Monday, February 16, 2015

UNHCR highlights need for reporting displaced persons in Caraga

BUTUAN CITY, Feb. 16 – The recurring displacement of indigenous people from natural disasters and armed conflict in Caraga over the years have underlined the need for timely reporting and proper documentation of these incidents.

This has prompted the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in partnership with the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) to build community capacity to monitor, document and report incidents of displacements through a protection monitoring and information management training on February 17-18.

The training is a follow up of the consultation UNHCR conducted with indigenous peoples groups and local government units in the region last October 2014. The indigenous peoples groups specifically from the Manobo, Higaonon, Banwaon, and Mamanwa tribes lamented the under reporting or non-reporting of their plight during and after displacement.

“The indigenous people are one of the most vulnerable groups in the community. They are often discriminated and neglected due to their race, color and nomadic way of life putting them at risk of human rights violation. Also adding to this already dismal situation in the region is its direct path to typhoons that force these people to flee their homes,” said Brenda Escalante, UNHCR Assistant Protection Officer.

The Caraga region places itself more disposed to cases of displacement due to the unpredictable nature of armed conflict between the NPA and AFP. The feedback gathered from the previous consultation indicated that reporting was minimal due to the reluctance of communities to report incidents and their fear of being exposed.

“This shows that there is very limited information and reporting is weak in conflict-affected areas of the region. This will, in turn, affect the monitoring mechanism of human rights defenders and will hamper the delivery of their services,” added Escalante.

Understanding what protection is, aided with the basics of documentation, and the mechanisms in reporting, will help vulnerable groups in the future as to whom they should seek assistance from and coordinate with at the first instance of displacement.

“Either in situations of natural disaster or armed conflict, generating the right figures and putting a face to the numbers is always tantamount to ensuring the safety and dignity of the displaced population,” said Escalante. (UNHCR/PIA-Caraga)


Over 2,200 slots await qualified studes for summer job in SurSur

By Greg Tataro Jr.

TANDAG CITY, Surigao del Sur, Feb. 16 (PIA) – Some 2,272 slots are up for grabs for qualified students come summer in Surigao del Sur according to the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Field Office here headed by Raymond Fel Sajor.

Orlando Rosit, administrative officer V, said 12 local government units (LGUs) and seven private enterprises have already made their respective “pledge of commitment” for the Special Program for the Employment of Students (SPES) with their office.

Among LGUs, Bislig City has come up with the most number of slots at 833 followed by Tandag City at 500, then San Miguel at 106 while the rest have at least offered 20 vacancies, he said.

Rosit showed the breakdown among other LGUs with the corresponding number of slots as follows:  Carrascal—85; Hinatuan—30; Tagbina—45; Lanuza—50; Marihatag—20; Barobo—30; Madrid—33; Bayabas—45; and Cagwait—45.

At the same time, he also identified the participating private enterprises, mostly are schools, vis-a-vis the corresponding number of slots, namely: Andres Soriano College—25; Coronet Wood Industry—30; Hinatuan Southern College—140; De La Salle John Bosco College—20; St. Theresa College (Tandag) –150; Southern Technological Institute of the Philippines—45; and Surigao del Sur State University—40.

Except for Andres Soriano College and St. Theresa College, which job will run up to 52 days, most LGUs or private businesses have offered work at least up to 20 days while a few have made work available for about 30 days. Carrascal town is the only LGU that will accommodate “summer jobbers” for 22 days, Rosit noted.

The rate per day also varies depending on the daily minimum wage as far as private businesses are concerned while the so-called “hiring rate” applies for a particular LGU, it was learned.  

As indicated, most employers will start to implement summer job by April. (NGBT/Radyo ng Bayan-Tandag/PIA-Surigao del Sur)


MinDA chair set to visit SurSur, hold meeting with mayors

By Greg Tataro Jr.

TANDAG CITY, Surigao del Sur, Feb. 16 (PIA) – Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) Chair Luwalhati Antonino is set to conduct an “area visit” on February 17 in Surigao del Sur.

Governor Johnny Pimentel announced during the flag ceremony program on Monday that Antonino will arrive a day ahead of her schedule.

 “I believe that Secretary Antonino will be. . . maybe will inform us with the programs, what (seguro pahibaloon kita uno’y mga programs, uno’y mga projects) are the projects that will be implemented in the province of Surigao del Sur for 2015 considering that she is in charge of the Mindanao Development Authority,” he said in a mix of English and the local dialect.  

In addition, the governor pointed out that “tomorrow we will have a meeting with all the mayors.” (NGBT/Radyo ng Bayan-Tandag/PIA-Surigao del Sur)


Surigao Norte guv institutes concrete reforms on ARTA

By John Glenn A. Platil

SURIGAO CITY, Surigao del Norte, Feb. 16 (PIA) - By virtue of the Anti-Red Tape Act (ARTA) and pursuant to Civil Service Commission (CSC) Memorandum Circular No. 9, s. 2014 which enjoined all government instrumentalities to improve and expedite frontline service delivery, Governor Sol F. Matugas has instituted concrete reforms in the processing of transactions at the provincial offices to curb red tape practices.

Part of the said mandate, Governor Matugas requires heads of offices to explain into writing their accomplishments, targets and goals for this year 2015 to encourage them to be on the same page, and to strictly comply with the standard operating procedures, normal protocols and the submission of pertinent documents and complete paper trail which are also required by the Commission on Audit (COA).

She also directed the treasury department to get faster with the release of salaries, midyear bonuses and clothing allowances to hardworking and deserving employees of the province.

As it can be recalled, under the administration of Governor Matugas the province gained 100 percent compliance in the full disclosure policy, transparency and accountability.

The province is also a proud recipient of the Department of the Interior and Local Government’s Seal of Good Housekeeping and Gawad Pamana ng Lahi award. (SDR/PIC-Surigao del Norte/PIA-Surigao del Norte)


Mindanao chief lauds ADB support to regional development efforts

DAVAO CITY, Feb 16 (PIA) – “While we mourn for the unfortunate loss of lives caused by the Mamasapano incident, development and peace-building efforts must be continued and even be intensified in Mindanao,” said Secretary Luwalhati Antonino, chair of the Mindanao Development Authority in a recent meeting with top executives of the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

Antonino, who sat down with ADB’s Board of Directors as part of the latter’s familiarization visit to Mindanao, thanked the institution for its continued support to the socioeconomic and development initiatives of the island-region.

“I laud ADB’s unwavering support to Mindanao and its people, and it is most encouraging to learn that in this time of challenges, the institution has decided to continue with its visit to learn more about Mindanao and design development initiatives aimed to further enhance the region’s economic potentials,” she said.

A delegation of 16 ADB board members and advisors arrived in Mindanao to familiarize on the various social sector projects funded by the development bank, particularly on the Increasing Competitiveness in Tourism project being implemented by the Department of Tourism.  Last year, a delegation from ADB also went to Leyte, Ilocos Norte, Albay, and Bohol to visit health, agriculture, and other socioeconomic projects particularly in areas severely hit by super typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan).

Early this year, ADB extended a US$1.4 million technical assistance for the improvement of national roads in Mindanao, as support to the Philippine Government’s agenda for Mindanao in the Philippine Development Plan 2011-2016.

Part of the plan is to update and consolidate the existing Mindanao network master plan, aligning it with the economic developments for Mindanao’s road network, including the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM.)

“This high-level visit of ADB executives to Mindanao is not only a manifestation of their interest to support the region’s socioeconomic initiatives, but also sends a strong message that Mindanao is safe, and that it will continue to pursue development despite the odds that the region is currently facing,” said Antonino.

She added that healing from the recent incident may take time, but this can be done with sobriety without veering away from the ultimate goal of achieving just, and lasting peace in the island-region, particularly in the conflict-affected areas of the ARMM.

During the meeting, a briefing on Mindanao and its participation in the Brunei Darussalam Indonesia Malaysia the Philippine East ASEAN (BIMP-EAG) Growth Area was conducted, while the Bangsamoro Development Plan was also presented by a representative from the Bangsamoro Development Authority.

“The meeting was an excellent opportunity for us to learn more about Mindanao, especially for my colleagues in the ADB board of directors who are relatively new to the country,” said Guadencio Hernandez Jr., ADB alternate executive director in a correspondence with MinDA.

He added that ADB has been supporting BIMP-EAGA since its inception in 1994 through various technical assistance projects.

“The institution was named as the regional development advisor and has since been providing assistance at strategic, operational, and administrative levels,” said Hernadez.

Along with direct support for BIMP-EAGA, ADB’s country assistance to Indonesia and the Philippines also helps the countries implement their BIMP-EAGA’s agenda. (MinDA/PIA-Caraga)


PNP Caraga holds 'Kasalan sa Kampo'

By PO3 Rosarita Comon Palgue

BUTUAN CITY, Feb. 16 (PIA) - Eight couples have vowed to nurture their relationships during the Valentine’s Day mass wedding dubbed as "Kasalan sa Kampo 2015" at the St. Ignatius de Loyola Chapel, Camp Rodriquez, Libertad, this city.

Seven policemen and one civilian couple exchanged marriage vows with their respective bride on Saturday, February 14.

Police Regional Office (PRO) 13 chaplain Fr (P/Supt) Joselito D. Borja administered the wedding of the couples.

PRO 13 regional director PCSupt David Y Ombao, one of the principal sponsors, fully supported the wedding from the church to reception activities.

"This mass wedding expresses our commitment in transforming and building strong Philippine National Police (PNP) families among our personnel imbued with moral and spiritual values, for a strong PNP organization," Ombao said.

“We envisioned of a PNP that is God-Centered, Service-Oriented and Family-Based organization that is why the PNP chaplain service offers counseling sessions and other relevant activities to strengthen the family such as 'Kasalan sa Kampo 2015,'” Ombao added.

Also, Ombao said that it is always inspiring having a blessed family and this empowers every PNP to render a highly capable, effective and credible police service to the people whom they sworn to serve and protect.

The challenge of every police officer starts in his or her family where he or she is expected to maintain peace and order. And that he or she can be a model before the community as a peacekeeper or peacemaker, Ombao said. (PNP-13/PIA-Caraga)