3.28.2014

Butuanons celebrate 493rd First Mass anniversary

By Jennifer P. Gaitano

BUTUAN CITY, Mar. 27 (PIA) – The city government here through the City Tourism Office and the Butuan City Heritage Society (BCHS) will celebrate the 493rd First Mass anniversary on March 31, 2014, 7:30 a.m. at the Guingona Park.

“Every year we celebrate the First Mass, and this year has even greater importance and urgency because the Catholic Bishop’s Conference of the Philippines has designated the year 2021 as the 500th anniversary of the Christianization of the Philippines. By tradition during the Spanish colonial era, and by strong evidence based on primary sources and scientific data, the site of the first recorded Christian act was in the territory of Butuan,” bared Mayor Ferdinand Amante Jr.

Amante further said that this year’s commemoration is of two parts, a Holy Mass in the morning, and a Symposium in the afternoon.

“As we look forward to 2021, a mere seven years away, we have to fortify ourselves by learning about updates on our claim to the honor of being the host community of this first recorded Christian act in our country,” added Amante.

This year’s celebration is anchored on the theme “Journey Towards the 5th Century of Philippine Christianity.” (JPG/PIA-Caraga) 


US Drug Enforcement Admin cooperates drug investigation in PH

By Venus L. Garcia

MANILA, Mar. 27 (PIA) – The United States (US) Department of Justice’s Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) interacted and worked closely with the Philippines’ three primary law enforcement agencies, namely Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), Philippine National Police (PNP), and National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) on significant investigation of drug syndicates and other illegal drug smuggling cases.

DEA has sponsored law enforcement infrastructure projects and the most recent is the establishment of Manila International Airport Drug Interdiction Task Force operation center at Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 3.

DEA, in coordination with Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), created it in response to the threat of drug traffickers using Manila airport as a transit location.

Accordingly, DEA has routinely sponsored the Philippine drug law enforcement officers to attend the U.S. International Law Enforcement Academy in Bangkok, Thailand for professional development and specific training.

Here in the Philippines, DEA has organized in 2013 a 5-week training covering various courses to include basic drug investigation, human rights, firearms training, and basic first aid held at the PDEA Training Academy in Cavite. Approximately 50 law enforcement officers were in attendance.

Also, DEA has conducted twice a one week Airport Drug Investigation/Interdiction training course at Clark and Cebu to support PDEA Airport initiatives.

Aside from it, a Clandestine Drug Laboratory Investigation Course was conducted by DEA at the PDEA Headquarters and donated related safety and laboratory analysis equipment. (VLG/PIA-Caraga)


Integrity Initiative to conduct Mindanao integrity forum

By Venus L. Garcia

BUTUAN CITY, Mar. 27 (PIA) – Integrity Initiative, a private-led effort to promote good governance, transparent business transactions that help the Philippines escape from the vicious cycle of corruption, is set to conduct a Mindanao Integrity Forum – “Collective Action Against Corruption” on March 28, 2014, 1:00-3:00pm at the VCDU Prince Hotel, this city.

“The purpose of the forum is to engage various sectors to discuss existing issues and concerns on business and anti-corruption in Mindanao,” said project director of Integrity Initiative Peter Perfecto.

He said that businessmen, members of civil society and stakeholders who have a shared goal of creating a culture of integrity in the Philippines are all welcome to join.

Perfecto added, “Integrity Initiative, along with allies in the public and private sectors and civil society, continues to make inroads, moving towards the goal of fighting corruption. The number of signatories to the integrity pledge also continues to grow as well as the number of organizations that seek to actively join us in the cause.”

For more information and clarifications, contact Paulo Miguel Prieto, regional assistant for Mindanao by sending email at pauloprieto07@gmail.com. (VLG/PIA-Caraga)


PRC AdS elevated to category C, revenue target also increases

By David M. Suyao

AGUSAN DEL SUR, Mar. 27 (PIA) - The Philippine Red Cross Agusan del Sur Chapter (PRC-AdS) was elevated one step higher from category “D” to category “C”, while revenue target also increases from more than P3 million ending last year to P5.9 million starting this year.

In a meeting on Wednesday with the PRC-AdS Board of Directors, chapter administrator Darwina Ligan presented a memorandum from the budget manager of the PRC headquarters Manila stating the approved budget for the year 2014 and the suggested sources where funds can be generated.

According to recommendation, PRC-AdS can source the fund from group or corporate donations up to P150,000, while another P160,000 from safety services and P75,000 from Community Health and Nourishing Services which will total to P385,000 representing as total direct donations.

For indirect donations like membership fees, special events or projects, PRC-AdS can generate up to P1.75 million while another P200,000 can be sourced out from souvenir items or merchandising which will also total up to P1.95 million.

Other program related services where PRC-AdS can source out funds will be coming from blood processing fee which is expected to reach up to P3,150,000 which will include subsidy from the provincial government and financial aid from the local government units, ambulance services expected to reach up to 420,000.

In the same memorandum, it is advised that PRC-AdS will only disburse a total of almost P5.4 million for 2014 and this amount will be distributed to Activity Expenses (P3.075,000); Organizational Development Expenses (P50,000); Utility expenses (light, water mobile phones, internet, etc) P331,000; Maintenance and Operating Expenses (insurance for building and content, vehicle, general repair and maintenance) P165,000; Manpower cost (salaries and benefits, labor cost, meal allowances) P1,659,596 and; Fixed assets (computer equipment, medical laboratory equipment) P92,000.

“We are glad we are elevated to category “C” because our scope of service delivery became wider, while benefits of Red Cross employees also increases. With the help of our Board of Directors, funds generation will be easy and possible,” Administrator Ligan said. (DMS/PIA-Agusan del Sur)


Caraga, one of the priority areas for ProGED replication

By Nora L. Molde

BUTUAN CITY, Mar. 27 (PIA) – The German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) through the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) has identified Caraga Region as one of the priority areas for its new project called Promotion on Green Economic Development (ProGED).

“The region of Caraga was identified as one of the priority areas for the ProGED replication in the country for year 2014,” said Brielgo O. Pagaran, regional director of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Caraga region.

According to Pagaran, the three year ProGED project which started its implementation on January 1, 2013 and will end in December 2015, is aimed at improving the competitiveness of micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) by making their operations environment friendly and climate smart.

The pilot year of implementation in 2013 covered the provinces of Cebu and Bohol in Central Visayas with focus on the sector and subsectors of tourism, Pagaran added.

During the second year of ProGED project implementation, the DTI regional operations group and its attached bureau, the Bureau of Micro Small and Medium Enterprise Development (BMSMED), shall start replicating and/or upscaling the three Lines of Intervention (LOIs) for ProGED to at least 14 more local government units/locations in the country.

On April 8, a whole day ProGED: Sensitization Session for the key stakeholders in the tourism industry cluster (IC) and the support ICs along its value chain will be held at the DTI Caraga conference room. (NCLM/PIA-Caraga)


Solon calls for a clear cut policy on Mt. Mayapay

BUTUAN CITY, Mar. 27 (PIA) - Agusan del Norte First District Representative Lawrence “Law” Fortun has called for a clear cut policy on how to rehabilitate the revered Mt. Mayapay amidst its present state and continuous threat of man-made abuse and destruction.

Fortun made the statement during the culmination of the Forest in the City Hall Exhibits and Café as part of the launching of Butuan City’s Vision 2020 where he delivered a message in gracing the affair last week. The solon emphasized that Mt. Mayapay has been a landmark that it cannot be dissociated with Butuan City. “While Mt. Mayon is to Albay, Mt. Apo to Davao and Mt. Kitanglad to Bukidnon, Mt. Mayapay has always been associated with Butuan City. Hence, while we aim to make the city as a premiere forest city we should not forget to deal with the present state of Mt. Mayapay which has been threatened with man-made destruction and abuse,” the solon said.

It can be recalled that the young solon has filed House Bill 2900 that aims to declare Mt. Mayapay as a protected area. The bill sought to conserve and protect the unique biodiversity resources of Mt. Mayapay, a prominent natural landmark in the Caraga Region. Fortun said in explanatory note of the bill that “at present, the ecosystem of Mt. Mayapay has been invaded, assaulted and is now highly endangered, threatening to extinction whatever few remaining endemic flora and fauna thriving in the area. Moreover, experts have expressed alarm that if nothing is done to arrest its continuous degradation, landslides that may claim thousands of lives are not remote given the fact that the mountain lies along the fault line.”

During the event, Rep. Fortun also pledged his commitment through entering into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to help source out funds and push for legislations that will help in the attainment of Vision 2020. The MOU was jointly entered by the city government, the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) and the Department of Trade and Industry ( DTI). The said vision is a convergent vision for the city aims that by, “2020, Butuan will be a model for sustainable forest-based economy in the country, thereby giving its people the highest per capita income in Mindanao.” (LAWig/PIA-Agusan del Norte)


DENR 13 tags Lichel Tech on Agusan River Basin Program

By Eric F. Gallego

BUTUAN CITY, Mar. 27 (PIA) - The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Region 13 has acquired the services of the Lichel Technologies, Inc. for a cost of P4.950 million in updating documents for the Master Plan of the Agusan River Basin (ARB) program.

DENR 13 Regional Executive Director Nonito M. Tamayo signed the Contract of Agreement with the Managing Director of the Lichel Technologies, Inc. Rachel A. Vasquez at a simple ceremony held at the DENR Regional Conference Room in Barangay Ambago, this city on March 18.

The scope of works as defined in the agreement involve preparations of work and financial plan, an outline of the updated enhanced Agusan River Basin Master Plan, generation of primary data, undertake surveys, interviews and fieldworks, integrate commends and recommendations generated from series of consultations and workshop with provinces, cities, regional technical working groups, regional development councils, indigenous cultural and tribal communities, conduct analysis on the conflicting tenurial claims and mining tenements, employ GIS and remote sensing technology in the analysis of the basin’s condition identification of development interventions: Bio-physical assessment by sub-basin; disaster risk assessment and climate change vulnerability assessment; land use analysis by sub basin, specific for flooding; flood modelling using 100 years hydrometeorological data; re-packaging of the master plan among others.

The OIC, Regional Technical Director for Forest Management Services Marites M. Ocampo said there are several flaws that need to be updated in some documents of the Agusan River Basin Program and the Lichel Technolgies Inc. is capable of performing the jobs which are expected to be accomplished in 11 months period. (RPAO-DENR 13/PIA-Caraga)


Davao and Kota Kinabalu traders seal ties

DAVAO CITY, Mar. 27 (PIA) - In a bid to strengthen trade ties, facilitate information exchange, and enhance transfer of technology and skills between two focus areas of BIMP-EAGA, cooperation agreements were sealed here last week between the Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Incorporated (DCCCII) and business groups from Kota Kinabalu, Sabah.

DCCCII President Antonio dela Cruz, Federation of Sabah Industries President Datuk Seri Panglima Wong Khen Thau and Malaysian International Chamber of Commerce – Sabah Branch Chairman Brig. General Datuk Arulpragasam led the signing of the two memoranda of cooperation (MoC) held at the Conference Room of the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA).

BIMP-EAGA stands for Brunei Darussalam Indonesia Malaysia the Philippines East ASEAN Growth area, a sub-regional economic cooperation designed to spur economic development in lagging sub-economies of the member countries by boosting trade, tourism, and investments.

“The signing of the MoCs seals the kinship between the people of Davao and Sabah,” said Sebastian Angliongto, chair emeritus of DCCCII while adding “that both cities have ties that date back to ancient times.”

Angliongto was the chair of the Mindanao Economic Development Council from August 1998 to January 2001, the Philippine coordinating office for BIMP-EAGA from 1994 to 2010.

He added that the MoCs reinforce the vision of BIMP-EAGA to accelerate economic development in the sub-region by maximizing each member-country’s comparative advantage.

The ceremonial signing was also part of the Mindanao roadshow to promote the conduct of the Sabah International Expo slated from 18 to 21 September at the Sutera Harbor Resort in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah.

“We are looking forward to partnering with Mindanao business players in various trade ventures, particularly those businesses that we will feature during the Sabah International Expo,” said Datuk Wong Khen Thau, who also sits as the expo’s committee chair.

In a related development, Mindanao will host the 2nd BIMP-EAGA and IMT-GT Trade Fair and Business Leaders’ Conference in October this year, considered as the largest sub-regional trade fair and business conference that will gather the top business leaders and traders from the two economic sub-regional groupings within ASEAN.

The international fair and business conference, which will be held at the SM Premier’s SMX Convention Center will feature a series of sub-events designed to strengthen economic, social, and cultural relations in preparation for the ASEAN integration in 2015. 

IMT-GT stands for the Indonesia Malaysia Thailand Growth Triangle, a regional sub-grouping formed in 1993 with similar goals of promoting trade, investment, and tourism in less-developed states and provinces in Sumatra, Indonesia, Peninsular Malaysia, and Southern Thailand.

“The conduct of Sabah International Expo in September and the 2nd BIMP-EAGA IMT-GT Trade Fair and Business Leaders Conference in October are venues by which we can firm up long-term collaborations and engagements,” said Romeo Montenegro, MinDA director for investment promotions and public affairs office.

He added that there is much that Sabah and Mindanao can pursue particularly in terms of economic cooperation and “that is why it is important to firm up the business matching prior to the holding of both events.”

Datuk Wong Khen Thau said Sabah is interested in renewable energy development, of which Mindanao can provide expert support particularly in the development of hydroelectric power plants.

Last year several business missions from Malaysia visited Mindanao and explored opportunities in oil palm plantation, rubber production, and automotive distribution.

“Current initiatives into establishing the direct connectivity on air as well as shipping routes between Mindanao and Kota Kinabalu and Sandakan are seeing parallel efforts with the anticipated launching of Palawan’s Brooke’s Point, and Sabah’s Kudat roll-on roll off (RoRo) services,” added Montenegro.

A Puerto Princesa-Kota Kinabalu tri-weekly flight was launched by MASwings Sdn Bhd in November last year, strengthening further the air connectivity between key tourism areas in BIMP-EAGA.

“We are encouraged by the promotion tagline ‘From the heights of Mt. Kinabalu to the depths of the Underground River in in Palawan” as these two UNESCO world heritage sites are given the attention that they so deserve.” (MinDA/PIA-Caraga)


Cebuano News: Palasyo naghagit sa mga ex-NBI deputy sa pag-adto sa korte

Ni Nida Grace B. Tranquilan

SURIGAO DEL SUR, Marso 28 (PIA) - Ang malacañang mihagit sa duha ka mga na-dismiss nga National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) nga mopasaka og kaso batok sa mga katawhan kinsa sa ilang hunahuna may relasyon sa pork barrel scam suspek nga si Janet Lim-Napoles, imbes nga itipas ang isyu.

Si Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr mitumbok sa na-dismiss nga mga NBI deputy director nag sila Ruel Lasala ug Reynaldo Esmeralda, nga siya miingon nga kinahanglan adunay kongkreto nga mga ebidensya kay sa mga pangagpas lamang.

“Siguro po mas mainam kung meron talaga silang kongkretong pinanghahawakan sa halip na magsalaysay ng maraming kuwento. Maghain na lamang sila ng kaso kung meron talaga silang pinanghahawakan,” miingon Coloma sa usa ka press briefing.

Sumala a ni Coloma nga ang duha ka mga na- dismiss nga mga NBI deputy director igo lamang sa aglihis sa maong isyu.

“Hindi dapat malihis and ating atensyon dulot ng mga haka-haka at espekulasyon,” ang opisyal sa palasyo miingon.

Bag-ohay pa lamang, si Lasala nagpresentar sa usa ka closed-circuit television footage nga mipakita nga si Napoles mibisita sa NBI Director Nonnatus Rojas sa iyang opisina sa miaging tuig. (NGBT/PND/PIA-Surigao del Sur)