3.04.2013

PIA News Service - Monday, March 4, 2013


HIV cases in Caraga up - DOH

By Robert E. Roperos

BUTUAN CITY, March 4 (PIA) -- The Department of Health-Center for Health Development (DOH-CHD)-Caraga on Friday said cases of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) in the region increased from 1995 to January 2013.

During the recent media forum spearheaded by the region’s health department here, Dr. Gerna Manatad said 69 cases were recorded by their monitoring units. Of these, 10 were recorded from 1995-2007; one each in 2008 and 2009; six in 2010; 18 in 2011; 32 in 2012; and one in January 2013.

Dr. Manatad further said of these figures, 90-91 percent of the cases are males, with age ranges from 18 to 67 years old.

Also, the DOH official also said that 90-91 percent engaged in male-to-male sexual relationship, and 11 to 12 percent of them were overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).

With the increasing cases in the region, DOH-CHD Caraga has identified key actions or measures such as regularly conduct of HIV education to the Most at Risk Population (MARPs) like the registered sex workers, freelance sex workers, men having sex with men, and the clients.

Manatad also said to increase case detection, the health department is planning to expand number of Social Hygiene Clinic or rural health units to do voluntary HIV counseling and testing. They will also conduct mobile Voluntary Counseling and Testing (VCT) for those areas with no access to VCT.

Dr.Manatad further said that with regards to the prevention and fight against stigma and discrimination, the DOH is advocating for the hundred percent Condom Use Program (CUP) especially for entertainment establishments; Conduct of peer education and outreach; Multi-sectoral coordination through Philippine National AIDS Council (PNAC); Empowerment of communities; Community assemblies to reduce stigma; Augmentation of resources of social Hygiene Clinics; and Procured male condoms distributed as education materials during outreach.

In 2011, 17 males and one female were detected to have been positive of HIV in the region, while in 2012, two females and 30 males were recorded at the health department.

At the national level, 11,702 reported cases were recorded from 1984 to 2012.

In 2011, 2,349 cases were reported while 3,338 cases were reported in 2012, an increase of 42.103 percent, it was learned. (RER/PIA-Caraga)


Butuan City launches ‘From Waste to Work of Art’ Project

By Jennifer P. Gaitano

BUTUAN CITY, Mar. 4 (PIA) -- Butuan City Mayor Ferdinand Amante Jr. led on Monday the launching of the project dubbed "Ang Pagbutwa Hong Balangay" or From Waste to Work of Art with 10 young artists from Butuan and Caraga region competing in the making of miniature 3D balangay or boats, held at the old SP building, city hall compound here.

Said project is spearheaded by the local government of Butuan and the Local Youth Development Council.

Various recyclable materials will be used by the artists in making their own balangay. Starting Monday up to Thursday, the public can see them making their craft at the old SP building.

The winners will receive cash prizes: first prize is P7,000; second prize - P5,000; third prize - P3,000; and consolation prizes of P2,000.

Mayor Amante said that the city government is continuously doing strategies to reduce the garbage volume of the city.

“We encouraged teachers starting in the nursery level to inculcate in the minds of the children not to throw garbage anywhere, instead always mind to put it in trash cans. If they get used to it, they will always apply it anywhere they are,” said Amante.

Further, Amante cited the city government’s intention to produce waste to energy conversion.

City councilor Dr. Virgilio Nery said the project is related to the Clean Ground Zero Waste Movement of the city government launched in September 11, 2011.

It aims to achieve social transformation towards economic transformation through proper solid waste segregation and recycling. "From the trash, we could make money," Nery said.

Agnes Carlos also said that aside from the cash prizes which the winners will be receiving, they (winners) can also sell their own-made balangays. “We do not only make use of the trash for money, we also add beauty to our place here in Butuan,” she said.

Meanwhile, Noel Mendrez, one of the artists from Tandag City, said that he is very happy to work with other young artists and excited to create his own piece of balangay with the use of different recyclable materials.

The awarding ceremonies will be held on March 8, 3 p.m. at the city hall lobby. (JPG/PIA-Caraga)


Local exec lauds university for their tree -growing program

By Eldie N. David

BUTUAN CITY, Mar. 4 (PIA) --A local executive lauded the efforts of Father Saturnino Urios University (FSUU) on their Tree-Growing project at Sitio Tagkiling in Brgy. Anticala as part of their advocacy to rehabilitate the Taguibo Watershed.

Vice Mayor Lawrence “Law” Fortun together with other government employees, joined other stakeholders and actively participated in the tree planting activity in the area.

Fortun said the effort of FSUU is a big step towards the total rehabilitation of the Taguibo watershed in which only about 1,000 hectares is currently forested out of the 12,000 hectares of the said watershed.

“While this may be big step towards the rehabilitation of the forest area, we still need to come up with a comprehensive watershed management framework so that all aspects of the management of the watershed will be covered,” Fortun said.

The recently passed Watershed Code of Butuan City already laid down the foundation for this framework plan.

The city government of Butuan recently signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with Enterprise Works/Worldwide Philippines (EWWP) for the joint undertaking for the framing of the said plan.

The vice mayor planted 40 seedlings despite the terrain and rugged condition of the area. (LGU-BC/VMO/PIA-Agusan del Norte)


Caraga launches Disaster Risk Reduction & Management Plan

By Florian Faith Jr. P. Bayawa

BUTUAN CITY, Mar. 4 (PIA) -- The Caraga Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (RDRRMC) chaired by the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) and vice-chaired by four agencies, such as the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) for Disaster Preparedness, Department of Science and Technology (DOST) for Disaster Prevention and Mitigation, Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) for Disaster Response and the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) for Disaster Rehabilitation and Recovery with other member agencies in the government and private sector including Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) launched on February 28 the Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (DRRM) Plan for CY 2013-2017 at Almont Hotel’s Inland Resort, Butuan City.

The DRRM Plan of Caraga contains four thematic areas in Disaster Prevention and Mitigation, Disaster Preparedness, Disaster Response and Disaster Rehabilitation which had 22 outcomes, 49 outputs, and 137 activities all set for the five year plan. This will provide a strategic direction for effective disaster risk reduction and management at the local level in the next five years.

OCD Director Blanche T. Gobenciong, also the chairperson of RDRRMC, presented the impact and outcomes of the four thematic areas, while DILG Director Lilibeth A. Famacion, DOST Director Dominga D. Mallonga, DSWD Director Minda B. Brigoli, and NEDA Director Carmencita S. Cochingco revealed the key major outputs and activities of the DRRM Plan.

USEC Eduardo D. Del Rosario, Executive Director of the National DRRMC graced the event to formally receive and acknowledge the approved RDRRM Plan of the Council.

The thrust of the four thematic areas are as follows: 1. Disaster Prevention and Mitigation. Avoid hazards and mitigate their potential impacts by reducing vulnerabilities and exposure, and enhancing capacities of communities;2. Disaster Preparedness. Establish and strengthen capacities of communities to anticipate, cope and recover from the negative impacts of emergency occurrences and disasters;3. Disaster Response. Provide life preservation and meet the basic subsistence needs of affected population based in acceptable standards during or immediately after a disaster;4. Disaster Rehabilitation and Recovery. Restore and improve facilities, livelihood and living conditions and organizational capacities of affected communities, and reduced disaster risks in accordance with the “building back better” principle.

The DRRM Plan is in line with the goals of the region for the attainment of the country’s overall DRRM vision of “Safer, adaptive and disaster resilient Filipino communities towards sustainable development.”

As such, it is aimed at making the region disaster resilient against natural hazards and disasters, including man-made disasters. (DILG-13/PIA-Caraga)


World Bank hails Philippines transparency effort

By Sherwin B. Manual

DAVAO CITY, Mar. 4 (PIA) -- Billed as the Philippines efficient and cost-effective project management tool, the World Bank (WB) recently cited the government’s use of geo-tagging technology in its effort for a transparent and corrupt-free government.

An article bannered in their Washington-based website (www.worldbank.org), said that the use of geo-tagging technology in the Department of Agriculture’s (DA) second Mindanao Rural Development Program (MRDP2) has made project monitoring in far-flung places become more transparent and easier to access with the help of a new technology that allows pictures and videos to be geo-tagged.

“The geo-tagging process involves attaching location-specific information such as geographical coordinates to pictures, videos, and even SMS messages. Users would need a GPS-enabled phone and internet connection to upload multimedia to a web-based application such as Google, which provides the platform to geo-tag at no cost,” the article said.

MRDP is long-term poverty alleviation initiative in Mindanao with a total funding of $127 million coming from the $83.752 million loan from the WB and the equity share of the national government and its 225 covered municipalities.

“As we implement projects in the six regions of Mindanao, we constantly faced challenges of accessibility, manpower, resources and security concerns,” said the WB article quoting deputy program director Arnel V. De Mesa.

“With the use of technology our project team and even country officials and donors agency can validate, monitor and evaluate actual progress on the ground without having to travel to hard-to-access locations and areas with high security risk,” De Mesa said.

“The learning curve of geo-tagging is not that long, and the beauty of it is anyone can learn the ropes. Even the young ones who are exposed to smartphones nowadays can easily do it,” he added.

Meanwhile, Program Director Lealyn A. Ramos said that the department is proud that WB has given recognition to their efforts of heeding the challenge of President Benigno S. Aquino III's tuwid na daan (straight path) and inclusive growth when the latter commenced his administration in 2010.

“We take pride in this effort as this involve majority of the people of Mindanao, local chief executives of our LGU partners and even community folk who support the advocacy on transparent government and accountable stakeholders in the project implementation,” Ramos said.

Cost-efficient and transparent

The WB article described the technology as cost-efficient since it saves risky travel to high-risk and hard-to-reach areas; it has easy reference as donors, implementing agencies, contractors and other partners are provided with useful information about its sub-projects such as exact locations, dates of operation, land areas, distance covered and where they are situated in relation to other landmarks in the area as seen in www.damrdp.net, the website of MRDP2.

Further, it is transparent as it allows citizens to better monitor the bidding and procurement process and other information like invitations to bid for projects, it is also available on the maps for the benefit of prospective bidders.

The WB cited MRDP’s innovative use of the technology as the first among government agencies in the Philippines, and among the pioneers in the East Asia and the Pacific region being served by the Bank. As the pioneering group in the country, MRDP team is leading efforts to train their co-workers within the agency and outside the department on the use of geo-tagging for project management.

Award winning program
The Philippine National Economic and Development Authority through its “Good Practice Award” recently hailed MRDP for applying geo-tagging technology in “resolving recurrent issues in project implementation.”

“We really wanted to show that we’re doing something for good governance and transparency,” De Mesa said. (DA-MRDP/PIA-Caraga)


Cebuano news: Palasyo: Gobyerno andam motabang sa mga Filipinong apektado sa Sabah standoff

Ni Susil D. Ragas

SURIGAO CITY, March 4 (PIA) -- Giseguro sa Malakanyang niadtong Sabado nga ang gobyerno andam motabang niadtong mga Filipinong apektado sa padayon nga standoff didto sa Lahad Datu sa Sabah, Malaysia ug giawhag sila sa ilang boluntaryo nga pagsurender.

Sumala ni Cabinet Secretary Jose Rene Almendras ang Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) mipadala na sa ilang team nga maoy motabang sa mga Filipino didto sa Sabah lakip usab ang paghatag og mga pagkaon.

Ang team sa DSWD moadto didto sa usa ka isla duolsa Sabah aron matubag ang mga panginahanglanon niadtong mga naapektuhan, dugang pa niya.

Sumala pa ni Almendras nga ang paghangyo ngadto sa awtoridad sa Malaysia nga tugtan ang barko sa Pilipinas nga modunggo didto sa Sabah maoy usa sa diplomatikong aksyon nga gihimo sa Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) niadtong Biyernes ug ang Pilipinas maghulat na lamang sa desisyon sa gobyerno sa Malaysia.

Ang kagubot mitumaw didto sa Lahad Datu niadtong Biyernes sa buntag diin, 12 ka mga Filipino ug duha ka security forces sa Malaysia ang namatay. Ang Palasyo nasubo sa maong panghitabo ug gihangyo ang Sulu sultanate nga awhagon niini ang ilang mga sumusonod didto sa Sabah sa pagsurender.

Sa iyang mensahe niadtong Sabado, si Presidente Aquino mihangyo sa mga Filipino nga atoa pa sa Sabah sa boluntaryong pag-ubos sa ilang mga armas aron malikayan ang dugang pa nga pagkalas sa kinabuhi. (RER/SDR/PIA-Surigao del Norte)