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Beautiful seas, ugly basura | ABS-CBN News | Latest Philippine Headlines, Breaking News, Video, Analysis, Features

Beautiful seas, ugly basura | ABS-CBN News | Latest Philippine Headlines, Breaking News, Video, Analysis, Features.

Filed under: Sorsogon News Updates, Travel Advisory, Travel and Lifestyle, What's Happening Here?

Tired of the beach? Go to this town in Sorsogon

By Jose Carretero, ABS-CBN Bicol

MANILA, Philippines – A town in Sorsogon offers a one-of-a-kind summer adventure to holidaymakers who are tired of going to the beach.

Pilar, located at the southeastern part of Luzon island, is only an hour away from Legazpi City in Albay. Here, visitors can explore a cave’s wonderful rock formations which can give a feeling of stepping into a different planet.

The cave, home to thousands of bats, also played a part in the country’s history. During the Japanese occupation of the Philippines, soldiers reportedly sought refuge here.

After visiting the cave, visitors can go to Pilar waters, home to rich marine life, or to the Egret Sanctuary where they can watch magnificent birds in flight.

“First time ko po makakita ng ibon na marami tapos magaganda,” one tourist said.

Another added, “Pagdating namin ikukuwento ko sa mga friends ko, relatives, kasi maganda ang lugar ng Pilar, Sorsogon.”

Vacationers don’t have to pay a king’s ransom to experience exotic locations. Pilar’s tourism office is offering affordable tour packages to make traveling hassle-free.

The only thing you have to worry about now is how to squeeze fun and relaxation in one day.

“We are promoting it at a cost of P2,900,” said tourism officer Joel Navora. The fee is inclusive of the guide and boatmen’s services, boat rental, and snacks.

Filed under: Hobbies and Recreation, Promote Tourism, , , ,

Masacrot spring, Palogtok falls & Bulusan lake in Sorsogon is inviting you!!

There’s no better time to relax &  explore the  Town of  Bulusan in Sorsogon  than right now.  It’s an amazing place with a breathtaking scenery and some of the most hospitable people in the country.  Biyahe na!!

If you are  Foreigners, you may contact the Sorsogon Provincial Tourism Council for further info.

Here’s the video clip for  the heads up..

Filed under: Expat Living in Sorsogon, Promote Tourism, Sorsogon News Updates, Travel & Adventures, Travel and Lifestyle, , , , ,

Finally, cases related to Fertilizer Fund Scam reach court

MANILA, Philippines – The seven-year old Fertilizer Fund Scam is finally moving, with the Office of the Ombudsman’s decision to file before the Sandiganbayan two cases related to it.

Two graft charges were filed last April 7, naming as respondents incumbent Sorsogon Provincial Governor Raul R. Lee, accountant Raul G. Hernandez and provincial treasurer Ofelia D. Velasco.

A 22-page resolution recommending indictment was submitted to Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez by graft investigation and prosecution officer II Judy Anne Doctor-Escalona way back November 24, 2008.

It stemmed from the complaint of Sorsogon provincial board member Rebecca De Leon Aquino, who accused the officials of undue injury to the government by approving the purchase of 2,133 liters of Bio Nature Liquid Fertilizer from supplier Feshan Philippines Inc. in 2004.

The fertilizer was bought at P1,500 per liter against a prevailing market price of only P180/L or an overprice of more than 800 percent.

Overall Deputy Ombudsman Orlando C. Casimiro finally approved the indictment resolution last March 29 “pursuant to delegated authority”.

Interestingly, page 21 of the resolution also showed it was Casimiro who “recommended approval of Escalona’s resolution” after Preliminary Investigation and Administrative Bureau (PARB) Director Mary Antonette Yalao signed her concurrence on the document.

According to graft investigators, the purchase was accomplished through two separate transactions involving payment for 133 liters of liquid fertilizer on May 6, 2004 for P189,525 and another 2,000 liters for P3 million on June 28, 2004.

Auditors noted the officials approved the purchases via “sole or exclusive distributorship” even if there were other comparable substitutes in the market.

“It is evident that the province proceeded to purchase the fertilizer without conducting any price canvass and evaluation report…thereby making it perceptible that the acquisition of the Bio Nature Liquid Fertilizer was tailored for Fershan Phils. Inc. which appears to be the exclusive distributor of the said brand,” the Ombudsman resolution pointed out.

The disbursement vouchers for both transactions were signed by all three accused. Auditors noted the money came from a P5 million allocation extended to the Department of Agriculture-Regional Field Unit V (DA-FRU V) under the Agriculture and Fisheries Modernization Act (AFMA).

Auditors also noted only P3.25 million of the purchase has been accounted for. Details of the P1.75 million balance are unclear.

Auditors also noted the type bought is “not the appropriate” one for the province because its prime product is ‘pili.’ A foliar/liquid fertilizer was suitable mostly for ornamental hanging plants like orchids.

Prosecutor Escalona recommended that bail bond for the accused be set at P30,000 for each count of graft.

Cleared were Feshan executives Ma. Eunique Galang and Redentor Antolin due to insufficient evidence against them.

Filed under: Agriculture, Sorsogon News Updates, , , , , , , ,

Convergence Benefits Four Municipalities

by Irma A. Guhit

SORSOGON CITY , April 11 (PIA)– The four municipalities of Juban, Casiguran, Magallanes and Sorsogon City were recipients of several projects during the project launch of the Sorsogon Convergence Initiatives on Rural Development held here at Paradise Hotel last week.

The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) turned over the Agrarian Reform Communities Project (ARCP) 2 which includes rural infrastructure projects, community development programs, survey and agro-enterprise development projects to the municipalities of Juban, Casiguran and Sorsogon City.

USEC Gerundio C. Madueno together with DAR Region 5 regional director Maria Celestina M. Tam turned over the manifesto and description of projects to Mayor Ester Hamor of Casiguran, Mayor Olivia M. Bermillo of Castilla and Mayor Leovic R. Deoneda of Sorsogon City who are the focus of the convergence initiatives..

These three local governments are the pilot areas of the convergence initiative program to run for 5 years from 2011 to 2016.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) headed by Secretary Ramon Paje and region 5 regional director Joselin Marcus E. Fragada turned over to the three local government units under the convergence program the DENR program component which is the Integrated Agroferestry Production /Support to the National Greening Program.

The project includes the establishment of agroforestry farms and maintenance of the existing assisted natural regeneration project in their areas.

In support to the national greening program which these three municipalities will support as stipulated in the memorandum of understanding which earlier during the launch they have signed will include the production of forest and fruit trees for distribution to their identified areas for planting.

DENR have also turned over to these municipalities titles of alienable and disposable lands, the title of issuance of free patents for agricultural lands and issuance of patent for school site.

The programs and projects also given to these three local governments from the Department of Agriculture was turned over by USEC Bernadette Romulo-Puyat together with DA Region 5 regional director Jose V. Dayao which includes Livelihood Projects Facilities, equipments, and other interventions by the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR).

The project includes tilapia , bangus fingerlings, prawn, post larvae, tilapia breders, seaweed seedling dispersal; distribution and establishment of the Municipal and City Tilapia Hatchery, Mariculture Zone, Post Harvest Facility, Aquasilviculture Project, Fishing Gears Distribution, Seaweed Input Assistance and the re assessment of the Fish Sanctuary in these three local government units.

These three municipalities also received from the DA small water impounding projects from the Bureau of Soils and Water Management (BSWM) which was turned over by Dr. Silvino Q. Tejada.

Two units of pump and engine sets were also turned over by Dr. Tejada to Congressman Salvador H. Escudero III.

The local government of Casiguran, Castilla and the City of Sorsogon also received Communal Irrigation Project and Communal Irrigation Service Extension from the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) thru Engr. Antonio S. Nangel , NIA administrator.

Mayor Roque L. Carranza of the municipality of Magallanes also received the Farm Mecahnization and Post Harvest Program Retrofitting of Mechanical Dryers thru PHILMEC as a separate program from the convergence initiative program implementation.

This project includes provision of farm machineries and dyying facilities such as hand tractor, thresher, flatbed dryer and multi-purpose drill pump in together with the three cluster local government of Castilla, Casiguran and Sorsogon City.

Additional project also turned over includeed the retrofitting of the existing kerosine fed mechanical dryers with rice hull furnace in the City of Sorsogon.

Other projects turned over to the three municipalities, as pilot LGUs of the convergence initiatives program were projects from the Fiber Indusry Development Authority, the Organic Demo Farm by the Bureau of Agriculture and Fisheries Project Standards (BAFPS), the Nursery Developmet, Cassava Development Project in Casiguran and Castilla, the farm to market roads in Burabod-Palanas- Road, distribution of Irrigation pumps and the Institutional Capacity Building (ICB) project in support of the Credit Programs by the Agricultural Credit Facility.

The project launch was a success and the three municipalities piloted will be monitored closely and regularly according to the two congressmen of the the province of Sorsogon, Hon. Salvador H. Escudero III of the 1st district and Hon. Deogracias B. Ramos of the 2nd district.(PIA-Sorsogon)

Filed under: Agriculture, Environment, Get Involved, Government, Sorsogon News Updates, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Girl killed in Sorsogon town clash

Source:  Joey Gois/Inquirer Southern Luzon

SORSOGON CITY, Philippines—A 10-year-old girl was killed in an encounter between suspected New People’s Army (NPA) rebels and government troopers in Casiguran, Sorsogon late Sunday afternoon, an Army official said Monday.

Quoting a report from the field, Major Ed Obenieta of the 49th Infantry Battalion, said the girl was hit in the crossfire between 10 NPA rebels and Army soldiers at around 5:20 p.m. in San Pascual village.

Obenieta said the girl, Rose Ann Gubat, was hit after the rebels allegedly fired indiscriminately and sprayed bullets at the village health center.

“It was a form of harassment by the NPA as the incident came after a peace and development dialogue was held in the area by the 49th IB,” he added.

Filed under: Sorsogon News Updates, , , , , ,

Int’l science organization to conduct needs assessment for disaster preparedness

by Irma A. Guhit/PIA

Sorsogon City, April 4 (PIA) — The Earthquake and Megacities Initiaitive (EMI) will conduct here today a one day- workshop on capacity needs assessment for disaster risk reduction preparedness and response for the province of Sorsogon specifically on earthquakes.

In attendance will be members of the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (PDRRMC) and some selected national government line agencies .

EMI is a non-profit international scientific organization established in the Philippines in 2004 with a local mission of advancing urban risk reduction policy , knowledge and practice through mainstreaming of disaster risk reduction in local government functions and processess and developing tools to support local disaster risk reduction management by connecting cities through knowledge sharing mechanisms.

Based on the EMI research findings, Sorsogon has been identified throughout the Philippines as one of the four provinces in Luzon as highly vulnerable earthquake prone provinces, the three are Benguet, Cagayan, and Laguna.

It can be recalled that the province of Sorsogon with the presence of one very active volcano, Mt Bulusan according to Phivolcs has a number of tectonic quakes experienced almost everyday in the municipalities within the areas near the mountain. Some are usually unfelt and some are felt when these quakes are more than 2 in magnitude.

With the current events happening all over the world like Japan, Netherlands, Indonesia and Mynnmar , it is very imperative according to officer-in-charge of the Sorsogon Provincial Disaster Risk Management Office (SPDRMO) Jose Lopez to find out where Sorsogon is, its capacity needs , gaps and scientific knowledge-based response to this kind of natural disaster.

The process of the workshop according to Lopez is more on focused group discussion with key informants interview of selected provincial officials and department heads on the in-place – initiatives to be undertaken if and when such occurences will come.

Currently, according to Lopez several trainings were already conducted to identified barangays and municipalities which are considered highly vulnerable to quakes and volcanic unrest by capacitating their Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction Management Councils (MDRRMCs) and Barangay Disaster Risk Reduction Management Councils (BDRRMCs)

According to Lopez there were successive trainings conducted already during last month of March, here at El Retiro and the other in Sto Domingo, Albay dubbed as the Mt. Bulusan Summit Disaster Preparedness Response.

He stated also that tody in the workshop both the representatives from the Office of the Civil Defense (OCD) and the PRRMO will each share a 15-minute report on the current initiatives undertaken by their offices regarding earthquake preparedness and response.

The orientation on the Disaster Risk Reseliency Indicators (DRRI) will be shared by Mr. Mariano S. Deocariza from the EMI. and will be a basis of identifying gaps.

This morning’s training-workshop hopes to surface and document the gaps in terms of the provincial earthquake disaster preparedness and response and with these gaps identified, to come up with tools and mechanisms for a provincial collaborative initiative that will basically be part of a cohesive protocol , accessible and well- explained to members , to the public and to the basic communities which is the essence of mainstreaming to develop a resilient community according to Lopez.(MAL/IAG, PIA Sorsogon)

Filed under: Sorsogon News Updates, , , , ,

Sta Magdalena town mulls road map for community- based management system

by Irma A. Guhit

SORSOGON CITY, April 1(PIA) — Sta Magdalena Mayor Alejandro Gamos has confirmed the town’s road map for Community Based Management System (CBMS) is now on the drawing board, crafted with with the help of the women sector who assisted conducting survey of barangays last month.

Gamos said the town has a very high potential for tourism given its very beautiful coastal shorelines.

Sta Magdalena town is strategically located at the southernmost tip of the province of Sorsogon bounded from the east of the San Bernardino Strait, from the north the town of Bulusan and from the west the Irosin town.

“Though our town is small, we have a very nice coastal area with long stretch of white beach fronts and we would like to really come up with our own roadmap for tourism focusing on community based management intervention”, Gamos said.

In a survey last March 7-11, according to Gamos, several women helped out in surveying all barangays and were able to gather pertinent data for profiling which results will guide the local government in drawing out road map for development focusing on tourism and conserving our own community resources.

“We will be focusing on the Coastal Resource Managemant (CRM) and Integrated Coastal Management (ICM) initiatives that will involve our basic sectors in the municipality in planning, strategizing and implementing by engaging the basic communities living near our beaches and coastal areas.” Gamos related.

“We have the Olango and Liang beaches and other still underdeveloped and undeveloped coastal areas that can be converted into fine beaches that can be managed by the communities themselves given the right capability enhancement training, resource assistance and letting them have a sense of ownesrship of these resources,” Gamos added.

It can be noted that today the newest global trend for development of coastal resources is to involve the local communities .Government should let them feel a sense of ownership to these resources.

Gamos also explained that they be taught of their responsibility and accountability in managing what they have and provide them the knowledge by developing a roadmap that can guide them make a profitable sustainable source of livelihood through local tourism and agro-tourism..

Early this April, the local government will be using the data gathered in the interviews from the local residents of the 14 barangays dispersed geographically as the lowlands of poblacion with coastal areascomprising of 4 barangays and in the uplands of 10 barangays identified as areas more on agricultural produce and woodlands.

The coastal barangays will be be drafting their roadmap for ecotourism based on the areas for development and the rest with respect to their gegraphical location, resources products and produce.

Sta Magdalena is basically an agricultural land planted most to coconut trees and the rest to diverse crops like abaca, palay, root crops, vegetables and woodland.

Gamos said that the conduct of the CBMS has helped them now to get ahead with their roadmap for development in a more sustainable and visionary system of management by taking into great consideration the conservation of their natural resources and adapting to the global chnges including climate change which he said is an utmost concern given the so many calamities happening lmost all over the world.

They will also include the intensified disaster risk reduction programs in their raodmap plan given their location fronting the Pacific Ocean.(MAL/IAG, PIA Sorsogon)

Filed under: Sorsogon News Updates, , , , , , ,

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