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(PAGASA 24-HOUR PUBLIC WEATHER FORECAST as of Thursday July 24, 2014) SYNOPSIS:Southwest monsoon affecting Luzon. at 4:00 a.m. today, a Low Pressure Area (LPA) was estimated based on all available data at 800 km East of Guiuan, Eastern Samar (11.0N, 134.0E). Forecast: The provinces of Zambales, Bataan and Pangasinan will experience monsoon rains. Metro Manila, Cavite, Batangas and the rest of Ilocos region, Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) and MIMAROPA will have occasional rains. The rest of the country will be partly cloudy to cloudy with isolated rainshowers or thunderstorms. Moderate to strong winds blowing from the southwest will prevail over northern and western Luzon and the coastal waters along these areas will be moderate to rough. Elsewhere, light to moderate winds coming from the southwest with slight to moderate seas.


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

DILG, OPAPP implement CLIP in Caraga

By Jennifer P. Gaitano

BUTUAN CITY, July 23 (PIA) – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Caraga reported the status of the Comprehensive Local Integration Program (CLIP) implementation in Caraga region, held on Wednesday during the Regional Peace and Order Council (RPOC) meeting in one of the local convention centers here.

“The implementation of the CLIP is based on the Joint Memorandum Circular (JMC) No. 2014-01 dated May 15, 2014 wherein DILG and the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) have signed it to institutionalize its implementation for the former New People’s Army (NPA) rebels,” bared Luth Edmund Apresto, Local Government Operations Officer II of DILG-Caraga.

Apresto disclosed that the CLIP seeks to contribute towards achieving the goal of permanent and peaceful closure of all armed conflicts with non-state armed groups.  “The CLIP aims to facilitate the mainstreaming of former rebels as productive citizens and to enhance capacities of local government units and national government agencies in the implementation and sustainability of the project,” he said.

As to who can avail of the said program, Apresto explained that the following can avail of the CLIP: regular members of the NPA who have expressed the desire to abandon armed violence; NPA who surfaced in 2011 and those who have not received full assistance under the defunct Social Integration Program (SIP); and former rebels’ spouses, partners, children (whether legitimate or illegitimate), parents or siblings.

Also, Magdalena Barrios, Area Manager for Comprehensive Local Integration Program (CLIP) of OPAPP reported that there were former rebels in the region that have availed of the program.

"In Agusan del Sur, 96 former rebels were profiled. The provincial government has provided each of the former rebel financial assistance in the amount of P5,000, which two of them came from Surigao del Sur. The turned-in firearms were also enrolled under the AFP Guns for Peace Program," announced Barrios.

Barrios added that the DILG in the respective provinces of Caraga will soon release the reintegration assistance of 29 former rebels from Agusan del Sur, Surigao del Norte, and Surigao del Sur.

“Under the CLIP, those rebels who will surrender to the government with firearms will be given monetary assistance amounting to P15,000.00 and P50,000.00 for livelihood assistance. Among other assistance for the rebels include the additional training or educational support for them and their dependents,” Barrios emphasized.

Meanwhile, Barrios further revealed that their next step is to fulfill the following: Creation of the CLIP Committee; Strategic Planning Workshop for CLIP Committee; Orientation of CLIP for all agencies concerned; and Ceremonial Signing (convergence). (JPG/PIA-Caraga)

AgSur blood coordinating council collects 1,747 bags

By David M. Suyao

PATIN-AY, Prosperidad, Agusan del Sur, July 23 (PIA) - The Provincial Blood Coordinating Council (PBCC), thru its technical blood program team (TBPT) has collected a total of 1,747 bags of 500cc blood from various donors provincewide from January to June this year, according to reports by the TBPT to the PBCC.

In a meeting conducted on Tuesday, a total of 1,565 bags were taken from field donation during the mobile blood donation conducted by the BPT in barangays who volunteer to donate blood. Replacement of used blood by patients of the D.O. Plaza Memorial Hospital reached 56 bags, 90 bags from the walk-in donors and another 36 bags from patients directed to produce donors in order to get the needed blood especially when the type of blood needed by the patient is out of stock at the hospital’s blood bank.

Usage of the blood collected by the PBCC does not only limit in the D.O. Plaza Memorial Hospital although it registers the highest usage with 1,137 bags since January until June this year. San Francisco Doctors Hospital ranked second with 217, while the Bunawan District Hospital ranked third with 103 bags. Hospitals as far as Davao City, Tagum City, Butuan City, Agusan del Norte, Compostela Valley province and Surigao del Sur also availed the blood collected by the PBCC in times of their needs.

Darwina Ligan, Philippine Red Cross Agusan del Sur Chapter also reported that as of June 2014, the blood program in Agusan del Sur under the PBCC operations has already spent P2,508,700 for blood reagents alone. While the provincial government’s unique support budget amounting to P1.8 million was already expended, Gov. Adolph Edward Plaza added P309,600 from his discretionary fund while each municipality’s annual aid to the blood program worth P50,000 each totaling to P399,700 was also spent in order to cope up with the required amount until June.

According to Vilma Mabras of the Provincial Budget Office, another P700,000 was allocated starting July until December this year from the supplementary fund to cover the cost of the reagents while the rigid collection of the municipal financial aid worth P50,000 each is enforced.

It can be recalled that the provincial government has set aside fund to support the blood program of Agusan del Sur in the amount of P1.8 million to cover the cost of the reagents but due to rising demand of blood, supplementary funds are needed.

Patients from Agusan del Sur who are in need of blood no longer pay for the processing fee worth P1,500 per bag because of the support given by the provincial government. (DMS/PIA-Agusan del Sur)

7.8 MW power plant inaugurated in SurSur

By Nida Grace P. Barcena

TANDAG CITY, Surigao del Sur, July 23 (PIA) - A 7.8-megawatt diesel-fired power plant aimed at augmenting the province’s peak power demand was inaugurated on Monday, July 21. The power plant is owned by King Energy Generation Incorporation (KEGI) situated at Sitio Panubigan in Barangay Telaje, this city.

First district representative Philip Pichay hailed the power plant as a welcome development for the province, which could curtail the power shortage in the province and making it friendlier to business.

“The establishment of the first power plant in Surigao del Sur was realized thru a collaboration effort and hard work of the Surigao del Sur Electric Cooperative (SURSECO II) management, and the local officials in order to address the power shortage in the province,” said SURSECO II President Reynaldo Sindo.

Sindo said brownouts have extremely affected the business and the people in this province that previously experienced daily fluctuation for several hours during dry season.

“The good thing with KEGI is that there will be no more fluctuation in this province,” said Rep. Pichay.

With the 10-year-five-megawatt deal that SURSECO II was able to forge with KEGI, the latter is obliged to provide the electricity needed in case of power breakdown.

SURSECO II spans its service coverage to the entire first district of the province with 12 municipalities including Tandag City. (NGBT/PIA-Surigao del Sur)

2015-2016 DOST scholarship now open

By Nora L. Molde

BUTUAN CITY, July 23 (PIA) - The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Caraga is now accepting applicants to the 2015 DOST-Science Education Institute (SEI) Undergraduate scholarship for Republic Act 7687 and Merit Programs, says regional director Dominga D. Mallonga.

According to director Mallonga, the selection of scholars will be conducted through a written examination to be held nationwide on September 21, 2014 in the seven testing centers in the region to include the DOST regional office in Butuan City; Patin-ay National High School in Prosperidad, Agusan del Sur; Surigao del Norte National High School in Surigao City; Jacinto P. Elpa National High School in Tandag City, Surigao del Sur; Bislig National High School in Bislig City, Surigao del Sur; Don Ruben E. Ecleo Sr. National High School in the province of Dinagat Islands, and Dapa National High School in Siargao, Surigao del Norte.

Also, DOST senior science research specialist and DOST Caraga scholarship coordinator Norma Alli said, their agency is also requesting additional testing venue -  the Roxas National High School in San Isidro in Siargao Island, Surigao del Norte.

Alli said, the scholarship is open to all qualified graduating high school students from public and private high schools nationwide, said director Mallonga.

“DOST offers two types of undergraduate scholarships, the RA 7687 for qualified applicants who belong to families with low socio-economic status and MERIT for qualified applicants regardless of their families' socio-economic status," Alli added.

To be eligible to take the scholarship examination, an applicant must possess the following qualifications:

Eligibility for RA 7687 Undergraduate Scholarship
1. natural-born Filipino citizen;
2. poor, talented, and deserving student who belongs to a family whose socio-economic status does not exceed the set values of certain indicators;
3. top five percent (5%) of the regular high school graduating class; or
4. member of the graduating class of a DOST-SEI identified or DepEd recognized science high school;
5. resident of the municipality for the last four years as attested by the barangay;
6. of good moral character and in good health; and
7. qualifier of the 2014 S&T Scholarship examination.

Eligibility for Merit Undergraduate Scholarship
1. natural-born Filipino citizen;
2. top five percent (5%) of the regular high school graduating class; or
3. member of the graduating class of a DOST-SEI identified or DepEd recognized science high school;
4. of good moral character and in good health; and
5. qualifier of the 2014 S&T Scholarship examination.

Director Mallonga also said that passers of 2015 DOST Scholarship exam will have the following privileges: tuition and other school fees (P8,000/semester for RA7687 and Merit); book allowance of P5,000 per year; PE uniform allowance of P500 for the first semester of the year; and transportation allowance stipends.

The scholarship qualifiers can enroll in state universities and colleges and other higher education institutions recognized by the Commission on Higher Education as Centers of Excellence or Centers of Development, wherein they can take up priority science and technology courses such as Agriculture, Agricultural Biotechnology; Agricultural Chemistry; Agricultural Engineering; Applied Mathematics; Applied Physics; Biochemistry; Biology; Ceramics Engineering; Chemistry with Applied Computer System; Chemistry with Materials Science and Engineering; Chemistry Engineering; Chemistry; Civil Engineering; Computer Engineering; Computer Science; Electrical Engineering; Electronics and Communications Engineering; Environmental Science; Fisheries; Food Technology; Forestry; Geology; Geodetic Engineering; Industrial Engineering; Information Technology; Manufacturing Engineering; Materials Engineering; Mathematics; Mechanical Engineering; Metallurgical Engineering; Mining Engineering; Molecular Biology and Biotechnology; Physics; Physics with Applied Computer System; Physics with Material Science and Engineering; Science/Mathematics Teaching and Statistics.

The DOST-SEI Undergraduate Scholarship Program is the Department’s response to its mandate of accelerating the pace of knowledge-driven development in accordance with the S&T human resource growth potential in the country, director Mallonga said.

Application forms are available at the DOST Caraga Regional Office, Caraga State University Compound, Ampayon, Butuan City and DOST Provincial Offices in Patin-ay, Agusan del Sur, Surigao City , Bislig and Tandag City and can be downloaded at http//www.science-scholarships.ph, director Mallonga added.

Deadline for submission of application form and supporting documents is on August 22, 2014.

For inquiries, please visit or call DOST-Caraga at telephone number (085) 341-9551. (NCLM/PIA-Caraga)

Science chief reports on two-year performance of Project NOAH; 5,060 barangay flood hazard maps done through LiDAR technology

MANILA, July 23 - Two years after the launch of the Nationwide Operational Assessment of Hazards or Project NOAH in July 6, 2012 in Marikina City, the program has considerably made significant milestones in the area of disaster preparedness and mitigation.

After the directive of President Benigno S. Aquino III for government to implement a comprehensive disaster preparedness and mitigation program that would allow warning agencies to deliver information on weather through early warning for early action, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) created the Project NOAH.

“It is the aim of Project NOAH to provide accurate and timely weather information that will allow us a six-hour lead time and rainfall forecast to give the people enough time to evacuate and do the necessary actions to prevent damage to properties and loss of lives,” Secretary Mario G. Montejo said.

During the 2nd anniversary celebration of Project NOAH at the PAGASA Main Lobby Sec. Montejo also disclosed that Project NOAH was created made using local technology and developed by Filipino scientists for the Filipino people.

“We are able to harness Filipino talent in Project NOAH particularly in the hydromet sensors we have installed all over the country. The Advanced Science and Technology Institute of the DOST is the one responsible for the local fabrication of almost 1,000 automated rain gauges, water level sensors and weather stations installed in the 18 major river basins,” Montejo said.

Also in attendance was the DRRMO Head of Marikina City Dr. Val Barcinal who gave his testimony on how NOAH was instrumental during the habagat episode and succeeding typhoon events in achieving zero-casualty in the city.

“The Project NOAH website is one of the information dissemination platforms designed by the government to mitigate and prevent disaster. These benefits were obtained from Project NOAH. Like in the Book of Genesis, it was a saving grace for the City of Marikina,” said Dr. Barcinal.

With the Disaster Risk and Exposure Assessment for Mitigation or DREAM project under the Project NOAH, all the 18 major river systems have been surveyed and data collected to create flood hazard maps. To this date, 5,060 barangays have already flood hazard maps out of the 18,000 barangays covered by the LiDAR data gathering.The flood hazard maps will help barangays pinpoint the specific areas in their locality that are safe and unsafe for evacuation and relocation sites.

Another project under NOAH, called Weather Information-Integration for Systems Enhancement or WISE, now provides 7-day weather forecast enhanced from data gathered from PAGASA. NOAH WISE committed to soon come up with seasonal forecast six months in advance.

“With the 7-day forecast we are able to provide valuable information to the public that will be very useful in the everyday life of Mang Juan and Aling Maria. Later when we can do seasonal forecasts, our farmers will be informed of what crops to plant and when is the best time to plant, thereby increasing agricultural productivity,” Montejo stated. (DOST/PIA-Caraga)

DA releases P266.5 million for agri projects in Caraga

By Emmylou T. Presilda

BUTUAN CITY, July 23 (PIA) - The Department of Agriculture Regional Field Office (DA-RFO 13) has released a total of P266.543 Million that financed various agriculture related projects in the region in 2013 under the Grassroots Participatory Budgeting (GPB).

GPB, formerly known as Bottom-Up Budgeting or BuB, is an approach to formulating the budget proposal of national government agencies, taking into consideration the development needs of poor cities/municipalities as identified in their respective local poverty reduction action plans that is formulated with strong participation of basic sectors and civil society organizations (CSOs).

In Caraga Region where 45 percent of the communities are into farming and fishing, the implementation of GPB in 2013 has opened opportunities for the local government units (LGUs) and CSOs to avail of financing for their identified livelihood or infrastructure projects.

A total of 43 LGUs with corresponding 73 CSO’s has received financing according to their proposed agri-related projects.  These include: production inputs such as seeds, fertilizers, vermicast; construction/rehab of production facilities; livelihood projects on crops, livestock, and fisheries; construction of farm-to-market roads; construction of trading post; and, provision of post harvest facilities.  Recipients of the said interventions were also trained and capacitated to ensure project sustainability.

Regional Director Edna M. Mabeza said that the DA Regional Office is pinning high hopes on the success of the different projects being implemented by the LGUs/CSOs under the GPB.

“We are requesting for cooperation from all stakeholders for the mutual benefit of all concerned which ultimately redound to the attainment of objectives of this noble project – inclusive growth and poverty reduction,” Mabeza added.

This year, DA will continue to implement around half a billion worth of agri-related projects approved under GPB to 64 LGUs with corresponding 428 subprojects. (DA-13/PIA-Caraga)

TESDA advocates craft 2nd Sem ComPlan

By Robert E. Roperos

BUTUAN CITY, July 23 (PIA) - To ensure smooth implementation of the agency’s advocacy and promotions, regional information officers of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) attended the two-day Communications Planning workshop held recently at TESDA Women’s Center, Taguig City.

The activity, which was originally scheduled for three days, was conducted in two days because of typhoon Glenda that hit Metro Manila on July 16, 2014.

“We will have to squeeze the topics scheduled for three days into two days but we have to make sure that everything will be taken up smoothly so that you can internalize all what we are going to discuss,” said Carlos Munda, Lighthouse Communications Group President who was invited as guest speaker.

The participants have crafted the second semester’s communication plan for every region following the TESDA message house which highlighted the two outcomes of the agency: 1. Filipinos with competencies and life skills to pursue economic opportunities and, 2. Leadership, Management, Innovation.

In her message, TESDA Linkages and Partnership Office and Public Information Office Executive Director Marta M. Hernandez emphasized the need for the agency to create Communications Plan that will serve as a guide in implementing the advocacy and promotions campaign of the agency.

“So that all our efforts in disseminating news and information to the general public will be rewarded, we have to come-up with a system where all of us must follow to ensure that we are in one direction,” Hernandez said.

Hernandez added, “in this way, we can achieve wider reach of disseminating the programs of our agency, empowering the Filipino people of acquiring first-hand information of any developments that our agency have."

Hernandez further said in order to achieve the agency’s outcomes, there is a need expand access to quality technical-vocational education through scholarship programs such as the Private Education Students’ Financial Assistance (PESFA), Skills Development Program under the Grassroots Participatory Budgeting (GPB), Mobile Training Laboratories, Skills and Livelihood Training in Yolanda-affected areas, and implementing the Special Training for Employment Program (STEP).

When asked on how TESDA can develop workforce competencies required in key growth areas, Hernandez said, this can be attained through the implementation of Institution-based Training Programs, Training for Work Scholarship Program (TWSP), Enterprise-based Training Programs, Labor Market Information, Competency Assessment and Certification, Quality Assured Tech-voc system, and the Philippine Qualification Framework.

To implement good governance system, Hernandez said the public must be informed that TESDA has good governance certification after the agency has been internationally certified by ISO 9001:2008. “They must also be informed that TESDA has ICT-enabled systems through the TESDA on-line programs and Tech-Voc information system," she said.

Lastly, Hernandez said one way to engage industry in the provision of tech-voc services is to involve industry representatives in the development and implementation of standards and curricula.

Meanwhile, Munda discussed the Use of Social Media as Promotional Tool for every organization. He pointed out that with the adverse of technology that is utilized at present, there is a need to level up the communication strategies that every organization must adopt “may it be private or public organizations.”

However, Munda said there is a need for every administrator of social networking sites to observe proper posting of information because this will “make or break” the reputation and integrity of the organization that is being promoted.

He likewise emphasized that the use of traditional media is still effective nowadays. “There is still a need to create or strengthen linkage with the tri-media personalities in your respective areas because they are our information dissemination multipliers, thus, they must be our partners in this effort,” Munda said.

Munda also stressed the reason why information officers exist not only because they need to write press releases regularly. “Most importantly, we always have to strengthen our coordinative efforts with them to ensure long-time partnership,” Munda said.

This undertaking is in support to the Philippine Development Plan particularly in informing the Filipino people of what the government has been doing, ensuring the reliability, integrity and dignity of government information. (TESDA-13/PIA-Caraga)

Solid financial performance brings SSS asset level to P415-B

MANILA, July 23 (PIA) - Building on its solid financial performance since the start of the year, the Social Security System (SSS) saw its total assets expand by eight percent to P415 billion as of May 2014, showing a growth of over P30 billion in just five months from its P385 billion asset level as of December 2013.

May Catherine Ciriaco, SSS Vice President for Management Services and Planning, credited the increase in assets to the six percent growth in investment level, which stood at P401 billion as of May 2014, compared to P371 billion as of end of last year. Ninety-seven percent of SSS assets are in the form of investments.

“The growth in assets augurs well for SSS’ drive to improve the system’s long-term viability and regain a perpetual fund life of 70 years, in line with international social security standards,” noted Ciriaco. Based on results of the latest SSS actuarial valuation, SSS funds are currently projected to last until 2043, with four years recently added to its fund life as a result of the 0.6 percent contribution rate hike and the new P16,000 maximum monthly salary credit effective January 2014.

Total revenues reached P64 billion during the first five months of 2014, up eight percent from P59 billion for the same period last year. Contribution collections, representing 77 percent of revenues, surged 16 percent to P49 billion, with the bulk of payments coming from the employed sector. Combined contributions from regular and household employees jumped by 16 percent to P42 billion; self-employed workers by 10 percent to P2 billion; and voluntary members by 23 percent to P4 billion.

Ciriaco said SSS investment and other income surpassed the P9 billion target for the five-month period by 59 percent primarily accounted for by equity earnings.

On the expenditure side, P41 billion or 93 percent were attributed to benefit payments, which went up by 16 percent due to streamlined claims processing -- particularly for death, disability and retirement (DDR) that normally comprise majority of benefit payouts. For the first five months of 2014, DDR payments totaled P38 billion, or 93 percent of benefit releases for the period.

Benefit payments during this five-month period also covered the six months’ worth of advanced pension disbursed to pensioners affected by Super Typhoon Yolanda.

Meanwhile, operating expenses (opex) posted a modest increase of four percent to P3 billion, utilizing only 49 percent of allowed charter limit. The higher opex can be attributed to other initiatives such as conducting information campaigns, and expanding and relocating SSS office spaces to provide better facilities for members. (SSS/PIA-Caraga)

International forum seeks to strengthen human resource in EAGA

DAVAO CITY, July 23 (PIA) - Aiming to revive and strengthen the human resource linkages within the BIMP-EAGA, a Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) forum is pursued to encourage multi-sector collaboration in technical education, training, and vocational industries within the sub-region.

Organized as a side event to the upcoming 2nd BIMP-EAGA and IMT-GT Trade Fair and Business Leaders’ Meeting, the forum which is slated on October 22 at the Seda Hotel here in this city, will gather more than 50 leaders and human resource enablers from EAGA-member countries.

“We cannot stress enough the significant contributions of a skilled and globally competitive human resource in economic development, and we hope to facilitate open exchanges of ideas on how to further strengthen the TVET sector in BIMP-EAGA during this forum,” said TVET Forum organizer Joji Ilagan-Bian, who is also the founding chair of the Mindanao TVET Association.

Bian added that a new and strengthened collaboration among BIMP-EAGA’s TVET leaders will further expand the employment opportunities for Mindanao and Palawan’s TVET graduates. The two key islands are Philippines’ focus areas for BIMP-EAGA.

“More than a decade ago, we had a BIMP-EAGA Human Resource Development working group, solely focusing on enhancing the competencies and income of the sub-region’s workforce. We are confident that this forum will revive that initiative,” said Janet Lopoz, executive director of the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA).

The BIMP-EAGA sub-economic cooperation serves as a test-bed for ASEAN protocols and is seen as a significant building block towards achieving ASEAN Integration in 2015.  Through the Mutual Recognition Arrangements for the services sector, ASEAN member-countries commit to recognize the education or experience including licenses and certifications granted by the Philippine Government to its overseas workers.

Among the expected results of the forum are joint-venture agreements on TVET initiatives within the BIMP-EAGA particularly on student and faculty exchanges, trade skills competitions and the mutual recognition of skills standards among EAGA-member countries.

“We must in a way be able to respond to the various competing labor demands, which will likely emerge within the next 20 years, both here and abroad,” Lopoz said while adding, “the international forum could also facilitate increased socio-cultural exchange in BIMP-EAGA.”

The 2nd BIMP-EAGA & IMT-GT Trade Fair and Business Leaders’ Meeting is slated from October 23-26 at the SMX Convention Center, SM Lanang Premier, Davao City.

BIMP-EAGA stands for Brunei Darussalam Indonesia Malaysia the Philippine East ASEAN Growth Area while the IMT-GT stand for Indonesia Malaysia Thailand Growth Triangle. Top business leaders from these five countries are expected to converge during the four-day event, with the overall goal of promoting trade, investment, and tourism within the ASEAN region. (MinDA/PIA-Caraga)

Rubber production training benefits farmers in AgNor

By Aimee Battad Sienes

BUTUAN CITY, July 23 (PIA) - The Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Agusan del Norte was grateful to the Department of Agriculture (DA) and JCA Rubber Employees Multi-Purpose Cooperative (JARBEMCO) for the successful conduct of training on rubber production and tapping system that benefited the farmers of the municipality of Las Nieves, this province.

In its Sanggunian Resolution No. 159-2014, authored by Provincial Board Member Virgilio R. Escasinas, Jr., the body expressed its gratitude to the DA and JARBEMCO for imparting knowledge and skills in tapping and the proper harvesting for quality production of cuplam from rubber trees and to secure a higher price in the market.

A group of farmers from Barangays Casiklan, Durian, Ibuan and Maningalao, including also punong barangays and kagawads attended the 4-day live-in training just recently. Rubber-based farming is a growing industry in the municipality of Las Nieves and an increasing hectares of lands in the area are now cultivated along with the intercropping of cash crops like coffee, cacao, corn and others.

It is also one of the primary high value crops the DA is promoting considering its marketability and the adaptability of Las Nieves land areas and its climate that favors rubber farming. With this training, the rubber-based farmers will now be guided in their rubber-based farming endeavors. (LGU-Agusan del Norte/PIA-Agusan del Norte)

Tandag City seeks media, public support against dengue

By Greg Tataro Jr.

TANDAG CITY, July 23 (PIA) – The city government here led by Mayor Roxanne Pimentel has sought the help of media to drum up its campaign against dengue.

Through former mayor, now city administrator Alexander Pimentel, the local government unit (LGU) has appealed to radio stations to announce “as frequently as possible” the anti-dengue campaign slogan contained in the “info-education-communication (IEC) material” of the Department of Health (DOH).

According to Pimentel, dengue cases have been alarming in recent months, citing the Adela Serra-Ty Memorial Medical Center (ASTMMC) report for the period March 3 – July 3, 2014 which indicated “92 ‘suspected’ cases’” based on “actual hospital admission.”

“The spike, which was first noted in April (14 cases), sharply registered 41 cases in June,” he wrote in a communication letter dated July 17.

Pimentel bared that in the city alone, 13 out of 21 barangays have already made it to the list of dengue-hit areas, where Telaje tops them all at 24 cases.

Other barangays mentioned in descending order based on the number of cases are: Bagong Lungsod – 14; Mabua – 12; Dagocdoc – 10; Bungtod – 8; Buenavista – 7; Rosario – 5;  Bioto – 3; San Agustin Norte, San Agustin Sur, and Quezon – 3 each; and Maticdum and Salvacion – 1 apiece.

“The City Government of Tandag has once again rolled out its anti-dengue campaign to avert the increasing trend in the short-term, and to prevent further cases in the long-term,” he continued.

“Knowing the enormity of the problem, the anti-dengue campaign is designed to involve as many stakeholders as possible,” Pimentel added.

Early this month, Assistant Provincial Administrator Tomasito Pareja has already warned the public against the increasing number of dengue cases. (NGBT/Radyo ng Bayan/PIA-Surigao del Sur)


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

News Feature: Climate change from a wholistic perspective

By Venus L. Garcia

BUTUAN CITY, July 22 (PIA) – The environmental change that may affect more migration, both internally and internationally, for people to seek safer grounds; the environmental risk drivers; changes in annual mean temperature/rainfall and sea level rise; the quality and extent of coastal resources; the level of environmental pollution; the overall state of biodiversity and other determinants have contributed to the underlying impacts on the progression of climate change from which the need for adaptation capacity in a wholistic perspective must be put in place.

Climate change affects migration

Taken from a viewpoint of the founding and current member of the Asian Disaster Reduction and Response Network Merlie “Milet” Mendoza who enunciated in details her topic during the Information Officers’ Summit on Climate Change Advocacy conducted by the Philippine Information Agency and Department of Environment and Natural Resources Caraga on Wednesday in this city, she expressed that climate change can be attributed to both natural and human interventions, therefore, the culpability should not be indicated to natural causes of climate change alone.

As defined by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) environmental migrants refer to the persons or groups of persons, for compelling reasons of sudden or progressive change in the environment that adversely affects their lives or living conditions, are obliged to leave their habitual homes.

“There are four paths by which environmental change may affect migration: intensification of natural disasters; increased warming and drought that affects agricultural production, reducing people’s livelihoods and access to clean water; rising sea levels that render coastal areas  uninhabitable; and competition over natural resources that may lead to conflict, which in turn precipitates displacement,” enumerated Mendoza.

Mendoza cited that the determining factors for migration include vulnerability or resilience to these situations, that is, the capability to cope or adapt to them will determine the degree to which people are forced to migrate and the availability of alternative livelihoods or other coping capacities in the affected area generally determines the scale and form of migration that may take place.

Mendoza likewise explained that the first stage of climate change-induced migrationor the premigration is when actions to prevent, mitigate, and help individuals adapt to environmental hazards take place and “when prevention of the underlying causes of environmentally induced migration is the most critical need but it will require considerable political will, time, and resources to take the steps that are needed to protect the environment.”

Adaptation and disaster risk reduction

As clearly described by Mendoza, adaptation refers to “initiatives and measures to reduce the vulnerability of natural and human systems against actual or expected climate change effects while disaster risk reduction involves systematic efforts to analyze and manage the causal factors of disasters, including through reduced exposure to hazards, lessened vulnerability of people and property, wise management of land and the environment, and improved preparedness for adverse events.”

“Identifying vulnerabilities is essential in each case since the “characteristics and circumstances of a community, system or asset make it susceptible to the damaging effects of a hazard,” said Mendoza.

Therefore, the challenge is that “attention needs to be given to both sides of the environment and migration nexus: identifying adaptation strategies that allow people to remain where they currently live and work, and identifying resettlement strategies that protect people’s lives and livelihoods when they are unable to remain.”

Humanitarian perspective of reducing vulnerabilities

Over two decades of peacebuilding experience, humanitarian and development worker Milet Mendoza shared that while performing emergency response, “we shall take into consideration the need to reduce vulnerabilities and to strengthen the community’s disaster response capacities and capabilities.”

Mendoza stressed that to the extent possible, communities shall take active involvement and it is desired for them to get organized to draw strength within and help each other.

She told the participants of said summit about how publicity and advocacy activities should be managed. “We shall recognize disaster victims as dignified humans, not hopeless objects, whose rights must be upheld at all times. Our presence, work, and assistance shall in no way cause further harm to, or prolong suffering of the community we seek to serve,” bared Mendoza.

“When engaging in climate change advocacy, recognize the role as complement to the primary role of the government in mitigation and adaptation and disaster and emergency management. We shall coordinate efforts for the maximum benefit,” Mendoza remarked. (VLG/PIA-Caraga)

TESDA launches Grassroots Participatory Budgeting in Caraga

By Robert E. Roperos

BUTUAN CITY, July 22 (PIA) - To ensure that government funds are downloaded at the grassroots level, the regional office of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) in Caraga has recently launched the Grassroots Participatory Budgeting (GPB).

The activities which were held in separate venues: Municipalities of Gigaquit and Mainit in Surigao del Norte was graced with the municipal officials as well as top officials of TESDA-Caraga spearheaded by regional director Florencio F. Sunico, Jr.

In his speech, TESDA-Surigao del Norte OIC provincial director Liza B. Budtan said GPB, which was formerly called “Bottoms-Up Budgeting” in 2012 where during this time, the Technical-Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Programs was not yet included and only in 2013 where the said program was given one of the priority programs of the Aquino administration.

Budtan said the GPB was made possible through the efforts of the respective local government units in empowering their constituents by providing them with skills training to be productive citizens in their locality and will be given the opportunity to work and earn a living.

The official also said five out of 20 municipalities and one city in Surigao del Norte have identified TVET component under the 2014 GPB: Gigaquit, Mainit, Sison, Dapa and Surigao City.

Budtan likewise explained that with this program, TESDA was able to identify more people who will be trained.

“We are trying the best we can to implement the accessible TVET where more people especially the youths will be trained for we believe that the best legacy that we can give to the people is developing their skills and potentials,” Budtan said.

By accessible, Budtan added “we mean education and trainings must be brought near the public, without the need for relocating themselves so that they can go to schools and Technical Vocational Institutions (TVIs) that are usually located in cities.”

In the municipality of Mainit, 57 beneficiaries will undergo training in Shielded Metal Arc Welding (SMAW) and 30 for Cookery, while in Gigaquit, 30 will be trained in SMAW and 100 for body massage.

In a related development, Sunico emphasized that for 2014, the GPB allocation for Caraga Region is P13 million.

Meanwhile, a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) was signed between TESDA and the local government units of Gigaquit and Mainit to ensure proper implementation of the program in the region.

To date, Sunico said the schedule of program launching in other municipalities from other provinces in the region is now in place. (TESDA-13/PIA-Caraga)

CSC first grade eligibility sought for elected barangay officials

By Aimee B. Sienes

BUTUAN CITY, July 22 (PIA) - All elected barangay officials may soon be granted first grade civil service eligibility who have rendered three consecutive terms of service and a bachelor’s degree holder.

This is now being sought by the Sangguniang Panlalawigan for Cong. Erlpe John M. Amante of the second district of Agusan del Norte to pass a bill in congress to make the move a reality.

The Civil Service Commission (CSC), as of date, grants sub-professional eligibility to all elected and appointed officials who are able to render three consecutive terms of service regardless of their educational attainment.

Provincial Board Member Benjamin D. Lim, Jr., chairman of the Committee on Barangay Affairs, pushed for the passage and approval of Sanggunian Resolution No. 146-2014, requesting Cong. Amante for the passage of the said bill in congress.

Lim expressed that it is only fitting and proper to grant first grade civil service eligibility to all barangay elected officials who have completed three consecutive terms of service and holding a bachelor’s degree considering the enormous tasks that they are performing in their respective local government units (LGUs) for public service to ensure effective delivery of basic services and facilities to their constituents.

The Sangguniang Panlalawigan approved said Sanggunian Resolution No. 146-2014 during its 48th Regular Session. (LGU-Agusan del Norte/PIA-Agusan del Norte)

SP seeks conversion of honorarium of barangay officials into basic salary

By Aimee B. Sienes

BUTUAN CITY, July 22 (PIA) - The Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Agusan del Norte headed by vice governor Ramon A.G. Bungabong, earnestly requested Cong. Erlpe John M. Amante of the second district of Agusan del Norte, to pass a bill helping the plight of the barangay elected and appointed officials.

This is the conversion of their honorariums into basic salaries and amending for that purpose pertinent provisions of Republic Act 7160 or the Local Government Code of 1991.

Provincial Board Member Benjamin D. Lim, Jr, chairman of the Committee on Barangay Affairs, who pushed for the approval of the said move, manifested that converting their honorariums into basic salaries will boost their morale and will give them the opportunity to become qualified members of the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) and avail all the benefits that the said government agency would give to its members.

This is also pursuant to Section 521 of the Local Government Code of 1991 which states that the Congress shall undertake a mandatory review of the code at least once every five years and as often as it may deem necessary, with the primary objective of providing a more responsive and accountable local government structure.

The barangays are the smallest political units of the government and frontliners in the delivery of basic services to the people. (LGU-Agusan del Norte/PIA-Agusan del Norte)

Four-month SSS collections in Mindanao jump 13 percent to P3.2-B

DIPOLOG CITY, Zamboanga del Norte, July 22  – The Social Security System (SSS) has collected P3.2 billion in members’ contributions in Mindanao from January to April this year, up by 13 percent from P2.9 billion over the same period in 2013, with nearly 80 percent of overall collections coming from the employed sector.

Atty. Rodrigo Filoteo, SSS Assistant Vice President for Western Mindanao, said the contributions from regular and household employers from Mindanao rose by 13 percent to P2.5 billion. About P1.6 billion of these payments were from “large account” employers, or businesses with at least 100 workers.

“Meanwhile, contributions from the smaller ‘branch account' employers reached P959 million during the four-month period. Double-digit collection growths were attained for both large and branch employer accounts in Mindanao at 10 percent and 20 percent, respectively, which attests to the sustained efforts of SSS branch offices to promote employer compliance in the area,” he noted.

Filoteo, along with other senior officials headed by SSS President and Chief Executive Officer Emilio de Quiros, Jr., are in Dipolog City on July 21 and 22 to meet employers, branch heads and employees in Western Mindanao as part of management's continuing drive to promote closer ties between SSS and its stakeholders.

The SSS has over 135,000 registered employers in Mindanao, of which 99 percent – including some 33,000 household employers – fall under branch accounts, while about 1,400 employers are classified as large accounts. In terms of number of covered employees in the area, 2.9 million members are employed by businesses, and about 7,300 more are household workers.

Collections from self-employed and voluntary members amounted to P698 million, reflecting an increase of 13 percent from the P618 million within the first four months of 2013. The SSS has 1.2 million covered self-employed and voluntary members in Mindanao.

The AlkanSSSya Program helped contribute to the increase in collections from informal sector workers, who are covered as self-employed members. As of April 2014, a total of 110 informal sector groups representing 11,735 workers in Mindanao have already joined the AlkanSSSya. Workers enrolled in the program are given their own secure compartment in their organization's AlkanSSSya unit, where they can store their daily SSS savings until these are collected, counted and remitted by their ISG to an SSS branch or collection partner at the end of each month.

Filoteo said another option for interested ISGs or associations is to enroll in the e-AlkanSSSya Program, which entails the automatic deduction of contributions from workers' salaries and wages that will be remitted monthly by the organization to the SSS.
“The e-AlkanSSSya Program addresses the social protection needs of job order and contractual workers in barangays and other government offices who are excluded from the mandated coverage of social security institutions for regular public sector employees,” he explained.

The SSS has 31 branch and representative offices as well as eight Service Offices in Mindanao. Its operations in the area are supervised by four SSS division offices stationed in the cities of Cagayan de Oro (Mindanao North), Davao (Mindanao South 1), General Santos (Mindanao South 2) and Zamboanga (Mindanao West). (SSS/PIA-Caraga)

PNP confirms move to unmask identity of 'killed NPA rebels behind Prosperidad incident' buried in SurSur

By Greg Tataro Jr.

TANDAG CITY, July 22 (PIA) – Surigao del Sur Officer-In-Charge (OIC) provincial director P/SSupt. Narciso Verdadero admitted that his office is trying to exert efforts to unmask the identities of buried New People’s Army (NPA) rebels slain in botched attack on July 15 in Prosperidad town, Agusan del Sur.

Verdadero said that he was tipped by intelligence agents that some nine dead bodies believed to have been among those who participated during the attack in Prosperidad, have been buried, particularly, in San Miguel and Tago towns.

The provincial chief PNP indicated that such matter is a police concern that requires a thorough investigation.

It will be recalled that right after what happened, Army 401st Brigade Commander Col. Gregory Cayetano appealed on the relatives of the slain rebels to coordinate with barangay local government units (LGUs) in their respective localities in order to give their “dead” a decent burial.

Besides, the army officer also wanted all injured NPA rebels to be brought to hospitals for medical treatment.

Cayetano bared that the rebels who attacked the house of Datu Calpit Egua in Prosperidad, including those who were ordered to set up blockades, with estimated combined strength of four platoons, were groups coming from various guerilla fronts (GFs) whose other members hail from several towns in Surigao del Sur, citing San Miguel and Tago, aside from other rebel-influenced areas in the province, hence he was confident that these people will return to their places of abode.

During the incident, 18 were confirmed killed, 13 of which were NPA rebels, four were baganis or Indigenous Peoples’ (IP) warriors, while one was an army soldier.

Reportedly, there were also a lot who were believed to have been fatally wounded on the side of the enemy forces.

Meanwhile, Verdadero added that his order to all police units to be in full alert status stays until revoked. (NGBT/Radyo ng Bayan/PIA-Surigao del Sur)

Cagdianao gets fire truck from BFP

By Ma. Jane Mayola

CAGDIANAO, Dinagat Islands, July 22 (PIA) - Mayor Marc Adelson Longos on Monday, July 21 received for and in behalf of the local government unit a fire truck from the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) during the flag raising ceremony at the Cagdianao Municipal Building, here.

The turn-over of fire truck was said to be the first step of installation of fire station in the said municipality.

In his message, Mayor Longos was thankful for the realization of the BFP's project and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) "not only to have a quick response during fire incidents but also to uplift fire safety and prevention."

Also, Dinagat Islands BFP Provincial Fire Marshall F/Insp. Ellafil Libarnes revealed that aside from the fire truck being donated in Cagdianao, another unit of fire truck will be donated to the municipality of Tubajon within this year. (SDR/PIO Dinagat Islands/PIA-Dinagat Islands)

SurSur extends tax amnesty

By Greg Tataro Jr.

TANDAG CITY, July 22 (PIA) – The amnesty program for real property taxes in Surigao del Sur has been extended until the year 2014 ends.

Provincial Treasurer Wenifreda Perez said that this is by virtue of Sangguniang Panlalawigan Resolution No. 457 Series of 2014 passed on July 1, 2014 entitled “Extending the tax amnesty on the payment of interest, basic and special education fund (SEF) of real property tax delinquencies in the province of Surigao del Sur from January 1 to June 30, 2014 to July 1 to December 31, 2014.”

The granting of the same has been in effect since the start of this year through Resolution No. 73 dated September 9, 2013.

However, Perez claimed that while on the one hand such move is indeed favorable to their tax collection campaign, citing 79 percent accomplishment of the P82 million 2014 real property tax goal with yet five municipalities left to submit report for the first half, but on the other hand, it also brings tremendous burden on their part to hit their tax goal for the ensuing year.

The five municipalities that have yet to submit their respective data to complete the whole picture for the first half are Carrascal, Carmen, Cagwait in the First District; Hinatuan and Tagbina in the Second District, she bared. (NGBT/Radyo ng Bayan/PIA-Surigao del Sur)

Tagalog News: Gobyerno hinihikayat lahat ng Pilipino sa Libya na umuwi

AGUSAN DEL SUR, Hulyo 22 (PIA) -  Hinikayat ng gobyerno noong Lunes ang lahat ng Pilipino na nasa Libya na bumalik na sa bansa dahil sa sobrang di matatag na pampulitika at seguridad na kalagayan doon.

Sa isang pahayag na pinadala sa mga miyembro ng Malakanyang media, sinabi ni Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. na itinaas na sa level 4 ng Department of Foreign Affairs ang Alert Level sa Libya.

Sa ilalim ng Alert Level 4, pina-iiral ang sapilitang paglipat ng mga mamamayang Pilipino.

“Inuulit ng DFA ang kanyang panawagan sa lahat ng mga naiwang Pilipino sa Libya na umuwi kaagad dahil hindi na ligtas ang manatili pa sa Libya,” sabi ni Secretary Coloma.

Dagdag pa niya na nagpadala na ang DFA ng Rapid Response Team kasama na ang augmentation team sa Libya para tumulong sa Embahada ng Pilipinas sa Tripoli sa mga paglilikas.

Lahat ng Pilipino sa Libya ay pinayuhan na tumawag agad sa Embahada ng Pilipinas sa pamamagitan ng mga numero sa telepono na (00218) 918-244-208 at (00218) 911061166 at mga e-mail address na: Tripoli.pe@gmail.com at Tripoli.pe@dfa.gov.ph.

Ang Embahada ng Pilipinas sa Libya ay matatagpuan sa KM 7 Gargaresh Road, Abu Nawas, P.O. Box 12508 Tripoli.

“Ayon sa DFA, nagtakda rin sila ng 24 oras na hotline para sa mga pamilya ng OFW sa Libya,” dagdag ni Coloma.

Sabi niya na iyong may mga tanong at balisa tungkol sa kalagayan ng kanilang mga kamag-anak sa Libya ay maaring tumawag sa hotline numero (02) 552-7105 o (02) 834-4685. Maari ring ipadala ng mga pamilya ang kanilang mga tanong sa pamamagitan ng e-mail sa: oumwa@dfa.gov.ph.

Pinatupad rin ng DFA noong Linggo ang sapilitang paglikas ng mga mamamayang Pilipino sa Gaza Strip kasunod ng pagtaas ng tensiyon sa pagitan ng Israel at mga militanteng Hamas. (DMS/PIA-Agusan del Sur)

Cebuano News: Gross income sa merkado publiko misaka karong tuiga

SURIGAO CITY, Hulyo 22 (PIA) – Misaka ang kinatibuk-ang kita sa merkado publiko sugod sa bulan sa Enero hangtod Hunyo karong tuiga kumpara niadtong niaging tuig 2013.

Sumala sa gibutyag ni Surigao City Public Market supervisor Albert T. Lustiva, misaka ang ilang nahimong kinatibuk-ang kita diha na sa sulod sa merkado publiko diin kini mikantidad sa P8,633,000 sugod sa bulan sa Enero hangtod Hunyo 2014 diin kini misaka sa kantidad P287,810.00 kumpara sa  miaging tuig sa susamang bulan nga aduna lamang kinatibuk-ang kantidad nga P8,345,770.25.

Samtang sa bahin sa lokal nga pangagamhanan sa syudad ubos sa pagdumala ni city mayor Ernesto T. Matugas dako gyud ang kalipay niini sa dihang iyang nasayran nga mitaas ang gross income sa City Public Market.

Matud ni mayor Matugas nga dako gyud ang mahitabang sa maong kita tungod kay kini mao man ang gamiton alang na sa pagpahigayon sa mga proyekto ug programa nga nagpadayon hangtod karon aron mapalambo pa ug mamahimong limpyo ug hapsay ang dagan diha sa maong merkado. (SDR/MICO-Surigao City/PIA-Surigao del Norte)