Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Interfaith dialogue goes to Butuan City to tackle environmental problems of Agusan Norte

MANILA, Sept. 2 (PIA) - Some 200 representatives from different religious groups, NGOs, academe, youth, and local government units will convene for the 8th regional conference for the Interfaith Dialogue on Climate Change on Thursday, September 3, 2015 at the Dottie’s Place Hotel, this city.

Climate Change Commissioner Heherson T. Alvarez, who is the confab’s main convenor, said that holding the dialogue in the Caraga region is vital to make the residents aware of the grossly negative climate impacts and how to take mitigation measures.

“The Taguibo watershed in the region faces increasingly greater hazards because of illegal activities such as timber poaching and illegal mining. These illegal activities have denuded forests and destroyed the equilibrium of the region’s ecosystems,” the former senator says.

Alvarez stressed that another major effect of forest denudation is the regular flooding in Agusan del Norte and nearby areas, causing millions of losses in livelihood and agricultural productivity as well as the brutal murder of several forest rangers by illegal loggers.

At the same time, the climate change official lauded the local government for approving a watershed code that seeks to protect the watershed in the region and to maintain high water quality for the population in the area.

Secretary Ramon J. P. Paje of DENR, a co-convenor of the conference, stressed that “the government is taking concrete steps to combat the violence against defenseless forest workers and volunteers.”

The problem of Illegal logging will be one of the issues to be tackled during the IFD workshop, the results of which will form part of the Philippine report to the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP21) in Paris, France November this year.

“The dialogues highlight the need for anticipation and adaptation measures to climate vulnerabilities with integrated mapping on floods, soil erosion, landslides, sea-level rise, storm surge, earthquake, volcanic eruption, and others,” says Archbishop Antonio J. Ledesma of the Climate Change Congress of the Philippines.

Topics of the event will include the climate vulnerabilities in the region by Dr. Esteban C. Godilano, and mobilizing faith-based communities by the IFD co-convenors Archbishop Ledesma and PCEC National Director Bishop Noel A.  Pantoja.

The IFD is co-sponsored by the Climate Change Commission, Philippine Council for Evangelical Churches, Climate Change Congress of the Philippines, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, and the Philippine Center for Islam and Democracy. (Climate Change commission/PIA-Caraga)


New SurSur chief assessor bares plan, vows more real property tax collections

TANDAG CITY, Surigao del Sur, Sept. 2 (PIA) – The new chief provincial assessor of Surigao del Sur, Edwin Acevedo, has bared plans for increased tax collection by the Provincial Treasurer’s Office (PTO) on real properties recently.

Acevedo said both offices of the assessor and treasurer have to work hand-in-hand when it comes to real property taxes, citing their role in this regard.

He told capitol employees existing ordinances used in the collection of real property taxes are now on the process of review.

“Most of the rates” in the collection of real property taxes and fees here have been found out to be outdated, he added.

Acevedo even pointed out that rates in the province are too low as compared to neighboring provinces.

In the meantime, the new chief assessor claimed proposal preparation for updated ordinances has been started for consideration of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan.

Besides, another proposal for an updated schedule of market value in the evaluation and appraisal of properties is also in the pipeline, saying this is “upon consultation with our honorable governor.”

“No less than the secretary of finance has also reminded us that we need to update the ordinances that we are using in the collection of our real property tax,” Acevedo remarked.

The new provincial assessor, who was appointed to the post on August 17, has expressed hope his proposal “will be considered.”

Beforehand, Antonio Falcon, assistant provincial assessor, rendered the accomplishment report of their office for the past six months.

Among which, he said, was “the approval of 873 tax declarations for lands, buildings and machineries declared for the first time, including the revision of tax declarations due to changes of property classifications which has generated the increase of 1.35 percent in taxable assessed value as of June 30, 2015 from the previous year’s taxable assessed value of P4,179,655,342.00 or an increased real property Basic and SEF tax collectibles of P1,139,810.26.”

In addition, the assessor’s office “has issued 162 certifications covering true copies, landholdings, lien and encumbrances of real property; annotated 47 tax declarations as collateral properties for mortgages and bail bonds including its cancellation; and issued 13 Memorandum Circulars and 38 Travel Orders to assessment personnel including the Municipal Assessors in connection with the appraisal and assessment functions,” Falcon said. (Greg Tataro Jr., Radyo ng Bayan-Tandag/PIA Surigao del Sur)


SurSur guv seeks swift justice vs. suspects on slay of “IPs” school director, 2 civilians

By Greg Tataro Jr.

TANDAG CITY, Surigao del Sur, Sept. 2 (PIA) – Surigao del Sur Governor Johnny Pimentel has sought the immediate arrest of the suspects behind the killings of an indigenous people’s (IPs) school chief—Alternative Learning Center for Agricultural Development (ALCADEV) Executive Director Emerito “Emok” Samarka, Dionel “Onel” Campos, chairman, Malahutayong Pakigbisog alang sa Sumusunod (MAPASU), and Orello Senso, native of Barangay San Isidro, Lianga town.

The incident took place in Km. 16, Sitio Han-ayan, Barangay Diatagon, Lianga town, 90 kilometers south, this city at around 5:30 a.m. on September 1, according to the Provincial Police Office (PPO) here.

The governor told members of the Provincial Peace and Order Council (PPOC) in an emergency meeting he called at the Provincial Governor’s Office (PGO) conference room Wednesday morning that all suspects must be “arrested, disbanded, or disarmed.”

Attended likewise by Tandag Bishop Nereo Odchimar, among others, the said meeting was intended to plan out what actions to take on the evacuees estimated to have already breached a thousand mark at the Surigao del Sur Sports Complex.  He even said that such is expected to swell to more than 2,000 individuals.

Meanwhile, P/Supt. Noguerra, representing Provincial Director P/SSupt. Narciso Verdadero, has initially named three suspects positively identified as certain Bobby Tejero, Loloy Tejero, and Garito Layno, who are going to face raps of multiple murder, including arson since the said ALCADEV School was also deliberately burned down.

Also, for his part, before saying what actions to take, 402nd Brigade Commander Col. Isidro Purisima condemned the acts of the perpetrators.

“We condemn the act of violence committed by this group,” he stressed.

On the other hand, the brigade commander vowed the army “will not condone this act and they have negated all our peace initiatives here in the area, led of course by the governor, and they have destroyed actually what we have started for the past months to have a peaceful resolution of our context here in the province.”

The 402nd Infantry Brigade has been established in the province since April, this year.

However, Purisima said they are one with the PNP in observing “due process” to address the case.

Moreover, Governor Pimentel wanted the charges to be filed ASAP with the Prosecutor’s Office.

As a result of the “senseless killings,” people from the area have deserted their respective dwellings en masse to Surigao del Sur Sports Complex, this city.

Since the evacuees arrived, Pimentel bared initial needs have already been addressed, citing relief goods and other priorities. (Radyo ng Bayan-Tandag/PIA-Surigao del Sur)