PIA News Service - Friday, March 26, 2010

PNP urges filing of charges vs. nabbed Surigao gubernatorial bet, 5 others in drug buy bust

BUTUAN CITY - Surigao del Norte Police Provincial Director Senior Supt. Gilbert De la Cruz urged officials of the local Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) to immediately file charges against independent Surigao del Norte gubernatorial bet Ruperto Eludo Deguiñoand five others today or face technicality problem.

Cruz made an appeal after receiving reports that the suspects right after their arrest were brought here in Butuan City possibly at the PDEA Caraga regional office here in Barangay Libertad, Butuan City .

This writer called the PDEA regional office here Wednesday and asked for PDEA Caraga regional director Atty Joel Quiriones but office staff who answered the phone said Quiriones was not around and when asked on whether they knew about the buy-bust operation in Surigao Cityinvolving a candidate, the office staff replied on the negative.

The office staff then hanged the phone and never came back when asked for anybody for an interview. When this writer called up the office again it was so busy then.

The PNP provincial director said that the charges must be filed at Surigao del Norte Provincial Prosecutors’ Office since the alleged crime was committed in Surigao City .

Cruz admitted PDEA personnel made no courtesy call neither informed his office about the operation.

“What I know is that they went to the Surigao City Police Office and made the buy bust proceedings recorded at the police blotter after the arrest. On whether they made coordination with us before the arrest I don’t know”, Cruz claimed in a mobile phone interview.

When asked why it took PDEA to arrest the suspects and not the local police, Cruz said drug buy-bust operations, including arrest are left to the PDEA although he claimed PDEA should sought coordination with PNP intelligence office to affect effective anti-illegal drug campaign.

The Surigao City Police record claimed that an independent Surigao del Norte gubernatorial candidate and his five other companions were arrested in a drug buy bust operation last March 23 afternoon at about 3:30 p.m.

According to Caraga Police Regional Chief for Operations Sr. Supt. Nestor Monton Fajura , PDEA agents have the arrest recorded at the Surigao Cty Police Office but brought the arrested suspects allegedly to the PDEA regional office here in Butuan City more than 120 kilometers away from Surigao City.

Surigao City Mayor Alfonso Casurra confirmed there was such an arrest of six persons happened at M. Ortiz St. , Barangay New Washington, Surigao City, a commercial district.

Cruz identified the independent Gubernatorial ber as Ruperto Eludo DeguiÑo, alyas Bebot, who is running for Surigao del Norte Governor.

Cruz said DeguiÑo was arrested in M. Ortiz St , Barangay New Washington, Surigao City together with five others around 3:30 p.m. on March 23.

Cruz identified the five others as Ricardo Ecleo, alias Kayoy; Arlinda Ecleo, alias Nene; Glen Sykimte; Jose Cariaga; and Jenelyn Noriega.

Cruz however did not claimed on whether the Ecleos arrested were relatives of the Ecleo political clan in the island of province Dinagat islands.

Cruz said the operations resulted in the seizure from the suspects white powdered substance believed to be shabu, four mobile phones, marked money cash P1,000, two digital weighing scale, swiss knife and other drug paraphernalias.

This writer tried to call again the PDEA regional office here many times but the phone line was busy. (muc/PIA-Caraga)


Biz groups, major industries cite ways to solve Mindanao power crisis

BUTUAN CITY - With the continuing power crisis in Mindanao, big business groups and major industries in Northeastern and Northern Mindanao regions called on the national government to come up with short-term and long-term solutions to address the energy shortfall in the southern island.

The association of wood industries and association of mining industries and agriculture group in the Caraga region and Filipino-Chinese Chamber of Commerce spread all over the region also asked various electric cooperatives to help the state-owned National Power Corp. (Napocor) and National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP) ease the current power crisis.

The business group and major business players in the region and this capital city feared that the power problem might even last up to 2015.

“This is very alarming,” said a Chinese businessman and member of a business chamber here who requested anonymity.

Technical staff and engineers of Agusan del Norte Electric Cooperative (Aneco), led by general manager Horacio T. Santos, are currently doing their best to mitigate the power problem as they court the Aboitiz Power Corp. to buy some 10 megawatt from their fossil fed-plant stationed at Nasipit, Agusan del Norte.

Meanwhile, three business organizations in Cagayan de Oro and Misamis Oriental on Wednesday have unanimously called on the government to come up immediate and long-term solutions to address the Mindanao energy problem.

In a joint resolution, the Cagayan de Oro Chamber of Commerce and Industry Foundation Inc. (Oro Chamber), the PIE-MO Industries Association and the Cagayan de Oro Chamber of Industries (Coci) said the energy shortfall had resulted in rotating power cut off, affecting the operation of industries, including the micro, medium and small sized enterprises (MSME’s) where millions of pesos were already lost since January, this year.

They said economic activities in the island, particularly the agriculture-rich Northern Mindanao region, was severely affected by the power crisis.

The group came up with short-term and long-term recommendations to help solve the current power crisis.

They recommended the release of funds by the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management (Psalm) for the dredging of Pulangi IV, which can provide an additional 255 megawatts (MW) capacity, and the full operation of the 100 MW Iligan Diesel Power Plant.

The group also recommended tax exemption or tax rebates for fuel purchases used for power generation for the duration of the crisis in Mindanao and for the NGCP to come up with a realistic forecast on the power shortage for the months of April to June, this year so that distribution utilities can efficiently schedule their power curtailments.

The business group also asked the distribution utilities and grid connected industries to enter into bilateral contracts for the purchase or lease of power barges (bunker fuel) rather than modular generation sets (diesel) that are more expensive. They also called for the lowering of tariffs in the purchase of generating sets.

The joint resolution was signed by Jerome Soldevilla, president of COCI; Augustus N. Adis, president of PIE-MO Industries Association; and Jaime Rafael U. Paguio, president of the Oro Chamber.

As this developed, hydroelectric power plants in Lake Lanao and Pulangi plants in Bukidnon are still suffering low water level brought about by El Nino weather disturbance.

On Thursday, an NGCP advisory showed the power deficiency in Mindanao was still at 769 MW out of 1,279 MW Mindanao’s peak load.

Though there were incidence of rainfall in several areas of the island, water supplies in major lakes and rivers throughout Mindanao region continue to suffer from El Niño, leaving the island's energy supply still unstable. (muc/PIA-Caraga)

 

German gov’t opens first Mindanao office in Caraga Region

BUTUAN CITY (March 26) - In its desire to assist and help peace and development in Mindanao particularly Caraga Region upon the invitation of the Philippine government, the German government opened its first Mindanao office in Caraga in Butuan City late Thursday afternoon.

Attended by nearly 20 German officials headed by German Embassy charge d' affaires Pit Heltmann, the Germans, together with their Philippine government counterparts,cut the ceremonial inaugural ribbon signaling the official opening of their development-centered office dubbed “German House”.

The German House Caraga office clusters are different from other German organizations--namely GTZ or the German Technical Cooperation, German Development Service or DED, German Civil Peace Service or ZFD which will implement development cooperation programs jointly in Caraga Region.

The Caraga Region initiatives will focus more in strengthening people’s and institutions' capacities together with their local counterparts to promote sustaining development as well as peace, social equity and justice.

In his speech, Heltmann vowed transparency and comprehensive dialogues in addressing community problems as key pillars of German Development Assistance for Caraga region.

Heltman promised general welfare and interests for common good of the greater masses, especially the marginalized sector.

This will be the benchmark of the German policies for Joint Germany-RP developmental efforts for sustainable peace and development in the countryside.

“Philippine –German Government Cooperation has a wealth of experience in strengthening local communities by securing participation of all stakeholders” Heltmann said, citing various capability-building especially on coastal environmental successes in the Visayas.

Other German officials present in the inauguration said that Caraga Region is Germany's priority choice and first stop in Mindanao as far as conflict transformation program is concerned.

Caraga Region has a lot to offer to Philippine development efforts in general and to Mindanao in particular, they added.

According to their project briefer, the most outstanding characteristic of Caraga region is its natural resources endowment with highly varied ecosystem with large tract of lands left underdeveloped.

It is rich in natural resources such as iron, chromite, manganese and copper, earning the tag as “RP’s mining capital” because it has 37 national government- approved large scale mining permits and many small-scale mining permits approved by various local government units of the region.

The region’s leading crops are palay, banana and coconut and it has excellent tourism potentials because of its unspoiled and beautiful beaches, abundant and fresh seafood, ancient and historical landmarks, hot and cold springs and ever-green forests.

Caraga region is also noted for its wood- based economy largely dominated by politically- influential illegal loggers.

There are also communist rebels extracting revolutionary taxes, even as concerned public agency enforcers allegedly are engaged in collecting protection money and wide variety of corruption practices.

German financial cooperation arm KfW has already extended more than seven million euros in loans for the development of several Caraga cities and municipalities, small-scale businesses and promising local industries.

Development cooperation between the Philippines and Germany began in 1961 and has generated 876 million euros (P54-B) in total assistance to date.

In 2008 and 2009 alone, fresh commitments bythe German government reached 33.2 million euros or about P2-B, complemented by 80 international experts deployed in various programs nationwide, Heltmann said.

Butuan City Vice Mayor Dino Claudio Sanchez and other government officials like Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG),regional director Rene Burdeos, Commission on Higher Education (CHED, Philippine Health Regional Directors, including Butuan Bishop Juan De Dios Pueblos, the chair of the Caraga Conference for Peace and Development, welcomed the establishment of the development-centered “German House” in the region. (BS/PIA-Caraga)