Monday, March 21, 2011
DIPACULAO, Aurora March 22, 2011-A big boost following the turn-over of a 24 feet patrol boat to local government officials in this town to protect coastal resources and deter dynamite fishing and other illegal and destructive fishing practices along this municipality’s coastlines where the high-quality fiber glass patrol boat was turned over by the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic resources to Mayor Reynante Tolentino and Vice Mayor Teresita Obillio in ceremonies at the municipal fish nursery in Barangay Lobbot.
The patrol boat was distributed in line with the PL 480 project entitled “improving enforcement capability in fishery and coastal resources management.” It is the first local currency project for fisheries and coastal resource management at the municipal level.
Sarmiento said that the project complemented the national fisheries program in the conservation, protection and proper management of fishery and coastal resources. He said its primary objectives are to arrest illegal and destructive fishing practices through provision of coastal law enforcement tools and capacitate beneficiary LGUs through training to effectively undertake active coastal law enforcement within their respective municipal waters.
Another beneficiary of the patrol boat was the town of Casiguran under Mayor Reynaldo “Binsu” Bitong.
“The component of the project is the conduct of training on marine engine operation, repair and maintenance and assignment of fish wardens,” Remedios Ongtangco, BFAR Region 3 director said.
The patrol boat, whose hull is made of fiber glass, has a 135-horsepower engine equipped with a hand-held Global Positioning System and four mobile radios with base receiver. It has a minimum speed of 20 knots, has a fuel capacity of 250 liters and can accommodate up to six persons on board.
Tolentino who accepted the donation on behalf of the municipal government said that it would help the locality in further intensifying its coastal protection activities as well as enhance its municipal fish nursery where hatchery-bred milkfish, seabass and other high-value marine species from fry to fingerlings are being reared to sustain the intensive requirement of the mariculture park in Casiguran town.
It was witnessed by Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala, BFAR executive director Malcolm Sarmiento, assistant director Gil Adora, BFAR regional director for Central Luzon Remedios Ongtangco, National Maritime Fisheries Development Center chief Alma Dizon, South East Asia Fisheries Development Center chief Dr. JubertToledo and municipal fish nursery project-in-charge Rex Margen among others.
Sen. Edgardo Angara, Rep. Juan Edgardo Angara and Gov. Bellaflor Angara-Castillo negotiated the donation with BFAR officials. (Jason de Asis)
MARIA AURORA, Aurora, March 22, 2011-A P317-million concrete bridge funded through a grant from the Japan International Cooperation Agency dubbed as a “bridge of hope” was built which links 13 clustered barangays under the Department of Agrarian Reform’s agrarian reform communities (ARCs) in this town and giving a reprieve to hundreds of students who previously cross a river just to get to school during summer.
The 110-linear meter long, 5.4-meter wide Bazal concrete bridge is now being used by some 300 elementary and high school students who, prior to its construction wade through waters and get isolated from the rest of the province during heavy rains and typhoons.
The bridge was formally opened to vehicular traffic and turned over to the provincial government during recent inauguration ceremonies graced by Japanese Ambassador Makoto Katsura, JICA Chief Representative Norio Matsuda, Japanese Embassy First Secretary Takeshi Sata, and secretaries Virgilio Reyes of DAR, Jose De Jesus of the Department of Transportation and Communications and Enrique Ona of the Department of Health.
The bridge project was negotiated by Sen. Edgardo Angara, Rep. Juan Edgardo Angara and Gov. Bellaflor Angara-Castillo with the Japanese government in coordination with the DAR, the Department of Public Works and Highways, the provincial government and the municipal government represented by Mayor Ariel Bitong.
The funding for the bridge, which construction started in November 2009 and completed in November 2010, was sourced from the grant-in aide of Japan through JICA’s Official Development Assistance and counterpart funding from the Philippine government. During the one-year construction period, 100 local residents from the province were hired as workers.
Ma. Celerina Afable, division chief of the DAR’s project development and management office/foreign-assisted projects, said that the project is the only bridge project funded by JICA in the country involving the DAR as lead implementing agency.
The project was first conceptualized in 2003 during the term of then-DAR Secretary Jose Mari Ponce as one of the department’s identified ARC development projects for poverty alleviation, food security and agribusiness development.
Dr. Cristy Dagdag, DAR desk officer for the JICA bridge project said that the Bazal bridge was identified as one of the immediate needs of the people in the locality who expressed hope it would finally end their vicious cycle of isolation from the rest of Aurora during calamities. It was pursued when a typhoon struck in 2004, isolating Barangay Bazal.
Darlene Galicia, DAR provincial agrarian reform officer for Aurora, said that the project principally benefited 300 elementary pupils and high school students from Barangay Malasin who used to cross the Bazal river in getting to school.
Aside from Bazal and Malasin, Galicia said the bridge also links up a cluster of ARCs in barangays Wenceslao, Baubo, Bayanihan, Cadayacan, Decoliat, Diaayat, Diome, Galintuja, San Juan and Sto. Cristo.
Galicia said that the project was literally a “bridge of hope,” as it raised hopes of generating incremental income for farmers, establish agri-enterprises and upgrade the socio-economic and living conditions of the people.
With the bridge, the risks of students regularly crossing the Bazal river on their way to school as well as the vehicle operating cost of market agricultural products, farm inputs and commercial goods were drastically reduced. (Jason de Asis)
SENATE OFFICE, Manila, March 22, 2011-Senator Edgardo J. Angara urged the government to fast track the development of National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) as one of the leading agencies tasked to look into all sorts of crimes and offenses against the Philippine laws.
Angara called for the strengthening of one of the country’s premier law enforcement agencies to enhance the country’s investigative capabilities to solve various cases.
“As an agency tasked to look into all sorts of crimes and offenses against Philippine laws, we must fast track the development of the NBI so that they are able to stay a step ahead,” Angara said, where he filed Senate Bill No. 2724 otherwise known as the NBI Reorganization and Modernization Act of 2011.
He said that the bill seeks to enhance the NBI’s effectiveness through a twofold plan; to wit, first, modernizing its investigative programs to address the rapidly changing needs of the times and acquiring state-of-the-art investigative and intelligence equipment to keep up with the global developments in technology; and second, by securing the welfare of its employees: adequate compensation packages, benefits and privileges, health and accident insurance, and scholarship grants for their continuing education and training.
Angara said that with all that is happening in the world and in our very own country, we cannot afford to have a law enforcement agency which struggles to keep pace with events due to obsolete equipment or lack of training. It is for our own good that we develop and maintain a highly competent core of investigators.
The NBI is an agency of the government under the department of justice which is responsible for handling and solving sensational cases that are in the interest of the nation and a government entity that is civilian in character and national in scope headed by a director and with an assistant director and six deputy director for special investigation services (SIS); regional operation services (ROS); intelligence services (IS); technical services (TS); administrative services (AS)and comptroller services (CS). (Jason de Asis)
CABANATUAN CITY, Nueva Ecija, March 22, 2011-The League of Cities of the Philippines (LCP) expressed support for the conversion into cities of 21 municipalities including Pantabangan, Nueva Ecija that has complied with the requirements set by the Constitution and the Local Government Code to include Cabuyao and San Pedro in Laguna; Cainta, Taytay, and Binangonan in Rizal; Bacoor, Gen. Trias, Imus, Carmona and Silang in Cavite; Calaca, Sto. Tomas, Bauan and Nasugbu in Batangas; Mauban in Quezon; Marilao, Sta. Maria and Norzagaray in Bulacan; and Limay in Bataan.
The other municipalities like Imus, Bacoor and Cabuyao have pending cityhood applications in Congress, but the 18 others are still waiting for their congressmen to file cityhood bills on their behalf.
LCP president and San Fernando City, Pampanga Mayor Oscar Rodriguez said these towns have qualified for cityhood based on the standards set by law, saying that under the June 30, 2007 Local Government Code, as amended by Republic Act 9009, a municipality may be converted into a component city only if it meets two of three requirements.
Rodriguez said that conversion to cityhood should passed the locally generated average annual income of P100 million for the last two consecutive years and contiguous territory of at least 100 square kilometers or a population of not less than 150,000 inhabitants; however, he said that his group will be firm in opposing the conversion into cities of 16 other municipalities recently granted cityhood by the Supreme Court.
“The LCP opposed Batac, Ilocos Norte; Tabuk, Kalinga; Tayabas, Quezon; Baybay, Leyte; Catbalogan, Samar; Borongan, Eastern Samar; Guihulngan, Negros Oriental; Bogo, Naga, and Carcar in Cebu; Tandag, Surigao del Sur; Cabadbaran, Agusan del Norte; El Salvador, Misamis Oriental; Mati, Davao Oriental; Bayugan, Agusan del Sur; and Lamitan, Basilan because these municipalities circumvented the requirements set by law,” he said.
Rodriguez cited the El Salvador town which has an annual income of only P17 million, a total land area of only 87 square kilometers and a population of only 41,905 which did not meet the requirements. (Jason de Asis)
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