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Butuan City News

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Butuan City - Archived News

Contents

Class suit eyed vs Butuan fire victims' employer

By Ben Serrano


BUTUAN CITY, Philippines – A lawyer-relative of one of the 17 fatalities in last Wednesday’s fire that razed a commercial building here plans to file a class suit against the victims’ employer, a garment store, and the building’s owners.

Besides suing Novo Jeans and Shirts Enterprises, lawyer Danilo Delima Lim is also studying filing administrative charges against city officials and other concerned authorities for failing to close the store and the building for posing grave danger to the occupants and the general public as well.

This, as city permits and licensing division chief Paul Cabrera clarified that a business permit was issued last Jan. 20 to Novo under the name of Fabulous Jeans and Shirts of Alexander Arqueza.

The store though had no mechanical safety and fire safety inspection certificates since no fire drills were conducted, he said.

The 17 fatalities were Novo’s female stay-in workers who were trapped when the fire struck the building before dawn last Wednesday. Three other employees survived the tragedy.

Cabrera recalled noticing the presence of young women at the store’s sleeping quarters at the mezzanine floor when they inspected the premises last September.

But the management told him that the room was only a resting place, not sleeping quarters for the employees, he said.

Lim described as “flimsy and absurd” the reasoning of Novo legal counsel Oliver Yuan that the company did not violate any laws because three workers managed to escape by using the fire exit on the second floor.

Yuan denied that the Novo management had padlocked the doors.

In their initial report though, firefighters said it took them some time to destroy the two padlocks at the store’s roll-up doors to gain entry.

Meanwhile, only six of the 17 fatalities have been identified so far with the help of their families and relatives.

The six fatalities are Joanlie Amor, secretary; Judelyn Ore and Ellenie Ocoy, both assistant supervisors; Mylyn Lieazon and Princess Grace Sayre, both cashiers; and Princess Mae Figueras, bagger.






TUCP condemns senseless deaths in Butuan fire

By (TUCP/PIA-Surigao del Norte)


MANILA, May 11 (PIA) -- The Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) condemned what it claims as senseless but preventable deaths of 17 female workers in Butuan City early Wednesday.

“TUCP mourns with the families of the 17 sales ladies who died from the Butuan City fire,” says TUCP General Secretary Jun Umali, Jr.

“It is senseless. Accidents such as this could easily be mitigated if proper safety precautions and practices are mindfully put in place," he added.

Based on reports, 17 of the 21 stay-in female workers died in a fire that blazed a commercial building in Butuan. Four barely escaped death. They were treated in a nearby hospital for their injuries.

A TUCP compilation of news reports show that nine workers have been killed and 11 were injured in six serious work-related incidents from January to March this year. Some 74 workers were killed and 73 were injured in 34 workplace incidents in 2011. These were lower than in 2010 with 109 deaths, 87 injured and 58 incidents and in 2009 with 98 deaths and 158 work-related injuries.

“Improvements in safety and health at the workplace are urgent. Lack of budget and personnel are unacceptable reasons for workers to get injured, get ill, or die,” said Umali.

He reiterated TUCP’s proposal to deputize trained union leaders and workers to do joint workplace inspection and assist government in ensuring safer, healthier, and sustainable working conditions.

“We have trained leaders and members. We are more than happy to extend help and work with the DOLE to achieve better results on workplace safety and health. This could be one lasting and realistic solution to the lingering problem of lack of personnel in DOLE,” he says.

On Labor Day (May 1, 2012), President Benigno Aquino III approved the hiring of additional labor inspectors in DOLE.

DENR urges fishermen to help protect environment

By Robert E. Roperos


BUTUAN CITY, May 10 (PIA) -- The regional office of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) here has urged the fishermen to help protect the environment so that marine life will continue to thrive in the area.

This developed after concerned government agencies confirmed that illegal fishing is still happening in the coastal provinces of the region.

According to Eric Herzon Gallego, DENR-Caraga information officer, mangroves are very important for fishes as this served as their home. He added if mangrove trees are abundant in a certain coastal area, “this means that all types of fishes are also abundant.”

The official further said in Caraga Region, the two provinces of Surigao are known to have abundant mangrove forests. In Agusan del Norte, the coastal areas of Cabadbaran City, Tubay, and municipalities along the Lake Mainit are known to have mangrove trees grown.

However, Gallego said in Barangays Masao and Lumbocan here, have less mangrove trees as these are cut down and used as firewood by people in the area.

Because of this, the official enjoins fishermen and the general public to take care of the mangrove trees as a way of protecting the environment and natural resources.

According to Philippine Clearing House Mechanism for Biodiversity, earlier literatures have reported that mangrove areas are found in Palawan, Aurora, Isabela and Quezon in Luzon, Aklan, Samar provinces in the Visayas, and Zamboanga, Surigao and Sulu provinces in Mindanao, with the largest remaining mangroves areas located in Mindanao (112,745 has), Samar (65,119 has), Palawan (37,432) and Luzon (16,769 has).

The largest mangrove areas are found in Regions IV-B, Region VIII, CARAGA and Region VII. Palawan (52, 693 hectares) in Region IV-B appears to have the largest mangrove area, followed by Northern Samar (9, 961.69) in Region VIII, Surigao del Sur (16,865.14) in Region XIII, and Bohol (14,156.37) in Region VII (DENR-PAWB-CMMO, 2008). (RER/PIA-Caraga)

Early morning fire kills 17 in Butuan City

By Robert E. Roperos


BUTUAN CITY, May 9 (PIA) -- A fire which allegedly started on the third floor of a three-storey building killed 17 sales ladies of a jeans store.

According to reports, the fire started at around 3:45 a.m. where the three-storey building where establishments such as NOVO Jeans Store, Smart Wireless, Saint Peter's Office, Ayala Life Insurance, Digi-Life cell phone store, Western Union, and a badminton court were housed.

Junel Albuelo, store guard on duty, said stay-in personnel of NOVO store were staying on the third floor where the fire allegedly started. He said he heard an explosion coming from the store after which he observed thick smoke seeping under the door.He also said the store’s main gate had two padlocks: from within and outside. Albuelo also confirmed that 21 personnel were staying inside the establishment last night.

Reports also revealed that of the 21 all-female stay-in personnel and sales ladies of NOVO store, three survived the incident; they jumped to the second floor of the building as the fire raged.

In an interview, the survivors said they were trapped in the building when the fire broke out. Somehow, they managed to break out, jump to the second floor, then brought to a nearby hospital.

Meanwhile, Vice-Mayor Lawrence Lemuel Fortun said concerned officials and personnel from the city government and other national government agencies were already instructed to extend immediate assistance to the survivors confined in a hospital.

The official also said because of the incident, the street fronting the building had been closed until such time the City Engineering Office has cleared the debris and deemed the area safe for passers by.

As of press time, officials of the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) here confirmed 17 dead bodies had already been recovered and all are beyond recognition. Elements of the Scene of the Crime Operatives (SOCO), on the other hand, had retrieved the cadavers, and started the process of identification of the bodies.

Initial reports from the BFP reveal that the cost of damages is estimated at around P30 million. (RER - PIA 13, Caraga)

DA-Caraga still waiting for COA special report on P53.3-M fund mess

By Ben Serrano


BUTUAN CITY, May 8 (PNA) — It’s almost a year now after an estimated P53.3-M hard-earned taxpayers’ money deposited at the Department of Agriculture Caraga regional office trust funds was discovered to have vanished,and DA officials here claimed the Commission on Audit (COA) Caraga regional office has yet to submit its special audit report. Earlier, COA Commissioner Heidi Mendoza suspected it is not only P53.3-M that has gone missing but more, saying she is also for an independent investigation of other DA and COA officials and personnel, especially those assigned as resident auditors at the time the management of such huge funds somehow went wrong. The lady COA commissioner suspected the missing DA funds incident is not only a doing of one person but more were involved in it. Some Farmers and fisherfolks in Caraga region wanted early resolution of the huge funds missing and those involved prosecuted, to languish in jail, saying the wasted funds that only go to a few could have made many pro-poor projects for the already hungry and impoverished Caraga farmers. During a press conference here Wednesday evening with DA Assistant Secretary Dante Delima and former TESDA Director General Edicio Dela Torre, who is now Special Technical Adviser for Agriculture (STAG) of DA Secretary Proceso Alcala, DA-Caraga regional director Edna Mabeza admitted when asked at the news conference that COA has not yet submitted its special audit reports. This despite orders from the COA chairman to speed up the audit and make the audit public to avoid suspicion of a cover-up. “Last week, the Ombudsman Davao office wrote me about results of the special audit made by COA Caraga office. I replied to the Ombudsman that we have yet not received the special audit reports from Atty. Roy Ursal, COA regional director; as I speak wala pa talaga kaming natanggap” Mabeza said DA Assistant Secretary Dante Delima and former TESDA Director General Ed Dela Torre, for their part, wanted early resolution of the missing Agriculture funds amounting to millions of pesos deposited at the Land Bank of the Philippines Butuan bank branch and Philippine Veterans Bank, Butuan City branch The two top DA officials commented it is almost impossible that it’s almost a year now that COA has not come up yet with its special audit reports. Ursal earlier admitted he already received the Authority to re-open Accountable Government Accounts of DA-Caraga regional office that was granted last January 12, 2012 by the Commission on Audit chairperson Maria Gracia Pulido-Tan. It can be recalled that last June 27, 2011, Department of Agriculture-Caraga Assistant Regional Director Edgardo Dagala Dahino asked the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Caraga regional office to investigate DA-Caraga Disbursing Officer Mariza Balaba Salise. In his letter to NBI regional office, Dahino attached 71 photocopies of checks from Philippine Veteran’s Bank Butuan Branch and four photocopies of checks from Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) Butuan branch containing various amounts totaling to some P70-M encashed from January 2006 to May 2010. Dahino complained said government funds from DA deposited as trust funds from said banks were unaccounted for as he suspected his signatures that appeared in said checks were allegedly forged. Four members of the House of Representatives from Caraga Region now wanted to fast-track the House Committee on Agriculture investigation in the Department of Agriculture (DA) Caraga regional office P70-M fund mess. House Committee on Agriculture and Food Vice Chairman Rep. Guillermo Romarate, Jr. (Liberal Party- 2nd District Surigao del Norte) claimed that his three other colleague-solons from Caraga Region also wanted an early resolution in the House Inquiry in aid of legislation so that lapses will be corrected and such incident will never be repeated. Last September 5, 2011, four Caraga solons namely; Representatives Romarate,; Francisco T. Matugas (Liberal Party- Surigao del Norte First District),;Philip Pichay (LP-Surigao del Sur 1st District) and 2nd District Agusan del Sur Congresswoman Evelyn Plaza-Mellana filed House Resolution No. 1687 urging and directing the Committee on Agriculture and Food to conduct immediate investigation in aid of legislation on the P70-M funds of the Department of Agriculture Caraga regional office which were allegedly illegally disbursed without vouchers and proper documentary support. (PNA) RSV/Ben Serrano/ebp

Rep. Enrile to student leaders: Be an instrument of change

By Ben Serrano


BUTUAN CITY, May 7 (PNA) -- Cagayan Rep. Juan Ponce Enrile Jr. told some 300 student leaders from all over the country to be instruments of change, promoters of peace and development, and couriers of hope amid the country’s burgeoning woes.

Enrile was the guest speaker during the May 5-7 Philippine Higher Education Student Government Leadership Training in this regional center and capital of Caraga region.

During an open forum with student leaders, Enrile was given standing ovation when he urged student leaders to inspire and lead fellow Filipino youths and the entire citizenry in transforming the country’s problems into challenges and opportunities. He also urged them to join the bandwagon of transformational politics the country badly needs to move forward.

“What is knowledge, a masteral and doctoral degree or even a degree from Harvard University or La Salle, U.P. or Ateneo without you serving the country for common good? Serve your communities and do whatever little things you can to your classmates, neighbors and families without expecting returns. Making a difference of their lives is what all relevant education all about,” Enrile said.

Enrile cited his personal experiences as a young and happy-go-lucky teenager, saying there comes a turning point in everyone's life to make a difference in whatever little capacity one has in his/her community.

“There was a time that I was reluctant to my father’s challenge to me to continue his work in serving Filipinos especially those who badly needed help. When I was young like you my focus then was about myself, business and me and me alone but when you reach that peak of your career and you had everything and when you see many people are still suffering, there comes a point you decide to do something rather than sit there and watching,” Enrile said.

Enrile challenged the student leaders to join his search for the right answer in achieving lasting peace and sustainable development for the country.

He said this include fully developing the agriculture sector, sustainably developing the country’s vast human resources, and tapping the country’s vast natural and fisheries resources while protecting the environment.

He also challenged the student leaders to join his quest for good, accountable and transparent governance; re-orienting Filipino voters’ values in eradicating money and patronage politics; and address the long overdue problem of productivity of every Filipinos.

“Alone, I can never even start that long journey and can’t even imagine I can do it, but with you young people of this country whom Jose Rizal referred as the future of this country, we can all do it,” Enrile said. (PNA) DCT/LAM/BS/ebp

DOLE-Caraga urges jobseekers to undergo TESDA skills trainings

By Robert E. Roperos


BUTUAN CITY, May 6 (PIA) -- The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE)-Caraga Region is urging job seekers to undergo skills trainings initiated by the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) to prepare them for any job fairs and job hunting

This developed after the labor department observed the low percentage of applicants in Caraga who were hired during the conduct of Job Fest 2012, which the department spearheaded, in time with the celebration of Labor Day on May 1

DOLE-Caraga Technical Services chief Teresita Bonghanoy said this probably happened because the applicants were not able to meet the skills standards set by the participating agencies and establishments who were hiring manpower during the event.

However, Bonghanoy advised the unsuccessful applicants to see the TESDA office and undergo skills training to ensure that they can pass the skill requirements of the different establishments.

The official further said that those who want to join in the next job fairs and job hunting must be well-equipped with the knowledge, skills and right attitude that are beneficial to be accepted in whatever positions or job they want to apply in.

Bonghanoy further said TESDA is offering more skills trainings that are needed both in the local, national and international labor markets.

Meanwhile, DOLE-Caraga reported that the two-day Job Fest held in one of the private schools here was a resounding success. With the theme: “Pagtutulungan. Pagbabago. Disenteng Trabaho,” the job fair was participated in by around 1,500 applicants.

Aside from the job fair, a MOA signing between DOLE and TESDA-Caraga on the PHILJOBNET registration of graduates was also done to ensure that graduates can find jobs that fit their qualifications.

Also, officials of the Philippine National Police (PNP) in the region reported that the Labor Day celebration in Caraga was generally peaceful. (RER/PIA 13 Caraga)

CSC-Caraga to conduct seminar on handling legislative cases

By Robert E. Roperos


BUTUAN CITY, May 5 (PIA) -- To improve knowledge in handling legislative cases, the regional office of the Civil Service Commission (CSC) in Caraga will conduct the third batch of seminars for human resource management officers and legal officers of the different government agencies in the region on May 10 to 14.

According to CSC-Caraga Regional Director Adams Torres, the revised rules on administrative cases in the Civil Service will be discussed to enlighten the participants on the new regulations set by the commission in case administrative cases will be filed against any state officials and workers.

Under CSC Memorandum Circular 19, series of 1999, the Commission, through Resolution No. 99-1936 dated August 31, 1999 adopted the new “Uniform Rules in Administrative Cases in the Civil Service,” which will govern the conduct of disciplinary and non-disciplinary proceedings in administrative cases brought before the Commission and/or other government agencies, except where special law provides otherwise.

The said resolution was published in the Manila Standard on September 11, 1999 and thus it took effect on September 27, 1999.

The memorandum pointed out that the Commission shall hear and decide administrative cases instituted by or brought before it directly or on appeal, including contested appointments, and review decisions and actions of its offices and of the agencies attached to it.

It also stated that the existing rules and regulations in administrative cases need to be updated and revised to make them more responsive to the demands for speedy, fair and judicious disposition of cases.

With these developments, the region’s CSC chief enjoined human resource management officers and legal officers of the different government agencies to take part in this seminar to ensure that handling of administrative cases will be made smoothly in accordance with the civil service rules. (RER/PIA-Caraga)

Gov’t capture rebel political officer

By (NCLM/PSupt Martin M Gamba/PNP13)


BUTUAN CITY, May 4 (PIA) -- The fifth most wanted person in the municipality of Lianga, Surigao del Sur was captured by the authorities.

A joint operation conducted by the personnel of Lianga Municipal Police Station led by PSInsp. Ignacio Serrano and Philippine Army's 29th Infantry Brigade led by 1Lt. Gerardo Joves resulted to the arrest of Teddy Domandan Bager, a member of Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), New People’s Army (NPA), National Democratic Front (NDF) under Front Command (FC) 19-B at around 3:00 a.m. of May 2 at the vicinity of Brgy Diatagon, Lianga in Surigao del Sur.

Teddy Domandan Bager alias ‘Bager/Teddy/Franco,’ Sandatahang Yunit Pampropaganda Team Leader Political Instructor was arrested by virtue of warrant of arrest for rebellion with Criminal Case Number L-2417 issued by Judge Alfredo P Jalad of Regional Trial Court, Branch 28, 11th Judicial Region, Lianga, of Surigao del Sur.

Recovered from his possession and control are one hand grenade, one Memory Card, five chargers, two battery packs, eight sim packs, three cellular phones and cash amounting to P9,766.

Bager was allegedly involved in the failed attack of Lianga Police Station last April 28 which was successfully repelled by joint Police and Army forces.

The accomplishment was the result of continuous joint operations and collaboration of government troops against rebels who had committed crimes against Filipino people.

The active support of the community paved way to the successful apprehension of Bager, the fifth most wanted person in the municipality of Lianga.

PCSupt. Reynaldo Rafal, Philippine National Police-Caraga regional director said, personnel of Police Regional Office 13 with its highest dedication, is serious in upholding the law to serve the interest of the common people and maintain peace and order in the region.

Rafal also congratulated the brave young and women of the operating troops for a job well done.

CCTVs to be installed soon in Butuan City streets, commercial areas

By (PNA)

dct/RSV/BS/rsm


CAMP RAFAEL RODRIGUEZ, Butuan City, May 3 (PNA) -- Close circuit television (CCTV) will be installed soon in major Butuan City thoroughfares and busy commercial areas, said Caraga PNP regional director Chief Supt. Reynaldo S. Rafal.

This developed after Butuan City Congressman Jose “Joboy” Aquino, II signed Memorandum of Agreement with the Philippine National Police (PNP) Caraga regional office for the CCTV project.

Rafal said the CCTV project aims to provide close security monitoring system to all major thoroughfares and commercial areas to deter crimes.

“The CCTV will conduct 24/7 monitoring and quick respond system that will enable our Butuan City cops to respond as quickly as possible to specific areas and specific targets because they are now identified by our close circuit monitoring system,” Rafal said.

Rafal thanked Congressman Aquino for providing funds from his PDAF for the project.

“Here in Butuan City, most CCTVs are only confined inside business establishments, banks and other offices but there is no CCTV available outside establishments,” Rafal said.

Rafal added that installing CCTVs will not only deter crimes and help police investigation. “It will also let criminals think twice in their sinister plots to rob, steal, other crimes against properties and individuals or whatever criminal acts or criminals plan,” Rafal said.

However, Rafal asked public support and cooperation for the project, saying without public awareness and involvement in the fight against criminality, the aim for installing CCTVs is fruitless and meaningless.

DA-Caraga, partners spearhead natl confab in Butuan

By Jennifer P. Gaitano


BUTUAN CITY, May 2 (PIA) -- The Department of Agriculture (DA) Caraga Regional Field Office, in partnership with the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) and P4MP National Federation are spearheading the conduct of the Pambansang Mananalon, Mag-uuma, Magbabaul, Magsasaka (P4MP) National Convention that will commence today, May 2 and will run until May 4.

According to DA-Caraga OIC Regional Director Edna Mabeza, DA Assistant Secretary Dante Delima is expected to grace the occasion.

The convention will offer the farmer-leaders the opportunities available to them so they can maximize their participation and contribution in the attainment of the goals and objectives of the agricultural programs of government.

The activity, which is anchored on the theme, “Pagkakaisa ng Magsasaka Tungo sa Kaunlaran ng Kabuhayan at Kalikasan,” will be held at Almont Hotel’s Inland Resort here.

Regional, provincial and city farmer association representatives all over the country together with the farmers’ association coordinators from DA regional field offices and the regional executive directors are expected to attend said activity. (RER/JPG-PIA 13 Caraga)

Jail warden’s hubby shoots self

By Zaida delos Reyes-Palanca


The husband of a jail officer committed suicide by shooting himself in the head allegedly due to family problems the other day in Butuan City.

Nicolas Exclamador, 45, husband of JO3 Emily Ann Exclamador, 35, used the caliber .45 service pistol of his wife in killing himself.

The incident happened inside the couple’s house in Purok 4, Barangay Libertad, Butuan City.

Emily said her husband had a problem that may have led him to end his life.

Authorities were still investigating the incident to determine whether there was foul play.

Crime incidence in Butuan still manageable, BCPO says

By Jennifer P. Gaitano


BUTUAN CITY, April 30 (PIA) -- To continuously ensure the safety of lives and properties of the general public, the Butuan City Police Office (BCPO) has intensified police vigilance and coordination with other government agencies.

OIC PSSupt Pedro Obaldo Jr. reported that from March 15 to April 28 of 2011, there were 75 crime incidents recorded while this year of the same period, it decreased into 69.

“This is because of the continuous monitoring, surveillance, and coordination of the PNP with local officials, other concerned agencies and the community in its area of responsibility,” he said.

Obaldo also bared that they are also continuously strengthening their campaign against illegal drugs, wanted persons, illegal mining machineries, and apprehension of theft suspects and recovery of stolen items,.

“With all these, we believe that crime incidence in the city is still manageable,” Obaldo said.

Obaldo aks for the full cooperation of the general public and encourages them to support its campaign to achieve peace and order. (JPG/PIA-caraga)

DTI-Caraga strengthens advocacy campaign on Tobacco Act

By Robert E. Roperos


BUTUAN CITY, April 29 (PIA) -- The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in Caraga, is strengthening its advocacy campaign on Republic Act 9211, otherwise known as the Tobacco Act of 2003.

According to Elmer Natad, DTI-Caraga Arbitration Officer, they will inform the public especially the youth on the provisions of the law.

He says the law points out that smoking shall be absolutely prohibited in public places such as centers of youth activity such as playschools, preparatory schools, elementary schools, high schools, colleges and universities, youth hostels, and recreational facilities for persons under 18 years old.

The official added smoking is also prohibited in elevators and stairwells, as well as in location where fire hazards are present, including gas stations and storage areas for flammable liquids, gas, explosives or combustible materials; within the buildings and premises of public and private hospitals. Medical, dental, and optical clinics, health centers, nursing homes, dispensaries and laboratories; public conveyance and public facilities including airport and ship terminals and train and bus stations, restaurant and conference halls, except for separate smoking areas; and in food preparation areas.

However, the law stipulates that in all enclosed places that are open to the general public, private workplaces, and other places, where smoking may expose a person to the other than the smoker to tobacco smoke, the owner, proprietor, possessor, manager or administrator of such places shall establish smoking areas. Such areas may include a designated smoking area within the building, which may be in an open space or separate area with proper ventilation, but shall not be located within the same room that has been designated as a non-smoking area.

All designated smoking areas shall have at least one legible and visible sign posted with text "smoking area" for the Information and guidance of all concerned. In addition, the sign or not posted shall include a warning about the health effects of direct or secondhand exposure to tobacco smoke. Non-smoking areas shall likewise have at least one legible and visible sign, namely, “No smoking area” or “No Smoking.”

Under this Act, It shall be unlawful for any retailer or tobacco products to sell or distribute tobacco products to any minor, as well as for any person to purchase cigarettes or tobacco products from a minor. It is also considered unlawful for a minor to sell or buy cigarettes or any tobacco products and to smoke cigarettes or any other tobacco products.

Meanwhile, Natad said the law states that the sale or distribution of tobacco products is prohibited within 100 meters from any point of the perimeter of a school, public playground or other facility frequented particularly by minors.

In case of doubt as to the age of the buyer, the law stipulates that retailers shall verify, by means of any valid form of photographic identification containing the date of birth of the bearer that no individual purchasing a tobacco is below 18 years of age, Natad said.

The official is hoping that vendors and individuals, especially the youths should adhere to what have been stipulated in the law to avoid penalties.

On the first offense, any person or any business entity or establishment selling to, distributing or purchasing a cigarette or any other tobacco products for a minor shall be fined the amount of not less than P5,000 or an imprisonment of not more than 30 days, upon the discretion of the business licenses or permits in the case of a business entity or establishment.

If the violation is by establishment of business entity, the owner, president, manager, or the most senior officers thereof shall be liable for the offense.

If a minor is caught selling, buying or smoking cigarettes or any other tobacco products, the provisions of Article 189 of Presidential Decree No. 603 otherwise known as The Child and Youth Welfare Code, as amended, shall apply. (RER-PIA 13 Caraga)

BFAR-Caraga to train personnel on fish price monitoring

By Robert E. Roperos


BUTUAN CITY, April 28 (PIA) –- To better serve the public in monitoring the price of fish sold in public markets in the region, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR)-Caraga is set to train its personnel.

According to Shane Eviota of BFAR-Caraga, as forefront government agency mandated to monitor the prices of fish and other marine products, BFAR personnel must be oriented on market price monitoring to effectively serve the public by way of monitoring the status of the price of these products sold in leading public markets in the region.

Eviota further said after the personnel have undergone such training, they will be assigned to different public markets in the region to conduct price monitoring of marine products, especially fish.

The official also said through the orientation-training, data that will be collected by BFAR personnel as to the prices of fish and other marine products will be made systematically, accurately, and in place.

Eviota added this will be used for crafting policies and implement programs to strengthen the services of the bureau to the public, in support to the good governance of the present administration.

BFAR is a government agency responsible for the development, improvement, management and conservation of the country's fisheries and aquatic resources. It was reconstituted as a line bureau by virtue of Republic Act No. 8550 (Philippine Fisheries Code of 1998). The bureau is under the Department of Agriculture. (RER-PIA 13Caraga)

PCA to find remedy on pests affecting coconut trees in Agusan del Sur

By Robert E. Roperos


BUTUAN CITY, April 27 (PIA) –- The Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) is determined to find remedy or solution to the presence of brontispa (Brontispa longgisima) and rhinoceros beetles (Oryctes rhinoceros) that are currently devastating coconut trees in Agusan del Sur.

In a report, Manolito Casapao, technical staff of PCA-Caraga Region, more than 100 hectares of coconut trees in the province of Agusan del Sur were attacked and devastated by said pests that are believed to originate in Southeast Asia and were first discovered in 1930s.

Casapao said the presence of the rotting palm trees in the province served as breeding ground of these insects that are considered destructive to coconut trees. However, the official said PCA has already identified measures to solve the problem.

In an earlier report, the PCA has identified ways to control the pests. The infestation might be controlled through the mechanical means such as pruning, clean culture and proper disposal of infested coco trees or parts or by chemical means through the use of insecticide.

It is believed that the beetle reached the Philippines in early 2004 through the importation of ornamental palms. The young leaves of infested coconut trees appear to have blade-like cuts resulting from the feeding damage of the said beetles.

Accordingly, the province has the biggest area in the region to have been used as plantation of palm trees. The 8,000-hectare plant is maintained by Filipinas Palm Oil Plantation, Inc. (FPPI) based in the municipalities of San Francisco and Rosario in Agusan del Sur. The company has also an oil mill with a capacity of 36 tons of fresh fruit bunches (FFB) per hour.

Caraga region is one of the country’s pioneering large-scale oil palm plantation started by NDC-Guthrie in the early 80’s. The region has 53 percent of the total oil palm area in the country, or an equivalent to 13,478.22 hectares.

Meanwhile, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA)-Caraga reported that to date, Caraga Region has a total of 28,057,605 standing coconut trees. (RER/PIA-Caraga)

Malaria cases in Agusan del Norte down by 0.04% - Prov’l Health Office

By (RER/JPG/PIA-Caraga)


BUTUAN CITY, April 26 (PIA) -- In observance of this year’s World Malaria Day, the Provincial Health Office (PHO) of Agusan del Norte bared during a press conference on Wednesday here that Malaria cases in the province from 2003 has decreased in 2011 by 0.04 percent.

Based on the report on the trend in Malaria Infection released by PHO, in 2003 there were 443 cases or 3.15 percent while in 2011 there were only 13 Malaria cases or 0.04 percent recorded.

According to Agusan del Norte Provincial Malaria Coordinator Jimmy Egay, their office together with the Department of Health (DOH) Caraga, Butuan City government, Provincial Government of Agusan del Norte, Global Fund for Malaria Component (non-government organization), and other partner agencies are continuously advocating for a Malaria-free municipality through constant information campaign on the prevention of said disease in the barangays.

Said advocacy is also in support to the Philippine Millennium Development Goal No. 6, which is to combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases.

Egay also said that in Agusan del Norte, there are 10 municipalities which are considered commonly-affected areas except for Magallanes.

“The municipality of Buenavista used to have the highest number of cases but for two years now, we have recorded zero case already… From January to March 2012, there are two cases of malaria in the municipality of Santiago specifically in the barangays of La Paz and Poblacion I,” Egay said.

According to Dr. Casmerlita Yu, regional Malaria coordinator of the Center for Health Development (CHD) Caraga, Malaria is an infectious disease caused by a parasite, plasmodium, which infects red blood cells. Malaria is characterized by cycles of chills, fever, pain, and sweating.

“Humans develop malaria when infected with one of the four protazoan parasites from the genus Plasmodium. The four species include: Plasmodium falciparum, Plasmodium vivax, Plasmodium ovale, Plasmodium malaria. P. falciparum is the most widespread and dangerous of the four,” Yu stressed.

She also encouraged people in the rural barangays to make use of the insecticide bed nets at their homes provided by DOH to prevent them from mosquito bites and Malaria disease.

The DOH official added that in 2011, their office has distributed a total of 24,969 bed nets to the municipalities of Buenavista, Cabadbaran, Carmen, Jabonga, Kitcharao, Las Nieves, Nasipit, RT Romualdez, Santiago, and Tubay.

For this year, DOH has partially distributed a total of 721 bed nets to the municipalities of Jabonga, Santiago, and Butuan City.

With this, the DOH, PHO, and other concerned agencies are hoping for the full support of the general public and cooperation for this health campaign.






NSO to update Phl establishments

By Villa S. Bayotas


BUTUAN CITY, April 25 (PIA) -- The National Statistics Office (NSO), Caraga Region will start the updating of the list of establishments in less than one month.

This is a regular activity of the agency undertaken primarily to provide an update and reliable sampling frame for the census and survey of establishments.

The list of establishments is a database of all establishments in the Philippines. As of 2011, the NSO database contains information about 800,000 establishments including employment in 17 geographic regions in the country.

It involves capture and listing of the characteristics of “new” establishments, updating of the status and characteristics of “old” establishments or those that have already been included in the database, delisting of “closed” establishments, and identification of out-of-scope units.

An updated database of establishments will provide the NSO a reliable sampling frame for its business and industry censuses and surveys. The data that will be collected also serves as guide to government planning, policy making and monitoring; basis of marketing plans, opportunities and prospects; and input to evaluation, market research and comparative studies.

Thus, the agency looks forward to the full cooperation and support for the undertaking not only from the national and local government agencies but also from the private sector, particularly the business associations.

In Caraga, NSO field staff and selected trained interviewers will do a comprehensive door-to-door canvassing of establishments beginning May 2, 2012. NSO would like to assure the respondents that all information furnished to the enumerators/listing sheet are strictly confidential and shall not be used as evidence in court for purposes of taxation, regulation or investigation as provided for in Section 4 of Commonwealth Act No. 591.

The NSO, upon request of government and public users, only provides summary information from the list of establishments such as the counts of establishments with disaggregation by industry, by employment size, by region, and by selected area up to the barangay levels. (RER/NCLM-PIA 13 Caraga/NSO-Caraga)Italic text

DSWD Caraga calls on youths to apply for summer jobs

By (Leah T. Quintana/NCLM/PIA-Caraga/DSWD-Caraga)


BUTUAN CITY, April 24 (PIA) -- The Department of Social Welfare and Development is calling on interested students, college graduates and graduates of vocational courses who are unemployed, to apply for summer jobs under the Expanded Government Internship Program (GIP). The GIP is also open for out-of-school youths who would want to take part in nation-building.

The DSWD said that the Expanded GIP is part of the Aquino administration’s efforts to strengthen youth participation in nation-building, expose them to government service, train them on life skills, and contribute to their economic well-being.

Interested applicants, aged 18 to 30 years old, can go to the DSWD Caraga or City/Municipal Social Welfare and Development (C/MSWD) offices to submit their applications together with a photocopy of their birth certificates.

Under the program, qualified applicants may start work immediately and has to complete 52 days of work. This means that applicants can start anytime as long as they can complete the required days.

Qualified applicants can be assigned in the regional office, or in the various C/MSWD offices including centers/institutions. Interns will be asked to perform not only actual office work but also assist in the implementation of the numerous DSWD programs and projects. They may also do direct service through field work in communities where DSWD programs and projects are implemented in partnership with local government units.

Interns admitted into the program shall be provided with stipend commensurate to the applicable minimum wage in the region.

The actual internship program will start on May 2, 2012. The Caraga social welfare office has set a deadline for submission of application on April 27, 2012 and will start the shortlisting tomorrow, April 25, 2012. All applications are subject to the screening of the field office.

The DSWD will be hiring 90,865 youths nationwide with a budget allocation of more than P1.3 billion. In Caraga region, 3,179 youths will benefit the program with a budget of P42.6 million.

The DSWD still continues to implement the regular GIP for 2012 with a budget allocation of P1.8 million for the stipend of 340 youths nationwide.

The expansion of the program will allow the DSWD to reach out to more youths. (Leah T. Quintana/NCLM/PIA-Caraga/DSWD-Caraga)

Trike drivers want P9-fare in Butuan

By goldstardailynews.com


BUTUAN City--City hall has scheduled another public hearing on the petition of organized tricycle drivers here to increase the minimum fare to P9. The public hearing would be held on April 25. Officials said they want to determine the average wage of people here before they could decide on the petition. Councilor Erwin Dano said city officials were taking their time in studying the advantages and disadvantages of a P1-increase in tricycle fares in the city. "This is a process. We still have to hold another public hearing so that other sectors could say what they want about the petition for a fare increase," said Dano. "We understand the side of the commuters who often complain because when fuel prices go down, fares stay put."

City hall held a public hearing last Wednesday on the petition filed by the Butuan City Tricycles Federation (BCTF). While there was a fuel price rollback, the city's tricycle drivers and operators remained "unhappy" because "the prices are still very high," said Marino Escobido, BCTF president. Marino said they understand why commuters were complaining but added that their group was left with no option but seek a fare increase.

The petitioners want the minimum tricycle fare in the city increased from P8 to P9. For senior citizens and students, the proposed minimum fare is P7. Lodivina Cassion, a commuter, complained, saying P9 was too much for a tricycle fare. If that's the case, Cassion said, she would rather walk than take a tricycle. Another commuter, Joel Mapande, said a P9- fare would be too much for a commuter who only wants to go from one block to another.

The city's transport sector is only seeking a provisional fare increase which means that "when the prices of fuel go down, we are ready to also decrease the fares," said Angelo Tello, chairperson of Butuan Eastbound Multicab Operators Drivers' Association (Bemoda) and regional coordinator of the Pinagisang Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Operetor Nationwide (Piston).






DILG chief backs Institute of Environmental Governance

By Florian Faith P. Bayawa Jr.


BUTUAN CITY, April 22 (PIA) -- OIC-Regional Director Lilibeth A. Famacion of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) - Caraga gives her support to the establishment of the Institute of Environmental Governance at the Father Saturnino Urios University (FSUU), the premier university here and in Caraga Region.

In her message during the launching held at the FSUU college main building, Dir. Famacion welcomed the new partner of the department in capacitating local government officials in carrying out environmental laws and directives.

Dir. Famacion added that the DILG as an enabler for service-providers like FSUU believes the partnership and teamwork of stakeholders, including Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) like Tanggol Kalikasan, will set the paradigm of a holistic approach in addressing environmental concerns in the region.

“The establishment of the Institute of Environmental Governance (IEG) will supplement our capacity development (CapDev) programs in areas where we don’t have mastery like the adjudication of environmental laws and its remedies, such as the Writ of Kalikasan and the Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation (SLAPP),” Famacion said.

The DILG chief of the region also shared the region’s current status on the implementation of environmental interventions together with partners, donors and other stakeholders. She vowed to highly recommend to the Local Government Academy (LGA), which is the training arm of the department, that future CapDev activities will be tied up with IEG.

The ultimate goal of the IEG is to effect sustainable development and capacitate local government officials in the execution of environmental laws. This is a strategic response to the ever-increasing demand for capacity building of local government units (LGUs).

The Institute will cater to three levels: Level one shall be designed to serve the needs of barangay officials; Level two will cater to the needs of municipal, city, and provincial officials; while Level three will cater to judges, prosecutors, and selected national government agencies. At present, FSUU will host IEG Level one that will provide training and other capability building programs for barangay officials in Butuan City and nearby provinces. (RER/FFPBJr.-DILG-Caraga)

MRDP to hold PO gab

By Robert E. Roperos


BUTUAN CITY, April 21 (PIA) -- The Mindanao Rural Development Program (MRDP) will be hosting this year’s biggest gathering of people’s organizations (PO) in Mindanao.

The MRDP PO Congress will be held on May 11 in Davao City, and coincides with the annual farmers’ month celebration. Around one thousand PO program beneficiaries are expected to attend.

MRDP is a poverty-alleviation initiative of the Department of Agriculture (DA) jointly funded by the World Bank, national government, and local government units covering Mindanao’s 26 provinces and 225 municipalities. It seeks to further improve rural incomes and achieve food security through agri-fishery infrastructure, livelihood enterprise, and biodiversity conservation projects.

Through the Community Fund for Agricultural Development (CFAD), MRDP had been providing livelihood project such as food production, aqua culture, food processing and small-scale rural infrastructure.

MRDP program director Lealyn Ramos said providing POs with livelihood projects complements the Aquino’s administration goal of promoting inclusive growth where fruits of developments will benefit a broader segment of the society especially the poor.

“MRDP livelihood projects follows a community-demand driven approach (CDD) where PO-beneficiaries are guided to choose projects that addresses their felt needs and at the same time provide them sustainable income,” she said.

Ramos said several PO have already shown success in their livelihood projects.

Rice farmers in Kumalarang, Zamboang del Sur and Bansalan, Davao del Sur have liberated themselves from trader-lenders after they were provide modest funding from the Program.

While some cassava farmers in Kapalong, Davao del Norte have expanded their production which led some of the PO members to buy parcels of land to expand their farm lots and even buy “multicab” vehicle.

“The PO Congress will highlight sharing and learning experiences that strengthens community institutions as a vehicle to spur economic activities at the barangay level and sharing common visions for Mindanao,” MRDP Director Lealyn Ramos said. (RER/ Ma. Lucille A. Branzuela/DAMRDP)

Small-scale irrigation project up for implementation

By (Eldie N. David

NCLM/PIA-Caraga/BC-VMO)


BUTUAN CITY, April 20 (PIA) -- The Sangguniang Panlungsod approved a resolution recently authorizing Mayor Ferdinand M. Amante, Jr. to enter into an agreement for the implementation of a small-scale irrigation project in support to the National High-Value Crops Development Program (HVCDP).

The resolution, authored by Councilor Angelo S. Calo Chairman of the Committee on Agriculture of the City Council, was in accordance with Republic Act 8435 otherwise known as the Agriculture and Fisheries Modernization Act to strengthen the agriculture and fisheries sector through modernization to attain food security, poverty alleviation, income enhancement and profitability, global competitiveness, and sustainability.

In connection with the program, the city government of Butuan will implement the installation and construction of one unit Wind Pump Irrigation System at Km. 7 Farmer’s Cooperative in Barangay Tungao, with a project cost of P350,000, which is envisioned to enhance the agricultural productivity, accelerate development, and improve the economic resources of the small farmers within the HVCDP cluster areas.

NFA chief: Warehouse in Butuan City will continue to operate

By (RER/PIA-Caraga with reports from NFA-Caraga)


BUTUAN CITY, April 19 (PIA) -– National Food Authority (NFA) Administrator Angelito T. Banayo today said the warehouse in Barangay Libertad here will continue to operate after the Philippine National Police-Police Regional Office-13 (PNP-PRO-13) reportedly wants to use the site as training and billeting facility.

In today’s interview with the local tri-media here, the NFA chief said that President Benigno S. Aquino III has already said that the warehouse which stored the rice supply not only of the city but also those of the province of Agusan del Norte, will not be vacated and that “NFA will continue to use it.”

The official further said that there is already a Presidential Proclamation regarding this matter and he already has a copy of the said order from the President.

It can be recalled that two groups have asked President Aquino to prevent the eviction of NFA warehouses in the area after PNP-Caraga Regional Director, PCSupt Reynaldo Rafal had formally demanded the turn-over of the property to PNP-PRO-13 last year.

According to NFA-Caraga, in a joint resolution of the Provincial Agricultural and Fisheries Council (PAFC) and the Confederation of Grains Retailers Association (GRECON), they petitioned the President to amend Proclamation No. 725 so that NFA may continue to use the 1.6448 hectares of a former military reservation where its present grains facilities are located.

Also, in a petition letter to the President on July 27, 2011 signed jointly by Butuan City Mayor Ferdinand M. Amante, Jr, Agusan del Norte Gov. Erlpe John M. Amante, Rep. Jose S. Aquino II (1st Dist.) and Rep. Angelica Rosedelle A. Matba (2nd Dist.), the local officials said the eviction of NFA warehouse in Libertad will unduly disrupt the food security program in Butuan City and Agusan del Norte and adversely affect peace and order.

The said officials also urged the President to amend Proclamation No. 725 as requested by PAFC and GRECON in order to confirm NFA’s continued use of the site where two grains facilities, each with a capacity of 100,000 bags of rice, are situated.

Under Proclamation No. 725 issued in 1960, it was the defunct Philippine Constabulary, then an organic part of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, that was given the portion of the military reservation that was previously created under Proclamation No. 526.

PDEA identifies 3 drug hotspots

By BEN SERRANO, Correspondent


BUTUAN City--The Philippine Drugs Enforcement Agency (PDEA) has placed two cities and a town in Caraga in its watch list due to their alarming problem on illegal drugs. PDEA regional director Joel Plaza said an organized drug syndicate was responsile for the drug trafficking in Bayugan City in Agusan del Sur, Surigao City and Barobo town in Surigao del Sur. Plaza said these places were experiencing serious illegal drug problems. He said the drug problem in these areas would get a "7" if he was asked to rate it using a scale from one to 10. "Local officials in these areas are now working to address the problem. The campaign against illegal drugs is not only PDEA's Job but it is everybody' concern--the public, the church and all sectors," Plaza said.

The revelation came after the PDEA and police collared a businessman and four others during a buy-bust operation in Surigao City last Sunday. Authorities identified the suspects as Victor Tan of Purok 6, Barangay Tugbongon, Surigao City; Daniper Elumba Villanueva, Allan Sotil Massion; Adrianne Jell Bayon Rivas and Ana Maria Vicente. Authorities said four of the suspects were guests of Tan, a businessman. Officials said Tan yielded five sachets of suspected "shabu," a loaded caliber .22 revolver, cash amounting to P21,5OO, excluding a P1-thousand "marked" bill, and suspected drug paraphernalia.






University in Butuan to launch its Environmental Governance Institute

By (RER/PIA-Caraga)


BUTUAN CITY, April 17 (PIA) -- Father Saturnino Urios University (FSUU), a homegrown university of this city will launch the Institute of Environmental Governance (IEG) on Wednesday, April 18 at the university’s main building.

In a written statement, Rev. Fr. John Christian U. Young, FSUU President said the IEG is aimed to empower institutions and communities for environmental protection and conservation in the region.

Fr. Young also said the establishment of the IEG was made possible through the partnership of the university with Tanggol Kalikasan (Defense of Nature), a public interest environmental law office, a non-stock, non-profit and non-governmental organization doing public interest lawyering in the Philippines. It has operated as an environmental law office for 17 years.

Tanggol Kalikasan works with national and international partners and networks and has its main office in Quezon City. It also maintains fully-staffed area offices in Alaminos City, Pangasinan (Northern Luzon Office) and Lucena City (Southern Luzon Office) and field offices in Lipa City and Baao, Camarines Sur.

The university’s top official further stressed that over the years, FSUU manifested itself as a consistent advocate for, and active supporter to environmental protection and natural resources conservation initiatives and programs in the region.

Beyond the university’s involvement in advocacies like saving the Taguibo Watershed and on the impacts of mining to the environment, the institution feels its needs and can do more to further the cause of sustainable environmental development.

“Engr. Roberto S. Verzola, Tanggol Kalikasan Chairperson will grace the event,” Young said.






City dad declares Balangay Festival Silver Year in Butuan

By Robert E. Roperos


BUTUAN CITY, April 16 (PIA) -- City Mayor Ferdinand M. Amante Jr. has declared March 9, 2012 to March 8, 2013 as the Balangay (wooden boats) Festival Silver Year.

As per Proclamation No. 1, series of 2012 signed by the city’s chief executive recently, it stated that the balangays of Butuan have been declared National Cultural Treasures by former President Corazon C. Aquino through Presidential Proclamation No. 86 dated March 9, 1987.

The proclamation also stated that the balangays, since its proclamation as National Cultural Treasures have become the centerpiece of tourism activities and an icon of the annual fiesta celebration of the city.

With March 19, 2012 marking the 25th year of its proclamation, the Sangguniang Panlungsod has expressed its sentiments to declare March 9, 2012 to March 8, 2013 as the Balangay Silver Year, the proclamation stated.

Meanwhile, in line with the year-long celebration, the Sangguniang Panlungsod also passed SP Resolution No. 220-2012, adopting the official logo of the Balangay Festival Silver Year Celebration.

In this regard, the City Tourism Council sponsored a logo-making contest for the aforementioned celebration, where the logo entry encircling a balangay boat with waves and the Year 2012 in the center and with the words “Balangay Festival Year” written in the upper inner silver circle and the words “Butuan City” written in the lower inner silver circle won the contest.

With these developments, the city government is now on the process of finalizing the events that are in-line with the celebration, where people here are expecting for the grandest and colorful fiesta celebration of the city come May 19, 2012, to be highlighted by the staging of the 2012 Mutya Hong Butuan.

The Balangay or Balanghai is the first wooden watercraft ever excavated in Southeast Asia. Also known as the Butuan boat, this artifact is evidence of early Filipino craftsmanship and their seamanship skills during pre-colonial times.

The Balanghai Festival is also a celebration in Butuan City to commemorate the coming of the early migrants that settled the Philippines, on board the Balangay boats. When the first Spaniards arrived in the 16th century, they found the Filipinos living in well-organized independent villages called barangays. The name barangay originated from balangay, the Austronesian word for "sailboat". (RER-PIA 13 Caraga)

Agusan Sur driver wanted after accident killed 4 passengers and injured 52

By Erwin Mascariñas


BUTUAN CITY (MindaNews/14 April) – Authorities are now on the hunt for the driver of the Isuzu Elf truck involved in an accident that killed four of its passengers and injured 52 more as it overturned in the middle of the highway in Prosperidad town, Agusan del Sur Thursday afternoon. The passengers, police said, were on their way home after attending a relative’s funeral. The truck driver, who was only identified as Jimmy, immediately fled from the accident area while people in the nearby community were busy attending to the injured victims. Two died instantly while the two other fatalities died in the hospital. The victims were immediately brought to the D.O. Plaza Memorial Hospital in Patin-ay, the town’s center, for medical treatment. One of those killed was a 12-year-old child. Her mother, father and brother were among those who survived but suffered wounds and bruises and undergoing treatment. Investigations conducted by the police personnel from the Prosperidad Municipal Police Station headed by Senior Insp. Joseph Ejercito Lambaco revealed that the vehicle accidentally swerved as it was about to overtake a motorcycle along Purok 4, Barangay Sta. Irene in the capital town of Prosperidad. It then fell on its side along the road pavement. The passengers were reportedly about to return to their home in Barangay La Perian in Prosperidad after the funeral. Several of the victims said the truck was traveling unusually fast, even on curved sections of the highway. Annie Espella, one of those injured, said it was the driver’s fault as he was driving so fast.

Several of the passengers, she said, were able to jumped off the truck but some were not quick enough. Some victims even hit Falcata logs piled on the side of the road, said Annie, who was with her mother and a nephew. (Erwin Mascariñas / MindaNews)

NEDA bats for extension of Mindanao’s rural program

By Noel T. Provido


BUTUAN CITY, April 14 (PIA) -- The government’s technical body has approved the two-year extension of second phased Mindanao Rural Development Program (MRDP2).

The National Economic and Development Authority – Investment Coordination Committee (NEDA-ICC) Technical Board in its recent meeting in Manila has approved and endorsed to the Cabinet Committee the two-year extension of MRDP2.

The NEDA-ICC is one of the NEDA Board’s inter-agency committees that evaluates the fiscal, monetary, and balance-of-payments implications of major national projects. The approval of the technical board paves the way for the project extension to be presented to the Cabinet Committee for final scrutiny before the eventual deliberation by the NEDA Board chaired by President Benigno S. Aquino III.

Meanwhile, MRDP2 is a five-year poverty alleviation program of the Department of Agriculture (DA) through a loan portfolio from the World Bank. The national government and local government units (LGUs) also provide equity share. Launched in 2007, the program will supposedly end by December this year. With the two-year extension, it is now expected to be completed in 2014.

MRDP2 deputy program director Arnel De Mesa said the extension is in response to the overwhelming LGUs and community clamor for local projects. In rural infrastructure alone, demand has reached a total of P10.8 billion surpassing the program’s allocation of P4.8 billion.

“The program’s good performance and substantial lists of pipeline projects are among the factors in getting the nod of the technical board,” De Mesa said adding:

“The World Bank during its previous mission has satisfactorily rated the program noting its sufficient improvement as of midterm. This shows that fully committed projects can be completed within two years,” he said.

These projects include rural infrastructure such as irrigation, farm-to-market roads, and potable water supply. It also provides livelihood assistance to small farmers including natural resource management interventions to sustain food production in island region.

The two-year extension De Mesa said also presents challenges that must be overcome particularly in meeting the 60 percent disbursement target by yearend. “Right now we are at 35 percent, so we have to address implementation bottlenecks to comply with agreed timelines and deliveries,” he said.

MRDP program director Lealyn Ramos for her part said the two-year program extension will be a boost to the Aquino administration’s goal of promoting inclusive economic growth as MRDP projects are focused on improving incomes of poor communities in Mindanao.

“The program with the co-financing support from the office of DA Secretary Alcala enabled Mindanao LGUs to massively engage in infrastructure projects. At present, we are facing huge demand from our LGU partners prompting Secretary Alcala to request not only for an extension but also for additional financing,” Ramos said.

“While we remain optimistic that positive developments are taking place, we also urge our stakeholders to sustain the momentum we have gained. We bank on our partners from LGUs and oversight agencies to help us fast track implementation so that we can eventually meet our targets and eventually negotiate for the third phase of MRDP” she said. (NCLM/NTP-PIA 13 Caraga/DA-MRDP)

Quarrying along Kalinawan river in Tubay: mining gold?

By Erwin Mascariñas


BUTUAN CITY (MindaNews/12 April) – Residents and an environmental group are alarmed that the ongoing quarrying along Kalinawan river in Tubay, Agusan del Norte could be a ruse of operators mining gold and causing damage to the river system. “We have noticed since February quarrying operations along several parts of the Kalinawan river. The vessels used are like floating excavators, dredging and pumping sand and gravel and filtering it. From what we saw it is a vessel designed for gold mining operation,” Butch Dagondon, executive director of Green Mindanao, said. Dagondon stressed that several of these are located close to the bridges in Tubay and populated communities and since they are randomly doing the activity in different parts of the river, they are creating a block and making the river shallow in several areas. “The structure is situated just a few meters from the bridge. This will also pose danger to the infrastructure and risk the safety of riverside communities in case heavy rains hit the area,” he said. Tubay Mayor Sadeka Garcia-Tomaneng said: “I don’t know of any gold mining operation in the river with such kind of equipment. If it is gold then I’m sure by now we would have heard about it. The applications and issuance of quarrying permit does not pass our office. The province is the one giving it out,” she said. But Tomaneng said she would look into the complaints and added that if she finds out that these operations harm the environment, she would find ways to stop them. Residents from Barangay Sta. Ana, Barangay Dona Rosario and Poblacion 2 who requested not to be named said the quarrying operations there had been going on for nearly a year now. “They have been operating for almost a year now. They just transfer and then start in another part of the river. I’m sure they are not quarrying since we don’t see any truck taking the filtered gravel out of the area. Instead, they just return the pile to the river. We know that it is gold that they are after,” a resident from Barangay Dona Rosario said.

Another resident from Barangay Sta. Ana pointed out that the persons behind the operations are Chinese nationals and that the only Filipino workers they hire are security guards and errand boys. (Erwin Mascarinas/MindaNews)

Regional Peace and Order Task Force intensifies efforts to assist evacuees

By (RER/NCLM/Ian G. Miculob/PIA-Caraga/NEDA-13)


BUTUAN CITY, April 12 (PIA) -- The Regional Peace and Order (RPOC) Task Force Kitcharao created during the meeting of the regional body on April 3 in Butuan City has intensified multi-sectoral efforts to address the plight of the internally displaced persons (IDPs) originating from Cabadbaran City, Kitcharao in Agusan del Norte and Gigaquit in Surigao del Norte.

Chaired by Fr. Lito L. Clase of the Caraga Council for Peace and Development, the Task Force Kitcharao includes the Commission on Human Rights, Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Department of the Interior and Local Government, National Commission for the Indigenous Peoples, National Economic and Development Authority, and the concerned local government units (LGUs).

It is tasked to lead in planning the steps to be undertaken for the evacuees to return to their places.

About 257 families or 1,106 individuals started arriving on March 23 at the gymnasium in Imadejas Subdivision in Butuan City, turning it as their evacuation camp. Mostly from the Mamanwa tribe, they are the IDPs from the alleged armed conflict between the government’s armed forces and the New People’s Army specifically in Zapanta Valley in Kitcharao, Agusan del Norte.

Aside from distributing food packs from the DSWD, LGUs of Butuan City and Agusan del Norte, and other sectors, several dialogues were already conducted by the Task Force Kitcharao whose members became busy attending to the needs of the said evacuees amid the height of the observance of the Holy Week.

An ocular inspection was facilitated by Mayor Jenry Montante of Kitcharao to check the situation in Zapanta Valley to see if it is safe for the IDPs to return to their communities. The ocular inspection team revealed that there were no houses destroyed or damaged and that the area was clear from skirmishes and presence of the two opposing armed forces. The team consequently declared the area safe for the return of these IDPs.

The LGUs of Agusan del Norte and Butuan City provided transportation when some of the IDPs agreed to return to their places of residence in Kitcharao on April 5.

A Task Force Kitcharao dialogue with the LGU of Cabadbaran City was conducted on April 11 at the Cabadbaran City Hall where the body reiterated the request of the remaining IDPs for the concerned local government to identify IDPs from their area, and to check if it is already safe for the IDPs to return to their habitual places of residence.

BIR personnel accept ITRs from Butuan banks=

By Danilo S. Makiling



BUTUAN CITY, April 11 (PIA) -- Employees of Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) were assigned in different banks in Butuan City to help banks in filing their income tax returns.

In an interview over Radyo ng Bayan here, BIR Regional Director Norberto D. Vitug said BIR employees were assigned to different banks to help them file their income tax return and also for the immediate processing of the forms.

“Taxpayers were also allowed to file in the bank so they will no longer go to the BIR offices to file their income tax returns. We have also the Tax Payer Assistance Service Center in some barangays such as Ampayon, Libertad, and also in the City Hall, Gaisano Mal, and in the public market to help taxpayers concerning the income tax filing,” Vitug said.

There are commercial banks that are accredited by the BIR and under obligation to accept income tax return until 5:00 p.m. such as the Land Bank, Philippine National Bank, and other banks accredited by the regional office of the BIR.

The deadline for the filing of income tax is on April 15. The BIR director also advised the filers to pay ahead of the deadline. (RER/NCLM-PIA 13 CARAGA)

DSWD releases P22-M to Caraga Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries

By (Stella Maris V. Barcelon/NCLM/PIA-Caraga/DSWD-13)


BUTUAN CITY, April 10 (PIA) -- The Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) recently released cash grants to some 10,619 beneficiaries of set 5 areas for the month of January and February 2012, amounting to P22,011,400.00.

These areas include the municipalities and cities of Nasipit, Magallanes, Santiago, Tubay, San Jose, Alegria, Burgos, Sta. Monica, Cortes, San Agustin, Bislig City and Tandag City, all in Caraga Region.

The beneficiaries received their cash grants through over-the-counter (OTC) payments in their respective Landbank branches. During cash grant releases, the latest beneficiaries were advised to make use of money for the educational and nutritional needs of the family especially the children.

“Pinaagi sa tabang sa Pantawid Pamilya ma abag-abagan ang among panginahanglanon, labi na karon nga ting sira na sa klase makabayad na kami sa mga amutan sa eskuylahan (Through the help of Pantawid Pamilya, some of our needs can now be addressed especially that classes are about to end, we can already pay our school dues),” Lindy M. Amoguis, 36, from Bislig City said.

The program offers cash grants to the beneficiaries as long as beneficiaries comply with the conditions. These conditions include (1) children enrolled in pre-school and elementary must have at least 85 percent of the school attendance, (2) monthly health check-ups of children and pregnant mothers, and (3) attendance to the monthly Family Development Session (FDS). Each household will receive P500 cash grant for health, and P300 for education maximum of 3 children.

Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program is one of the flagship programs of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in poverty reduction.

CAA member shot dead in Agusan del Sur

By (PNA)

RMA/BS/ssc


BUTUAN CITY, April 9 (PNA) -- A Civilian Active Auxiliary (CAA) member was shot dead past midnight Sunday at the road crossing of Talacogon and Prosperidad towns in Agusan del Sur.

Prosperidad and Talacogon towns in Agusan del Sur is more than 80 kilometers away from Butuan City, Caraga Region's capital.

The Agusan del Sur Provincial Police Office identified the victim as CAA member Zaldy Tapid of the CAA unit/command, 23rd IB Philippine Army based in Barangay Noli, Bayugan City.

Investigations from Prosperidad police, headed by SPO1 Leo Urbiztondo together with SOCO team of Agusan del Sur Provincial Police Office headed by Senior Insp. Bryan Cres Campos, showed that when Tapid arrived at the place, an unidentified suspect allegedly took advantage of the darkness and shot Tapid, hitting his lower right jaw and exited at the upper part of his head that resulted his instant death.

The suspect then fled from the crime scene.

Responding cops recovered personal belongings of Tapid whose dead body was brought immediately to Dollete Funeral Homes in San Francisco, Agusan del Sur.

Police said they were still investigating the incident.

Robbers strike in Butuan City even during Holy Week

By (PNA)

RMA/Ben Serrano/jsd


BUTUAN CITY, April 8 (PNA) - Robbers strike even during the Holy Week.

On Good Friday, Butuan City police arrested Joselito Macanas, single and resident of Purok 11, Barangay Obrero, for stealing a steel manhole cover inside the church compound of the Mormons located in Andaya Subdivision, Barangay Port Poyohon this city.

Police said the heavy steel manhole cover was owned by the Church of the Latter Day Saints (Mormons Church) and was about to be sold by Macanas and a certain alias "Babay" Talan to Sabo Junk Shop located at Montilla Boulevard, Butuan City when nabbed.

Police said Macanas and Talan destroyed the concrete pavement of the church to pull out the steel cover.

It was when the suspects were on the way to the junk store when intercepted by police, who acted on tips of a civilian that two men were stealing the steel manhole cover.

Police said only Macanas was arrested since Talan was able to escape.

Stealing of steel manhole covers, electric posts’ copper wires, steel kabilyas of concrete pavements of public roads increased over the years here in Butuan City and Caraga Region.

In another development, a man, armed with a handgun, barged into Triple A Rice and Corn store at Ong Yiu Building along Langihan road, Barangay Holy Redeemer, Butuan City on Holy Thursday and carted away the day's earnings of about P15,000.

Butuan City police said the unidentified suspect poked his handgun on Rhea Jane Olila, 17, Triple A's cashier, and forcibly took the store's earnings for the day.

The suspect then fled aboard an XRM motorcycle, without plate number and driven by a companion.

Butuan City Police Station (BCPS) 2 said they were still conducting follow-up investigation for possible identification and apprehension of the suspects.

DepEd to accept entries for the 2012 Nat’l Literacy Award

By (JPG/PIA-Caraga)


BUTUAN CITY, April 7 (PIA) -- The Department of Education (DepEd) Caraga,through the Literacy Coordinating Council (LCC), will be conducting the 2012 National Literacy Award (NLA) and is still accepting entries until April 23 for the regional level.

This was learned during the regional orientation on the NLA held recently at the DepEd-Caraga Regional Conference Hall attended by the representatives of the member-agencies in the government, institutions, and private stakeholders.

The 2012 National Literacy Award is in consonance with the celebration of the Annual Literacy Week on September 2 to 8, as per proclamation No. 329.

According to LCC Secretariat Head Dr. Norma Salcedo of DepEd, the NLA has two categories: Outstanding Literacy Program Award, which is given to a literacy program being implemented by a civil society organization, non-government organization, private organization, or educational/academic institution which has positive impact on learners and the community; and Outstanding Local Government Unit (LGU) Award which is also given to LGUs (highly urbanized city, component city, component independent city, Class A municipality, and Class B municipality), which have developed and which have efficaciously made a positive impact on their barangays and the quality of life of their people.

Salcedo further said that the award aims to recognize the best practices for implementing literacy programs or projects which help alleviate poverty, provide livelihood, address welfare needs, promote freedom, and make education facilities accessible.

“With the National Literacy Award, we sustain, expand and institutionalize literacy efforts by motivating and recognizing individuals, institutions and the local government units through awards and appropriate recognition. We also encourage the development and replication of innovative, creative and indigenous literacy programs,” said Salcedo.

Nominations and selection of regional winners shall be conducted not later than April 10 to 30. Announcement of regional winners will be on May 2, 2012 and the regional entries must be submitted to the LCC Secretariat on or before May 15. Any entry not received by said date will be disqualified fro the short-listing process.

Ms. Marilyn Antiquina of DepEd-Caraga reminded the representatives of the different municipalities in the region to strictly comply with the requirements and to submit the entries on or before the deadline of submission so it will be screened and processed.

The LCC Head Secretariat, Dr. Salcedo, or DepEd-Caraga Regional Office should be contacted for more information.

Butuan City to improve water supply soon

By Jennifer P. Gaitano


BUTUAN CITY, April 6 (PIA) -- The Butuan City Water District (BCWD) will soon implement projects to improve the city's water pipeline to ensure safe water supply to consumers.

In a forum to mark the 11th Water Consciousness Month, which coincided with the BCWD’s 38th anniversary, Engr. Sang Tian of BCWD said that the agency is currently coordinating with other non-government organizations and will be orienting residents within the vicinity of the Taguibo Watershed area on how to maintain the cleanliness of the area and how they can improve it.

This year’s theme is “Water Security: Rising to the Challenge.”

Sang Tian added that projects to be implemented are construction of 200-cubic meter ground steel reservoir in Brgy. Pinamanculan; expansion line in Brgy. Dumalagan; replacement of temporary lines at New Town Village in Brgy. Ampayon; replacement of temporary lines at Cigla Village in Brgy. Pagatpatan; and construction of one unit on-line Booster in Brgy. Libertad.

“We will also continue the Water Maintenance Program to improve efficiency of the water meters. The program will include services such as withdrawal and replacement of water meters installed for the five years or more to ensure accurate reading of water consumption,” said Sang Tian.

Also, Sang Tian urged the general public to use the water wisely. He also stressed that people should always clean its water container at home to prevent contaminated water that will cause different diseases to human’s health.

“Be with us in fighting for the right of the people to secured water. Thus, I am appealing for your support and cooperation to all our programs to be undertaken this year. I also hope you will have trust and confidence in everything we do in the name of public service… These will give us more reasons to accomplish even more,” stressed Sang Tian.

Meanwhile, BCWD encourages the consuming public to report any noticed leaking pipes inside their houses, establishments especially along the roads of the city. BCWD assures the public that with they will immediately respond to the call 24 hours daily. (JPG/PIA-Caraga)

Muslims, lumads to Aquino: Stop Caraga military operations

By BEN SERRANO, Correspondent


BUTUAN City-The Southern Philippines Muslim Unity For Peace and Development (SPMUDA) has joined the lumad group Tribal Coalition of Mindanao (Tricom) in calling the attention of President Aquino to help solve the problem of the minority groups in Caraga who have been adversely affected by military operations. In a statement, SPMUDA president Camad Ali issued an appeal to Aquino to suspend the military operations in Agusan del Norte and Surigao del Norte. Last March 5, some 455 families from hinterLand areas in Zapanta Valley in Kitcharao town, Putting Bato, Cabadbaran, Agusan del Norte, and in Gigaquit and Alegria towns in Surigao del Norte, fled their homes for fear of being caught in the crossfires between warring rebels and government troops. The evacuees have turned the Barangay Imadejas covered court here as their temporary shelter after allegedly being driven away by Agusan del Norte provincial government when they stayed temporarily at the capitol grounds here.

The lumad group Kasalo, Mamanwa tribal leaders headed by Datu Maribojoc, other NGOs and religious leaders appealed to Barangay officials of Imadejas, various government agencies and Gov. Erlpe John Amante to have compassion and allow the evacuees to stay temporarily here. Earlier, lumad evacuees and their leaders criticized Agusan del Norte officials over their alleged inaction. Five evacuees were already diagnosed to have filariasis while others, especially children, are either suffering from loose bowel movement, colds and other diseases. The problem was further aggravated because the Barangay Lamdejas covered court has only one toilet.

Filariasis, a highly contaminable disease, is caused by parasitic worm filaria. It inflames and obstructs the lymphatic gLands, sometimes resulting in elephantiasis. It is usually caused by infected mosquito bites. The military has accused the New People's Army of only using the lumad evacuees for propaganda purposes. This paper tried to contact many times Amante and his different spokespersons but to no avail. Because of the perceived inaction of the capitol, Tricom asked Aquino to step in and personally lead government efforts to solve the problem.

Tricom president Victoriano Vidal and Datu Dapeg wrote to the President. "We do not believe in rumors, Mr. President, about 'noynoying,' that you are not doing something to solve our country's woes. We believe you are doing something but please look also the plight of lumad evacuees." They urged Aquino to consider their earlier request for sustainable livelihood programs in the ancestral domains to solve what they described as "extreme poverty" of the majority of tribes in Caraga. The coalition recently passed a resolution, urging Aquino to allow the indigenous tribes to engage in mining activities in ancestral Lands and disallow application by huge mining firms such as MRL Mining Company, Semco, Manila Mining, Concordia Llave, Corplex Mining and other firms.

The coalition claimed three of five lumad children members of the coalition are either malnourished or are sickly due extreme poverty. They also do not go to School because the lumad communities are far from Schools, rural health units and are deprived of livelihood opportunities. They said that for every 10 lumad people, nine belong to "poorest of the poor" sector. "Please help us, Mr. President now! We are doing this not for ourselves but for the future generations of Indigenous People who wanted to see the light at the end of the long, long tunnel of darkness and deprivation, and [we hope] that the light will give us hope," reads part of their letter.

Butuan historians ask CBCP to resolve first mass controversy in city’s favor

By Erwin Mascariñas


BUTUAN CITY (MindaNews/03 April) – Decades after the debate on where the first Catholic mass in the archipelago took place has remained unresolved, local historians yesterday said they have new data and evidences to prove that the “honor” belongs to the city. They said they are hoping that the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) would finally declare that the first mass was held in Mazaua, a place in Butuan now called Masao, not in Limasawa Island in Leyte as stated in history books.

Speaking before the mass marking the 491st anniversary of the event on Saturday, March 31, local historian and president of the Butuan City Heritage Society Greg Hontiveros said they are confident their new data and evidences can now convince critics and skeptics. In an interview yesterday, Honteviros said “it took us a long time to finalize our research and gather more evidence. We felt the confidence, we finally completed the quest in finding the truth about this issue. It was a huge effort, long process and time that we took to have the position of Butuan.” He said the CBCP has already requested an inquiry and a resolution to investigate the first mass controversy since the event is very symbolic and important to the church. Accounts said that on March 31, 1521, Easter Sunday, Friar Pedro Valderrama celebrated mass together with Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan and his men. With the Spaniards were the ruler of Mazaua Rajah Siaiu and his brother Rajah Colambu, the ruler of Butuan. Afterwards they planted a cross on the highest hill and stayed in the area for seven days and helped in the rice harvest for two days together with more than a hundred of the Rajah’s men. “When they arrived on Good Friday, they were harvesting rice for two days, that means to say, the place where they went was the Mazaua, not in Limasawa but somewhere in Mindanao. Because they harvested for two days, what can you harvest in Limasawa when there was nothing [there]?” said Father Joesilo Amalla, curator of Butuan Diocesan Liturgical Museum.

“More than a hundred of people helped in the harvest, meaning it was a huge agricultural area. I’ve been to Limasawa a lot of times. They have said that the rice harvested came from the surrounding island, and they said they have harvested in the island itself. So their claim is wrong,” Amalla added. He pointed out that one important evidence is the Yale Codex, which according to Magellan scholars, is more impressive than the Ambrosiana Codex used in the past to justify both claims. He said the document is now in the hands of Yale University while the other two French manuscripts are in Paris, in the French National Library. The priest said they included the other versions of Antonio Pigafetta, the chronicler of Magellan’s voyage, because there are subtle indicators that can be used. Amalla also presented the manuscript for a soon-to-be-published book titled The Anthology of the First Mass Controversy in the Philippines which he hopes would shed light on the CBCP inquiry. On March 31, 1998, the National Historical Institute chose to adopt the finding of the Gancayco Panel which dismissed the Ginés de Mafra account as fake and forthwith unilaterally reverted the discussion to pre-de Mafra context which was back to whether the site of the first mass was Limasawa, the isle without anchorage, or Butuan, which is not an isle. The NHI reaffirmed its previous pronouncements that Limasawa is Magellan’s port. (Erwin Mascarinas/MindaNews)

DPWH official denies plan to run in 2013 elections

By (PNA)

FFC/jfm/BS/ebp


BUTUAN City, April 3 (PNA) – Almost a year before midterm 2013 elections, Department of Public Works and Highway (DPWH) Undersecretary Romeo Momo denied rumors he is seeking congressional seat for first district of Surigao del Sur in the 2013 midterm elections.

In an interview with Philippines News Agency here, the DPWH official said he will continue to serve the government agency he loved most until his retirement in 2016, adding ”there are still many things left undone at the agency.”

“It is in the countryside that our services needed most because we must have a good farm to market roads to encourage agriculture and ecotourism, good municipal and provincial road networks to be connected with national highways. This is necessary to spur sustainable economic growth in the countryside” Momo said

Momo, who hailed from Caraga region, rose from being an ordinary DPWH employee at the Surigao District Engineer in 1985 to become DPWH-Caraga regional director and now as undersecretary.

Momo said he wanted to see the barangays be at the forefront of economic development and not the source of insurgency problems by putting up more infrastructures including farm to market roads to spur economy nationwide.

“There are many still things left undone at the DPWH in bringing quality roads, bridges and better infrastructures to Filipinos especially now that the good DPWH secretary and the President has delegated me to oversee, supervise and administer all government infra projects in the provinces all over the country being DPWH undersecretary” Momo said.

Momo admitted that some quarters started to convince him to run for public office but he turned them down.

”Leave politics to the politicians,” he said.

Momo said better transparency and accountability programs are now being implemented in the DPWH in line with the popular slogan “Tuwid na Daan” (right path) of the administration of President Benigno Aquino III.

“President Aquino and the DPWH Secretary emphasized that all DPWH projects whether it maybe large, medium-sized or small must be transparent at all times by which I adhere since these are all taxpayers’ money at times meager thus we must have to maximize the little things we have but of course will never sacrifice quality” Momo said.

Momo said NGOs like "Bantay Lansangan" are now very active in joining the DPWH in monitoring various government infra projects.

Momo’s family is into politics with his son Ruel Darvin serving as number one councilor of Tandag City. His wife Eleonor was elected number one councilor for three terms in then municipality of Tandag.






DAR-Caraga strengthens services in agrarian justice delivery

By Robert E. Roperos


BUTUAN CITY, April 2 (PIA) –- The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) CARAGA recently said they have strengthened services in agrarian justice delivery.

In an interview with a local radio station here, DAR-Caraga information officer Joie Ceballos said all problems that were brought to their office were addressed and resolved properly. They see to it that during the mediation, conflicts will be reduced so both parties will not go into filing of cases in the court.

Ceballos also reminded CARP beneficiaries who were not able to follow the guidelines set forth in the program may be delisted in the official list of CARP beneficiaries.

He added the privilege that were taken from the delisted beneficiaries may be given to those new and qualified farmers as beneficiaries of the program.

In report, Helen Tudlasan, DAR-Caraga human resource manager said that of February 2012, DAR-Caraga was able to resolve two judicial or court cases, 19 quasi-judicial, 387 cases related to agrarian law implementation, 17 in land transfer clearance, and 111 mediation cases.

According to DAR website, the delivery of agrarian justice has two features: the agrarian legal assistance and adjudication of cases.

Agrarian legal assistance is comprised of resolution of agrarian law implementation (ALI) cases, ARB representation before judicial and quasi-judicial bodies, and mediation and conciliation. On the other hand, Adjudication of cases involves the resolution of cases by the DAR Adjudication Board (DARAB) and any of its salas.

Under RA 6657, the DAR is vested with the primary jurisdiction to determine and adjudicate agrarian reform matters and to extend free legal assistance to farmer-beneficiaries affected by agrarian cases.

There are three types of cases under this program namely: judicial or court cases, quasi-judicial, and cases related to agrarian law implementation (ALI). The first two types involve representation of farmers by DAR lawyers before the regular courts and DAR Adjudication Board, respectively. The third type involves the administrative rendering of decision on exemption, conversion and retention.

The DAR at present utilizes more aggressive alternative dispute resolution techniques in mediation to reduce conflicts maturing into court cases. The general objective is to persuade the contending parties to settle their disputes amicably or out of court before the DAR. (RER/PIA-Caraga)

OPAPP-DILG spearheads PAMANA seminar-workshop in Agusan del Norte

By Nora L. Molde


BUTUAN CITY, April 1 (PIA) -- The Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) in partnership with the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) conducted the Payapa at Masaganang Pamayanan (PAMANA) Program – DILG Orientation and Planning Workshop last March 22 and 23 here.

The workshop was aimed in building conflict-free and safe communities, which is designed on Mainstreaming Peace and Development in Local Governance – “Defining No Boundaries for Peace and Development,” with funding support from the Spanish government.

Among the identified problem statements that were prioritized is the government’s inadequacy to provide basic social services to the people (livelihood programs) that leads to the increase in community support to the Communist Party of the Philippines/New Peoples' Army/National Democratic Front, inadequate allocation of resources to fund delivery of basic services to the people, poor quality of basic services that led to massive recruitment of CNN, and insufficient road network that leads to increase insurgency in conflict affected areas.

One of the major interventions that will be providing funds to support this reform initiative is the PAMANA Program. It aims to build the institutional capacity of LGUs for them to better implement peace and development initiatives that would address the root causes of conflict in each locality. This program is the national government’s peace and development framework to respond and strengthen peace building, reconstruction and development aims to reduce poverty, empower communities and improve governance in conflict-affected areas.

The Training Workshop was formally opened by Provincial Dir. Romeo A. Solis (PD) of DILG, Agusan del Norte. He presented the overview of the training workshop. According to Prov. Dir. Solis, “conflict knows no boundaries, peace and development are interrelated that is why it is very important to lower the poverty incidents that trigger these conflicts.”

He added that the PAMANA Program of the National Government will put an end to these conflicts thru strategies leaning towards a more peaceful means of battling the problem.

Further, he put emphasis on the legal basis under the Local Government Code on the powers and the need for Local Government Units to promote the welfare of its constituents as well as the establishment of appropriate local bodies and mechanisms that will further set guidelines and direction for economic and social development concentrating on community development and livelihood programs.

Mr. Rofel C. Cabaltera, head of the Provincial Planning and Development Office (PPDO) presented the Province’s vision, mission and goals; Ms. Rosemarie P. Mordeno of the National Commission of Indigenous People (NCIP) presented IP situationer, issues and concerns of the province; Maj. Edgar D. Centeño of the Phil. Army and PSupt. Iluminado V. Espina Jr. of the Phil. National Police presented security updates of the province, their accomplishments and prioritization programs; Ephram S. Sumaylo, intelligence officer of PDEA Region 13 gave updates on the situation of the drug problems in the province; and Ms. Gloria L. Pabillore, head of the Provincial Social Welfare and Development (PSWD) presented the 4P’s or the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program updates that is reaching and providing for 20,589 families in the province.

The seminar-workshop was also attended by representatives from the provincial, regional and national government agencies, private groups, and local officials of each municipality.

Mr. Javier Garcia, representative from Agencia Espanola de Cooperacion Internacional para el Desarrollo (AECID) of the Spanish Government was also in attendance.

In the workshop proper, participants were divided into two groups: Group 1 was composed of the municipalities of Buenavista, Carmen, Nasipit, Magallanes, and Las Nieves, while Group 2 was composed of the municipalities of Kitcharao, Jabonga, RTR, Santiago, and Tubay.

Each group identified critical incidents based on the degree of violence/conflict present in their area directly affecting the lives of the community, as well as the root causes that are affecting the peace and order which slows down the development of their respective areas.

The strategies that were formulated by the groups are in a form of programs, projects and activities which is fit and suitable to address the dire needs of the problems in their area. And after the identification process, each group was asked to present each priority projects by municipality for its assessment and budget allotment.

Mr. Oliver M. Binancilan, Area Manager of OPAPP capped the workshop by highlighting the importance of coordination and organization to operationally implement the projects to mainstream peace and development to all sectors. He ended by greatly stressing the magnitude of producing results by 2012 so as to get additional resources and support for funding on projects for CY 2013. (RER/ Brian Jay Ceballos,LGU-Agusan del Norte/NCLM/PIA-Caraga)


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