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Cagayan de Oro City News January 2012

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Airport Project

by Mike Crismundo

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – The Regional Development Council 10 (RDC-10) has approved the proposal to improve the Butuan-Cagayan-Iligan Road Junction Laguindingan Airport Road (LAR), in Laguindingan, Misamis Oriental.

The RDC-10 Infrastructure and Utilities Development Committee (RIUDC) endorsed the proposal under RIUDC Resolution No. 40, Series of 2011, dated June 28, 2011.

The LAR Interchange Project involves the construction of a two-kilometer, six-lane road interchange to and from the Laguindingan Airport to Cagayan de Oro and Iligan City.

PNoy earmarks P1.3-billion for rural electrification in Mindanao

by PIA Press Release

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Jan. 30 (PIA) -- President Benigno Aquino III has approved recently the release of P1.31 billion for rural electrification program in Mindanao. This was announced before the 1st Mindanao Congress of the Advocates for Renewable Energy and Rural Electrification and Development (MinCARED) organized by the Association of Mindanao Rural Electric Cooperatives (AMRECO) here Thursday, by Administrator Edita Bueno of the National Electrification Administration (NEA). Bueno said that the program shall benefit 100 barangays and 1,320 sitios in the island-region. She said that the government shall provide for the distribution system including the supply of kilowatt-meter to beneficiaries. She added that beneficiaries from the sitios will receive P2,500 subsidy from NEA. The amount is enough for them to buy two bulbs and two outlets as well as pay for the installation fee, according to Bueno. “It is rather difficult for people from the sitios to cash out for the said materials and pay for the installation fee,” she said. Bueno said, however, that the beneficiaries are capable of paying the monthly bill which would amount to P75 at the minimum.

Dynamic Learning Program helps students cope with Sendong trauma

by Cong Corrales

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews/28 January) – A revolutionary innovation in teaching, applied in public high schools here has given its students an edge over those using the traditional, classroom-type, learning system in their learning recovery since tropical storm Sendong claimed a thousand lives and affected hundreds of thousands more last month. One such school, Angeles Sisters National High School (ASNHS) in Barangay Consolacion — one of the worst hit among 25 barangays affected — was knee-deep in mud after the flashfloods last month so that when classes resumed on January 3, they only had a 44% attendance, Gil Araneta, ASNHS principal, said. But in a span of two weeks, attendance had reached 90 per cent. Araneta said they gave their students a series of Psycho-Social sessions when they started the classes for a week. He said the Dynamic Learning Program (DLP), a teaching method that takes into consideration the latest result from the fields of neuroscience, has enabled the program’s students to cope with their traumatic experience during the flood and at the same time revive their fervor for learning. “The program is innovative in that it lets the students learn by discovering through activities,” he said. He added that since they applied DLP in their school, performance indicators of their students showed stark improvements. He said their first year and fourth year levels championed the city district’s Math Challenge early last year. They also bagged second place in a Rotary International-sponsored Quiz bee, last year. “DLP teaches the students the virtue of discipline. The program is designed to maximize students’ motivation, focus, confidence and composure, self-discipline and stamina in learning,” the principal said. ASNHS currently has a graduating class of 133 students. Because the program has lessened the need for classrooms and textbooks, their students were able to recover faster, Araneta said. Academic innovation Under the new teaching method, students are given activity sheets instead of textbooks. A session begins with the students working on activities on their own, while the teacher comes in to discuss the concept for 15 to 20 minutes to reinforce the day’s lesson. “With this, the teacher will just facilitate the learning and because they only facilitate. We can now handle three classes at the same time on any given concept, for example Math. The program has resolved the problem of lack of teachers since a single teacher can now handle more sections,” Araneta said. DLP is 70 to 80 percent student activities and only 20 to 30 percent lecture. It is designed to solve existing problems plaguing the academe like the dearth of qualified teachers, few or error-filled textbooks and the large number of students per classes in public schools. The activity sheets form part of a student’s portfolio which will be the basis for grading a student’s performance. Students cannot take their activity sheets home “so that the students can really rest and relax when they get home,” Araneta explained. Megoldis Gantalao, 16, a senior student at ASNHS Sisters National High School in barangay Consolacion said they used to live in a rented apartment in Abellanosa Stree, near the Maharlika Bridge. Now, they are renting another apartment in Barangay Gusa after Sendong flooded their apartment building. “The program has encouraged us to develop our initiative for learning concepts. My comprehension improved,” said Gantalao, who was one of the finalists in Quiz bee on Consumer Rights sponsored by the Department of Trade and Industries in September last year. For Apple Jean Dandasan, a junior student at the same school, however, Sendong was a traumatic experience since it totally washed out their home of 25 years in District IV, Consolacion. The Dandasans now live in a tent at the barangay’s covered court. “Mas challenging ang DLP because we learn our lessons individually. It has sharpened my analytical skills,” she said. Myrna Motoomull, Division Superintendent of the Department of Education (DepEd) said DLP has been applied to all 35 public High Schools (except Regional Science High School) in the city starting the school year 2011-2012 and “will continue for five years so that the maximum results of the program can be seen.” She welcomed the application of DLP in 34 High Schools in the city division’s two High School Districts since its Secondary level’s performance indicators are far below the Education for All (EFA) Goals set by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. In school-year 2010-11, the city’s secondary level Drop-Out Rate was 7.17 per cent. This means that for every 10 high school student, at least seven dropped-out. Its National Achievement Test average, in school-year 2009-10 was 45.24 per cent. She said they have introduced “a number of innovations and interventions done by individual schools to address the situation, and yet the increase has been minimal.” With the advent of the internet in the 1990s, physicist-researcher-educator couple, Dr. Christopher Bernido and Dr. Maria Victoria Carpio-Bernido, decided to leave the University of the Philippines’ National Institute of Physics in Diliman, Quezon City and moved back to their hometown—municipality of Jagna, Bohol. There, the couple managed the Central Visayan Institute Foundation (CVIF) where the Dynamic Learning Program was born. they wanted to develop a teaching process that could both revive the new generation of students’ attitude towards learning and the lack of qualified teachers in the disciplines of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. Motoomull said Smart Communications, Inc. in partnership with the Philippine Business for Social Progress, sponsored an on-site program application observation trip for 36 public school principals of Cagayan de Oro to CVIF in Bohol, where DLP started, and met the Bernidos. The CVIF is home to the Research Center for Theoretical Physics and has been hosting physics workshops every three years, usually featuring experts from all over the world. Their High School Department pioneered the DLP through the couple’s innovative “Learning Physics as One Nation” (LPON). After eight years, the program’s graduates now have a 10% passing rate in the UP College Admissions Test (UPCAT), one of the toughest collegiate entrance exams in the country. The Bernidos garnered the Ramon Magsaysay Award in 2010 for “their purposeful commitment to both science and nation, ensuring innovative, low-cost, and effective basic education even under Philippine conditions of great scarcity and daunting poverty.” Established in 1957, the Ramon Magsaysay Award has long been regarded as Asia’s equivalent of the Nobel Prize. Recently, the couple received the UP and Meralco’s Gawad Haydee Yorac. Whenever asked about the DLP, the Bernidos always readily reply: “We focus on the mind, the spirit and the heart of each child, and there we see untapped capabilities and incredible resiliency.” (Cong Corrales/MindaNews)

Another gov’t housing agency grants loan moratorium to ‘Sendong’ victims

by Mindanews

ZAMBOANGA CITY (MindaNews/27 January) – Vice President Jejomar Binay, who is also chair of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC), announced that another government housing agency is extending a loan moratorium for its member-borrowers who were affected by tropical storm “Sendong.” Binay, in an emailed statement Friday, said the National Home Mortgage Finance Corporation (NHMFC) will be extending a six-month moratorium on the monthly amortization of homeowners in the Northern Mindanao cities of Cagayan de Oro and Iligan. The first government housing agency that granted a loan moratorium was the Home Development Mutual Fund (HDMF or Pag-IBIG Fund) to its members affected by the floods. Aside from granting three-month moratorium, Pag-IBIG also continues to extend financial help to its members in Mindanao who were severely hit by Sendong through its Calamity Loan Program. Binay said the NHMFC moratorium covers housing loan accounts under the now-defunct Unified Home Lending Program (UHLP) of the NHMFC. UHLP accounts are those funded by the Government Service Insurance System (SSS), Social Security System (SSS) and the Pag-IBIG Fund. Reports from the NHMFC’s satellite office indicated that 14 subdivisions, or roughly 2,305 of its account holders, were severely affected by tropical storm Sendong. In Cagayan de Oro City, the affected subdivisions include Emily Home Subdivision, NHA Lourdeville Subdivision, Gold City Subdivision, Villa Nena Subdivision, Villa Angela Subdivision, Villa Candida Subdivision, Scions Executive Village, Villa Mar Subdivision, Virginia Homes, Virginia Village, PN Roa Subdivision, Vamenta State Subdivision and Gokingville Subdivision. In Iligan City, Bahayan II to V were severely affected by Sendong. The NHMFC is a Secondary Mortgage Institution (SMI) that securitizes residential home mortgages. The NHMFC purchases housing loans receivables and the loans are turned into an asset pool for the eventual issuance of securities or bonds for sale in the capital market. The loan receivables are sourced from developers, banking institutions, local government units (LGUs) and employers. Binay approved a resolution granting to NHMFC President Felixberto Bustos Jr. continuing authority to grant a moratorium on the monthly amortization of accounts affected by natural calamities, subject to confirmation by the board of directors. “This will allow NHMFC management to immediately act on similar situations,” Binay said. The NHMFC moratorium for Sendong victims will run from January to June 2012 and the affected borrowers should file their application for moratorium not later than February 29, 2012. The application should also be supported by a certification issued by the barangay chairman of the affected area. Affected families and/or borrowers in the region are advised to coordinate with the NHMFC Cagayan de Oro satellite office or may call telephone nos. (088) 8573951 and 8574255 for more particulars. (MindaNews)

CdO all set for PhilHeatlh Run: The Mindanao Run For Hope

by Merlyn H. Ybañez

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Jan. 27 (PIA) -- PhilHealth Regional Office 10 is all set for the historic Mindanao-wide simultaneous run for kids with cancer on February 5, 2012. After a full semester preparation for a full blown Mindanao-wide run, the Cagayan De Oro and other five regional venues are ready to make history for the PhilHealth Run: The Mindanao Run for Hope. This event aims to increase the awareness on children’s cancer and the need for a Mindanao=wide collaboration to augment the resources of the only pediatric cancer unit in Mindanao at the Southern Philippines Medical Center – Children’s Cancer and Blood Diseases Unit (SPMC-CCBDU) in Davao City. PhilHealth Mindanao hopes to support the needs of the sector of vulnerable children stricken with cancer. The PhilHealth Mindanao Run for Hope is a run for the Kids of the House of Hope-- house built inside the compound of the SPMC to cater to family members and patients who are encouraged to stay in the shelter to guarantee their often neglected chemotherapy sessions once discharged from hospital admission. However, free lodging does not cover the expenses for succeeding treatment sessions. Thus, the need for support from more benevolent sectors of society, an ambitious mission embraced by PhilHealth Mindanao led by its Area First Vice-President Ramon F. Aristoza, Jr. In Cagayan De Oro, race starts at 4:30 a.m. in the Pelaez Sports Complex, Velez Street. To add hype to the event, Filipino-British Celebrity Model Jon Hall has enlisted to run in the 10K category as part of his support to the cause. The PhilHealth Run: Mindanao Run for Hope is co-presented by Smart Communications, RiteMed by Unilab, AllCard Plastics Philippines, KCCDF Inc., DOLE Philippines, Nature’s Spring Drinking Water, CIS Bayad Center and ABS-CBN Broadcasting Company. Governor Mohamad Khalid Quibranza Dimaporo of Lanao Del Norte, Dunkin Donuts, Gaisano Malls, the Department of Health, Petronas Energy Philippines, Gov. Alex Calingasan of Bukidnon and Land Bank of the Philippines also support this much awaited event. (PhilHealth/PIA-10)

BIMP-EAGA adopts vital strategic pillar


January 26, 2012, 2:52pm CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines – Ministers of the Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-the Philippines–East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) have adopted environment management as their strategic pillar of cooperation, following strong representation of the Aquino government.

“The Philippines successfully pushed for the inclusion of environment as a new strategic pillar in addition to the three major pillars of the sub-region,” Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) Chairperson Luwalhati Antonino proudly announced Wednesday.

Antonino, who also serves as the Philippines Signing Minister for the BIMP-EAGA, said the environment pillar will significantly lay the foundation for food security and ecological integrity in the sub-region.

The Working Group on Forestry and Environment has already crafted a list of possible projects under this strategic pillar.

The other three strategic pillars of BIMP-EAGA are food basket/food security, ecotourism, and enhancing connectivity, she said.

“We have already proposed to the group a carbon sequestration mechanism through massive tree planting in BIMP-EAGA areas,” said Region-11 office of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR-11) Chief Planner Naomi So, a member of the Working Group.

An exploratory study on establishing a carbon trading bank for BIMP-EAGA countries was also proposed to be led by DENR in partnership with MinDA, it was learned.

Other proposed projects include setting up a coordinating link between the major environment working groups in the BIMP-EAGA, such as the Heart of Borneo, Coral Triangle Initiative, and the Sulu-Sulawesi Marine Ecoregion.

Brunei Darussalam will also lead an integrated coastal resources management and development training workshop, the MinDA head said.

“We are advancing the country’s environmental priority programs and projects for Mindanao through our watershed management program or the MindaNOW (Nurturing our Waters), which we intend to expand across the sub-region,” Antonino said.

MindaNOW is MinDA’s flagship environmental undertaking that pushes for the adoption of river basin and watershed as key platforms for planning.

It seeks to provide an enabling mechanism for achieving environmental integrity and sustainable economic development.

Meanwhile, the Philippines will host the first BIMP-EAGA Equator Asia Air Access Forum and Airline Chief Executive officers (CEO) Summit with Department of Tourism (DoT), Department of Science and Technology (DoTC), and MinDA as lead agencies this first quarter to gather top transport and tourism officials from the sub-region to look at the market potentials of each identified travel points, Antonino said.

The Philippines identified the cities of Davao, Zamboanga, and Puerto Princesa as priority travel points for air services, while the Zamboanga-Muara (Brunei), Brooke’s Point-Labuan (Malaysia)-Muara, and Davao/GenSan-Bitung were identified for the sea linkages.

Aquino to inspect works in relocation sites

by Annabelle L. Ricalde and Nicole J. Managbanag

PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino III will be arriving in Cagayan de Oro today, Wednesday, to personally inspect the ongoing earthworks at the relocation sites in Barangays Lumbia and Canitoan.

Upon his arrival at the Lumbia Airport, the President will visit first Iligan City to inspect the Bayanihan Village for the affected residents of Tropical Storm Sendong in the area.

Aquino will fly back to Cagayan de Oro in the afternoon to inaugurate the initial four houses constructed by the Habitat for Humanity Philippines Foundation at the relocation site in Sitio Calaanan, Barangay Canitoan. He is expected to join the volunteers in the actual building of the houses.

The President will then proceed to Lumbia Xavier Ecoville for an inspection on another relocation site.

This is the second visit of Aquino after Tropical Storm Sendong ravaged most areas in Cagayan de Oro and Iligan cities last December 16 and 17, 2011.

During his visit on December 20, the President personally supervised the government’s relief efforts and assessed the damage wrought by “Sendong”.

Aquino was earlier criticized for not visiting flood-stricken areas in Northern Mindanao immediately.

However, Malacañang said Aquino wanted to visit Mindanao as early as he can but was advised by the Presidential Security Group as well as the Department of National Defense to reschedule his trip due to bad weather.

Meanwhile, Cagayan de Oro Mayor Vicente Emano said the four initial houses at the relocation site in Sitio Calaanan will be raffled off to the flood victims.

Emano said the raffling of the four houses was already held on Monday, spearheaded by City Councilors President Elipe and Nadya Emano-Elipe and representatives from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the National Housing Authority (NHA).

The four beneficiaries of the initial houses are the families of Fortunata Jaca, Virginia Valdehueza, Lourdes Mata and Claudio Go, all residents of Sitio Tibasak in Barangay Macasandig.

Ving Mayoralgo, program staff of Habitat for Humanity Philippines Foundation disaster response team, said they have pledged around 1,700 houses to the City Government, which are expected to be finished by April as mandated by DSWD.

Mayoralgo said they are willing to construct as many as 6,000 houses for the “Sendong” victims.

Related to this, the foundation has also coordinated with its local affiliates in providing repair kits to flood victims whose houses have been partially damaged.

Mayoralgo said last week, they already provided around 400 repair kits to identified beneficiaries in barangays Kauswagan and Bulua.

By next week, he said they will visit Iligan City to provide 107 repair kits to affected residents in Barangay Hinaplanon.

The repair kits contain hammer, handsaw, Hardiflex, GI sheets, nails and woods.

Habitat for Humanity is a non-profit, non-stock organization established in 1988 that aims to build communities by providing decent and durable houses for the economically lowest families in the Philippines.

Mayoralgo said their organization works in partnership with local celebrities like Kris Aquino, Manny Pacquiao, Karen Davila, Derek Ramsey, Margie Moran-Floriendo and Don Fernando Zobel de Ayala, among other donors.

UNICEF: Breastfeeding saves lives


CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines, January 2012 – Even as they are facing the loss of property and deaths in the family, survivors of Typhoon Washi (local name Sendong), are determined to restore a sense of normalcy to their everyday lives. Mothers in evacuation centers in the cities of Cagayan de Oro and nearby Iligan in Mindanao remain committed to their babies’ health by continuing to breastfeed them, despite the crowded situation in temporary shelters.

Surviving raging waters Lina Duave, a resident of Sitio Bulao, Cagayan de Oro, is mother to six month old baby boy Alexis. At about 1am on December 16, 2011, raging floodwaters brought about by Tropical Storm Sendong (international name Washi) entered their house. In less than five minutes, the water rose from ankle level, to past their roof, completely wiping out their entire home. © UNICEF Philippines/2012/JMaitem Lina Duave, 27, breastfeeds her six month old daughter Alexis at an evacuation centre in the village of Iponan in Cagayan de Oro, Mindanao, Philippines

Together with her husband, Lina and the baby survived the flashflood by quickly climbing up the mango tree next to their house. Their young family stayed up in the tree for nine hours together with five other families. They waited for the floodwaters to subside before coming down to safety.

Since surviving the disaster, the Duave family has been seeking refuge at the Iponan Multi-Purpose Court, which has been converted into an evacuation site.

Breastfeeding as critical and essential As soon as their family was relocated to the evacuation center, one of the first decisions that Lina made was to continue to breastfeed Alexis, whom she had been exclusively breastfeeding for six months. Exclusive breastfeeding means giving the baby just the mother’s milk and nothing else, not even water. Lina is bent on giving only breast milk to her baby, despite having access to powdered milk substitutes that have been given by well-meaning donors.

“During the prenatal check-ups that I had before giving birth, I remember being told that breast milk is the best food for my baby. It has the complete nutrients that the baby needs,” Lina shares. “I am also aware that the powdered milk available here is not suitable for babies.”

Breast milk gives infants and young children complete nutrition, promotes good health, and dramatically reduces their vulnerability to diseases. It is also affordable and economical. Families who lost everything to the typhoon do not have to worry about spending for food for their babies.

Breastfeeding saves lives In the aftermath of calamities, including devastating typhoons, infants are considered as some of the most vulnerable victims.

“During emergency situations, the mortality risk of infants rise up to 500%,” shares Dr. Paul Zambrano, UNICEF Philippines’ Nutrition Officer. This is because they are exposed to factors that make them susceptible to diseases like diarrhea and pneumonia. “The safest and most effective way to protect infants and young children from these risk factors is for mothers to continue breastfeeding them. The need to breastfeed is heightened during emergency situations,” Dr. Zambrano says.

While mothers are in evacuation centers, they hardly have access to clean, potable water. This means the water that is mixed with powdered milk is usually unsafe or even contaminated. When milk substitutes prepared with unclean water is given to babies, this causes diarrhea and other water-borne diseases, which can eventually lead to death.

Bottles and other feeding instruments are often exposed to unsanitary conditions in most crowded temporary shelters.

Even in non-emergency situations, mothers are encouraged to practice exclusive breastfeeding. Mother’s milk contains important nutrients to nourish babies and help build their immune system.

6 month old Alexis is measured for signs of malnutrition with a MUAC tape. UNICEF provides malnutrition test equipment and medical supplies to support mothers and children especially during emergencies. © UNICEF Philippines/2012/JMaitem

Lina’s testimony Three weeks after surviving the raging floodwaters, Lina still continues to exclusively breastfeed Alexis. “I don’t feel shy or embarrassed breastfeeding in the evacuation center.” She has noticed that despite being in a cramped temporary shelter, her baby has not gotten sick and is still easy to feed. When volunteers came to the Iponan evacuation center to assess babies for severe acute malnutrition, Alexis was given a clean bill of health. Lina shares the other benefits of breastfeeding that she has noticed, “At night, it is our bonding activity. After breastfeeding, the baby falls asleep easily. I also get to sleep early because I don’t have to worry about preparing milk or washing bottles after feeding.”

UNICEF promotes, protects breastfeeding during emergency situations UNICEF, together with the Department of Health and NGO partners, has been working actively to provide support for breastfeeding mothers. Timely assessments to determine the number of breastfeeding and lactating mothers in various evacuation centers have been conducted. Breastfeeding corners and child-friendly areas in evacuation sites are being established so that mothers can have privacy and interact with other mothers.

Breastfeeding mothers have also been tapped as ambassadors to encourage fellow survivors to continue breastfeeding, or to shift from mixed feeding to exclusive breastfeeding. Barangay Health Workers and Barangay Nutrition Scholars have been mobilized to conduct counseling for mothers, making them aware that it is possible to re-lactate and re-establish the bond that breastfeeding brings between mother and child, even after a traumatizing experience. Information campaigns are also being conducted, to help encourage fathers or other family members to take part in taking care of babies.

DSWD: No eviction of 'Sendong' evacuees at public schools used as evacuation centers

by CGL, KG, GMA News

(Updated 10:05 a.m.) - Education and social welfare officials reassured evacuees at schools in areas hit by tropical storm "Sendong" (Washi) they will not be evicted to make way for pupils using the classrooms.

Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Corazon Soliman said Education Secretary Armin Luistro gave this assurance to her department recently.

A DSWD news release quoted Luistro as assuring that "No evacuees will be evicted from public schools that were used temporarily as evacuation centers."

Cagayan de Oro City and Iligan City are the worst-hit areas in the wake of "Sendong," which left 1,257 dead and more than P1.6 billion in damage.

In Cagayan de Oro

Soliman said officials from the DSWD Field Office Region 10 met recently with Shirley Merida, principal of West City Central Elementary School in Cagayan de Oro, after Merida's alleged pronouncements that the evacuees will vacate the classrooms to give way to students.

During the dialogue, Merida assured DSWD that the evacuees at West City Central Elementary School “will not be evicted” and may use the covered court and some of the classrooms.

DSWD Field Office 10 Director Araceli Solamillo added that DSWD Field Office focal persons updated the 84 camp leaders in West City Central School on the agreement with Merida.

More than 500 families are staying at West City Central Elementary School, making it one of the most heavily populated evacuation centers in Cagayan de Oro.

“The Shelter Cluster headed by the DSWD is fast tracking the construction of temporary and permanent relocation for the evacuees,” Solamillo said.

Earlier, the DSWD signed an agreement with Habitat for Humanity and the CDO city government, for the construction of shelter units for Sendong victims.

Sendong may not yet be CDO’s Ormoc-like disaster, says expert

by BenCyrus G. Ellorin

SUBIC BAY FREEPORT (MindaNews/21 January) – One of the persons who warned deadly floods in Cagayan de Oro after the Ormoc tragedy of November 1991 said that the December 16-17 Sendong floods may not yet be the “Ormoc-like” flood that is much feared in Northern Mindanao’s prime city. Rainfall akin to typhoon Uring that dumped 500 mm of rains in 24 hours to Ormoc City in Leyte could bring 8 meters of floods in the center of Cagayan de Oro, according to Raoul Geollegue, a former regional executive director of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in Northern Mindanao. The 180mm rains of Sendong caused about three-meter deep floods in Cagayan de Oro, whose city center of about 10,000 hectares is along the Cagayan de Oro River. Geollegue was the one who pushed alarm bells in 1991 about possible tragic floods in the city. He was then a regional technical director of the DENR when he shared his analysis to Orlando R. Ravanera, c hairperson of the environmental watchdog Task Force Macajalar. Geollegue said he made the warning to Ravanera amid alarming reports of unrelenting logging activities in the upper water catchment of Cagayan de Oro. “My fear then was if the volume of rainfall similar to that of Ormoc is dumped in the mountains, the resulting floods would be as tragic as the November 1991 Ormoc floods,” Geollegue said. Based on rainfall data and the topography and forest cover of Cagayan de Oro, the Sendong rains were far from the rains dumped by typhoon Uring in Ormoc. In response to Geollegue’s warnings, TFM under the leadership of Ravanera staged several anti-logging barricades. The first big one that opened the Cagayanons to the evils of logging was in October 1993 in front of the Xavier University College of Agriculture campus, a place known locally as Manresa. Geollegue recalled that he was often placed in quandary then as TFM would barricade and close their office to protest logging. TFM held smaller barricades after it and again launched barricades in 1998, 1999 until the early months of 2000. Ravanera, who is now a government executive with the Cooperative Development Authority (CDA), has renewed calls for vigilance after the Sendong tragedy. The TFM is now handling the environment committee of the Save CDO Movement. The Save CDO Movement is proposing on working out long-term solutions to the problems, which include sustainable development policy options. Among the short-term actions they are now advocating is to call for accountability of local officials by filing cases for violation of Republic Act 10121 or the Disaster Risk Reduction Management Law and the ongoing recall campaign against Cagayan de Oro Mayor Vicente Y. Emano, who is accused of mishandling disaster risk reduction management prior to Sendong and for bungling on disaster management. “The warning of an impending tragedy, or ‘Recipe of Disaster’ as we coined it, has in fact several factual basis,” Geollegue said. He pointed out that the total catchment area of Cagayan de Oro River is very extensive – 177,000 hectares wide. He said, too, that the loss of mountain forest cover is substantial. Furthermore, Geollegue said the elevation of the ridge and slopes from where the water starts to gather volume and force is steep and high. “So all that is lacking in the recipe was substantial rainfall. Then, 20 years after, it came like a thief in the night, inundating most parts of the city and leaving in its swath close to 2,000 dead bodies,” Geollegue lamented. (BenCyrus G. Ellorin / MindaNews)

'Sendong' victims rising from ashes


Survivors find strength in each other as soldiers continue support

MANILA, Philippines — Surviving victims of tropical storm "Sendong" have begun to rise from the ashes and rebuild their lives shattered by the Dec. 17, 2011 flood that left more than 1,200 dead, injured more than 6,000 people, and left hundreds still missing.

While wounds left by "Sendong" have yet to heal, calamity-stricken folk from Iligan City and Cagayan De Oro City are finding strength in each other, as well as the soldiers, who continue to extend support for the victims to get back on their feet.

Maj. Harold Cabunoc, Philippine Army spokesman, said among the many reasons the victims have found strength to move on is the help and assistance in cash and kind that has been pouring in for them.

Cabunoc noted that the tragedy that struck Northern Mindanao in 2011 have brought not only massive destruction, but also brought people together.

The government and the private sector have joined hands in bringing relief goods to hard-hit areas, while competing companies and businesses have forgotten their race to the top for a moment and have given help.

Setting aside their differences, soldiers and Moro fighters also worked together to provide help, alleviate the sufferings of the victims, and bring a sense of normalcy in the calamity-hit communities, said Cabunoc.

Regardless of affiliations, residents of the remote villages of Dulag, Panoroganan, Kalilangan, and Ragongon, mostly rebel-dominated communities in Iligan City, welcomed the help offered by soldiers and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in the country (UNHCR-Philippines).

Army soldiers have been deployed in the cities of Cagayan de Oro and Iligan to help in the search, rescue, retrieval, and relief operations and now rehabilitation efforts. Personnel from the 1st (1 ID) and 4th Infantry Divisions (4ID) trooped to communities in worst-hit areas of the two cities to distribute relief goods and provisions, such as food, water, clothes, building materials, and tents.

Army engineers, in coordination with United States Marine Forces in the Pacific Region, installed water-purifying machines to supply potable water to families who were left homeless.

Heavy equipment from the Army also cleared and prepared areas, designated as temporary resettlement areas.

Taking advantage of its logistical capability, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) was able to transport much-needed provisions to adversely affected areas in Northern Mindanao.

“Every soldier of the 80, 000-strong Army has helped in the collection of used clothes and food items. The Philippine Air Force was also able to airlift more than 300 boxes of relief items such as blankets, cooking sets, and hygiene kits to at least 1,000 families in remote villages,” said Brig. Gen. Roland Amarille, head of the Army team deployed to help in the rehabilitation of this city.

The Philippine Navy also provided landing craft, which usually serve troops, in bringing tons of donated items from across the country to Northern Mindanao.

Cabunoc said soldiers coordinated closely with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and local government officials in providing relief good to those in evacuation centers.

“Soldiers from the 4th Infantry Division also decided not to go on vacation during the Christmas holidays to help in the recovery efforts,” said Cabunoc.

He said Army chief, Lt. Gen. Emmanuel Bautista also called on all members of the Philippine Army to donate part of their subsistence allowances to generate funds for the rehabilitation of Northern Mindanao.

Bernard Kerblat, head of UNHCR-Philippines, said the soldiers’ role in the rehabilitation of devastated areas had been “crucial.” He said Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin personally requested the UN to help in the relief operations.

The UNHCR has donated a total of $600,000 worth of relief goods to victims of “Sendong” in Northern Mindanao. He said that some relief materials were sourced out from the local markets.

All items that his agency donated were transported to hard-hit areas in Iligan City by the Philippine Air Force. In collaboration with the other government agencies, the relief goods were distributed to victims by the soldiers and civilian volunteers.

“Restoring normalcy in Northern Mindanao may take years. But up to the last trickle of help and even after rehabilitation has brought life again to calamity-ridden communities, the soldiers are there to help,” said Cabunoc.

National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) data showed that as of Saturday, damage caused by “Sendong” breached the P1.6-billion mark, with P1,360,335,647 in infrastructure and P272,974,840 in agriculture.

Of the 120,233 families or 1,141,252 people adversely affected in 815 villages in 57 towns and eight cities in 13 provinces, 6,574 families or 30,985 people are staying in 55 evacuation centers, particularly in Cagayan De Oro and Iligan City.

Pending construction of permanent relocation houses for the displaced families, transitional homes, tents, and shelters were provided including: Calaanan tent city with 408 families or 2,115 people; Kilometer 5 with 62 families or 354 persons, Agusan with 61 families or 248 persons, Indahag with 109 families or 540 people, Bugo Elementary School with 12 tents and 19 families, Gusa Regional Science High School with 12 tents andh 8 families, Puerto Elementary School with 20 families, Buena Oro covered court with 26 families, and Mt. Carmel Parish with 47 families.

The NDRRMC report wise identified St. Vianni, Camaman-an where an estimated 90 families will occupy the area and the old cemetery (near Xavier University) where an estimated 150 families will occupy the area, as potential transition sites.

DSWD: Quadruplex homes to be built for 'Sendong' victims in Cagayan de Oro


Quadruplex shelter units worth some P203 million will be built for victims of tropical storm "Sendong" (Washi) in Cagayan de Oro City, the Department of Social Welfare and Development said.

The DSWD signed an agreement with nonprofit organization Habitat for Humanity and the Cagayan de Oro City local government to build shelter units in the city’s Calaanan area.

“Following the signing of the agreement, the DSWD will transfer P203 million to Habitat for Humanity for the construction of quadruplex houses in the area. There will be four families per 40-square-meter structure,” the DSWD said.

Earlier, the 9.4-hectare lot in Calaanan had been identified as a permanent resettlement site for families displaced by “Sendong.”

A padugo ceremony was done Wednesday in the area, while a groundbreaking ceremony has been scheduled on January 25.

Meanwhile, the DSWD is identifying evacuees who can help prepare the area. Evacuees who help prepare the area will be paid through the cash-for-work program.

On the other hand, 12 bunkhouses for 120 families being constructed by the 52nd Engineering Brigade of the Armed Forces of the Philippines in Lumbia, Cagayan de Oro are already half finished.

Also ongoing is the construction of 230 bunkhouses from the International Organization for Migration.

More bunkhouses that can accommodate 150 families in Lumbia will be built in coordination with Project Compassion. The DSWD is currently coordinating with the said organization. –KG, GMA News

DOE urges students in Cebu for e-Trike Design Contest

By Hazel F. Gloria

CEBU CITY, January 19 (PIA) -- The Department of Energy (DOE-7) in Central Visayas urged students here to join the electric tricycle (e-Trike) design contest that will be launch in Cebu soon. Dubbed as “Bright Now! Do Right. Be Right. Go E-Trike!” the project promotes the innovation and ingenuity of the Filipinos in creating the Philippine version of the so-called “green vehicle.” The “e-trike” design contest is open to all Filipino citizens of legal age (18 years old and above), whether individual or group residing in the Philippines. Contestant/s must generate 2D and 3D computer-aided drawings using AutoCAD software of the best aesthetic and functional design for the future Philippine E-trike look. Entries should feature a design that can accommodate a maximum of six (6) passengers excluding the driver. It must also be a three (3)-wheeled electric vehicle. For more details on the mechanics of the contest and to fill-up the Registration Form, you can download it at the DOE and PIA websites, Design examples of three-wheeled electric vehicles can also be found at the DOE website. Entries should be personally submitted or send by courier which is accompanied by completely filled-up Official Registration Form and duly notarized Oath of Ownership of the submitted design. Deadline of submission is not later than 4pm on February 17, 2012 to Nationwide E-Trike Design Contest, c/o Energy Utilization Management Bureau, Department of Energy, Meritt Road, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig, 1631. (PIA-7/hfg

AMRECO Congress aims for increased awareness for Mindanao’s energy future

by Mike Baños

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, January 18 -- The Association of Mindanao Rural Electric Cooperatives will host the maiden edition of an annual congress which seeks to mainstream challenges and issues to Mindanao’s Energy Future. The one-day congress will focus on renewable energy, rural electrification and development at the Grand Caprice Restaurant and Convention Center, Limketkai Center, Cagayan de Oro City on January 26, 2012. Clint Django Pacana, executive director of the Association of Mindanao Rural Electric Cooperatives (AMRECO), said some 300 participants from the group’s 33 member cooperatives have committed to join the “Congress of the Advocates for Renewable Energy, Rural Electrification and Development.” AMRECO’s 33 member cooperatives accounts for 1,941, 554 residential consumers in Mindanao. Twenty seven of the member coops are hooked up with the island’s transmission grid while another six (6) operate in the off-grid islands surrounding the main Mindanao island. “We are advocating rural electrification as the way to address Mindanao’s chronic power shortage,” said Pacana in an interview with media. He added, “Towards this end, we have grouped presentations according to good governance, knowledge products, finance and investments, and the role of civic organizations in society for the duration of the congress.” Presentations on Good Governance kick off the working sessions with “Sitio Energization” by National Electrification Administration (NEA) Administrator Edita S. Bueno, Transparency of Distribution by Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) by Chairperson Zenaida G. Ducut and “Updates on the Privatization of the Agus and Pulangui Hydro Electric Plants” by Deputy House Speaker and JCPC Member Rep. Lorenzo R. Tanada III. Public discussions on Knowledge Products follow with “Research and Study Grants for the Mindanao Power Sector” by USAID-CENERGY; “Research on Mindanao Power Sector” by Prof. Rowaldo del Mundo of the UP-National Engineering Center; and “The Mindanao Power Institute” by Dr. Ricardo E. Rotoras, president of the Mindanao University of Science and Technology and PASSUC. Public discussions on Finance and Investment are next with “Aggregation – A Business Model for Mindanao Electric Cooperatives by Edgardo R. Masongsong; and “Development of Renewable Energy Power Plants by Electric Cooperatives” by Engr.David A. Tauli. The day’s session closes with a public discussion on the Role of Civil Society with Organizations by Herbie Gomez. (MinCARED)

DRRMC alerts public against La Niña

by Elaine O. Ratunil

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Jan. 17 (PIA) – The Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (RDRRMC), Northern Mindanao, has called on all the local DRRMC’s to undertake precautionary measures in their areas of responsibility (AOR) against the likely occurrence of floods and rain-induced landslides in hazard prone areas. This, after the National DRRMC, has issued La Niña Advisory No. 3, on January 16, 2011, to inform and warn communities to take proactive actions to aim for zero casualties and avoid loss of lives and properties that may result from this phenomenon. The La Niña advisory issued talks about proactive actions which may take the form of evacuation rather than rescue or mitigation and prevention rather than response and rehabilitation, said Regional Director Ana C. Cañeda of the Office on Civil Defense (OCD), region 10. The ongoing oceanic and atmosphere patterns in the equatorial Pacific reflect the continuation of a weak to moderate La Niña. The latest observations, combined with model forecasts, suggest that La Niña will be weaken and expected to dissipate between March and May. Its peak is likely this January. Meanwhile, the weather systems that influenced the country’s climate during December were Northeast (NE) monsoon, ridge of High Pressure Area (LPA), tail end of the cold front, wind convergence, Low Pressure Area (LPA) and one tropical cyclone, said Cañeda. Tropical Storm ‘Sendong’, on Dec. 15-18, ranked first for the top ten (10) 2011 Philippine destructive tropical cyclones with the most number of deaths totaling to 1,275 as reported of which cities of Cagayan de Oro and Iligan in region 10 suffer the most. Climate pattern during the month was influenced by the on-going La Niña event enhancing rainfall distribution in most areas in the country. By this January, slightly warmer than normal surface air temperatures are expected to affect the country. However, cold surge is expected over extreme northern Luzon. Predicted ranges of temperature for January will be 17oC to 33oC over the lowlands of Luzon, 11oC to 24oC over the mountainous areas of Luzon, 20oC to 31oC for Visayas, 22oC to 34oC over the lowlands of Mindanao and 17oC to 24oC over the mountainous areas of Mindanao. Weather systems that will likely affect the country in January are NE monsoon, tail end of the cold front, LPA and ridge of HPA. One tropical cyclone is likely to develop or enter the Philippine area of responsibility (PAR) during the month. Rainfall distribution in most areas of northern and central Luzon will likely above normal including the western section of Mindanao. Flooding, flashfloods and landslides are likely to happen in some affected areas, particularly over Visayas and Mindanao. The rest of the country is expected to have near normal rainfall condition. (PIA-10)

'Sendong' victims assured of shelter


MANILA, Philippines — Storm victims who are currently in “transition” shelters in Cagayan de Oro and Iligan cities were assured by the government of their qualification as beneficiaries of its permanent shelter program.

“The instruction of President Aquino is very clear to all of us in the Cabinet, to extend all possible assistance and help ‘Sendong’ victims,” Social Welfare and Development Secretary Dinky Soliman said.

Other key partner national government agencies namely, Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC), National Housing Authority (NHA), Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) are converging initiatives and services to address the shelter needs of the typhoon victims.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) leads the Shelter Cluster and the Social Protection Cluster. Soliman said the Shelter Cluster already conducted series of meetings in Cagayan de Oro City to discuss early recovery and relocation of the internally displaced persons.

In Cagayan de Oro City, some 393 families with 2,049 persons are now in Calaanan transition shelter, 109 families in Indahag, 62 families in Km. 5 Elementary School and 61 families in Agusan Elementary School. Other 88 families in Sitio Calacala will be transferred to Lumbia relocation site on January 18.

In Iligan City, four temporary relocation sites have also been set-up. The relocation sites are found in Tent City, Tambo Terminal (102 families); City Central Elementary School (8 families); Tambacan Elementary School (84 families); and Brgy. San Roque (91 families).

DSWD said there were also permanent relocation sites that were identified for internally displaced persons. It added that site identification and development is currently ongoing until June 2012, while the identification and validation of beneficiaries is expected to be finalized by the end of January 2012.

“We will continue to work closely with concerned national government agencies, local government executives, NGOs, civil society groups and faith-based volunteers to expedite the rehabilitation and reconstruction process,” Soliman said.

As this developed, another cadaver was recovered from the landslide site in a mining community in Compostela Valley as authorities concluded the search and retrieval operation.

1Lt. Salvacion Conejos, head of the monitoring team of the Incident Command Post in Pantukan town, said the cadaver belongs to a woman, adding that the body was retrieved a few hours before the retrieval operation was ended on Friday. “She is still unidentified along with three others,” said Conejos as she revealed that a total of 41 bodies were retrieved since the landslide occurred after New Year.

A total of 42 others remain missing and Conejos said the landslide site in Sitio Diat Uno and Diat Dos in Barangay Napnapan will already serve as the mass grave.

Conejos said all the civilian members of the search and retrieval teams left the area past 4 p.m. on Friday, along with the heavy equipment. “Only policemen and soldiers are left here, they will be assisting the local government in implementing the no habitation policy,” said Conejos.

The no-habitation policy means demolition of houses in the two sub-villages hit by the landslides and nearby areas declared by local geologists as danger zones.

Conejos would not say whether or not relatives of the missing persons have all agreed to stop the operation but she stressed that the local officials agreed to continuously address the concerns of the displaced and would-be displaced families. “The consultation and assistance will continue, it will all be ironed out next week,” said Conejos.

Meanwhile, Conejos revealed that the local officials will be sending religious representatives to celebrate mass and perform other religious rites for those who are still buried in the area. “That was the decision, representatives from various religious groups will be allowed there,” said Conejos.

Aside from religious rites, the official said relatives of both whose cadavers were recovered and those who are still in the missing list will also be allowed to build structure to honor the memory of their loved ones. She, however, clarified that those who wish to go to the area have to inform the local officials for information and assistance. (With a report from Aaron Recuenco)

Group says ‘climate and economic justice’ needed to prevent repeat of ‘Sendong’

by Cong Corrales

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews/14 January) — A coalition of religious, nongovernment and civil society organizations today said they will advance “a bigger commitment to prevent more Sendongs by working for climate and economic justice” at the same time that they started giving stress debriefing sessions for survivors of the flood brought by Storm Sendong last month. Balsa Mindanao’s psycho-social counseling volunteers numbering at least a hundred started the series of debriefing sessions at the Agusan Evacuation Center in Agusan Elementary School. The volunteers included nuns, priests, psychiatric and social welfare professionals, workers, professors and students from universities in Davao, Iligan and Cagayan de Oro cities and Caraga, Zamboanga, and Far South Mindanao regions. In a phone interview today, lawyer Beverly Selim-Musni, one of Balsa Mindanao’s convenors, thanked the facilitator-volunteers for contributing to the success of the start of a series of stress debriefing sessions for Sendong survivors. “Our coming together is part of a bigger commitment to prevent more Sendongs by working for climate and economic justice,” she said. “With the obvious breakdown of government systems for disaster prevention, mitigation and response, we rely on the people to empower themselves and raise their capacity to carry out grassroots community-based disaster management and responses. We do this, as we also look at long-term strategies and solutions to environmental plunder and climate change and its impact to Mindanao,” reads part of the group’s statement posted on their website. The initial stress debriefing sessions followed Friday’s assembly at Buffalo Resto-Grill where some 40 delegates from various groups convened Balsa Mindanao. Selim-Musni said Balsa Mindanao is the “broadening” of the initial disaster response and relief operations by the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines-Northern Mindanao (RMP-NMR) and Panay Bulig, a disaster response NGO, two of the first organizations that carried out immediate humanitarian campaign in the region. “The convenors have also agreed to hold a 40th day commemoration of more than 1,400 reported dead, thousands more missing and now feared dead wrought by tropical storm Sendong, on January 25,” she said. She, however, added that they have yet to plan where to hold the commemoration rites. Aldeem Yañez, Balsa Mindanao secretariat member, said in a text message, Saturday: “In Cagayan de Oro, we target a public forum cum protest action in Sitio Pag-asa, barangay Carmen. This will be followed by a simultaneous island-wide interfaith hour of remembrance. Later we will connect with the Archdiocese candle lighting prayer. All major cities in Mindanao will hold separate events, including some parts of the Visayas and Luzon.” Balsa Mindanao (Help for Mindanao) is a citizen-led and island-wide response to the humanitarian crisis brought about by tropical storm Sendong. Convenor-organizations include the United Methodist Church Committee on Relief (UMCOR), Religious of the Virgin Mary (RVM) – Mindanao Social Apostolate, United Church of Christ in the Philippines, Religious Good Shepherd – Women for Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation (RGS-WJPIC); Society of Divine Vocations (SDV), Missionary Sisters of the Society of Mary (SMSM), Sacred Heart Brothers, Charles Borromeo Sisters , Missionary Sisters of Mary, Educators’ Forum for Development Mindanao, Holy Cross Davao College, University of Mindanao Social Work Department, and Children’s Rehabilitation Center.

Pineapple, banana waste: promising materials for various products

by Gelo Udaundo

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Jan. 14 (PIA) -- Agricultural waste from pineapple and banana can be alternative materials for apparel, home textiles, upholsteries, non-woven and industrial fabrics. Nora Mangalindan, researcher for Philippine Textile Research Industry (PTRI) of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), shared in a recent forum that aside from being environment-friendly, the materials are also abundant in the country. PTRI aims to support the Philippine textile and allied industries achieve global competitiveness through utilization of indigenous resources and development of technical competence in textile production and quality assurance. According to research, Mangalindan said that the country has almost 59,000 hectares of pineapple plantations mostly found in Davao region, Northern Mindanao, Western Visayas, Davao Del Norte and Eastern Visayas. On the other hand, there are almost 447,000 hectares of banana plantations mostly found in North Cotabato, South Cotabato, Northern Mindanao, Bukidnon and the Bicol region. Such yield can provide 55, 483 metric tons and 307,000 metric tons of fiber respectively. Using fibers also has technological advantages Mangalindan said. "It is biodegradable and sustainable, ecologically sound and has better performance in terms of fiber and fabric properties," she said. Pineapple fiber comes from wastes of pineapple which is rich in lignin and cellulose. Normally, these are already considered organic waste until recent experiments produced silk-like textiles if combined with polyester or silk. The fiber is very soft, lightweight, easy to maintain and wash, blends with other fabrics very well and appears elegant. Meanwhile, fiber from banana is similar with that from the bamboo and ramie, but its fineness is better than the two. It is very strong but lightweight, with high moisture absorption and more importantly, is also biodegradable. In the past, pineapple and banana fibers had very limited application and were primarily used to make mats, ropes and some other composite materials. But with the growing importance of eco-friendly fabrics, the use of pineapple and banana fibers has increased even in the other fields such as apparel and home furnishings. "This is a niche market because eco-fabrics, which are sustainable, are in demand in the global market,” Mangalindan said. (PNF/PIA-10)

Ninety percent of LGUs are practicing transparency -- Robredo

by PIA Press Release

CAGAYAN DE ORO, January 13 -- At least 90 percent of the provinces, cities and municipalities nationwide have become more transparent during the past year as 1,551 of the 1,713 local government units (LGUs) have complied with the Full Disclosure Policy (FDP). The FDP requires local governments to post their budget and other financial transactions in websites, newspapers of general circulation and conspicuous places within their localities. In the Department’s Accomplishment Report for 2011, Secretary Jesse M. Robredo of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) said that this high compliance rating can be attributed to the growing awakening among LGUs that good governance is synonymous to transparency. Of the 1,551 compliant LGUs, the report noted, 72 are provinces, 132 cities and 1,347 municipalities. Robredo said that even barangays heeded the call for disclosure as 23,584 of the 42,026 barangays nationwide have also posted their important financial reports in conspicuous places. “Local governments are now embracing the concept of transparency and accountability and have joined the journey towards good local governance,” he said. The DILG Secretary also said that in 2011, the Department continued to give high premium on local government performance as a total of 1,325 LGUs were conferred with the Seal of Good Housekeeping for showing strong performance in key local governance areas, complying with the FDP and having no adverse findings from the Commission on Audit (COA). Of this number, he said, 351 LGUs became recipients of the Performance Challenge Fund (PCF) amounting to P7 Million for each high performing province, P3 Million for city and P1 Million for municipality which they used to hasten their anti-poverty initiatives and lessen their constituents’ vulnerability to disasters. “The days of mediocrity are over and from here on, strong performance shall be the cornerstone of any support that the government and development partners will provide LGUs,” said the DILG chief. On disaster prevention and mitigation, the Department issued a policy on calamity-response protocols that led to the activation of disaster command and auxiliary command centers in 1,030 LGUs; 941 LGUs with area-wide warning and alarm system; 836 with developed emergency response, rescue and medical teams; and 846 LGUs with evacuation centers as of November 30, 2011. Sixty-nine (69) provinces; 114 cities; 1,128 municipalities; and 1,699 barangays nationwide have also reorganized and enhanced the capacities of their respective Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Councils in compliance with RA No. 10211. The DILG also conducted disaster preparedness audit in all provinces throughout the country, and ensured that disaster risk reduction and management is integrated in local government systems and processes, specifically in planning and budgeting. (DILG/PIA-10)

2 soldiers, 14 civilians receive combat award

by PIA Press Release

CAMP EVANGELISTA, Cagayan de Oro City, Jan 12 -- Two soldiers and 14 civilians of the Citizen Armed Force Geographical Unit (CAFGU), received combat awards: the two military personnel received the “Gold Cross Medal” while the 14 were awarded the Military Merit Medal, January 10 The group gallantly repelled the attack of some 60 fully armed New People’s Army (NPA) rebels under the group of aka Marsing (true name unknown), Manuel Anob aka Salem/Masayod, and Adonis Maglasang aka Do/Dali of Guerilla Front 21, North Eastern Mindanao Regional Committee. The incident took place at around 4:30 a.m. of January 3 when communist insurgents tried to overrun the San Antonio Patrol Base, Brgy. San Antonio, Remedios T. Romualdez, Agusan del Norte. The fire fight lasted for almost five hours. After five hours of gun battle, the troops successfully defended the patrol base which resulted in the recovery of two enemy killed in action, one recovered by their comrades, one M203 grenade launcher, one M16 rifle, 29 magazines loaded with live ammunition for AK-47, one magazine plate for K3, one M16 magazine, one rifle grenade, two gallons of landmine with 500 meters detonating cord used for explosives devices, and assorted ammunition. The insurgents were forced to withdraw and fled in disarray towards unknown direction, dragging with them their wounded or killed comrades. it believe that more casualties as revealed by the residents in the area. On the government side, one militiaman was killed identified as Christopher Rara. Two others were wounded namely,Corporal Murphy Haiber, Assistant Detachment Commander; and Dionisio Calbo, barangay official. Major General Victor A. Felix, army’s 4th Infantry Division Commander, pinned the third highest military award in combat the “Gold Cross Medals” to Sgt. Sixto Duyan, Cpl. Murphy Haiber, and the Military Merit Medals to the 14 CAA members of San Antonio Patrol Base for successfully defended and repulsed the enemy attack. While the 4ID troops were preoccupied with relief management for the victims of tropical storm Sendong communist guerilla are keep on espousing violence by attacking civilians and detachments. (4CMO/PIA-10)

6,000 houses for 'Sendong' victims


MANILA, Philippines — Some 6,000 housing units will be ready for occupancy by April this year for residents of Cagayan de Oro (CDO) and Iligan displaced by tropical storm "Sendong," government housing czar, Vice President Jejomar C. Binay said Wednesday.

Binay made the assurance when he, along with Department of Social Work and Development (DSWD) Secretary Corazon Soliman, Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Secretary Rogelio Singson, Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Jesse Robredo and Department of Education (DepEd) Secretary Armin Luistro, visited Cagayan Wednesday morning.

The Vice President, concurrent chairman of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC), said the national government will fast-track the construction of over 6,000 houses in several resettlement areas so that the affected families can begin moving into the relocation sites by April.

“We are here to help you as ordered by President Aquino,” Binay told residents in a dialogue held at the Grand Caprice Limketkai Center in the city.

Meanwhile, Soliman said the DSWD and the city government of Cagayan de Oro have identified temporary and permanent relocation sites for the priority beneficiaries displaced by storm “Sendong.”

DSWD Secretary Dinky Soliman said the identified temporary shelters in Iligan City are Tent City, Tambo Terminal with 123 shelter boxes where 102 families are staying; City Central Elementary School with eight tents housing eight families; Tambacan Elementary School with 32 duplex tents housing 84 families; and Barangay San Roque and Bonbonon with 18 tents for 41 families.

The other proposed relocation sites are two sites in Sta. Elena and one site in Sta. Felomina, for the estimated 3,330 families.

In Cagayan de Oro, Soliman said existing temporary sites are in Mandumol, Agusan Elementary School, Camaman-an Covered Court, Buena Oro Covered Court, Fatima Parish Hall, Mt. Carmel Parish Hall, Indahag, Regional Science High School and San Jose Seminary for some 429 families. Additional temporary sites are also being developed in Calaanan and Lumbia.

Meanwhile, the proposed permanent shelter sites include identified areas for development in Calaanan, Lumbia, Indahag, Balulang, Camaman-an, and Taguanao in Cagayan de Oro, and a 50-hectare lot in the municipality of Villanueva in Misamis Oriental.

To date, some 41 evacuation centers remain open, of which 16 are in Iligan, while 25 are in Cagayan de Oro serving 1,900 families and 3,535 families, respectively.

The DSWD also said 1,698 internally displaced persons (IDPs) were mobilized for cash for work (CFW) program maintaining the cleanliness of evacuation centers. (With a report from Ellalyn B. De Vera)

COMMENTARY: A Country Deprived of the Ecosystem Services of the Forests

by Reynaldo D. Raluto

Last of 2 parts: A nation with a devastated focal ecosystem CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews/9 January) – Having crossed the sustainable limit of deforestation in the late 1940s, Filipinos gradually felt the deprivation of the original “ecosystem services” of the forests they used to enjoy. Indeed, due to severe deforestation, the present ecological state of the Philippine environment is helplessly vulnerable to various forms of natural disasters. We suffer from the bad ecological effects of deforestation. We are beginning to realize that the forest is a “focal ecosystem” whose destruction would necessarily affect all other ecosystems. The “ecosystem services” of the forests are necessary for the maintenance of water, land, living species, and climate – among others. Let us try to account some ecologically destructive effects of the present state of degraded natural forests. The crisis of fresh water. In its Philippines Profile 2002, the IBON Philippines reported that our country is naturally gifted with inland waters composed of over 421 river basins equivalent to 31,000 hectares, roughly 72 natural lakes equivalent to 200,000 hectares, and more than 106,328 hectares of freshwater swamplands. In terms of groundwater storage, it was estimated that the country enjoyed 261,775 million cubic meters. With these abundant water resources, the country is theoretically assured of enough water needs. But water and forests are intimately linked because forests actually serve as efficient watersheds. Thus, with the severe deforestation in the upland, the watersheds are also expected to be degraded, and this means an eventual drop in the levels of water sources, as well as shortage of water supply in the lowland communities. It has been reported by the DENR in 2000 that, among the country’s major rivers, not one of them may be considered safe for drinking in their flowing state and that about 50 of them are already considered “biologically dead” – that is, the aquatic life has ceased to exist due to heavy chemical pollution and siltation problems. If this trend of ecological damage continues, there will be a severe freshwater crisis in the Philippines, as only 82 out of its 421 rivers are declared to be qualified (at least after certain chemical treatment) for public water supply. Obviously, the whole community of life is at stake here. The degradation of the soil. The fact that 46 percent of the Philippines’ total land area comprises about 18-30 percent slopes (or equivalent to 10° angle elevation) is a natural disadvantage for the farmers, as the soil in the tropics tends to be thin resulting in low agricultural productivity. For this reason, the Philippine islands have to ideally maintain a forest cover of at least 54 per cent of their total land area to prevent possible ecological problems. As we have highlighted, the Philippine islands do not anymore possess this ideal area of forest cover after 1950. And because today’s remaining forest cover of the archipelago is no longer sufficient to contain and absorb the amount of water brought about by typhoons and monsoon rains, the Philippines is highly susceptible to soil-related disasters. With the absence of a sufficient forest cover, the incidence of annual typhoons and heavy monsoon rains in the Philippines always means serious soil erosion, flash floods, and disastrous landslides. Arguably, most of these land-related disasters are generally traceable to forest denudation which deteriorates the capacity of the soil to hold water. Actually, logging-induced soil erosion does not only affect the fertility of the soil but also leads to siltation of many rivers and dams. According to a World Bank study in 1989, soil erosion is “silent” yet it is considered to be “the most serious environmental problem in the Philippines.” Thus, soil depletion due to soil erosion reduces the productivity and stability of agricultural land. Since no amount of soil fertilizers can possibly restore the metabolism and healthy condition of the land, this disadvantage in terms of agricultural productivity has a big impact on the Philippine economic poverty. The loss of natural species. The intimate connection between the tropical rainforest and biological diversity is a well-established scientific fact. The American biologist John Terborgh claims that “a single tree in a tropical forest may support 150 species of beetle and a single hectare of trees may contain 41 thousand species of insect.” Accordingly, the crown of a single large tree yielded 54 species of ants. In this regard, Filipinos are proud to claim that their tropical forests host one of the world’s richest plant and animal species area. As reported by Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) in 1990, the Philippine rainforests are estimated to harbor about 8,120 species of flowering plants, 3,500 species of indigenous trees, 33 species of gymnosperms, 640 species of mosses, 2,400 species and sub-species of fish, around 240 species and sub-species of mammals. It has also been claimed that there are 3,000 species of plants which are endemic to the Philippines. Unfortunately, the survival of these living species is severely affected by the loss of forests – their natural habitat and niche. Ecologists remind us that these plant and animal species are intrinsically valuable, as they perform “ecosystem services” which include: purification of air and water; decomposition, detoxification, and sequestering of wastes; regeneration of soil nutrients; pollination; controlling pest; dispersal of seed and nutrient, and many more. Since only the very small areas of the original Philippine forests have survived, one can safely infer that the loss of our forest cover also means enormous loss of wildlife species, as well as disruptive vacancies of their corresponding natural niches. In fact, many of the wild species in the Philippines are already on the verge of extinction. In effect, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) had identified the country as a biodiversity “hotspot.” Expectedly, the first to be greatly affected by this loss of wildlife and its ecosystem services are the millions of indigenous peoples who consider the forests as their irreplaceable home. The warming of the climate. According to the prevailing theory, a suitable climate largely depends on the equilibrium of greenhouse gases (GHGs) in the thin layer of atmosphere, which keep the planet in an average temperature. Accordingly, if the delicate layer of atmosphere is thickened by abnormal build-up of anthropogenic GHGs, it traps the heat and makes the Earth abnormally warm. Being situated in a tropical region, the Philippine islands have the average yearly temperature of 26.5°C. This range of temperature has proved to be beneficial to the history of life in the country. Recently, however, a group of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) scientists unequivocally declared that the earth’s climate system has warmed by over 0.7 degrees Celsius in the last 100 years – enough to melt the ice of Greenland and Antarctica and to dangerously expand the ocean water. It is an established scientific fact that forests and vegetation cover are “not passive areas on a map with fixed climate properties but are live actors in the climate system” (James Lovelock). Forests serve as a sink of carbon dioxide (CO2), which accounts for 80 percent of total GHG emissions in the atmosphere. It has been proposed that one hectare of forests can trap a ton of CO2 every year. Aside from this absorbing function, forests also have a “buffering effect” on climate. As the Jesuit Filipino scientist Jesus Ramon Villarin has claimed, “The buffering they do is crucial by way of maintaining a micro-climate on the surface and helps to mitigate the subsequent degradation that results from changes in the climate and the environment…” With our critically denuded forests, many of our Filipino scientists warn that we are highly vulnerable to ecological disasters associated with the climate change phenomenon, including the frequent formation of stronger typhoons in the Pacific Ocean, accelerated sea level rise (ASLR), and increasing warmth of both land and sea surface temperature (SST). Signs of hope The good news is that we are beginning to realize that our poverty and ecological crisis have human causes. I hope that we should not just resiliently adapt the effects of ecological disasters that perpetuate our suffering; we should also courageously struggle to mitigate – if not to totally overcome – the human-induced causes of our poverty and ecological crisis. In the face of the rampant ecological disasters, we should do more than doing humanitarian charity to the victims. I believe it is not enough for us to become Good Samaritans to them; we are also challenged to serve as God’s militant prophets who work to prevent the same tragedy from happening in the future. We cannot simply tolerate and adapt what we religiously consider as a deviation from God’s plan for creation and as a denial to the historic realization of God’s Kingdom. [Reynaldo D. Raluto is a Roman Catholic priest of the Diocese of Malaybalay. He holds a doctor’s degree in theology from the Catholic University of Louvain (Belgium). His doctoral dissertation is on ecological theology of liberation in the Philippine context. He is currently assigned as a teacher of systematic theology in the St. John Vianney Theological Seminary, Cagayan de Oro City.]

Government ends seaborne retrieval operations in CDO, Iligan

by Jaime Laude

MANILA, Philippines - The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) has ordered the termination of combined seaborne retrieval operations in the flashflood-devastated cities of Cagayan and Iligan as a result of tropical storm “Sendong” last month.

NDRRMC executive director and defense Undersecretary Benito Ramos said the Navy and Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) search teams have already failed to fish out a single fatality at sea for the past five days.

However, he said land-based retrieval will continue and efforts are underway to recover those who are still believed buried in flood debris, like logs, mud and sand, along the riverbanks and flood-stricken villages.

The NDRRMC’s total count of flashflood fatalities in Cagayan de Oro and Iligan alone, has reached 1,195 with still undetermined number of individuals still missing.

Alongside the land-based retrieval is the cleanup operation to prepare the ground for rehabilitation and relocation of the thousands of families out of the disaster-stricken communities to safer areas.

Ramos said that other concerned agencies like the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the Department of Health (DOH) are also on hand to address food and health concerns of the evacuees.

Maj. Eugenio Julio Osias IV, spokesman for the 4th Infantry Division, said the retrieval teams’ latest recovery was on Christmas Day when two bodies – a man’s and a woman’s – were dug up in Barangay Makasanding in Cagayan de Oro.

Vaccines were provided to address the rising leptospirosis cases in various evacuation centers in Cagayan de Oro City.

Streamers and tarpaulins were also installed in various evacuation centers to remind the evacuees of the danger of the deadly disease.

As this developed, the Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) said the government should give for free the housing units it plans to build for the victims and make “corporate loggers and pineapple plantation operators” finance the entire project.

“The proposal to charge P200,000 for a housing unit in the 84-hectare housing project of National Housing Administration (NHA) is sheer profiteering and taking advantage of people’s misery,” said Pamalakaya chairman Fernando Hicap.

The group, citing findings from various sectors, blamed the loggers and the plantation for the flashfloods.

Moratorium on SSS, GSIS premium payments

At the House of Representatives, Cagayan de Oro City Rep. Rufus Rodriguez and his brother Maximo, of the party-list group Abante Mindanao filed Resolution 2021 proposing a one-year moratorium on the payment of premiums and loans to the Social Security System and the Government Service Insurance System by residents of Cagayan de Oro and Iligan City.

The proposed moratorium also covers premium and loan payments to the Home Development Mutual Fund or Pag-Ibig Fund.

The two congressmen said that aside from declaring a payment moratorium, the three agencies should immediately approve pending loan applications of members from Cagayan de Oro and Iligan.

They pointed out that a payment moratorium and the approval of pending loan applications “would tremendously help our brothers and sisters who were victimized by Sendong and who lost most, if not all of their belongings including their houses and even their loved ones.”

The Rodriguez brothers earlier filed Bill 5663, which seeks the appropriation of P2 billion for the reconstruction of Cagayan de Oro and Iligan.

They said their constituents badly need government help, particularly funds for rebuilding their communities, “to be able to recover from the recent tragedy and start a new life.”

“In the short term, there is a need to provide basic necessities to the evacuees including food and non-food items and a way to give them access to proper hygiene. Also, debris cleanup is a priority as well as provisions for temporary shelter before school and classes resume,” they said.

They proposed that the P2 billion be released to the appropriate departments and agencies that will help the local government units and the people rebuild Cagayan de Oro and Iligan.

They pointed out that their proposal for a reconstruction fund is not without precedent, noting that in 2008, after typhoon “Frank” devastated Iloilo City and other parts of Western Visayas, the House and the Senate appropriated additional funding in the billions for the rebuilding of these areas.

Lending a helping hand

Meanwhile, San Miguel Corp., Petron Corp., and their employees banded together to provide an estimated P12 million worth of product and cash donations for the storm victims of Cagayan de Oro and Iligan.

The donations, channeled through various government agencies, government officials, and non-government organizations, included 20,000 cases of Magnolia PureWater, equivalent to 480,000 bottles. On Christmas and New Year’s Eve, some 650 pieces of Purefoods Fiesta Ham and media noche packs were also distributed. Employees also donated portions of their Christmas bonus, which amounted to P1,555,755.00.

The San Miguel Foundation, the firm’s social development arm, said that these funds will be used for the rehabilitation of schools, in partnership with the Department of Education.

The San Miguel Foundation was also able to collect 3,000 kilos of used clothes and blankets donated by employees across the company’s businesses.

“It’s heartening to know that many of our employees responded immediately in this time of great need,” said San Miguel Foundation executive director Camille Buenaventura.

Aside from the donations, Petron Corp., through the Petron Foundation and its employee volunteers, also quickly organized the “Sagip Alalay” disaster response program, in partnership with San Miguel Corp., DSWD, and the Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA).

Volunteers from Petron’s Depot and Plant Operations and National Sales Divisions in CDO and Iligan, service station dealers, and employees from Bank of Commerce and San Miguel Purefoods, joined forces to undertake relief operations and soup kitchens in 21 evacuation centers, benefiting nearly 6,000 families from the hardest-hit areas in the two provinces.

A portion of the cash raised by Petron employees, partners and friends were used to purchase school supplies for at least 2,000 children in Cagayan de Oro and Iligan, in time for the reopening of classes after the Christmas break. – Ding Cervantes, Jess Diaz

Schools in CDO continue to relocate evacuees as classes begin

by Jorie C. Valcorza

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Misamis Oriental, Jan. 7(PIA) -– Hundreds of families seeking shelter in Macasandig, West and City Central Schools are now relocated and provided with better temporary shelters as children reports back to school, this week. Congressman Rufus Rodriguez of the 2nd District of Cagayan de Oro City lauded the Department of Education (DepEd) courage and sincerity in pursuing the early opening of classes despite the presence of many evacuees inside its school campuses. As early as January 1, DepEd together with its partner companies, agencies and the different international humanitarian organizations like UNICEF, Save the Children, Plan International and Disaster Aid who provided for the tents and other relief assistance, began deploying displaced families in Macasandig Elementary School to other nearby public schools in Agusan which now houses some 38 families sharing in 20 tents, the other 76 families were brought to Mandumol plaza in Macasandig with 30 tents, another 23 in Buena Oro, 20 families in Camaman-an Mt. Fatima Church and continue to transfer another 40 families the following day. For the City Central School, Congressman Rodriguez together with DepEd Regional Director Luz S. Almeda, identified the Regional Science High School covered court to best absorb some 50 families and free about 8 to 10 classrooms, while Cugman Elementary School can also house 40 families. Other school identified includes Puerto and Bugo Elementary School. Deployment continues with some 30 remaining tents from Plan International and other 95 tents donated by the Disaster Aid. Rodriguez noted in a media forum, held today at the Regional Educational Learning Center (RELC) that it is better this way since the camp is easier to manage with less people around, and with better access to facilities. HOLCIM has likewise provided cement for the construction of about 4 to 8 permanent comfort rooms on the said schools. The lawmaker bares that a village is also set aside for priority families in Barangays Indahag and Gusa amounting to Php200,000 house and lot. “This is not all free, they are still required to pay a very minimal monthly amortization of Php200 for the first five (5) years with a 30 years loan term, to allow more fund for the government in its future disaster/recovery operations,” the Congressman said. (PIA 10)

COWD completes 95% supply capacity in CdeO

by Elaine O. Ratunil

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, January 6 (PIA) –- The management of the Cagayan de Oro City Water District (COWD) has announced that the rehabilitation of the Booster Pumping Stations and production facilities in Macasandig is almost completed. Supply of treated bulk water from Rio Verde has likewise resumed. This brings COWD supply capacity in the East Service Area to 95% and 90% in the West. Meanwhile, stabilizing the pressure in the distribution system is COWD’s next main activity. In order to carry this out, access to identified point sources which was meant to be a temporary measure to provide water supply while rehabilitation of its facilities was ongoing, will have to be strictly controlled. Based on its latest advisory, this is necessary to ensure that exit points will be minimized and that sufficient water pressure shall be made available to the individual service connections. It has directed that effective today, January 6, only Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) firectrucks shall be allowed access to fire hydrants and said extractions should be solely for emergency fire cases only. BFP and the volunteer firetrucks and the rest of the tankers will have to source their supply for water deliveries to the evacuation centers only from the Macasandig Booster station and Kauswagan sub-office. COWD calls on concerned firetrucks and the rest of the tankers to log such extraction with the guard-on-duty. It can be recalled that the supply of water in Cagayan De Oro was severely affected when tropical storm Sendong ravaged the city on Dec. 16 last year.(PIA-10)

Oro cagers set aside school rivalry for 'Sendong' victims

by Virgil Lopez/Sunnex

SETTING aside the much-hyped rivalry between their schools, two collegiate players who hail from Cagayan de Oro will team up to raise funds for victims of tropical storm "Sendong" (international name: Washi) that ravaged the city before Christmas.

John Paul Erram of Ateneo de Manila University and Joseph Marata of the De La Salle University will don white jerseys on Friday as they take on celebrities and fellow collegiate players in a charity game.

Gametime is set at 3 p.m. Friday at the 4,000-seater Fil Oil Flying V Arena in San Juan City as courtside tickets, which cost P300 each, have been sold out since December 31. Other ticket prices are P100 (lower box) and P50 (upper box).

Ateneo and La Salle continues to have a bitter history in basketball, marked by highly-physical plays and record-breaking attendance.

Erram, a former standout from Xavier University before transferring to Ateneo three years ago, was instrumental in dumping Far Eastern University (FEU) in the finals opener of the UAAP men’s basketball finals in 2010 after swatting two consecutive shots in one play.

On the other hand, Marata buried back-to-back triples in less than two minutes of play to upset Ateneo in an elimination match last July 24, 2010.

Like Erram, Marata spent his elementary and part of his high school years in Cagayan de Oro.

Upon learning about the storm’s destruction in the city, the 20-year-old Marata immediately sent his prayers to those affected by the tragedy.

Over 1,200 people died in massive flashfloods triggered by "Sendong", which dumped a month's worth of rain in Cagayan de Oro on December 16.

“Please help CDO and Iligan. My prayers go out to you guys! I'll be coming home soon to help,” he said in his Twitter account last December 18.

For the charity match, Marata and Erram will be joined by former UAAP Most Valuable Player RR Garcia, Ateneo’s Nico Salva and La Salle’s Joshua Webb, Kevin Alas, Dan Sara, Thirdy Ravena, and Rafael Melocoton.

Celebrities on tap, meanwhile, are Gab Valenciano, Jon Hall, Luis Alandy, Young JV, and Gerald Anderson.

UAAP Rookie of the Year Kiefer Ravena and national team skipper Chris Tiu headline a crack roster of athletes and celebrities in the Red Team.

Joining them are celebrities Rico Blanco, Jhong Hilario, Jason Abalos, Marco Alcaraz, Champ Lui Pio, Joross Gamboa and Xian Lim.

Budding cagers Baser Amer of San Beda College, Terrence Romeo of FEU and Anton Altamirano of College of Saint Benilde completed the 12-man line-up.

The exhibition match will also feature a three-point shootout between legendary sharpshooter Allan Caidic and two-time PBA MVP James Yap at halftime.

Azkal Jason Sabio will join the three-point shootout along with marksman Jai Reyes and sports broadcaster Mark Zambrano.

Organizers will be setting up booths around the venue to accept donations in kind like clothes and shoes.

Classes in typhoon-ravaged schools resume

by Perrygem

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, January 04 –- Typhoon ravaged schools in Northern Mindanao due to tropical storm ‘Sendong’ and evacuation centers resumed classes, January 3, for them to start building a sense of normalcy in spite of the crisis they encountered. Regional Director Luz S. Almeda of the Department of Education (DepEd) issued Regional Memorandum No. 114, series of 2011 that all schools both in elementary and secondary must start classes on the scheduled date as stipulated in the Calendar of Activities even for those schools affected by TS Sendong. For schools in Cagayan de Oro city and Iligan city Divisions which are used as evacuation centers, classes to be held are in informal sessions which will conducted in sports center, covered courts, Barangay Hall or to any available open spaces as long as it is safe and convenient for the students and teachers. The schools used as evacuation centers are West City Central Schools and City Central Schools of Cagayan de Oro city Division and Iligan East High School-Sta. Filomena, Echavez Elementary School and Hinaplanon Central School of Iligan city Division, In the affected schools of TS Sendong including the evacuation centers, the learning sessions to be conducted are more on debriefing activities like having fun games and arts activities which will last for 1-2 hours to be facilitated by their teachers or adopt an Alternative Delivery Modes (ADM) with psychosocial activities on the start of classes until it will be restored to its normal routine. On the other hand, this session will also start to track down the whereabouts of the students who were affected by the storm. This will also be a basis for a report on the number of children who are in school as well as those who are victims/casualty. Then teachers should accept all students in the evacuation centers to their classes until these students will be relocated or until their original teachers will be able to reach or locate them. Plan International, UNICEF, Save the Children, Rotary Club are some of the organizations who helped in the putting up classroom tent ready for the resumption of classes. Further, principals and teachers from those unaffected schools shared their assistance by having a ‘Brigada Eskwela’ and helped the affected schools ready for the resumption of classes. Meanwhile, the military and police forces provided safety and protection of the evacuees and also assisted the affected schools in cleaning and repairing the school furniture and other facilities. (DepEd/PIA-10)

Swiss Emergency Relief team completes its mission to assist the victims of TS ‘Sendong’

by PIA Press Release

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, January 03 –- The Swiss emergency team, which has assisted in the relief efforts in cities of Cagayan de Oro and Iligan in the wake of tropical storm ‘Sendong’ since December 22 will complete its mission on January 05. The team, composed of six members, supported the local officials in the re-establishment of the water supply for the city of Cagayan de Oro and for the evacuation centers in both Cagayan de Oro and Iligan. The total amount of assistance provided by the Swiss government amounted to Php15 Million. In the wake of the tragic devastation afflicted by TS ‘Sendong’ (Washi) on Eastern and Northern Mindanao and Negros Oriental in mid-December, the Swiss Government, in support of the national and international relief efforts, immediately dispatched a team of four water and sanitation experts and two logistics experts from the Swiss Humanitarian Aid Unit to the most affected areas in Northern Mindanao. After two weeks of targeted activities in Cagayan de Oro and Iligan, the team will return to Switzerland on January 05, this year. “The Swiss emergency team has shown tremendous skills and dedication in its efforts to relieve the suffering of the afflicted population,” said Ambassador Ivo Sieber at a press briefing in Cagayan de Oro. Sieber said their contribution to provide clean water and to assure water supply in various evacuation centers will make a difference in the lives of many. He also commended the cooperation with and the support offered by the national and local Philippine authorities, the Philippine Red Cross, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) as well as that of NGOs and the private sector, in particular HOLCOM and Nestle. Team leader Claudio Valsangiacomo confirmed that the delivery of materials and the provision of training will assure a continued supply of clean water to a large number of temporarily displaced and otherwise affected. The assistance provided by the Swiss emergency team comprises of: the installation of 12 water tanks in different evacuation centers both in Cagayan de Oro and in Iligan, as well as in the Provincial Hospital in Cagayan de Oro; The delivery of a complete facility for water analysis (laboratory) and the training of local professionals of the Cagayan de Oro Water District (COWD); The training of chlorination of water truck drivers of COWD and the Cagayan de Oro Fire Department; The assistance to the COWD during rehabilitation of production wells damaged by the flood; and The undertaking on January 3-4 of a cleaning exercise in lower Balulang (Angella) with the active involvement of the local community and in collaboration with HOLCIM. The assistance offered by the Swiss Government to the flood victims of Sendong as cash and in-kind technical contribution amounts to a total Swiss Francs 300,000 (approximately Php15 Million). Over the past 10 years, the Swiss government has assisted the Philippines to respond to the effects of numerous natural disasters with a total support of more than Php90 million.(PIA10)

Power, water almost completely restored in Cagayan de Oro and Iligan

by Annabelle L. Ricalde

Power and water services will be fully restored soon in Cagayan de Oro and Iligan cities, areas hit hard by tropical storm "Sendong" (Washi), the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said.

The NDRRMC said 98 percent of power in Cagayan de Oro and Iligan has been restored, while water supply had been restored in parts of Cagayan de Oro.

In an update NDRRMC posted Sunday afternoon on its website, it said: "98% of the power supply in Cagayan de Oro and Iligan Cities was restored ... (On water supply), Barangays Kauswagan, Bayabas, and Bonbon, most part of Nazareth, some parts of Macasandig, Biasong, Tibasak, and Camaman-ani CDO was restored although still lesser in pressure."

Also, several schools have been cleaned and cleared for the resumption of classes on Tuesday, Jan. 3:

Bulua National High School Iponan Elementary School Iponan National High School North City Central School Puntod National High School Baluan Elementary School Cagayan de Oro National High School Balulang Annex Macanhan Elementary School Carmen National High School Canitoan Elementary School Angeles National High School Consolacion Elementary School Pagatpat Elementary School

Meanwhile the Center for Health and Development in Region 10 continues to conduct daily coordination meetings for the health and nutrition of the survivors.

Leptospirosis cases rising

According to the NDRRMC, health authorities have intensified monitoring and implementation of leptospirosis prophylaxis using the Direct Observed Treatment Scheme (DOTS) similar to tuberculosis management.

It noted that leptospirosis cases are increasing particularly among those not staying in evacuation centers.

The NDRRMC said those outside evacuation centers were offered prophylaxis but refused to take it.

According to NDRRMC, "Sendong" left at least 1,257 dead, 4,649 injured and 85 missing in its wake.

It added "Sendong" has so far affected 113,651 families or 721,844 people in 804 villages in 57 towns and eight cities in 13 provinces.

Of these, 14,661 families or 73,293 people are still staying in 55 evacuation centers.

Damage to property was estimated at P1,393,559,013.50, including P1,111,522,305 in infrastructure and P282,036,708 in agriculture. –KG, GMA News

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