Thursday, November 15

Negros doctors take nursing courses to go abroad

Good day! I have a previous article about doctors who are now taking nursing course because the demand of nurses abroad. This is a sad news, however, we have nothing to do with it. Doctors want the best for their families....

Negros doctors take nursing courses to go abroad
By Robert Leonoras
March 13, 2004

BACOLOD CITY -- Almost 400 doctors here have been taking up nursing courses in the hope of landing jobs overseas.

Negros Occidental Provincial Health officer Luisa Efren said 33 would graduate this year. She estimated that 76% of the 380 doctors taking up nursing courses were employed by the government.

"This is a great loss for our public health system," she said.

Government health workers in Negros have demanded 100% salary increases to prevent them from seeking better-paying jobs overseas. Government doctors receive an average of PhP15,000 a month while nurses get between PhP6,000 and PhP7,000 a month.

To mitigate the impact of a brain drain among public health workers, the Negros Occidental provincial government will launch the Negros Occidental Provincial Medical and Nursing Scholarship (NOPMaNS).

Ms. Efren said the program would provide opportunities for the Negrense youth to acquire free tertiary education in the fields of medicine and nursing.

comments on this article:

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Default Re: Negros doctors...
A similar article was also published in another local newspaper here in Bacolod. On Sunday, March 14, 2004...will be graduation day here at West Negros College. MDs who will graduate from Nursing course are not only from Bacolod City & neighboring towns/cities, but also from Dumaguete & Iloilo Cities. Those who will graduate on Sunday belong to the 2nd & 3rd batches of MDs & allied Medical professionals (dentists, physical therapists, pharmacists, med techs), plus the 1st batch of 2nd coursers (graduates of Commerce, Engr'ng, computer science, etc.). I think there will be about 207 of us who will be graduating on Sunday (basing on the temporary list posted in school).

It's sad that it's only now that a demand for salary increase for gov't doctors is being proposed to the President. They should've done this years ago! I've been a gov't physician for almost 10 years already and as far as I can remember, there was an increase in salary only once....the other increases I got every 3 years (step increment) was just a little more than 100 pesos each time. But the increase in gasoline & other commodities are becoming more frequent. I know that gov't doctors are becoming scarce. One reason in our case at the Bacolod City Health is this: Last year (2003), 9 Medical Officers retired....therefore, lots of health centers didn't have doctors....but the city gov't only hired 4! How then can we cope w/ the workload? And now, the banning for hiring is I guess the vacancies will be filled up after the election yet! So now, the existing Medical Officers have to cover for the health centers vacated by the retirees....I know that as MDs, one has to serve unselfishly! But sometimes, one has to consider that in order to be efficient, one has to take care of oneself & I just pray that we won't get to the point of being "burned out"!

March 14, 2004....I will finally graduate from Nursing course! I'm excited, but I'm also apprehensive....will this change in career really give me the same satisfaction & elation I get every time I hear the baby's cry when I deliver this tiny being into this crazy world of ours? Oh well...I can't say for now! So, abangan ang susunod na kabanata....
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Old Mar 13, 2004, 11:20 AM


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Default Re: Negros doctors...

Congratulations. After reading your post, I had the same mixed feelings that you probably have. Happy that you are graduating and sad at the same time why you have to go through this. The same sentiments go to the others. The same sentiments I had for myself years ago.

It's a tough choice that some of us have to make, albeit reluctantly. We get bad presses for it. But you know what, that's why we don't write editorials for the Inquirer, because we have a lot more choices than they have and it's our choice to make.

Good luck.


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Default Re: Negros doctors...
It is really sad that even security guards working for the GSIS are payed more than a government doctor. I am not looking down on security guards but just exactly how many years of studying do you need in order to become a security guard? I was once a government doctor and at least during my time it was comforting to know that I was payed more than a security guard For those doctors who made the decision to take up nursing for employment abroad I say "more power to you all."

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Old Mar 23, 2004, 12:20 PM


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Default Re: Negros doctors...
Last Sunday afternoon, while I was in school waiting for our Disaster Management training to start, I was surprised to see a camera-man & a reporter from the GMA channel. I asked my Nursing classmates what's going on & I was told that these people were in school to interview MDs who took up Nursing. So far, I know of 2 MDs that they had already interviewed & one of them is my classmate who is currently a resident physician in a gov't hospital. I was told that the interview will be shown in the Jessica Soho show. I don't know when that will be aired but I'm curious as to what they will be portraying in that show.

President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo was in Bacolod just recently & according to some friends, she was asked for any comment about Filipino doctors all over the country taking up Nursing in order to land a job abroad. I was told that she said, she couldn't do anything about it coz even one of her nieces or nephews who was taking up Medicine also stopped schooling & took up Nursing instead. I'm not really sure if this is accurate coz I'm just quoting a friend who heard about the interview. I think the one who asked the President was expecting an answer that has something to do with the salary increase the gov't doctors are petitioning for. But basing on the President's comment, I guess a salary increase for gov't doctors seems to be doomed

Wednesday, November 14

BBC and CNN Comments

Hello guys,

I am posting some of the comments I posted on World Have Your Say managed by Ros Atkins
and CNN Political Tickler

Life in Burma

* Ros Atkins
* 22 Aug 07, 05:45 PM

I've just added all of you who asked to be added to the Daily Email list while I was away. So thanks for your patience while I sorted that. A special hello to Uzondu in Monrovia who's just signed up and who runs an Internet center where he plays WHYS on the radio, forcing his customers to listen. There's really no excuse for not posting on the blog if you're there.

We're a one subject programme today....

I can't recall us ever talking about Burma (or Myanmar as lots of you will call it) on WHYS and we've decided to give over the whole show to trying to understand what life is like there. We've been prompted by the authorities' crackdown on people protesting at a sharp hike in fuel prices.

If you have a question or comment about Burma please post it here. We'll have a wide range of guests ready to respond. I know a lot of them want to talk about what the relationship between Burma and the rest of the world, but we're also going to make sure that we get as detailed a description of what life is like there.

Speak to you later.

This is my published comment:

* 33.
* At 09:40 PM on 22 Aug 2007,
* Roberto Bacasong from Manila wrote:

Hi Ros,

First of all, I would like to thank you first for adding me to your list. I am flattered that I am maybe the first from the Philippines who made into your list. The situation in Burma is similar to the Philippines. Many Burmese suffer from too much political bickering and it is also happening in my country. If Burmese wants to get rid those dictator officials like what the Filipino did through the first People Power Revoulution in 1986, which became the most significant event in the Philippine history, then they should start to do it before its too late. Burma and the Philippines belong to the third world. The development in these countries are slowly compared to the other neighboring Asian countries. I just hope that political leaders should continue to serve their people and those corrupt officials be punished!

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Here's another one:

Should we talk about the 9/11 conspiracies?

* Ros Atkins
* 27 Jul 07, 02:53 PM

I was reading the BBC editors blog the other day and this post stuck out . They normally get tens of comments after each post, and this one has over 400. It's about the way the BBC covered 9/11 and the collapse of WTC7.

I'm in two minds about whether we should talk about it on WHYS....

On the one side we can be pretty sure it'd get a big response. So is that reason enough to do it? On the flip side, some would argue we're being persuaded by a very vocal minority.

I think conspiracy theories start becoming legitimate points of discussion when they can so much currency that they have a real impact on what people think about an event and those involved in it. I don't know if that's true in the case of 9/11 but my hunch that is what's happened.

Anyway, have a read. Let us know if you'd like to hear this on WHYS.

My published comment:

* 68.
* At 11:34 PM on 27 Aug 2007,
* Roberto Bacasong, Manila, Philippines wrote:

Hi Ros,

I am reading your topic about 9/11, it actually a pain to my heart everytime I remember that. I was actually a college student when that tragedy happened. I focused on the updates and reports if how many people killed and if how many people wounded. Those innocent people suffered from the violence perpetrated by the terrorist group allegedly led by Osama Bin Laden. The tragedy brought unwanted heroes for the nation, too. I admired how American and other cultural raises all over the world united together paying respect to the dead people. In the Philippines, political leaders condoled those who victimized by the abusive terrorist group especially there are innocent Filipinos who were also killed.

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CNN Political Tickler

August 17, 2007
Gays jab at Giuliani over mayoral record

Watch CNN's Jeanne Moos report on Giuliani's latest "endorsement."

WASHINGTON (CNN) – It may not be an endorsement Rudy Giuliani will embrace with open arms as he campaigns for the Republican presidential nomination.

"Gays for Giuliani," a satirical organization aiming to highlight the New York Republican's support of gay rights when he was mayor, is the creator of a popular YouTube video that features testimonials from gay New Yorkers on why they "support" the former mayor's White House bid.

"If Rudy Giuliani were here right now I'd want to take his hand and thank him for supporting civil unions because without that I wouldn't have a domestic partner right now," a man says in the video.

"I'm also grateful for domestic partnership plan he implemented in the city cause I've had no less than 5 domestic partners," another man says.

Ryan Davis, a gay New York City theater director and the creator of "Gays for Giuliani," told CNN he wants to highlight, in Davis' view, how Giuliani has backtracked on gay issues.

"He's completely done a 180 on his beliefs," Davis told CNN. "I'm just trying to remind people, hey this is the guy I knew when he was my mayor in NY."

"I would be hard pressed to think of any conservative politician who embraces the gay community like Giuliani does," he added. "I don't know how he can connect that with new persona as friend of the Christian Right."

Giuliani has said he is opposed to same-sex marriage, but supports domestic partnerships and legal benefits for same-sex couples.

Filed under Rudy Giuliani
Posted 8/17/2007 02:59:57 PM | Permalink
73 Comments comment | Add a comment

I believe that LGBT should also live with equal rights. We are here to live and helping the nation to progress. Any LGBT who plans of entering into politics should not be restricted. In the Philippines, we have gay people who were occupying seats in the government. Instead, we question their sexuality we focus on their capacity and skills in handling any position in the government.
Posted By Roberto Bacasong, Manila, Philippines : August 17, 2007 5:33 pm

Away From Home

I felt sad today. Maybe this is something about my family. I'm away from home for couple of months now. Nostalgia. Yes, honestly, I can't focus writing the topics from the clients of Omnisite Builder. Being the eldest entails a lot of responsibilities. I don't have the chance to enjoy my salary because I sent it to my mom for the expenses. In addition, I did not regret it because I want to help them as long as I can.
My mom is clamoring because our house, which was gutten down by fire a couple of years ago was not reconstructed until today. I sometimes joked that the only way for me to save my family from poverty is going abroad. I actually consider it if the right time comes.

Meanwhile, my half-sister Gemela, is pregnant and presently in Toledo City, Cebu. We only meet once when she had a one day break from her job during the 2005 New Year's celebration. Following that year, and another year, still we have no chance to meet. My youngest half-sister, Mary Grace, went to Bohol to work. I was shocked when I learned from my neighbor that she stopped attending her school. I just sent her the money for her mid-term exam. And after that, she then proceeded to Bohol. Until now, I kept texting to her, to no avail. I wish for the best of my brothers and sisters. Soon I will come home and patch up the things I missed...

God Bless my family...

Protecting the Visayan Sea

I like this article I co-wrote with my fellow correspondents. I learned about the importance of the Visayan Sea...

Protecting the Visayan Sea
By Jun P. Tagalog, Robert Leonoras and Jeehan V. Fernandez
April 2, 2005 | Businessworld

[Visayan Sea]
TF! Editorial Comment: The continued depletion of marine resources around the country, a negative trend in many of the world's coastal areas, stands in stark contrast to the general assumption of the limitless bounty of the seas. The article describes the considerable efforts that need to be undertaken by civil society organizations, local governments and indeed all stakeholders in order to ensure that coastal resources are not irretrievably lost, with consequent loss of livelihood, nutrition and environmental services among others. As an archipelago, the Philippines needs more groups like the Visayan Sea Squadron to stand up in defense of coastal ecology both for the present and future generations.

The Visayan Sea Squadron, which has drawn support from the provinces of Cebu, Negros Occidental, and Iloilo, was created to protect and preserve the Visayan Sea, a major fishing ground.

"We will dive in their waters and we'll show them what is deep inside," said environmental lawyer Antonio Oposa Jr.

The Visayan Sea used to be rich in sardines, herrings, and mackerel, but rampant blast fishing, unabated commercial fishing, cyanide fishing, over-fishing, and other destructive forms of fishing depleted the marine resources in the area.
Mr. Oposa, who initiated the creation of the squadron, said section 81 of the 1998 Fisheries Code requires local government units in coastal areas to devote 15% of their waters for a marine sanctuary.

Sonia Seville, Western Visayas regional director of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), said there are more than 20 cities and municipalities with around one million people on the coastlines of the Visayan Sea.

Mr. Oposa also said the squadron will help local officials pass an ordinance regulating fishing activities in their waters.

Under the Local Government Code, local government units (LGUs) are required to manage coastal zones up to 15 kilometers from the shoreline.
The squadron, which has drawn support from the provinces of Cebu, Negros Occidental, and Iloilo, was created to protect and preserve the Visayan Sea, a major fishing ground.

"Once the richest marine waters in the world, but now the hottest of all hotspots," Mr. Oposa described the Visayan Sea. If managed well, this fishing ground could feed a whole nation, he added.

Initially, Mr. Oposa said he heads a core group of four, with members who include a fish warden, police officer and a reformed fisherman. Through an information dissemination campaign, Mr. Oposa was optimistic they will be able convince the youth sector to participate in the conservation effort.

They also hope to solicit the help of the maritime police in catching fishermen who use dynamite and other illegal fishing methods, the BFAR in conducting an underwater survey, and the National Bureau of Investigation in tracing the source of blasting caps.

The squadron is based in Sta. Fe, Bantayan island north of Cebu. Mr. Oposa said they only have one pump boat, a speedboat, three dive sets, a laptop and an LCD (liquid crystal display) projector for audiovisual presentations to solicit public support.

The squadron, which is registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), has been conducting environmental awareness seminars among the youth.
The group is proposing a five-year ban on commercial fishing in the Visayan Sea to "let the marine life rest" and restore its wealth. If not, Mr. Oposa warned that the fishing industry will face total collapse.

The Visayan Sea used to be rich in sardines, herrings, and mackerel, but rampant blast fishing, unabated commercial fishing, cyanide fishing, over-fishing, and other destructive forms of fishing depleted the marine resources in the area, the group said in its petition filed before the BFAR.

Negros Occidental Governor Joseph Marañon said he was supporting the five-year ban.

The Visayan Sea, which covers about a million hectares at the heart of the Sulu-Sulawesi eco-region, stretches from the mouth of Danao River in Negros Occidental to the northeastern tip of Bantayan island and Madridejos in Cebu through the lighthouse on Gigantes island in Iloilo and further to Olutaya island and Culasi Point in Capiz.

It extends along the northern coast of Capiz to Bulacaue point in Carles, Iloilo to the mouth of the Talisay river, westward across the Guimaras strait to Tomonton point in Negros Occidental, eastward along the northern coast of Negros island and back to the mouth of Danao river in Escalante, Negros Occidental.

In Iloilo City, BFAR's Ms. Seville said efforts are being taken to protect the Visayan Sea through the Visayan Sea Coastal Resources and Fisheries Management Project. The project is assisted by Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ).

The project aims to avert problems like decreasing productivity, widespread over-fishing, reduced fish sizes and catches, dwindling resources, illegal fishing gears and methods and difficulties in implementing fishing regulations.
Through the project, the improved coastal resources management practices are implemented by the local government units and communities.

These are marine protected areas, mangrove reforestation, fishing gear regulations, pollution control, improved post-harvest handling and aquaculture.
"Alternative business opportunities are also promoted," Ms. Seville said.

BFAR-6 assistant director Juliet B. Demo-os said the Visayan Sea Squadron would "strengthen law enforcement against illegal fishing in the area." But she said the local government units should also come up with the same strategy.

Dynamite Fishing
Meanwhile, Cagayan de Oro City officials of the city are concerned over the over rampant dynamite fishing in three shoreline barangays.

During a city council session, Councilor Annie Daba, chairman of the committee on agriculture and fishery, said fishermen in Bulua, Bayabas, and Bonbon are employing dynamite fishing.

She said there is a need to stop the use of dynamite in fishing as this destroys the coral reefs and the marine ecology, which takes decades to restore.

She said the maritime police are helpless in stopping the illegal activity due to lack of gasoline for their pump boat.

Councilor Edgar Cabanlas said rather than relying on Republic Act No. 8550, or the Fisheries Code, as basis for catching the culprits, it was suggested that the city should adopt an ordinance on the matter.

Mr. Cabanlas said under the Fisheries Code, it is difficult to prosecute those who employ dynamite fishing due to evidentiary requirements such as chemical or forensic proof.

With a city ordinance, evidentiary requirements will not be as stringent, he added.

Earlier, a coalition of 11 nongovernmental organizations seeking reforms in the fishery sector, called for the amendment of the Fisheries Code.

In a statement, the National Coalition for Fisheries and Aquatic Reform proposed to amend section 4, paragraph 58 of article I "to rectify inappropriateness of the current definition by adopting the archipelagic principle in the definition or procedure in the delineation of municipal waters."

RA 8550 defines municipal waters to include not only streams, lakes, inland bodies of water and tidal waters within the municipality which are not included within the protected areas as defined under RA 7586 (National Integrated Protected Areas System law), public forest, timber lands, forest reserves or fishery reserves, but also marine waters included between two lines drawn perpendicular to the general coastline from points where the boundary lines of the municipality touch the sea at low tide and a third line parallel with the general coastline including offshore islands and 15 kilometers from such coastline.

Where two municipalities are situated on opposite shores that there is less than 30 kilometers of marine waters between them, the third line shall be equally distant from opposite shore of the respective municipalities.

The coalition also proposed as amendment to RA 8550 the total prohibition of commercial fishing in the whole 15-kilometer municipal waters, total ban on the use of "super lights" and the increase of fines and period of imprisonment for coral exploitation and exportation, conversion of mangroves into other uses, and illegal fishing. -- with a report from Ellen P. Red in Cagayan de Oro

Tuesday, November 13

202 'Ati' up for eviction in Boracay Island

Ati as we called are peacefully living in Boracay. They became tourist attraction and they are charming people and friendly, too...

Thursday, May 26, 2005
202 'Ati' up for eviction in Boracay Island
By Roberto L. Bacasong
Sun.Star Bacolod

BORACAY ISLAND -- Here in the world's renown tourism destination are found the more than 200 "Ati" indigenous families who continue fighting for their right to live -- insofar as social acceptability and the place to call their "home" are concerned.

Ati families in Sitio Bolabog, Barangay Balabag in this island paradise have been tagged "dirty," blame it to their tradition and their manner of living.

Boracay Island has three barangays, namely, Balabag, Manoc-manoc and Yapak.

Humiliation, said 29-year-old Maria Tambu-on was what her family and members of their community suffer from "people in the island."

Tambu-on has four children, namely, Olimar and Loimar, both 4; Marlo, 2; and Marjon, two months.

Together with husband Oliver, 26, they find shelter in an unfinished old shanty located inside the fenced property owned by Aniceto Yap.

Speaking in the native Malay dialect, the mother said they belong to a very poor class as her husband is just a construction worker, depending on a temporary source of income.

Tambu-on said her primary source of living is by helping run the livelihood store of the Boracay Multi-Purpose Cooperative, of which she is a board member.

She further said her family does not have a permanent place in which to live.

"I used to accept laundry jobs just to help my husband," she said.

The property of Yap houses 42 Ati families that has increased from last year's 187 households.

"We are asking for respect from the people. I know that this is what they call the other side of the paradise," she stressed.

Sister Victoria Ostan of the Daughters of Charity under the Diocese of Aklan said she received the order of demolition against the Ati community.

Ostan said this does not stop them from advancing the improvement of the Ati families, specifically the sending of Ati children to school.

Schooling for the Ati members here are in two categories, namely, formal and non-formal.

In formal education, some Ati children finished secondary education with assistance from the government of Aklan and the help of non-government organizations.

"They (Ati children) should be given formal education. They deserve education because of their low status in life," said Ostan.

Students from the College of Archeology from the University of the Philippines-Diliman are presently conducting their study in tracing the history of the Ati families.

"The UP students are dedicated to trace back the history of the Ati family," said Ostan.

She said the notice of demolition cannot be implemented until such time the study is not yet finished, and until the government give these Ati families permanent resettlement.

"They are the first people in our history. They should be given enough attention because of so much history they gave to the country," said Ostan.

We are all created by God, they should be resettled properly if the demolition will take effect, Ostan added.

Ostan said in Barangay Balabag the face of poverty, hunger and deprivation of mankind can be found while the luxurious hotels, foods, among others were in the Manoc-manoc and Yapak.

Delsa Husto, 42, president of the Ati's cooperative said they are fighting for their rights to live.

Husto, who has six children, said her husband is working as a house help and construction worker.

"The main source of income here is fishing and construction, among others while women used to accept laundry to help their partners," said Delsa.

Delsa who has been called as "nanay" (mother) in the community said she is angry with people who discriminate them and their status.

"We are still human beings; all we need is understanding and respect from our fellows," said Delsa.

"We are very happy that (Sister) Ostan is here to help us fight for our rights."
Ostan said foreign tourists were visiting the community and are occasionally giving assistance in the form of clothing, and cash that ranges from P200, P300, P500 and P1,000.

My lovely article during my first visit to Boracay....

Friday, May 27, 2005
Boracay: A sanctuary of Philippine butterflies
By Roberto L. Bacasong
Sun.Star Bacolod

BORACAY ISLAND -- Nature lovers who spend time discovering various species of Philippine butterflies frequent the Boracay Butterfly Garden located at Barangay Bolabog in this powdered sand paradise island here.

What started as a hobby metamorphosed into the creation of a sanctuary of butterfly varieties, a sight to behold, and a unique business venture inculcating educational and environmental awareness. The unique breeding and cycle of these wonderful creatures, a must-see for travelers.

Adela Jaudian, who hails from Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental said her husband, Patrick Manion, a retired chemist from New Zealand developed a hobby of collecting butterflies.

"He likes to play with butterflies and wondered with these God's creatures," said Jaudian. At first, said the wife, Manion just used the garden to relieve himself from daily stress.

Manion is environment friendly that he later decided to open the garden to the public only last month. The garden has existed in year 2001 yet.

Aside from owning a resort and various stalls, Jaudian said her husband put up the butterfly garden to also impart knowledge on children about these species.

The Boracay Butterfly Garden is one of the often-visited eco-tourism areas in this island with visitors including English, Danish, Chinese, Koreans and Americans, among others.

Domestic visitors won't be outnumbered, too. Jaudian said her husband carefully studies the host-plants in which the butterfly could nest their eggs and also the creatures' source of food.

"Because of thorough study, butterflies are protected from attacks of predators," she explains. Lizards, ants and spiders are the main enemies of butterflies. Their ravenous attacks trigger the decreasing number of butterflies preserved in the garden.

Butterfly Class

The classes of butterfly that could be found in the garden are Papilionidae, Danaidae, Nymphalidae and Pieridae.

Butterflies belonging to the Papilionidae include graphium argamemnon, graphium sarpedon, papilio demoleus (Citrus/Lime Swallowtail), Papilio Polytes (Common Mormon), papilio rumanzovia (Scarlet Mormon), papilio (chilasa), clytia (Common Mime) and papilio (triodes rhadamantus).

The Danaidae class: danaus chrysippus (Plain Tiger) and idea leuconoe (White Tree Nymp); Nymphalidae class, namely, cethosia bibles (Red Lacewing), doleschallia bisaltide (Autumn Leaf), hipolimnas bolina jacintha (Spotted Black Crow) and eupolea multiciber (Stripped Blue Crow).

Butterflies and moths are a group of insects called lepidoptera, derived from the Latin word "lepido" (scale) and "plera" (wings). Like all insects, butterflies and moths have a head, thorax, abdomen, two antennae and six legs.

(May 27, 2005 issue)

Task force formed to protect Capiz shells

These capiz shells provide a living to the villagers living near the sea....

Task force formed to protect Capiz shells
By: Robert Leonoras

1/24/2006 8:56:14 AM

San Enrique, Negros Occidental -- The municipal government has formed a task force to protect marine mollusks that are the source of Capiz shells, locally known as lampirong.

San Enrique Mayor Jilson D. Tubillara ordered the creation of the task force after a huge reserve of these mollusks was found in the shallow waters of this town. The mollusks were reported to have almost covered the seabed.

"This is a gift from Mother Nature. I hope that the people of San Enrique will help our fellow policemen in protecting these shells," Mr. Tubillara said.

The mollusk (scientific name: Placuna placenta) is also known as windowpane oyster because its outer shell was used to make windows in colonial times.

The shell is translucent and allows daylight to filter through. The shell came to be known as Capiz shell because these were originally harvested near the town of Capiz on Panay island.

Task Force Lampirong will educate the people on the importance of the shells, regulate the gathering and distribution of the shells and ensure that no shells are gathered within a 25-hectare protected area. The task force is headed by the town’s police chief, Senior Inspector Raymund Maningo.

Municipal agriculturist Marilou Peñafiel said about 100 tons of shells have already been fished out of the sea. "In just five days, it already brought an income of P71,000 for the municipality."

Mr. Tubillara said the shells are sold for P12 per kilogram. Of this amount, P1 goes to the municipal government and another P1 goes to the barangay and P10 to the seller. The meat is also sold. This may be served as buttered with garlic bits or adobo-style.

The shells are used as raw materials for handicraft, including lamp shades, flower vases, chandeliers, chessboards, glass covers and coasters, wind chimes, wall panels and ash trays. Products made from Capiz shell are among the export winners from the Visayas.

Mr. Tubillara said divers from the neighboring cities and towns like Hinigaran, Pontevedra and Valladolid have arrived in this town to gather the shells.

"You enjoy gathering them because they shine and millions of these shells cover the seabed," he said. But he warned the people not to go into the 25-hectare protected area.

Just recently, Mr. Tubillara said the task force apprehended two pump boats with 12 fishermen who ventured into the protected area. They were released after they promised to stay out of the reserve.

Bacolod preserves Tindalo tree planted by Quezon

An old landmark in Bacolod, which was never been recognized...

Bacolod preserves Tindalo tree planted by Quezon
By: Robert Leonoras
1/30/2006 9:53:43 AM

Bacolod City -- Often ignored, the 67-year-old Tindalo tree at the Bacolod public plaza stands as a silent witness to this city’s history.

The tree was planted by President Manuel L. Quezon on Oct. 19, 1938 to mark the inauguration of Bacolod as a chartered city. Because of its historical value, the tree is being preserved at the plaza.

Tindalo, the common name for Afzelia romboidea, is noted for its valuable timber. Extensive logging has dwindled its number such that it is now considered among the country’s native rare species.

The city government allocates an annual budget for the maintenance of the Tindalo and other trees at the plaza through the general services office (GSO).

GSO officer-in-charge Jose Solilapsi said he hoped to discuss soon with Mayor Evelio R. Leonardia this year’s budget for the maintenance and preservation of the trees and other facilities of the plaza.

"We should not limit our projects to maintaining the cleanliness of the city park but the preservation of its rare trees as well," Mr. Solilapsi said.

Dan Villalobos, supervisor for the maintenance of the plaza, successfully transplanted a sapling from the mother tree eight to 10 years ago.

The second Tindalo tree is heavy with fruits, each about 12 centimeters long and six centimeters wide with a thick, black and woody pod and two to three large seeds.

Mr. Villalobos said he transplated a sapling to prove that the Tindalo can grow well at the plaza. An official of the Negros Forest Ecological Foundation, Inc. earlier urged the city government to remove the tree and plant this in the forest because it was prone to stress at the plaza, which is frequently visited by people.

The soil there is also not as fertile as that in the forest. The official, who asked not to be named, said there’s room for natural regeneration in the forest.

He added that the Tindalo should be relocated to a lowland near the coast, which is its natural habitat.

Mr. Villalobos, who has been maintaining the tree for the past 23 years, brushed this aside. He said the tree is well taken cared of. At times, he said it may appear to be dying because it sheds off leaves.

He said pruning, a common tree maintenance procedure and is done regularly. Pruning is done to remove dead branches, crowded or rubbing limbs and to eliminate hazards.

Mt. Kanlaon at losing end in budget scramble

And another one...Mt Kanlaon is one of the active volcanoes in the Philippines. Many local and foreign tourists captured their heart when they saw the beauty of this natural wonder

Mt. Kanlaon at losing end in budget scramble
By: Roberto Leonoras
6/23/2006 9:18:14 AM

Bacolod City -- Not a single centavo has been allocated for forest protection and law enforcement at the Mt. Kanlaon Natural Park in the proposed 2006 budget of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), a park official said.

Photo from WOW Philippines Web site.

"Just when we need it the most, there isn’t a single centavo to work on," said Julie Rex Molavin, park superintendent of the Mt. Kanlaon Natural Park. The volcano has been acting up and has spewed grayish steam with ash eight times in the last two weeks.

Negros Occidental Rep. Carlos Cojuangco had proposed a P3.8-million budget for the park, but this was ignored by the members of the bicameral committee, Mr. Molavin said.

The park, however, expects assistance from the DENR Western Visayas regional office, which promised to provide P25,000 for park operations for the rest of the year despite the lack of a budget in the national office. Pledges of financial assistance were also made by the Negros Occidental provincial government and other local government units in the vicinity of the park.

But Mr. Molavin said this is not enough. Of the P25,000, he said only P18,000 will be left for the park since P7,000 will go to the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office-Negros Occidental to cover administrative expenses. The amount is less than half of the P59,000 that they received from the DENR regional office last year, he added.

"The P18,000 is not enough for our maintenance and operating expenses. This amount will easily be eaten up by the Protected Area Management Board meetings. Only a few thousands of pesos will be left to cover management concerns of the park," he said.

There would be no amount left for forest protection, information and education system as well as socioeconomic programs of the agency, he added.

Hinahon and Suplada: An eagle owl love story

I also like this article, I wrote. I am so delightful that I was able to search it on the net.

Hinahon and Suplada: An eagle owl love story
By: Robert Leonoras
7/5/2006 10:03:05 AM

Bacolod City -- Veterinarians here played matchmaker to Philippine eagle owls, Hinahon and Suplada, in hopes the the two would hit it off and make babies and give a much-needed lift to a captive-breeding program to boost the number of the endangered eagle owls in the wild.

The Philippine eagle owl, Bubo philippensis, is locally known as kuwago or bukao and is among the largest species of owls in the world. Massive deforestation and hunting caused a rapid decline in its population, putting it in the endangered list of animals.

In fact, the Negros Forest and Ecological Foundation, Inc. plans to develop a genetic bank to increase the Philippine eagle owl population.

Wildlife veterinarian Cristina Georgii, who was sent by the German government to the foundation’s Biodiversity Conservation Center to lend management and technical expertise to the project, said they will continue to breed Philippine eagle owls in captivity to develop the genetic bank.

"Our end goal is to release the birds into the wild. But currently, we are focusing our efforts on breeding the eagle owl in captivity and increase their population," she said.

The Negros foundation pioneered a captive breeding program for the Philippine eagle owl, Bubo philippensis, and other owl species endemic to the Philippines. The eagle owl is locally known as kuwago or bukao and is among the largest species of owls in the world. But massive deforestation and hunting caused a rapid decline in its population. The first eagle owl hatched in captivity, Bubo, is the offspring of Hinahon and Suplada. He was hatched in November 2005, said curator Leo Jonathan Suarez.

The foundation secured a loan that allowed it to acquire three pairs of eagle owls from the Avilon Montalban Zoological Park in Montalban, Rizal.

The German Development Service, which also supports the program, has sent Ms. Georgii to help manage the Biodiversity Conservation Center.

Silk Capital


I am sharing to you my previous article published on BusinessWorld and Sun.Star Bacolod. This is a very old story, and I just want to compile some of the articles I wrote before.


By Robert Leonoras, Correspondent
August 27-28, 2004 | BusinessWorld

TF! Editorial Comment: Agricultural production is still a primary activity in much of the countryside. Initiatives which build on the agricultural base with proper linkages can leverage resources for building sustainable local economies. In the article below, an entrepreneur in Negros is using silk production to create livelihoods and support silk-based handicraft and garment production.

Negros island is pitching to become the country's silk capital, and it has empirical data to back up its claim.

Not everybody knows that sericulture farms on Negros island produce between 85% and 90% of the raw materials for silk in the country.

Silkworms: Negros' claim to fame
These farms are found in Bago City and Sagay City in Negros Occidental, and Canlaon City in Negros Oriental.

"We are the biggest producers of silk in the country, wherein 85% to 90% are being distributed in the other cities and provinces. We supply 90% of silk to Aklan weavers. They are our major buyer," said Thelma Watanabe, president of Mayu Silk Industry.

She and husband Shigimi are working to make Negros the silk capital.
Mr. Watanabe is a director of the Organization for Industrial, Spiritual & Cultural Advancement (OISCA), which operates a 26-hectare silk farm in Bago City.

OISCA is a non-profit and non-governmental organization (NGO) founded by the late Dr. Yonosuke Nakano in Japan on Oct. 6, 1961.

When the silk farm started, silkworms were imported from Japan. Today, Mrs. Watanabe said they produce their own silkworms, the result of crossbreeding the Japanese and Chinese silkworms.

"The sericulture industry is now the biggest livelihood in Negros Occidental," she said.

OISCA-Bago has a reeling center, silk center, rearing house, and breeding center.

"Reeling is the process of taking the thread from the cocoon to make it into yarn while rearing is the process of growing the silkworm until it transforms into a cocoon," Mrs. Watanabe explained.

The training center offers major services such as an agricultural training course, which is a live-in training for youth interested in farming. The trainees not only learn farming and other related technologies but also healthful living.

The center also maintains an area for rice cultivation, vegetable production, a piggery, a seedling nursery, mulberry plantations, silkworm nursery, rearing houses, and a silk reeling plant. OISCA-Bago also provides scholarship, training program for women, reforestation program, tie-up programs and day care program.

Monday, November 12

Salutation to our war Veteran Heroes

The Philippines and the United States have just earlier celebrated the Veterans Day. This is not just an ordinary celebration for Filipino and American soldiers. I thanked the support of the two nations for continue to remember the heroes during the World War II.

Our Filipino soldiers deserve total respect. I admired their nationalism and patriotism for risking their lives for the sake that our beloved Land will be freed against the Japanese Emperial circle. This can't be done successfully without the help of the American soldiers. Of course, it was written in the Philippine History that the Americans have strong interest in our country.

However, our country preferred to stand by its own, while the American government offered the freedom to the Filipino people.

My great great grandfather was known to be the soldier who had joined the Filipino soldiers whose mission is to dismantle the Japanese elite forces during the war. I am happy to say that my grandfather was used to be a hero, too. My respect and salutation to the war veterans who remains alive, and continue to reminisce the old days of war.

Congratulations to our veteran heroes!

Thursday, November 1

Remembering Our Dead

EARLY in the morning I received an SMS message from my mother that she and the rest of my family members are proceeding to Cadiz City, Negros Occidental, to visit the tomb of my late grandfather. I only remember that my first and last visit to my grandfather's tomb was in 2005 (if I'm not mistaken). My mother constantly offers prayer and burned candle to his tomb.

By the way, Cadiz is one of the cities situated in the northern portion of Negros Occidental. I'd never seen my lolo (grandfather) alive because he died when I'm not born in this world. I don't even seen his photograph and even my lola (grandmother) don't have a photograph of her late husband. How funny isn't it? This does not mean that I hate my lolo or my lola. I remember that my grandma always kissed me when I was a toddler. Her warmth love and affection I felt from her motivates me, how loving mother she is to her children and her grandchildren.

At first, I really hate going to the cemeteries, however, I opted to go as it requires to my job as journalist-photographer during my Sun.Star Bacolod days. Since I covered police beat, part of my assignment was to monitor the event if it is celebrated peacefully or not. Luckily, no major incidents usually transpired because the Bacolodnons and the Negrenses are very cooperative to the local police officers.

I left no choice to quit my job, as I felt the urge to shift to another career -- main reason is the low salary scheme I received. I did not regret leaving my job. Now, I work here in Metro Manila in a call center company, being away from my family is pretty sad, but I learned to move on and depend on myself.

We, Filipinos are very sentimental in remembering our dead loved ones. I read on a national daily newspaper that the Catholic Bishop Conference of the Philippines issued a statement that the All Saints and All Souls Day -- are not a time for fiesta. I agree to the statement of the CBCP reminding our Filipino people about the true essence of this holy event. Our demise loved ones deserve respect and care, too. This is not the time to drink (liquor substance), sing-along, and gamble inside the cemeteries. We celebrate this event because the Church wants us to offer prayers to our departed brothers and sisters. The Church wants us to be responsible enough in our role human being.


Wayback in Bacolod, when I used of covering this event for five years, me and my fellas went together inside the cemeteries and joined thousands of revelers bringing flowers and other paraphernalia. Not just we mingled with other people, but we learned the true meaning of this celebration.

So even if it is not the All Saints and All Souls Day, let's continue to offer prayers to them. Our prayer is one of the most effective tools in making their souls at peace!

Happy Halloween!