Thursday, August 13, 2015

DOH launches Hi-5 in Surigao City

By Susil D. Ragas

SURIGAO CITY, Surigao del Norte, Aug. 13 (PIA) - The Department of Health (DOH) Caraga recently launched its High Impact 5 or Hi-5 program on Monday morning at the Caraga Regional Hospital (CRH), this city.

DOH Caraga assistant regional director Dr. Cesar Cassion said the program seeks to ensure the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals of universal health care such as reduction of infant and under-five mortality rate, reducing maternal mortality rate, halting HIV-AIDs cases, and increasing the service delivery networks in poor communities and far-flung areas.

“The launching of this program is also aimed to intensify and increase support from the private and government sectors of the region,” Cassion said.

Other activities during the whole day event were lecture on the importance of breast feeding, synchronized breast feeding, free new born screening for indigents, free HIV screening and counseling, free drug testing, free anti-rabies injection, blood letting, anti-smoking campaign, hand washing and tooth brushing demo, lecture on Tuberculosis, and Hataw Exercise.

Present during the launching were CRH officer-in-charge Dr. Cheryl Gotinga, DOH Surigao del Norte team leader Erwin Pingal and other hospital and DOH officials. (SDR/PIA-Surigao del Norte)


New DAR project kicks off in Caraga

By Joie L. Ceballos

BUTUAN CITY, Aug. 13 (PIA) - The Project Convergence on Value Chain Enhancement for Rural Growth and Empowerment (Project ConVERGE) of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) kicks off in Caraga with an Action Planning Workshop held on August 10-12, 2015, this city.

The project will cover four agrarian reform community clusters, one each from Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Surigao del Norte and Surigao del Sur.

DAR Caraga regional director Julita Ragandang said that there are four priority commodities to be assisted by the project. These are the abaca of municipalities of Tubay, Jabonga, Kitcharao and Santiago of Agusan del Norte; rice of the municipalities of Veruela, Trento, Bunawan and Sta. Josefa of Agusan del Sur; coffee of the municipalities of Barobo and Tagbina of Surigao Sur and coco coir of the municipalities of Claver, Gigaquit, Bacuag and Placer of Surigao del Norte.

Ragandang also said that the project covers the product development and enhancement, institutional development, provision of equipment and infrastructure component like farm-to-market roads, to help the beneficiaries in marketing their produce and eventually improve their quality of life.

The project will be implemented from 2015-2020 and is co-funded by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) of the United Nations. (DAR-Caraga/PIA-Caraga)


Agnor solon named as finalist in 6th RAFI Triennial Awards

BUTUAN CITY, Aug. 13 (PIA) - Rep. Lawrence Lemuel H. Fortun of the First District of Agusan del Norte has been chosen one of the three finalists in the 6th Ramon Aboitiz Foundation, Inc. (RAFI) Triennial Awards for Exemplary Individuals.

The RAFI Triennial Awards are conferred every three years to honor those men, women, and organizations, who, through their efforts and selfless commitment bring about change in the lives of the less-privileged in various groups and communities in the Philippines. About 300 have been nominated for the award.

Fortun was chosen as finalist for his work in organizing lawyers and other volunteers to go to remote communities to extend free legal and related services for the registration of births of children and also adults who lack birth certificates. This outreach program, which he started about seven years ago, has now served not less than eight thousand individuals who have not been able to obtain birth certificates due to poverty and distance.

At the Leaders of Change Forum in Cebu City recently where he was a speaker, Fortun expressed disappointment in the current civil registration system that “actually penalizes the poor for being poor.” He said “poverty is, almost always, the reason for a parent’s failure to register the birth of his or her child, and by imposing fees for delayed registration, the state is actually penalizing the poor.”

“Aside from the application fee which local civil registrar requires, an application for late birth registration has to be supported with two affidavits, namely, an affidavit of delayed registration and a joint affidavit of two disinterested persons who will attest to the fact of birth. This makes delayed birth registration too cumbersome for the less-privileged,” Fortun said.

Fortun emphasized that the right to identity is a most fundamental human right. “Before we even talk about other human rights, we have to start with, first and foremost, recognizing the existence of the human being,” he pointed out.

The young legislator also said, “Without that basic document, that is, the birth certificate, one’s existence is not known and for that reason, he or she cannot exercise his or her rights as a citizen.” He also asserted, “this is actually a human rights issue because there can be no greeter violation of human rights than not recognizing the existence of the human being.”

Fortun’s efforts inspired other lawyers who later on joined him in visiting remote barangays to extend free legal services for birth registration. The city government of Butuan has also been moved by his initiative as the Sangguniang Panlungsod passed an ordinance providing for free at least one day of every month where the local civil registrar facilitates free late registration for indigents.

Fortun, however, said that while this is a welcome development, it still does not address the problem on a long-term basis. He said, “the lack of mechanism for birth registration right in the community makes this an endless cycle.”

For this reason, Fortun brought his advocacy to the halls of Congress and principally authored a house bill known as The Civil Registration Act of 2014 to institutionalize a Barangay Civil Registration System to once and for all address the concern. The bill has been approved by the Committee on Population.

For this consistent and persistent advocacy to assert the poor’s right to identity, alongside with efforts for the environment and grassroots sports development, Fortun has been hailed one of the three finalists for the RAFI Triennial Awards for Exemplary Individuals. Other finalists are Father Carmelo Diola of Cebu City and Anita Castillon of Lake Sebu, Cotabato.

Father Diola is into good governance advocacy aimed at achieving “faith-impelled social change by working with and through companions, by helping public servants, elected officials, government officials, voters and the youth translate good intentions into good actions.”

Castillon, more known to the people of Lake Sebu as “Nanay Anita,” is an educator and community organizer who worked to establish a school for T’boli children who have no access to formal education due to distance and poverty.

The three will be honored in a fitting ceremony on the Awards Night on August 14, 2015 at the Cebu Convention Center where the 6th RTA Awardee will also be announced. (Lawig Katawhan/PIA-Agusan del Norte)


SurSur guv assures capitol employees of PEI

By Greg Tataro Jr.

TANDAG CITY, Surigao del Sur, Aug. 13 (PIA) – The wait of capitol employees here for announcement of the release of Productivity Enhancement Incentive (PEI) bonus was over.

Governor Johnny Pimentel told employees during the regular flag ceremony program on Monday that much that he wanted to grant a 100 percent PEI, equivalent to a month salary for every permanent employee, but the province does not have enough funds in its coffers.

“Actually, naningkamot gayod kami na makahanap nan pondo but P21 million di gayod nato kaya.  So, ato nalang kini himay-himayon, actually naay akong gitago na pondo na para untana ‘ni sa mga infrastructure projects. So we came up with the figure of P15 million, so amo na lang gi-compute... so we will release 75 percent of your salary,” he explained in a mix of English and local dialect.

Most, if not all of the Capitol employees here, have already been so eager to hear any word that has something to do with the PEI, it was learned.


Meanwhile, provincial administrator Efren Rivas said that it might take some time before PEI can be released, citing the process the “supplemental budget” has to undergo at the Sangguniang Panlalawigan. (NGBT/Radyo ng Bayan-Tandag/PIA-Surigao del Sur)