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ARMM Sets Grand Festivals to Attract Tourists



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The Department of Tourism in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (DOT-ARMM) is staging several festivals to lure more tourists to visit the region, including the newly-renovated majestic Bud Bongao in Tawi-Tawi

DOT-ARMM Secretary Ayesha Vanessa Hajar Dilangalen on Thursday said these festivals scheduled in the coming months “will have active participation from domestic and foreign visitors.

Dilangalen said these festivals would start in Maguindanao as the province would celebrate its Inaul Festival in February, which would include an international airsoft competition where foreign groups were invited; Kariyala Festival in Wao, Lanao del Sur also in February; and, the Bud Bongao Day in Tawi-Tawi in March.

Bud Bongao or Bongao Peak got further sprucing-up with the completion of the construction of Php56 million infrastructures to make access to it easier and friendlier.

The infrastructures included an access road, tourist center, concreting of about 750 steps leading to its zenith, installation of railings for support and protection, and resting sheds.

ARMM Governor Mujiv Hataman led the inauguration of the Php56 million project, which was held on July 3, 2017.

The tourists will have to register at the visitors’ center, where they will get a briefing about the famous eco-tourism park before trekking the Bongao Peak. An entrance fee of P20 is collected for the maintenance budget of the facilities.

Development of the eco-tourism park, aimed at the preservation and conservation of the area, is one of the priority projects of the Hataman administration.

Bongao Peak is one of the 12 key biodiversity sites in the country, protected by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) under its New Conservation Areas in the Philippines Project.

Bud Bongao in Tawi-Tawi and Mount Minandar in Maguindanao are two of the newly-introduced tourist destinations in ARMM.

Meanwhile, Dilangalen noted that the opening of Buluan Boulevard in Maguindanao, which will feature an exquisite display of man-made lights in addition to a river cruise, as well as activities under the One Mindanao tourism campaign, are also expected to lure visitors from other regions.

Based on the latest available data, Lanao del Sur was the top tourist destination in 2016 with close to 70,000 visitor arrivals. This number produced roughly P1.2 billion in tourism receipts.

The 2017 data for Lanao del Sur, however, is expected to slide down due to the Marawi City crisis that started in May.

For at least five months, the province’s visitors were limited to government troops, members of the media, and representatives from civil society groups.

Visitors to the province spent their cash in nearby Lanao del Norte, not in Lanao del Sur where economic activities were almost stagnant.

“Marawi siege’ effect in terms of tourist arrivals is evident,” Dilangalen said.

But she said the rise in tourist arrivals in the four other provinces in ARMM especially in Maguindanao could compensate Lanao del Sur’s decline in tourism receipts.

She said that the town of Maluso in Basilan was also quickly catching up in terms of tourist arrivals.

The region’s fabrics were showcased last year even as the concept of Sarimanok was used at the Miss Universe concept in the first quarter of 2017.

During last year’s State of the Nation Address of President Rodrigo Duterte, different indigenous textiles were used by the attendees as part of their attire.

“We have high hopes since the tourism component is added to the core areas of Department of the Interior and Local Government’s Seal of Good Local Governance, and many local government units are now giving priority to tourism,” Dilangalen said.

Dilangalen was positive of the year 2018 since her office was able to strengthen its linkages with the national government and with other partners.

An event showcasing tourist attractions in the region is set to be held in April in the walled city of Intramuros in Manila where ARMM products will be exhibited also.

At the same time, scheduled this year is the Tourism Crisis Symposium, which will help ARMM communities learn about proper response in times of need and to capacitate them as well.

Among DOT-ARMM’s plans is to reinforce efforts in community-based tourism.

“We have to strengthen the preparation of our communities in order to have sustainable tourism. Through this, we get to work with the communities in giving our tourists an exquisite experience,” she said.

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DOH Launches Dengue Immunization ID in Pampanga




Image Source: from by Trixie Joy B. Manalili, PIA-3

Department of Health (DOH) launched on Friday the Dengue Immunization Record Card in Pampanga as part of intensifying monitoring and surveillance of recipients of the Dengvaxia vaccine.

Top officials of DOH led by Secretary Francisco Duque III led the launching of the identification cards during the Provincial Dengue Summit held at the Bren Z. Guiao Convention Center.

In a press briefing, DOH Regional Director Leonita Gorgolon said the ID system will aid in strengthening their surveillance and reporting system for any adverse effect following the immunization of all those who were vaccinated with Dengvaxia.

Gorgolon explained that there are two types of cards—the bigger one is for the parents while the smaller one is for the one who received the vaccine.

“Both cards contain basic information about the recipient of the vaccine including his/her name, grade level, gender, name and contact number of his/her parent or guardian as well as the number of doses received and the date he/she received each dose”, Gorgolon said.

Aside from these, Gorgolon said the ID also contains what-to-do when the child manifests symptoms of dengue and the hotline numbers of DOH.

“In case the child manifests dengue symptoms, this ID must be presented to the health facility so that they know that he/she is a recipient of Dengvaxia and he/she will be given priority in his/her medical needs,” the official added.

The ID was conceptualized to address the issue of disaggregating those who were vaccinated with Dengvaxia from those who were not because there are also many dengue patients who are not recipients of the vaccine.

“For the mothers, we are giving them IDs as well because there are instances when mothers go to health facilities claiming that their child was vaccinated with Dengvaxia. In fact, there is one instance when a parent granted an interview with the media, but when we verify it, that parent is not in the masterlist of beneficiaries. So these are some of the issues that we want to address,” she furthered.

On the part of the health facilities, the ID system will facilitate their reporting system to the rural health units and DOH.

Earlier, Gorgolon said that close monitoring of all those who were given the initial dose of the vaccine is critical for the next five years.

The Dengvaxia IDs are being distributed in Central Luzon, CALABARZON, Metro Manila, and Cebu. (CLJD/MJLS-PIA 3)

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Regional News

Crime Incidents Dip in Dumaguete City




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Crime incidents in the city significantly dropped for the third consecutive year through the joint efforts of the local government unit, Philippine National police, and the public.

Dumaguete City Mayor Felipe Antonio Remollo expects that with the diligence and devotion of newly confirmed Chief-of-Police Supt. Jonathan Pineda, the vigilance of the community and the installation of the high definition CCTV cameras by the 3rd quarter of this year, more crimes will be prevented or solved.

In its annual report for 2017, the PNP disclosed that crime volume reduced from 4, 176 in 2015 and 4, 125 in 2016 to 2,534 incidents in 2017 or a decrease of 1,591 incidents.

The Crime Solution Efficiency has also improved from 63.57% in 2015, 72.78% in 2016 to 79.1% in 2017.

Pineda said that some 105 anti-illegal drugs operations were also conducted in 2017 resulting in the arrest of 114 puhers, 21 users and seizure of 1,400.42 grams of shabu amounting to P 13.9 million; 102 cases were filed against drug suspects in 2017; 921 persons (67 pushers; 854 users) surrendered under Oplan Tokhang who are now subject to regular monitoring by the PNP.

The PNP also arrested persons with warrants and 7 yielded loose firearms while 34 were arrested for illegal gambling.

Finally, 1,046 motorcycles were apprehended in checkpoints pursuant to Oplan Bakal and Oplan Sita for various violations of the rules imposed by the Traffic Management Office and Land Transportation Office. (jct/PIA7-Negros Oriental)

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Regional News

Ubay to Set Up Floating Detachments in 2 Islets




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In its effort to zealously guard its seas from illegal fishers and poachers out to ravage the reefs with its marine treasures, Ubay is putting up two floating detachments.

Ubay Mayor Constantino Reyes said the detachments would be placed in strategic locations: near Tintinan Island and in Malingin Island.

These areas have been previously identified to have the most number of illegal fishers.

Its seas have been a magnet for blast fishers which the coastal law enforcement team has been on to, according to local Coastal Resource Management Project Team members.

Ubay has the perfect reason to set up a floating detachment, an innovation from the already innovative Coastal Law Enforcement Councils then.

Sitting right in the middle of a biodiversity hotspot called the Danajon Double Barrier Reef, the geological underwater wonder has the most perfect breeding areas for fish and marine crustaceans.

Issues as to jurisdiction in the implementation of the Fisheries Code of the Philippines with the devolution of government enforcement agencies to local governments have hounded Bohol for a time that implementers see an issue with officials who rescue supporters who fish illegally, are apprehended by the enforcement teams.

A multi-agency and inter-town composition of fishery laws enforcement teams were formed to address the issue, giving birth to the CLEC.

But with poachers also playing hide and seek with the enforcement teams, the moment the team reaches the port to replenish, the poachers are in again.

Many hope the floating detachment composed of police, Army, Coast Guard, and fish wardens including BFAR authorities and fishermen organization members could be the solution.

At the launching of the second congressional district’s 5th Community Fish Landing Project (CFLC) at the Ubay Public Market wet section, Mayor Reyes explained that the floating detachment is among the interventions which the LGU in Ubay installs to make sure there is a sustainable supply of fish in the town.

The town is host to two of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) fish stock enhancement facilities: the Ubay Brackishwater FishFarm in Son-oc and the Multi-Species Hatchery in Sinandigan.

From these facilities, commercial as well as private fish ponds get their stocks, while the government through the BFAR and LGUs implement fish dispersals of bangus, tilapia, crablets, as well as sell fingerlings for first class fish like pompano, siganid, grouper, prawn for commercial culture.

That same day, BFAR and the LGU released 40,000 crablets in Guintabo-an Island.

The crablets were hatched in the blue swimming crab facility in Sinandigan. (rahc/PIA-7/Bohol)

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Regional News

Mayon Volcano Restive; Alert Level 3 Raised




Image Source: from by Eli Casim Photography

Mayon Volcano is now under alert level 3 as it exhibited increased tendency towards hazardous eruption, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) said.

“Alert Level 3 remains in effect over Mayon Volcano, which means that it is currently in a relatively high level of unrest and that magma is at the crater, and that a hazardous eruption is possible within weeks or even days,” declared PHIVOLCS in its latest bulletin on Mayon Volcano.

Mayon on relatively high unrest

PHIVOLCS Albay resident volcanologist Ed Laguerta confirmed that a lava flow was already creeping downslope from Mayon volcano’s crater with its direction following the existing volcanic gullies at the south western direction.

Based on seismic record as of yesterday afternoon, two lava collapse events occurred at Mayon Volcano that produced rockfall and small-volume pyroclastic density currents.

“In addition, Mayon’s seismic monitoring network recorded two (2) volcanic earthquakes and one-hundred forty-one (141) rockfall events during the past 24 hours,” Laguerta said.

Evacuation ongoing

With the raising of the alert status, Laguerta noted the extension of the danger zone from the 6KM permanent danger zone (PDZ) to the 7-kilometer extended danger zone (EDZ) radius of the volcano.

Meanwhile, the Albay Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (PDRRMC) reported that some 2,785 families or 10,966 persons have evacuated from the danger zones particularly in the towns of Camalig, Guinobatan, Malilipot and Ligao.

In Camalig, some 1,008 families or 4,158 persons were evacuated from barangays Anoling, Salugan, Quirangay, Tumpa, Sua and upper Cabangan to Camalig National Central School, Cabangan Elementary School, and Anoling Elementary School.

In Guinobatan, the affected 774 families or 2,655 individuals from barangays Maninila, Tandarora, Mabalod, Sitio Basiao and Sitio Hacienda were staying in the elementary school of Guinobatan East and Binogsacan and Muladbucad multi-purpose center.

Some 634 families or 2, 482 individuals from barangays Canaway, Calbayog and San Roque in Malilipot and Baligang in Ligao were likewise moved to safer areas.

Be vigilant

PHIVOLCS has strongly advised the public to desist from entering the PDZ and the 7-km EDZ on the southern flanks due to the danger of rockfalls, landslides and sudden explosions or dome collapse that may generate hazardous volcanic flows.

Increased vigilance against pyroclastic density currents, lahars and sediment-laden stream flows along channels draining the edifice was also advised.

Civil aviation authorities must also advise pilots to avoid flying close to the volcano’s summit as ash from any sudden eruption can be hazardous to aircraft, the PHIVOLCS said.

Based on the seasonal wind pattern, ash fall events may most likely occur on the southwest side of the volcano.(SAA/MAL-PIA5/Photo by Eli Casim Photography)

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