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Asian Water bird Census shows 12,599 birds present in one day in Balanga’s Wetland

Asian Water bird Census shows 12,599 birds present in one day in Balanga’s Wetland BALANGA City - The Asian Waterbird Census conducted Saturday showed there were 12,599 water birds from 38 species, mostly migratory birds, sighted in one day alone in the wetlands of this component city in Bataan.

Rodolfo de Mesa, city administrator, said the number showed an increase of 352 to 12,248 water birds counted last year in the wetlands of Lote, Puerto Rivas Ibaba, Sibacan and Tortugas, all seaside villages in Balanga City.

The census is part of a global water bird monitoring program where volunteers across Asia and Australia visit wetlands in their country and count water birds on assigned dates in January. In the Philippines, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the Wild Bird Club of the Philippines conduct the count.

Gina Mapua, WBCP president, cited some reasons why the counts for this year and last year have not reached the record of the city with more than 25,000 water birds tallied three years ago.

She identified the causes as the bad weather, changes in tide, fishpond condition and some activities that disturb the birds like dredging of rivers to lessen flooding in Balanga City.

The WBCP official said some fishponds in Balanga were cleared of vegetation and many were under water during the census. “Birds with short legs were not able to feed in deep water,” she said.

She was, however, hopeful that the birds will soon be back in the city. “We cannot predict wildlife,” she said.

“Do not disturb the environment the birds are used to. Do not cut the trees, but only trim them, leaving some portions for the birds. Leave more vegetation,” Mapua said when asked for suggestions on how to make the migratory birds flock again to Balanga.

Although the number has decreased in the last two years, Mapua noted the increase in quality in terms of interesting bird species visiting the city like the presence of more Breast-Necked Stilt and Sandpiper, among some other migratory birds.

The usual top three in number of migratory birds in Balanga are the Egret (small, medium and large), Whiskered Tern and Black-Winged Stilt. The three species at the crack of dawn are already busy diving, flying or feeding in fishponds.

The Department of Tourism chose Balanga as one of the bird-watching sites in the country five years ago. City Mayor Jose Enrique Garcia III has conducted an aggressive campaign to protect the migratory birds by information dissemination and yearly bird festivals.

The birds leave their countries of origin in Asia and Europe to escape the cold weather, arriving in Balanga last week of September and leaving last week of March.

Perla Esconde
Provincial Information Office

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Country ready to welcome Pope – Bataan Bishop

Country ready to welcome Pope – Bataan Bishop BALANGA City - Bataan Bishop Ruperto C. Santos on Wednesday said that the country is ready to welcome Pope Francis.

Santos is the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines Chairman of the Committee on Transportation on the papal visit.

“We are very much prepared. With our preparations are our constant prayers, that this historic and apostolic papal visit will surely be moments of grace and experiences of God's mercy and compassion,” the Bataan prelate said.

Especially all ready for the Pope’s use are three pope mobiles, two locally made and the other one borrowed from Korea.

“All pope mobiles speak about the nature of the Holy Father which is simplicity,” Santos said. The vehicles are all ordinary, no decorations just the papal coat of arms.

“We did what are all humanly possible, we now entrust to God's providence and protection the safety of the Pope and successful completion of his visit,” the bishop said.

“We are joyfully waiting and ready to welcome with our total filial devotion and profound affection our beloved Holy Father Pope Francis,” Santos said.

Perla Esconde
Provincial Information Office

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Construction of P2.412 billion Bataan Capitol, gov’t center seen

Construction of P2.412 billion Bataan Capitol, gov’t center seen CAPITOL, Bataan- Without spending a single centavo, Provincial officials here led by Governor Abet S. Garcia are now readying the construction of a new Bataan Capitol building and Government Center, a P2.412 billion one–stop-shop dubbed as the first ever in the country, after a Malaysian-based private funder had agreed to finance the ambitious project.

Impressed by the readiness of the provincial officials here on the project, Engr. Isaac S. David, President of the AlloyMTD, Philippines, a subsidiary of the AlloyMTD Group based in Malaysia, said during last Friday’s public hearing held at Louis restaurant here, that they agreed and gave priority to the Bataan project after noting the readiness of the provincial officials here to pursue the ambitious project with their adoption of the PPP (Public-Private-Partnership) code.

“In fact, there are several requests from other Local Government Units (LGUs) who wanted to avail fund from us, but we gave priority to this Bataan project because Governor Garcia and the provincial board had already come up with a PPP code which is a must,” pointed out Engr. David.

David assured that the province of Bataan will not spend a single centavo here since this is a PPP and that the provincial government will only provide the area for the construction of the new Bataan Capitol and Government Center, drawing deafening applause from the public.

He said the construction of the first phase of the project will only take one year and another year for the second phase. “We can see it that Bataan Capitol will become an Eastwood look-alike area once this is completed,” said David.

Eastwood is the new industrial and commercial center in Metro Manila where a number of high-rise buildings were set up.

Impressed also by the proponent’s willingness to fund it, Vice-Governor Efren “Bondyong” Pascual, said that they welcome the project, saying Bataenos are now excited to see the fulfillment of the new Bataan Capitol and Government Center even as he assured the full support of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan.

Under the scheme, Gov. Garcia pointed out that all national government agencies here will be housed in one building, enabling the public to easily avail of whatever documentations and services they need from government. “This one-stop-shop has never been done before in other provinces and cities since our project is so different,” stressed the bachelor and idealistic governor.

He said that among the proposed structures are a new Bataan capitol building, the construction of a 142-room business hotel, bunker building, Arcade, covered walkways and canopies, among others. “The construction stage alone will need 2,000 workers while another 10,000 to 15,000 personnel and workers are expected to be hired once this is completed,” pointed out Garcia.

David assured the people of Bataan that the project will be competitive where the province will benefit in terms of monetary gains and employment.

Prior to this, the more than P300 million Galeria de Victoria commercial center was successfully set up right in the heart of the city, aside from the uniquely-designed The Plaza Hotel, after Balanga City officials led by Mayor Joet S. Garcia adopted a scheme and convinced construction magnate Jerry Acuzar to finance and construct, together with the Center Plaza Mall owned by billionaire Eddie de Guzman, now the pride of Balanga being the commercial center in this Component city.

Balanga and Bataan province are now the envy of others and this is attributed to the united and competent leadership of incumbent local officials.

Mar T. Supnad

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Itim na Poong Nazareno dinumog sa Bataan

Itim na Poong Nazareno dinumog sa Bataan BALANGA City, Bataan – Dinumog ng maraming deboto ang Itim na Poong Nazareno sa St. Joseph Cathedral sa Balanga City Biyernes ng gabi.

Umaapaw ang mga tao hanggang labas ng malaki at magandang simbahan sa isang Banal na Misa. Hindi pa tapos ang Misa ay marami nang lumalapit sa itim na Imahen na nasa isang sulok malapit sa altar.

Humahawak, nagpupunas ng panyo, humahalik sa Imahen ang mga deboto.

Tinatayang mahigit dalawang libong tao ang dumalo sa Misa at lumahok hanggang sa prusisyon na dumaan sa commercial district ng magandang lungsod pasado alas-7 ng gabi.

Habang patuloy ang mahabang prusisyon, naghahagis si Jimmy Mangalindan sa mga tao ng mga tuwalyitang ipinunas sa Itim na Poon.

Ayon kay Mangalindan na isang radio broadcaster, limang taon nang ginagawa ang Misa at prusisyon sa Balanga City upang magkaroon ng pagkakataon ang mga debotong hindi makakapunta sa Quiapo, Manila na ipadama ang kanilang debosyon sa Itim na Poong Nazareno.

Perla Esconde Provincial Information Office

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With the P9.4b Gross Sales, New Investments Balanga Business Activities Grow By 46%

With the P9.4b Gross Sales, New Investments Balanga Business Activities Grow By 46% BALANGA CITY, Bataan - This economically fast-growing component city posted last year a high P9.4 billion, or an increase of 46 percent in business gross sales and new investments compared to 2013, an unprecedented economic activity in its history.

In his State-of-the-City Address (SOCA), Mayor Joet S. Garcia reported that its business gross sales alone, reached 14 percent worth P6.35 billion and new investments totalled P2.73 billion. “Siguro po ang pinagsama-samang munting tagumpay na aking nabanggit ang ilan sa mga dahilan kung bakit lalong umuusbong ang ating ekonomiya,” said the multi-awarded Mayor.

Citing the report from the finance team, the economic activity of Balanga has increased greatly in 2014, and he attributed this to the collective effort of city leaders and residents.

He cited big, new investments such as the newly-opened Plaza Hotel to the left of Balanga City Hall, Beanery 2, Starbucks, Shakey’s, and Jollibee, which has now four outlets in this city alone.

“Ang mga ganitong negosyo ay nakakapagbigay ng dagdag na trabaho para sa ating mga kababayan kaya’t umakyat ng 32%, o umabot ng 4,653, ang natulungan ng PESO upang makapagtrabaho ngayong taon,” Garcia reported.

His speech was interrupted several times by deafening claps from thousands of listeners at the jam-packed Plaza Mayor who attended the SOCA.

With various businesses pouring in here, Mayor Garcia said that the local income of Balanga has also increased from P192.4 million in 2013 to P218.6 million.

“Maintained ang P36M income mula sa public market at na-doble ang income mula sa slaughterhouse na inabot ng P4.3M,” he said.

He also proudly reported that Balanga was No. 2 in the whole region in terms of Real Property Collection efficiency with an increase of 151.73% for a total collection of P87M, and No. 1 in Fees and Charges collection efficiency with 132.77% increase totaling P24.4 million.

With the improved and unprecedented economic activity of Balanga under his watch, Mayor Garcia has been invited by leaders in different countries to share his success in turning Balanga City around.

But despite the vast economic gains that have contributed to the growth and development of the city in terms of delivery of basic services to its residents, “peace and order” and “clean-and-green environment” remain to be the greatest challenges that need to be addressed.

“Karaniwan dumarami ang problema sa peace and order habang lumalaki ang populasyon at umuunlad ang isang bayan,” Garcia said. Comparing crime statistics between Balanga and other LGU’s, he said that Balanga’s crime indicators are far lower than those of other areas. However, Balanga’s crime indicators for 2014 rated higher than those in 2013.

Since PNP Balanga is still short of the required number of police personnel, to ensure peace in the community, beat patrols composed of staff from the Public Safety Office and PNP, Barangay Public Safety Coordinators (BPSC) and barangay tanods will be formed. An additional 80 CCTV cameras to support the 48 existing CCTV’s will also be installed in different parts of the city.

As regards protection of the environment, these measures have been undertaken: renewed waste segregation campaign; continuing phase out of two-stroke tricycle engines in favor of four-stroke engines (It is hoped that complete phase-out will be accomplished this 2015.) and introduction of modifications in poultry structure to contain fly infestation.

To control soil erosion, this year, tree-growing activities will be undertaken which will ensure that trees planted will survive and grow to maturity. The absence of septic tanks to hold sewage sludge in many houses and business establishments will also be closely monitored. “Katulong ang Water District, pag-aaralan natin ang pinakamagandang sistema upang ito (sewage sludge) ay makolekta, madala sa landfill at magkaroon ng kinakailangang treatment,” the mayor said.

A recipient for various national and regional awards for good governance and effective leadership, among others, Mayor Garcia is a son of Rep. Enrique “Tet” Garcia and younger brother of Governor Abet S. Garcia.

Mar T Supnad

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