Friday, April 17, 2015

NDRRMC announces ‘Proposed Theme and Essay Writing Contest’ for NDCM 2015

By Febjan Mariah J. Melendres

BUTUAN CITY, Apr. 17 (PIA) – In observance of the National Disaster Consciousness Month (NDCM) on July 2015, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) will be conducting a Proposed Theme and Essay Writing Contest.

NDRRMC aims to increase the awareness of every Filipino on natural and man-made disasters for a better appreciation of the government’s disaster preparedness programs.

The said contest will be open to all personnel of any member-agency of the National and Regional DRRMCs permanent, contractual, contract of service and casual.

Entries must be related to disaster preparedness and must have a nationwide approach; must be original and unpublished; written in English and must be at least 500 to 2000 words.

Deadline of submission is on April 30 (Thursday) at 12 noon. The 1st placer will get P20,000; 2nd placer with P15,000; 3rd placer with P10,000; and the three consolation winners with P5,000 each.

Entries will be judged on Relevance (45%), Originality (25%), Structure (15%), and Style (15%).

Participants must submit their entries to the Policy Development and Planning Services (PDPS), Office of Civil Defense – Central Office, Camp Emilio Aguinaldo, Quezon City, hand-carried or via post/courier on or before April 30, 2015, 12:00 noon.

All entries will be judged by the Board of Adjudicators composed of NDRRMC Technical Working Group members. Awarding of the winners will be on July 31, 2015. (PIA-Caraga)


Top Crame official to visit PRO 13

By Noel B. Najarro

BUTUAN CITY, Apr. 17 (PIA) - A top official from the national police headquarters at Camp Crame, Quezon City is set to visit the Police Regional Office 13 headquarters here on Monday.

PSupt. Martin M. Gamba, chief spokesman of PRO 13 said that the chief of the national police headquarters Directorate for Planning, CSupt. Alexander C. Ignacio will be coming over to camp Rafael C. Rodriguez next week for a command visit.

CSupt. Ignacio according to Gamba will be the guest of honor and speaker during their Monday flag-raising rites. He will be given the honors upon his arrival to the camp prior to the Monday flag-raising.

CSupt. Ignacio used to be the Deputy Regional Director for Operations (DRDO) of the regional headquarters here for some time prior to his appointment to his recent post at the national headquarters of the Philippine National Police. (PNA/PIA-Caraga)


Dev’t partners commend DSWD-Caraga’s advanced Kalahi-CIDSS implementation

By Eunice G. Montaos

BUTUAN CITY, Apr. 17 (PIA) - “This is the place that we have seen so far with the most advanced Program implementation,” disclosed World Bank (WB) consultant Patricia Fernandez during the exit conference held recently at Dotties Place, this city for the 3rd joint WB-Asian Development Bank (ADB)-Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) implementation support mission.

The members of the mission team, which was divided into two, simultaneously visited on April 9, 2015 the municipalities of Gigaquit in Surigao del Norte and Hinatuan in Surigao del Sur which are implementing DSWD’s Kalahi-CIDSS program or the Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services.

Focus group discussions (FGDs) were conducted by the teams with the members of the municipal inter-agency committee (MIAC), municipal/barangay local government councils, and community volunteers.

"The main objective of the mission is more on support to the implementation of Kalahi-CIDSS in the context of recovery and rehabilitation from the Yolanda experience," said Corinne Canlas, WB consultant.

With the dialogues facilitated, the team lauded the proactive regional team of the program in Caraga. They had also observed the support of the local government units to the Department’s social protection programs and services.

The strategies developed to mentor and coach new field staff were also appreciated by the development partners.

Furthermore, it was observed that significant amount work was done at the municipal level on disaster risk mapping facilitating site selection for sub-projects

DSWD Caraga regional director Minda B. Brigoli said it was a very interesting visit since the development partners were able to get firsthand information from the frontline implementers of Kalahi-CIDSS at the local and community level.

Other members of the support mission team are Leonardo Paat, Rene Manuel, Romulo Romero of WB and ADB respectively.

National Inter-Agency Program Implementation Team (NIAPIT) representatives namely, Rizalde Mediavillo, Oscar Victor Lizardo, and Arvin Chua also participated the mission.

The workers of the national and regional program management headed by Kalahi-CIDSS deputy national manager Alex Glova and regional program manager Mita Lim respectively escorted the visitors during the visit.

Kalahi-CIDSS is an anti-poverty program of the national government implemented by the DSWD. It is funded by the World Bank and Asian Development Bank. (Social Marketing Unit-DSWD Caraga/PIA-Caraga)


Agnor SP urges LCEs to create anti-discrimination council

By Aimee B. Sienes

BUTUAN CITY, Apr. 17 (PIA) - The Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Agusan del Norte recently urged all local chief executives of component city, municipalities and barangays in the province to formally create their respective Anti-Discrimination Mediation and Conciliation Councils.

This is in line with Provincial Ordinance No. 358-2014, “An Ordinance Prohibiting Discrimination in the Province of Agusan del Norte on the Basis of Age, Disability, Ethnicity, Gender Expression, Gender Identity, Health Status, Physical Appearance, Political Affiliation, Religion, Sexual Orientation and Social Status.”

The main function of said councils is to ensure the effective implementation of the ordinance and to implement programs relative to the prevention of discrimination cases in the province considering that discrimination is still rampant especially for HIV/AIDS victims, persons with disabilities, gays, lesbians, indigenous peoples and others.

Provincial Board Member Elizabeth Marie R. Calo, author of the said ordinance, is encouraging the local government units to create now their respective Anti-Discrimination Mediation and Conciliation Councils to eliminate, if not minimize, any forms or incidence of discrimination cases on these sectors of society. (LGU-Agusan del Norte/PIA-Agusan del Norte)


Feature: Conquering the prayer mountain - Mt. Hilong-hilong

By Brian Ceballos

After a thorough planning and deliberation, it was only a matter of time wherein every stakeholders involve would agree to push thru with the much anticipated Freedom Climb to the top of Mt. Hilong-hilong using the Mahaba Trail in Brgy. Mahaba, Cabadbaran City.

It was a climb open for every experienced climber in the country that happened on April 8-11, 2015.

Mt. Hilong-Hilong, towering 2,102 meters (6,896.33 feet) above sea level is the highest peak in Caraga Region, covering 80-100 hectares and also known for its seven waterfalls, and home to different species of animals and ecologically threatened flora.

At least 25 people from all over Mindanao participated in the climb (guides and porters not included in the count), which is poised to become an annual event of the said city to lure in more outdoor enthusiasts and promote the unspoiled beauty of the area as a tourist destination and a favorite for mountaineers to engage in every year.

The provincial government of Agusan del Norte and the city government of Cabadbaran, as the major stakeholders, were in all out support for the activity and made sure climbers were properly briefed and guided with the rules and its do’s and don’ts.

Both as a spectator and a novice participant, I questioned myself and my sanity in my participation to the climb. But it proved to be one of the most rewarding things I’ve done which every participant would surely agree.

It was a challenging three days trek from the base camp to the summit and back to the camp. Hiking through almost untouched trails and river crossing, ropes are an essential. As experienced mountaineers would put it, it was a hard trail because of the rawness of the site. But it was worth it, the view from the top was as majestic as it gets.

A thirteen-year-old girl, Roelle Janne Jersey Vamenta, from Cagayan de Oro City, accompanied by her mother, was the youngest who have climbed Mt. Hilong-hilong.

James Ondoy, 60, from Cabadbaran City, is the oldest man to reach the peak.

Prosfe June D. Yee and Michelle E. Fookson were also the first females to reach the summit of the said mountain. (LGU-Agusan del Norte/PIA-Agusan del Norte)


NPA rebel surrenders in Agnor

By Cpt Samuel P Maglinao (Inf)

AGUSAN DEL NORTE, Apr. 17 (PIA) -  New People’s Army (NPA) rebel voluntarily surrendered to troops of the 29th Infantry Batallion (29IB), 4th Infantry Division, Philippine Army thru the Second Special Force Company, 1st Special Forces Battalion, Philippine Army, stationed in Barangay Baleguian, Jabonga, Agusan del Norte, Wednesday, Apr. 15, 2015.

The surrenderee, a certain Allan Quijano Tabura Jr. alias Roger; 26 years old; a resident of Sabang, Tayaga, Claver, Surigao del Norte, is a member of the Samahang Partido Pangpolitika 16A, Guerilla Front Committee 16, North Eastern Mindanao Regional Command that covers the towns of Santiago, Jabonga and Kitcharao, all in Agusan del Norte and portion of Alegria, Surigao del Norte. He brought along one AK47 (SN: Defaced), five magazines with 145 rounds of ammunitions and a Bandolier.          

He disclosed that, there were series of encounters happened between their group (NPA) and the government troops just within the Zapanta Valley area of Barangay Bangayan, Kitcharao, this province. 

According to his revelations, the NPA group has promised to help their families in terms of financial assistance but it never happened and instead they were forced to do extortion activities and sow terror and fear to the populace.

He also said that he saw a lot of meaningless loss of lives and realized that the armed struggle is no longer necessary and to die in a group of anti-people, anti-life and anti-God is worthless.

Meanwhile, 29IB Battalion Commander Ltc Adonis Ariel Orio revealed that Tabura is entitled to avail the Comprehensive Local Integration Program (CLIP), one of the many programs of the government for former rebel returnees.

"He will be reintegrated to the mainstream society to start a new life, he will be granted a livelihood assistance, remuneration for the firearm he surrendered, and he can enjoy the life of a normal citizen together with his family," said Orio. (PA/PIA-Agusan del Norte)  


Feature: Participatory leadership at its finest

By Eunice G. Montaos

“The sense of ownership which is integral to the Community-Driven Development (CDD) approach of Kalahi-CIDSS encourages the community recipients to take responsibility to sustain their implemented sub-projects.” —this is Surigao del Sur Governor Johnny T. Pimentel’s statement when asked in an interview on what he can say about the CDD.

Kalahi-CIDSS or the Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan- Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services program is one of the big-ticket anti-poverty programs of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

“Kalahi (Bisayan term for different), the name of the program itself, speaks of its uniqueness from the other projects of the Government,” says Gov. Pimentel.

“In the many years since 2003 that the project intervened in the development works in Surigao del Sur, it had proven to be not just one of the most effective poverty-reduction programs, but its accomplishments in transforming Surigaonon communities, are the ones that speak of it,” he adds.

Gov. Pimentel, whose dynamism as a leader, has challenged his fellow leaders or local chief executives (LCEs) in his province to take heed in their roles and responsibilities as civil servants. Oftentimes called as “governor in action,” he manifests a leader who is forward-looking and people-welfare oriented.

As the provincial LCE, he has clearly understood the role of the provincial local government unit (PLGU) in overseeing the implementation of sub-project implementation in his locality.

Firsthand information

Despite his very hectic schedule, Gov. Pimentel has sought for his availability during the municipal inter-barangay forums (MIBFs) facilitated by DSWD. In Kalahi-CIDSS, this activity is an integral part of the Community Empowerment Activity Cycle (CEAC) process.

It is in this forum that the community volunteers in every barangay in a municipality will gather to present, through a most creative and informative manner, their proposed sub-projects to be prioritized for funding.

“Some will role play and others sing and dance to clearly present their great need to have their sub-projects prioritized,” shares Pimentel.

Engineer Juliet Perez, Planning Officer IV of the Surigao del Sur PLGU, relates that when Gov. Johnny will not be able to attend a certain forum, she and the other significant staff will be personally requested by him to attend on his behalf.

“He even requests for feedback in our participation to those activities,” Perez adds.

His active attendance on various barangay and municipal consultation activities is the reason why he is very well-versed on the process involved in Kalahi-CIDSS.

According to him, his presence during those kinds of activities has also helped him and his leadership in hearing firsthand information from the communities on the basic social services that they need.

“I got to hear their problems and some of the bottlenecks in their implementation. It is in their forums and consultations that I heard that some municipalities and barangays have problems in terms of delivering of supplies for construction,” shares Pimentel.

“We greatly appreciated the support of the PLGU of Surigao del Sur for providing heavy equipment to facilitate the fast implementation of sub-project in the hinterland barangays in the province,” discloses Kalahi-CIDSS Regional Program Manager Mita G. Lim.

“The PLGU even augmented technical staff, engineers to be specific, in assisting the municipalities in the implementation,” Lim quips.

The office of the vice governor has intervened for the expeditious delivery of lumber materials. The Sangguniang Panlalawigan has supported the project implementation through the passage of a resolution requesting a province-wide coverage.

Shared success

Prior to being the governor in the said province, Gov. Pimentel opens that he had encountered the Kalahi-CIDSS program when he was yet serving as a provincial administrator for almost ten years.

In his leadership, he has encouraged more municipal LCEs to actively support the projects which are implemented by the national government, most especially those which uses the CDD approach.

In 2011, the province of Surigao del Sur has been lifted out of the poverty status it’s been battling for years. According to a press release (July 2011, Mindanao Gold Star Daily) from the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), the province has “increasingly uplifted itself as incidence of poverty has gone down after it was consistently included in the Club 20 of the poorest provinces in the country for the last years.” As NEDA stated, the present economic status of Surigao del Sur was attributed to the joint effort of the local government units here that was said to be ‘paying off.'

“The PLGU commits its full support to Kalahi-CIDSS as it scaled up into a national community-driven development program (NCDDP) because we recognize that one factor of the reduced poverty in our province is the contribution of the CDD projects of DSWD,” states Gov. Pimentel in his testimony given during the regional launching of KALAHI CIDSS-NCDDP in Caraga region held at Almont Hotel’s Inland Resort on August 2014.

Gov. Pimentel is also well-convinced that the community-implemented projects through the Program are completed and well-sustained. He has even expressed his willingness to adopt the process in their local planning and budgeting and to extend a local counterpart contribution (LCC) whenever needed by the barangay and municipal LGUs.

An antidote to corruption

“Some LCEs aren’t sold out with the process of Kalahi-CIDSS because funds are directly downloaded to the communities and the LCEs are even required to provide a counterpart,” he opens.

Nonetheless, setting as a good example, Gov. Pimentel encouraged the LCEs, most especially those in his province, that the LCEs’ proactive involvement and support in Kalahi-CIDSS is an opportunity for them to win the trust and support of the communities.

“Kalahi-CIDSS is an avenue to win the trust and support of the Filipino citizenry to the Government,” he discloses.

He further says that when participation, transparency, and accountability principles work in governance, then it is a system that work best as an antidote to corruption.

“In the program, the LCEs pursue community development without committing graft, and the CDD ensures culpability/responsibility when failure is committed,” Gov. Pimentel comments.

He has also shares that during his monitoring of the projects implemented, he himself has witnessed how ordinary citizens in Surigao del Sur were properly trained to manage resources and even religiously perform financial transactions.

“Every centavo spent for the sub-project implementation in Kalahi-CIDSS is properly liquidated and reported to communities through the conducted barangay assemblies,” he further states.

The said PLGU also recognizes the contribution of the ‘Kalahi’ way in fighting against insurgency problem as it is the only program in conflict areas where  no revolutionary tax is collected.

“Because they do their project, they implement it, hence maximum utilization of resources is ensured,” says Pimentel. He acknowledges the influence of the Project in reconciling political conflicts and fostering friendships from among the leaders.

Gov. Pimentel indeed walks his talk. He defies irresponsible leadership and thus with his courage he wins the support of his constituents. He promotes the welfare of his people and his province.

“I am for inclusive development, so I go for Kalahi-CIDSS,” he concluded. (Social Marketing Unit - DSWD Caraga/PIA-Caraga)