6.26.2014

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Butuan City official shares benefits of planting trees

By Jennifer P. Gaitano

BUTUAN CITY, June 25 (PIA) – City councilor Virgilio Nery Jr., chair of the Committee on Environment, on Wednesday shared several advantages how planting trees help the environment and the people.

“Trees provide habitats to a wide array of plants, ?owers, birds, mammals and insects. Without these vital habitats and the means to propagate and pollinate, many more of our valuable wildlife and plants would suffer as a direct consequence,” Nery said during the Arbor Day celebration at Bood Promontory Eco-Park in Brgy. Pinamanculan, this city.

Nery further said that trees vastly improve the natural beauty of the countryside and parks, and complement to the building developments "and they adorn our gardens for our children to climb and shelter under."

Nery added that trees absorb odors and pollutant gases (nitrogen oxides, ammonia, sulfur dioxide and ozone) and filter particulates out of the air by trapping them on their leaves and bark. Trees provide oxygen, in such a way that in one year an acre of mature trees can provide enough oxygen for 18 people.

“What I’ve mentioned are just some of the benefits that living things get from the trees. Therefore, we should not stop planting trees for our next generation will also benefit from it,” stressed Nery.

Government employees, representatives from the private sector and environment advocates actively participated in the planting of Talisay trees in the said area. Being the lead agency, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) facilitated the provision of seedlings to all participating agencies and partners.   

Nery expressed his congratulations to all the participants of the Tree Planting activity for making it a memorable and successful one. "Thank you for your active participation and support for our usual tree planting activity especially in this year's Arbor Day," he said.

Arbor Day in the Philippines has been institutionalized to be observed every June 25 throughout the nation by planting trees and ornamental plants and other forms of relevant activities. The necessity to promote a healthier ecosystem for the people through the rehabilitation and re-greening of the environment was stressed in Proclamation No. 643 that amended Proclamation No. 396, s. 2003. Proclamation No. 396 enjoined the “active participation of all government agencies, including government-owned and controlled corporations, private sector, schools, civil society groups and the citizenry in tree planting activity. (VLG/JPG/PIA-Caraga)


PDEA-13 seeks public's help in fight vs illegal drugs

By Jennifer P. Gaitano

BUTUAN CITY, June 25 (PIA) - "We all want to eliminate illegal drugs in our community, therefore it is a great challenge for us to take action. Let's all be responsible. If you know or have monitored people using or selling illegal drugs report it immediately to us so we can then give appropriate response."

This was the statement of regional director Erwin Ogario of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) during his interview over Power FM – the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) Caraga's radio station here.

Ogario bared that the level of reinforcement against drugs has increased. "We had already conducted some 240 operations, while apprehended suspects and filed cases in the court also increased early this year," he said.

"This afternoon, we will be training and conducting orientation with the barangay officials in the municipality of Carmen in Agusan del Norte on how to intensify its Barangay Anti-Drug Abuse Councils (BADACs). Community action against illegal drugs is very vital especially when parents take responsibility in monitoring the activities of their children," emphasized Ogario.

Ogario added that BADACs as local councils are tasked to conduct information and education on illegal drugs and formulate plans and programs to prevent proliferation of illegal drugs in their barangays.

It was learned that there is a rehabilitation health center for illegal-drug victims installed in Surigao City. "There are also private rehabilitation health centers but it may be costly to the affected families," Ogario disclosed.

Meanwhile, Ogario also expressed support to PIA and Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ (DENR) campaign on Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation. "As declared policy of the state to pursue biodiversity conservation and climate change mitigation and adaptation, our agency has been mindful also for the greening plans of our government safety would not only mean a drug-free community but can be attributed to resilient and adaptive society as well," he said. (VLG/JPG/PIA-Caraga)


DENR Caraga leads tree planting activity on Arbor Day

By Nora L. Molde

BUTUAN CITY, June 25 (PIA) – The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Caraga regional office on Wednesday led the stakeholders from the various sectors of the society in the planting of Talisay trees at the Bood Promontory Eco-Park in the city in connection with the celebration of this year's Arbor Day.

“The activity is in support to the vision of the local government unit of Butuan City to become a 'Premier Forest City' by 2020 and the National Greening Program of DENR,“ said DENR regional technical director Maritess M. Ocampo during a short program held at the planting site.

Also, during the activity, advocates for a Green Butuan headed by city councilor Dr. Virgilo Nery, Jr. joined in planting the Talisay tree. Nery said the group are monitoring monthly the planted trees in the area in order to achieve the vision of the city.

Right after the short program, certificates of participation were distributed to the agencies and employees from the national government agencies, academe, private sector and non-government organizations who participated in the activity.

Meantime, DENR regional director Nonito Tamayo said during the celebration of the world environment day recently that the trees provide a very important role in carbon dioxide sequestration, the so called major factor in the global warming of the earth.

The activity ended with the singing of “Masdan Mo Ang Kapaligiran." (NCLM/PIA-Caraga)


Level of enforcement against drugs intensified – PDEA

By David M. Suyao

PROSPERIDAD, Agusan del Sur, June 25 (PIA) - The level of enforcement against the proliferation and distribution of illegal drugs in the province of Agusan del Sur and the entire Caraga Region has increased although the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) has no base records on whether the distribution and the use of illegal drugs has decreased.

“In partnership with the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Philippine Army, we have raided plantations of marijuana in the hinterlands of La Paz and Loreto and uprooted, confiscated and burned volumes of them. But I believe we have only destroyed part of the items because we have no basis whether there are more plantations around until we gather reliable information of their existence,” PDEA Caraga regional director Erwin Ogario said.

According to Ogario, they have already conducted some 240 operations this year, 2014, and have apprehended suspects while cases were being filed in court. Ogario also said once the suspects are already in jail, and sentenced were served, they have no more jurisdiction over the convicts because it is already the jurisdiction of the court.

“And sad to note, many who were jailed were released because of bail, and some are because of technical reasons,” Ogario added.

PDEA, according to Ogario, is not really running after the users but are serious in running after the pushers. PDEA’s operations, Ogario said, will sometimes take time because they cannot just charge any person who are high with drugs or are pushers of the illegal drugs.

“We have to conduct thorough surveillance and planning before we finally execute the operation, so that we will not miss the target. And with the help of our PNP, we have registered 240 operations to date,” Ogario said.

Ogario also said, there is a rehabilitation center for illegal drugs victims in Brgy. Anomar in Surigao City. There are also private rehabilitation centers but it may be costly for the affected families.

In Agusan del Sur, Dir. Ogario said Bayugan City ranked the highest on drug cases. Other municipalities on record are San Francisco, LaPaz, Loreto, Trento and Prosperidad. (DMS/PIA-Agusan del Sur)


DTI Surigao Norte transfers to new location

By Rodrigo R. Matabaran

SURIGAO CITY, June 25 (PIA) - The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI)-Surigao del Norte Provincial Office has recently transferred to a new location, at the 2nd Floor of Simtoco Building, Burgos Street here.

At 320 square meters, the new office is much larger and can accommodate more clients.  The new location is also nearer to the central commercial area.

Director Celestino L. Negapatan said the move is in line with the government’s thrust to improve service delivery to the public, more so to the agency’s clients – business owners and consumers.

The agency caters to clients applying for business name registration and accreditation of service and repair enterprises.  It also provides business development and advisory services, facilitation of consumer complaints, among others.

Being established within the office is a Business Resource Center (BRC) which will be operated by the Small and Medium Enterprise Development Council (SMEDC) and the Surigao Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI).  The center is designed to host business organizations such as the SMEDC and SCCI with the provision of computer stations, internet connection and a number of reference materials on business development which include guides for start-up businesses, production and processing technologies, product development and packaging. (DTI-13/PIA-Caraga)


SSS bares terms of higher EC pensions and funeral grants

MANILA, June 25 (PIA) - Following the recent Malacañang approval, the Social Security System (SSS) bared the terms of its new 10-percent across-the-board pension increase for work-related claims under the Employees' Compensation (EC) Program and the doubled EC funeral grant, which now stands at P20,000. Both increases will be implemented retroactively, with September 2013 as the date of effectivity.

Agnes San Jose, SSS Vice President for Benefits Administration, said the pension hike covers about 17,200 active EC pensioners under SSS as of August 31, 2013 for permanent partial disability, permanent total disability and survivorship. Meanwhile, SSS claimants of EC funeral grants for deaths dated September 1, 2013 onwards are entitled to the higher P20,000 benefit.

President Benigno S. Aquino III approved the EC benefit upgrades under Executive Order No. 167 issued last May 26. The EC Program – which provides additional benefits for employees with work-connected sicknesses, injuries and death – is administered by SSS for the private sector and by the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) for the public sector.

“Claimants covered by the date of effectivity whose EC funeral grants of P10,000 were already settled by SSS will each receive an additional P10,000 in burial benefits, given the retroactive implementation of the increase,” San Jose explained.

“Pensioners will get higher EC pensions, as well as the additional benefits resulting from the retroactive date of effectivity, in September 2014 upon completion of our system changes,” she added.

The new increases stemmed from SSS' proposal to hike EC pensions and EC funeral grants for SSS members and beneficiaries, which was submitted to the Employees' Compensation Commission (ECC) for approval. The ECC expanded the SSS proposal to also include higher EC funeral grants for those covered by the GSIS, and then endorsed the EC benefit increases to Malacañang for its approval for implementation.

In a related development, the SSS also recently announced another across-the-board pension increase – this time at five percent, effective June 2014 --- for 1.9 million SSS pensioners under the Social Security (SS) Program as part of SSS' commitment to enhance its members' benefits.

“SSS' sustained financial growth has paved the way for new benefit increases for members and beneficiaries. This year marks a significant period in our continuing campaign to provide more meaningful benefits, while balancing it with our duty to look after the fund's long-term viability,” San Jose noted. (SSS/PIA-Caraga)


Rise in teenage pregnancy in Caraga alarming

By Greg Tataro, Jr.

TANDAG CITY, June 25 (PIA) – The incidence of teenage pregnancies in Caraga region is highly alarming, according to Mila Arreza, provincial population officer in Surigao del Sur.

In a report during the regular Monday flag ceremony program held at the capitol lobby this week, she pointed out that Surigao del Sur is partly contributory to the problem.

Arreza based her report on the 2013 Young Adult Fertility Sexuality Survey (YAFSS), saying that “Caraga was highest in terms of teenage pregnancy.”

“As one of the provinces in Caraga, we also contributed to this alarming situation,” she added.

She bared that partial report from local government units (LGUs) as of calendar year (CY) 2013 showed about 238 teenage pregnancy cases in the province.

More so, Arreza stressed that for second quarter of 2014 alone, the incidence has risen to 415 cases.

However, the situation is already being addressed by spearheading important activities through  establishment of Teen/Youth Center with trained peer facilitators at Surigao del Sur State University (SDSSU); conduct of various Symposia & Orientations on responsible sexuality with discussions on How to Delay Sexual Encounters as well as holding of Life Skills Training & Summer Youth Camps; training of Parents with their adolescent children on Adolescent Health and Youth Development (AHYD) and Responsible Parenthood (RP) during Parent Teachers Community Association (PTCA) meetings. (NGBT/Radyo ng Bayan/PIA-Surigao del Sur)


AgNor utilizes DSWD’s Listahanan

By Maria Cecilia N. Sosas

AGUSAN DEL NORTE, June 25 – The programs and services of the provincial government of Agusan del Norte under the leadership of Governor Ma. Angelica-Rosedelle Amante-Matba utilized the Department of Social Welfare and Development’s (DSWD) Listahanan database of poor families.

According to Daisybiel O. Demavivas, OIC-Provincial Social Welfare Development Officer, “Listahanan is very useful and helpful to us especially in targeting the right beneficiaries of our programs.  In fact, 29,061 poor households in the year 2012-2013 were enrolled to Philhealth Insurance Programs sponsored by the Province in which households were not covered by the funds of PhilHealth and Municipalities. Also, there were 2,712 Pantawid Pamilya couples were given the Responsible Parenting Movement Class.”

“Now, we are still using the data in our medical assistance program,” she added.

These Pantawid Pamilya couples were identified through Listahanan.

Further, the use of the Listahanan database by other Social Welfare and Development (SWD) providers ensure a more equitable distribution of resources and more positive impact for the poor.

DSWD Sec. Dinky Juliano-Soliman urged the Local Govenrment Units (LGUs) and partner agencies in the planning and implementation of programs and services to use Listahanan to avoid program/project leakage.

Listahanan is an information system that identifies who and where the poor are with the tagline “Talaan ng Pamilyang Nangangailangan.” (JPG/DSWD-13/PIA-Caraga)


Surigao farmers coop now an organic fertilizer producer, distributor

By Herminio G. Garcia

SURIGAO CITY, June 25 (PIA) - The Claver Coconut Farmers Multi-Purpose Cooperative (CLACOFARMCO) based in Barangay Daywan, Claver, Surigao del Norte is now producing Plantmate Organic Fertilizer and distributing it to farmers throughout the province.

The venture was a result of a business matching facilitated by DTI-Surigao del Norte Provincial Office (DTI-SDN) between the cooperative and Dr. Elisio L. Ruiz, a Filipino agricultural scientist and President of the Richfund International Co. Ltd. during the Provincial Business Conference organized by the Provincial Government of Surigao del Norte in 2012.  Dr. Ruiz was one of the key speakers then.

Dr. Ruiz invented a Bio-Plus activator which is used in producing Plantmate Organic Fertilizer.  The said invention is now being marketed in Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, China and the Middle East.

CLACOFARMCO availed of one million pesos technology package through a franchise agreement last year with Richfund International Co. Ltd. effectively making them the sole producer and distributor of the said organic fertilizer in the province.  The agreement was finalized with the assistance of the Claver LGU and DTI-SDN.

DTI provincial director Celestino Negapatan explained that aside from the income generated by the cooperative, the availability of the said organic fertilizer will be a boost to the local farmers particularly rice growers who are heavily dependent in costly inorganic fertilizers.

Organic fertilizers have been promoted as a better alternative as it improves soil condition leading to increased crop yields and higher income for the farmers.

Originally organized as a regular farmers’ cooperative, CLACOFARMCO ventured into coco coir production in 2008 making coco nets and other coco coir-based products which they sell to buyers in Caraga and other regions.  Their coco nets, also called as “geo nets” have been bought and used by mining companies in their mined-out areas for rehabilitation and soil management programs. (DTI-13/PIA-Caraga)


Feature: A Gateway towards Empowerment

BUTUAN CITY, June 25 (PIA) - The women of barangay Sta. Cruz in the municipality of Sibagat, Agusan del Sur used to work at the farms if not at home doing household chores. But not anymore this time.

At 2012, 25 of them decided to participate in the Self-Employment Assistance sa Kaunlaran (SEA-K) under the Sustainable Livelihood Program of the Department of Social Welfare and Development forming the Sta. Cruz SEA-K Association or the Sta. Cruz SKA. After thorough sessions and trainings, when they were deemed ready to start their business, their Capital Seed Fund worth P125,000 was released to them. It was on February 8, 2013 when SKA’s Sta. Cruz Cooperative officially started its operations.

The establishment of the cooperative is strategic. Brgy. Sta. Cruz is the gateway to five barangays in the municipality namely barangays Padi-ay, Perez, Magcalipe, Tabon-tabon and Sta. Maria. Because of its location the business is enjoying the benefit of not only serving the residents in their barangay but also the travelers that are going to and from the other five barangays. Also, some of the basic commodities which are not available in the few already existing sari-sari stores are offered in cooperative.  The latter also offers reasonable prices to their goods. They also allow creditors to their avid patrons.

Having their merchandise at prices lower than those of the competing stores, the number of patrons increases. Accordingly, their sales turnover is fast prompting the purchases of stocks to be done at least once a week to cope with the demands. While the other stores do not allow credit lines Sta. Cruz Coop does. The credit limit is P500 and non-members can avail of the same in the condition that a coop member acts as a guarantor.

They also have seven Board of Directors who render alternate duty every day in manning the store together with their regular salesperson. For this, the salesperson gets P1,500 every month as a salary while the BOD of the day gets P100 worth of goods at the end of each working day.

During the first two months of operation Sta. Cruz Coop sold around P24,000 making the members so delighted. They were even amazed when they got as much revenue during the month of May alone because of their fiesta celebration. It was also in May that the members decided to invest P15,000 to engage in a money lending activity. They offer 10 percent and 20 percent interest rates for coop and non-coop members, respectively (still, non-members have to have a guarantor from among the members to be able to avail). From P15,000 the capital has now grown to approximately P45,000.

As of now the total equity of Sta. Cruz Cooperative amounts close to P218,000 or around 74 percent up from the P125,000 capital seed fund and the association’s rollback to DSWD is up to date. The members are also planning to engage into falcatta trading in the coming year to expand their business operations.

The members of Sta. Cruz SEA-K Association are very grateful of the changes the Sustainable Livelihood Program has brought to their lives. Because of the program, they have additional source of income; in times of emergencies they are certain they have somewhere to run to for financial assistance; and they enjoy credit lines which they did not get from other stores before. And personally, they have discovered their hidden skills and abilities as the association and as the business operates daily. They are now doing more than farming and household chores. Now, they are managers, planners, businesswomen – truly empowered! (Social Marketing Unit/SLP/DSWD-13/PIA-Caraga)


DAR Surigao Norte marks CARP Anniversary with distribution of titles to 212 beneficiaries

By Darryl M. Tumbaga

SURIGAO DEL NORTE, June 25 (PIA) – A total of 212 Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries (ARBs) receive their titles through a Certificate of Land Ownership Award (CLOA) distribution ceremony held last June 19, 2014 at the Kapitolyo nan Siargao, Dapa, Siargao Islands, this province.

The distribution is in time with the 26th anniversary of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP), spearheaded by the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) Surigao del Norte Provincial Office.

DAR Caraga regional director Faisar A. Mambuay together with Provincial Agrarian Reform Program Officer (PARPO) Jamil P. Amatonding, Jr. and Governor Sol F. Matugas led the distribution of the titles covering 275.9046 hectares of land located in the seven municipalities of Siargao Islands namely Burgos (20.0093 has.), Dapa (103.6002 has.), Del Carmen (50.7988 has.), General Luna (33.8782 has.), San Benito (20.1954 has.), San Isidro (26.9987 has.), and Santa Monica (20.423 has.).

In his message, director Mambuay emphasized that the help of the government does not end in distributing the lands because support services will also be provided to the ARBs to augment their farm income.

PARPO Amatonding, on his part, said that through this CLOA distribution DAR has proved its commitment to promote social justice.

Meanwhile, Gov. Matugas, in her message, stressed that her dream for every Surigaonon to own their own land and not squatters of their own land is slowly becoming into a reality because of CARP.

Also during the distribution, an indemnity check of the partnership program of the DAR and the Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation amounting to P1,132,280.76 was also handed over to Antonio Pobe who represented the 179 beneficiaries who were victims of typhoon Agaton early this year.

Prior to the distribution, the said ARBs attended the Pre-Membership Education Seminar - this is in preparation for the beneficiaries to become members of the Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Organizations which are also being assisted by the DAR.

During the said seminar the beneficiaries were also oriented on their roles and obligations as ARBs.

The activity was graced by Surigao del Norte 1st district representative Francisco T. Matugas, some board members, municipal mayors, officials and employees. (SDR/DAR-SDN/PIA-Surigao del Norte)