2.11.2017

Friday, February 10, 2017

Agusan Norte approves major plans, programs for 2017

By Aimee B. Sienes

BUTUAN CITY, Feb. 10 (PIA) - The Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Agusan del Norte recently adopted and approved the proposed major economic development programs, projects and activities (PPAs) as priority projects of the province of Agusan del Norte.

Under Provincial Resolution No. 036-2017, authored by Vice Governor Ramon AG. Bungabong, the body approved Provincial Development Council (PDC) Resolution No. 04, series 2017, containing the major development PPAs that included: Agusan del Norte Special Economic Zone (ANSEZ) – full development of the Nasipit Agusan del Norte Industrial Estate (NANIE), tubay Agricultural Processing Center (TAPCEN) and Buenavista Special Economic zone (BSEZ); Agusan del Norte sustainable Agro-Forestry and Dairy Stockfarm Project; LASBUENASCAR Sustainable Agro-Forestry Development Project (Co-Management); Magallanes Fishpond Estate Development; Lake Mainit Integrated Area Development Project; Bana Grass Plantation; Solar Renewable energy Development Project; Implementation of Responsible Mining Industry-Sustainable Development Mining Program 9SDMP) fund and corporate Social Responsibility (CSR); Capitol Business Park; Nasipit Port Expansion; Mindanao Infrastructure Linkage (MinLink) – Construction of Buenavista-Impasug-ong Road (Bukidnon Road); Construction/Rehabilitation of Irrigation Projects; and Malaysian ALIF/AGIE Palm Oil Development Project.

Provincial Governor Ma. Angelica Rosedell M. Amante-Matba believed that the immediate implementation of the province’s identified major economic and infrastructure PPAs are expected to bring economic benefits to the province and its constituents. (LGU-Agusan del Norte/PIA-Agusan del Norte)


Social enterprises need enabling business environment to thrive

BUTUAN CITY, Feb 10 (PIA) - The Philippines needs to develop an enabling "ecosystem" of policies and institutions to scale up social enterprises.

In a recent study released by state think thank Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS), authors Marife Ballesteros and Gilberto Llanto remarked that social enterprises can be an important force in addressing the gaps between the country's paradoxical experience of positive growth and persistent poverty.

Ballesteros and Llanto, PIDS acting vice president and president, respectively, noted that the current policy environment has failed to capture the needs of social enterprises which in turn has hampered their growth. The emergence of community economies, which include social enterprises, presents a unique set of policy and institutional requirements.

Social enterprises, compared to for-profit enterprises and nonprofit organizations, are businesses that put communities at the center of their enterprise. At the core of their objectives include promoting social welfare, enabling sustainable development, and encouraging investments for empowering communities.

Currently, the United Nations has included community economy as part of its social and solidarity economy agenda, which gives attention and support to businesses that "can be vehicles for profit, people empowerment, peace, and other moral imperatives".

A 2013 survey by the Institute for Social Entrepreneurship in Asia reported that around 30,000 organizations in the Philippines may be classified as social enterprises. They are made up of firms in various forms, including social cooperatives, fair trade organizations, microfinance institutions, and trading and development companies.

Currently, there is a proposed bill in Congress that focuses on addressing the policy needs of social enterprises. Like the Magna Carta for MSMEs and the Barangay Micro Business Enterprises Act, the Poverty Reduction through Social Entrepreneurship or PRESENT Act includes important provisions on tax exemptions, special credit windows and guarantee funds, support for local government units, and other considerations like cash incentives for social enterprises that employ people with disabilities, comprehensive insurance for calamities, and resources from the government for comprehensive capacity building.

Ballesteros and Llanto explained that unlike the other two laws, the PRESENT bill does not promote the exemption of social enterprises from the minimum wage law. This is because they "are known to pay above the minimum wage and apply other fair trade principles".

However, the bill faces visceral challenges, including a question of definitions, where there is currently a "lack of agreement" on what differentiates social enterprise activities from those of for-profit and nonprofit entities. There is also a question of social enterprises overlapping with social protection policies and programs of the government.

That said, the authors acknowledge the potential of social enterprises as an avenue to respond to social challenges left unmet by existing entities—whether they are of the state, the for-profit sector, or the nonprofit sector.

"The Philippines has a social and cultural environment conducive for social entrepreneurship to emerge. This is largely attributed to the widespread focus in the country on the bottom-of-the-pyramid issues and the strong participation of the civil society and the private sector in social issues," the author concluded.

It would beneficial for the Philippines to nurture that environment through sound policies.

If you wish to know more about this study, download a copy of the policy note from this page: http://www.pids.gov.ph/dp.php?id=5781&pubyear=2017. (PIDS/PIA-Caraga)


AgNor SP pushes for study on domestic air travel policies

By Aimee B. Sienes

BUTUAN CITY, Feb. 10 (PIA) - The provincial lawmakers of Agusan del Norte expressed support to the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) of Bohol, requesting the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) and the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) to revisit, re-examine and study the existing policies on domestic air travel specifically on fare rates which policies are already outdated.

In its Sanggunian Resolution No. 043-2017, authored by Provincial Board Member Lorito Q. Maraganas, the SP of Agusan del Norte found that the deregulated and liberated regime of the Philippine domestic aviation industry is the reason why the fare rates of domestic air travel is not fixed but unjustifiably vary from time to time.

The SP further noted that the passengers of domestic air travel are always at risk of sudden change of fare rates depending on the airlines’ unilateral action, thus, there is a need to infuse a certain measure of balance, fairness and reasonableness on the fare rates of domestic air travels to protect the rights and interest of the passengers.

Republic Act No. 776, otherwise known as the Civil Aeronautics Act of the Philippines, the Department of Transportation and Communication, through the Civil Aeronautics Board is mandated by law to regulate the economic aspect of aviation, develop and promote the air potential of tehPhilippines, with due regard to public interest and convenience. (LGU-Agusan del Norte/PIA-Agusan del Norte)


DOST to lead the crafting of harmonized national R&D agenda

By Framelia V. Anonas

BUTUAN CITY, Feb. 10 (PIA) - The Department of Science and Technology shall hold the 2nd National Research and Development (R&D) Conference on February 15, 2017 to harmonize the country’s research and development agenda and priorities for 2017-2022.

In this conference, DOST will present to stakeholders the final Harmonized National R&D Agenda 2017-2022. The final agenda, to be presented by Dr. Rowena Cristina L. Guevara, undersecretary for research and development, is based on the outputs of the 1st National R&D Conference held October 21, 2016.

DOST’s Councils – the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development; Philippine Council for Health Research and Development; Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development; and the National Research Council of the Philippines – as well as the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration and Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology will also discuss the call for R&D proposals for the following sectors: health; industry, energy, and emerging technologies; agriculture, aquatic, and natural resources; basic research; and disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation.

During the 1st National R&D Conference, Secretary Fortunato T. De La Peňa identified 11 areas/strategies included in the R&D agenda, namely:

1. R&D to address pressing problems on health self sufficiency, food and nutrition, priority agricultural commodities, transport and mobility, national security and human security;

2. R&D for productivity, responsible mining, and S&T for the creative, tourism and service industries;

3. R&D to tap and manage resource potentials (responsible mining, energy source, biodiversity and sustainable development);

4. R&D to apply technologies across sectors for our benefits (e.g. artificial intelligence and space technology);

5. Climate change and disaster risk reduction (PAGASA Modernization Law, technical advisory services, and disaster preparedness and risk reduction);

6. Maximize the utilization of R&D results through technology transfer and/or commercialization

7. Assistance to the production sector (e.g. OneExpert, OneStore);

8. Upgrading of facilities and improvement of S&T services (Strengthening of R&D and S&T Services in the regions through infrastructure, facilities, human resource development and R&D funding);

9. Human Resource Development for science and technology;

10. Capacitate and utilize institutions in the Regions (SUCs who do R&D and develop human resources in S&T); and

11. Collaboration with industry, academe and international institutions.

More than 350 participants of the 1st National R&D Conference represented various agencies such as the departments of agrarian reform, budget and management, environment and natural resources, information and communications technology, health, and trade and industry, as well as the National Economic and Development Authority, private and public universities and colleges, national and regional research and development institutions, civil societies and non-government organizations.

Other participants included international R&D and funding agencies such as the Australian Centre for International Agriculture Research, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, World Food Programme, World Fish, and US Agency for International Development.

Said participants identified and agreed on the R&D priorities of the Philippines for 2017-2022 which resulted in the draft Harmonized R&D Agenda.

Said R&D Agenda is anchored on the Duterte Administration's 10-Point Socioeconomic Agenda and in line with the Philippine Development Plan tagged "AmBisyon Nation 2040."

The holding of both National R&D Conferences is consistent with the DOST mandate of providing central direction, leadership, and coordination of scientific and technical activities in the country.

Through the national research agenda, the DOST will unify all R&D projects and initiatives in the country, and ensure that results of these R&D activities will be used to improve the socio-economic conditions of Filipinos.

R.A. No. 10055 (Technology Transfer Act), Article IX, Section 19 provides that DOST shall regularly conduct national R&D conferences to gather all agencies of the government with R&D activities. (S&T Media Service/PIA-Caraga)


Surigao Norte holds 1st LGBT Summit

SURIGAO CITY, Surigao del Norte, Feb. 10 (PIA) – Around 270 lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders (LGBT) gathered recently for the 1st LGBT Summit spearheaded by the provincial government of Surigao del Norte at the Provincial Convention Center, Provincial Compound, this city.

The one-day activity was aimed to educate the third sex community on reproductive health, which focuses primarily on STI/HIV and AIDS prevention and control.

AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome) is a disease that recognizes no territorial, social political and economic boundaries for which there is no known cure.

The gravity of the AIDS threat demands a strong and immediate action while the nature of HIV and AIDS calls for multi-sectoral partnerships and responses in the local level, which involve not only the local government unit but other sectors of the community as well.

Republic Act 8504 also known as the “Philippine AIDS Prevention and Control Act of 1998” promulgates and prescribes measures for the prevention and control of the disease thus, a nationwide HIV and AIDS monitoring system is instituted to strengthen the Philippine National AIDS Council and for other germane purposes when necessary.

A creative dance competition capped the one-day event. The Socorro Butterflies Dance Group won the first place, followed by the municipality of Pilar as second place, and the thrid place went to the municipality of Taganaan. (Provincial Women’s Center-SDN/PIA-Surigao del Norte)


Agusan Norte expands health care services for capitol workers

By Aimee B. Sienes

BUTUAN CITY, Feb. 10 (PIA) - The provincial government of Agusan del Norte widened its coverage of the health services for its officials and employees with the inclusion of the cost of eyeglasses and increased the annual budget to P2,000.000.

Provincial Governor Ma. Angelica Rosedell M. Amante-Matba fully supported the wider coverage of health services for provincial officials and employees and ensured the increase of the annual budget for the said purpose.

Provincial Board Member Daniel O. Racaza initiated the move and authored Provincial Ordinance No. 436-2017, an Ordinance Amending Sections 5 and 7 of Provincial Ordinance No. 422-2016, “An Ordinance Granting Free Annual Medical, Dental and Ophthalmology Check-up to all Officials and Employees of the Provincial Government of Agusan del Norte and Providing Funds Thereof,” by adding a provision to include the cost of eyeglasses and to increase the fund appropriation to two million pesos.

Under the said ordinance, it provided that the provincial government shall provide eyeglasses to its employees for its annual regular eye-check-up with the cost not more than P5,000 per unit being done whether by a private or a public medical practitioner in a public or private hospital.


All financial assistance for the check-up/examination, including the purchase of eyeglasses shall be in the form of reimbursement. (LGU-Agusan del Norte/PIA-Agusan del Norte)