Wednesday, December 3, 2014

‘Hot Air Balloon Fest in Fort Magsaysay? It’s possible, says DOT exec

FORT MAGSAYSAY, Palayan City – The internationally acclaimed “Hot Air Balloon Festival,” which is traditionally being held in Pampanga may be moved  outside of that province and transferred to this sprawling military camp.

          This was the assessment of a top official of the Department of Tourism in Central Luzon who said that holding the festival requires vast tracts of lands.

          DOT Region  3 Ronaldo Tiotuico said Fort Magsaysay, with 44,000 hectares of available lands, can accommodate an event as huge as the “Hot air Balloon.”

          He said, however, that the event may not be moved to Aurora in eastern Central Luzon which, although a fast-emerging tourist destination, may not have available space.

          “When we talk of Aurora, I think it’s a no,” Tiotuico said, adding there is no firm proposal on the ground to transfer the event outside of Pampanga.

          The possibility of transferring the site of the balloon fest outside of the province was raised after the event was moved to Lupao, Pampanga from its traditional site at the Clark Freeport Zone during its holding last April 10-13.

          The new site in Barangay Prado Siongco, Lubao is located some 33 kilometers outside of Clark to Brgy. Prado Siongco, Lubao Pampanga. The reason for the tranfer was due to aviation traffic where 10 international and domestic airlines now operate and fly in and out of Clark from various destinations.

          The hot air balloon event, dubbed “Philippine International Balloon Festival (PIBF) 2014,” was organized by Pilipinas International Balloon Festival, Inc.

          Tiotuico admitted that moving the event to Fort Magsaysay would be treading uncharted territory . He said they previously tried to look for Zambales but it proved not an ideal location, unlike Clark where there are no obstructions.

          He said organizers, in considering a transfer, might look at spectator traffic. “The usual apprehension is that it might draw only few spectators,” he said, adding that the event, spanning at least three days, usually draws 100,000 spectators, 80 percent of whom come from Metro Manila.

          Tiotuico said air balloon fests are popular in Japan, Albuquerque in New Mexico, Putrajaya and Arizona. – Manny Galvez


MANILA-On the very first working day after the Senate lifted its 90-day suspension against two of its minority members, Senator Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada buckled down to work and resumed his lawmaking functions by filing a host of legislative proposals.
Last Monday December 1, Sen. Estrada submitted for consideration of the chamber five bills which seeks to address a variety of problems – from poorly maintained public restrooms to the protection of victims of violence against women and children.
Jinggoy introduced Senate Bill 2476 or the establishment of Address Confidentiality Program for the victims of violence against women and children. He noted that over a ten period, the number of reported VAW cases has steadily increased – from 218 documented cases in 2004, shooting up to more than 9,000 in 2010 and to 16,517 in 2013.
Estrada is proposing the adoption of the US government program of address confidentiality for the victims, providing them substitute address for public records which will be helpful for them to start and lead normal lives, safe and far from their abusers.
Sen. Estrada is also pushing for a definition of the prevalent crime of identity theft through Senate Bill 2477. The measure further provides stiff penalties for offenders (imprisonment of up to 20 years and/or a fine of up to 5 million pesos) and directs the National Statistics Office and the Department of Justice to assist victims of identity theft and to correct their false records.
In another legislation, Jinggoy seeks to lay down guidelines and minimum requirements for the operations of dormitories and boarding houses. In his Senate Bill 2478 Estrada wants to ensure that all dormitories and boarding houses, which serve as temporary shelters for many students in the metropolis, be safe, clean and conducive to living and learning.
The bill mandates that such spaces offer decent living conditions with adequate lighting, proper ventilation, enough room for mobility, fire protection facilities, study room, first aid equipment, garbage disposal systems, and closed-circuit television (CCTV). Local government intervention is also espoused in specific matters including issuance of licenses, prescription of minimum rentals, and imposition of annual fees.
Sen. Estrada also filed Senate Bill 2479 which seeks to regulate tattooing and body piercing and prohibition of such acts on minors.
Lastly, under Senate Bill 2480 Sen. Estrada wants every private and government institutions to set up functional and sanitary separate comfort rooms for men, ladies and persons with special needs and disabilities.
The abovementioned bills were earlier filed during the previous 15th Congress, and were re-filed by Sen. Estrada as they were not enacted into law. These are expected to be referred to their respective committees upon the First Reading this afternoon before the plenary.
Sen. Estrada was recognized as one of the most productive and prolific legislators with the most number of bills filed, a considerable number of which were eventually passed into law. For the present 16th Congress, Sen. Estrada has already filed 569 bills and resolutions.

Sagada conducted Indignation rally to condemn the NPA

Camp Melchor F dela Cruz, Upi, Gamu, Isabela – More or less 400 students and teachers of Sagada National High School, Antadao National High School, Bangaan National High School and St Mary High School, Sangguniang Bayan members, some elders and Hon Eduardo T Latawan Jr, Municipal Mayor of Sagada conducted indignation rally at Poblacion Sagada, Mt Province condemning the recent ambuscade perpetrated by the New People’s Army (NPA)against the troops who conducted Youth Leadership Summit at Sagada National High School last 28-30 November 2014.

The rally started at around 11:30 in the morning until 3:00 in the afternoon on Dec 1. A short program was also conducted in which Hon Latawan Jr condemned the NPA for destroying the image of the peaceful town of Sagada. Mr Finch Luna, Sagada YLS president said in his speech that “NPAs have no right to stay in Sagada, they are the destroyers of peace and hindrances to our hopes and dreams”. The youth of Sagada were saddened and hurt specially those students from Sagada National High School who are members of Youth Leadership Summit Batch 1. For them, the soldiers are their big brothers that they called them “Kuyas” who became part of their lives in enhancing and molding their leadership skills for their brighter future.

Lt Col Eddie M Pilapil, Commanding Officer of 54IB said “It is sad to us that we lost two soldiers but it is our duty to protect and guide our youth,they are the hope of our land;they are our future leaders. What the army wants is for them not to be misguided but rather to become responsible citizensof our community. Let us work hand-in-hand to attain the peace in Sagada, peace in Mt Province and peace in the whole region of Cordillera. We condemn those who want to destroy the dreams and hopes of the peace loving citizens of Cordillera; we condemn the NPA.”

            Students of Sagada, Mt Province show support and sympathy to the soldiers of 54th Infantry Battalion who were victims of the ambush during the indignation rally in front of Sagada Municipal Hall last 01 December 2014.
Residents of Sagada, Mt Province condemn the NPA who ambushed  the soldiers of 54th Infantry Battalion who spearheaded the conduct Youth Leadership Summit in their town, during the indignation rally in front of Sagada Municipal Hall last 01 December 2014.


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