6.23.2015

Friday, June 19, 2015

Guv unveils AgSur’s picture in 2015 SOPA

By David M. Suyao

PROSPERIDAD, Agusan del Sur, June 19 (PIA) – Governor Adolph Edward Plaza unveils the picture of Agusan del Sur in his State of the Province Address (SOPA) based on the eight-point program of government that the provincial government has laid down as framework of his administration.

In his SOPA held on Wednesday, June 17, 2015, he opened his report with the profound insight of a famous poet Victor Hugo saying “The future has several names. For the weak, it is impossible. For the faint hearted, it is unknown but for the valiant, it is ideal.”

Basing his report on the eight-point program of governance as the bible of of Agusan del Sur for development namely, Economic and Infrastructure Development, Peace and Order, Social Development, Agriculture and Food Productivity, Health and Sanitation, Education, Environment Protection and Moral and Spiritual Renewal, Gov. Plaza said his administration has formulated a singular objective and that is to reduce poverty incidence in the province by 12.6 percent from 38.6 percent to 26 percent in 2016 based on the National Statistical Coordinating Board.

“This objective prompted us to develop the Provincial Development Framework, in which one of the core principles is deliberately targeting the poor,” Gov. Plaza said.

Being on top of the eight point-program of governance, Gov. Plaza said that his administration considers the road projects as a major component to development saying the province is fortunate enough to have accessed external sources of funds like the Payapa at Masaganang Pamayanan - Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace Process thru the Department of the Interior and Local Government (PAMANA – OPAPP thru DILG) that addresses the issue on Peace and Security that hampered the development of conflict affected areas.

“Based on one of our principles to deliberately target the poor, it made me decide to embark on a flagship program, with development that cut across the economic, infrastructure, social, environment, public safety and security and transforming bureaucracy. This program is what we call the Upland Sustainable Agri-forestry Development (USAD), and the funds that we sourced out from external sources like the PAMANA- OPAPP thru DILG and the Provincial Road Management Facility (PRMF) address big part the infrastructure requirement that our people from remote areas need. And through the 49 provincial road projects funded by the provincial government, PMANA and PRMF, some 44,000 households benefitted and with the total provincial road length of more than 630 kilometers, 40.52  or more than 256 kilometers were rehabilitated/ improved and maintained,” Gov. Plaza said.

On agriculture and food production, Gov. Plaza said presently the province has planted an area of 92,260 hectares of rice with a production of 326,510 metric tons with an average yield of 3.64 metric tons per hectare and, corn with 23,157 hectares with a production of 90,674 metric tons with an average yield of 3.9 metric tons per year.

“To date, we have provided 118 units of other pre and post harvest facilities jointly funded by the provincial government and the Department of Agriculture with 1,120 farmer recipients. This is the reason why Agusan del Sur was recognized for good agricultural practices from production to harvesting and post handling and awarded among the top five in the National Quality Corn Achievers Awards by the Department of Agriculture," said Gov. Plaza. (DMS/PIA-Agusan del Sur)


PhilRice set to conduct knowledge sharing opportunity

By Venus L. Garcia

BUTUAN CITY, June 19 (PIA) – The Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) will hold a knowledge sharing and learning (KSL) opportunity in July 1, 2015 at 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. to be held at PhilRice, Basilisa, Remedios T. Romualdez in Agusan del Norte.

The activity aims to discuss current and future challenges of the agriculture sector and its extension and education system; present the internet-based resource and tools that can support extension intermediaries; and open opportunities for partnerships in agricultural information and technology dissemination.

“We recognize that our stakeholders serve as essential channel of agricultural information. Thus, through the KSL, we wish to provide timely and science-based information and technology to support our efforts to help improve the welfare of farmers and other stakeholders,” PhilRice Agusan branch director Abner Montecalvo said.

For further information and confirmation, interested individuals may liaise with Sharen T. Rivas by contacting at 0936-3079488  or Georgie Shermae M. Tortola at 0948-4074999/(085) 343-0534. (VLG/PIA-Caraga)


Peace advocate gets 250 arm chairs from DENR

By Eric Herson F. Gallego

BUTUAN CITY, June 19 (PIA) - The Caraga Conference for Peace and Development (CCPD) headed by Most Rev. Juan de Dios Pueblos of the Diocese of Butuan has received the donation of 250 armchairs from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) at a simple turn-over ceremony held at the Father Saturnino Urios High School in Sibagat, Agusan del Sur on Wednesday, June 17.

The donated armchairs, which are manufactured by the Nasipit Vocational School Trade Art students, shall be distributed to that school by the CCPD as part of the PNOY Bayanihan Program of the government.

“The DENR leadership headed by Secretary Ramon JP Paje has preferred to convert the confiscated illegal logs into chairs so that the school children may benefit from them,” DENR Caraga regional director Nonito M. Tamayo said during the ceremony.

“The CCPD has been contributing support to the anti-illegal logging campaign and we thanked the DENR leadership for donating the chairs,” Bishop Pueblos said.

The donation rite followed the blessing ceremony of the newly-constructed rooms of the FSUU High School building in that town administered by Bishop Pueblos. According to Bishop Pueblo, CCPD has a program of helping the less fortunate people and the donated chairs can help the students who are mostly indigenous people in their studies.

Also present at the ceremony are the Director of the Environment Management Bureau (EMB) Wilson Trajico, OIC, CENRO of Nasipit Norman Asugan, DENR Conservation Development Chief Maritess M. Ocampo, among other officials.

The armchairs were made of premium wood materials from the confiscated illegal forest products. It has been the arrangement that confiscated forest product shall be turn-over by the DENR to the Department of Education   to manufacture chairs so that public schools particularly in depressed areas can benefit from it. (DENR-Caraga/PIA-Caraga)


Tandag City gears up for 8th Charter Day celebration

By Greg Tataro Jr.

TANDAG CITY, Surigao del Sur, June 19 (PIA) – Amid the hectic schedule of the province due to the five-day 55th Araw Ng Surigao del Sur celebration, the city on the other hand is also preparing for the activities lined-up for the 8th Charter Day celebration on June 22-23, 2015.

With the theme “Pahinumdum Ug Pagpasalamat,” the office of Mayor Roxanne Pimentel deemed it wise to come up with a fitting two-day affair; the last day will culminate with her “Executive Report” otherwise also known here as State of the City Address (SOCA) at 1:30 p.m. at the city gymnasium.

However, Vice-Mayor Ruel Momo is set to deliver his Legislative Report ahead.

Meanwhile, on the opening day, a lot of activities lie in store for the public to see starting at 5:00 a.m. until nighttime—Zumbaruga, Karahikas (motorcade), Laguboh (Drums & Lyre competition), LGUlympics, Sinugda’n (Sinugbahay sa Dan), and LGU Band concert.

Activities are going to continue the morning after, which will begin at 7:00 a.m. featuring Karahikas (Foot Parade), Misa Pasalamat, and Kumusta ‘Lo ug ‘La (Medical/Dental Check-up/Free Haircut for Senior Citizens). (NGBT/Radyo ng Bayan-Tandag/PIA-Surigao del Sur)


DILG 13 releases P42.4 M for 32 BUB projects in Caraga

By Don Manuelo O. Patrimonio

BUTUAN CITY, June 19 (PIA) - The Department of the Interior and Local Government – Caraga Region (DILG 13) has released a total of P42,419,865 for the 19 Disaster Risk Reduction-Related projects, 12 Potable Water System projects and one other infrastructure project across 25 municipalities in Caraga Region lodged under the agency for the Bottom-Up Budgeting program.

One of the mechanisms to pursue the Millennium Development Goals of reducing poverty from 26.5 percent in 2009 to 16.6 percent by 2015 is the Bottom-up Budgeting (BUB) program. Starting 2012, BUB has been a strategy of converging programs of the national government agencies, including the DILG, aimed at addressing the needs of the communities and the delivery of services by the local government units.

These 25 were among the first batch of municipalities to receive their checks. The rest of the 48 cities and municipalities in the region are slated to receive their BUB DILG Fund within this or the next quarter of this year.

Of those already released, a total of P10,520,400 worth of checks were received by six municipalities of Agusan del Norte for the implementation of eight projects (three DRR-related totaling P4.2M, four potable water systems totaling P5.5M and one other infra project—Public Market—amounting to P820,400). The municipalities that received checks were Carmen (P1.2M), Jabonga (P820,400), Kitcharao (P4M), Nasipit (P1.2M), RTR (P1.8M) and Santiago (P1.5M—3 projects).

A total of P13,420,000 worth of checks were received by four municipalities of Agusan del Sur for the implementation of four projects (one DRR-related amounting P2.88M and three potable water systems totaling P10.54M). These were Loreto (P2.8M), San Francisco (P2.88M), San Luis (P4M), and Trento (P3.74M).

A total of P10,479,465 worth of checks were received by eight municipalities of Surigao del Norte for the implementation of 11 projects (seven DRR-related totaling P7.3M and four potable water systems totaling P3.1M). These were Bacuag (P1.08M), Burgos (P1.6M), Mainit (P700K), Malimono (P1.2M—two projects), Pilar (P2M), San Isidro (P500K), Socorro (P1.4M—two projects), and Sta. Monica (P2M—two projects).

A total of P 8,000,000 worth of checks were received by seven municipalities of Surigao de Sur for the implementation of nine projects (eight DRR-related totaling P7.5M and one potable water system amounting to P500K). The municipalities were Barobo (P1.52M), Bayabas (P1.3M), Cantilan (P500K), Cortes (P600K), Hinatuan (P2.08M) Marihatag (P1.0M—two projects) and San Agustin (P1.0M—two projects).

Mode of fund releases were single tranches for projects costing P1M or less, and the rest were first of two tranches (80 percent) for projects amounting to more than P1M.

Thus far, the BUB DILG Fund for the three years of implementation amounts to a substantial P551,590,315.47. In 2013, the fund amounted to P67,241,999.72 that increased to P120,375,596.15 in 2014 to P363,972,719.660 this year. These are all for projects identified at the community level through the Bottom-Up Budgeting process. (DILG-Caraga/PIA-Caraga)


Mindanao sees an uptrend in renewable energy projects

DAVAO CITY, June 19 (PIA) - Applications for renewable energy (RE) projects in Mindanao posted a 25.64 percent increase which showed a growing interest for clean energy investments in the island-region.

The One Stop Facilitation and Monitoring Center (OSFMC), which handles the fast tracking of pending RE projects in Mindanao received 59 new applications adding to a total of 290 applications for RE projects with a combined capacity of almost 3,000 megawatts (MW).

In May this year, the center reported 231 applications with a combined capacity of 2,419.17 MW. The additional RE project applications will have a combined capacity of 578.92 MW if completed and fully operational.

“The projects are spread across hydro, geothermal, solar, and biomass. The bulk of the pending RE power project applications however are hydropower with a total of 242 projects and a combined potential capacity of 2,147.71 MW,” said Romeo Montenegro, director for Investment Promotions and Public Affairs Office of the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA).

Montenegro who also oversees the operations of the OSFMC said majority of the hydropower projects are located in Northern Mindanao.

At the recently concluded Energy Investment Briefing held here at the Waterfront Insular Hotel, Montenegro announced that Mindanao’s power supply mix will shift in 2017 to 45 percent RE and 67 percent non-renewable energy from the current 55 percent RE and 33 percent non-RE.

“The OSFMC ensures that facilitation and the fast-tracking of these energy projects are given utmost importance in order that Mindanao will continue to enjoy an affordable, reliable, and clean energy source,” he said.

An initiative of MinDA, the Department of Energy, and USAID’s Building Low Emission Alternatives to Develop Economic Resilience and Sustainability (B-LEADERS) Project, the OSFMC is aimed to help address Mindanao’s power supply deficit by fast-tracking the approval process of RE projects.

Among the top pending hydropower projects include the 140 MW Davao Hydroelectric Power Project of the San Lorenzo Ruiz Builders and Developers Group, Inc. in Davao City; the 110 MW Kabulnan 2 Hydroelectric Power Project of Philnewriver Power Corp. in Isulan, Sultan Kudarat; the 50 MW Lake Dapao Hydroelectric Power Project; and the 50 MW Maltling River Hydroelectric Power Project of the AQA Global Power Inc. in Lanao del Sur.

The OSFMC recorded 28 pending projects for solar energy with a combined potential capacity of 427.25 MW. Among the top projects include the 35 MW Darong Solar Power Project of the PhilNewEnergy, Inc. in Sta. Cruz, Davao del Sur; 35 MW ICOM Solar Power Project of the Local Government Unit of the Islamic City of Marawi in Lanao del Sur; and the 20 MW Kirahon Solar Power Project of the Kirahan Solar Energy Corporation in Villanueva, Misamis Oriental.

Geothermal energy projects accounts for eight with a potential capacity of 278.48 MW. Many of the geothermal projects are those of the Energy Development Corporation like the 40 MW Lakewood Geothermal Prospect in Zamboanga del Sur, Zamboanga del Norte, and Zamboanga Sibugay and their 30 MW Ampiro Geothermal Power Project in Misamis Occidental, Zamboanga del Norte, and Zamboanga del Sur.

Biomass energy projects recorded by the OSFMC have a combined capacity of 144.65 MW. Some of the projects include the 23.50 MW Woody Biomass Power Plant Project of the Eastern Petroleum Corporation in Buenavista, Agusan del Norte; 15 MW Price Husk-fired Biomass Power Plant Project of the Lamsan Power Corporation in Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao; and the 12 MW Multi-feedstock Biomass Power Plant Project of the Misamis Oriental Bio-Energy Corporations in Villanueva, Misamis Oriental.

Montenegro also underscored the importance of having a diversified energy mix so that Mindanao will not rely solely on one source of energy, which has been proved ineffective when the island only relied on the Agus-Pulangi Hydropower Power Complexes.

Aside from the monitoring of the pending renewable energy projects, the OSFMC also facilitated a number of prospective and existing power investors since it was launched in October last year.

One on the projects facilitated is the 68 MW Manolo Fortich Project of Hedcor, a subsidiary of Aboitiz Power, in Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon. The center facilitated in the fast tracking of the tree-cutting permit and the NWRB Water Rights Permit. The company has recently held a ground breaking ceremony earlier this year and is expected to be completed by 2018.

“With the OSFMC we hope to fast-track more renewable energy projects, which is also in line with our Mindanao 2020 goals of having a 50-50 energy mix of renewable energy and non-renewable energy,” Secretary Luwalhati R. Antonino, chairperson of the MinDA, said. (MinDA/PIA-Caraga)


Feature: “ECC gave me hope,” says Richard Estrella, PWRD

BUTUAN CITY, June 19 (PIA) - After a long time of pain and dismay, Richard Estrella, can now play basketball, go to the market on his own, and fetch his children from school.

Estrella, a father of two who used to work as a company driver of Amethyl Enterprises, lost his right leg due to electrocution while he was cleaning the roof of their office.

“After the accident, I thought I will be paralyzed for life”, he said.

The resulting injury from his accident, which happened after he was tasked by his employer to clean the roof of the office, is considered compensable under the Employees Compensation Program (ECP) since it was an order from his employer and took place within the company premises.

 “I never expected that I could walk normally again,” Estrella said.

The ECC Regional Extension Unit in Butuan reached out to him after finding out from the Social Security System (SSS) that Estrella qualified for a permanent partial disability (PPD) benefit under the ECP. The ECC invited him to avail of benefits under the ECC’s Katulong at Gabay ng Manggagawang May Kapansanan (KaGabay).

For starters, Estrella underwent 12 sessions of physical therapy treatments last March 2014 before he was given a free leg prosthesis amounting to P75,000 on November 2014.

Aside from these, he will also be undergoing livelihood training in Northern Mindanao School of Fisheries in Buenavista, Agusan del Norte. He will be taking Meat Processing Training so that he will learn to make longganisa at home and eventually sell it in nearby schools.

“I am so thankful for all the the services ECC has given me and my family. Now I am enjoying life at its best inspite of what happened to me”, he added.

Richard Estrella, a living proof of ECC’s finest service to the Filipino people.

The ECP provides a package of benefits for public and private sector employees and their dependents in the events of work-connected contingencies such as sickness, injury, disability, or death. Its main components are prevention, compensation, and rehabilitation.

“We, however, emphasize on the importance of safety in the workplace as prevention is always better than compensation and rehabilitation. Prevention of workplace accidents and diseases should be of utmost concern as the health and safety of our workers is our primary consideration,” ECC Executive Director Stella Zipagan-Banawis. (With a report from Olga Virginia O. Demata, Information Officer II, ECC-REU Caraga/PIA-Caraga)