Thursday, January 5, 2017

AgSur IPs learn financial literacy

By Jennifer P. Gaitano

BUTUAN CITY, Jan. 5 (PIA) – Some 26 Indigenous Peoples (IPs) of the Manpahanao Clan of Esperanza, Agusan del Sur were recently trained on how to manage their financial resources. This was thru the initiative of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) of the province.

DTI-Agusan del Sur provincial director Brenda Corvera stressed that the seminar on Financial Literacy was introduced to IPs so they will know better how to handle and manage their resources, as well as in their initiated project so they will be able to make sure that it will have enough funds to provide for their family’s daily needs.

“The seminar, which is one of the components of the 2016 Bottom-Up Budgeting (BuB) project dubbed 'Yamang Pinoy on Handicraft Making' was facilitated by the local government unit of Esperanza and our office. We will provide more trainings to the IP sector in the province that will give them better opportunities,” Corvera highlighted.

Meanwhile, Julieto Engag, chairman of the Manpahanao Clan in Esperanza also expressed his gratitude to the organizers of said seminar. “We are thankful as the knowledge shared by DTI helps us a lot in developing our capacity to handle our financial resources and do family budgeting. It has also awakened us on how important it is to build savings and emergency fund,” he shared. (JPG with a report from DTI-AgSur/PIA-Agusan del Sur)


BCWD celebrates water district week

By Nora C. Lanuza Molde

BUTUAN CITY, Jan. 5 (PIA) – In recognition to the contribution of the water districts to the growth and development of the nation, a water district week celebration is scheduled on the last week of January to be spearheaded by the Butuan City Water District (BCWD) here.

This year’s celebration is anchored on the theme, “Water Districts: Adapting to Change."

“The goal of the event is to teach about water conservation, water quality and watershed protection,” BCWD general manager Engr. Anselmo L. Sang Tian said.

The BCWD hopes to provide an educational experience for residents and students on the importance of conserving water consumption and protecting our water source – the Taguibo Watershed, Sang Tian added.

During the celebration, a Community Water Conservation Festival will be held on January 27 to include booth exhibit, film showing and variety show.

The celebration is pursuant to Presidential Proclamation No. 309 issued on December 20, 2002 by then President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo declaring the last full week of January of every year as Water District Week. (NCLM/PIA-Agusan del Norte)


DTI promotes 5 Negosyo Centers in AgSur

By Jennifer P. Gaitano

BUTUAN CITY, Jan. 5 (PIA) – The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in Agusan del Sur urged the public to avail the services of the five Negosyo Centers (NCs) currently operating in the province.

According to DTI-Agusan del Sur provincial director Brenda Corvera, the Micro-Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) can register their business name, get help for other business requirements, receive business counseling and information on their marketing, financing, production/technology, product development and business management needs, include their product in the center pasalubong/trade display corner, and enroll and join in the center’s trainings for free.

“Joining the two pioneer centers – Negosyo Center in San Frncisco and Talacogon, established in 2015 are the three more NCs in the city of Bayugan and the municipalities of Prosperidad and Sibagat,” underlined Corvera.

Corvera also revealed that the NC in Prosperidad also serves as the NC provincial hub and is currently catering to the needs of MSMEs from municipalities with no NC yet mostly from the province’s second district. Another current sub-province is NC Talacogon, which is also serving the interior towns of San Luis, La Paz, and Trento.

“Targeted for set-up and launch this year is the Negosyo Centers in Trento, Bunawan and Sta. Josefa,” Corvera added.

The good provincial director further emphasized that all NCs in the province are working closely with the host local government units, local chambers (Agusan del Sur and Bayugan City), the local offices of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Provincial MSME Development Council. (JPG with a report from DTI-AgSur/PIA-Agusan del Sur)


AgSur ARBs participate in training for competitiveness

By Jennifer P. Gaitano

BUTUAN CITY, Jan. 5 (PIA) – The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Agusan del Sur together with the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) has recently trained some 21 agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs) to improve their ways in producing quality goods.

DTI-Agusan del Sur provincial director Brenda Corvera bared that these ARBs are members of the Kaagap Development Multi-Purpose Cooperative (KAAGAPMUCO) of Hubang in the municipality of San Francisco and RAM Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Multi-Purpose Cooperative (RARBEMPCO) in Rosario.

“The trainings include Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP), Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP), as well as entrepreneurial seminars,” disclosed Corvera.

Corvera added that the HACCP is a tool to strengthen food handlers, introduced the beneficiaries to a more systematic approach that will ensure food safety through preventive measures which will reduce hazards. (JPG with a report from DTI-AgSur/PIA-Agusan del Sur)


PNP reports fewer firecracker injuries in Caraga region

By Nora C. Lanuza Molde

BUTUAN CITY, Jan. 5 (PIA) - The Philippine National Police (PNP) Police Regional Office 13 reported fewer firecracker related injuries during the holiday season.

PNP-PRO 13 regional director PCSupt. Rolando Felix said there was a significant decrease on firecracker related injuries from the different provinces during the holiday season.

Felix said that as of January 1, a total of 15 firecracker related injuries were recorded in the entire region, all are out-patient cases. “This is a 57 percent decrease compared with the last year’s 35 incidents,” Felix added.

Also, the PNP noted the decrease on confiscated illegal firecrackers.

During its presentation and inspection on the confiscated illegal firecrackers, Felix said that a total of 563,188 pieces of firecrackers to include the piccolo, giant kwitis, 5-Star OG, imported baby rocket, pop pop, super lolo, pla-pla, whistle bomb, watusi and big mega were confiscated/recorded.

Felix said the decrease is the result of the community’s response and cooperation to the call of the authorities for safe celebrations and also due to the relentless pro-active measures conducted by the Department of Health and the Local Government Units including the help of the media in information dissemination on the campaign against the use of illegal firecrackers in greeting the New Year. (NCLM/PIA-Caraga)


Hinatuan announces temporary closure of enchanted river due to maintenance

By Nida Grace P. Barcena

TANDAG CITY, Surigao del Sur, Jan. 5 (PIA) – The enchanted river in Hinatuan town, one of the most popular tourist attractions in Surigao del Sur, will be temporarily closed to public for a maintenance.

Hinatuan Tourism Officer and Community Development Information Officer (CDIO) Gemma Millan revealed that the temporary closure is scheduled from Jan. 9 until Feb. 3, 2017.

Millan added that the normal service operation of the river would resume on Feb. 4.

This is one of the strategies thought out by the local government unit of Hinatuan to allow and let the river refresh and revitalize, letting it having a breather from tourism, it was learned.

For further queries, they may text or call the Enchanted River Management Office at 0909-955-3077. The enchanted river is about 144 kilometers away from the city.

The river is famous of its clear waters in different shades of blue. At noontime, the caretaker of the river will ring a bell requesting everyone to get out of water as it is “feeding time.” The caretaker will then play the “hymn of Hinatuan,” then a massive school of fish will come out of nowhere and will gather at the mouth of the river. The caretaker will then feed the fishes. No one is allowed to swim and disturb the “feeding time.” When feeding time is over, the school of fish disappear and goes back to the underwater cave. (PIA-Surigao del Sur)


DOE pushes simulations to safeguard consumers during Malampaya scheduled maintenance

BUTUAN CITY, Jan 5 (PIA) - Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi pushes to firm up measures by each concerned agencies and power stakeholders during the course of the Malampaya maintenance repair from January 28 to February 16, 2017 to ensure readiness of all stakeholders and by way of ensuring consumers protection from any market abuses.

The DOE will closely coordinate with all Malampaya stakeholders including the Malampaya Consortium, the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP), Manila Electric Company (MERALCO), Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management (PSALM) Corp., Philippine Electricity Market Corp. (PEMC) and power generation companies and other distribution utilities to ensure sufficiency of power supply during the shutdown period.

Initially, Sec. Cusi instructed that “materials, equipment and other assets necessary for the maintenance of Malampaya should all be delivered by January 15 and these should be ready for deployment to make sure that the repair activities should remain on schedule.”

The DOE noted that during the maintenance activities, some power plants are on scheduled maintenance as well.  Based on initial study, the lowest projected power supply capacity during the period stood at 8,747 MW on February 18, while highest demand is projected to reach 8,610 MW on February 9.

To ensure sufficient power supply, the DOE requires the affected natgas power plants to run on alternative or replacement fuel but it is more expensive than natural gas. Natural gas as fuel only costs around P4/kilowatt-hour and replacement fuel, such as diesel which costs around P6-P8/kWh.

Sec. Cusi then emphasized that “the Department is exploring all possible options and remedies to maximize protection for consumers.”

Moreover, to augment power supply, the DOE readies the Interruptible Load Program (ILP) in which around 900MW are enrolled.

Further, the DOE also encourages consumers to practice effective “demand-side management.”

The Secretary of Energy also enjoined that “the public should also be proactive in computing the effect of price adjustments to be provided in the simulations given by the agencies concerned to for consumers to practice efficiency measures to avoid price shocks.” (DOE/PIA-Caraga)


Power restored to more than 1M households in typhoon Nina-affected areas

BUTUAN CITY, Jan. 5 (PIA) - With its 24/7 power restoration efforts, the Department of Energy (DOE), together with its private institution partners, has resumed electricity supply to 1,003,519 households or about 57 percent re-energization of typhoon Nina-affected areas as of January 4, this year.

Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi said, “After restoring power in town centers and nearby communities, our ground personnel are working round the clock, even double time to bring back the power supply to all affected households in Southern Luzon and Bicol regions.”

Specifically, Cusi relayed, “We, through the National Electrification Administration (NEA), already deployed 982 personnel from 52 participating energy companies and distribution utilities through Task Force Kapatid to help restore power supply in the affected 99 municipalities and seven cities.”

On transmission facilities, the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines reported that it deployed close to 600 personnel working 24/7 to attain 100 percent restoration of transmission lines by today. NGCP is focusing on the last three transmission service connected to NGCP customers that are still undergoing rehabilitation as of yesterday (3 January), which include Tabaco 20 Megavolt Ampere (MVA) Load-End Substation (LES) serving Albay Power and Energy Corp. (APEC); Malinao 5 MVA LES serving APEC; and Albay Agro-Industrial Development Corp. (ALINDECO) LES serving AboitizPower Renewable Incorporated’s Tiwi Geothermal Plant.

The following is the status of restoration in the affected provinces as of January 4, 2017:

A) On-Grid Areas:

For Sorsogon, the NEA reported that 46,366 households have been restored under the franchise area of Sorsogon II Electric Cooperative (SORECO II), while SORECO I is currently undergoing clearing and restoration of their distribution facilities.

Albay province, through the report of Albay Power and Energy Corporation (APEC), has restored 31 percent of all affected areas or a total of 68,668 households.

In Camarines Norte, all power facilities are up and running supplying electricity to its locals, while in Camarines Sur, there are still 296,219 households to be energized spread over the franchise areas of four electric cooperatives in the province.

As reported by NEA, Quezon Province has reached 50 percent restoration status for all typhoon-affected areas, especially under the Quezon I Electric Cooperative.

For Batangas, NEA reported that Batangas II Electric Cooperative (BATELEC II) has attained 100 percent restoration, while BATELEC I stood at 90 percent or around 16,000 remaining households to be energized.

B) Off-Grid Areas:

In the hard-hit province of Catanduanes, the National Electrification Administration (NEA) reported that the First Catanduanes Electric Cooperative, Inc. (FICELCO) has counted 48,000 affected households undergoing restoration. Moreover, the National Power Corporation (NPC) reported that all affected government-owned power plants in the province are already in operation with a dependable capacity of 7.8 megawatts (MW), while among the privately-owned generation facilities totaling to 8.5 MW, only the 2.8 MW Sun West Corporation Hydroelectric Power is still non-operational due to flood water.

For Mindoro Island, NEA reported that 99 percent of households in Occidental Mindoro have been restored, while Oriental Mindoro stood at 68 percent re-energization or 120,682 households have experienced resumption of power supply.

While Marinduque’s generation and transmission facilities have been restored by NPC, there are still 43,200 affected households that are yet to be restored by Marinduque Electric Cooperative (MARELCO) as NEA reported.

All other off-grid areas (Masbate, Batangas, Camarines Sur and Marinduque Mini-Grids) under the supervision of NPC are back in operation awaiting restoration of distribution facilities.

“We’ve already added personnel and augmented assets through private institutions and we are continuously monitoring the progress of power restoration,” said Cusi.

Cusi concluded "We are exhausting all possible remedies to bring back the power in the affected areas the soonest possible. We cannot leave our kababayans until we have lighted each and every household affected by Typhoon Nina.” (DOE/PIA-Caraga)