Thursday, September 7, 2017

DILG spearheads training on strengthening local ADAC in SurSur

By Nida Grace P. Barcena

TANDAG CITY, Surigao del Sur, Sept. 7 (PIA) - In response to the massive campaign on “war against illegal drugs” nationwide, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Surigao del Sur provincial office with the support of the provincial government spearheads the Roll-Out Training on Strengthening the Local Anti-Drug Abuse Councils (ADAC) in Surigao del Sur held at Villa Maria Luisa Hotel.

The two-day activity, which started Monday, September 4, aims to strengthen the capacities of the local ADACs and other relevant local mechanism in suppressing the drug problem in the province, as well as in the whole nation.

During the first day of the session, PDEA Agent Janmark Malibiran in his presentation on illegal drug problem bared that the actual cause of the drug problem in the country, first and foremost is the unlimited demand for drugs, and secondly, “limited demand reduction initiatives down to the barangay level.”

To combat on the issues raised, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte issued the Executive Order No. 15 series 2017 on the “Creation of an Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD) and Anti-Illegal Drug Task Force to suppress the Drug Problem in the Country,” said Malibiran.

The ICAD, according to Malibiran, shall ensure that each member agency shall implement and comply with all policies, laws and issuances pertaining to the government’s anti-illegal drug campaign, in an integrated and synchronized manner.

DILG Outcome Manager Ma. Lourdes Martinez stressed that, “we aim for ZERO extra Judicial Killing (EJK), because these cases worsen our anti illegal drug campaign.”

Meanwhile, Surigao del Sur Governor Vicente Pimentel Jr., urged the local chief executives of the province to help and support the implementation of “war against illegal drugs” in their respective areas. (PIA-Surigao del Sur)


Marine bio experts wage solutions to protect corals

By Rosemarie C. Señora

BUTUAN CITY, Sept. 7 - Marine biologists and experts recently put forward science-based solutions that address issues in coral protection in the country.

Dr. Wilfredo Roehl Y. Licuanan, in his talk entitled “Current Status of PH Coral Reefs and Prospects for the Near Future," recommended to “fix the reef first before transplant.”

He was speaking in the recent forum on National Coral R&D Program which highlighted the current status of the Philippine coral reefs, the importance of research for the conservation of corals, the exploration of our scientists and researchers of the Philippine Rise and its overall impact to the economy of the Philippines. Organized by the Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources (DOST-PCAARRD), particularly the Marine Resources Research Division headed by Dr. Mari-Ann M. Acedera, the forum was part of the recent 2017 National Science and Technology Week celebration.

“Reefs do not form overnight. They take thousands of years to develop,” he said adding that the coral reef crisis cannot be resolved by coral gardening as it is expensive and is not practical.

Coral gardening is the cultivation of corals for commercial purposes or coral reef restoration.

According to him, the method is also risky as instead of actually repairing the damaged coral reef, it might harm the reef even more.

Another sad reality is that, he said, 80 percent of the coral mortality is actually caused by various human activities and not natural calamities.

Take for example the case of the minesweeper ship USS Guardian that on January 17, 2013 ran aground on the south atoll of the Tubbataha Reefs, a delicate ecosystem in the Sulu Sea treasured for its rich marine biodiversity.

The grounding damaged 2,345 square meters of coral on the reefs, considered a World Heritage Site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

“The better thing to do is to take care of the remaining reefs,” he said.

Dr. Patrick C. Cabaitan, also a speaker, discussed the topic ‘Sexual Production of Corals and Why Sex is not Enough?’

He said that studying coral reefs is essential to the economy of the Philippines as they also provide for the ecotourism of the country. He emphasized that scientific intervention is an important tool in coral production.

“Corals reproduce through asexual and sexual means but sex is not enough for the corals,” he said.

He suggested that researchers or anyone interested in studying corals pursue basic science to understand reefs, consider other ecological processes in conducting reef restoration efforts, and integrate restoration with management efforts.

Meanwhile, Dr. Cesar L. Villanoy, in his talk entitled ‘Updates on the Oceanography of the Benham Rise’, discussed his past researches and the importance of understanding the movement of the waters around the Philippines.

His researches addressed pressing concerns of the country particularly in fisheries, harmful algal blooms, storm surges and other complex dynamics of archipelagic oceanography.

He said that it’s vital to understand the movement of the waters and its temperature to be able to formulate policies with regards to management of the country's marine resources.

He also reminds everyone to always consider the processes that determine our physical environment in order to explain the ecology of organisms and the observed trends.

Dr. Hildie Maria E. Nacorda, in her talk entitled ‘On the Benham Bank Biodiversity: Taking Learning to the Next Step’, discussed the expeditions the Philippines has done to determine the economic potential of Benham Rise, now called the Philippine Rise.

Though the two expeditions done in 2014 and 2016 have discovered the existence of marine species in the Philippine Rise, Dr. Nacorda said that further studies are needed to fully understand the potential of the rise.

Initial findings of the nationwide assessment of Philippine coral reefs

In relation to this call to the public of the marine experts to help in the preservation of the remaining coral reefs, DOST and Department of Environment and Natural Resources are working on a coral reef assessment throughout the country to create a National Coral Reef Status next year.

This is because despite of the Philippine archipelago being well known for its species-rich coral reefs, there is a lack of updated information on the present status of its coral reefs.
The initial findings of the Nationwide Assessment of Philippine Coral Reefs by Licuanan, et al were published in the Philippine Journal of Science last June 2017.

Reefs samples were randomly selected from around the country, with the number of assessment stations for each of six biogeographic regions stratified by the total area of reefs in each of these regions. For two years, 166 reefs have been sampled.

Based on live coral cover, more than 90 percent of the sampled reefs are in the poor and fair categories.

So far, the mean hard coral cover of the country at 22 percent is comparable with that of the Indo-Pacific region, but much lower than previous estimates for the Philippines.

These values indicate a marked decline in the condition of local reefs over the last four decades, thereby revealing the urgent need for the revision and update of conservation and management policies. (S&T Media Service/PIA-Caraga)


DOT promotes Siargao tourist destinations despite martial law

By John Glenn A. Platil

SURIGAO CITY, Surigao del Norte, Sept. 7 (PIA) – Department of Tourism (DOT) spokesperson and Assistant Secretary Frederick Alegre recently branded Siargao as a perfect haven for tourists in Mindanao.

Alegre said that Siargao has rapidly become the sought-after paradise, especially that the flights to the island from Manila and Cebu, vice versa, are now on a daily basis.

“While the conflict in Mindanao is confined only in Marawi City, the region still has other areas to offer tourists like Siargao and Davao,” he added.

On her part, Governor Sol F. Matugas gave her word that it is safe for both domestic and foreign investors to transact official tourism-related business in Siargao in the face of the martial law imposition in Mindanao by Pres. Rodrigo Duterte, which was extended up to December 31 of this year.

Cloud 9 Beach in General Luna, Siargao has been ranked as the fifth best surfing spot in the world, by Conde Nast Traveler, an international travel magazine.

“While certainly not the only must-catch wave in the area, surfers have been chasing down Cloud Nine’s hollow tube waves since the 1980’s,” Conde Nast Travel said.
Jacking Horse which is also situated in Siargao was also cited by the international magazine as an alternative surfing mecca.

Cloud Nine is now universally-acclaimed to be in the league of the top surfing centers on the planet like Bondi Beach in Australia; Les Cavaliers in France; and Huntington Beach and Mavericks Beach, both in California.

Also included were Nazare in Portugal; Playa Grande in Costa Rica; Pipeline, Oahu in Hawaii; Jeffrey’s Bay in South Africa; and Tofino, Vancouver Island in Canada. (PGO-SDN/PIA-Surigao del Norte)


US transfers M40 field protective masks to AFP

BUTUAN CITY, Sept. 7 (PIA) - Officials from the Joint United States Military Assistance Group (JUSMAG) delivered 1,000 M40 field protective masks and C2 filter canisters to the Philippine Navy (PN) through the Mutual Logistics Support Agreement (MLSA) on August 30 to 31, 2017.

As the fighting continues in Mindanao, the PN requested these gas masks in order to better prepare the sailors and marines to respond to chemical threats.

This transfer is part of a series of ongoing transfers from the U.S. military to multiple branches of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) through MLSA and the security assistance program.

Through the MLSA, the AFP is able to receive select munitions and equipment from U.S. military stock in an accelerated process reserved for allies and close partners of the United States.


The United States is proud to work closely with the Republic of the Philippines and will continue to support capacity-building counterterrorism efforts and the AFP’s long-term modernization goals. (U.S. Embassy/PIA-Caraga)