Posted on 20 July 2012.
More than 400 tourists from America and Canada, mostly of Filipino descent, visited on Thursday and enjoyed the barrio fiesta atmosphere at the Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar in Bagac, Bataan as part of their two-week stay in the Philippines.
Rajah Tours, Philippines, in coordination with the Bataan Tourism Council and the Department of Tourism in Region 3, managed the visit under the project “7th Ambassadors, Consuls General and Tourism Directors Tour.”
Alejandra Clemente, Raja Tours president, said they brought the tourists to Las Casas because of its cultural aspect that reminds visitors of Spanish time. “It is one destination that we are proud of in showing that it’s more fun in the Philippines,” she explained.
Clemente, also president of the Federation of Tourism Industries of the Philippines, said the project on its 7th year was started by former Ambassador del Rosario, now Department of Foreign Affairs secretary and the ambassadors of Washington DC and Canada.
“We are luring people from all over America to come to the Philippines and discover new destinations. This was the first time that we included in our tour package the barrio fiesta atmosphere of Las Casas that the tourists enjoyed so much,” the Rajah Tours owner said.
She said that the visitors will have an audience and photo opportunity with Pres. Benigno Aquino III in Malacanan on Friday. Some will be going to Boracay, Palawan, Iloilo and other tourist areas.
Rep. Albert Garcia of the province Second District presented Bataan as a must-see destination. “The Bataan peninsula is now known as home province of Jessica Sanchez of American idol. Ours is a beautiful place with beautiful people like Janine Marie Tugonon, reigning Bb. Pilipinas Universe 2012,” he said to the applause of the visitors.
The congressman said the province abound in sandy beaches where visitors will enjoy boat-riding, wind-surfing, swimming and sun-bathing. It is adjacent to the West Philippine Sea, Manila Bay and the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority. Bataan has natural water springs and falls.
Garcia invited visitors to try Mt. Samat in Pilar, Bataan where a war memorial shrine can be found that reminds of the heroism of Filipino-American soldiers in the fight for freedom during World War II.
“No one gets lost in the province because friendly-people are on hand to welcome visitors,” he said.
“It’s more fun in the Philippines but let me say that it is here in Bataan where your fun will begin,” Garcia concluded.
At one of the heritage houses in Las Casas, the visitors enjoyed the sumptuous food, some native delicacies and the cultural presentations. Some even tried the “tinikling”.
A Filipino-American woman from Washington DC and a woman from Jamaica said they came with the secretary of the Philippine ambassador in Washington. They said it was their first visit to the Philippines and both enjoyed the place.
Posted in COB News
Posted on 17 July 2012.
Foreign dignitaries and Tourism directors that formed part of the 7th Ambassador Consuls General and Tourism Directors’ were impressed by the unique beauty of Bataan, even as organizers vowed to integrate it into the more fun slogan of the Department of Tourism (DOT).
The tour was actually started by Ambassador now Foreign Affairs secretary Ramon del Rosario with around 400 delegates here, and from all over America.
“We are luring them (400 delegates) to come here so they will have a sentimental piece of the country and discover new destination. Some are staying for 2 weeks here in the Philippines because some are going to Cebu, Bohol, Palawan, Boaracay, Iloilo and Bacolod,” said Alejandra Clemente, president of Raja Tours Philippines and the Federation of Tourism Industries in the Philippines.
Clemente joined the group during their visit at Las Casas Filipinas, a unique coastal resort hotel and now the No. 1 tourism spot in Bataan. Bataan 2nd District Rep. Abet S. Garcia lauded in his speech DOT Director of Region 3 Ronaldo Tiotuico who was responsible for the invitation of the said foreign dignitaries’ tour in Bataan, together with Clemente. Most of the delegates are Consuls Generals, Tourism Directors, Ambassadors from North America and America and Canada.
“It is with great pleasure that we welcome the delegates in the 7th Ambassador Consuls General and Tourism Directors’ Tour to the Philippines, particularly Bataan. Today, I have the task of presenting to you, the Bataan Peninsula as a must see destination for your countrymen who will choose to come and tour here in the Philippines. Bataan is now known as the home province of Jessica Sanchez of the 11th season of American Idol, ours is a home to beautiful people, we hold major title in the national beauty contest, the reigning Bb. Pilipinas 2012 Universe, Ms. Jenine Marie Togonon is a native of the province of Bataan as well,” said Rep. Garcia in his speech.
“Beaches abound for jet skiing, wind surfing, boat riding, swimming and sun bathing. To name the few of the beautiful beaches we have here in Bataan, aside from Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar, we also have Montemar Beach Resort here in Bagac, Anvaya Cove in Morong, Camaya Coast in Mariveles and many others. Inland, we have natural water springs. And falls and they are all yours to discover and explore,” pointed out the bachelor solon.
Garcia also cited the rich history of Bataan during the World War II, since “it was the place of choice of Gen. Douglas Mc Arthur for the Filipino-American forces to make their final stand against the invading army… We understand in the US, the Bataan Memorial Death March takes place each year at White Sands Crystal Range in New Mexico where more than 3,000 marchers from across the US and overseas walk through a 26 mile route in memory of those who died in the war.”
Posted in COB News
Posted on 10 July 2012.
The City of Balanga again took center stage as City Mayor Jose Enrique S. Garcia III landed in the elite list of nine finalists in the search for 2012 Outstanding Public Officials and Employees.
The announcement was made last week by the Civil Service Commission’s Committees on Presidential Lingkod Bayan / CSC Pag-asa Award that hold the annual event to give recognition to public officials for their exemplary performance in public service, meaningful contribution and achievements to several advocacies that promote excellence and strict adherence to high moral standards, - displaying fine statesmanship under the principles of transparency, accountability and good governance.
Included in the criteria for the nomination of the nine finalists to the Lingkod Bayan Awards were noteworthiness of outstanding performance or contributions, impact of performance or achievement, reliability and effectiveness, consistency of performance, demonstration of teamwork, cooperation, and camaraderie and cohesiveness.
His Excellency, President Benigno C. Aquino III will confer the award in September during the annual celebration of the Philippine Civil Service Commission Anniversary.
“This significant milestone did not quite come as a surprise to anyone who knows Mayor Joet, considering the numerous reforms and landmark achievements that made the City of Balanga one of the fast emerging cities in the country”, said City Administrator Rodolfo H. De Mesa at a press briefing with local media.
De Mesa also announced that the Balanga City Agriculture Office likewise made it in the PAG-ASA Group Category, having earned the nod for the outfit’s aggressive promotion of the Kaanib Livelihood Program, Binhian ng Bayan, and the City Farm and Animal Growing Center, to name a few. “These programs not only have generated jobs for the local populace but likewise offered entrepreneurial opportunities as well”, he added.
Reached for comments over his inclusion to the list of nine finalists, Mayor Garcia confided he was elated and very honored to have made it alongside with such big names as Gov. Vilma Santos Recto of Batangas, Mayor Edward S. Hagedorn of Puerto Princesa, and City of San Fernando, Pampanga Mayor Oscar S. Rodriguez.
“For whatever its worth”, Garcia enthused, “I share and dedicate this recognition to other public servants of the city, from the top down to the ordinary rank and file whose unwavering support and commitment to serve our people is beyond compare”.
The news came barely three weeks after the City of Balanga was conferred the Red Orchid Award for the second time in as many years - the highest national award given by the Department of Health for the city’s sustained campaign to promote and implement its 100% Smoke-Free policy.
Other notable awards conferred to the City in recent years were the Most Business Friendly Award (2008, 2009, 2011-Hall of Fame Status) by the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry; the Seal of Good Housekeeping given by the Department of Department of Interior and Local Government; and the National Literacy Award (2nd place), by the Department of Education.
Posted in COB News
Posted on 06 July 2012.
After being nominated as “Lingkod ng Bayan” awardee by the Civil Service Commission, Mayor Joet S. Garcia is now also a recipient for various awards for being an Outstanding Public Official in the country.
A son of incumbent governor Enrique “Tet” Garcia and younger brother of Rep. Abet S. Garcia, 2nd district-Bataan, Mayor Joet Garcia made it to the semi-finalist in the Presidential Lingkod Bayan Award while the Balanga City Agriculture Office is also the region’s bet for the Pag-Asa Award.
This was the first time since time immemorial that a Balanga mayor has bagged such multiple awards and Balangenos have the reason to laud the two-termer mayor of this progressive Component city.
But this was not the first time that Mayor Garcia won a national award after having been chosen as City mayor for “Best practices;” won the Seal of Good governance last year; Awardee for making successfully Balanga as “Smoke-free,” bagging the prestigious “Red Orchid” award from the Department of Health.
Civil Service Commission (CSC) Central Luzon information officer Diana Henson said “the Presidential Lingkod Bayan” award is bestowed to an individual or group for their extraordinary contributions resulting from an idea or performance which had nationwide impact on public interest, security and patrimony.”
Newsmen learned that three more awards-“Pamana ng lahi,” which is now being validated by the Region; “Most Child-friendly city,” now also being validated in regional level and “Seal of Good Housekeeping,”- are waiting to be bestowed to Mayor Garcia.
Meanwhile, the Pag-asa prize is conferred to an individual or group for outstanding contributions resulting from an idea or performance that directly benefitted more than one department of the government. Mayor Garcia was the brainchild of the “Gulayan sa barangay,” a successful vegetation program in the barangay.
A total of 35 individuals and 11 groups from across the archipelago are contenders for the three honors given by the Search this year.
The other award is the Dangal ng Bayan which is given to a person in recognition of his/her performance of extraordinary act or public service and consistent demonstration of exemplary ethical behavior on the basis of his/her observance of the eight norms of behavior under Republic Act 6713 otherwise known as the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees.
The winners will be announced this September in time for the anniversary of the Philippine Civil Service.
Mar T. Supnad
Posted in COB News
Posted on 04 July 2012.
More than 200 private sector representatives of Regional Development Councils in all regions in the country concluded in Bataan their 4th national convention
Dr. Roberto Ramirez, RDC3 co-chairman and national convention chair, said they spent the 3rd and final day of the convention in Bataan after visiting Zambales and Clark Freeport Zone in Angeles City.
He said that they are from the private sector who serve as volunteer members of RDC but aggressively act as fiscalizers.
Representative Albert Garcia of Bataan’s Second District lauded the private sector representatives for keeping watch over every project in their respective region. “Sinasala ninyo ang lahat ng proyekto and this shows the good partnership between government and the private sector in nation-building,” Garcia said.
The congressman told delegates that they would see more about Bataan in their tour of Mt. Samat in Pilar and Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar in Bagac town.
Much to the applause of the private sector representatives, Garcia said that although Bataan is a tiny province, it has the highest Human Development Index in Region 3 and the fourth highest in the country.
The congressman and brother Balanga City Mayor Jose Enrique Garcia III welcomed the delegates at the modern Maritime Academy of Asia and the Pacific (MAAP) in Mariveles, Bataan.
Mayor Garcia informed visitors of various projects of the city government in education, environment and health. He discussed the new look of the surrounding area adjacent to the Plaza Mayor de Balanga once ongoing projects are finished.
The mayor also announced the city’s vision to become a University Town by 2020 comparable to the best in the world. He told delegates that the city was bestowed for the second straight year the Department of Health’s Red Orchid for its no-nonsense drive against smoking in public places.
Dr. Ramirez was all praises for the Garcia brothers who he said are worth-emulating for their dedication to public service. He thanked them for giving time to their visit and making their stay in the province fruitful and enjoyable.
Before MAAP, the private sector representatives made a tour of the 600-megawatt GN Power Plant also in Mariveles that will be operational by January next year.
Engr. Oliver Chavez, assistant construction manager, briefed the visitors on the coal-fired power plant.
Posted in COB News
Posted on 18 June 2012.
Top officials in the province expressed the need to clear the area of the inoperative Bataan Thermal Power Plant (BTPP) in Limay town as it may still contain toxic materials.
Hundred millions-worth of metal scraps could be reportedly salvaged in the mothballed BTPP as Governor Enrique Garcia, Jr. said he wanted to clear the area for the possible construction of a new power plant.
“I want the site cleaned so another power plant can be put up in place of BTPP,” said Garcia.
However, he disclosed that the thermal plant owned by the National Power Corporation may still contain hazardous, toxic wastes which could jeopardize the health of nearby residents.
2nd District Rep. Albert Garcia said the provincial government together with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources is looking for a competent company who has the capability for the clearing operation.
“The cleanup of the area has to happen before the construction of a new power plant. Right now the provincial government is coordinating with DENR and other environmental experts for the cleanup efforts,” said the younger Garcia.
Relative to this, Limay Mayor Ver Roque expressed approval over the clearing operation in the condition of assuring first the safety of his people.
He said he will seek the help of PENRO to conduct environmental investigation in BTPP to guarantee public security before dismantling the thermal plant.
facilities,” he added.
(JMG-PIA 3, Bataan)
Posted in COB News
Posted on 08 June 2012.
Thousands of farmers, businessmen and residents of the city are now benefitting from a refurbished farm-to-market road and more functioning drainage systems in three barangays after the city government won a P3 million grant.
The City Government of Balanga received the grant from the Performance Challenge Fund (PCF) last November after meeting the terms of the Department of Interior and Local Government. The fund was used to complete the said infrastructure projects this year.
Fruit growers in Brgy. Munting Batangas now have access to faster delivery of produce with the concreted 510 meters of previous rough road which was finished this January using the P2.5 million PCF subsidy and P2.5 million from the city.
City engineer Miguel Sanchez said that owners of the about 55 hectares of land in the upper portion of the barangay are seen to gain from the opportunity of developing a more productive area due to accessibility.
He said that the farm-to-market road will increase the agricultural produce and income of farmers and will also aid the “smooth and easy travel” of waste collection vehicles to the Material Recovery Facility in Brgy. Munting Batangas.
“The entire residents of City of Balanga will benefit as the garbage at source are collected on schedule because the trucks collecting the garbage are kept in good condition,” said Sanchez.
Meanwhile, increase in revenue will be the gain of about 20 locators in Brgy. Poblacion as a 125-meter drainage system was concreted and installed with cover using P300,000 from PCF and another P300,000 from the city government.
In Brgy. Cupang West, 102 meters of open canal was also concreted and covered using P200,000 from PCF and P200,000 from the city.
Some 2,122 individuals or 407 households in Cupang West will also benefit from the project as well as the Day Care Center, barangay hall and Barangay Health Center in Brgy. Cupang North which is adjacent to the concreted sewer, improving health and sanitation in the area.
“Before, canals do not function well. Rain water and waste water from commercial and residential establishments were stocked in the street for several days,” said Sanchez.
(JMG-PIA 3, Bataan)
Posted in COB News
Posted on 06 June 2012.
The City Government of Balanga has already submitted its achievements on education as it competes against other component cities in the country for the 2012 National Literacy Award (NLA) for Outstanding Local Government Unit in the component city category.
Balanga City eyes to make the feat this year with its various academic programs for elementary, high school and college students and out-of-school youth after emerging 2nd place in the 2010 NLA for the same category two years ago.
In its application, the city government takes pride in its low illiteracy rate with 98.82 percent of the entire 93,199 population considered as literate.
This was the result of the city’s main educational thrust dubbed City of Balanga Literacy Opportunities, Vital to Economic Sustainability (COB LOVES) which covers academic programs for the youth, teachers and schools in line with Mayor Jose Enrique Garcia III’s vision for the city as a “World Class University Town by 2020.”
“We will optimize the use of all our resources to make these programs in education work,” said Garcia.
The city has 2,217 college scholars as of 2011 under the Iskolar Balangueño Scholarship Program in which every beneficiary receives P12,000 grant annually.
About P4 million worth of assistance was also allotted to finance school activities like sports, scouting, and school organs. In schools, 120 computer units were donated, 17 classrooms were put up, 26 daycare centers were air conditioned, 13 covered courts were constructed, and 18 audio-visual rooms were built with air-condition, LCD projector, sound system, chairs and tables.
In the Accreditation and Equivalency Test, test takers from Balanga topped in Central Luzon from 2008 to 2011 with 86 percent passing rate. Balanga also prevailed in the National Achievement Test in school years 2004-2005 and 2007-2008, and remains in the top 10 highest scorers in 2008-2009.
“The city’s programs and projects cover all levels of education starting with the children’s educational foundation, which is proper and responsible parenting, to academic and educational facilities support to primary and secondary education, [and] financial assistance to college scholars,” said the city government in a report.
Various academic programs were also cited including EduChild Parenting Program, Barangay Reading Nook, and Barangay Online Program.
(JMG-PIA 3, Bataan)
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