Monday, December 4, 2017

SSS undistributed collections drop to P817M

BUTUAN CITY, Dec. 4 – Social Security System (SSS) said its undistributed collections stood at P817 million as of the end of the first quarter period of 2017, a 28.-2-percent drop from the P1.135 billion recorded at the end of 2016 period.

SSS President and Chief Executive Officer Emmanuel F. Dooc also clarified that the undistributed collections were member loan payments and not contribution payment of members.

“There has been a substantial reduction of undistributed or unposted member loan payments from the recorded P1.8 billion in 2015 and P1.135 billion in 2016 to P817 million as of the end of March 2017,” Dooc said.

The Commission on Audit (COA) has called the attention of SSS in its 2016 Annual Financial Reports on Government-Owned and Controlled Corporations (GOCCs) for the P1.135 worth of undistributed collections under its “other current liability-member loans (OCL-ML).”

Dooc explained that there were various reasons of the failure to post the member loan collections in member’s ledger such as the failure of employers to submit or update the collection list and invalid entries of employees and presence of employers with unbalanced transactions.

“There were cases that the loan dates indicated by employers in the date granted portion of our SSS forms do not match the SSS records of an individual, thus unposted and unmatched payment occurred,” he added.

SSS said it has done initiatives to address the issue such as regular reconciliation and clean-up of unpostables to resolve the errors. He said that posting of loan payments will soon be based on the Cash Collection System instead of the current manual encoding. 

Social Security Commission (SSC) Chairman Amado D. Valdez, likewise, said that the real-time posting of contributions and loan payments of members will be implemented by the first quarter of 2018 to lessen or fully wipe out the unposted collections. 

“The Commission’s priority is to enhance the contribution collection process to improve the turn-around time for processing benefits and to eventually allow pre-approved salary loans for qualified members,” Valdez added. (SSS/PIA-Caraga)


Surigao Norte hosts children’s Christmas festival

By John Glenn A. Platil

SURIGAO CITY, Dec. 4 – The celebration of Children’s Christmas Festival at the Provincial Grandstand on December 1, 2017, spearheaded by the local government of Surigao del Norte, was highlighted by a feeding activity, gift distribution and medical check-up for children from nine municipalities.

Distribution of eyeglasses to schoolchildren in the Department of Education (DepEd) Surigao City Division under the Community Eye Health Project was also undertaken with the support from Fred Hollows Foundation.

In addition, Surigao del Norte Governor Sol Matugas organized the daygon, hip-hop and ballroom competitions which were participated by students from different elementary schools in Surigao City, Surigao del Norte and Siargao.

Other activities include a parade of lanterns, parol and Christmas tree, a ceremonial activity on the Narration of Nativity, candle-lighting, switching-on of Christmas lights and community singing of Kasadya.

Prior to the festival was the thanksgiving mass at the Capitol chapel.

In her message, Matugas stressed the importance of children, as the center of the Christmas season. True love, according to her, resides within the children as the inspiration, meaning and strength of jubilation.

She also thanked board member Melva Garcia for her presence and for sharing her heartwarming thoughts, and provincial planning coordinator Arturo Cruje who helped her facilitate the meaningful event.

Surigao del Norte DepEd Division was proclaimed as the over-all winner of the Christmas tree contest. A cash prize of P50,000 was received by DepEd Surigao del Norte Schools Division Superintendent (SDS) Nelia Lomocso and Assistant SDS Laila Danaque.

Also earning the awards were: DepEd Surigao del Norte with P50,000 for the first place), DepEd Siargao as 2nd prize winning P45,000 and DepEd Surigao City as 3rd prize with P40,000. 

Dapa National High School (DNHS) hip-hop dancers bested other contingents with its various somersaults. DNHS was declared as over-all winner, getting P10,000 cash prize. Surigao West Central Elementary School also received cash prize for its contribution and extraordinary participation.

Meanwhile, Matugas led the switch-on of the Christmas tree lights in front of the Provincial Gymnasium. (PGO-SDN/PIA-Surigao del Norte)


Guv recognizes Surigaonons' support of SGLG-sustained status

By John Glenn A. Platil

SURIGAO CITY, Dec. 4 (PIA) – “I would like to recognize the full support of the entire Surigaonon community in every collaborative endeavor that we spearhead. This is a giant victory for all who believe in genuine leadership, service excellence, and teamwork.”  

This was emphasized by Surigao del Norte Governor Sol Matugas in a weekend radio program aired in three stations all over the province. She expressed her wholehearted gratitude for the sincere efforts of the people who worked behind every success obtained in her administration, which were instrumental to the harvest of labor and fruits of collaboration.

Seven municipalities of the province conferred with the Seal of Good Local Governance (SGLG), namely, Claver, Mainit, Sison, Tubod and Malimono in the mainland, and Sta. Monica and Del Carmen from the island of Siargao.

Surigao del Norte has been a consistent winner since the Seal of Good Housekeeping was introduced by Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) in 2010 to promote 100 percent compliance for transparency, accountability and full disclosure policy. SGLG is the expanded and upgraded version of the Seal of Good Housekeeping.

The core areas and key categories that were looked into for the local government unit (LGU) to be eligible of the SGLG are financial administration, disaster preparedness, social protection, and peace and order.

LGUs must qualify in the four core areas during the search process and pass at least one crucial area among the four categories in the scorecard: Business Friendliness and Competitiveness, Tourism, Culture and the Arts, and Environmental Protection.

Winning LGUs gain the SGLG marker, receive development assistance from DILG, and were entitled to the Performance Challenge Fund (PCF) to aid in their development initiatives.
In the entire Caraga Region, Surigao del Norte earned the most number of recognitions.

For the year 2017, there were 448 LGU awardees, 29 provinces, 61 cities and 359 municipalities in the entire Philippines. The largest chunk belonged to Ilocos Region with 68 awardees, Central Luzon with 56 recipients and Western Visayas with 46 achievers. (PGO-SDN/PIA-Surigao del Norte)


Army 402nd brigade chief seeks fair deal vs. lefts’ PRs

By Greg Tataro, Jr.

TANDAG CITY, Surigao del Sur, Dec. 4  – Brigadier General Franco Nemesio “Jojo” Gacal, commander of the 402nd Infantry (Stingers) Brigade of the Philippine Army (PA) has voiced out concern over the press releases (PRs) coming from "New People’s Army (NPA)/legal front organizations," seeing print on various newspapers.

Gacal came to the rescue of his army counterpart in Caraga region, the 401st Infantry (Unity) Brigade, whose 75th Infantry (Marauder) Battalion under LTC Jaime Datuin had continued to draw flak on the issue of alleged “food blockade” amid the security operations launched against the New People’s Army (NPA) rebels in the towns of Lianga and San Agustin in Surigao del Sur.

According to Brigade Civil Military Operations (CMO) Officer Cpt. Rodulfo Cordero, Jr., some civilians still opted to leave their homes for safer ground despite the assurance made by Col. Andres Centino, commander of the 401st Infantry Brigade based in Prosperidad, Agusan del Sur, that they were not after anybody else but only armed rebels.

Lianga Mayor Homer Pedrozo said that there were 224 families or 1,336 individuals in Km. 9 in Barangay Diatagon who already left their homes. 

Abel De Guzman, Executive Officer of the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO), confirmed the statement of the town’s chief.  In fact, he added that some 97 families or 487 individuals also fled their homes in Barangay Buhisan, San Agustin.

Both brigades have a huge stake in Surigao del Sur since the province was split between them on area of responsibility (AOR).  Half of the municipality of Tago up north was handled by Gacal’s 36th Infantry (Valor) Battallion while the rest, down south is Centino’s.   

“I suggest mag-investigate muna bago i-publish ang mga PR nila,” he said in a text message.

“Kunin ang statement ng Mayor or Governor or SB Chairman for Peace and Order, etc. kung totoo ba ang mga accusation ng Left,” he further advised.

Gacal, whose headquarters was based in Barangay Bancasi, Butuan City, indicated that in the process, the province of Surigao del Sur would not only be put in bad light, but being denied of a fair deal would also endanger the concerned local chief executives (LCEs) of their respective posts.

“Recalling a ‘DILG Memorandum,’ LCEs might be stripped of police powers,” he noted.

The brigade chief did not elaborate his statement. 

Earlier, Guzman explained at length the protocol on relief goods or assistance distribution. He said that everybody had to observe the “control response mechanism.” Also, he said that everybody must understand that any help had to be coursed through the “emergency operation center” to avoid being in trouble with checkpoints.

“Such orderly manner on how to handle relief assistance or distribution, which had already been institutionalized, was taken up during the Municipal Peace and Order Council (MPOC) meeting held at Lianga Municipal Hall on November 28,” Guzman underscored.

Beforehand, it was learned that an NGO had been repeatedly complaining of food blockade against the army, citing that they were allegedly prevented from bringing their goods up to Km. 9 in Barangay Diatagon. (dxJS - Radyo Pilipinas Tandag/PIA-Surigao del Sur)


NPA's bomb expert killed in clash with government troops in SurSur

SAN AGUSTIN, Surigao del Sur, Dec 4 – One of the two communist terrorists who was reportedly killed in a clash with the government troops in the hinterlands of Barangay Buhisan, San Agustin this province on November 28, was identified as a bomb maker expert of the North Eastern Mindanao Regional Committee (NEMRC), according to 401st Brigade CMO officer.

The report received was from the former comrades of the communist terrorists who already surrendered to the government and revealed the identity of the two lifeless body after the incident.

Based on the report, the killed bomb maker expert was identified only with his code name “Urbano” – a high ranking staff of the NEMRC and one of the longest cadres and an expert in making Improvised Explosive Device (IED) in the entire Caraga region.

Urbano’s task, accordingly, was to train personnel from NEMRC’s front committees in manufacturing and laying of IEDs.

The other killed communist terrorist was identified with his codename “Abdul,” who has been with the terrorist organization for 10 years already before he was transferred to the ordinance unit of the NEMRC, which was under the leadership of Urbano. He stayed with the said unit for the past four years.

According to 401st Brigade Commander Col. Andres Centino, the group planned to conduct an ambush and lay landmines against the operating troops, but was caught by surprise by the soldiers.

Centino said the recovery of IEDs and materials used in making landmines/IEDs proved that the communist terrorists were violators of the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and IHL (CARHRIHL). (NGBT/401st Brigade/PIA-Surigao del Sur)


DOST-funded technology to help keep Siargao water safe

By Gabrielle Espinosa

General Luna, Siargao Island, Dec. 4 – Safe water may be the next attraction in Siargao as the island puts on board the Eco-friendly Septic Tank System or Eco-sep.

This technology consists of a septic water management system that addresses the problem on untreated wastewaters in resorts, public establishments, and households.

Launched in Siargao in September 2017, the Eco-sep technology is installed in three pilot sites, namely General Luna Market, General Luna High School, and Traveler’s Beach Resort.

“Samples collected from these sites will serve as a baseline for the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) to encourage resort owners, local government units (LGUs), and households to adopt the technology in our campaign [as part of the project],” said Engr. Noel Ajoc, project coordinator.

Dr. Merlinda Palencia, developer of the Eco-sep technology, explained that the Eco-sep system deployed in the pilot sites contains Vigormin, an organomineral that hastens the decomposition of harmful bacteria that lodge in septic tanks. Vigormin prevents bacteria from escaping from the tank, thus avoiding contamination of waste water in sewage systems.

Palencia noted that the Eco-sep system will be very efficient in Siargao.  Most septic tanks in the island have a bottomless design which allows wastewater to quickly seep through the ground. This poses higher risk of contamination in freshwater and seawater.

“Eco-sep will make an impact to Siargao since the source of its eco-tourism is the pristine, fresh and very clean water along its beaches. We don’t want Siargao to follow the footsteps of other tourist areas where fecal bacteria were already in seawaters,” said Palencia.

DOST Caraga Regional Director Dominga Mallonga also assured that DOST will always continue its support in sustaining eco-tourism in the island.

“With the development come challenges from the increasing influx of tourists in Siargao. DOST will always be along the way so that we will be able to plan out carefully and avoid problems in solid waste management and food safety,” guaranteed Mallonga.

The Eco-sep technology is funded by the Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Council for Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (DOST-PCIEERD). Its launch in the island was participated in by scientists, LGUs, government agencies, educators, volunteer groups, and students.


During the launch, DOST also introduced other projects for Siargao such as food-based livelihood for the elderly, IT-enabled livelihood, and DOST’s digital S&T library called STARBOOKS. (DOST-Caraga/PIA-Caraga)