PIA News Service - Monday, July 26, 2010

“Love is lovelier the second time around”
Matugas rejoins Liberal Party


SURIGAO DEL NORTE (July 26)
- Reelected Representative Francisco Matugas (1st District, Surigao del Norte) recently found himself home again after he took an oath of allegiance as a member of the Liberal Party (LP) together with Representative Guillermo Romarate, Jr. (2nd District, Surigao del Norte), another reelected solon, in simple ceremonies held at the Liberal Party Headquarters in Quezon City, Metro Manila, on July 21, 2010.

The adage “Love is lovelier the second time around” has proven itself true with Matugas’ homecoming to President Noynoy Aquino’s political party of which he was a pioneering member representing the province of Surigao del Norte. He was recently invited to rejoin the group by LP Chairman Sen. Franklin Drilon, LP President Mar Roxas, LP Secretary-General Florencio “Butch” Abad, former Bukidnon Congressman Neric Acosta including President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino.

It was in 2004 when Cong. Matugas took his first oath as LP member together with more than a hundred local political leaders in simple ceremonies held in the town of General Luna, Surigao del Norte, the country’s surfing capital. They were sworn in as LP members by Sen. Franklyn Drilon, while then Senator Noynoy Aquino and former Congressman Butch Abad witnessed the occasion.

In 2007, when the local elections were then approaching, Matugas tendered his formal resignation from LP citing as reason his intention to join the KAMPI party of then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Senator Franklyn Drilon who was LP President at that time refused to accept Matugas’ resignation but still allowed him to affiliate with KAMPI. He even foretold the former of his return to their party.

As it turned out, Sen. Franklin Drilon’s prediction proved prophetic with the recent homecoming of Cong. Francisco Matugas to the Liberal Party.

News of Matugas’ return to the Liberal Party spread like wildfire and drew positive reactions from the local peasant, education, business and religious sectors which were all supportive of the lawmaker’s legislative agenda on agriculture, aqua-culture, education, entrepreneurship, spiritual renewal and many others.

The local chapter of the League of Municipalities of the Philippines headed by Bacuag Mayor Shiela Mae Orquina-Cebedo likewise expressed optimism that the two reelected solons’ affiliation with the LP would translate to widespread development and progress for all the 20 towns and one city of Surigao del Norte.

“We warmly welcome the latest membership of Cong. Lalo Matugas and Cong. Jun Romarate in the Liberal Party because we know the main reason or consideration in their minds is the general welfare of all Surigaonons. As members of the Partido Padajon Surigao, we, the mayors, have strong faith in the tested leadership of these two pillars of our province. We are all ready to follow in their footsteps and convert ourselves into LP – taking into consideration also the welfare of our respective constituencies,” Cebedo stressed during an exclusive interview.

Partido Padajon Surigao is the first and only local political party accredited and recognized by the COMELEC in Caraga Region. It is founded by Cong. Francisco Matugas who sits in as party chairman, while Cong. Guillermo Romarate, Jr. serves as its party president.

During the just-concluded May 2010 elections, the said political party captured the governor, vice-governor, city mayor and city vice-mayor seats including all mayoralty positions in twenty towns of Surigao del Norte. It also controlled the majority in the Sangguniang Panlalawigan, city council and municipal councils of the province. (Jun Lira and Jun Parada, Caraga Aksyon Balita/PIA-Surigao del Norte)


“P-Noy” assures Nitoy of support

SURIGAO CITY (July 26) - President Noynoy Aquino or otherwise known as “P-Noy” recently assured Surigao City Mayor Ernesto “Nitoy” Matugas of his full support in connection with the latter’s development programs which will benefit his entire constituency. The assurance was made by the country’s chief executive during the duo’s meeting in Malacañang Palace on July 19, 2001, it was learned.

“P-Noy” is the moniker chosen by Aquino which means Pangulong Noynoy - in a humble intention to identify himself with the masses by combining the Filipino translation of his position with his nickname in order to come up with a moniker with “mass appeal”.

Aquino likewise encouraged Nitoy to call his office anytime that the latter would need help especially on problems which could not be solved on his level. The president told the same to the city mayor in the presence of newly-elected national officers and members of the League of Cities of the Philippines who paid a courtesy call on the chief executive in Malacañang Palace, it was gathered.

In an exclusive interview with this writer, City Mayor Nitoy Matugas expressed his gratitude to the readiness and sincerity of the President in helping his administration deliver developmental programs for the welfare of the Surigaonons. He made known his appreciation of the President’s offer of assistance and likewise his readiness to seek membership under the latter’s political umbrella which is the Liberal Party.

“President Noynoy has a soft spot for Surigao City and is keen on helping us in our programs that will promote the general welfare of our people. He is definitely a role model. We are all ready to join his party because we see in him the realization of our dreams to transform Surigao City into a city full of hope, opportunities, development and progress,” the city chief executive explained. (Jun Parada, Caraga Aksyon Balita/PIA-Surigao del Norte)


FEATURE: Remembering one fine man: A media arm and mentor

SURIGAO CITY (July 26) - To fellow Surigaonons, he was fondly called “Dos Por Dos”. To his family and friends, he was "Ynot". While to his colleagues and “compadres” in and outside of politics, he was simply known as Tony.

Tony Consing lived half of his life as a media practitioner. It was in early 70's when he started his career as a radio commentator over a KBS (Kanlaon Broadcasting System) radio station in Manila. He later moved to Mindanao and served in a RMN (Radio Mindanao Network) radio station.

Tony has been a brave, candid but straight to the point critic of controversial public issues on air. Sensible and witty, he unnoticeably created a name and a character of his own. From radio broadcasting, he eventually ventured into print journalism.

As a conventional journalist, he would not mind using an ordinary pen and a scratch paper. He would grab his eyeglasses and would start writing continuously as if there was no tomorrow to follow. He had been occasionally contributing articles in Manila Bulletin in the 80's and 90's. Aside from issues pertaining to people and politics, he was also interested in anything and everything which had relevance in Mindanao.

His writings and radio programs eventually gained prominence in public which caused him to travel a lot to get a first-hand account on critical issues.

He eventually became president of the Independent Media Practitioners in Caraga-13 (IMPACT-13).

But not all fairy tales have happy endings. He and his very big family later found out he was battling with the dreaded disease known as cancer. But Tony was a born fighter and took it with a positive attitude by battling his illness silently while at the same time keeping himself busy through writing for his weekly columns in Agusan-Surigao Enquirer and Super Banat tabloids. Worthy to note, even he was cancer-stricken, he fought for his life for eleven months while doubling as a journalist. It was his passion for writing which obviously gave him the will to survive.

Writing and broadcasting were the love of his life that even on the third and fourth cycles of his chemotherapy treatment he would still travel from Manila to Surigao City just to be able to be on board his radio program and wrote articles for the local tabloids. He literally struggled, painfully battled and eventually passed out due to cancer. But the killer disease failed to take him away from the memory of the public. For we know that thirty years of serving the people through the print and broadcast media was a lasting legacy which would keep his name alive in the memory of Surigaonons.

Physically, he may have left his dedication to media service on January 5, 2010 due to his untimely death, however, his media work served a source of inspiration to many others. He had been oftentimes criticized and opposed, but it only inspired him to become more reasonable and fair to his critics.

Indeed, he was a brave fine man with a big heart - high and firm in principles. He offered an arm to media service and noticeably left a legacy. He was an example that touched and inspired many including myself.

Dad, if you happen to read this in heaven, I’m proud to say that you are dearly loved. I’m very honored and proud to be stepping on the footsteps you left. May you rest in peace. (Lovely Consing-Boiser, The Agusan-Surigao Enquirer/PIA-Surigao del Norte)


1st Caraga Media Summit set in Surigao City

SURIGAO DEL NORTE (July 26) - Journalists around Caraga Region will gather for the first time on July 31 to August 2, 2010 in Surigao City for the 1st Caraga Region Media Conference.

Convened by Mindanao News and Information Cooperative Center (MNICC) and Mindanao Media Forum (MMF), the two-day event is organized with the theme: “Mindanao 2020: Moving Forward.”

There will be lectures and workshops during the forum aimed at empowering media practitioners in Caraga to create positive change through reporting on the current realities in Caraga and Mindanao as a whole.

“This is not just a learning mechanism but also expand our knowledge more than the basic ropes in reporting which will be shared by top-caliber speakers who work in respected media outlets in the country,” said Roel Catoto, Assistant Regional Director of Mindanao Media Forum (MMF).

Seminars on Environmental Reporting, Beyond City Hall and Capitol Coverage, Safety of Journalist, Reporting Mindanao, Media Social Tools among others are primarily the topics to be discussed by award-winning journalists Yvonne Chua, Luz Rimban and Carol Arguillas.

MMF seeks to develop a responsive media that promotes an informed, critical citizenry, and envision a future of peace, justice, development and progress in Mindanao.

For more inquiries you may contact: Amy Cabusao, Convenor of the Mindanao Media Forum (0917-4662625) or Roel Catoto, Assistant RD MMF (0918-9469946) or email at: roelscribe888@yahoo.com. (Roel Catoto, The Agusan-Surigao Enquirer/PIA-Surigao del Norte)
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Panambay Sa Barangay: A hit in Bacuag

SURIGAO DEL NORTE (July 26) - The launching of the health program “Panambay Sa Barangay” proved to be a big hit in the town of Bacuag this province, after thousands of residents from its nine barangays brought their sickly household members and trooped to BacuagMunicipal Gymnasium where they availed of free medical and dental services including free medicine under the auspices of the Provincial Governor’s Office.

Originally, the “Panambay Sa Barangay” was a brainchild of Cong. Francisco Matugas during his previous three terms as governor of the province. Its evident popularity and success in serving the masses obviously inspired Governor Sol Matugas to duplicate the feat of the former who is her husband and a reelected legislator representing the first congressional district.

With barely six days in public office as provincial chief executive, Gov. Sol Matugas made good of her “election promise” to address the medical needs of the poor and sickly people of Bacuag by choosing the town as first recipient of the health program.

In an interview conducted by this writer, Bacuag Mayor Sheila Mae Orquina Cebedo and Association of Barangay Captains (ABC) Provincial President Ebro Joy Orquina could not just find enough superlatives in their overflowing expressions of gratitude for the rare concern showed by the lady governor on the health aspect of their constituency.

"We were lucky to be Ma’am Sol’s first priority and for being her choice as a pilot area for the launching of the Panambay Sa Barangay. Our people really feel proud and privileged with this kind generosity and concern she has shown us," Cebedo said.

Aside from availing of free medicines, residents also received vaccine shots against AH1N1 infection, the dreaded disease caused by the deadly flu virus.

The Panambay Sa Barangay had also conducted free circumcisions to poor kids in the said town.

The activity was witnessed by Gov. Sol Matugas, Vice-Gov. Carlos Egay, Jr., Senior Board Member Myrna Romarate, Board Member Sim Castrence, Board Member Cesar Bagundol, Board Member Fernando Larong, Board Member Mar Longos, Board Member Edgar Andanar, Board Member Nilo Aldonza, Board Member Victor Borja and Board Member Mamerto Galanida.

Media personalities who covered the event were Dodong Bernadez of DxSN, Jun Clerigo and Jun Custodio of DxKS, Jun Parada and Jun Lira of Caraga Aksyon Balita and Nestor Guballa of DxRS. (Roel N. Catoto, The Agusan-Surigao Enquirer/PIA-Surigao del Norte)
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4,790 members benefit “Pinoy Coop ATM” in Agusan del Norte 

BUTUAN CITY (July 26) -
At least 4,790 individuals are now benefited of the “Pinoy Coop ATM” in Agusan del Norte province. 

The beneficiaries are members of the Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries (ARB) and non-ARB members. 

The "Pinoy Coop ATM" is a program that will help the farmers in getting their financial needs right in their respective communities through its branches situated in strategic areas in the province. 

Recently, the main branch of “Pinoy Coop ATM” was inaugurated in Magallanes town, also of that same province, another milestone in finding better ways to serve and address the needs of its ARB and non-ARB members. 

The project of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) is fully supported by Gov. Erlpe John Amante and his sister Rep. Angel Amante. 

“Our ARB and non-ARB members will no longer go to the DAR regional office in Butuan because their needs will be already withdrawn right in their respective localities,” said Gov. Amante. 

"We are proud to announce that it is the only Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Cooperative in Caraga region having an ATM project installed and operationalized," added DAR Regional Director Faisar Mambuay. 

Meanwhile, Provincial Agrarian Reform Officer ll (PARO II) Andre B. Atega congratulated the beneficiaries for harvesting the yields on the impact of Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) in Agusan del Norte. 

He reiterated the spirit of unity is one of the reasons why the coop still stands over a decade. 

The recently installed “Pinoy Coop ATM” is a dream come true to the members through the effort of Chairman Jimmy L. Beray in partnership with Mindanao Alliance Self-help Societies-Southern Philippines Education Cooperative Center (MASS-SPECC). 

DAR Agusan del Norte, through their European-funded Agrarian Reform Support Project (ARSP), granted a loan 13 years ago used to start a business. 

“Pinoy Coop ATM” has already five branches located in Butuan City; Cabadbaran City; Buenavista, Agusan del Norte; and satellite office at Langihan, Butuan City. 

The “Pinoy Coop ATM” has link 24 hours, seven days a week to any Megalink and BancNet ATM Machines. Members can now withdraw their loans using any ATM worldwide.
(muc/PIA-Caraga)
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1,600 has agricultural lands set for distribution in Agusan del Sur 

PROSPERIDAD, Agusan del Sur (July 26) -
A total of 1,600 hectares of agricultural lands are set for distribution by the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) in the province of Agusan del Sur before the end of this year. 

Agusan del Sur Gov. Adolph Edward Plaza was elated of this new development, saying “This will make our farmers more progressive”. 

This new development also came out during a series of workshops conducted by DAR as mandated by the CARPER law. 

With the enactment of Republic Act 9700 last August 2009 which provided for the extension of the land acquisition and distribution activity, DAR strategized to distribute the area that remained to be distributed. 

Provincial Agrarian Reform Officer (PARO) Marino M. Gayramon said the DAR is committed to distribute the remaining agricultural lands that can still be covered by CARP before the 2010 will end. 

"The department is very serious about its thrusts towards equitable and ownership," stressed Gayramon. 

After the distribution of the 1,600 hectares agricultural lands, the PARO officer hopes that more landless tillers will become genuine landowners in the next five years. 

"These beneficiaries of CARP-covered lands will surely help the country in its efforts towards poverty alleviation," he said. 

"We will continue to serve our best," he added. 

However, Gayramon also calls upon all CARP-implementing agencies to support the department in its endeavor to help the landless in the province. 

In another development, the DAR in Agusan del Norte recently issued land titles in the municipalities of Kitcharao and Jabonga under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program Extension with Reform (CARPer). 

At least 40 farmer beneficiaries from Barangays Bangayan and San Isidro of Kitcharao town and 69 farmers beneficiaries from Barangays Beltran and Maraiging of Jabonga town received Certificates of Land Ownership Award (CLOA) covering a total area of 73.9060 hectares for the municipality of Kitcharao and 85.0077 hectares for Jabonga. 

DAR Caraga Regional Director Faisar A. Mambuay personally handed-over the CLOA to the farmer-beneficiaries with the assistance of PARO II Andre B. Atega. 

Director Mambuay and PARO II Atega commended the new landowners for the land they can now call their own and urged them to make use of the opportunities it offers by working hard to make the lands productive and enjoy the benefits. 

A huge wave of farmer-beneficiaries attended and voiced their desire to thank DAR for its commitment to improve the living condition of the farmers to become successful. 

According to the data reflected in the summary of CLOA for distribution in the province of Agusan del Norte, the agency has already distributed a total of 25,692.0467 hectares or 69 percent accomplishment versus the working scope of 37,396.6674 hectares involving 14,266 Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries, leaving a Land Acquisition and Distribution (LAD) CARPer Balance of 11,704.6207 hectares, or 31 percent to be distributed to an estimated of 6,487 Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries in the next five years.
(muc/PIA-Caraga)
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Mindanao leaders vow to protect watershed areas and water supply 

BUTUAN CITY (July 26) -
Local leaders from various cities, provinces and municipalities in Mindanao on Sunday vowed to protect all watershed areas in their respective communities in an effort to avert future water crisis in the second largest southern island in the Philippines. 

At various interviews, the governors, mayors, congressmen and barangay leaders also pledged anew to lead in their respective constituents in the tree planting and reforestation program, not only in the watershed areas but also in uncultivated and idle lands in their respective localities. 

In unison, Mindanao key cities local chief executives, Butuan City Mayor Ferdinand Amante, Jr., Cagayan de Oro City Mayor Vicente Emano, Surigao City Ernesto Matugas and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, committed to protect their respective forests from timber poachers, illegal miners and other rapists of the environment. 

They vowed to give more teeth in their environment preservation and forest protection drive. 

Surigao del Norte Gov. Sol Matugas, along with her husband Rep. Francisco Matugas, Surigao del Sur Gov. Johnny Pimentel, Agusan del Sur Gov. Adolph Edward Plaza, Agusan del Norte Gov. Erlpe John Amante, Compostela Valley Gov. Rey Uy and Misamis Oriental Gov. Oscar Moreno also voiced the same statement. 

The Mindanao leaders mapped out their several short-term measures as well as a long-range plan to avert Mindanao water shortage. 

They assured their respective constituents that the national government as well as local governments are doing all they can to avert Mindanao water crisis. 

“We are committed to protect our environment, after all, our actions is also in line with the global warming and climate change mitigation program. 

The key Mindanao leaders voiced their respective pronouncements after experts have sounded alarm bells about the effects of global warming and climate change in Mindanao which is seen to be the most threatened region in the country by 2050, thus severely affecting the agricultural and industrial sectors. 

Experts said the loss of forest covers and the degradation of coastal and marine resources are driving these changes faster in Mindanao. 

The experts warned that domestic and industrial waste discharged into the sea further aggravate the vulnerability of the coastal ecosystem. 

They said climate-vulnerable hydroelectric power sources and irrigation systems in Mindanao would "definitely weaken the overall resiliency of food security and self sufficiency" of Mindanao. 

To counter the effects of global warming and climate change, there must be “honest to goodness” massive tree planting and reforestation program, they said.

Sources from the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Atmospheric Services Administration (Pagasa), said Mindanao is undergoing drastic change in terms of annual mean rainfall which is rapidly dropping. 

It said there would likely be a significant warming by the middle of the century. 

Pagasa alleged that by 2020, Mindanao would likely be warmer by 1.2 degree Celsius compared to its normal temperature and this may shoot up by three degrees by 2050. 

From 2020 to 2050, Mindanao is seen to experience a general reduction in rainfall by as much as 11 percent, the government’s weather forecaster added.
(muc/PIA-Caraga)