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Monday, January 23, 2006

"Mc Do" Hotel to rise in Caticlan

Jun Ariolo N. Aguirre
Boracay Island- The proponent of the Caticlan International Airport 'the exclusive franchisee of McDonalds Philippines" is expected to establish a hotel within the Caticlan Airport terminal soon.

According to the Department of Transportation and Communication, the P5 billion upgrade to spur travel and encourage investments in the local region project was again awarded last week to George Yang, chairman of the Caticlan International Airport Development Corporation.

Because of this, Yang has the right to build, rehabilitate, and operate the terminal project subject to the approval of the National Economic and Development Authority-Investment Coordinating Council (NEDA-ICC).

Caticlan Airport is the nearest airstrip to Boracay Island.

Yang also owns the Fairways and Blue Waters resort in Boracay.

"He (Yang) expressed interest to develop the airport, plus an integrated development. He is just one of the consurtium members that will undertake the development," said DOTC Secretary for planning Robert Castanares.

The original proponent status will be valid for one year from issuance of said status project by the DOTC. The said issuance does not preclude the DOTC from exercising operational control of the existing facilities until such time that the NEDA-ICC has approved the project.

The DOTC, however, may itnroduce any development project in the existing facilities as the need for the same arises prior to the NEDA-ICC approval.

Castanares said he foresees no problem obtaining an approval from NEDA-ICC. "We expect smooth sailing from NEDA-ICC because the project is zero-subsidy on the part of the government," he said.

The development of the airport in Malay is expected to be finished at the end of 2008 with construction set to begin early this year.

The DOTC official said an upgrade of the airport would improve Caticlan's image as a major tourist destination across the globe. He expects tourists mostly from China, Taiwan and South Korea taking direct flights to Caticlan.

Aklan Media condemns IBP for unfounded filing of resolution

Jun Ariolo N. Aguirre
Kalibo, Aklan- The three separate media organization in the province is reportedly planning to issue separate resolutions against the Integrated Bar of the Philippines-Kalibo for issuing uncalled statement against the member of the press.

Said three organizations the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster sa Pilipinas, Aklan United Media Association and the Aklan Press Club had denounced the IBP resolution specifically if they noted that the lawyer organizations earned the ire of a businessman.

In a resolution dated December 21, 2005 but were only recently released to the media, Maria Carrillo-Zaldivar IBP Chapter President said that the IBP-Kalibo had expressed consensus sentiments against the member of the fourth estate.

Aside from Zaldivar, the resolution which was unanimously approved was signed by Antonio Tabang, IBP Vice President; Immanuel Sodusta, Secretary; Romeo Lachica, Treasurer; Florendo Villanueva, director; Alonzo Tinagan, director; Reynaldo Peralta, director; and Francasio Belongilot, Director.

Lara Mendoza, also the director of IBP was not able to sign the three page resolution because she was on-leave.

"Whereas, heard over the radio, seen over other media channels, uncalled statements bordering on personal attack against the members of the judiciary, all the more that such statements never had factual nor legal basis," the resolution reads.

The sector of the print media are also complaining for the issuance of such resolution as they have been involved even as the IBP resolution clearly states that the print has nothing to do with the statement.

The IBP resolution expresses sentiments against the entire media in the province composed of cable tv, broadcast and print.

"Resolved further that the copy of this resolution be furnished the tri-media in the province of Aklan who are hereby requested to be more cautious and circumspect in 'taking up and publishing such uncalled for allegations bordering on personal attack against the memebrs of the bench," the last paragraph of the said resolution states.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Chinese New Year Early in Kalibo

By Jun Ariolo N. Aguirre
Kalibo, Aklan- The celebration in welcoming the Fire Dog for the celebration of Chinese New Year in this ati-atihan town is early in order to give way to the traditional Lion Dance.
Antonino Tolentino, chair of the organizing
 committee of the New Year event said that the Kalibo Sun Yat Sen School – the only Chinese school institution in the province had invited a group of Lion Dancers from Iloilo to do the prosperity dance.
“We had invited Lion Dancers from Iloilo Chinese School known as Hwasiong to do the Lion Dance here on January 28 since they will be busy doing the same prosperity dance in Iloilo on January 29, the Chinese New Year,” Tolentino said.
During the traditional Lion Dance, some 50 commercial establishments most of whom owned by Chinese Filipino businessmen will be handing out ‘ang-pao’ or red envelope containing money to the lion.
“The Chinese believed if in new Year, a Lion will dance in front of their business establishment and the Lion bites an ‘ang-pao’ with the money in it, it is a sign that their respective businesses will be good in the entire year,” Tolentino said.
Aside from the Lion Dance, the Chinese Filipino community here will also welcoming the new year with several pyrotechnics to ward off evil in the year 2006.
Historians said this municipal town of Kalibo has been already influenced by Chinese traders as early as 10th century. Thousands of Chinese traders then started to migrate in Aklan and started to established its businesses.
The Chinese-Filipino established their business settlements in Rizal Street now in front of the Kalibo Police since then. The ‘kaintsikan’ community however scattered after a huge fire broke out in the said street sometime in 1950’s.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Task Forces against mutineers formed

Jun Ariolo N. Aguirre
Iloilo City- Believing that the four escaped Magdalo mutineers is a threat to the national security, both the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police in the Western Visayas region had organized separate task forces for a nationwide manhunt against the suspects.

In a text message sent to the AP today, Major Lyndon Sollesta, spokesman of the 3rd Infantry Division of the Philippine Army in Western Visayas said that they considered the mutineers as armed and dangerous .

"The soldiers will be implying shoot to kill order if the mutineers showed armed resistance at any means," Sollesta told the AP in an interview.

When asked if the soldiers of the 3rd ID are capable of arresting the four mutineers which were highly trained at the Philippine MilitaryAcademy (PMA), Sollesta did not comment.

"We will left no stones unturned to secure that the mutineers are not hiding in any parts of the region and that they are not making any allegiance with the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army," said Sollesta.

Sollesta also slammed the mutineers as liars after showing not serious on its vow to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo two years ago for staging the Oakwood mutiny in Makati City.

Report said, the Magdalo mutineers are coordinating with the rebels to ousts Mrs. Arroyo as president.

Aside from the AFP, Police Senior Supt. Doroteo Reyes, police regional director for Western Visayas said they had also organized and fielded separate teams to track down said mutineers.

'The importance of bats in Boracay's tourism'

Jun Ariolo N. Aguirre
Pandan, Antique- A German conservationist and researcher here has warned resort owners in Boracay that if the illegal poaching and destruction of bats habitat will continue, the tourism industry of this resort island would still suffer.

In an interview, Ferit Temur of the Biological Conservation Group (BioCon)based here said bats in Boracay are seed dispersers which contribute to the regeneration of the nearby forests. Also, some bats are considered insect eaters.

"Each bats inBoracay ate thousands of insects eveyrday, imagine if there will be no more bats hanging around the island anymore. We could expect thousands of insects invading the resort island pissing off the tourists," Temur told the Guardian.

In 1980's, international conservationists regarded Boracay as the home to the largest bats in the world. The said largest bats specie reportedly migrated to nearby hinterlands of Antique province because of the destruction of their habitat in Boracay.

Temur when asked on his comments on the on-going investigation of the Department of Authorities and the local government against a resort in Boracay for destroying bats habitat, he said hat he appreciates the effort.

"But expect the continued destruction of some of the residents in their habitat if the government did not provide them alternative livelihood as means for their (Boracay poor residents) living," Temur said.

Last year, the German conservationists noted the decrease of trees found in Boracay forests believed to illegally poached by the residents to sell to the resort owners either as fuel for stoves or for construction purposes.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Jaro Archdiocese Provides Drugs at Low Cost to Poor People

PV9577.1376 January 19, 2006 56 EM-lines (623 words)
ILOILO CITY, Philippines (UCAN) -- A Jaro archdiocesan drugstore in central Philippine helps people buy more medicine by selling drugs cheaply, even at less than half the price of brand-name drugs in regular drugstores.
Moises Lopez, a 77-year-old resident of Iloilo City, told UCA News he buys medicine for high blood pressure from the Jaro Archdiocesan Social Action Center (JASAC) drugstore for 40 centavos (US$0.008). At that price he saves 60 percent of the cost of his daily medication by not buying it at regular drugstores.
Lopez is among 417 regular clients at the JASAC drugstore, situated in the compound of the cathedral in Iloilo City, 450 kilometers southeast of Manila.
He said his relatives and neighbors also have been buying their medicines from the drugstore since it opened more than three years ago. Some patrons have to take medication more than once a day for chronic illnesses, so they save much more money than Lopez does.
Another regular patron, Reverend Ciriaco Ganchorre, told UCA News that he advises families he ministers to in a squatter community in Jaro to buy medicines from the Church drugstore. The United Church of Christ in the Philippines pastor said about 60 people from these poor families benefit from the low-cost drugs.
Monsignor Meliton Oso, JASAC chairman, told UCA News the social action center opened the drugstore "so the poor can gain access to cheap medicines for a variety of sicknesses."
He recalled weekly medical consultations the center organized in 1999 for communities around the cathedral. The Church used to hand out free medicine, until the regional Department of Health said it could not continue to donate medicine for this. After that, he continued, volunteer doctors and dentists at the center would report that patients "threw away" prescriptions, saying they could not afford to buy the drugs. The doctors then suggested the archdiocese sell generic medicines so all could afford to buy them.
A generic drug is referred to by its chemical name rather than a manufacturer's brand name, but has the same active ingredient and strength as its branded, more expensive counterpart.
Monsignor Oso said the social action center found a pharmaceutical company willing to supply the low-cost medicines it began selling to poor parishioners. In 2002, the center acquired a business permit and officially began the JASAC Drugstore with an investment capital of 6,586.86 pesos from a Lenten fund drive, he noted.
The Church drugstore is open eight hours a day, Monday to Saturday, in a small building behind the JASAC office. According to Monsignor Oso, the most commonly bought medicines are for coughs and colds, fever and hypertension.
However, Maria Jean Amistas, a pharmacist at the Church drugstore, told UCA News that physicians usually tell patients to buy branded medicine, and JASAC clients are "often hesitant" to try generic drugs. She and other personnel have to reassure the people that the JASAC store follows "strict" guidelines in dispensing only medicines approved by the Bureau of Food and Drugs.
Monsignor Oso said the drugstore opened a branch in Guimaras province in 2003 and in Iloilo's Barotac Viejo town the following year. Each drugstore has at least one pharmacist, three sales personnel and a financial assistant. The center plans to open another branch soon in Cabatuan town, Iloilo, he said.
According to Amistas, JASAC drugstores make 3-10 percent profit from medicines they buy from pharmaceutical companies at discount. The profits pay for taxes, staff salaries and other operational expenses, she explained.
Jaro archdiocese serves Iloilo City, Iloilo province and nearby Guimaras province. There are 2.18 million people in the archdiocese, 92 percent of whom are Catholics. The National Statistical Coordination Board recently listed 29.6 percent of families in Iloilo and 22.6 percent in Guimaras as poor.
(Accompanying photos available with the

Earthworms have therapeutic potentials

By Jun Ariolo N. Aguirre

Iloilo City- Through continuous development of biotechnology, a vermitechnology expert here and researcher has discovered the prospect of the Philippine native and composting earthworms to cure rheumatism, lowering high blood pressure and other diseases.

Prof. Marilou Ang Lopez, Wesvarrdec (Western Visayas Agriculture and Resources Research and Development Consortium) director of vermitechnology in the said university said that her findings confirmed the studies on the therapeutic uses of earthworms conducted by Zhang, Guo and Wang of China in 1992.

'In my research conducted at Site Development Reforestation Project (SDRP) at the University of the Philippines in the Visayas (UPV), I noted that the crude extract of our native and composting earthworms have demonstrated signs of anti blood clotting activity,' said Ang Lopez.

She added that the activity exhibits therapeutic effect for lowering high blood pressure, rheumatism, arthritis and arteriosclerosis among others.

Ang Lopez, however, claimed that intensive research should be made to fully discover the therapeutic potentials of our earthworms.

'During the International Symposium on Vermitechnologies held recently at Los Baños, Laguna, I served as one of the panel members on vermiceuticals together with Dr. Sun Zhen-Jun of China Agricultural University, Beijing, and Dr. Igor Titov, a Russian scientist. We discussed the potential uses of earthworms for pharmaceutical and cosmetic industry,' said Ang Lopez.
With Zhen Jun and Titov, and local support of former Governor Bitay Lacson, Ang Lopez looks forward to pursue her research on pharmaceutical uses of earthworms.

Aside from research on vermiceuticals, Ang Lopez also documented the indigenous practices of the use of earthworms in Western Visayas. A survey was conducted on the utilization of terrestrial worms covering some communities in Panay and Negros Occidental.

'We found out that our ancestors used the native earthworms in folkloric healings of many sicknesses such as inflammation of different parts of the body, stomachaches and toothaches, to cure mumps, measles and even to help in making the birthing process easier,' said Ang Lopez.

These practices are vital in knowing more about what is in earthworms that could be useful in our living.

Ang Lopez stressed, that these practices however should be scientifically validated. There is still a need to further study the earthworms through chemical screening and pharmacological testing.

Earthworms are important in maintaining the fertility of the soil. They serve as natural tillers which help improve soil aeration and water infiltration.

'Earthworms are among the most important animals living in the soil. Aristotle even called them 'the intestines of the earth'. They are very useful to make our fields fertile. Their casts are very good source organic fertilizer,' said Ang Lopez.

She hoped that through her research, the native earthworms will be preserved and given importance.

The use of earthworms in solid waste management is becoming a trend nowadays. In the region, vermicomposting is already integrated into the solid waste management plan of some municipalities.

Using earthworms to decompose the solid waste is a good solution to the garbage problem in the region. Earthworms could hasten composting because they could eat garbage a day as much as their body weight.

'We ran a seminar/conference on vermitechnology last month focusing on organic farming and solid waste management. We discussed the possibility of coming up with a network to organize earthworm lovers and practitioners, said Ang Lopez.

Wesvarrdec planned to conduct series of seminars on vermitechnology. The next would be a seminar on vermieducation for the scientists, researchers, students and educators.

'UPV is very supportive of our vermiresearh. In our campus, we have a vermihouse, which serve as our production and research area. Many have already visited our project to know how earthworms work,' said Ang Lopez.

As of now, UPV is conducting a research on the proper use of vermicompost as fertilizer.
'In Wesvarrdec and UPV, we provide information and technology transfer to those who are interested in the culture of earthworms, because we want to popularize the use earthworms in the country,' said Ang Lopez.

(as published in January-February issue of

Tissue culture opens new avenue for Pina Farmers

KALIBO, Aklan - Tissue culture in the laboratory is opening avenues for better production for farmers and piña lovers with the use of benzylaminopurine (BAP) — a synthetic hormone used in the laboratory formass production of plants.

The use of BAP at various levels of concentration in the tissue culture medium using different kinds of planting materials such as crown, sucker and slip was introduced by Dr. Malco M. Teodosio and Mr. Michael T. Ibisate, researchers of Aklan State University in Banga, Aklan, in their study conducted from October 2002 to June 2003 at the Tissue Culture Laboratory.

This means that more farmers and piña enthusiasts could benefit from the massive production of piña plantlets which are disease-free, uniform in size and age, thus, maturing at the same time, which makes it convenient for harvesting the leaves.

More piña seedlings for planting would result in higher production of quality piña leaves and fibers for weaving the world-renowned piña cloth, an airy fabric used in garments and other fashion accessories.

The results of a study revealed the following: The different kinds of planting materials did not affect the growth of tissue-cultured Spanish Red (SR) pineapple except on the height of shoot.

Height of shoot from slip and sucker was comparably taller than those shoots taken from the crown.

The various levels of BAP supplemented in the tissue culture medium favorably influenced the number of shoots formed per explant, height of shoot, number of leaves and roots produced, length of leaves and roots, and weight of plantlets.

Plantlets derived from the three kinds of planting materials responded well to supplementation at the three and five parts per million (ppm) levels.

General results of the study showed that tissue-cultured plantlets of SR pineapple grown from different kinds of planting materials responded favorably to a lower level of BAP supplementation at three pm. – Jun Ariolo N. Aguirre
(as published in January-february issue of

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Black Beauty Boys pull rug under Kabog

By Che Q. Indelible
CBIS Hot-FM reporter

Kalibo, Aklan- The Black Beauty Boys won this year's Ati-atihan contest besting perenialwinner Tribu Kabog.

The Kalibo Ati-atihan Management Board (KAMB) which manages the Kalibo Sto. Nino Ati-atihan Festival announced the winner the other day.

Black Beauty Boys got the unanimous nod of the board of judges for the Best Original Tribal Ati-atihan Group and took home P50,000 cash prize.

Defending champion Kabog of Barangay Estancia ended on the second spot and got P40,000 cash prize while the third prize of P30,000 went to Tribu Dajan-on of Malinao.

In the Best Original Tribal small group category, Tribu Responde ranked first winning P30,000 cash while Tribu Bukid Tigayon placed 2nd with a cash prize of P25,000. Morongga Tribe was 3rd place pocketing P20,000 cash.

In the Modern Tribal Big Group category, first place went to Scorpio 11-19 with cash prize of P25,000 while the Bluebirds won 2nd prize and P20,000. The Abernano Club ranked third and took home P15,000 cash.

In the Modern Tribal Small Group category, Enigma placed first winning P15,000 cash prize; Mego ranked second to get P10,000 cash while Ngok-ngok ended in 3rd prize with P10,000.

In the Best Original Ati Group, Liloanong Ati ag si Datu Bangkaya placed first to take home P10,000 while Kinantuing won 2nd place and P6,000 cash. The third prize went to Cannibal Group.

For the Individual awards, the Most Original went to Hydro-Carbon, the most Modern - Buterfly; while Manok-Manok won the Most Fantastic Plum. The Most Symbolic went to King Cannibal while the Most Comical went to Absurongsong. Each of the winners got P1,500 each.

Meanwhile for the Higante Contest and Aklan Festival Parade, the 1st prize went to Datu Sumanghul of the municiality of Tangalan while entry Datu Sumakwel of Nabas was in second place. Entry no. 6 of Malay placed third.

The members of the board of judge's of the Board of Judges for this year's event were Corazon G. Beluso as chair and Rosselle Ruiz, chair for the committee on Higante Parade.

Members of the board of tabulators were Jobert Martelino, Rummel Refendor, Mary Lobelle Resco, Freddie Malacas and Edgar Isada.

(also published in The Guardian news dated January 18, 2006)

A dream train

Our train system particularly the north and south lines have been neglected for all our collective memory can recall.

A vigilant citizenry is then called to empower themselves with information and access to the internet and the media.

The Friends of the Philippines Railways dream that one day more trains will be at the service of its citizenry thus, the train system is an integrated information program in the mix mode of transportation option of the government. Studies have pointed out that pursuing a program in developing the railway system will help save our country much needed dollars.

With the unpredicted price of oil we will always be thrown in the bondooks. Our trains system should be managed by dedicated person who has passion on this mode of transportation. It should look into electrifying the rail system so as not to depend on diesel fuel. Electrification of the railway system will allow locomotives to be fed energy through relay towers, reducing both noise and air pollution, and allowing the train to accelerate and slow down faster.

China is ordering 60 such trains.

Our dream trains should be low floor carriage which is friendly to disabled people, equipped with air conditioning and information systems for passengers. It should also allow bicycles to be carried inside trains at certain days. Our dream trains should definitely reach the countryside wherein the bulk of our population live. If you add this up this will mean real service to the people.

Jose L. Leonidas

Mr. Jose Leonidas, took this private advocacy to the public because of his belief in the train system. He is a full time teacher at Miriam College.
To contact him and learn about his passion his mobile is: 0917 856 6747

Monday, January 16, 2006

Government leaves Boracay for private investors

Jun Ariolo N. Aguirre
Boracay Island- Despite the promising tourism industry in this resort island this year, the national government are leaving its management, investment and stakes to private investors in order to attain sustainable development tourism.

In a closed-door meeting held for Aklan’s local chief executive week-end, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo announced that the government is seriously inviting both foreign and local investors to invest in this resort island.

“Mrs. Arroyo had ordered the release of P500 million intended for the construction and rehabilitation of the Kalibo Airport. If the project would push through, we would expect a direct Taiwan-Kalibo airplane flights soon,” said Congressman Florencio Miraflores.

During the media inter-action, Mrs. Arroyo said that even reports of lucrative market for medical tourism program for the country the government is also bent on leaving such kind of business to be undertaken by the private investors especially for foreign firms.

“We already have a spa owned by an Italian private investor in the resort island. We are expecting another world-class spa soon to be built here. They will take care of establishing medical tourism facilities in Boracay,” said Mrs. Arroyo.

Report said, the Philippines are bent to compete for the medical tourism with countries such as Thailand, Malaysia, India and Singapore.

Medical tourism is said to be attract more foreign tourists in the country and in this resort island as it creates a double reasons for foreign tourists to stay in the country. If the project pushes through, tourists can go in Boracay Island for a vacation and at the same time gets cheap medical treatment compared to neighboring Asian countries.

For several years already, the private spa in this resort island has been offering and promoting indigenous medical and therapeutic benefits for prospective clients. According to the Department of Health, the indigenous massage if properly promoted could compete with the world-renowned Thai massage.

According to the Department of Tourism, 60 percent of the total foreign tourists coming into this resort island were South Koreans. This year, the DoT are targeting Chinese tourists.

Both of them reportedly are keen on experiencing the massage offered by a Boracay spa.

In October 2004, Mrs. Arroyo signed the Executive Order No. 337 creating the Eminent Persons Group in this resort island. The group headed by the Zobel and Ayala magnate was tasked to formulate plans for the sustainable tourism development in this resort island.

It also aimed to recommend to the Philippine Tourism Authority to submit the proposed formulated plans to sustain Boracay’s tourism industry.

Aklan PNP shifts gear for 'grandmother' of Philippine Festivals

Jun Ariolo N. Aguirre

Kalibo, Aklan- After the Aklan Philippine National Police proved it successful that the security system they placed during the Kalibo Sto. Nino Ati-atihan Festival, they are now geared for another event in securing the forthcoming ‘grandmother of Philippine Festivals.’

The just concluded Kalibo Ati-atihan Festival has this year’s theme of ‘The Mother of Philippine Festivals.’

Aklan PNP Acting Police Director William Macavinta said that the entire police force is now preparing for the ati-atihan event on January 21-22 in Ibajay, Aklan in western district of this province.

The Ibajay ati-atihan compared to Kalibo ati-atihan still preserved its culture and traditions compared to the latter which was already over comes by too much commercialization.

In fact, the Ibajay ati-atihan despite considering itself as pioneering ati-atihan in honor of Sto. Nino or child Jesus it still refused to be undertaken by huge promotional undertakings.

In 1990’s, the Kalibo Ati-atihan Management Board-the event organizing arm of the Kalibo revelry dubbed the festival as the original one but they were debunked by the Ibajay parish.

Cellphone snatching mars Kalibo revelry

Jun Ariolo N. Aguirre
Kalibo, Aklan- While the Aklan Philippine National Police declares the just concluded Kalibo Sto. Nino ati-atihan Festival 2006 as peaceful, many revelers went home unhappy because they were victimized by cellular phone snatchers.

Based in the record of the Kalibo PNP, some 25 cellular phones were stolen from unidentified culprits during January 14 and 15, 2006 alone. Highest stated in the record were last Saturday with 16 cellphones snatched.

“Based in the police records, most of the cellphones stolen has a camera manifesting that robbers are choosing their probable victims,” said Chief Inspector Arnold Ardiente Kalibo police chief.

The records also revealed that most of those snatching incident occurred in Pastrana Park fronting jolibee. Other revelers were also victimized in dark areas where only few revelers passed in night time.

Ardiente said, police officers have arrested suspected two cellular phone snatchers but were also released after no complaint was filed against them in court. The victims apparently did not bother in filing robbery cases after they have recovered their stolen cellular phones.

At present, the police investigators would like to determined if a cellphone snatching syndicate had penetrated this town during the revelry.