PIA News Service - Tuesday, June 08, 2010

FEATURE:

FOCAS: A model to improve partnership, transparent and accountable governance

Agusan del Sur (June 8, 2010) - Do you want to hear real stories of real people motivated to dream and make their dreams come true?

The province of Agusan del Sur is one of the 20 poorest provinces in the country. Its poverty has different faces and facets in different context and situations. The Philippines- Australia Community-Assistance Program (PACAP) started to assist community organizations since 2006 in the province through the Focal Community Assistance Scheme (FOCAS). As of today, there were 41 cooperatives and associations supported with 75 Million PHP projects. These projects were on Agusan Marsh Wildlife Sanctuary conservation and development, support to strengthen the right of the indigenous people communities and upscaling of potential micro-enterprise.

One of the top projects in Agusan del Sur is the wood and steel industry implemented by the San Francisco Association of Disable Persons Multi-Purpose Cooperative. They are persons with disability that started from a loosing situation but today they are enjoying the total assets of 80 Million PHP and annual net income as of December 2009 of 1.2 Million PHP.

In Agusan Marsh, a breakthrough for the province in achieving the dream to be one of the eco-tourism sites has just begun. A community-based eco-tourism project in Lake Mihaba and Lake Kilobedan is implemented with the fisher folks. The indigenous people communities in Bunawan and Rosario have received their Certificate of Ancestral Domain title with almost 30,000 has. For so long, these best experiences were not yet shared to the public but today, this will be a great opportunity for the others to hear their stories and motivate others to follow them.

One of the factors that brought to the success of the projects was the system practiced by the FOCAS. According to the PPDC, PACAP is the first program to implement and realize the ideal local governance participation that brought transparency, accountability and tri-partite partnerships. The system can be mainstreamed to all the systems and procedures in the local government to improve bureaucratic process and resolve governance issues.

PACAP is a 25-year bilateral program of the Australian Agency for International Development (AUSAID). Since 2005, PACAP implemented its new scheme called FOCAS and is described a devolved partners and networks working together to enable environment to share knowledge and resources to prioritize issues and plans for further development. PACAP in Agusan del Sur supported 27 projects and will end its current engagement on September 2010. (Arceu James Honculada, PACAP Agusan del Sur Provincial Project Officer/PIA-Surigao del Norte)


P9.580-M employment training center to rise soon in Butuan City

BUTUAN CITY (June 8) – A P9.58-million employment training center will soon rise in this capital city of Northeastern Mindanao.

The Madjaw Construction and Development Corp., the project contractor closely supervised by Butuan City’s District Engineering Office (DEO) under District Engineer Nicolas Alameda, started the construction of the 3-storey Congressman Jose Aquino Sr. Multi-Purpose Building Training Center Monday and expects to complete it in the next four months.

The employment center, funded under the congressional development fund of Butuan City Rep. Jose “Joboy” Aquino II, covers a 1,699-square meter area in Butuan City’s Sports Complex.

Once completed, the center will hold trainings and seminars for both local and foreign job applicants from the four provinces and six cities of Caraga region, particularly from Butuan City.

“Our contractor is already on the ground to hit their target time,” Alameda.
In another development, at least 19,973 job openings for overseas workers were opened during “Migrant Worker’s Day” mega job’s fair on Monday in Surigao City.

Ms. Marietta Annette Bellotindos, officer-in-charge coordinator for Caraga region of the Philippine Overseas Employment Agency (POEA, said thousands of professionals and skilled workers, including domestic helpers lined up at the Surigao del Norte provincial Gymnasium in Surigao City hoping to get job.

The one-day mega job’s fair was participated by 12 accredited recruitment agencies of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) from Cebu, Manila, Davao, Cagayan de Oro and Butuan, said Bellotindos.

The job openings include professionals, nurses, medical technolgists, welders, carpenters, plumbers, electricians and other skilled workers, including foreign and domestic helpers.

She said the mega jobs fair was in line with the OWWA-DOLE activity called “Migrant Workers Day-Araw ng Pasasalamat”, with this year’s theme: “OFW’s: Tagumpay sa Hamon ng Panahon, Kaagapay sa Pagsulong”.

The celebration was participated by severalm government agencies led by OWWA regional director Marieta Arcena Lumawag.

The celebration also pays tribute to the courage, patriotism, struggles and economic contributions of migrant workers in many parts of the globe, she said. (muc/PIA-Caraga)


EAGA tourism 2-day cluster meet to bolster step towards tourism dev’t

BUTUAN CITY, June 8 - A bolder step towards strengthening sub-regional strategy on tourism development will be agreed among four countries of the Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-the Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) during the 7th EAGA Cluster Meeting on Joint Tourism Development set to open in Puerto Princesa City at the Legend Hotel on June 9 and 10 this year.

In a statement, the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) said the two-day meeting which gathers tourism players from government and private sector of the four-member countries is set to discuss updates on the implementation of flagship programs and projects under the EAGA Tourism cluster.

Malaysia’s Ik Pahon Ak Joyik, Permanent Secretary of Malaysia’s Ministry of Tourism and Heritage, will lead the discussion as this year’s standing chair of EAGA Joint Tourism Development Cluster, MinDA said.

Also attending are heads of delegation of the four countries composed of Hj Mohd Tali Hj Abd Rahman, Senior Officer of the Brunei Ministry of Industry and Primary Resources for Brunei; Mr. Wardiyatmo, Secretary General of Ministry of Culture and Tourism for Indonesia; Abdul Rahman Sebli Bin Senusi, Principal Assistant secretary of the Ministry of Tourism and Heritage Sarawak for Malaysia and Tourism Undersecretary Oscar Palabyab for the Philippines.

The delegates are also expected to agree on measures to further synergize strategies that will further promote tourism development in the sub-region.

The meeting will highlight discussion on the implementation of a unified tourism promotion and marketing program which features participation in international tourism events, expositions and fairs, conduct of familiarization tour to Japan, China and Korea and promotion of EAGA “signature events”.

The EAGA tourism program also includes packaging and promotion of EAGA tour packages, development of EAGA promotional materials, conduct of market research for Singapore, China and Australia markets, establishment of BIMP-EAGA Center for Tourism Development as well as strengthening intra and extra-EAGA coordination of tourism organization and entities.

One of the key discussions in the meeting will also highlight the status of the implementation of Community-based Ecotourism projects.

CBET development was recently adopted by EAGA as a strategy to intensify partnerships among the local governments and communities, as a means to address rural poverty in the sub-region.

Also up for discussion are other cluster initiatives such as the study tour in Australia to learn biodiversity conservation (The Great Barrier Reef vis-à-vis BIMP-EAGA Coral Triangle), Equator Asia Yacht Rally and possible joint tourism development projects with Japan and China.

“Tourism development has been part of the regional strategy to accelerate development across the sub-region and that is why this meeting has been very crucial in moving forward all tourism initiatives that support the overall goal of transforming EAGA into a prime tourism destination,” said Secretary Jesus G. Dureza, chair of the MinDA and the concurrent Philippine Senior Official for BIMP-EAGA.

Tourism stakeholders across the subregion are intensifying promotion and marketing efforts to establish EAGA as a leading eco-tourism destination in Southeast Asia under its new tourism brand, “Equator Asia: The Heart of Biodiversity” which emphasizes EAGA’s rich biodiversity and colorful Indo-Malay culture.

The delegates started arriving today (June 8) and will be participating in a mobile tour to Palawan’s tourist spots.

Travel operators, hotel and resorts owners and tourism officers will also be engaged in a travel interaction to be spearheaded by the BIMP-EAGA Tourism Council. (muc/PIA-Caraga)


1,797 household beneficiaries receive cash grants from 4P’s Set 3 program in Surigao del Norte

SURIGAO CITY, June 8 - The poverty alleviation program of the government, the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program of 4Ps continues to serve this northeastern tip city and province of Surigao del Norte in Northeastern Mindanao as 1,797 new household benefited under its Set 3 program.

According to Caraga region Social Welfare spokeswoman Leah T. Quintana, these Set 3 new household beneficiaries started receiving their cash subsidy last May 18.
She said the Landbank of the Philippines Surigao City branch released the 4Ps cash subsidy to Set 3 beneficiaries through over-the-counter scheme.

The Set 3 beneficiaries under the expanded 4Ps program are residents in the municipalities of Alegria, Mainit, Sta. Monica and Burgos, all of Surigao del Norte province and this city.

They were elated upon receiving the cash grants for they now have money to buy their children's uniforms and school supplies for the opening of classes next week.
Quintana said the 4Ps in Surigao del Norte started in 2008.

At present, the province has 15 4Ps municipalities, she noted.

The 4Ps is one of the flagship programs of the government in fighting poverty.

It provides cash grants to extremely poor households to improve their health, nutrition and education and to break the intergenerational cycle of poverty through human investment.

Surigao del Norte Governor-elect Sol F. Matugas and her husband Rep. Francisco T. Matugas said this 4Ps program is a big help to the poor people in the countryside and they vowed to support the program to alleviate the living condition of their constituents. (muc/PIA-Caraga)

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DAR sets 9th Agraryo Trade Fair 

To celebrate the extension of Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP), the Bureau of Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Development of the Department of Agrarian Reform will hold the 9th Agraryo Trade Fair at the SM Megamall Megatrade Hall 2 from June 25-27.  

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With the theme “Umuunlad na Kabuhayan, Masaganang Sakahan Tugon sa Globalisasyon at Nagbabagong Klima.” the trade fair will showcase the various products of Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries (ARBs) from all over the country to showcase their creativity and entrepreneurial spirit.

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“The Agraryo Trade Fair, a celebration of the extension of the CARP by Congress last year, will showcase the quality produce of the Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries to highlight the program’s success,” said Agrarian Reform Secretary Nasser Pangandaman.

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He said the theme is premised on DAR’s enterprise development interventions to the ARBs in the context of the globalization of the world market and climate change, where farmers are most vulnerable.

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ARBs will exhibit fresh and processed poultry and meat products, ingredients and additives, beverages, vegetable products, delicacies, jams, candles, packaging materials, furniture, native handicraft, novelty items and organic products, among others. (Gil E. Miranda, DAR-13/ PIA-Caraga)