3.21.2010

PIA News Service - Monday, March 22, 2010

PGMA signs RA 9997 creating the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos
By Jennifer P. Gaitano

BUTUAN CITY – President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo signed Republic Act 9997 on February 18, 2010, creating the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) and abolishing the Office on Muslim Affairs (OMA) which took effect on March 6, 2010.

In one of the inter-agency meetings held recently, NCMF-Caraga Regional Director Soekarno Mohammad informed the body on the said act and that the NCMF shall have nine (9) commissioners serving on fixed office terms.

Also, Dir. Soekerno bared that among the powers and functions of the NCMF are the following: provide advice and assistance on policies and programs affecting Muslim Filipinos, establishment of Muslim Filipino settlements but not on lands and bodies of water traditionally and actually occupied by Indigenous Peoples and within ancestral domains of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP), and identify lands for homeless and displaced Muslim families.

“NCMF will also serve as channel for seeking government assistance and redress; participate in peace process; enter into contracts with government and private parties; and promote domestic trade among Muslim Filipino communities,” Dir. Soekarno added.

NCMF-Caraga with Dir. Mohammad assures to give its client and its partner agencies in the government a wider and better services. (PIA-Caraga)
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Butuan City government prepares activities for Earth Hour 2010
By Jennifer P. Gaitano

BUTUAN CITY - The city government here in cooperation with all the regional line agencies will once again join the cities and towns all over the world in switching off their lights for one hour dubbed as Earth Hour on March 27 at 8:30 in the evening. This is revealed during the Technical Working Group (TWG) meeting presided by Forester Alexander Alaan at the City Administrative Office here, held Friday (March 19).

Earth Hour is a global event that involves the voluntarily turning-off of non-essential lights for an hour to heighten awareness about the effects of climate change.

The event will be participated in by the students from various schools in the city and representatives from the local government units, government agencies and non-government organizations.

On that night, the city government aims for a total darkness in the city's main thoroughfares, landmarks and large establishments. 

Also, to make the event more meaningful and to be able to gather as much support to the endeavor, a short program will be prepared during the switching off of the lights. 

City Mayor Democrito D. Plaza II together with the invited guests and participants will gather at the Rizal Park for a very short program. A few minutes before 8:30 pm, a police siren will then be heard signaling the start of the countdown. 

Finally, at exactly 8:30 pm, lights will be switched off. A ceremonial switch will be prepared at the Rizal Park. 

On its one hour in the darkness, talks on greenhouse effects, global warming, adaptation to global warming and other environmental topics will be discussed by various concerned agencies. (PIA-Caraga)
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Cebuano News: Gob. Barbers padayon nga nagpakabana sa mga panginahanglanon sa mga katawhan sa Surigao Norte

SURIGAO DEL NORTE (March 22) - Padayon nga nagserbisyo ug nagpakabana si Gov. Ace Barbers sa mga panginahanglanon sa tanang katawhan sa Surigao del Norte bisan pa sa kadaghanon sa iyang mga gimbuhaton ug mga importante nga giatiman sulod sa iyang buhatan. Ang iyang mga programa ilawon na sa pagpaningkamot usab sa tanang miyembro sa Kapit-Bisig Community Services Association (KACOSA), anaa nagpabiling epektibo ug makanunayon diin padayon ang ilang gihimo nga mga feeding programs sa nagkalain-laing tulunghaan ug kabaranggayan sa tibuok probinsya.

Sa nasayran, ubay-ubay na nga mga feeding programs ang gipahigayon sa KACOSA, gani sa pinakabag-o nga impormasyon nga nahibaw-an sa buhatan sa Prov’l Information Office, niadtong nakalabay’ng adlaw’ng Miyerkules, Marso 17, 2010, ang maong grupo mi apud-apud ug pipila ka mga school supplies ug raincoats sa may 500 ka mga kabataan sa Brgy. Karihatag, sakop sa lungsod sa Malimono. Ug kagahapong adlawa, ang samang grupo miadto na usab sa San Isidro Elementary School nga anaa nahimutang sa Lungsod sa Gigaquit. Ug sa supplemental feeding program nga ilang gihimo, adunay 500 gihapon ka mga tinun-an ang ilang giatiman ug gihatagan ug mga school supplies.

Gikalipay sa tanang mga ginikanan hilabi na sa tanang mga kabataan ang kaayuhan nga gipaabot didto Ni Gov. Ace Barbers pinaagi na sa mga miyembro sa KACOSA. Sila nanghinaut nga ubay-ubay pa unta nga mga kalihukan sama niini ang ipahigayon ngadto sa ilang dapit. Ang Gobernador usab sa iyang kabahin, mipadayag sa iyang dakong pasalamat sa tanang miyembro sa KACOSA sa katakos nga gipakita niini hilabi na ang pagpaabot sa iyang tabang ngadto sa kahilit-hilitan nga mga barangay sa probinsya ug iya usab nga gilauman nga daghan pa unta ang ilang matabangan ug ma serbisyohan pinaagi sa ilang ubay-ubay nga programa ug kalihukan. (PGO- Surigao Norte Provincial Information Office)
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Free medical, dental mission benefits 350 households in Butuan City 

BUTUAN CITY (March 22) - At least 350 households in Barangay Ong Yui in this city benefitted from the free medical and dental mission conducted on Saturday by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA)-Caraga region in coordination with other stakeholders.

The beneficiaries were among the victims of the big fire that gutted some 600 houses in the same barangay recently. 

The humanitarian mission was also participated in by the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) led by Regional Director Abner Caga, Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO), Philippine Army, City Health Office of Butuan, DXBR-Radyo Bombo and Philippine News Agency. 

Aside from medical and dental consultation, the beneficiaries also received free medicines. 

The PDEA and its partners also distributed sardines, noodles and clothing to hundreds of fire victims from Barangay Ong Yui and Barangay Obrero. The two barangays were hit successively by big fire last Tuesday and Wednesday, causing the death of four persons and destruction of millions of pesos worth of property. 

PDEA Regional Director Joey Quiriones said the humanitarian medical and dental program is their continuing project to bring the government closer to the people, especially to the needy ones. 

City Mayor Democrito Plaza II lauded the humanitarian effort of the PDEA and other stakeholders who participated in the free medical and dental mission (muc/PIA-Caraga)
 

Gov’t launches TVET-ALIVE Part 2 Program in Northern Mindanao 

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (March 22) - The government has launched the Technical Vocational Education and Training with Arabic Language and Islamic Value Education (TVET with ALIVE) Part 2 Program which integrates livelihood skills training component for Muslims in Northern Mindanao. 

The project is undertaken jointly by the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) and the Department of Education (DepEd). The launching was held here over the weekend. 

Northern Mindanao TESDA Regional Director Edwin C. Gatinao said the program is an "opportunity for TESDA to reach out to the greater number of our Muslim brothers and sisters in the region." 

The program is initially eyeing the provinces of Bukidnon, Lanao del Norte and Misamis Oriental. 

The TVET with ALIVE Part 2 Program aims to produce holistic Muslim workers imbued with better appreciation of the Muslim culture, ability to speak the Arabic language and endowed with employable skills to better prepare them for local and overseas jobs. 

In a meeting with the Asatidz (Arabic term for teachers) in the region last March 7, Brenda Furagganan, national program coordinator of TESDA ALIVE, together with Director Gatinao, discussed the implementation details of the livelihood skills training program which also aims to uplift the welfare of the Filipino Muslims, specifically those residing in urban areas, through socially and economically productive activities. 

Gatinao expressed his full support to the program and targeted for a 100 percent implementation in Northern Mindanao this year. (muc/PIA-Caraga)

 
DILG strengthens roles of LGUs in water preservation, project implementation 

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (March 22) – The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), through its Office of Project Development Services (OPDS), has strengthened the vital role of the local government units (LGUs) on water project implementation and water preservation as the El Nino phenomenon continues to hit various cities and provinces across the country. 

The DILG-OPDS, in coordination with the Project Development Management Unit (PDMU), mobilized the respective Water and Sanitation (WATSAN) teams of the concerned LGUs to properly implement the water project implementation program. 

The agencies conducted a two-day meeting with the WATSAN members on water project implementation at Harbor Lights Hotel here last March 18-19. 

Participants came from four municipalities of the province of Bukidnon. They were also oriented on the Millennium Development Goals Fund (MDGF) 1919 by WATSAN technical experts from the DILG-OPDS office. 

The activity aimed to enhance the capacities and technical skills of the WATSAN teams from the provincial office of Bukidnon and the municipalities of Kitaotao, Kibawe, Kadingilan and Don Carlos. 

They were also reoriented on the functions and roles of the WATSAN teams in the water and sanitation sector, and water preservation and revisiting their respective work plan for the MDGF 1919 implementation. 

It was learned that the preparation of these work plans by the WATSAN teams will be used for the roll-out of the baseline survey and other information needed at the barangay level. 

MDGF 1919: Enhancing Access to and Provision of Water Services with the Active Participation of the Poor is a program aimed to contribute to the improvement of efficiency, access, affordability and quality of potable water services, by establishing support mechanisms which include the development of a range of incentive options and partnership modalities. 

It was also gathered that this project covers 36 waterless municipalities in Regions 2, 5, 9, 10, and CARAGA with project duration from January 2009 to December 2011. 

Project beneficiaries in Northern Mindanao are the municipalities of Dangcagan, Don Carlos, Kadingilan, Kibawe and Kitaotao in Bukidnon; Sultan Naga Dimaporo in Lanao del Norte; Baliangao and Sinacaban in Misamis Occidental; and Claveria in Misamis Oriental. (muc/PIA-Caraga)

 
LGU thanks President Arroyo for development projects, social services 

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (March 22) – The whole officialdom of Lanao del Sur on Sunday expressed gratitude to President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo for the continuing development program being extended to this province. 

Lanao del Sur Governor Mamintal 'Bombit' Adiong Jr. also sent their letter to the Chief Executive in behalf of his constituents for the Arroyo administration for all the programs and projects undertaken by her administration spurring positive growth in the province. 

The governor specifically mentioned the support of the farm-to-market roads and irrigation systems that provided means of livelihood for thousands of farmers to be more productive ensuring food security in the province. 

The Arroyo administration also supported the Lanao del Sur’s anti-poverty measures as the centerpiece of the province’s political platforms, "that is why we in the local government were able to effectively cascade the delivery of basic social services to our constituents," Adiong added. 

The Governor further cited the social assistance programs of the national government with the province as one of the beneficiaries. 

The province is beneficiary to several social services of the national government, including the monthly stipends for the elderly more known as the Katas ng VAT, Pera Para kay Lolo at Lola; the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program or 4Ps for the marginalized families through the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD). 

The province is also a beneficiary of the school feeding program of the Department of Education (DepEd), free vaccination of the Department of Health (DOH); and training scholarships through the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority. (muc/PIA-Caraga)

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Water springs hope for Schisto-affected village

ROSARIO, Agusan del Sur – For almost 60 years, Segundo Piamonte and his family would scour the mountains of Barangay Marfil, nestled in the interior of this town, looking for creeks to fetch water.

“This would entail three-to-four-kilometer hike, to and fro, both in the morning and afternoon, every day,” says 57-year-old Piamonte, one of the early settlers of Sitio Ugabon in Marfil , formerly called ‘Mabtay’, from the Bisaya word ‘nangamatay’.

It was named as such after the creek, the source of food and water around which the community was built, dried up, killing all the fish and emitting foul odor across the village. The name was changed in 1958, combining the names of its first punong barangay and his wife, Felimon and Maria.

During rainy season, Piamonte said they would settle for murky waters from these creeks and drink rain water. But during summer, when most of these creeks dried up, they would buy drinking water at P5 per galloon from peddlers and gamble fetching water for washing and bathing from Schistosomiasis-infected Cabugan and Solibao rivers, the last ones to dry up.

“A number of residents, particularly children, got infected with Schistosomiasis during summer,” Piamonte said.

The 66 families living in this sub-village were used to this cycle though the rest of the barangay have already access to potable water.

Schistosomiasis or snail fever is a debilitating chronic disease caused by a worm and affecting people living in swampy areas and mountainous terrains not having sanitation facilities and potable sources of water.

Symptoms of schistosomiasis at early stage are skin itchiness, fever, bloody stools, diarrhea, and dysenteric attacks but may result into enlarged liver and spleen, anemia, weight loss, and severe liver disease.

The Department of Health records show that around 2.5 million people are directly exposed to the disease but 12.5 million are estimated to be at high risk to Schistosomiasis infection in 190 municipalities and 20 cities within the 28 provinces in the country, including Agusan del Sur. 

But Piamonte and 64 other families are hopeful that there would be less cases of Schistosomiasis this year compared to previous years even with the onslaught of the El Niño.

Early this month, a potable water system with two water reservoirs and communal faucets were installed in the sitio to serve residents in the area through the assistance of the GoP-UN ACT for Peace Programme with financial contribution from the barangay and municipal local government units.

“This is indeed a blessing to us. We don’t have to hike for hours just to fetch water. Our children will no longer be late in going to school or spend hours looking for water,” Piamonte said.

During the recent project turnover program, Sec. Jesus Dureza, presidential adviser on Mindanao and national programme director of ACT for Peace, observed the community’s commitment to advance their peace and development.

“Marfil becomes a symbol of unity for peace, the reason why the Programme supports your community,” Dureza added.

Marfil is among the 278 Peace and Development Communities (PDCs) assisted by the ACT for Peace as they undergo transformation processes from being conflict-affected areas toward progressive and self-relient barangays. Thirty-seven of these barangays are in Caraga region.

New Zealand, Australia, Spain and European Union provide support to the Programme that is managed by the United Nations Development Programme and implemented by the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) in partnership with the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao Regional Government.

New Zealand Ambassador Andrew Matheson, on the other hand, praised the residents for their “great sense of community and choosing to walk the path of peace.”

“What the donors do is nothing unless embraced by the community and you’re doing a fantastic job,” he told the residents during the turnover ceremony attended by barangay leaders, municipal and provincial officials and other partners.

The barangay was heavily influenced by the New People’s Army in 1980s with 90 per cent of the population were believed to be supporters of the communist rebels. Armed clashes between the rebels and the government soldiers occurred during this period, that at one point, the residents had to flee and take refuge in the town proper to avoid from being caught in the crossfire.

Aside from the water system, other projects supported by the Programme are the construction of a barangay health station, provision of medical equipment and rice trading enterprise. These projects were identified in the barangay development plan updated through a barangay assembly.

The Programme also assists in capacitating barangay leaders and strengthening People’s Organizations through culture of peace sessions and other training that encourage people to get involved in various activities in the community.

For Marfil Barangay Chair Emilio Solidor, Jr., the implementation of projects becomes an opportunity for his constituents to work together, to volunteer their skills and time and to forge stronger relationship among themselves. 

He pointed out that during the construction of these projects, the volunteers outnumbered the paid workers. He also noticed an increasing attendance of his constituents during meetings and other barangay activities.

“We’re thankful of these projects. But we’re glad that these initiatives allow us to be back on our feet as one community and walk the journey towards peace and progress,” Solidor added.

For Piamonte, who is the head of Purok 7, he now enjoys a spring of water that gushes from a few steps away from his home. That spells a lot of difference.
(ACT for Peace)