PIA News Service - Friday, July 15, 2011

Mindanao’s budget for 2012 increases, MinDA chief says

by Robert E. Roperos

SURIGAO CITY, July 15 (PIA) -- Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) Sec. Luwalhati Antonino on Thursday said the agency’s advocacy to increase budget for Mindanao has been successful.

Speaking before the members of the Regional Development Council in Caraga Region during the Full Council Meeting, Antonino recalled that during the recent budget hearing with the cabinet secretaries, allocation for Mindanao reached 30 percent from the previous 28 of the national budget.

“Malaki po ang ibinigay na budget for Mindanao at dahil dito, inaasahang magiging mas produktibo pa ang economic activity ng buong isla (Bigger budget was given to Mindanao and because of this, it is expected that the economic activity of the whole island will be more productive),” she said.

Antonino further said areas in Mindanao have good potential in agriculture and tourism industries. “Thus, these industries must be the priority concern of the local officials,” she added.

Prior to her speaking engagement, the official visited tourist destinations in Surigao del Sur, considered as one of the tourist drawers in the region along with the province of Surigao del Norte. (PIA-Caraga)

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Sec. Antonino opens Mindanao Development Authority Caraga Area Office in Surigao City

SURIGAO DEL NORTE, Jul. 15 (PIA) -- Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) Sec. Luwalhati Antonino led the formal opening of MinDA Caraga Area Office last July 13 in Surigao City.

Antonino revealed that it is the first ever MinDA office outside Davao City.

With the opening of the new office, Antonino said developmental concerns of the region can now be easily addressed. Furthermore, this will also ensure the fast-tracking of government programs in the area.

The idea of opening an office in Caraga came from Surigao-based MinDA Director for Business Johann Jake Miranda, who in the spirit of volunteerism suggested establishing an office without any cost to government until the approval of the official planned budget.

As proposed, the office shall be made accessible to everyone requiring the agency’s services.

The MinDA Caraga Area Office is located at the ground floor of the management building of Hotel Tavern. (SDR/FEA/PIA-Surigao del Norte)

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DOLE chief leads unveiling of Surigao Norte provincial livelihood center

SURIGAO DEL NORTE, July 15 (PIA) – Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz led the unveiling of the Provincial Livelihood and Employment Incubation Center Thursday, July 14 during the 1st Provincial Livelihood and Employment Summit 2011.

The secretary was joined by Gov. Sol Matugas, 1st District Rep. Francisco Matugas, City Mayor Ernesto Matugas and other local officials.

Provincial Employment and Services Office chief Emilio Pantejo said the center will be the convergence point of national line agencies to share resources for a common purpose. “It will also serve as facility on livelihood training services, business mentoring and advisory, and other marketing linkages.”

Anchored on the HEALS (Health, Education and Environment, Agri-Aquaculture, Livelihood and Social Service, Spirituality and Security) program of the province, Pantejo said the center will create enabling environment towards provision of enterprise-specific interventions for job creation, productive work and employment facilitation, social protection services for workers in the informal sector and convergence of human, financial, and natural resources to ensure that workers of the enterprises and projects have appropriate skills, capacities and life-long employment possibilities. (ACT/FEA/PIA-Surigao del Norte)

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Feature: Rural Pharmacy: Empowering the people of Pakwan

by Rodelo P. Madiano

SURIGAO DEL SUR, July 15 –- Barangay Pakwan in the municipality of Lanuza is situated in the uplands, making basic services and other needs of the people practically difficult to reach the community.

Most of the medicines are not available locally. And district hospitals entail transportation costs that they can ill afford. All this leads to high mortality and morbidity rate in the community.

“Information dissemination on health management, sanitation and proper nutrition was seldom conducted in the community. That is why in the past years, incidence of diseases especially among children was very high,” said Cerila Montenegro, a People’s Organization (PO) leader.

With the project, Pakwan’s community has been able to access medicines and basic commodities at cheaper price thru the realization of Botika ng Barangay (BnB) implementation by the Action Contre la Faim (ACF) or Action Against Hunger.

“This project is a realization of our dreams. Even if pour barangay is so far away from town, the gap between this community and the town center has narrowed down, thanks to the donor”, said Myrna Opitan, one of two operators of the Botika ng Barangay (BnB).

Community members buy all their medicines and basic commodity needs from the BnB because they can save up to 35% oftheir money, caompared to the selling price of other private retailers in the community. The most saleable medicines are pain relievers, analgesic, antibiotics, de-wormers, and multivitamins. For basic commodities the most saleable are rice, canned goods, seasoning, bath/laundry soaps and shampoos.

Compared to the past few years experience, the presence of BnB in the community reduced the occurrence of fever, infections, internal/external parasites infestation, cough, diarrhea, malnutrition, and even skin diseases caused by poor vitamins supplementation.

“This BnB is one of the most significant projects implemented by ACF in our community. It is a dream come true since people had limited access to medicines given that our community is so remote and isolated from the municipal center where most of our needs are available.”, said by Arseia Abas, former barangay councilor and a PO member.

In Pakwan, BnB brings to the community exactly what they need, in sufficient quantity, good quality and at reasonable prices. (PIA-Surigao del Sur)