PIA News Service - Monday, Jan. 17, 2011

Mayor Amante urges business establishment owners to respect expanded Senior Citizens Act

By: Robert E. Roperos

BUTUAN CITY (17 January)
– City Mayor Ferdinand M. Amante Jr. on Friday urged business establishment owners to respect the provisions embodied in Republic Act 9257, an act granting additional benefits and privileges to Senior Citizens amending for the purpose Republic Act 7432, otherwise known as “An act to maximize the contribution of senior citizens to nation building, grant benefits and special privileges and for other purposes.

According to the city’s chief executive, his office has been receiving complaints from senior citizens that some business establishments here are not following the expanded senior citizens act.

With this, Amante said monitoring team from the city government will be visiting all business establishments in the city to see to it that benefits and privileges as stipulated in the law will be granted to senior citizens.

Moreover, the official said those establishments found to be violating the law will be acted upon accordingly.

Section 4 of RA 9257 enumerated the privileges granted to Senior Citizens. The law said Senior Citizens is granted to twenty percent (20%) discount from all establishments relative to the utilization of services in hotels and similar lodging establishment, restaurants and recreation centers, and purchase of medicines in all establishments for the exclusive use or enjoyment of senior citizens, including funeral and burial services for the death of senior citizens.

The law also granted a minimum of twenty percent (20%) discount on admission fees charged by theaters, cinema houses and concert halls, circuses, carnivals, and other similar places of culture, leisure and amusement for the exclusive use or enjoyment of senior citizens.

Also, Senior Citizens are exempted from the payment of individual income taxes: Provided, that their annual taxable income does not exceed the poverty level as determined by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) for that year; 

They are also exempted from training fees for socioeconomic programs, free medical and dental service, diagnostic and laboratory fees such as, but not limited to, x-rays, computerized tomography scans and blood tests, in all government facilities, subject to the guidelines to be issued by the Department of Health in coordination with the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PHILHEALTH).

The grant of twenty percent (20%) discount on medical and dental services, and diagnostic and laboratory fees provided under Section 4, including professional fees of attending doctors in all private hospitals and medical facilities, in accordance with the rules and regulations to be issued by the Department of Health, in coordination with the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation must be granted to Senior Citizens, as well as the grant of twenty percent (20%) discount in fare for domestic air and sea travel for the exclusive use or enjoyment of senior citizens. 

Other benefits specified in the republic act to be enjoyed by Senior Citizens include: the grant of twenty percent (20%) discount in public railways, skyways and bus fare for the exclusive use and enjoyment of senior citizens; educational assistance to senior citizens to pursue post secondary, tertiary, post tertiary, as well as vocational or technical education in both public and private schools through provision of scholarship, grants, financial aid subsidies and other incentives to qualified senior citizens, including support for books, learning materials, and uniform allowance, to the extent feasible: Provided, that senior citizens shall meet minimum admission requirement; to the extent practicable and feasible, the continuance of the same benefits and privileges given by the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), Social Security System (SSS) and PAG-IBIG, as the case may be, as are enjoyed by those in actual service. 

Also, retirement benefits of retirees from both the government and private sector shall be regularly reviewed to ensure their continuing responsiveness and sustainability, and to the extent practicable and feasible, shall be upgraded to be at par with the current scale enjoyed by those in actual service. 

To the extent possible, the government may grant special discounts in special programs for senior citizens on purchase of basic commodities, subject to the guidelines to be issued for the purpose by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Department of Agriculture (DA); and provision of express lanes for senior citizens in all commercial and government establishments; in the absence thereof, priority shall be given to them. (PIA-Caraga)
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ANHS wins 2nd Kahimunan Festival tilt

By: Robert E. Roperos


BUTUAN CITY (17 January)
– For second consecutive year, Agusan National High School won the championship plum in the 2011 Grand Kahimunan Festival held Sunday at Butuan City Sports Complex, Libertad, this city.

The two-time defending champion bested out-of-town contingents Esperanza National High School in Agusan del Sur and Gingoog City contingents, winning special awards such as Best in Costume and Best in Musicality. 

ANHS contingent’s festival queen was also adjudged 2011 Kahimunan Festival Queen. She received Php 10,000 and a round trip ticket for two in Manila courtesy of Philippine Air Lines.

This year’s champion received Php 200,000 while second placer Esperanza National High School grabbed Php 150,000 and third prize winner Gingoog City Contingent went home with Php 120,000. Consolation prize of Php 10,000 was given each to the other three contingents who were not able to make in the top three: Brgy. Bonbon, Butuan Central Elementary School, and Brgy. Libertad, all in Butuan City.

Kahimunan Festival is the local version of Sinulog Festival in Cebu held in connection with Brgy. Libertad’s annual feast in honor of patron saint Senior Santo Niño held every third Sunday of January. (PIA-Caraga)


City gov’t spearheads 112th celebration of PH flag’s first formal, official hoisting in Mindanao

By: Robert E. Roperos


BUTUAN CITY (17 January)
– The city government here spearheaded on Monday the celebration of the 112th first formal and official hoisting of Philippine flag in Mindanao in a memorable celebration held at the city’s rizal park.

The program which lasted for about an hour and a half started with Agusan National High School (ANHS) rendering patriotic songs signifying Filipinos patriotism during the Spanish colonization.

The program was highlighted with a re-enactment of the first formal and official flag hoisting in Mindanao portrayed by artists of Balangayan at Kooperatiba hong mga Artista (BangKa), imparting deeper understanding to those in attendance the events happened here 112 years ago.

According to history, on January 17, 1899, the Philippine flag was hoisted in a formal and official ceremony in the town of Butuan by the appointed governor for the Third District of Mindanao (also known as Surigao Province) Wenceslao Gonzalez. This was an epochal event that signaled the accession of the Republica Filipina under General Emilio Aguinaldo on the island of Mindanao. (PIA-Caraga)
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VMayor Fortun emphasizes the essence of the 112th formal, official hoisting of PH Flag in Mindanao  

By: Jennifer P. Gaitano

BUTUAN CITY – Vice-Mayor Atty. Lawrence Lemuel H. Fortun stresses the impact and true meaning of the celebration of the 112th formal and official hoisting of the Philippine Flag in Mindanao, held Monday, Jan. 17, 2011 at the Rizal Park, this city.

In his message, Vice-Mayor recalled that exactly 112 years ago, the Philippine flag was formally and officially hoisted in Mindanao for the first time in Butuan in a fitting ceremony led by the appointed governor for the Third District of Mindanao (also known as Surigao Province) Wenceslao Gonzales.
“It was a momentous event in our history as a nation that rewarded the valor, gallantry and patriotism of the Filipino people in this part of the country that liberated us from the clutches of foreign domination,” Fortun said. 

Fortun also stressed that Mindanaoans must be reminded, not only for the dates and minute details of this occasion as historians are apt to do, but as ordinary people, remember and rekindle in ourselves the spirit and essence of this commemoration and celebration.

“Let us reflect on the protracted wars, the blood that had to be shed, the lives that had to be sacrificed – all these our herous, the prominent and the unsung, did to give us the freedom we enjoy today,” Fortun added.

Meanwhile, Vice-Mayor Fortun end his message by saying – “While we may have separate undertakings, let that value for genuine freedom and independence unite us in our respective struggles in a common objective, and bearing in mind that when we give our best in our respective endeavors, we are also giving our best for our country and our people.”  

With this, the city government is hoping that this significant celebration will always be remembered now and then. (PIA-Caraga)
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Education Summit set in Surigao Norte tomorrow

SURIGAO DEL NORTE, Jan. 17 (PIA) – The provincial government here in close coordination with the Department of Education (DepEd) is set to hold an Education Summit tomorrow, Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2011 at the provincial convention center to provide an avenue in improving the basic education of the province.

The summit carries the theme: "Building a New Surigao through Quality Basic Education." 

This summit is the province's response to the call for quality basic education being one of the top priorities of Gov. Sol Matugas under her HEALS agenda which stands for Health, EDUCATION, Agriculture and Aquaculture, Livelihood and Tourism, Social Service and Spiritual Renewal.

DepEd Sec. Armin Luistro will be the main speaker of the summit. The event will also be graced by 1st District Rep. Francisco Matugas and 2nd District Rep. Guillermo Romarate.

Prior to the said activity, a press conference with Sec. Luistro will be conducted at the Phil. Gateway Hotel relative to the launching of the Educational Roadmap of the province. (FEAbkilan, PIA-Surigao del Norte)


FEATURE: For Del Carmen Mother Nature comes first 

The local government unit of Del Carmen, Siargao Islands, has stepped up efforts for environmental protection and conservation as it seeks to carve a niche in adventure tourism.

Mayor JR M. Coro believes that environmental sustainability is the linchpin of a successful tourism campaign, and goes hand in hand in maintaining a robust income opportunities for the local folks.

Home to some of Mother Nature’s awe-inspiring wonders, Del Carmen is home to what is considered the largest contiguous mangrove stand in the country.

Its unique biodiversity has attracted many nature-lovers and biologists, including former DENR secretary Angel Alcala, who brought along with him experts from the National Museum in a recent visit.

“Del Carmen has many species that have yet to be discovered. Its marine ecosystem is teeming with life, and experts from the National Museum are poised to probe more because they were intrigued during their first visit,” the young mayor said.

But challenges remain
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Mayor Coro said much has to be done to avoid environmental degradation. Upon assuming office in June, the mayor’s first order of business was to gather all stakeholders to confront a host of environmental issues.

“I told them that if we want to attract tourist and improve and improve the livelihood of our residents, we have to step up campaign efforts to preserve the environment,” he said. “It’s the number one requirement.”

One of the town’s major concerns is proper waste disposal –- a problem so common among riverbank settlers.

The mayor plans to centralize garbage collectionn in a partnership scheme that involves the town’s 30 barangays.

Another option, he said, is to fully enforce Republic Act 9003, also known as the Solid Waste Management Act – the garbage problem persists.

Toward this end, the young chief executive said he has already asked the support of the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) to choose his town as a pilot area for planned solid waste management facility.

All these plans and visions, the mayor said, are geared towards protecting the town’s flora and fauna and, by extension, the life of the town itself. (Roel Catoto/PIA-Surigao del Norte)
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PDCC Surigao del Sur to adapt RA 10121 & CCA 
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By: Nida Grace B. Tranquilan
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The Provincial Disaster Coordinating Council (PDCC) members Chair by the Provincial Governor, Hon. Johnny T. Pimentel spearheads a re-organization meeting in response to the adaptation of RA 10121 held at Provincial Capitol Conference Room today, January 12. 
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DILG representative Mr. Ernie Gultiano clarified the function of DILG in the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council where the Secretary is the Vice Chair for Disaster Preparedness while in the Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, DILG is just an ordinary member. 
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Gultiano also recommended to review each agency functions in the newly re-organized Local Executive Order of the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council to avoid overlapping of functions during disaster. 
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Meanwhile, Mr. Abel de Guzman presented the Consolidated Disaster Report during the flashfloods brought by continuous heavy rains on January 2-4. According to de Guzman, total estimated damages in infrastructure, agriculture, irrigations and fisheries cost at P366,959,950.00 
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The council members have to submit a resolution requesting the Sangguninag Panlalawigan to adopt the RA 10121 and Climate Change Adaptation in the province. (PIA-Surigao del Sur)