DENR eyes 125M seedlings for greening program

LEGAZPI CITY — The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) aims to collect 125 million seedlings this year for the National Greening Program (NGP).

“In the span of 10 years, 125 million seedlings can do a lot,” Ruby Mendones of the DENR Regional Public Affairs Office said.

Sixty percent of these seedlings comprises agroforestry, 30 percent forest trees, and 10 percent urban greening.

The division of the seedlings will help achieve the NGP’s three objectives: climate change adaptation, poverty alleviation, and biodiversity reservation.

Seventy-five percent  of the 125 million seedlings will be bought from different sources and 25 percent will come from DENR nurseries.

“There is no monopoly in environmental protection. If all of us will move, we’ll make it to protect our environment,” Mendones said.

DENR  is also encouraging schools, local government units and the private sectors to help in seedling production.

BFP backs anti-smoking drive

by ERIC H. RIVERA

LEGAZPI CITY  — The Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) Bicol regional office led by S/Supt. Igmedio V. Bondoc Jr. spearheaded the advocacy of Albay Cinco Contra Cigarillo last March 2 in this city.

Some 1,000 firefighters across the region joined the activity, which started in the morning by the Walk for a Cause from Bicol University oval going to Penaranda Park here.

Bondoc said that smoking is not good for one’s health, on the contrary, smoking will shorten one’s life.

After the opening program, the firemen proceeded to the Albay Astrodome for a round of sports and other activities that tested their camaraderie and sportsmanship.

Part of the sports event was  a cheerleading competition. It was participated by BFP personnel  from different cities and provinces in the Bicol region.

“Nakakabigla yung mga preparations na ginawa ng lahat ng participants. Walang matatalo sa araw na’to kasi lahat tayo pantay-pantay, lahat tayo panalo,” the BFP regional director said in his opening speech.

Although some delegates were not able to attend, Bondoc hoped that during next year event, they will be able to participate. “ I hope na makita ko sila sa susunod na taon. Kumpleto naman sana tayo ngayon kaso yung mga provincial directors lang ang nakarating, yung delegates wala,” he added.

This year, BFP is celebrating  the 45th Fire Prevention Awareness Month.

On March 31, BFP officials and employees will have a fun shoot at Sarung Banggi Resort in Sto. Domingo, Albay. On April 4, the culminating activity of the Fire Prevention Month will be held at the BFP regional office in this city.

Dato launches feeding program in Pasacao

By LIZEL S. MACATANGAY

PASACAO, Camarines Sur — Camarines Sur 2nd District Representative Diosdado “Dato” Arroyo launched another health program bent on improving the well-being and health condition of his constituents  particularly undernourished children from this town.

Arroyo’s  supplemental feeding program will benefit some 296 pre school children coming from eight barangays here, namely: Caranan, San Cirilo, Sta. Rosa Del Norte, Balogo, Quitang, Itolan, Bahay, and Cuco.

Pasacao Mayor Asuncion V. Arceno said that this endeavor will help not only the malnourished children in her town but their families as well. This will be through the provision of add-ons intertwined in three components: the feeding program itself, parent education, and livelihood opportunities for the beneficiaries.

Arroyo has championed the cause of his constituents through the  implementation of his platforms and developmental thrusts popularly known as T.K.O. which stands for Tubig, Kalye at Oportunidad.

The TKO  has benefited many coastal barangays and has won the hearts of Arroyo’s constituents in spite of his being new in the public service arena

Former Lupi Mayor Bobby Matamorosa, now serving as Congressman Arroyo’s district officer said that the program was initiated by Arroyo to help alleviate the condition of undernourished children in the town of Pasacao.

“This program is different from the usual supplemental feeding undertaking that most of the barangays are doing. This is not a one shot deal endeavor since its accompanying activities will be continuously implemented within the next six months, from Monday to Saturday, to help arrest malnutrition of preschool children.

Pacacao ranks fourth among the list of municipalities with the biggest number of malnourished children.

The project, funded by the Philippine GoodWork Mission Foundation will be working hand in hand with the Office of Congressman Dato Arroyo, the local government of Pasacao, and the Department of Social Welfare and Development in Bicol.

Robredo orders probe on death of NPA leader

ROBREDO

LEGAZPI CITY – Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Jesse Robredo on Thursday, March 3 ordered the Philippine National Police (PNP) in Bicol to conduct a thorough investigation into the killing of Elmer Estrellado, a suspected New People’s Army (NPA) leader, in a remote village of Bato town on Feb. 25.

Robredo said that a third party ocular inspection and investigation were proper to determine what led to the killing of Estrellado, who was tagged by the military as an NPA leader and bomb making expert of the communist movement.

He said “in the interest of objectivity I really want to know the real score whether indeed it was a legitimate encounter between Army troopers and NPA or the reported abduction of the victim.”

The present administration has a marching order on respect for human rights by the military and police and Robredo said “we will not tolerate such abuses committed by the military or any law enforcement authority for that matter.”

Robredo said the investigation would validate who is telling the truth as militant groups Bayan and Karapatan-Bicol claimed there were witnesses who could testify that the victim was abducted by unidentified armed men around 8:30 a.m. on Feb. 25 at a public place in Malilipot, Albay.

However, the military version says the victim was killed in an encounter around 6:30 a.m. Friday with Army soldiers in Barangay Bulwang, Bato town in Camarines Sur.

Lt. Col Ernest Cruz, commanding officer of the Army’s 42nd Infantry Battalion said  they have a Sangguniang Barangay Council resolution attesting that there was an encounter that occurred in the village.

The investigation called for by Robredo would dismiss speculations and straighten conflicting reports about the incidents.

Robredo  visited last week the wake of Police Inspector Al Lhanza Tantiado of Libon, Albay, a member of the PNP Regional Mobile Group operating in Northern Samar.

Tantiado was the lone fatality when a group of policemen escorting Mayor Rolando Evardone of Arteche town in Eastern Samar was ambushed by suspected communist rebels.

DPWH seeks P643M for lahar control

LEGAZPI CITY –  The Regional Development Council (RDC) in Bicol has favored the P643-million funding proposal of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) for the construction of flood control structures along critical flood paths down the slopes of Mt. Mayon to ease the destruction caused by lahar during rainy season.

To be constructed are Sabo dam structures, spur dikes and embankments along gullies on the slopes of the “World’s Most Perfect Cone” that serve as routes of avalanches of huge volume of volcanic debris down to major rivers here and in Sto. Domingo and Guinobatan towns that both sit near the foot of the volcano.

DPWH Regional Director Danilo Dequito  said the proposed structures composed of some 1,100 linear meters of Sabo dams, 7,000 linear meters of spur dikes, and 600 linear meters of embankments are to be built along the rivers of Yawa here, Basud in Sto. Domingo, and Quirangay in Guinobatan.

Dequito said the proposal for these projects along with the multi-million peso funding requirements have been approved by the RDC during its full council meeting last week and would be endorsed to the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) and the DPWH central office for inclusion in the 2012 national budget.

RDC chairman and Albay Governor Joey Salceda said the RDC’s approval and endorsement of the proposed projects was based on the necessity of putting in place the structures that would mitigate the danger of more avalanches of lahar and flashfloods threatening residential areas, farms and properties below Mt. Mayon.

Salceda recalled that in 2006, the same occurrences successively triggered by super typhoons Milenyo and Reming killed about 2,000 people and destroyed billions of pesos worth of agricultural crops, properties and government infrastructures.

“We do not want a repeat of that tragic disaster that although was caused by force majeure which we cannot totally prevent, should be anticipated with mitigating measures like these proposed DPWH projects to at least lessen it impacts,” the Albay governor said.

Salceda said the projects will be implemented based on the study conducted by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) completed in 2000 that calls for the putting up of the same structures along the same sites identified by the DPWH.

The P643-million funding required by the projects would also include the Legazpi City Urban Drainage Projects here that intends to set up two pumping stations, eight floodgates facilities, channel excavation, embankment, and rip rapping along low-lying areas of the city, Salceda added.