12.10.2008

PIA News Service - Thursday, December 11, 2008

ANECO launches PGMA’s “Pantawid Kuryente: Katas ng VAT” Program

BUTUAN CITY (December 11) – Agusan del Norte Electric Cooperative, Inc. (ANECO) officially launched on Tuesday (December 9) the “Pantawid Kuryente: Katas ng VAT” program of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in one of the local convention centers here.


Agusan del Norte Electric Cooperative, Inc. (ANECO) General Manager, Arch. Horacio T. Santos delivers his welcome message before the crowd of all sectors during the cooperative’s formal launching of PGMA’s “Pantawid Kuryente: Katas ng VAT” program on Tuesday (December 9) in one of the local convention centers in Butuan City. (Robert E. Roperos, PIA-13)... more photos in PHOTO RELEASES.


In his speech, ANECO General Manager Horacio Santos emphasized the directive of President Arroyo, as well as the role of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD)-Caraga and the National Electrification Administration (NEA) in implementing the program in Butuan City and Agusan del Norte.

GM Santos also said the program is a one-time subsidy amounting to Php500 to the poorest sector of society to help them pay their electric bills.

Further, Santos said recipients of this program are those residential consumers with consumption of 1-100 kilowatt-hour based on May 2008 billing.

Of these mechanics, 59,338 member-consumers of the cooperative are entitled to avail the program, Santos said.

Furthermore, ANECO Finance Manager Rodolfo Ranoco explained the program’s manner of implementation.

According to Ranoco, those member-consumers who are qualified to avail the program will be given credit memorandum stating that the amount of Php500 shall be applied starting December 2008 and future billings. “The amount shall be treated as advances which will be reflected in the consumers billing until the total subsidy has been fully accounted for”, he said.

Meanwhile, Dioscoro Boco, ANECO President said that for this program, ANECO will receive a subsidy amounting to 29,669,000 for the total number of qualified member-consumers. The first release which is 80 percent of the total subsidy will be released by NEA and the remaining 20 percent, amounting to Php5,933,800 shall be released upon liquidation of the first release. (Robert E. Roperos, PIA-13)


Cebu Pacific announces new services from Cebu mounts more domestic flights from queen city

Gokongwei-owned airline Cebu Pacific Air (CEB) plans to further boost its Cebu operations by mounting additional services to key destinations within the archipelago.

Starting January 10, 2009, CEB will fly three times weekly between Cebu and Cotabato, and four times weekly between Cebu and Legaspi, with a year-round 'Go Lite' fare of Php 888 one way.

On January 12, the airline will begin thrice-weekly flights between Cebu and Dumaguete, with a year-round 'Go Lite' offering of Php 588 one way. Also commencing on the same day is a thrice-weekly service between Cebu and Siargao, with a year-round 'Go Lite' of Php 888 one way.

"Cebu is a very important market for our airline," said Candice Iyog, CEB VP for marketing and distribution. "We will continue to strengthen this hub by offering as many choices for our Cebu passengers as possible."

Iyog added, "At the same time, we'd like to maximize Cebu's accessibility to both foreign and domestic passengers, to heighten both tourism and business opportunities for the entire province."

In addition to its four new Cebu services, the airline will increase the number of flights of existing services.

By January 9, 2009, flights between Cebu and Tacloban will become daily, while starting January 11, CEB will increase its Cebu – Ozamiz flights to four times weekly. By February 2, CEB's Cebu – Iloilo service will go from thrice weekly to daily.

Iyog said that the earlier passengers book their flights, the greater the chances of availing the lowest possible fares.

"The fastest and most convenient way to book and pay for flights, is through www.cebupacificair.com," she said. "Passengers can also block their preferred seats and pre-pay excess baggage through our website, plus check out our other services including fun tours and travel insurance."

CEB is the largest domestic airline in the Philippines, which flies to 27 domestic and 15 international destinations. From Cebu, CEB offers the most number of flights, as it services 15, soon to be 19 domestic destinations and four international destinations. (Michelle de Guzman, Cebu Pacific/ PIA-Surigao del Norte)


Increase rice yields thru Integrated Rice-Duck Farming Systems

Consistent in its bid to go organic, the municipality of Trento launched recently their new program, the Integrated Rice-Duck Farming System.

Under the program, a total of 16 hectares of ricelands will be used as demonstration farms. The farmer-recipients are those who were already engaged in organic farming. Each recipient will receive 150 ducklings per hectare as well as nets and ropes. These assistance is in form of soft loan and is payable after harvest to the LGU of Trento or a total of P8,700.00/ha.

At the launching of the program last July 10, 2008, Trento Municipal Agriculturist Rosario P. Marzo said that although the rice-duck farming system is not a new technology, but for Trento, it is only this time that it is being given much attention with the leadership of Mayor Irenea Hitgano.

She also said that this time, they will be using 2 day-old ducklings so they can be trained in chasing insects and bugs.

She added that with the Integrated Rice-Duck Farming System, application of pesticides, herbicides and commercial fertilizers are no longer needed because the ducks will be the one to eat the insects, control the weeds and its manure will serve as organic fertilizer.

After harvest, the ducks can be sold or raised for breeding and when they lay eggs, it will give additional income for the households.

Furthermore, MA Marzo said that an estimated 15-30% increase in the income of the farmer is being envisioned by using this technology.

As per agreement between the LGU and the recipients, the farmers will be responsible in the care and management of the ducks. (Vanessa Pontillo-Sanchez, DA-13/ PIA-Caraga)


DA’s SELAP and LGU Butuan launched “Maisan sa Butuan”

BUTUAN CITY – The Department of Agriculture Regional Field Unit 13 and the Local Government Unit of Butuan jointly launched the “Maisan sa Butuan”, a project that aims to boost corn production in the locality.

DA strongly supports the project with its funding downloaded to the City LGU amounting to 3.6 million pesos. The said funding support is taken from the DA’s Support to Emergency and Livelihood Assistance Program (SELAP).

The Maisan sa Butuan was launched at the City Hall lobby last August 22, this year.

Witnessing the occasion were CA Alberto Buca, Sangguniang Panlungsod Randolf “Doy” Plaza representing Mayor Democrito “Boy Daku” Plaza II, Hon. Rodrigo Dayaday, OIC RAFID Rebecca R. Atega and the farmer beneficiaries from Barangay Mandamo and Cabcabon, Butuan City.

The highlights of the program was the ceremonial turn-over of the check to the City from the Department of Agriculture which was handed over by RAFID Chief Rebecca R. Atega and received by Councilor Randolf Plaza.

Followed shortly was the turn-over of certificates to the two groups of farmer beneficiaries from aforementioned barangays.

Under the program, farmer beneficiaries will plant yellow corn and its harvest will be marketed to San Miguel Corporation (SMC).

Regional Executive Director Ricardo C. Regis on his message which was delivered through Atega, praised the local government of Butuan on its very active participation on food security program of the government and at the same time uplifting the plight of the farmers. Food production is given an utmost priority of LGU Butuan, in fact agriculture is one of the seven point agenda of the administration of City Mayor Democrito D. Plaza II. (Aurell P. Arais, RAFID-13/ PIA-Caraga)


Governor Pimentel spearheaded turn-over of SELAP-Funded FMR Projects

Surigao del Sur Governor Vicente T. Pimentel, Jr. was joined by Local Government Officials and representatives of the Department of Agriculture-Regional Field Unit (DA-RFU) XIII in the recent turn-over ceremonies of Support to Emergency and Livelihood Assistance Program (SELAP)-Funded farm-to-market road projects at Tandag City and Tago in Surigao del Sur in which recipients of such infrastructure projects are the barangays of Maticdum and Mabuhay in Tandag City and the barangay of Cayale in the municipality of Tago.

The SELAP program provided Php5.5 million to the said infra while the provincial government undertakes the construction of the road network as its counterpart.

According to Governor Pimentel, the total cost of constructing the road following the standard costing set by the Department of Public Work and Highways (DPWH) could be valued around P12 million.

Other personalities attending the said ceremonies were Surigao del Sur Provincial Administrator Johnny T. Pimentel, Tandag City Mayor Alexander T. Pimentel, Tago Municipal Mayor Hermenigildo T. Pimentel, Provincial Agriculturist Marcos M. Quico, Provincial Engineer Joselito G. Secarro, DA XIII-RAED representative Euvie de Gracia, Barangay Officials and residents of the said area.

After the formal turn-over, Barangay Officials and residents express their sincere thanks and gratitude to the agencies concerned for the completion of the project. According to them, the project provided better access in the marketing of the farm produce and great encouragement of the townfolks to increase farm productivity. (Emmylou T. Presilda, DA-RFU-13/ PIA-Caraga)


SCP: helping the Mamanwa tribesmen

Sharing the sentiments of Mamanwa tribesmen in barangays Taganito and Urbiztondo in the municipality of Claver, Surigao del Norte who are left hopeless while mining activities are going on within their ancestral land, philanthropist Engr. Sergio Pascual is helping them to avail their benefits as stipulated in the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act otherwise known as the IPRA law of 1997.

The IPRA law was considered as the landmark legislation during the time of former president Fidel V. Ramos which aimed to recognize, promote and protect the rights of the IPs has instead left the Mamanwa tribesmen at the mercy of the mining companies and remained underserved for over the years. This is despite the continuing mining activities which would supposedly entitle the tribal communities for one percent royalty share from the gross output of the mining operation.

The indigenous peoples through its tribal chieftains Datu Alfredo Olorico and Datu Reynante Buklas of the Mamanwa tribe in the said barangays held a dialogue recently at the Almont Inland Hotel and Resort with mining firms for the release of the royalty share.

They claimed that the on-going mining operations within their ancestral lands has no Prior Informed and Consent (FPIC), a pre-requisite before mining firms can commence its operations. A Memorandum of Agreement between the mining companies and the tribal community is the only supporting document which is a gross disregard to the minimum shares that is due to the indigenous community as provided in the Mining Act of 1995.

The dialogue was made through the efforts of Engr. Sergio Pascual, a philanthropist who is personally helping the Mamanwa beneficiaries tribesmen out from his own pocket.

Pascual is the official representative of the Mamanwa tribal community in the said barangays to air their demands to the mining companies as their Attorney-in-Fact. He is issued with a Special Power of Attorney (SPA) authorizing him to represent the tribal community in their desire to avail the royalty benefit out from the mining operation.

Pascual was first asked by Datu Gede at his residence in barangay Doongan recently to represent them to the mining companies for their demand of the one percent royalty payment.

Undoubtedly, Pascual immediately opened his arms to help the vulnerable Mamanwa tribe. He then set a meeting with the other tribal chieftains within the ancestral lands.

Recently, Pascual formally met 14 tribal chieftains with their Assistant chieftains at the Drumstick in Alegria, Surigao del Norte. It was then that the tribal leaders agreed to issue a Special Power of Attorney to Engr. Pascual to represent their tribe to the mining companies in claiming for the royalty share that they are entitled to.

The 14 tribal chieftains together with their assistant chieftains agreed to sign a Memorandum of Agreement with Engr. Pascual to authorize the latter on their behalf in raising their claims to the mining companies at the Pastoral center in the municipality of Tubod authorizing him to represent the tribal community.

It was followed by a community orientation among the tribesmen in the said barangays recently. Very well informed about the desire of the whole tribal community to demand for the royalty share due to them, which is stated in the law, they agreed to authorize Datu Olorico and Datu Buklas to sign the Special Power of Attorney and MOA with Engr. Pascual by signing a resolution recently at the Mamanwa Learning Center in barangay Urbiztondo.

Buklas and Olorico finally signed the agreement between Engr. Pascual before the Tribal Council recently at the latter’s guest house in Butuan City.

Two weeks after, Pascual stated his move in representing the tribe’s claims. He initiated a dialogue with the mining companies recently at the Almont Inland Hotel and Resort. It was participated by the Platinum Group Metals Corporation and Oriental Synergy Mining Corporation with the presence of representatives from the National Commission on indigenous People Caraga Regional Office 13, the government agency created to implement the law. However, nobody from the Taganito Mining and Mining and Geo-Sciences Bureau attended the dialogue.


The dialogue is just the beginning. The demand for the release of royalty share from the mining companies is still a continuing fight that will hopefully give a brighter future among the Mamanwa tribal community, which the NCIP should push these mining companies for the outright release of the royalty share. Otherwise the IPRA law is a failure in protecting the rights of the marginalized sector, if not the most neglected group, of this country. (Babes D. Tuso, People’s Guardian/ PIA-Caraga)