12.15.2008

PIA News Service - Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Butuan City solon vows continuous support to rehabilitate Mt. Mayapay

BUTUAN CITY (December 16) – First District Representative Jose “Joboy” Aquino of Butuan City and Las Nieves assures stakeholders and volunteers of the Mt. Mayapay Rehabilitation Project Task Force of his continuous support to the project for the coming years.

The assurance was made by the congressman during the Appreciation Program of the stakeholders-volunteers who are part of the task force held recently in one of the hotels here.

In his speech, Cong. Aquino said following the “promise” he made during the launching of the program in May this year, that his Congressional Office has already given 1.6 million pesos to the task force. “Since I pledged for 2-million pesos annually, I still have to give 400 thousand pesos and this will be released earlier next year”, he said.

Aquino also said he will be giving an advance financial support early next year as part of his 2009 commitment of another 2-million pesos. “As long as I am in the position, expect of my continuous support to the project”, Cong. Aquino said.

Meanwhile, National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Caraga Regional Director Carmencita Cochingco also lauded the efforts of Cong. Aquino in his quest to rehabilitate one of the nature’s gifts Butuan has.

Being one of the lead implementers of the program along with the region’s environment agency - the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Dir. Cochingco expressed her sincerest gratitude to her fellow state workers and the private sectors in rehabilitating and preserving Mt. Mayapay. “The appreciation program that we have right now is not enough in honoring those who are in active involvement in the program”, she said.

Moreover, Cong. Aquino likewise urged the volunteers for their renewed commitment next year and the years to come, and continue what the task force has started. “Let’s not only do this for ourselves, but more importantly, for those who will be replacing our generation – our children… and our children’s children”, he said.

The Mt. Mayapay Rehabilitation Project was conceptualized in 2005, in time with the implementation of the Green Philippines Program of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

It can be recalled that on May 19, 2008, the Mt. Mayapay Rehabilitation Project was officially launched in time with the annual fiesta celebration of this city and was graced by House Speaker Prospero Nograles. (Robert E. Roperos, PIA-13)


Cong. Aquino calls to save Mt. Mayapay

BUTUAN CITY (December 16) – Following the appreciation program of the Mt. Mayapay Task Force Rehabilitation Project Task Force, Congressman Jose “Joboy” Aquino of the First District of this city and Las Nieves calls for Butuanons to help save the mountain considered as the highest peak in the city.

In his inspirational speech during the awarding ceremony, Cong. Aquino emphasized how the forest of Mt. Mayapay has been degraded. He recalled that some fauna that once roamed its corners that can hardly be found are also denuded. “With Mt. Mayapay Rehabilitation Project, we envision the people of Buuan and its visitors to enjoy the benefits of a restored and developed Mt. Mayapay”, he said.

Aquino also revealed that part of the accomplishment of the task force in five months, 96 hectares out of the approximately 375 hectares target areas for rehabilitation were already covered where a total of 42,650 trees were already planted, with a survival rate of 80 percent.

Also in his speech, Cong, Aquino shared a Chinese proverb which says “If your vision is for a year, plant wheat... If your vision is for ten years, plant trees… If your vision is for a lifetime, plant people…”

With these, he said the Mt. Mayapay Rehabilitation Project is more than just planting trees. “We are sowing seeds not only for ourselves but even for the succeeding generations With every tree that we plant, we are helping plant the future generations of people in this beloved city and along with it, countless lives would be changed”, Cong. Aquino added.

In his closing statement, Aquino pointed out that the people of Butuan and Agusan del Norte must not allow the long road ahead of them, to wander away from the dream… the dream of becoming Mt. Mayapay a model eco-park.

“Let us continue with the same determination and dedication in the next ten years. Let us contaminate the whole city of Butuan and Agusan del Norte with our conviction that Mt. Mayapay can truly become a model eco-park”, Aquino disclosed. (Robert E. Roperos, PIA-13)


Talacogon chosen pilot LGU for LRED process in Mindanao

BUTUAN CITY (December 16) – The municipality of Talacogon in Agusan del Sur has been chosen as the pilot LGU for implementation of the Local and Regional Economic Development (LRED) process in Mindanao.

The LRED as introduced by the German Technical Cooperation or gtz in the Visayas “is a participatory planning and implementation process wherein public and private stakeholders in a locality work together to improve conditions for economic growth and employment generation”.

The municipality was chosen in connection with the decision to make Caraga the host of the Mindanao-wide training of facilitators (ToF) on the LRED. This training has been conducted last December 7 to 13, 2008.

Talacogon’s final selection from among the endorsed Caraga provinces was based on the openness of the LGU to go through the process of the so-called “buy-in” since the undertaking would mean putting in counterpart resources and the area’s potential for more economic growth.

The LRED process kicked-off with the orientation and consultation with Talacogon Mayor Isaias Masendo and his key staff that includes Municipal Administrator Rodino Dailan, Municipal Planning and Development Coordinator Lucio Cortes and designated LRED focal person – Gina Gatab.

A briefing for the Talacogon LRED Committee followed with the latter formed to anchor the process. The LRED committee members include the chiefs of offices of the town and some sangguniang bayan members. They were joined by chiefs of offices of the provincial government. This composite team then undertook the identification and mapping of stakeholders and respondents for the rapid economic appraisal or REA survey. The survey was conducted after a briefing and mock survey was done for the enumerators.

The preliminary results were discussed during a pre-validation workshop with the LRED committee. Actual validation and presentation of REA results, identification of “burning issues” and the action planning for “quick wins” followed. All three steps were done during the week of the training of facilitators to allow the Mindanao LRED ToF participants hands on experience and to observe the conduct of the actual steps.

Talacogon will now be finalizing the action plans through the technical working groups formed led by the public and private sector stakeholders prior to actually undertaking the priority projects of the identified “quick wins”. The LRED committee is then expected to meet for re-planning or to go through the same process to take on more issues.

The implementation of LRED in Talacogon forms part of the early stages of the planned nationwide upscaling since LRED is basically a development planning tool which is presently being used only in the Visayas area. LRED as an approach to economic development planning started in 2004 in the Visayas particularly in Ormoc City under the GTZ’s Small and Medium Enterprise Development for Sustainable Employment Program (SMEDSEP).

The LRED process in Talacogon was facilitated by the Caraga Learning Service Providers’ Network or LSPN which was among the 24 business development service providers nationwide who graduated from the LRED training of trainers conducted in August this year. (Mary Grace S. Tocmo and Brenda Corvera, DTI-Caraga/PIA-Caraga)