PIA News Service - Monday, Feb. 1, 2010

Balangay Boat shines at the heart of Butuan
By Mike A. Imbo

BUTUAN CITY (01 February) – The Balangay Boat named “Mazaua hong Butuan” was officially launched yesterday, Sunday, January 31, along the riverbank in Brgy. Bading, this city.
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In a simple ceremony attended by state employees and the private sectors, the Butuan Boat-Building Committee proudly presented a “one-of-a-kind craft” that embodied the rich history and culture of the ancient kingdom of Butuan.
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Prior to the launching at 8:00 in the morning, the newly-renovated Balanghai Museum in Brgy. Ambangan, Libertad here was also officially turned-over by Butuan Global Forum, Inc., a non-government organization, to the National Museum.
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This is the culmination of the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) executed by the National Museum in Manila and the Metro Manila Chapter of Butuan Global Forum, Inc. in May, 2009.
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Upon launching unto the Agusan River from the boat-building site at the Luna Compound in Bading, Butuan City, Butuan's BALANGAY Boat will undergo sailing tests and final checks before joining the voyage to Southeast Asia. The two-boat flotilla will sail off from Butuan's Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) pier on February 4, 2010. 
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It was learned that the construction of Butuan's Balangay Boat is a joint project of Butuan Global Forum, Inc., Butuan Historical & Cultural Foundation, and Kaya Ng Pinoy Foundation. The boat was crafted by master boat builders from island of Sibutu in Tawi-Tawi.
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The Butuan's Balangay Boat was supported by Butuanon communities all over the world through donations in cash, in kind and in services. 
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The initial budget for the boat-building project was funded by Butuan Global Forum Inc. with a total cost of P1.7 million worth of support activities like the kick-off symposium, streamers, flaglets, fencing of site, PR coordination, information and communication, etc.
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Meanwhile, Rev. Fr. Joesilo Amalla started the blessing ceremony assisted by Former USEC of DOTC Art Valdez, Team Leader of Balangay Voyage.
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It was participated by the Banwaon, Manobo, and Talaanding Tribal Council with their special tribal dance.
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According to Committee Chairman Greg Hontiveros in his speech, thousand years ago, the ancestors of the Filipino people, the Austronesians, traveled from the Asian Mainland by land bridges across the continental shelf to the South East Asian archipelago. They then sailed onward to as far east as Polynesia, and as far as Madagascar, aboard the ancient vessel. 
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The voyage of the Balangay will showcase and challenge Filipino ingenuity and native survival skills in this modern age. (PIA-Caraga)
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Agusan del Norte towns receive AECID health, education assistance 

CABADBARAN CITY, Agusan del Norte (February 1) – Several towns in Agusan del Norte province received health and education projects from the Spanish aid agency Agencia Española de Cooperacion Internacional pare el Desarollo (AECID). 

Beneficiary towns are Nasipit, Remedios T. Romualdez, Magallanes, Tubay, Buenavista and the City of Cabadbaran in Agusan del Norte. 

These towns received shelter, school buildings, health facilities and foods. 

The different projects are being implemented by Fundacion Humanismo Y Democracia (H+D) and Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP) in partnership with the parents, teachers association (PTA), health authorities and local government unit in the place where they are being implemented. 

To this end, the AECID just last week delivered equipments to Carmen Rural Health Unit to be used by personnel in serving poor families in Carmen town, Agusan del Norte. 

The AECID assistance seeks to improve access to maternal and child healthcare (MCH) services which is one of the problems affecting families in the province. 

Carmen Mayor Ramon Calo expressed elation with the assorted equipment provided to them. 

"We will compliment the generosity of AECID and the Spanish people. We will ensure that budget for health is included in our priorities," stressed Mayor Calo. 

The medical equipment includes emergency lights, sterilizer, adjustable beds with bed sheets, assorted forceps, BP apparatuses, gooseneck lamps, I.V. stand, suction machines, surgical scissors, wheelchairs, flashlights, weighing scales, thermometers, boxes of disposable syringes and needles and bassinet newborn carriers, among others. 

Also included in the assistance package in upgrading of RHUs are training and mobilization of Barangay Health Workers (BHWs), construction of lying-in clinics among others. 

The health initiative in Carmen is only part of a bigger undertaking by AECID to assist children and families gain access to basic services. 

Parallel to the health-related project, the Spanish aid agency is also engaged in education-focused project for school children in Agusan del Norte. 

Carmen town is a fourth class municipality with most of its basic services for the people being funded by the internal revenue allotment (IRA) from the national government. (muc/PIA-Caraga) 
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First mental health facility to rise in Caraga region 

SURIGAO CITY (February 1) - The region’s first mental health facility will soon rise in Caraga region’s nickel city of Surigao. 

The formal ground breaking of the site for the construction of the building was held over the weekend right behind the Surigao City Health Office. 

It was attended by top local government health officials led by Surigao City Mayor Alfonso S. Casurra and City Councilors Peñaflor Laxa and Floripen Tating, region’s health Asst. Regional Director Dr. Cesar Cassion and Program Manager on Drug Abuse Dr. Flordeliz Llesis and City Health Officer Dr. Aldine Morales. 

During the ground breaking program, Mayor Casurra emphasized that the center will initially serve as a half-way house for the temporary accommodation and treatment of said patients. 

"Let us help these people today because tomorrow will be too late. They are also human beings who need care and attention,” he said. 

Meanwhile, the local government of Surigao City is also set to construct a school building in a new site of Cantiasay National High School also of that same city. 

The new school building is targeted to be completed by the end of June this year. 

Casurra wanted students to have a more conducive place for learning. 

At present, the high school students are temporarily sharing an area with the elementary pupils. (muc/PIA-Caraga) 

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De Lima to police: Arrest fugitives to stop clan wars in Agusan del Sur

BUTUAN CITY (February 1) – The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) on Friday said the fugitives from justice, who are still roaming around the remote villages in a town of Agusan del Sur province, must be “arrested and disarmed at all cost” so that peace will reign in some highland villages in Prosperidad town. 

CHR panel, led by chairperson Leila De Lima, said that law enforcement agencies, particularly the police must serve warrants of arrests to the Joel Tubay group to stop the tribal war between the two Manobo clans in the area. 

“The law enforcement agencies must do their job now. Hintayin pa ba natin na maging maulit ang Maguindanao incident dito?” asked De Lima. 

Another member of the panel, CHR Mindanao focal person lawyer Jose Manuel Mamaoag , also made the same statement during the conclusion of the two day public inquiry at downtown hotel and convention center here on extra-legal killings of at least 18 persons. 

In the two day marathon hearing, the CHR found that the string of extrajudicial killings that happened last year in Mahulayan area at Barangay La Purisima, in Prosperidad town, Agusan del Sur province victimized mostly indigenous people (IP’s) and related it to the rivalries between two warring clans of Manobo tribe- the Tubay group and Ondo Perez group. 

The alleged series of killings last year of the family members of Ondo Perez made the latter and his group to abduct 57 civilians on Dec. 10 last year due to alleged unfair treatment on their case. However, the hostages were released unharmed as a result of negotiations made by the provincial crisis committee. 

But due to the standing warrant of arrest for murder hurled by the Tubay group last year, Perez was jailed after his surrender, despite of the promise made by the crisis committee that he would not be jailed but only tried by the natives’ customary tradition under the IPRA Law. 

“The residents, especially lumads in the area are now living in fear on the alleged presence of armed groups who have also standing warrants of arrest. They must be arrested and must be disarmed,” said De Lima. 

At least 1,000 Manobos’ are currently residing in La Purisima. 

“Arrest and disarm the remaining armed group in the area” De Lima said. 

She urged top police and military commanders in the area who were present during the two marathon inquiry to disarm and arrest the remaining armed group in villages of Prosperidad and nearby areas. 

Top provincial officials in the province of Agusan del Sur, led by Vice-Governor Santiago B. Cane, representing Gov. Maria Valentina Plaza, government prosecutors and lawyers, concerned government agencies and media were also present during the public inquiry. 

The CHR panel was saddened by the absence of the officials of the National Communities on Indigenous People (NCIP) under Director Atty. Jose Dumagan despite being summoned for their presence during the inquiry. 

“NCIP chose to ignore IP’s problem causing their conflict,” added De Lima. 

“We are certain that the string of killings and abduction last Dec. 10 was only a strand in a greater scheme of impunity, criminality and violence gripping Agusan del Sur. We will continue gathering facts,” she further said. (muc/PIA-Caraga)
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Provincial gov't to look into operations of mining areas in Agusan del Sur 

BUTUAN CITY (February 1) – The legislative body of Agusan del Sur has assured the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) that it will look into the permits of small-scale mining operators in the 200,000-hectare mining areas in the landlocked province. 

Vice Gov. Santiago B. Cane, chair of the provincial legislative body, said on Friday he will specifically look into the mining operations at Manhulayan area in Barangay La Purisima, Prosperidad town where many small-scale mining operations are being reported. 

Cane made the assurance after learning that Mahulayan area is where several killings were reported last year between Manobo clans and other groups, mostly indigenous people (IPs). 

This development came out during the last day of the two-day public inquiry of the CHR on the root causes of alleged killings and hostage-taking last Dec. 10, 2009, where 57 civilians were victims in La Purisima. The hostages were released unharmed after negotiation with Ondo Perez, the alleged leader of the hostage-takers. However, the Perez group members, some of them minors, were put in jail in Agusan del Sur jail after their surrender. 

In the CHR inquiry, it also came out that the two warring Manobo clans –- Perez group and Joel Tubay group (still at large) -- are both armed with high-powered firearms and have existing warrants of arrests due to their alleged tribal war. 

Aside from ancestral land problem, gold mining operations also surfaced as one of the root causes of the breakdown of the peace and order in the area. 

It also came out that illegal logging operation also exists in that same area.
“The provincial board will look into these mining permits of operators,” Cane said before the panel of CHR led by CHR Chairperson Leila De Lima and other government lawyers and representatives from various concerned government agencies, military and police commanders. 

Cane also assured that the provincial board will help the CHR to investigate and look into the mining permits of the small-scale mining operations. 

During the same inquiry, Col. Emiliano Gupana, commanding officer of the Army’s 402nd Infantry (Stingers) Brigade, also confirmed the involvement in the mining operations of some natives in Manhulayan. 

Gupana also confirmed that some members of the groups of Perez and Tubay were formerly affiliated with the Citizen Armed Forces Geographical Unit (CAFGU) assigned in the area but already disbanded in 2008. (muc/PIA-Caraga)
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Caraga Region needs 2,145 PCOS machines for May 2010 polls 

BUTUAN CITY (February 1) - The Caraga or Northeastern Mindanao Region comprising five provinces and six cities needs a total of 2,145 precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines for the May 10, 2010 automated national and local elections, it was learned Saturday. 

Composing the region are the provinces of Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Surigao del Norte, Surigao del Sur and Dinagat Islands and the cities of Butuan, Bislig, Surigao, Tandag, Bayugan and Cabadbaran. 

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) regional office said the 2,145 voting machines will be distributed to the clustered precincts in 1,310 barangays throughout Northeastern Mindanao. 

The Comelec-Caraga said the number of registered voters for the 2010 elections in Northeastern Mindanao has reached 1,378,132 to date, reflecting an increase of 11.29 percent from the 1,238,327 registered voters in 2007. (muc/PIA-Caraga)
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Lakas-Kampi-CMD leader slain in Surigao del Norte 
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CAMP RAFAEL C. RODRIGUEZ, Butuan City, Feb. 1 - A local leader of the administration party Lakas-Kampi-CMD was gunned down Monday morning by unidentified gunmen at Sitio Binggale, Barangay Banban, Taganaan, Surigao del Norte, according to a sketchy report reaching the police regional command and tactical operations center here. 

The report to Chief Supt. Lino D. Calingasan, regional director of the Police Regional Office 13, identified the victim as Oscar Cayumo Anino, 55, a former Army soldier and a miner in Taganaan town. 

Initial investigation showed that Anino was riding his single motorcycle toward Taganaan Proper at 9 a.m. when he was shot at close range by the suspects in Sitio Binggale. 

In a telephone interview with the Philippine News Agency, Surigao del Norte 1st District Rep. Francisco T. Matugas stated that the victim was a local leader of Rep. Guillermo “Jun” Romarate (2nd District, Surigao del Norte). 

“Isa siya (Anino) sa aming political leader sa bayan na iyan (He was one of our local leaders in that town),” Matugas said, adding that the killing of Anino could be linked to the May 10, 2010 national and local elections in Taganaan town. 

Romarate could not be contacted for comment regarding the killing of Anino. 

Field reports stated that the gunmen immediately fled after the incident. 

Upon receipt of the report, Calingasan deployed police investigating team and scene of the crime operatives to thoroughly investigate the killing of Anino. 

He also ordered the deployment of regional and provincial mobile force and Taganaan police force to conduct a region-wide manhunt against the suspects. (muc/PIA-Caraga)
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GSIS members get to hand free college scholarship to lucky youths

Members of the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) once again get to help fulfill the scholastic dreams of a number of lucky youths through the 2010 GSIS Scholarship Program, wherein winning members get to select any incoming college freshman or current college student of their choice to be the beneficiary of the said scholarship.

All GSIS active members with updated premium payments can join the program. To join, members just need to fill up an application form available in all GSIS offices nationwide and also downloadable from the GSIS website (www.gsis.gov.ph). 

Duly accomplished forms must then be submitted to any GSIS office for processing. 

Winning members will be drawn through an electronic raffle. Two-hundred slots are available this year.

Under the program, scholars enjoy tuition and miscellaneous fees of P20,000 per semester and a monthly stipend of P2,000. 

“The GSIS Scholarship Program is one of our premier Corporate Social Responsibility programs. With it, we can help a lot of our youths achieve their goals and live their dreams by providing them free tertiary education,” said GSIS President and General Manager Winston F. Garcia.

GSIS scholars may enroll in any school or degree of their choice. Records show that since the program’s inception, majority of the grantees have pursued engineering, accountancy, and nursing courses.

The application period is currently ongoing and will last up to April 23, 2010. The electronic raffle draw is on May 19, 2010. (GSIS)
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POLICE REPORTS
By PO3 Philip Mazo

Recovery of alleged carnapped motorcycle

The Elements of Talacogon Municipal Police Station led by PO3 Leonardo Duyan while conducting mobile patrol at Sitio Poblacion, Barangay San Nicolas, Talacogon, Agusan del Sur on (30 January) around 1:00 in the afternoon were able to recover an abandoned single Honda XRM 110 motorcycle color green with chassis number XRM-12-058-097905 & engine number XRM10ME-7097905. 

Investigation revealed that said motorcycle is owned by Mary Ann Uy Azote of purok 10, Barangay 18, Obrero, Butuan City which was carnapped while parked at her residence on January 26, 2010 around 3:00 dawn. 

Recovered motorcycle was turned over to Butuan City Police Office for proper disposistion. (PNP-13/ PIA-Caraga)

PNP arrests wanted person

Philippine National Police Personnel of Bislig City Police Station led by SPO4 Elmer dela Cruz brought Floro Salveria Calapano, 23 years old, single, jobless, and a resident of Purok 3A, Barangay Tab0n, Bislig City, Surigao del Sur before the Regional Trial Court branch 29 in Bislig City.

A warrant of arrest was issued for the arrest of the said suspect by Hon. Merlyn Canedo, presiding judge of RTC 11th, Judicial Region branch 29 Bislig City dated 26 February 2007 docketed under Criminal Case number 2085-8-3067 charged for rape with no bail bond recommended.

Calapano was arrested by PNP elements of Nabunturan police Station on January 25, 2010 at Purok 8, Sakay St., Barangay Poblacion Nabunturan, Compostela Valley Province and presently detained at Bislig City Police Station for proper disposition. (PNP-13/ PIA-Caraga)

Report on fire incident

Two houses were raced down by fire at Purok 8, Barangay 16 Ong Yiu, North Montilla Blvd. Butuan City on January 30, 2010 around 5:30 in the morning. 

The two houses were owned by Harbom Navasa of legal age, married; and Harry Narvasa of legal age, married.

Personnel of BCPS 2 led by PSI Alex Anachay Celez, Station Commander immediately proceeded to the scene and provided area security and traffic control.

Estimated cost of damage is more or less P300,000.00.

The fire was controlled by the Bureau of Fire protection around 5:40 a.m. of the same date and no casualties were reported.

Cause of fire is yet to determined by BFP personnel.
(PNP 13/ PIA-Caraga)