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Mayors Garcia, Rodriguez in Presidential Lingkod Bayan Award

After bagging a number of national awards for good governance and effective leadership since his assumption as City mayor here five years ago, Mayor Joet S. Garcia, together with Mayor Oscar Rodriguez of San Fernando City, Pampanga, is again on the shortlist for the prestigious 2012 Presidential Lingkod Bayan award of the Civil Service Commission, newsmen learned yesterday.

According to CSC Regional director Karin Litz Zerna, “the Presidential Lingkod Bayan is one of the three distinctions given by our agency under the Honor Awards Program (HAP) with the other two being the Pag-Asa and Dangal ng Bayan prizes. It 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.”

A son of incumbent governor Tet Garcia and younger brother of Rep. Abet S. Garcia, Mayor Joet Garcia was cited for transforming Balanga into the center of excellent education, the heart of rich cultural heritage and the hub for dynamic business and commercial activities in the province of Bataan.

Garcia initiated self-coined programs and projects such as World Class University Town by 2020 in the Asia Pacific; Barangay Week Program; Galing Card Para sa Masa; KAANIB (KAsama…ANi sa Barangay); Iskolar Balangueño; Edu-Child; Talyer ng Bayan; Ipagmalaki Mo…Drayber Balangueño; and Galing Balanga Products.

“His undying dedication and devotion to his constituents, the Balangueños, and his meritorious accomplishments resulted in a big leap towards Balanga’s progress” pointed out Zerna.

Earlier, the commission named the recipients of the Pag-Asa prize where all six Central Luzon bets made the cut.

They are Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Chief Administrative Officer Maribel Blanco, Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Public Relations Officer II Marilou Dungog, National Irrigation Administration Upper Pampanga River Integrated Irrigation Systems (NIA-UPRIIS) Acting Operations Manager Engr. Josephine Salazar, City of San Fernando Public Employment Services Office (PESO) Manager Dominador Sayre, Orani Water District Operation and Management Excellence Team, and Balanga City Agriculture Office.

Pag-asa award 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.

CSC Regional Office III will fete the six Pag-Asa honorees along with Garcia and Rodriguez today in a ceremony at the Heroes Hall of City of San Fernando.

Meanwhile, Rodriguez was commended for implementing and embracing the Performance Governance System (PGS) as a new way of managing governance and performance of the city anchored on the principles of transparency, accountability and participatory governance.

This was not the first time that Mayor Joet had bagged national awards since he won as mayor in 2007, breaking the record of all mayors who had served in this component city. Garcia bagged the “Red Orchid” award from the Department of Health for making Balanga “smoke-free” city.

Under Garcia’s leadership, Balanga bagged last year the famous “Seal of Good governance.”

CSC said that under Rodriguez’s helm, San Fernando’s local revenues rose by 141 percent to 490.6 million in 2011 from P203.3 million in 2004 and reduced Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) dependency to 46 percent from 53 percent. He has also increased the budget for Special Education Fund to P125 million in 2010 from P44 million in 2004.

With Rodriguez’s strong advocacy for transparency in business transactions at the City Hall, the administration has attracted partnership projects with the private sectors leading to the establishment of two major economic facilities at no cost to the city namely: Double A Category Slaughter and Central Transport Terminal.

Another flagship project of Rodriguez was realized through partnership with Japan International Cooperation Agency-the P700M worth Sagip-Ilog River Rehabilitation, Flood Mitigation and Relocation Project.

Mar T Supnad

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Balanga Agri Office, Orani Win CSC’s ‘Pag-asa Award’ For CL

The City Agriculture Office (CAO) headed by Nerissa Mateo and the Orani Water District headed by its general manager, Benigno Andres, were awarded this year’s Civil Service Commission (CSC) Pag-asa Prize in the region.

Aside from these two offices in Bataan, other awardees of the CSC were Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Chief Administrative Officer Maribel Blanco; Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Public Relations Officer II Marilou Dungog; National Irrigation Administration Upper Pampanga River Integrated Irrigation Systems (NIA-UPRIIS) Acting Operations Manager Engr. Josephine Salazar; and City of San Fernando Public Employment Services Office (PESO) Manager Dominador Sayre.

Under the guidance ad supervision of Mayor Joet S. Garcia, the Balanga City Agriculture Office –composed of Mateo as team leader with Ronnie Lopez, Guadelia Calinao, Erlinda Chavez, Alona Polintan and Regina Javier as members – was cited for their unique program, “KAANIB…Kasama, Ani sa Barangay.”

The program was designed to sustain innovative agricultural livelihood and food security for low-income families of the city by promoting agriculture within the backyard and by converting vacant lots into communal/community vegetable garden using organic fertilizer.

Garcia’s “Zero Waste Management” by converting the solid waste materials into biodegradable fertilizers was also given recognition by the CSC, after noting its success.

A big transformation from various barangays because of the conversion of areas previously used as “garbage pits” and now utilized as vegetable plantation/garden.

The Orani Water District Operation and Management Excellence Team, consisting of General Manager Benigno Andres as Leader and Condrado Buenaventura Jr. and Herminigildo Sanlas Sr. as members, was commended for its commitment to serve the public better through good leadership and exemplary performance in managing the operations of the agency.

CSC said this resulted in the water district’s tremendous increase in the gross income of 175% and impressive increase of 96% for its Operating Net Income in a span of six years.

Mar Supnad | Manila Bulletin

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Robredo’s Inspiration

Local leaders in the province were inspired by the style of good governance and effective leadership of the late Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse M. Robredo whom they described as “incorruptible” and “worthy of emulation.”

Even though days had passed since being laid to rest, Robredo remained the subject of talk in the circle of leaders here with his namesake, Mariveles Mayor Jesse I. Concepcion, still moved by the his being “approachable and output-oriented.”

“For the several times we had met, I could say he was very easy to talk to. He was humble. You could see it in his ways and how he fairly talks to officials and the people,” said Concepcion.

For his part, Balanga City Mayor Joet Garcia III attested to Robredo’s being “a modest man who effortlessly wins the hearts of the people because of his unassuming aura.”

Dinalupihan Mayor Joel Jaime Payumo, who is also the president of the Bataan Mayors’ League, recalled Robredo’s trip to their flood-tormented town. “With what had happened to our town, the secretary was there despite how muddy the complex and how inopportune the situation was,” he said.

Mar Supnad

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Coal-Fired Power Plant To Donate Its Ash Turned Into Cement To Bataan

The 600-megawatt coal-fired power in Mariveles, Bataan and a giant cement company on Thursday forged an agreement with the provincial government to donate at least 10,000 bags of cement a month for use in various infrastructure projects of the province.

Those who signed the contract were John Becker, president of GN Power Plant; Renato Sunico, president of Lafarge Republic Cement and Bataan Gov. Enrique Garcia.

Garcia said the province will derive from the agreement free cement worth about P50 million a year that will first be used in constructing school buildings in flood-prone areas.

“In Hermosa town for example, the Almacen Elementary School that often gets flooded will be transformed into a three-storey building that will also serve as evacuation center during severe floods,” the governor said.

Garcia said Lafarge will buy from the power plant the coal ash as important component in the manufacture of cement.

Bobit Racilis, GN Power community relations officer, said coal or fly ash is a by-product of the 600-mgw power plant that uses coal as fuel in its operation starting January 2013.

“This is perhaps the first in the Philippines where the company producing fly ash will not make money from it but will donate it in the form of cement to the host province,” he said.

Racilis said that per agreement, the provincial government will present to GN Power the program of work complete with resolution for any specific project. “If OK, GN Power will give the go-signal to Lafarge to release the cement requirements,” he said.

He said the agreement is renewable every three years but that will last while the plant is operational.

The community relations manager said the production capacity of the plant has been fully sold out. Among its clients are the Peninsula Electric Cooperative in Bataan, other electric cooperatives and big consumers from Aparri to Bicol and Leyte.

“Our rate is from P0.20 to P1 per kilowatthour lower than what Penelco pays the National Power Corporation,” Racilis said.

Aside from the free cement, the provincial government is expected to get yearly P200 million in Real Property Taxes and P50 million in business permit from the 60-hectare power plant.

Ernie Esconde

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Foundation Eyes Full Scholarship For Balanga College Student

The University Town Foundation, a brainchild of Balanga City Mayor Joet Garcia, is targeting full scholarship of deserving college students.

The foundation had its first general assembly in Taguig City headed by Bataan 2nd district Congressman Albert Garcia and the city mayor recently.

The assembly was attended by successful people who came from Bataan like San Jose Builders Incorporated owner Gerry Acuzar, Don Eddie De Guzman, former senator Vic Magsaysay Jr., Vintel Logistics Incorporated owner and renowned entrepreneur speaker Paolo Tibig, Smart Executive Orlando Vea, and former Guimaras governor Emily Lopez, among others.

The foundation is eyeing P100 million for funding in its first year of operation. Bataan Peninsula State University President Delfin Magpantay articulated the discussion in the qualifications of the college scholars to be accepted in the foundation.

He cited the cases of the students at BPSU in the discussion for the foundation to be able to come out with reasonable required qualifications for the college scholars.

The university has been very supportive to the university town vision by 2020 of City Mayor Garcia. BPSU has five campuses in the province.

In his message, Congressman Garcia said that aside from access to quality education, there should also be access to jobs for college graduates in the province, which he said is attainable with the growing operation of the Freeport Area of Bataan (FAB) in Mariveles town.

The solon is known as the architect of AFAB for initiating a bill that became a law converting the then deteriorating Bataan Export Processing Zone (BEPZ) into Freeport.

BUTCH GUNIO

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RDC Allots P8.7 Billion For Manila-Bataan Coastal Highway

Plans for the “gigantic” Manila-Bataan Coastal Highway Project will be revived as the Regional Development Council (RDC) approved the Updated Central Luzon Investment Program (CLIP), distributing P590 billion for projects in the region.

Top local government chiefs of Central Luzon led by RDC Chair and San Fernando City Mayor Oscar Rodriquez, and Zambales Governor Hermogenes Ebdane, Jr. approved the CLIP for 2011 to 2016 in the recent 6th RDC meeting at Balanga City.

“The CLIP contains the initial listing of public programs, projects, and activities necessary to realize the development goals of the region,” said Ebdane.

The updated project listing includes 266 non-major capital projects worth P16 billion, and 117 major capital projects which amount to P574 billion and where the coastal highway project (CHP) is slotted in.

Drafted way back in the 1970s, the CHP will construct a road dike over the Manila Bay to connect Manila and Bataan, covering 30 nautical miles. This will also traverse the bays of Bulacan.

Aside from cutting the travel time between Manila and Bataan to over an hour, CHP would also serve as a flood control dike to impede water from the West Philippine Sea in deluging Metro Manila cities and Bulacan towns particularly during high tide.

RDC has allotted P8.7 billion for the CHP which has an indicative implementation period of 2014 to 2018 and an “advanced level of project preparedness.”

Balanga City Mayor Jose Enrique Garcia III said he had already talked with Department of Public Works and Highway-Region III Director Antonio Molano and said the CHPP will “definitely be revisited.”

Garcia also proposed that instead of building the “gigantic” project all together, it could be done section by section to make the plan “realistic and practical.”

He said a road network from Apalit to Lubao, Pampanga could be constructed first which will cut travel time by 30 minutes from Apalit to Bataan without the need to pass the busy San Fernando City.

“Although the project is really good, it is difficult to pursue in total. We have to be innovative for cheaper cost and less issues,” Garcia said.

(JMG-PIA 3, Bataan)

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Bataan Gov. Assures Enough Relief Supply For Flood Victims

After issuing a state of calamity in the province, Governor Enrique “Tet” Garcia, Jr. has assured the flooded people in Bataan that there is an adequate supply of relief goods as the number of affected families dropped by half.

“Governor Tet assured residents that the massive relief and rescue operations which have been underway since Tuesday’s declaration by the Provincial Government of a state of calamity will continue for as long as necessary,” said Bataan 2nd District Representative Albert Garcia said.

The Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council reported that as of 8 p.m. last night, the number of affected people has dropped to 107,000 from Tuesday’s about 200,000.

However, several barangays in the low-lying towns of Hermosa and Dinalupihan were still submerged in four to seven-feet high flood as per the report.

The number of casualties rose to nine after five people died yesterday due to drowning and cardiac arrest, placing Bataan in the top list among Central Luzon provinces with the most number of deaths caused by the inclement weather.

Three male in Dinalupihan died of drowning while one of cardiac arrest. A female in Orion town also perished due to drowning yesterday.

“Torrential monsoon rains which continue to pour for the last three days have caused extensive damage to life and property in the province of Bataan,” said the younger Garcia.

“36 evacuation centers have been set up where affected families and residents are being attended to and given temporary shelters. There were two landslides which occurred, one in Barangay Ipag in Mariveles and another in Barangay Roosevelt in Dinalupihan, which fortunately did not cause any injury,” added Garcia.

Various security agencies have rendered support to Bataan including the Armed forces of the Philippines (AFP), Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP), Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), and the Philippine National Police (PNP).

AFP has deployed 30 soldiers in the province, and BFP a 10-man team with a truck at Hermosa. The PNP has deployed 53 cops, trucks, rubber boat, and rescue equipment while PCG sent a rescue team.

(JMG-PIA 3, Bataan)

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Balanga City Tourism Urges Barangays To Scout Tourist Spots

The Balanga City Tourism Office urged barangay officials in the city to scout not only tourist destinations in their localities but also livelihood programs that may lure visiting students and travel agencies.

This developed as over 150 high school students from St. Therese School in Las Piñas City, Metro Manila toured recently various historic, ecological and livelihood sites in Balanga city which is a deviation from the customary trip to amusement parks.

“We are helping entrepreneurs and the barangays with low income when we bring tourists to them. During Barangay Week, we encourage barangay officials to look for tourist destinations, not only sceneries but also livelihood programs,” said Lolita Del Rosario, assistant city tourism officer.

Del Rosario said teachers and students from Manila are fed up with trips in malls and that no learning is ingrained during the supposed educational trip.

The students visited David’s Farm where they were taught how to make vegetable noodles, the 300-year-old St. Joseph Cathedral, the multi-awarded Balanga City Public Market, and Amanda’s Fish Store. Part of the ecological side of the trip was the visit to the Wetland and Nature Park, a site for bird watching, and the Tanato Water Park where the students doused in the natural stream.

According to Alex Erquiza, team leader from The World of Outbound, the tour organizer, they chose Balanga City because of its blend of environment, history, science and of the University Town vision which prioritizes education.

“Students do not learn anything in amusement parks. We teach them what is outside the school, how to live their being Filipino. The world outside is a big classroom,” said Erquiza.

In David’s Farm, the production of vegetable noodles was shown using pureed squash, lye, egg, flour and salt.

Farm owner Leonardo David said with this kind of knowledge, the students can make their own noodles at home which they know are safe, clean and nutritious compared to the commercial noodles.

“If they are interested, it is very easy to produce these noodles. They can do it and be assured of their safety,” said David.

(JMG-PIA 3, Bataan)

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