Thursday, February 22, 2018

AgNor supports move for P800B IRA back pay to LGUs

By Aimee B. Sienes

BUTUAN CITY, Feb. 22 – The Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Agusan del Norte supported the move of Governor Hermilando I. Mandanas, et. al of Batangas province for the release of the local government units’ Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) back pay from the P800 billion total estimated unreleased portion of the just share of LGUs from the National Internal Revenue Taxes since 1992 up to present.

Mandanas filed a petition before the Supreme Court for the national government to release the said LGUs’ IRA back pay collected by the Bureau of Customs due to the province, cities, municipalities and barangays from 1992 up to the present, but still awaited for the final resolution.

Provincial officials of Agusan del Norte believed that under Sections 284 and 286 of Republic Act 7160 and other existing rules and regulations, the national government should automatically release the just shares of the IRA for the LGUs from the national taxes to enable the LGUS to hasten the delivery of much needed services to their constituents.

In its Sanggunian Resolution No. 050-2018, authored by Vice Governor Ramon AG. Bungabong, it strongly supported the said petition asserting that the LGUs have a rightful share from the Bureau of Customs, being a collecting arm of the Bureau of Internal Revenue for the LGUs to provide better governance to their constituents and promote local autonomy which, in the long run, would fasttrack the implementation of the LGUs’ development projects and simulate the economy in the countryside. (ABSienes, LGU-Agusan del Norte/PIA-Agusan del Norte)

Agusan Norte LGU controls rice black bug infestation

By Aimee B. Sienes

BUTUAN CITY, Feb. 22 – The provincial government of Agusan del Norte is urging all rice-producing city and municipalities in the province to participate and adopt a synchronized light trapping activities and institute integrated approaches to control the infestation of rice black bugs (RBBs) in the province.

It was learned that the Provincial Agriculture’s Office has conducted plant diseases and pests surveillance due to the reported incidence of RBBs attach affects the rice farms in the province.

Based on the validated report from the surveillance team, the areas affected by the RBBs infestation were the municipalities of Kitcharao, Jabonga, Las Nieves and Buenavista. It was also reported that massive and intensive insecticide applications failed to control rice crop damages, but instead the process killed the natural enemies of RBBs like wasps, long-joined spiders, red ants, damsel bugs and other beneficial insects.

According to Provincial Agriculture’s Office, aside from water management and biological control, the use of light traps with high intensity of light rays is highly recommended to use because it can easily attract the black bugs that caused them from entrapping.

It was recommended that the light trapping be done three days before and three days after the full moon, since it is during this period that RBBS attack and they are trapped and collected and buried underground.

The call for urgency of the city and municipalities in the province to use the light trapping was to prevent the infestation of RBBs and save the rice farms from further damage. (ABSienes, LGU-Agusan del Norte/PIA-Agusan del Norte)

Culmination of skills training for Marawi victims set in Butuan

By Robert E. Roperos

BUTUAN CITY, Feb. 22 – More than 100 internally-displaced persons (IDPs) who are victims of Marawi siege will finish the skills training program on February 22, 2018 and will be receiving toolkits at the Atrium Center of Robinsons Place-Butuan.

The program, dubbed as "DOLE Kabuhayan Program" is in convergence with the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA)-Caraga by a virtue of a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) signed between DOLE-Caraga Regional Director Chona Mantilla and TESDA-Caraga Regional Director Ashary A. Banto.

Accordingly, TESDA will conduct a training through a training-cum-production program with allowance to qualified trainees in masonry and carpentry. For food processing, TESDA will provide or facilitate the skills training.

Also, materials to be used during the duration of the training will be provided by the agency. A free assessment will be conducted and upon passing the assessment, a National Certificate (NC) will be issued to the trainees.

Meanwhile, DOLE-Caraga through the DOLE Integrated Livelihood and Emergency Employment Program (DILEEP) shall support the convergence arrangements by making available to the identified communities the number of interventions, subject to existing program guidelines.

Among the interventions is to provide working capital in the form of raw materials, equipment, tools and jigs, and other support services necessary in setting-up the business and/or enhancement of individual and group livelihood projects.

Further, DOLE will provide continuing technical assistance and business advisory services to ensure efficiency, productivity, and sustainability of the business/enterprise. The labor department also provides opportunities for showcasing successful projects, as well as to conduct and facilitate supervision, project assessment and monitoring visits.

Meanwhile, the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF)-Caraga Region has identified the beneficiaries of this program.

The activity is in line with the trust of the current administration of generating decent and productive employment so that every Filipino can enjoy better and dignified quality of life.

It is also anchored on the two-pronged strategy of TESDA led by Director-General and Secretary Guiling “Gene” A. Mamondiong in poverty reduction, particularly those who are socially excluded and displaced such as informal workers, indigenous peoples, farmers, fisherfolks, drug dependents, rebel returnees, women victims of abuse and human trafficking, returning OFWs and persons with disabilities to be active participants in the development process.

This will also serve as a driving force for change and upliftment of the life of the Filipino people, contributing to the socio-economic development of our nation as a whole. (RERoperos, TESDA-Caraga/PIA-Caraga)

SurSur gov takes on call for probe on TS Basyang’s onslaught

By Greg Tataro, Jr.

TANDAG CITY, Surigao del Sur, Feb. 22 (PIA) – Surigao del Sur Governor Vicente Pimentel, Jr. has joined Diocese of Tandag Bishop Nereo Odchimar’s call for a no nonsense probe on the root cause of “flooding in CARCANMADCARLAN” area.  

Carcanmadcarlan, a cluster of five northern towns in the province, were said to have been badly hit by Tropical Storm (TS) Basyang, particularly the two adjacent municipalities of Carrascal and Cantilan, on February 13, 2018. 

From then on, what happened became a controversy.

In what Pimentel has called a “pastoral letter,” the bishop threw out the question “Could the reason be due to massive mining operations that denuded the natural forested mountains and critical watersheds of Cantilan and Carrascal?” 

In his response, the chief executive of the province issued a well-crafted statement pitting his wits by bringing out “hard and indisputable facts, point-by-point” against the bishop’s themed “A Call for Responsibility."

In addition, he cited similar occurrences like Typhoon Uring in Ormoc, Leyte on November 5, 1991;  the Guinsaugon, Southern Leyte landslide on February 17, 2007; the Typhoon Sendong that hit Iligan and Cagayan de Oro on December 17, 2011; and Typhoon Pablo that wiped out three towns in Davao Oriental, including Barangay Palo Alto, this province, on December 4, 2012.  The governor said, the places mentioned had no mining activities.  

Contrary to some views, Pimentel noted that “premature and sweeping conclusions do not help.” 

“Nonetheless, I agree with the call of Bishop Nereo P. Odchimar for an immediate and independent investigation on the flooding in all the affected areas in order to ferret out the truth and determine if mining is really the cause of the flooding and landslides,” he said in his rejoinder titled “A Call for Sobriety."

Also, on the allegation that some of mining companies “are allegedly owned by the high ranking government officials of the province,” Pimentel vehemently denied such.

“I categorically state that I am not, in whole or in part, an owner of any mining company operating in our province or elsewhere.  Simply put, I am not a miner.  Just like any other ordinary businessman, my connection in the mining industry is limited to hauling business,” he emphasized.

Earlier, Pimentel likewise cleared “mining” in this regard.  “There is no truth to the claim that siltation ponds in some mining sites have collapsed.  All the siltation ponds area intact and solid to this day.  Drone videos that I have ordered taken right after the storm is proof of this.“ 

It can be recalled that on February 19, Provincial Administrator Efren Rivas has already shared his thoughts on the issue after watching the drone video taken from the so-called “ground zero.”

The administrator believed that it was also pure TS Basyang’s wrath that had caused the devastation. (Radyo Pilipinas-Tandag/PIA-Surigao del Sur)