PIA News Service - Friday, February 26, 2010

US ecologist urges Filipinos to help mitigate climate change

By: Robert E. Roperos

BUTUAN CITY (26 February) – An ecologist from the United States of America urged Butuanons and all Filipinos to help in mitigating climate change and to adopt the impact brought by it.

This is the call of Dr. Laura Schmitt Olabisi, an ecological modeler with experience using system dynamics, statistical, spatial, and participatory modeling techniques, during the Climate Change and Sustainability forum held Thursday, February 25 at Father Saturnino Urios University (FSUU) AVR-2.

According to Dr. Olabisi, the use of modern technology is a big contributor to the climate change. “That is why all of us must find solution to this problem. And through planting and preserving trees and our environment in general, we can help in mitigating the effects of climate change,” she said.

Olabisi also differentiate climate change’s mitigation from adaptation. She said, adaptation is preparing and adjusting to the effects brought by climate change while mitigating prevents severe effects of climate change by reducing green house gases. “Stopping global warming is not just about avoiding effects that could be undone but we must first adopt to the effects brought by it,” she added.

Meanwhile, Dr. Olabisi cited Costa Rica’s plan to be a “carbon-neutral” country. She said, this will be achieved through planting trees and getting electricity from wind mills – or the so-called “Wind Power”.

When asked what to do to mitigate climate change, she said reducing emissions is one of the best solutions. This can be achieved by walking or biking instead of using vehicles, reduce aircondition usage, turning-off lights and appliances when not in use, install solar panels, and buy a hybrid car.

Olabisi further reiterated the importance of planting trees, stop cutting trees, and to implement sustainable agriculture.

The ecologist also recommended ways for the people to adopt the effects brought by climate change. She said that people should prepare for human and animal migration. Reducing human impacts on ecological system especially the most vulnerable such as rainforest, coral reefs, and mangroves must also be considered.

The government should also find ways to develop capacity of poor and vulnerable people and communities – may it be in skills, health-related, livelihood opportunities, and the like, she said.

Furthermore, Dr. Olabisi recommended that every individual should develop its ability to respond to new information. “Having all of these, we could easily adopt to the effects brought about by climate change,” Olabisi said.

Dr. Schmitt-Olabisi is an assistant professor of Michigan State University, jointly with the Department of Community, Agriculture, Recreation, and Resource Studies, and the Environmental Science and Policy Program. She is interested in how models can be used to enhance systemic understanding for tackling the critical sustainability issues of today.

Currently, she is working on research projects around upland development in the Philippines, land use decision-making in Minnesota, and climate change and the bioeconomy in Michigan. She has also taught ecology and environmental science classes at the high school, college, and graduate level. (PIA-Caraga)


For the upcoming Women’s Month Celebration
GADCC-Caraga to highlight women’s achievements, empowerment

By: Robert E. Roperos

BUTUAN CITY (26 February) – The Gender and Development Coordinating Council (GADCC) of Caraga Region will highlight women’s achievements during the Women’s Month Celebration to be celebrated every month of March.

In a written statement sent to PIA, GADCC-Caraga Chairperson and Commission on Human Rights (CHR)-Caraga Regional Director Atty. Marilyn M. Pintor said, the Women’s Month Celebration served as a venue to highlight women’s achievements and discuss continuing and emerging women’s empowerment and gender equality issues and concerns, challenges and commitments.

Dir. Pintor also said, the regional celebration focuses on concrete activities that are aligned with national and international instruments and treaties such as the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, the Beijing Platform for Action, the Millennium Development Goals (2000-2015), the Philippine Plan for Gender-Responsive Development (1995-2025), and the Framework Plan for Women.

This year’s theme “Babae, Tagumpay ka ng Bayan,” highlights women’s achievement in paving the way for women’s advancement and empowerment amidst major challenges. (PIA-Caraga)


BFP-Caraga to lead observance of Fire Prevention Month

By: Michael A. Imbo

BUTUAN CITY (26 February)
- The Bureau of Fire Protection Caraga Region is set for the observance of the fire prevention month which will kick-off Monday (March 01) with stakeholders from the government and non-government sectors participating the motorcade.

Also, different fire stations of Agusan del Norte, as well as volunteer fire brigades are also expected to join the motorcade.

In a written statement sent to PIA, SSupt. Warlito Daus, BFP-Caraga Regional Director said, the activity will also highlight a thanksgiving mass which will be held at this city’s Rizal Park at 7:00 o’ clock in the morning before the motorcade.

“A short program will also take place after the motorcade which features exciting presentations. The program will also highlight the Keynote Speech of one of the city’s councilors – Hon. Salvador S. Calo,” he said.

Meanwhile, BFP-Caraga officials will also take the opportunity to meet the local media in a press conference and discuss the prevailing issues and concerns on fire prevention.

According to Dir. Daus, the annual advocacy aims to foster cooperation, commitment and linkages as forefront in public safety service which is the main focus of the Fire department.

The whole month of March every year is being observed as the fire prevention month pursuant to Presidential Proclamation 115-A, which was signed on Nov. 17, 1967 by then president Ferdinand Marcos.

This year’s celebration is anchored on the theme: “Sustaining Fire Prevention through Active Community Participation.” (PIA-Caraga)


Pilar CeC gears up to be an island ICT hub

By: Melody Cocon

Mayor Lucio Gonzales is delighted to have Pilar, one of the towns in the island of Siargao, Surigao del Norte, as one of the Community eCenter (CeC) beneficiaries for this year. The town’s selection means a great deal to its constituents. Pilar has no Internet café or facilities in the area. With the CeC Program, however, Mayor Gonzales anticipates it to significantly affect his constituent’s lives, particularly their education through ICT.

The town of Pilar is known as the Game Fishing Capital of the Philippines because of its famous Magpupungko Beach, visited by both local and international tourists. When these tourists ask where and how they can connect to the Internet while they are in Pilar, the answer was always the same: Go to Dapa, an hour away from Pilar.

Facing this dilemma, Mayor Gonzales set about to look for an Internet service provider to have their local government unit connected online, not only for the benefit of the tourists but also for all Pilar residents. What he found was the CeC Program, and the rest is history.

During the 5th Knowledge Exchange Conference on CeCs last year, Mayor Lucio Gonzales formally signed the Memorandum of Agreement for the establishment of the CeC. Following this, an orientation was conducted at Pilar’s Sangguniang Bayan Session Hall on February 11, 2010 by Melody Cocon, the Regional IT Coordinator for CARAGA.

Pilar’s top priority after deployment of the CeC equipment will be the training on basic computing for all LGU employees, with the students slated to be the next target.

Now able to offer ICT services in their own town, Pilar CeC is ready to make a big impact in their tourism and most importantly, in the lives of all Pilarnons.


Montinola Info Center turns 1

By: Melody Cocon

Montinola Information Center is a fulfilled promise to the local people of Nasipit, Agusan del Norte. The project was envisioned by Mayor Roy Orlando D. Doyon for local residents and students to gain access to various books and publications as well as knowledge and information of every kind.

The project was inaugurated last January 19, 2009, making it officially a year old. The building that houses the center is named after the Montinola family who donated the land on which it stands.

At present, the center boasts of an air-conditioned facility with sixteen computers connected to the Internet, different selections of books and magazines, a separate book section for little ones aged eight and below, an audio-visual room for film showing which also doubles as a conference room, and a receiving area.

The center operates from Monday to Saturday except during holidays. On weekdays, the center is open from 9:00am to 7:30pm and from 9:00am is open until 5:00pm on Saturdays. The center has a staff complement 5 personnel who operate the center without noon break on work days.

Those wanting to avail of the center’s services will have to register and apply for a membership cum library card. To be eligible to apply, one must be seven years old and above and with a valid identification card. The registration fee is P30.00 for elementary students and P50.00 for high-school and college students as well as other adult users. Membership is renewable annually and card replacement costs P50.00.

Workstations are available for use for an hour a day per user to be able to accommodate more clients. As an added service feature, anyone may request to use the center as an activity or training venue depending on availability. For instance, Mr. Jack Alingasa, a resident, conducts free training and seminars to fellow residents at the center.


Algeria CeC: Taking the first steps towards excellence

By: Melody Cocon

Even before learning of the Philippine Community eCenter (CeC) Program, Mayor Dominador G. Esma, Jr. had already planned to set up an e-library for the municipality of Alegria. When he got the news about the CeC Program, he did not think twice about accepting the invitation to host a CeC in their municipality. To date, Alegria is the only mainland CeC recipient in Surigao del Norte.

After signing the Memorandum of Agreement during the Cagayan de Oro leg of Convergence 2009, an orientation was conducted for Alegria on February 8, 2010 at the municipality’s function hall. The orientation was attended by forty-three participants from various sectors to include heads of offices, barangay officials, core group and SB members and other key municipal officials.

The orientation was designed to tackle the different questions the participants had about the CeC Program. Alegria’s orientation discussed the program, what it is all about, the key players, the roles and responsibilities of the municipality as CeC recipient host, the packages they are entitled to, the services they can offer and how the local government unit (LGU) can benefit from the CeC.

“With Internet technology, we can actually offer many services,” says CeC Manager Ryan T. Abarico.

One of the presentations that caught the interest of the participants was the success stories of other CeCs. Seeing these CeCs successful and thriving gave Alegria the encouragement to start their own CeC by applying what they think would be worthy and helpful for their fellow citizens.

“We have to be at par with others when it comes to technology, or else we will be left behind,” Mayor Esma concludes.


BIR Caraga implements 10 strategies to increase revenue in 2010

By: Jocelyn E. Morano, Radyo ng Bayan-Butuan

BUTUAN CITY – The Bureau of Internal Revenue has launched 10 strategies to intensify tax campaign activities for 2010 and identified 3 priority areas, 16 programs and 108 activities and projects that will push BIR to attain its successes for the current year.

BIR Regional Director Atty. Eduardo Bajador has announced, the biggest bulk of their collection which accounts 50.23% comes from the Income Tax, followed by revenues on value-added tax at 33.69%.

Comparatively, the collection for 2009 has exceeded 4.18% with that from 2008, as BIR Caraga obtained more than 2.1 million in 2009 compared to only 1.8million in 2008.

This year, BIR Caraga have adopted the theme: “Making the Public Know” that aptly reflects the thrust of pursuing a high visibility of communication to all stakeholders of BIR’s tax administration activities and initiatives that also highlights the transparency policy that the BIR will be vigorously promoting.

“These directions will help in improving the voluntary compliance of taxpayers as they become aware of the activities of the BIR and more information on the tax compliance requirements,” emphasized Atty. Bajador.

This year, to help meet tax collection targets Revenue Region No. 17 (BIR Caraga) has announced its 10 strategies to include: high visibility public awareness campaign on the enforcement and service programs, integrated approach in administering the large taxpayers, re-invigorating the Run After Tax Evaders (RATE) Program, enhanced and strategic enforcement approaches, focus of big ticket items, more rigorous third party matching campaign, expanded linkage with key institutions, effective partnership with taxpayers and tax practitioners, close monitoring and investment incentive programs and motivating the BIR workforce.

The BIR Caraga-region oversees the revenue collections efforts of four regional district offices, namely: Butuan-RD 103, RD 104 -Bayugan, Agusan del Sur; RD 105 Surigao and RD 106 -Tandag, Surigao del Sur.

Audit and investigation as an effective tool in the collection and payment of taxes through conduct of quality audit of selected taxpayers for 2009 generated a total collection and assessment amounting to almost 50million and more than 86.3M assessment with RDO103 topping the list having a collection of 24,303,665 pesos, and 7,137,035 assessment followed by RDO106 with 8,990,563 and more than 9.1million assessment.

Revenue Region 17 or the BIR Caraga assigned collection goal for 2010 in the amount of more than 2.494 million pesos and hopes to collect 1.231M in income tax and 825 thousand for value added tax.

"The increased collections every year not only helped our district target but also boosted the region's target collection. The tax collection performance is largely due to the ongoing tax education and information campaign coupled with the various measures and strategies being implemented by every district revenue offices in the region aimed to exceed their respective target collection goals," said BIR Regional Director Atty. Eduardo Bajador.


Governors, Mayors vow to support new KALAHI-CIDSS areas in Caraga Region

Two of Caraga Region’s Provincial Governors supported the newly-launched KALAHI-CIDSS:KKB Project and committed some amount of their Provincial Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) as counterpart contribution to this DSWD-implemented flagship anti-poverty project.

Mayor Bonifacio Ondona of Cagwait Surigao del Sur reported during the Project’s launching and orientation on February 22, 2010 that Provincial Governor Vicente Pimentel has allocated almost P1 M to help fund community projects in the area.

“With this amount from the Provincial Government and with our own municipal cash counterpart, we can assure you of our efficient and effective KALAHI-CIDSS implementation, “ the mayor said adding that despite the election period, “politics won’t be a hindrance to our success.”

Meanwhile, Agusan del Sur Provincial Board Member Sammy Tortor, who represented Governor Ma. Valentina Plaza, announced that the lady governor committed more than P1.3 M for Veruela’s implementation of this pro-poor program.

Veruela is the second municipality in the region to make it in the 16-town KALAHI-CIDSS expansion in the country.

Board Member Tortor said that it was the request of Governor Plaza to especially insert the KALAHI counterpart contribution to the already approved 2009 budget, “to avoid delays in the release of funds,” he said.


EAGER LCE’s

Thankful to DSWD for the inclusion of Veruela in the KALAHI-CIDSS expansion, Mayor Salimar T. Mondejar has high hopes that the Project will “shift” his impoverished town into a “progressive municipality.”

Mayor Mondejar further said that, “with KALAHI-CIDSS’ Community-Driven Development processes, the old attitude of the people will be gradually changed as “development calls for moral revolution.”

Even during the early talks in October 2009 between DSWD and the MLGU, Veruela’s local chief executive has consistently been showing enthusiasm in availing KALAHI-CIDSS. Like the case of Cagwait, Veruela also complied all the requirements like Sanggunian Bayan resolutions for the Memorandum of Agreement between DSWD and MLGU, and enrolling for the Project despite the unclear picture of whether the Provincial Government will or will not help them with the cash counterpart.

Mayor Ondona, on the other hand, has been writing the DSWD office in Caraga since 2007 of their desire to benefit from the KALAHI-CIDSS Project. It can be noted that the Project has been implemented in their neighboring towns of Bayabas, Marihatag and Tagbina in 2006 – 2009.

“It is always refreshing to see government officials who are very supportive and appreciative of the projects we offer them,” says DSWD Director Mercedita P. Jabagat. “We recommended these two towns not just because they passed the criteria and the selection process, but more of their willingness to avail of the Project,” she further added.

DSWD Assistant Regional Director and Project Manager Mita Gupana – Lim also noted this enthusiasm saying that, “implementation is always successful with both the MLGU’s executive and legislative bodies’ unified support.”

Cagwait and Veruela were chosen as part of the KALAHI-CIDSS expansion because of: 1) it is a Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) area; 2) it is a “new KALAHI-CIDSS” area; and 3) has a poverty incident of 52% and above. (DSWD-13
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