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Feb. 19, 2014 – Cong. Victor F. Ortega and his wife, former San Fernando City Mayor Mary Jane Ortega warmly received 45 students from Don Mariano Marcos Memorial State University (DMMMSU), Mid La Union.  The group, a mix of freshmen, sophomores and juniors taking up AB Padm (Public Policy & Program Administration) and AB PSci (Parliamentary Procedures) visited Cong. VFO in his office at the Mitra Building, House of Representatives then were officially recognized as his guests during the regular session.  Professors Tiffany Ruth R. Quinitip, PAdm 108 and Marifel R. Dawey, PSci 103 headed the delegation.

 

                                               Photo courtesy of APPA-USA

February 13, 2014 - The Association of Philippine Physicians in America, Inc. – APPA-USA led by Dr. Leonor Pagtakhan-So, Dr.  Alexander Fangonil, Dr. Henry Eugenio, Dr. Renato Judalena, and the APPA AUXILIARY led by Ms. Cora Reyes and Ms. Yoly Ortega-Lopez held a Medical Mission at the People’s Hall of the Municipality of Luna.

 

                                                               Photo courtesy of APPA-USA

Mayor Victor Marron hosted the lunch at his office and the group is seen in a photo taken at the Municipal Hall which was reconstructed in 1906, when the town of Namacpacan was changed to Luna to honor the Luna brothers, Antonio and Juan.  Three hundred patients from various barangays were pre-screened by the Municipal Health Officer, Dr. Primitivo Zambrano but one hundred eleven patients who heard of the medical mission came and were also attended to.

 

                                               Photo courtesy of APPA-USA

The APPA-USA doctors were assisted by the La Union Medical Society led by Dr. Aurora Valdez and Dr. Stella P. Mabanag.  Each of the patients went home with free medicines after their consultation and a package of goods, with merienda funded by the APPA group.  Congressman Victor F. Ortega with Governor Manuel C. Ortega hosted the welcome dinner at the Provincial Capitol and the next night after the medical mission, dinner was hosted again by Congressman Ortega and his wife, Mary Jane, who with Rica Ortega-Regala, organized the local preparations.
 
The Medical Mission was inspired by the Pilgrimage of Our Lady of Namacpacan last 2013 held at Virginia Beach.  Because of the calamity in Tacloban, APPA-USA decided to also have a medical mission in Leyte, aside from the originally planned projects in Dasmarinas, Cavite, Bulacan, and La Union.  
 
After the whole day medical mission from 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., a short tour to the watchtower and the beach of Luna gave the visitors a brief historical background of the town and the arrival of Our Lady of Namacpacan in 1871. From the beach, the group proceeded to the Shrine of Apo Baket and a  mass was celebrated for the group by Rev. Msgr. Alfonso Lacsamana at 5:00 p.m.   The APPA-USA group came to show they cared for the less fortunate among us and in so doing, were refreshed by the gratitude of the townsfolk and were blessed at the Shrine of Our Lady of Namacpacan.  Namacpacan means to feed, and inspired by Apo Baket, as we fondly call Our Lady of Namacpacan, the APPA-USA fed the people while giving medical assistance.  (For more photos, please visit the Multimedia Gallery.)

 

 

January 11, 2014, Baguio City – U.S. Ambassador Philip S. Goldberg welcomes Cong. Victor F. Ortega at the annual Holiday Reception at the Ambassador’s Residence, situated within former American military base, Camp John Hay.  This traditional post-Christmas event is hosted by the current Ambassador with Embassy officials for Philippine Government officials, diplomats, NGOs and friends from the North, thus making it an important representation of solidarity between the United States and the Philippines. (Photo taken from http://manila.usembassy.gov/us)

 

 

January 3, 2014 - Congressman Victor F. Ortega and family hosted a post holiday get-together for all accredited members of the press of La Union.  The annual event was held at the Ortega residence in San Fernando City.  (For more photos, please visit the Multimedia Gallery.)
 
 
MEDIA SALO-SALO CIRCA 2014
By Mary Jane C. Ortega
 
 
In 1986, a group of media practitioners was formed called VVVROMM - for Victor, Vicky San Jose, Voltaire Cabading, Romy, Ortega, Mila Abuan and Mary Jane.  We exchanged current events and analyzed political movements.  When Victor was elected Congressman in 1987, we would gather during Christmas to assess the year past and enjoyed our friendships.  The Christmas get together was transformed to a Media Salo-salo in January and the group was open to all accredited media groups, whether radio or print.
 
This year, we had 81 accredited groups who attended our get-together.  Joining Cong. Victor in welcoming them were his siblings, Provincial Governor Manoling, City of San Fernando Mayor Pablo, City of San Fernando Councilor Monetski, former Provincial Board Member, Pepe and Executive Assistant to the Governor, Mario.  We had other guests like former Councilor John Orros and Mr. Makoto Ozami, a former Japanese youth volunteer who was assigned to Zambales and Cebu but through his colleague, Ozamu Nakagaki, became our friend.  He is a dental anthropologist and for 35 years, has been spending his vacation in various parts of the Philippines.  This time, he was in Sagada, Bontoc and La Union before going to Manila and back to Tokyo.
 
In one of the newspapers brought by the media practitioners, an article was about the Senior Citizens Center donated by VP Jejomar Binay in Naguilian.  I then had a quiz and asked them who built the first Senior Citizens Center in San Fernando City and when?  Cong. Victor had the Senior Citizens Center built even before the Senior Citizens Law was enacted, when he turned 60 years old in 1994.  When I turned 60 in 2001, I was then Mayor of the city and a Senior Citizens Hall and Home was constructed in Barangay Camansi. 
 
Although majority of the media practitioners present were either senior citizens or about to become one, there were several who were young and were third generation journalists.  Together, we welcomed the New Year and Victor and I wished each one a year where they would receive the three Gs - God’s Blessings, Good Health, and Gold.
 
 

 

September 20, 2013 - Congressman Raul del Mar of Cebu City,  and Congressman Victor F. Ortega of the First District of La Union, Current Chairman and Immediate Past Chairman respectively, of the Committee of Interparliamentary Relations and Diplomacy of the House of Representatives, prepare for the meeting of the Committee on Political Affairs of the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA) in Brunei. It was the first time that Brunei Darussalam hosted AIPA, since they have been observers for several years until they recently formed their Legislative Council that qualified them to be regular members.

 

 

May 15, 2013 - Cong. Victor F. Ortega was recently proclaimed as the Congressman elect for the First District of the Province of La union, garnering 97.45% of the votes . He was proclaimed by the members of The Provincial Board of Canvassers including Vice Chairman Danilo C. Bumacod, Provincial Prosecutor Atty. Rhodora G. Arrocena (Acting Provincial Election Supervisor) and Member-Secretary Dr. Rowena C. Banzon, CESO VI  and Schools Division Superintendent at the Speaker Pro Tempore Francisco I. Ortega Legislative Building of the Province of La Union.

 

 

March 27, 2013 - Cong. Victor F. Ortega signs the Joint Communique at the 43rd Asian-Pacific Parliamentarians’ Union General Assembly (APPU GA) as the GA President, former Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda looks on. The GA was held in Tokyo form March 25 to 27, 2013. Cong. Ortega was joined at the assembly by his fellow delegate, Cong. Jeci A. Lapuz, and was assisted by Consul Josel I. Ignacio and Protocol Officer Mary Jane Mariano of the Philippine Embassy to Japan.

 

 

Congressman Victor F. Ortega Receives Outstanding Congressman Award

Congressman Victor F. Ortega was recently recognized as one of the outstanding congressmen for the year 2012. He received his award at the Outstanding Congressman Awards held at a luncheon ceremony the Mandarin Oriental Makati on Feb. 6, 2013. The awards are in its 20th year honoring Outstanding District and Party List Representatives and is being organized by Superbrands Marketing International Inc. (SMI), a leader in global branding that pays tribute to exceptional leadership in many different categories in private and public service. (In photo from left to right: Cong. Jun Omar C. Ebdane, Cong. Karlo Alexei B. Nograles, Cong. Susan Yap, Cong. Ortega, Cong. Lani Mercado-Revilla, Cong. Mark Llandro L. Mendoza and Cong. Anthony Rolando  T. Golez, Jr. )

 

 

 

CURE- The Sea

Sponsored by the Hon.Congressman Victor F. Ortega from his Congressional funds with the support of the City of San Fernando under Mayor Pablo C. Ortega, the Department of Education under City Division Superintendent Linda Laudencia, Rotary Club of San Fernando under President Ed Regala, the Red Cross La Union-San Fernando Chapter under Chairman Jayjay Orros, and lifeguards under Councilor Alfred Ortega, a new project, CURE-The Sea, was launched.

 

It will focus on educating the Filipino youth, starting with the children of the City of San Fernando, about the marine environment. The protection of coral reefs is necessary as it directly influences the lives and livelihoods of millions who depend on the coral reef ecosystem. CURE-The Sea stands for Children Understand Respect the Environment- The Sea.  It intends to:

 

• Promote enhancement of education in marine ecology, in particular reef ecology to give a better understanding of coral reef ecosystems and their impacts not just on marine life, but on the lives and livelihoods of Filipinos and other peoples.

• Strengthen environmental awareness in youth through marine fieldwork.

• Increase the understanding of the consequences of climate change and its impact on the marine environment.

• Show why nearly invisible life is visibly essential.

 

Lectures on marine ecology, especially reef conservation and protection, are given by the resident Marine Biologist Laura Riavitz, who is an Austrian marine consultant for the Province of La Union. The program in 2012 focused on the marine education of 1,796 Grade VI pupils of twenty-six (26) public elementary school. The whole program is for free for the children and includes:

 

• Transportation

• Use of Snorkeling gear (snorkel and mask), life jackets

• Safety due to Life Guards and the volunteering help of the Red Cross

• Using the Facility of Blue Horizon for free courtesy of the owners, Dr. and Mrs. Antonio Orencia

• Lunch

 

The Department of Education schools division superintendent, Dr. Linda Laudencia, program supervisors, school principals/heads and Science Teachers were introduced first to the program before taking out the students. The program includes a lecture on reef ecology and the importance for the humans, a beach exploration and subsequently a snorkeling field trip. The safety is assured by the lifeguards of Red Cross and the La Union Life Guards and additionally, every participant needs to wear a life jacket. The underwater exploration is documented with an underwater camera. The location is at Brgy Canaoay at Poro Point at the Blue Horizon Resort, former Blue Lagoon where the lectures and snorkeling fieldtrips can be conducted. After finishing the program (3-4 hours) the children will be brought back to their school.

 

 

September 22, 2012 - Cong. Victor F. Ortega joins officials of the Municipality of Bangar, the Philippine Red Cross and the Department of Energy for the distribution of free compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) to the residents of Bangar, La Union. The DOE distributed 3.6 million CFLs across the country on September 22, 2012. Its aim is to improve energy efficiency in households as part of its climate change mitigation project. The 3.6 million CFLs will result in savings of up to P828 million annually and reduce 44,702 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions every year. The DOE plans to distribute a total of 13 million CFLs by the end of the program. In the photo are (L-R) ABC President. Edgar Perido, Philippine Red Cross La Union-San Fernando City Chapter Chairman Jay Orros, Cong. Ortega, Regional Director of DOE Efren Balaoing, SBM Edgar Lucina, the Bangar Mayor’s husband John Merin, and Market Master Gino Dian.

 

 

September 16-22, 2012Cong. Victor F. Ortega, head of the Philippine Delegation and Chairman of the Committee on Inter-Parliamentary Relations and Diplomacy, signs the Joint Communique of the 33rd General Assembly of the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA) held in Lombok, Indonesia from September 16-22, 2012 as President of AIPA and Speaker of the Indonesian House of Representatives, H.E. Dr. Marzuki Alie, and Congressman Pangalian M.  Balindong of the 2nd District of Lanao del Sur and Cong. Jun Omar C. Ebdane of the 2nd District of Zambales look on.

 

 

Aug 6, 2012 - Cong. Victor F. Ortega leads the distribution of school chairs to the different public elementary and high schools in the 1st District of La Union at the Luna National High School in Rimos Annex on August 6, 2012.

 

 

July 26, 2012 – Cong. Victor F. Ortega addresses the principals of San Fernando City and officers of LUVWI (La Union Vibrant Women's Inc.) during the orientation of the workshop on ‘It takes A Village to Raise a Child’. Ms. Victoria Liban, a psychotherapist who retired from Stanford University has been facilitating seminars/workshops on guidance and counseling for educators in the First District of La Union. The seminars/workshops are funded by Cong. Victor F. Ortega and organized by SYNERGEIA La Union Chapter headed by former Mayor Mary Jane C. Ortega. Also present were City Superintendent Linda Laudencia and LUVWI Chairperson Mrs. Geraldine Ortega.

 

 

May 14, 2012 – Cong. Victor F. Ortega , 1st District of La Union, witnessed the turnover of a check from Japan Tobacco International, Inc. (JTI) represented by Mr. Cyril Lubaton to the Philippine Red Cross(PRC) La Union - San Fernando City Chapter represented by Chapter Chairman and San Fernando City Councilor Jonathan Orros and members of the chapter’s board of directors. The PRC board of directors were guests of Cong. Ortega, Cong. Eufranio Eriguel of the 2nd Ditrict of La Union, and Cong. Francisco “Pacoy” Ortega of Abono Party List. This photo was taken at the office of Cong. Ortega before the group proceeded to the Congressional Session Hall last April 14, 2012. The fund will be for the disaster risk reduction program of the PRC LU Chapter. In photo from left to right: Dir. Elizabeth Ornido, Dir. Lourdes Estonactoc, Dir. Djuna Alcantara, Dir. Adelaida Juloya, Timothy John Valerio, Atty. Cyril Lubaton, PRC Chapter Chairman Jonathan Justo A. Orros, Congressman Victor F. Ortega, Past Chapter Chairperson Mary Jane C. Ortega, PRC Chapter Administrator Almira Abrazado, Dir. Danilo De Guzman, Dir. Rafael Catbagan

 

 

April 11-13, 2012 – H.E. Prasas Prasasvinitchai, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Thailand to the Philippines, receives a token of appreciation from Gov. Manuel C. Ortega at the Diego Silang Hall of the Provincial Capitol in San Fernando City, La Union. The Ambassador was in the province from April 11-13, 2012 upon the invitation of Cong. Victor F. Ortega who is the Chairman of the House of Representatives’ Committee on Inter-Parliamentary Relations and Diplomacy. In the photo from left to right: Provincial Board Members Joaquin C. Ostrea, Jose Ma. C. Ortega and Francisco C. Ortega; Gov. Ortega, Amb. Prasasvinitchai, Cong. Ortega, Cong. Eufranio C. Eriguel of the 2nd Distirct of La Union.

 

 

April 30 to May 3, 2012 – Cong. Victor F. Ortega and Former San Fernando City Mayor Mary Jane Ortega join ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA) Secretary General Hon. Antonio Veloso Cuenco and Cong. Al Bichara at a lunch hosted by Philippine Ambassador to Thailand, H.E. Linglingay F. Lacanlale, during the 4th AIPA Caucus held in Bangkok from April 30 to May 3, 2012. 

 

 

Mar. 28, 2012 - Mary Jane Ortega visits the Allabok Cave. Former San Fernando City Mayor Mary Jane C. Ortega, together with National Musuem officials and Local Government Unit representatives, listen to the oral history of Allabok Burial Cabe from a Kankanaey elder, Marcelino “Balanse” Lictao, during an assessment of the National Cultural Treasure on March 28, 2012.

 

Allabok Cave Revisited


 

By Israel O. Rudio, Provincial Information and Tourism Office (PITO), La Union




National Museum officials led by Directors Jeremy R. Barns and Ana M.T. Labrador, visited the Allabok Cave in Bagulin, La Union on the morning of March 28, 2012 after 35 years when it was declared as a National Cultural Treasure.


After negotiating a 20-minute ride from the Municipal Hall of Bagulin up to the upland Barangay of Cambaly, the team reached the entrance of the pathway leading to the cave together with La Union’s foremost historian, former San Fernando City Mayor Mary Jane C. Ortega, representatives from the Provincial Information and Tourism Office (PITO), Local Government Unit of Bagulin and the local police. They were briefed by a Kankanaey elderly by the name of Marcelino “Balanse” Lictao and led the way through the 200-meter trail which is about 700 feet above sea level. The hike challenged the visitors as they walked through the narrow edge of a cliff. Wood boards and a rope were also used to cross an eroded portion. Vines and roots of trees from atop the cliff proved useful, as they were held by the hikers along the ascending parts of the path. Visitors were amazed by the thick and lush forests of the mountains as well as the green rice terraces below.


After finally reaching the burial site which is the only one of its kind in Region I, Balanse immediately recited a Kankanaey ritual for the spirits of those buried in the cave to allow them entry. He then opened a bottle of gin as a gift to the spirits, a glass of which was passed around and sipped by all members of the group. Everyone also gave their respective gifts that include coins and candies. According to Balanse, the ritual does not only give due respect to their ancestors but it also bring good luck as well.


Director Barns explained that the area is a second burial site, with the bodies taken from the first burial site to the burial cave. One set of the bones was placed inside a carved-out coffin made of Narra with carabao and deer horns placed on top. Director Barns said the horns make the coffin very distinct from coffins found in the Cordilleras. Native musical instruments and wooden cooking utensils were also found inside the coffin. The other set of bones had an antique water jar beside it. Both were confirmed as males.


The only female in the burial site was placed at a higher part of the area. According to Balanse, their ancestors 400 years ago had a difficult time bringing the coffin of the lady at its present location. Relatives decided to climb down and butchered a carabao. They took the leather and made a rope out of it which they used to climb and bring the coffin to its present site. Doctor Labrador shared that traditions show that people in the past usually bury their dead on an elevated area overlooking the community on the belief that the commanding view will allow departed ones to look over and pray for the welfare of the people. The National Museum executives were also one in saying that the burial site proves that our ancestors were civilized and sophisticated way before the Spaniards came.


 

 

August 24, 2011 – Congressman Victor F. Ortega was confirmed chairperson of the Committee on Inter Parliamentary Relations and Diplomacy (IPRD) of the 15th Congress of the Philippines. He replaces former chairman, the late Rep. Antonio Magsaysay Diaz of the 2nd District of Zambales, who passed away last August 3.



For more photos, please visit the Multimedia Gallery.