2.24.2010

PIA News service - Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2010

100,000 farmers start experiencing the effect of El Nino phenomenon in Mindanao

BUTUAN CITY (February 24) - At least 100,000 farmers in Northern, Central and Southern Mindanao regions including some parts in Northeastern Mindanao (Caraga region) have the reason to worry due to El Nino phenomenon.

The El Nino phenomenon has taken its toll in several parts in the southern island, not necessarily drying its farmlands, but reducing the harvest of thousands of farmers, most of them corn farmers so far.

The Department of Agriculture (DA), through its Regional and Provincial Agriculture Offices (RAO-PAO), is closely monitoring this current development on dry spell caused by the El Nino, including North Cotabato province.

At least P134 million were reportedly destroyed due to the effect of the El Nino phenomenon in North Cotabato.

The DA-PAO report in that province stated that some 4,643 hectares of rice field and 8,900 hectares of corn lands were badly affected due to dry spell.

At least seven towns and Kidapawan City all of North Cotabato province were affected by dry spell since January this year, DA-PAO report added.

Farmers in Caraga region, Surigao del Sur, Agusan del Sur and Agusan del Norte including Surigao del Norte and Dinagat Islands are already experiencing the effect of El Nino phenomenon.

However, DA officials on Tuesday assured the farmers that the government has already prepared a contingency plan to help the farmers on the effects of the El Nino phenomenon.

In Bukidnon province, based on latest figures released by the PAO office, at least 5,893 or nearly 10 percent of Bukidnon's estimated 60,000 farmers, most of them corn farmers experienced reduced harvest in the last cropping.

Bukidnon PAO report clarified the harvest dropped 10 to 15 percent as of last week.

In terms of land area, the reduced harvest was observed in close to 14,000 hectares of farmlands, based on the partial report on area by commodity, which the PAO submitted to the DA central office.

PAO reported that of the close to 6,000 farmers affected, 5,192 were corn farmers; 578 were rice farmers, and 123 were farming vegetables, legumes and cassava.

In land area, affected corn farmers own the biggest with 12,980 hectares or about 13 percent of the estimated 100,000 hectares planted to corn in the province.

But the PAO considers rice farmers as the ones who will be adversely affected.

They estimated that of the around 867 hectares of rice farms in Quezon town, 575 hectares have had reduced harvest due to lesser water in the irrigation.

Bukidnon PAO agriculturists estimate the reduction in volume if the rains do not come sooner.

They added that yield from Bukidnon’s 37,000 hectares of irrigated rice farms in the dry season from September to March will be cut from 120,000 metric tons to only 60,000 metric tons.

Meanwhile, Davao region gets a part of the P52-million budget set aside by the Department of Agriculture intended for the cloud seeding activities as a mitigating measure for El Nino losses.

Mindanao being the “food basket” of the Philippines is closely monitored this time and mitigating measures as well as long-term interventions are being poured in the said area.

Farmers in Zamboanga Peninsula are now being enrolled under the Department of Social Welfare and Development’s food aid program, farmers in Northern Mindanao are also closely being monitored including their water source which is supposed to be on a 24-hour basis.

The RFU in Davao Region has started master-listing farmers eligible for the DSWD food assistance while SOCCSKARGEN has started distributing 800 bags of hybrid corn seeds to affected farmers and 1,300 bags of certified seed for flash-flood affected farmers.(muc/PIA-Caraga)

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14 hurt in Surigao del Norte road accident

SURIGAO CITY (February 24) – At least 14 persons were critically injured when a passenger jeep accidentally flipped over into the highway Sunday morning at Sitio Iba, Barangay Datu, Pilar town, Surigao del Norte, police reported Tuesday.

Police identified the victims as Edelito Salvalosa Magallanes, 26; Vilma Barbero Dulpina, 31; Bebelinda Longos Cariaga, 41; Almie Literato Mendoza, 11; Roshelmay Quiachon Penson, 12; Bernadette Culdora Literato, 28; Catalina Virtudez Estoque; 50; Clarita Anora Murilla, 65; Feredevel Nodalo Rubianes, 17; Angelo Gazo Solloso, 15;Lucina Golandrina Conado, 78;Lovely Lobapes Ocon, 19; Rosalinda Sulapas Camingue, 65; and Jackson Salvalosa Escanilla, 21, all of Surigao del Norte province.

The victims were immediately rushed to Dapa District Hospital for medical treatment.

The driver of the ill-fated jeepney is now temporarily detained at Pilar Municipal Police Station while criminal charges are being prepared for filing in court.

Police said that the passenger jeep (LYB 752), driven by Joey Dulguime, resident of Sitio Caridad, Barangay Datu, Pilar town of that same province, while traveling from Poblacion Pilar heading towards Dapa town reportedly encountered mechanical defect and losses control and flipped over into the highway, resulting in the injuries of the passengers.

Meanwhile, Chief Supt. Lino D. Calingasan, regional director of Police Regional Office 13 ordered on Tuesday the provincial police director in Surigao del Norte to submit his comprehensive report on the said road accident as Mayor Peter Ruaya was asking a thorough investigation on the said incident. (muc/PIA-Caraga)

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AFP troops find planted anti-tank, anti-personnel landmines in Surigao del Sur road

LIANGA, Surigao del Sur (February 24) - Combat troops of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Tuesday afternoon found planted anti-tank and anti-personnel landmines along the road of Purok 3 in Barangay (village) Banahao, Lianga town, Surigao del Sur province, a ground army commander reported Wednesday.

Lt. Col. Dennis Godfrey Gammad, commanding officer of the 36th Infantry Battalion, said the landmines were discovered after village folks reported of bombs allegedly planted by the communist-New People’s Army (NPA) rebels along the road in Banahao area.

“Our Task Force Intelligence Platoon immediately conducted covert operation to verify the information and it turned out positive,” said Col. Gammad.

The battalion commander immediately mobilized his bomb disposal experts to dug up the planted landmines.

He said if not for the full cooperation of the villagers, several innocent civilians and peace-keeping soldiers will be again victim of this alleged “barbaric acts” of the communists.

The anti-tank and anti-personnel landmines were brought to the headquarters of the 401st Infantry (Unite n’ Fight) Brigade in Tago town of that same province for safekeeping, he said.

Maj. Gen. Mario F. Chan, commanding general of the Army’s Fourth Infantry (Diamond) Division commended elements of 36th IB for the discovery of several landmines in Lianga area. (muc/PIA-Caraga)

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145 prov’l capitol employees undergo computer training in Lanao del Norte

TUBOD, Lanao del Norte (February 24) - At least 145 employees from various departments who lack the basic computer skills underwent a two-day training early this week on basic computer programs, particularly in Microsoft Word, Excel and Power Point at the provincial capitol in Tubod, Lanao del Norte.

The provincial government is making available this computer skills program to the employees to further increase the efficiency of the provincial government in the delivery of basic services.

Gov. Khalid Q. Dimaporo said knowledge and skills in computer is a vital tool in keeping everyone abreast of the latest trends and advances in technology.

He said computer knowledge is also very crucial as the province is making wave in the industrial market, sports, agriculture, tourism and fishing business.

“One does not have to be a computer genius to learn the basics of computer since computer nowadays are already designed to be user-friendly," he noted.

The computer literacy program of the provincial government also seeks to provide the employees with the basic knowledge and skill on computer use through introducing them to common computer softwares.

Through this program, the participants were exposed to the hows of computer work and operation, added Gov. Dimaporo.

The program is in line with the Provincial Government’s Vision 2020 which aims to develop Lanao del Norte into a globally competitive province.

Trainings such as the computer literacy program were conceptualized by the visionary governor of Lanao Del Norte who is in full support of the human development programs of the province. (muc/PIA-Caraga)

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Agusan del Norte posts P505.17-M budget for 2010

CABADBARAN CITY, Agusan del Norte (February 24) - The provincial government of Agusan del Norte posted P505.18 million budget for calendar year 2010.

The provincial government’s budget is up by 13 percent this year as evidenced by the recently approved Provincial Ordinance No. 263-2009, known as the Annual Appropriation Ordinance of the province of Agusan del Norte for fiscal year 2010.

The budget will be used to fund the provinces operation, maintenance and other support services anchoring mainly on its share of the Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) from the national government as source of income.

For 2010, the province’s IRA is figured at P453.8 million with an increase of 15 percent compared to last year. This represents 90 percent of the total income.

Other sources of income are: hospital fees which represents five percent of the revenue, local taxes which is two and three percent for operating and miscellaneous revenue.

For expenditures, 36 percent shall be funded for economic services; 27 percent for health, nutrition and population; 25 percent for general services; and seven percent for social security and welfare, while five percent is reserved for calamity.

Also, allocated budget for the operation and maintenance of the Provincial Economic Enterprise Development and Management Office (PEEDMO) has increased by 8.03 percent or P12.29 million.

Agusan del Norte Gov. Erlpe John M. Amante on Wednesday said the 2010 budget was prepared after thorough deliberation with concerned offices and departments to make it an effective tool to equitably allocate the limited resources to different service categories.

He said it is primarily aimed for a higher and sustainable economic growth through reduction of income disparities, enrichment of social and cultural values, self-sufficiency in food through the agricultural programs, social justice, ecological and environmental enhancement and protection, security through protective services support, coupled with a more vigorous thrust in infrastructure development through national assistance.

“These budgets manifest our determination to lay a strong foundation for a greater and progressive Agusan del Norte,” said the provincial chief executive.

Amante added the provincial government is aiming more and big income this year following the influx of new businesses such as mining industry and agriculture.

He further added that the provincial government is offering tax holidays to all new investors in the province. (muc/PIA-Caraga)

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18 towns in Caraga region eyed as beneficiary of expanded KALAHI-CIDSS 2 program

BUTUAN CITY (February 24) - The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) announced on Tuesday the inclusion of 18 towns in the Caraga region as beneficiary of the expanded “Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (KALAHI-CIDSS)" this year.

Region XIII Regional Director Mercedita P. Jabagat made the announcement during the DSWD 59th founding anniversary celebration of the department on Tuesday with the theme “DSWD: Kaagapay at Gabay sa Kinabukasan” at DSWD Caraga Conference Hall here.

Jabagat said these 18 towns are mostly located in the provinces of Agusan del Sur, Surigao del Sur and Surigao del Norte.

She said the negotiations on the additional funding of US$ 104 million from the World Bank and US$ 140 million from the Millennium Challenge Corporation will take place next week, which will help cover additional KALAHI-CIDSS areas nationwide.

Because of the success of the KALAHI-CIDSS program, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo late last year ordered the expansion of the KALAHI-CIDSS areas nationwide.

“We are still continuing evaluating these areas that so far has been identified as beneficiaries of the KALAHI-CIDSS Part 2, Director Jabagat added.

Concurrently, the DSWD Caraga is implementing KALAHI-CIDSS: “Kapangyarihan at Kaunlaran sa Barangay” (KKB) in 20 barangays in Veruela town, Agusan del Sur province and 11 barangays in Cagwait town, Surigao del Norte province.

Since 2003 up to 2009, the KALAHI-CIDSS program-Makamasang Tugon (MT) have already served at least 63,440 household beneficiaries and released total project cost of P340.06 million to the far-flung towns spread all over Caraga region.

KALAHI-CIDSS is one of the Arroyo administration’s flagship poverty alleviation programs implemented by the DSWD.

It is currently being implemented in 184 towns and 42 provinces nationwide. The program is also part of the Medium Term Development Plan which is funded through a loan from the World Bank and from other national and local government funds.

KALAHI-CIDSS specializes in community development where communities are made key decision-makers on livelihood and community projects.

Meanwhile, Jabagat also announced on Tuesday the projected target beneficiaries this year in the Caraga region for the Set 3 program of the “Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program” or 4Ps.

She said at least 6,516 potential household beneficiaries so far had been identified in 17 municipalities and two cities in the Caraga region.

“Identification, evaluation and registration of potential household beneficiaries is already going on,” she added.

4Ps program is another flagship project of the national government on poverty reduction and social development. It provides cash grants to the extremely poor households to improve their health, nutrition and education, particularly children aged zero to 14.

The program also invests in human capital to break the intergenerational cycle of poverty among households.

In the 4Ps Set 1 and Set 2 project in 2009, the DSWD Caraga has already released cash grants to more than P423.4 million, added Jabagat.

In a related development, the DSWD in region 10 has launched early this week the "Project Helpline," a telephone hotline created solely to respond on inquiries on Republic Act 9344 also known as the "Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act of 2006," and to help callers handle cases of children in conflict with the law (CICL).

The aim of the project Helpline is to advocate RA 9344 and to encourage the public in reporting cases of abuse against a child in conflict with the law.

Despite the civic groups' negative comments on RA 9344, the social welfare department has strongly been advocating the law to minimize maltreatments and injustices caused against CICLs whose cases are still in due process.

"There are still children out there who are still placed in jails together with adult offenders thereby exposing them to manipulation, physical, verbal and sexual harassment and abuse," said DSWD 10 Regional Director Atty. Araceli F. Solamillo.

Solamillo added the DSWD is doing everything it can to protect them from the brutal experience.

"Through RA 9344, the children are separated from adult offenders and are given psychosocial interventions such as counseling, skills training, education, and other activities which will enhance his or her psychological, emotional and psycho-social well-being." (muc/PIA-Caraga)

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Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse and Exploitation Week observed in Caraga

BUTUAN CITY – The Department of Social Welfare and Development Caraga Region led the observance of the 14th National Awareness Week for the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse and Exploitation on February 8-14, 2010.

The observance, according to Dir. Mercedita Jabagat, is a yearly commemorative undertaking that aims to promote the protection of children from abuse and exploitation. In line with this, DSWD Caraga conducted the several activities to advocate and campaign against these forms of abuse to children.

These activities included hanging of streamer, radio interview, and workshop on child protection laws at the Regional Rehabilitation Center for Youth (RRCY) and Home for Girls (HFG), and orientation on child protection laws/services including domestic adoption process to all Area-Based Network or ABSNET. (Leah T. Quintana, DSWD-13/ PIA-Caraga)

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DSWD campaigns for legal adoption

BUTUAN CITY – The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has continuously campaigned for legal adoption as the whole nation celebrated the adoption consciousness week on February 6-13, 2009. The theme for this year’s celebration “Isulong Legal Na Pag-aampon, Hindi Simulation,” aptly conveys the message of DSWD against simulation of birth.

Simulation of birth is the altering and tampering of birth certificates of newly born babies, and registering name as parents other than biological parents. According to DSWD Caraga Director Mercedita P. Jabagat, this is a criminal offense punishable law. Punishment could be by prison mayor of 6 years, 1 day to 12 years if proven guilty and a corresponding fine.

With the Department’s continued campaign against simulation of birth, Dir. Jabagat called on Caraganons to help prevent such unlawful act. She also urged especially those who want to adopt to do it the legal way to protect the child as well as themselves from being exploited.

In this celebration, DSWD Caraga has lined up several activities such as radio interview/guesting, orientation of the members of the Area-Based Standards Network, setting-up of adoption help desks in the five provinces of Caraga, and regional forum with the prospective adoptive parents or PAPs. (Leah T. Quintana, DSWD-13/ PIA-Caraga)

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Surigao Norte’s Bonok-bonok contingent grand champ in 2nd Calagan Festival

SURIGAO CITY (February 24 ) - The Bonok-bonok Maradjaw Karadjaw contingent of Surigao del Norte represented by Surigao del Norte National (SNNHS) walked away proud from this year's Calagan Festival after bagging the most coveted crown in the competition held Tuesday, February 23, 2010 at the Provincial Sports Complex.

Now in its second year, the competition forms part of the celebration of the 15th Anniversary Caraga Region, which highlighted the showcase of “WOW Caraga: Calagan Festival,” from February 22-27, 2010 spearheaded by the Department of Tourism (DOT) Caraga Region. In this year’s festival, SNNHS contingent brought with them P100, 000 as their winning prize. Meantime, the Bonok-bonok Maradjaw Karadjaw contingent of Surigao City represented by Surigao West Central Elementary School (SWCES) was named as 1st runner-up with P80, 000 cash prize. The 2nd runner-p was the festival from Cantilan town in Surigao del Sur, the Sirong Festival, that won a P60,000 cash prize.

Also, special awards for Best in Choreography with P20,000 cash prize and Best in Costume with P10,000 cash prize all went to SNNHS contingent. Furthermore, special award for Best in Streetdancing with P20,000 cash prize went to SWCES.

Consolation prizes amounted to P10,000 each were given to the non-winning contingents that include Bugkosan Festival of the Province of Dinagat Islands, Karawasan Festival of Bislig City and Dagkot Festival of Cabadbaran City. (Fryan E. Abkilan, PIA-Surigao del Norte)

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GSIS to remove survivorship benefits to employed spouses

SURIGAO CITY (24 February) - The Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) will now strictly implement the provisions of the law that defines the eligibility for survivorship pension starting next month (March) of this year.

In announcement during the RDC Full Council Meeting held Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2010 at Hotel Tavern, Surigao City, GSIS Caraga Regional Manager Mamole Pangandaman said that as stated in the Presidential Decree No. 1146 which was later amended through Republic Act 8291, also known as the GSIS Act of 1997, new or existing survivorship pensioners working in the government or private sector, gainfully engaged in a business, or currently receiving other pension are not qualified for the survivorship pension. “Surviving legitimate spouse shall be entitled to survivorship benefits if he/she is unemployed, not gainfully engaged in a business activity (self-employed), not receiving any other pension either from GSIS or another local or foreign institution.”

“Therefore, a legitimate spouse who is gainfully employed is not entitled to receive the survivorship benefit because he/she is not dependent on his/her spouse for support,” Pangandaman added.

In line with this, the GSIS said it will start suspending the monthly benefits of the spouses of deceased pensioners who are found to be gainfully employed or have other sources of income. Moreover, he/she will be ordered to reimburse all survivorship pensions improvidently paid to them through salary deductions. (Fryan E. Abkilan, PIA-Surigao del Norte)