April 14, 2008


OPD & dialysis clinic open

The Out Patient Department and Dialysis Clinic of the ZaNorte Medical Canter finally opened their services last April 2.

It was earlier announced by Goy. Rolando Yebes that the transfer of the provincial hospital from its old site to its new site at Sicayab, Dipolog could be done by department to make it more systematic. He admitted though that the hospital's laboratory shall be managed by a private company which will be putting up all the machines and maintaining them. The provincial government shall then be asking a corresponding percentage, from what the company will be charging.

Highlights of the opening of the Out Patient Department and Dialysis Clinic of the ZaNorte Medical Canter.

However, he assured the members of the LANDO BIBO that they shall not be paying as much as those who can really afford the medical service of the hospital since they are PHILHEALTH members.

On the other hand, Vice Governor Francis Olvis expressed his confidence that anyone is assured of good medical service at ZaNorte Medical Center since it has new and modern equipment.

"Ang usa ka kalungsuranon aduna nay pagsalig nga siya maalim gayud sa iyang balatian tungod sa bag-ong palibot ug modernong kagamitan," the vice governor said. (Press Freedom, Vol. XX No. 25)

Credits: Press Freedom is published every Saturday and entered as 3rd class mail matter in Dipolog City. Printed by Young Printing Press with Editorial Office located at Upper Turno, Dipolog City. Tel. No. (065) 212-4343 or 212-6665. Email: pressfreedom_1983@yahoo.com.ph


Old crime, new style

It's kidnap ... and then rob! This was how Police Inspector Temothy Aniway Jr. saw it when two women victims narrated their sad experience with four motorcycle-riding hold uppers on Thursday morning at 9:20, April 3.

The victims were identified as Evelyn Carcellar and her cousin Wenifreda Allosada. The duo narrated that they withdrew money amounting to P141,000.00 from First Consolidated Bank which is situated along Magsaysay St. Barangay Miputak. Ms. Carcellar told investigators that she placed the money in her shoulder bag together with her Nokia Cellphone, PNB bankbook and another cash amount of P900.

When they walked towards their car, where personal driver Pablito de la Peña was waiting and upon arriving at Magsaysay corner Malvar St., they were met by suspects who were .wearing close type crash helmets and jackets and told them to board the XRM vehicles waiting on the roadside.

Since the suspects were armed, Ms. Cercellar willingly boarded the black XRM while Ms. Allosada boarded the red one and both had been sandwiched~ by the driver and the men with pistols and they were brought to Bagacayan, an interior sitio of Barangay Galas.

Upon reaching a deserted area in Bagacayan, Carcellar's bag which held the money was snatched away from her and they were left behind. The women victims said the hold uppers sped away as fast as they could towards an unknown direction. It was learned that the Dipolog PNP took long in responding to the crime scene since it had been reported to the PNP three hours later. It happened at 9:20 in the morning but the victims reported it at 12:20 noon already.

Barely three weeks ago, a prominent lady in Dipolog had fallen prey to Budol-budol gang who ran away with them P1M. Recently however, a 63 year old retired lady fell again into the hands of budol-budol men who extracted P22T and $39 from her. Police report disclosed that budol-budol victims had similar stories to tell, with that their style had always been repeated from victim to victim.

The lady victim disclosed that three women and a man had been to her table when she was having lunch at Ati-atihan, along Quezon Avenue, Dipolog, Monday, March 31. The suspects were seeking help from her because they told her they wanted to purchase land and the suspects showed her wads of money, millions they said. Because they were afraid to be bringing their millions, the victim narrated, they had to leave them with her but had to get a security money from her.

The lady said she withdrew P22T which she gave to them anyway she was thinking she had their millions. The suspects did not come back anymore. When she opened the bag entrusted to her, the money was just a pile of cut papers. The PNP has already the cartographic sketch of the suspects. (Press Freedom, Vol. XX No. 25)


Mayor Edding: no delay in road project

Sibuco Mayor Norbi Edding recently denied reports that the Zamboanga West Coast Road Project experienced delay due to the intervention of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

MILF was reportedly delaying the road project since the peace talks between them and the government were not yet done. However, the Mayor pointed out, the contractors are still working on the road project. "If the MILF have plans of stalling the work however, it's not a problem since the AFP Engineering Brigade is willing to undertake the road project," Mayor Edding strongly stressed, adding that the reports were just the group's gimmick or propaganda.

Sibuco Mayor Norbi Edding recently denied reports that the Zamboanga West Coast Road Project experienced delay due to the intervention of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

He reasoned that even PGMA herself could not allow such delay, if there was such. In fact, during her SONA, the Zamboanga coastal road project was one of her five priority projects in Mindanao which she promised to be completed before 2010.

Aside from the seven wanted MILF who were now in hiding in the barangays and who have standing warrant of arrest, Mayor Edding disclosed his municipality does not have MILF anymore. "Kulang lang sila sa pansin, so nagpagimik na usab kini nga babagan ang nasangpit nga proyekto," the mayor concluded. (Press Freedom, Vol. XX No. 25)


 Cigarette signages in sari-sari stores allowd by law-PTI

The Philippine Tobacco Institute (PTI) said in a recent Marikina Regional Trial Court (RTC) decision on outdoor tobacco advertising is a clear ruling that cigarette signages on top of sari-sari stores and other similar materials at point of sale outlets are allowed by law.

“We welcome the decision. The court has spoken and it is now incumbent on all stakeholders to abide by the ruling,” PTI President Rodolfo Salanga said. “This simply means signages on top of sari-sari stores are permitted,” Salanga said.

With marketing restrictions imposed by the Tobacco Regulation Act of 2003 (TRA), Salanga said the ruling will guide their member cigarette companies in responsibly marketing their products to their adult customers. Salanga said Marikina RTC Judge Alice Gutierrez finally cleared ambiguities on the definition of the word ‘premises’ under the TRA or Republic Act 911. The ruling settled the dispute on the term’s definition within the Inter-Agency Committee on Tobacco (IACT), the body created to oversee the implementation of the TRA.

Fortune Tobacco Corp. (FTC) earlier instituted a declaratory relief action with the Marikina Regional Trial Court on permissible advertising within the premises of point-of-sale establishments to secure clarity on differing views. FTC posited that the word “premises” must be given its common ordinary meaning. Judge Gutierrez said that “the term ‘premises’ is clearly visible in the text of Sec. 1.18 of the Implementing Rules & Regulations of the Tobacco Regulation Act of 2003 as plain and unmistakable as the nose on a man’s face.”

This section defines “premises” as a “tract of land and the building and buildings theron, including the open spaces between buildings located on the same tract of land and within the permiter of the said track of land.” “This Court fails to see how a different interpretation could arise even of the plain meaning rules were disregarded and the law subjected to interpretation,” the judge said. She also stressed that “the interpretation of the law subscribed to by respondents is too restrictive. It is an elementary rule that when the words and phrases of the statue are clear and unequivocal, their meaning must be derived from the language employed and the statue must be taken to mean exactly what it says.”

“To go beyond the clear and ordinary import of the words in fact used and in this case with a clear and definite meaning imparted to them the very law making authority would be tantamount to transcending the words of the legislature. In effect, we would essentially be on uncharted waters.” “Simply put, under the statue it is clear that the area where permissible outdoor advertising may be placed is broad enough to include all areas within the perimenter of said track of land where a paying patron can purchase or obtain tobacco products. Other than that, no other condition has been imposed by the law.” (PIA, Southpoint, Vol.1No.14)


Donors affirm support to Mindanao

The donor communities reaffirmed support for Mindanao’s peace and development, citing the need to move the peace process and harmonize convergence of foreign aid in the island-region.

At the recently-concluded 2008 Philippines Development Forum, donors agreed to address the need to pursue a negotiated peace settlement between the Government of the Philippines (G0P) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and improve harmonization of Official Development Assistance (ODA) as priority agenda for Mindanao. In his closing statement, Bert Hofman, Philippines Country Director of World Bank and PDF co-chair, said that addressing conflict in Mindanao is critical in alleviating poverty in the poorest regions.

“Participants agreed that it was imperative for the government and the MILF to continue (the) pursuit of a negotiated settlement of their conflict,” Hofman said, citing the results of the forum discussions. This, he added, “would permit the full development of regional agricultural and growth potential.” He further noted as positive development the ongoing review of the 1996 Peace Agreement with the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF). Citing conflict cessation as a key to poverty reduction, improving donor coordination is seen to be a critical mechanism particularly in the delivery of donor assistance in conflict and impoverished communities.

“Donors agreed to work through a unified strategy and mechanism for conflict-affected areas so that assistance is used effectively during and after the peace process,” Hofman said, adding that peace-building efforts and community-driven development programs “have shown great promise in delivering the much needed basic services in poor and conflict-affected areas.” During the Forum, some of the major donor agencies renewed commitment for a continued support to peace and development initiatives in Mindanao.

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) affirmed their support to the government’s peace and development agenda by focusing on improving education in conflict-affected areas in Mindanao, while the European Commission said it will support on improving the health sector. 

Likewise, the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) said it will work with relevant parties to build the foundation for peace in Mindanao. Also in the pipeline is Japan government’s plan to invest capital and technical assistance to Mindanao through the Japan Bangsamoro Initiatives for Reconstruction and Development (JBIRD) project. 

“The overwhelming continued support of our donor partners and a stronger voice in the Philippines Development Forum (PDF) offers a major impetus and stronger commitment in our collective pursuit of the Mindanao peace and development agenda,” said Undersecretary Virgilio Leyretana, chairperson of the Mindanao Economic Development Council (MEDCo). Leyretana also shared that MEDCo was able to initiate a convergence mechanism of Project Management Offices (PMOs) with implementing units in Mindanao to develop a “community of practice” for sharing of lessons learned and good practices in local peace-building to other donor projects, media and LGUs.

Hofman also said that strengthening the capacity of the local governments is critical to the peace and development efforts in Mindanao.  (PIA-ZN)


Southpoint Commentary
PIA (A reprint)
The need to protect women, children who are vulnerable to trafficking in persons


There is a need to strengthen measures that would protect women and children who are highly susceptible to trafficking in persons.

Statistics show that at least 2.45 million trafficking victims are currently toiling in exploitative conditions and about 1.2 million are trafficked annually, both across and within national boundaries. Of the 600,000 to 800,000 men, women and children trafficked across borders yearly, up to 80% are women and up to 50 % are children. In the Philippines, traffickers easily get away with these tremendous crimes because most often than not victims are not given much attention by the law enforcement agencies, local government units (LGU) and more often than not, the victims themselves are embarrassed to pursue the case. Victims do not come out openly in public because they are unaware of the occurrence, sometimes ashamed of their immediate family who are supposed to be the one who will comfort them.

It was learned that the usual trend is out of ten trafficking cases which are docketed in court, only one case is pursued; the other case are forgotten by the very victims because of problems on who will finance the legal, financial aspects. It is very difficult to pursue an trafficking case because it takes months or years before a final judgement is rendered. To tackle these problems, the USAID Solidarity Center International has come up with a strategy to strength multi-sector cooperation in the fight against trafficking, at the same time enhance their capacities to provide responsive delivery of programs and services and effectively prevent trafficking incidence, protect and assist victims and other vulnerable groups, including their rehabilitation and reintegration needs.

This effort should not stop after the project of the USAID Solidarity Center Internation is over. The need for strong determination and cooperation among all the stakeholders in protecting the women and children of the Philippines from becoming victims of traffickers, is a continuous need and a continuous commitment. (Southpoint, Vol.1No.14)

Credits: The Southpoint is the latest weekly news publication circulated in the province of Zamboanga del Norte, Zamboanga Sibugay and Misamis Occidental. It is registered under DTI Permit No. 00282924. The Southpoint can be reached through the following contact info: Sindangan, ZN; Landline: 212 – 4019; Mobile No.: +63 921 458 3830. Email: southpoint8@yahoo.com


Dipolog’s share in solving rice crisis

In the midst of the so-called crisis or shortage of rice supply, including corn, the local government of Dipolog is willing to undertake the repair and rehabilitate the existing irrigation canal serving big areas of ricefields in the city and part of Polanco town if only to boast production of the staple and avert the crisis here. The said irrigation system is in dire need of repair and/or rehabilitation lest local rice production will be greatly affected.

Dipolog City Mayor Evelyn T. Uy in an interview with this paper said she finally decided, in consultation with her advisers, to come to the rescue of the ailing irrigation system, firstly, as the local government’s share in the national move to avert rice shortage especially here, and secondly, to save the local irrigators’ association from borrowing another amount to rehabilitate the system. If the repair/rehabilitation will be undertaken by the city government, the bigger amount for the project will come from the national government through the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) and another in the form of an equity from the local purse.

The local government of Dipolog headed by Mayor Evelyn T. Uy is willing to undertake the repair and rehabilitation of the existing irrigation canal serving big areas of ricefields in the city and part of Polanco town to share in the national move to avert rice shortage especially here, and secondly, to save the local irrigators’ association from borrowing another amount to rehabilitate the system.

The Polanco-Dipolog Communal Irrigation System run by the Dipolog-Polanco Irrigators Association under the supervision of the NIA plays a very vital role in rice production in the area. The said irrigation system serves approximately 1,100 hectares of ricefields situated in the two localities but because of the not-so-good condition of the main canal, at times flow of water to the needy fields are hampered and in effect hampered production also.

After learning of the available amount from the national government to be channeled through the NIA, Mayor Belen Uy decided to accept the challenge to undertake the repair/rehabilitation of the local irrigation system even if the city government has to put in its equity if only to help the plight of local rice farmers. If the plan pushes through, the repair/rehabilitation will be financed by NIA’s P4.1-million fund and the city government will put in its equity of P1.2-million.

According to OIC City Agriculturist Dionisio Mandawe, most probably the city engineering will do the implementation of the works while his office will do the supervision. If the city government will not undertake the repair/rehabilitation of the said irrigation system, the local irrigators’ association will be burdened again of borrowing for the purpose of another P5-million on top of its already existing loan of P20-million. (Dipolog Chronicle, Vol.VII No.42)

Credits: Dipolog Chronicle is published every Saturday and its Editorial Office is located at 059 Lacaya St., Dipolog and can be reached through the following Tel. No.: 212-2255


Tampilisan is No. 1 rubber producer

The municipality of Tampilisan recently registered the biggest rubber latex production in the province.

Mayor Romeo "Jan-Jan" Jalosjos disclosed that he lost interest in his bid for the establishment of corn post harvest processing plant and trading center of the National Agribusiness Corporation.

He pointed out that his constituents were more interested in planting more rubber trees than corn. Although he tried to convince them to grow more corn in the area, they were hesitant because of the big margin in the market price. He disclosed that rubber price is now pegged at P42 per kilo while NABCOR'S buying price for corn is only at P3/kilo.

Tampilisan Mayor John Jalosjos, midawat sa financial assistance nga gitunol sa probinsya pinaagi ni Gov. Rolando Yebes nagkantidad ug 1 million pesos alang sa municipal road rehabilitation project.

Since the Department of Agriculture had to choose between Tampilisan and Liloy for its next post harvest facility after Sergio Osmeña, Mayor Jalosjos did not anymore insist that it should be placed in Tampilisan but instead moved for its establishment in Liloy which has a wider corn plantation. (Press Freedom, Vol. XX No. 25)



Press Freedom Special Feature
Memories of a friend whose life was snuffed out early

"A man who finds humor in anything under the sun" This is one description of Mr. Alton Caermare Ratificar"

Born to the later Atty. Francisco Catane Ratificar and Mrs. Rufina Caermare Ratificar in January 31, 1957, "Alton John" as he was fondly called, was a person of happy and easy disposition. As an only child, he could have anything that he wanted, but through the loving and firm guidance of his doting parents, at an early age he learned to share, negotiate and relate effectively with others.

Our paths first crossed when we were both seven years old. Having started schooling at the Miputak Elementary School, he enrolled at the Dipolog Pilot Demonstration School for Grade Two. Even at that tender age, he was a personality to reckon with - gregarious, assertive and helpful. He was always a participant in any class or school program, comfortable in singing, dancing or extemporaneous speech. Soon after that he went back to his former school and finished his elementary years there with honors.

Councilor Alton Caermare Ratificar is one of the most invigorating and very insightful councilors that the city of Dipolog has ever voted into the political arena since he was chosen by the Dipolognons during the May 11, 1998 elections. He will truly be missed by all.

Several years later, we met again at the shady Narra-line yard fronting the then Administration Building of the Zamboanga del Norte Provincial High School now known as the main campus. There we were, more than 600 first year students from all over the province. At the orientation on the first day of classes, student's names were posted by section at the bulletin board. His name, along with 39 others, was listed as belonging to Section One. To belong to the prime section was significant because our classmates were mostly honor students from the various elementary schools of the myriad towns and 'barangays' of Zamboanga del Norte. Our Mister Affable Alton lost no time in making friends of both boys and girls that he was, from then on, a popular campus figure, recognized not just by our batch but even by those of other years! No wonder he always won a seat in the student government and was comfortable interacting with any student from any level.

In high school, his knack for entertainment and making people laugh was born and honed. Every break time, one would find him surrounded by a group of classmates intently listening to his every word then suddenly breaking into abandoned laughter each one obviously tickled by the picture he painted with his graphic words. His jokes were candid and spontaneous, often about a recent incident whether at the classroom with sir or ma'am so and so, or even about one of us. They were funny, never demeaning jests that focused on the humor of a particular situation. They were wonderful stress-diffusing moments from the competitive atmosphere of healthy and intelligent adolescents whose hormones wee as active as ever!

Alton pursued political science and law at Silliman University and there our paths crossed again. He began to make a name for himself as "Alto John after Elton John the famous British composer/singer during the university's "Founder's Day", he would have a variety show and sing his signature song "Around the World" and many others complete with funny antics. And, it always brought the house down! He cleverly arranged something new in his repertoire that the audience would guffaw in laughter, clamouring for more! Consequently, he became well known not just at the College of Arts and Sciences, but in all the colleges in the university. He would be invited to present his show in student activities all over the campus, including the dormitories. Thus his name became synonymous with fun and mirth.

After finishing law at Silliman, he worked with the National Bureau of Investigation for several years. He decided it was high time to settle down and tied the marital knot with the former Miss Maritza Tan Vallecer. They have a lovely girl, Marella Kristel, now eleven years old.

He later joined the intriguing world of politics and was elected city councilor for nine consecutive years. In all this time, his name was never involved in a scandal of any form. Nor did we hear of any news that he used his position and influence to enrich himself in office. He just did his part as committee chair of the agriculture and tourism sectors, to be of service to the community to the best of his ability.

In 2007, he consulted a physician for some changes he had observed, and the findings yielded several tumors in his liver with a forbidding diagnosis of grade IV hepatic cancer. In one of our visits he shared that earlier on, small tumors were already seen in his liver and one surgeon recommended their removal but he sort of down played that diagnosis. He also said he had lived a full life having done his share of travel, service to the community, etc. and would have wanted to do more for others, but was ready to face his Maker. He had indeed blossomed into a man who had come to terms with his humanity and recognized that time to go back to his Creator was at hand.

So, on April 2, 2008, at 5:30 pm. we bid goodbye to a dear friend who was almost like a blood brother, and thank him for sharing his God-given gifts and talents with us. As we grieve for his loss, St. Paul in his first letter to the Thessalonians chapter 4 verses 14 and 15 also comfort us, "Brothers we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men who have no hope. We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus who have fallen asleep in him." (Ms. Evelyn A. Luna, Press Freedom, Vol. XX No. 25)


From P500 to P5,000
WWII veterans’ pension increased

In celebration of the Araw ng Kagitingan, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo this week  signed a bill into a law increasing the old age pension of World War II veterans from P500 to P5,000 a month during ceremonies commemorating “Araw ng Kagitingan”  (April 9).

The new Republic Act (RA) entitled “An Act allowing Filipino World War II Veterans to continue receiving Philippine Government Pensions and Benefits notwithstanding similar Pensions and Benefits provided by the United States Government otherwise known as the “Filipino World War II Veterans Pension and Benefits Act of 2008,” amends RA 6498 also known as “An Act Standardizing and Upgrading the Benefits for Military Veterans and their Dependents” which was signed in a law in April 1990 during the term of former President Corazon Aquino.

Section 10 of RA 6498 allowed a veteran aged at least 65 years old to be paid an old-age pension of P500 a month. Furthermore, Section 11 of the same RA allowed the same amount to be given to “the surviving spouse of a veteran who died after having received old-age pension.” The still unnumbered RA effectively increases to P5,000 the amount the pensioner or his spouse will receive monthly. In signing the new RA, the President upholds the policy of the State to “recognize and reward the courage and heroism of Filipino WW II veterans by granting them pensions and benefits even when similar pension and benefits are already provided for by the United States Government.”  (PIA-ZN)


Gov’t action plan unveiled to ensure rice supply stable

President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo unveiled last week a three-phased government Action Plan to ensure the steady supply of affordable rice in the country amid a tightening inventory of the cereal worldwide. In her opening statement during the joint National Anti-Poverty Commission-National Economic and Development Authority Cabinet Group (NAPC-NEDACG) meeting at the State Dining Room in Malacanang, the President enumerated the three phases of the Action Plan as:

First, is to secure supply; second, to ensure proper distribution, and third, to guarantee enforcement of laws to protect the people against corruption and price-gouging. ‘’We can report that our supply is secured for the foreseeable future,’’ the President said.

“Our program of fertilizers, irrigation and infrastructure, equipment, education and expansion, loans, dryers and post-harvest facilities and seeds have allowed us to increase our rice production by more than the population growth rate of 2.04 percent,” she said. The President also revealed that 500,000 metric tons of rice have already arrived as part of the government’s procurement program to fill the historical gap between production and consumption of the staple in the country.

She said 70 percent of the 500,000 metric tons came from Vietnam; 30 percent, from Thailand. Other shipments with a combined total of 700,000 metric tons are arriving this month, in May and June, she said. Moreover, a public bidding for the supply of rice to the Philippines has been set for April 17, the President said, for the delivery of another 500,000 metric tons in May, June and July, she said.

“Another bidding is set in May for rice deliveries in June, July and August for the balance of the 500,000 metric tons,” she added. To ensure the proper distribution of rice, the President said the Cabinet will adopt measures to avoid hitches in the smooth and prompt delivery of the commodity from the provinces to the metropolis and other areas of the country at the least possible cost.

The President also called on the faith-based community to help government deliver rice to those most in need. ‘’The government is sparing no effort to ensure that our supplies of rice get from their source to the tables of Filipinos throughout our nation. We are going to enlist the faith-based community...our churches and mosques—to deliver relief to our poor in terms of essential supplies of rice and other basic communities,’’ she said.

To protect consumers from unscrupulous rice traders, the President stressed that she is “leading the charge to crack down on any form of corruption by public or private officials who would divert supplies or pervert the price of this essential commodity in any way.’’ She minced no words in condemning rice hoarders and price-gougers, calling them “rice bandits and unscrupulous who would hold our citizens hostage to their own selfish and corrupt practices.” (Dipolog Chronicle, Vol.VII No.42)


Tougher laws against illegal rice trade practices readied

In a related development, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo last week said she will submit to Congress a Consumers Bill of Rights calling for tougher laws against rice hoarders and other unscrupulous rice traders.

“Anyone caught stealing rice from the people, we will seek to throw in jail,” she said in her opening statement at the joint National Poverty Commission-National Economic and Development Authority (NAPC-NEDA) Cabinet Group meeting in Malacanang. The President said the proposed Consumers Bill of Rights would help reinforce the protection and defense of consumers and at the same time strengthen the “penalties against those individuals or entities that abuse the right of our people to this basic commodity.” It was the second time in three weeks that the President underscored the need for a Consumers Bill of Rights to protect the consumers from rice hoarding, price-gouging and other illegal business practices.

In a speech in Cagayan de Oro City last month, the President said she was asking Congress to enact a Consumers Bill of Rights to “protect our citizens from price gouging, false advertising and other scams that prey on our people.” “Those who seek to take advantage of our people must be stopped,” the President said, adding that she would lead the charge in going after any form of corruption that would result to diverting of supplies and increased prices. “We have already taken steps to protect our consumers from rice bandits and unscrupulous traders who would hold our citizens hostage to their own selfish and corrupt practices,” she said. Earlier, the President had ordered the National Food Authority (NFA) to distribute the staple directly to Metro Manila’s 400 markets, and the cancellation of all licenses of accredited retailers in the markets.

After a two-week phasing in period, the government will cancel the rest of the licenses of the 15,000 accredited NFA rice retailers across the country. An Anti-Rice Hoarding Task Force was also created to handle cases involving the manipulation of the rice supply to the detriment of the consuming public. (Dipolog Chronicle, Vol.VII No.42)


US ready to make rice available as much as RP needs, says Amb. Kristie Kenny

PILAR, Bataan – Still in a related development, US Ambassador to the Philippines Kristie Kenney said here last week that the United States would send more rice to the country to help Filipinos cope with the problem of rising food prices and avert any shortage of the Filipino staple food.

Ambassador Kenney affirmed the United States’ resolve to help the Philippines when she was interviewed by the media during the 66th anniversary celebration of the Araw ng Kagitingan at the Mt. Samat Shrine in Pilar, Bataan. “We are ready to make rice available as much as the Philippines needs,” Kenney said.

Earlier, President Gloria Ma-capagal-Arroyo announced the importation of 50,000 metric tons of rice from the United States in addition to the 700,000 metric tons of the staple that would arrive within the next three months to beef up the country’s inventory. (PIA-ZN)



From hospitals to Infirmary

Some government hospitals in Zamboanga del Norte are feared to be affected by the Rationalization Plan of the provincial government.

Dr. Carmencita Icao, Provincial Health Officer explained that there have been government hospitals in the area which are still in operation despite the absence of doctors. According to the RATPLAN, Dr. Icao disclosed, all municipal hospitals which really don't have doctors shall become infirmary or berthing home.

This means, she explained, the hospitals shall cater only to serving women who are giving birth. Moreover, government hospitals which are over utilized shall be upgraded like the hospitals of Manukan, Sindangan, Piñan and Liloy.

Hospitals to be downgraded includes Sibutad and Sergio Osmeña which don't have any doctors and don't have even Municipal Health Officers. Meanwhile, Siocon Municipal Hospital shall become a secondary hospital to be maintained by the local government of Siocon.

Dr. Icao assured the employees affected by the plan not to worry because they are still with the infirmary. (Press Freedom, Vol. XX No. 25)


Credits: Press Freedom is published every Saturday and entered as 3rd class mail matter in Dipolog City. Printed by Young Printing Press with Editorial Office located at Upper Turno, Dipolog City. Tel. No. (065) 212-4343 or 212-6665. Email: freedom_nandau @yahoo.com

Credits: The New Nandau is a member of the Publishers Association of the Philippines (PAPI). Editorial office is located at 076 Quezon Avenue, Dipolog City with Tel. No. (065) 212-3794; Cell No. +639205201041. Email: freedom_nandau @yahoo.com

Credits: Mindanao Star is published once a week and is circulated to the 25 Municipalities and 2 Cities of the province of Zamboanga del Norte. Mindanao Star can be reached through the following contact info: #096 Donña Concepcion Macias Montaño Building, Gen. Luna Street, Dipolog City; Phone/Fax No. (065) 212-2676; Mobile No.: 0919 735 6967. Email: mindanaostar@yahoo.com



Si Governor Rolando Yebes ug Vice Governor Francis Olvis maoy pinakaunang pasyenti nga nagpa konsulta sa dispensaryo sa unang adlaw sa pagbukas ngadto sa publiko ang Zamboanga del Norte Medical Center niadtung Miyerkules.

Matud ni Provincial Planning Coordinator Rosevic Lacaya-Ocampo, gi-designate nga Hospital Administrator sa ZMC, sila si Governor Yebes ug Vice Governor Olvis maoy una nga nagpakonsulta sa doctor pinaagi sa pagpakuha niini ug blood preasure human gihimo ang seremonyas.

 Gov. Yebes’ State of the Province Address:
Presidential Lingkod Bayan Award kalamposan sa iyang unang termino


Credits: The New Nandau is a member of the Publishers Association of the Philippines (PAPI). Editorial office is located at 076 Quezon Avenue, Dipolog City with Tel. No. (065) 212-3794; Cell No. +639205201041. Email: freedom_nandau @yahoo.com



My Best Foot
By: Engr. Ric Tenorio

Nothing left to sell

Some thirty years ago, Thailand and Vietnam sent their young students to the Philippines to study how to plant rice at U.P. Rice Research Institute (IRRI). Now the Philippines is importing rice from Thailand and Vietnam. Naks ano ba yan? Nakakahiya naman yan.


Gloria will celebrate her birthday this month. She can also celebrate for being the only president of this country to survive the people's wrath.Why not celebrate also the death of TRUTH in this country? Or perhaps for having made this country a laughing stock before the community of nations?


Poor Filipinos are selling their kidneys for only $1,500. That's because the poor has nothing left to sell but their vital organs.


The Senate was irked on Sec. Ermita's interpretation of the Supreme Court's ruling over Neri's petition. Simply because he is not a lawyer. Lawyers do interpret laws but the court is the final arbiter. But lawyers too misinterpret the laws that’s why they lose their cases in court.


Why are farmers no longer interested to til the soil? Farming is no longer lucrative. With no government support, no farmer can survive under the present condition.


In other countries, farmers receive subsidy from government. In the Philippines, farmers receive ejectment orders.


A retired teacher of DPDS fall victim by "Budol-Budol". There won 't be budol-budol victims if there are no greedy people, "For want of more, more were lost.


Finally the ZANORTE Medical Hospital has opened its doors to the public. Better late than never. Since the hospital is new, we expect the services to be far better than the old Provincial Hospital.


GMA will have a respite in her hectic schedule when she will celebrate her birthday. I think that she needed some rest. "Happy birthday Madam President. " May you survive from all the trials and tribulations that come your way. Otherwise, get the hell out there.


Zamboanga City is the over-all champion of the recently concluded Regional Palaro. That's not surprising. They have been champions since time in memorial.


Lawyer: What? For just a leak in the faucet you are charging me P500.00 in less than an hour work? I'm a lawyer and I don't earn that much for one hour.

Plumber: I know, I was a lawyer too! And I don 't earn that much either. Naks!!! Totoo ba yan?


The senators claim that what the 3 senate committees are doing in investigating the alleged NBN, ZTE deal is in Aid to Legislation. Really? By the looks of it, what the senators are doing is in Aid of media recognition. In other words it's simply "Grand standing".


The whistle blower, Jun Lozada will soon lose the glory of his smiles, when he will soon come to realize that he was exploited and made as pawn to some ambitious wanabee politicians. If before he cried crocodile tears, very soon it will be a cry of a frustrated hero. What goes up always goes down, remember? (Press Freedom, Vol. XX No. 25)


Credits: Press Freedom is published every Saturday and entered as 3rd class mail matter in Dipolog City. Printed by Young Printing Press with Editorial Office located at Upper Turno, Dipolog City. Tel. No. (065) 212-4343 or 212-6665. Email: freedom_nandau @yahoo.com






 The Turning Point
Edwin G. Bernido
God's word is a two-edge sword

The certainty that comes from believing God's word is so liberating. Human word's can soothe, comfort, inspire and challenge. But its power is limited by the fact that it does not have authority. 1 can tell a dying person to take heart, but do I have the power to give Him life? On the other hand, God's word is authoritative. You can beat your life on it.

That's why, God's word is also a two-edge sword, because God knows what is in man. His word speaks into the depths of our being. It exposes the core issues that control us. Then it offers freedom to those who believe its testimony. It cuts bet it also binds up and heals.

I sincerely hope we have not become too familiar with the word of god that we do not enjoy its sweetness anymore, that it no longer feeds our souls. In Psalm 73, the Psalmist was deeply troubled over the seeming prosperity

of arrogant and wicked men. He was tempted to be discouraged. What is the use of living for God. But after he sought and heard from the Lord, he declared, as for me the nearness of God is my good. 1 have made the Lord my refuge. (Psalm 73:28) He found new courage to keep doing what is right as God showed Him the destiny of the wicked.

Thank God that by faith in His word, we can face the harsh realities of our world and still have peace and joy As apostle Paul, wrote to the Romans, "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing. (Romans 15:13) I suppose the key to finding encouragement in the word of God is in believing, believing in the authority and faithfulness of its source.

May the Spirit of God revive our confidence in the written word. Let us turn to it in our times of distress and uncertainty. Everything in the world may pass away, but the word of the Lord abides forever (1 Peter 1:25).


The dynamics of Faith:
1) Faith is received from God
2.) Faith is developed thru the word of God
3.) Faith is released thru words and action
4) Faith is tested in our day to day circumstances (James 1:2-3) (Press Freedom, Vol. XX No. 25)


Credits: Press Freedom is published every Saturday and entered as 3rd class mail matter in Dipolog City. Printed by Young Printing Press with Editorial Office located at Upper Turno, Dipolog City. Tel. No. (065) 212-4343 or 212-6665. Email: freedom_nandau @yahoo.com




Credits: Mindanao Star is published once a week and is circulated to the 25 Municipalities and 2 Cities of the province of Zamboanga del Norte. Mindanao Star can be reached through the following contact info: #096 Donña Concepcion Macias Montaño Building, Gen. Luna Street, Dipolog City; Phone/Fax No. (065) 212-2676; Mobile No.: 0919 735 6967. Email: mindanaostar@yahoo.com



Australia offers 150 scholarships for Asia-Pacific

The Australian government recently launched its 2009 Australian Leadership Awards (ALA) Scholarships Program which will open to 150 students from across the Asia-Pacific region including the Philippines.

 “An ALA Scholarship is a significant opportunity for high achievers in the Philippines to extend their education, strengthen their leadership skills, build networks and develop strategies to address the development challenges we share,” Ambassador Rod Smith , Australian Ambassador to the Philippines, said.

Smith added that the prestigious ALA sponsorship program which is open to current and emerging leaders in the Asia-Pacific region will provide funding for study at Masters and Doctorate levels in Australia. The ALA Scholarship is one of the Australian Government Scholarship programs managed by the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID). AusAID spends over $A133 million annually on scholarship programs.  The AusAID said that scholars will be selected from a highly competitive regional pool on the basis of demonstrated leadership qualities and academic achievement.

Students who will be given scholarship grants will study in Australian universities in 2009. “Awards are open for all fields of study however study programs that relate to the priority themes of shared regional interest – international trade, pandemics, security and climate change including clean energy – are encouraged”, AusAID said.

Last March, sixteen (16) scholars from the Mindanao Economic Development Council (MEDCo) underwent a two-week peace-building and development training course in Brisbane at the University of Queensland to develop peace and development frameworks. The course, which continues until the end of April in Mindanao, is significant to MEDCo’s role in promoting and integrating peace and development in the island-region. Applications for 2009. ALA Scholarships will close on 30 June 2008. Interested applicants may visit the website - http://www.ausaid.gov.au/scholar/ala.cfm - for more information. (MEDCo w/AusAID). (PIA-ZN)



Press Freedom Editorial
The culture of rice

It was way back in the mid 60's when rice shortage had seen many people queuing the long line just to get a few gantas of NARIC, a government rice which to many people spelled spiritless and odorous grains.

The people did not have a choice but to grab the grains in order to fill a hungry stomach. 'Forty-five years or so after that, the same heart-rending scenario recurs. It is a shame that an agricultural country like ours could still see people scampering for rice.

During the time of Magellan, a Filipino historian, noted rice was seen as the grains of the rich. The historian claimed that it was food associated with the affluent. It had even power. It was used to purchase jewelry, land and even used in exchange of a bride!

But it has come to pass that rice ceases to be the grains for the gods. All these years, rice has been on the tables of the poor as well and they enjoyed it as a complete food without any viand to help it down their throats.

It is very clear then that we have too much need for it. Statistics shows that Filipinos consume about 11B metric tons of rice every year, a consumption volume our own government could not imagine.

But if we take a sharp turn in our eating style, we can possibly turn to food alternates like camote, cassava or banana (that is, if we could survive the air).

Or perhaps turn to instant noodles, bread and cakes (as Marie Antoinette would have it).

And survive.

For sure we could still sleep the night away even if our belly murmurs at the beginning.

All it takes is the will to get used to it. (Press Freedom, Vol. XX No. 25)


Credits: Press Freedom is published every Saturday and entered as 3rd class mail matter in Dipolog City. Printed by Young Printing Press with Editorial Office located at Upper Turno, Dipolog City. Tel. No. (065) 212-4343 or 212-6665. Email: freedom_nandau @yahoo.com





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