4.18.2010

PIA News Service - Monday, April 19, 2010

FSUU Policy Center uncovers 2nd phase poll survey results

By: Robert E. Roperos

BUTUAN CITY (19 April) – The Policy Center of Father Saturnino Urios University (FSUU) on Friday, April 16 uncovered the 2nd phase of the four-series poll survey results which was conducted on March 24-26, days before the start of the local campaigns, to determine once again the voting preferences of the residents in this city.

Result of the survey showed that 99% of the respondents will cast their votes in the May 2010 election. The topmost reasons cited for participating in the coming election are: it is their right, obligation and privilege to vote; to choose good leaders; and to be part of the political exercise to change the political system of the city and the nation.

However, about 2 out of every 10 of the respondents who will vote are still undecided with higher percentages for the Vice President, Mayor and Vice Mayor with 25.6, 25.1 and 26.1, respectively. But significantly, there is a drop in the number of undecided voters across all elective positions from February survey to March survey with the higher marks seen for the Representative, Vice Mayor and City Councilor with percentage differences of 13.4, 11.0 and 24.4, respectively.

The top three preferred candidates for the presidential post from both the urban and rural barangays are Aquino, Teodoro, and Villar with percentage marks of 28.7, 22.5 and 16.5, respectively. The lead of Aquino over Teodoro and the latter over Villar are significant at 0.05 level of significance.

Senator Aquino is preferred by the respondents from across all age and economic sectors. However, it is Teodoro who is the top gainer in the March survey. Teodoro, who gained 10.1% increase from the previous survey, dislodged Villar down to the third spot.

From the three leading presidentiables, it is Villar who posted the highest drop which is 4.5% while Aquino posted a drop of 2.6%. The ratings of the three leading presidentiables from February to March showed that the drop of Aquino and Villar are not significant, while the rise of Teodoro is significant when tested at 0.05 level of significance.

In the vice presidential seat, Senator Mar Roxas continues the lead with 39.2% over Manzano who took the second spot with 12.4% while Legarda occupied the third spot with 11.6%.

Top gainer in the vice presidential seat is Manzano posting a mark of 11.9% with Roxas posting the highest drop of 7.8%. There is significantly difference at 0.05 level of significance in the lead among the three preferred vice presidentiables. From February to March, the decrease of Roxas’ rating and the increase of Manzano’s rating are both significant. However, the decrease of Legarda’s rating is not significant.

In the local politics, Congressman Aquino firmed up his lead over Jimenez and the gap between them widens by 9.9% from February to March. Aquino posted 68.7% and Jimenez got 9.3% for the March survey. The lead of Aquino over Jimenez is statistically significant at 0.05 level of significance. The increased rating of Aquino from February to March is significant, while the increase of Jimenez is not significant.

Plaza leads the survey for the mayoralty position posting 41.6% while Amante got 32% but 25% are still undecided. On the other hand, Sanchez continues to enjoy his lead over Fortun with 47.3% and 25.1%, respectively. Notably, Sanchez gained an increase of 13.3% while Fortun lost 2.7%.

Top ten candidates for councilor position are the following with the percentages attributed for each: Josephine Marticion-Salise – 12.3%, Raul Amoc – 9.7%, Randolph Plaza – 8.0%, Erwin Dano – 7.5%, Ryan Anthony Culima – 7.0%, Angie Calo – 6.2%, Audie Bernabe – 6.0%, Ramon Carampatana – 5.9%, Lope Buñol – 3.9%, and Jaime Cembrano – 3.0%. The same personalities in the February survey are included in the top ten preferred councilors although some of the candidates changed ranks in the positions.

The survey used the multi-stage sampling design to gather data from residents in 50% of the urban and rural barangays in the city, which was also the sampling design used during the first survey conducted last February 17-24, 2010.

The sampling of barangays considered the geographical distribution in each of the quadrant (Northeast, Northwest, Southeast, Southwest) where 50% of them were taken as the sampled barangays and from where the respondents came.

The instrument used to gather data contained the same interview questions that were posed in the first survey. These included questions on the pressing issues identified by the respondents, their voting preferences for the May 2010 elections, and their awareness and concerns in the conduct of the automated election. (PIA-Caraga)


NSO-Caraga geared for 2010 census of population and housing

By: Robert E. Roperos

BUTUAN CITY (19 April) – “The National Statistics Office (NSO), Caraga Region is now ready for the conduct of the nationwide 2010 census of population and housing (CPH),” thus said Regional Director Rosalinda Celeste in a press conference held Friday, April 16 at Luciana’s Inn, this city.

According to Dir. Celeste, the nationwide activity aims to provide government planners, policy makers, and administrators with data on which to base their social and economic development plans and programs.

“It is designed to take an inventory of the total population and housing units in the Philippines and collect information about their characteristics,” Dir. Celeste said.

Meanwhile, Reynelo Magno, NSO-Caraga Statistician stressed that part of the uses of census data in government are: redistricting and apportionment of congressional districts, allocation of resources and revenues, creation of political and administrative units, formulation of policies concerning population and housing, formulation of policies and programs relative to the delivery of basic services for health, education, housing, and others, formulation of policies and programs relative to the delivery of basic services for health, education, housing and others.

Also, in terms of business and industry, the census data is used to determine the sites for establishing businesses, determination of consumer demands for various goods and services, and determination of supply of labor for the production of goods and services.

For research and academic institutions, Magno said the data is used for the conduct of researches on population and other disciplines, and study of population growth and distribution as basis in preparing projections.

May 1, 2010 at 12:01 a.m. is the census reference date for the 2010 CPH. This means that all population counts to be recorded shall pertain to this date and time.

Census-taking will begin on May 17, 2010 and will last for about 23 days. About 85 thousand census personnel including enumerators, team supervisors, census area supervisors, and assistant census area supervisors will be mobilized for the nationwide undertaking.

Pursuant to Batas Pambansa Blg. 72, public school teachers shall be utilized for the 2010 CPH. To augment the manpower requirements of the census, the NSO shall also hire enumerators from the locality. All personnel that will be involved in the undertaking shall be provided with proper identification cards duly signed by the NSO Administrator or her authorized representative.

NSO projection shows that expected total population for the entire country will reach 94 million while Caraga Region is expected to reach 2.6 million in 2010. (PIA-Caraga)
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30IB Python’s 37th Founding Anniversary celebrated

Surigao del Norte (April 19) - The 30th Infantry Battalion, "Python Troopers", under the auspices of LTC Roberto Valencia of the Philippine Army based here in Sta. Cruz, Placer has vowed to continue to spread goodwill as they celebrated their 37th founding anniversary last April 17, 2010.

Valencia in his opening remarks expressed gratitude to the invited guests and awardees for “beyond the arena of politics they have find time in coming.”

“This is a tangible proof of camaraderie,” he said.

The activity was highlighted with the awarding of plaques of recognition to the local chief executives and religious leaders who have rendered to the Philippine Army invaluable services as partners in peace and development initiatives of the region.

Meantime, 4ID Commander MGen. Mario Chan, the Guest of Honor and Speaker during the celebration awarded the merits and citations to the awardees.

Leading the awardees who graced the event were Surigao del Norte Gov. Robert Ace Barbers, Surigao del Norte 1st District Rep. Francisco Matugas represented by his son Mr. Bingo Matugas, Surigao del Norte 2nd District Rep. Guillermo Romarate represented by his daughter Tubod Mayor Cristina Hemady Romarate-Arcillas, Butuan City Rep. Jose Aquino II represented by Mr. Jaer Percigas, Cabadbaran City Mayor Dale Corvera, Surigao del Norte COMELEC Election Supervisor Atty. Geraldine Samson, Agusan del Norte Police Director PSSupt. Benson Leleng, Butuan City Police Director PSupt. Joseph Plaza, PIA Caraga OIC-Regional Director Abner Caga and Sta. Cruz Brgy. Captain Arvin Decalit.

Other awardees who failed to attend the event are Bishop Juan de Dios Pueblos of Agusan del Norte, Executive Director of IPA Fr. Carlito Clase, Agusan del Norte 2nd District Rep. Edilmero Amante, Butuan City Mayor Democrito Plaza II, Surigao City Mayor Alfonso Casurra, COMELEC Caraga Director Atty. Francisco Pobe and Surigao del Norte PNP Director PSSupt. Gilbert DC Cruz.

Also, deserving military personnel who have shown loyalty and outstanding performance as soldiers received the Bronza Cross Medal to wit, 1LT. Ramil Esparagoza, 1LT. Voltaire Purugganan, TSgt. Chito Echevarre, SSgt. Cipriano Agang Jr, PFC Enecito Antigua. For the Militaryy Merit Medal Awardee: 1LT. Joselito Ante, 2LT. Benjamin Depay.

The newly-promoted enlisted personnel were also pinned with chevrons, they were MSG. Cesar Balladares. SSgt. Felix Caseres, Cpl Rufino Alaya-ay. (Fryan E. Abkilan, PIA-Surigao del Norte)


MGen. Chan lauds 30IB’s service and dedication
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Surigao del Norte (April 19) – MGen. Mario Chan, Division Commander of the 4ID, lauded the 30th Infantry Battalion for its dedication and service to the people during the 37th founding anniversary celebration where he was the guest of honor and speaker held on April 17, 2010 at the 30IB headquarters in Brgy. Sta. Cruz, Placer this province.
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In his speech, Chan commended the 30IB soldiers who have shown bravery and exemplary deeds most especially during the Siargao Island crisis last year.
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“Napakaganda ng performance ng 30IB, the NPA was so devastated when they suffered major losses last year during their Siargao encounter.”
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Chan bared that they will now be turning over the Internal Security Operations (ISO) responsibility to the Local Gov’t Unit (LGU). That means, AFP will hand over anti-insurgency campaigns to LGUs after threats in the area are deemed "insignificant" by the military.
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“We will not be pulling out our men, we will still be around. We will still help the LGU in eradicating insurgency in the area,” he added.
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Also, Chan belied the issue of the blooming presence of the NPA in Surigao del Norte, “there is no truth to the issue.”
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In fact, Chan said the province of Surigao del Norte is one of the 4 provinces where ISO operation will be turned-over. “Napakapeaceful po ng Surigao del Norte,” he said. Other 3 provinces include Dinagat Islands, Camiguin and Misamis Oriental.
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Meantime, MGen. Chan has vowed not to involve his men in partisan politics. “AFP is again reiterating, we will not side any politicians. We will be apolitical.”
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The army commander said he would see to it that his soldiers will remain within their mandate of protecting the votes and ensure a peaceful and credible election. (Fryan E. Abkilan, PIA-Surigao del Norte)
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Unions’ e-campaign to ban asbestos goes to Facebook

Manila (April 19) – The Associated Labor Unions (ALU), Building and Woodworkers International (BWI) and Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) brought their e-campaign to ban asbestos in the Philippines to social networking site Facebook.

“Facebook has become the number one social networking site to connect with family, friends and like-minded people. Facebook helps find people you haven't seen for some time,” said ALU Vice President Gerard Seno. “One’s network of friends at Facebook is a new way of reaching supporters of asbestos ban,” Seno added.

“With some 10 million users in the Philippines, Facebook will help bring asbestos into the awareness of Filipinos. Filipino Facebook users will then be asked to participate in the campaign to ban asbestos in the Philippines targeting legislators,” said Rafael Mapalo, TUCP Education Director.

“The use of such innovative tool will promote health and safety in the workplace by banning asbestos and extend the campaign outside of the Philippines,” expressed Apolinar Tolentino of BWI’s Asia Pacific Regional Office.

Called fan page at Facebook, the ban asbestos campaign can be found at http://tinyurl.com/BanAsbestos-Facebook. The page shows “fans” how to invite their friends to become fans of the page.

ALU, BWI and TUCP expect individual efforts to snowball until the fan base is large enough to get the attention of legislators in the Philippines and pass a law banning asbestos. (DMT/PIA-Surigao del Norte)


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Spanish gov’t set to build 6 health stations, 5 school buildings in Agusan del Sur town

SIBAGAT, Agusan del Sur – The Spanish-funded Poder Y Prosperidad dela Communidad is set to construct six health stations and five school buildings for elementary, high school and kindergarten in a town of Agusan del Sur province, it was learned Sunday.

The construction of health stations and school buildings in far-flung villages in Sibagat town of that same province is part of the Spanish-funded Poder 5 Project.

This new development, after the conduct of the Expanded Municipal Development Council – Participatory Development and Resource Allocation (EMDC-PDPRA) activity joined by leaders and residents of the municipality’s 24 barangays, it was also learned.

Poder 5 Project is a continuation of the Poder Y Prosperidad dela Communidad Project implemented in the Caraga region for five years now.

Managed by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Poder 5 now focuses on the supply-side of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), another program of the DSWD which provide cash grants to extremely poor households to improve their health, nutrition and education particularly 0-14 years old children.

Poder 5 aims to provide classrooms and health centers necessary for these 4Ps beneficiaries.

It was gathered that a total of Php 8.1 million was allocated for the twelve fortunate barangays who in turn will give their cash counterparts ranging from Php 50,000 to Php 100,000. Counterparting is necessary in the Poder 5 Project as this consequently achieves the community’s “sense of ownership” of the sub-project, it was also gathered.

Meanwhile, members of the municipal office committed to give additional funding support to those barangays who cannot be funded by Poder.

According to Project Area Coordinator Rachel Bajao, the Agusan del Sur provincial government deposited some Php 1 million cash to the Association of Barangay Captain’s (ABC) bank account, to be used as additional counterpart.

This, she said, may be distributed among the barangays who failed to be prioritized in the Poder grants.

The 12 barangays who made it into this year’s Poder 5 allocation are: San Vicente, Anahawan, Padiay, Sta. Maria, Villangit, Kioya, Kauswagan, Sinai, Tabon-tabon, Tag-oyango, Afga and El Rio.

The Poder Project has been giving out infrastructure projects in Sibagat since 2005. Now, a total of 31 sub-projects, composed of water systems, schools and bridges, among others, are now being used in the barangays with a total investment of Php 33.9 million in the region.

“Poder program in our province is a big help to our people, particularly those living in far-flung villages,” said Agusan del Sur Gov. Ma. Valentina Plaza.

The provincial chief executive expressed heartfelt gratitude to the Spanish government. (muc/PIA-Caraga)


BIR sets P265-M collection goal in Cagayan de Oro City

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY - The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) District No. 16 is targeting P265 million tax collection in this Northern Mindanao Region’s frontier city for the year 2010.

Esther Palala, regional director of BIR Region 10, said the partial collection of P58.369 million since April 1 to 14 did not include those collected by designated banks.

With this, Palala confidently said the BIR would be able to reach its P265-million goal as all revenue offices spread at various areas in the revenue district have already been mobilized for the purpose.

The region’s BIR chief made this assessment after BIR District No. 16 reported that its P58.369-million collection in the first half of April represented an increase of more than P20 million compared with P38 million in the same period of last year.

On Wednesday, the BIR had its hands full in accommodating taxpayers for the last day of the filing of income tax returns for the year 2009.

The BIR set up tents as waiting area outside the BIR office in Barangay Bulua and provided “extension cashiers” to accommodate all income tax filers.

“The last-minute filing is a habit among Filipinos that we cannot prevent, so I made it clear that the filing would be smooth-sailing,” Palala said.

Those who failed to file their income tax returns on time will be required to pay 25 percent surcharge and 20 percent compromise penalties, she added.

Meanwhile, from January to March, the BIR in Northern Mindanao (Region 10) had already collected P565.179 million, which was 40 percent higher that the year-ago collection of P402.328 million. (muc/PIA-Caraga)
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AFP commander declares 4 Mindanao provinces communist insurgency-free

PLACER, Surigao del Norte - The government’s no non-sense communist insurgency drive is already gaining headway as the top area commander of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Saturday declared four provinces in Mindanao as “communist insurgency-free”.

Maj. Gen. Mario F. Chan, commanding general of the Army’s Northeastern and Northern Mindanao Fourth Infantry (Diamond) Division, made this announcement Saturday during the 37th Founding Anniversary Celebration of the 30th Infantry Battallion (IB) headquarters at Barangay (village) Sta. Cruz, in Placer town, Surigao del Norte.

Gen. Chan, identified these alleged communist insurgency free provinces as Surigao del Norte, Dinagat Islands, Camiguin and Misamis Oriental.

The AFP area commander also bared that they will now be turning over the internal security operations' (ISO) responsibility to the local government units (LGUs) and local police to these communist insurgency-free provinces.

"This means that basic social services will now be undertaken by the LGU. However, we will not be pulling out our men, we will still be around and we will still help the LGU in completely eradicating insurgency in these areas,” stressed Gen. Chan.

“Napakaganda ng performance ng 30th IB. The New People’s Army (NPA) was so devastated when they suffered major losses last year,” claimed Gen. Chan.

Chan acknowledged the effort of various LGUs for their continuing assistance to field units in helping one another in eradicating the communist problem.

During the 30th IB anniversary celebration, Chan spearheaded the distribution of plaques of recognition to LGU executives for their laudable support to the AFP’s peace and development program. Along with 30th IB commander Lt. Col. Roberto Valencia, Gen. Chan also pinned medals to deserving military personnel and also pinned chevrons to the newly promoted enlisted personnel.

Top provincial, municipal and barangay officials led by Gov. Robert Ace Barbers and national government agencies led by Philippine Information Agency Director Abner M. Caga also graced the occasion.

Meanwhile, in that same 30th IB anniversary celebration, Gen Chan vowed not to involve his men in partisan politics this May 10, 2010 national and local elections.

“The AFP is, again reiterating, we will not side any politicians and we will be apolitical,” stressed Gen. Chan.

He added that the soldiers will remain focus in their mandate of protecting the votes and ensure a peaceful and credible elections. (muc/PIA-Caraga)


Fishing: 3rd Siargao Gamefishing tourney in Siargao Island

PILAR, SIARGAO ISLAND, Surigao del Norte – At least 41 anglers worldwide - 18 of them Filipinos challenge the seas of Siargao Island for the big catch during a five-day “3rd Siargao Gamefishing Tournament 2010” that started Thursday.

Leticia Tan, regional director of the Department of Tourism (DOT) for Caraga region said the participating anglers come from Canada, China, Denmark, Germany, Poland, Japan, New Zealand, Russia, Singapore, Turkey, Taiwan, United Kingdom, United States of America and the host country, Philippines.

The big international event was also initiated by Surigao del Norte solon Rep. Francisco T. Matugas and Pilar mayor Lucio T. Gonzales.

“The anglers will challenge the seas of Siargao for the big catch with prizes ranging from P30,000.00 to P50,000.00 cash under the five contest categories,” said director Tan.

She also said, “ The Siargao International Gamefishing Tournament proved to be a very successful tourism promotional initiative”.

She also said for the third year, the event has continued to gain popularity among anglers across the globe, making Siargao a favoured destination.

During the almost weeklong international gamefishing tournament, the local government units of the “Paradise Island” in Northeastern Mindanao, will also present some cultural shows and other prepared programs.

The big international event ended on April 17 where top national, regional, provincial and municipal officials are in attendance.

DOT Undersecretary for Sports and Wellness Cynthia Carreon was named as guest of honor, director Tan added. (muc/PIA-Caraga)

Humans asked to act vs climate change

BUTUAN CITY - Climate change is a critical signal that every human being on Earth “must act now” to stop this serious concern.

This was the message of the two-day “ 2010 Environment Building Community Resilience, Sustaining Development” meeting that ended Friday at the downtown hotel and convention center in this region’s capital city.

“We now live in the era known as the Anthropocene – a word that clearly indicates that the primary factor affecting the Earth and all that is are the seven billion human beings who are now crammed on board,” stressed David Swete Kelly, program director of Philippines-Australia Community Assistance (PACAP), a development initiative of the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID).

He said climate change is not a problem of the future. “It is already occurring,” he said.

Kelly said there are nine identified critical environmental indicators that reflect the critical systems essential for life on earth which is occurring now: 1) Acid oceans - More carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is absorbed by the oceans, creating carbonic acid that is bad for animals with shells; 2) Ozone depletion - With most of the culprit chemicals now banned, the worst of the danger has passed but it has not entirely vanished; 3) Fresh water - A quarter of the world’s river systems no longer reach the ocean for at least part of the year, and this is drying out swatches of landscape; 4) Biodiversity – May not matter much on their own, but collectively they form ecosystems that provide a range of vital “ecosystem services”; 5) Nitrogen and phosphorus cycles - We fix around 121 million tones of nitrogen a year, far more than nature does and nature cannot cope; 6) Land use - Half of the worlds tropical rainforests are gone, and large areas of grasslands once open to wildlife are now fenced in for livestock; 7) Climate change – Every degree of warming caused directly by C02 is amplified by feedback processes that could drive temperatures much higher; 8) Aerosol loading - We have more than doubled the global concentration of aerosols such as soot since pre-industrial times;

9) and Chemical pollution - There are approximately 100,000 different human-made chemical compounds used around the world today, and many of them harm humans and wildlife.

“As we can see now in these scientific data, these systems are considered to be beyond the capacity of the Earth to cope,” said Kelly.
In his message, he also mentioned the environmental destruction and millions of different types of transportations and thousands of big companies around the globe that are also contributing factors of climate change.

“However, there are things we can do to the environment as individuals, families and communities that starts right here, in your homes, in your offices. There is much we can all do to immediately change our own situation, to make our lives safer, healthier and happier and to improve the resilience of our lives, our families and our communities in the face of uncertainty and risks,” added Kelly, before 129 participants coming from different places in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.

Kelly further added that PACAP forum is all about building community resilience and sustaining development in the Philippines’ countryside - not only to extend livelihood assistance but to improve local environmental governance, to develop sustainability and to plan and manage for climate change and disasters.

PACAP has funded over 130 projects with clear environmental outcomes over the last five years alone that also ended by September this year.

PACAP has poured in grant of more than P238 million projects in Agusan del Sur, Surigao del Norte and Misamis Occidental. It has also poured in the amount of P51.726 million in conflict areas in Central Mindanao, Zamboanga Peninsula and some areas in the Caraga region.

Projects focus on the protection and governance of coastal marine ecosystems, watersheds, wetlands and ancestral domains, basic services and livelihood projects like potable water, watershed management, solid waste management, ecotourism, organic farming, sloping agriculture and contour farming.

The Australian government pledged to continue its various development programs to the Philippines, particularly in the Caraga region, it was further learned.

PACAP strategically implements its projects in the Caraga region and other parts in the country through the Focal Community Assistance Scheme (FOCAS) engagement and nationally through Responsive Assistance Scheme (RAS) characterized by projects separate from each other but spread all over the country.

The PACAP is a 24-year-old grant facility of the AusAID in the Philippines. It financially supported more than 1,200 projects benefiting at least 2 million poor people through partnerships with more than 500 CSOs, primarily NGO’s and peoples organization, it was gathered.

Kelly said PACAP is in the final stage on project design for another five years that will tentatively start in June next year.
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Meanwhile, in that same two-day meet here, Maria Anna Orquiza, Senior Programme Officer of AusAID and Commissioner Lucille Sering of the Office of Climate Change Commission of the Office of the President, also spoke on climate change and mitigating measures. (muc/PIA-Caraga)