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P1-B Mall Soon to Rise in Legazpi; SM, Robinson's to Follow

LEGAZPI CITY, July 25 (PNA) -– Another mall costing P1 billion will soon rise in the 1.5-hectare area formerly occupied by the burned old public market in the city’s central business district. The new business building will be put up by the LCC chain of malls owned and managed by the Tan family headed by Antonio Tan as president. This new investment will greatly help us generate more jobs for the Bicolanos and additional income for the local government’s coffer, Mayor Noel Rosal said. The LCC chain of malls in Bicol is owned by Filipino-Chinese Tan family who originated from Tabaco City and pioneered in the establishment of malls in the region’s key cities of Tabaco, Legazpi and Naga. Aside from these cities, LCC has express marts in various municipalities in the region to cater to the needs of the people in the rural area who do not have to go to these cities to buy cheap but quality goods. Aside from this P1-billion mall to be put up by the LCC here, the SM and the Robinson …

Work on Viga-Pandan Road Project Begins this August

The winning contractor for the initial phase of the Japanese-funded rehabilitation of the Viga-Pandan section of the Catanduanes Circumferential Road will start this August, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) disclosed last week.


Newly-designated Catanduanes District Engineer Romeo Doloiras told local media that the upgrading and improvement of the 5.42 kilometer road section (with exceptions) comprising Contract Package II and II-A will be undertaken by Cavite Ideal International Construction & Development Corporation at a contract cost of P316.9 million.

To be completed in January 2015, the contract consists of construction of new concrete pavement of 5,42 kilometers of intermittent sections from Viga to barangay Bacak in Bagamanoc, reconstruction of one bridge with a length of 30.80 lineal meters, widening of one bridge with a length of 132.60 lineal meters, earthworks, drainage structures and slope protection works.

Presumably still undergoing procurement p…

A Proposed Catanduanes Power Sector Development Plan

Strategic planning is an organization's way of defining its strategy, or direction, and making decisions on allocating its resources to pursue this strategy. In order to determine where it is going, the organization needs to know exactly where it stands, then determine where it wants to go and how it will get there. Section 2 of Republic Act (RA) No. 9136, otherwise known as the “Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001” or EPIRA, declared, among others, the policy of the State to ensure quality, reliability, security and affordability of the supply of electric power; Thus, one of the major mandate of FICELCO under DOE Circular No. 2003-12-11 , as an electric cooperative or a distribution utility is to supply adequate, affordable, quality and reliable electricity, which states among other that an abstract of the terms and conditions of power supply contracts with private power producers to augment the power supply in their franchise areas is assured that power interruption…

DMCI Offers to Put Up Coal Power Plant Here

One of the country’s power industry big players, DMCI Power Corporation, has reportedly offered to establish a coal-fired power plant in Catanduanes, with coal to be sourced from its parent company’s mine in Semirara island. First Catanduanes Electric Cooperative, Inc. (FICELCO) General Manager Engr. Samuel Laynes confirmed in a press conference last week that DMCI-PC officials communicated to the cooperative its intention to join the Catanduanes grid as a new power provider and to put up a 7.5-megawatt coal-fired power plant using coal mined from the country’s largest coal mine in Semirara island in Antique. Another 7.5-MW coal-fired plant would also be installed in the next few years once the first is on line. The press briefing was conducted following a spate of power outages caused by yet another breakdown of the 3.6-megawatt bunker-fuel power plant of Catanduanes Power Generation, Inc. (CPGI). GM Laynes disclosed that DMCI has assured that brand-new equipment would be install…

DENR Rues Lack of Space for Storing Seized Lumber

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) here is sorely lacking space for storing seized lumber and vehicles, forcing it to delay retrieval of confiscated materials. OIC-CENRO Luvimindo Chioco told the Tribune last week that the lot their office is currently occupying is nearly overflowing with lumber and transport vehicles seized from past anti-illegal cutting operations that it has no longer space for the new ones. He made the disclosure after a concerned citizen of Viga inquired through the Tribune why a lumber-carrying truck seized by policemen last April has yet to be brought to Virac for proper disposition. Text messages sent by citizens informed the police last April 14 that a white six-wheeler truck loaded with lumber was sighted in Ananong and bound for the poblacion. Thirty minutes later, a team led by PO3 Romeo Ogalesco was patrolling barangay San Vicente when it saw a white Mitsubishi Canter truck (RBD-879) with its head just jutting out of the gate o…

NEDA V Trains CSU, LGU Staff on Project Development Preparation

As part of the technical assistance of the National Economic and Development Authority Regional Office V (NEDA V) - Bicol Project Development Committee (BPDC) to state universities and colleges and local government units (LGUs), 40 employees from Catanduanes State University (CSU), municipal and provincial government units, and non government organization in the province, were trained on Project Development and Feasibility Study Preparation on May 22-24, 2013 at the CSU Little Theater.


NEDA taught basic concepts and principles of project feasibility study preparation such as market, technical, institutional, financial, economic, environmental, and social aspects.

According to NEDA V, the capability building activity was crafted for the teaching personnel, including the staff involved in project planning and preparation activities from the different departments and colleges and local government units, to enhance skills in preparing feasibility study and project proposals.

The partic…

A Meeting of Minds at Marem’s

Newly-elected mayors as well as the three reelectionists had the chance of airing what was on their minds during the meeting with Congressman Cesar Sarmiento and Governor-elect Cely Wong at Marem’s Pension House.


Save for Bagamanoc’s Remegio Villaluna and San Andres’ Peter Cua who had traveled to Manila after the elections, the rest of the nine reelected and newly-elected chief executives expressed support for the two political leaders beginning June 30, aside from vowing to provide dedicated service to their constituents.

The number of women mayors remain at two (Flerida Alberto of Virac and Salvacion Isuela of Caramoran) while bachelor mayors increased to four (Mayor Obet Fernandez of Payo was joined by Gordon Olfindo of Viga, Johnny Rodulfo of Bato and Rodel Abichuela of Baras).

Of the 11 mayors, nine belong to the Liberal Party while the two others are from the Nationalist People’s Coalition, which joined LP in a coalition in Virac, and Lakas (in Bato). Bato constituents of Rod…

Catanduanes as Haven for Eco-Tourism?

An article in the Tribune 20 March 2013 mentions Congressman Sarmiento’s strong opposition to coal mining in Catanduanes, which would run counter to his dream to see Catanduanes as a haven for eco-tourism.


Very commendable but this will never happen until the trashing of the beaches, creeks and streets with garbage, which turns tourists off, is addressed and figures show the result. Palawan, with its strict environmental laws, 10 years ago had one flight a day; it now has around 9 flights daily with a large amount of passengers being tourists. Here previously, we had 3 flights a day; now we are lucky to get 1 flight a day, The congressman needs to follow the lead of Mayor Hagedorn of Puerto Princesa and his concern for the environment.

One glaring example is a barangay litter collection point that collapsed months ago between the governor’s hardware store and house, at the edge of the creek with piles of plastic bags leaching into the creek. In our barangay, some people treat the cr…

‘K-to-12’ Education Now a Law

MANILA, Philippines—President Aquino signed a law on Wednesday adding three extra years to the country’s 10-year basic education curriculum in a bid to make Filipino students at par with their peers in other countries.


“This lays the foundations for a better future for every Filipino child,” President Aquino said Wednesday after signing the law which makes enrollment in kindergarten compulsory before children can begin the traditional six years of primary school and adds two more years to high school.

The Enhanced Basic Education Act of 2013, or the K-to-12 Act, establishes a “universal kindergarten” and introduces Grades 11 and 12 to high school education in public and private schools.

Students will have to complete the extra education to qualify for university.

Until this law’s enactment, the Philippines was the only country in Asia and one of only three countries worldwide, together with Angola and Djibouti, with a 10-year preuniversity cycle.

“We now know that our traditional…

SC Rules LGU's Power Over Small-Scale Mining Deals Not Absolute

MANILA, April 29 (PNA) -- The Supreme Court has ruled local government's power over small-scale mining contracts in their areas is not absolute.


In a 20-page ruling, the SC en banc said the enforcement of the small-scale mining law to the provincial government is subject to the supervision, control and review of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

The SC, through Associate Justice Diosdado M. Peralta, said under the Administrative Code of 1987, the DENR is empowered to carry out the constitutional mandate of controlling and supervising the exploration, development, utilization, and conservation of the country's natural resources.

"Hence, the enforcement of small-scale mining law in the provinces is made subject to the supervision, control and review of the DENR under the Local Government Code of 1991, while the People's Small-Scale Mining Act of 1991 provides that the People's Small-Scale Mining Program is to be implemented by the DENR Secretar…

DOLE Seeks to Rid More CamNorte Barangays of Child Labor

LEGAZPI CITY, April 16 (PNA) -- Six barangays covering gold-panning areas in Paracale, Camarines Norte, have been identified as initial targets of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) for the implementation of its Child Labor Free Barangays’ Program in Bicol.


"This is a new program launched in Camarines Norte early this month as another serious government step toward curbing child labor in Bicol, especially in gold mining areas like Paracale,” DOLE Bicol Regional Director Nathaniel Lacambra said here on Tuesday.

The six barangays are Gumaos, Tugos, Palanas, Tawig, Malaguit and Casalugan--all within the remote areas of Paracale, a poor coastal town in Camarines Norte that is considered the province’s “gold capital.”

Proven as a gold mining area with significant resource potential, Paracale is a third class municipality around 250 kilometers southeast of Manila and home to 53,243 people listed by the National Census Office during its 2010 population survey.

The six bar…

NNC Conducts Hands-On Training for New Nutriskwela Community Radio Stations

It’s full speed ahead for the new Nutriskwela Community Radio Stations! After the conduct of the hands-on training on community radio broadcasting, the ten new radio stations will immediately have their inaugural broadcast as the National Telecommunications Commission has granted the NNC the necessary licenses to operate the stations. To date, seven of the ten radio stations are now on air and broadcasting. These are:


Radyo Kauswagan, DYNF-FM 91.3, Eastern Samar State University, Borongan City, Eastern SamarRadyo Kalamboan, DXNE-FM 94.3, Tubod, Lanao del NorteRadyo Kaunlaran, DZNI-FM 99.7, Polytechnic University of the Philippines-Bansud Campus, Bansud, Oriental MindoroRadyo Kasannangan, DXNH-FM 94.1, MSU-Tawi-Tawi College of Technology and Oceanography, Bongao, Tawi-TawiRadyo Kahimsog, DYNE-FM 97.5, Cebu Technological University, Barili, CebuRadyo Kasadya, DXNF-FM 99.9, President Roxas, CotabatoRadyo Kaamigo, DZNJ-FM 98.9, Catanduanes State University, Panganiban, Catanduanes on 1-5…

BOI Official: Use Coal for Cheap Electricity

A ranking official of the Bureau of Investments (BOI) personally believes that known mineral resources in the province of Catanduanes should be extracted and utilized for the benefit of its people, particularly in mining coal to provide cheap electricity. Atty. Raul Angeles, executive director of the BOI Investments Servicing Group who is a native of San Pedro, Panganiban, said an enlightened and informed decision should be made jointly by the national and local governments on the issue of commercial mining. The official made the comments in reference to recent issues of the Tribune concerning the issuance by the Department of Energy of a Coal Operating Contract covering 7,000 hectares in Caramoran, Bagamanoc, Panganiban and Viga to a Philippine subsidiary of Australia-based Altura Mining Limited. Discussions, he added, should be conducted without resorting to emotions as he challenged local chief executives and concerned groups to decide the future of Catanduanes. We have to fac…

Oppositions Mount up Anew vs Catanduanes Coal Mining

LEGAZPI CITY, March 19 (PNA) -– The new government-approved coal mining plan for Catanduanes is facing stern opposition from various local sectors that consider the venture a big setback to the Bicol island province’s remaining forests and agriculture-based economy.


“Allowing coal mining in Catanduanes would be a double whammy for the province,” claimed a report recently tendered to the provincial government by an environmental expert who studied the impact of coal mining in the province.

The report boosted up the “no mining” stance mounted by the Katandungan Kontra Mina (KKM), a local Catholic church-backed pro-environment group that in 2009 was able to ward off an attempt by a coal mining firm to operate in the province.

In March last year, the Department of Energy awarded mining rights to Altura Mining Philippines Inc. (AMPI), a local subsidiary of Australian-owned Altura Mining Limited (ASX: AJM), following its successful bid for the Coal Operating Contract under the Philippine …

Aussie Firm to Operate Coal Mining in Catanduanes

LEGAZPI CITY, March 14 (PNA) – An Australian company has announced that it will soon start its coal mining operations within the island province of Catanduanes in Bicol.


In a statement reaching here over the week, Altura Mining Philippines Inc. (AMPI), a local subsidiary of Australian-owned Altura Mining Limited (ASX: AJM). said the exploration activities are in line with the approved work program and stakeholder consultation process.

The Department of Energy (DOE) awarded the mining rights to AMPI in March 2012 following its successful bid for the first of three coal operating contracts under the Philippine Energy Contracting Round 4 (PECR4).

The mining site initially covers 7,000 hectares identified as “Area 3 Catanduanes,” the same site covered by a contract earlier awarded by the DOE under the PECR of 2009 to Monte Oro Resources and Energy, Inc. which backed out amid strong opposition mounted by local environmentalists some three years ago.

Altura said it is awaiting confirmat…

Keeping our Forests Better than Mining Coal

To get a better picture of how our island province of Catanduanes will fare even under conditions of the so-called responsible mining espoused by giant companies like the newcomer Altura Mining Limited, let us take a look at the present operation of Rapu-Rapu Minerals, Inc. (RRMI) and Rapu-Rapu Polymetallic Project (RRPP). With its avowed commitment to responsible mining and processing towards sustainable development, both firms presented to the small Albay island’s people the following diagram: Readers should note that the mining and processing operation is spread out over at least 100 hectares of the mountain above existing residential areas. Imagine 100 hectares of forest in Caramoran, Bagamanoc and Panganiban cleared of trees for Altura’s coal-mining project. For all the promises of the project proponents and supporters both in the national and local governments, there is little to show that the mining project has actually benefited Rapu-Rapu residents and lifted their lives f…

P1B Investments for Coal Projects

The Department of Energy yesterday reported that it expects P1 billion in fresh investments from eight local companies which it will give two-year coal exploration contracts this week.


Some 11 blocks were offered under the fourth Philippine Energy Contracting Round (PECR 4).

Energy Undersecretary Ramon Allan Oca yesterday said the eight firms are Altura Mining Philippines Inc. for Area 3 in Catanduanes; Semirara Mining Corp. for Areas 9 and 25-B in Oriental Mindoro and Sarangani, respectively; Empire Asia Mining Corp. for Area 18-B in Surigao del Sur; SKI Mining Corp. for Area 19-A in Surigao del Sur; Philippine National Oil Company-Exploration Corp. for Areas 19-B, 29 and 30-A in Surigao del Sur and Zamboanga Sibugay, respectively; South Davao Development Corp., Inc. for Area 8 in Occidental Mindoro; Blackstone Mineral Resources Inc. for Area 27 in Zamboanga Sibugay; and Mega Philippines Inc. for Area 23 in South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat and Sarangani.


Oca said that the contracts …

Probe of RORO Vessels’ Seaworthiness Needed

Last Feb. 5, passengers aboard the M/V Sta. Clara, which left Virac port on or about 1:30 P.M., had an unpleasant experience when the roll-on, roll-off vessel arrived at Tabaco after more than four hours at sea. According to Gerry Rubio of the Catanduanes State University, who vented his displeasure on facebook, the ferry’s main ramp failed to open. When all else failed for the ship’s officers, the captain apparently ordered the maneuvering of the boat so that its rear was now abutting the port. After waiting for more than two hours, the passengers were made to pass through the narrow spaces between the trucks and container vans, exiting through the shorter emergency ramp. He quoted a DTI employee as lamenting the ferry crew’s lack of concern for the welfare of the passengers, who were not advised of the ramp failure. “We were made to guess what was happening,” Rubio rued. “This RORO must be dry-docked and its seaworthiness checked.” Under Memorandum Circular No. 65 issued by the…

NSO Conducts 2012 Census of Agriculture and Fisheries

The National Statistics Office (NSO), Catanduanes will be undertaking the 2012 Census of Agriculture and Fisheries (2012 CAF) beginning this February.


The 2012 Census of Agriculture and Fisheries (2012 CAF) is a large-scale government undertaking that is geared towards the collection and compilation of basic information on the agricultural and fishery sectors in the Philippines. The data collected in this census shall constitute the bases from which policymakers and planners formulate their plans and programs for the socio-economic development of the country.

The 2012 CAF is envisioned to achieve the following objectives: determine the structural characteristics of agriculture and fishery sectors; provide sampling frame for the conduct of supplementary modules on irrigation and cropping pattern, livestock and poultry, aquaculture and fisheries, and other statistical undertakings; provide basic data for use in national as well as subnational development planning ; and, provide data o…

Puraran Surfing Needs Private Sector Participation

For years now, some sectors including the Commission on Audit have been wondering why the provincial government and its municipal counterpart continues to insist on holding the yearly surfing competition in Puraran, Baras.


While there is certainly merit in promoting the Majestic waves off the coastal barangay to the whole world, there is little sense in funding a surfing competition that, with its decidedly small budget, attracts only surfers from other surfing spots in the country like Bagasbas in Camarines Norte, Siargao, La Union and Baler. From the budget of P609,000.00 in 2011, the COA said, the Baras LGU spent about P200,000 as cash prizes for the surfing contest and another P51,000 for the Bikini Open, plus P30,000 for the hiring of a band for a beach party. The kitty includes allocations for accommodation of the competing surfers, whose transportation expenses may have been likewise shouldered by the sponsoring LGUs.

The agency’s finding, contained in the 2011 Annual Audit R…

CIA Medical Mission to Push Through in 2014

It appears this corner spoke too soon on the issue that the stringent guidelines approved by the Department of Health regarding Foreign Surgical and Medical Missions (FSMMs) has discouraged US-based missioners from pushing through with their missions.


The Catanduanes International Association (CIA) has scheduled its medical mission to this province in 2014, not this year. According to California-based Myrna Rodriguez-Walsh, CIA president for 2012-2015, the CIA medical mession is scheduled to be held on February 10 -14, 2014, at the Eastern Bicol Medical Center in Virac. Long-time Christmas Cheers backer Dr. Oscar Enriquez, is the chairman and Dr. Erlinda Velasco and Dr. Santos Zafe are the co-chairs of the mission. The CIA president said the medical mission is usually held every three years.

Source: Inside Page

10 CSU Graduates Top Bicol Placers in Teachers Exams

LEGAZPI CITY, Jan. 16 (PNA) -- The Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) announced here Wednesday that 10 graduates of the Catanduanes State University (CSU) landed at the top 10 among those who passed the recent Licensure Examination for Teachers (LET) in Bicol.


The PRC identified the top 10 passers as Carlito T. Gelito, Joan S. Guerrero, Jinky Lou T. Sarmiento, Ronald A. Teves, Ian Lopez, Eddie Cadag, Donna Nerisse Sapico, Aizel Cerillo, Melvin Fernandez and Daniel L. Alfaro.

Gelito placed 3rd in the regional and 10th in the national levels; Guerrero, 4th with 85.80 percent; Sarmiento, 4th with 85.80 percent; Teves, 4th placer with 85.80 percent; Lopez, 5th with 85.60 percent; Cadag, 6th with 85.40 percent; Sapico, 6th with 85.40 percent; Cerillo, 7th with 85.20 percent; Fernandez, 8th with 85 percent and; Alfaro, 9th with 84.80 percent.

The PRC, through its Board for Professional Teachers, also honors top 10 placers in the regional level of the LET examinations separately fr…