PGA to Helm ALMASOR Booth at 25th Philippine Travel Mart

The Department of Tourism (DOT) – Region V, headed by Regional Director Maria O. Ravanilla urged Governor Joey Sarte Salceda and the Provincial Government of Albay to participate and lead the ALMASOR Pavilion in this year’s edition of the Philippine Travel Mart at the SMX Convention Center on September 5, 2015.

ALMASOR, a collaborative tourism promotion effort by the Provinces of Albay, Masbate, and Sorsogon, has recently been making waves in the local tourism industry as well as in the international tourism market ever since this brainchild of Gov. Salceda was set into motion.

Through a letter sent by Regional Director Ravanilla, the DOT V requested the PGA to be the lead agency in this endeavor and manage the ALMASOR Pavilion information counter to cater to guests making inquiries about the three provinces throughout the 3-day event.

Aside from the tourism officers and employees from the PGA, the DOT V has also invited DOT accredited tour operators from ALMASOR to help market and sell Bicol tour packages, particularly those that highlight Albay and ALMASOR destinations.

This year’s Travel Mart is the 25th rendition of the yearly event marking its silver anniversary and making it the longest running travel trade exhibition in the Philippines, it is also regarded as the biggest travel trade exhibition in the promotion and marketing of domestic and inbound tourism in the country.

To mark this significant milestone, the Philippine Tour Operators Association (PHILTOA), the biggest association of tour operators and agencies that promote exclusively domestic and inbound tourism, as operators and organizer, promised that the 25th Philippine Travel Mart will be the biggest and most meaningful staging of the event.

Albay Expects More Gender-Responsive Projects Starting 2015

The Technical Working Group (TWG) of the Gender and Development (GAD) Focal Point System (FPS) is working double-time to encourage offices and departments of the Provincial Government of Albay to submit more gender-responsive project proposals for the 2015 budget year.

The fact that five percent of the province’s annual budget is allocated for GAD programs, the GAD-FPS has been holding trainings and seminars to develop awareness on the importance of crafting programs that are gender-inclined.

On August 19 and 20, the GFPS-TWG has conducted the two-day basic training on Gender-Responsive Proposal Making at La Mia Tazza in Legazpi City attended by representatives from the different offices and departments of the provincial government.

The event tapped the expertise of Mr. Leo Llana as livelihood and enterprise facilitator and his co-facilitator, Mr. Rafael Triunfante, to prepare the participants in exploring the intricacies of project proposal making, yet making it simple and easy-to-do for those tasked to craft programs and projects of the Capitol.

After the training, the participants submitted sample of their outputs for critiquing, polishing and approval for possible funding allocations.

The proposals range from simple enhancement of women’s participation in farming and fishing technologies, to engendering language in mass media and even up to crafting a more appropriate training design for employees of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Albay with focus on gender mainstreaming and advancement.

So for the next years, expect more gender-responsive programs from the Provincial Government with the GAD office being institutionalized in Albay—the first in the country–through the help and support of Gov. Joey Sarte Salceda.

SPA Approves Ordinance Banning Misuse of Gov’t Ambulances

To curb blatant and frequent misuse of government ambulances, intended to be utilized for sick constituents, the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Albay approved yesterday, August 18, 2014, an ordinance entitled “Regulating the Use of All Government Ambulances in the Province of Albay, and Providing Penalties for Violations Thereof.”

Authored by 3rd District Board Member Rhederick N. Riva from Oas, and Co-Authored by 3rd District Board Member Herbert S. Borja from Polangui, the ordinance aims to make government ambulances readily available to transport the seriously sick and injured patients requiring immediate medical treatment to or from a facility to another that is sufficiently equipped to handle the matter and save lives.

The ordinance states that it has been observed that in many instances, government ambulances have been gravely misused, to the detriment of the public, whereas said vehicles have been seen in recreational areas where they have no business being, also, there were cases where fees have been collected for their use, defeating the very purpose they were purchased for.

According to the ordinance, it is unlawful for public officials or employees to use government ambulances for personal use or as an office service vehicle; it shall also be unlawful to use said vehicles for transporting patients deemed no to be in an emergency medical situation; whether with fees or not, government ambulances cannot be used for private purposes; government officials or employees shall not refuse the use of any government ambulance by patients who cannot pay fees, nor should there be any deprivation of use to any individual due to their gender, religious beliefs, economic status, or political affiliations; and government ambulances cannot be used to transport cadavers.

There are exceptions though given to the use of government ambulances in non-emergency situations, this includes the use of the vehicles in official and authorized medical outreach missions and other hospital services and operations related to medical missions, delivery of medicines and other medical supplies.

Public officials or employees caught violating this ordinance shall be penalized, after due process, with a P1,000 fine, and or imprisonment of 1 month for the first offense; second offense entails a fine of P2,500 and or 6 months of imprisonment; and caught for a third time will result to a fine of P5,000 and or imprisonment of 1 year, without any prejudice to the filing of appropriate administrative charges.

In the Declaration of Policy, the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Albay states that this ordinance was created to protect and promote the rights of the Albayano people to health, and in this regard, the Provincial Government of Albay shall extend such assistance in the most expeditious manner where there is immediate danger on the life of the people.