Thursday, July 23, 2015

New 15RCDG commander assumes post

By Jennifer P. Gaitano

BUTUAN CITY, July 23 (PIA) – New Group Commander of the 15th Regional Community Defense Group (RCDG) Col. Maning Tawantawan of the Philippine Army accepted on Wednesday his new position during the turn-over of command ceremony at the 15RCDG headquarters in Barangay Bancasi, this city.

Outgoing 15RCDG officer-in-charge LTC Ramonit Rivera delivered his speech and signed the relinquishment orders. He also expressed his thanks and gratitude to all his comrades for the friendship and companionship in all its operations.

The said event was graced and presided by Army Reserve Command (ARESCOM) Commander BGen. Paolo Leo Ma Miciano. Some media partners were also in attendance.

“Nothing is permanent in this world, and change is the only constant thing that we know. There might be changes but that change is for good and for the betterment of the organization. We acknowledge the efforts of LTC Rivera and I am very willing and committed to be of service in the 15RCDG,” articulated Tawantawan.

Tawantawan, further emphasized that he believed in the saying ‘You reap what you sow.’

“That is why we should be responsible in everything that we do in life. When we do good things, we will also receive good things. We must also give our best in whatever we do especially if we know we are doing it for our people,” he expressed.

The event ended with a simple fellowship by the officials of the 15RCDG with their families and the media. (JPG/PIA-Caraga)


Fallen SAF 44 member’s bro, now a TESDA Specialista

By Catalina O. Tacubao

BUTUAN CITY, July 23 (PIA) – The brother of one of the Fallen Special Action Force (SAF) member of the Philippine National Police (PNP) is now finally a certified TESDA Specialista.

Joel Inocencio, a resident of Bonbon, this city successfully got his National Certificate (NC-II) in Heavy Equipment Operator (HEO)-Wheel Loader after passing the mandatory assessment. He is the fourth in the family while the late SPO1 Lover Inocencio came next to him.

The older Inocencio underwent training on HEO-Wheel Loader NC II under the Training for Work Scholarship Program (TWSP) at the Butuan City Manpower Training Center (BCMC).

It can be recalled that on February this year, Joel visited Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) - Caraga regional office after he was informed by a TESDA employee in Central Office that Sec. Joel Villanueva is directing all regional and provincial offices in the country to give assistance to family members and relatives of the fallen SAF 44.

During his visit, TESDA-Caraga regional director Florencio F. Sunico, Jr. immediately award the Scholarship Commitment to him and immediately arranged for the schedule of his training.

After making such arrangement with the Butuan Manpower Training Center (BMTC), an LGU-funded training center of this city, the older Inocencio immediately started the training and passed the mandatory assessment on June 21, 2015.

At present, he is employed as a Foreman at the Ruin Construction in San Francisco, Agusan del Sur.

In an earlier interview, Inocencio said the skills he will acquire from the training will somehow be a big help not only to him but more importantly to the family of his fallen younger brother Lover as he vowed to support them financially.

He likewise acknowledged the support of TESDA for him to have been certified as an NC-II holder in the said qualification. (RER, TESDA-Caraga/PIA-Caraga)


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

By Olga Virginia A. Demata

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 services ECC has given me and my family. Now I am enjoying life at its best in spite 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. (ECC/PIA-Caraga)


ECC Caraga conducts meat processing skills training to 7 PWRDs

By Olga Virginia A. Demata

BUTUAN CITY, July 23 (PIA) - Seven persons with work-related disability (PWRDs) in Caraga region were recently granted the first Skills Training on Meat Processing for the PWRDs in the region spearheaded by the Employees' Compenation Commission (ECC) held at the Butuan Manpower Training Center in Langihan, this city.

Skills Training is necessary for knowledge in certain things and then improvement to what has been learned and eventually for competitive development. This is why skills training is very important in a business aspect.

One of the ECC benefits is the provision of livelihood assistance through skills training. And with this activity, the PWRDs in Caraga were given opportunity to learn how to make Longganisa and Tocino at home. This will be the start of their entrepreneurial abilities that could be the door to get back to the mainstream of the society and provide for their families.

 “This training has given me and my family an opportunity to gain extra money for our daily life. It will be very advantageous for me even if this could be a small time business only. I really appreciate ECC’s service to the workers with disabilities,” said Roberto Miole Jr., one of the beneficiaries of the said training.

Apart from him, other beneficiaries were Renato P. Bugwat, Richard P. Estrella, Ruben G. Catig. Leo E. Piquero, Alan L. Madridano and Eleonar P. Brillo. Most of these PWRDs were not able to return back to work after the incidents that happen to them. (ECC/PIA-Caraga)


DAR admits slow start in getting job done in SurSur, vows to make up

By Greg Tataro Jr.

TANDAG CITY, Surigao del Sur, July 23 (PIA) – The Department of Agrarian Reform Provincial Office (DARPO) here has vowed to make up after admitting having a slow start in carrying out its accomplishment for the first semester of CY 2015.

Benjamin Mataksil, DAR provincial office chief, said it is not unusual for them to post a low output on Land Tenure Improvement (LTI), which covers five major areas, hinting that the latter part of the year is enough time to work on.

Indicating the corresponding target, he clearly demonstrated how his office has made it on: Land Acquisition and Distribution (LAD)-109 out of 4,628 hectares have been accomplished together with 57 agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs); Leasehold – 43 out of 100 hectares have likewise been done together with 22 ARBs; Survey on New Lands – 1,070 out of 3,150 hectares have been completed, 574 of which have been transmitted to DENR, while 77 hectares have already obtained an approved survey plan; Survey on Collective Certificate of Land Ownership Award (CLOA) – 547 hectares have been completed with 500 hectares transmitted to DENR; and Land Acquisition Distribution Information System (LADIS) – 98 of 750 hectares have been accomplished together with 61 ARBs.

Mataksil expressed confidence they can make it before the year ends as plan to step up effort is already in place, making the assurance that everything is still doable. (NGBT/Radyo ng Bayan-Tandag/PIA-Surigao del Sur)


Mindanao leaders back amended Cabotage Law, expect cuts in shipping costs

DAVAO CITY, July 23 (PIA) - Key government leaders and business players from Mindanao expressed full support to the approved amendments to the Cabotage Law, citing the move will result to healthy competition, make rates more competitive, and eventually bring down shipping costs.

“The President’s approval of the amendments to the Cabotage Law would be expected to hasten improvement of Mindanao’s cargo shipping industry and encourage efficient services that will result to more a competitive business climate,” said Secretary Luwalhati Antonino, chair of the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA.)

She added the amendments to the law could usher increased services of foreign shipping players that will create a more productive and profitable import and export mechanism, which is considered an advantage for Mindanao’s growing industry.

President Benigno Aquino III signed into law on Tuesday the Foreign Ships Co-loading Act, which amends the decades-old Cabotage law. The law allows foreign ships carrying imported goods and cargoes for export out of the country to dock in multiple ports.

Under the law, foreign vessels will be allowed to transport and co-load foreign cargoes for domestic trans-shipment. The law also seeks to lower the cost of shipping export cargoes from Philippine ports to international ports and import cargoes coming from international ports.

In his speech, President Aquino said because of lack of competition, the current cost of transporting cargo container from Cagayan de Oro City to Hong Kong totals to P56,880, with P50,400 from that amount covering the cost for shipment from Cagayan de Oro City to Manila. The other remaining P6,480 will cover for shipment cost from Manila to Hong Kong. With the amended Cabotage Law, shippers can directly transport goods from Cagayan de Oro City to Hong Kong for a cost of P22,500, allowing them to save P34,380 or 60 percent from the current shipment costs.

MinDA, through its priority policy agenda has been pushing for the amendment to the law seeing it as a move that will strengthen connectivity and help Mindanao maximize its economic potentials.

“With this law already in place, we can fully tap the potentials of the Mindanao Development Corridors and focus on building a more connected and globally-competitive Mindanao,” said Antonino.

She added the law will also will facilitate a more competitive Mindanao business environment in terms of trade with BIMP-EAGA and ASEAN, and other countries around the globe.

BIMP-EAGA stands for Brunei Darussalam Indonesia Malaysia the Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area, a sub-regional grouping formed with the goals of promoting trade, investment, and tourism within the sub-region.

“We laud this development, as Mindanao products bound for export will become more competitive in the world market,” said Vicente Lao, chair of the Mindanao Business Council.

He added that imported raw materials that are needed for production in Mindanao will also become cheaper due to the anticipated cuts in shipping costs.

The Mindanao Business Conference (MinBizCon), an annual gathering of the region’s key business leaders has been pushing for the approval of the amendments to the Cabotage Law.  The Mindanao Exporters Congress (MEC), a regular assembly of Mindanao export industry stakeholders has also been urging the Aquino Government to approve the amendments to the law.

A discussion on the approved amendments will be conducted today and Friday as the MEC reconvenes for a three-day congress here in this city at SM Lanang Premier’s SMX Convention Center.

“This is a good move of the Aquino administration, and we welcome this development as it will foster competition among domestic shipping companies in the country,” said Ferdinand Marañon, president of the Philippine Exporters Confederation (Philexport) – Davao in a news statement.

Marañon, a key convenor of the MEC added the new law will pave way for lower shipping costs since logistics costs are expected to drop.

“This will give big contributions to the country’s economic activity, which in the long run will reinforce sustainable growth and development of the Filipinos,” he said. (MinDA/PIA-Caraga)


DENR-13 launches 'LakbayKalikasan' in Agusan Marsh

By Eric F. Gallego

BUTUAN CITY, July 23 (PIA) - The Department of Environment and Natural Resource (DENR) Region 13 through the Conservation and Development Division headed by Maritess M. Ocampo has launched on July 16 the program dubbed Nature Exposure otherwise known as "LakbayKalikasan" in Agusan Marshland, for the people to appreciate the value of nature in that area.

"This undertaking is a community-based initiative that emphasizes on environmental education to stir consciousness about environmental conservation and preservation particularly among the young generation," OIC, PENR Officer Roberto Oliveros said.

"We want the people to understand the nature as they appreciate the values and importance of the Agusan Marsh which is host to various species of marine flora and fauna, and enjoy its aesthetic value," Ocampo said during the launching of LakbayKalikasan at the Integrated Protected Area Services Office complex at Barangay Mambalili in Bunawan, Agusan del Sur.

For instance, she said, there are about 200 species of migratory birds that spend few months on the Agusan Marshland during winter season in Japan, China, Russia and other Western Countries.

The launching program shall likewise introduce the newly acquired tour boats of the DENR to be utilized in the river cruise. It will travel from the wharf in Bunawan, Agusan del Sur to the center attraction of the Marsh which is Panlabuhan Lake in Loreto of that province.

This is the place where you can find the floating villages and the beautiful, cool and placid lake amidst the myriad of migratory birds. The visitors can also enjoy canoeing to complete their enjoyment inside the lake.

Agusan Marsh is also host to peatlands, which sequester carbon dioxide gases responsible in the global warming. (DENR-Caraga/PIA-Caraga)


Fresh graduates avail DOLE's internship program for employment in SurSur

By Romelyn B. Bactol/Iris C. Asis

BUTUAN CITY, July 23 (PIA) - Seventy two fresh graduates from the two districts of Surigao del Sur are now employed in the different government offices in the province under the DOLE’s Government Internship Program (GIP) for 2015.

“I am so thankful for the internship program of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) for without it, I may not have the chance to file and to take the board exam this coming September 27, 2015 due to lack of budget," says Andy Sajolga, one of the GIP beneficiaries in District 2.

He was tasked to teach at Bigaan National High School in Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur and received one and a half month salary as government intern amounting to P6,231.00.

A fellow intern, Amina M. Lad, also a teacher assigned in Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur will be taking her board exam this year.

Both were thankful for the opportunity to develop their teaching skills. “I realized that behind our poverty, there are many programs being offered by the government, what we need to do is to look closely strive harder,” Amina said.

DOLE-Surigao del Sur implemented the GIP as early as April 2015 and now other GIP beneficiaries are being absorbed by their offices after working for two months as interns. (DOLE-Caraga/PIA-Caraga)