PIA News Service - Wednesday, March 16, 2011

NEDA to launch Caraga regional GIS center

By: Nora CL Molde

BUTUAN CITY, Mar. 16 (PIA)
–- The National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) Caraga region will launch Regional Geographic Information System (GIS) Center, this city.

According to NEDA-Caraga regional director Carmencita S. Cochingco, as the socioeconomic planning agency of the region and the secretariat of the Regional Development Council (RDC), their office will spearhead the institutionalization of a geographic information system (GIS) in the region as support mechanism for effective planning and resource allocation and management, policy making, decision making, investment programming and monitoring and evaluation of socio-economic and environmental initiatives, programs and projects. 

This initiative will strengthen further the linkage between the NEDA, regional line agencies, academe, local government units and other stakeholders through data/information exchange, RD Cochingco added.

The establishment was made possible through the assistance of Korea Overseas Volunteers (KOVs) and equipment support from the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA).

KOICA will provide funds for the procurement of a plotter, a large format scanner, global positioning system and a GIS software.

The launching is scheduled on March 22 at the regional office of NEDA-Caraga. (PIA-Caraga)


MinDA to put up Caraga area office, the first in Mindanao

SURIGAO CITY, March 16 (PIA) -- In a move that will ensure fast-tracking of government programs in the area, the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) headed by Sec. Luwalhati R. Antonino, has agreed to establish an area office in Caraga, the very first Area Management Office or AMO outside of MiNDA’s headquarters in Davao City. 

This came, upon active consultations with Surigao City’s Jake Miranda, who is now the Director and overall representative of the Mindanao business sector at the same agency. 

Dir. Miranda, in the spirit of volunteerism will endeavor to establish the office without any cost to government until the approval of the official planned budget. The office shall be made accessible to everyone requiring the agency’s services. 

In a related development, Sec. Antonino and Miranda, inspired by the old trading links between the Philippines and China, have also began talking about initiating a formal study to establish a Caraga-Cagayan de Oro-China Trade Corridor, as these areas are presently trading commercial goods and mining exports.

Much akin to BIMP-EAGA which stands for Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines-East Asia Growth Corridor, for Southern Mindanao, the Caraga and Northern Mindanao regions are strategically located as gateways with commercial seaports and accessibility to all other forms of transport. These provide good reasons to explore this possibility. 

MinDA’s end goal is to create a trading network for Caraga and Northern Mindanao to assert themselves as one of the leading centers for trade ensuring progress of the economy of these regions and the Mindanao island as a whole. 

Businessmen across Mindanao have has also requested that a formal MinDA board meeting be conducted during the Mindanao Business Conference in Pagadian City on September 7 to September 9, 2011, to ensure that government and business come together during Mindanao’s most important business convention. Miranda added that this will provide the ideal venue and time for both sectors to discuss the pertinent issues in Mindanao as government officials and businessmen will be present on this conference.

Caraga region was recently identified by several government agencies as the poorest region in Mindanao and the whole country. The most recent collected data released by the National Statistical and Coordination Board (NSCB) has shown that Caraga was the poorest among the country’s 17 regions with poverty incidence at 39.8 percent, a step back from its modest improvement in 2006 being the second poorest next to Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). 

MinDA’s commitment as well as Miranda’s appointment are steps to aiding Caraga get back on its feet. (FEAbkilan, PIA-Surigao del Norte)


Surigao business community divided over ‘mall’

SURIGAO CITY, March 16 (PIA) - The Surigao business community is apparently torn between welcoming large scale investment and the sentiments of some home-grown establishments.

In a breakfast interview with outgoing Surigao Chamber of Commerce president Jake Miranda, who is now the Director and Representative of the Mindanao business sector at Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA), he reflected the views of most of the business community that look forward to the coming of Metro Gaisano Surigao Mall, a forthcoming establishment of Cebu-based Gaisano Capital Corp. 

Dir. Miranda also added that he received statements of concern from local establishments that fear losing customers to the new mall but he feels that these are reactionary.

“Personally, with a strategic and long-term focus for development, this entry of Gaisano Capital in Surigao is good news. This is a stamp of approval for Surigao as a viable investment area. Who doesn’t want a mall or two malls in one’s city? You also interview the man on the street and he is happy that Surigao will finally have a mall.”

Dir. Miranda also said that while they are equally concerned for smaller establishments who may not be able to compete for customers, they add that this is the time to improve our own businesses to properly adjust strategies and operations. 

He cited the case of Unicity which now blends well into the Surigao economy as local businesses engaged in similar trade have begun to adjust. “Take the case of Surigaonon businesses who have put up large groceries and restaurants or hotels, they were also met with some resistance from small-scale businesses, but in the end these large-scale businesses have contributed to raising standards of service and lowering of prices. The market for customers is not exclusive to locals but to those who can best provide value for money,” he added.

Dir. Miranda added, that “with all its retail, food and entertainment offerings, this is not a story about a new bully coming to Surigao, but the idea of a mall concept which allows even local businesses to participate as tenants, partners and workers. Money comes around, there will be plenty for everyone.”

“We are looking at 1,000 jobs during the construction phase and that is 1,000 families that can be fed. We estimate 1,000 more jobs that will be directly and indirectly connected with the mall during its operation. That is a total of 2,000 families fed at the very least. Tell me why each and every Surigaonon wouldn’t want that to happen,” Dir. Miranda added.

Maria, who owns a small retail store selling ladies dress wear however feels differently. “How can I ever compete with Gaisano? If I can afford it I will rent a stall inside the mall but I cannot. I fear that I will close down due to lack of customers coming to my store.”

Maria is not alone with her views. Certain big businesses are apparently snubbing the groundbreaking rites of Gaisano Capital on March 17, 2011 to reflect their dismay, and have relayed to city officials their apprehension of losing customers to the mall. 

A businessmen who did not wish to be identified countered, “Most of us have accepted the fact that there is no stopping any businessman or corporation willing to invest in Surigao. We must make the most out of the situation. We welcome mining investments with red carpets even though they have environmental issues to settle, so shall we welcome any kind of responsible investment that comes to Surigao.” (FEAbkilan, PIA-Surigao del Norte)

BIR chief in Caraga appeals public to pay taxes

By: Robert E. Roperos

BUTUAN CITY, March 16 (PIA)
–- In its effort to achieve its revenue collection target for this year, Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), Revenue Region 17 Regional Director Norberto Vitug appealed to public Tuesday to pay their taxes honestly and earnestly.

This is the reaction of the region’s revenue chief on the issue concerning tax evaders in the country.

According to Vitug, BIR is intensifying its campaign to inform the public to pay their taxes as well as to run after those who are paying incorrect taxes.

Speaking before the private and public stakeholders and taxpayers, Vitug said the public must be informed that whatever tax they pay to BIR will be returned through infrastructure projects that will be enjoyed by the public, in general.

A crowd estimate of 1,000 attended the kick-off ceremony of the 2011 Tax Campaign initiated by BIR in the region held Tuesday in one of the local convention centers here, and is anchored on the theme: “Buwis Mo para sa Bagong Pilipinas” (Your Tax for a New Philippines).

The theme aptly fits to a “T” the tag line of President Benigno S. Aquino III – “Kung walang corrupt - walang mahirap” that exacts a change in both practices and values towards his battle cry of a “Tuwid na Landas” that must trekked by Filipinos as a nation.

“Your continued support to the BIR has not wasted nor put in vain and therefore, once more, may I appeal to each and everyone to pay your correct taxes so we may able to collect sufficient taxes enough to support our nation,” Vitug said. (PIA-Caraga)


Dinagatnons hold mass protest, ask SC to reconsider Dinagat’s provincehood

DINAGAT ISLANDS, Mar. 16 (PIA) –- Around two thousand Dinagatnons converged at San Jose town on Saturday afternoon, March 12 asking the Supreme Court (SC) justices to reconsider their decision in declaring “constitutional” the law creating the province of Dinagat Islands.

Armed with banners and streamers, ordinary folks, employees and officials of Dinagat Islands are in unison calling the justices to reevaluate their judgment and let their own officials continue the development of the province. 

“Ipadayon ang Kalambuan sa Dinagat. Korte Suprema, maawa ka! (Continue the development of Dinagat. Supreme Court, have mercy on us!),” are the strong words they all shouted.

Senior Board Member Joslyn Ecleo clarified that what they are really seeking is freedom from the bondage of poverty. “Mao kini dapat makita sa Supreme Court. (This is what the Supreme Court must see.) All our development undertakings will be put to waste if we will not be a province anymore.”

Cagdianao Mayor Marc Adelson Longos said the SC’s decision would mean no continuity of development for Dinagat Islands. 

“Gov. Glenda has a lot of plans for the province. A series of projects are about to start this year, but these are all gone because of these three petitioners. ” 

The three petitioners were the former provincial officials led by the late Surigao del Norte Vice Gov. Rodolfo Navarro, former Board Members Atty. Victor Bernal and Atty. Rene Medina who filed before the Supreme Court questioning the legality of Republic Act 9355 also known as the law creating the province of Dinagat Islands which was signed last Oct. 2, 2006 by former Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

Latest reports revealed that the Supreme Court issued an En Banc Notice dated January 11, 2011 signed and released on January 26, 2011 by Enriqueta E. Vidal, Clerk of Court of the Supreme Court granting Motion for Execution of Judgment declaring RA 9355 unconstitutional. 

The Supreme Court also granted under paragraph (g) on that same en banc notice directing the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) to conduct a “Special Elections” as soon as possible for all affected positions in the Province of Surigao del Norte and enjoining the respondents and other respective counsels from further submitting new and/or additional pleadings under pain of contempt of court, in view of the finality of its decision.

But Provincial Environment and Natural Reosurces Officer Zacarias Vales argued that the Supreme Court has still to issue a final decision on March 22. “The Supreme Court en banc will convene on March 22 and we are hoping that the decision will now be favorable to us.” (FEAbkilan, PIA-Surigao del Norte)


AgSur highlights women’s role in development

By: David M. Suyao

AGUSAN DEL SUR, March 16
-- The Provincial Government of Agusan del Sur (PGAS) will highlight the vital role of women in the development process in the province during the celebration of the Women’s Month.

Agusan del Sur has two women representatives in Congress from the two districts in Agusan del Sur.

According to Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office technical head Flor Obani, the whole day on Friday, March 18, will be dedicated to recognizing the role of women in the development of Agusan del Sur, where the two congresswomen, Maria Valentina “Tina” Plaza from District I, and Evelyn “Bebs” Plaza-Mellana from District 2 will be the guests of honors and speakers.

“The program will be participated by various women’s organization provincewide. It is expected that in this venue, our two congresswomen will be presenting their programs for women and the women’s empowerment in order that the sector will become more productive and will be one of the main contributor to the development of Agusan del Sur,” Obani said.

During the program, Obani said, Butuan City prosecutor Felixberto Guiritan will educate the participants on the child pornography and Anti-trafficking in Person Act of 2003 to safeguard children and women from abuses and trafficking. 

The activity will also feature be folk dance contest by group and the search for Miss Agusan del Sur 2011.

Gov. Adolph Edward Plaza is expected to grace the occasion, along with the mother of Agusan del Sur, former Governor and now chairperson of the Moral and Spiritual Recovery Program, Valentina Plaza. All the sangguniang panlalawigan members including the 13 municipal mayors and the mayor of the lone city of Bayugan are expected in the event. (PIA-Agusan del Sur)


Supply of rice still sufficient for Caraganons

by Nora CL Molde

BUTUAN CITY, Mar. 17 (PIA)
– “Supply of rice still enough for Caraganons”, says National Food Authority (NFA) assistant regional director Camilo T. Magtrayo.

In an interview, ARD Magtrayo said that as of March 14, NFA-Caraga still have a stock inventory of 838,256 bags of rice to cater to the needs of the Caraganons.

The province of Agusan del Norte has an available stock of 126,246 bags; Agusan del Sur – 330,229; Surigao del Norte – 254,689 and Surigao del Sur has 127,092.

ARD Magtrayo further said that the supply of rice is expected to increase on the last month of second quarter due to harvest season of farmers.

He also said that most of the imported rice available in the region is coming from Vietnam country.

NFA is vested the functions of ensuring the food security of the country and the stability of supply and price of the staple grain-rice. (PIA-Caraga)


Tax campaign, venue to inform taxpayers on BIR’s plans and programs – BIR officials

by Robert E. Roperos

BUTUAN CITY, Mar 16 (PIA)
– “The annual launching of the tax campaign will serve as an opportunity to the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) to inform the taxpayers on the agency’s plans and programs,” thus stressed Marilou L. del Rosario, Head Revenue Executive Assistant, Taxpayers Assistance Service of BIR Central Office, Manila during the kick-off of the 2011 Tax Campaign held Tuesday in a local convention center here.

To increase the tax collection this year, del Rosario said, BIR has re-invigorated the Run After Tax Evaders (RATE) Program by recommending Sales Monitoring with Denunciation, Lifestyle Check, and Registration Campaign in Groups.

Also, BIR Caraga Regional Director Nortberto Vitug, in his speech said, BIR enhances enforcement approaches by application of Computer Assisted Tools and Techniques (CAATTS), Monthly Selective Audit, and Benchmarking and Profiling of Industry.

The BIR regional director also highlighted the Oplan Kandado. “This is a quarterly tax compliance verification drive against those campaigning for non-issuance of receipts, and a pre-audit of 3% tax returns of non-vat taxpayers,” Vitug said said.

Further, Vitug said Task Force on Small Scale Miners was created as well as Task Force on Illegal Logging, and Task Force on Estate Tax Monitoring.

Furthermore, Vitug said this tax filing season, BIR will do whatever assistance they can give to taxpayers, such as but not limited to tax campaign kick-off, display tax campaign posters, announcement of tax filing deadlines thru tri-media, opening of tax filing centers, announcement of tax filing deadlines thru loud speakers around Butuan City, and implement taxpayer’s feedback.

Meanwhile, del Rosario lauded the efforts of the employees of BIR Revenue Region 17 based in Butuan City for having successfully met the tax collection target in 2010 for Caraga Region.

The official also hoped that with the successful implementation of strategies in the previous year, the region’s BR office will be able to achieve their target for 2011.

Report of the government agency showed that in 2010, BIR collected a total amount of P2,654,753,249.72 as against its assigned goal of P 2,580,959,000.00, exceeding its goal by 2.86% or the amount of P73,794,249.72. Collections versus Collections for the same year, BIR Caraga posted a growth rate of 20.42% equivalent to an increased total amount of 545,229,529.40.

Out of the P2.6 billion actual collections for CY 2010, Revenue District Office No. 103 in Butuan City collected P1,224,425,473.47 which is 46.12% of the same collection.

On the other hand, Revenue District Office No. 104 of Bayugan City contributed P489,949,136.53 representing 18.46%. Revenue District Office No. 105, while Surigao City shared the amount of P453,379,183.03 or 17.08% of the actual collections, while Revenue District Office No. 106, Tandag City contributed P486,999,456.66 or 18.34% of the good performance of this region. (PIA-Caraga)


Cebuano News: Mayor Amante misuporta sa gilusad nga I-rice

Malampusong gilusad karon sa National Food Authority (NFA) ang i-rice o iron- fortified rice didto mismo sa maong buhatan. Kauban sa mga local ug nasyonal nga mga ahensya, gipasabot ni Provincial Manager Victoria Duray nga kini nga klase sa bugas daku og ikatabang sa nutrisyonal nga panginahanglanon sa katawhan.

Sa iyang i-talk (inspirational talk) gipaabot sa atong Halangdong Mayor Ferdinand Amante, Jr ang kamahinungdanon sa pagsinuportahay sa tanang sector sa gobyerno aron maserbisyohan ang katawhan. Iya usab gipaambit ang iyang adbokasiya alang sa kausaban sa Butuan nga iyang gitawag CONCHABU o Convergence for Change in Butuan, diin siya nanawagan sa tanang ka-conchabu nga magtinabangay ug magmatinud-anon sa pagserbisyo aron ang kauswagan makab-ot.

Subay sa maong programa gihimo usab ang ceremonial signing sa declaration of commitment taliwala sa NFA, Dakbayan sa Butuan, DTI ug ang GRECON (Grains Retailers Confederation) diin sila nanumpa nga batukan ang kagutom nga mahiaguman sa katawhang Filipino pinaagi sa programang i-rice.

Daku ang pasalamat ni NFA Regional Director Javier P. Lozada, Jr sa suportang ilang nadawat ilabina gikan sa atong Mayor. (Jovelyn CataluƱa Mejorada, Butuan City-PIO/PIA-Caraga)


DAR-Caraga distributes 12,000 hectares

TANDAG CITY, Surigao del Sur, March 16 (PIA) - Year 2010 was a tremendous achievement for DAR Caraga in terms of land acquisition and distribution (LAD) of agricultural lands to be awarded to the qualified agrarian reform beneficiaries.

One of the major components of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) is the Land Tenure Improvement. Since the inception of the program, Caraga has consistently delivered its accomplishment more than 100%. As announced by Regional Director Faisar A. Mambuay during the Regional MANCOM visit in Surigao del Sur, accordingly DAR Secretary Virgilio de los Reyes congratulated Caraga Region being the number one (1) in LAD accomplishment in terms of percentage and number two (2) in terms of volume nationwide. 

12,063 hectares of private agricultural lands and government owned lands Caraga has accomplished or acquired regardless of crops with 6,492 ARBs to be issued with CLOA. This accomplishment comprises the five (5) provinces: 3,522 hectares- Surigao del Sur, 1,480 hectares - Surigao del Norte, 4,358 hectares -Agusan del Sur, 2,569 hectares -Agusan del Norte, and 133 hectares - Province of Dinagat Islands.

With the joint efforts of the respective provinces, Caraga has able to hit the benchmark more than what is expected. Regional Director Mambuay is thankful to all field commanders who have contributed to what DAR has attained and hoping that this year 2011 and the coming years the same level of performance will be delivered by the department. (Myra Q. Yu, DAR-SDS/PIA-Surigao del Sur)


Cebuano News: Federation of Senior Citizen-Butuan Chapter nanumpa atubangan ni Mayor Amante

Sa mismong lawak ni Mayor Jun Amante dinhi sa City Hall niining dakbayan gipahigayon ang Oath taking Ceremony sa mga bag-ong opisyales sa Federation of Senior Citizen of the Philippines-Butuan Chapter niadtong hapon sa Marso 15, 2011.

Kumpleto ang tanang nanumpa nga opisyalis nga mitambong sa maong Oath-taking og sila mipasalig kang Mayor Jun nga ilang buhaton ang mga nagkalain-laing responsibilidad nga gituboy ngadto kanila.

Malaumon usab ang tanang opisyalis sa suporta ni Mayor Amante ilabina karon sa ilang gimbuhaton nga: (1) pagpakusog sa membership sa matag barangay level nga association of Senior Citizen, (2) Mas ipalambo ang mga dokumento alang sa registration sa Senior Citizen Association sa matag barangay nga lebel, ug (3) ang paghatag ug igong legal assistance kung pananglitan adunay mga kaso nga walay ikasarang ang matag miyembro sa Federation.

Gihagit ni Mayor Jun Amante ang tanang mga opisyalis sa maong nahisgutang federation sa Senior Citizen nga magtambayayongay tungod ug alang sa kaayuhan sa tanan. Mapasalamaton usab si Mayor Jun sa kaaktibong gipakita sa mga napiling opisyalis ug dako ang gihatag nga paglaum ug suporta ni Mayor Jun ngadto kanila. (Amandalyn R. Gutieriez, Butuan City-PIO/PIA-Caraga)