Friday, February 23, 2018

SurSur gov among DSWD awardees

By Greg Tataro, Jr.

TANDAG CITY, Surigao del Sur, Feb. 23 – Gov. Vicente Pimentel, Jr. was chosen as one of DSWD’s “Salamat Po” awardees in Caraga region.

Mira Chuchi Gupana-Lim, DSWD Caraga OIC Regional Director, had already sent an official invitation to the good governor seeking his presence on the occasion of its 67th anniversary celebration that would be held in Watergate Hotel in Butuan City at 9:00 a.m. on February 27, 2018.  

“We will be recognizing our partners for their exemplary contribution in helping DSWD carry out its mandate of improving lives and providing a better opportunity for the poor, disadvantaged, and vulnerable sectors of our society through the ‘Pagkilala sa Natatanging Kontribusyon sa Bayan (PaNata Ko sa Bayan)’ Awards,” the social welfare top official told Pimentel in her letter dated February 12, 2018.

With the theme “DSWD@67: Walang Puwang sa Katiwalian ang Paglilingkod nang Tapat sa Bayan,” Gupana-Lim said that this would be in line with the agency’s effort to “highlight the importance of building and promoting integrity among its officials and employees.”  

“Both are integral to efforts to deliver true and dedicated public service and to enhance effectiveness and efficiency in the public sector,” she added. (Radyo Pilipinas-Tandag/PIA-Surigao del Sur)


SurSur IPs alarmed over foreigners’ visit in their turf

By Greg Tataro, Jr.

TANDAG CITY, Surigao del Sur, Feb. 23 – The 36th Infantry (Valor) Battalion of the Philippine Army (PA) here reported that Lumad communities had voiced out concern over the “presence of foreign nationals” in San Miguel town, particularly in Sitio Hayon, Barangay Libas Sud.

In the company of 12 locals upon entering the “Lumad” community on February 20, 2018, the group spent overnight in the area, according to Cpt. Francisco Garello, Jr., battalion civil military operations (CMO) officer, in a press statement.  

The non-nationals were identified as Ms. Miracle Osman of Malawi, Africa; Ms. Jennifer Marie Abella of California, USA; and Prof. Boehringer Gill Hale from New South Wales, Australia. 

"However, it was only, the next day, February 21, when troops of the said battalion “intercepted” them at a routine checkpoint in Dreamland Patrol Base, Sitio Dreamland, Barangay Alba, Tago town," Garello noted. 

When asked for proper identification, one of the foreigners was said to have been lacking necessary papers.  Hence, for further “documentation and identification” they were invited to the municipal police station having jurisdiction of the area. After undergoing process, Garello said that the group was released later on “as witnessed by their legal counsel, Atty. Antonio Azarcon.”

But early on, citing Section 1 of the Municipal Ordinance No. 03 series of 2017 of San Miguel dated January 3, 2017 or Ordinance Regulating Entry of Migrants into Certificate of Ancestral Domain Title (CADT) Areas within this Municipality and Providing Penalty for any Violation thereof, Cpt. Garello said that entry to the municipality, let alone a Lumad territory without the necessary clearance from authorities meant a breach.  "These included even Peoples Organization and Non-Governmental Organization," he added.

The battalion CMO bared that during the group’s overnight stint, Datu Rico Maca, municipal tribal chieftain, went to see these people to advise them to leave because of violation of a municipal ordinance. Garello said that the same were told to have sought permission first from Municipal Tribal Office to be allowed entry in the ancestral land.

Such policy was to “protect” the Indigenous Peoples (IPs) from unidentified strangers with undetermined objective.

When asked about their purpose, Maca said that they were there to “interview” IPs for them to know the truth behind allegations of human rights violations.  But, the municipal tribal chieftain noted that IP sources seemed to be just being picked out.

Contrary to claim of having been given permission to go to the area, the military officer found out from Local Government Unit (LGU) of San Miguel, Barangay LGU of Libas Sud and from no less than Provincial Administrator Efren Rivas that no such thing was granted.

Rivas stood pat on what he said, when contacted by media. 

The provincial administrator, however, confirmed that he, acting on behalf of Governor Vicente Pimentel, Jr., had a meeting with the group at the Provincial Governor’s Office (PGO) Conference Room on February 19, 2018. 

The group claimed to be “members of the International Fact Finding and Solidarity Mission (ISM)” based on the report of the Surigao del Sur Police Provincial Office under Provincial Director PSSupt. Francisco Dungo, Jr.

Lt. Col. Xerxes Trinidad, 36IB Commanding Officer, said that “the group did not coordinate with the proper authority.  As foreign nationals, they could have coordinated with us for their safety and security.”


The municipality of San Miguel is part of the area of responsibility (AOR) of the said battalion. (Radyo Pilipinas-Tandag/PIA-Surigao del Sur)