PIA News Service - Thursday, December 3, 2009

CCPD lauded, admired by AFP Chief

BUTUAN CITY (03 December) – Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff, Gen. Victor Ibrado on Wednesday (December 2) lauded the Caraga Conference for Peace and Development (CCPD) in its quest to attain long-lasting peace not only in the region, but as well as in Mindanao.

In his Message of Peace delivered before the crowd estimated at around 1,500 during the 3rd year anniversary of CCPD and 2009 Mindanao Week of Peace (MWOP) culmination program here, Gen. Ibrado said, he was inspired to see the peace advocates from all walk of life convening in one venue to uphold and promote peace in the region and in the whole island of Mindanao.

According to the AFP chief, “Nakakataba ng puso na makita ang mga kababayan natin na sumasang-ayon sa adhikain ng AFP at ng pamahalaan natin sa Mindanao” (It’s heartwarming to see our countrymen who supported the efforts of AFP and our government for Mindanao).

Ibrado also said, “Kung merong sektor ng ating pamahalaan na tuwang-tuwa sa ginagawa ng CCPD ngayon, kami ‘yun sa AFP,” (If there is a sector in our government who is very happy of what CCPD is doing, it’s the AFP).

Later in his speech, Ibrado pointed out that unity and cooperation among every citizen will lead to successful attaining of peace in the land. “The solution to insurgency problems in Mindanao is not the military but the unity of all Mindanaoans. Through this gathering, CCPD’s role is very significant in addressing insurgency problems in Caraga Region.”

Moreover, Ibrado said that CCPD is considered “unofficial diplomatic channel of Caraga Region for gathering societies together in upholding and promoting peace in the whole island of Mindanao”.

In closing, Gen. Ibrado assured those in attendance that AFP and the Philippine National Police (PNP) will continue to support CCPD in all their undertakings. “We are ready to help CCPD anytime, anywhere,” Ibrado said.

During the MWOP culmination activity, partner stakeholders as well as winners of the different competitions held during the week-long celebration were given recognitions by CCPD convenors led by Butuan Bishop Juan de Dios Pueblos and MWOP organizers. This year’s MWOP celebration is anchored on the theme: “Think Mindanao, Feel Mindanao, Bring Peace to Mindanao.” (Robert E. Roperos, PIA-Caraga)


DND Sec. warns public on negative effects of climate change

BUTUAN CITY (03 December 2009) – Following the negative effects of climate change brought about by typhoons that hit the country during the past weeks, Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Norberto Gonzales warns the public, especially the local officials who attended Wednesday (Dec. 2) the 3rd anniversary celebration of Caraga Conference for Peace and Development (CCPD), which is also the culmination program of the 2009 Mindanao Week of Peace celebration in the city.

Speaking before the around 1,500 peace advocates composed of religious groups, academe, peace officers, and local officials, Sec. Gonzales advised the public to be aware of the negative effects brought by climate change. He even cited the flashfloods happened in Luzon when typhoon Ondoy hit majority of the provinces including Metro Manila. “The disaster happened in Manila will serve as a reminder to all of us. We must be concerned with environmental protection,” he said.

Also, Gonzales said to the local officials present, “We need to carefully review the development plan of our cities and provinces, and see to it that in times of disasters, the community, our people will not suffer from the negative impacts.”

Further, Gonzales said, “the negative effects of climate change are already felt in the Philippines. Thus, as leaders, we should see to it that we will not compromise the safety of the people over the community development.”

Meanwhile, Gonzales recalled his experience during the formation of CCPD three years ago where he is one of those who conceptualized the existence of the group. He said, when they first formed CCPD, the organizers did not only focus on combating rebellions but as well as environmental protection.

With this, the National Defense Chief advised CCPD to review some premises formed in 2006, and recommends the following: 1. To be on top of informing people of the new dangers the nation is facing; 2. To be on top of organizing people to prepare in facing disasters and; 3.Continue to help the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to attain the national government’s target to eliminate terrorists in 2010. Sec. Gonzales was the Keynote Speaker during the activity. (Robert E. Roperos, PIA-Caraga)


Bishop Pueblos tells peace advocates: “Be a man for others”

BUTUAN CITY (03 December) – Bishop Juan de Dios Pueblos of the Diocese of Butuan told peace advocates to extend hand to mankind and “be a man for others”, in a gathering Wednesday (Dec. 2) marking the 3rd year anniversary celebration of Caraga Conference for Peace and Development (CCPD) in time with the culmination program of the 2009 Mindanao Week of Peace celebration in the city.

Bishop Pueblos, CCPD lead convenor, whose untiring effort in upholding peace and unity in Mindanao is incomparable, said “if all of us will contribute for the common good of Mindanao, there’s no reason why we cannot achieve peace in the island”.

Also, Pueblos said achieving peace must start from within. “If you cannot find peace in your heart, mind, and soul, then it is very hard for you to share peace to others,” the Bishop said.

The family, according to Pueblos, is the basic foundation of society. “Let God be the center of your family because if God is with us, then there is always peace,” Bishop Pueblos said.

Moreover, Pueblos said that once a person finds peace within his heart, mind and soul, he must share this to other people. “In this sense, the true meaning of peace will be achieved,” he said.

Meanwhile, National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) Commissioner Felicito Masagnay lauded CCPD and the peace advocates present during the activity for the warm response and efforts in promoting peace and unity in Mindanao. “After this event, wherever I go, I am proud to tell the world that in Caraga, you will see convergence of people who are advocating peace in Mindanao,” Masagnay said.

Commissioner Masagnay also hoped that the activity will be replicated in other places in the Philippines and even throughout the world.

In another Message of Peace, Undersecretary Demetrio L. Ignacio of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) revealed that inadequate and inequality access of natural resources can cause conflict especially to those places rich in natural resources like Caraga Region.

With these developments, Usec. Ignacio said, this can only be solved if local leaders will have to implement sustainable development. “This means that every individual should increase income… How? There must be equality in accessing natural resources but with priority of implementing environmental protection also,” Ignacio said.

Ignacio also said that unity among stakeholders to decide what will be the right thing to do to achieve sustainable development must be given emphasis.

Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Norberto Gonzales and Armed Forces Chief of Staff, Gen. Victor Ibrado are among the national figures gracing the whole day affair. (Robert E. Roperos, PIA-Caraga)


Military pledges commitment to uphold nat’l security

BUTUAN CITY (03 December) – “Today, in observance of the 3rd Founding Anniversary of the Caraga Conference for Peace and Development (CCPD) and the Mindanao Week of Peace, I offer my hands of peace and the continuing commitment of our Army soldiers in every Filipino’s aspiration for national security, stability, peace, and development”.

This is the statement of Lt. Gen. Delfin Bangit, Philippine Army Commanding General on the occasion of the CCPD’s 3rd year anniversary on Wednesday (Dec. 2) held in one of the local convention centers here.

According to Gen. Bangit, Team Army pledges to continue pursuing the vision of a capable, responsive, and professional army that is a source of national pride.

“We will give form to this vision and the spirit of peace through active and sustained partnership with the people and national and local government agencies in peace operations, civic action programs, and development endeavors,” Bangit said.
Gen. Bangit also said, the army’s participation in the peace process and the government’s peace talks with various armed groups will continue toward the conclusion of final peace agreements.

“We take this charge not only as a constitutional mandate, but also as our responsibility as citizens of the Republic. For the meantime, we also remain on guard to protect our territories and our people against any breach to security and other national interests by these groups,” Gen. Bangit said.

Also, Gen. Bangit stressed that the Army believes that beyond military operations on the ground, it is their charge to give rise to development on the ground. “This development will only take place if, after the smoke clears, the Army remains steadfast in its commitment to serve and steer our people towards unity, empowerment, rebuilding, stability and development.”

Meanwhile, Gen. Bangit enjoined all leaders of various sectors to cultivate collectiveness in their efforts, passion and commitment “since peace is not just a spirit, not just a dream; it is not elusive”.

Bangit, however said, the Philippine Army remains optimistic that their team will eventually be arm in arm with every Filipino in the march toward peace and development “as we work collectively on these ideals”.

True to their mission to serve and protect the national interest, Bangit said, “This is the direction we desire to take if only to fulfill our duty to serve and protect our people, and link arms with the rest of the nation towards national renewal and growth”.

This commitment of the men and women of the Philippine Army is still in support to the ten-point agenda of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, more specifically in eliminating terrorism by the end of her term in 2010. (Robert E. Roperos, PIA-Caraga)


Human Rights Week celeb set

BUTUAN CITY (03 December) – Pursuant to Republic Act 9201, an act declaring December 4 to 10 as National Human Rights Consciousness Week in the country, the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) is spearheading this year’s week-long celebration.

Aiming at promoting respect for human rights, the theme emphasizes that respect for human rights is the path to achieve democracy, peace and development.

In a written statement sent to PIA, CHR-Caraga Regional Director, Atty. Marilyn Pintor lined-up series of activities in the region. On December 4, different stakeholders will be hanging streamers as part of information campaign. Also during this day, BHRAO Capability Building Workshop is set. This will run until December 5.

On December 7, different stakeholders will be reading the human rights briefer. An Educators Congress will also be taking place on the same day that will end on the following day, December 8.

Finally, participation of the youth sector will be highlighted on December 10 as CHR-Caraga takes center stage in advocating the youth with information on Human Rights.

Also during the week-long celebration, CHR-Caraga will organize advocacy campaigns on women’s human rights in coordination with Caraga Regional Development Council (RDC) – Gender and Development Coordinating Committee (GADCC).

The culmination day of the National Human Rights Consciousness Week falls on December 10 in time with the International Human Rights Day. It is also the 61st anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).

This year’s celebration is anchored on the theme: “Respect for Human Rights: The Key to Democracy, Peace and Development.” (Robert E. Roperos, PIA-Caraga)



Burgos chosen as Surigao Norte's cleanest, greenest municipality

Surigao del Norte (03 December) - For the first time, the town of Burgos in Siargao Island bested other municipalities of Surigao del Norte in this year's search for the clean and green program organized by the provincial government of Surigao del Norte.

Burgos Mayor Sulueta Rayos received the award during the awarding ceremony of the 2nd Gov. Ace Barbers Awards for the Cleanest and Greenest Municipality held at the provincial convention center, Surigao City, Tuesday, December 1, 2009.

The winning municipality received a cash prize amounted to P100,000 and a plaque of appreciation from the provincial government in recognition of their continuous efforts and commitment in maintaining a clean and healthy environment.

Other winners in the competition are: Socorro as second prize winner with P75,000 cash prize and a plaque of appreciation; and Mainit, as third prize winner with P50, 000 cash prize and a plaque of appreciation.

Also, other winners with P10,000 consolation prize include the municipalities of Bacuag, Gigaquit, Pilar, Malimono, Gen. Luna, Alegria, and San Isidro. While the municipalities of Tubod, Del Carmen, San Benito, Sison, Claver, San Francisco, Placer, Dapa, Tagana-an, and Sta. Monica all received P5,000 cash prize.

Special awards for Space Greening went to Socorro; Backyard Gardening, Tourist Friendly LGU, and Best Practices on Ecological Solid Waste Mngt. to Burgos; Cleanest Coastline/Shoreline to Bacuag; Landscaping and Beautification, Cleanest Public Park/Plaza to Gigaquit; Cleanest & Greenest Public High School, Cleanest Public Toilet and Cleanest Functional Public Market to Alegria; Cleanest & Greenest Public Elem. School to Sison; and Best Documentation to Mainit.

The respective local government officers of the winning municipalities were awarded plaques of commendation for their outstanding contribution in the province's clean and green program.


The winners in this year's search were assessed by the provincial inter-agency search committee composed of the Provincial Environment and Management Office as chairman with technical representatives from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Education (DepEd), Health (DOH), Prov’l Tourism and Culture Office, Surigao del Norte NGO Coalition for Dev’t (SUNGCOD), Media Association of Surigao (MASU), Prov’l Agriculture, Planning Office (PPDO), Dep’t of the Interior and Local Gov’t (DILG), Environment and Management Bureau (EMB) and the Philippine Information Agency (PIA). (FE Abkilan, PIA-Surigao del Norte)