PIA News Service - Saturday, November 26, 2011

Mindanao ‘Week of Peace’ celeb kicks-off in Surigao

by Jennifer P. Gaitano

BUTUAN CITY, Nov. 26 (PIA) -- The Mindanao "Week of Peace" celebration kicked-off Thursday with the 'Walk for a Cause' walkathon starting from the different points of the city and later converged at the City Kiosk, Luneta Park, Surigao City where participants were met by a ‘Hataw’ exercise and an opening program led by the Caraga Conference for Peace and Development (CCPD) with the government agencies and partner stakeholders.

The most Rev. Juan de Dios Pueblos, Diocese of Butuan Bishop, in his opening program ecumenical prayer, stressed that to attain peace, people should embrace peace not only in their words but also in their actions.

With this year's theme "Common Word between Us & You: Love of God, Love of Neighbor," Bishop Pueblos called on the public to love and care their brothers, sisters, and neighbors despite its differences for it is one way to attain peace.

Surigao del Norte Gov. Sol Matugas, said that she has been an advocate of peace since she became the governor and setting as an example to all her Surigaonon constituents.

“Humility in oneself with an open mind and heart is very important to attain peace,” said Matugas.

During the celebration’s press conference, Sultan Gamal Amerol, representing the Muslim Community, expressed his appreciation to convenor Bishop Pueblos and Surigao del Norte Gov. Matugas for the efforts of the CCPD in giving importance to the Muslims of Surigao and in the region as a whole, by getting them involved in all activities related to peace and development.

Rev. Fr. Carlito Clase, Executive Director of CCPD also asked the help of the tri-media in advocating peace and development thru their daily programs emphasizing that media have a big role in the attainment of peace through information.

National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) Caraga regional assistant director Gumamac Diron urged people in Mindanao to solve conflicting issues without violence by getting involved in fora and symposia for negotiations.

Datu Cain Hukman, representing the Lumad community also expressed his willingness to participate in all peace initiatives of the CCPD and the government.

Culminating the program, Gov. Sol Matugas together with Surigao City Mayor Ernesto Matugas and other officials led the releasing of doves while the government employees sang "Let there be Peace on Earth.” (PIA-Caraga)

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'Sexual Exploitation and Trafficking in Persons' forum set in Butuan

by Jerylle Anne O. Rivera

BUTUAN CITY, Nov. 26 (PIA) -- The Regional Development Council-Gender and Development Coordinating Committee (RDC-GADCC) will conduct a forum on “Sexual Exploitation and Trafficking in Persons" on December 2, 2011 at Luciana Convention Center, this city.

The forum, which is part of the activities of the 18-Day Campaign to End Violence Against Women (VAW) here will have Ms. Jean Enriquez, executive director of the Coalition Against Trafficking Women-Asia-Pacific (CATWAP) as spokesperson.

Enriquez is an advocate of the victims of depraved rape, rescued women from prostitution, and has had her team of social workers expose abusers.

She is also continuously confronting some of the most horrible sexual crimes committed by suspects against women and children.

The forum will be participated in by the different agencies which have direct role in fighting violence against women and children.

Participating agencies include the Agusan del Norte Provincial Government, Parole and Probation Administration (PPA), Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC), Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), and the RDC-GADCC, FORWARD Inc. (PIA-Caraga)

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DENR13 leaders vow to restore dwindling forests in Caraga

by Eric Fortes Gallego

BUTUAN CITY, Nov. 26 (PIA) -- Leaders of the different sectors in the five provinces of Caraga Region have vowed to restore the dwindling forests of Caraga Region by encouraging people to plant 10 tree seedlings every year over the next six years in line with the National Greening Program (NGP) of President Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III and spearheaded by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

This manifestation of support was made by the more than 200 participants to the one-day Regional National Greening Program (NGP) summit held at the Almont Inland Resort in Butuan City last Wednesday, November 23.

DENR-13 regional executive director Leonardo R. Sibbaluca said most of the participants came from the remote areas of Surigao del Sur, Dinagat Province, Surigao del Norte, Agusan del Sur and Agusan del Norte. “They are aware of the importance of planting trees in the face of the global climate change which has resulted in destructive floods and landslides and are now experienced in some parts of the country” Director Sibbaluca said.

Caraga Region has a forest area of 1,331,491 hectares as of 2008 but reportedly diminishing due to kaingin and unabated logging activities.

In her keynote address, the Governor of Surigao del Norte and chairperson of the Regional Development Council exhorted the participants to be active in pursuing the National Greening Program. “Our endeavors and aspirations would be meaningful only if we see every member of a Filipino family in our respective area actively participating in planting 10 tree seedlings every year over the next six years.

The summit participants, who also include tribal leaders of indigenous people in the area, education, local executives, academe, media, business sector and national government and private sectors, have crafted their respective social mobilization and communication plans.

These plans aim to motivate and encourage people to participate and plant trees in support of the NGP.

The summit was observed and facilitated by experts from the University of the Philippine Los Banos. (DENR-RPAO13/PIA-Caraga)