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South Cotabato Province News April 2012

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Contents

Adults, OSYs in Upi, Maguindanao finish literacy and numeracy course

by (DEDoguiles-PIA 12, with report from Hannadi Guiamad-Upi LGU)


KORONADAL CITY, South Cotabato, April 30 (PIA) -- Hundreds of adults and out-of-school youth in Upi town, Maguindanao have completed a three-month literacy and numeracy course, recently.

On Saturday, at least 400 adults and out-of school youth learners received their certificates of completion from the Literacy for Peace and Development (LIPAD) Project, where they learned how to write, read and do simple computations. The ceremony was held at the Upi municipal gymnasium on Saturday.

Learners were from barangays Kibleg, Ganasi, Nangi at Borongotan.

In her message, LIPAD Project director Prof. Pilar A. Bautista said they aim to provide underprivileged individuals, especially adults and out-of school youth, the opportunity to learn basic writing, reading and counting.

This is necessary for them, she said, to learn these very important skills, which they can use in daily affairs and in simple transactions such as those involved in doing business with others.

LIPAD is a project of the Magbassa Kita Foundation Inc., a non-profit, non-government organization dedicated to the promotion of literacy, poverty alleviation, as well as peace and development founded by former Senator Santanina Rasul in the 1960s.

The project is being funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

It aims to raise the basic and functional literacy level among adults and out-of-school youth in the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

Besides Upi, LIPAD project is also being implemented in the towns of Datu Odin Sinsuat, Guindulungan, and Talayan for Maguindanao province area.

Some of the graduates were emotional when they received their certificates of completion because they did not expect to have been given the chance to learn to read, write, and do simple computations despite their age.

Barangay Borongotan chairperson Irene Galanto, in her message, thanked the learning facilitators for their diligence in helping the participants learn these basic and important skills and for being patient in going to remote areas to reach the under served residents.

Upi Mayor Ramon Piang Sr. and some members of the Sangguniang Bayan attended the completion ceremony.

The affair was highlighted by presentations of learners, who showed their talents in cultural singing and dancing.

Aside from the certificate of completion, those who have completed the course, also received reading materials featuring indigenous stories, which they can use to hone what they learned.

Awards like Best in Reading, Best in Writing, and Best in Numeracy were also given to graduates who excelled.






SPES-TWSP convergence program to cover 21 LGUs in Region 12

by Danilo E. Doguiles


KORONADAL CITY, South Cotabato, April 29 (PIA) -- A total of 21 municipalities in three provinces of Soccsksargen region will benefit from the initial implementation of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE)-Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) Convergence Program on poverty alleviation.

The program brings together DOLE’s Special Program for the Employment of Students (SPES) and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority’s Training for Work Scholarship Program (TWSP) to provide training and employment opportunities to the marginalized sector of the society, especially the out-of-school youth (OSY).

Based on a list provided by the office of DOLE 12 Regional Director Chona Mantilla last Friday, the SPES-TWSP Convergence Program will cover 11 municipalities in North Cotabato, eight in Sultan Kudarat, and two in Sarangani.

In North Cotabato, beneficiary OSYs should come from Aleosan, Midsayap, Tulunan, Alamada, Arakan, Banisilan, Kabacan, Libungan, Magpet, Matalam, and President Roxas.

Interested and qualified OSYs in Kalamansig, Bagumbayan, Colombio, Esperanza, Isulan, Lambayong, Lebak, and Senator Ninoy Aquino municipalities of Sultan Kudarat may also avail of the training and employment program.

On May 1, the program will be launched in General Santos City for the municipalities of Malungon and Alabel in Saragani Province where the first 42 scholarship grantees come from.

Director Mantilla said more municipalities may be included in the coming months.

“We have requested for the inclusion of the municipalities of Lake Sebu, T’boli and Sto. Niño in South Cotabato,” Director Mantilla said, adding that they are now awaiting approval of this by Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz.

Under the program, beneficiary OSYs who “may also be an occupationally disabled worker, a person with disability, a displaced worker, or a victim of trafficking, illegal recruitment or child labor,” will undergo mandated 20 to 52 days of technical vocational training in TESDA-identified institutions.

As in the original SPES program, DOLE will pay each beneficiary 40 percent of the prevailing minimum wage in the region for every day of training.

The amount, according to the program guidelines, may be used as a training allowance or as capital to purchase the OSY’s starter kit.

More than 400 scholarship slots may be opened in Soccsksargen Region this year for OSYs interested in techvoc trainings that will be identified by TESDA 12. The program is open to OSY’s between 15 to 25 years old, whose family income (including his, if any) does not exceed the latest annual regional poverty threshold level for a family of six, as determined by the National Economic Development Authority.

Applicants should have reached high school level to be able to participate in the program.

Interested individuals need to submit to the nearest DOLE or TESDA office the needed documents. For more information, you may refer to the nearest DOLE Field Office or Public Employment Service Office or provincial/district office of TESDA. (DED-PIA 12)

Cotelco GM says AboitizPower, TMI did not refuse delivery of power to coop

by (DED-PIA 12)


KORONADAL CITY, South Cotabato, April 28 (PIA) -- AboitizPower and Therma Marine Inc. (TMI) did not refuse to deliver power to Cotabato Electric Cooperative (Cotelco) nor did they impose P16.11 per kwh rate on the cooperative, Cotelco General Manager Godofredo Homez said.

Last Wednesday, several radio stations and newspapers reported that negotiations between Cotelco and TMI for a 8-MW supply of electricity have stalled because the latter would charge Cotelco P16.11/kwh of power supplied, as well as require them a P4-million security bond and P14-million advanced payment.

“In summary, we want to clarify that AboitizPower and TMI did not refuse to deliver power to Cotelco,” Homez said in a letter sent to the Department of Energy and PIA-12.

“AboitizPower and TMI did not impose P16.11 per kwh rate on Cotelco,” he added.

Homez also pointed out that the prepaid agreement was not imposed on the electric cooperative, adding that the rate is more or less P9.00 per kwh, which is the same rate charged to all electric cooperatives under contract with all TMI.

“It was an agreement discussed between two parties in consideration of the immediate need for power by Cotelco and the need of TMI to be protected for the costs they will incur in delivering power, especially fuel costs,” he explained.

Homez confirmed that Cotelco wrote to AboitizPower last April 12 to ask for a 8-MW supply from TMI in anticipation of the huge deficit in power supply during the month-long rehabilitation of Pulangi IV hydropower plant.

Aboitiz power, he said, expressed availability of 8 MW.

“But following rules of the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC), our transaction must be governed by at least a provisional authority (PA) from the ERC,” he said. PAs, he explained, are usually issued 30 days of publication of the draft power supply agreement.

Homez explained that since they could not wait for a provisional agreement, they wrote to ERC asking that they be allowed to receive delivery of power from TMI without the required authority.

On April 19, he said, ERC approved Cotelco’s request to get power from TMI but not less than the prevailing NPC-Time of Use Rate or P.90 per kwh.

Regarding the P4-M security bond, Homez pointed out that this is a standard in all financial contracts. About the advanced payment, he explained that “without a provisional agreement, Cotelco cannot legally impose the new rates to its consumers; following this is the risk that TMI will not be paid for its fuel and overhead costs. Thus a proposal for a prepaid system was discussed.”

Cotelco’s service area at regularly experiences up to 8 hours of rotational brownout after the Pulangi IV plant was closed for maintenance works last week.

Before Pulangi IV was closed, Cotelco imposed 3 to 5 hours of rotational brownout. Cotelco, as well as the city government of Kidapawan and the provincial government of Cotabato, have been asking for the retention of 25 percent of the power generated by the Mt. Apo Geothermal Power Plant owned by the Energy Development Corporation.

The present 8-hour-per-day power outages in North Cotabato could persist until May 17, the date set for the completion of the Pulangi IV rehab, if Cotelco cannot buy supply from TMI.

Opportunities await OSYs in DOLE-TESDA convergence program

by (DEDoguiles-PIA 12)


KORONADAL CITY, South Cotabato, April 27 (PIA) -- More help will soon be made available to out-of-school youths in Soccksargen Region as the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) joined together two of their flagship programs.

DOLE 12 Regional Director Chona Mantilla yesterday announced they will launch on Labor Day (May 1) in General Santos City the DOLE-TESDA Convergence Program on Poverty Alleviation.

“The program joins together the Special Program for the Employment of Students of DOLE and the Training for Work Scholarship Program of TESDA,” Mantilla explained. “This will be called SPES-TWSP Convergence Program.”

Under the program, qualified OSYs undergo the SPES program but instead of employing in an establishment for a specified duration should instead undergo technical-vocational training.

Forty-two OSYs from Malungon and Alabel towns in Sarangani province are scheduled to receive scholarship grants during the ceremonial launching at the KCC Convention Hall in Gensan.

At least 400 SPES-TWSP scholars are expected to benefit from the program this year.

According to the DOLE-TESDA Joint Memorandum Circular No. 1 series of 2012 dated March 23, 2012, “the implementation of the SPES-TWSP convergence program will be nationwide, prioritizing the poorest areas in the 16 regions.”

In region 12, it will be implemented in 21 poor municipalities in the provinces of Sarangani, North Cotabato, and Sultan Kudarat.

Mantilla said, they are still requesting for the inclusion of at least three municipalities in South Cotabato, which was not included in the initial list.

For an OSY to qualify, he or she should be 15 to 25 years old and whose parents’ combined income does not exceed the latest annual regional poverty threshold level for a family of six.

“An OSY may also be an occupationally disabled worker, a person with disability, a displaced worker, or a victim of trafficking, illegal recruitment of child labor,” the circular noted.

Based on the existing SPES guidelines, the training program in which the beneficiary can enroll should be for a minimum of 20 days (160 hours) to a maximum of 52 days only.

DOLE will pay for 40 percent of the applicable minimum wage after completion of the training program for the training allowance or starter kit of the OSYs.

The agency will also provide guidance and necessary technical support to capacitate the OSYs to engage in self-employment after the training.

TESDA handles the selection of the OSYs who will undergo the training program and become beneficiaries as well as identification of technical education and skills development institutions where the scholars will enrol.

Interested OSYs may file application and required documents at the Public Employment Service Office or TESDA Provincial/District Office nearest them.

Required documents include duly accomplished SPES Application Form and TESDA Trainee Profile Form; copy of birth certificate or any document that shows his or her date of birth, latest report card (Form 138), income tax return of parents or certification issued by BIR or barangay chairperson indicating that they are exempted from paying taxes, and certificate of good moral character from authorized barangay official.

8 DAR scholars in So. Cotabato finish in Agri-tech course

by (DEDoguiles-PIA 12/MTVQuimsing/DAR-SoCot)


KORONADAL CITY, South Cotabato, April 26 (PIA) -- Eight scholars of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) in South Cotabato under the Programang Agraryo Iskolar yesterday graduated their course at the Surallah National Agricultural School (SUNAS), in nearby Surallah town.

Ma. Theresa Quimsing, information officer of DAR-South Cotabato said, the scholars completed all requirements for a Diploma in Agricultural Technology.

The new graduate are Josephine Areza, Mery Chris De Joseph, Ernest John Eucare, Ramilyn Lasig, Jayren Mandeoya, Ryan Plenciano, Lovelyn Joy Retuyan, and Rosa Santerva.

For two years they received financial support for tuition fees, books, and personal allowances from DAR.

The “Programang Agraryo Iskolar” is part of the support services given to the agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs) under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP).

Under the program children of ARBs are given the opportunity to finish a college degree related to agriculture.

The knowledge and skills they have acquired during their studies should help them become agents in developing their awarded lands and spur progress in their community in general, Quimsing added.

South Cotabato cops note improved operations

by .(PNA)

LAP/AVE/AC


GENERAL SANTOS CITY — Operations of police units in South Cotabato province significantly improved during the first three months of the year as they cleared over 73 percent of the crime incidents that occurred in the area. Senior Supt. Randolph Delfin, South Cotabato police director, said they achieved a crime clearance efficiency rating of 73.33 during the first quarter, which increased by 20 percent from last year’s records. Crime clearance efficiency refers to the percentage of cleared cases out of the total number of crime incidents handled by law enforcement agencies for a given period of time. In terms of crime solution efficiency, he said they slightly improved their rating from 25 percent last year to 27.33 percent this year. “Out of the 793 crime incidents that we handled, 494 were so far cleared and 218 have been solved,” Delfin said. The police official said among their major accomplishment for the period was the recovery of 15 of the 23 motorcycles that were stolen within the province’s 10 towns and lone city. He said they filed six cases on Monday against several identified carnapping or motorcycle theft suspects. Delfin maintained that the province has remained generally peaceful and orderly as shown by the area’s crime statistics. He said the average crime rate in the area during the first quarter of the year has gone down to 31.9 percent from the 35.7 percent in the same period last year. In terms of illegal drugs, Delfin said they have so far arrested 33 suspects and launched 18 major operations in the area. He said these operations have led to the recovery of some P5M worth of illegal drugs, specifically mehtamphetamine hydrochloride or "shabu" and marijuana. The police official said they were able to arrest 75 persons with pending arrests warrants, including 18 who were facing illegal gambling charges. Delfin added that they apprehended 12 suspects and recovered 18 high-powered arms in separate operations in Tantangan and Banga towns.

LGU, Army to gather youth in leadership summit

by Danilo E. Doguiles


KORONADAL CITY, South Cotabato, April 24 (PIA) -- The Philippine Army and the local government are organizing a four-day leadership summit on May 13 where more than 200 young people from Tampakan town are expected to attend.

Gricelda Pacano, social welfare and development officer of Tampakan said the local government and the 27th Infantry Battalion are collaborating to hold the Youth Leadership Summit (YSL) 2012 to increase awareness among young residents of their responsibilities and help achieve lasting peace in their respective communities.

Pacano said, the activity will be held at the Rock Ridge Resort in Barangay Lambayong, Tampakan and will be attended by young people from the municipality’s 14 barangays.

She said, the summit specifically aims to develop leadership potential of the young people, increase their knowledge of peace and development, educate them on the effects of illegal drug use, and improve their understanding of patriotism and cooperation with their communities.

Activities shall include lectures and workshops on interpersonal communication, disaster risk reduction and management, dangerous drugs awareness, gender and cultural sensitivity, values formation, social responsibility, environmental awareness, threats to national security, knowing the Armed Forces of the Philippines and government plans for the youth sector.

Other activities include film viewing, contests on logo and poster-making, extemporaneous speech, mural painting, and Search for Mr. and Ms. YLS 2012.

Youth participants are also expected to organize their community action plan and pass a manifesto or oath for peace on the final day of the summit. (DED-PIA 12, South Cotabato)

Army troops join Earth Day clean-up drive in Tacurong City

by (DEDoguiles/PIA 12)


KORONADAL CITY, South Cotabato, April 23 (PIA) -- Troops of the 601st Infantry (Unifier) Brigade based in nearby Tacurong City on Saturday joined different sectors in a clean-up drive, which was part of the city’s celebration of the Earth Day 2012.

Civil military operations officer Cpt. Alex Escalante, explained the Unifier Brigade’s participation in the “Limpyo Kalog” (cleaning of canals) was to encourage people to participate in environmental preservation and protection.

Other participants of the activity were member of the Philippine National Police, employees and officials of the local government units, academe and the transports groups.

Non-government organizations, civil society and the private sector also joined in the activity.

Clean-up focused on cleaning of the city’s canals of wastes, debris, plastics and other materials that could clog the drainage during heavy rains as well as clearing of the grasses along the national highway.

After the clean-up drive, participants converged at the City Hall Ground for a short program

Unifier Brigade commander, Col. Edmundo Pangilinan reminded the participants: “Earth Day is every day, so let us work together and better care for our natural environment.

Tacurong City councilor Psyche Sucaldito, Tacurong , chairperson of the committee on environment also expressed appreciation to all participants for sharing their time and effort to care for Mother Earth.

Earth Day is an annual global celebration, spearheaded by the Earth Day Network. It is geared toward bringing awareness and appreciation of the Earth’s natural environment.

This year, the Earth Day Network expected at least two billion people worldwide joining the Earth Day celebration and helping “Mobilize the Earth.”






Peace Council objects to establishment of MILF camps in the So. Cotabato

by Danilo E. Doguiles


KORONADAL CITY, South Cotabato, April 22 (PIA) -- South Cotabato’s Provincial Peace and Order Council (PPOC) chaired by Governor Arthur “Dodo” Y. Pingoy Jr. during its second quarter meeting on Wednesday passed two resolutions objecting the putting up of two camps in the province by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

Senior Board Member Jose Madanguit, who was the proponent of the two resolutions, disclosed that the acts of the MILF was in violation of the present ceasefire agreement between the Philippine government and the MILF.

The first resolution specifically objected to the putting up of a camp at Tudok, T’boli, while the second resolution also objected the putting up of a satellite camp at Sitio Lampakpak, Lampari, Banga.

Both resolutions also called for the immediate dismantling of the two camps.

The move was prompted after the presentation of Lt. Col. Alexis Noel Bravo, commanding officer of the 27th Infantry Battalion, Philippine Army based in the town of Tupi, confirming the presence of the MILF to set up camps in the province.

“The MILF 107th Base Command with a strength, more or less, of about 200 fully armed combatants, was responsible for setting up the camp in Tudok, T’boli,” Bravo added, ”but the camp is currently maintained by members numbering between 30 to 40 only.”

In Sitio Lampakpak, Lampari, Banga, the military has monitored around 11 fully armed members staying in the satellite camp.

Tupi Mayor Reynaldo Tamayo and Banga Mayor Henry Ladot, who were present during the meeting and whose municipalities bordered the MILF satellite camp, expressed their respective concerns regarding the situation and appealed for intervention, especially in the dismantling of the camp.

The satellite camp was previously occupied by the MILF, but dismantled about five years ago, which raised questions among PPOC members why the said group occupied it again.

In an interview with a radio station here today, MILF vice chairman Gadzali Jaafar confirmed that they have several camps in South Cotabato and the neighboring provinces of Sarangani and Sultan Kudarat.

He, however, cannot confirm the presence of the camps that were identified in the PPOC resolution.

Jaafar emphasized that residents in South Cotabato need not be concerned about the camps in the province because they respect the ceasefire agreement between the MILF and the Philippine government. (DED-PIA 12/ FS-SoCot-PIO)

DTI’s SME Caravan 2012 focuses on upgrading enterprises

by Danilo E. Doguiles


KORONADAL CITY, Southern Mindanao April 21 (PIA) -- Once again, Sultan Kudarat province’s Department of Trade and Industry will gather micro, small and medium entrepreneurs (MSMEs) in Soccsksargen Region to help boost local enterprises.

This time though, preferred participants to the SME Caravan 2012 at the Sultan Kudarat Provincial Gymnasium in Isulan town on April 25 to 26 are those who have existing enterprises and are looking for means to improve their businesses.

Sultan Kudarat Trade & Industry Provincial Director Nelly Dillera said the SME Caravan 2012 aims to provide the local entrepreneurs with first hand information on entrepreneurship – from improvement of product to capacitating entrepreneurs.

“This year’s SME Caravan in Region 12 would help the growing number of entrepreneurs learn how to manage their businesses, access funds, maintain high level of product quality for food and enhance their awareness on sensing the right and legitimate local and international market opportunities,” Dillera said.

“There shall also be a topic on Tourism Product Identification and Development to aid the tourism officers and even landowners in identifying potential area for tourism development.”

Among the resource persons invited for the breakout sessions include Roberto Castañeda and Euclid Cezar.

Castañeda, who will share his knowledge on developing an entrepreneurial mindset and surviving pitfalls of small businesses, is the founder of the Don Roberto’s Winery, producer of the world’s first mango wine. Besides, its green mango and sweet mango wines, his company also produces brewed coffee wine.

Cezar, a professor of San Beda College – Manila, is a well-known business coach and host of “Super Entrepinoy” program. He is the owner of Ink More which sells ready-to-use ink cartridges.

“We want to benchmark what these entrepreneurs have done to be able to inspire our ‘kababayans’ to aspire to attain what these entrepreneurs have achieved,” Dillera said in an interview with a local radio station.

Other resource persons include Engr. Menandro Ortego, OIC Testing and Inspection Division of the Philippine Trade Training Center (PTTC), who will discuss food safety assurance system; and Dennis Monong, assistant vice president for Mindanao operations of People’s Credit and Finance Corporation (PCFC) who will teach MSMEs how to find best financing for their businesses.

Side events such as trade fair of Region 12’s best products, market matching, product evaluation, design exhibit, online business name registration, and plant visit and assessment for the acquisition of Food and Drug License to Operate.

Dillera said preferred participants are entrepreneurs involved in the region’s priority industries like processors of coffee, muscovado, banana, coconut, bangus/fishery, crafts, bamboo, pangasius, rubber, palm oil, mango, ICT-BPO.

Dillera reported that number of new businesses in Sultan Kudarat has increased 84 percent, from 959 newly registered businesses in 2010 to 1,770 in 2011. Last year, 121 new entrepreneurs were created, which is 74 percent higher than the 107 new entrepreneurs in 2010.

This is a two-day activity for free but reservations must be made for pre-screening. Contact the nearest DTI office for details and reservations. (DEDoguiles/PIA 12)

South Cotabato generally peaceful -- PNP

by (Fruto C. Sumagaysay Jr./DED-PIA 12/SoCot PIO)


KORONADAL CITY, South Cotabato, April 20 (PIA) -- “The peace and order situation in the province is generally peaceful, under control,” Police Senior Superintendent Randolf Delfin, South Cotabato Police Provincial Office (SCPPO) Provincial Director, during the 2nd quarterly meeting of the Provincial Peace and Order Council (PPOC) meeting held on Wednesday in Koronadal City.

For the first quarter of the year, Delfin said, the province’s total crime volume was 793. Of this number 494 were cleared and 218 were solved.

PD Delfin said that the province’s crime rate in the first quarter of this year have reduced compared to last year in the same period.

Data indicated that the crime rate for the first quarter of 2012 averaged 31.9% versus 35.7% in the first quarter of last year, he reported.

Crime solution efficiency, he continued, increased from 25% in 2011 to 27.33% in 2012; crime cleared efficiency also increased from 53.33% in 2011 to 73.33% in 2012.

The SCPPO scored big in its campaign against illegal drugs with 33 persons arrested out of 18 operations conducted, and confiscating in the process illegal drugs (both marijuana and shabu) with an estimated DDB street value of more than P5 million .

In its campaign against wanted persons, 75 persons with warrants of arrest were apprehended while 18 financiers, coordinators or ushers were likewise arrested in its campaign against illegal gambling.

he SCPPO report further indicated that they were able to recover IEDs at Lamba, Banga and Magon, Tantangan early this year, and 18 low-powered and high-powered firearms which resulted in the apprehension of 12 suspects.

In their anti-carnapping campaign, the SCPPO were able to recover 15 motorcycles out of the 23 incidents reported, in which six cases have been filed in court.

RDRRMC, LGUs in Soccsksargen region discuss RA 10121

by (DEDoguiles/PIA 12)


KORONADAL CITY, South Cotabato, April 19 (PIA) -- Local chief executives and LGU officials involved in disaster risk reduction and management across Soccsksargen region gathered here yesterday to discuss issues pertaining to the two-year old RA 10121 otherwise known as "Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010".

Jerome Barranco, assistant regional director of the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) 12, explained that the regional consultation organized by the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (RDRRMC) 12 was called to clarify issues regarding RA 10121.

He said there have been “varying interpretations of the new law resulting in either immediate or delayed establishment of the local DRRM (disaster risk reduction and management ) councils.”

“The latter was due to the hesitation or fear of violating audit and budget rules,” he continued.

He added that they brought together governors and mayors as well as chairpersons of local DRRMs and budget officers of the provinces of South Cotabato, North Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, and Sarangani and the cities of Cotabato, Kidapawan, Tacurong, Koronadal, and General Santos City basically to increase local awareness on the DRRM law.

Objectives include orienting the LGUs on civil service guidelines pertaining to the establishment of DRMM offices and budgetary and audit guidelines on the allocation and utilization of the local DRRM funds.

Regional officials of the Civil Service Commission, Department of Budget and Management, and Commission of Audit were present to discuss the aforementioned issues with the LCEs and other LGU officials.

It was also a venue for the LGUs and local DRRM councils to learn from the successful experiences of some locally established DRRM offices, including South Cotabato and Sarangani provinces and Tupi municipality, Barranco further explained.

Tupi’s Barangay Poblacion’s DRRM Council of is a Gawad Kalasag National Awardee for its excellent implementation of disaster risk reduction and management plan and humanitarian assistance.

“The importance of disaster preparedness cannot be relegated to the backseat,” South Cotabato Gov. Arthur Y. Pingoy Jr. said during his presentation of his provinces DRRM efforts.

He emphasized that the LGUs are primarily tasked with a great responsibility of protecting its inhabitants.

This is why, the said, South Cotabato LGU is set to organize disaster response teams from the grassroots.

At least 44 volunteers per barangay will be trained to improve the capability of the villages to respond to disasters and calamities, the governor added.

In 2011, South Cotabato’s provincial board passed SP Resolution 99 s. 2011 for the establishment of the provincial DRRM office, now being headed by the provincial administrator with initial designation of employees from the Disaster Management Section of the Disaster and Crisis Management Division of the Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office along with some employees under the Provincial Administrator’s Office.

“This was resorted to because there were no clear-cut guidelines covering the staffing requirements for the PDRRMO,” Gov. Pingoy reasoned.

As per section 21 of the RA 10121, “not less than five percent of the estimated revenue from regular sources should be set aside as Local DRRM Fund.”

Seventy percent of which can be allocated for “pre-disaster preparedness programs including training, purchasing life-saving rescue equipment, supplies and medicines, for post-disaster activities, and for payment of premiums on calamity insurance.”

“The remaining 30 percent shall be allocated as Quick Response Fund or standy-fund for relief and recovery programs.”

However, Pingoy pointed out, that the same law has not been clear about the 70 percent pre-disaster allocation.

“There have been discussions whether we are allowed to purchase rescue vehicles out of this fund.”

“We are happy to hear that we have with us DBM and COA,” he said. “Hopefully we will be enlightened on this problem.”

Meanwhile, Director Ronald I. Flores, civil defense executive officer of the Office of the Civil Defense central office who came here as guest of honor announced that the national government is on the final stage of putting up a guideline on the utilization of the Local DRRM Fund.

“In due time, the national council, especially the financial community of the national government will come up with a guideline on the utilization of the Local DRRM Fund,” Flores said.

“What is stipulated in the implementing rules and regulations related to RA 10121 is that the money can be used for preparedness, mitigation, and rehabilitation,” he said.

“This allows for a wide interpretation by the local government units, including the Commission on Audit which looks into out financial transactions.”

However, Flores assured that in the guideline that the national government will issue soon will be specific as to where these funds can be allocated.

He said the guideline is being prepared by the Department of the Interior and Local Government, DBM, Department of Finance, and OCD. Preparations for the said guideline, he added, was started after RA 10121 became a law on May 27, 2010.

NIA-12 honors outstanding irrigators in 34th anniv

by Danilo E. Doguiles


KORONADAL CITY, South Cotabato, April 18 (PIA) -- The National Irrigation Administration (NIA-12) celebrates its 34th founding anniversary this week with a lineup of several activities culminating in the awarding of outstanding irrigators’ associations, officials, and employees.

Eveyln Bragasin, information officer of NIA-12 said activities of the three-day celebration, which started yesterday, include sports competitions in volleyball, dart, badminton, and table tennis. She added that there shall also be cultural dance and choir competitions and Search for Miss NIA-12.

Outstanding irrigators’ associations, irrigation management office managers, operation and maintenance chiefs and employees will also be given awards on April 19 at the Notre Dame of Midsayap College Gymnasium in Midsayap, Cotabato. NIA administrator Antonio s. Nangel will be the guest of honor and speaker in the awards program.

Major awardees this year include Engr. C’zar M. Sulaik of North Cotabato as most outstanding Irrigation Management Office Manager, Engr. Gina L. Lozano as most outstanding operation and maintenance chief; Bulacanon IA, Inc. of North Cotabato as most outstanding irrigators’ association under the communal irrigation systems category and Napal-Conel Road IA, Inc. of General Santos City as most outstanding irrigators association for the national irrigation systems category.

Outstanding awardees for operation and maintenance are Engrs. Edna C. Bantala, irrigation superintendent of Libungan River Irrigation System; Flora May D. Respicio, principal engineer A of Mlang/Malasila Rivers Irrigation System; Rory F. Avance, principal engineer A of Kabacan River Irrigation System; Orlando A. Tibang, principal engineer A of Marbel-Banga Rivers Irrigation System; Julio L. Antenor, principal engineer A of Ala River Irrigation System and Cesar D. Agduma, principal engineer A of Lambayong/Tacurong River Irrigation System.

Mary Grace S. Gonzales of Mlang/Malasila Rivers Irrigation System will also receive recognition as outstanding senior water resource facilities technician.

NIA-12 will also honor irrigators' associations who have shown exemplary performance in the past year.

For its Club 100 Award, NIA-12 will honor 13 irrigators associations (IA) from the national irrigation systems and for the communal irrigation systems, 19 from North Cotabato area, 9 from Sultan Kudarat, 1 from Maguindanao and 9 from Sarangani.

“The Club 100 Award is given to IAs of national irrigation systems which has attained 100 percent collection efficiency for both wet and dry seasons with an average programmed area of 80 percent of the service area, average irrigated area for wet and dry seasons is 80 percent of the programmed area and the benefited area for dry and wet seasons is 80 percent of the irrigated area,” Bragasin explained.

It is also given to, “IAs of communal irrigation systems which have attained 100 percent or more Current Amortization Payment Efficiency with no back account or have fully paid their back account due.”

Four IAs in North Cotabato, two in South Cotabato, two in Sarangani and one in Sultan Kudarat have qualified for the Golden Star Award.

Moreover, Silver Star Awards will be given to two IAs in Maguindanao and one in Sultan Kudarat.

Bragasin explained that Golden Star Award is given to IAs from the national and communal irrigation systems which garnered the Highest Functionality Survey Rating (Outstanding Rating) while Silver Star Award is given to IAs from both national and communal irrigation systems with the Highest Functionality Survey Rating (Very Satisfactory Rating).

Buluan-Pigcawayan Irrigators Association, Inc. of North Cotabato will receive a special award for being a Hall of Famer in the Highest Functionality Survey Rating.

This year’s celebration theme is “Samahang NIA, IA at LGU Patuloy na Pagtibayin Upang Makamtan Sapat na Pagkain ng Pamayanan.”

According to the agency’s website, NIA-12 “formally started its operation as a region on April 10, 1978 with its office based at Villarica, Midsayap, North Cotabato.

“That time, it was composed of the provinces of North Cotabato, Maguindanao, Lanao del Norte, Lanao del Sur and Sultan Kudarat. It had only four operational national irrigation systems, namely: Libungan, Kabacan, Mlang, and Malasila River Irrigation Systems.”

At present, NIA 12 covers the provinces of North Cotabato, South Cotabato, Sarangani, and Sultan Kudarat as well as the province of Maguindanao in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

Among the guests expected to attend the awarding ceremony are North Cotabato 1st District Rep. Jesus N. Sacdalan, DA-12 Regional Executive Director Amalia J. Datukan, North Cotabato Gov. Emmylou Mendoza, Midsayap Mayor Manuel M. Rabara, Libungan Mayor Manuel T, Dela Serna, Pigcawayan Mayor Roberto S. Blasé and Northern Kabuntalan Mayor Datu Ramil B. Dilangalen, Al Haj and Mr. Gerardo R. Barrientos, president of the Regional Confederation of Irrigators Association president. (DED-PIA 12)






South Cotabato fetes scholar graduates

by (PNA)

DCT/LOR/AVE/HST


GENERAL SANTOS CITY — The provincial government of South Cotabato recently honored at least 115 student-beneficiaries of its Kabugwason Paglaum Scholarship Program (KPSP) who have graduated from various colleges and universities in the area. Alex Basco, KPSP executive officer, said the local government feted the graduates in recognition of their hardships and perseverance in pursuing their studies in the past several years. He said the scholars received certificates of completion for completing the degree and non-degree programs they pursued. Of this year’s graduates, seven were from batch three and 26 from batch four of the degree category while 75 were from the sixth batch of the non-degree category. “Most of the graduates under the degree category took up courses in education, nursing, business administration, accountancy and engineering. For the non-degree category, most of the scholars took up computer-related courses,” Basco said. The official said the scholarship program has so far produced 41 four-year degree holders and 128 non-degree or ladderized program graduates. Basco said they have advised the program’s incoming scholars to take up courses or programs that have high employment demands such as mechanical engineering and electronics, agriculture, medical technology and pharmacy, among others. He said they dissuaded them from taking up courses that have been placed on moratorium by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), among them the nursing degree. The provincial government, which has institutionalized the scholarship program, has set aside an annual budget of P15 million for its implementation. Such budget is on top of its P9 million annual allocation for the grant-in-aid program for tertiary, secondary and elementary students as well as for short or modular courses for the out-of-school youths. Aside from the KPSP graduates, the local government also gave recognition to its six scholars who have completed their two-year Midwifery ladderized course at the University of the Philippines-Manila School of Health Sciences extension campus in Koronadal City. As part of the program, the six graduates will be taking a brief break to serve their communities before proceeding to the nursing course and medical degree later on.







No extension for filing of ITR – BIR

by (DEDoguiles/PIA 12)


KORONADAL CITY, South Cotabato , April 16 (PIA) -- Taxpayers only have until 12 midnight today, April 16, to file their income tax returns (ITR) and their will be no extension, an official of the Bureau of Internal Revenue here said.

Aileen Punzalan, assessment section chief of BIR Revenue District 111 (Koronadal City/South Cotabato), said, like other BIR offices across the region, their office will be open from 8:00 am in the morning until 12:00 midnight to cater to taxpayers who have waited for the deadline to file their respective ITRs.

BIR RD 111, along with other revenue district offices under BIR Revenue Region No. 18, last month began an information drive to urge taxpayers to pay their taxes ahead of the April 16 deadline.

“But we expect overcrowding in our office today,” she said, “which is why we extend office hours until midnight.”

This, she said, is also the subject of a directive from BIR Central office to all revenue district offices to hold office until midnight to be able to accommodate all taxpayers.

“Commissioner Kim Henares has already announced that there will be no extension of the filing of the ITR,” Punzalan pointed out.

In 2011, BIR in Soccsksargen Region collected a total of P4.4 billion and surpassed its annual target of P4.167 billion by 6.1 percent or P254.09 million.

BIR RR-18 regional director Rozil Lozares confirmed that 70 percent of these come from the taxes withheld from the income of local employees.

This year has started well for the regional revenue with the five revenue district offices collecting P794.225 M or 12.11 percent higher that their period target of P708.463 M.

Considering this performance of the revenue district office, Lozares said, exceeding the P5.126 billion 2012 target is most likely.

DA releases P6.9-M farm equipment to South Cotabato farmers

by (PNA

FFC/jfm/AVE/HST


GENERAL SANTOS City, April 15 (PNA) – The Department of Agriculture (DA) has released some P6.9 million worth of farm equipment to farmers’ groups in South Cotabato in a bid to further improve the area’s agricultural production. Amalia Datukan, DA Region 12 director, said the assistance was part of the ongoing implementation of the agency’s rice mechanization and post harvest facility assistance program, which was availed by irrigators associations and cooperative in the area. Datukan said it was also in line with the Agri Pinoy food staple sufficiency program pushed by DA Secretary Proceso Alcala. “President Benigno S. Aquino III had endorsed this program as one of his administration’s top priorities,” she said. Under the program, Datukan said South Cotabato received an allocation of 32 hand tractor units worth P3.95 million; 10 units of rice threshers worth P1.13 million; one unit of four-wheel drive tractor worth P761,117; and, nine units of multi-purpose drying pavement worth P1.125 million. The recipients were the Parbangon Irrigators Association of Barangay San Felipe in Tantangan; farmers group Komatiku of Barangay Sto. Nino in Koronadal City; Lower Tampakan Creek Irrigators Association of Barangay Concepcion in Koronadal City; SANISCA Irrigators Association Inc. of Barangay San Isidro in Koronadal City; PAGMACE Irrigators Association of Barangay Cabuling in Tantangan; Magic Flower Irrigators Association of Barangay GPS in Koronadal City; BINTIKU multi-purpose cooperative of Barangay Dajay in Surallah; SOCOSEPCO of Koroandal City; The Rice Field Irrigators Association of Barangay Carpenter Hill in Koronadal City; Country Folks Irrigators Assocaition of Bo. 3 in Banga; Modern Farmer Irrigators Association of Barangay San Isidro in Koronadal City; Siok Communal Irrigators Association of Koornadal City; Cabuling Agricultural Multi-Purpose Cooperative of Barangay Cabuling in Tantangan; and, San Felipe Irrigators Association of Barangay San Felipe in Tantangan are also beneficiaries. Datukan said the beneficiaries availed of the farm equipment through a cost-sharing scheme. She said the agency shouldered 85 percent of the costs while the beneficiaries contributed 15 percent as counterpart. The DA’s share for the total cost of the farm equipment was P6.09 million while the recipients’ share was P877,787. Datukan said the newly-released farm equipment was part of the P20 million worth of farm machineries earlier allocated for Region 12. Aside from South Cotabato, she said the agency also released 33 hand tractors, 11 threshers and two four-wheel drive tractors to beneficiaries in North Cotabato. They have allocated 34 hand tractors, 10 threshers and two four-wheel drive tractors to Sultan Kudarat as well as nine hand tractors and four threshers to Sarangani Province.

Motorcycles accidents on the rise in South Cotabato, neighboring areas

by (PNA)

FFC/AVE/AC


GENERAL SANTOS CITY — Health authorities have expressed alarm over the rising road or vehicular accidents involving motorcycles in South Cotabato province and the neighboring areas. Dr. Rogelio Aturdido, South Cotabato health officer, said their records showed that 256 road accidents had occurred in the province during the first three months of the year. He said 211 cases involved single motorcycles, 22 tricycles while the rest concerned four-wheeled vehicles. He said the victims comprised 218 drivers, 109 passengers and 87 bystanders who were either killed or sustained serious injuries. Of the injured victims, 153 sustained abrasions, 68 with lacerations and 17 with bone fractures. “The trend is currently going up and what is alarming here is that most of the drivers involved in these accidents were under the influence of liquor or alcohol,” Aturdido said. The official said 103 cases or 64 percent of the recorded road accidents in the province in the last three months took place in Koronadal City, South Cotabato’s capital and regional seat of Region 12 or the Soccsksargen Region. He said 52 road accidents were recorded in the city in January followed by 21 in February. In the first two weeks of March, Aturdido said the South Cotabato Provincial Hospital already recorded a total of 30 accidents in the area. He said reckless driving, over speeding, distraction from cellular phones and substance abuses were among the main causes of accidents that involved teenage drivers. Late last month, five people were killed while two others were injured when a multicab passenger van collided with a trailer truck along the national highway in Koronadal City. To help address the problem, Aturdido said they have sought assistance from the Department of Interior and Local Government to ensure the strict enforcement of road safety regulations in the area. He said they have also linked up with the Regional Development Council’s social development committee for the conduct of orientation-seminars on proper driving behavior among teen drivers in the area.

Shutdown of major dams in So. Cotabato to last only 3 months -- NIA

by (DEDoguiles/PIA 12)


KORONADAL CITY, South Cotabato, April 13 (PIA) -- Shutdown of one of Soccsksargen region’s largest irrigation system will push through as planned starting May 1 but the National Irrigation Administration Office here announced that the closure would be shorter than what was originally planned.

In January, NIA-South Cotabato chief Engr. Ramon Bugacia and provincial agriculturist Reynaldo announced that the two dams of the Ala River Irrigation System (RIS) could be closed until end of August or September for major repairs intended to restore the crop watering system’s efficiency.

Yesterday, in an interview with a radio station here, Engr. Bugacia said, “NIA has made adjustments with the construction schedule” after a series of consultations with affected irrigators’ associations, Department of Agriculture – 12, provincial and municipal agriculture offices, and other stakeholders.

“So from the original plan of four months, total shutdown (of the operations of Ala RIS) has been reduced to three months,”

The two dams of Ala RIS, namely: Dam 1 in Colonggolo, Surallah in South Cotabato and Dam 2 in Bai Sirafinang, Bagumbayan in Sultan Kudarat, have a combined coverage area of 12,046 hectares.

He said, adjustments were made considering the effect of the total shutdown of the irrigation system on the livelihood of the farm families who will lose water supply while the dams are out of operations. According to a report from DA-12, at least 8,850 families are being served by the Ala RIS.

Bugacia explained the dams need to the totally shut down effective May 1 until July 31 because major repair and rehabilitation works will focus on the main diversions (dams) as well as the main canals.

He added, some repair works that would not require closure of the dams have begun.

Data from NIA indicated that P138,225,000 has been allocated by the national government for the rehabilitation of the Ala RIS.

“This is the first time that such amount was allotted to a project NIA-South Cotabato,” he said. Previously, he added, they only received P3 million to P6 million for irrigation development projects.

This would also be the first time that Ala RIS undergoes repair since its opening in 1972.

Repair works in the 40-year old dam, according to Bugacia, would cover protection works on the dams, repair of the mechanical systems that take care of the closing and opening of the water gates, rehabilitation of the main canals, and construction of additional structures and check structures that would extend the coverage area of the irrigation system.

In an earlier interview, provincial agriculturist Legaste assured residents and farmers of South Cotabato that the shutdown of the Ala RIS will result in food shortage in the province.

He explained that farmers in the province were able to immediately replant in January and February which assures of an earlier than expected harvest.

Also, of the 9,000 hectares in South Cotabato that would lose water supply, about 2,000 hectares can still be cultivated because they have alternative water sources.

Contingency plans have also been prepared for those who could not plant rice; these include planting of corn in coordination with hybrid corn companies as well as temporarily shifting to other crops such as watermelon, cantaloupe, and vegetables like okra, squash, upo, patola, and ampalaya.

Bugacia said rehabilitative works of Ala RIS are also set for implementation next year, but these would not require closure of the dams.

Local officials expect positive results from power summit

by (DEDoguiles/PIA 12)


KORONADAL CITY, South Cotabato, April 12 (PIA) -- Officials in South Cotabato hope tomorrow’s Energy Summit in Davao City would end with solutions that would address the power crisis in Mindanao.

South Cotabato Gov. Arthur Y. Pingoy Jr., Koronadal City Mayor Peter Miguel, and South Cotabato 1 Electric Cooperative (SOCOTECO 1) General Manager Santiago Tudio said they will be attending the summit.

South Cotabato First District Representative, Daisy Avance-Fuentes has earlier announced in a radio interview that she will join the event.

Gov. Pingoy said, the presence of President Benigno Aquino III during the summit is a positive indication since he could personally join the discussion of the Mindanao energy shortage as well as the proposals to address the power crisis.

“Several proposals and measures will be presented. Hopefully, we will be able to take these up with the president,” he said.

In preparation for the summit, Mayor Miguel has asked city information officer Judith Amido, who also sits as a member of SOCOTECO 1’s board of directors for an in-depth discussion of the power situation particularly in South Cotabato and Sultan Kudarat.

He, however, pointed out that he has reservations regarding the suggestion of former Pangasinan Fifth District Representative Mark Conjuangco to put up a nuclear power plant in Lake Sebu.

“I did some research and talked with some Japanese regarding nuclear power plants,” he said.

“I am not in favor of the proposal,” he said, “because even Japan, which is a First World Country, has experienced radiation leaks due to the recent earthquake and tsunami.”

He said lives of millions of Filipinos could be compromised if a disaster like that in Japan occurs in the Philippines.

Meanwhile, GM Tudio said, SOCOTECO 1 supports the move of the Association of Mindanao Rural Electric Cooperative (AMRECO) to oppose the privatization of the Pulangi Hydropower plants.

AMRECO with its 33 member electric cooperative plans to submit a position paper demanding transparency so that the public may know of the real situation regarding the availability of energy supply, especially the contracted capacity from the power generators of the National Power Corporation.

MinDA chair Secretary Luwalhati Antonino, announced everything is set for the Mindanao Energy Summit where 300 to 350 delegates are expected to attend.

MinDA and the Department of Energy spearhead the summit.

“The Power Summit accords us the opportunity to discuss the real Mindanao power situation and the specific short to long term measures that stakeholders wanted acted on jointly by the government and the industry players,”Antonino said.

Antonino said that no less than President Aquino has sought that proposed measures for resolving the Mindanao power problem and putting in place of long term action plan should form part of the shared consensus of the Mindanao stakeholders.

“This is being done for and by the Mindanawons who have a direct stake on the Mindanao power issue and what needs to be done, and the President will be there to see to it that the proposed measures are thoroughly studied and doables carried through,” she added.

Among those expected to take part in the one-day summit are heads and representatives of all electric cooperatives in Mindanao, distribution utilities, generation companies, governors and city mayors, Mindanao lawmakers, business and industry sectors, non-government organizations, civil society groups and consumer advocates.

Antonino said the Summit format was designed to provide opportunity for the key sectors and stakeholder representatives to present their respective issues and recommendations for way forward actions.

The President is expected to respond with specific policy directives.

Earlier today, PCOO Secretary Sonny Coloma confirmed President Aquino will attend and preside the summit.






Education remedies ignorance, poverty – VP Binay

by (Dani Doguiles and Roderick Beñez/PIA 12)


KORONADAL CITY, South Cotabato, April 11 (PIA) -- Education remains the best way out of poverty and ignorance, said Vice President Jejomar Binay.

Vice President Binay was in Kabacan, North Cotabato yesterday as guest of honor during state-run University of Southern Mindanao’s 66th commencement exercises where he addressed 1,932 candidates for graduation.

“Kung nais nating maiahon sa kahirapan at kamangmangan, edukasyon nag-iisang tanging paraan,” he told the graduates.

“Ang lahat ay kailangang magsumikap. Ngunit kung ang walang sawang pagsusumikap ay sasamahan ng isang mahusay na edukasyon, labis na lumalawak ang nararating ang isang tao,” he said.

He also told graduates that finishing their courses comes with responsibilities to their families, the university and fellowmen.

“Ang tunay na saysay ng inyong pag-aaral ay nababatay sa kakayahan ninyong gamitin ang inyong dunong upang maglunsad ng inyong kakayahan,” he said.

Denying their service, he added, would make peace and progress elusive for themselves and the nation.

To be able to serve their families and the country, a graduate need not seek for remarkable opportunities, Vice President Binay pointed out.

For instance, he said, graduates could start by helping their parents send their younger siblings to school.

“Your challenge now is no longer defined by examinations, term papers, and reports,” he reminded the graduates, “You are now called to build your lives.”

Other guests of the graduation ceremony, which was led by USM president Dr. Jesus Antonio Derije, included North Cotabato Gov. Emmylou Taliño-Mendoza, local officials, and the university’s Board of Regents.

USM is considered one of the leading state universities in Mindanao and the entire country.

It has achieved excellence in agriculture education and most of its programs have achieved either Level II or Level III accreditation by the Accrediting Agency of Chartered Colleges and Universities in the Philippines (AACCUP), Inc.

Training of students here does not only focus on instructions but also incorporates the aspects of research, extension and production geared toward producing quality professionals who are globally competitive.

It is well-known to provide top-grade education in the fields of agriculture; arts and science; education; engineering and computing; human ecology and food sciences; industrial technology; business, development economics and management; public health; veterinary medicine; and Middle East and Asian studies.

DOST-12 rolls off “Agham at Teknolohiya sa Syudad”

by (DEDoguiles/PIA 12/OLAbo/ DOST-12)


KORONADAL CITY, South Cotabato, April 10 (PIA) -- DOST-12’s “Agham at Teknolohiya sa Siyudad” has gained ground in enhancing productivity of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the Soccsksargen Region.

A project of the Department of Science and Technology – Region 12, Agham at Teknolohiya sa Lungsod was recently conducted separately in the cities of General Santos and Koronadal.

Under the project, consultancy services, labeling design development and technology needs assessment were extended to MSMEs engaged in organic fertilizer, tuna, bakery, squash turon and lumpia, and banana buchi, among others.

It was implemented under DOST’s umbrella program Small Enterprise Technology Upgrading Program (SET-UP) that aims to improve the productivity of small and medium industry players.

Summit Consultancy and Research Services, which was earlier tapped by the DOST-12 for the Manufacturing Productivity Expansion Program (MPEX), presented its findings and recommendations to improve the productivity of 15 firms identified under the program.

Their recommendations included acquisition or upgrading of machines, nutritional facts analysis, production lay-out improvement, and packaging or labeling design development.

They also recommended trainings on Good Manufacturing Practices for ten firms.

Other recommendations for MSMEs to undertake are energy audit, possible ultraviolet radiation, preventive maintenance, and materials management system, among others.

Some firms, on the other hand, have sought trainings on coconut syrup and accelerated vinegar production, bleaching and dyeing, waste management (vermi composting), and fiber extraction mechanization.

Other companies have developed possible linkages, such as one firm offering to supply organic fertilizers to Kablon Farms and RRR Engineering offering to fabricate stainless products for food processing companies.

Another one also offered to design and fabricate a sorter or conveyor for a coffee and a fiber processing ventures.

A technology needs assessment was likewise conducted to Juco Yummyzo Food Products and Pascual Bakery Equipment Services in Koronadal City as a pre-requisite to the availment of SET-UP assistance.

Dr. Zenaida P. HR Laidan, DOST-12 director, said they conducted the “Agham at Teknolohiya sa Siyudad” to support MSMEs in the region achieve higher income, generate more employment and penetrate global markets.

She added that such activity aims to sustain economic development in the countryside.

Smc Secures Clearance To Pursue New 3,000-mw Power Projects

by MYRNA M. VELASCO


Manila, Philippines - The power generation unit of San Miguel Corporation (SMC) has secured the go-signal of the Department of Energy (DOE) to proceed with grid impact studies (GIS) on six power projects across grids that will beef up its portfolio by additional 3,000 megawatts.

The GIS will have to be undertaken upon the energy department’s endorsement to the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP). It will determine if the proposed capacity of the project proponents can still be absorbed by the grid or if the transmission lines are capable of wheeling that capacity to the substations.

Based on documents culled from the energy department, SMC Global Power Holdings Corporation is proposing to construct 1,200-megawatt coal plant in Cavite; and another 600-MW coal-fired facility in Bulacan for the Luzon grid.

In the Visayas, SMC’s proposed greenfield power investments are 600-MW coal plant in Leyte and 150-MW coal plant in Panay. For the Mindanao grid, the company’s proposed coalfired plant ventures are 300 megawatts in Davao del Sur and, 150-MW in South Cotabato.

If the diversifying conglomerate is serious in pursuing all of these projects, it ought to face hurdles though in the market share caps prescribed under the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA) – which is equivalent to 30-percent of gridinstalled capacity; and 25-percent of national installed capacity. To date, SMC is already the biggest player in the power generation segment of the industry.

Documents also showed that the DOE has issued clearances to more than 30 power companies on their respective bids for GIS on proposed power projects.

As of end last year, the power companies allowed to proceed on their GIS include Palm Thermal Consolidated Holdings Corp. for its 100-megawatt coal power project in Iloilo; Global Business Power Corporation for 164-MW and 82-MW projects in Cebu and Iloilo; PhilNewEnergy Inc. for 40-50MW solar project in Alaminos, Pangasinan; 30-40MW solar project in Misamis Oriental and 40-50MW solar project in Davao; and Jobin-Sqm Inc. for its 100-MW Sta. Rita solar project in the Subic Bay freeport zone.

The others are Calamba Aero Power Corporation for a 120-170MW combined cycle power project in Calamba, Laguna; Cordillera Hydro Electric Power Corporation for its proposed 50-MW mini-hydropower project in Kapangan, Benguet; First Gen Corporation for a 300-MW midmerit power plant in Batangas; San Carlos Biopower Inc. for its 18-MW biomass facility in Negros Occidental; as well as those for Sta. Clara Power Corporation’s micro-hydropower projects in Danao, Bohol and Tinoc, Ifugao.

It has also been specified in the documents that the GIS clearance for the 600-MW coal power plant of GN Power was just issued by the energy department June 16 last year. This facility is expected on stream next year and will considerably shore up Luzon grid’s power supply.

Also in the roll of power firms already given the go-signal for grid impact study are San Jose I City Power Corporation for a 9.90-MW rice husk-fired power project; Aboitiz Power for its power barges 1 to 4 in Navotas; Global Green Power PLC Corporation for biomass projects of 17.5-MW in Nueva Ecija and 35-MW in Bukidnon; TeaM Energy Corporation for 382-MW each capacity expansion for its Pagbilao and Sual plants; FDC Utilities Inc. for a 300-MW power plant in Misamis Oriental; and Limay Energen Corporation for a 140-MW coal-fired facility in Bataan.

The other projects are those of PetroEnergy Resources Corporation; Energy Development Corporation; Agusan Power Corporation; PNOC Renewables and Philippine National Oil Company-Exploration Corporation; HydroCore Corp.; Vivant Corporation; E-Power Technologies Corp.; Kanan Hydroelectric Power Corporation; Green Energy Management Holdings Inc., Alternergy Philippine Holdings Corpration and Bell Pine Power Corporation. (MMV)

DOLE 12 trains women inmates in accessory making

by Danilo E. Doguiles


KORONADAL CITY, South Cotabato, April 8 (PIA) -- Female inmates of the North Cotabato Provincial Jail were recently trained in making ladies’ accessories to help them earn some income.

In a press release sent to the Philippine Information Agency 12 this week, Charmaine Ladot-Sonsona, information officer of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) 12, said the training held on March 22 was spearheaded by the DOLE North Cotabato Field Office in partnership with the Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office and the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology as part of the Women’s Month celebration.

Skills training involved techniques on production of commercially viable accessories such as bracelets, earrings, and others.

Lorie Buday of Matalam LGU Cooperative, who served as trainer, assured the inmates of market for their products. She said the cooperative is willing to purchase the inmates’ finished product which will then be sold in livelihood and trade fairs.

North Cotabato Field Office chief Edna Sales urged the inmates who took part of the training to make this a livelihood opportunity.

She said the assistance was only the beginning of more assistance to the women inmates. Among the help that they could expect, Sales said, includes special program for the employment of students.

She added that children of inmates who would qualify will be given priority in SPES.

Meanwhile, acting provincial jail warden SInsp. Israel Arboleda was grateful that DOLE 12 initiated the livelihood training.

He said inmates are one of the most neglected in society and at times adjudged as criminals even before they are convicted.

With such, he is assured that these inmates will see the hope of living a decent life after their rehabilitation inside the jail.

After the training, inmates received starter kits for the production of ladies’ accessories for them to be able apply what they have learned and start a business. (DEDoguiles/PIA 12/DOLE 12)

North Cotabato’s peace camps to reach 25,000 kids

by (DEDoguiles/PIA 12 with report from IDCD-Prov’l Governor’s Office)


KORONADAL CITY, South Cotabato, April 7 (PIA)-- At least 25,000 Grade V school children from 17 municipalities and lone city of North Cotabato are expected to participate in the second run of the province’s Gov. Lala Summer Kids Peace Camp.

This year’s three-day peace camps began in Pikit municipality on March 9 – 11 where 2,451 children joined. This was followed by peace camps in Aleosan town on March 15 – 17 and another one on March 19 – 21 in Magpet municipality.

More peace camps are scheduled after the Holy Week until May including camps in Antipas, Matalam, M’lang, Kabacan, Pigcawayan, Makilala, Arakan, Tulunan, Carmen, Banisilan, Alamada, Midsayap, Libungan, and Pres. Roxas municipalities and in Kidapawan City.

Gov. Emmylou “Lala” Taliño-Mendoza initiated this program last year in partnership with the Department of Education to promote peace among residents of the province starting while they are still young as well as developing potential leaders among them.

It also aims to motivate children to get involved and affirm their commitment to the government, help them discover and enhance their abilities and realize their role in the community especially in the government’s goal towards lasting peace.

This is done by gathering Muslim, indigenous people and Christian children in camps where they are introduced to diverse cultures of the tri-people living in the province, taught leadership skills and important moral values and encouraged to involve in community development.

“There should be no discrimination. Everyone has an equal opportunity. No matter what the sexual orientation, tribe or religion. And if you have discipline in your studies, you will go far,” Gov. Mendoza told participants in one of the peace camps.

The lady governor also challenged the future leaders of the province to “put into practice what you learn during the summer kids peace camp and serve as role models to the younger pupils when you go back to school.”

Activities during the summer kids camp include lectures and group activities including leadership workshops, sports competitions, lectures on environment and climate change, life skills and emergency preparedness, as well as activities that promote understanding of each other’s social, cultural and religious diversity.

Campers were also given the chance to exhibit their talents and skills via a talent show and Pabonggahan Night and live theater presentation showcasing cultures in the province.

During the opening ceremonies of the summer kids peace camp in Magpet on March 19, Gov. Mendoza also turned-over a P3.5 million worth covered court to host Apostol Memorial Elementary School.

She explained this was an incentive to the school for hosting the same event last year.

The said project was funded in partnership with the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) Partylist whose representative, Congressman Raymond Mendoza, was also present during the turn-over ceremony.

N. Cotabato LGU hands over P29.7-M infra projects to municipalities

by Danilo E. Doguiles


KORONADAL CITY, South Cotabato, April 6 (PIA) -- At least P29.7 million worth of infrastructure projects were turned-over in March by the provincial government of North Cotabato to five of its municipalities.

Gov. Emmylou “Lala” Taliño-Mendoza on March 10 handed over to the LGUs of Matalam and Carmen P17 million worth of infrastructure projects.

These included water systems worth P500,000 each for barangays Kilada ang Latagan as well as P500,000 multi-purpose buildings for barangays Marbel and New Abra, all in Matalam town.

Also turned-over were infrastructure projects to barangays in Carmen town. These include a P7-million concreting project of the Aroman-Lanoon road, P700,000 worth of one-classroom school building at Pebpoloan, and P983,159 power distribution line for barangay Kitulaan.

Other projects include a covered court in Carmen worth P2. 5 million, and a new rural health unit for barangay Poblacion built at P4 million.

“You are all accountable for the safekeeping of these projects. Use them for the benefit of the many and use them with care so that these projects can continue to provide service to the people in your barangays for a long time,” Mendoza said.

Turned-over projects in Aleosan town included a P1.2-million box culvert project charged against the province’s calamity fund in barangay New Panay, as well as concreting project of the public market worth P4.7 million and P5 million road concreting project in barangay Poblacion , which were both charged to the 20% economic development fund.

Baranay Malinga, Midsayap received a solar dryer worth P347,000, while barangays Renibon, New Igbaras, and Datu Binasing of Pigcawayan town received a P500,000 worth multi-purpose building each. (DEDoguiles/PIA 12/LAF-IDCD-North Cotabato)

Wage hike in Region 12 seen before Labor Day

by Allen V. Estabillo


KORONADAL CITY (MindaNews/4 Apr) – An increase in the daily minimum wage rates for private sector workers in Southwestern Mindanao is looming, officials said on Wednesday.

In a statement, Chona Mantilla, Department of Labor and Employment Region 12 director, said the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board, which she also chairs, recently decided to hike the floor pay from P10 to P14 a day.

She noted the latest salary increase, or Wage Order No. RBXII-17, may take effect before May 1 or Labor Day, a regular holiday to honor the workers.

Before it will be effective, it needs to be published in a local newspaper.

Under the new wage order, which will be implemented in two tranches, the daily minimum wage rates will range from P246 to P270.

The first tranche was expected to take effect before May 1 and the next on December 1, 2012.

In coming up with wage adjustment, the RTWPB decided to integrate the present P15 daily cost of living allowance (COLA) to the new basic wage.

The existing daily floor pay ranges from P234 to P260.

“The last wage order was issued more than one year ago and there being no petition, the RTWPB has resolved to review, motu propio (on its own), the existing minimum wage rates in the region,” Mantilla said.

Studies on the socio-economic condition in the region warranted the need to grant an increase in the minimum wage rates of private sector workers in Region 12 regardless of their position, designation or status of their employment, and irrespective of the method by which their wages are paid, Ms. Mantilla said

Also called the SOCCSKSARGEN region, Region 12 covers the provinces of South Cotabato, North Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat and Sarangani and the cities of General Santos, Koronadal, Tacurong, Kidapawan and Cotabato.

The Wage Board conducted public consultations early this year in parts of the region to determine if a salary adjustment is needed for the area.

Alfredo Hebrona Jr., Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry governor for Southwestern Mindanao, declined to give a comment on the looming wage hike, saying he was not privy to the deliberation.

Jessie dela Cruz, RTWPB secretary, said that exemptions maybe granted to certain types of establishments, such as those distressed and those whose assets are not more than P3 million.

Following the public consultations early this year, Dela Cruz has said that the situation may not warrant an adjustment in the minimum wages of private sector workers, citing a report then by the National Economic and Development Authority that prices of basic consumer goods have remained stable.

Militant labor groups in the area since the past few years have demanded a legislated P125 across-the-board daily wage increase. (Bong S. Sarmiento / MindaNews)

Holy Week is time to reflect on Christ’s suffering and resurrection -- Bishop Gutierrez

by (DEDoguiles/PIA 12)


KORONADAL CITY, South Cotabato, April 4 (PIA) -- Bishop Dinualdo Gutierrez of the Diocese of Marbel urged believers of Christ, especially the Catholics , to spend the Holy Week in prayers, meditations and sacrifices rather than in vacations and merriment.

“This entire week should be devoted to remembering the suffering , crucifixion, and resurrection of Jesus Christ,” he said in an interview with a local radio station.

“All other weeks of the year, we do not celebrate the Paschal mystery, only this week,” he reminded them.

He said believers should spend this entire week to praise God the Father for giving his only Son Jesus Christ who offered Himself to be crucified on the cross for the salvation of humanity.

There is no better way to celebrate this, he added, but to reflect on the Jesus’s suffering on the cross and his rise to glory on Easter Sunday.

Bishop Gutierrez, however, asked believers to refrain from the traditional practice of some devotees to show their sacrifices by having themselves nailed on the cross.

Above all these, Bishop Gutierrez added, the entire Christendom should contemplate more on the glory of Christ’s resurrection.

In response, he pointed out, people should live with fear and faith on God by showing love and care for other people.

“After the Good Friday, Christ rose from the dead. He triumphed against death,” he said. “We should also change. We should also overcome.”

Easter should also be a time to give attention to the protection of the Mother Earth.

He said, by giving importance and taking care of the Mother Earth, we show love for humanity as well as prepare the Earth for the future generation.

TESDA specialistas in Soccsksargen gain ground

by (with report from Rolly Palencia/TESDA 12) (DEDoguiles/PIA 12)


KORONADAL CITY, South Cotabato, April 3 (PIA) -- Barely three months from its launching, Region 12’s TESDA Specialista Technopreneurship Program (TSTP) has shown promise as a source of income among technical vocational education and training (TVET) graduates.

A press release from the office Technical Education and Skills Development Authority regional direct Zeus Ampuyas on Monday said, 130 organized TSTP entrepreneurs in three provinces and one city have already earned a total income of P259,340.

Overall, TESDA Specialistas have served 893 clients in various service categories such as beauty care and wellness, caregiving, building/house repair maintenance, computer hardware servicing, appliance repair, catering/food and beverage servicing to automotive and small engine servicing, Ampuyas said.

Areas where TESDA Specialistas are now operating include North Cotabato, South Cotabato, and Sarangani-General Santos.

Ampuyas said, in the past three months they monitored the activities of the techno-entrepreneurs to determine if the purpose of the program has been achieved as evidenced by income per aggrupation.

Results of the monitoring indicated that of the seven service categories, building/house repair and maintenance has the highest average income which reached P43,126.67, followed by beauty care and wellness services which is P41,780.00. The third highest earning category was computer hardware services which accumulated income amounting to P15,100.00.

The rest of the service categories are also picking well in terms of earnings, the report said.

Ampuyas said that the income earned by the TESDA Specialistas in the last three months is an indication that the “newly launched program has started creating awareness and gaining support from the people in the community.”

“Money has also started to fill up the TESDA Specialistas’ purse as they render their services to their valued customers.”

TSTP was designed out to address problem of limited job opportunities in the market by assisting the unemployed or underemployed TVET graduates for them to be able to have a chance to be economically stable.

Under the program TESDA facilitates the organization of trained and certified TVET graduates with related skills to be productive into groups called TESDA specialistas who provide technical services for affordable fees in communities where they operate.

TESDA provides them with a TESDA Nurturer to guide and mentor them as well as link with the local government unit for possible support such as operation center and advertisement in the locality.

Those interested to be a TESDA Specialista, they may inquire from the TESDA Provincial Offices near their area for a detailed information.

Households and individuals who would like to avail of the services of the techno-entrepreneurs may contact their local government officials or the local office of TESDA.

PNP 12 on alert for the Holy Week

by (DEDoguiles/PIA 12)


KORONADAL CITY, South Cotabato, April 2 (PIA) -- South Cotabato’s police force has been put on heightened alert for the celebration of the Holy Week, P/SSupt. Randolph Delfin, police provincial director said.

Delfin said, as early as two months ago, in accordance with a directive from the Police Regional Office, he ordered all police chiefs under his jurisdiction to plan out and strengthen security measures for the summer vacation.

“Included in this are the security measures for the celebration of the Holy Week as well as those intended to keep vacationers safe,” Delfin said.

As in other important events, he said, police personnel will be deployed in public convergence places, such as terminals, churches, malls, supermarkets and others.

Security in the popular tourist destinations in the province, including Lake Sebu and the famous Seven Falls zip line, will also be increased with the expected influx of visitors coming to these areas.

“We are also intensifying our checkpoints in the province’s entry and exit points,” he added.

Meanwhile, Land Transportation Office – 12 regional director Arlan Mangelen said they are putting up assistance centers along major roads in the region to help motorists and travellers.

“Our focus during the Holy Week is safety and protection of the traveling public,” he said.

Mangelen added that starting Wednesday, they are temporarily suspending their anti-colorum operations to be able to concentrate on the Operation Semana Santa.

LTO has also reminded motorists to meticulously prepare for the expected long travels. According to the agency, drivers should check BLOWBAGETS or battery, lights, oil, water (radiator & wiper washer), brakes, air pressure, gas, early warning device, tools, and self.

Koronadal City turns dark for an hour

by Danilo E. Doguiles


KORONADAL CITY, South Cotabato , Apr. 1 (PIA) -- A large part of Koronadal city turned dark as thousands of households joined the Earth Hour last night.

From 8:30 to 9:30 p.m., households, offices, government offices, malls, public switched their lights and other electric-powered appliances off .

Streetlamps were also turned off. Even motorists turned their vehicle’s lights to support to the global campaign.

The Earth Hour celebration here led by Mayor Peter B. Miguel, other local government officials and the city environment office started with an eco-invocation and ecumenical prayer at the city’s government center in Carpenter Hill.

Other highlights leading to the 8:30 p.m. Earth Hour, included the signing of a manifesto in support to efforts against global change, and a symposium on the science of climate change and how to solve climate change.

At around 6:30 p.m. participants who gathered in front of the Gaisano Grand Mall either joined the 3.5-kilometer Earth Hour Biking or Earth Hour 2012 Night Walk to Ace Centerpoint Supermarket at the center where the main program was held.

At exactly 8:30 p.m. candles were lighted as the electric lights were turned off.

Meanwhile, the local electric distributor South Cotabato 1 Electric Cooperative (SOCOTECO) 1 implemented a 30-minute power shut-off also in support of the campaign.

However, General Manager Santiago Tudio said, since the activity is voluntary, brownout was only enforced in the areas where the main activities was held, specifically Feeders 11, 22, and 33.

Earlier last week, South Cotabato Gov. Pingoy Y. Pingoy Jr. released a memorandum to employees of the provincial government to support the campaign. He also called on mayors in the province to encourage participation in their respective areas of responsibilities.

Besides , Koronadal City and neighboring towns in South Cotabato, General Santos City and the province also joined the country and the world in the symbolic 60-minute turning off of electricity.

Both General Santos City Mayor Darlene Antonino-Custodio and Sarangani province Gov. Migs Dominguez led the Earth Hour campaigns. (DEDoguiles/PIA 12

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