Thursday, July 10, 2014

ANECO holds public forum on PPA application

By Jennifer P. Gaitano

BUTUAN CITY, July 10 (PIA) – The Agusan del Norte Electric Cooperative (ANECO) conducted on Thursday at their Multi-Purpose Hall here, the Public Hearing on Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) Case No. 2014-063 RC or the Application for Approval of the Power Purchase Agreement between ANECO and Asiga Green Energy Corporation (AGEC) with prayer for the issuance of provisional authority.

Commissioner Josefina Patricia Magpale-Asirit of the Energy Regulatory Commission (ECC) served as the mediator of the said forum.

“The ERC has its objectives to achieve the following objectives: to promulgate/approve rules, regulations, guidelines and policies; to enforce rules, regulations including issuances of permits and licenses; to resolve cases (rates and other cases) and disputes; to promote consumer interest; and to become a dynamic organization of professional people with the highest degree of technical competence and integrity,” relayed Asirit.

Asirit stressed that the conduct of a public forum is very important so the consumers and the public will know cases like this is being processed.

Engr. Darwin Daymin, ANECO's Technical Services Department Manager said the demand on the supply of electricity in the province will increase in the coming years. "We are continuously looking for other ways wherein we can get more suppliers of energy so we can secure and sustain the provision of energy to our consumers," he stressed.

Daymin also pointed out that there is really a need of having a stable and reliable power source that is also affordable. "We see the demand of providing sustainable power source as people become dependent on electricity while at work or even at home," he said.

Daymin also bared several reasons why ANECO should sign the Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with AGEC.

"ANECO should sign the PPA because it will help address long term need of power supply, it will help meet the growing energy demand of Butuan and Agusan del Norte. It will also assure additional base power supply which would minimize if not eliminate brownouts," emphasized Daymin.

Also, Agusan del Norte 2nd Dist. Rep. Erlpe John Amante, who graced said activity, expressed his optimism that power crisis in Mindanao particularly in Caraga will be addressed and will soon have energy sources that could really provide sustainable power to the region.

"I am here not only as the representative of the province but also as a consumer. As we all know, Mindanao is experiencing scarcity of energy, and now, the challenge is on how we can overcome this and get investors to come in to help us address this concern," Amante articulated.

Amante further said he will support any investors who will help the city and the province in its effort to provide the need of sustainable power source to its people. "Regardless of who or what energy source are willing to help our local energy supplier here, I will support. Because I want that the city and our province can have a secure and sustainable energy. We also want that this will be affordable to all the consumers," he said.

It was also learned that another forum will be scheduled and this time, personnel representing both parties – ANECO and AGEC will discuss further updates and details of said case at the ERC office in Manila.

The ANECO is a non-stock, non-profit electric cooperative created and existing pursuant to the provisions of Presidential Decree No. 269, as amended, with principal office address at Km. 2, J. C. Aquino Avenue, Butuan City. It operates an electric light and power distribution service in Butuan City and Cabadbaran City, as well as the municipalities of Agusan del Norte, namely: Buenavista, Carmen, Kitcharao, Jabonga, Las Nieves, Magallanes, Nasipit, RTR, Santiago, and Tubay.

Meanwhile, the AGEC was established when Equi-Parco Construction Company and Hydropower Resources Management and Consultancy, Incorporated conceive the idea of pursuing the exploration and development of the Asiga River into a renewable energy resource in Agusan del Norte in 2010. And on July 18, 2013, AGEC was formally registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) as a corporation which is majority owned by Filipino investors. (JPG/PIA-Caraga)


Surigao Norte guv outlines significant gains in SOPA

By Susil D. Ragas

SURIGAO CITY, July 10 (PIA) – Surigao del Norte governor Sol F. Matugas outlined the significant triumphs of the provincial government since she assumed office in 2010 during her State of the Province Address (SOPA) on Monday, July 7, 2014 at the Provincial Convention Center, this city.

The governor outlined the significant triumphs that the province gained in the past year such as Sustained Good Governance; Expanded the Delivery of Basic Services thru HEALS (Health, Education, Environment, Agriculture and Aquaculture, Livelihood and Tourism, Social Services and Spiritual Renewal) Program; Developed the Infrastructure Base; and Accelerated Economic Growth.

“We achieved these marvellous and significant gains because my administration continues to adhere to good governance thru participatory and consensus oriented, effective and efficient, responsive, equitable and inclusive that follows the rule of law and transparent and accountable governance,” the governor said.

The governor proudly announced that the province was recognized as among the 18 out of 80 provinces with an updated collection of real property taxes during the conduct of the 4th General Revision of Property Assessments of Real Property Taxes.

"The province was declared third runner-up among the 71 entries in the entire Philippines for the 2013 Perlas Award by the Department of Tourism during the 14th National Tourism Congress of ATOP and received the recognition as one of the two Most Outstanding Governor in the country in the field of peace-building conferred by Secretary Teresita Q. Deles of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPPAP)," Matugas said.

She also noted the major landmark achievements of her administration such as establishments of the Bag-ong Kapitolyo sa Siargao (New Siargao Capitol Building); the soon to open, state-of-the-art level 2, Provincial Hospital in Sta. Cruz, Placer with a 50-bed capacity (progressive 100 beds); and the Provincial Community Training and Livelihood Center in Bad-as Placer.

She also bared the operationalization of the Barangay Health Stations (BHS) in Geographically Isolated Depressed Areas (GIDA) in the province with trained BHS Nurses assigned in each identified barangays, and the recently launched Bayay Paglaum (Home of Hope), a peace village composed of cluster of homes for former rebels to help them assimilate and live normally in the mainstream of society, "which is now on its way for implementation."

“Presently, Siargao District Hospital has already a Blood Station installed and operational, it is now performing major operations in emergency cases and we have inked a MOA with Vicente Sotto Medical Center to compliment the lack of medical and surgical specialists in the hospital,” Matugas said.

The governor also said that a state-of-the-art Sports Complex and Convention Center will soon rise in Siargao Island to cater sports and tourism events in the island. (SDR/PIA-Surigao del Norte)


Preparations underway for DRRM summit in AgSur

By David M. Suyao

AGUSAN DEL SUR, July 10 (PIA) - Members of the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC) convened on Wednesday in order to brace for the DRRM provincial summit here set on July 15 while taking the opportunity to update the Executive Order No. 15-13 series of 2013, Organizing the Provincial Coordinating Clusters for Calamities and updating resources of member agencies that can be utilized in times of calamities.

Recognizing the presence of the members of the PDRRMC who have the hands in formulating the PDRRM plan, provincial administrator Jesusimo Roquillo representing governor Adolph Edward Plaza said the governor is expecting more effective and efficient strategies after the summit when members of the PDRRMC will see where the team is effective and where the team fails in order to hit the target of zero casualty and less destruction to properties.

According to PDRRMC provincial coordinator Roberto Natividad, regional directors of agencies who are directly mandated to implement and monitor disaster management programs will be the resource persons to present disaster management and strategies while harmonizing the local (provincial and municipal) plans.

“Regional director of the Office of the Civil Defense as well as NEDA regional director will be with us in order to talk on how important the strategic plan that we formulate in order to respond effectively during disasters and calamities in order to save lives and properties. For us, we are also expecting that our efforts during the past calamities be evaluated so that we will know how effective we implement our plans and what we still need in order to improve our performance during disasters and calamities that will strengthen our efforts in our quest to have zero casualty and lesser destruction to properties,” Natividad said.

In order to strengthen the PDRRMC plan, Natividad said it is necessary to update the provincial coordinating clusters for calamities so that all the member agencies and stakeholders will have correct direction and will be “singing in one tune” during the actual situation to avoid confusion.

Natividad also ask the members of the PDRRMC to list down their resources that they believe could supplement the provincial and municipal resources, both manpower, equipment and facilities that can address the immediate needs in times of calamities. (DMS/PIA-Agusan del Sur)


News Feature: Interest in organic rice grows

By Rhea C. Abao

BUTUAN CITY, July 10 (PIA) - Organic rice has generated great public interest due to its health, economic, and environmental potentials. More people are now inclined to choose organically grown rice for these long-term benefits.

With the rising concern about synthetic fertilizers and pesticides residues, the clamor for healthy safe food is growing and the organic market is likewise expected to grow.

Department of Agriculture-Regional Field Office XIII (DA-RFO XIII) thru the Marketing Assistance Division (MAD) integrates strategic interventions in linking organic farmer-producers and buyers on a pro-active, mutually beneficial, cost effective and sustainable manner to ensure availability of products at the right volume, time, price, and  quality through market matching.

According to MAD Chief Lynn PareƱas, market matching is not only important  to identify the main channels to provide information to potential customers but also to decide on where to sell the organic rice, what variety, and what time of the day to sell. Market matching will be an avenue for developing the local organic market in the region.

In addition, peoples’ organizations, farmer cooperatives, and non-government organizations across the region are making efforts to be involved in the marketing of organic colored aromatic specialty rice (dinorado, red rice, black rice) which helps in the overall development of the organic market.

Organic certification has become increasingly important in relation to marketing, as there are many self-claimed organic products in the market. Although third party certification is an expensive process, it is essential to gain consumers trust and confidence.  Good thing though, is that second party certification is still recognize in the local market giving ample time for organic producers to undergo 3rd party certification.

“For now, we have asked a second party certification from the DA to be able to market our product. This is to prove the quality of rice produced by the farmers as well as the process it underwent from production to packaging,” said Erlindo Orozco of Agus-Pinoy Farmers Cooperative who are currently selling their product at the newest mall in Butuan City.

However, DA XIII regional organic agriculture focal person Rebecca Atega said that for organic products to reach the bigger market outside the region and even in the international market, a third party certification is necessary. “This will protect and further promote the integrity of organic products here and abroad. Certain provision as strengthened  under RA 10068, otherwise known as the Philippine Organic Agriculture Act of 2010 requires that there should be no labeling of products as organic if it is not certified by a 3rd party, which will become mandatory after April 2016,” Atega said.

In coordination with MAD, local government units, peoples’ organization, farmer cooperatives, and non-government organizations, a one-on-one dialogue was conducted  to generate information on product specifications, variety required, volume available, indicative selling price, mode of payment,  and preferred business agreement and other information deemed necessary.

After consolidation, a marketing agreement was forged between the Federation of Agrarian Reform Communities Cooperatives (FEDARCCO) represented by chairperson Leonila A. Alindongan and Agus Pinoy Producers Cooperative (APCO) represented by Marketing Officer Erlindo R. Orozco, Jr.

APCO signified its interest to actively supply organically produced rice with a volume of 200 bags at 50 kilogram per bag with an averageof P 2,300 per bag while FEDARCCO agreed to purchase their by-product.

The intervention of DA-RFO XIII thru the Marketing Assistance Division seeks to expand and strengthen linkages among the regions small and medium enterprises through information exchanges and market matching. (DA-13 Information Section/PIA-Caraga)


SSS reaches out to over 27,000 workers thru new linkages with coop, NGO

MANILA, July 10 (PIA) - More than 27,000 workers from Metro Manila and parts of Luzon will benefit from wider access to Social Security System (SSS) services following the pension fund’s accreditation of a non-government organization (NGO) assisting the urban poor and a cooperative for vegetable vendors as partner agents.

The SSS signed a servicing partner agent (SPA) agreement with Kasagana-Ka Development Center, Inc. (Kasagana-Ka) to reach out to the NGO’s over 24,000 member-beneficiaries, as well as SPA and collecting partner agent (CPA) agreements with the Baguio Vegetable Retailers Savings and Credit Cooperative (BAVESCO) which to date has more than 3,700 members, within the first half of 2014.

“SPAs can accept SSS membership, loan and funeral benefit applications to help their members file these without going to an SSS office. Meanwhile, CPAs can collect and remit contributions and loan payments of their own members, making active SSS membership easier and more convenient for these workers,” said Judy Frances See, SSS Senior Vice President for Account Management.

The new partnerships with organizations are part of SSS initiatives to provide social protection to millions of workers, especially those from marginalized sectors, and address concerns such as limited access to SSS offices and members' lack of time and resources to handle SSS transactions on their own.

Kasagana-Ka is a social development NGO that has assisted over 20,000 families, mostly from the urban poor sector. While headquartered in Quezon City, it also has field offices in Metro Manila and neighboring provinces such as Bulacan, Laguna and Cavite. BAVESCO, a duly registered cooperative operating in Baguio and Benguet, provides affordable loans, goods and other services to its vendor-members. It implements an efficient collection system for membership dues and loan amortizations, which the cooperative will also use for the SSS payments of its members.

“SPAs and CPAs are paid a processing fee for every successful SSS transaction, enabling them to earn additional income, and at the same time, advance the welfare of their members by serving as channels for their active SSS membership. These factors further spark the interest of organizations into partnering with SSS,” See noted.

At present, 14 organizations across the country, including Kasagana-Ka and BAVESCO, are now authorized as CPAs, SPAs, or both. Two multi-purpose cooperatives, which have a combined reach of over 17,000 workers in Luzon and Visayas, are awaiting accreditation as both SPA and CPA, she added.

Simbag sa Pag-asenso Inc. (SEDP), a diocese-run organization that caters to socio-economic needs of over 35,000 workers from marginalized households and home-based industries in Southern Bicol and Nothern Samar, has also applied for additional accreditation as CPA. SEDP, an SPA since February 2013, is among SSS' first partner agents.

Interested organizations can visit the nearest SSS branch, contact the SSS Call Center at 9206446 to 55 or send an email to member_relations@sss.gov.ph for information on how to apply for CPA and SPA accreditation and other SSS queries. (SSS/PIA-Caraga)


SP approves P800K for Team Agusan Project

BUTUAN CITY, July 10 (PIA) - The 16th Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Agusan del Norte approved on second reading the Team Agusan Project amounted to P800,000.00.

Said Team Agusan Project is a convergence of various organizations within the province composed of the private sector, non-government organizations (NGOs), private organizations (POs), civil society organizations (CSOs), youth, women and other sectoral groups whose core functions are the promotion and advocacies on disaster risk reduction and mitigation measures including in the response and rehabilitation phase.   

Governor Ma. Angelica Rosedell M. Amante-Matba indorsed the said project to the Sangguniang Panlalawigan headed by vice governor Ramon AG. Bungabong through her letter dated June 2, 2014 and certified it as urgent for immediate discussion during the regular session.

The body approved the Team Agusan Project during its 47th Regular Session on June 23, 2014 on the basis on its drive to inculcate awareness and preparedness on disasters and calamities especially to the vulnerable communities and also in line with Republic Act 10121 which provides for the adoption of a disaster risk reduction and proactive approach in lessening the socio-economic and environmental impacts of disasters including climate change and promote the involvement and participation of all sectors at all levels and stakeholders concerned especially the local community.

Sanggunian Resolution No. 129-2014, approving the said project amounting to P800,00.00 was authored by Provincial Board Member Elizabeth Marie R. Calo. (LGU-Agusan del Norte/PIA-Agusan del Norte)


Agnor launches Vet’s Day Program

By Dr. Joseph Dargantes

BUTUAN CITY, July 20 (PIA) - With the concept of providing a more efficient and effective delivery of veterinary services with utmost accessibility to the people of Agusan del Norte, the provincial government of Agusan del Norte launches the Vet’s Day Program in the province this month of July 2014.

“Under this program, a veterinarian will be on duty in a certain municipality of the province in a scheduled day of a week providing free veterinary services,” provincial veterinarian Dr. Belen M. Aruelo said.

Last July 2, 2014, one of the veterinarians of the Provincial Veterinary Office, Dr. Joseph P. Dargantes, started his duty in the municipality of Nasipit. Under the Vet’s Day Program, he will be detailed in said municipality taking office temporarily in the Municipal Information Center (MIC) Office near the Nasipit Municipal Hall.

“We are very thankful for this program of our dear provincial governor – now I am not worried if ever my farm animals would need veterinary care – we have a veterinarian in our own backyard,” Nanay Priscila of Barangay Camagong gladly quips. “We are also thankful to our municipal government, through Mayor Enrico Corvera for fully supporting this program,” she further added.

Nanay Priscila was one of the clients queuing for the free veterinary services in Nasipit. Aside from the free technical consultation, veterinary drugs and supplements were also given courtesy of Univet Animal Health Company (UNAHCO) who co-sponsored the program.

Governor Maria Angelica Rosedell Amante-Matba, keen on delivering government services to her constituents, formulated this special veterinary program.

The schedule of Vet’s Day Program visitation in other municipalities will be finalized this month of July 2014. (PVET/PIA-Agusan del Norte)


PCA conducts investigation on 'cocolisap' in SurSur

By Greg Tataro Jr.

TANDAG CITY, July 10 (PIA) – The Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) in Surigao del Sur was swift to act on reports last week against alleged infestation of “cocolisap” or etymologically known as “scale insect” during the holding of Provincial Agricultural and Fishery Council (PAFC) meeting here.

PCA Provincial Manager George Rasonabe said that they immediately went to San Miguel town, 31 kilometers south of this city, to conduct an investigation but found out, instead, the presence of brontispa or coconut leaf beetle.

On March 27, a seminar-workshop on the control of brontispa disease, which has been affecting the coconut industry in the province, jointly sponsored by Vice-Governor Manuel Alameda, Sr. and the PCA, was held at Britania, San Agustin town.

PCA Manager Rasonabe and his staff who took part as speakers during the occasion had received a commendation from the Sanggunian Panlalawigan through Resolution No. 335 authored by SP member Donell Polizon over a week after.

Meanwhile, the PCA chief said that they have also set a trip this week to Lingig town, the southernmost municipality of the province, 204 kilometers away from this city, to do the same investigation on a claim of another alleged “cocolisap” infestation.

It will be recalled that in late March, Rasonabe declared that Surigao del Sur has no case yet of cocolisap infestation. (NGBT/Radyo ng Bayan/PIA-Surigao del Sur)


Tagalog News: Malakanyang umaasang makompleto ang PPA na mga proyekto pagdating ng 2016

AGUSAN DEL SUR, Hulyo 10 (PIA) - Kumpyansa ang Malakanyang na matatapos ang 15 na mga proyekto sa ilalim ng Public Private Partnership (PPP) bago bumaba si Pangulong Benigno S. Aquino III sa panunungkulan sa taong 2016.

Sa isang panayam sa media noong Miyerkoles sa Palasyo, sinabi ni Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda na may mga miyembro ng gabinete na nagpahayag ng kompyansang ang 15 na proyekto sa ilalim ng programa ay makompleto bago matapos ang termino ng Pangulo.

“Pero sa uulitin, kinikilala namin na may ilang proyekto na tatagal hanggang 2016,” sabi ni Lacierda, at dinagdagan na ito ay katanggap-tanggap.

Kung ang mga proyektong ito ay makokompleto sa tamang oras o kaya tatagal pagkatapos ng kasalukuyang administrasyon, ang kahinatnan nito ay ang mga ito ay makapagbigay ng kinakailangang imprastraktura sa bansa, sabi niya.

Noong Disyembre ng nakaraang taon, sinabi ni PPP Executive Director Cosette Canilao na ang administrasyong Aquino at magtatapos sa kanyang termino na may kulang-kulang pitong kompletong PPP na mga proyekto.

Ang proyektong PPP na inilunsad ng administrasyong Aquino noong 2010 ay naglalayon na magbigay ng mga kinakailangang imprastraktura para suportahan ang layunin ng pamahalaan na makamit ang pangkalahatan at patuloy na paglago ng ekonomiya.

Noong ito ay inilunsad, inanunsiyo ng administrasyon na 10 ang mga proyekto, kasamana rito ang pagdagdag ng Light Railway Transit (LRT) at Metro Rail Transit (MRT), bagong mga paliparan at mga terminal sa Visayas at Bicol, isang kalsada na magdugtong ng North at South Expressways at isang proyektong suplay ng tubig sa Manila.

Mula noong 2010, ibinigay ng pamahalaan ang limang proyekto – ang School Infrastructure Phase 1, PPP para sa School Infrastructure Phase 2, Modernisasyon ng Philippine Orthopedic Center, Daang Hari-SLEX Link Road at ang NAIA Expressway. (DMS/PIA-Agusan del Sur)