PIA News Service - Thursday, Aug. 26, 2010

Agusan del Sur declared 7th Filaria-Free Province
.
By Dave M. Suyao

“Today, I officially declare Agusan del Sur a Filaria-Free Province”, said Asst. Secretary Paulyn Jean Ubial of the Department of Health who graces the declaration.
ASEC Paulyn Jean Rosell Ubial (second from left) declares Agusan del Sur as the 7th Filaria-free province during the declaration rites held at the D.O. Plaza covered court. From left, Dennis Tuazon of Glaxo Smith Kline, ASEC Ubial, DOH-Caraga Regional Director Leonita Gorgolon, Gov. Eddiebong Plaza, Vice Gov. Santiago Cane, Prov’l. Health Officer Joel Esparagoza, OIC Dep. Dir. Cesar Cassion and Dir. Jaime Lagahid of the Infectious Disease Office.

According to DOH Caraga Regional Director Leoinita Gorgolon, Agusan del Sur became the 7th Filaria-free province since the start of Filariasis elimination program in 2003. Two years after the mass drug administration, survey reveals that cases Filariasis tremendously reduced and finally, during the 2009 survey by the DOH, total elimination of Filariasis in Agusan del Sur was achieved.

“The achievement of eliminating filariasis in Agusan del Sur reflects the full support of the people in the province specially the local officials. We sincerely recognize the support of Gov. Adolph Edward Plaza and then Gov. Maria Valentina Plaza in giving the health program top priority resulting to zero filariasis cases in Agusan del Sur”, Dir. Gorgolon said.

In her opening statement, ASEC Pauline Jean Ubial said she cannot help expressing her deep appreciation to the D.O. Plaza Chorale Ensemble for singing the Philippine National Anthem.

“With deep appreciation, I can say, it is only here in Agusan del Sur that I heard the singing of the National Anthem in perfect tempo, with displayed emotion of the true Filipino. I congratulate your choir”, ASEC Ubial said.

“Today, we have all the reasons to celebrate. How proud you should be, that you are recognized as a Filaria-free province in the Philippines by the whole world. I want you to know that with the effort of the World Health Organization to make the whole world a filaria- free in the year 2020, we will have a meeting in Seoul, Korea next year, and another meeting in 2014 to be held here in the Philippines. Hopefully, we will be a filarial- free country by that time”, added ESEC Ubial.

According to DOH Caraga Deputy Director Cesar Cassion, they recognize that achieving the goal to become a filarial-free province is hard, but Agusan del Sur have surpassed all the hardships like the lack of drugs, and most of all the geographical location, by attaining the target of 85 percent administration of drugs for pilariasis specially in the hinterlands where filariasis are prevalent.

As response, Gov. Adolph Edward Plaza expressed his gratitude for the effort of the DOH officials and personnel in making Agusan del Sur a Filaria-free province. That on the onset of his administration, Agusan del Sur was declared a filarial-free province.

“Our main target now is how to maintain Agusan del Sur a Filarial-free province. Because of this target, I am offering a P10,000 reward per person with filariasis for anybody who could bring that person to the D.O. Plaza Memorial Hospital and examined to be positive with filariasis. I am giving this reward because of two reasons. First, I know that Filariasis is prevalent in hinterlands, and the cost of transportation is high. Because of this, it is almost possible for people infected with filariasis to visit the health centers for medication and second, I sincerely want to maintain this status as a Filaria- free province”, Gov. Plaza said.

Filariasis is a mosquito-borne disease. People inflected with the disease will have swollen parts in the body that will cause even death. (PIA-Agusan del Sur)


NAPOLCOM to hold activities for the 16th nat’l crime prevention month
.
By Jennifer P. Gaitano

BUTUAN CITY – The National Police Commission (NAPOLCOM) Caraga will conduct week long activities on September in time with the celebration of the 16th National Crime Prevention Month with this year’s theme: “Komunidad at Pulisya, Magkasama Tungo sa Pag-unlad ng Bayan!”

To draw public awareness on this activity, all government line agencies and private stakeholders are enjoined to hang streamers in front of their respective offices.

As planned by the Technical Working Committee composed of partner government agencies, the kick-off ceremony on September 1 will start with a “Walk for a Cause” at 5:30 in the morning from Agusan del Norte Capitol going to Rizal Park, where the program proper will be held.

On September 2-3, a Seminar on Crime and Drug Abuse Prevention will be discussed in some of the private and public schools and also in some of the barangays here by speakers coming from NAPOLCOM.

The Philippine National Police (PNP) Caraga will also highlight its activity dubbed as “Ugnayan ng Mamamayan at Pulisya” on September 6, while the culmination program will be held on September 7 at the PNP-Caraga Regional Office wherein NAPOLCOM and PNP will be awarding the plaques and certificates to the provincial awardees of the Search for Outstanding Barangay Peace-keeping Action Teams (BPATs) and Search for Outstanding Social Volunteer Organization (SVO).

NAPOLCOM and its partner agencies are hoping for the full support, involvement and commitment of the general public on its fight against all forms of criminality. (PIA-Caraga)


Cebuano News: Misaka ang biktima sa human trafficking sa Surigao City

Ni Michael Imbo

BUTUAN CITY- Gikabalak-an sa otoridad ang pagsaka sa gidaghanon sa ihap sa mga biktima sa human trafficking, didto sa Surigao City, dili pa lang dugay.

Sa nakuhang impormasyon nga gibutyag sa Visayan Forum Foundation Inc., naila nga organisasyon sa adbokasiya sa anti-trafficking programs. Base sa ilang naitala, miabot sa 227 ang naluwas nga biktima ug 63 ang mga menor de edad niini.

Si Visayan Forum Foundation Inc. Regional Head Coordinator Zenaida E. Calungsad ang nagkanayon nga niadtong milabay’ng tuig ang ilang naiatalang biktima halos 164, 89 kababayen-an ug mga kabataan.

Niadtong 2004, gitug-an sa VFFI nga niabot sa 244 ang biktima sulod sa 12 ka bulan. Sanglit ang 227 nga ihap sa mga biktima nahitabo sulod lamang kini sa 6 ka bulan ni’ng tuiga.

Gikumpirma nga 244 ka biktima niadtong tuig 2008 ang naluwas sulod sa operasyon sa first ug second quarters.

Si Calungsad nagsulti nga adunay upat nga gipasakang kaso apil na niana ang batok sa suspek nga foreigner recruiter.

Sumala pa nga kasong paglapas sa Republic Act 9208 kon “An act to institute policies to eliminate trafficking in persons especially women and children, establishing the necessary institutional mechanisms for the protection and support of trafficked persons”.

Ang operasyon gilusad sa pakig-alayon sa Philippine Port Authority-Port Police, ang Department of Social Welfare and Development, Department of Labor and Employment, Philippine Coast Guard ug VFFI.

Gidugang ni Calungsad nga ubay-ubay sa mga biktima lakip na mga menor de edad ang naluwas ug nahibalik sa ilang mga pamilya.

matud sa report nga 11 ka mga suspek ang nag-atubang karon sa kaso, ang uban padayon pa nga gipangita sa otoridad.

Nagkanayon si Port Police Chief Inspector Eugenio Lira, Jr. nga ang Surigao City ang usa nga lutsanan sa destinasyon nga pantalan paingon sa north ug south sa nasud.

Panapos sa opisyal nga misaka ang kaso sa human trafficking gumikan sa mga nagkadaiyang rason sa estado sa panginabuhian sa mga biktima.
Gi-angkon niini nga ang Mindanao ang sources sa human trafficking gumikan sa mga illegal nga recruitment. (PIA-Caraga)


Government troops encountered CTs in Agusan Del Sur

CAMP RAFAEL C RODRIGUEZ, LIBERTAD, BUTUAN CITY - A series of combat operations has been launched by the Philippine Army in the area, following the incidents of atrocities in Brgy La fortuna, Veruela, Agusan del Sur yesterday. Wherein five (5) members of their troops were killed in action and the wounding of one. As a result of which, Elements of Charlie Company, 26IB, Phil Army Phil; Encountered undetermined number of CT's believed to be members of FC-3 SMRC at forested area of Sitio Tagmanoro, Brgy Sayon, Sta. Josefa, Agusan, del Sur today August 25, 2010 at around 7:30 am. CT's scattered and fled towards boundary of Veruela and Monkayo, Comval Province after twenty-five (25) minutes firefight. Elements of 26IB Philippine Army still conducting hot pursuit operation against the fleeing rebels, while PNP personnel of Sta. Josefa Police Station now conducting checkpoint at strategic area. No reported casualties as of this time.

The PNP is also looking into the possibilities that the same CT's FC-3 SMRC are the one responsible in the killing of Police Inspector CHRISTOPHER MAZO in a legitimate operations at Sitio Danao, Brgy Buhian, Lianga, Surigao del Sur on August 21, 2010. (PCI Nelly Tabornal Villagarcia, PNP-13/PIA-Caraga)


DENR condemns ambush of DENR retrieval team and the killing of the PNP chief of lianga, Surigao del Sur by alleged NPA rebels

BUTUAN CITY - The officials and personnel of the DENR in Caraga Region headed by Regional Executive Director Edilberto S. Buiser has vehemently condemned the ambush of the DENR retrieval team and the killing of the Police Chief of Lianga P/Inspector Christopher P. Mazo, and wounding of four other DENR personnel by a group of suspected Communist Guerillas belonging to the New Peoples Army at a dirt road in the remote Sitio Kulambugan spur in barangay San Agustin, Lianga, Surigao del Sur.
The DENR team sent by Regional Executive Director for Caraga Region Ediberto S. Buiser seized some 1,211.87 cubic meters of illegally cut lauan,gubas, binuang logs and other miscellaneous tree species at a forested area operated by the SAMILLA-Community-Based Forest Management Agreement holder at Danao, San Agustin, Lianga, Surigao del Sur on Saturday Aug.21,2010. The retrieval team headed by OIC,CENR Officer Greg Bayotas was later ambushed by a group of suspected communist guerillas while on their way back to the town proper killing the Police Chief of Lianga Police Station P/Insp. Christopher P. Mazo and wounding four other DENR personnel.
.
The wounded DENR personnel who were identified as Joel Caluya, tree marker assigned at CENRO Talacogon, Flaviano Bahian, assigned at CENRO Bayugan, all of Agusan del Sur, Forester Raul Tambilawan of CENRO Bagangga, and Avelino Abaniel, forest ranger of CENRO Manay, all of Davao del Norte have suffered superficial wounds and treated at the Municipal Hospital of Lianga last Saturday, August 21, 2010.

Director Buiser in his report to the DENR Secretary Ramon J.P. Paje said the team has located the exact site of several illegally- cut logs at sitio Danao about 23 kilometers from Lianga town proper and found about 487 pieces or 1,162.21 cubic meters of lauan, 25 pieces or 16.28 cubic meters of gubas and binuang log species and 19 pieces or 33.38 cubic meters of miscellaneous logs of different species.

Considering the reported unstable peace and order condition in that area, Director Buiser said, the DENR before they went to the target site has requested for police and military assistance to provide security of the 84-man DENR retrieval team including nine (9) from DENR Region 11, nine from Task Force Kalasangan from DENR Region 9 and six (6) from the SAMMILLA Community-Based Forest Management Agreement. The team was sent to conduct scaling of the reported logs within the SAMMILIA CBFM area.

The team had just done with their lunch and decided to move out back to their base camp at CENR Office in that town when they were fired upon by a group of armed men believed to be rebels at Kulambugan Spur-Km 21, in Barangay San Agustin in hat town at about 1:30 pm.

“We can hardly figure out the intention of the NPA rebels firing upon the DENR personnel who were just doing their duties in that area” Director Buiser said. The slain police officer, according to report, was hit by a sniper bullet when the NPA rebels opened fire at a convoy of five vehicles and several motorcycles while on their way to the town proper.

“The entire DENR personnel have expressed sad over the unfortunate death of the PNP Station Commander of Lianga, Surigao del Sur Police Station “Director Buiser said in a press statement.

Director Buiser said the ambush by the rebels of the DENR personnel who were just tasked to investigate and retrieve illegally-cut logs in that area had only shown the high risk involved in the anti-illegal logging campaign of the government.

Notwithstanding the ambush incident however, Director Buiser said that the DENR shall remain steadfast in its mission and mandate to preserve and protect the environment and natural resources in this part of the country.

PNP personnel and a platoon of Philippine Army Soldiers from the 75th Infantry Batallion, 401st Brigade, 4th Infantry Division are in hot pursuit of the fleeing rebels.

The DENR has extended financial assistance to the bereaved family of the slain P/Inspector Mazo. (Herzon F. Gallego, DENR-13/PIA-Caraga)


RCCB settles census conflict

The Regional Census Coordination Board (RCCB), chaired by Director Carmencita S. Cochingco of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) – Caraga, successfully settled the census of population and housing in the contested area between Alegria in Surigao del Norte and Kitcharao in Agusan del Norte in relation to the conduct of the 2010 Census of Population and Housing (CPH) during a meeting held on July 14, 2010 at the NEDA Conference Room, Butuan City.

Mayor Esma of Alegria gives their statements on the issue while RCCB Chairman, Director Cochingco of NEDA, takes important notes. Beside him are Vice Governor Egay of Surigao del Norte and the LGU staff of Alegria and Surigao del Norte.

Pending final resolution of the boundary dispute, both parties agreed to adopt the official 2007 maps and 2010 census used by the National Statistics Office (NSO) – Caraga for the population count of Barangay Poblacion, specifically in Sitio Siringan and in the socialized housing project BLISS. Poblacion has been the contested area between Alegria and Kitcharao for many years, which has a population count of 2,383 in 2007.
Vice Governor Corvera of Agusan del Norte clarifies their arguments on the contested area. Beside him are Director Celeste of NSO and Vice Mayor Montante of Kitcharao.

Director Rosalinda Celeste of the NSO-Caraga, executive officer and secretariat of the RCCB, said that her office will have to check on the possible double counting in the contested area following the agreement forged during the meeting.

However, final determination of the boundary delineation between Alegria and Kitcharao has yet to be resolved before the appropriate forum wherein both parties might resort to. Nonetheless, Director Cochingco told both parties that the Regional Development Council (RDC) can host one meeting to help the parties resolve the said issue. She added that the delivery of social services is affected if the issue will drag for a long time.

Attending the RCCB meeting were Vice Governor Carlos Egay, Jr. (Surigao del Norte); Vice Governor Enrico R. Corvera (Agusan del Norte); Mayor Dominador G. Esma, Jr. (Alegria); Mayor Jenky E. Montante and Vice Mayor Aristotle E. Montante (Kitcharao); members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of both provinces; were NEDA Asst. Regional Director Bonifacio G. Uy; NSO hired enumerators; and, representatives from DepEd, DENR and DILG. (Ian G. Miculob, NEDA-13/PIA-Caraga)


PMA still accepts applicants for August 29 entrance exam in Butuan

By: Robert E. Roperos

BUTUAN CITY (26 August) – The Philippine Military Academy (PMA) is still accepting walk-in applicants for the upcoming entrance examination on Sunday, August 29 at Father Saturnino Urios University (FSUU).

This is what Maj. Norberto P. Aromin, Jr., PMA officer-in-charge for admission in Butuan City in an interview with a reporter of a local television station held in PIA office here.

According to Maj. Aromin, they will entertain additional 100 applicants in a first come-first serve basis. He said interested applicants must go to FSUU, the designated testing center in Caraga Region from 7:00 to 10:00 in the morning.

Also, Aromin said, applicants must bring with them an NSO-auhenticated Birth Certificate, Identification Card and Transcript of Record. Admission qualification include: a natural-born Filipino citizen, of good moral character, physically fit, single and have never been married, minimum height for male is 5’4” while female is 5’2”, 17-21 years old, at least high school graduate with a general average of 85% or higher and must not have administrative or criminal case.

When asked what is the main objective of the academy on conducting examinations in 35 testing centers nationwide, Maj. Aromin said, “we want to get the best so we are opening it to everybody as long as they qualified, they can take the cadet qualification test of PMA,” he said.

“If they are lucky enough to pass the examination, they will be trained as a cadet for four years and immediately after graduation, they will be commissioned as a lieutenant in the Armed Forces as an Army Officer, a Navy Officer or an Air Force Officer,” Aromin, explained.

On issue pertaining to who is better between PMA and PNPA cadets and officers, Maj. Aromin said, “PMA is producing officers for the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) while PNPA produces officers for the Philippine National Police (PNP) and we are both serving our motherland on a different scale. We are more on external threats for defense and they are more on criminality so I don’t think there is no rivalry among the two. In fact, meron tayong samahan ng bawat class ng PMA and PNPA,” he said.

Moreover, Maj. Aromin stated the benefits of becoming a PMA cadet. He enumerated that a cadet will have the rare opportunity to serve their motherland aside from the fact that they will be receiving monthly stipend while they are studying in PMA. “Once they will be a cadet, they will already receive salary,” he said.

“A well-rounded education also awaits the successful examinees, and as an officer, they will have a very progressive military cadet in the Armed Forces as an officer,” assures Maj. Aromin. (PIA-Caraga)

PDEA-Caraga chief cries foul vs. black propaganda

By: Robert E. Roperos

BUTUAN CITY (26 AUGUST) – Following the negative propaganda that is circulating the city today putting the region’s Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) in bad light, PDEA-Caraga Regional Director Atty. Joey Quiriones said these drug perpetrators will not stop and it’s normal for them to destroy the agency’s integrity.

In an interview with PIA recently, Quiriones said the lawlessness and martial rule form of governance accused to them is a big lie. “Paano magkakaroon ng sinasabi nilang lawlessness and martial rule when in fact, lahat ng mga operations na ginagawa natin ay naaayon sa batas and all of these are conducted legally,” Quiriones said.

However, Quiriones challenged those who are responsible in disseminating the malicious information to come out in the open and file formal complaints in accordance with the law.

“Sa mga naging responsable sa pagdi-disseminate ng mga malisyosong impormasyong kagaya nito, hinahamon ko kayo na lumantad at mag-file ng pormal na reklamo laban sa amin dahil ito ang naaayon sa batas” (To all who are responsible in the dissemination of malicious information like these, I challenged you to come out in the open and formally file necessary complaints in accordance with the law), he said.

With the series of buy-bust operations successfully undertaken by PDEA, the chief of the region’s drug buster agency said receiving negative propaganda against the agency’s officials is just normal to discredit the agency’s head which is also tantamount to discredit the whole system of the agency.

Inspite all of these, Quriones positively accepts the challenge saying, “we will take all what has been stated on the propaganda a challenge that we have to undertake. Rest assured that we will be doubling our efforts in running after those who seriously and continuously destroy the lives of our youths and the victims because of proliferating illegal drugs… Kaya, sa lahat ng mga drug pushers na ‘yan, magtago na kayo sa pinggalingan n’yo” (So, to all drug pushers out there, better go back to where you came from), warned Quiriones. (PIA-Caraga)

August 23 hostage-crisis
DOT-Caraga leads prayer vigil in Butuan


By: Robert E. Roperos

BUTUAN CITY (26 AUGUST) – In time with President Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III’s declaration on Wednesday, August 25 as National Day of Mourning in solidarity with the people of Hong Kong for Monday’s hostage situation in Manila where eight Hong Kong tourists were killed, the Regional Office of the Department of Tourism spearheaded the conduct of prayer vigil held Wednesday night at the Rizal Park here.

In spite of short notice given to public and private establishments, concerned citizens from the public and private sectors joined the activity as it implies sympathy and deepest condolences to the bereaved families of the victims.

The prayer vigil started at around 6:30 in the evening with a heart-pounding video presentation produced by Philippine Information Agency-Caraga reminiscing what was transpired during Monday’s incident.

In her speech, DOT Caraga Regional Director Leticia DC Tan extended deepest sympathy and condolences to the bereaved families of the victims. Dir. Tan also said in an erratic voice the real feelings of the Filipinos towards the incident.

“Today is mourning day. We cannot afford to let this day pass without telling everyone of what our real feelings for this unforgettable event for the Philippines,” Tan said.

It can be recalled that the list of Monday’s identified victims has been disclosed to the media. Among the eight fatalities are six individuals belonging to two families. While Mrs. Leung survived, her husband, and two daughters aged 14 and 21 years respectively, died; her son was seriously injured due to blunt force trauma to the head, and remains in critical condition. The Leungs are Canadian nationals.

Following are the victims who died in the hostage-taking: Ken Leung, Doris Leung, Jessie Leung, Wong Tze Lam, Yeung Yee Wa, Yeung Yee Kam, Fu Ceuk Yan, and Masa Tse.

Meanwhile, at 9:46 p.m. on Monday, the Security Bureau of Hong Kong revised their assessment to the personal safety of Hong Kong residents in the Philippines, and announced a 'black' outbound travel alert for the country: Hong Kong residents are advised against traveling to the Philippines, and residents on location were advised to be alert and to return to Hong Kong as soon as possible.

Also, it was learned that the Philippines will send a high-level delegation to Hong Kong to meet and explain to officials there what happened in the hostage crisis.

In his Proclamation 23, President Aquino declared August 25, 2010 a National Day of Mourning for those killed. All Philippine flags at all government institutions, including consulates and embassies worldwide, would be flown half-mast. (PIA-Caraga)