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ISSN 2094-9383

Strong Leadership
NAGA IS DEFINED by an empowered and responsible citizenry in action.
This is the essence behind KKDK, the new advocacy of a strong leadership under Mayor John G. Bongat that inspires Nagueos to develop in their heart and mind a culture of cleanliness (Kalinigan), peace (Katoninongan), and order (Disiplina). These, he believes, are the essential ingredients (Kaipuhan) towards the attainment of a more liveable community. A City we can truly call Maogmang Naga. A happy place inhabited by a happy people. These ideals are summed up in his first State of the City Report delivered on January 25. His main message is everyone, young or old, rich or poor, is part and parcel of the Citys life and future with the bounden duty to H2ELP your CiTy, as everyone takes part in defining Nagas future today.

New Advocacy
of a

A Quarterly Magazine of the City Government of Naga Bikol, Philippines

ISSN 2094-9383

Editor (on leave)

Jose B. Perez

Alec Francis A. Santos

Executive Editor

Managing Editor

Jason B. Neola

Reuel M. Oliver Florencio T. Mongoso, Jr. Allen L. Reondanga

Editorial Consultants

Jan Rev L. Davila Stephen V. Prestado


Layout Artists

Ray John B. Ubaldo

Graphic Artist

Randy Villaflor Jose B. Collera


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Mayor JB delivers first SOCR

Albert F. Cecilio Alnor Roger Alcala

Editorial Assistants
This magazine is published by the City Government of Naga thru the City Publications and External Relations Office (CPERO), with Editorial Office at 1st floor, DOLE Bldg., City Hall Complex, J. Miranda Avenue, Naga City 4400. Telephone: +6354 473-4432 Fax: +6354 811-1286 Email: smiles@naga.gov.ph


Broadbased support for Naga River Project affirmed


A City of Crossroads, Conventions, and Convergence


A closer look at the City Administrator

About the Cover

Commercial buildings and the Naga City Peoples Mall surround the Plaza Nueva de Caceres (Nagas old Spanish name), highlighting Nagas identity as a historic city and reputation as a bustling economic hub. The parks serene setting stands in contrast to the busy thoroughfare just a few steps away. As a cosmopolitan city, Naga retains the charm of an old, provincial community with a vibrant modern economy.


Nagas One Barangay, One Product (OBOP) innovation


Boosting local business, Advancing better services

Photography | Bong Bajo

18 Chamber and Centro Traders praise Bongat administration for initiatives 20 Naga, DOT, team up for tourism accreditation 21 Naga and Shefa, Vanuatu ink sisterhood agreement 25 Earth Hour spurs more upcoming activities for environment 26 Naga to market Green Charcoal 27 SciHigh bests 167 other schools 32 City sets measures vs. drug use, abuse 33 Checkpoints, new police station up, crime down 34 Naga eyes barangay-based survey to pre-empt problems 37 Mayor Bongat calls for creation of Ecumenical Council 38 Search for new mayoral awardees is on 40 Tabuco Bridge to be re-christened Puente de Claveria 41 Special Bienvenido Santos section rises at Roco Library 41 Free classes, livelihood trainings give hope to undergrads, poor in Sta. Cruz 42 Covered basketball court to rise in Abella 42 San Francisco sees paminta as potential OBOP 48 MNDC to spearhead tourism-led growth 86 Nagas 2010 Top Taxpayers 4 7 22 29 35 43 44 46 50 53 57 59 61 63 66 69 73 75 77 80

Transparency in Naga: A Blend of Old and New State of the City Report (Jul Dec 2010) Salog kan Buhay: Broadbased Support for Naga River Afrmed Of Boxing Gloves and Running Shoes City Hall Press Corps: Bridging the information gap Channelling Charity Leveling the eld for the visually challenged EduCare at its best: Bongat admin reaps national award, preps for new school year Naga: A city of crossroads, conventions, and convergence Naga simmers with football fever National Arts Month: Bikols arts and culture revolution 24/7 public service: Councilor Nene style Bienvenido N. Santos: The ctions of his memory MNCCI: Reaching out beyond the hall of fame Fighting re with fervor: Nagas Chin Po Tong volunteer re brigade Sarig Naga: From bitter fate to better lives Cleaning up the city: The SWMO The Bicol Science and Technology Centrum experience The Man behind the Men of Power Barangay GROW Negosyo catalogue

The Naga SMILES to the World logo is composed of the two baybaying Naga characters, na and ga. Na, shaped like a mountain, provides a strong foundation for the Narra tree which grew abundantly along the Naga River while a zigzag line denotes majestic Malabsay Falls. Ga, shaped like a farmers plow, is symbolic of the Nagueos agricultural roots and hardworking personality. The baybaying Naga characters rest on a wave-like element which represents the Naga River and the serpent, which is read in Sanskrit as naga.

Evolving from An Maogmang Lugar (The Happy Place), Maogmang Naga aims to portray more than a happy place but a happy people as well. The first letter of the word Maogmang, an adjective meaning Happy (Maogma), is a dancing human character, signifying the dynamic nature of Naga. The sun denotes the warm and cheerful personality of the Nagueos. The name of the City itself is composed of the Voyadores, male devotees cheering Our Lady of Peafrancia as their brethren carry the image of Ina on their shoulders. Colorful banderitas or festive flags adorn the logo to show the vibrancy of Maogmang Naga the City of warm and friendly people.

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directed the i-Governance team and key offices to re-engineer the website to make it easier to use and for constituents to easily access information related to spending, legislation, and executive policies. To top it all up, the new website also includes news articles at its home page with comment boxes for improved feedback gathering. The re-engineered website was presented to the public last January 25

during Mayor Bongats State of the City Report. To say that the new website is visually appealing scratches only the surface. With the Naga SMILES to the world battlecry as the template, the Citys designers designed the website to incorporate the many faces of Naga as the center of education, commerce, investment, and tourism. For instance, the homepage includes short
DIGITAL. The re-engineered naga.gov.ph offers quality content, improved accessibility, and enhanced transparency initiatives.

Words | Alec Santos Photograph | Randy Villaflor

USING THE LATEST IN INTERNET technology, coupled with traditional publication, Mayor John G. Bongat and the i-Governance team reengineered www.naga.gov.ph, the Citys official website and released the

Naga City Gazette to further enhance transparency in the City Government. Realizing the need for Naga to explore other ways to make citizens aware of the Citys initiatives as well as its inner workings, Mayor Bongat
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write-ups about the six key components of SMILES. Of course, they have their own sections where they are discussed in detail. Retaining its status as a major tool in enhancing transparency, naga.gov.ph also features at its homepage links to past and present budget reports and city spending. Projects and supplies for bidding are also seen at a single glance. Clicking on their links will reveal the full details. Visitors to the website can also view the latest executive and administrative orders, as well as Mayor Bongats proclamations to get a feel of the general policies of the City Government. Ordinances and resolutions from the Sangguniang Panlungsod are classified by topic and can be downloaded with ease. Under Mayor Bongats Executive Order 2010-29, the City Government also compiled and published all executive issuances and key ordinances and resolutions covered by the period July 1 to Dec. 31, 2010. The same directive also calls for its publication and distribution at least twice a year. Mayor Bongat believes that making important legislation and executive directives available to the public will engage the citizenry. Capitalizing on the worldwide scope of the internet and its accessibility, the City Government has also opted to make the Gazette downloadable from its website. This means that anyone from anywhere can download the compendium and share it with interested LGUs, students, researchers, and the general public. Even past issues of the Naga SMILES Magazine can be viewed or downloaded from the website. Inquiries can also be sent to info@naga.gov.ph where the i-Governance team can easily forward concerns to the appropriate offices and departments for quick answers. Net-savvy Nagueos abroad can also catch the latest news thru the regularly updated news section located at the homepage itself. Links to live streaming services of media networks are also displayed at the homepage itself, as well as emergency numbers. Another innovation which makes use of social networking sites are the links to the Citys official Twitter, Facebook, and Youtube pages, ensuring that transparency remains one of Nagas bestselling features and proving that Naga offers everything for everyone.


WHEN TEAM NAGA offered itself to the electorate last May, it did so with a program of governance built on the fundamental principle of stakeholdership -- that only by working together as a team, with every citizen pitching in his share, can we build a better, happier Naga anchored on a consultative, transparent, responsive and accountable government.
We share this vision, not only of a happy place but a happy people as well, as we transform Maogmang Lugar or Happy Place to a Maogmang Naga or a Happy Place inhabited by a Happy People. Why should I report to you today? I am honored to report to you what we, at City Hall, have accomplished as a team over the last six months after my administration assumed office noon of June 30, 2010. Let me start by saying that we have hit the ground running, thanks to a seamless transition that gave us the opportunity to work with the same management team, both at the executive and legislative departments of the City Government. This report will also provide me as your mayor an opportunity to lay down and define a benchmark that will guide the City Governments priorities over the next three, six and nine years.

MAYOR JOHN G. BONGAT CITY OF NAGA Delivered on January 25, 2011 at the Arrupe Convention Center Ateneo de Naga University

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You want an honest government, you get it. You want participatory and consultative decision-making, you get it. You want better service delivery, you get it. - MAYOR JOHN G. BONGAT
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(Above) AiMiNg fOr THE SKY. The Peoples Mall will soon be home to another economic innovation, the Tiangge in the Sky, making use of its spacious third level for more stalls and open-air patios. VibrANt. Once touted as the largest public structure in Southeast Asia, the Peoples Mall.

PEOPLES MALL. One of the major economic hubs in Naga, the Peoples Mall is a reflection of the dynamic nature of the City.

Chamber and Centro Traders praise Bongat administration for initiatives

THE CENTRO NAGA BUSINESS CLUB (CNBC) and the Metro Naga Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MNCCI) passed a joint resolution thanking the City Government under Mayor John G. Bongat, citing recent developments undertaken by the City at Nagas traditional central business district, Centro.
Words | Alec Santos Photographs | Stephen Prestado

In Joint Resolution No. 2011-006, dated March 11 of this year, CNBC president Marvin Peas and MNCCI president Philip Imperial, expressed their associations gratitude and support to the City Government for initiating programs to address various socio-economic concerns of business establishments in Centro Naga.

According to CNBC and MNCCI, the City Government has actively consulted and coordinated with members of the CNBC in regard to their concerns and has expressed strong political will in initiating and pursuing programs aimed at substantially improving the economic environment in Centro, as well as ensuring the cleanliness of the traditional

By ensuring that Centro remains competitive, we can boost our Citys economy and create more jobs, claims Mayor John Bongat

business district. The City-led initiatives cited by the resolution range from improved cleanliness of sidewalks and streets, to the incentives offered by the City Government to business owners to repaint their buildings. Mayor Bongats flagship program, The First Great Naga Sale, was also included as one of the major factors for the creation of the resolution. The CNBC and the MNCCI also praised Mayor Bongats directives during the first eight months of his term. In recent months, the City Government has intensified efforts to clear sidewalks of itinerant vendors, resulting in more pedestrians and shoppers flocking to shops and stores. The Public Market, now renamed Naga City Peoples Mall, has also seen a massive improvement with the upgrading of the existing Materials Recovery Facility, the construction of additional access stairs and ramps, and the proposed construction of the Tiangge in the

Sky under a Build-Operate-Transfer scheme (at no expense to the City Government). In addition, the same resolution also included the round-the-clock garbage collection and the strict implementation of the Anti-littering Ordinance. Additional streetlights have also led to a safer and more secure environment at the traditional business district of Naga. Meanwhile, Mayor Bongat expressed gratitude to the business associations for recognizing the efforts of the City Government to improve the economic environment at Centro Naga. We want the private sector to benefit from our initiatives. By ensuring that Centro remains competitive, we can boost our Citys economy and create more jobs. I am grateful that the Chamber and the Centro Naga Business Club have taken it upon themselves to show their support and I am certain that this will further strengthen our already robust partnership, claims Mayor Bongat.
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Naga, DOT, to team up for tourism accreditation

Words | Alec Santos Photographs | Randy Villaflor

Naga and Shefa, Vanuatu ink sisterhood agreement

WArM SMiLES. Nagas many tourist attractions as well as world-class accommodation and amenities make it a premiere destination for domestic and international visitors, prompting the City Government to ensure quality services by the tourism industry. UNITED. Officials from the Province of Shefa, Vanuatu hand a scale model of a traditional outrigger canoe to Mayor John G. Bongat during the signing of the sisterhood agreement between Naga and Shefa. Flanking Mayor Bongat are Vice Mayor Gabriel Bordado, Jr., city councilors Salvador Del Castillo, Elizabeth Lavadia, Cecilia Veluz-De Asis, and ABC President Alex Nero.

EARNING THE PRAISES OF DEPARTMENT of Tourism (DOT) Regional Director Maria Nini Ravanilla, the City Government, under Mayor John G. Bongat, is gearing up for the accreditation of primary tourism establishments operating in the city, in line with Nagas flagship tourism strategy Naga SMILES to the World. Mayor Bongat issued Executive Order 2011-005 last February 9 to support the DOTs efforts in having primary tourism enterprises accredited. R.A. 9593 or the Tourism Act of 2009 calls for an accreditation program to ensure that tourism-related businesses comply with high levels of standards. According to Mayor Bongat, the substantial increase in tourist arrivals to Naga City and Camarines Sur calls for the urgent need to ensure that the tourism industry offers quality services and products. Several cities in Bicol have already sought the DOTs assistance but Naga is the first local government unit (LGU) to institutionalize the accreditation process thru the executive order. Director Ravanilla expressed delight over Mayor Bongats initiative, saying that it will help local tourism establishments improve their services The accreditation of tourism enterprises is a crucial step towards expanding tourism and cementing Nagas status as a premiere tourism destination city, Mayor Bongat says. Helping our local

Words & Photograph | Naga City Peoples Council

Helping our local tourism-related businesses improve their quality of service and products should come hand in hand with our aggressive marketing and promotions efforts.

tourism-related businesses improve their quality of service and products should come hand in hand with our aggressive marketing and promotions efforts, he adds. The executive order enumerates the step-by-step process of implementing the provisions of the Tourism Act of 2009. The Acts Implementing Rules and Regulations also calls on the DOT to help LGUs monitor and administer tourism activities, and enforce tourism laws, rules and regulations (Rule VII, Chapter 1, Sec. 124 of IRR). In addition to the IRR, and in true Naga City fashion, Mayor Bongat included a provision for direct consultation with owners of tourism enterprises and a comprehensive education campaign to highlight the value of accreditation.

The signing is the last part of the study visit of the Shefa delegation which focused on the programs of the City Government on health, education and waste management.

NAGUEOS HAVE MADE NEW FRIENDS across the ocean with the recent signing of a sisterhood agreement between the City of Naga and the province of Shefa, Republic of Vanuatu. The mutual trust and relationship shared by the two communities was further strengthened by the signing of the Local Government Sisterhood Relationship Agreement last March 17 here in Naga. The agreement is the request of the Shefa Province to formalize dialogues with the city on mutual learning and visits. Shefa President Lami Sope and Naga City Mayor John G. Bongat sealed the sisterhood agreement before officials from Shefa and Naga. The signing is the last part of the study visit of the Shefa delegation which focused on the programs of the City Government on health, education and waste management. Their 4-day visit also included dialogues with key personalities managing the programs and included meetings with the Naga City Peoples Council (NCPC) and Metro Naga Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MNCCI) as well as site visits

to the controlled dumpsite, Naga City Peoples Mall, EDUCARE centers, and a Sangguniang Panlungsod session. The study visit and request for sisterhood was the offshoot of the first visit of the said officials of the Republic of Vanuatu last December 2009. The first visit introduced the participants to Nagas governance practices and programs. Participants then shared their experience with their respective provinces in attempts to convince their local government to adopt similar programs. The first that responded was Shefa Province which organized a delegation headed by President Lami Sope to forge a partnership with the City of Naga as an initial step towards various learning activities that will be conducted by their local government in the City. Mayor Bongat expressed his appreciation for the enthusiasm of the Shefa Province to learn and to adopt the various programs being implemented in Naga. The local chief executive also promised to return the favor and visit Shefa province in the future, along with city officials.
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I hope I will still see that Riverwalk materialize before I die. I was still a child when I first heard of the idea. Now, I am a lola to my grandchildren. Sana, madagos na talaga.
These comments from senior citizens were just some of the overwhelmingly positive feedback gathered by the management team of the Naga River Revitalization Project (NRRP) from 10 of the 11 riverine barangays it will cover. After the Project Management Team (PMT) finalized the project features during its meeting last February 10, Mayor John G. Bongat directed it to consult barangay residents, especially those who will be affected, and size up whether the project is socially acceptable. Save the first two events held on February 26 in San Felipe and Balatas on March 1, Mayor Bongat and Councilor Nathan Sergio, the city councils environment committee chair, have attended all subsequent meetings, including one held in Tabuco where Pubong Barangay Julian

compatibly designed arches Lavadia, Jr. promised a resolution for the dalhugan and its twin endorsing the project. The near the Basilica, as well as consultation for Barangay Sabang lamp posts, street signs and was scheduled for March 29. benches along the riverwalk; Bongat engaged former San Felipe Punong Barangay Alfonso development of the 1.13-hectare Sagrada Rodriguez to assist the PMT in Familia property of the City the coordination with colleagues Government (more popularly and arranging the meetings. known as Isla), including the provision of medium-rise Project features housing to free space for After the highly successful mixed-use development; Salog kan Buhay contest for pedestrian bridges the best conceptual design for connecting Dayangdangrevitalizing Naga River, which Penafrancia and Lermaattracted 12 entries from all Dinaga; over Camarines Sur, including a landscaped riverpark at the seven submissions by students, Tabuco-Sabang area, with the PMT agreed to use Architect provision for zipline stations Ernesto Banzuelas winning and boathouses; proposal as anchor conceptual multipurpose monument design, to be enhanced by boards, whose themes and features from the others. contents can be adjusted Among others, Banzuelas depending on the season entry calls for a riverwalk that paid public rest rooms at the will be off-limits to motorized foot of major bridges along vehicles, with separate biking the project area(with cost and pedestrian lanes, planting recovery), and strip and viewing decks above docks and jetties in three key major outfalls of Nagas strategic locations: the mouth drainage system. To improve of Naga River at the Tabucowater quality, he proposed the Sabang area; the former installation of bio-cleaners and Naga City Public Market interceptor pipes underneath (now rebranded as Naga the riverwalks that will collect City Peoples Mall); and the wastewater and transport these Magsaysay entertainment to a central treatment plant for and lifestyle area. processing.
Words | Wilfredo Prilles, Jr. City Planning and Development Officer Photograph | Stephen Prestado

reduce urban heat island effect and other green architecture technologies like coco fibers and eco-blocks for the riverbanks to enhance their absorptive capacity and reduce water velocity, especially during heavy rains. Ensuring community ownership How sure are we that the project will be different from previous efforts of the City? residents often ask Mayor Bongat. In response, the mayor said that there is no reason why it cannot prioritize the Naga River, which has a direct impact on the daily lives of ordinary residents, especially those living near the riverbanks. The environmental, economic and cultural benefits of the project are enormous, to which his listeners would nod in agreement. To those who will need relocation, he assured that the City Government will look after their welfare by providing alternative housing. To property owners, both he and Councilor Sergio reiterated that the City Government will be very reasonable. Sergio said a second round of barangay consultations will be held once local geodetic engineers have completed a survey of the project area that will lay out the extent of private

Other features adopted include the development of

The group also endorsed the use of concrete pavers to

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properties, existing structures and the river easement. This information will help determine where and how the riverwalk and its wastewater treatment provision will be constructed. On April 13, the Citys Bids and Awards Committee will open all submitted bids for the survey, thereby paving the way for its implementation this summer. Basis of greater confidence Mayor Bongat also explained other reasons for his administrations bullish outlook in regard to the river project. At no time in our history is the City Government receiving so much attention and support for this type of undertaking, he said. The World Bank is extending technical assistance under its DARE Project, which jumpstarted renewed interest on Naga River. The German government, through the Cities Development Initiative for Asia (CDIA) has committed US$321,000 for the needed pre-feasibility study that is being eyed for completion by year end. UNESCO is also keen on securing the needed government approvals for a four-year project that will address both the project site and the upstream section of Naga River. And we have former mayor and now DILG Secretary Jesse Robredo to help us with the national government. As Sergio quipped, this time, the stars are all aligned.


Words | Shiena M. Barrameda and Allen Reondanga Photographs | Jose Collera and Randy Villaflor

IN TIME FOR THE EARTH Hour this year, when towns and cities across the world turned off their lights for an hour to raise awareness for the environment, participating residents and city officials in Naga swore to faithfully realize the true essence of the activity even after they turned the switch back on.
The holding of Earth Hour celebrations here, under the leadership of committee chairperson and Naga Citys First Lady Farah Bongat, was in line with this years worldwide effort of making the advocacy last beyond the usual 60 minutes. We reserve one day each year for our birthdays, graduation, Christmas and fiestas while the Earth asks for only one hour, Farah, wife of City Mayor John Bongat, said.I think it is best that we keep our concern for the environment beyond that one hour by organizing and pursuing activities that are environmentfriendly. Mrs. Bongat stated that Earth Hour 2011, dubbed 60+, is just a kick-off event for a series of activities in Naga this year that are focused on the environmental conservation and abating the effects of pollution. Among the initiatives of the City are the Run for Naga River and thePili Mania sa Maogmang Naga: Naga Citys Economic Greening Movement,a tree-planting activity which aims to plant and nurture 30,000 pili seedlings from 2011 to 2012, says Ms. Bongat. The Run for Naga River, set this coming April 16, is expected to raise funds for the rehabilitation and beautification of the Naga River. The commitment oath recited here in unison by participants during the Earth Hour last March 26 was entitledPagdusay sa Kinaban(Committment for the Earth). This was preceded by a fun walk participated in by private citizens and City officials starting at the Porta Mariae of the Naga Metropolitan Cathedral and ending at the SM City Naga.

RIVERWALK. Detailed plans and perspectives by Arch. Ernesto Banzuela, winner of the Salog kan Buhay Conceptual Design Contest, and other contestants include jogging and bike lanes, riverside parks, landscaping, and several footbridges.

COMMITTED. Naga City First Lady and Earth Hour 2011 Committee Chairman Ms. Farah Bongat leads participants in pledging to lead the way for a better and greener world.

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Naga to market


The Naga City Science High School (NCSHS) was declared overall champion in Smart Communications Doon Po Sa Amin competitions held last March 9, 2011 at the SMX Convention Center, Seashell Lane, Mall of Asia Complex in Pasay City.

What, exactly, is green charcoal?
Words | Jason B. Neola Photograph | Randy Villaflor

This was the usual question asked by curious residents and onlookers after witnessing the delivery of four machines that will be used to manufacture lowly water lilies into environmentfriendly charcoal and provide livelihood opportunities to those engaged in the novel project. . The machines, amounting to more than Php500,000, were purchased by the Department of Trade and Industry for the Naga City Water Hyacinth Development Project, one of the livelihood and entrepreneurship projects introduced by Mayor John G. Bongats Barangay GROW Negosyo program and managed by the Metro PESOs Enterprise and Cooperative Development Center. The acquisition of the equipment is expected to expand

livelihood opportunities in the barangays. The project was formally launched in Sitio Pagdaicon, Barangay Mabolo, here, last March. Coming out as compact briquettes, green charcoal is actually colored black, as ordinary charcoal is. With the water hyacinth (water lily) as raw material, briquettemaking utilizes four machines, which include a dewatering machine, mixer, hammer mill and charcoal briquetting apparatus. Internet research and reference sites show that charcoal made of water lily is an economical and practical source of fuel for household cooking without producing the usual smoke and odor from the use of ordinary charcoal. These briquettes may serve as an environment-friendly

alternative to Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG). The compact briquette worksite for the Mabolo Charcoal Briquetting Center was inaugurated last March 7, 2011, along with the induction of the officers of Mabolo Entrepreneurs Association and the Tinago Water Hyacinth Handicraft Development Association. In a related development, the City Government has chosen Brgy. Tinago to be Nagas handicraft center. Initially making use of water lilies as raw materials for handicrafts, Tinago is expected to use other raw materials in the near future. Over 70 families are expected to benefit from the water hyacinth briquetting and handicraft production of barangays Mabolo and Tinago, respectively.

PrOud. Faculty and students of Naga City Science High School beam with pride after having been declared champions in Smart Communications Doon po sa Amin competition.

SciHigh bests 167 other schools

Words | Jason B. Neola Photographs | Naga City Science High School


This year marks the third time that the Naga City Science High School (NCSHS) was accorded the same honor, the first in 2009, which was immediately followed in 2010. For this year, NCSHS participated in two category competitions, the Learning Challenge and Ano ang Kwento Mo? The schools entries shone in the final judging, besting 167 others coming from various schools, colleges and universities nationwide. Doon Po Sa Amin, according to Sulpicio Alferez III, school principal of the NCSHS, is

a competition that promotes independence among students in handling research works in the community and develops, as well, their skills in writing, and website-making. The competition enables the students to do research works on specific subjects like technology or innovative know-how on identified fields. It may be about skill, knowledge or expertise or any kind of interesting development that is new to a place worthy to be showcased and emulated, he said. In the Learning Challenge, the NCSHS
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presented the Paracale: Bulawan na Banwa entry which won in the Best in Web Design in the Livelihood and Economics category. The entry was prepared by NCSHS students Ma. Sheena Betito, Camille Ignacio, Marc Simon Cortes, Jino Jovi San Pedro, Jamaela Pelausa, Mark Daniel Crisostomo and John Kenneth Gil with Teachercoaches Catherine Ramos, Nelia Hernandez, Joretze Carandang and Sylvia Serrado. In Ano ang Kwento Mo, for its video blog entry, the school presented Too Gold to be Good which won the Environment/ Disaster Preparedness Category. The material was prepared by the same group of NCSHS students under the guidance of the abovementioned teachercoaches. In the same category, the school bagged five awards for presenting another video blog, Orgulyo kan Naga: Kinalas na Kakaiba. The awards include: Best in Booth Exhibit, Travel and Cuisine Category winner, Best in Video Blog Site Design and Layout, Booth Exhibit Texters Choice and the Grand Champion award. The school also received Php110,000 worth of cash prizes for the three entries. The Kinalas entry

Words | Allen Reondanga Information Officer Photographs | Allan Rey Camata, Paolo Alvarez and Randy Villaflor

THERE IS NO stopping the City Government in placing Naga City on the countrys sports map. Under the leadership of Mayor John Bongat, it has committed itself to vigorously conducting and supporting big sports programs in the City such as fun runs, marathons, boxing, football, etc. aimed at promoting Naga as the regional center of sports.

KINALAS. Visitors to the Science High Schools unique kinalas-themed booth are treated to a video blog about one of Nagas most recognizable dishes.

was prepared by students Edmaren Padua, Ma. Christine Joyce De Vera, Allen Roi Cledera, Janica Intia, Madel Alacar, Robert Louie Beria, Vernon Carandang and teacher-coaches Joretze Carandang, Catherine Ramos and Nelia Hernandez. In 2009, the school was adjudged overall champion in the competition with

its entry Si Ina, Debosyon sa Halawig na Panahon which showcased the Bicolanos love for Ina. This entry was awarded as the Grand Champion in the final judging. In 2010, the NCSHS presented two entries: Tigsik: Pagsalingoy sa Lengwaheng Bikolnon and Mike Padua: Pag-Asa kan Naga. Both entries qualified as category winners.
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The Citys Chief Executive expressed optimism that sports events will be elevated from mere crowd-drawers to a way of life for Nagueos with the creation of the Sports Development Office under the new Education, Scholarships and Sports Office. With the growing wellness craze gripping the country, Naga was host to no less than 12 fun runs from January to March of this year. The runs were organized and sponsored by the Citys civic organizations and participated not only by Nagueos but also people from other parts of the region in search of plain physical fitness activities or charitable causes. For this reason, Mayor Bongat issued Proclamation No. 2, Series of 2011 declaring the City of Naga as the Fun Run Capital of the South to encourage more organizations, to host similar

activities that will encourage people to be more involved in physical wellness activities and as an effect, boost Nagas local and international tourism. Recent studies conducted by an internationally known credit card company has shown Filipinos as the most charitable people in Asia, a possible reason why cause-oriented fun runs and sports events like the 1st Naga City Run, a special fun run organized by the City Hall Athletes Maintenance Programs and Services (CHAMPS), managed to gather no less than a thousand runners to help feed and bring joy to more than 700 underprivileged children last March 6. On April 16, together with the Archdiocese of Caceres, the City will again another event dubbed Run for Naga River, aimed at increasing awareness on the importance of

the river in the life, history and culture of the Nagueo. The event is expected to mobilize more than 3,000 defenders of the river to raise awareness and funds for the Naga River Revitalization Project and the flagship environmental, cultural, economic, and tourism program of the Bongat administration aptly called Salog kan Buhay. Meanwhile, to promote Naga as Southern Luzons Boxing Capital, Naga City successfully staged and hosted the RP Welterweight Championship fight between Dennis Laurente and Dondon Sultan at the Naga City Coliseum last March 5. Preparations for the title bout kicked off with the approval of the Memorandum of Agreement between the City Government, represented by Mayor Bongat, along with the Sangguniang

Panlungsod, and international boxing promoter Johnny Elorde. Dubbed as Boxing Kontra Droga, it was the first boxing title bout held in the region. Laurente, who landed in the world ratings after six successful outings in America, mostly in the undercard of Manny Pacquiao, won the welterweight title with a breathtaking sixth round knockout of former Philippine champion Dondon Sultan. Boxing aficionados can expect another round of hard punching events and converge once more at the Naga City Coliseum this September in time for the Peafrancia Festivities as Mayor Bongat starts negotiating with international boxing promoters to bring international championship fights to Naga.

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CityVS. sets measures DRUG USE, ABUSE

agreement, the City Government and the PDEA will implement joint programs and activities aimed at reducing and preventing drug use in Naga. The City Governments drug abuse programs have also taken root at the barangay level thru the creation of BADACs at the various barangays. To equip barangay officials with the proper knowledge and skills to handle drug-related issues in their communities, the Drug Board held a specialized training seminar with resource persons from the DILG, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency and the NCPO. The judiciary, the Prosecutors Office, Liga ng mga Barangay and the Sangguniang Kabataan Federation to name a few are active members of the Drug Board.

fuLL SuPPOrt. (above) City and barangay officials, as well as the PNP, represented by City Director P/S Supt. Vert Chavez pledge full support to the City Governments anti-drug efforts thru the BADAC. (below) DILG Regional Director Blandino Maceda swears in the members of the Naga City Dangerous Drugs Board, which is led by Mayor Bongat.

ALLIES. Mayor John G. Bongat, city councilors Raoul Rosales and Nene De Asis, and City Health Officer Dr. Butch Borja listen intently to discussions by PDEA and police officials on drug-related issues.

Words | Alec Santos Photographs | Jose Collera

IN A MOVE DESIGNED TO provide a holistic and comprehensive system of addressing drug abuse in Naga, the City Government reorganized the Naga City Dangerous Drug Board and the Barangay AntiDrug Abuse Council (BADAC), as well as established the Life Improvement through Friendly Education (LIFE) counselling center. Mayor John G. Bongat says that these measures will help eradicate drug distribution in Naga and offer help to families and victims of drug use and

abuse. Housed at the Naga City Youth Center, the Drug Board is the City Governments primary arm in implementing its antidrug abuse programs. It also sets the agenda for the rehabilitation of drug abuse victims. The LIFE counselling center was originally conceived by Mayor Bongat during his first term as a city councilor to address the need for counselling and rehabilitation of drug users. Users can also call in their concerns with trained counsellors ready to offer advice. Recently, Mayor Bongat and the

Drug Board convened a meeting of representatives from various universities and colleges in Naga to forge a partnership to volunteer counsellors. A Memorandum of Agreement was also signed by Mayor Bongat, acting as the NCDDB Chairman, and Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) Regional Director Archie Grande to further strengthen the partnership between the City Government and PDEA in the fight against drug trafficking and drug abuse. Under the




ntos Words | Alec Sa and or afl Randy Vill Photographs | ce ffi O e lic Po Naga City

TED IN A CONCER EFFORT TO deter would-be on criminals riding motorcycles from s preying on victim in Naga, the City e Government, th Naga City Police the Office (NCPO), ce Public Safety Offi gay (PSO) and baran up governments set ts roving checkpoin and chokepoints er starting Decemb last year.
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Pre-empting calls for intensified crime prevention measures, Mayor John G. Bongat issued a strong message against criminals thru Executive Order 2010-031, ordering daily, simultaneous, and unannounced checkpoints and chokepoints across the city. Exercising the power of supervision over PNP units in Naga, Mayor Bongat directed the NCPO and PSO, in coordination with barangay tanods, to conduct the checkpoints. Responding to public clamor, the City Government strengthened its efforts to apprehend and deter criminals. The teams are composed mainly of policemen and peace officers from the concerned barangays. Within a week after the start of the random checkpoints, robbery incidents involving motorcycle-riding criminals virtually disappeared. In addition to the checkpoints, Mayor Bongat also instructed the strict implementation of the Curfew Ordinance to deter minors involved in home robberies and theft. The curfew, which takes effect from 10 PM to 4 AM the next day, has succeeded in drastically reducing home invasions. The City Government has also decided to add a new police station to address the needs of a growing population. Recognizing the urgent need for a more effective and responsive police force, city officials led by Mayor Bongat pushed for the creation of the new station and the establishment of a police outpost at the Metro Naga Sports Complex as a security measure for residents in upland barangays.

Bridging the i nformation g ap

Naga eyes Barangay-based survey to pre-empt problems

Words | Alec Santos

PREPARATIONS are in full swing for the City Governments latest program to survey households and families to address future problems. Officially called Community-Based Monitoring System (CBMS), the survey is a recent scientific approach to evaluate households in the City to better guide city officials in preparing the right programs and projects. Based on the principle of people participation, which has been Nagas trademark as a leading example of good governance, CBMS will feature indicators, comprehensive information, and wellmaintained databanks in order to identify factors that affect the Nagueos way of life. Mayor John G. Bongat issued Executive Order 2011-002 last January 30, paving the way for the City Government, under its iServe program, to prepare for the city-wide surveys. Nicolas Motos, Jr., iServe program coordinator, believes that the CBMS will allow for more accurate data, which in turn will yield a better

understanding of the current socioeconomic status of Nagas citizens. He adds that this will help city officials formulate appropriate programs and projects to address the needs of constituents. Complying with Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Memorandum Circular 2004-152, the City Government is already in the process of training interviewers and acquiring the software to be used in the CBMS. With technical guidance from Manila-based experts, Naga is expected to complete its survey by the second week of June. Mayor Bongat reiterated the need for a more comprehensive survey methodology, saying that By ensuring that the City Government has accurate and updated information on our constituents and their status, we can come up with more effective economic and social programs. The CBMS will also help us allocate the right resources to serve the right people in the right order of priorities.

By ensuring that the City Government has accurate and updated information on our constituents and their status, we can come up with more effective economic and social programs, says Mayor John Bongat.

C IT I Z E N S OF NAGA can expect t latest news o hear abou faster, bette t the r, and cleare stronger Cit r with a y Hall Press Corps.
Words | Alec Santos Photographs | Randy Villaflor

crYStAL cLEAr. Myra Revilla of Bombo Radyo Naga, a member of the Naga City Hall Press Corps, interviews Mayor Bongat as DWNXs Mike Marfega and DWOS Roy San Ramon, the Press Corps president and vice president respectively, look on.

Upon the creation of the Media Relations Center by Mayor John G. Bongat with former City Councilor Joe Grageda as Media Relations Officer, the presence and effectivity of the Naga City Hall Press Corps can be manifestly felt in practically all the activities and projects of the Naga City Government. As originally envisioned in its By-Laws, which was formalized recently, the unity

and camaraderie of the various media personalities objectively covering and reporting significant projects and newsworthy activities of the City Government have been realized. Every Monday morning, after the flag ceremony at City Hall, radio reporters, television anchors and cameramen and writers from the print media converge
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at the Mayors office for the Meet the Press with Mayor Bongat. During this occasion, a no-holds-barred dialogue takes place where the members of the Press Corps familiarize themselves with the latest news from City Hall and even prominent issues are clarified. The Mayor and the leadership of the Media Center regularly emphasize to media that Press Corps members are free to impartially, objectively and intelligently discuss or write about the issues confronting City Hall and its officials, considering all sides of even the latest news items. Constructive criticism is likewise most welcome. Holding the reigns of the Naga City Hall Press Corps leadership is Mike Marfega of RMN-DWNX who makes sure that the varying personalities of the members are happily


coordinated to serve the best interest of the general public. The corps members are also aware that equal consideration should be given to their rights and privileges as well as their obligations. Among the privileges, the members can officially represent the organization in all legal conferences and activities attended by other media practitioners, use the facilities of the City Government, particularly the Media Relations Center, in connection with official functions and formally present suggestions to the City Government regarding public matters. According to Mayor Bongat, the creation of the Media Relations Office as well as the strengthening of the Press Corps is his administrations way of

showing that transparency is ever present in all City Hall transactions and activities. In addition to the Press Corps, the City Government still retains its weekly radio program An Naga Ngonian every Saturday morning at RMN-DWNX. Pressing issues as well as suggestions are discussed in detail by radio anchor Joe Grageda. Mayor Bongat, for his part, has never shied away from interviews, with most, if not all mediamen aware of his contact numbers and whereabouts, proving that the publics right to information plays a crucial role in creating a truly Maogmang Naga, and making his brand of governance closer to the people.

FAITH. A photo montage shows some of the many faiths and religious institutions that play a crucial role in the life and future of Nagueos.

Words | Alec Santos Photographs | Randy Villaflor

RECOGNIZING THE SIGNIFICANT ROLE AND contribution of the various faiths in Naga to the development of the City and its people, Mayor John G. Bongat has called on religious leaders to form an Ecumenical Council to advise the City Government on moral and social matters.
In a landmark executive issuance contained in Proclamation No. 2011-001, dated January 26, Mayor Bongat effectively recognizes the valuable role of religious institutions in promoting moral and social values. According to the chief executive,

MESSENgErS. Media Relations Officer Jose Grageda (far right) attends to Press Corps members during one of the many regular press conferences with Mayor Bongat at the City Mayors Office.

the proclamation is in line with the Citys Vision Statement of promoting a culture of responsible and God-fearing Nagueos. The creation of an Ecumenical Council is also expected to consolidate efforts of the different faiths in dealing with various social issues affecting health, livelihood, families, and environmental conservation. Mayor Bongat stresses that opinions and recommendations voiced by the Ecumenical Council will play a major part in the future decisions and policies of the City Government. With the present national administration pursuing numerous Public and Private Partnerships (PPP), Mayor Bongat believes that the City Government also needs to engage religious institutions in order to improve and develop

programs and projects to better address social and moral issues. The local chief executive also says that the Ecumenical Council will be instrumental in forming the social and civic consciousness of Nagas youth thru its strong influence. As the Citys partner in helping mold young Nagueos to become more civic-oriented and socially responsible citizens, the Ecumenical Council will rely on the government, the faiths, and the civic sectors collective community obligation. The City Government will wholeheartedly support the Council achieve its goal of becoming a major influence on the moral fiber of Nagas citizens, especially the youth, for a better and brighter Maogmang Naga, says Mayor Bongat.
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Words | Allen Reondanga Artwork | Stephen V. Prestado

NAGA IS ONCE again looking for model citizens to be conferred the distinction of being proclaimed as this years Mayoral Awardees.
The City Mayoral Awards Committee launched the 2011 search for Mayoral Awardees last January 25 during Mayor John G. Bongats State of the City Report as part of the Citys annual program that pays tribute to Nagueos who have distinguished themselves by their exemplary achievements in various fields of endeavor and thus contributed positive enhancement to the citys growth, honor, and glory. Four categories comprise the Awards: 1) the Distinguished Mayoral Award for outstanding performance, achievement or service for at least ten years, 2) Special Mayoral Citation, for achievement or service for at least five years, 3) Mayoral Recognition, for extraordinary acts of heroism, valor, and civic duty, including act of honesty worth emulating, and 4) City

Excellence Award for Nagueos who have brought singular honor, recognition and positive impact to the city by the award given him/her at the national or international level, such as Bar and Board topnotchers, and winners in national sports and other competitions. According to Mr. J. Antonio Amparado, chairperson of this years search and a Distiguished Mayoral Awardee himself, nominees will be evaluated based on their personal qualifications and moral integrity, quality of service and degree of commitment, and extent of involvement in sociocivic affairs and impact of project/ activity. Since its establishment in 1940, the search has honored Nagueos who have made a real difference in Naga. Among those conferred with the Mayoral Award are Msgr. Leonardo Z. Legazpi, O.P. D.D. (1999) for his contributions to the socio-political and spiritual growth of the City, Dr. Dolores Sison (1999), President of the University of Nueva Caceres for education and public service, nationally renowned cartoonist and Animahenasyon Awardee Roque Roxlee Lee for filmmaking and political cartooning in 1992, the late Senator Raul Roco for Public Service, and Philippine Daily Inquirer columnist Conrado De Quiros for literature and

journalism in 1991. Nomination forms and other related documents may be obtained from the Mayoral Awards Secretariat, Office of the Sangguniang Panlungsod, tel. no. (054) 472-7919 during office hours, or may be downloaded from the Citys official website, www. naga.gov.ph, where details of the awards are provided. Winners will be conferred their respective awards and corresponding prizes on the occasion of Nagas 63rd Charter Day celebration on June 18, 2011.

According to Mr. J. Antonio Amparado, chairperson of this years search and a Distiguished Mayoral Awardee himself, nominees will be evaluated based on their personal qualications and moral integrity, quality of service and degree of commitment, and extent of involvement in sociocivic affairs and impact of project/activity.

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Special Bienvenido Santos section rises at Roco Library

Words | Jason B. Neola
HiStOric. Linking two areas of the City, the Tabuco bridge also serves as a connection between Nagas rich history and bright future.

Free classes, livelihood trainings give hope to undergrads, poor in Sta. Cruz
Words | Shiena M. Barrameda

Puente de Claveria
Words | Jason B. Neola Photographs | Randy Villaflor

Tabuco Bridge to be re-christened

THE CITY GOVERNMENT of Naga, pursuing its relentless campaign to promote and advance its rich history, culture and arts, as well as tourism and economy, is renaming the Spanish-built bridge that connects the old Ciudad de Caceres (the traditional central business district where the Naga City Peoples Mall is located) and Pueblo de Tabuco, which used to be known as Nagas version of Chinatown.
The bridge, unofficially referred to as Tabuco Bridge, shall now be known as Puente de Claveria by virtue of City Ordinance 2011-005 which was authored by City Councilor Nathan A. Sergio and approved by Mayor John G. Bongat. The new name pays tribute to Narciso Claveria y Zaldua, who served as Spanish Governor-General in the Philippines from July 16, 1844 until December 26, 1849. Historical research shows that the natives and the Spaniard settlers of then Ciudad de Caceres had proposed to name the bridge in honor of the governor-general and even prepared the architectural design for that bridge that spans the old Spanish settlement to Pueblo de Tabuco which lies across the Naga River. Governor-General Claveria decreed in November 11, 1849 that all Filipino natives shall adopt Spanish surnames and, to that effect, distributed all over the archipelago a book of Spanish surnames called Catalogo Alfabeto de Apellidos from where the natives could henceforth select their surnames. Councilor Sergio stressed that renaming the bridge as Puente de Claveria and adopting its original architectural design will showcase Nagas history as well as the peoples culture and arts, thereby enhancing tourism and economic development. The ordinance tasks the City Planning and Development Office and the City Engineers Office to oversee the implementation of the architectural design of Puente de Claveria. An appropriate marker shall also be installed at the re-christened bridge. The ordinance further enjoins the Department of Public Works and Highways to recognize the bridges official name and to consider the architectural design in the future repairs, improvement or reconstruction of Puente de Claveria.

IN A FITTING tribute to Bienvenido Nuqui Santos, Bicolandias most illustrious literary icon, the City Government of Naga established a special section at the Raul S. Roco Library that will display a wide array of the authors award-winning masterpieces, last March 14. City Ordinance 2011-006, authored by Councilor Nathan A. Sergio and approved by Mayor John G. Bongat cites the late Bienvenido N. Santos and his immense contribution to the literary world that, even after his death in 1996, he remains to be an inspiration for budding literary writers in the Bicol Region and elsewhere. Santos, a pride of Naga City who taught at the University of Nueva Caceres where he also served as Dean of the Liberal Arts Department from 1962-1969, was widely acclaimed even beyond Philippine soil for his masterpiece Scent of an Apple which won the American Book Award in 1980. This honor distinguished him as one of the best Filipino writers in English. The dedication of a special section at the Raul S. Roco Library (Naga City Library) highlights the thrust of the present city administration to put emphasis on Nagas culture and arts, and in a singular way albeit posthumously honor the man, not only for giving pride to the city, but importantly for writing the lyrics of the Citys official

hymn Heart of Bikol during the term of then Mayor Vicente P. Sibulo. The special section at the library will contain Santos various literary works and shall be known as the BN Santos Special Collection. The collection of works, although safely guarded, shall be conspicuously displayed and readily accessible to the public. Bienvenido N. Santos, though less known to most Nagueos today, is a true literary giant. He won the Philippine Republic Cultural Heritage Award for Literature in 1965 and the very prestigious Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards three times, in 1956, 1961 and 1965. On top of these, he was conferred scholarships, grants and honorary doctorate degrees by prestigious universities in the Philippines and abroad. His rare collection of award-winning literary works includes five novels, five short stories, two books of poetry, two autobiographical books and two volumes of letters. The ordinance emphasizes that by making Santos collection readily accessible to the public, Naga will continue to be a veritable and fertile ground for literary writers, Mayor Bongat said. The Bicolano icon of literature marked his 100th birth anniversary on March 22, 2011 in a simple but meaningful ceremony at the Raul S. Roco Library.

EDUCATION continues to be the primary concentration of Brgy. Sta. Cruz this year as more and more impoverished members of the community are given free education through its two mainstream programs. Lorenzo Narvaez, Punong Barangay of Sta. Cruz, said that they are expecting more people to graduate from their Alternative Learning System (ALS) program and Accreditation and Equivalency (A and E) classes.Both projects were organized with the help of the Department of Education (DepEd) here and the City Government under Mayor John G. Bongat. The A and E is geared towards providing the equivalent of primary and secondary education for free to over-aged residents and out-ofschool-youth, while the ALS is a program which provides trainings and seminars to participants interested in learning livelihood skills like cooking, baking, hair science, manicurepedicure, dress-making and bagmaking. Narvaez stated that they have also partnered with non-government organizations from countries like Japan for individual workshops under the ALS. Meanwhile, Narvaez stated that students under the A and E are entitled to a diploma once they have completed the modules. Aside from the free education, students of the A and E are also entitled to free school supplies provided by the barangay. On the other hand, Narvaez confirmed that his barangay has introduced control measures on its soft loan program for the time being due to outstanding balances of constituents who borrowed money used for capital in small businesses.
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Covered basketball court to rise in Abella

BARANGAY Abella is planning to move their thriving vegetable and medicinal garden to another location in order to give way to a proposed covered basketball court to be constructed just beside the barangay hall. Apolinario Malana, Punong Barangay, said that such a shift is expected to establish a visible development in the field of sports for the residents of the barangay, which will also serve as alternative venue for barangay assemblies and affairs. The official also stated that the project will be beneficial especially to the youth sector which the local government is encouraging to engage more in various sports activities to steer them away from negative activities that might lead them astray. Kagawad Teodelito Pangan of Abella said that the council is already readying the layout plan and documents for the covered court which will then be presented to the City Government for approval and support.So far, Pangan confirmed that barangay officials are still trying to determine the dimensions of the new court in order to maximize the remaining area around the garden. Meanwhile, the vegetable and medicinal garden which has provided free food and assistance to poor families within the village will be moved across the street from its present location. On another note, Malana has also confirmed that the two-storey building being constructed next to the garden is reserved for persons with disability (PWDs) and senior citizens of the barangay. The edifice will house offices for the two special sectors using barangay funds in line with the recently passed Ordinance No. 2010-066, authored by Councilor Nathan Sergio, which mandates all 27 villages of the City of Naga to allocate no less than two percent of their budget for PWDs and senior citizens. (Shiena M. Barrameda)

San Francisco sees paminta as potential OBOP

Channelling Charity
LETTERS OF GRATITU DE sent to Mother Joan Clair e Chin Loy of the Missiona ries of the Poor capture the joy felt by recipients of wheelchairs donated thru Mayor John G. Bongat an d Nagas First Lady, Ms. Fa rah Bongat.

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FACADE. The St. Francis of Assisi parish church dominates the skyline of Barangay San Francisco.

Words | Shiena M. Barrameda Photograph | Bong Bajo

IN LINE with the City Governments prime objective of encouraging the rise of local enterprises at the barangay level, the urban barangay of San Francisco is now looking at the possibility of cultivatingpamintaor pepper as its primary product under the One Barangay, One Product (OBOP) program initiated by Mayor John G. Bongat and more popularly known as Barangay GROW Negosyo in relation to the urban agriculture thrust of the City. Punong Barangay Tomas Ramon Sanchez said that the Barangay Council is already in the process of discussing this possibility in sessions that would ultimately pave the way for the passage of a barangay ordinance that would enable the village to ask for assistance from the City Government thru its Agriculture Office towards the realization of such program. Although still a proposal, the village chief has already expressed enthusiasm over the idea as it would help San Francisco generate more income in the future. The Punong Barangay stated that

the project will also be subsidized using the P10,000 cash prize that was awarded to their womens group in recent contests organized by the City of Naga. We are such a small barangay, Sanchez said. The majority of residents are only transients, mostly students and workers staying in boarding houses and apartments.We do not have enough funding for our programs because we collect very little revenue.Now, with this OBOP, we might be able to augment our fund. Pamintais one of the essential ingredients in cooking.It is rarely left out of Filipino recipes which, according to Sanchez, ensures Brgy. San Francisco of a definite market once it has started cultivatingpamintaas its OBOP. On the other hand, Sanchez confirmed that the food stalls, locally called Face the Wall, which has made his village famous for many years now continue to be the main source of income for San Francisco, contributing a total of P394,200 in revenues in 2010.

Former Congressman James Jacob and Mayor Bongat personally handed over a r wheelchair to Antonio Eleaza . tim vic of San Felipe, a stroke Mayor and Ms. Bongat also r delivered a wheelchair to 5 yea old Angel Mae Febres of San Isidro, who is stricken with Cerebral Palsy.

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Vision-impaired Felix P. Chavez, 27, says he has many reasons to be grateful to God and the people who initiated and operate the Naga City Resource Center for the Blind which he considers as his new home because everyone in the Centers four corners treat each other as family. The center admits those with poor vision or who are totally blind to avail themselves of its facilities, free of charge, to harness and develop their potentials and become productive just like ordinary persons. A regular BS Psychology student at the University of Nueva Caceres, Felix considers the Center as a key facility that enables him to complete his research works independent of any assistance from others. He is joining this years graduating students. The Center, the first of its kind in Southern Luzon, was established on April 13, 2009, through the initiative of then Mayor Jesse Robredo who hails from a family with a history of visual impairment.

seeking additional facilities like the DAISY educational audio textbooks, Braille encoder, JAWS computer-based research software and other special equipment and assistive devices with the Rotary Matching Grant Committee chaired by Rotarian Earl Harris. As early as 2009, the Rotary Club of Naga-Camarines Sur and the Rotary International District 3820 thru its Matching Grant Committee donated an audio room cum recording apparatus. The Center is also equipped with computers bearing zoom text software that allows a person with poor vision to see what is on the monitor by having the characters and elements on the screen enlarged 16 times. The same technology also carries devices with speech capability. Other than being WIFI-ready, the Center has a scanner that is attached to one of the computer units wherein a blind person can place reading materials and have the items read aloud or displayed in large fonts by the machine.

Wishing to expand further the services of the Center, Mayor Bongat is seeking additional facilities like the DAISY educational audio textbooks, Braille encoder, JAWS computer-based research software and other special equipment and assistive devices with the Rotary Matching Grant Committee chaired by Rotarian Earl Harris.

Words | Jason B. Neola Photographs | Randy Villaflor

The eyes may not be expressive enough but the smiles on his face cannot hide the joy and feeling of being inspired since he found himself embracing life to the fullest at the center that cares for those like him who are physically challenged.
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NEW HOrizONS. Nagas Resource Center for the Blind, the first of its kind in Southern Luzon, gives visually-challenged Bicolanos the chance to realize their full potential and transform dreams into reality.

Other than having acquired the latest version of Job Access with Speech 10 (JAWS 10) computers from the Robredos and the Rotary Club of Naga-Camarines Sur, the visually challenged individuals who avail of the centers facilities are also grateful to incumbent Mayor John G. Bongat who continues to encourage them to reach for their utmost capabilities even as he assures them of his unwavering support to provide the resources the center needs for its sustenance and upkeep. Wishing to expand further the services of the Center, Mayor Bongat is

Among the Center habitus are individuals from different age brackets who have either lost their vision due to age-related illnesses or first grade pupils and teenagers who have been visuallyimpaired since birth. Officer-in-Charge Tess M. Domer said that the Center is also offering training and counseling to clients who wish to achieve personal growth and develop their potentials. Domer said counseling also involves breaking down fears, misconceptions and overprotection being unwittingly perpetrated by members of the visually-impaireds own families.

OPPOrtuNitiES. Visuallychallenged citizens of Naga face greater possibilities for their future because of the complete equipment and facilities of the Center.

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a th have d e as you n g n a la N p . E r the tHE futu about with re ile uCa lot to sm ent of the Ed em improv m. progra
MOLdiNg tHE fu turE. EduCare teachers take tim e off with their students during a visit to Naga City Ecology Pa rk.

MAYOr JOHN bONgAt (center) receives the prestigious GAPAS award from DSWD Sec. Dinky Soliman (second from left). They are flanked by (from left) Usec. Celia Yangco, CSWD Head Jimmy Reblando and EduCare Division Head Elsie Romano.

E. Top-notch SEcONd HOM a cilities ensure educational fa h. ut yo s ga r Na bright future fo

AFTER ALMOST TWO decades of providing basic quality education to young Nagueos, the Naga City EduCare Program reaped its highest award yet earlier this year.
The EduCare program of Naga was the only one in the entire Philippines awarded the GAPAS (Gawad Paglilingkod Award) as a Model Local Government Implementing Day-Care Service

Words | Shiena M. Barrameda Photographs | Randy Villaflor and EduCare Division

last January 26 during the awarding ceremony at the DSWD National Office in Batasan Hills, Quezon City.The award was given in connection with the 60thAnniversary Celebration of the said agency. The said honor was given to the EduCare program of the City for its exceptional education course for children ages three and a half to six years. The program was initially designed to assist working mothers in balancing their jobs and their childrens early education by entrusting them to the care of competent preschool teachers, continuously trained by the LGU. The program combines the Montessori system of teaching and traditional daycare education where children are taught to read, write and count while honing their interpersonal skills by immersing them in playful social activities. This year, in line with Mayor John G. Bongats directive to enhance the capabilities of Nagas early childhood education system, Naga EduCare is preparing its teachers and facilities for younger students.

Elsie Romano, head of the program, confirmed that they will now accept younger children aged three into their 72 EduCare Centers all over the city. This Summer, our 84 teachers will undergo special training in order to equip them with the proper attitude and skills in dealing with this younger group, Romano said. Romano stated that annual trainings for teachers are commonplace under the EduCare program as a form of refresher to further enhance their teaching styles. Mayor Bongat has also instructed the EduCare head to prepare a system of accreditation to classify Educare Centers and provide opportunities to improve existing services and facilities. Aside from the adjustment of the childrens age, we have also decided to inject a more academic approach to our sessions.This is in order to further prepare them for formal education, Romano added. These developments on the Naga City EduCare Program shall be implemented this coming school year, which starts in June.
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NAGA AND SURROUNDING municipalities can expect to see stronger economies with the effective implementation of Metro Naga Development Councils (MNDC) plan to anchor growth and progress on tourism.
Words | Alec Santos Photographs | Bong Bajo, Yon Layosa, RS Rosales, Austyn Jed, and Romulus Rueda


PArAdiSE. LGU members of Metro Naga, an area teeming with tourism attractions, are set to enjoy stronger economies and balanced development with the start of a Metro Naga Development Council-led growth package.

MNDC Chairman Naga City Mayor John G. Bongat expressed optimism over the latest plans to help boost economic development in the MNDC alliances 13 LGU members through the expansion of local tourism industries. In December of last year, upon instructions of MNDC Chair Bongat, MNDC Executive Director Sieglinde Bulaong, together with Bula Mayor Benjamin Decena, and Daniel de Leon of the Bicol Regional Tourism Council, presented the programs strategy paper to a panel from the Local Government Support Program for Local Economic Development (LGSP-LED) in a bid to secure assistance. The MNDC program was one of five LGUs and alliances chosen by the panel out of eleven that vied for the support. According to Bulaong, the program is expected to help balance economic growth in the MNDC area, making the most of Naga and Camarines Surs status as a top tourism destination in the country. At the end of the programs implementation, the MNDC expects municipalities to develop tourism attractions to complement existing

major destinations in the province. Under the program, LGU members will initially undergo capacity building to develop existing resources with the objective of establishing tourism-friendly destinations. LGUs are expected to develop their local tourism industries and enterprises to match the rise in tourist arrivals. The first phase will focus on Standardizing, promoting the goals of the program to LGU members and developing their mindset to harmonize expectations and plans. After accomplishing this, Bulaong says that the next step is to share resources among members to help spur ideas and local programs for tourism development. The last stage involves supporting development opportunities of the members local tourism industries. The MNDC expects full implementation of the program in three years time. The first year, says Bulaong, will be the preparatory stage. During this period, LGU members, as well as private stakeholders, will be convened under an MNDC Tourism Board. The program also


calls for the gathering of reliable data to guide the alliance in planning and decision-making. Planned activities must be in place at the start of the second year as LGUs are expected to develop their own tourism attractions to complement major tourism destinations in the province during the remaining two years of the program. Based on the national governments thrust of PublicPrivate Partnerships, the program will encourage the infusion of investments by local businesses into tourism facilities. LGU members will also be encouraged to establish Tourist Assistance Centers in their localities. The MNDC believes that the long-term benefits include additional employment opportunities for frontline tourism enterprises. It is also expected to generate jobs for suppliers of local products, as well as tourism support services. MNDC Chairman Mayor Bongat says that the LED plan plays a crucial role in ensuring balanced economic growth in Metro Naga. LGU members of MNDC deserve balanced economic growth and development. This program will be at the forefront of ensuring that we achieve the goal of a more cohesive and progressive Metro Naga, Mayor Bongat says.


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Naga has now joined the ranks of well-known cities like Cebu, Bacolod, and Baguio. As a premiere tourist destination city, Naga has become a household name. In fact, the number of national conventions, conferences, seminars, and exhibitions are on the rise. So, whats Nagas secret?

Words | Alec Santos Photographs | Stephen Prestado, Yon Layosa, Avenue Plaza Hotel and Villa Caceres Hotel

Smack right in the middle of the Bicol peninsula, the City of Naga is considered the center of commerce, education, culture, history, and religion south of Manila. An urban miracle in itself, Naga has managed to survive three centuries of Spanish rule, half a century of American colonization, and the harrowing battles of the Second World War. Visitors to Naga usually react with disbelief whenever they learn that Nagas population is a mere 160,000 (2007). Of course, being the economic capital of Bicol, this population balloons to 300,000 in the daytime. Add to these more than a million pilgrims who head to Naga every September during the Peafrancia Festival as well as the million and a half tourists who flock to Naga and Camarines Sur year-round. Naga has now joined the ranks of well-known cities like Cebu, Bacolod, and Baguio. As a premiere tourist destination city, Naga has become a household name. In fact, the number of national conventions, conferences, seminars, and exhibitions are on the rise. So, whats Nagas secret? Apparently, its about balancing the

Citys strengths and opportunities. The influx of visitors naturally led to a rise in demand for quality accommodation. Enterprising Nagueos, with the help of a businessfriendly City Government saw this golden opportunity and encouraged the construction of hotels, inns, lodging houses, and resorts to meet the ever-growing demand. Nagas close proximity to Camarines Sur Watersports Complex, the beaches of Caramoan, majestic Mayon volcano, and the butanding (whalesharks) of Donsol make it the ideal place to start exploring bountiful Bicol. This, combined with the excellent hotel and convention facilities have transformed Naga into a Convention City, as coined by Mayor John G. Bongat. From a handful of hotels in the 1980s and 90s, Naga is now bristling with new hotels and resorts. Tourists and visitors who head to the City can choose from a variety of accommodation options ranging from quaint inns, cozy bed and breakfast lodges, to world-class boutique hotels along Magsaysay Avenue, Nagas lively entertainment district.

UNCONVENTIONAL. Visitors can experience more than the usual in Naga, the gateway to Bicol.

Nagas close proximity to Camarines Sur Watersports Complex, the beaches of Caramoan, majestic Mayon volcano, and the butanding (whalesharks) of Donsol make it the ideal place to start exploring bountiful Bicol.

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cONVErgENcE. A wide variety of hotels and modern facilities make Naga the perfect place for conventions and conferences.

On average, hotels in Naga enjoy a 70% occupancy rate, which is significantly high for cities and areas outside major urban areas like Metro Manila and Cebu City.

In 2009, a total of 53 national and regional conventions, conferences, and seminars were conducted in the City, mostly organized by professional associations and government agencies. This number increased significantly in 2010, after Camarines Sur and Naga posted a 48.75% increase in tourist arrivals from 1,566,477 visitors in 2009 to 2,330,116 last year. The Department of Tourism also says that the tourism industry in Naga City and Camarines Sur generated Php1.36 Billion in revenues last year, thanks in part to large conventions and sporting events held in the City and the province. This year also marks an important milestone with the Philippine Advertising Congress slated to be held in Camarines Sur and Naga in November, besting favorites like Cebu, Boracay, and Baguio. On average, hotels in Naga enjoy a 70% occupancy rate, which is significantly high for cities and areas outside major urban areas like Metro Manila and Cebu City. Compared to similar-sized cities in Bicol and across the country, hotel rates are much cheaper in Naga because of the large

volume of guests. The City is also home to at least five (5) large convention centers that can accommodate up to a thousand delegates each. At last count, Naga has close to 1,400 hotel rooms. Aside from the spacious facilities, hotels also have more private venues for smaller events and activities like seminars, meetings, and press conferences. Excellent logistical and infrastructure support likewise add to Nagas reputation as a Convention City. Aside from the excellent facilities, Naga is often considered as the Gateway to Bicol because of its strategic location as springboard to other exiting destinations. From the City, vacationing tourists and weary travellers can take side trips to the pristine white sand beaches of Caramoan, experience the thrill of wakeboarding at CamSur Watersports Complex, swim with the gentle butanding giants of Donsol, surf the Pacific waves of Camarines Norte, or take in the sights of majestic Mayon Volcano. All these make Naga the place to be, drawing millions of excited and curious visitors to Meet in Naga.

THE PHILIPPINES, a basketball-crazy country for decades, is now starting to fall in love with another sport that has been around for quite some time, but has enjoyed very little patronage during the past years.
Words | Shiena M. Barrameda Photographs | Marion Briz, Randy Dagooc, Ignatius Football Group and ADNU-USI Football team

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BIG LEAPS. The rise of football in Naga gives the Citys athletes a reason to rejoice, especially with great support from the City Government.

Kids will learn the values of discipline, respect and patience.It will teach them how to be competent and confident.It will make them into team players.

Ferdinand Tuy, instructor and coach of the Ateneo de Naga University-based Ignatius Football Group, sees the rise of the Azkals popularity in international soccer football tournaments as a chance to push their greatest passion further into the limelight, into the attention of more youth and sports enthusiasts here in Naga City. This is our chance, Tuy added.We must make the most of this football craze to promote our sport. Tuy, who has been playing football since his elementary years, says that Bicolanos, particularly Nagueos, have started showing interest in soccer football.According to Tuy, the sport has been around in Naga City and Camarines Sur since the 1980s, starting with a few enthusiasts and players from Ateneo de Naga University (AdNU), Universidad de Sta. Isabel, the Holy Minor and Major Seminaries and other schools within the province. From then until now, teams from said institutions make use of football fields in

the Holy Minor Seminary near the Metropolitan Cathedral, the AdNU campus and the Metro Naga Sports Complex. Tuy said that schools subsidize facilities used in the games and even clothes that players use except protectors, socks and shoes. Kids these days are very lucky to have assistance from their schools and the government.Back when my best friend and I were kids at the Naga Parochial School, we played barefoot in vacant lots or football fields.Sometimes, since we only have one pair of shin protectors, we split the pair between the two of us.It was just lucky that I use my left foot while he uses his right. Right now, Tuy and his teammates in the AdNU alumni football team are busy organizing the Naga City United Football Club. The new organization will then be registered under the umbrella organization the Philippine Football Association. In line with the LGUs goal of transforming Naga City into a sports hub in Southern Luzon, football enthusiasts are gathering their efforts for a major introduction of the sport into the Sports Summit being prepared by

the administration of Mayor John G. Bongat, which is the culminating activity that spinned off from the Sports Coordinators Summit held at SM City Naga Activity Center last February 28. The said meeting paved the way for the creation of the Naga City Physical Fitness and Sports Council, which will be headed by no less than the Mayor himself. The next summit is scheduled for April or May, says Naga City Sports Coordinator Francis Barja. Said effort by the LGU is geared towards maximizing use of the underutilized Metro Naga Sports Complex.Aside from football, sports and games like chess, boxing, basketball and volleyball are already listed on the program slated towards strengthening the campaign against prevailing crime and drugabuse problems that are causes of constant concern for city officials and parents. Tuy believes that football

will influence youth away from these negative activities by teaching them important values that they could use in daily life. Kids will learn the values of discipline, respect and patience.It will teach them how to be competent and confident.It will make them into team players, Tuy added. Mayor Bongat, for his side, has assured the City Governments full support for football as well as other sports, saying that Naga has the talents, the facilities, and the energy to sustain a productive sports program. Starting last year, the Mayor has allowed the NagaCamarines Sur Football Association headed by Atty. Anlu Carpio to use the football field of the Metro Naga Sports Complex to develop the talents of kids and youngsters in the sport.

March of this year, the same complex also hosted the first ever Philippine Football Federation-sanctioned under-19 Southeast Luzon Eliminations, the under-23 Suzuki Cup, and the open category, where Fr. Pablo Carpios (Atty. Anlus younger brother) Naga-Camarines Sur teams emerged as champions in the under-19, second in the open, and 3rd in the under-23. The under-19 All-Luzon Finals slated on April 26-29 will likely be held in Naga according to the Carpio brothers.

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Words and Music | Fortunato Ton-ton Hernandez Interpretation | Andy Belmonte







Highlighting Mayor John G. Bongats and and his administrations efforts to preserve and promote Nagas thriving arts and culture, a month-long series of cultural events was held with the participation of the Citys different schools and universities in line with the National Arts Month. Performance arts and cultural groups responded overwhelmingly to Mayor Bongats call for a joint celebration of Nagas rich cultural heritage.

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SOULFUL REVOLUTION. Donning colorful costumes and bright young smiles, performers from various schools and cultural groups converged at Plaza Quezon on all Fridays of February to showcase their talents in support of the National Arts Month, drawing large crowds and creating renewed interest in the arts.

Words | Jason B. Neola Photographs | Randy Villaflor

Popularly hailed as Kasurog kan Familia (Family Defender), Nene was first elected to the city council in 1998 where she earned the moniker champion for the welfare of women and children, and strong family relations.


This is one of the standards that topnotch City Councilor Cecilia Veluz - De Asis puts into practice to ensure that her actions will not be hampered or get derailed by things she regards as inconsequential. She said: Like any other government worker, I am dutybound even beyond the eighthour working time limit to respond expeditiously to calls of public service.

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dYNAMic. A woman of many faces, Councilor Nene best exemplifies what a public servant should be.

In brief recollection, the Councilor said it was her parents who taught her the basics of public service. She said a public servant has to be accommodating and sincere at all times regardless of how big or small an action is being demanded to be carried out. Nene, as she is fondly called, began to learn the value and nobility of public service since her grade school years when her father, Silverio, was the town mayor of Del Gallego and when her mother, Lucy, succeeded him after he finished his term and became provincial board member. Popularly hailed as Kasurog kan Familia (Family Defender), Nene was first elected to the city council in 1998 where she earned the moniker champion for the welfare of women and children, and strong family relations. She finished her 3-year term in 2007 and was again overwhelmingly reelected as councilor in 2010 under the Liberal Party, garnering the highest number of votes among the candidates who ran for the position, despite her long stay in the US. As chairperson of the Naga City Bantay Familia, Councilor

Nene envisions a bright future for every Nagueo family because of the City Governments campaign for strong family bond which she believes is the key to reducing the number of cases of domestic violence. Among her landmark legislative measures are the ordinances penalizing domestic violence and providing protective measures therefor, creating the Naga City Council for Women, the declaration of every March 8 to March 14 of the year as Womens Week, as well as an ordinance directing hospitals in Naga City to identify a Pink Crisis Center for Rape Victims, and a resolution that calls upon all barangays in the city to create a separate committee on Family and Women. The councilor, during her first term, also worked for the approval of an ordinance implementing Foster Care for Abused Children. It was during that time that she began to spearhead the Bantay Familia, an organization that assists women and children in crisis; and works for the prevention of household violence. She also initiated the construction of the Naga City Womens Crisis Center.

Councilor Nene is currently the chairperson of the Committees on Appropriations and on Family, Women and Gender Development. She also co-chairs the Committees on Culture and the Arts/Tourism, People Empowerment, Human Rights, and Children. On the strength of executive issuances, the lady councilor holds the chairmanship of the Project Monitoring Council. She co-chairs the Naga City Nutrition Committee and the Naga City Council for Women. She also serves as member of the City Development Council, Naga City Solid Waste Management Board, Naga City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, the Grievance Committee, Personnel Selection Board and the Naga City AIDS Council. Being a topnotch councilor, Councilor Nene takes over the functions of the Vice Mayor in the latters absence. Despite her popularity, Councilor Nene has managed to retain her close ties with ordinary Nagueos, making her a well-respected and much-loved public servant.

Words | Vice Mayor Gabriel Hidalgo Bordado Artwork | John Zoe Prestado and Stephen Prestado

Autobiographies can be a bit tricky especially for writers who certainly have a way with words. They can burnish the past, embellish it with buntings, suffuse it with light and banter, or delete it altogether.

As Bienvenido Nuqui Santos, acknowledged as one of the great Filipino writers in English, wrote in Memorys Fictions: Alas memory knows no logic, follows no definite patterns and tangents; memory is capricious, tarries at odd moments or simply flits by,

barely alighting, and moves on, turning over layers upon layers of things past, things completely forgotten. It has no discipline, no direction, no heart. It is willful, with a mind of its own and yet, every so often, mindless. The book, which Santos
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dubbed as his personal history, does sound, in some parts, as fiction, reminding one, rather subtly, of the authors lofty stature as a fiction writer. But this does not interfere with the flow of the narrative, allowing Santos to share with the reader memory pieces of his colorful life in a manner reminiscent of postprandial talks. Always self-effacing, he claimed that there is no puzzle beyond the contradictions and enigmas of any human life, just bits and pieces here and there that sum up a life that happens to be mine. According to Memorys Fictions, Santos could have been a boxer, probably not in the mold of Manny Pacquiao but of his professed idol pre-war Oriental flyweight champion Joe Suzara, had it not been for the timely intervention of a beautiful lady who talked him out of the bloody sport. He also mentioned his American teacher in English who publicly humiliated him, arrogantly declaring that no Filipino could ever write the composition he submitted to her. Of course, the incident shook him to the core, prompting him to write What I cant recall is how the class took the insult, or exactly how I felt, what the tears meant. How could an insult like that to the Filipino race be allowed to pass without a protest? In my own way, I was protesting. My tears showed what I felt. Thats all. In those days, Americans got

away with practically anything. They were the colonizers and succeeded well in appearing and acting as our masters, playing God. Yet, the arrogance of his American mentor did not break his spirit. Instead, it further strengthened his resolve to write on. I like to think Mrs. Sage did something good for meinspired me to write and keep writing, as if to prove that indeed, we, Filipinos, can write in English well enough to excel in the use of the language. I often tell my interviewers that Mrs. Sage was one of the few who really inspired me to become a writer, Santos summed up what could be the defining moment of his life. Santos studied at the UP (still in Padre Faura then) where he met a Bicolana scholar named Beatriz Nidea who would become his wife. He himself got a scholarship under the government pensionado program. This gave him the opportunity to study in the United States, albeit becoming an exile during the war years. Gifted with a compelling command of the English language, Santos proved to be a prolific writer, crafting award-winning novels, short stories, and poems in a period spanning more than half a century. At the same time, he won other scholarships, including the very prestigious Guggenheim grant, paving the way for post-graduate studies and teaching stints at some of

the top universities in the US. Aspiring writers will find comfort in the fact that notwithstanding his prodigious outputs, Santos, more often than not, considered writing as a daunting task saying that feeling is hardest to capture in words, but when the words are there, there is no ecstasy quite like it. (A lady journalist would echo this pronouncement, describing the process as a virtual orgasm. But that will be another story!) Despite his success in the US, Santos never forgot his roots. He made regular visits to Tondo and his wifes hometown of Daraga, Albay. He even accepted administrative posts in local universities, including the University of Nueva Caceres (UNC) in Naga City. Occasionally, he also handled special courses at the UP, his alma mater. During the martial law years, his novel The Praying Man, deemed to be a scathing commentary of corruption in the government, was banned by the dictatorship. This did not deter him, however, from pursuing what he termed as the only way I know to come closest to the truth of what I feel life is all about. As the nation marks the centennial of Bienvenido Nuqui Santos, the biggest honor one can give him is to read his literary masterpieces. And his Memorys Fictions may well be a good start. THE AUTHOR is the City Vice Mayor of Naga City in Bicol. He continues to handle the Libro Para Sa Futuro (Books for the Future) reading program.

THE METRO NAGA Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MNCCI) is pushing for the development of ideal business landmarks in poor communities as part of its anti-poverty advocacy.
In partnership with Trias, a Belgian development NGO, the Chamber aims to organize into dynamic groups 16,000 microentrepreneurs and marginalized farmers who are clients of micro-financing institutions, 950 traders, as well as 850 organic rice farmers in agrarian reform communities in Metro Naga.

Words | Jason B. Neola Photographs | Jose B. Collera, Randy Villaflor and Stephen Prestado

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left) to (fourth from ate. Palmiano lim n c o ss Le e r. in g us ce under En and an improved b ffi O s r e e in c e City Eng estrian traffi ) instructs th y for increased ped rd from left a hi w (t e t th a ng ng ntro, pavi . Mayor Bo CHANGES walks in Ce prove side im nd a nd expa

Under the plan, farmers, fisher folk and micro-entrepreneurs will undergo capabilitybuilding trainings and seminars to help them improve their earning capabilities and livelihood opportunities. The long-term goal is contained in the Chambers corporate plan for 2011 (CorPlan 2011) under its Local Economic Development (LED) projects. CorPlan 2011 lays down the MNCCIs strategies and mechanisms aimed at addressing key business concerns. The Plan also details other significant projects aimed at realizing a more vibrant economy in Naga and neighboring towns thru the establishment of Municipal Business Councils (MBCs). MNCCI President

Philip T. Imperial said with that with the implementation of CorPlan 2011, the Chamber through its effective business linkages with other sectors of society expects to register remarkable gains as an advocate of poverty alleviation. The MNCCI has been recognized as outstanding chamber by the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) for three consecutive years, a feat that eventually earned for it its Hall of Fame status. For two consecutive years since 2008, MNCCI was adjudged Outstanding Chamber in South Luzon. In 2010, it was named Most Outstanding Chamber in the Philippines. Decentralizing plans for progress

Other than the LED project, MNCCI is also helping local entrepreneurs in different towns comprising Metro Naga to organize themselves into Municipal Business Councils (MBCs). The idea, based on the CorPlan, will pave the way for the implementation of multifaceted activities that will enliven business in at least 14 municipalities surrounding the City of Naga. Of 14 neighboring towns, the MNCCI, in close coordination with the respective municipal mayors, has already established eight MBCs. Although independent in nature, the MBCs, according to Imperial, can ask for support from the Chamber especially when it comes to policy

development, operations, skills and manpower trainings. Imperial, however, clarified that the Chamber will not function as parent company of MBCs that will dictate them the things they have to do or prioritize. He said the Chambers role is to assist the MBCs in planning, organizing and implementing their respective entrepreneurial activities, membership and governance policies and procedures, including access to pro-poor micro-finance programs and assistance to expand commercial and alternative market relations. Underground economy Imperial stressed that the CorPlan also bears a mechanism designed to improve the Chambers internal structure. This, in order to handle well the new policies of the Chamber in carrying out community works. He admitted that during the first quarter of 2011, the

Chamber undertook some troubleshooting of its internal system, specifically on its accounting and human resource management that resulted in the solution of problems on job specification and formal compensation of workers. For the second quarter of the year, the Chamber will begin to identify unlicensed business establishments in Naga to encourage them to secure Mayors Permits. Imperial said the campaign aims to help address the problems brought about by the underground economy that can also be traced to the operations of unlicensed businesses in the City. He said they will also open the MNCCI membership to these businessmen so that the Chamber can help them in their entrepreneurial undertakings, including endorsements to micro-financing institutions. He also expressed willingness to assist them in meeting the requirements for such transactions.

More allies On the third and fourth quarters, Imperial said the Chamber will focus on partnership expansion programs. According to him, they will accelerate the Chambers networking efforts to establish a strong advocacy for a more vibrant business atmosphere in Naga and its environs. He cited the story of the Pecuaria Development Cooperative, Inc. (PDCI) which was assisted by Trias and the MNCCI in strengthening its enterprise productivity, managerial capabilities, and access to markets under its LED projects. The PDCI directs its efforts to the promotion of organic farming among agrarian reform beneficiaries and other marginalized farmers. Apart from PDCI, MNNCI keeps affiliations with Pasacao Business Council, Iriga Market Vendors, NAMASFED, WEDA and other cooperatives and peoples organizations within the Metro Naga coverage area.
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Fighting Fire with Fervor

Words | Shiena M. Barrameda Photographs | Stephen V. Prestado


After almost 25 years in service, decommissioned firetruck number 101 of the Naga Chin Po TongFire Brigade, Inc. waved a final farewell at the generations of volunteer fire fighters in Naga City as it was hoisted atop the gazebo at the organizations newly constructed headquarters. FT 101 was the very first vehicle used by the fire brigade after it was organized by FilipinoChinese businessmen and private citizens in 1980.Now, it is the symbol of volunteerism among the Filipino-Chinese community of Naga with a new headquarters located right beside the Central Bus Terminal just this March, constructed with the help of the City Government of Naga. Like former Mayor Jesse Robredo, incumbent Mayor John G. Bongat has always given full support to the brigade and is often seen coordinating efforts at fire scenes. Just below the gazebo, on the spacious parking area of the new fire brigades HQ, the volunteers of the Chin Po Tong have been consecutively practicing fire drills in

Chin Po Tong

preparation for the 5thNational Fire Volunteers Olympics slated April 10 in Manila this year. Jeffrey Hao, trainer, scrutinized each team members move, searching for any slips that may delay the teams movement. Put some speed on that!Harder! Faster!,Hao shouts to the volunteer firemen.

Chin Po Tong

Brothers in Volunteerism The volunteer fire brigade was born out of its forefathers initiative of providing support to the already existing Bureau of Fire Prevention (BFP) headquarters which was then very much in need of better facilities for fire prevention.It was the brainchild of 14 Chinoy businessmen, led by New

South Star Drug founder Tomas Dy Makao, members of Chin Po Tong Bicol Chapter, a brotherhood of Chinese men here which, if roughly translated from Mandarin to Filipino would mean progressive mason club. Fire Marshall William Belleca said that there are only 37 active members in the fire brigade, composed mostly of registered nurses, business owners, professionals and sons of known Chinoy families in Naga. We are very stringent with accepting volunteers into our brigade, Belleca said.We really look for dedication and that certain spirit of volunteerism in our recruits because, as we all know, fire fighters are all expected to make sacrifices and risk their lives for public service.

Belleca admitted that aside from the sense of volunteerism, recruits must also be of Chinese descent. I have to admit that we are very careful with choosing our members because we dont want other wannabes just using the groups name to gain attention, Belleca stated. The fire marshal said that his fire brigade, although once known to have better facilities than the government fire brigade, does not aim to compete with the fire fighters of Naga. We are only here to provide support.We respond to pump water into the fire, suppress the fire from spreading and douse it but we do not conduct much rescue and never do we intervene with investigations because it is generally forbidden, Belleca

ICON. Firetruck Number 101 stands atop the gazebo at the new Chin Po Tong headquarters after 25 years of service. A witness to the heroism of volunteer firefighters, it now symbolizes the spirit of bayanihan in Naga.


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added. Aside from providing assistance to the local BFP, the Chin Po Tong was also organized for the protection of businesses here owned and operated by Chinoys. Belleca himself was a victim of a fire which razed the store he operated at the Naga City Public Market, now called the Naga City Peoples Mall. That firetruck up at the gazebo there was the one that responded to my call for help, Belleca said.It was not long after that I was invited to become part of the fire brigade.I immediately accepted without any doubt in my mind. Little Sacrifices Belleca said that being volunteers without pay, families, particularly wives, do not easily accept the idea of volunteerism among them.Belleca said that so much time and effort that should have been spent for ones self and family is extended to the brigade when the alarms are sounded. Deputy Fire Marshal Benjamin Lo said that they prefer college graduates who can be trained in basic first aid and fire fighting. We take risks with these young men and we understand the sentiments of the parents, Lo said.Whenever we come out of here to respond to fire alarms, we are always in danger. Lo said that the hardest sacrifice for him and for other members of the brigade is losing a good nights sleep during emergencies. We must all exhibit the initiative to get out of bed and come here to respond.If each of us would just think that, Oh.Some of the guys will be there, nobody will be here at all, Lo added. Praises to the BFP Lo, in a different note, praised the personnel of the local BFP for their being resourceful and strict in implementing rules. As far as I could see, the BFP here has gone a long way under his (Fire Marshall Achilles Santiago) leadership.With the addition of these new and modern facilities provided by government, I can say that they have already surpassed the private fire brigades here, Lo admitted.Actually, I consider it a misconception that BFP is falling behind us when, in fact, they are almost always the one first to arrive in fire incidents. Both Lo and Belleca said that the Chin Po Tong fire brigade is not after any awards or recognition from the government or the private sector. We are just here to represent our kin and the private sector and show concern for society, Belleca said.

Words | Frank M. Mendoza OIC City Agriculture Office Photographs | Randy Villaflor and Jose B. Collera

ow do we improve our farmers lives and contribute to the citys growth at the same time? That is the relevant question insofar as the City Agriculture Office is concerned.

The answer of course is staring us right in the face: its making sure farmers earn a reasonable profit from farming. Its not harvesting more, its earning more. This belief has shifted the focus of the City Government, thru the City Agriculture Office, from the sacred mantra of food security to what we now espouse as income security. (Were calling it sacred because it almost feels blasphemous to question it.) In a market economy such as ours where almost everything has a price and national borders have evaporated, its not producing more food that will save us from hunger, its having enough money to buy food. Food will go to people who can pay for it. Even someone who has never stepped into a classroom knows money means a satisfied stomach. Its a wonder the countrys best minds continually mouth this produce more for food security mantra. They are being unjust to the

people who produce the food, as if farmers are a disposable lot who could be made to suffer so others can eat well. A farmer may not have enough money to buy his children a good meal, nothwitstanding the fact that he just reaped his harvest a month or so ago. Income is the key. Just look at Singapore, they dont produce as much food as we do, nor even have enough water of their own to drink. Yet, the proportion (or percentage) of people going hungry in Bicol is many times over than that in Singapore. Reason: we dont earn enough. They do. Our self-imposed target at the City Agriculture Office is a net monthly income of at least Php10,000 per farmer. For rice and corn, that means a farmer should reap a net profit of Php30,000 per cropping as rice and corn mature in around three months. Were not saying we will hit it this year or hit it everytime, but its a target worth pursuing and against which well measure our performance. If a palay farmer achieves a net of Php30,000, he and his family have the resources to eat well even if his yield pales in comparison with the best farmer in his community.
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bEttEr LiVES. Farmers avail of the many trainings and seminars conducted by the City Government to help them improve their farming skills.

Of course, how the farmer actually uses the money is another matter. The point is that farming has given him the choice to live well. Incidentally, compounding the difficulty of hitting the target Php30,000 net is the shrinking size of farm lots. One needs at least 2 hectares to have a good chance of netting that amount. In Naga, the average farmlot size is just over a hectare. The Citys flagship program for agriculture boldly reflects this emphasis on income over yield. Called SARIG Naga or Sustainable Agriculture for Rural Income Growth in Naga, it focuses on income growth, not on production growth. Our measure of success is net income, not cavans per hectare. Net income is the end, production is only one of the means to that end. Lest one will fear this bias will result in hunger and suffering for the urban populace as food security gurus are wont to preach, lets not forget that what we eat in the urban areas come from a lot of sources, not necessarily from Nagas farmland. It could be from nearby Tigaon, or distant Benguet, or from far away

Vietnam. Indeed, even if we dont grow palay or vegetables in Naga, we will be able to eat rice and vegetables. Market forces will make sure of that. The only condition is that we have the money to pay for our food. Thus, just like farmers, urbanites need to have money to eat. Money comes from our urban jobs and entrepreneurial activities, which in turn are dependent on how well our goods and services are selling. Sales come from buying and buying needs money, the more money the populace have, the larger our sales to foot our wages or pad our profits. Thats why a moneyed farmer is a boon to urban dwellers. The more money farmers have, the better the prospect for our jobs and businesses. Farmers who lose, even if they produce more, are a burden to government and, a drag to the growth of the City, and a threat to the urban populaces job security and business profitability. So there is sense in making farm profitability the core of the Citys agriculture program. It will enlarge the market for urban goods and services, create more jobs, and fund our payroll

that will buy the food for our family. Income security first, food security will follow. But over and above that, this policy advances social equity. A more profitable farm sector has the added bonus of slowing down land conversion as farmers will have a reduced incentive to sell their farms to subdivision developers or convert it themselves. Preserving our farms and agricultural areas is an essential component of a livable city. Conversions will recharge urban flash floods as water runoff races downhill on paved land, plus bring a host of other ills inherent to urban sprawl. For the City Government, the dividend is in the additional revenues generated by increased household income and spending, as well as the opportunity to shift government resources from welfare services to capital investments with lasting development impact now that less of the rural and urban populace are dependent on government for basic services. HOW THEN DO WE INCREASE A FARMERS PROFIT? The basic formula is:

reduce production cost and increase revenue. Revenue is a function of price and quantity (production), thus the importance of maximizing both price and farm production. What differentiates us is that we see increased production as only one of the factors, rather than being the ultimate and final factor, for improving farmers income. True, we have to boost yield, but at the same time we have to check its impact on cost and whether the resulting revenue can cover it. SARIG Naga also includes improved farmers knowledge and capacity to raise farm efficiency and product quality and reduce post harvest losses; organization to increase farmers participation in the value chain and strenghten market presence; input assistance and access to land preparation and post harvest facilities, and timely information to better gauge what the market wants, where and at what price. Here are some of the interventions SARIG Naga is doing, just a dozen of them. Those which pertain to capacity building are imparted in the Farmer Field School the office conducts for an entire cropping season or in specialized shortterm farmers training. Two FFS are presently on-going in barangays Pacol and Cararayan. Higher impact IECs are in the pipeline this year. 1. Soil analysis so only the lacking nutrients have to be applied thus cutting input cost. Soil analysis is now a requirement for all those who avail of the programs of the City Agriculture Office. We have hired a former employee of the Bureau of Soils and Water Management to perform this task aside from sharing his know how with our farmers. By year end, we will also complete a GIS-based soil fertility map for

the citys agricultural areas. 2. Recycling of plant materials back to the soil. An IEC on the importance of returning nutrients to the soil thru composting will be launched come harvest season. No burning of hays and even weeds. Plants draw their life from the soil, burning them deprives the soil forever of the nutrients borrowed by the plants. Rapid composting using a fungus activator is now being taught to rice farmers. 3. Promotion of natural farming or organic agriculture practices. Whether its called natural or organic is for others to debate and sort out. Whats important is that their back-to-nature approach is cost effective, ecologically friendly, yields good, and fetches a premium price. The City Agriculture Office is adopting them at the city nursery so that our agricultural technicians learn firsthand how to do the concoctions and their applications correctly. A vermicomposting facility is likewise going up, initially to impart experience to our technicians, later to show our farmers how to do it right. 4. Reduction of seed requirement. The usual belief is that you need a sack of palay seeds to plant a hectare of rice field. In reality, 20 kilos (even 15 kilos) of palay seeds will suffice for a hectare. One can even reduce this down to 5 kilos following SRI (or System of Rice Intensification) and boost yield at the same time. Incidentally, we will be adopting SRI using traditional rice varieties at the city nursery for testing and learning purposes. 5. Capacity development on Integrated Pest Management (IPM). Insecticide is a substantial input cost for vegetable farmers, and other farmers as well, not to mention a real threat to the well-being

of the rest of us. IPM takes advantage of the predators of harmful pests and the vulnerabilities in their life cycle to save money and a lot of lives as well. 6. Reduction of post harvest losses. Farmers lose around a tenth of their harvest unnecessarily. Thats money down the drain. A farmer who knows the value of his losses due to improper post harvest handling and how to prevent them is in a better position to shore up his income. 7. Observance of Good Agricultural Practices (GAP). If its corn for instance, its simply keeping everything clean, dry and orderlyfrom the field to drying, from storage to shelling and final drying. Anything less invites aflatoxin and lowers the corns market price. GAP has a lot of other pointers in store for the farmer to enhance the quality of his produce and command a better price. 8. Improved access to post harvest facilities. Three months of toil results in a palay worth Php11.00 per kilo, a day or two of drying jacks up the price by Php6.00 to Php17.00 per kilo (NFA price). Thats how important post harvest facilities are, they add tremendous value in just a few days. The City has a flatbed dryer and is now accessing a village type corn dryer and a rehabilitated recirculating dryer from the Department of Agriculture to bring this benefit to more farmers. 9. Mandatory crop insurance for SARIG beneficiaries. The City advances the premium just in case climate change wreaks havoc on the farmers investmentsand their ability to repay their loans. 10. Input assistance. The SARIG budget includes an appropriation for input assistance. The intent is:
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grEEN tHuMbS. SARIG Naga aims to help create programs that will increase productivity of existing farms.

a. To lessen dependence on compradas and enable farmers to look for better prices for their produce. Assistance is in kind, not cash, and input application is monitored. Collection efficiency has been at the range of 85% but dipped with El Nino and La Nina to below 70% forcing a slow-down in releases until collections reach 85% again. b. Marketing assistance. Ensuring a fair and viable price is a key objective of SARIG Naga. When the market is depressed, which is most of the time, the best price for grains is with the National Food Authority (NFA). To expedite access to NFA, we have tied up with the San Isidro Development Cooperative (SIDECO) wherein our farmers are taken in as associate members (if they are not yet members) and their harvest is sold by SIDECO to NFA. Also, with the approval of the City Mayor and in partnership with the Market Enterprise and Promotions Office, we are reserving wholesaler space for Nagas vegetable farmers, and probably, even livestock growers, at the Peoples Mall so they can sell their produce direct to retailers, no need for middlemen. The latest initiative is the creation by Mayor John Bongat of a team to study the feasibility of establishing a central bagsakan center for Nagas agricultural crops and livestocks which can dramatically expand marketing

opportunities for Nagas farmers and livestock growers. c. Producing for the niche market. There are produce which command a premium price. Among them are seeds (e.g. certified palay seeds, OPV vegetable, corn or palay seeds) and organic vegetables. Penetrating these markets require compliance with strict standards including regulation and certification by government entities or independent certification bodies. But once a producer gains a reputation for consistent and proven quality, the market will bear his price and boost his profit. We have also convened the Citys Technical Committee on Organic Agriculture to plot the roadmap for organic farming. These are some of SARIGs interventions but there are others. Some were adopted from previous programs, many evolve out of the continuing engagement with farmers and their organizations. The latest of these is the promotion of fermented cacao beans as a source of additional income for farmers who intercropped cacao in their coconut or orchard areas. This is an offshoot of the Citys cacao upgrading program which introduced at least 10,000 high yield cacao varieties two years ago to 100 farmercooperators. With the above initiatives of Mayor Bongat, for sure, SARIG Naga is not merely focused on improving the lives of the usual farmers in the

Citys agricultural barangays. It also has an urban clientele. The Citys agricultural technicians are helping urban poor settlements, schools, and clustered communities in urban gardening. It is not for increasing income but in reducing food expenses and improving nutrition. The latest addition will be the members of QUEEN for whom a separate urban gardening program is being crafted for implementation by June. It also includes the production of mungo beans for the Citys nutrition office. Backing up SARIG Naga is a Php 2 Million appropriation in the 2011 annual budget plus Php 1.5 Million for the rehabilitation of existing irrigation systems. This is on top of the maintenance and operating budget of the City Agriculture Office of Php 1.556 Million (net of personal services). We are also beefing up our personnel by getting graduates from reknowned agricultural colleges and universities with a track record of performance and competenceand with the stamina to tread paddies and hike uphill and the enthusiasm to help others. We are doing all these for a more livable income and a brighter future for our farmers, for a stronger market for urban goods and services and more stable jobs and livelihood for us, for the preservation of our urban ecological balance, for a healthier and happier Nagueo. Thats how were redefining agriculture in the City, and thats what SARIG Naga stands for.


Words | Shiena M. Barrameda Photographs | Randy Villaflor and Stephen V. Prestado

ALMOST EVERY NIGHT at around 9 PM, at least two volunteers pass through J. Hernandez Avenue, stopping at designated drop-off areas for garbage collection. Loading a treasure trove of recyclable materials, they head for Nagas many Materials Recovery Facilities. Our residents have realized that they could benefit greatly from reusing some of their trash. I think this is already the result of all our efforts in campaigning for recycling and reusing of garbage under the leadership of Mayor John Bongat. These intrepid entrepreneurs are just some of the 70 volunteers of the Naga City Solid Waste Management Office, trained by the City Government to help its 27 barangays drastically reduce their trash by the tons every month. These people are mostly former regular scavengers of Naga, Engr. Joel Martin, head of Solid Waste Management Office (SWMO) and Naga City Motorpool, says.We call them the environmental watch group. The Environmental Watch Group The environmental watch group is composed of less fortunate citizens of Naga who make a living through salvaging and selling nonbiodegradable trash like plastic to junk shops and making compost fertilizers out of biodegradable junk like corn husks.Each of them, before being considered part of the group, undergoes a week-long training under the SWMO where they learn how to recycle garbage and how to stack residual or remaining trash back in a cleaner way. They are then assigned to their respective barangays where they provide their services and earn money for their daily needs.They are seen usually at night, before the garbage trucks arrive, wearing green and yellow shirts. The creation of the group is actually part of the Waste Diversion Goal and Waste Segregation Scheme of the City.So far, coupled with the
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INTENSIVE. Dedicated public servants, additional facilities, and dedication to ones work all help transform Naga into a cleaner and greener community.

operation now of some materials recovery facilities, they have been instrumental in decreasing the average of garbage collected per day by the city by more than 50%, Martin adds. Martin says that even before the Solid Waste Management Office started implementing the projects of the City independently by virtue of City Ordinance 2011-001, which separated them from the Environment and Natural Resource Office (ENRO) January of this year, the average daily garbage collection had already gone down to 57 tons from January to October of 2010. This figure was only a dream in years 2008 and 2009 when garbage collection averaged up to 160 tons daily. The Worth of Awareness Engr. Martin also credits the significant decrease in garbage collection to the newfound awareness of Nagueos on segregating nonbiodegradables from the biodegradables. Our residents have realized that they could benefit greatly from reusing some of their trash, Martin says.I think this is already the result of all our efforts in campaigning for recycling and reusing of garbage under the leadership of Mayor John Bongat. Martin believes that if Nagueos continue to remove from their household refuse all the reusable and compostable products, the average garbage collection of Naga per day might reach only 47%-50% of the present volume in the next few months. Aside from private homes, Martin also believes that the stricter monitoring of businesses, particularly food establishments, has helped the Office in its campaigns.Lately,

Martin notes that food businesses have almost altogether stopped using styrofoam and plastic utensils, opting for real plates and glasses instead. Materials Recovery Facilities Another factor that has resulted in less garbage in Naga is the presence of materials recovery facilities or MRFs. MRFs are common points in barangays or places where residents bring their garbage and sort them out, separating the reusable or recyclable ones from the residual wastes.These residual wastes are the ones that the garbage trucks pick up and take to the Balatas dumpsite. Naga has around six functional MRFs in barangays Sabang, Triangulo, Calauag, Mabolo, Bagumbayan Sur and the Naga City Peoples Mall. We are planning to put MRFs in all barangays of Naga, Martin states. Only the Best Service I think that the City, under the leadership of Mayor Bongat, has made the perfect decision of separating us from ENRO.Aside from being truly now focused on our jobs, we are certain that we are giving Nagueos what they deserve, Martin says. Martin admits that while they still have difficulty with educating some Nagueos on how to properly dispose of their garbage, he remains hopeful that one day more and more people will be concerned with the environment. As for now, we do our job so we can serve Naga the best way we know how.

Words | Nestor Villanea OIC BSTC Head Photographs | Randy Villaflor and Jose B. Collera

Science Centers exist to generate interest, encourage the appreciation of science, and inspire a life-long desire to explore scientific concepts that are helpful, applicable and practical in day-to-day living.

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The Bicol Science and and aahhs at the sight of the pounding, grinding, and Technology Centrums (BSTC) dancing lights at the Gallery even riding some of them. priorities include making it of Lights, Colors and Shapes; All throughout the visit, they possible for individuals to freely or students fascinated by the remain under the watchful interact, discover and explore wonders of the universe at the eyes of cheerful Centrum staff, interactive exhibits, scientific Space Gallery. Almost everyday, always ready to explain the equipment or play mechanics behind the materials showcased With the upcoming renovations ordered science. in its science gallery. The Centrum is not by Mayor John G. Bongat this summer at Visitors can also engage the BSTC galleries and facilities, Centrum only a destination for in science programs or educational tours, but visitors can expect a dynamically new, activities that appeal to convenient and conducive place to frolic, also an important source and fascinate them in of valuable knowledge. explore, discover and learn. an informal learning Students discover a whole environment. new world and leave with Students excitingly interact laughter of amused innocent a better understanding and with the exhibits or energetically toddlers also fills the Sci-Art appreciation of science and how play at the galleries. One never Cubbyhole. it affects the world around them. gets tired of playing with the Visitors walk away with With the upcoming suspended ball at the Bernoulli something they didnt know or renovations ordered by Mayor Blower or get fascinated by the experienced before and happily John G. Bongat this summer at changing physical image reflected leave the Centrum with a wealth the BSTC galleries and facilities, on the Concave-Convex Mirrors. of knowledge and unforgettable Centrum visitors can expect a Visitors can also magically fly experience. Students frolic, dynamically new, convenient with the help of the Anti-Gravity jot down information, interact and conducive place to frolic, Mirror; or hear the oohhs with the exhibits tapping, explore, discover and learn.

Words | Shiena M. Barrameda Photographs | Stephen V. Prestado and Jose B. Collera

Behind a sea of documents needing to be signed and routed to different offices within Naga City Hall sits City Administrator Florencio Jun Tam Mongoso, Jr., picking his way through yet another efficient working day at the City Mayors Office.

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Mongoso, who is primus inter pares (first among equals) being the little mayor, remains in the background, never feeling the urge to step into the limelight despite an impressive record he secured for himself in 22 years in public service working under the fold of top caliber Bicolano leaders like Senator Raul S. Roco, DILG Secretary and former Naga City Mayor Jesse M. Robredo and, now, Mayor John G. Bongat. Its the only way I could balance my time for my work and my family, Mongoso said.I want to remain behind the action because I am more effective this way. Unlike his contemporaries in other local government units, Mongoso stays at the background, his face and name never appearing on publiclyhung billboards and banners. Despite this laidback principle, Mongoso is the man behind the exposure of the now highly-sensationalized malversation of public funds case by former Assistant Market Superintendent Frederick Arias which involved around Php 2,000,000 of government funds intentionally diverted.The case has caught the attention of local media with its manhunt which spanned for a year ending in December 2010 with Arias surrender to arresting police. He led the investigation and auditing of anomalous market collection which led to the removal or transfer of a dozen City Government

employees who were found to be tolerating corruption by a superior. Corruption thrives in government offices with employees who do not speak just because the boss is the one doing it, Mongoso mused. THE GOOD STUDENTACTIVIST Mongoso, like many in his generation, was inevitably taken by the wave of democracy that swept the country during the 1986 EDSA People Power Revolution. Although a resident scholar of the University of Nueva Caceres due to his outstanding grades, he did not hesitate to speak out against the school administration and even the government.His opinions made him unpopular in the eyes of school administrators, ending in a hastily arranged graduation for him and his peers. I finished my BSBA in Economics in only three years because it seemed like the school couldnt stand my presence any longer, Mongoso said.Good thing that I still had the distinction of Cum Laude. During his college years, Mongoso tried his hand in various occupations to earn personal money and find productive use of his time.He became a loans collector for a money lending corporation at the Naga City Public Market, now called Naga City Peoples Mall.He then moved on to become a jewelry appraiser at a

pawnshop, and even managed a boutique selling womens clothing and accessories. No.I didnt become gay, Mongoso said in jest. Mongoso, still full of the idealism that he and his then future wife Rowena S. Agrito share, decided to enter public service in order to prove to all that a corruption-free government can be realized by simple public servants who live honestly and with integrity. Rowena, then, was hired by the NAPOCOR in Manila while Mongoso waited for a call from the government.It turned out that he did not have to wait very long. STARTING A LEGACY Sir Jun, as he is publicly called, started his career in public service as a legislative staff assistant to the late Senator Roco, upon the recommendation of now Albay Governor Joey Salceda who was about to exit his post from the Senators office. A fresh graduate from the University of Nueva Caceres, Mongoso accepted the position at the age of 21 where he worked until 1992. Inspired by Rocos prediction that then Naga City Mayor Robredo would become a great leader who would someday follow in his footsteps as a statesman, Mongoso presented himself to the City Government after his stint at the Philippine Senate. In leadership, I got my MA degree with Senator Roco, Mongoso said.But, I did my

tHE PEOPLES OWN. A panoramic view of City Hall, where history is made thru important decisions.

doctoral with Jesse Robredo. Despite his credentials and Robredos insistence that he immediately occupy a post with the same salary grade and importance as the one he held in Rocos office, Mongoso opted to take the lowest step on the public service ladder, starting as a contractual employee at the City Mayors Office with a monthly salary of only around Php3,000. I wanted to start from the lowest rank because I wanted to gain my colleagues respect by being one of them.It was only through this that I could learn of their concerns and that of the constituents they ought to serve.It would be an insult to subordinates if I would suddenly appear as their superior when they do not even know who I am beforehand. Slowly, he climbed the ranks of the Naga City Government until finally arriving at his present position of City Administrator under Mayor Bongat. NO POLITICS, PLEASE Mongoso, who has acquired several distinctions in office by being the first Nagueo ever to take home The Outstanding

Young Men (TOYM) Award for Government and Public Service and garnering a place on the final list for The Outstanding Young Persons (TOYP) of the World without plunging into politics, is the only City Government employee since 2000 to have earned a Career Service Executive Eligibility (CSEE) in Naga. All of my Bicolano peers then in the TOYM were politicians and educated in well known schools in Manila.I was the only one who was not elected into office by popular vote and was fully educated in Naga City, Mongoso stated.I never see myself delving into mainstream politics.I prefer being in the background where I can prove that the unending quest for excellence should always be the ideal to which all public servants must dedicate and consecrate themselves. The CSEE is the highest eligibility conferred to career officials who are qualified for appointment to national positions and one of the hardest to pass examinations for public servants, comprising of a written exam, a panel interview and a scrutiny of ones day-to-day performance

in office. Mongoso is also a recipient of several awards like The Outstanding Young FilipinoCantonese Award (2004), National Kabalikat sa LaangBisig Award (2001) and National Dangal ng Bayan Award (1999). At 43, Mongoso said that even if he were given the chance to retire at age 45, he would without any doubt or regret. It pays to give ourselves a set of working standards. Not to impress others but to test our own capabilities to know the limits of our abilities and convince ourselves as to how far we can go when we strive to make the best out of the good we can offer. I believe that it is rewarding to challenge ones self. We may never know, most probably, the things we are capable of unless we try to go beyond the ordinary. Certainly, if I was able to do it, then most, if not everybody else can do the same. I believe I have proven enough.It is already in the hands of this generation of public servants if they would follow the same principles as I have, said Mongoso.
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Barangay GROW Negosyo

tELEPHONE: +63 54 473 8274 EMAiL: ricO.MikE@YAHOO.cOM

Metro PESO, City Hall Compound

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FOR the first time in Nagas history, the City Government under the leadership of Mayor John G. Bongat honored the biggest contributors to city coffers during the Mayors first State of the City Report held on January 25, 2010 at Ateneo de Naga University. Believing in the immense contribution of the honored taxpayers to Nagas continuous growth and progress, the Mayor introduced the idea to recognize the business community, further fortifying its role as citys partner in bringing in much-needed funds for a much better service delivery to Nagueos.

INSPIRING pre-school kids, their parents and their teachers during graduation ceremonies of EduCare in the 27 barangays.

INTERACTING with women micro-entrepreneurs on the occasion of the Womens Month celebration (March 2011).

MEETINGS with different NGOs and POs as well as barangay officials occupy significant time of a day in the life of the Mayor.

OPEN FORUM after the State of the City Report together with the Vice Mayor and other City Officials.

SEN. KIKO VISITS NAGA. Photo above left shows Sen. Francis Kiko Pangilinan cutting the ribbon, together with Mayor John Bongat, during the ceremonial opening on March 11 of the first phase of the Naga City Peoples Hall at City Hall compound, constructed from the Senators funds. The hall was built thru the initiative of the Mayor to serve as a multi-purpose assembly area cum lobby extension for meetings, seminars, trainings and similar productive activities of employees, peoples organizations, barangay officials, etc., and generally for the convenience of clients who flock City Hall daily to transact business with different frontline offices.

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