3.03.2015

Monday, March 2, 2015

Scholarship allocation for Caraga up by 63.4% in 2015

By Robert E. Roperos

BUTUAN CITY, Mar. 2 (PIA) - Regional Director Florencio F. Sunico, Jr. of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA)-Caraga recently said the scholarship allocation for the region has increased to 63.4 percent this year when compared to 2014.

During the recent monthly press conference of the Regional Coordinating Committee (RCC)-Caraga held in one of the local establishments here, Dir. Sunico pointed out that TESDA Sec. Emmanuel Joel Villanueva has made this commitment to Caraganons during his recent visit to the Region last year.

“Our Director-General, Sec. Joel Villanueva has already committed this to us last year during his visit here in the region, saying that the budget allocation is for the two regular scholarship programs of the agency: Training for Work Scholarship Program (TWSP) and the Private Education Students Financial Assistance (PESFA) to ensure that more Caraganons especially the youths can avail of technical vocational training for free, thus, supporting the Education For All (EFA) program of President Benigno S. Aquino III,” Dir. Sunico explained.

The official stressed that for the TWSP, a remarkable 92 percent increase was noted this year. “Specifically, in 2014, the TWSP allocation was P21,124,000 and this year, it is almost doubled to P40,544,000,” Dir. Sunico said.

Sunico further said though there is a significant increase in TWSP, the allocation for PESFA has decreased to 12 percent. “From P10,418,000 in 2014, it went down to P9,153,000 this year.

He likewise explained the TWSP budget can cater 4,268 beneficiaries-scholars region-wide, while 963 Caraganons can benefit from the PESFA.

Under the TWSP, the budget allocation for the Agriculture sector is P5,913,000; Tourism – P10,925,000; IT-BPM – P2,948,000; Semi-conductor and Electronics – P673,000; Automotive – P796,000; General Infrastructure/Construction/Housing – P6,033,000; Manufacturing – P7,653,000; Logistics – P255,000; New and Emerging Sectors – P405,000; Trainers’ Methodology/Skills Upgrading – P2,960,000; Language and Culture – P450,000; and the National TVET Competency Assessment and Certification (NATCAC) – P1,533,000.

The TWSP provides immediate interventions to meet the need for highly critical skills. The program has two-fold objectives: 1) to purposively drive TVET provision to available jobs through incentives and appropriate training programs that are directly connected to existing jobs for immediate employment, both locally and overseas, and 2)  build and strengthen the capacity and capability of TVET institutions in expanding and improving the delivery of quality, efficient and relevant training programs that meet job requirements, including programs for higher levels of technology.

The program was launched in May 2006 with funding from the Office of the President and mainstreamed in the regular budget in 2008. This program is a response to the clamor of industry to address the critical skills shortages in priority sectors, particularly the Business Process Outsourcing, metals and engineering, construction and tourism, among others.

PESFA, on the other hand was established through Section 8 of Republic Act No. 8545, otherwise known as the Expanded Government Assistance to Students and Teachers in Private Education (GASTPE) Act.  PESFA offers educational grants to qualified and deserving college freshmen both in degree and non-degree courses. 

The program seeks to: 1) extend financial assistance to marginalized but deserving students in post-secondary non-degree courses; 2) promote TVET; 3) contribute to the development of a competent skilled workforce; and 4) assist private institutions in their development efforts by assuring a steady supply of enrollees to their course offerings.

The program directed the beneficiaries on the choices of careers to the critical skills requirements of in-demand jobs in the labor market. It also allows for equity distribution of the opportunities made available through government subsidies. (TESDA-13/PIA-Caraga)


TESDA bares 2015 scholarship programs in SurSur

By Greg Tataro Jr.

TANDAG CITY, Surigao del Sur, March 2 (PIA) – The Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) in Surigao del Sur bared recently the 2015 scholarship programs with the approved corresponding fund for implementation in the province.

Rey Cueva, TESDA provincial director, said these scholarships include the Training for Work Scholarship Program (TWSP) – P3 million; Special Training for Employment Program (STEP) – P3 million for District I and P3.5 million for District II;   Private Education Student Financial Assistance (PESFA) – P1.8 million; and Bottom Up Budgeting (BUB) – P.5 million each for Lanuza as well as San Miguel towns and P1 million for Tandag City.

Earlier, the provincial TESDA chief pointed out these scholarship programs help a lot in equipping the youth with knowledge and skills through various training and education.

Moreover, Cueva recalled that in 2014 a significant number of youths have already cleared the hurdle of finishing the scholarship program given by TESDA. (NGBT/Radyo ng Bayan-Tandag/PIA Surigao del Sur)


SurSur guv to ink boundary compromise deal with Davao Oriental in Vigan

By Greg Tataro Jr.

TANDAG CITY, Surigao del Sur, March 2 (PIA) – Gov. Johnny Pimentel of this province and concerned members of the legislature headed by Vice-Governor Manuel Alameda, Sr. are set to go to Vigan City in Ilocos Sur on March 6, 2015 for the signing of the "compromise agreement” regarding a long standing boundary conflict between Davao Oriental and Surigao del Sur.

Though he is personally opposed to the idea, citing a lot of nearby places where the same can be consummated, but Gov. Pimentel pointed out it was Davao Oriental Governor Corazon Malayaon’s request to have it done in Vigan.

Pimentel told capitol employees on Monday “We are not in a position to bargain.”

He admitted that Malanyaon also requested that the signing be done in Siargao but it did not push through since board members had a “convention” schedule during that time.

Earlier, he explained at length the history of the political boundary conflict with the neighbor province down south which dates back some 18 years ago involving three barangays—Pagtilaan, Rajah Kabunsuan, and Union.

Moreover, the governor said Surigao del Sur has practically lost the case “by default” due to the “lapses” of the previous administration to “salvage” the above mentioned barangays, but they did not give up until a compromised deal has been forged—Davao Oriental just getting some “1,000-2,000 hectares” located in the mountainous area of “Tiko.”

Meanwhile, Pimentel also bared the province is yet faced with two more political boundary conflicts—one with Surigao del Norte and the other is with Agusan del Sur. (NGBT/Radyo ng Bayan-Tandag/PIA-Surigao del Sur)


Mindanao power body pushes for more RE

DAVAO CITY, Mar. 2 (PIA) - Key power players from the government and the private sector are mapping steps to provide Mindanao with a greener and renewable power supply in the next five years.

During the 5th principals meeting of the Mindanao Power Monitoring Committee (MPMC) held last week at the National Power Corporation Board Room, top officials from the power industry underscored the importance of advocating renewable energy (RE) as a prominent source of electricity for the island-region.

“There are good things coming in for Mindanao and power is one of them,” said Secretary Luwalhati Antonino, chair of the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) in her opening statement.

Antonino said that compared to the situation last year and the years before, the state of Mindanao power today had seen significant improvement with the immediate and medium term measures, stressing that even with the ongoing maintenance shutdown of Steag's 200MW coal-fired power plant, majority of Mindanao did not have rotating brownouts as reported by the Association of Mindanao Rural Electric Cooperatives (AMRECO).   

She added that the Mindanao supply situation is even expected to have excess supply this year for the first since 2009, with the expected coming online of Therma South 300MW and the first 100MW out of 200MW from Sarangani Energy Corp.

Antonino, however, noted that the expected entry of more baseload capacities from coal-fired power plants totalling 2,000MW until 2018 should be complemented by accelerated deployment of renewable energy projects such as hydro, biomass, geothermal, and solar, among others.

She added that the One-Stop Facilitation and Monitoring of MPMC currently tracks a total of 231 RE projects spread across Mindanao that could potentially generate at least 2,419MW of sustainable power for the region between 2020 and 2025.

The surge of RE power applications can be attributed to the One-Stop Facilitation and Monitoring Center (OSFMC) Web Portal, an online database developed by MinDA and the Department of Energy (DoE) with the assistance of the US Agency for International Development (USAID).

Launched in October last year, the web-based mechanism aims to accelerate the duration of the permitting process for RE projects to one to two years instead of the usual three to five.

The same online monitoring facility initiated in Mindanao was also adapted by DoE that led to the formulation of the Energy Virtual One-Stop Shop (EVOSS), which will also provides the same services for power proponents in Luzon and Visayas regions.

“A diversified mix of fossil and renewable energy sources is integral to our overall strategy of pursuing balanced and holistic economic growth in Mindanao,” said Romeo Montenegro, MinDA’s director for Investment Promotions and Public Affairs.

He added that pursuing RE development is also aligned with the MinDA’s Mindanao 2020 Peace and Development Framework Plan, which recognizes power as a major enabling factor for socio-economic development.

Headways on LASURECO reforms

Meanwhile, also highlighted in the meeting were updates on the reforms and electrification program made by the Lanao del Sur Electric Cooperative (LASURECO), whose management was taken over last year by a task force led by the Department of Energy (DOE).

DOE assistant secretary Matanog Mapandi, who concurrently serves as interim General Manager and President of LASURECO,  reported that some 4,271 kWh meters have been cleaned and around 1,759 kWh meters installed to new member-consumers, while about 1,851 kWh meters have been calibrated and awaiting certification from the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC).

Mapandi revealed that a new meter reading and branding system had also been implemented to ensure a more efficient and effective collection of payments from among consumers.

Last year, DOE activated a rehabilitation task force to undertake reforms within the LASURECO, which through the years had been confronted with collection efficiency problems, operations losses and ballooning debts.

According to Mapandi, the new measure includes a snap photo of every meter read which is also reflected in the monthly billing statements of the consumers. The move is in response to the inherent lack of accurate metering scheme which has led to financial constraints that greatly stiffled LASURECO’s operations.

Established through Executive Order No. 81, MPMC plays an active part in spearheading and coordinating efforts of local, regional, and national government agencies and key power industry players  to improve the overall power situation in Mindanao.

The MPMC is composed of officials and representatives from the DoE, MinDA, ERC, National Electrification Administration (NEA), National Power Corporation (NPC), National Grid Council of the Philippines (NGCP), Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corporation (PSALM), Association of Mindanao Rural Electric Cooperatives (AMRECO), National Transmission Corporation (Transco), and Mindanao Electric Power Alliance (MEPA). (MinDA/PIA-Caraga)


Dinagat Islands LGU steps-up dental health program

By Ma. Jane A. Mayola

SAN JOSE, Dinagat Islands, Mar. 2 (PIA) - The province of Dinagat Islands is stepping up its dental health program in schools in a bid to reduce tooth problem among learners.

In partnership with the Philippine Dental Association (PDA) Surigao del Norte Chapter, Grade I to VI pupils of Sta. Cruz Elementary School availed the Oral Health Activity and Dental Health Check-Up held recently at Brgy. Sta. Cruz, this municipality.

The activity is in line with the Dental Health Month celebration with the theme, "Nakangiti ang Kinabukasan Kapag Ngipin ay Pinangangalagaan.”

The one-day activity aims to impart to the children the importance of dental health and to promote healthy dental lifestyle especially among children who are prone to cavities.

The services availed by the pupils include tooth filling, tooth extraction, and oral prophylaxis. Lectures and demonstrations on how to maintain healthy teeth were also conducted.

The dental health team was led by PDA Vice President for Mindanao Division Dr. Analiza Lerio and PDA Surigao del Norte Chapter President Dr. Nida Dagohoy. (SDR/PIO-Dinagat Islands/PIA-Dinagat Islands)


DA-GPB FMRs to boost economic activity in Dinagat Islands

By Aurelius P. Arais

BASILISA, Dinagat Islands, Mar. 2 (PIA) - Residents of Basilisa, province of Dinagat Islands were optimistic that the farm to market roads implemented by the Department of Agriculture (DA) in their town will further trigger its economic activities.

DA Caraga is implementing six farm to market roads in the said town now with more than 50 percent completion level funded under the Grassroots Participatory Budgeting (GBP).

Farm to market road is underway on its construction at Ritaglenda – Sombrado; Sto. Nino; Sering – Melgar; Benglen; Villa Ecleo Highway and in Roma – Montag.

The six farm to market roads stretching 100 meters each and fully concrete has a total allocation of six million pesos.

Benglen Barangay Captain Wilson Escalera Sr. said that DAs FMR will be a contributing factor towards the realization of their dream to be a trading center.

The FMR in Benglen is leading towards its barangay port projected to be a convergence area for the communities residing along the river areas.

“Kung mahuman na ni nga kalsada dinhi na unya muagi ang mga katawhan sa mga silingang barangay  so dako gyud ni ug ikatabang sa mga katawhan (Once this road will be completed, it will be a major way for the residents of our neighboring barangays, so it will greatly help to the populace)," Escalera said.

Aside from the riding public, DAs FMR will help ease in transporting goods in the area such as aqua products, cereals, rootcrops and copra.

“Nagpasalamat gyud mi sir nga nia na ning kalsada kay kaniadto diha gani senior citizen nga nausdak dinhi kay lisod gyud kaayo agian, pero karon arang-arang na makaagi na gyud ang mga motor, unsa pa kaha kung mahuman na (We are really thankful for having this road because previously there was a senior citizen who was slipped down here due to very poor condition, but nowadays it's better, motorcycles can now pass through easily how much more if it will be completed)," he added.

Motorcycle is a common public transport in the area due to its terrain.

Aside from six FMRs, DA through GBP also extended livelihood projects such as vegetable production, organic fertilizer production and aqua related projects in the said municipality.

The local government unit through the Municipal Agriculture Office conducted monitoring to keep abreast of the project status and make the necessary measures to ensure its sustainability and success.

Grassroots Participatory Budgeting (GPB) is an initiative to make the planning and budgeting processes of both local and national government more participatory through the genuine involvement of grassroots organizations and communities, strengthening the convergence of the delivery of national services in the community. (DA-13/PIA-Caraga)


Tagalog News: DSWD naglaan ng P4.85 milyon para sa mga residente na naapektuhan ng armadong labanan sa Maguindanao, sabi ng opisyal ng Palasyo

AGUSAN DEL SUR, Marso 2 (PIA) - Ang Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) ay naglaan ng P4.85 milyon para sa tirahan na naapektuhan ng kasalukuyang armadong labanan sa Maguindanao, ayon sa Palasyo noong Linggo.

"Naglaan na ang DSWD ng tulong na nagkakahalaga ng P4,850,000 para sa pagkain at iba pang serbisyo," sabi ni Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr., noong Linggo.

"May 2,090 pamilya o 10,450 katao mula sa pitong barangay sa bayan ng Datu Salibo, lalawigan ng Maguindanao ang kasalukuyang nasa anim na evacuation centers at binibigyan ng kalinga sa kanilang mga pangangailangan. Ito ay bunsod ng armadong labanan sa pagitan ng Sandatahang Lakas at BIFF (Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters)," dagdag ni Coloma.

Ang armadong lakas ng Pilipinas (AFP) ay nagkaroon ng opensibang operasyon laban sa BIFF na pinaniniwalaang tumulong sa dalawang target na may mataas na patong.

Noong Enero 25, nagsagawa ng paghahanap sa mga suspetsado ang mga operatibang pulis sa suspetsadong terorista na si Zulkifli bin Hir na kilala rin bilang Marwan at Abdul Basit Usman sa Mamasapano, Maguindanao.

Ang naturang operasyon ay nagresulta sa pagkamatay ni Marwan habang naiwasan ni Usman ang pag-aresto. Apat napung comadong pulis ang piƱata ng mga suspetsadon miyembro ng BIFF at Moro Islamic Liberation Front sa operasyong iyon.

Nakita rin ni Coloma na may mga dagdag pang probisyon mula sa disaster response operations monitoring and information center ng DSWD at ang kanyang field office sa rehiyon 12, kung kakailanganin pa. (DMS/PIA-Agusan del Sur)