Friday, June 30, 2017

NCCA promotes 1st Budayaw Festival in PH

By Venus L. Garcia

BUTUAN CITY, June 30 (PIA) – In working for the preservation, development and promotion of arts and culture, the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) under the Office of the President is set to hold a press conference slated on July 14, 2017 (Friday) in this city to promote the “Budayaw Festival”.

“Budayaw, a fusion of the Bahasa word ‘Budaya’ (culture, heritage) and the Filipino word 'dayaw' (bounty, prayer, beautiful) sums up what the Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines (BIMP) Culture Fiesta is about: a celebration of peace, bounty and diversity of cultural expressions,” elaborated Rene Napeñas, head of the NCCA Public Affairs and Information Office (PAIO).

The 1st Budayaw: 2017 BIMP-EAGA (East-Asian Growth Area) Festival on Culture and Arts, a multi-dimensional and multi-disciplinary festival of arts  and culture of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the East-Asian Growth Area will take place on September 20-24, 2017.

The event is anchored on the theme, “Taking Pride in the Creative Diversity of the BIMP-EAGA Region”. The five-day fest will be participated by around 300 contemporary artists and indigenous cultural masters. The creative works of cultural masters, artists and cultural practitioners coming from the four countries will be simultaneously showcased in various venues in Mindanao, particularly in General Santos City and in the Province of Sarangani.

In time with the country’s hosting of the 50th Anniversary of the ASEAN, the festival was recommended to be launched in the Philippines this year. The Budayaw Festival, which will be held every two years rotating in the four member countries, will showcase the diversity of creative expressions of the region.

Some of the highlights during the festival include: 1) The Bulos Kana! Selmat  Datengln Photo Exhibit and interactive lectures on the landscapes and peoples of the EAGA region; 2) Intertwining  Dreams for Harmony and Peace: Master IKAT Weavers Pavilion Showcase; 3) Narratives of Earth  Music:  Tell-tales of the  EAGA Indigenous  Virtuosos in traditional music; 4) Jewels of the  EAGA: Performance showcase  of Contemporary  Artists; 5) Young Voices Rising for  Peace: Invitational  Choral  Concert  Performance; 6) Under  One Sky: EAGA Collaborative Installation Art  and EAGA Visual  Arts Exhibition; 7) Film  and  Digital  Arts  Festival; 8) Special Events: Collaborative Performances,  Community  Outreach and  Hosted  Community Tours and  Creative  Interactions. (VLG/PIA-Caraga)


Mining caravan goes to Cantilan town

CANTILAN, Surigao del Sur, June 30 (PIA) – The Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) spearheaded on Thursday an Information Education Communication (IEC) caravan in mining held at the municipal gymnasium here.

The said activity is in line with the celebration of the Environment Month with the theme, “Connecting People to Nature.”

During the caravan, the speakers shared the significant policies that govern mining operation to the participants from various stakeholders including mining industries.

MGB Caraga Regional Director Roger de Dios, in his message, emphasized that the activity conducted primarily aims to educate the misconception of mining.

De Dios said they have conducted regular monitoring activities to ensure that mining operations in the region adhere to the government standard as provided under Republi Act 7942.

"Of the 25 mining companies operating with permit in Caraga Region, four are in Surigao del Sur: Carrascal Nickel Corporation; CTP Construction Development Corporation – Dahican Project; CTP Construction Development Corporation – Adlay Project; and Marcventures Mining Development Corporation," said De Dios.

De Dios added that the region has a total approved mining permit area of 180,070.14 hectares (9%) from 1,913,842 hectares of the total land area in the region. "Of the 9% approved mining permit areas applied, only 2% are active mining permit area," he said.

He also claimed that the mining industry in Caraga generated 30,829 jobs in 2016. (PIA-Surigao del Sur)


DOST, house committee push bill to upgrade S&T officers’ rank

BUTUAN CITY, June 30 (PIA) - The House Bill No. 1205 entitled, “An Act Upgrading the Position of the Provincial Science and Technology Officer into the Provincial Science and Technology Director in the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and Amending Republic Act No. 6959,” also known as Provincial Science and Technology Directors Act of 2016 filed by Zamboanga del Sur 1st District Representative Divina Grace C. Yu is a welcome development to recognize the huge inputs of DOST provincial directors to the whole science community.

Provincial Science and Technology Center (PSTC) directors of the DOST have their hands quite full every working day. Their offices are mini-DOSTs, implementing various programs that address their area’s needs in health and nutrition, livelihood generation, education, disaster preparedness, and others.

Thus, the said bill aims to upgrade the status and rank of Science and Technology (S&T) center provincial officers with commensurate increase in remuneration and benefits.

House Bill No. 1205, once enacted into law, upgrades the PSTC director to Salary Grade 27 and shall be entitled to reimbursable representation and transportation allowance and other benefits prescribed by law. Currently, most PSTC directors are within Salary Grades 19-22.

Likewise, the PST office shall be provided with a minimum of six technical staff and one non-technical officer, thereby further strengthening the PSTC. PSTCs currently have only one to two permanent staff, plus a few project staff.

Also, the PSTC shall be appropriated with separate funding by the Department of Budget and Management allowing it to better extend service to the people in the provinces.

PSTC directors currently have the following functions: formulate the provincial S&T plan, programs and projects; implement and monitor technology promotion and commercialization of projects under the Small Enterprise Technology Upgrading Program (SETUP); disseminate S&T related information of R&D results; coordinate with LGUs, the academe and other public and private institutions to push S&T education, research, and human resources training; among others.

With this development, DOST Secretary Fortunato T. de la Peña is quite grateful. “We thank the House of Representatives Committee on Science and Technology headed by Rep. Aumentado for supporting this bill to upgrade the position of our PSTC officers,” says de la Peña.

“They are the ones directly implementing the DOST programs like SETUP for livelihood, the RxBox for healthcare service, our scholarship programs and many more,” he adds.

To push the enactment of the bill into law, the Committee on Science and Technology at the House of Representatives held a public hearing at the Bohol Bee Farm in Dauis, Bohol last May.

Committee chair Rep. Erico Aristotle C. Aumentado of the 2nd District of Bohol and host of the event said that the committee fully recognizes the many projects of the DOST in the province, as well as in the regions, that greatly help people improve their lives.

The public hearing served as a venue for the participants to submit their comments, suggestions, and recommendations before the final draft is made for endorsement to the committee-at-large.

“We also are thankful for the DOST and the PSTC in Bohol for providing our people the needed assistance using science and technology like the STARBOOKS that were given to our public high schools, therefore, providing them with information they can use for school work,” says Rep. Aumentado.

The public hearing was also attended by other House Committee on S&T members namely, Rep. Francis Gerald A. Abaya of the 1st District of Cavite, Rep. Allen Jesse C. Mangaoang of the Lone District of Kalinga, and Rep. Mark Aeron H. Sambar of the PBA Party List. (DOST-STI/PIA-Caraga)


OCHA, UNHCR launch Mindanao displacement snapshot

BUTUAN CITY, June 30 - The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in the Philippines launched the Mindanao Displacement Snapshot, an interactive online map that provides an overview of displacement incidents in Mindanao, Philippines from January 2012 to June 2017.

The displacement incidents range from armed conflict to natural hazards such as floods, earthquakes and typhoons.

The collaborative project combines data collected by UNHCR from the field, Protection Cluster members and official reports from the Philippine government and Mindanao local authorities, with interactive software that will be hosted on Humanitarian Data Exchange.

“More than just numbers and data, sharing vital information of the displaced will help humanitarian actors in assessing and monitoring of vulnerable communities,” said Yasser Saad, UNHCR Head of National Office.

The Humanitarian Data Exchange is an open platform hosted by OCHA for sharing data, making humanitarian information easy to find and use for analysis. “The interactive snapshot provides an at-a- glance insight into patterns and trends of displacement in Mindanao. It presents a challenging issue such as protracted displacement in an interactive way that engages a wider audience.” said Mark Bidder, OCHA Philippines Head of Office.

The launch of the humanitarian map coincides with the release of a new global study commissioned by OCHA. Breaking the Impasse: Reducing Protracted Internal Displacement as a Collective Outcome comes at a time when the numbers of those repeatedly displaced by over four decades of conflict in Mindanao are again increasing and is underscored by the conflict in Marawi City.

The study highlights the need for a new approach –using collective outcomes to end or reduce vulnerability for IDPs and move towards durable solutions– and offers concrete recommendations to guide Governments, humanitarian and development organizations and donors. Case studies including from the Philippines illustrate the challenges and opportunities of attaining sustainable return, local integration or relocation for those who have been displaced either by disaster or conflict. A full PDF version of the study can be read at https://www.unocha.org/idps. (UNOCHA/PIA-Caraga)


Cusi vows long-term energy security in Mindanao

BUTUAN CITY, June 30 - With the launch of the Mindanao Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM) on Wednesday, June 28, Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi pledged his full commitment to President Rodrigo Duterte’s people-centered policies and government’s long-term economic vision for the country.

“I will see to the accomplishment of the paramount objective of guaranteeing long-term energy security in Mindanao,” Cusi averred in his keynote speech during the unveiling of the Mindanao WESM that took place at the SMX Convention Center in Lanang Premier in Davao City.

WESM provides a competitive and transparent power market for Mindanao electricity consumers.

Cusi said, “The launch of the Mindanao WESM brings us one step closer to the fulfillment of the intent to restructure the electric power industry – to introduce higher efficiency, greater innovation and end-user choice, as well as enhance the entry of competitive market forces.”

By providing a healthy and genuinely fair competition in the power market, Cusi underlined that “WESM is calculated to bring forth the beneficial effects of improved consumer services, lower electricity rates, and reasonable returns to investments.”

Specifically, WESM will provide a cost-effective mechanism for dispatching power capacities in Mindanao, which is already experiencing improved generation supply since the first half of 2016.

According to the Electric Power Industry Management Bureau data, Mindanao now stood a total installed capacity of 3,352 megawatts (MW) as of first half of 2017, in which available capacity is around 2,100 MW against the actual peak demand of 1,696 MW posted in April 2017.

Additionally, the increase in generation capacity will continue until 2019 with an expected around 1,300 MW additional capacities to operate, and another 1,500 MW by 2022 from the indicative power projects.

The Energy chief further informed that “the WESM in Mindanao also complements the Retail Competition Open Access and the Competitive Selection Process, which are all kindred programs under the Administration’s energy regulatory agenda.”

The Secretary also highlighted the role of the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) and the Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) both armed with a strengthened fair competition policy to serve as watchful eyes against unwanted market abuses and anti-competitive behaviors.


In conclusion, the Secretary shared the lined up energy projects the DOE targeted for the region in the next years to come: additional power generation projects across Mindanao; the Visayas-Mindanao grid interconnection and the continuing mission to significantly boost the household electrification level in Mindanao. (DOE/PIA-Caraga)