Birthday bash: Salceda steers Team Albay Countryside Development Caravan in full throttle

“Albay must not only be safe for tourists, for traders, Albay must be safe for its own people.”

“Development should proceed in the middle of all the risks.”

“Your highest rights, my highest duties.”

These are the most telling statements of Gov. Joey Sarte Salceda as he steered Team Albay Countryside Development Caravan in full throttle, delivering the most complete medical and social services to evacuees housed inside Guinobatan East Central School (GECS) today, October 26.

As the event also coincided with his birthday, the governor received warm greetings from his people and in return he pampered the evacuees with gifts and goodies.

He said life must go on for the displaced persons inside the evacuation centers.

“These people need greater powers to achieve their dreams…an deretso nindo, katungdan ko (your rights my highest duty)” the birthday boy said as he also narrated some lines from the song of Josh Groban “You raised me up.”

“Thank you for inspiring me to do all these things,” he said lifting emotions of those hearing him speak before the crowd composed of members of the caravan, evacuees, employees of the provincial government and hundreds of volunteers.

The governor also brought home the good news about the permanent relocation for the evacuees.

He said the Provincial Government’s commitment to prevent those living within the prohibited Permanent Danger Zone (PDZ) from returning the area, it (the PDZ) will be developed into what he called Inascan Valley Wellness Tourism Development and the relocation site into Mauraro Agropolis which a food manufacturing and agro-based marketing will be put up.

The Caravan, composed of national government agencies and the Provincial Government of Albay, distributed vegetable seeds and farm tools, rendered free haircut, gave medical, dental as well as veterinary services.

Aside from the press briefing on the current status of Mayon Volcano by Phivolcs, the full day activities also include a tree planting, raffle draw, entertainment programs and distribution of gift checks. (Albay PIO/October 26, 2014)

GAD Team sees proper observance of gender-related matters in Albay evacuation centers

Evacuees displaced by the impending eruption of Mayon Volcano are properly handled by authorities managing them in the evacuation centers, particularly in addressing gender-related concerns and especially those that concern handling women and children.

This was observed by members of Gender and Development (GAD) Focal Point System-Technical Working Group led by its chairperson Cynthia Samalea and Philippine Commission on Women (PCW)-AECID Local Coordinator Tet Triunfante during their visit and personal inspection of evacuation centers on Thursday, October 23.

Samalea noted that the teachers and camp managers assigned in each evacuation center underwent briefing on GAD affairs so that they know how to treat women and children as against the male evacuees.

She also noticed that a joint Medical Team from the Provincial Health Office (PHO) and Bicol Regional Training and Teaching Hospital (BRTTH) is on a 24-7 duty to provide immediate intervention. Special care and attention is given to child-bearing mothers, pregnant women and children.

She is satisfied that the Philippine National Police (PNP) has assigned female police officers working with their male counterparts to deal with security matters inside the centers.

“It’s good there are policewomen in the vicinity as an extension of Women’s Desk required of every Police Station. It’s a big help for women and girls here,” Samalea said.

The group also observed that the evacuees continue making a living by engaging in gainful activities such as handicraft making and bonsai making which are sold in flea markets and even to visitors.

The GAD Team’s assessments will help in crafting effective legislations and in the planning and implementation of important GAD-related programs, more particularly that the Provincial GAD-FPS TWG has conducted a series of training and awareness seminars in the past months one of which is the “Seminar on the Role of Women during Disasters.” (Albay PIO/October 24, 2014)

Proudly Albayana: Valerie to tell friends to help Mayon evacuees

Ms World Philippines 2014 in Albay

“I would love to tell my friends and supporters to get out, reach out, visit and help my kababayans in the evacuation centers.”

Newly crowned Miss World Philippines 2014 Valerie Clacio Weigmann said as she answered questions from a local mediaman on how he could be of help to evacuees displaced by an impending threat of Mayon Volcano eruption.

“Please go there and show that you care,” she said eliciting applause from members of local media in Albay.

Weigmann, 24, who represented Albay in the competition, returned for a homecoming today, October 16, to personally thank Albayanos for their support, especially Gov. Joey Sarte Salceda, who supported her all throughout the pageant.

Ms Valerie Weigmann greets Gov Joey

“I thank Gov. Joey Salceda who supported me since day 1 of the competition. I thank him for believing in me and I am so flattered and thankful for his support,” Weigmann said, adding “advance happy Birthday to you Gob Joey!”

The half-German-Filipino beauty, who traced her root to the Clacio clan in Daraga town, said she also wanted to work with Governor Salceda and Vice Governor Harold Imperial on special advocacies that would help indigenous communities in Albay.

“I will come back, maybe after my term, to research on these indigenous communities so we can know how we will be able to help them,” she declared.

When in London for the Miss World pageant on December 14, Weigmann said she would tell the 126 candidates to visit the Philippines and explore its beauty and see Albay and Mayon Volcano.

For her official Facebook fan page, she said she would put Mayon Volcano in the background. This, she said exclaiming, “Proudly Albayana!

As of press time, Weigmann is due to visit evacuation centers in Upper Malabog and Camalig to interact with evacuees and distribute goodies to schoolchildren.

Earlier in the day, Weigmann shared lunch with VG Imperial, provincial officials and TEAM ALBAY field workers who also witnessed the awarding of a resolution congratulating her for her feat, authored by Board Member Glenda Ong-Bongao.(Albay PIO, 10/16/14)

Imperial pushes for tax-free 13th month pay, Christmas bonuses

“Bonuses, 13th month pays are cherries on top of our working class’ ice cream”

Albay Vice Governor Harold Ong Imperial has pushed for the passage and approval of Senate Bill No. 256 authored by Senator Ralph Recto that seeks to exempt from income tax the 13th month pay and Christmas bonuses of workers and employees.

In his privilege speech delivered on October 14 during the regular session of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Albay, Imperial requested Senate President Franklin Drilon for the expeditious passage and approval of the Bill.

He believed that the 13th month pay and bonuses are “cherries on top of our working class’ ice cream” after their hard work and exemplary work performances.

He said Senator Recto’s Bill, which has the same intent and spirit as House Bill No. 4970, will give workers “full enjoyment of his bonus and be able to afford for his family’s basic needs while enjoying a little bit of luxury that they truly deserve.”

During last week’s regular session, Imperial’s authored SPA Resolution for the measure was unanimously seconded by all board members present.

He noted that when employees and workers get their bonuses in full, their purchasing power will be increased and they will have the capacity to pay taxes for purchasing goods and for availing of services.

“I believe that it is high-time that we give importance and show our appreciation to the contributing working class,” he said.

He observed that the cap for the income tax exemption of the 13th month pay and Christmas bonuses—which is 30,000—has remained the same and has not been adjusted for inflation so that that the 30,000 is only good as 14,000 today.

“Clearly, the 30,000 ceiling since 1994 no longer mirrors prevailing circumstances,” he averred.

“Let us fight for the dignity of the people who have been working with us and for us to create a better Albay for the Magayons and Uragons and an egalitarian Philippine society that follows the precepts of the Matuwid na Daan,” he echoed in closing.

The Senate Bill entitled, “An Act Increasing the Ceiling of the 13th Month Pay, Christmas Bonus and Other Benefits Excluded from the Computation of Gross income for the Purposes of Income Taxation, Amending for the Purpose Section 32 (B), Chapter VI of the National Internal Revenue Code of 1997, as Amended,” which is in support of and with the same intent and spirit as house Bill No. 4970 is a welcome respite for workers if passed and approved.(Albay PIO/10/15/14)

PGA Prepares for Homecoming of Valerie Weigmann who represented Albay and won as Miss World Phils.

Hailed as the Miss World Philippines 2014, Valerie Weigmann, who represented the Province of Albay in the recently concluded stint, is coming home to her native province to visit residents now staying at evacuation centers and lift the spirits of those uprooted from their homes due to the violent activities of Mayon volcano.

Weigmann, a 24 year old of German, Filipino, and Danish descent, who has gained popularity as a co-host of the famous noontime variety show Eat Bulaga, who also entered the famous reality show Pinoy Big Brother, and has done works as an actress, model and now a beauty queen, proudly represented Albay in the Miss World Philippines 2014 pageant as she has traced her lineage, the Clacio Family, in Daraga, Albay, particularly from the Centro Ilawod area.

As tradition, the Provincial Government of Albay is planning a homecoming event for the new pride of Albay which will happen on October 16, 2014 this Thursday.

Miss Weigmann, who also won numerous special awards, including Best in Swimsuit, Best in Fashion Runway and Best in Long Gown, as well as being chosen as Miss Solaire, Miss Filia, Miss Jesi Mendez, Miss Reducin, Miss Olay, Miss Bench, Miss Camarines Sur, Miss Hana and Miss Blue Water Day Spa, will arrive at 10:30 am at the Legazpi Airport and will immediately go on a motorcade around Legazpi and Daraga, Albay.

After the motorcade, the Miss World Philippines will proceed to the Provincial Capitol where it is expected that she will receive recognition from the Sangguniang Panlalawigan ng Albay for her achievements.

A press conference will follow after the conferment of the recognition at the People’s Hall and after which Weigmann will proceed to the Oriental Hotel to rest before heading to the evacuation centers in Daraga and Camalig where she will be distributing gifts to pre-schoolers currently residing in the area.

The gift-giving will coincide with the community-building activities that the Provincial Government of Albay will conduct with the displaced residents, and come night time, Ms. Weigmann will be holding court in a session with 20 young aspiring Albay beauty titlists to learn more from her experiences and augment their chances of following the footsteps of Albayano title holders who have received accolades for their achievements.

It should be noted that the Philippines, represented by 2013 Miss World Philippines Megan Young, won the Miss World title last year, and many Albayanos expect Miss Valerie Weigmann to do the same. (Albay PIO 10/14/14)