PIA News Service - Wednesday, June 19, 2013


RDRRMC member-agencies ready for NDCM 2013 celeb

By Jennifer P. Gaitano

BUTUAN CITY, June 19 (PIA) -- The Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (RDRRMC) in Caraga has lined-up activities for the National Disaster Consciousness Month (NDCM) celebration.

Regional Director Lisa Mazo of the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) Caraga and RDRRMC chairperson encouraged the government agencies to display tarpaulins or streamers on the said affair to enhance public awareness.

“As the celebration kicks-off on July 1, a Thanksgiving Mass will be conducted at the St. Ignatius Chapel, Camp Rafael Rodriguez inside the Philippine National Police (PNP) Caraga Regional Office here. Motorcade will then follow,” Mazo said.

On the same day, the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) Caraga will spearhead the press conference with the RDRRMC Executive Committee members and will be aired live over Power FM - PIA’s radio station.

Mazo further said that on July 4-5, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs’ (OCHA) Orientation on Cluster Approach, Information Management and Assessment will be held in Prosperidad, Agusan del Sur.

On July 10-12, the newly-elected officials in various local government units will be attending the Regional Summit on DRRM to be held at LJ Mega Convention Hall in Gumamela St., St. Joseph Subdivision, this city.

Also, among other activities included the conduct of Incident Command System Basic/Intermediate Course in Bislig City, Surigao del Sur on July 24-26, 2013.

Meanwhile, the month-long celebration will culminate on July 31 with a program and Regional Awarding of Gawad KALASAG 2013. This will be held at the Almont Hotel’s Inland Resort, Butuan City. (JPG/PIA-Caraga)


Agusan del Norte dad emphasizes dev’t; takes oath as 2nd Dist. Congressman-elect

By Jennifer P. Gaitano

BUTUAN CITY, June 19 (PIA) – Some 1,000 people composed of government officials, employees and supporters gathered Monday at the Agusan del Norte Provincial Covered Court here and witnessed Governor Erlpe John Amante's State of the Province Address (SOPA). It was also in time with the 15th Sangguniang Panlalawigan's 8th Special Session.

Amante bared during his SOPA that the first in his Six-Point Agenda is the Efficient and Effective Delivery of Basic Services. "Our efforts of ensuring that quality education is available for all ushered a very promising opportunity for our schoolchildren. From Athletics to the National Achievement Test, Agusan del Norte has always been in the forefront of achievers and has been bannered as Caraga's best in education," he said.

To further enhance and make our education readily responsive to the needs of industries, and to prepare the children to face life as well, the training endeavors followed the Enrollment to Employment Strategy. "Last year, the provincial government and Technical Skills Development Authority (TESDA) enrolled for training 29,344 individuals that resulted to about 27,000 trainees graduating from different courses," Amante emphasized.

Amante also mentioned that scholarship slots were provided through funds given from the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) of Hon. Angelica Rosedell Amante-Matba of the 2nd Congressional District of Agusan del Norte, and now the incoming governor, in the amount of P4.3 million. The province added P1 million. Overall, with funds coming from TESDA at P10 million the Scholarship Funding Support totaled P15.3 million.

Economic Growth, as the second in his Six-Point Agenda, Amante bared that the province bested many economies in Southeast Asia by the growth we achieved as well as the investment upgrades we received. "The volume of exports recorded by the Customs, reached over 2.7B kilograms valued at $152.3M. The tariff levy was $5M. In the same vein, our imports totaled 4.7M kilograms valued at $36.2M," he said.

Amante further stressed that Peace, Order and Security is the third in his Six-Point Agenda. "For the past years, the province has steadily arrested the volume of crime. Crime Clearance dramatically improved from 28 percent in 2010 to 44.89 percent last year. Similarly, Crime Solution Efficiency has also improved from 40percent in 2010 to 67.75 percent last year," he said.

Also, the Environmental Protection and Rehabilitation as the fourth in his Six-Point Agenda, Amante reported that in 2012, the provincial government planted some 106,000 propagules in 32 hectares of mangrove areas and distributed for planting 6,260 rubber seedlings, fruit trees and forest trees to 36 Integrated Social Forestry sites covering 60 hectares. "This continuing effort is aimed at recovering the vegetation of our forest areas," he said.

“This administration always believes in the complementary roles of plans and budget. The Fiscal Capability and Self-Reliance as the fifth in our Six-Point Agenda, out of our traditional receipts, we generated as direct incomes and fund reflows the amount of P78.5 million. Our hospitals were the highest contributor at P42.6 million followed by the ENRO at P7.5 million. Also, the total collection reported by our Treasurer amounted to P658.2M, P549.7M of which came from our share of the Internal Revenue Allotment. It can be gleaned that as our IRA increased, our local revenue also increased proportionally," highlighted Amante.

The last in his Six-Point Agenda is the Dynamic and Responsive Administrative Capability Mechanism. Amante revealed that the province has garnered different awards that recognized its efforts in instituting good governance. These awards included the following: 1) Gawad Pamana Ng Lahi with a prize of P3M; 2) Performance Challenge Fund with a cash prize of P7M; and 3) Seal of Good Housekeeping with cash prize of P10M. "With these funds, we were able to implement seven peace and development and good governance support projects," he said.

The good governor who is now the 2nd district congressman-elect also expressed his effort of bringing electrification to far-flung sitios that also gained strong headway with a funding assistance from President Benigno S. Aquino. Some 761 households located in unlighted far-flung sitios were already provided with electricity. Project cost was P20.8M.

The province of Agusan del Norte is 1 of the recipients of the national poverty reduction program or 'Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program' (4Ps). Since it was implemented in 2009, a very remarkable impact was shown in the increase of Enrollees/Attendance Rate of Students as well as in the numbers of parents visiting Health Centers. As of December 2012, 20,840 households were already registered in the program.

Meanwhile, also highlighted during the SOPA was the oath-taking of the newly-elected officials in the municipalities and province of Agusan del Norte which include Amante himself as the 2nd District Congressman-elect and his sister 1st District Governor-elect of Angelica Rosedell Amante-Matba. (JPG/PIA-Caraga)


RDC-Caraga calls for DOJ to designate prosecutor to handle environmental cases

By Robert E. Roperos

BUTUAN CITY, June 19 (PIA) – The Regional Development Council (RDC) in Caraga through the Development Administrative Committee (DAC) is calling on the Justice Department to designate a prosecutor to handle environmental cases in each city or provincial prosecutor’s offices in the region.

Citing the need for a prosecutor to handle such cases concerning environment, Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Forestry Development Chief Forester Norman Asugan said this development came after the DENR records show that there are 64 cases of illegal logging activities filed in court from 2010 to 2013, of which three cases were dismissed by the courts and 13 cases dismissed at the Prosecutor’s Office, but however, there is no record of conviction.

Asugan added this happened because for the part of DENR, the agency has only one lawyer who is handling these cases and majority of the prosecution team are graduates of Bachelor of Laws (LLB).

“These graduates cannot represent the agency at the court. Aside from this, lawyers will not apply for plantilla position in the agency since salaries of items intended for lawyers are not competitive,” he said.

The official further pointed out that the lack of personnel and expertise by the law enforcement agencies on the rules, procedures and processes involved in gathering of evidence and filing of cases against perpetrators contributed to the dismissal of the above-mentioned cases.

While the Supreme Court has already designated Green Courts in the region to try environmental cases, Forester Asugan said there is no designated prosecutor to specifically handle environmental-related cases in each city or provincial prosecutor’s office.

“The office of the Prosecutor is handling environmental cases on top of other cases, causing the delay in the prosecution process,” he said.

Having seen the need for the DOJ to designate a prosecutor who will focus on environmental-related cases and provide legal assistance to the law enforcement agencies on matters concerning the gathering of evidence, preparation and filing of airtight complaints and in vigorously pursuing cases filed in court, the committee unanimously approved for the endorsement of the same to the RDC Full Council.

In July, the RDC Full Council chaired by Surigao del Norte Sol F. Matugas will conduct its regular meeting where this issue will be discussed, it was gathered. (RER/PIA-Caraga)


RDC requests PNP to fast track creation of tourist police force in Caraga

By Robert E. Roperos

BUTUAN CITY, June 19 (PIA) – Caraga Region’s Regional Development Council-Development Administration Committee (RDC-DAC) has requested the Philippine National Police (PNP) in the region to fast track the creation of tourist police force.

During the second quarter meeting of RDC-DAC held Tuesday in one of the local establishments here, committee members composed of government agencies and chaired by Mayor Ferdinand Amante, Jr. and represented by National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA)-Caraga Assistant Regional Director Ma. Aurora Faye Carino, unanimously asked the region’s police to fast track tourist police force creation to boost the tourism industry of the region.

ARD Carino emphasized that since Caraga Region was given the important position in the country’s tourism map, it is but necessary to give tourists an assurance of peace and security.

“This is one way of drawing number of local and foreign tourists to come and visit the region, uplifting the economic condition of Caraganons through the tourism industry,” Carino said.

It can be recalled that during the earlier interview with Department of Tourism (DOT)-Caraga Regional Director Leticia Tan, the official emphasized that travel advisory orders issued before by foreign embassies putting the country in the negative side must be reviewed.

Tan further explained that foreign embassies should specify what particular places in Mindanao where there is high threat of peace and security.

“Through this, regions that are promoting tourism industry like the Caraga Region will not be affected with these travel advisories banning their countrymen to visit in Mindanao,” Tan said.

Dir. Carino said with the proposed creation of tourism police force, Caraganons can ensure the tourists that they are safe while they are staying here.

Section 135 of the Tourism Act of 2009’s Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) pointed out that a tourism security force and a tourism police assistance shall be established by the PNP to assist in maintaining peace and order within areas of high tourism traffic.

It also mandated the DOT to coordinate with the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) in training the members of the tourism security force and tourism assistance desks on cultural sensitivity, languages and relevant laws.

The mission of the tourist police force is to respond to the emerging demands in the tourism industry by ensuring the safety and security of tourists in various tourism destinations and proactively prevent the commission of crimes directed against tourists and expeditiously solve tourist-related cases.

In view of this, the PNP in coordination with DOT shall identify areas with high tourism traffic in the region. Subsequently, the PNP shall create, organize and train a dedicated unit to be called “Tourist Police Force” and deploy them accordingly. In addition, Tourism Police Assistance Desks shall be established in every unit or police station in the said areas. (RER/PIA-Caraga)


Caraga’s dev’t council endorses issuance of DENR-DILG joint mngt agreement on forest lands

By Robert E. Roperos

BUTUAN CITY, June 19 (PIA) – The Development Administration Committee (DAC) of the Regional Development Council (RDC) in Caraga has endorsed to RDC Full Council to fast track the issuance of the Dept. of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the Dept. of the Interior and Local Government (DILG’s) co-management agreement of forest lands to resume the processing of the co-management program applications nationwide.

Speaking before the council members on Tuesday during its 2nd quarter meeting here, Alex Garay of the Agusan del Norte Provincial Economic Enterprise and Development Management Office (PEEDMO) said the DENR is currently reviewing the operation of co-management agreements within forest lands and protected areas to ensure a uniform application of an agreement throughout the country vis-à-vis the inherent functions of DENR and the local government units based on existing laws, rules and regulations.

Garay also said that as an output of the review, the DENR and the DILG issued a joint memorandum circular entitled “Clarifying and Strengthening the Collaboration and Partnership between the DENR and LGU in the Management, Protection, and Development of forest Lands the Resource Therein and Establishing Guidelines on Partnership and Co-Management of Forest Lands.”

The official further stressed that one of the affected areas in the province is the Las Nieves-Buenavista-Carmen (LASBUENASCAR) Co-Management Project.

Garay explained that considered to have a potential for plantation of crops, the LASBUENASCAR co-management area has attracted various investors who expressed interest for joint ventures with the province of Agusan del Norte.

However, Garay said due to the conduct of the review, the activities of the co-management program of LASBUENASCAR have been suspended. The suspension is costly to the LGU in terms of lost opportunities.

With these developments, Garay said the provincial government of Agusan del Norte appeals for support from the RDC-DAC for the speedy issuance of the said DENR-DILG Memorandum Circular on Co-Management Agreement of Forest Lands to clear up issues and to facilitate efficient operation of the LASBUENASCAR Co-Management Project.

Meanwhile, National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA)-Caraga Assistant Regional Director Myla Faye Carino who presided the meeting said that for the part of the committee, member-stakeholders are hoping that the endorsement will result to positive result. (RER/PIA-Caraga)


Surigao Norte stakeholders oriented on local flood early warning system

By Susil D. Ragas

SURIGAO CITY, June 19 (PIA) -- Personnel from different concerned government agencies, national line agencies, non-government organizations, socio-civic organizations and barangay officials here have attended an orientation seminar on Local Flood Early Warning System (LFEWS).

The two-day activity, spearheaded by the Provincial Government of Surigao del Norte, is in line with the LFEWS project of the GIZ here in the Philippines which aimed to provide the stakeholders with proper understanding of the basics of LFEWS.

Agencies involved were the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office and the German International Cooperation (GIZ), a non-government organization.

“The orientation seeks to increase knowledge of the flood hazard and risks in their respective communities, level-off understanding about the roles and cooperation of stakeholders and the institutional working arrangement in implementing LFEWS, and identify key urgent activities and tasks in the next three months,” said Walter Dino Alquiza, advisor of GIZ-Disaster Risk Management.

Alquiza also said that LFEWS project was aimed to combat the adverse effect of climate change for sustainable development, food security and well-being of the people.

On her part, PDRRMO Officer in Charge Engr. Marlyn Pono thanked and lauded the officials of GIZ for making the province a recipient of the LFEWS project and hoped that the system would help save numerous lives and property and provide a solid framework for the effective management of floods in the province.

Activities and topics which were highlighted during the workshop were the introduction of GIZ and its programs in Caraga, development and evolution of LFEWS, key relevant disaster risk management policies, basic concepts of LFEWS, understanding hazards and risks, monitoring hazard and warning decision, workshop on hazard risk assessment, response capability, sharing of experiences and best practices by the MDRRMO of St. Bernard, Southern Leyte, and LFEWS stakeholders’ roles and institutional working arrangement for LFEWS project. (SDR/PIA-Surigao del Norte)


Fishermen in Siargao asked to preserve and protect marine lives

By Eric F. Gallego

SURIGAO CITY, June 19 (PIA) – The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) official strongly advised Thursday fishermen in the rich-fishing town of Siargao in Surigao del Norte to preserve and protect the marine resources amidst a growing tourism industry in the area.

“I am happy to know that the fishermen in this remote island have improved their level of awareness on marine life protection in the midst of a booming tourists owing to the surfing sports and game fish activities in this place,” DENR-13 OIC-Regional Executive Director (RED) Nonito M. Tamayo said.

A Pacific green turtle was caught entangled on the net of a fisherman who was fishing on weekend near the shore of Barangay Union, in Dapa, Surigao del Norte at sunrise. “I thought I caught a big fish after I felt the net was too heavy only to find it was a sea turtle” Maximo Sunday, 56, a resident of Barangay Union said.

The fisherman said that he quickly thought of the DENR authorities when he learned of the hapless giant turtle trapped on his fishing net.

CENR Officer Teodoro Abucejo said the green turtle must have laid eggs on the beach and probably returning back to her feeding sites when it was entangled on the fishing net. He said the DENR put a tag on the flip of the turtle before it was released back to the sea.

RED Tamayo gave a cash reward to the fisherman in a show of compassion to the poor fisherman who wished that his worn out net be replenished to earn a living.

Green sea turtles migrate long distances between feeding sites and nesting sites; some swim more than 2,600 kilometers (to reach their spawning grounds. Mature turtles often return to the exact beach from which they hatched. Females usually mate every two to four years. Males, on the other hand, visit the breeding areas every year, attempting to mate. In the tropics, green turtles nest throughout the year, although some subpopulations prefer particular times of the year. (NCLM/DENR-13/PIA-Caraga)


LGUs along Agusan River to undergo multi-hazard maps training

By Florian Faith Jr. P. Bayawa

BUTUAN CITY, June 19 (PIA) -- Local government units (LGUs) along the Agusan River Basin (ARB) will undergo a Multi-Hazard Maps training this month of July in order to provide them with knowledge in understanding the uses and application of hazard maps available in their areas.

The Department of the Interior and Local Government – Region 13 (CARAGA) will provide the Training on Understanding Multi-Hazard Maps as part of its unyielding commitment of building disaster-resilient LGUs and communities in the region. Moreover, as vice-chair of disaster preparedness of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), the Department aims to equip readiness among the people, particularly those who reside in hazard-prone areas.

The training will tackle use of hazard maps for mitigating the impact of natural calamities and disasters. Interpreting the hazard maps and updating of the community risk profile are the expected outputs of the undertaking. As a result, the LGUs will manage the underlying risks in their areas and they will be able to strategize their local development plans.

Target participants for this training are the Punong Barangays, Brgy. Secretaries or Brgy. Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (DRRM) Officers, City/Municipal DRRMOs, Provincial DRRMOs, City/Municipal Mayors, Provincial Governors, DILG City/Municipal Local Government Operations Officers, and DILG Provincial/City Directors of the seventeen (17) LGUs along the ARB.

The LGUs included in the training are the Provinces of Agusan del Norte (ADN) and Agusan del Sur (ADS); Municipalities of Buenavista, Las Nieves, Bunawan, Esperanza, La Paz, Loreto, Prosperidad, Rosario, San Francisco, San Luis, Talacogon, Trento, Veruela; and the Cities of Bayugan and Butuan. These LGUs are those located along the Agusan River Basin and identified by the River Basin Central Office (RBCO) of the Department of the Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) as high risk areas.

This training is one of the activities identified in the 2013 celebration of the National Disaster Consciousness Month this July. (NCLM/DILG-13/PIA-Caraga)


DILG 13 to conduct training for 2013 newly-elected officials

BUTUAN CITY, June 19 (PIA) -- The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) – Region 13 (Caraga) will train newly-elected local officials in the region to build their capability as local government leaders.

The Newly-Elected Officials (NEO) Program aims to improve the institutional and individual capacities of LGUs to better serve their constituents.

NEO Program consists of four (4) components, namely: (1) Reinventing Public Service; (2) Looking Forward to Better Governance; (3) Specialized Courses; and (4) Enhancing LGU Performance. This program is for the newly-minted (new to the position), re-elected, and come-backing (those who were elected before) local officials.

The first component involves the entire transition period from the time of the newly-elected official’s assumption to office up to the point when they are ready to enact their governance platform on a practical level. A major highlight of the first component is the coaching on the duties, powers, responsibilities and accountabilities of local officials. The major output is the formulation of the local government’s “Social Contract” with the people and the crafting of the “Executive-Legislative Agenda (ELA)”, which shall include the formulation of the competency-based capacity development agenda using the Systems for Competency Assessment of Local Government (SCALOG). This will run from the months of June to September.

The second component of the NEO program consists of providing assistance to LGUs in operationalizing their ELA through a financial planning, mapping out of strategic actions through building partnerships and alliances through the formation of “Alliance Building” and instilling performance management. Target date for this is slated from October to December.

Third component is composed of “Specialized Courses”, which aims to build on the specific competency-needs identified by the LGUs as included in their capacity development agenda. Among the different programs offered are on the areas of climate change adaptive and disaster resilient LGUs, business-friendly and competitive LGUs, socially protective LGUs and the accountable, transparent, participative and effective local governance. This component will run throughout the year beginning June.

Lastly, the fourth component is an approach of enhancing LGU performance composed of LGU Profiling Audits and the conferment of incentives and awards by the DILG, which runs from year 2014 onwards. This is a metric-centered approach of evaluating and recognizing LGUs to increase their performance.

The NEO Program is conceived by the DILG through the Local Government Academy (LGA) in partnership with the Leagues of Local Governments, Local Resource Institutions (LRIs), National Government Agencies (NGAs), non-government organizations (NGOs), development partners and other local government stakeholders to enhance the competencies of the elected officials in implementing their term-based development roadmap in addressing local needs. (NCLM/DILG-13/PIA-Caraga)