Sunday, December 9, 2012

Bulacan light house repair underway

SMP members and Pugad officials
HAGONOY, Bulacan—Repair of the 80-year old lighthouse in this coastal town of Bulacan is expected to be completed before Christmas.

This came after old equipment of the solar power lighthouse were pulled down last week and are being analyzed by technicians and electrical engineers of the Sigla Movement of the Philippines (SMP), the non-government organization that vowed to lead the repair.

Grossman Dax Uy, chair of the SMP-Bulacan chapter told the STAR yesterday that they are planning to inaugurate the lighthouse before December 15.

“We are hopeful that we can install it back by December 15,” Uy said.

He said that a week after they visited the lighthouse on November 24, a team of technicians and electrical engineers climbed the lighthouse and pulled the old equipment with the help of residents and officials of Barangay Pugad.

He said that all equipment are being analyzed and noted that the lighthouse’s lamp changer flasher, day light control and light bulb needs to be replaced.

The lighthouse’s electrical cables and other connectors also needs replacement.

With regards to the solar panel and solar batteries, he said that both are still being analyzed by technicians.

“We are hoping that some parts can still be used but we already placed an order for parts that will be replaced,” Uy said.

Standing on the mouth of the Hagonoy river fronting the Manila Bay, the 80 year old lighthouse served as guide for fishermen at night.

Local residents said that in the 60’s it is lighted by an alcohol powered lamp, and when electricity reached the coastal village in the late 70s, the lighthouse’s was lighted by electric powered lamp.

However, during typhoons, the lighthouse usually fail to function as strong winds used to cut power line to the lighthouse.

In the late 90s, officials decided to upgrade the lighthouse with solar powered lamps.

However, the solar powered batteries of the lighthouse expired seven years ago and since then, fishermen in Manila Bay lost their guide at night.
SMP members and Pugad officials

Last year, Bulacan Governor Wilhelmino Alvarado took notice of the lighthouse after a local newspaper published as story and picture of it.

Alvarado submitted a proposal to the Central Luzon Regional Development Council for the repair and it was approved in October last year.

The RDC endorsed to Malacanang the repair of the lighthouse along with the construction of additional lighthouse along the coast of the Manila Bay.

But more than a year after, nothing has been done until SMP took the initiative last November.  (Dino Balabo)

Loren stresses importance of geo-hazard maps in averting disasters

 Senator Loren Legarda stressed on the importance of disseminating, using, heeding and updating geo-hazard maps to avoid exposing communities to disasters.

Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committee on Climate Change, made the call following reports that geo-hazard maps were ignored in some areas, thus resulting to a large number of casualties.

“Geo-hazard maps will tell us where it is unsafe to build homes. It is only logical not to build subdivisions in flood-prone areas or construct buildings along a fault line. We must use these maps to avoid exposing our homes and our people to disaster risks,” she said.

In the geo-hazard map, many parts of Compostela Valley are shaded in red, which means these areas are highly susceptible to landslides.

“It is important that we have these geo-hazard maps, and that these maps should be applied, not only to the regional and provincial level, but also to the local municipalities. Maybe it would even be prudent to ensure that citizens are aware of the vulnerabilities of the communities they live in. It is their right to know the risks present so that they can decide to move to safer places, which should be supported by the local government. In fact, LGUs should already be relocating to safer ground those families and communities in high-risk areas,” the Senator stressed.

“We knew about Typhoon Pablo and we were warned. It is a matter of making our laws work and implementing the disaster mitigation plans and programs on the ground. We also have to update the geo-hazard maps and integrate risk information in development planning, increase investments in improving critical infrastructure, and institutionalize effective and efficient early warning systems that will allow people at risk to respond immediately, therefore averting deaths in disasters,” Legarda concluded.

Bulacan board condemns ambush on Violago

File photo of Vice Gov. Daniel Fernando

MALOLOS CITY—The Sangguniang Panglalawigan of Bulacan condemned last week’s ambush attempt on Board Member Mark Cholo Violago, but noted they will not beef up security for their other provincial board members.

As this developed, Governor Wilhelmino Alvarado ordered immediate but careful investigation after Senior Superintendent Noli Talino, the acting provincial police director created Task Force Violago.

“We condemn in strongest terms the attempt on the life of Mark Cholo Violago” said Vice Governor Daniel Fernando in an interview.

He said that local police still have to determine the motive and who are behind the ambush on Violago.

Fernando added that the Sangguniang Panglalawigan have also asked the provincial police for a detailed report in the incident.

“What we know is as good as what you know because the provincial police still have to provide their official report,” the vice governor said.

Last week, Violago was on his way to Manila when his Hyundai Starex van with license plates CHO 45 was sprayed with bullets along Plaridel by-pass road in Barangay Banga 1st, Plaridel town.

Violago and his companions, a driver and a body guard survived the ambush with minimal injuries.

Sources said that a suspect armed with M-16 assault rife fired from a another van when Violago’s vehicle reached Barangay Banga 1st.

A Barangay Captain of Barangay San Roque in San Rafael town, Violago represents the Association of Barangay Captains in the province as an ex-officio Board Member.

Meanwhile, Governor Alvarado also demanded the fair and fast investigation from the provincial police especially from the Task Force Violago.

He said that the task force was created immediately after the ambush, but it has not came out with a report yet.

Alvarado said they expect the report soon.  (Dino Balabo)

Save Sierra Madre, Padaca urged

MALOLOS CITY— Commissioner Grace Padaca of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) enjoined everybody in protecting and conserving the Sierra Madre saying no one is excused.

Padaca’s statement came receiving the Gawad Sierra Madre award from the Sagip Sierra Madre Environmental Society Inc., (SSMESI) and the Center for Bulacan Studies (CBS) for the Bulacan State University.

Other recipients of the said awards are Father Pete Montallana, a crusading priest from Quezon province, and Delfin Friginal, the late Dumagat chieftain in Bulacan.

“Walang exempted sa tungkuling pangalagaan ang Sierra Madre,” said Padaca, the former governor of Isabela province.

She stressed that whether a person is in government or nor, sick or healthy, he or she has a duty to rptect the mountain ranged that stretches from Isabela in northern Luzon to Bicol region in southern Luzon.

Padaca added that a person’s economic situation is also not a hindrance saying, mayamaa o mahirap ay hindi pwedeng magsabi na hindi sila kasali sa pagbibigay protection sa Sierra Madre.”

The same was echoed by Father Montallana, the crusading priest from Quezon province who said, “tayong lahat ay dapat maging tagapagtanggol ng kalikasan.”
Montallana recalled the 2004 tragedy caused by flash flood in General Nakar town in Quezon.

He said that while wading through waist high mud, he realized that protection of the environment must not be entrusted to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

This is due the fact that despite the agency’s programs and projects, the environment, especially the Sierra Madre remained at the mercy of illegal loggers, miners and quarry operators.

As a priest who spent years in immersion with Dumagat tribesmen, Montallana recalled the lessons he learned from indigenous peoples (IP) in terms of conserving the environment.

He said that the environment must not be viewed as a source of income but must be considered as “brothers” just like how the IPs treated it.

The same was affirmed by Brother Martin Francisco of the Sagip Sierra Madre Environmental Society Inc., (SSMESI) who authored the book “Mahabe Pagotan: Kasaysayan, Kalinangan, at Kalikasan ng  mga Dumagat sa Bahaging Bulacan ng Sierra Madre.”

Citing what he learned from Dumagats, Francisco saiironmental protection that lowlanders have very low understanding of environment protection and of the culture of the IPs.

He said that lowlander’s culture have influenced the IPs and resulted into unabated destruction of Sierra Madre.

“Nakalulungkot na habang nabibihisan ang mga Dumagat ay nahuhubaran ang Sierra Madre at mga kabundukan natin,” he said.

Francisco said that the he hopes that the book he wrote will bridge the gap in understanding environment and the Dumagats.

The award was given after the launch of the book on Monday which coincide with the 108th founding anniversary of the Bulacan State University (BulSU).

The book was pubslished by the BulSU Center for Bulacan Studies (CBS) where Francisco serves as consultant on Dumagat studies.  (Dino Balabo)

NGO vow to lead repair of old Bulacan light house

HAGONOY, Bulacan—For more than seven years, fishermen in Manila Bay thread its waters in the dark of night due to unrepaired lighthouse at the coastal village of Pugad here.

But soon, their woes will be over after a non-governmental organization offered to bring back light on the much needed lighthouse.

Grossman Dax Uy, the chair of Sigla Movement of the Philippines (SMP) Bulacan chapter conducted on Saturday, November 24 an ocular inspection on the more than 80 years old light house.

He said SMP will lead the repair of the lighthouse by donating solar batteries and lamps.

“This lighthouse is crucial for fishermen at night because it serve as their guide, that’s why we offer to repair it,” Uy said.

He added that the lighthouse can also be a tourist attraction if its surrounding areas will be developed.

This was affirmed by local residents who said that in the past, travelers from Bulacan going to Corregidor Island, Bataan and Manila used to stop at the base of the lighthouse.

Rommel Santos, a former village councilman said that the light house is more than 80 years old based on narrative of older residents.

Village councilman Alfredo Lunes said the lighthouse ceased to serve its function more than seven years ago after its solar powered batteries failed.

This led village officials to seek help from the municipal and provincial government.

Last year, Governor Wilhelmino Alvarado submitted a proposal to the Central Luzon Regional Development Council (RDC) or the repair of the said lighthouse.

It was approved by the RDC along with the construction of additional lighthouses in on the coast of Obando, Paombong towns in Bulacan and in Pampanga and Bataan provinces.

The Central Luzon RDC submitted a resolution to Malacanang through the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) endorsing repair and construction of additional light houses.

However, after more than a year, the national government still have to act on the RDC endorsement.  (Dino Balabo)

Bulacan made fireworks are safe and of high quality--DTI

Engr. Celso Cruz of the Philippine Pyrotechnics Manufacturers and Dealers Association Inc.,

MALOLOS CITY—The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) made assurances that fireworks manufactured in Bulacan are safe and of high quality.

This came as 475 different types of fireworks manufactured in the province secured the DTI product standards (PS), while 75 others are being processed by the Bureau of Product Standard.

Zorina Aldana, director of DTI-Bulacan said that PS license is one of the guarantees that a product is safe and of high quality.

“Those that applied and secured PS licensees are following the provisions of Republic Act 7183 of the firecracker law,” Aldana said noting that legal limit chemical content of pyrotechnics products is .2 grams.

However, she stressed that following the legal limit on the chemical content of a pyrotechnics products is not enough.

She said that the secure a PS license from the DTI, a manufacturer must foloow strict manufacturing process and quality management system (QMS) that follows international stands and the Philippine standards on fireworks.

Aldana added , “there are also requirement on packaging and labeling. The manufacturer’s name and contact details plus safety labeling must be written on the product.”

She said that the above requirements are meant to ensure accountability among manufacture and assure buyers that products are safe.

Aldana said that 475 fireworks products in the province that secured PS license includes different types of fountains, aerial fireworks, sawa, judas belt, trompillo, roman candle, luces, Mabuhay fountain, Pagoda fountain and others.

 The said products varies in sizes and design.

Based on DTI-Bulacan records, manufacturers that secured PS license are Dragon Fireworks based in San Rafael town, and Diamond Fireworks from Pulilan town.

Both companies have secured PS license for 100 different products each.

Others include LF Fireworks in San Ildefonso town (80 products), Nation Fireworks based in Baliwag (25 products), SPM General Merchandise in Bocaue (40 products) Pyro Kreation Fireworks based in Sta. Maria town (30 products), Platinum Fireworks from Sta. Maria (50 products), and Phoenix Fireworks, also from Sta. Maria with 50 products.

Others that have applied for PS license which are still being process by the DTI-BPS are Z & N Nicolas Fireworks (20 products), ERCY Fireworks (20 products), A. Santiago Fireworks (10 products), and Purity Fireworks (10 products) which are all based in Baliwag town; and Double L Fireworks from Pandi town with 15 products. (Dino Balabo)

NCCA feted 21 cultural masters

2012 Dayaw Festival awards

MALOLOS CITY—The National Commission on Culture and the Arts (NCCA) feted 21 master craftsmen on from different indigenous groups as part of the culminating activity of the 2012 Dayaw festival here on Thursday night, November 29.

The 21 master craftsmen received their awards during a banquet sponsored by the provincial government of Bulacan and the city government of Malolos at the historic Barasoain church yard here.

 The banquet, according to Dr. Joycie Dorado-Alegre of the NCCA sub-commission on cultural communities and traditional arts (SCCTA) is reminiscent of the opening of the Malolos Congress which drew representative from across the country 114 years ago.

“This is historic and symbolic event because it happened 114 years after the opening of Malolos Congress,” said Dorado-Alegre noting that about 600 indigenous peoples representing 47 tribal groups were present in Thursday night’s event.
Banquet at Barasoain

Long applause followed her statement and comments from participants who likened the banquet into a national tribal council except for the lack of politics involve.

With regards to the awardees, Dorado-Alegre described them as the few who are part of the country’s school of living traditions.

“Their skills and craftsmanship are unparallel and a testament of our creativity and colorful traditions,” she said.

Earlier, Dr. Felipe De Leon, the chair of the NCCA stressed that Filipinos have so much to learn from IP groups.

He cited the speech of President Benigno Aquino which was read by former Senator Jamby Madrigal on the opening day of the festival which stated that from Luzon to Visayas and Mindanao, IP culture have influenced the larger Filipino culture.

De Leon added that IP groups must be considered as teachers saying that “they preserved their culture while we lowlanders assimilated news culture to the extent that we forgot where we came from.”

With regards to the 21 awardees, De Leon said they are not only master craftsmen but cultural masters and purveyor of school of living traditions of their communities.
Francisco Eligio

The awardees are Micahel Dexter Aliguyon of Kiangan, a cultural (CM) on Ifugao performing arts; Emilia Alindayo, a CM on Ifugao textile weaving and clothing, Ellenera Aliguyon,  a CM on Ifugao performing arts, loom weaving, textile weaving and clothing.

Amparo Mabanag of Mountain Province (Ga’dang cloth weaving and accessory making), Rebecca Reyes of Abucay, Bataan (Ayta Magbukon performing arts), Cenia Lastrilla of Calinog, Iloilo (Panay-Bukidnon epic narration with chanting, Binanog dance and Panubok hand embroidery), Aurelio Damas of Calinog, Iloilo (Binanog dance), Nedemio Badac of Brooke’s Point, Palawan (Pala’wan dances and songs).

Gloria Emag of Aborlan, Palawan (school of living traditions on Tagbanua music, songs and dances), Richard Impil of Bagong Silang, Don Salvador Benedicto (Ati language, music and dance), Marleta Mahinay of Sagay City, Negros Occidental (Ata pandan mat weaving), Rodrigo Panganiban of Nabas, Aklan (Ati traditional baskets and crafts), Delia Pauden of Hamtic, Antique (Ati languages, songs, dances  and literature).

Janeth Hanapi and Kamaria Sabturani of Sofronio Espanola, Palawan (Jama Mapun mat weaving), Tirso Serdena of Gasan, Marinduque (Kalutang playing), Francisco Eligio of Hagonoy, Bulacan (master craftsman in Singkaban making),  Abbay Tacabil  and Solaw Duca, both of Sanggani, Davao Del Sur (Sangir dances & musical instruments playing; and mat weaving, respectively), Florita Umilos of Zamboanga Del Norte (Subanen basket weaving), and Datu Josefino Gonlibo of Maramag, Bukidnon (Manobo beads and accessories making).  (Dino Balabo)