Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Butuan City COMELEC to hold special satellite registration for women

By Jennifer P. Gaitano

BUTUAN CITY, Mar. 7 (PIA) – In time with the kick-off ceremony of this year’s Women’s Month celebration, the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) here is all set for the conduct of the one-day special satellite registration for women and girls on Wednesday, March 8 at Robinsons Place, this city.

According to city election officer Atty. Samuel Rollo, the said special registration will start at 10:00 a.m. and will end at 4:00 p.m. 

“This activity is pursuant to COMELEC Resolution No. 10175 and Resolution No. 17-0069 – One-Day Special Registration for Women and Girls Joint Project of Elections and Barangay Affairs Department and the Gender and Development (GAD) Focal Point System,” he underscored.

Rollo further revealed that the special satellite registration also formed part of the month-long celebration for women. “The commission strongly supports the rights and welfare of the women, and we want to spend a day with them through the conduct of this activity,” he added.

The National Women's Month Celebration every March is part of the worldwide observance of the International Women's Day (IWD). Republic Act (RA) 6949 series 1990 declaring March 8 of every year as National Women's Day. (JPG/PIA-Caraga)


COMELEC chair Bautista meets with various sectors in Butuan

By Jennifer P. Gaitano

BUTUAN CITY, Mar. 7 (PIA) – In his recent visit here, Commission on Elections (COMELEC) chairperson Juan Andres Bautista met with the representatives from various sectors and discussed election-related issues and concerns during a forum with election officers and stakeholders held recently at Father Saturnino Urios University (FSUU) AVR-2, this city.

COMELEC Butuan City election officer Atty. Samuel Rollo said that is an opportune time for all Butuanons to be able to share their sentiments, issues and concerns related to elections and on how the commission could be able to further enhance their services to the public.

Bautista emphasized that the commission has been implementing its two objectives: to maintain credible elections - that is clean, honest, peaceful and free; and achieve a more voter-centered COMELEC. The commission ensures voting experience to be more convenient for the people.

“Reaching out to the voters in the field will help continue the reforms of the agency to have a credible elections,” stressed Bautista.

Election-related cases significantly decreased from 97 cases on 2010 to 67 in 2013 and 47 cases in 2016 elections, added chair Baustista.

It was also learned that there were some 289 voting centers/accessible polling places in the country during the 2016 elections.

The good chairman further underscored that having a satellite registration to the different far-flung barangays in the country produces a high turn out of voters during elections.

Meantime, Brgy. Captain Abundio Leones of Brgy. Pangabugan thanked the City Comelec Office for the conduct of satellite registration held in time with the Chairman Bautista's visit in the city.  He underlined that local residents enjoyed the convenience of availing the services of the COMELEC held at the covered court of said barangay. (JPG/NCLM/PIA-Caraga)


DOLE allots 2.3M TUPAD program to 8 SurSur LGUs

By Nida Grace P. Barcena

TANDAG CITY, Surigao del Sur, Mar. 7 (PIA) – The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) – Caraga Regional Office allotted P2.3 Million for the implementation of Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa ating Disadvantage/Displaced Workers (TUPAD).

DOLE Surigao del Sur Provincial Director May Velonta said that the amount is intended for the province of Surigao del Sur particularly those areas affected by floods during the rainy season last January 2017.

Labor and Employment Officer Romelyn Bactol said total of 44 barangays from eight local government units of this province has benefited the said program.

These are the municipalities of San Miguel, Cagwait, Hinatuan, Tago, Lanuza, Lianga, Carmen and city of Tandag. The said local government units were both affected by floods and have reports with families who were displaced based on their validation, Bactol said.

Bactol said the TUPAD program is part of DOLE’s Integrated Livelihood and Emergency Employment Program.

Bactol added that it is a community-based (municipality/barangay) package of assistance, which provides emergency employment for displaced workers, underemployed, and unemployed poor.

Bactol further said that each beneficiary would be paid P280.00 per day and provided with TUPAD t-shirt as their personal protective equipment (PPE). The workers are also enrolled in a social protection program with the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) insurance for the duration of their employment.

The said program is designed to be implemented with a minimum period of 10 days, but not to exceed the maximum of 30 days. (PIA-Surigao del Sur)


DOH turns over dental van to Butuan LGU

By Regal C. Oribia

BUTUAN CITY, Mar. 7 (PIA) – The Department of Health (DOH) Caraga has formally turned-over recently the new dental van to the city government of Butuan as one of the many recipients of the said program in the region.

A blessing for the newly acquired equipment followed. The said dental van has two dental chairs and equipped with complete instruments. It has also a built-in lavatory and sterilizer for dental instruments and an attached one year service warranty.

According to the City Health Office (CHO), starting this March, dentists will roll out their oral health program to target group. This target group comprises of four clusters: 1-6 years old, 18-24 years old, pregnant women, and 60 years old and above. It will also be used during the holding of barangay visitations.

Butuan City Mayor Ronnie Vicente Lagnada expressed his gratitude to DOH for granting the dental van. “It will be a big help to our constituents especially to those who are living in far-flung areas and with incomplete instruments for dental services," he said.

The LGU and CHO believed that this program will go a long way of addressing the dental needs of the community. (RCO/PIA-Caraga)


Butuan village chief bares initiatives for garbage use

By Regal C. Oribia

BUTUAN CITY, March 7 (PIA) – During the recent gathering of all local leaders from different barangays, here, Romanito Amante, barangay chairman of Pagatpatan presented the several ways and means on how to properly segregate the biodegradable and non-biodegradable wastes and turned them into fertilizers and food for other living organisms.

Amante introduced the waste management initiative of his barangay through the project called “Turismo sa Basura ug Paaralan Galing sa Basura” in which 50 percent of the biodegradable wastes were turned into specialized fertilizer and were utilized as food for composting piranha. The other 50 percent will be made as feeds for fish, chicken and other organic matters.

For non-biodegradable wastes, it will be pounded to make recycled bricks and hollow blocks to be used in building houses, school building and other structures..

It was also attended by the personnel of Philippine National Police Caraga and Land Transportation Traffic and Management Office-Butuan wherein they share ideas that will give solution concerning the problem on wastes disposal and illegal dumping of garbages in this city. (RCO/PIA-Caraga)


Caraga police confiscate lumbers in Bayugan City

BUTUAN CITY, Mar. 7 (PIA) – The continued effort of the Philippine National Police (PNP) in Caraga Region in curbing illegal logging operations has resulted to the confiscation of sawn lauan lumber in Purok 2, Barangay Salvacion, this city.

Police operatives declared that it totals a volume of 1,000 board feet with a market value of P20,000. Accordingly, this has led to the arrest of Bernardo Abrigo Achai of Esperanza, Agusan del Sur who drove the Isuzu Jitney loaded with the said lumbers and could not present any legal documents. Case against Achai is being prepared for filing in court.

Meanwhile, in Sitio Maraging, Barangay Gen. Aguinaldo, Libjo, Dinagat Islands, abandoned lumber with a total volume of 72 board feet and market value of P1,500 were also recovered by mobile patrollers.

Chief Supt Rolando Felix, Caraga police director, said that PNP Caraga and DENR personnel are working together in intensifying the operation against Illegal logging in the region. (PNP-PRO13/PIA-Caraga)


SurSur town bags top MMK Award for Outstanding Coastal Community

By Greg Tataro Jr.

TANDAG CITY, Surigao del Sur, Mar. 7 (PIA) – Cortes town, 30 kilometers north this city, “was chosen as the over-all Champion” for the “Malinis at Masaganang Karagatan (MMK) National Search for Outstanding Coastal Community,” according to Dr. Juan Albaladejo, regional director of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) in Caraga.

At 2:30 p.m., today, March 7, 2017, an awarding ceremony is set to take place at Rizal Hall, Malacañang Palace, it was learned.

Dennis Dueñas, Cortes Coastal Resource Management Officer (CRMO), confirmed that 16 of them coming from Cortes, headed by no less than Mayor William Angos, would be attending the special event to receive the prestigious award.

He likewise bared that due to the recognition, the local government unit (LGU) was going to be rewarded the amount of P20M on top of the P2M for besting other coastal communities in the region besides another P2M as credit earned for “boat registration.” All in all, Cortes would be getting P24M in cash, the CRMO pointed out.

Gov. Vicente Pimentel, Jr. was also glad to learn about the feat, even saying that he was invited to attend the occasion.  Torn between two equally important undertakings, he said that he had to give up the awarding ceremony at Malacañang, but made sure that somebody was going to take his place to represent the provincial government.

The town’s CRMO noted that making such feat was no easy task since effort to reach this point had been started way back two previous administrations—during the time of former Mayors Dennis Yu and Pete Trinidad.  He stressed that it was indeed a “tug-of war” between conventional ways like using “drag net” and scientific approach of fishing by enforcing the fishery laws until they became accustomed.

Dueñas disclosed that upon learning about the national award, Mayor Angos cried “tears of joy.” (Radyo ng Bayan-Tandag/PIA-Surigao del Sur)


PRO-13 nabs 5 wanted persons in Caraga region

BUTUAN CITY, Mar. 7 (PIA) - The Police Regional Office-13 (PRO-13) has arrested at least five wanted persons for various offenses in three provinces of Caraga on Sunday.

PCSupt Rolando Felix, PRO-13 regional director said the suspects were all apprehended by virtue of warrant of arrest issued by the local courts.

The operation resulted in the apprehension of Stephen Itaas, Ian Basera, Ricky Abinion, Jim Michael Encendencia and ‘Diday’.

In Agusan del Sur, Itaas was arrested for direct assault upon an agent of person in authority, while Basera was nabbed for carnapping. Both were from Bayugan town and now detained at Bayugan City Police Station.

Meanwhile, Abinion and Encendencia were arrested in Surigao del Sur for committing a serious crime of qualified theft. Also, police operatives of Butuan City Police Office seized ‘Diday’ for Violation of BP Bilang 22 also known as “The Bouncing Checks Law”.

"These operations show the effectiveness of the public cooperation in fighting criminality. Their active participation hastened the putting of criminals behind bars and giving justice to the victims of crimes,” Felix said. (PNP-PRO13/PIA-Caraga)


Feature: When pipe dreams become reality

By April Mae N. Waban and Marko Davey D. Reyes

“Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.”- Stephen King

Imagine what daily life would be without easy access to clean drinking water. When you have to wake up before sunrise every morning and spend almost an hour treading a muddy, perilous trail just to get to the nearest water source. And then, carry the gallons of murky water that you fetched from an opKalahi-CIDSSen dug well all the way back to your homes to serve to your loved ones for daily consumption. You probably would not even count the times they have suffered of stomach pain and diarrhea from drinking contaminated water. But you have no choice; you have to live with what you got. This may be a dreadful scenario to think of but for many remote communities in the country, this is the problem that they face every single day.

For 58 year-old Anthony Encabo and other residents of Sitio Bagong Silang, Santa Maria, Trento, Agusan del Sur, this is their sad reality. Access to clean, cheap, readily available water is something of a distant dream for the community.

Their long-time dream

Sitio Bagong Silang is one of the far-flung puroks of Barangay Santa Maria located at the boundaries of Surigao del Sur and Agusan del Sur. Reaching the area from the poblacion would take you more than an hour of bumpy habal-habal ride through some rough roads. In fact, a back and forth trip to the community costs around P1,500 because only few vehicles venture there since the road is rugged and the terrain is difficult. People in the area would often tend to buy for their consumption in bulks, enough to last a month. This is one of the reasons which hampers the growth and development of Bagong Silang. They are deprived of even the basic necessities such as electricity and most importantly potable water.

“Ang among makuhaan ug tubig dinhi balon lang. Kung magtaas ang init, kami mangandoy jud ug ulan. Kay ang mga tao dinhi dili na ka agwanta mag inom ug tubig na gikan sa balon. Kung walay ulan, wala miy mabuhat kundi mag antos ug inom sa tubig nga gikan sa balon unya manglain among tiyan (Our only source of water here is a deep well. During prolonged dry season, we pray for rain. That is because the people here could no longer endure drinking water from the well. If it does not rain, we have no choice but to settle for the water from the well which causes stomach discomforts)," Anthony shares.

Despite these overwhelming challenges, the people in the village continued to live in the area because for them it was where they found “home”. For Anthony, who has relocated in the place in 2008, it was where he found refuge after being shattered by grief from losing his twin children. He, along with other residents, have always hoped and dreamed that one day, things will become better in their community.

Anthony’s “never give up” spirit

Determined to get what they have been yearning for years, the community sought the help of their barangay officials. However, with the limited budget of their barangay local government unit, there would not be enough resources to finance a water system project that would address their needs.

Upon learning that their water system project was not plausible at that moment, most people in the community became discouraged. Their hopes were like that of a candle they lit through their nights with its flame slowly dying and burning out, succumbing to the dark.  Most people in Sitio Bagong Silang thought that their dreams will never be a reality but not Anthony.

He refused to give up and still held on his hopes and dreams for his community. He never let their circumstances dampen his spirit. He encouraged and led his community in finding ways and means where they can voice out their needs. An opportunity came when Kalahi-CIDSS came to their municipality in 2015.

Kalahi-CIDSS or the Kapit Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Services is one of the programs of the national government implemented under the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD). It utilizes the Community-Driven Development (CDD) strategy, a globally recognized approach geared towards achieving a more inclusive development wherein communities are empowered and given the opportunity to identify projects that will address their most urgent needs and implement these development projects themselves.

Anthony saw Kalahi-CIDSS as an avenue where the community will finally be able to realize their water system project that is why he became a volunteer for the program. He was able to persuade a number of people in his village to join him in becoming a volunteer.  With the kind of leadership and persistence Anthony has demonstrated, the community chose him to become their Barangay Sub-Project Management Committee (BSPMC) chairperson.

Persistence despite resistance

However, many others were still not convinced of the program because they have seen several organizations and politicians in general who came with promises to raise their hopes up only to smash it with disappointments because these organizations and politicians fail to deliver their commitments. This was evident during their preparations for the Municipal Inter-Barangay Forum (MIBF). The MIBF is an event wherein Kalahi-CIDSS community volunteers and local officials gather to collectively analyze local poverty conditions. The representatives of each barangay will present their proposed solutions before a selection board on prioritization of projects determined through the criteria agreed upon by the barangays. Raquel Dagatan, Project Implementation Team (PIT) chairperson and Rebecca Sortones, Barangay Representation Team (BRT) chairperson remembered how they were ridiculed by people who thought that their efforts will just be futile in the end.

“Kadtong magpatawag ug meeting sa una, magsige ug ingon ang uban na sayang-sayang lang daw sa ilang oras. Mao tong dili na sila muapil kay nagtuo sila na dili jud mi mahatagan ug project (When we call for a meeting before, others would say that it was just a waste of their time. That is why they do not attend because they believed that we will never be given a project)," Raquel recalls.

“Ang uban mangatawa gane kay siguro ilang huna-huna dili matuman ang amung pangandoy na proyekto. Pero akong huna-huna, wala man sad mawala kung muapil ko ani. Para sa ako, mas maayo na naa kay mabuhat para maipaabot imung panginahanglanon (Others would even laugh at us perhaps because they thought we will never attain the project that we have dreamed of. But I thought, I would lose nothing if I join this. For me, it is better that you did something to speak out your needs)," Rebecca adds.

Despite all the criticisms they got from cynics of the program, Anthony and other volunteers continued to work hard and complied with all the requirements needed-from problem identification to proposals.

From dreams to reality

Indeed, all hard work never goes in vain as during the MIBF, Sitio Bagong Silang was among the barangays chosen for prioritization of which their projects will be funded through Kalahi-CIDSS. The community especially the volunteers rejoiced because the project that will address one of their needs will finally be realized. It was a surreal moment for Anthony, who was one of the people who have worked the hardest to push through the project. In fact, he was so overwhelmed with joy that during the lay-outing of their sub-project, he was moved to tears.

“Dili nako mapugngan ang akong gibati karon na adlaw. Nakita na nga klaro na natubag ang amung pinaka damgo na magkatubig. Salamat sa Kalahi sa paghatag sa proyekto na haom sa paningahanglanon sa barangay (I could not control my emotions today. Now, we can clearly perceive the fulfilment of our greatest dream to have potable water. I thank Kalahi-CIDSS for providing projects that is appropriate for the needs of the barangay)," Anthony says.

The water system sub-project is just one of the answers to the needs of the community of Sitio Bagong Silang. They still need electricity and improve their road condition to jumsptart development. But unlike before, the community is more hopeful than ever that these needs will soon one by one be addressed. For Anthony, he believes that determination and faith in God are the keys for the realization of one’s dreams.

“Kung naa kay gusto, mulihok ka ug ipaabot jud nimo kung unsa imung panginahanglanon. Dapat dili dapat mawad-an ug paglaom nga naay mudungog sa imung problema. Kailangan mag agwanta lang jud ug salig sa Ginoo nga dunggon niya inyong pag ampo (If you want something, you should work for it and voice out your needs. You should never lose hope that someone will hear your problems. You should endure and trust in God that He will answer your prayers)," Anthony shares. (Social Marketing Unit/DSWD Field Office Caraga/PIA-Caraga)


Filipino movie to feature Siargao Island

By Jann Glenn Platil

SURIGAO CITY, Surigao del Norte, Mar. 7 (PIA) - Movie Director Paul Soriano bared recently that he will soon direct a mainstream reel in the island of Siargao, this April after the Lenten Season.

Soriano revealed the good news to Governor Sol Matugas during his recent trip to Siargao Island. According to Soriano, matinee idol and pop singer Jericho Rosales who is also a proud surfer will star in the said film.

Governor Sol and Surigao del Norte 1st district Congressman Francisco “Bingo” Matugas met with Soriano on Feb. 24, this year to flesh out some major details of the said project. Soriano also said that he will also include other tourist attractions and destinations in the island which fascinates the whole world.

He said the story will also revolve around the customs and culture which Filipinos must embrace.

“The film will carry a plot which is classified as Love Story/Drama, covering a month long shooting. It will also be slated for the Manila Film Festival this coming December 2017,” said Soriano.

Soriano forecasted that after the film, many big-time tourists and potential investors will troop to Siargao.

On her part, Governor Matugas said the making of a film is a dream come true, primarily because it will feature Siargao as a top favorite location in the entertainment world.

She said she is very happy that the dream movie will showcase the island's pristine beauty.

Gov. Matugas also thanked Soriano for promoting and advertising Siargao Island among his friends in the business. It is expected that many will patronize the dreamland known as Island of Breath-taking Adventures. (PGO-SDN/PIA-Surigao del Norte)


DA starts communal irrigation system rehab in AgNor town

By Fretcher Magatao

BUTUAN CITY, Mar. 7 - To increase farmers’ productivity and to irrigate more agricultural lands, the Department of Agriculture – Philippine Rural Development Project (DA-PRDP) officially launched the start of the rehabilitation of the P39.9 million Communal Irrigation System (CIS) at Barangay Culit Nasipit, Agusan del Norte.

The new CIS would cover an influence area of at least 100 hectares mostly planted with rice benefiting more than a hudred farmers in the community. “We not only desire for rice sufficiency, but also a rich supply of agricultural products for our people and neighboring municipalities,” said Mayor Enrico Corvera.

Corvera said that the farmers in the community have been waiting for the rehabilitation of the irrigation system since their goal is to achieve at least three croppings in a year. “As an agricultural engineer, I believe that irrigation is the solution for better production,” Corvera said.

Culit Irrigators Association (CIA) has been wanting for an irrigation system that would stand through the many distructions caused by natural calamities since the existing CIS has already been damaged due to heavy rains and floods.

“Because of the many calamities we’ve experienced, the passage of water through the river can no longer be controlled and only less than 30 hectares of planted areas can be irrigated,” said CIA President Pausto Empanado, Jr. “We need a rebuilding that would prevail against disasters and we’re glad that PRDP is helping us for this rehabilitation,” he added.

PRDP I-BUILD known as Intensified Build Up of Infrastructre and Logistics for Developement aims to put in place climate resilient farm-to-market roads (FMR), bridges, communal irrigation and potable water systems.

CIS rehabilitation project in the municipality would extend the length of the dam’s ogee (arch) and increase the height of the protection dike which after the construction would irrigate more than a triple times of hectares compared to the existing one.

The project has partnered with LGUs and the private sector in providing key infrastructures, facilities, technology and information that will raise income, productivity and competitiveness among the players in agriculture.

The ground breaking activity was spearheaded by the DA-PRDP representatives together with the officials of Barangay Culit and LGU Nasipit. (RPCO-13/PIA-Caraga)


United States forges partnership with PH for wildlife, biodiversity conservation

BUTUAN CITY, Mar. 7 - The United States (U.S) government, through the U.S. Embassy in the Philippines’ United States Agency for International Development (USAID), partnered yesterday with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to launch a new biodiversity conservation project that will help protect and manage the Philippines’ diverse habitats and species.

On the heels of World Wildlife Day on March 3, U.S. ambassador to the Philippines Sung Y. Kim joined DENR Secretary Gina Lopez to inaugurate the five-year, P1.2-billion project called Protect Wildlife.  The project is designed to address biodiversity loss and illegal wildlife trade in some of the most vibrant and vulnerable ecosystems in the Philippines.

“Natural resources and biodiversity play an important part in the Philippine economy.  This is why the U.S. government, through USAID, has been working with national and local governments, the private sector, civil society, and individual communities to strengthen natural and environmental resource management,” ambassador Kim said.

The project will use a comprehensive strategy that combines technical assistance for government and civil society partners, partnerships for conservation financing, behavior change campaigns and social marketing, science and technology, and environmental law enforcement.  This holistic approach promotes partnership among environmental stakeholders and empowers those best positioned to address biodiversity loss and the illegal wildlife trade.

“The project will demonstrate that protecting and managing diverse habitats and species leads to improved quality of life as well as community-level, sustainable development,” ambassador Kim added.  The project also supports the DENR’s commitment to deliver people-centric programs that support sustainable and inclusive growth.

USAID’s Protect Wildlife will commence in Palawan, Zamboanga City, and Tawi-Tawi, which host some of the most biodiverse habitats and unique species in the Philippines.  These provinces are also exposed to various human-induced threats such as poaching and trafficking of wildlife, destructive fishing practices, and loss of habitats from widespread conversion of forests, wetlands, and mangroves to settlements and agricultural lands.

The project complements other U.S. government-funded projects with the DENR.  Collectively, the suite of projects furthers USAID’s mission to promote biodiversity conservation in an inclusive and sustainable way.  Protect Wildlife is the first USAID initiative in the Philippines to align with the U.S. government’s newly signed Eliminate, Neutralize and Disrupt Wildlife Trafficking Act of 2016, which addresses the global illegal wildlife trade. (U.S. Embassy/PIA-Caraga)