1.14.2011

PIA News Service - Friday, Jan. 14, 2011

Task Force “Pagbabago” confiscates 5,000 m3 hot logs in Agusan del Sur

By: Robert E. Roperos

BUTUAN CITY (14 January)
– Task Force “Pagbabago” team leader retired Maj. Gen. Renato Miranda on Friday, January 14 said they have confiscated around 5,000 cubic meter of hot logs during their recent operation in Agusan del Sur.

In an interview with a local radio station here, Miranda said as the operation is still on-going, number of illegally-cut logs is expected to rise. “In Agusan del Sur, lately nakakuha kami ng mga around 5,000 cubic meter at on-going pa ‘yan dahil marami pa kasing nakatago sa sulok-sulok, (In Agusan del Sur, lately we confiscated around 5,000 cubic meters and as the operation is on-going, said figure will increase because there are still hot logs hidden in some areas) he said.

Miranda also said Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Ramon Paje has ordered that confiscated hot logs will be donated with priority to the Department of Education (DepEd) to be used for making chairs, tables, and blackboards in different schools.

Also, the task force chief said that as of press time, they have accounted a total of some P60 million worth of hot logs in their possession having been confiscated by Task Force Pagbabago.

When asked how the task force apprehended the hot logs, the official said the operation is concerted efforts of government agencies and concerned groups and individuals who are concerned with environmental protection and preservation.

“This is actually a team effort. This is not only an effort of one group… This is a team work of everybody including concerned groups and individuals here in Caraga Region,” he said.

With this development, the task force chief said, every group or individual should work hand in hand to curb illegal logging activities proliferating not only here in the region but in the entire country as well. (PIA-Caraga)


DENR task force to loggers: Be responsible!

By: Robert E. Roperos

BUTUAN CITY (14 January)
– Maj. Gen. Renato Miranda, chief of DENR-organized Task Force “Pagbabago” reminded loggers to be responsible with their actions of cutting trees that lead to denudation of forest which causes massive floods and landslides.

In an interview on Friday (January 14) with a local radio station here, Miranda said people who are engaging into logging business should plant trees in exchange to trees they cut so that forest denudation will be avoided. “Thus, massive flooding and landslide will also be avoided,” the official said.

Miranda recalled an incident in Surigao del Sur where a 200 year-old tree was cut. According to him, these are considered national treasures and not for business consumption of some opportunist businessmen.

“These are considered national treasures. We should preserve them for the next generations for them to see because these trees are already rare,” he said.

The official also said that as of press time, the task force has already identified the alleged owner, protector and financiers and they are under investigation.

Miranda further explained that the task force’s mission is to correct what is wrong. “Hindi kami pumuta rito para makipag-away... Nandito kami upang itama ang mali” (We don’t came here for any trouble… We are here to correct what is wrong), Miranda said.

Also, Miranda said that the directive from higher authorities is not only to confiscate these hot logs, but to file criminal charges of those who are responsible of these illegal activities.

Meanwhile, Miranda said Task Force “Pagbabago” is serious in curbing illegal logging and illegal mining activities in the country and calls the public to help protect and preserve the environment. “If these activities will not be controlled, the area will be placed in danger to calamities that may possibly hit the area,” Miranda disclosed. (PIA-Caraga)


Pres. Aquino urges key officials to prioritize things need to be rehabilitated in the wake of disaster in Caraga

By: Robert E. Roperos

BUTUAN CITY (14 January)
– President Benigno S. Aquino III on Friday (January 14) urged local key officials of Caraga Region to prioritize things needed to be rehabilitated immediately in the wake of the massive flooding and landslides that hit the region in the past days.

According to the country’s chief executive, the local chief executives of the region in coordination with other key officials should put up priority list.

The President said the calamity fund is only about P1.12 billion and the estimated fund needed for the rehabilitation in Bicol, Samar and Caraga is about P1.4 billion, thus, the President said those that are needed to be given immediate attention must be given priority.

The President admitted that fund needed to put up things back in order is not a joke. He said that in Legaspi, Albay, the needed fund is more likely the same with what is needed in the region. “Looking at the extent of damage here, it is likely the same with the Bicol Region,” Pres. Aquino said.

The President also said DPWH was already ordered to review, rehab and replace damaged infrastructures particularly on roads and bridges that were washed out by flashfloods.

“We will repair, rehabilitate or replace as needed with consultations with all of you and hopefully we will have the intimate local knowledge that we will able to produce the best result,” the President said.

Pres. Aquino also said Leyte has been setting up certified seed farm that will somehow answers to the agricultural crops that were damaged during the massive flooding, affecting thousands of farmers nationwide.

Moreover, Pres. Aquino lauded the efforts of the local government officials in the region for immediately responding to the needs of their constituents in the height of the disaster.

“I congratulate everybody because you are there during the disaster. You were the first to respond and we only supported you,” Pres. Aquino said.

The President was here in the city following the massive flooding and landslides that struck some areas in the region during the first week of this month, leaving 23 persons dead as reported by the region’s Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (RDRRMC), displacing thousands of individuals and damaging agricultural crops, livestock and infrastructures. (PIA-Caraga)


President Aquino distributes relief goods to Caraga region’s flood victims
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By Nora CL Molde

BUTUAN CITY (14 January)
– President Benigno S. Aquino III on Friday, January 14 personally distributes relief goods, medicines, farm inputs to Caraga region’s flood victims at the Bancasi airport ground, this city.
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The President handed over certificates of turn-over to families, farmers whose agricultural products were damaged due to flood and to affected families and local government units of the region through their local chief executives.
Butuan City Ferdinand M. Amante, Jr. received certificate of turn over for 50 bags of certified seeds; three units water pump engine sets; and two boxes assorted vegetable seeds.

Also, Amante received requisition and issue slip for one set assorted medicines and medical supplies; and check worth P437,400.00 from the Department of Labor and Employment’s (DOLE) emergency employment program.

For the province of Agusan del Norte, Gov. Erlpe John M. Amante received certificate of turn-over for 50 bags of certified seeds; three units water pump engine sets; and two boxes assorted vegetable seeds.

Based on the report of the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (RDRRMC), the province of Agusan del Sur recorded the biggest damage in the recent flood. Gov. Adolph Edward Plaza received certificate of turn-over for 50 bags of certified seed; three units water pump engine sets; two boxes of assorted vegetable seeds; requisition and issue slip for one set of assorted medicines and medical supplies; and four checks with a total amount of P656,100.00 for DOLE’s emergency program for the municipalities of Prosperidad, Veruela, Sta. Josefa and Loreto.

Vice Gov. Arturo Carlos Egay, jr. of the province of Surigao del Norte also received certificate of turn-over for the 50 bags of certified seeds; three units water pump engine sets; two boxes of assorted vegetable seeds; two checks amounting to P437,000.00 for DOLE’s emergency employment program for the island of Siargao and Dinagat.

The province of Surigao del Sur Gov. Johnny Pimentel received certificate of turn-over for 50 bags of certified seeds; three unit water pump engine sets; two boxes of assorted vegetable seeds; requisition and issue slip for one set of assorted medicines and medical supplies.

Pimentel also received three checks worth P510,300.00 from DOLE’s emergency program for the municipalities of Barobo, Tago and Tandag, Surigao del Sur.

Requisition issue slip was also turned over to Gov. Pimentel for the 1,200 and 1,000 family food packs for the municipalities of Tago and San Miguel, respectively.

The people of Caraga region is greatful to the President for the concern and assistance extended.

The Chief Executive’s visit to the region is also to assess what else can be done to assist the victims of floods and landslides.

Joining the President in his visit here were Presidential Spokesperson Atty. Edwin Lacierda, Social Worker and Development Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman, Public Works and Highways Secretary Rogelio L. Singson, Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse M. Robredo, and National Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin. (PIA-Caraga)
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EMB mulls regulation of two-stroke motorbikes

Manila, Jan. 14 (PIA) - The Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) is mulling the possibility of regulating the use of two-stroke engines for motor vehicles in the fight against air pollution in the country.

In a weekly briefing and discussion with government media held Thursday, January 13, 2011 at PIA conference room, EMB Asst. Director Gilbert Gonzales said they are now coordinating with the Department of Energy (DOE) and Local Government Units (LGUs) regarding the use of two-stroke engine for motorcycle for it can cause serious air pollution and emissions of carbon dioxide which ultimately contributes to global warming.

As pointed out by Dir. Gonzales, the motor vehicles are responsible for up to 70 percent of air pollution in Metro Manila and that they intend to reduce the Total Suspended Particulates (TSP) levels by 30% thereby improving the air quality in other major urban areas, “and the best way to do it is to improve the emissions of motor vehicles.”

Gonzales said that a serious regular monitoring of fuel especially on the use of recycled 2T oils in the two-stroke engines must be enforced for they emit more smoke, carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons and particulate matter as compared to the gas-only, four-stroke engines found in newer vehicle.

According to Gonzales, one of the moves they are currently doing in close coordination with the Land Transportation Office is a stricter implementation of emission testing prior to registration and implements in-use standards for motor vehicles and motorcycles/tricycles.

Gonzales also revealed its constant roadside apprehension of smoke belchers.

Aside from that, the EMB is also in coordination with the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) on the installation of Motor Vehicle Inspection System (MVIS) nationwide to supplement the Private Emission Testing Centers (PETCs) operation. The MVIS caters government vehicles, vehicles for hire, and diplomatic vehicles while the PETCs serve private vehicles. The MVICs, however, will be taking care of all types of vehicles. (FEAbkilan, PIA-Surigao del Norte)


DILG-13 completes regionwide streamlining of BPLS

BUTUAN CITY - A total of 243 participants coming from 63 municipalities in Caraga Region attended the two-day training/workshop on streamlining of processes for Business Permits and Licensing Systems (BPLS) on January 11-12, 2011 at one of the convention center, this city.

The 63 municipalities complete the 73 total number of LGUs in the region, which have been coached on streamlining business processes. An initial ten identified cities and major towns of the region were the first to attend the workshop in Mainit, Surigao del Norte last September 23 – 24, 2010 for the BPLS training.

Mayor Ferdinand Amante Jr. of Butuan City warmly welcomed the participants and exhorted all LGUs to implement the simplified procedures to attract new investors and make their business more vibrant and contribute economic growth to Caraga Region.

Atty. Rene Burdeos, Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Regional Director also explained the importance of the reforms in doing business in LGUs as a potent way of increasing local revenues.

As the first LGU in Caraga to implement the reforms in business processes, Butuan City represented by Sangguniang Panlungsod Member Ryan Anthony Culima, shared its experiences in putting up the streamlined BPLS dubbed as “Business Fastlane” boasting now that renewal of business permit will be completed in a record time of six minutes.

Before the two-day seminar ended, the designated Business Permits and Licensing Officers elected their set of officers for each province and subsequently, all elected presidents selected their regional level officers. All elected officers, both provincial and regional levels, immediately took their oaths of offices before Ms. Lilibeth Famacion, Assistant Regional Director of DILG XIII.

The training was a response to the call of President Benigno S. Aquino III for Local Government Units to implement reforms that will make business start-ups easier. The DILG and DTI were tasked to ensure implementation of the BPLS standards by providing capacity building trainings to streamline LGUs business permit applications and renewals and assist in generating resources.

Streamlined BPLS reduces the cost of doing business and simplifies business registration and renewal processes by giving faster, convenient and efficient services to business operators thereby attracting more investors and increasing local revenue in the long run.

The activity was spearheaded by the Department of the Interior and Local Government in partnership with the Department of Trade and Industry through the Strengthening Local Governments in the Philippines Project funded by the Agencia EspaƱola de Cooperacion Internacional para el Desarrollo. “This accomplishment of training all LGUs instead of only a few or pilot LGUs is unprecedented; the first in the country” said Mr. Donald Seronay, LGMED Chief of DILG XIII in his closing remarks. (Lolita H. Savaria, DILG-13/PIA-Caraga)
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DSWD-Caraga strengthens its poverty reduction programs

By: Jennifer P. Gaitano

BUTUAN CITY
– The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Caraga regional office here conducted the 2011 Convergence Roadshow and Dialogue with the local tri-media and with the presence of DSWD Sec. Corazon “Dinky” Soliman, held recently in one of the hotels, this city.

Sec. Soliman bared that DSWD has developed a Convergence Framework that aims to maximize the impact of its poverty reduction programs through an effective targeting system and a holistic community development approach.

“This framework, also known as the Public Private Partnership (PPP) Pathway out of Poverty consists of the three key programs of the department which are the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps); Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan – Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (KAHI-CIDSS), and Self-Employment Assistance – Kaunlaran (SEA-K),” said Sec. Soliman.

Sec. Soliman also revealed that Caraga is among the top 5 poorest regions in the country, the reason why DSWD here is trying its best to address poverty issues and concerns.

When asked on whether the social workers are monitoring the parents of the main beneficiaries which are the school children, Sec. Soliman said that assigned social workers in the areas are tightly monitoring these parents if they are providing the educational needs of their children.

Meanwhile, Sec. Soliman also stressed that qualified senior citizens should enjoy the benefits and privileges that are provided to them by the government.

“The establishments should give the 20 percent discount to the senior citizens. If reported not implementing the said Senior Citizens Act (Republic Act 9994), said establishments will be penalized and even put to jail… If there are complaints, Senior Citizens will have to get the complete details of the establishment and report it to DSWD and other concerned agencies for appropriate action,” Sec. Soliman added.

With this, DSWD is hoping for the full support and participation of the general public, and also to its media partners to help the agency in disseminating the information so the people would know what the government id doing to address poverty issues. (PIA-Caraga)
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RDMMC delivers report to Pres. Aquino

By: Robert E. Roperos

BUTUAN CITY (14 January) – The Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (RDRRMC) on Friday reported to President Benigno S. Aquino III on the extent of damages in the region during the six days continuous rains resulted to massive flooding and landslides in some areas.

According to Dr. Blanche Gobenciong, Regional Director of the Office of Civil Defense (OCD)-Caraga and RDRRMC Chairman, the northeast monsoon and tail-end of a cold front brought heavy rains in all parts of Caraga Region from January 1 to 6, 2010 which triggered the occurrence of flooding and landslides in low-lying areas and in areas located near and along the major river systems.

Dr. Gobenciong reported that the flood caused 23 lives lost and 1 missing, affecting 100,453 families, 350 houses totally damaged and P165,620,535.00 worth of agriculture and P457,845,053.66 worth of infrastructures destroyed.

Gobenciong also said local DRRMCs, national government agencies and private sectors provided immediate response in the form of pre-emptive evacuation, search and rescue, relief and medical assistance to flood stricken areas.

“Removal and cleaning of debris as well as immediate repair of impassable road sections were also undertaken,” Gobenciong reported.

Moreover, the DRMMC regional chairman reported to the President the response actions taken by some government agencies including the military and the Philippine National Police.

Meanwhile, Gobenciong acknowledged the efforts of the Local Government Units for efficiently utilizing their respective resources to undertake emergency response activities.

Gobenciong further reported the post-disaster needs for agriculture include additional planting materials and animal dispersal and repair/rehabilitation of irrigation system, farm to market roads and post harvest facilities such as solar dryer.

Furthermore, Gobenciong said provision of core shelter assistance, repair and rehabilitation of damaged road sections, bridges, slope protection works, lined canals and drainages, schools and water system are urgently needed.

The official also said that the requirement for social services for the short term is the restoration of jobs and income in the agriculture sector through immediate employment of head and able member of the affected families in rural works program.

For the long term, however, funding of ten livelihood projects particularly rehabilitation of farms and production of crops including provision of pre-harvest facilities is identified.

With RDDRMC’s commitment to provide leadership in the continuous development of measures to reduce risk to communities and manage the consequence of disasters, the official said one of its future plans is the intensification of the family and community disaster preparedness program in coordination and collaboration with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

Gobenciong said other initiatives of the council include the capability enhancement of local emergency responders in terms of training on Medical First Response (MFR) and Water Search and Rescue (WASAR) as well as the enhancement of database for inventory of hazard maps, critical infrastructures, and resources including manpower, equipment and facilities.

Pres. Aquino visited the city to know the extent of damages in the Bicol Region, Leyte and Caraga which were greatly affected during the recent massive flooding in the country. (PIA-Caraga)

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RDRRMC acknowledges stakeholders

By: Robert E. Roperos

BUTUAN CITY (14 January) – “In the height of disaster in the region, private and public stakeholders play major role in responding to the immediate needs of the affected families and individuals, thus, they need to be appreciated,” thus said Dr. Blanche Gobenciong, Regional Director of the Office of Civil Defense (OCD)-Caraga and Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (DRRMC) regional chair.

Speaking before President Benigno S. Aquino III, local officials and members of the Presidential entourage, Dr. Gobecniong briefed the President on what has transpired during the six days disaster in the region as well as the stakeholders response actions taken.

The official said, RDRRMC Operations Center continuously maintained a 24/7 monitoring operation and automatically disseminated warning advisories to local chief executives, local DRMMC action officers, RDRRMC member-agencies and local radio and television stations through fax, text messages, and Short Messaging System (SMS) of Philippine Information Agency (PIA) and directly to the media.

Gobenciong said Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) conducted immediate repair and installed safety warning signage and barricades on damaged road sections for public safety and convenience.

She also reported that Department of Education (DepEd) issued directives to suspend classes in the elementary and high school. The Department of Health (DOH) declared Health Emergency Code White Alert and its appropriate actions: distributed PHT pre-positioned medicines/fluids to the affected areas amounting to Php 763,082.05. Field Response Teams were dispatched to the provinces to conduct rapid assessment. DOH OpCen maintained 24/7 monitoring operation.

Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) provided relief augmentation worth Php 3,488.090.00 to affected areas. SWAD Team Leaders coordinated with LGUs for assessment and validation of data submitted as basis for augmentation assistance, Gobenciong said.

Meanwhile, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) intensified monitoring of price increases or supply insufficiency. Police Regional Office (PRO) 13 deployed 1,296 PNP personnel, 73 patrol cars, 6 units 6x6 trucks, 1 ambulance, and 3 rubber boats to disaster affected areas to assist in the evacuation, SAR, and relief operations.

The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) reiterated the dissemination of DILG Memorandum Circular No. 2010-79 dated August 24, 2010 on Calamity Response Protocols and Associated Actions to ensure effective local government compliance while National Food Authority (NFA) distributed 4,120 bags of rice assistance to the PDRRMCs and the Department of Agriculture (DA) dispatched response team to validate and assess damage areas and provided agricultural assistance (rice seeds) to affected farmers.

Gobenciong further said Department of Environment and Natural Resource (DENR) issued Memorandum to all PENROs, CENROs, EMB and MGB to monitor landslide and flood-prone areas in their respective AORs; to advise the people to be vigilant; to closely coordinate with LGUs and submit report for consolidation.

She also reported the augmentation of vehicles and military personnel were provided by 36th IB and 75th IB of the 401st BDE; 26th IB and 30th IB of the 402nd BDE, and 52nd Engineering Brigade to assist in the evacuation, SAR and relief operation.

Also, Gobenciong said local DRRMCs Agusan del Sur, Surigao del Norte, Surigao City and Butuan City declared Alert Level 2. Local Response Teams were activated. All resources were prepositioned and ready for disposition. Provincial DRRMC of Dinagat Islands advised their respective MDRRMCs to take precautionary measures. Clearing of canals and drainage system was undertaken to ensure unobstructed flow of water. Likewise, PDRRMC of Surigao del Sur advised their MDRRMCs to activate/execute their respective Contingency Plans.

Aside from the public stakeholders, Gobenciong also acknowledged some private stakeholders. Father Saturnino Urios University (FSUU) is on top of the list by offering FSUU Gym to be the designated Coordination and Relief Center of the City DRRMC. Assorted commodities and medicines were provided to affected families.

Also, Gawad Kalinga (GK) Team distributed 55 family packages to selected affected families of Brgy. Mahay, Butuan City. The team also conducted clean-up drive in schools affected by flood. Cantilan Bank Inc., Butuan Branch provided vehicles to transport volunteers and relief items. The Bank also designated all its 12 branches as cash donation receiving center for the affected areas.

With this report, Pres. Aquino lauded RDRRMC and acknowledged both public and private stakeholders for doing their share in responding during the recent calamity. (PIA-Caraga)