete.

    The other four – the real first termers even as they have served the public under other positions, are William Lachica of Kalibo, Adolfo Iligan of Numancia,Wilbert Ariel Igoy of Malinao and John Yap of Malay.

    Based on the profile compiled by the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) regional office, Region 6 composed of the provinces of Aklan, Antique, Capiz, Iloilo, Guimaras and Negros Occidental has a total of 59 first termers – 3 for province, 1 for highly-urbanized city; 9 for component cities and 46 for municipalities.

    For second termers, the region has a total of 57 – 3 for province; 4 for component cities and 50 for municipalities. Third termers are 23 – 1 for highly-urbanized city; 1 for component city and 21 for municipalities.

    Per province, Aklan has 6 first termers; 7 second termers and 5 third termers. Capiz has 11 1st termers; 6 second termers and 2 third termers while Iloilo has 22 first termers, 15 second termers and 8 third termers.

    On the other hand, Antique has 11 first termers, 6 second termers and 2 third termers. Guimaras has 2 first termers, 3 second termers and 1 third termer; and Negros Occidental, 8 first termers, 15 second termers and 3 third termers.

    According to the DILG, there are 39 newly "minted" local officials in the region – 1 governor; 1 HUC Mayor, 6 for component city and 31 municipal mayors.

    Of the 1,456 elective officials in the region, 818 are newly elected and 638 are reelected. 13% of the elected officials are College level while 66% are College Graduates. 15% have Post Graduate Degrees; 3% are Vocational course graduates, 2 % are High School level and Elementary, 1%.

    Women elected to positions comprised only 20% of the total number of local officials – out of 1,456 officials, 292 are women and 1,185, men. The province of Iloilo had the highest number of women elected to office, with 102 positions occupied by women out of the total of 449 positions, according to DILG 6. (PIA/Venus G. Villanueva)

Monday, June 28, 2010

More males are prone to TB infection, says TB LINC

    Kalibo, Aklan -- More males were found to be infected by tuberculosis compared to women, according to Dr. Pilar F. Mabasa of TB LINC Visayas.

    Dr. Mabasa disclosed this information during the 1st Aklan TB Council Meeting and Updates in TB Control Program held recently at the Conference Room of the Provincial Governor's Hall here.

    According to Dr. Mabasa, more males were found infected with TB because of they are the ones working for the family.

    "TB is highest among family breadwinners. Infection is also highest among urban poor dwellers. They are also "poor" health seekers," Dr. Mabasa said.

    By "poor" health seekers, Dr. Mabasa explained that workers put off seeking health advices or consultation because they think that if they stop working even for a day, they will have no money to buy their daily needs.

    Of Filipinos infected with TB, only 32% went to health providers, according to TB LINC data.

    "There is also a significant increase in people infected with TB who self medicate, from 24.4% in 1997 to 43.4% in 2007. Only 28.8% of them used their Philhealth benefits," Dr. Mabasa said.

    Meanwhile, Adelfa Cordova, PHO TB Coordinator disclosed that in 2009, 87 Aklanons died of TB.

    Of the figure, Aklan Governor Carlito Marquez, chair of the Provincial TB Council, said the PHO should try to find out how many of the dead were "sacadas" or those working in other provinces to cut sugarcane for sugar centrals.

    "Sacadas" according to him, are more prone to TB because they work rain or shine for long hours and with minimal food. For future files, the governor said occupations of persons who died of TB should be recorded by the PHO.

    Dr. Mabasa said it is hard to monitor the health or the movements of "sacadas" as they move to other places during off-season, so it is hard to treat them, further spreading the disease to those they mingle with as they move.

    Dr. Mabasa said people who have had coughs for 2 weeks should seek consultation from the nearest health centers or hospitals. The most reliable TB examination, according to her is Direct Sputum Smear Examination, and not Xrays.

    It was assured in the meeting that TB drugs, including those for children, are available in health centers, while private physicians were assured that they could refer their poor patients to the centers to avail of free medicines.

    Daily, 75 people die of TB, according to Dr. Mabasa. TB ranks 6th in terms of the country's leading cause of morbidity. It affects 63% of Filipinos 20 to 54 years old.

    To strengthen the province's fight against TB, Governor Marquez said more medical technologists will be hired to go around Aklan and conduct tests and disseminate information about the disease, and assist in the Directly Observed Treatment implemented by municipalities. (PIA/Venus G. Villanueva)

Friday, June 25, 2010

Aklan officials take oath, commit for peaceful and progressive province

    Kalibo, Aklan - For their fresh mandate to serve Aklanons for the next three years, Aklan leaders, who had their oath-taking today at the ABL Sports and Cultural Center committed to continue working together for the sustained progress of Aklan to improve the quality of life of Aklanons.

    In his inaugural address, Gov. Marquez said the province will focus in the conservation and sustained protection of natural resources, at the same time reminding constituents that Aklan is now a first-class province.

    The governor said it is the province's duty to provide job opportunities to constituents, citing the promising agri-tourism sector. He said however, that Aklan should have a cheap source of electricity, and cited the possibilities of a biomass power plant and hydro-electric power plants in the towns of Libacao and Madalag to provide this need.

    For his part, Congressman Miraflores said he will continue to work with his partner in the implementation of projects and programs that will improve the lives of Aklanons. He said this will be through agri-tourism.

    Congressman Miraflores always mentions Governor Marquez as his partner in the development of Aklan in his speeches, and vice-versa.

    "Tourism is a major source of livelihood," Miraflores said. He also cited development projects like the new Kalibo International Airport (KIA) passenger terminal , the jetty ports in Caticlan and in Boracay Island, and the Caticlan Airport Development Project, which are major tourism vehicles and infrastructures of the province in enhancing the industry.

    The Kalibo Airport Development Project inaugurated two days ago is a realization of a dream to make Kalibo a gateway to the rest of the world, he said.

    "Our commitment is a peaceful and progressive Aklan," Miraflores emphasized.

    On the other hand, Vice Governor Gabrielle Calizo-Quimpo expressed optimism in serving Aklanons as presiding officer of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan.

    "I am hopeful that we can cement the long-lasting harmony between the executive and the legislative branch through the Executive and Legislative Agenda or ELA, so that in the next three years, we can move in harmony and synchronous manner which will augur well for the total development of our province and the economic upliftment of our people," Calizo-Quimpo said in her message.

    Besides the three re-elected officials – elected Sangguniang Bayan members, vice mayors, mayors, and Sangguniang Panlalawigan members from the eastern and western districts of Aklan also took their oaths of office.

    The oath-taking was administered by Jude Marietta J. Homena-Valencia.

    Congressman Miraflores and Governor Marquez are both on their 3rd and last terms, while Vice Governor Calizo-Quimpo is on her second term(PIA/Venus G. Villanueva)

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Aklan REDCOP coordinator calls for healthy lifestyle to beat kidney disease

    Kalibo Aklan -- Aklanons must practice a healthly lifestyle to avoid suffering from renal or kidney disease, according to Erlin Morales, a medical technologist at the Provincial Health Office (PHO) here.

    Morales is also the provincial coordinator of Renal Disease Control Program (REDCOP) of PHO-Aklan. The program is under theDepartment of Health (DOH).

    In 2008, kidney disease is rated as the number 8 killer disease in the Philippines while in 2009, it rose to number 6.

    "It is a latent disease – it has no manifestation, no clinical signs or symptoms and can only be found out through routine urinalysis. If diagnosed early, it can be cured but if it is on its end-stage, it is already fatal," Morales told the PIA during its weekly radio program over RMN-DYKR here.

    Morales added that people suffering from kidnes diseases in late stages have no choice but to undergo dialysis, or if they have enough money, kidney transplant.

    As a medical technologist based at the Dr. Rafel S. Tumbokon Memorial Hospital, she said she has seen and known many people suffering from kidney diseases.

    "I saw a case of a 42-year old mother of 7, whose family is quite well off, who came to the hospital for consultation. I saw that she had black scars in her skin, but I thought it was only skin irritation. When she came back to the hospital to complain of her bloody urine, essential tests were made, her creatinine was 600+, and that was how we knew she had a kidney disease. We referred her to the National Kidney Institute, and she was told to undergo dialysis every other day. That time, dialysis costs P7,000.00 to P9,000.00 per session. Devastated, her husband came home to Aklan to look for resources, but after two weeks, the wife died. Her children were still small," Morales related.

    Months later, Morales related, the woman's father in law was diagnosed of End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD). He was a retired employee, and his will to live was strong, but he died too.

    Morales also related the case of her own father-in-law who was asthmatic. One time he complained of backaches and he came to the neighborhood "manughilot" for some relief. Later, when he came to the hospital for consultation, he was found to be suffering from kidney disease. In Manila, he was told to undergo dialysis every other day, each session costing P4,500.00. All his children chipped in for his medical expenses, but eventually, he died, causing emotional devastation to Morales' seaman-husband who cannot accept his father's fate, that he suffered a stroke.

    "Suffering from ERDC heaps emotional, psychological, physical and financial problem not only to the patient but to family members. Treating it and having kidney transplants are expensive, and the patient has to take anti-rejection drugs as maintenance. So kidney disease prevention is very important ", Morales stressed.

    To prevent kidney diseases, Morales said school-age children's urine should be routinely examined for infections so treatment could be made. People should drink plenty of water, change their lifestyle, and practice proper hygiene. Everybody must go back to basics regarding foods, avoiding "instant" ones by taking time to prepare natural, fresh and nutritious foods. Parents should watch out if their children suffer from tonsillitis or pharyngitis, as this might be signs of chronic kidney diseases. Adults should also maintain an annual urinalysis.

    The PHO, according to Morales, has no current records on how many Aklanons have died of the disease of how many are suffering. However, basing on the number of Aklan mayors who are requesting for the revival of the dialysis center, there could be a substantial number. Municipal mayors are mostly approached by their constituents when they need medical assistance, so mayors know the most common disease the people are suffering from.

    Presently, there is one dialysis center here located at the St. Gabriel Hospital.

    This month of June, the country is celebrating Kidney Month, with the theme "Happy Kidneys, Happy Family". (PIA/Venus G. Villanueva)

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Aklan has a lot to thank PGMA for, solon says

    Kalibo, Aklan -- The province of Aklan has a lot to thank President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo for, according to re-elected Lone Representative for Aklan, Congressman Florencio T. Miraflores.

    Miraflores issued this statement in his message at the "soft inauguration" of the P50 million brand-new Kalibo International Airport (KIA) terminal building here today.

    According to him, PGMA gave her full support to the airport development by approving the budget for the project, as well setting aside the policy that Panay Island will only have one international airport.

    He also disclosed in his message that PGMA has accepted the invitation of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) to visit Aklan on June 28.

    "So today, we only have a soft opening of this new terminal building because on Monday, June 28, the President will be arriving for the main opening," Miraflores told the audience who witnessed the inauguration, composed of high officials from CAAP, the DOTC, provincial and municipal officials, provincial department heads, representatives of national government agencies and regional and local media.

    Miraflores said her coming to Aklan on Monday is her way of saying farewell by visiting development projects she has supported during her administration.

    "It is but proper for us to welcome her and show our appreciation for all she has granted for the progress of Aklan," said Congressman Miraflores.

    He also said the facilities in the airport – the completed and on-going projects like the new terminal building, the rehabilitation of the old terminal building, extension of runway, construction of access road, improvement of new and old terminal building, construction of elevated roadway and vehicular parking area is a dream come true for the people of Aklan.

    "This shows that tourists come to Kalibo, and Kalibo should be the international gateway of Panay to the world," the Aklan solon said.

    For his part, Governor Marquez, who welcomed the visitors to the "soft inauguration" said the modernization of the Kalibo International Airport is the national government's way of acknowledging the tremendous potential of Aklan, which will generate more jobs.

    "The taking off of China Airlines as we began this program only proves that indeed, this is an international airport," Marquez also said.

    In July, Zest Air will be adding 2 more flights , which means it will have 6 flights a week from Busan and Incheon.

    Based on CAAP records, the total project amount of the Kalibo airport Development Project is P665,570,000.00.

CAAP USEC Doroteo A. Reyes was the Guest Speaker at the inauguration of the new KIA terminal. For the meantime, the new terminal building will cater to both foreign and domestic passengers as the old terminal building is undergoing rehabilitation. (PIA/Venus G. Villanueva)


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Kalibo International Airport Terminal

Kalibo International Airport Terminal building worth 50M ready for inauguration. (PIA/JERRamos)

Kalibo Airport’s new terminal building to be inaugurated

    Kalibo, Aklan -- Aklan's brand new, P50,000,000.00 terminal building located at the Kalibo International Airport (KIA) in Pook, Kalibo, Aklan, will have its inauguration and blessing on June 23.

    The inauguration, according to Aklan Congressman Florencio T. Miraflores and Governor Carlito S. Marquez is a major event not only in Aklan's tourism industry but in the totality of the province's economic development efforts.

    The funding for the project was programmed yet in 2007 and completed 100% on March 31, 2010 and will cater to passengers of both international and domestic flights landing in and taking off from the airport.

    The event will be graced by high CAAP officials led by Director General Alfonso G. Cusi and Liberty D. Sucro, CAAP Budget Officer; DOTC Assistant Secretary for Air Transportation Hon. Doroteo A. Reyes; DOTC Area Manager for Reg. 6 and 8 Engr. Dante A. Lulu; and DOT 6 Regional Director Edwin G. Trompeta.

    At the inaugural program, Dir. Trompeta, Cong. Miraflores, and Hon. Cusi will be giving messages while Gov. Marquez will give the welcome remarks. On the other hand, Vice Governor Gabrielle C. Quimpo and CAAP-Aklan Airport Manager Engr. Percy Malonesio will present plaques of appreciation to Dir. Cusi, Cong. Miraflores, Gov. Marquez, Dir. Trompeta and Hon. Reyes.

    Dir. Cusi, Cong. Miraflores, Gov. Marquez, Hon. Reyes and Vice Gov. Calizo-Quimpo will cut the ribbon, while Rev. Fr. Ulysses I. Dalida will officiate in the blessing of the new terminal building.

    KIA's new firetruck, which, according to Engr. Malonesio is of the latest model and of international standard worth P60 million, will be blessed too by Rev. Dalida.

    Besides the new terminal building, other projects under the Kalibo airport Development Project include the expansion of the terminal building completed December 19, 2009 with a program amount of P30,000,000.00; Extension of Runway, Construction of Access Road, Improvement of New and Old Terminal Building, Construction of Elevated Roadway and Vehicular Parking Area, now on-going with a program amount of P287,570,000.00; Asphalt Overlay of Runway, Extension of Apron and Construction of Drainage Canal, 100% completed, with a project cost of P294,000,000.00 and Rahabilitation/Repair of Oil Passenger Terminal Builidng with a project cost of P4,000,000.00.

    The development of the Kalibo International Airport is contained in the SONA promise of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo a couple of years ago to further enhance Aklan's tourism industry and contribute to the economic progress of the country.

    In her book BEAT THE ODDS The Super Regions, PGMA included a report from CAAP on Kalibo Airport, stating that it is being upgraded to international standards.

    "However, it is already catering to charter flights from China, Taiwan, and Korea. Four airlines are flying international flights to and from Kalibo five times a week on average, namely China Airlines, Philippine Airlines, Mandarin Airlines, and Zest Air. By 2010, China Airlines will utilize an Airbus 320 for its charter flights to Kalibo to accommodate more Taiwanese tourists. In 2008 alone, the Kalibo Airport registered 400,042 passengers and 1.5 million kgs. of cargo, an increase from the 177,138 passengers and 942,459 kgs. of cargo in 2000", according to PGMA's book, quoting reports from CAAP and DOT.

    Presently, KIA is already receiving direct flights from Incheon, South Korea. (PIA/Venus G. Villanueva)

Monday, June 21, 2010

CLOAs distribution marks DAR’s anniversary in Aklan

    Kalibo,Aklan - The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) here made 565 Agrarian Reform Benereficiaries (ARBs) happy when it celebrated its 22nd CARP anniversary and 1st year for CARPER by "gifting" them with Certificates of Land Ownerships (CLOAS) on June 18 at the DAR office.

    The distributed CLOAs comprised of 183 for new lands benefiting 210 beneficiaries with a total area of 455.8039 and redocumented ones, 425 benefiting 355 beneficiaries with a total areas of 439.4637 (65 CLOAs).

    The anniversary celebration also became an opportunity to honor DAR-Aklan's retirees led by Provincial Agrarian Reform Officer I Numeriano M. Cordova, Jr., Gely G. Suganob, Stinely Y. Flores, Maternidad V. Dela Torre and Leticia T. Ibabao.

    The activity was graced by DAR 6 Assistant Director for Operation Fely Bañares, who thanked the retirees "for being extraordinarily wonderful in extending help to the least of their brothers and sisters."

    Numeriano Cordova, who had been with DAR since the early '90s after working in the Ministry of Human Settlements (MHS) and in local banks, said he enjoyed his job at DAR, because working at DAR made him understand the plight of farmers better."

    "When I was with banks, I only looked at farmers who came to us as statistics", Cordova said. I thought once we loaned them money, our duty is ever. Working at DAR, however, and interacting with farmers made me understand their plight better. It is not enough that we give them funds, lands and infrastructure. We have to help them in other aspects, so they could use what the government has laid for them," Cordova said.

    He added his life at DAR was very challenging, providing him opportunity to go around Aklan, reaching some areas by crossing the same river 12 times just to meet the farmers, risking life and limb especially when the places are in rebel-infested areas.

    For his part, Provincial Agrarian Reform Officer II Atty. Daniel Martelino was all praises for Cordova, who he said had been with him since his days at the Ministry of Human Settlements and the Presidential Management Staff and the Development Bank of the Philippines.

    For the past 22 years, DAR-Aklan has established 15 Agrarian Reform Communities (ARCs) in most municipalities except in the towns of Batan, Balete and Lezo. It has also provided bridges even in remote areas in the province, and farme to market roads.

    DAR also has scholarships offered to ARBs' children and dependents, some graduating with high honors, some gainfully employed while some are still in school. (PIA/Venus G. Villanueva)

Friday, June 18, 2010

Moving in for Filariasis elimination in Aklan

    Kalibo, Aklan -- Health workers call it the disease of the poor. It is also the 2nd leading cause of permanent long term disability, with 83 of the world's poorest countries affected. 1.1 billion people are at risk.

    Having it causes psychological, social and economic problem in the afflicted individuals, families and communities. This is the Lymphatic Filariasis (LF) disease, and according to local health officials, the province of Aklan has been found in 2009 to be moderately endemic for LF with a Microfilaria Rate (MF) of 6.2%.

    Lymphatic Filariasis is a parasitic disease caused by microscopic, thread-like worms that live in the human lymph system.

    These parasites live for 5-15 years in the body of an infected person. When the parasites die, they block the bloodstream, causing swelling in arms, legs (elephantiasis), scrotum in the males and breasts in women (hydrocoele).

    The disease is not usually life threatening, according to health officials, but it can permanently damage the lymph system and kidneys. Because the lymph system does not work right, fluid collects and causes swelling in the arms, breasts and legs.

    LF is transmitted through bites of infected female mosquito. Aedes Poecilus is the primary vector which lives in the leaf axils of abaca, banana, pandanus, pakil, gabi and other axilled plants. Its peak biting time is between 10 p.m. and 12 midnight.

    Health officials here said that World Health Organization guidelines state that Microfilaria rate of 1% and above makes Aklan a candidate for Mass Drug Administration (MDA).

    In Aklan, municipalities found to have endemic cases of filariasis are Libacao and Madalag. These are abaca-producing towns.

    According to Provincial; Health Officer II Dr. Emma T. Cortes, tests conducted to 500 Libacao residents particularly in abaca-producing barangays through nocturnal blood screening yieldled 46 persons positive for filariasis. Madalag, on the other hand, had 15 residents positive for filariasis out of the 500 tested.

    Some residents tested in Valderrama, Antique in November 2009 were also found positive for filariasis.

    In Western Visayas, Iloilo was found to be moderately endemic in 2007 with a 5.18% MF (26/501) and 13.7% Antigen Rate (66/501 while in 2008, Capiz was found to have low endemicity with an MF Rate of 2.4% (33/532) and Antoigen Rate of 19.1% (35/183).

    Presently, the Department of Health (DOH) and the Provincial Government of Aklan through the Provincial Health Office (PHO) are moving in for the total elimination of filariasis.

    Just this week, the DOH and the PHO conducted a series of Orientations and Seminars to Aklan's health, education, and other sectors to inform them about this government move, as well as to plan for strategies in the conduct of the Mass Drug Administration here.

    Ana Luz I. Hibionada of DOH-CHD-WV said that even as tests showed that some Libacao and Madalag residents, mostly abaca strippers carry the infection, it is a must that the whole population of Aklan will undergo mass treatment for the disease.

    The only component of the population exempted from the treatment, according to her, are the pregnant women whose treatment are deferred until delivery; individuals with cardiac and kidney diseases, while individuals with asthma, seizure disorders and severe malnutirition should be given with caution.

    Children below two years old are also exempted from the treatment.

    For mass treatment, people will be given two kinds of drugs, the DEC and Albendazole once a year for five years.

    Hibionada said children with ages from 2-5 will be given 1 each of DEC 50 mg tablet and 400mg. tablet of albendazole, while those from ages 6-12 will given 2 DEC and 1 Allbendazole; 13-20 – 4 DEC and 1 Albendazole and 21 and above – 5 DEC and 1 Albendazole.

    The mass treatment of filariasis is supported by the government through Executive Order No. 369 issued by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo on October 5, 2004 establishing the National Program for Eliminating Lymphatic Filariasis and declaring the month of November of every year as Mass Treatment for Filariasis in established endemic areas.

    According to her EO, the main strategy to eliminate filariasis is through Mass Treatment using a combination of Dietheylcarbamazine Citrate (DEC) and Albendazole annually for five years which has been pilot-tested in 2000 and formally started in 2001 in selected municipalities and provinces.

    The EO also stated that to facilitate program management, social mobilization, drug reapplication, distribution, and to epidemiologically control the disease, the global experts in consultation with regional coordinators, LGUs and other stakeholders recommended that a month each year will be concentrated for Mass Treatment for filariasis.

    Government agencies cited in the EO with respective roles include the DOH as the lead agency in the implementation of mass treatment; the DILG, DepEd, DSWD, DND, DENR and the PIA, while the LGUs shall lead the local implementation of the mass treatment campaign. The LGUs are expected to exert special effort to encourage every family member aged 2 years and above to take the filariasis mass treatment drugs to ensure the success of the campaign.

    Drugs to be used in the mass treatment are free, the DOH and the PHO stressed.

    Aklan is aiming to hold the mass treatment in time with the observation of Garantisadong Pambata in October of this year.

    This early, local health officials, led by Dr. Cortes are airing their appeal to all Aklanons to join the Mass Drug Administration.

    Hibionada said the DOH is targeting to reach 95% of the population for the MDA, and appealed to partners in government service, health workers, local officials and other sectors to help in the advocacy of the program.

    "The PHO and the DOH cannot do it alone to bring down or eliminate filariasis. We appeal for your support," was Dr. Cortes' appeal to participants of the various orientation and seminars conducted on MDA.

    Although many provinces in the Philippines are affected by filariasis, DOH officials said some countries have already eliminated the disease through MDA like China, Japan, Egypt, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago and Costa Rica. (PIA/Venus G. Villanueva)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Boracay’s 5-month tourist arrivals generate P6 M tourism receipts

    Kalibo, Aklan -- Boracay Island's tourism receipts from January to May 2010 generated a total of P6,961,683.28 in tourism receipts, according to the Provincial Tourism Office.

    Foreign receipts generated for the period, from 113,415 visitors who came to the island reached P3,921,641.19 while domestic tourists shared P3,532,216.41.

    Domestic tourists who visited the island during the period reached 252,890 while Overseas Filipinos reached 12,389. Total number of visitors from January to May of this year is 378,694, more than one half of last year's total tourist arrivals in Boracay which was 649,559.

    Last year, tourist arrivals in the island generated a total of P11,941,102,920.60 in tourism receipts.(PIA/Venus G. Villanueva)

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Council to promote, strengthen entrepreneurship in Aklan created

    Kalibo, Aklan -- The province of Aklan has now an official and stronger council to promote entrepreneurship with the creation of the Aklan Provincial Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprise Development (PMSMED) Council and its working committees by Aklan governor Carlito S. Marquez.

    The creation of the council through Executive Order No. 16 series of 2009, according to Governor Marquez, is pursuant to Section 21 of Republic Act 9501, which promotes entrepreneurship by strengthening development and Assistance Proograms to Micro, Small and Medium Scale Enterprises.

    Marquez said MSMEs have the potential for more employment generation and economic growth and can help provide a self-sufficient industrial foundation for the country in general and for the province in particular.

    As there is a need for coordination to achieve the desired objectives, the government said member-offices like the DTI, DA, DAR, DENR, DOLE, DOST, DILG, PIA, FIDA, TESDA, LBP, ASU-Business Assistance Center, ATI, Quedancor, PPDO and non-government organizations such as Aklan Food Processors Development Cooperative, Aklan Piña Manufaturers and Traders Associaiton, Inc., PCCI-Aklan and Uswag Development Foundation should coordinate with the local government units and provide the necessary support and assistance to MSMEs to the best of their efforts.

    Governor Marquez will serve as the Honorary Chairman of the council with the DTI Provincial Director of the DTI as Chair. Current DTI PD is Engr. Diosdado P. Cadena, Jr. Vice Chair is the Hugod Aklanon Producers Association, Inc.

    Promoting entrepreneurship, facilitating an enabling environment and opportunities conducive to the growth and development of MSMEs, harmonizing activities of stakeholders in MSME development and advocating programs and principles of RA 9501 are just some of the functions and responsibilities of the Aklan PMSMED Council stipulated in the Executive Order.

    As its support, the Provincial Govoernment of Aklan will ensurue that all member-agencies and other agencies concerned in the implementation of the program shall have a venue to convence, plan, and ensure smooth delivery of services, as well as monitor and evaluate programs of the council.

    "The Center shall serve the needs of the MSMEs in the province by extending referrals, information, and consultancy services on marketing and promotion, production, human resource development and financing and shall be managed by the PMSMED coordinator," Governor Marquez said in the EO.

    The PMSMED Center is located at the second floor of the main Capitol Building. Managed by Leila Sualog, PMSMED Coordinator, it also serves as display area of Aklan's native products like bags, slippers, shawls and other items made of piña, abaca, raffia and other indigeous materials as well as meeting venue.

    The PMSMED Council, like the Center, has been in existence in the province since the late '90s.

    The Executive Order creating the council is seen by council members to further strengthen and institutionalize PMSMED in the province. (PIA/Venus G. Villanueva)


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

BIR slates hearing on proposed zonal values of properties

    Kalibo, Aklan -- A public hearing on the proposed revision of zonal values of real properties in Aklan is slated on June 23 at the ACP Centerpoint here spearheaded by the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR).

    According to Aklan Revenue District Officer Ricardo J. Osorio, the public hearing is in response to Department Order No. 6-2010 of the Department of Finance seeking to create committees on real property valuation to determine the zonal values of real properties for purposes of computing any internal revenue taxes.

    Osorio said that a sub-technical committee composed of the Revenue District Officer, Assistant Revenue Officer, Municipal Assessors, Local Development Officers and licensed upraisers was formed to prepare the schedule of recommended zonal values of real properties and conduct public hearing relative to the proposed zonal values.

    The current zonal values used by the BIR in computing capital gains tax, withholding tax on the sale of real properties and transfer taxes was approved way back in 1998, according to the BIR. (BIR/PIA)

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Simple rites up for Independence Day celebration

    Kalibo, Aklan – Simple rites are up in Aklan in observance of the country's 112th Independence Day.

    According to Mrs. Lucy Gomez, Kalibo I District Supervisor, one of the activities they were directed to do to observe the 112th Independence Day celebration is to raise the Philippine Flag on June 11 and June 12 in the district's respective public schools, even as classes have yet to start on June 15.

    Gomez said respective elementary schools in Aklan were informed of this instruction through their principals.

    At the Kalibo Pilot Elementary School (KPES) here, school officials led by its principal, Nenita Bicera, will be displaying the evolution of Philppine Flags in front of the school for the whole week. On June 15, opening of classes, they will conduct an information education campaign to school pupils about Philippine Independence after the flag ceremony. Some teachers are also planning to hold video presentations on the subject for the pupils to better appreciate the value and importance of living in an independent country.

    Although the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) was tasked to take charge of Independence Day celebration in Manila, the DepEd and the respective local government units will be taking care of activities in their areas.

    For its part, Barangay Poblacion Kalibo will be celebrating its "Barangay Poblacion Day" on June 12 in time for this year's Independence Day celebration.

    Barangay officials and residents of Poblacion Kalibo will also be observing the dual celebration with simple activities.

    Some of these activities, according to Barangay Chairman Mary Jane Rebaldo, include a Thanksgiving Mass at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, June 12, a parade of barangay officials and residents, and some entertaining activities for barangay constituents at the Pastrana Park in the evening.

    Meanwhile, in Manila, all is set for Saturday's celebration of the 112th Philippine Independence Day at Manila's Rizal Park during which President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo will deliver her last Kalayaan message to the nation.

    The President is expected to render a summation of her nine years of presidency before viewing a grand civic-military parade that will showcase her achievements in her 10-point national agenda.

    The June 12 celebrations will begin with a simultaneous nationwide flag- raising to be led by President Arroyo at 7 a.m. at the Rizal Monument flagpole. (PIA/Venus G. Villanueva)

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

NLRC calls for harmonious working condition in Aklan

    Kalibo, Aklan -- The National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) here, through Labor Arbitration Associate Virgilio Bautista, is calling for a harmonious working relationship between employers and employees in Aklan.

    Bautista aired this call to make the labor situation here peaceful, even as he praised employers for being much aware now of the rights of employees and other benefits due them as mandated by law.

    "When there is a problem between an employee and the employer, both must sit down and settle the problem. An employee can not just be dismissed without due process. When an employee is dismissed, he is not the only one going to suffer but his family too. So things should be solved amicably between the two parties," Bautista said.

    Bautista said the NLRC sets a mandatory conference between two parties to settle matters. He said this is more favorable than to let the problem or case drag, with both parties spending time and money.

    "By the time the case is resolved, if the employee wins the case, he might realize that he has spent more than he has to receive as ordered, and the employer might realized too that if he had given what is due the employee, he would not have spent much in pursuing the case," Bautista explained.

    From January todate, Bautista said his office received less than 50 complaints. Some of these are filed in groups, so it doesn't mean that less than 50 persons are involved in complaints.

    The NLRC is presently holding office at the ABL Sports Complex here. The office caters not only to residents of Aklan but to residents of nearby provinces. Besides workers, employers also visit the NLRC here for queries and verifications on the right benefits and privileges of employees and other concerns.

    People planning to file complaints through the NLRC are also advised to bring their latest community tax certificates.

    "It will be hard for the complainants who live far to go back to get their CTCs so if they have plans of filing complaints, they should have their CTCs with them," Bautista emphasized. (PIA/Venus G. Villanueva)

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

NIA to inaugurate irrigation system in Ibajay

    Linabuan Sur, Banga, Aklan -- The National Irrigation Administration (NIA) Aklan-Capiz Management Office will be inaugurating the newly-completed Panakuyan River Irrigation System Augmentation and Rehabilitation Project located in Ibajay, Aklan on June 10. The inauguration will be held at Barangay Agdugayan, Ibajay.

    The project comprises the construction of Panakuyan San Jose Augmentation Structures and the Rehabilitation of Aklan Panakuyan River Irrigation System with a project cost of P35 million and P30 million respectively.

    According to NIA, the irrigation system can serve a total of 1,200 hectares of riceland even as its existing service area is only 504 hectares.

    Four irrigation associations will benefit from the irrigation project, as well as some 750 farmers, coming from the barangays of Bagacay, Unat, Laguingbanua, Capilihan, Agdugayan, Maloco, Batuan and Agbago.

    Activities to be undertaken during the inauguration will include the unveiling of marker and ribbon cutting by Ibajay Mayor Ma. Lourdes M. Miraflores; blessing of newly-completed structure by Rev. Fr. Michael I. Ibardolaza, Parochial Vicar; ceremonial walk across the Panakuyan River over the elevated flume by NIA officials, irrigation associations officers and members and the LGU; and ceremonial opening of the gate by Ibajay Mayor Ma. Lourdes Miraflores and Rep. Florencio T. Miraflores.

    Governor Carlito Marquez, Vice Governor Gabrielle C. Quimpo, Engr. Edilberto F. Lomigo, Acting NIA Regional Manager, Engr. Rizalo F. Concepcion, Division A Manager A, Aklan-Capiz IMO and Engr. Wilson C. Rey, Senior Engineer A will assist in the ceremonial opening of gate.

    In the program following the inauguration, Hon. Eduardo T. Robles, Agdugayan Barangay Captain will give the welcome remarks while Engr. Concepcion will present the project rationale. Mayor Miraflores wii deliver an inspirational message while Engr. Edilberto R. Lomigo, Vice Governor Gabrielle C. Quimpo, Governor Carlito Marquez and Rep. Florencio T. Miraflores will deliver messages. The closing message will be given by Eng. Wilson Rey.

    It can be recalled that on June 2008 before Aklan was devastated by Typhoon Frank President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo visited the town of Ibajay to inaugurate the new Ibajay Bridge. At the time, she directed the Department of Agriculture to provide P35 million for the rehabilitation and augmentation of the Panakuyan River Irrigation System to irrigate more than a thousand hectares of land in the area.

     PGMA gave the directive to DA when Rep. Miraflores reminded her then of the Ibajay farmers' request when they were on their way to Kalibo Airport from Ibajay after the bridge inauguration.

    Rep. Miraflores said then that the rehabilitation of the river system will be a big thing for Ibajay farmers, because if it gets connected to Ibajay River, the cropping intensity will be doubled.

    The irrigation system now also targets to serve adjoining farms in Nabas town once fully rehabilitated. (PIA/Venus G. Villanueva)

Thursday, June 3, 2010

DENR calls on Aklanons to help protect environment

    Kalibo, Aklan -- The Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Officer (PENRO) here called on Aklanons to help the DENR in protecting the environment.

    PENRO Antonio Luis said that besides helping DENR in environment protection, Aklanons should also report to authorities and to the DENR illegal activities of some people that contribute to the destruction of the environment.

    One activity being monitored by the DENR in Aklan is charcoal-making, done in some parts of the province for extra income of residents. Demand for charcoal has risen with the high cost of cooking fuel.

    Luis said charcoal-making is allowed if the trees utilized come from private properties. Charcoal makers must have permits too.

    To protect public timberland from charcoal makers, the DENR assigns forest guards to conduct foot patrols in the areas. People transporting sacks of charcoal should show papers that they obtained the products legally. If they don't, the charcoal will be confiscated.

    The DENR also called on the public to recycle or reuse plastic bags. Luis revealed that in Ibajay, Aklan, using plastic bags in the public market is no longer allowed, through an ordinance approved by the Sangguniang Bayan.

    In Boracay Island, plastics and other non-biodegradable materials are being recycled in the Material Recovery Facility (MRF), according to the DENR, thus, garbage proliferation is somehow regulated in the island. Besides this, the DENR also appealed to people near the beachfront to refrain from throwing their trash in the beach.

    On the other hand, garbage from Boracay that are biodegradable gets transported to Malay town in the mainland.

    As the country observes Environment Month this June, the DENR has also scheduled various clean-up and other environment protection-geared activities to be held in Boracay Island and in the mainland. (PIA/Venus G. Villanueva)

DENR has loads of activities for Environment Month

    Kalibo, Aklan -- The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) here has prepared loads of activities to celebrate Environment Month this June.

    Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Officer (PENRO) Antonio Luis of DENR-Aklan said the activities will be held in mainland Aklan and in Boracay Island.

    Besides its PENRO and CENRO offices in Kalibo, the DENR has also a CENRO office in Boracay Island so residents in the island and nearby municipalities and barangays in western Aklan will no longer spend lots of time and money when they have environment-related queries.

    PENRO Luis said among the activities DENR-Aklan will be undertaking throughout June will be the launching of Boracay Beach Management, a sustainable development program for Boracay Island through Integrated Coastal Management on June 5 in Boracay Island sponsored by the LGU, Petron Foundation Incorporated, Boracay Foundation and the DENR; GAD Training on Vermi Composting on June 9 at the Balabag Central Material Recovery Facility in Boracay Island; Fluvial Patrol of Boracay Island by DENR/LGU-Malay, Philippine Coast Guards and stakeholders along the Boracay Coastal and Sea Waters on June 10, and GAD Potting Session in support of Climate Change at the Mangrove Area in New Buswang, Kalibo on June 11.

    Luis said to be potted are mangrove propagules so it would be easier to replant them at the mangrove areas in Kalibo.

    On June 16, the DENR will hold a briefing for the creation of Municipal Forest Protection Committee at the Balabag Barangay Hall, Boracay Island while on June 18, the DENR will hold a People's Day and IEC on Climate Change and Management of Foreshore Occupants at Alimbo Baybay, Nabas, Aklan. On the same date, the DENR will also hold a People's Hour of CENRO-Kalibo and IEC on Climate Change at Bulwang Covered Court in Bulwang, Numancia.

    PENRO Luis said the People's Day and People's Hour will give the public the opportunity to avail of various services offered by the DENR as well as vital information on Climate Change.

    Other activities to be undertaken by the DENR during the month-long observation include the ICM Trainingt for local officials and other stakeholders in Boracay Island and adjoining municipalities of June 22-23 in Boracay; Arbor Week Tree Planting through the Aklan Reforestation Project Tangalan-Ibajay, Aklan; Health is Wealth Food Festival and Wellness Program on June 30, 2010 at the DENR PENRO/CENRO Office Lobby at Bliss Site, Kalibo, and other proposed culminating activities as agreed by officials and employees of PENRO-aklan and CENRO-Boracay.

    The Wellness Program will include Blood Pressure Monitoring, Fasting Blood Sugar Monitoring while the Health is Wealth Food Festival will focus on healthy foods for good health and profit.

    This year's celebration of Environment Month has sought the participation of private sectors in most activities, especially in Boracay Island. According to the DENR, this is essential to make them a part of the programs and projects as stakeholders for sustainability and success. (PIA/Venus G. Villanueva)

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Aklan schools ready for school opening

    Kalibo, Aklan -- All public elementary and secondary schools in Aklan are now ready for the opening of this school year on June 15, 2010.

    Aklan Schools Division Superintendent Dr. Victorina Laroza said a major factor that contributed to the preparedness of Aklan public schools in opening their doors to new and combacking pupils and students was the "Brigada Eskwela".

    The "Brigada Eskwela" which involves the cleaning up of class rooms and school premises by teachers, parents, students and other well-meaning sectors has been practiced for years in public schools throughout the country weeks before school opening.

    Dr. Laroza said that in practicing the "Brigada" in Aklan, some principals and school heads were innovative in enjoining the help of other sectors to help in the clean-up of classrooms and premises and in the repair of chairs, tables and other classroom fixtures.

    The "Brigada" was even made more successful here with the adoption by some organizations of schools or classrooms.

    "We have long started this "adopt a school or adopt a room scheme to improve our school facilities or premises," Dr. Laroza said. She also added that this scheme also extended to other adoption, like the "Adopt a Team" scheme, with members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan in Aklan adopting the swimming team of DepEd-Aklan, so they will have better chances in sports competition like the Western Visayas Regional Athletic Association (WVRAA).

In March 2010 when Aklan hosted the 2010 WVRAA, the province of Aklan placed third in the overall standing.

Meanwhile, Dr. Laroza assured that there are enough classrooms and teachers for this school year's surge of students.

Dr. Laroza said that although there are classrooms with big number of students, there are also classes with a ratio of 1:20.

"Classes with bigger number of students coded black or red with a ratio of 1:60 and 1:50 respectively are prioritized by the DepEd for provision of new teacher-items," Laroza said.

Laroza said Aklan gets only as much as 21 teacher-items per school year.

Laroza also said provincial and municipal school boards are very supportive of DepEd-Aklan, by providing salaries of teachers hired under the program. (PIA/Venus G. Villanueva)

    Kalibo, Aklan -- All public elementary and secondary schools in Aklan are now ready for the opening of this school year on June 15, 2010.

    Aklan Schools Division Superintendent Dr. Victorina Laroza said a major factor that contributed to the preparedness of Aklan public schools in opening their doors to new and combacking pupils and students was the "Brigada Eskwela".

    The "Brigada Eskwela" which involves the cleaning up of class rooms and school premises by teachers, parents, students and other well-meaning sectors has been practiced for years in public schools throughout the country weeks before school opening.

    Dr. Laroza said that in practicing the "Brigada" in Aklan, some principals and school heads were innovative in enjoining the help of other sectors to help in the clean-up of classrooms and premises and in the repair of chairs, tables and other classroom fixtures.

    The "Brigada" was even made more successful here with the adoption by some organizations of schools or classrooms.

    "We have long started this "adopt a school or adopt a room scheme to improve our school facilities or premises," Dr. Laroza said. She also added that this scheme also extended to other adoption, like the "Adopt a Team" scheme, with members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan in Aklan adopting the swimming team of DepEd-Aklan, so they will have better chances in sports competition like the Western Visayas Regional Athletic Association (WVRAA).

In March 2010 when Aklan hosted the 2010 WVRAA, the province of Aklan placed third in the overall standing.

Meanwhile, Dr. Laroza assured that there are enough classrooms and teachers for this school year's surge of students.

Dr. Laroza said that although there are classrooms with big number of students, there are also classes with a ratio of 1:20.

"Classes with bigger number of students coded black or red with a ratio of 1:60 and 1:50 respectively are prioritized by the DepEd for provision of new teacher-items," Laroza said.

Laroza said Aklan gets only as much as 21 teacher-items per school year.

Laroza also said provincial and municipal school boards are very supportive of DepEd-Aklan, by providing salaries of teachers hired under the program. (PIA/Venus G. Villanueva)