PIA News Service - Thursday, Oct. 8, 2009

DENR Caraga remains steadfast of its mandate to prevent killer floods  

BUTUAN CITY - The Department of Environment and Natural Resources particularly in Caraga Region has remained steadfast with its mandate in the imposition of forest laws, rules and regulations to prevent killer floods similar to the environmental catastrophe in Metro Manila that claimed hundreds of lives. 

DENR Secretary Lito Atienza has been always focused on the “greening of the environment” although some local officials may have that “lack of genuine concern” to implement the environmental laws in their own locality.

Secretary Atienza has standing orders to the regional field officials to stop illegal logging and mining activities in their area of responsibilities “if only to preserve what is remaining of the forest resources for the benefit of all, and not of the few, for the sake of the next generation”.

In Agusan del Sur for instance, which is considered as the country’s remaining bastion of forest resources, the DENR has never relaxed its strict monitoring of the movements of forest products in the province. 

The Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Officer of Agusan del Sur Sixto C. Badua has reported that since January this year to date, a total of 22,279 pieces of illegal logs equivalent to 8,489.49 cubic meters and 6,693 pieces of flitches and lumber equivalent to 105,623.70 board feet has been confiscated by joint operatives of PNP, Philippine Army and DENR with the full support of the Provincial Governor Ma.Valentina Plaza , the Consortium of Civil Society Organization, Caraga Conference for Peace and Development and the Save Agusan Project.  

Meanwhile, the DENR Regional personnel have corrected public impression that “graft and corruption in DENR have worsened”.

The personnel said the regional management headed by Regional Executive Director Edilberto S. Buiser is always guided in his decisions in management by a group of environmentalists catholic bishops and priest led by Bishop Juan deDios Pueblos, non-government organizations, the academe, and the members of the media.

They said that the new management under RED Buiser has been always strict in its environmental policies, rules and regulations that there’s little room for field people to commit irregularities. 

A report submitted by RED Buiser to Secretary Atienza yesterday showed that there are 11 Integrated Forest Management Agreement and one SIFMA that are existing in the region. Three other investors have manifested their intention for renewal or conversion into IFMA. 

The report said there are seven sawmills , 67 mini-sawmills, 14 veneer and plywood plants , one wood treating plant, 11 veneer plants and 2 resaws plants that are operating with existing permits most of which are located in Butuan City. 

The DENR Caraga Region , the report said has 42 existing mining firm under the Mineral Productive Sharing Agreement (MPSA) which were established since 2004 , three of which were likewise approved last year. 

The DENR through the Land Management Sector have maintained its good accomplishment record over the last three years. 

A total of 52,799 land titles were distributed to the landless people since 2001. Last year, the DENR has issued 9,329 patents under the Handog Titulo ng Pangulong Gloria program. 

Since 2009 was declared as “Enforcement Year” by Secretary Atienza, the DENR in Caraga Region has confiscated a total of 12,777.19 cubic meters of forest products region-wide. 

The DENR in its continuous operation has succeeded in padlocking 97 illegally-operated mini-sawmills mostly located in Agusan del Sur. (Herzon F. Gallego, DENR-13/ PIA-Caraga)
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DENR will file a case to officials of ULMC for illegal construction of roads and destruction of natural resources

BUTUAN CITY – Charges with environmental destruction and violation of the Revised Forestry Code of the Philippines will be filed by the DENR against the officials of the United Lumads Mining Corporation (ULMC) for illegal construction of roads and destruction of natural resources at the 4,367.44-hectare Taguibo Watershed in Agusan del Norte.

The move came after the meeting on Monday of the Taguibo Watershed Taskforce presided over by the Environment Management Bureau, DENR Caraga Regional Office purposely to determine the persons and entities responsible in the illegal activities and the extent of damages to the natural resources in the area as a result of illegal road construction.  

The meeting was likewise attended by the chairman of Barangay Anticala, the leaders of the Manobo-Mamanwa Tribal Council led by Datu Marlito Manday, the members of the Taguibo Watershed Task Force, the legal counsel of Roger Patanao, owner and proprietor of the ULMC headed by Atty.Poculan, the CCPD under bishop Juan deDios Pueblos of Butuan City and environmentalist group. (Herzon F. Gallego, DENR-13/ PIA-Caraga)
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Voyage of the Balangay in Philippine Waters, set

The original sailing schedules of "Diwata ng Lahi"provided for a 24-day Christmas/New Year break for the crew is from December 13, 2009 to January 6, 2010. The voyage was planned to resume on January 7, 2010. 

However, weather conditions have changed the voyage timetables of "Diwata ng Lahi". A series of typhoons have forced "Diwata ng Lahi" to seek shelter at several ports, in line with the three key "H" concepts that guide the voyage of the balangay: Harmony with Nature, Harmony with the Boat, and Harmony with People. In addition, the boat underwent minor repairs along the route but is expected to need major reinforcing works in the coming weeks.

For these reasons, the Balangay Team in coordination with Kaya ng Pinoy Foundation's partner NGOs in Butuan (Butuan Historical & Cultural Foundation and Butuan Global Forum, Inc.) has made a decision yesterday (October 6) that "Diwata ng Lahi" will dock in Butuan for the duration of the Christmas/New Year break during which time changes in the boat's worm-damaged wooden parts will be made, using Butuan, Agusan and Caraga timber. All the abaca ropes and cotton/nylon strings used in building the boat in Manila will be replaced with "cabo negro" produced by our natives in Butuan's Upper Agusan River. After this major repair work, "Diwata ng Lahi" will turn out to be almost 100% "MADE IN BUTUAN"! 

Thus, the 5th leg of the voyage (Mactan to Butuan) will end in Butuan around the first week of December, 2009 and the 6th leg of the voyage (Butuan to Ozamis) will resume in the first week of January, 2009. During this time, Butuanons and guests will have the opportunity to see "Diwata ng Lahi" at the same site in Bading, Butuan City where Butuan's "Balanghai" Boat will be built. There will be sailing tests after which boat rides around Butuan Bay will be offered to Butuanons.

Butuan City and Agusan will be the only places in the Philippines whose citizens and guests will get this rare chance to sail on these two "balanghai" boats before they embark on the journey to China. It will be a more eventful Christmas and New Year in Butuan this 2009-2010! (Butuan Global Forum, Inc.)
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BFAR retains shellfish ban for redtide-positive waters 

Based on the latest laboratory results of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) and Local Government Units (LGUs), Shellfish collected at Dumanquillas Bay in Zamboanga del Sur; Sorsogon Bay and Juag Lagoon in Matnog, Sorsogon; Bislig Bay in Bislig City, Surigao del Sur and Cancabato Bay in Tacloban City, Leyte are still positive for paralytic shellfish poison that is beyond the regulatory limit. Furthermore, Murcielagos Bay, in Zamboanga del Norte is now positive for red tide toxin.

All types of shellfish and Acetes sp. or alamang gathered from the areas as shown above are not safe for human consumption. Fish, squids, shrimps, and crabs are safe for human consumption provided that they are fresh and washed thoroughly, and internal organs such as gills and intestines are removed before cooking.

The following areas continue to be free from toxic red tides: coastal waters of Cavite, Las Pinas, Paranaque, Navotas, Bulacan and bataan in Manila Bay; coastal waters of Alaminos, Anda, Bolinao and Wawa, Bani in pangasinan; Masinloc Bay in Zambales; coastal waters of Milagros and mandaon in Masbate; Inner Malampaya sound in Taytay and Honda Bay in palawan; coastal waters of Pilar; President Roxas, Pontevedra, Panay, Roxas City, Ivisan and Sapian in Capiz; coastal waters of Pontevedra, in Negros occidental; Irong-irong, Maqueda and Villareal Bays in Samar; Ormoc, San Pedro and Carigara Bays in Leyte; Biliran waters in Biliran Province; Hintuan and Linaga Bays in Surigao del Sur; Balite Bay in Mati, Davao Oriental; and coastal waters of Kabasalian in Sibuguey Bay, Zamboanga Sibugay. (BFAR-Caraga)
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Personal hygiene for women in evacuation centers equally important, says Family Planning Organization 

A unique response for reproductive health needs in crisis situation will provide relief for displaced women with basic hygiene needs as the Family Planning Organization and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in coordination with the local government units are distributing more than 3400 Hygiene Kits for pregnant women and boxes of various reproductive health kits for more than 10,000 people in areas hit by typhoon Ondoy.

Under the Minimum Initial Service Package for Reproductive Health (MISP) program of the group, a specialized attention is focused on women. MISP aims to prevent and manage the consequences of sexual violence; reduce HIV transmission; prevent excess maternal and neonatal mortality and morbidity, and develop strategies for comprehensive reproductive health services in the early days and weeks of an emergency.

According to reports, more than 1.6 million Filipinos are affected by typhoon Ondoy. Hundreds of thousands are still without home and are living in evacuation centers.

Roberto Ador, Executive Director of the Family Planning Organization of the Philippines said, “more than the need for food and other basic things, hygiene and maternal and child heath care is an equally important need that should be addressed.” He said further, “responding to maternal and child health need in evacuation sites will help us avoid further and unnecessary loss of life.”

MISP not only provide reproductive health kits but also provides education on maternal and child health care under crises situation to recipients.

FPOP has already distributed 1390 kits to pregnant and post partum women in the National Capital Region. The distribution effort will continue today as UNFPA Country Representative Suneeta Mukherjee, and Family Planning Executive Director Roberto Ador, will turn over Reproductive Health kits to Mayor Ramon A. Ilagan of Cainta, Rizal. (Vigie Benosa-Llorin, Philippine Legislators' Committee on Population and Development Foundation, Inc.)
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Stand up! Speak up!
Caraga Rotarians attend refresher on Public Speaking

By: Rtn. Gervacio C. Dauz, Jr.

BUTUAN CITY – Public speaking is one dreaded assignment that can trigger butterflies inside the belly, alter the voice, shake the knees, and at times set off amnesia particularly if one is not ready to do it – and this is true even for the so-called seasoned ones.

Taking a cue from that sad tale, at least 52 Rotarians and Rotaractors of Zone 3-B under District 3860 gathered at the Balanghai Hotel here and attended the half-day Public Speaking Seminar held on the 3rd of October 2009 if only to refresh and polish their capability to talk in front and up front with relish and confidence.

Ms. Nievelinda G. Grandea, herself a Rotarian also from the Rotary Club of Gloria Maris in Cebu City and a roving lecturer for the Rotary Academy, was the main resource speaker for the said seminar. Drawing from her several years of experience as a human resource speaker and consultant from around the globe, she was able to arrest the Caraga audience with her “leg-pulling” examples as well as her tried and tested inputs on how to improve one’s manner of speaking in public. 

She pointed out that many times, when one is invited to speak in public, the question that almost always percolate in one’s mind is this: “What should I tell or share with them?” Just a little bit of reshaping and re-angling, she suggested that the assigned or invited fellow ought to approach the subject matter this way: “What do they want to hear?” She argued that while the two questions seem to be same coin of different sides, the audience-centered – rather than the speaker-centered – question will help save time in terms of preparation. It will likewise take some pressures off the chest of the invited fellow, who, instead of becoming conscious, will rather attempt to identify with the audience.

She provided pointers also about the need to be aware of the group size, time limit, physical facilities, demographic profile – in advance.  

“The larger the group,” she advised, “the more the speaker should dress, act and speak in a formal manner.” Also, “if the venue is big, the speaker should speak in slower, measured beat” as the sound of one’s voice travels like waves until it reaches the last person in the audience. “For example,” she explained, “it is no wonder why emcees in a large stadium would pace their announcement like this: ‘Ladiieees annddd geentlemeennnn. Kinddllyy staannnd uppp foorrr theee naationnnaall antheemm’.” 

As a speaker, she suggested, “you ought to train your voice to be deep and dynamic with the proper volume, pitch, pace, and phrasing.” She argued, “the deeper the voice, the more it exudes authority and confidence.”  

The “gesture ought to be taken cared of also,” she suggested, “including the physical movement on stage.” As a short workshop, she demonstrated the right gesture, stance, and floor pacing and likewise make the audience do the same.

She emphasized also the need to have an eye contact with the audience, “because this will give the audience the feeling and impression that the speaker is interested with them and that he really speaks from the heart.”

Winding up, she maintained that there’s no “hard and fast rules in public speaking, though the most important consideration is that it should be significant.” She narrated that “at least one senator, who was the main speaker, talked for more than two hours. When Abraham Lincoln stood to say a few words to the Gettysburg audience, he only shared for a few minutes. But his Gettysburg Address got a memorable impact that it became a classic oratorical piece even until now. Yes, not the length but the impact. That is what we mean by significant.”  

At the bottom line, she highlighted that “one ought to speak direct from the heart. Nothing will get through if it is all pretension. You will only get through if it comes from the heart.”

Rotarian Gerard Rikken, District No. 3860 Senior Assistant Governor and Area 5 Coordinator of the Rotary Academy, shared: “with ‘Belle’ Grandea as the resource person, we have a wonderful learning experience, which we can use in our various contacts.”

Participants during said seminar were from the Rotary Club (RC) of Bislig, RC Butuan, RC Downtown Butuan, RC Butuan North, RC Metro Butuan, RC Metro Surigao and RC San Francisco, while a few are from different Rotaract Clubs.