2.28.2017

Monday, February 27, 2017

Sec. Lopez targets green economy jobs for closed mine districts in Caraga

By Venus L. Garcia

BUTUAN CITY, Feb 27 (PIA) – In over two years of utilizing a 200-hectare land by the displaced mine workers in the provinces of Dinagat Islands and Surigao del Norte, both in Caraga region, around 10,000 households generating a net income of P40M is targeted to benefit from the livelihood systems, envisioned Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Gina Lopez.

Lopez said the she is optimistic that mining-affected communities will be able to cope even when several mining companies will be closed. She assured that the department is working on with projects that will benefit them and will give them sustainable livelihood.

Included in the future programs and projects set for implementation that were revealed are improved ecotourism that gives jobs with dignity, agricultural opportunities that flow into health and wellness products from biodiversity, and mine site revegetation.

“Healthy forests, fuel and power from biomass, healthy rivers that can provide power are also among the priorities. Caraga is a beautiful region that’s why we are crafting plans that would help preserve its green resources and provide alternative means of livelihood for the Dinagatnons and Surigaonons. Green economy jobs that create community empowerment and sustains ecosystem integrity are better be realized,” said Lopez.

As enumerated by DENR chief Lopez during a press conference here on Saturday, the green economy jobs envisioned for closed mining districts are mine site rehabilitation; ecotourism; fuel for cooking from charcoal briquettes from agri-wastes; bamboo, rattan, nipa product lines; timber and other forest products for homes and industry; and health and wellness products from biodiversity.

Lopez assured that the department will turn Dinagat Islands and Surigao del Norte into forested areas. In her comprehensive engagements and consultations with communities in mined-out areas and with the pro-mining entities, Lopez saw the pressing concerns of the affected individuals, hence, DENR has prepared immediate, short-term, and long term livelihood projects and programs.

“The region will truly benefit and will have sustainable development even without the mining industry,” stressed Lopez.

On illegal mining, Lopez said that their agency has formed a group to monitor illegal logging activities in the region. “The Philippine National Police, Armed Forces of the Philippines, Department of Justice and other agencies concerned are on tight monitoring of the illegal logging activities in the different identified regions, apart from its monitoring on mining. Illegal logging should be stopped, thus, the government has taken measures to address this concern,” underscored Lopez.

Meanwhile, Lopez encouraged the media partners to help the department in reporting those DENR personnel who are involved in illegal activities in Caraga region. (VLG/JPG/NCLM/PIA-Caraga)


Cabadbaran corn growers receive seeds

By Nora C. Lanuza Molde

CABADBARAN CITY, Agusan del Norte, Feb. 27 (PIA) – The Corn Growers Association of this city receives 20 sacks of corn seeds during their recently held monthly meeting.

Mayor Katrina Marie Mortola says the seeds would serve as a support to the city’s program to have a common farming for the corn growers.

Mortola also encourages the corn growers to report directly to her or to the City Agriculture Office whatever problems the association will encounter. “I am with you in you in your cause of having a beneficial corn production in the city,” she says.

Also discussed during the meeting and turnover ceremony, attended by the group members from the barangays of Mabini, Comagascas, Katugasan, Bay-ang and Putting Bato and personnel of the City Agriculture Office, the qualifications and ways on corn farming. (NCLM/PIA-Agusan del Norte)


DENR chief asserts for area dev’t approach in Caraga provinces

By Venus L. Garcia

BUTUAN CITY, Feb. 27 (PIA) – In confronting the perceived challenges that mine workers in Dinagat Islands and Surigao del Norte will be dealing with, where majority of the mining operations that were ordered for closure are located, Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Sec. Gina Lopez specified during the press conference held on Saturday here that the department plans to adapt an area development approach where the income goes around the local economy.

“Ninety-five percent from what has been invested and earned in Dinagat and Surigao areas goes out of the local economy, that is why this integrated approach to create local economic zones can help generate employment, livelihood and income-generating activities in communities where they operate,” underscored Sec. Lopez.

Earlier on that same day, an aerial survey and site inspection to the municipalities of the said provinces was conducted where the lady Secretary had personally witnessed the extent of destruction in the once forested areas and how it greatly affects the communities nearby.

A video taken from Sec. Lopez' cellphone showing the actual footage of their aerial ocular inspection was presented during the press conference so media representatives can see how mining areas in Caraga look like. The secretary also emphasized that mining has really brought damages to the environment.

Lopez cited the positive impacts for socioeconomic development if proper management and implementation of targeted plans will be given priority and ultimately influence the people in getting involved in economic activities that they themselves would reap the benefits from it.

Under the DENR’s area development approach, “we will be helping the entire community that’s affected after the mining has stopped. The DENR will be assisting you in the best way we can through the plotted viable programs to make things right without the expense of our natural environment,” said Lopez.

Included in the future programs/projects set to be implemented in Dinagat Islands and Surigao that Sec. Lopez revealed are improved ecotourism that gives jobs with dignity, agricultural opportunities that flows into health and wellness products from biodiversity, mine site revegetation. Immediate, short-term, and long-term livelihood programs are likewise devised.

Meanwhile, in time also with the visit of Sec. Lopez was the conduct of Community Consultation and Engagement for Affected Mining Areas and Communities in Surigao del Sur, Surigao del Norte wherein different line agencies of Caraga region presented their programs and plans to support the communities affected by the mining closure in the region. (VLG/JPG/PIA-Caraga)


PNP officers' ladies club gives relief assistance to earthquake victims

BUTUAN CITY, Feb. 27 (PIA) - The Officers' Ladies Club (OLC) of Police Regional Office 13 in partnership with the Convoy of Hope distributed food packs, medicines, and hygiene kits to around 300 earthquake victims in Surigao City on Sunday.

Police Regional Office 13 regional director Chief Supt. Rolando Felix and his wife Maria Jojilyn Felix together with Clarissa Manuel, Convoy of Hope’s Assistant to the President led the distribution at Margarita Memorial Elementary School in Brgy. Luna.

Aside from the relief goods, feeding activities and free blood pressure check were also conducted.

Also, on Saturday, the OLC turned over boxes of relief goods to the Agusan del Sur Police Provincial Office (ADS PPO) in Prosperidad, Agusan del Sur.

ADS PPO will distribute these boxes to the flood victims in the towns of Talacogon, San Luis, and Prosperidad in Agusan del Sur.

OLC is comprised of the wives of Police Commissioned Officers in Caraga while Convoy of Hope is a faith-based, nonprofit organization that is conducting feeding initiatives, community outreaches and disaster response. (PNP-Caraga/PIA-Caraga)


DSWD-Caraga clarifies Pantawid Pamilya additional cash assistance, rice subsidy to the recipients

BUTUAN CITY, Feb. 27 (PIA) - The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Field Office Caraga through the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) clarified the details of the additional cash grants for rice subsidy.

With the numerous questions received by the regional management on the abovementioned issue, the field office confirmed the following: All active and compliant partner-beneficiary shall receive a rice subsidy, additional to their monthly cash grants; Rice subsidy is in a form of cash amounting to P600.00 per month; and Guidelines on the rice subsidy are already drafted and are subject for approval (Central Office Level).

DSWD Caraga OIC-Regional Director Mita Chuchi Gupana-Lim called on all Pantawid Pamilya partner-beneficiaries to wait for official notice from the City/Municipal Link Officer as information is channelled through them officially.

“I encouarged all Pantawid Pamilya partner-beneficiaries to wait for official notice from the City/Municipal Links on rice subsidy to avoid misinformation,” said Lim.

Meanwhile, the Regional Program Management Office of Pantawid Pamilya has already released a memorandum addressed to all field staff to clarify this concern at the local level. (DSWD-13/PIA-Caraga)


Social Pension serves 93,448 indigent SCs in Caraga

By Abegail R. Alvarez

BUTUAN CITY, Feb. 27 (PIA) - A total of 93,448 indigent senior citizens benefitted the Social Pension program of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD)-Caraga in its 2016 implementation covering the 73 local government units (LGUs) in the region. This number includes replacement beneficiaries from 1st to 4th quarter.

With this, the Department disbursed a total amount of P496,590,000 for the said program.

Sarah Rose Salingay, focal person of Social Pension, said that DSWD exceeded its target of 82,765 beneficiaries to be served at the end of the year. “This proves that the department is effectively and efficiently implementing the program that aims to help the poor senior citizens through cash assistance every quarter,” said Salingay.

“However, it’s still our challenge this year for the remaining LGUs to adopt the Transfer of Funds. That’s why, we will continue lobbying to the LGUs and conduct orientation about the advantage of the said scheme,” she added.

The transfer of funds scheme strategize that the Department downloads the money directly to the LGUs account to fast track the disbursement of money during the schedule payout. The disbursement process will be the responsibility of the respective LGUs, but the payroll preparation will be done in the region to ensure no alterations of the list and the eligible beneficiaries will receive the pension.

As of this time, there are 60 LGUs out of 73 had engaged to transfer of funds scheme, thus only 13 LGUs are implementing the direct payment/cash advance mode of payment.

This year, the department targets a total of 100,000 beneficiaries in the region. It means that more indigent senior citizens aged 60 years old and above will benefit the said program as on the commitment of the new administration.

DSWD Caraga OIC-Regional Director Mita Chuchi Gupana-Lim said that the DSWD will coordinate with LGUs to submit their waitlist and delist report duly signed by the Municipal Social Welfare and Development, Office of the Senior Citizens Affairs, and Local Chief Executive.

Another accomplishment last year is the development of the Social Pension Information System (SPInS) by the RSPU. This system was created to establish a database of the program where information are stored and readily available to the stakeholders.

Social Pension is a program of DSWD intended for the indigent senior citizens aged from 60 and above who are frail/sickly and with no pension either from SSS, GSIS, PVAO and other insurance companies. The beneficiaries receive P500 every month, which are distributed every quarter. (Social Marketing Unit/DSWD Field Office Caraga/PIA-Caraga)


DSWD Caraga celebrates 66th anniv, awards supportive partners

By Abegail R. Alvarez

BUTUAN CITY, Feb. 27 (PIA) - To celebrate the 66 fruitful founding years of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), the Caraga Field Office here paid tribute to its partner-stakeholders who generously dedicated their resources and expertise in helping the Department carry out its mandate of providing quality life for the poor, vulnerable, and disadvantaged sectors.

The regional celebration held recently at Almont Hotel’s Inland Resort highlighted the theme, “DSWD@66:May Malasakit.” It emphasized the compassionate service of DSWD throughout the years.

In her opening remarks, Assistant Regional Director for Administration Nerisa Murih, expressed hopes to increase number of partner-stakeholders and implement pro-poor programs and services.

“In our 66th year, DSWD Caraga calls for a strong partnership and hopes to establish more partnership to various private and public institutions region-wide to pro-actively deliver the social welfare services to the communities, a wonderful service that is compassionate and timely,” said Murih.

The awardees were given plaques of recognition which was personally handed by DSWD Office of the Secretary Field Program Manager Marita Pimentel and ARDA Murih.

The following are the awards given during the celebration; PANATA Ko sa Bayan, PRESTIGE, and Child-Friendly Local Government Units.

PANATA or Pagkilala sa Natatanging Kontribusyon sa Bayan Awards gives recognition to any local development partners as well as individuals who have selflessly dedicated their time, talent and resources to help the Department in providing better opportunity for the poor, disadvantaged, and vulnerable sectors in the society.

It has four categories namely, Salamat Po Awards, Gawad sa Makabagong Teknolohiyang Panlipunan, Gawad Paglilingkod sa Sambayanan (GAPAS), and Gawad Ulat.

The following are the list of winners of the said award:

Salamat Po

Local Development Partner - Northern Mindanao Technological Training Institute
Local Volunteer in Support to Regional Rehabilitation for Youth (RRCY) - Pastor Chito Ruina
Local Development Partner in Support to Home for Girls - Equi-Parco Construction Company
Local Development Partner in Support to Sectoral Programs - Robinson Place, Butuan City
Local Development Partner in Support to Disaster Operations - Naval Intelligence and Security Group Eastern Mindanao (NISG-EM) and Naval Task Group 72
Local Volunteer – Jean Cordita, Kalahi-CIDSS BSPMC Chair in Pilar, Surigao del Norte
Gawad sa Makabagong Teknolohiya Panlipunan

Bacuag, Surigao del Norte
Gapas Award

Model LGU Supporting the Implementation of Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program – Tandag City, Gigaquit, San Francisco AdS, RTR, and Province of Dinagat Islands
Model LGU implementing Outstanding SLP Microenterprise Development Model – Sibagat
Model LGU implementing Outstanding SLP Employment Facilitation Model – Sibagat
Model LGU Implementing Day Care Service – Surigao City
Model LGU Implementing Protective Programs and Services – PSWDO of Province of Dinagat Islands, CSWDO of Bislig City, MSWDO of San Francisco AdS,
LGU Implementing Protective Programs and Services (TAWAG) – MSWDO of Alegria
LGU Implementing Protective Programs and Services (PDAO) – PDAO of Bislig City
LGU Implementing Protective Programs and Services (Supplementary Feeding Program) – Jabonga
LGU Implementing Protective Programs and Services (Social Pension Program) – Socorro
People’s Organization – FSCAP of General Luna, PYAP of Bayugan City
Model LGU Implementing Kalahi-CIDSS – Las Nieves
Gawad Ulat

Most DSWD Supportive Print Media Outlet – Mike Crismundo of Manila Bulletin, and Mindanao Daily News
DSWD-Supportive TV Station – ABS-CBN TV Patrol Caraga, and NMBS Bee TV
Most DSWD-Supportive Radio Station – Radyo Trumpeta
Most DSWD-Supportive Online Media – Philippine Information Agency (PIA-Caraga)
Most DSWD-Supportive Beat Reporter – Aisa Supas of Radyo Trumpeta
DSWD Social Media Advocates – Sheryl Lorenzo, Jannel Murillo, and Pantawid Pamilya Municipal Link Officer Michel Montenegro.
The next award is PRESTIGE or Promoting Resurgence and Excellence of Social Welfare Officers as Transformation Agents for Inclusive Growth and People Empowerment. This award is given to the most functional Local Social Welfare and Development Offices (LSWDOs).

Fully Functional LSWDOs – Nasipit, Carmen, Sibagat, Esperanza, Prosperidad, Rosario, Bayugan City and Butuan City
Another award given is the Child-Friendly Local Government Units (LGUs) to recognize the collective efforts of people in the LGU who provide quality and effective programs and services for the children.

Child Friendly LGUs – Cabadbaran City, Butuan City, Bayabas, and Cagdianao
Aside from the above-mentioned awards, outstanding employees of the Department were also awarded for their service and commitment through the Program on Awards and Incentives for Service Excellence (PRAISE). Also, Loyalty Awards were given for the internal staffs who have served the Department for ten (10) years or more.

Loyalty Awards (10 years)

Tyreen M. Adlaon, Cheril Q. Jorta, Reolita D. Jue, Thesa Joy B. Musa, and Glezza T. Ty

Loyalty Awards (15 years)

Ryan V. Piamonte, Raffy R. Pocon, and Rosalie I. Vasquez
Loyalty Awards (20 years)

Benedicta B. Laña, Ma. Gennette B. Marban
Also, Ramil M. Taculod received the Gawad Huwaran (MaHUsay, WAsto, at Responsableng Lingkod BayANi ng DSWD) and Juvy P. Echavaria for the Gawad Kalihim (a special award for the Memorandum workers serving 15 years or more). 

Marita Pimentel, the guest speaker, delivered a keynote message, which emphasized on the thrust of the new administration in terms of compassionate service delivery.

“As the agency celebrates its 66 anniversary, let us continue to deliver our programs and services to the community with a compassionate heart,” said Pimentel.

“It’s amazing how the region answers the immediate needs of the families affected by the series of catastrophe. With this, let us continue doing this deed as the department carries its mandate as lead agency for development and welfare,” she added. (Social Marketing Unit/DSWD Field Office Caraga)


DOE respects supreme court’s TRO on the DOE, ERC issuances

BUTUAN CITY, Feb. 27 (PIA) - The Department of Energy (DOE) and the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC), as respondents, respect the ruling of the Supreme Court and will abide by its temporary restraining order (TRO) on the DOE Circular No. DC2015-06-0010 (Providing Policies to Facilitate the Full Implementation of Retail Competition and Open Access (RCOA) in the Philippine Electric Power Industry), Series of 2015 and ERC Resolution Nos. 5, 10, 11 and 28, Series of 2016, without prejudice, however, to exhaustion of available legal remedies in order to put forward the factual and legal bases on which the promulgation of the assailed rules have been based.

Due to the legal complexities surrounding the TRO, the DOE, ERC and the Philippine Electricity Market Corporation (PEMC), are still in the process of drafting a general advisory for the guidance of the Retail Competition and Open Access (RCOA) Stakeholders, without prejudice to future issuances. The main issues being considered are whether:

1. Those who have already executed Retail Supply Contracts (RSCs) and were already registered and switched shall continue to honor their respective RSCs;

2. Ongoing applications for registration filed before the Central Registration Body (CRB) may proceed voluntarily;

3. Applicants who wish to withdraw or defer their registration before the CRB may do so consistent with the Retail Market Rules provided that the CRB shall not be liable for any legal repercussions that may arise out of the contestable customers’ contractual obligations; and

4. Remaining contestable customers who have not yet secured their RSCs may continue to negotiate and exercise their power to choose.

The DOE, in coordination with the ERC and PEMC, as the CRB, will continue to conduct information drive and to educate the contestable customers on the benefits of RCOA in order to respond to queries affecting the industry players.

The DOE assures the public that extensive consultations and coordination efforts will continue towards full implementation of the provisions of the law favoring the consumers' power of choice. (DOE/PIA-Caraga)


DOE commits to uphold consumers' power of choice

BUTUAN CITY, Feb. 27 (PIA) - The Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi said on Thursday that its mandate to implement the law and consumers should have the freedom of choice as to which power provider they prefer to deal with.

The secretary reiterated this after the Supreme Court issued a Temporary Restraining Order against the implementation of the Retail Competition and Open Access (RCOA), a key provision of Republic Act 9136 or the Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001 or EPIRA.

Energy Secretary Cusi said that the DOE is duty-bound to implement the law which seeks to uphold the freedom of choice of the consumers and to promote market competition.

“The provisions in the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA) mandates the DOE to ensure the security, reliability and availability of transparent and reasonably-priced electricity in the country,” Cusi expressed.

“One of the provisions of the law is the implementation of the Retail Competition and Open Access (RCOA), which allows consumers to directly contract power supply from licensed Retail Electricity Suppliers (RES),” Cusi clarified.

“The spirit of the RCOA is giving the consumers the freedom of choice which would result in higher productivity for them. And the power of choice can only be maximized when there is a level playing field for all suppliers,” Cusi assured.


"It is hoped that whatever the Decision by the Supreme Court, it will redound to the ultimate benefit of the consumers which is really the intent and the spirit of RCOA." Cusi concluded. (DOE/PIA-Caraga)