Friday, September 18, 2015

Caraga RPOC chair calls for support to PA, PNP

 By Venus L. Garcia

BUTUAN CITY, Sept. 18 (PA) – The Regional Peace and Order Council (RPOC) chaired by Butuan city mayor Ferdinand M. Amante, Jr. has issued statement urging a stop on the harsh and carping judgment to the military forces and encouraging support to them, together with the Philippine National Police (PNP), as they activated the ‘Joint Task Force Tejero’, a special operation to go after the suspects of the killings of Emerito Samarca, executive director, Alternative Learning Center for Agricultural Development (ALCADEV) and two others in Surigao del Sur recently.

“In the interest of sustaining peace and development in our communities, the Army forces working in our region extend a great deal, even exasperating all efforts, to ultimately achieve its mission and mandates. Faultfinding to the uniformed men in the government serving for the protection of every citizen is something impermissible,” remarked Amante.

Likewise, Amante said that the Philippine Army is composed of professional people. “They will not do any stupidity and will not blunder into situation that will taint their credibility in any way. They are our protectors. In this present administration, there is no room for foolish moves and gross mistakes attributable to bad judgment,” emphasized Amante. 

PNP Surigao del Sur provincial director P/SSupt Narciso Verdadero on Monday said charges of multiple murder, arson, grave coercions, robbery, and grave threats had already been filed against siblings Bobby and Loloy Tejero, Garito Layno, and 20 John Does at the Provincial Prosecutor’s Office.

The 'Joint Task Force Tejero' is headed by PNP Surigao del Sur provincial director SSupt Narciso Verdadero through the Joint Peace and Security Coordinating Committee (JPSCC) to ensure continuity and inter-operability of operating units within Caraga region. (PIA-Caraga)


NFA to celebrate national grains industry week

By Susil D. Ragas

SURIGAO CITY, Surigao del Norte, Sept. 18 (PIA) - The National Food Authority (NFA) provincial office of Surigao del Norte will lead the celebration of the National Grains Industry Week here on Sept. 21-25, 2015.

The celebration, which is anchored on the theme, “Seguridad sa Pagkain, Tungkulin Natin,” will kick-off on Sept. 21 with a motorcade around the city.

According to NFA provincial manager Gleen P. Echin, the week-long celebration aims to give emphasis on the enhancement of national food security, promotion of food safety and quality consciousness among people and fair trade practices in the grains market and the institutional development of famer cooperatives into self-reliant and competitive economic entities.

Other activities during the formal opening include, the launching and ribbon cutting of NFA’s “Food Guardian” Campaign Sign-up Booth at the Surigao City Public Market and Surigao City State College of Technology (SCCT) campus at 10:00 a.m., and the lighting of NFA Signage and Rolling down of Food Guardian Banner at 6:30 p.m. to be held at the NFA Provincial Office, Km. 10, Barangay, Quezon, this city.

The said celebration is pursuant to Presidential Proclamation 1058 issued on August 20, 1997 declaring the period September 20-26 of every year as Grains Industry Week Celebration. (PIA-Surigao del Norte)


Mindanao LGU alliance to implement environmental payback scheme

DAVAO CITY, Sept. 18 (PIA) – A major watershed in Mindanao is being eyed for the implementation of Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES), an incentive mechanism designed to strengthen management of natural resources and ecosystems that provide goods and services to the public and key industries.

The Libungan Watershed, a 52,820-hectare located in Cotabato province is being considered for PES to encourage the efficient and sustainable use of the resources that are being provided by the watershed and its surrounding areas.

A watershed is described as an area of land that contains common set of streams and rivers that drain into a single larger body of water. The Libungan Watershed is home to eco-tourism sites and two river irrigation systems (RIS) that provide water to 9,255 hectares of rice lands, a major crop that drive economic growth in the province.

The municipalities of Pigcawayan, Aleosan, Libungan, Midsayap, Alamada, Pikit and Banisilan, which have formed into an alliance of local government units called PALMA + PB will directly participate in the proposed PES and oversee the implementation of the mechanism.

“The idea of subjecting Libungan Watershed to PES has met a positive response from respondents,” said Dr. Carmelita Martinez, PES Consultant of the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA).

During the recently concluded 1st Mindanao Policy Research Forum held at the Insular Waterfront Hotel here in this city, Dr. Martinez presented “Developing PES Mechanism with River Basin Organization (RBOs) in Mindanao” which highlighted the result of a pilot study on PES for the Libungan Watershed commissioned by MinDA.

The forum was co-organized by MinDA and the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS).

Dr. Martinez said “the pilot study revealed that 92 percent of respondents are willing to pay for the protection of Libungan Watershed,” while adding “those who cannot pay have expressed willingness to volunteer their time in any protection and conservation project.”

In the implementation of PES, the farmers or landowners who have agreed to manage natural resources such as forests, watersheds, rivers, and streams are given incentive payments for rendering ecological services such as replanting of trees and ensuring the survival of the trees planted. Payments are made by the beneficiaries of the environmental services such water users, companies that benefit irrigation systems and industry stakeholders.

The PES mechanism is also seen to enhance the protection of biodiversity that provide environmental goods such as food, freshwater, fuel, fiber and other natural resources that are used as inputs to the production process that help move the economy.

“PES is a market-based mechanism that will employ practical approaches and is not a program designed to reduce poverty,” said Martinez while explaining “that PES is an economic incentive to foster more efficient and sustainable use of ecosystem services provided by the natural environment.”

She added that well-functioning ecosystems provide services that are crucial to human survival such as clean air, pest and disease control, carbon sequestration and storage, controlled greenhouse gases, productive soil, and power sources.

The need to implement PES is bolstered by the findings of the study which revealed watershed degradation in various parts of Mindanao, Libungan included, caused by unregulated agricultural development and eco-tourism, illegal logging, population encroachment, and poverty of communities within the watershed area.

The Libungan Watershed is at risk for water pollution, land use change, soil erosion, siltation, flooding, and the lowering of Libungan River’s water level. Unregulated human activities are putting pressure on the watershed’s sustainability, specifically the quality of its water and landscape, as well as water availability.

Guided by Mindanao’s roadmap to peace and development, Mindanao 2020, MinDA seeks to address ecologically-distressed areas in the island-region as it promotes a dynamic, inclusive, and green economy. It is a goal of Mindanao 2020 to implement PES in all major watersheds in Mindanao by 2030.

MinDA hopes to replicate PES initiatives in other River Basins in Mindanao as inspired by the two PES success stories: the LGU of Naawan and the Miarayon-Lapok-Lirongan-Tinaytayan Tribal Association (MILALITTRA) in Bukidnon.

The Local Government of Naawan institutionalized its PES initiative through its inclusion in their LGU Code Section 87 on the Development of Trust Fund for Watershed and Reforestation.  The Mt. Kalatungan Range Natural Park benefits from PES through the successful collaboration of the Cagayan de Oro River Basin Management Council (CDORBMC), Xavier University-Ateneo de Cagayan, and the tribal group MILALITTRA.

Study on PES is conducted through the Mindanao Knowledge Center (MKC) of MinDA that provides evidence-based policy researches for Mindanao’s sustainable development, in support to the MindaNOW! Nurturing Our Waters Program or MindaNOW.

One of MinDA’s flagship programs, MindaNOW integrates and harmonizes all watershed management and protection efforts in the island-region, with the PES as one of its support programs. (MinDA/PIA-Caraga)


Surigao Norte organizes PopDev Club

By John Glenn A. Platil

SURIGAO CITY, Surigao del Norte, Sept. 18 (PIA) - The provincial government of Surigao del Norte on Wednesday organized a ‘Popdev Club’ (Population Development Club) Convention and Festival of Talents 2015 held at the Provincial Convention Center, this city.

With the theme, “Vulnerable Populations in Emergencies,” the one-day activity aims to sustain and promote values supportive population and development education among in-school youth, comprising of high school students and their coaches stemming from different municipalities.

Gov. Sol F. Matugas, in her message read by provincial administrator Atty. Premolito Plaza, said that her administration is determined to fight for justice, value the right of life, liberty and property and envisioned a decent life for everyone.

She said that right planning is the foundation of a happy and contented family and conjugal life. Matugas also said that the welfare of the children is always a paramount concern because family is an inviolable institution. Marital and filial obligations include the duty to provide the needs of the children, she added.

“It is a reality, my dear friends, that when there are only few children in the household, say two to four kids, there is a greater possibility of satisfying all their needs in every aspect of human life. But when you have a dozen children, hard labor is not enough. The monthly income that you earn from your job may also be inadequate because family size has a direct effect and bearing on this subject matter,” Matugas said.

"Besides, we are all aware of the prevalence of teenage pregnancy, abortion and pre-marital sex. These issues hound us and thus, affect us in one way or the other, since we are all part and parcel of Philippine society. That is why we need to educate the youth through the conduct of various fora, dialogues and convergence. We need to teach them how to form intelligent decisions and how to act with prudence and caution," Matugas added. (SDR/PGO-SdN/PIA-Surigao del Norte)


NYC gears up for 12th Natl Peace Consciousness month celeb

BUTUAN CITY, Sept. 18 (PIA) - The National Youth Commission (NYC) joins the whole nation in celebrating the 12th National Peace Consciousness Month. Activities are taking-off mostly in strategic areas in Mindanao through peace walks and conferences initiated by various youth groups in partnership with different cultural communities.

The government’s initiatives in the peace process hold a special significance for the NYC as it understands that all the toils and efforts to build a progressive nation, founded on social justice, will be fully enjoyed by the future generation.

"We are proud to say that the members of the youth sector have become pro-active participants in establishing peace with their interests to help end violence particularly in some areas in Mindanao. Through years of involvement, the young have formed a unified voice against armed conflict and its resolution through peaceful means. They led rights-based advocacies and ensured involvement in the peace talks," said Asec. Earl Saavedra, NYC Commissioner Representing Mindanao.

True to its commitment, NYC has crafted the Mindanao Youth Agenda, a document that outlines programs, projects and activities with specific policy directions that will provide the Mindanaoan youth with opportunities for self-development in an atmosphere of peaceful co-existence.

Hence, in the observance of the National Peace Consciousness Month, NYC also reiterates its call for the immediate passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law which is consistent with both the 1987 Philippine Constitution and the aspirations of the Bangsamoro people for autonomy and self-determination.

The amended draft of the Proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law guarantees inclusive youth participation through genuine youth representation in the Bangsamoro Parliament (under Article VII, Section 3 of the legislative measure) and in the Transition Commission (Article XVI, Section 2) to ensure the normalization process of the autonomous region once its new government is created.

“The future of our country lies in the next generation. However, the responsibility to provide them with safe, enabling, and empowering environment rests with us,” Asec. Saavedra said in closing. (NYC/PIA-Caraga)


MinDA chair meets with “lumad” leaders in SurSur

By Greg Tataro Jr.

TANDAG CITY, Surigao del Sur, Sept. 18 (PIA) – Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) chair Secretary Luwalhati Antonio held a meeting with lumad leaders of the Malahutayong Pakigbisog alang sa mga Sumusunod (Mapasu) at the conference room of the Provincial Governor’s Office (PGO) here on September 18.

She said President Benigno Aquino III sent her to hear the side of the story of the lumads, who had been taking shelter at the Surigao del Sur Sports Center since their mass evacuation on September 1 for fear of their lives.

The brutal killings of their kin—Emerito Samarca, executive director of Alternative Learning Center for Agricultural Development (Alcadev), Dionel Campos, chairman of Mapasu, and Bello Sinzo, a civilian—at Kilometer 16, Sitio Han-ayan, Barangay Diatagon, Lianga town at the break of dawn during that day had driven them away to come down en masse.

Before Secretary Antonino, the lumads had continued to press for justice, among other demands, particularly the arrest of suspects—siblings Bobby and Loloy Tejero as well as Garito Layno, allegedly members of the paramilitary Magahat-Bagani Force.

The military here had repeatedly denied the accusations they were behind this armed group and had something to do with the incident.

Governor Johnny Pimentel, who was beside Sec. Antonino, told lumad leaders, once again, like in the previous meetings, that appropriate charges had already been filed by the police at Lianga Prosecutor’s Office against the three suspects and 20 John Does almost two weeks ago.

Also, during the meeting, MinDA chair had asked the lumad leaders if they could already return to their respective homes, given their pitiful situation, which was described by her as some form of injustice.

However, despite Antonino’s prodding to return home, the lumad leaders would not budge, showing a firm stand.

Before leaving, she vowed to bring the lumads’ plight to President Aquino.

Moreover, Governor Pimentel bared about the coming senate investigation with Senator “TG” Guingona by the end of the month, asking the lumad leaders to cooperate once requested to appear. (Radyo ng Bayan-Tandag/PIA-Surigao del Sur)