Bataan forests candidate for Heritage park lists

The 20,607 hectares of forested areas in Bataan have been recommended by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR to be included among the protected areas in the Heritage Parks list of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).


 DENR’s newly-designated Regional Executive Director Franciso Milla, Jr., said in a statement that Bataan Natural Park has a total of 19,821 hectares and Roosevelt Protected Landscape has 786 hectares of forested areas that are being protected by the DENR and the Provincial government to prevent poaching and illegal logging.


To protect the virgin forests of the province, then governor now congressman of Bataan Second district Enrique “Tet” Garcia had purchased a helicopter to watch over the remaining forested areas and water shed of Bataan. The helicopter was also being used in aerial seedlings into the mountains.


Governor Abet S. Garcia, right after his assumption as chief executive of Bataan, had directed the Environment and Natural Resources Office (ENRO), with the assistance of the provincial DENR personnel, to further enrich the remaining forested areas of the province through massive reforestation and protection from illegal poaching and logging.


Gov. Garcia wanted that his order shall be fully enforced no matter whose toes they will be step on, following reports in the past that there were influential individuals resort to illegal logging.


Aside from the two forested areas, the DENR said that they are also eyeing the inclusion of the 2,177 hectare-Biak Na Bato National Park in Bulacan and 3,715 hectare-Mt. Arayat National Park in Pampanga into the list of Heritage Parks of ASEAN.


“Once approved, these protected areas shall receive international funding from ASEAN and European countries to further promote their conservation and protection,” said Regional Director Milla Jr. said in a press statement.


Up to 150,000 Euros or P9 million await each that makes the list once it passes the criteria set by the Los Banos-based ASEAN Center for Biodiversity (ACB), which serves as secretariat of the program.


“The Philippines is one of the 18 mega diverse countries in the world, but it is also one of the world’s biodiversity hotspots. We can reverse this trend by promoting greater public awareness and cooperation in the protection and conservation of our protected areas,” Milla added.


Protected areas are defined as those set aside by government for their unique physical and biological significance, managed to enhance biological diversity, and protected against destructive human exploitation.


According to DENR list, Central Luzon has 35 protected areas covering a total of 341,430 hectares, but did not say if some of these areas are also candidates for Heritage park list.


Criteria to make it to the list include being ecologically complete and represent the different ecosystems; it is documented as a conservation area, and has an approved management plan.


To date, there are 33 declared ASEAN Heritage Parks.


Of these, five are found in the country namely Mt. Kitanglad Range Natural Park in Bukidnon; Mt. Apo Natural Park in Davao; Mt. Iglit-Baco National Park in Mindoro; Mt. Malindang Range Natural Park in Misamis Occidental and Mt. Makiling Nature Reserve in Laguna.


Apart from the Philippines, other ASEAN member-states are Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand, Singapore and Vietnam. –Mar T Supnad


Mayor Joet, 4 others attend Int’l forum



BALANGA CITY, Bataan- Mayor Joet S. Garcia of this city was among the members of the League of Cities of the Philippines (LCP) who attended the recent World Urban Forum in Medellin City, Colombia, which is aimed at enhancing opportunities for growth, learning, and partnership.

A younger brother of Gov. Abet S. Garcia and son of incumbent Congressman Tet Garcia (2nd district) Mayor Joet, LCP National Vice Chairperson, is joined by Mayor Montilla of Tacurung City, Muntinlupa City Mayor Jimmy Fresnedi, Dipolog City Mayor Evelyn Uy, and Candon City Mayor Ericson Singson who attended the internal forum.

The LCP delegates’ participation to the forum was sponsored by the Cities Alliance through the Knowledge Management and Exchange System (KMES) project.

The Philippines was among the 160 participating countries in the forum.


The attendance of mayor Garcia to the International forum is another breakthrough since the bright mayor can utilize this to further  enhance the opportunities for growth, learning, and partnerships in this Component City that has been the envy of others.

The Medellin City and the Colombian government hosted the World Urban Forum since Medellin is considered an international example of urban transformation through social urbanism.


Since his assumption as mayor here, Garcia has been able to convert the city proper into a world class commercial center with the sprouting like mushrooms of sky rise malls and is designed into a unique architectural landscape, earning the admiration and praise of the Bataenos.


Under Mayor Joet’s leadership, Balanga city has been a recipient for various national and regional awards for good governance, effective leadership, among others.-Mar T Supnad 

4 Bataan studes bag 4 gold medals

They will represent the country in the ASEAN Skills Competition (ASC) in Vietnam this October


By: Mar T Supnad


ORION, Bataan- Four students from Bataan’s Technological Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA)  and Eastwood College bagged four gold medals during the recently concluded Philippine National Skills Competition (PNSC) overall crown in the 2014 edition.


Aside from the four gold medals, another silver medal and a Diploma for Excellence were also awarded to two other students in the province.

 Central Luzon Gold Medal winners from Bataan are Gino Eulatic from TESDA Regional Training Center in Mariveles, Bataan (Electrical Installation); Keith Beja from TESDA Provincial Training Center in Orion, Bataan (Electronics); Percian Borja from Eastwoods Professional College of Science and Technology, Bataan (Web Design); and Wilfred Miguel Calimbas from TESDA Provincial Training Center in Orion, Bataan (Welding).


Other gold winners in Central Luzon are Rey Mark De Mayo from PEACE Training Center in Aurora (Beauty Therapy); Jasper Kaiser De Vera from Tarlac School of Arts and Trade (Cooking); Christopher Gania from St. Nicolas College of Business and Technology in Pampanga (Graphic Design Technology); Angelica Rafallo from Mel Blancia Learning Institute, Bulacan (Hairdressing); Francis Erizz Florentino from ACLC-Malolos, Bulacan (IT Software Solutions for Business); Joshua Mina from CLSU-CTC Foundation, Nueva Ecija (Mechanical Engineering Design-CAD.

Another Bataenos Rich Viczon Noza from TESDA Regional Training Center in Mariveles,  took home a Bronze medal in the Automobile Technology contest while Diplomas of Excellence, on the other hand, were given to Michael Anjelo Bautista from TESDA Provincial Training Center in Tarlac (Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning) and Benjar Maga from Philippine Women’s University-Bataan (Restaurant Services). 



CALABARZON placed first runner-up with Four Gold, a Silver, and Four Bronze while National Capital Region ended second runner-up with Two Gold, Three Silver, Two Bronze and Two Diplomas of Excellence.


“PNSC is considered as the Olympics of blue-collar occupations where technical-vocational trainees and trainers, graduates, workers and practitioners meet to showcase their talent and skills in a competitive but friendly setting,” TESDA Director-General Joel Villanueva told newsmen.


Top finishers shall represent the country in the ASEAN Skills Competition (ASC) in Vietnam this October.


“Philippines’ participation in ASC in the
past years has afforded our delegates an opportunity to challenge 
themselves and hone not just their skills but certain qualities as well such as teamwork, creativity and discipline,” Villanueva said Adding “Our entries will bring honor and prestige both to the country and to their respective companies. That’s why we should give them the full backing.”

 -Mar T Supnad


This is one for Guinness record:Tuyo fest





BALANGA CITY, Bataan- This is one for the Guinness Book of World Records, perhaps.


If Pangasinan’s Banus festival is being put on Guinness record, the same should also be inscribed into the world record after this city, which is producing 14 tons of Tuyo yearly,  had again laid Monday the longest Tuyo (dried fish) contest, along the City proper’s Plaza mayor de Balanga.

Balanga City Mayor Joet S. Garcia and Vice Mayor Noel Valdecanas led on Monday the City’s annual longest tuyo laying contest, one of the highlights of this city’s fiesta.


Also participated in the Tuyo laying contest were City and barangay officials who were divided into five (5) groups that competed in the contest held along the road fronting the Plaza Mayor de Balanga.


For its own identification, each group represented a color of their own.   


The unique dried fish contest lasted for one hour where Tuyo producers-participants demonstrated their skills in laying and drying their products.


No less than Mayor Garcia and Vice Mayor Valdecanas led the occasion and gamely participated in the individual tuyo laying contest, to the cheers of the viewers.         


The tuyo festival is aimed at showcasing the production of  dried fish, and the different menu of serving tuyo.  


Mayor Garcia said that they are doing this contest to let the whole world  know that Balanga City is producing the best and the tastiest tuyo, “and that we are proud of it.” 


The visit of almost all visitors coming here is not complete if they could not buy and bring home  Tuyo and tinapa (smoke fish), Balanga City’s One Town One Product.     


According to  City Agriculture Office, Balanga has an average annual production of more than 14 metric tons of tuyo where more than 625 fishermen and 94 fish processors benefit from the tuyo industry in this City.-Mar T Supnad


Pantranco employees elect their officers



               Displaced employees of the defunct government-owned Pantranco North Express Inc (PNEI), elected Saturday their new set of 15 Union officers called Pantranco Retrenched Employees Association (PANREA), paving the way for their smooth release of their long delayed benefits.

After the successful election, the newly- elected 15-member of the Board then chose among themselves, under their constitution and by-laws,  their four key top officers.

Reelected president was Romy Alfonso; Vice president Hermie Navarro; Secretary Pedro Barrientos, and  Treasurer Ms. Ofel  Manabat.

The elected Union officers will serve a three-year term.

Alfonso and Manabat expressed optimism that the fresh mandate given to them by the Union members will pave the way for a smoother release of their long delayed additional monetarial benetis that was blocked by “too-much politicking” by other members of the Pantranco employees.

Under the leadership and initiatives of Alfonso and Manabat, tens of millions of pesos had been released and paid to the employees in the past years. However, some more should be given to the employees as their separation benefits after the Pantranco, then sequestered by the Presidential Commission on good Government, went bankrupt and suddenly closed shop, without the employees being paid.

The National Labor Relations Commission and the Court of Appeals ruled that the remaining assets of Pantranco should be given to the displaced employees as their monetary benefits.

  Alfonso said that tens of millions of pesos are awaiting for distribution to the 500 members of the group after they won from Court of Appeals for the granting of franchise of around 489 units of the bus that will, in turn, be sold to cover the monetarial benefits of the employees.  

               According to the PANREA president, they can now act freely to dispose their franchise and other assets of the company, then,  he said another set of monetary benefits will be distributed to the employees.

               Alfonso lauded the CA ruling granting their petition, saying the long-delayed justice for the displaced employees of Pantranco, can now be achieved.

               Survived from a heart by-pass operation, Alfonso said the said 489 new units can then be sold  and the millions of pesos proceeds of which will be immediately distributed to the more than 500 –strong member of PANREA.

               “Maliban sa magandang balita na naipanalo natin ang prankisa ng ating units ay naipanalo na rin natin ang inilabang pagpapatitulo sa ating lote sa Santiago City matapos aprobahan ng korte ang titulo natin sa lupa na matagal nang ginagamit na kalsada ng Santiago City; Natural babayaran na ng pamahalaan ang ating lote doon at ito ay idi distribute na naman natin sa mga miyembro pagkatapos ng election,” pointed out Alfonso.

               Mar T Supnad




Rape suspect arrested by CIDG

SUBIC BAY FREEPORT- The Criminal Investigation and Detection Group in Bataan arrested Friday a suspected rapist who was wanted by the law for allegedly facing three counts of rape in Bataan.


Chief Inspector Ruben S. Tampis, Bataan CIDG provincial officer, reported that Armando Gavino, Jr., of Orani town, Bataan was collared at about 9:35am of March 7, 2014, by the Bataan CIDG Detectives that he personally after they  conducted operation against wanted persons inside Subic Bay Freeport Zone, Olongapo City.


The apprehension of Gavino brought to seven the number of top most wanted persons arrested by Major Tampis and his men in two months time.



According to Major Tampis, the arrest of Gavino was based on  virtue of Warrant of Arrest issued on 22 March,  2012 by Judge Remigio Escalada, Jr of Regional Trial Court branch 3, Balanga City in Connection with Criminal Cases numbers  12693, 12694 and 12695 (3 counts) for Rape with no bail recommended in all cases.


 The case stemmed from the complaint of one Vens, who was then a minor for the alleged rape perpetrated against her by Gavino on three different occasions in 2010.


 Gavino  is listed Number  2 Most Wanted Person of Orani, Bataan and is now under the custody of Bataan CIDG office, added Tampis.-Mar T Supnad


Social justice finally achieved by PNEI employees

CA upholds LTFRBs decision granting new franchise to Pantranco




               After long years of legal battle, the Court of Appeals has upheld the decision of the Land Transportation and Regulatory Board approving the renewal of franchises of the defunct government owned Pantranco North Express, Inc. (PNEI), citing social justice to the thousands of employees.

               In its 13-page final and executory decision, copy of which was obtained by this  writer,   the CA’s 7th Division chaired by Associate Justice Noel Tijam, dismissed the petition for certiorari filed by Phil. Rabbit Bus, Genesis Transport Service and Pangasinan Solid North Transit, as it recognizes the decision of the LTFRB in “finding subject franchises (of Pantranco) to be valid and existing, merely gave life to the constitutional provision of social justice.”

               The C.A.’s decision, which was also supported by two members- Associate Justices Romeo Barza and Ramon Cruz- has put to rest all the adverse issues being floated by the opposing transportation companies.

               “This is a victory of our members who have long been denied of justice due to the personal interest of others and we laud the CA for finally giving social justice to us,” said Romy Alfonso and Ofel Manabat, President and Treasurer of the Pantranco  Retrenched Employees  Association (PANREA) who led personally the initiative in fighting for the benefits of more than 2,000 employees.

               With the order , Pantranco Union leaders can now sell their Certificate of Public Convenience, consisting  roughly 777 units to private bus companies, and the proceeds of which will go to the employees as their monetarial benefits.

               Citing policy of social justice, in the land mark case of “Calalang vs Williams, 70 Phil. 726” and reiterated on the case of PAL vs Santos, (218 SCRA 415-1993), “the law bends over backwards to accommodate the interest of the working class on the humane justification that those with less privilege in life should have more privilege in law.”             

Earlier, the   opposing bus companies claimed that the franchises issued by the LTFRB was illegal since it was already a “dead” franchise and no longer existing.

               But the CA believes that “to say that the CPCs expired during the sequestration and rehabilitation of   PNEI would run counter to the very purpose of sequestration and rehabilitation…The LTFRB has the power to ‘issue, amend, revise, suspend or cancel CPCs.”

               The CA said the LTFRB acted lawfully when it approved the sale and transfer of CPCs to the private bus companies.

               Noting the more than 20 long years of legal battle initiated by the Pantranco employees, the CA said “it would remain a hollow paper victory if the subject franchises  are to be found to be invalid…”

               Alfonso said, however, that they will continue the legitimate selling of the franchise right after the general assembly and holding of elections of Union officers come March 8.

Pantranco was earlier sequestered by the Presidential Commission on Good Government.-Mar T Supnad