Negosyo center set up in Sorsogon

SORSOGON CITY, Nov. 10 (PIA) – Individuals who will start up a business to make money in Sorsogon will now find it easier to register their enterprises with the opening of a Go Negosyo center in this city.

Launched last Oct. 22, the Negosyo center is located at the lobby of the City Hall Bldg. in Barangay Cabid-an.

The center is linked to the Philippine Business Registry System (PBRS) to make it easier and faster for entrepreneurs to start and register their businesses at the local level.

The PBRS is a government project that integrates the services of all agencies involved in business registration, such as the Department of Trade and Industry, Securities and Exchange Commission, Bureau of Internal Revenue, Social Security System, Home Development Mutual Fund (Pag-IBIG), Philippine Health Insurance Corp. and other permit and license-issuing agencies to facilitate registration.

DTI is also closely collaborating with Department of Science and Technology, University of the Philippines–Institute for Small Scale Industries, and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority to assist micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) with business research.


Sally Lee, the new Sorsogon City Mayor for 2013-2016. Image is via

DTI has also partnered with Cooperative Development Authority to help MSMEs gain easier access to financing solutions.

All this ensures that the center’s services to entrepreneurs does not only include  one-stop registration services with government but also all other equally important components of running a business—from finding financiers and markets to developing products and services.

With the newly reconstituted Sorsogon Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development (MSMED) Council at the helm, the center is expected to be fully functional.

Jocelyn Blanco, DTI regional director for Bicol, said the establishment of a Go Negosyo center is provided for under RA 10644, or Go Negosyo Act.

Go Negosyo Act mandates the DTI to work with local government units to establish Negosyo centers in all provinces, cities and municipalities.

“We congratulate the city government of Sorsogon for accepting the challenge of establishing a Negosyo Center. It is the first in the province (of Sorsogon),” Blanco told the Philippine Information Agency.

Blanco expressed optimism “that the rest of the municipalities in Sorsogon will follow (the lead of City Mayor Sally Lee).”

The Negosyo centers provide MSMEs extra push to expand operations, she said.  (EAD/BAR/PIA5-Sorsogon)

The original article can be found from this link.

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Orosipon: De Vera circa 1952

Sorsogon City received an email from Alfred Yrastorza after encountering the article on the De Vera house. Apparently, his father lived here and it also confirmed the story being told that it was a warehouse before. Here’s the content of his email:

I was born in this house 1952, My Father lived here and was working in Cocacola. After he was assigned in Naga.

From my knowledge (i)t was occupied by a certain Abelardo Zuniga also working in Cocacola San Miguel brewery

They have larged rooms uptairs with wide windows (Kapiz-sliding) nce in early 60’s thru Mr. Zuniga it was made a lounging place for Bacs Meet for Colehalas of CSI and NPS (Naga Parochial). Then my Dad already experienced paranormal activities there and in an expansion project he said they excavated a coffin  which looked like a child , who must have died young.  In fact, those days 1951-52 , the area which was by the bay avoided passing there as they could see an old woman in a rocking chair in the  veranda. I am not sure of the late Senator Devera were the original owners though. I a(m) glad to share this as part of heritage files for Sorsogon.


The De Vera house back in 1952. Photo is courtesy of Mr. Alfred Yrastorza.

Salamatunon tabi sa impormasyun, Mr. Yrastorza!

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Full Moon as Sorsogon Bay


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Shabu palaman sa siopao

Arestado ang isang lalaki matapos na ipalaman nito ang shabu sa siopao na dadalhin sana sa isang bilanggo sa loob ng Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) sa Sorsogon City kamakalawa ng hapon.

Matapos na madiskubre ang ilang sachet ng shabu ay agad pinosasan ng mga tauhan ng BJMP ang suspek na nakilalang si Edgardo Garcia, 45, drayber, at residente ng Barangay Cabid-an ng nasabing lungsod.

Sa ulat ng pulisya, dakong alas-4:20 ng hapon nang magtungo sa Sorsogon BJMP ang suspek upang dalawin ang inmate na nakilalang si Rey Lagata, bitbit ang apat na piraso ng siopao.

Subalit sa ginawang pag-iinspeksyon ng mga tauhan ng BJMP sa nasabing pagkain ay nakuha sa loob nito ang isang sachet ng pinaniniwalaang shabu kaya agad na binuksan ang tatlo pa at doon nagpositibo na mayroon ding mga nakapalamang shabu sa loob ng mga siopao.

Dahil dito ay agad dinakip ang suspek na hindi na nakatanggi at inamin na ang nasabing mga shabu ay para panggamit umano ng inmate na si Lagata.

The original article has been published at Abante on October 9, 2015.

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Albay Third District towns eyed for commercial cacao production

LIGAO CITY—The third congressional district of Albay is hopping on the bandwagon of commercial cacao production.

Its representative, Rep. Fernando Gonzalez, on Sunday here said that as much as possible, all lands covered by his district that are available and suited to cacao growing will be tapped into the commercial production of this crop, which the Department of Agriculture (DA) is grooming as another sunshine industry of Bicol next to coconut, pili and abaca.

The district covers this city and the six municipalities of Guinobatan, Jovellar, Pioduran, Oas, Polangui and Libon—all gifted with wide tracts of agricultural lands that boast of volcanic soil and tropical weather, making them suitable for cacao farming.

“We are starting with this in Jovellar, where the DA has recently distributed thousands of seedlings following a training-seminar on cacao production attended by hundreds of farmers and landowners who have shown keen interest on the venture,” Gonzalez said. Jovellar is a small and sleepy fifth-class municipality of around 17,000 people dominated by farmers currently producing copra, rice, abaca and corn.

The training and seedling distribution, according to Gonzalez, was part of a tie-up among his office, the DA regional office and the local government of Jovellar on cacao production reached to take advantage of the crop’s benefits both in terms of economic and health gains.

Widely called as the “food for the gods,” cacao bean is a major agricultural commodity traded worldwide with the reported health benefits of dark chocolate as the main driver in current market growth.

DA Regional Executive Director Abelardo Bragas said the tropical weather and volcanic soil in Albay and most parts of Bicol is suitable for cacao farming but, unfortunately, this important high-value commercial crop has not been given due importance by local farmers in the past.

He said during the Jovellar seedling-distribution affair attended by Gonzalez, his agency has already been able to develop warm acceptance of the smallholder cacao production approach among farmers who have renewed their interest and willingness to collaborate for the promotion of sustainable cacao production.

With this, he said, the DA is identifying more suitable areas in Bicol for cacao production, and maximizing the presence of markets that could be organized into workable production-market system.

Among the recently identified production sites is Jovellar and all the areas within the Albay Third District, where the DA, along with the Philippine Coconut Authority in cooperation with Gonzalez’s office and local government units, is developing model farms to serve as show window of coconut-cacao intercropping.

Gonzalez said this new venture is in line with the Aquino administration’s program on developing Bicol’s agriculture as key to the region’s exit from the malaise of poverty.

With almost 70 percent of its 1.8 million hectares total land area classified as agricultural—999,619 hectares of which are active and 203,373 hectares are expansion area, according to the latest land-use record of the DA—Bicol sits on the biggest farming area compared to all the other 16 regional subdivisions of the country.

And since the region is yet to graduate from its agriculture-based economy, it is just commendable that the regional development being carried out by the national government is now more focused on agricultural productivity, Gonzalez said.

The DA-Bicol cacao-industry development in the region, which saw widespread enthusiasm among farmers and other stakeholders, was started two years ago.

It also caught the attention of the CoOP-Natcco party-list which, through its congressional representative Anthony Bravo, organized last year the Cacao Farmers Association of Sorsogon under the umbrella of the South Luzon Federation of Cooperatives for a large-scale cacao-production program arranged with Kennemer Foods International Inc.

CFAS is a huge group of local farmers enlisted as cooperators of the cacao contract-growing program for the province while SLFC is the umbrella organization of all rural-based cooperatives in Bicol and the Southern Tagalog regions.

KFI, whose specialization is the trade and export of cocoa, is a foreign-invested agri-business with corporate and contract-farming operations throughout the Philippines.

The program was started with the establishment late last year of a two-hectare nursery in Barangay Macabog, Sorsogon City for the massive propagation of cacao seedlings intended for distribution to the cooperators.

Last July, a total of 170,000 seedlings out of the about one million propagated in the nursery, was distributed to 138 recipients representing the first batch of cooperators for intercropping with coconut in some 370 hectares farms in the province.

In October, the program will release the second batch of seedlings totaling 300,000 pieces to the next group of beneficiaries who agreed to follow the stringent farming procedure carrying a revised concept in order to achieve high cacao beans turnout in the future, according to Vladimir Frivaldo, the program coordinator.

After saturating Sorsogon, the next batches of seedlings will be made available to contract growing cooperators in all the other five provinces of Bicol up to the Southern Tagalog Region covered by the SLFC.

This way, the merging of these two regions into the cacao contract growing program will make the combined area the biggest source of the product that commands a good price and is extremely in demand worldwide, Frivaldo said.

The program is also implemented in partnership with the DA and the PCA which provide technologies in cacao intercropping with coconut and pili, a system that would give a farmer additional income estimated at P60,000 per hectare by producing quality-grade fermented dry cacao beans at about 500 trees per hectare.

The article is published at Business Mirror on 9/14/2015.

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DILG awards Seal of Good Local Governance to Catanduanes, Bato

LEGAZPI CITY (PIA) — Two provinces, a city and 14 towns in the Bicol region were conferred Thursday night with the Seal of Good Local Governance (SGLG) or Pagkilala sa Katapatan at Kahusayan ng Pamahalaang Lokal from the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) by pursuing good governance practices while providing better services to the populace.

In an awarding ceremonies last night, DILG Bicol regional director Elouisa Pastor led the awarding of this year’s SGLG citations to the provinces of Sorsogon and Catanduanes, Masbate City and the towns of Daet, Mercedes, Paracale, San Lorenzo Ruiz and San Vicente — all in Camarines Norte; Camaligan, Canaman, Del Gallego, Ragay and San Fernando in Camarines Sur; Barcelona, Bulan and Pilar in Sorsogon and Bato town in Catanduanes.

Governor Araceli Wong and Mayor Juan Rodulfo III were on hand to receive the citations on behalf of the provincial government and the municipality of Bato.

Sorsogon and Catanduanes provinces received P7 million each, Masbate City brought home P5 million, while the 14 other towns got P3 million each plus glass citation marker and

This year’s awardees received a total of Php 61 million which the recipient local governments can access through the Performance Challenge Fund (PCF), an incentive given to LGUs which come in the form of counterpart funding for local development projects.

Pastor said the SGLG is an annual awards program for local governments that adhere to performance criteria in areas of good financial housekeeping, disaster preparedness, social protection, business-friendliness and competitiveness, environmental management, peace and order and public safety.

The Seal of Good Local Governance (SGLG) has replaced the Seal of Good Housekeeping (SGH) in recognizing the good performance of the local governments.

“Only 17 or 14 percent of the total 120 local governments in the Bicol region were conferred with the Seal of Good Local Governance since only these local government passed the yearly SGLG assessment based on the given criteria laid by the agency regional and national selection committees,” Pastor stated.

To qualify for the SGLG, the LGU must possess the “3 plus 1” principle, meaning it must pass the first three of six core areas/criteria, plus any one of the another three, which may vary by LGU level and income class.

The first three of these criteria include Good Financial Housekeeping, formerly the Seal of Good Housekeeping (SGH) that exhibits compliance with accounting and auditing standards, rules and regulations.

Second is Disaster Preparedness requires citation in the Gawad KALASAG for Best Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council or having structures, plans and systems in place for disaster preparedness.

Social Protection, being the third, requires sensitivity to the needs of vulnerable sectors like women, children, senior citizens, indigenous peoples and persons with disability (PWD), among others.

The other three criteria, one of which may be picked by the local governments as additional to the three “must” criteria may include Business-friendliness and Competitiveness that demonstrates good performance in business promotion as a result of having a simplified business processing and licensing system.

The other is Environmental Management that displays substantial efforts in safeguarding the integrity of the environment with the initial focus of compliance with the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000.

While Peace and Order that shows considerable efforts in maintaining peace and order in the community by adopting a Local Anti-Criminality Action Plan or Peace and Order Council Action Plan.

Pastor furthered that a total of 254 local governments passed the SGLG assessment nationwide, already including the 17 from Bicol.

The 17 local government passed and were given “Green” scorecards in the three Basic Core Seal and one of the additional criteria, where the local government can excelled in one or all ot them. (MAL-PIA5/Albay)

The article is taken from Catanduanes Tribune, printed on 9/21/2015.

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[Updated] Politics in Bicol is Heating Up

With the 2016 election just around the corner, more articles about Chiz and Leni are showing up. Here are some articles that I like:

Before, it’s rare to have national candidates from Bicol. And now, we have 5 candidates for vice president!

May the best leader wins!

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