Monday, March 26, 2018


Gov’t agencies reach out to Caraga IPs, respond to issues, concerns

By Jennifer P. Gaitano

BUTUAN CITY, Mar. 26 (PIA) - Various government agencies have responded to the issues and concerns of the Indigenous Peoples (IPs) coming from the different provinces of Caraga region, during the two-day IP Leaders Summit held on March 25-26, 2018 at Oazis Hotel, this city.

More than 400 IPs converged for the Caraga-wide IP Leaders Summit dubbed “Lumadnong Panaglambigitay Alang sa Kalinaw og Kalambuan sa Caraga.”

The Regional Peace and Order Council (RPOC) chaired by Agusan del Norte Governor Ma. Angelica Rosedell Matba-Amante spearheaded the said activity, in collaboration with the different government agencies and local government units in the region.

Gov. Matba emphasized the importance of the IPs in getting them involved in the government's programs for peace and development. She also acknowledged their presence by tribe and assured the IPs that they will benefit from the two-day IP Leaders summit, where heads of government agencies and local officials would see to it that issues and concerns would be given appropriate action.

Rico Maca, a Manobo and Indigenous Peoples Mandatory Representative (IPMR) in San Miguel, Surigao del Sur expressed that the summit is an avenue where the government agencies could present and discuss resolutions to the pressing issues and concerns of the IPs in their respective communities. He also commended the efforts of the government for continuously reaching out to their sector and for providing their needs.

National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) Caraga regional director Atty. Jose Dumagan Jr. recalled that it was thru the Philippine Army's initiative/proposal to the RPOC to conduct an IP Leaders Summit in the region to tackle various issues and concerns of the IPs and allow the concerned government agencies to respond accordingly. He also stressed that Gov. Matba, together with the member agencies then immediately acted upon the proposal and planned for the said activity.

Atty. Dumagan, recalled that prior to this two-day IP Leaders Summit, there were already series of consultations with the IPs from the different provinces thru the coordination and efforts of various local government units and the Philippine Army that served as avenues for concerned parties to bring up issues and concerns that need to be addressed by the government.

It was learned that the issues and concerns of the IPs are grouped into ten thematic areas, to wit: 1) IPs Education; 2) Local Governance Concerns; 3) Welfare, Skills, and Livelihood; 4) Economic Concerns; 5) Issues on Land and Ancestral Domain; 6) Peace and Security; 7) IP Organization (IPO) Registration; 8) Health Services; 9) Infrastructure; and 10) Autonomy.

As mentioned during the summit on the protection of IPs, the Armed Forces of the Philippines, Philippine National Police, and NCIP have various options and strategies in ensuring their protection. Accordingly, the AFP has deployed their men in IP areas in Caraga establishing Patrol Bases in the vicinity of Ancestral Domains and employing regular soldiers and CAA personnel who are members of the IP tribes in the area.

“The protection of the IP leaders and their members are done through the security operations being undertaken by the 401st and 402nd Brigades, Philippine Army. The PNP has also been coordinating with the other law enforcement agencies to share their counterparts in addressing this concern,” relayed Dumagan.

Also cited is the concern on health services. One of which is the request for IP hospitals near their respective communities. With this, the DOH was asked to encourage existing hospitals to expand their services to IPs either through satellite centers or the allocation of hospital wings that will prioritize IP patients. As a long-term plan, the DOH has to refer this matter to its Regulatory and Licensing, Health Facility Enhancement Program (regional office) and to its Health Facility Development Bureau for further assessment. For short-term plan, through the JMC 2013-01 and the Regional Inter-Agency Committee for IP Health, the DOH will put up IP Help Desk in Health Facilities that are strategically located in IP areas and to be manned by an IP personnel.

As to the request of the IPs in Caraga region on the increase of quota of IP soldiers and Civilian Armed Forces Geographical Units (CAFGU), the AFP responded that in 2017, a special program led to the recruitment of a total of 300 members of the IP communities within the area of the 4th Infantry Division. Also, a number of IP members from the Banwaon and Higa-onon tribes are now enlisted in the Army, specifically with the 26IB.

The issues and concerns have been enumerated and each was provided actions from the concerned agencies and will be monitored by the RPOC Caraga if all recommendations are implemented.

Meanwhile, the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) Caraga headed by regional director Florencio Sunico, together with Gov. Matba, Agusan del Sur acting Governor Samuel Tortor, 401st Brigade commander Col. Andres Centino, 402nd Brigade commander Col. Franco Nemesio Gacal, and some heads of government agencies led the ceremonial awarding of TESDA scholarships to the IPs during the two-day IP Leaders Summit. (JPG/PIA-Caraga)


213 Caraga students qualify as DOST scholars

BUTUAN CITY, Mar. 26 - The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Caraga announced over the weekend a total of 213 passers from Caraga region composed of 168 scholars for its Republic Act (RA) 7687 Scholarship program and 45 in the Merit Scholarship.

DOST-Science Education Institute (SEI) also announced an increase in the monthly stipend of all scholars. Scholars will receive P7,000 every month starting School Year 2018-2019.

Thousands of aspiring scientists and engineers will enter college with the DOST-SEI scholarship stamp.

The country’s premier science scholarship program, back after a two-year hiatus due to the implementation of the K-12 Curriculum, announced 8,994 new qualifiers for its RA 7687 and Merit Scholarship programs.

Out of the total number of passers, 5,172 qualified as scholars under the RA 7687 Scholarship Program, scholarships for gifted students who belong to economically disadvantaged families; while 3,822 passed under the DOST-SEI Merit Scholarship Program.

It is a record-breaking year for DOST-SEI as the number of qualified students reached the highest mark since the scholarship program started in 1958, surpassing 2015’s 5,303 qualifiers by 69.60 percent. The 2018 DOST-SEI Scholarships Examination, which was held on October 15, 2017 in 216 test centers nationwide, recorded the highest number of examinees with 46,434 students.

Municipalities and congressional districts covered by the DOST-SEI Scholarship Program also increased from 1,568 in 2015 to 1,609 this year representing 97 percent of the country's total number of municipalities and congressional districts.

The scholars are also entitled to tuition fee subsidy; book allowance; MS/PE clothing allowance; one economy-class round-trip fare per year for those studying outside of their home province; and group accident insurance. (DOST/PIA-Caraga)


PNP tightens security measures in Caraga for Holy Week

BUTUAN CITY, Mar. 26 (PIA) - As part of the preparation for the Holy Week, Police Regional Office 13 (PRO13) regional director CSupt. Noli Romana has already placed all Philippine National Police (PNP) units in the region on full alert status to maintain public safety services and provide maximum security coverage during the observance of "Panaad 2018".
Chief Supt. Romana reminded all unit commanders to secure all vital installations, economic key points as well as places of convergence and to ensure a high state of operational readiness to deter criminal activities and thwart any hostile action that may be launched by terrorist groups.

PNP personnel will be deployed in all areas of convergence to provide police presence and other police safety services. They will conduct random checkpoints in various areas of Caraga to stop any possible threats and unpleasant doings of various groups who might be taking advantage of the situation to carry out their unlawful activities.

Also, PRO13 will intensify intelligence monitoring and still focus on law enforcement operations to ensure safe observance of the Holy Week.

“We are undertaking all the necessary steps for a solemn observance of the Lenten Season and a stress-free holiday break,” Romana said.

“Even with the round-the-clock security preparations of PNP Caraga, it is important for the residents and travelers to observe extra-precautionary measures for their personal security and safety especially if they opted to go for an out-of-town activity during the blessed week,” he added. (PRO13/PIA-Caraga)


Surigao City Negosyo Center among PH’s top 50 performing NCs

SURIGAO CITY, Surigao del Norte, Mar. 26 - Of the nine Negosyo Centers in Surigao del Norte, the Negosyo Center (NC) in Surigao City was among the country’s top 50 performing facilities, particularly in the number of clients served and micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) assisted.

Report as of December 31, 2017 of the Negosyo Center Monitoring System (NCMS) of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) showed that Negosyo Center Surigao City ranked 48th, in terms of number of clients assisted with around 2,705 clients served.

The Negosyo Center Surigao City caters to all business-related concerns of existing and potential entrepreneurs.

Most of the assistance given to MSMEs was mainly attributed to the conduct of seminars and trainings, as well as business name and BMBE registration.

This year, DTI Surigao del Norte aims to open two more Negosyo Centers in the province.

One will be established in Siargao Island and the other one will be in the mainland of the province. (DTI-Surigao del Norte/PIA-Surigao del Norte)