PIA News Service - Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2010

DTI Consumernet planning session set in Butuan
By Mike A. Imbo

BUTUAN CITY (27 January) – Implementing the importance of education towards a protected consumer, the Consumernet Caraga through the Regional Office of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in collaboration with Consumer Welfare Division will hold Consumernet meeting on Thursday ( January 28) at DTI-Caraga Regional Office. 

In a written statement from DTI-Regional Director Brielgo Pagaran, the activity will commence the first quarterly meeting of the network composed of stakeholders from the public and private sectors.

The forum will focus on consumer complaints lodged in the past years for the Consumer Welfare Division as well as the existing activities. 

According to Dir. Pagaran, the activity will serve as a venue for the stakeholders to plan more activities where Consumernet Caraga plays vital role in implementing welfare initiatives. “Thus, the forum will highlight information on the consumer awareness and several activities can still be done to promote consumer welfare,” he said.

Dir. Pagaran also assured the public that problems on manufactured products in terms of its quality, safety, warranties, service and repair shops must be referred to the Department of Trade and Industry. “With this, I can assure that our office will act on it,” he added.

More importantly, the first quarterly meeting is set to respond to the ideas of planning session strategies and activities to contribute in the community assessment for a comprehensive livelihood and create employment program, it was gathered.
(PIA-Caraga)
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TUCP steps up campaign on Reproductive Health
By Fryan E. Abkilan
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TAGAYTAY CITY (27 January) - A 3-day project implementers’ monitoring and planning workshop on Reproductive Health (RH) and Family Planning was successfully conducted here recently. 
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Backed by the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) and David and Lucile Packard Foundation, the said planning workshop was intended to assess the accomplishments of the 5-focused areas namely Cavite, Laguna, Cebu, Davao and Bacolod City and review and update priorities and consider follow-up initiatives based on project’s action plans. 
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TUCP Education and Youth Director Rafael Mapalo said that in their last phase of the program they expect to extend services and information to at least 50,000 union members and non-union members in the focused areas.
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The RH Team was elated with the output presented by the different coordinators and RH officers on the status of health services in their areas. 
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The workshop participants pledge to step-up public advocacy and campaign on RH and Family Planning services in their respective areas.
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TUCP now boasts a total of 8 union-run clinics and 6 other clinics in the export processing zones.
Interfacing, brainstorming and preparation of the local response measures to address the issues and concerns on RH and Family Planning were also among the activities during the workshop. (PIA-Surigao del Norte)
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Access to health service assured for Carmen residents

Pregnant women and children needing medical attention don’t need to travel far to Butuan City now. Assorted medical equipment purchased through assistance from Spanish aid agency Agencia Española de Cooperacion Internacional para el Desarollo (AECID) has just been delivered to Carmen Rural Health Unit to be used by personnel in serving poor families in the municipality.

Implemented by Fundacion Humanismo Y Democracia (H+D) in partnership with the Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP) and local government unit, the initiative seeks to improve access to maternal and child healthcare (MCH) services which is one of the problem affecting families in the province.  

“Poor patients have to shell out hard earned money to go to Butuan City more than 30 kilometers away to avail needed medical attention,” Dr. Bonifacion Wong Marcon disclosed. “With this medical equipment, we can now serve our constituents better,” he added. 

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,” Mayor Calo said.

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, bassinet newborn carriers among others. 

Carmen Town in Agusan del Norte is a fourth class municipality with most of its basic services for the people is being funded by the internal revenue allotment (IRA) from the national government. Fishing and farming are main source of livelihood.

Most of the deliveries of pregnant mothers are done at home; it was learned from health personnel interviewed at the Rural Health Unit in Carmen. “It is costly to avail medical services in the city, so most of them decide to give birth at home,” Dr. Marcon disclosed. “The medical equipment complimented with budgetary support from the local government unit will facilitate easy access to needed health services for the people,” he added.

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.

Included in the assistance package are also upgrading of RHUs, training and mobilization of Barangay Health Workers (BHWs), construction of lying-in clinics among others. At least seven municipalities in the province will be benefited by the project. These are the towns of Carmen, Buenavista, Remedios T. Romualdez, Nasipit, Magallanes, Tubay and Cabadbaran. (Danny Escabarte, Philippine Business for Social Progress-Mindanao Regional Operations)

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Butuan police officer named RP’s outstanding policewoman
By Jocelyn E. Morano

BUTUAN CITY (27 January) – The 2009 Search for Outstanding policewoman in the country brings pride and honor to the city’s Police Office as SPO1 Marifel Cortez is among those who were chosen from among the female police officers nationwide, and no less than Her Excellency President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo present the award in a ceremony held at Malacañang’s Rizal Hall on January 13, 2010.

The police officer was chosen as one of the 10 winners in the annual search for Outstanding Policewomen of the Philippines for their dedication and exemplary performance as peace keepers of the country.

Accordingly, SPO1 Cortez bagged the award for being active in advocating the welfare of women and children here through its continuing education forum with regards to R.A. 9262 otherwise known as the Anti-Violence Against Women and Children’s act, and R.A. 7610 “An Act Providing for Stronger Deterrence and Special Protection Against Child Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination”.

Her humanitarian activity in the Police Community Relations also added points in bagging the prestigious award given to female police officers all over the country. 

SPO1 Cortez initiated BCPO's Back to School Program, which according to Station 1 Commander Joseph Boquiren was the first in history to reach out to school children by donating school supplies taking into priority those who have little or no school supplies because of poverty.

The project was replicated to other police stations under BCPO carrying the theme “Gamit Pang Eskwela, Alay ng Pulisya.”

The “Ten Outstanding Policewomen of the Philippines” were: Police Superintendent Lailene Amparo – Marilao Police Station – Bulacan Provincial Office, Police Regional Office 3, Police Chief Inspector Delia Ingalla – Taguig City Police Office, Southern Police District, NCRPO, Police Senior Inspector Lerma Tirana – Regional Police Community Relations Division, NCRPO, Senior Police Officer 1 Marifel Cortez – Butuan City Police Office Police Regional Office 13, Police Officer 3 Zorayda Aripin – Zamboanga City Police Offide, PRO 9, PO3 Ruth Poserio – Sta. Barbara Police Station, Pangasinan Police Provincial Office, PRO 1, PO3 Judith Olbes – Sorsogon Police Provincial Office, PRO5, PO3 Lilybeth Pascual – WCPD PNCO-Camarines Sur Police Provincial Office, Police Regional Office 5, PO2 Famela Suba – Cabiao Police Station, Nueva Ecija Police Provincial Office, PRO3 and PO2 Rina Salaya – Maasin Municipal Police Station, Iloilo PPO, PRO 6. 

The search for Ten Outstanding Policewomen of the Philippines (TOPWP) was initiated by ZONTA Club of Makati Paseo de Roxas Foundation and the Philippine National Police.

Now on its eighth year, TOPWP was established to extend community recognition to policewomen who have contributed to the cause of peace and order. 

The awardees received a TOPWP Kabalikat Awards trophy and cash prize from ZONTA, a gift certificate from the Arms Corporation Philippines (ARMSCOR) and Outstanding Achievement Medal from the PNP.
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DENR-13 lauds establishment of Caraga State U

BUTUAN CITY – Department of Environment and Natural Reources (DENR) Caraga officials hailed the signing of President Gloria Macapagal – Arroyo of Republic Act 9854, establishing the Caraga State University (CSU) held recently at the Sanchez Gymnasium, CSU campus in Brgy. Ampayon, this city.

DENR Regional Executive Director Edilberto S. Buiser said the CSU Agro-Forestry degree programs will help boost DENR’s environmental protection and sustainable development thrusts.

“With the state’s support in pursuing environment-related higher education, using the rich biodiversity of Caraga region as their learning platform, our youth will surely gain strong foundations as environmental advocates and be acquainted with the best opportunities it can offer,” Buiser said.

Present during the ceremonial signing is the Regional Technical Director for Ecosystems Research and Development Services (ERDS) Virgilio dela Cruz. The ERDS is tasked in the promotion of new environmental studies and development initiatives through research.

DENR is one of the assisting agencies in CSU’s College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources projects including the “Green House” tree clonal nursery, and the in-campus indigenous mini forest taxonomy, among others.

The establishment of CSU, Caraga’s first state university augurs well with the DENR’s mandate, who oversees implementation of the multi-million peso Upland Development Project (UDP), Eastern Mindanao Biodiversity Corridor and regular programs including anti-illegal logging and reforestation, anti-pollution and geo-hazzard mapping, disaster response and mitigation --- all geared towards Climate Change adaptation.

“The government’s environmental protection and sustainable development drive had been providing thousands of jobs and there are rooms for personal and professional growth that can be derived from DENR-assisted projects. We hope to lure the top products of CSU this year,” dela Cruz said.

DENR expects an influx of enrollees taking forestry and environment-related courses at CSU, rather than go to other state universities in Marawi, Iligan, Cagayan de Oro, Davao and Metro Manila due to high cost of education. (Ronnel LMV G. Calo, DENR RPAO Staff)

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CHR to hold public inquiry into the culture of violence in Agusan del Sur which culminated in the December 2009 abduction/hostage taking incident

On the request of the CHR-CARAGA Regional Office, the Comission on Human Rights will conduct a public inquiry into the Agusan del Sur Abduction incident and a string of extrajudicial killings which victimized mostly indigenous peoples (IPs) and which appear to be related to the simmering rivalries between warring local clans.

The public inquiry is scheduled for January 28-29, 2010 at the Balanghai Hotel and Convention Center, Doongan, Butuan City. Summoned thereto are the complainants/witness in various extralegal killings being investigated by CHR-Caraga, including the killing of the chieftain and relatives of the Ondo Perez clan, as well as provincial officials of Agusan del Sur led by Gov. Maria Valentina Plaza, the Regional Director of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP), barangays officials, and military and police officers having jurisdiction over the areas where the killings occurred.

Explaining the rationale for the public inquiry, CHR Chairperson De Lima said “After further follow up investigations in the wake of the Dec. 10, 2009 incident perpetrated by the Ondo Perez Gang, we are certain that the abduction was only a strand in a greater scheme of impunity, criminality and violence gripping Agusan del Sur.”

Reports from informants and from the CHR regional office in CARAGA show that the Ondo Perez Gang is not only the criminal group operating in the province, and is not the only group perpetrating many crimes, including murder. De Lima remarked, “ The killings in Agusan are related to warring tribal groups or factions. It certainly does not help the situation any when the military and police appear to be pitting one indigenous peoples faction against the other.”

It can be recalled that members of the Ondo Perez Gang lamented that their rivals were not being pursued for criminal activities, yet only their group was the subject of the police manhunt that ended with abduction of several civilians, including children.

“ This is a crucial detail in uncovering the true circumstances of peace and order in Agusan, particularly on the conduct of law enforcement,” De Lima added.

Not only does it bode unfavorably for the police and military, but it corroborates long-held suspicions that clan-related violence is sanctioned by law enforcement agencies. There is this suspicion that they are pitting armed group against each other. For what purpose, we are not sure.
But we do know that it perpetuates the string of killings in Agusan Del Sur.”

From the records of the CHR-CARAGA Office, there are at least 18 extrajudicial killings that are almost certainly related to the clan wars in Agusan del Sur.

On these murders, De Lima said “ These killings are definitely part of the puzzle, and that is why we are not narrowing the investigation into the abduction incident or even the Ondo Perez faction. There are more personalities involved, more human rights violations occurring in Agusan del Sur, and therefore, a more complex problem for peace and security in the province requiring a comprehensive solution. Finding a complete and thoughtful sulotion is the purpose of this inquiry, and we must begin with culling all the information that is available.”

The CHR Chairperson, Leila De Lima and Commissioner Jose Manuel Mamauag, the focal Commissioner for CARAGA, will lead the inquiry. (CHR/PIA-Caraga) 
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Cebuano News: Dugang patrol cars sa PNP Caraga, gitunol
By Mike A. Imbo

BUTUAN CITY ( 25 January) – Ang Police Regional Office sa PNP Caraga gidu-aw ni Police Deputy Director General Geary Barias aron sa pagpahigayon sa blessing ug turn-over sa dugang mga patrol cars ngadto sa nagkalain-laing mga probinsya sa rehiyon sa Caraga, didto sa Camp Rafael Rodriguez, Libertad, ning dakbayan, dili pa lang dugay.

Ang programa gisugdan sa usa ka Flag Raising Ceremony nga gipanguluhan ni PCSUPT Lino Calingasan, PNP Caraga Regional Director uban sa hugpong sa kwerpo sa kapulisan lukop probinsya.

Human niana, mipahigayon ang hugpong sa kapulisan sa usa ka “pass in review” nga gisaksihan sa nagkadaiyang partisipante gikan sa probinsyal ug lokal nga kagamhanan, apil sab ang mga opisyales sa regional agencies, grupo sa mga tri-media ug uban pa, didto sa hawanan sa ilang kampo.

Si Deputy Regional Director for Administration PCSUPT Nelson Nario, ang mapasalamaton sa iyang bahin atol sa iyang mensahe lambigit sa dugang pasilidad nga matod pa makatabang kini sa paspas nga pag-responde ug epektibong serbisyo publiko sa kinatibuk-ang operasyon sa kapulisan.

Si Gen. Barias ang misulti nga "the patrol cars are strictly for use during operations and official’s mandate". Hugot nga gipaabot sa opisyal nga gamiton lamang ang behikulo alang sa operasyon ug mobilisasyon.

Dugang ni Gen. Barias, gikinahanglan ang kredibilidad, pagpatuman sa balaod, aktibong pulis nga musubay sa bisyon ug misyon alang sa usa ka matinod-anong public servant sa komunidad.

Sa miaging semana, mibisita sab si Chief PNP Gen. Jesus Versoza sa rehiyon sa Caraga alang sa gilusad nga Integrated Transformation Program (ITP) diin nauna na nga gitunol ang patrol Toyota Hi-Lux ug mga radio equipment device.

Ang gibubu nga pundo alang sa kapulisan ang tipik sa modernization program sa Philippine National Police sa nasud. (PIA-Caraga)


New DENR chief reshuffles senior staff, field personnel  

BUTUAN CITY (12 January) - Newly-designated Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Eleazar Quinto issued a series of directives designating new assignments for the Department’s senior officials but also those of field officials.

“The reassignment of officials is part of DENR’s organizational development consistent with Executive Order No. 192, which reorganized the DENR in 1988,” Quinto said.

He also explained that the reorganization is intended to fast track priority programs of the present administration under President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo for the next remaining six months of her term.

Quinto is optimistic that his new management team, designated prior to the election ban, can deliver, stressing that their selection was based on performance.

“I believe that this management team with redefined tasks can deliver. Failure on their part to meet the standards of performance set before them will be dealt with accordingly,” Quinto stressed.

He added that with the new team, he expressed optimism for a more effective environmental governance, not only in the enforcement of environmental laws but more so in engaging the public in conservation efforts with the DENR personnel serving as environment multipliers. 

Under Special Order No. 5 and 10, dated January 7 and 8, 2010 respectively, the following senior and regional officials were designated as follows:

Manuel Gerochi - Undersecretary for Policy, Planning and Project Management;
Teresita Samson Castillo - Undersecretary for Management and Technical Services; Demetrio Ignacio - Undersecretary for Special Constituency and External Affairs; Regidor de Leon - OIC Asst. Secretary for Field Operations, Luzon; Jeremias Dolino - Asst. Secretary for Field Operations, Visayas; Ernesto Adobo, Jr. - OIC Asst. Secretary for Field Operations, Mindanao; Corazon Davis - OIC Asst. Secretary for Administration and Finance; Mark Allan Yambao - Asst. Secretary for Sectoral and Inter-agency Networking; Agustin Javellana - OIC Asst. Secretary for Legal Affairs

The newly-designated Regional Executive Directors are as follows: Clarence Baguilat - Cordillera Administrative Region; Samuel Peñafiel - Region 1 (Ilocos Region); Benjamin Tumaliuan - Region 2 (Cagayan Valley); Vicente Paragas - Region 4B (MIMAROPA); Julian Amador - Region 6 (Western Visayas); Arleigh Adorable - Region 9 (Western Mindanao); Maximo Dichoso - Region 10 (Northern Mindanao).
 
The newly-designated Bureau Directors and Assistant Directors are as follows:

Marcial C. Amaro, Jr. - Director, Ecosystem Research and Development Bureau; Juan Miguel T. Cuna - OIC Director, Environment Management Bureau; Carlos J. Magno - Regional Director, EMB Region 2; Loremelyn E. Claudio - Regional Director, EMB Region 3; Alan C. Aranguez - OIC, Regional Director EMB 7; Allan V. Barcena - OIC, Director Land Management Bureau; Ralph C. Pablo - OIC Asst. Director, Land Management Bureau; Daniel M. Nicer - OIC Director, Administrative Services, DENR CO; Meriam M. Marcelo - OIC Chief, Personnel Division, DENR CO.


New group formed to protect the vast forest resources within the expired tenurial instrument of PICOP Resources Inc.
By Eric F. Gallego 

BUTUAN CITY – Various agencies from the national and local government, the military and the police and environmentalists have formed a group called “Bantay Kabuhatan Alpha” over the weekend to strengthen their commitment in the protection of the vast forest resources within the expired tenurial instruments of the PICOP Resources Inc. (PRI).

The move is contained in the Memorandum of Agreement which was facilitated by the Caraga Conference for Peace and Development (CCPD) and signed by 25 different stakeholders at a simple ceremony held at the residence of Butuan City Bishop Diocese Bishop Juan de Dios Pueblos on Friday, January 15, 2010. 

In his report to DENR Secretary Eleazar P. Quinto, the DENR Regional Executive Director for Caraga Region Edilberto S. Buiser said the commitment of the 25 stakeholders was necessary in order to protect the vast forest and other natural resources inside the 179,582- hectare expired tenurial instrument of the PRI against timber poachers, illegal loggers, illegal miners , and informal settlers and squatters.  

The different agencies which have manifested its support through the Memorandum of Agreement are the DENR headed by Regional Executive Director Edilberto S. Buiser, Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) under Regional Director Atty. Rene K. Burdeos, Department of Justice (DOJ) represented by Regional State Prosecutor Atty. Horacio C. Gonzaga, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) under Regional Director Brielgo O. Pagaran , the National Commission of the Indigenous Peoples (NCIP ) Regional Director Atty. Jose Dumagan, Jr, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) , Regional Director Carmencita S. Cochingco, the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) led by Regional Director Atty. Marylin M. Pintor, Philippine Information Agency (PIA) under Regional Director Abner M. Caga, the Philippine Army Commanding Officer Col Augusto L Tolentino, 401st Infantry Brigade, 4th Infantry (Diamond) Division, Philippine Army, Philippine National Police under Regional Director PC Supt. Lino D.G. Calingasan, the Mayor of Bislig City Alberto Tan, Mayor Arturo Ronquillo of Barobo, Mayor Candelario Viola, Jr. of Hinatuan, Mayor Roberto Luna, Jr. of Lingig, Mayor Donell Polizon of Tagbina all in Surigao del Sur and Governor Vicente Pimentel, the Mayors of Agusan del Sur namely Mayor Emiliano Rodriguez of Rosario, Gilbert Elorde of Bunawan , Irinea Hitgano of Trento ,Carl Elias C. Lademora of San Francisco , Governor Ma. Valentina Plaza, Congressmen Forencio Garay , 2nd District of Surigao del Sur and Rodolfo Rodrigo Plaza of Agusan del Sur and the Kalihukan Bantay Kabuhatan, Inc. represented by Parish Priest Fr. Florio R. Falcon.

CCPD Convenor Bishop Juan de Dios Pueblos said there is a need to organize the Bantay Kabuhatan Alpha to assist the illegal activities inside the former concession areas of PICOP that also cover part of the provinces of Agusan del Sur, Surigao del Sur, Davao Oriental and Compostella Valley.  

 The Kalihukan Bantay Kabuhatan Inc., a non-government organization based in Bislig City said “the task of safeguarding the area in the hands of one agency had become difficult due to the presence of armed men engaged in illegal activities, hence there is a need to address the problem”.

The DENR has also expressed its concern over the aesthetic and natural beauty of Tinuy-an Falls in the area where a couple of Philippine Eagles have been reportedly sighted. “We must preserve and protect all biodiversities in the area from human pressures by all means”, Director Buiser said. 

Based on the MOA, the DENR shall lead in the implementation of law enforcement and protection strategies and coordinate with the line agencies and non-government sectors on matters pertaining to law enforcement and forest protection in the area. 

The DENR shall also provide data, information, resources and other forms of support to its “co-members” of the Bantay Kabuhatan Alpha to effectively carry out the law enforcement and forest monitoring activities. 

The DENR Regional Technical Director (RTD) for Forestry Ali M.Bari has expressed his appreciation over the signing of the MOA saying “the DENR is very grateful to the CCPD and the different stakeholders for their support in protecting the forest resources at the former concession areas of the PICOP”. 

He said this is the only place in the country where an organization like CCPD is at the forefront of the environment sustainable development which is important in making the mission of the DENR light and easy”. (Eric F. Gallego, DENR-13/ PIA-Caraga)