National Parks Development Committee Belmonte marks 2nd year with notable feats

November 06, 2018

First of all, belated happy birthday to my schoolmate-turned-millionaire Arnold ‘Igan’ Clavio of GMA 7 and DZBB who celebrated his natal day last week, specifically on November 2.

From his humble beginnings as a beat reporter, I am witness to the fact that Igan did not change a bit and has managed to let no amount of success get into his head, a trait not many in the industry actually have.

Belated birthday greetings, too, to Cielo ‘Diva’ Villaluna, the seemingly ‘ageless’ beauty who is ever dependable if you need details concerning any development that concerns the Philippine Airlines (PAL), being its spokesperson.

May both of you stay grounded and blessed. Here’s wishing you many more birthdays to come!!!

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Another worth greeting is the equally beautiful -- inside out -- and highly-efficient Executive Director Penelope ‘Penny’ Belmonte of the National Parks Development Committee (NPDC) who will be marking her second year in office tomorrow, November 8.

Armed with nothing but a genuine desire to be of service to the public and implement the marching orders of President Rodrigo Duterte to the letter, which is to rid the agency of corruption and implement good reforms and good governance, Belmonte immediately rolled up her sleeves right after being appointed to the post two years ago, guided by a strong determination to implement what is right and lawful, no matter who gets hurt.

Indeed, her first orders made her a target of black propaganda and even death threats.

She shut down and stopped the illegal operation of the ‘Ka Doroy Valencia Foundation’ after receiving verified reports that it had been collecting donations without the knowledge or consent of Valencia’s family. Also stopped by her was the operation of the canteen of the Employees’ Association which, she said, catered to the general public instead of serving its supposed purpose of selling food to the employees at low prices.

Belmonte also halted the multi-million illegal parking operations being run by the same association using fake receipts that even bore the logo of the NPDC and closed down businesses being illegally operated by employees during working hours which is prohibited under government regulations.

Her most notable accomplishments include the formation of the Gender and Development (GAD) Center and Soup Kitchen for the poor as well as removing the admission fees in Luneta’s gated facilities and improving all the existing amenities.

Belmonte also opened the ‘We Care, Daycare Center’ which teaches and takes care of homeless children loitering in the vicinity of the Rizal Park. In times of calamity, a specific area is designated to serve as temporary shelter for the less-privileged, complete with restrooms and food.

A former kiosk and post office now serves as a multi-purpose center and livelihood space for persons with disabilities (PWDs).

The list of accomplishments is too long and too many to mention but for me, topping the list would be the putting up of a state-of-the-art command center, which monitors the goings-on in and outside the Rizal Park round-the-clock.

The said center uses high-tech cameras, face recognition technology and other high-tech security measures which would ensure continuous monitoring and swift response if and when needed.

Special focus was also given to the development of information and communication technology to make the agency in keeping with the times. This was coupled by the reorganization and streamlining of the processes involved in the procurement and property sections to ensure that the transactions are not only efficient but, moreso, transparent.

For the record, too, Belmonte imposed a ‘no gift policy’ in the NPDC upon assumption into office and was among the first, if not the first, agency in government to have LGBT rest-rooms, which was done based on mounting requests from members of the LGBT community.

What can I say? Congrats to Belmonte and all the men and women behind the NPDC’s success. I see no reason why the NPDC should not be able to get its desired ISO certification at the soonest time possible.

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Beauty tip -- Massage the scalp and hair with coconut milk or Aloe Vera gel. Leave it for 30 minutes and then rinse with warm water. Repeat three times a week for healthier hair and scalp. (Source: Dr. Rosary May Canay-Diaz of Californian Bloom Aesthetic Institute and Medical Spa/4108424/4669596/09178038240/ 025053987)

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Jokjok (from Erwin de Dios of Montalban, Rizal) -- TEACHER: Pedro! Bakit ka natutulog sa kalagitnaan ng klase ko, ha?/PEDRO: Eh Mam, sobrang sweet po kasi ng boses mo kaya nakakatulog ako/TEACHER: Gano’n? Eh bakit }yung iba hindi naman nakakatulog, aber?/PEDRO: Eh kasi Mam, hindi naman po sila nakikinig kagaya ko eh!

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