How to raise the province’s income? “We are 90 percent dependent on the IRA (Internal Revenue Allotment),” says Gov. Joseph C. Cua, a commerce graduate of the Philippine School of Business Administration in Manila, and now on his second term. More »


MORE THAN A REMINDER OF THE ISLAND’S sheer submission to the world’s largest ocean, the strong waves that smash Puraran in Baras town in Catanduanes are every surfer’s dream. More »

Captivating Catanduanes

IF progress is measured by the number of large malls and fast-food joints, then the island of Catanduanes is charmingly behind the times. More »

Catanduanes Then and Now

Catanduanes, the country’s 12th largest island of the country’s 7,000 or so islands, is observing its 67th founding anniversary with street dancing, a beauty pageant for both sexes (a Binibini and Ginoong Catanduanes), and with obligatory speeches from both local and national politicians. More »

Mystery waves – Howie Severino’s SIDETRIP

A bike journey around the Philippines’ easternmost edge, Aired Saturday, October 27. 2007 on I-Witness. More »


Virac gets an “F” in waste management

Last week, in preparation for the hosting of Palarong Bicol 2014, poblacion barangays in Virac held a day-long clean-up drive. Majority of those who participated were barangay officials, who many voters feel should do the work since they are getting paid for it anyway. By Monday, the streets were relatively clean and spotless. That is, until the citizens of the capital town again begin throwing garbage with abandon.

Such an lackadaisical attitude about waste management has yet to be addressed by the current leadership, not only in Virac but also in the rest of the 11 towns on the island many call a paradise. Nearly two years after the Integrated Waste Management ordinance came into being, the municipal government has yet to implement its key provisions.

Its dumpsite is still operating, far from being converted into a sanitary landfill despite threats of prosecution from a toothless Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). The LGU still has no separate office to handle waste management concerns, with its garbage collection team directly under the Office of the Mayor. Despite a P1.2 million grant from the national government two years ago, Virac has yet to purchase equipment needed for the operation of its long-idled ecology park at San Isidro Village. Local officials have not even tried to educate people on zero waste management, apparently surrendering to the notion that they are utterly incapable of learning how to properly dispose of waste.

P180-T bail set for bolo holduppers

The Provincial Prosecution Officer has recommended bail of P180,000 each for the four accused in one of the seven robbery-holdups in Virac reported to the police just the other week.

Prosecutor I Donabel Breva-Bobier found probable cause for the charge of carnapping against respondents Alex Arcilla, 53, and Emmanuel Baldonado, 19, both residents of Palta Salvacion. Two other John Does were included in the charge.

The duo was arrested last Jan. 18 after attempting to rob John Morris Asuncion, a credit consultant of First Inner Trade Credit Corporation, while he was on his way to Magnesia. The four accused, on board two motorcycles, blocked his way at Marilima, with Baldonado alighting and ordering him to sop while aiming a bolo at the victim.

Asuncion ran towards a nearby house to ask for help while Baldonado took the victim’s motorcycle and sped away. On board a motorcycle borrowed by a barangay kagawad, Asuncion pursued Baldonado until the latter was forced to ditch the vehicle and was arrested moments later. The other suspects fled towards Palta Big.

PBM’s brod pleads guilty to seduction

A brother of a Sangguniang Panlalawigan member who has been accused of raping a 17-year old minor in Panganiban town last year has pleaded guilty to qualified seduction.

Last week, Regional Trial Court Branch 43 Presiding Judge Lelu P. Contreras sentenced Casimiro Angeles, 71, a resident of barangay San Nicolas, to imprisonment ranging from four months and 20 days as minimum , to one year, eight months and 20 days as maximum, which makes him eligible for parole. He was also told to continue to provide for the continuous medication for the treatment of the goiter of the private complainant.

Angeles was charged with two counts of rape by the sister of his daughter-in-law, with the two incidents said to have occurred inside the house of the latter. The victim reportedly stopped attending classes at a local high school after the incidents.

When arraigned, the accused entered a plea of not guilty in both cases. The victim, who was in Manila, failed to appear during the initial hearing and when she did went to Court on the next hearing, their counsel informed the Court that the civil liability has already been settled by the accused.

Nurse’s claim of test irregularity “misleading”

The Department of Health’s Provincial Health Team has described as “misleading” the claim of a nurse from San Andres alleging irregularities in the recently conducted recruitment and selection process for the Nurse Deployment Program (NDP) last December 2013.

Last week, Rodel Donguya posted in the Tribune website as well as that of the DOH regional office critical comments against the selection process, claiming that the character investigation criteria accounted for 75%, outweighing the total points for the written exam, credentials and interview.

He also claimed that the nurses were chosen based not on competency and ability, insinuating that members of the panel deliberately gave him low points for character and interview.

DOH-PHT team leader Dr. Rey Millena pointed out that in Donguya’s post of the NDP result for Catanduanes, the nurse deliberately omitted the top portion of the document. The omitted portion indicated that the written exam was given a weight of 30%, document review 25%, interview 30% and character investigation 15%, for a total of 100% as against Donguya’s claimed total of 140%.