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Showing posts from September, 2009

Probe of Pandan Narra Seizure Set - CT

The Philippine National Police in Catanduanes will make a full report on the controversial seizure of more than 200 pieces of narra lumber near a Pandan councilor’s farm and impose appropriate sanctions on erring lawmen, including relief from their posts. PNP provincial director Senior Superintendent Rodegelio Gerero made the vow during a meeting between Governor Joseph C, Cua, Vice Governor Alfred M. Aquino and members of the provincial board, on one hand, and the Philippine Amy. Cua also said that the DENR is also sending an investigation team to probe the conduct of foresters and policemen involved in the seizure, including allegations of bribery. In the same meeting, Gov. Cua asked Army Lt. Col. Romeo Basco of the 83rd Infantry Battalion based in Lictin, San Andres for help in preventing the smuggling of narra lumber to the Bicol mainland. In response, Lt. Col. Basco promised to ask Army units in coastal areas of the mainland to guard entry points in Tiwi and Tabaco, both in A…

Suweco Can Invest P1.1B for Catanduanes Hydro Plant–ERC

THE Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) said it recently approved Sunwest Water and Electric Co. Inc.’s (Suweco) petition to increase the project costs of its three mini hydro projects in Catanduanes.

Suweco’s three mini hydroelectric-power plants have a total capacity of 6.4 megawatts (MW).

In its 12-page order, ERC said Suweco petitioned ERC for partial reconsideration and modification of its January 19, 2009 order.

In its petition, Suweco revised the earlier project costs to P1.106 billion from P729.423 million for the 2.3-MW Solong mini hydroelectric-power plant in San Miguel, 1.5-MW Hitoma 1 mini hydroelectric-power plant in Caramoran, and 2.6-MW Capipian mini hydroelectric- power plant in San Miguel, Catanduanes.

The revised project cost, according to Suweco, would have an impact of P5.3955 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) from an earlier project cost impact of P3.6642/kWh.

Suweco said it had to increase its project costs from its original estimates due to force-majeure events such as soil er…

Mining Consultations in Catanduanes Reset - INQ

VIRAC, Catanduanes—The Department of Energy (DoE) has reset public consultations on coal mining projects in three towns in Catanduanes for next month.

Energy Undersecretary Ramon Allan Oca cited some logistics problems in Manila as reason for the postponement of consultations in Caramoran, San Andres, and Panganiban towns.

In a phone interview, Oca said the agency had to prepare a budget for the travels and arrange the schedules of personnel who would be assigned to the consultations.

The department, he said, was also preparing for the budget hearings and other activities.

The postponement came on the heels of Philippine Daily Inquirer reports about plans to mine coal in the island-province by Monte Oro Resources and Energy Inc., which is owned by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s businessman-ally, Enrique Razon.

Panganiban Mayor Gregorio Angeles confirmed that the public consultations would not be held in his town.


Earlier, Bishop Manolo De los Santos of the Diocese of Virac wa…

Creating People-Centered Jobs and Communities - PDI

LIVELIHOOD and social services are important parts of the Bicol Agenda to improve the quality of life of Bicolanos. With enough income and income opportunities, they are able to answer needs like education, health and shelter, and participate in development initiatives in their communities. Civil society organizations now engage local governments for projects which help address both – from organic farming in Camarines Sur and building water systems in Sorsogon to prevention of diseases and domestic violence in Catanduanes. Water system In Pilar, Sorsogon, the Provincial Alliance of NGOs and POs for Development (Pangopod) helps establish water systems in response to basic needs of residents. One of its members, the Pilar New Life Learning Foundation, established a water system in Barangay (villages) Palapas in cooperation with the community. A memorandum of agreement between them encourages beneficiaries to plant trees around the water source to rehabilitate the water table and man…

Freddie Aguilar Sings for Bicol - BM

Freddie Aguilar is set to storm Bicolandia on September 17 at the Villa Caceres Hotel in Naga City. The high-end dinner concert, called Concierto Pakarahay Ning Caramoan, will be the first of a series. Ka Freddie, with his band Watawat, pairs up with DJ Alvaro, the singer that popularized “Ang Tipo kong Lalaki ay Maginoo, Ngunit Medyo Bastos”.

The undertaking is a fundraising campaign of Caresma (Caramoanons with Residences in Metro Manila), headed by Annabelle Arcilla. Its priority project of restoring historical churches in Caramoan, Camarines Sur, is only the first of many. Arcilla, the concert producer, is assisting and complementing Camarines Sur Gov. L-ray Villafuerte in his goal to put the once sleepy town of Caramoan on the world tourism map.

Pakarahay means renewal or restoration. Caresma, aside from its focus on history and heritage, aims to uplift the culture and values of Caramoanons and prepare them for the upcoming tourism development growth in the area.

For a start, Arc…

CSC, DTI Conduct Entrepreneurial Training to 11 Towns of Catanduanes

An inter-agency program on entrepreneurial development is jointly undertaken by the Catanduanes State Colleges (CSC), through its Extension Services Center, and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

The DTI Region V, through a memorandum of agreement, has enlisted CSC as consultant in this undertaking by providing a pool of lecturers for the series of trainings.

Displaced workers, unemployed college graduates, entrepreneurs, farmers and fisherfolks, members of cooperative and NGOs, RICs and ARCs from the 11 towns of the province are the beneficiaries of this collaborative program.

To date, five municipalities in the province are already covered by this project, with 279 training beneficiaries. Six hundred seventy participants are expected to be trained on starting up a small business

The training module is carried out in a day and consists of lectures, workshop and presentation of outputs.

Topics provided to the participants are basic entrepreneurial skills and competencies, bus…

Loren Urges Shift to Cleaner, Greener Fuel in Lieu of Coal

Senator Loren Legarda cited today the urgent need for the Philippines to shift to cleaner energy sources instead of shooting for a yearly increase of 11.7 percent in the production of coal, a highly polluting fuel source blamed for 30,000 deaths in the United States each year.

Founder and chair of the environment group Luntiang Pilipinas, Loren issued the statement in view of the strong opposition expressed by the church to a planby a company to extract coal worth P6.2 billion in Catanduanes.

"The operation of this coal mine would be a double blackeye to the environment as it would increase our carbon emission while decimating trees and foliage in an area of 7,000 hectares," said Loren.

"Not only would our carbon footprint increase, but the loss of trees and greeneries in the affected areas, said to be three times the size of Makati City, would further reduce forest cover which helps fight air pollution," she explained.

Loren said that while coal-related air pollut…

A Charter for Bicolanos -

By the time this column goes to press, I will be in Lake Buhi, a lake in Buhi, Camarines Sur made famous by sinarapan which is the world’s smallest commercially-harvested fish. Sometimes Bicolanos use the name buhi for the fish as well but the real name is appropriate because it is said to be “talagang masarap.”

We, Manilans seldom know about these things — how the lake was formed and why it should be home to a good-tasting fish. Bicolanos speak of its incredible beauty.

No wonder it was chosen by the advocacy group Bicol for Greater Autonomy to write their charter. This resort town could stand more development for its bountiful resources — fish, a forest beside the lake with different species of birds as well as flying lizards and civet cats. Only the people who live in Buhi can truly appreciate the beauty and riches of the province but they are discouraged from doing so because they do not have proprietary rights on development. Under the present system they merely inhabit the place…