News Feature: An eco-inspired Christmas trees spectacle
By Venus L. Garcia
BUTUAN CITY, Dec. 20 (PIA) – To live on the spirit of annual Christian festival celebrating Christ's birth, the Christ the King Parish in Brgy. Tungao, this city, handled by parish priest Rev. Fr. Carlito L. Clase of the Diocese of Butuan spearheaded the Christmas Tree Making Contest 2016.
The jovial competition was joined by lay people who are members of the Family Groups (FG)/Basic Ecclesial Communities (BECs) or locally known as “Gagmay’ng Kristohanong Katilingban (GKK).
In demonstrating ingenuity, each participating group collaboratively worked in creating the gigantic 10-meter high and enchanting Christmas tree that is made of indigenous, biodegradable and non-biodegradable recycled materials.
“Traditionally, whether cedar, spruce, pine or fir trees are used - all Christmas trees have one thing in common, they're all evergreens. However, to spur creativity and novelty, all contestants are encouraged to convert waste materials into reusable ones as inexpensive and eco-friendly embellishments for setting up a Christmas tree,” stated Fr. Clase.
The activity has truly strengthened the advocacy for Solid Waste Management by emphasizing 3Rs – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. Such a festive holiday of upcycled Christmas trees display.
Seeing through an array of skillfully crafted Christmas trees, the intricacies of the conceptualized designs reveal perfectly the contest criteria that include creativity and uniqueness (40 percent), recyclable materials (40 percent) and overall impact (20 percent).
The glistering lights made the entries more spectacular and it even made the judges admit for having a hard time rating the fantastic Christmas trees. The ability of the community to distinguish practicality and to generate ideas exemplified the Filipino value of frugality.
On its third year of holding the contest, increased sum of prizes are at stake for the winning entries: 1st prize (P7,000); 2nd prize (P5,000); 3rd prize (3,500); and consolation prizes amounting to P1,000. From among the 21 official entries, entry number 16 ranked first, followed by entry numbers 20 and 4, respectively.
As the fabulous and sturdy Christmas trees stand out day in and day out, spectators were amazed with its bright and cheery symbolism of peace and harmony. It will be showcased until the commemoration of epiphany.
“Have you ever experienced that ebullient feeling of celebrating a green and nature-friendly Christmas? Those feelings are incomparably atypical. It’s good to see villagers, tagging along their family members with chilly excitement, relishing the festive scenery of Christmas trees and the ambiance of holiday season,” cited Fr. Clase.
He is more optimistic that the eco-friendly inspired undertaking will go a long way, not only a mere display of Christmas trees that looked bombdiggity every year, but a motivating factor to increase environmental awareness.
GKK at its work
The involvement of the GKK members is along the context of giving emphasis to the 2017 Year of the Parish as Communion of Communities, which is anchored on the theme, “Forming BECs as agents of communion, participation and mission,” and in preparation for the 500th anniversary of Christianization in the Philippines on 2021.
To prepare the faithful for 2021, the bishops of the Philippines announced 'a nine-year journey for the New Evangelization' with a different theme for each year:
Integral Faith Formation (2013) – Year of Faith in the Church
The Laity (2014)
The Poor (2015)
The Eucharist and the Family (2016)
The Parish as a Communion of Communities (2017)
The Clergy and Religious (2018)
The Youth (2019)
Ecumenism and Inter-Religious Dialogue (2020)
Missio ad gentes [mission to the nations] (2021)
It is also focused on fortifying the elements of prayer, penance and communion (PPC).
“I am glad that Christians and everyone else are in the mood to celebrate Christmas, but let's remember it's not all about our need for a cozy, warm and fuzzy feeling. It's about the birth of Jesus Christ. Giving all diligence to remembering the real reason for the season. May all your Christmas trees be meaningful and filled with hope,” expressed Fr. Clase. (VLG/PIA-Caraga)
RCC Caraga holds last media briefing for 2016
By Jennifer P. Gaitano
BUTUAN CITY, Dec. 20 (PIA) - The Regional Coordinating Committee (RCC) composed of heads of offices from the government led by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Caraga conducted on Monday its last media briefing for this year.
Atty. Evelyn Ramos, regional director of DOLE Caraga bared that the Regional Coordinating Committee will be crafting a business communication plan come January 2017 intended for the media partners. She said that media practitioners should also be given extra income by providing them livelihood assistance.
“We were able to conduct inspection to some 1,300 establishments in the region, to which number has surpassed our target for this year which is 1,200. Those establishments are continuously being monitored if they comply with the labor standards, as well as the safety and health of the employees,” underlined Atty. Ramos.
Atty. Ramos also reminded employers of the different establishments/companies in the region to provide the 13th month pay to their employees on or before Dec. 24, 2016 as mandated by law.
Nancy Jacinto, LEO III of National Reintegration Center for OFWs (NRCO) Caraga revealed that their office was able to assist some 50 undocumented OFWs with livelihood assistance amounting to P10,000.00 per OFW. For its Balik Pinay, Balik Hanapbuhay Program, they were able to provide livelihood starter kits to some 87 beneficiaries.
Earl Dela Victoria, board secretary VI of the Regional Tripartite Wage and Productivity Board (RTWPB) Caraga announced that last July 2016, the minimum wage is at P275.00 while it increased to P280.00 by Oct. 1, 2016. He emphasized that Caraga has a uniform floor wage regardless of the number of employees that a company/establishment has. He also added that by July 1, 2017, the wage board would again assess if there is a need to increase the existing minimum wage.
“Our media partners had helped us a lot in information dissemination of our programs and services and accomplishments, and we hope to continue the good working relationship that we were able to establish through the years,” expressed Dela Victoria.
The good board secretary also stressed that their office was able to surpass the 100 percent accomplishments of their targets for 2016. He added that some 3,103 clients/beneficaries with 1,299 businessmen have availed different trainings they conducted for this year.
Also, Engr. Christian Lee Jaguit of the Occupational Safety and Health Center (OSHC) Caraga announced that their office was able to conduct occupational and health safety training to some 560 safety officers from the different companies, and conducted free OSH orientation to 531 participants for the different provinces of the region.
Meanwhile, Faith Gonzales, administrative assistant III of National Conciliation and Mediation Board (NCMB) Caraga disclosed that 2016 is the 4th year that it has maintained a 'No Strike' occurrence in Caraga region. She also emphasized that it is a manifestation that cases/grievances between employees and employers are immediately addressed in their level. (JPG/PIA-Caraga)
DTI Surigao Norte holds seminar workshop on local competitiveness for mainland LGU officials
By Rodrigo R. Matabaran
SURIGAO CITY, Surigao del Norte, Dec. 20 (PIA) - The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Surigao del Norte provincial office in coordination with the Department of Interior and Local Government conducted a seminar-workshop on local competitiveness for mainland local government unit officials (LGUs) on December 15, 2016 held at Parkway Hotel, this city.
The activity aims to provide a venue for the mainland LGUs in the province to discuss concerns on how to improve the overall territorial competitiveness.
A total of 37 officials of LGUs and members of the local competitiveness committees of Surigao City, Claver, Tagana-an, Malimono, Gigaquit, Bacuag, Placer, Sison and Tagana-an attended the said seminar workshop.
Participants are mostly composed of Municipal Planning and Development Coordinators, Local Economic and Investment Promotion Officers, Business Permit and Licensing Officers and Sangguniang Bayan Members as well as other members of the Local Competitiveness Committees.
In her welcome address, Board Member Melva P. Garcia, chairperson of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan Committee on Economic Affairs, Trade, Commerce and Industry expressed the need to make the local business competitive and improve the quality of products and services to be profitable and better serve the community.
Meanwhile, DTI Surigao del Norte Provincial Director Celestino L. Negapatan explained that the present economic environment calls individual firms, industry sectors and LGUs geo-political territory to improve their respective competitiveness level to face the challenge of globalization.
He further stressed that for LGUs to develop their localities, they must be competitive to attract more local and foreign investments that will help them in the improvement of their respective economies through creation of more businesses that in turn generate employment for the local manpower.
Bryan F. Edulzura, Local Government Operations Officer V of the DILG as one of the resource persons explained the DILG-DTI-DICT Joint Memo Circular issued late this year requiring LGUs to adapt a revised Business Permit and Licensing System (BPLS) standards to further simplify and accelerate business permit processes as directed by President Rodrigo R. Duterte.
Meanwhile, Graciela E. Mante, Officer In-Charge of the Provincial Economic Enterprise Development and Management Office (PEEDMO) discussed the ranking of the Cities and Municipalities Competitiveness Index (CMCI) of the Surigao del Norte LGUs while Ma. Theresa Z. Calang, head of the Industry Development Unit of DTI explained that the purpose of establishing Negosyo Centers is to help business develop and improve their operation.
The participants were also made to understand the implications of their respective CMCI scores and how it can be used to identify relevant interventions to further develop their respective communities.
Rodrigo R. Matabaran, head of the DTI Institutional Development Unit also shared some inputs in coming up with possible short term and long term measures in addressing specific concerns related to various indicators and parameters.
During the workshop, the participants were able to initially come up with possible solutions and actions on how they can improve their competitiveness level hoping it will translate to tangible ground level development eventually leading to higher scores and ranking hopefully in the coming years if not in the 2017 CMCI round.
The activity ended with the closing remarks of City DILG Officer Mary Ann S. Tomate, also a member of Surigao City Competitiveness Committee, as she shared her appreciation for having more understanding on what LGU’s territorial competitiveness is all about.
The DTI Provincial Office will be conducting similar activity early next year for the Siargao Island LGUs. (DTI-Surigao del Norte/PIA-Surigao del Norte)