PIA News Service - Monday, October 27, 2008

College of Information Technology (CIT) Pep Squad of Saint Joseph Institute of Technology (SJIT) in their finale during the 32nd MILO Marathon Inter-school Cheerdance Competition held at Butuan City Rizal Park, Sunday, October 26, 2008. CIT Pep Squad is this year's champion in the college/tertiary category.

32nd MILO Marathon Nat'l elims set in Butuan
by: Robert E. Roperos
PIA-Caraga

BUTUAN CITY
(October 27) – MILO Philippines, maker of the country’s official energy drink in several national and international sports events conducted yesterday, Sunday, October 26, 2008 the Butuan City leg of this year’s Milo National Marathon.

As early as 5:00 in the morning, runners of all ages gathered at the city’s Rizal Park for the said marathon. Two hours later, the marathon ended with the awarding ceremonies of winners of the different age brackets took place.

This year’s MILO marathon in Butuan produced quite number of runners who qualified in the national competition which will be held in Metro Manila sometime in November.

Meanwhile, highlighting the sporting event is the inter-school cheerdance competition participated by some schools in Butuan and the neighboring places in the elementary, secondary and college levels.

For the elementary level, young cheerdancers from the Father Saturnino Urios University (FSUU) won over the Angelicum Montessori School.

In the high school category, Agusan National High School (ANHS) Eagles dominated the competition and defended their crown which they won in 2003. Second place went to Libertad National High School while Saint Joseph Institute of Technology (SJIT) High School Department grabbed the third place.

Winning the championship plum in the college category is Saint Joseph Institute of Technology’s (SJIT) College of Information Technology (CIT) composed of students of the Computer Science and Information Technology departments, who also won second place in 2003 next to ANHS.

Patterned after a combination of UP Pep Squad’s stunts and UST’s attire and artistic formations, SJIT-CIT Pep Squad outscored Systems Technology Institute (STI)-Butuan who won second place and the Northern Mindanao State Institute of Science and Technology (NORMISIST) who landed third place.

CIT Pep Squad is also this year’s champion during the 37th Foundation Anniversary celebration of SJIT choreographed by Ritchie “Ping” Gonzaga while the ANHS Eagles are composed of students under the Special Performing Arts curriculum of the province’s premier secondary school under the choreography of Miss Loriejane Enriquez. The two choreographers are considered veterans in the field of cheerdance competitions in the region.

Winners of the different categories in cheerdance received cash prizes and trophies while the top ten finishers of the race received MILO medals and the top three won MILO trophies and certificates while all participants in the MILO marathon received certificates from the competition’s organizers and officials.

The 32nd MILO Marathon Cagayan de Oro leg is scheduled this week, an official of MILO Philippines said.


ConsumerNet-Caraga will update the public on basic services, climate change
by: Nora CL Molde
PIA-Caraga

BUTUAN CITY (October 27) – ConsumerNet-Caraga region, a network of consumer-oriented government agencies and service providers that facilitates the flow of information and speedy resolution of consumer complaints in the region will be hosting a forum dubbed as “2nd ConsumerNet Meets the Public” on October 29, 2008 at 1:30-5:00 P M. at Luciana Convention Center, this city.

The forum is an interactive discussion on all basic services, issues and concerns and updates of all ConsumerNet members. The activity will also highlight the formal recognition of the 2008 Regional Consumer Quiz bowl winners, awarding of three bronze-level DTI certified establishments in Caraga and the destruction of violative goods/products and substandard construction materials confiscated/seized from hardware by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Agusan del Norte provincial office.

Other topics for discussion include the new LTO guidelines for the use and operation of motorcycles on highways; new Pag-ibig services dubbed as ‘Nang Dahil sa PAG-IBIG’, Palit Ilaw, NFA rice and contaminated milk products.

Meanwhile, the local government unit of Butuan City, Butuan Local Price Coordinating Council, DTI and the Department of Energy (DOE) will also jointly undertake a Consumer Forum on “Climate Change and the Challenges to the Consumer Movement” on October 30 from 1:00-5:00 p.m. at the Butuan City People’s Hall, Doongan, this city.

The consumer forum aims to provide consumers with a better understanding and appreciation of climate change, its impact/effects and the role of consumers in mitigating the ill-effects.

Target participants are representatives of consumer organizations in the region, senior citizens, government employees, transport groups and the academe.

The activities are part of the culmination program of the month-long celebration of the Consumer Welfare Month with this year’s theme, “Leading Consumers Towards Efficient Lighting for a Brighter Future”.


PAGC intensifies graft and corruption-free Philippines
by: Jennifer P. Gaitano
PIA-Caraga

BUTUAN CITY (October 27) – The Presidential Anti-Graft Commission (PAGC), in coordination with the Civil Service Commission (CSC)-Manila, and Caraga Regional Development Council (RDC-13) intensifies fight against graft and corruption through an orientation/briefing on Anti-Red Tape Act (R.A. 9485), recently held in one of the local convention centers here, in this city.

According to PAGC Sec. Constancia De Guzman the Anti-Red Tape Act (R.A. 9485) applies to all government offices including local government units (LGUs) and government-owned and controlled corporations that provide frontline services.

“Agencies performing judicial, quasi-judicial and legislative functions are excluded from the coverage of the Act but their frontline services are deemed included,” Sec. De Guzman added.

During the presentation, PAGC Comm. Jaime Jacob delves deep on the provisions of the Anti-Red Tape Act (R.A. 9485). Comm. Jacob said that the law requires all government offices to draw up a Citizen’s Charter which identifies the frontline services offered, step-by-step procedures of the office, the employee responsible for each step, the amount of fees, the documents to be presented by the client and the procedure for filing complaints in relation to requests and applications.

Comm. Jacob further said that the Citizen’s Charter must be posted on information billboards at the main entrance or most conspicuous place and in published materials.

Meanwhile, Sylvia Angelique Umbac of the Civil Service Commission (CSC)-Manila discussed the significance of a Citizen’s Charter in the government agencies concerned. Umbac said that complying with the citizen’s charter would best help clients process their applications and requests in the easiest and fastest way.

“The law limits the number of signatures of officials or employees directly supervising the evaluation, approval or disapproval of the frontline service (request, application or transaction) to a maximum of five signatures,” Umbac added.

It was also learned that when it comes to advocacy, PAGC focused on the promotion of zero tolerance against corruption through societal transformation such as values formation, ethics compliance, and moral sense adoption by government officials and employees.

With the adoption of the Anti-Red Tape Act (R.A. 9485) to all government agencies, PAGC believed that the Filipinos would soon experience a graft and corruption-free Philippines.


British consultants visit Agusan Norte

BUTUAN CITY –
Two British consultants from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) recently meet with Agusan del Norte provincial officials relative to their fact-finding mission on the proposed Agusan River Basin and Watershed Management Project (ARBWMP) here in Caraga region.

This site visit is said to pave the way for ADB to finance the projects that are under ARBWMP, an opportunity for the province to get the financial support of ADB through a grant, translating to more jobs for the Agusanons and a sustainable management and development of the Agusan river basin.

In a meeting with Vice Governor Enrico Corvera and other provincial chiefs of office, ADB consultant, Ian Makin, disclosed that the main objective of their fact finding mission is to ascertain if the proposed projects stated in the master plan are worth pursuing.

He said that they will conduct a study and an actual site visit on the Agusan river basin which largely comprises the areas of Butuan City, Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Compostela Valley and some parts of Davao.

For his part, Vice Governor Enrico Corvera said that the towns of Magallanes, Las Nieves, Buenavista and Cabadbaran City have been the center of the initial study by the provincial government in close coordination with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) since the Agusan river basin traverses through these areas.

“If ADB finds out that the projects are worthy of its support, they will readily grant an initial fund worth $0.8 million dollars. They will conduct further study on the details of the clustering of sanitary landfills in the province, sea wall protection, and water supply and sanitation, particularly in the municipality of Magallanes, which accordingly, close to the hearts of the British consultants. If found viable, ADB will grant a fund worth $50 million dollars for the proposed projects,” Vice Governor Corvera said.

Mr. Rofel Cabaltera, OIC of the Provincial Planning and Development Office, revealed that the project proposal of the province included the completion of the lower ARB water system, a Comprehensive Sewerage System for the lower basin, Drainage System Master Plan for lower basin, and the Creation of an Independent Single Management or Council to make the decisions and implement the necessary requirements concerning the ARB.
Makin added that they will have an in-depth study on the protection of the environment, mining, water system and the water quality of the basin here.

The team, mainly composed of Mr. Makin, Mr. Paul Taylor, another British consultant and Ms. Cristina Regunay from the Foreign Assisted Project (FASPO-DENR) Central Office has been going around the provinces of Agusan del Norte and Agusan del Sur recently to conduct a series of consultation with the concerned agencies.

To recall, the process of the project proposal started a year ago between the provincial government and the Asian Development Bank. Last August 12-14, 2008, a visioning and project validation workshop was held at Davao City for the purpose of formally presenting this project to the stakeholders.

“This will be another milestone of the provincial government’s efforts in protecting our environment and practically with the creation of more jobs for our constituents once these projects are put in place,” Vice Governor Corvera said. (Mary Cheryl Manoy & Jay Vincent Demain, PGO-Agusan del Norte/PIA-Caraga)


Amante presides AgNor PPOC Meeting, focuses on insurgency

BUTUAN CITY – Governor Erlpe John Amante expressed no doubt on the capacity of the Philippine National Police to go against lawless elements but he was a bit saddened by the manifestation of a ranking PNP officer that some of its personnel have no will to fight when it comes to insurgency, so much so that their long firearms have been taken back by the PNP Regional Office.

This was one of the agenda being tackled during the regular meeting of the Provincial Peace and Order Council (PPOC) last September 24, 2008 which lasted until 5:00 o’clock in the afternoon, at the Provincial Training Center. It was chaired and presided by the energetic governor of the province of Agusan del Norte.

Governor Amante was quite overwhelmed by the report of the PNP Provincial Director PSSUPT Benson D Leleng that the province is number two in the entire region in terms of crime solution efficiency. He is doubtful, though, on the capacity of some PNP personnel to really fight should there be some insurgents in their area of responsibility. Lt Col Efrain S Oropel of the 402nd Brigade, 41D, Philippine Army, however expressed his opinion regarding the matter by citing jurisdictions of the Philippine Army and the PNP when it comes to insurgency issues.

On the report of the 23rd IB with regards to the sightings of NPA elements in isolated areas of the province, SP member and Chairman of the Committee on Laws and Peace and Order, Atty. James T. Reserva, felt discouraged by the delayed action of the Philippine Army to run after the said NPA rebels, who from time to time, are sighted in the different barangays of five municipalities in the province.

One of the topics also discussed and agreed was the organization of Special CAFGU Active Auxiliary (SCAA). The PPOC approved a resolution requesting the Sangguniang Panlalawigan to pass a resolution requesting the 4th ID of the Philippine Army to organize and train SCAA recruits for the city and municipalities of the province.

Vice Governor Enrico R. Corvera and SP Reserva assured the council that said resolution is already approved in principle and it will be included in the SP agenda during their next Regular Session.

On the deputation and organization of Police Auxiliary Unit (PAU) in the different AOR, the council decided to lay on the table for further discussion since it involves more budgetary requirements.

OPAPP-SIP Action Officer for Caraga Region, Mr. Albert T. Baloloy, discussed about the government’s Social Integration Program intended for all NPA rebels who would like to be integrated in the mainstream and return to the folds of the law. OPAPP is under the Office of the President whose task is to create an environment conducive to the promotion of peace in the pursuit of community development; provide access to economic and social opportunities for former rebels; collect, register and destroy firearms, weapons, ammunitions and explosives that may be surrendered by the rebels; and to sustain a genuine social and economic integration of former rebels and contribute to healing the divisions in the country. However, some of the members of PPOC vehemently suggested for the government to review its policy especially on the procedure of funding allocation and its sustainability. (Jun M. Palarca Jr., PGO-Agusan del Norte/ PIA-Caraga)