Tuesday, February 21, 2017

DICT to hold data privacy roadshow

By Jennifer P. Gaitano

BUTUAN CITY, Feb. 21 (PIA) – The Department of Information and Communications Technology – Mindanao Cluster 2 (DICT-MC 2) is set to hold the Data Privacy Roadshow on March 3, 2017 at Dotties Place Hotel, this city.

“With the rise of hacking incidents, data breaches and the recent Comeleak issues, no endeavor would be as timey as educating our communities about data privacy,” stressed DICT acting director Eva May Dela Rosa.

Dela Rosa added that the activities under the roadshow will focus on the importance of data privacy and improving data management across all its target sectors. The National Privacy Commission, an attached agency of DICT will provide an opportunity for technical interaction from the participants and presentations on Data Privacy Republic Act 10173.

It was learned that participants of said activity will have to pay P1,200 as registration fee to defray the cost on meals, snacks and kit.

For more information, the DICT office can be reached at telephone number (085) 225-9264. (JPG/PIA-Caraga)


Butuan City champs in 2017 Caraga Reg'l Athletic Meet

By Nida Grace P. Barcena

TANDAG CITY, Surigao del Sur, Feb. 21 (PIA) – The Butuan City Division Athletic Delegation was proclaimed as champion in the 20th Caraga Regional Athletic Meet (CRAM) 2017 held here last Feb. 12-17, 2017.

Based on the results released by the Department of Education (DepEd), the Butuan City Division garnered 103 Gold, 61 Silver and 43 Bronze medals in different events.

Agusan del Norte Division athletic delegation ranked 2nd with 40 Gold, 37 Silver, and 63 Bronze medals.

Despite the 6.7 magnitude earthquake that hit Surigao City the night before the CRAM starts, the Surigao City Division Athletic Delegation still performed their best putting them on the 3rd rank, garnering 39 Gold, 29 Silver, and 24 Bronze medals.

The Surigao del Sur Athletic Delegation, the host province of this year’s event, ranked as 4th with 36 Gold, 47 Silver, and 58 Bronze medals.

Meanwhile, the Tandag City Division, which has 20 Gold, 41 Silver, and 26 Bronze medals and Bislig City Division with 20 Gold, 21 Silver and 38 Bronze medals ranked as 5th and 6th, respectively.

Agusan del Sur delegation ranked as 7th, Cabadbaran City ranked 8th, Province of Dinagat Islands 9th; Surigao del Norte ranked 10th; Bayugan City ranked 11; and Siargao Islands ranked 12th.

A total of 12 schools divisions coming from the five provinces of Caraga Region competed in the annual event. The winners will represent the Caraga Region Athletic Delegation for the Palarong Pambansa. (PIA-Surigao del Sur)


Surigao quake damage reaches P688 million

By Susil D. Ragas

SURIGAO CITY, Surigao del Norte, Feb. 21 (PIA) – The Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO) of Surigao del Norte has released its damage assessment following the magnitude 6.7 earthquake that occurred on Feb. 10 here.

PDRRMO officer-in-charge Engr. Marlyn Pono said the total damage caused by the quake and its aftershocks reached P668 million. Pono said the damage to school facilities is estimated at P176.5 million while damage to infrastructure is pegged at P194.8 million.

The damage to various provincial government buildings reached P104.3 million. Basic utilities like the electric power reached P7.3 million and water supply was reported at P2.3 million. The Caraga regional hospital was also affected by the strong quake with cost of the damage is P488,000 while the damage on national roads and bridges was P201.8 million.

During the recent press briefing, Governor Sol Matugas has ordered to fast track the distribution of relief goods to badly affected families especially in isolated communities where supplies remain scarce.

She recommended that there should be a regular evaluation of public and private infrastructures such as buildings, bridges and other structures to ensure that they can withstand strong earthquakes and enjoined Phivolcs and barangay officials to determine open spaces for safe refuge when earthquakes occur and craft evacuation plans that would help the people find out the fastest and safest way to reach open spaces and other safe areas.

Gov. Matugas encouraged residents of the city and affected municipalities to remain calm and alert with the safety of their families as their primary concern because aftershocks are still expected.

When asked why there is an aftershock and how long does it last, Phivolcs Science Research Specialist Jeffrey Perez said that aftershocks are normal after a strong earthquake and this could last for days or weeks.

Perez also said that a total of 185 aftershocks were recorded in Surigao Norte, as of 4pm, Feb. 15, of which 88 were plotted and 18 were reportedly felt.

Meanwhile, Provincial Social Services Office (PSSO) officer-in-charge Arlene Tongco appealed to those who want to donate that the priority needs for the earthquake victims are food packs, medicines, flashlights, tents for temporary shelter for evacuees in camps, financial assistance, portable generators, kitchen utensils, beddings, potable water and housing materials.

Tongco said volunteers for psychosocial needs and stress debriefing are also badly needed by the affected families. (PDRRMO/PIA-Surigao del Norte)


DOE, PEZA to facilitate development of regional ecozones

BUTUAN CITY, Feb. 21 (PIA) - In a bid to attract more investments into the country, the Department of Energy (DOE) and the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the accelerated development of regional economic zones or ecozones with the assurance of a reliable and reasonably-priced supply of electricity.

According to Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi, “the MOU is an initiative consistent with the long-term economic vision of President Rodrigo Duterte known as ‘Ambisyon 2040’ and complements his 10-point socio-economic agenda.”

“Energy policies will be developed to facilitate the reduction of the cost of doing business in the country, including the ecozones," he added.

“Energy efficiency programs, like the adoption of the Energy Management Systems (ISO 50001), will be given importance to help the locator companies to be more efficient in their use of energy resources. This will result in lower power costs to sustain the companies’ competitiveness, while also encouraging the establishment of more energy efficient ecozones in the country,” Cusi said.

Cusi also underscored the importance of policies that would streamline the permitting processes for energy projects, to ensure stable and reliable supply of energy to drive the economic activities in the ecozones.

The MOU was signed by DOE Undersecretary Benito L. Ranque representing Secretary Cusi and PEZA Director General Charito B. Plaza on February 2, 2017 in Davao City.

“With the MOU in place, the country can expect the flow of critical investment which in the long-run creates more job opportunities and spur rural development,” Cusi said. (DOE/PIA-Caraga)


DOE consultations show wide support for WESM Mindanao establishment

BUTUAN CITY, Feb 21 (PIA) - Given the excess in power generation capacity in Mindanao, preparatory activities for the launch of the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM) in Mindanao are being undertaken by the Department of Energy (DOE). This is in coordination with the Philippine Electricity Market Corporation (PEMC) and the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP).

The DOE has already completed two public consultations this month in Cagayan de Oro and in Zamboanga City. It focused on a draft circular that will govern the operation of WESM Mindanao in fulfillment of the DOE's mandate to ensure the security, reliability and availability of transparent and reasonably-priced electricity in the country.

The above-mentioned mandate of the DOE, under the stewardship of Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi, is underlined in Republic Act 9136 or the Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001.

The two public consultations on the draft circular “Declaring the Launch of the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market in Mindanao and Providing for Transition Arrangements" gathered together energy experts and power industry participants, as well as investors, consumers, members of the academe and other stakeholders.

The consultation participants were united in expressing confidence that with a stable and competitively-priced energy source, Mindanao can experience and sustain an economic boom under the Duterte Administration's 10-point socio-economic program.

The establishment of WESM in Mindanao is a high priority agenda of Cusi targeting its commercial operation by June 26, 2017. The DOE is set to conduct three more public consultations in Davao City on February 21, Butuan City on the 28th, and General Santos City on March 7.

For decades, Mindanao has lagged behind Luzon and the Visayas in economic development under the past Administrations with their Manila centrist policies which the Duterte Administration has seen as one of the root causes of poverty and strife in Mindanao.

The objective of the public consultations is to solicit the views of all stakeholders on how to improve the circular which will lay down the policies for the establishment of WESM Mindanao.

To be able to reach more participants, the DOE forged a partnership with the Mindanao Development Authority which, together with the PEMC and NGCP, will undertake an intensive and massive Information, Education and Communication (IEC) drive.

The information drive will help more Mindanaoans better understand WESM and to appreciate the benefits it will bring about in sustaining investments in Mindanao, which needs a robust power sector to support a booming economy.

In 2016, Mindanao had an additional generating capacity of 782 megawatts (MW) and is expecting the commercial operations of additional 1,208 MW this year.

Despite the additional supply, there remains power interruptions in Mindanao especially in the franchise areas of distribution utilities which do not have sufficient power supply agreements to cover their increasing demand for electricity.

In the absence of such contracts, power generation companies are hesitant to operate their plants without an approved supply contract or any compensation mechanism duly approved by the Energy Regulatory Commission.

Thus, the establishment of the WESM will serve as the mechanism to efficiently tap the excess capacities in the area to avoid rotating brownouts and ensure 24-hours continuous electricity service.

From the two consultations, the DOE recognized that most of the concerns were operational in nature rendering the need to move forward with the IEC drive.

Through the IEC, the DOE hopes to address also occasional opposing views which can be attributed to the lack of deeper understanding of the WESM.

The draft circular was posted at the DOE and PEMC website last January 24. Comments and suggestions will be processed until March 14, 2017. (DOE/PIA-Caraga)


Dinagat Islands LGU deploys response team, donates cash assistance to earthquake victims in Surigao Norte

SAN JOSE, Dinagat Islands, Feb. 21 (PIA) - The provincial government of Dinagat Islands through the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC) deployed a response team tagged as “Dinagat Islands Volunteers” for a humanitarian mission to help the earthquake victims in Surigao City and affected municipalities of the province during the 6.7 magnitude earthquake on Feb. 10, 2017.

The response team being deployed composed of three groups with 70 members for a humanitarian mission for the survivors of the 6.7 magnitude earthquake.

Three groups were assigned on different areas: Group 1- composed of 20 providers for Mental Health and Psychosocial Support Services; Group 2 – composed of five PICE accredited Structural Engineers to assess the structural integrity of commercial and residential buildings and Group 3 with 25 composite members from Bureau of Fire Protection, Philippine National Police and Dinagat Islands Search and Rescue in-charge for water rationing.

The Psychosocial Group debriefed a total of 317 personnel of Caraga Regional Hospital as well as the quake trauma patients.

On the other hand, more or less 2,000 purified drinking waters were distributed to different barangays in the city and province, while 30 buildings and houses were assessed by Structural Integrity Assessment Group.

The week-long humanitarian mission that started on Feb. 13, 2017 ended with an expressive arts psychosocial activity in Brgy. Poblacion, San Francisco, Surigao del Norte considered to be the severely affected barangay by the said quake.

Assorted goodies and toiletries were also given to children and adults who joined the said expressive art social activity.

The Province of Dinagat Islands also handed a financial assistance worth P200,000 each to the Municipality of San Francisco and Surigao City. (PDRRMO-Dinagat Islands/PIA-Dinagat Islands)


Energy department moves to ensure viability of e-vehicle charging stations

BUTUAN CITY, Feb. 21 (PIA) - Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi underscored on Tuesday the need to ensure the viability and safety of e-vehicle charging stations in gasoline stations.

Cusi cited the importance of the ground-laying work being done by an Ad-Hoc Technical Working Group (TWG) on the installation of the e-vehicle charging stations.

"We want the TWG to study the technical viability of the infrastructure, evaluate its safe operations by assessing the necessary protocols and standards, and to determine required policies and its supporting legal basis," said Cusi.

The Department of Energy (DOE) stands at the forefront of the government's promotion of alternative fuels and energy technologies, he added.

"The Technical Team must make recommendations on the advancement of e-vehicle charging stations and related infrastructures, such as other viable options for locations like malls and other establishments."

Cusi said safety and accessibility are also major considerations on where to put up e-vehicle charging stations.

Cusi created the TWG to determine the suitability of gasoline stations as charging areas for electric or e-vehicles with the emergence of the electric vehicle industry in the Philippines.

The TWG is co-chaired by the DOE-Energy Utilization Management Bureau and the DOE-Oil Industry Management Bureau.

The DOE is in the process of drafting a circular for the policy guidelines in the overall development and increased utilization of alternative fuels and energy technologies, which includes the e-vehicle industry.

"I have to stress that this venture should be in compliance with existing environmental, safety and other relevant rules and regulations,” he added.

“Apart from increasing public awareness, the DOE in coordination with relevant government agencies will create an environment for the equitable and non-discriminatory access for alternative fuels and energy technologies with preference for indigenous ones. In the end, we seek the support of our kababayans to look into this endeavor and look into ways to enable our country to ably compete and create wealth for every Filipino,” Cusi concluded. (DOE/PIA-Caraga)