2.07.2011

PIA News Service - Tuesday, Feb. 8, 2011

EO No. 23 a wise move of President Aquino – RED Sibbaluca

By: Nora CL Molde

BUTUAN CITY, Feb. 8 (PIA)
– The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Caraga regional executive director (RED) Leonardo R. Sibbaluca welcomed Executive Order (EO) No. 23 saying that it is a wise move of President Benigno S. Aquino III.

In a press statement released by DENR Caraga Monday, February 7, RED Sibbaluca said the signing of EO No. 23 by President Aquino on February 1, 2011 which imposed the indefinite log ban nationwide is a wise move of the President since it will bring respite to the 1.7 million hectare forest area throughout the country which for longer period of time have suffered tremendous pressure from human activities owing to rapid increase of population.

“EO 23, an indefinite ban on logging activities in the entire country is a big task that lie ahead of all DENR personnel in Caraga Region. We have to pool and double our efforts and strengthen as well our available resources with its implementation so that we can carry this tall order effectively,” Sibbaluca said.

“We are facing a big problem of checking and monitoring a wide forest area with limited available personnel in combating illegal logging activities and so the DENR needs the support of everybody in this endeavor, ” Sibbaluca added. 

He also said that the DENR is waiting for the release of the implementing rules and regulations of EO 23 although preparations are being made by the DENR Forest Management Sector to impose the order of the President in the region. 

Director Sibbaluca, however, said that while the indefinite total log ban may displace hundreds of families that depend on the forest for living, the government could always find other sources of livelihood for the affected families.

EO 23 prohibits the DENR from issuing and renewing logging contracts and tree cutting permits in all natural and residual forests. It also tasked the agency to review all existing forestry agreements and immediately cancel those that have violated forest laws. 

The ban however, exempts the clearing for road right-of-way by the Department of Public Works and Highways, site preparations for tree plantations, silvicultural treatment and similar activities, provided that all logs derived from the said cutting permits shall be turned over to the DENR for proper disposal.

Likewise, the ban may allow tree cutting associated with cultural practices pursuant to the Indigenous Peoples Right Act (IPRA) subject to strict compliance with the existing DENR guidelines.
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EO 23 also directs the DENR to strictly implement forest certification system in keeping with United Nations standards to ascertain the sustainability of legal sources and chain of custody of timber and wood products. 

The DENR has also been directed to create partnership with the Department of Education and the Commission on Higher Education to initiate the educational drive campaign, Department of Interior and Local Government to help in establishing communal tree farms for firewood and other purposes, Department of Social Welfare and Development to identify the upland farmers as priority beneficiaries of the conditional cash transfer program, the Department of Budget and Management to provide the funds for the production of quality seedlings from available funds of the government and the private sector and other concerned agencies/institutions to raise funds and resources for tree planting. 

EO 23, declares a moratorium on the cutting and harvesting of timber in the natural and residual forests, and creating the anti-illegal logging task force.

The order prohibits the DENR from issuing logging contracts/agreements in all natural and residual forests such as Integrated Forest Management Agreements (IFMA), Socialized Integrated Forest Management Agreements (SIFMA), Community-Based Forest Management Agreement (CBFMA) and other agreements/contracts with logging components in all natural and residual forests in the country.

With the creation of the anti-illegal logging task force, the DENR is tasked to supervise, to enforce and lead the anti-illegal logging campaign and ensure the implementation of the EO. The DENR Secretary will chair the task force with the DILG and DND secretaries as well as the PNP chief and AFP chief of staff or their authorized representatives as members. (PIA-Caraga)


DSWD provides P6M relief assistance to Caraga flood victims

By: Robert E. Roperos

BUTUAN CITY, Feb. 8 (PIA)
– The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) through the Disaster Response Operations Monitoring and Information Center has provided some P6 million pesos worth of relief assistance to families and individuals affected by the recent massive flooding in Caraga Region which left at least 10 persons dead, five missing, and three injured, according to the DSWD’s report.

The report showed that 6,650 families from Surigao del Norte benefitted from the relief assistance composed of family packs and used clothing. In Surigao del Sur, 5,000 family-beneficiaries received the assistance while 8,750 families also received same relief assistance from Agusan del Norte and in Agusan del Sur – 5,883 families, totaling to 26,283 families region-wide.

Itemizing the P6,002,495.25 total cost of assistance to the region, Surigao del Norte received P1,673,047.50; Surigao del Sur – P1,268,075.00; Agusan del Norte – P1,933,062.50; and Agusan del Sur – P1,128,310.25.

Family packs comprised of the following: 3 kilograms rice, 3 cans sardines, 3 cans corned beef, 3 pcs. Noodles, 1 box milk and used clothing. (PIA-Caraga)


Death toll mounts from Caraga flooding

By: Robert E. Roperos

BUTUAN CITY, Feb. 8 (PIA)
– At least 10 persons died, five are missing, and three were injured during the recent massive flooding which struck all provinces of Caraga Region early this year, according to Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Caraga Region. 

As of February 5, 2011, Disaster Response, Operations, Monitoring and Information Center of DSWD-Caraga reported that from January 16 to 26, 2011, 10 persons died in the region where four of them came from Surigao del Norte, three from Surigao del Sur, two from Agusan del Sur, and one from Agusan del Norte. Accordingly, majority of these persons drowned. 

DSWD reported further that the three persons injured came from Poblacion, Jabonga, Agusan del Norte where the local government unit is providing first aid medication. They were identified as Noel Monoy, Rommel Aguillon and Junel Rosalejos.

Meanwhile, the following are still missing : Amado Basadre Jr. of Mantangale, San Franciso, Surigao del Norte; Aladin Corporal of San Antonio, Madrid, Surigao del Sur; Ruben Ramos and Richard Ramos from Sitio Loring, Sta. Cruz, Rosario, Agusan del Sur; and an unidentified resident of Masgad, Malimono, Surigao del Norte. (PIA-Caraga)


DSWD served 44.5% affected families during Caraga’s massive flooding

By: Robert E. Roperos


BUTUAN CITY, Feb. 8 (PIA)
– Around 44.5 percent or 48,521 affected families were served by Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) during the massive flooding and landslides that hit Caraga Region early this year.

DSWD reported on Sunday, Feb. 6 that from January 16 to 26, 2011, the total number of families affected reaches to 108,982 or 513,337 persons in 592 barangays. Caraga Region has a total of 1,310 barangays.
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Meanwhile, DSWD reported that 205 evacuation centers were also visited and served by the agency. 

A total of 14,918 families or 71,926 individuals inside the evacuation centers received assistance from the government’s social welfare department while 33,603 or 161,439 persons outside the evacuation centers who were also affected by flood received the same assistance. (PIA-Caraga)


Balangay voyage overshadowed PHL hostage-crisis

By: Robert E. Roperos

BUTUAN CITY, Feb. 8 (PIA)
– “People from foreign countries where our voyage is heading to, were quite amazed of the crews’ accomplishments which made the crew in particular and the Filipinos in general put in the limelight overthrowing the hostage-crisis issue in the country.”

This is what Dr. Ted Esquerra, medical member of the Philippine Coast Guard who is one of the crew members of the Voyage of Balangay, said in a press conference on Friday as part of the homecoming celebration of the Balangay crew hosted by the local government unit of this city headed by Mayor Ferdinand M. Amante Jr.

According to Esquerra, they were also amazed upon knowing that some Singaporeans, Malaysians, and other races they met know about Balangay and the voyage.

Esquerra cited media promotions as one factor why some of our neighboring races were informed of the voyage and the history of balangay. 

“In fact, our accomplishment has overthrown the hostage-crisis issue here in the country as we were featured front page in national dailies here and abroad,” Esquerra added.

Some articles written by foreign writers focused on the voyage and have pointed out that the voyage forms unity in Southeast Asia.

With this, Esquerra urges the journalists and broadcasters to disseminate information not to discredit the country, in general. “Instead, we should also inform the public good news… positive news… developmental news that will somehow help our race be on top of other races in the world,” Esquerra said. 

Dr. Esquerra specializes on High Altitude Medicine, Wilderness EMS, and Air Medical Evacuation. He is one of the most talented doctors in the Mt. Everest expedition and the only high altitude medical doctor in the Philippines. (PIA-Caraga)


Mayor Amante supports log ban

By: Nora CL Molde

BUTUAN CITY, Feb. 8 (PIA)
– Mayor Ferdinand Amante, Jr. has expressed his full support on the issuance of Executive Order (EO) No. 23 signed by President Benigno Aquino III, February 1, 2011 which orders a log ban all over the country.

“I am with the President in the signing of EO 23 on log ban and the protection of our environment should now be our concern and should come from us responsible citizens,” said Mayor Amante.

However, Mayor Amante said, the government should help the local government units (LGU) to formulate solutions in the plight of the more than 13,000 workers in Agusan del Norte and Butuan City and in all the affected regions which is now beyond the capacity of the LGU.

Mayor Amante added, that Butuan City LGU will support the move for a local Multi Sectoral Environment Summit to help the national government protect the welfare of the displaced workers and find solutions to protect, preserve and rehabilitate our environment.

“We also hope for fast tracking of the review on the programs and that management scheme of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) as well as stricter implementation of regulatory measures by the same agency,” Mayor Amante said.

EO 23 prohibits the DENR from issuing and renewing logging contracts and tree cutting permits in all natural and residual forests. It also tasked the agency to review all existing forestry agreements and immediately cancel those that have violated forest laws.

EO 23, declares a moratorium on the cutting and harvesting of timber in the natural and residual forests, and creating the anti-illegal logging task force.

With the creation of the anti-illegal logging task force, the DENR is tasked to supervise, to enforce and lead the anti-illegal logging campaign and ensure the implementation of the EO. The DENR Secretary will chair it with the DILG and DND secretaries as well as the PNP chief and AFP chief of staff or their authorized representatives as members. (PIA-Caraga)


Feature: Voyage of the Balangays: Our culture’s pride

By: Robert E. Roperos

Thousands of years ago, the ancestors of the Filipino people, the Austronesian speaking people traveled from the Asian mainland by land bridges across the continental shelf to the South East Asian archipelago. They then sailed onward to as far as East as Polynesia, and as far West as Madagascar, aboard the ancient vessel – the Balangay.

The Butuan Boats (Balangay) represent an important part of the understanding of Southeast Asian shipbuilding technology. The Balangay gave ancient Filipinos the power to rule the Asian seas and became the vehicle of inter-actions among peoples of our islands.

Butuan has a special historical role as an ancient trading harbor that sent the first recorded tribute mission to the Chinese Empire from the Philippine islands a thousand years ago, and was the site of the discovery of the balangay boat relics and other important archaeological discoveries. 

Route Highlights 

On September 1, 2009, Balangay “Diwata ng Lahi” left CCP Complex, Manila to start the Voyage of the Balangay.

On the fourth day of February, 2010, Balangays “Masawa Hong Butuan” and “Diwata ng Lahi” left Butuan City to continue the Voyage of the Balangay around Mindanao and Southeast Asia.

Six days after the launching, Balangay “Sama Tawi-Tawi” left Butuan City to rendezvous with Balangay “Masawa Hong Butuan” and Balangay “Diwata ng Lahi” in Zamboanga City.

It was on August 1, 2010 when the three balangays left Paseo del Mar, Zamboanga City for travel to Sulu and Tawi-Tawi before crossing international waters towards Sabah, Malaysia.

Two weeks later, the balangay flotilla crossed international waters from Turtle Islands, Tawi-Tawi and arrived in Sandakan, Sabah, Malaysia, its 81st port of call and first in international voyage. This is on August 15, 2010.

Two months after – that is, October 26, 2010, the balangay flotilla left Sihanoukville, Cambodia for the return trip to the Philippines after travelling around Southeast Asia. Sihanoukville is the 101st port of call and 21st in international voyage. During this period, the crews were able to visit the countries: Malaysia, Brunei, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, Cambodia and the waters of Vietnam.

November 16, 2010… the balangay flotilla re-entered Philippine waters from Pulau Banggi, Malaysia to Balabac, Palawan.

Nearly a month after (December 13, 2010), the balangay flotilla reached CCP Complex, Manila after more than 15 months of sailing around the Philippines and Southeast Asia.

It was on January 21, 2011 when Balangay “Masawa Hong Butuan” begins the journey home to Butuan City from CCP Complex, Manila, escorted by Balangay “Sama Tawi-tawi,” the third Balangay boat that is constructed in Butuan City.

The Voyage

The Voyage of the Balangay was undertaken to rekindle the maritime consciousness among our people and to reconnect our country’s present with its glorious historical past. The voyage aimed to bring us back to the greatness of our ancestors and how colonialism robbed us of our proud heritage and produced the Filipino of today.

The voyage affords us an insight and appreciation into our maritime past, a phase in our history that has almost been lost in our consciousness. The success of the expedition along the coastlines of the Philippines and the countries of Malaysia, Brunei, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, Cambodia, and waters of Vietnam confirm the trading constellation of the ancient Asian realms. The balangay boat has become the symbol of basic political governance in our country – the barangay.

Indeed, the voyage proved to the Filipino people that like what our ancestors have done, Filipinos can achieve any goal that they will work together to attain. The Voyage of the Balangay showed to our Southeast Asian neighbors that the seas do not divide us but actually unite us as a people with mutual interests and common aspirations.

The homecoming

On February 4, 2011, 42 navigators arrived at the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) grounds, in Butuan City, bringing with them memories they will always remember.

Not minding the risk, the crew, composed of professionals in different fields of specialization sacrificed their respective careers to give pride and honor to the country as they traced back the history of our ancestors’ migration across the oceans using only the native Balangay boats.

It is but fitting that these unsung heroes of the present generation will be given due recognition not only by Butuanons but as well as the entire Filipino race because of their courage and determination to trace back our history… which forms part of the Asian and world history.

During the ceremony, the people of Butuan, through the city government headed by Mayor Ferdinand M. Amante Jr. paid tribute to the gallant seafarers of the modern times as they rekindled their experiences during the almost six months of travelling the ocean traversing the coastal waters of the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Cambodia and Thailand.

Bringing with them memories, the 42 men and women-crew of the three balangay boats: “Diwata ng Lahi”, “Masawa Hong Butuan,” and “Sama Tawi-tawi” will always remain heroes in the heart and soul of not only the present generation but more to the future generations.

To the crew and members of the Butuan Global Foundation who made the voyage possible, we are proud of you… you have proven your words: “Kaya ng Pinoy” (The Pinoys can)… and indeed, you really did it! (PIA-Caraga)


Red Cross extends relief goods in Surigao del Sur

By: Nida Grace B. Tranquilan

TANDAG, Surigao del Sur, Feb. 8 (PIA)
– Philippine Red Cross (PRC) Chapter administrator Abel de Guzman today said the chapter has started to extend relief goods to the municipalities of Madrid and Carmen, this province.

De Guzman said a total of 930 packs of relief goods will be distributed today to Brgys. Mangga (185) and San Antonio (235) all in Madrid; and Brgys. Antao (250) and Cancavan (260) in Carmen.

The said barangays are reportedly submerged in water due to heavy rains on January 31-February 2. A total of 4,000 packs will be distributed intended to the most affected families, de Guzman added. (PIA-Surigao del Sur)


Surigao del Sur Rep. favors EO 23

By: Nida Grace B. Tranquilan

TANDAG, Surigao del Sur, Feb. 8 (PIA)
– Surigao del Sur 2nd District Congressman Florencio Garay strongly supports Executive Order 23, “Declaring the Moratorium on Cutting, Harvesting of Timber and Creating Anti-Logging Task Force” recently signed by President Benigno S. Aquino III.

Cong. Garay admitted in an interview that illegal logging is very rampant in Surigao del Sur, specially in the second district. With the newly approved EO 23, Cong. Garay believed this could help to minimize if not eradicate illegal loggers in the area.

In related development, Cong. Garay is passing House Bill No. 2535, “An act imposing a logging ban in the second district of the province of Surigao del Sur,” at the Congress soon. (PIA-Surigao del Sur)


Relief efforts continue for flood victims in Surigao Norte

SURIGAO DEL NORTE, Feb. 8 (PIA)
– Relief efforts for the victims of flooding in the entire province will continue, Gov. Sol Matugas said. 
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Gov. Matugas was in the municipality of Mainit on Monday, February 7 and personally have seen the condition of the 1,200 affected families who are still in the four designated evacuation centers as waters from Lake Mainit have not yet subsided. 

Latest figure from the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC) showed that an estimated 20, 537 families have been affected, and another six persons killed, by the recent torrential rains and flooding in the entire province. 

Reports further revealed that some houses in the barangays Tagbuyawan, Tapi-an, and Mansayao in the municipality of Mainit have been swept away, and the destruction is developing into one of the worst calamities in years in the said town.

Earlier, PAGASA cautioned that torrential rains are expected to continue even until summer. The situation in areas already affected by flooding, it warned, could worsen, while new areas may also be inundated. 

AFP, Kapuso Foundation, Red Cross join in the relief effort

The Armed Forces of the Philippines’ 402nd Brigade has partnered with 30 Infantry Battalion and GMA Kapuso Foundation in distributing relief goods to flood victims last Saturday, February 5. 

Accordingly, 833 families received the said relief goods in the municipality of Malimono, itemized as follows: barangay Bunyasan – 247 families, barangay Binucuran – 309 families, and barangay Cagtinae - 277 families. Also, a total of 44 families from barangay Oslao of the municipality of San Francisco received relief assistance.

The troops, who eagerly worked with the LGUs, other government agencies and NGOs, brought some relief and comfort to the suffering residents of the affected areas.

Meanwhile, Philippine National Red Cross (PNRC) Coordinator Marilou Talingting revealed that her office is also helping hundreds of families of the most heavily affected flood communities in the entire province. Talingting said 269 families of barangay Masagad, Malimono are set to receive relief assistance today from PNRC. 

More relief efforts will also be done Wednesday, Feb. 9, 2011 in the municipality of Mainit with PNRC Chair former senator Richard Gordon.

To support provincial government’s flood response, individuals can donate thru the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC) at the provincial capitol compound. 

To date, the provincial government has raised more than P2.9 million in gift-in-kind donations and cash contributions from individuals, businessmen, mining companies, faith-based groups, private foundations, and other institutional donors. (Fryan E. Abkilan, PIA-Surigao del Norte)
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1st Reg’l Campus Journalism training conference for UN MDGs set in Butuan
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By: Jennifer P. Gaitano

BUTUAN CITY, Feb. 8 (PIA) – The United Nations Association of the Philippines – Regional Youth Affairs, Mc Howard Center of Education for Development and the Caraga Youth Leaders’ Network, Inc. in partnership with the Department of Education (DepEd) Caraga and Butuan Star Publication will conduct the 1st Regional Campus Journalism Training Conference for the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) on February 11 and 12, 2011.

The conference to be held at the Butuan-Agusan Chamber of Commerce and Industry Foundation, Inc. in Montilla Boulevard, this city aims to educate 50 campus paper advisers and writers throughout the region to the MDGs of the United Nations. It also aims acquaint the campus journalists to anchor their piece for the achievement of the MDGs; and to sharpen their writing skills in the context of the MDGS.
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The role of print media in the achievement of the MDGs of the United Nations will also be discussed during the training along with other significant topics. (PIA-Caraga)