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South Cotabato Province News February 2012

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South Cotabato Realty

Philippine News


Koronadal city dads ok purchase of lot for terminal complex


KORONADAL CITY, South Cotabato, Feb 28 (PIA) -- Members of the city council here yesterday approved the resolution authorizing Mayor Peter B. Miguel to buy the lot where the city’s public terminal complex will be built on.

Through a nominal voting where each member had to explain his or her view on the issue, eight members of the Sangguniang Panglungsod approved the resolution for the city’s purchase of the 5.9-hectare property of Abella family at Purok Yellow Bell, Pinto Subdivision, Barangay Zone 3.

Thousands set to join simultaneous quake drill in South Cotabato

by (PNA)


GENERAL SANTOS CITY, Feb. 27 (PNA) – Thousands of government employees, students and private workers in South Cotabato province are set to join the nationwide simultaneous earthquake drill scheduled on Thursday (March 1).

Isidro Janita, Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO) chief, said Monday that hundreds of government offices, schools and private establishments have already confirmed to participate in the drill.

The activity is mainly aimed at enhancing the area’s preparations against possible earthquake-related disasters that may hit the area.

He said the holding of the drills will be spearheaded by the disaster risk reduction and management councils of the province’s 10 towns and lone city.

“This will make us more aware of possible earthquake scenarios and the proper measures to take in case they occur in our area,” Janita said.

Thursday’s earthquake drill was the first activity scheduled this year by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.

The drills are done simultaneously nationwide once every quarter.

Elizabeth Consular, principal of the Koronadal Central Elementary School (KCES-1) in Koronadal City, said they mandated all their students and teachers to participate in the scheduled drill.

“We want our students and teachers to become familiar with the proper emergency measures in case an earthquake would strike just like what happened recently in (western and central) Visayas,” she said.

She was referring to the 6.9-magnitude earthquake that struck the Visayas region last month that killed more than 50 people.

“We need to have these drills on a regular basis to prevent possible tragedies in case disasters would hit our area,” Consular said.

Janita said they are currently conducting a province-wide information drive for the upcoming simultaneous earthquake drill to ensure wider participation among residents.

Aside from the drill proper, the official said they will also hold pre-drill orientations and provide earthquake information lectures to the upcoming drill participants.

NGO helps local govt provide cheaper medicine to poor patients

by (DEDoguiles/PIA 12)

KORONADAL CITY, South Cotabato, Feb 26 (PIA) -- More health services are coming to indigent residents of South Cotabato with another partnership forged between the provincial government and non government organization.

According to the provincial government’s official website, Mahintana Foundation Inc., a foundation funded by the Dole Philippines, has agreed to provide a initial of at least P1.7 million worth of surgical and medicine packages intended for poor residents in the area.

These packages are available at the Health Plus Shop in a Shop (HPSIS) inside the South Cotabato Provincial Hospital, in this city.

Provincial health officer Dr. Rogelio Aturdido said that the initiative aims to give better health services for poor patients who often lack financial resources to pay for surgical resources.

Initially, available packages with complete set of medicine at the HPSIS were for surgical cases of appendectomy, caesarean section, and other obstetrics cases.

“We hope that we can cover 22 more surgical cases in the next months,” Aturdido was quoted as saying.

These packages are priced much lower than those available in most pharmacies in the area.

But patients who are beneficiaries of local government - sponsored PhilHealth indigency program need not pay a single centavo to avail of the surgical and medicine packages because the cost will be charged against their PhilHealth insurance.

“With the medicine packs in place, our poor patients no longer need to purchase medicines outside the hospital and then wait for PhilHealth’s reimbursement that usually take 45 days to two months to process,” Gov. Arthur Y. Pingoy Jr. said in an interview with local reporters at the project launching.

“We need all the help that we can get and we are very thankful to have Mahintana helping us out in our aim to provide better and quality health services to the poor,” he added.

With the Mahintana operating a pharmacy inside the provincial hospital is a great advantage to the provincial government, Pingoy said, because 70 percent of its net income will be returned as rebate to the hospital and can be used for repairs and upgrading of the health facililty.

Mahintana Foundation has been a partner of the provincial government in many of its initiatives for the poor. Other projects that the Foundation is involved in are the supplemental feeding for day care children and the poorest of the poor, and the construction of chairs and tables for public elementary and high school in the area.

Rey Gabaldon, project manager of Mahintana Foundation said they will continue to help in uplifting the lives of the poor in the province.

He said the HPSIS inside the provincial hospital will be opened 24 hours. They also plan to replicate the surgical and medicine package project in other provinces.

Fire destroys P5-M properties in Koronadal City

by (PNA)


KORONADAL CITY, Feb. 25 (PNA) -– An estimated P5-million worth of properties and valuables went up in smoke in a huge fire that gutted almost an entire block of a crowded commercial district here late Friday afternoon.

Chief Insp. Edzrapel Dilawangan, South Cotabato fire marshall, said no casualties were reported but 15 residential and business establishments along Roxas, Abad Santos and Rizal streets here were leveled down by the fire, which started at past 4 p.m.

The affected establishments comprised five boarding houses, three stores, two residences, two balloon shops, a tailoring, an eatery and a billiard hall, he said.

The official said among those totally destroyed was a three-storey boarding house building, which mainly cater to students from a nearby university.

“According to (Koronadal) Mayor Peter Miguel, the damage on the three-storey building could be worth around P3 to P4 million. The Koronadal City fire station estimated an initial damage of P1 million to other establishments,” Dilawangan said in a radio interview.

But he said the damage value could still increase as their investigators have yet to complete their assessment and clearing operations at the fire scene.

Based on their initial investigation, Dilawangan said the fire allegedly originated from the residence of the Tiamzon family.

He said they have yet to establish the cause of the incident but their investigators initially theorized that it could have been triggered by a faulty electrical connection.

He said the fire immediately spread towards neighboring establishments, including those located across the street where it supposedly started.

“It spread so fast because of the electrical lines and the strong winds,” said Dilawangan, citing accounts from witnesses.

Dilawangan said fire trucks from the Koronadal City fire station and the volunteer fire brigade of a local shopping mall was able to respond at the scene after the first fire call.

He said firefighters and fire trucks from other nearby municipal fire stations also helped contain the fire, which was controlled about an hour later.

“Right now, we're conducting a thorough check at the scene for other possible faulty and illegal electrical connections as well as overloaded lines to prevent a repeat of similar incident,” he added.

On orders from Mayor Miguel, the city government, through the City Social Welfare and Development Office, established an assistance center to address the immediate needs of the affected residents.

South Cotabato miner seeks endorsement for production phase

by (PNA)


GENERAL SANTOS CITY, Feb. 24 (PNA) - A foreign-backed gold and silver mining project in T’boli town is asking for the endorsement of the South Cotabato Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) to go on commercial stream, officials confirmed on Friday.

Lawyer Eumir Ernesto Tiamzon, Tribal Mining Corp. president, said their application for endorsement is up for deliberation by the provincial board.

“We have presented the project as far as last year. We want to go on the production phase,” he said.

Canadian firm Cadan Resources, Inc. is a major investor to the T’boli gold-silver project. Tribal Mining was granted the Mineral Production Sharing Agreement 090-97-XI covering 84.20 hectares in 1997.

The area straddles the “minahang bayan” or people’s small-scale mining area, covering 21 hectares, that was declared over a decade ago by the provincial government.

An endorsement from the provincial government is one of the requirements before the project can go on commercial stream, said Constancio Paye Jr., regional director of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau.

Paye said that Tribal Mining filed with the regional office late last year its “Declaration of Mining Project Feasibility” (DMPF).

“I have endorsed the T’boli gold-silver project to the main office for approval,” he said separately.

Aside from the local government units’ endorsements (provincial, town and barangay) and the approval of the DMPF, an environmental compliance certificate is required before the company can go on commercial mining activities, Paye said.

Board member Ernesto Catedral, chairman of the SP environmental protection committee, said that Tribal Mining requested for an endorsement because it has “finished its exploration activities.”

“The company wants to operate [commercially] the mine and this is being tackled by the committee,” he said.

Robert Butchart, Cadan Resources president and chief executive officer, said in a statement last month they are working towards the granting of permits that will allow the commencement of gold production.

“This transaction represents an important step in the implementation of a new strategy by Cadan, namely to focus on the more advanced and highgrade T’Boli gold and silver project,” Butchart said.

Cadan intends to invest in targeted drilling with the objective of expanding on the present indicated and inferred resources at T’boli, he noted.

South Cotabato seeks DENR help to resolve land row in farming village

by (PNA)


GENERAL SANTOS CITY, Feb. 23 (PNA) – The provincial government of South Cotabato has sought for a re-survey of lands in a farming village in Polomolok town in South Cotabato in a bid to resolve a worsening land conflict in the area.

South Cotabato Governor Arthur Pingoy Jr. said Thursday they have asked the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to conduct another survey of some 45 hectares of farmlands in Barangay Koronadal Proper in Polomolok following claims from local Moro residents that they were part of their ancestral domain.

He said the move is aimed at establishing the real ownership of the lands and eventually diffuse the brewing tension in the area.

Two weeks ago, alleged members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) started to converge in the area supposedly to assist the claims of Moro residents over the lands from local Christian settlers.

The rebels, who were reportedly led by Nadsid Akmad alias Kumander Faisal, allegedly issued threats of violence against local landowners.

Rosanna Albido, a leader of local Christian settlers, said they were forced to stop tilling their farmlands for fear of their security following the issuance of the supposed threats from the rebels.

“We’re appealing to the Army and police forces to remain in the area to ensure our security while the problem is still being resolved,” she said in a consultation-dialogue hosted by the provincial government.

Akmad, who joined the dialogue, admitted they increased their presence in the area but cited that they were there as part of the claimants.

He denied allegations that they issued threats against the landowners and that never intend to sow terror in the area in connection with their claims.

The rebel leader urged the provincial government to relocate several Christian settlers who were staying in their claimed ancestral lands to help resolve the matter.

“We only want to claim our father’s land and we do not want any confrontation with the settlers,” he said.

Akmad said they have documents issued by the Department of Agrarian Reform, DENR and the Registry of Deeds that prove their ownership over the lands.

To diffuse the tension in the area, Pingoy directed a temporary status quo over the ownership of the lands, which were subjects of a Certificate of Land Ownership Award issued by the government.

“I’m urging residents to go on with their normal lives and we’re hoping that the result of the DENR survey will finally resolve this problem,” the governor said.

He ordered the South Cotabato Provincial Police Office and the Army’s 27th Infantry Battalion to deploy regular personnel in the area pending the resolution of the problem..

34 job fairs planned for Region 12 in 2012

by (DEDoguiles/PIA 12)

KORONADAL CITY, South Cotabato, Feb. 22 (PIA) -- At least 34 job fairs have been scheduled by the Department of Labor and Employment-12 (DOLE-12) and its partners for calendar year 2012.

DOLE-12’s partners include private and public colleges and universities, Public Employment Service Offices (PESO), and local government units.

A schedule of job fair activity released by DOLE-12 yesterday noted that five are set this month while six will be held in March.

The remaining job fairs in February will be held on February 24 at Notre Dame of Kidapawan College in Kidapawan City; on February 27 at Notre Dame of Midsayap College; and on February 29 at South Christian College in Midsayap -- all in North Cotabato.

In March, job fairs will be held at the Municipal Plaza of Banga, South Cotabato (March 1); at Notre Dame of Tacurong College in Tacurong City (March 12 – 13); STI College in Koronadal City (March 15); Golden State College, General Santos City (March 18); Notre Dame University in Cotabato City (March 21); and University of Southern Mindanao in Kabacan, Cotabato (March 21).

In April, when the bulk of new graduates join the job-seeking population, three job fairs are planned: at Notre Dame of Dadiangas University in General Santos City on April 4; St. Alexius College in Koronadal City on April 27; and at Kidapawan City Gymnasium on April 27.

Major job fairs are also planned for the Labor Day on May 1, namely: at Protech Center in Koronadal City, at Robinson’s Plaza in General Santos City, and South Seas Mall in Cotabato City.

Another fair will be held at the Municipal Hall of Pigcawayan, in North Cotabato on May 12.

Jobs available in these fairs are for local and overseas employment.

As in the previous job fairs, DOLE-12 advised applicants to bring several copies of their pertinent documents such transcript of records, training certificates, passports (for foreign employment),and others.

During the recent meeting of the Regional Coordinating Committee (RCC) here, DOLE-12 Regional Director Chona Mantilla, advised job seekers as well as graduating students to register with the PESO in their LGU.

“Part of our employment facilitation thrust is skills registration program, which our field office heads are concentrating,” she said.

She added that one of the major uses of the job skills registry is to fit labor supply with the needs of companies.

In this way, she said, more applicants may be hired on the spot because the companies that will be invited to specific job fairs are those that need workers that are available in the particular areas based on the skills registry.

Two job fairs each are planned for June and July, one in August, four in September, three in November, and three in December.

S.Cotabato rehabilitates farm-to market roads

by (DEDoguiles/PIA 12)

KORONADAL CITY, South Cotabato, Feb. 21 (PIA) -- Transporting farm products in some interior barangays in South Cotabato will soon be easier once road rehabilitation projects are completed, a local government official said.

Barangay Affairs Unit chief Joel Dimput recently announced the province will be implementing in the coming weeks a P5-M project for the construction of Junction National Highway San Vicente – Malaya road in nearby Banga town.

“The provincial government has already received SARO (Special Allotment Release Order) from the Department of Budget and Management for the implementation of the project,” Dimput said.

The fund was taken from the allocation of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) following request by Gov. Arthur Y. Pingoy Jr.

“Gov. Pingoy has ordered Engr. Marnilo Aperocho, acting chief of the Provincial Office, to immediately prepare the program of work for the project so that this can be started at once,” Dimput said.

“Once the dilapidated road is repaired and rehabilitated, moving agricultural products from the interior barangays to intended markets would be easier and cheaper.”

The road, he said, would also benefit farm families in barangay Puti and other barangays in adjacent Norala town.

Dimput also announced that the rehabilitation of Upper Sepaka – Kibang farm-to-market road is nearing completion.

“Gov. Pingoy made this a priority project of his administration to so that products in Barangay Ned would be transported to Sto. Niño and Surallah towns in South Cotabato instead of the bringing these to markets in Sultan Kudarat,” he said.

He said, Engr. Aperocho has assured that the Sepaka-Kibang FMR would be more durable.

Instead of using mountain fill in the road upgrading, the project is using sand and gravel quarried from a river in Surallah to make sure that road would not be easily washed out.

Dimput said the provincial government is also considering putting up detachments in several locations from Barangay Ned to Upper Sepaka for security purposes.

OWWA announces scholarship grant for OFW children, dependents

by (DEDoguiles/PIA 12)

KORONADAL CITY, South Cotabato, Feb. 20 (PIA) -- Soccsksargen Region’s Office of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA-12) here has announced the opening of the Education for Development Scholarship Program (EDSP) for school year 2013-2014.

OWWA 12 Regional Director Abdulgani K. Umag said, the scholarship is open to all graduating high school students who are children or dependents of active OWWA members.

“We have already coordinated with schools all over the region to inform their students who are either children or dependents of OFW workers to already apply for the scholarship grant,” Umag said.

Application forms are available at the OWWA-12 Office at Reyes Subdivision, Barangay Morales, this city.

“Interested students may also get application forms from the public OFW desk officer of their local government unit,” he said.

Deadline of the submission of application forms is on August 31, 2012. The qualifying examination , which Umag said will be administered by the Department of Science and Technology may be held either in November or December this year.

Umag also encouraged interested students to file their application forms earlier because there are documents that need to be submitted to prove that they are bona fide dependents of active OFW members.

“We want to be assured that their parents are still working abroad and are active OWWA members because the money spent for the scholarship belongs to OFWs who paid their contributions,” he explained. “We cannot use the funds to children of undocumented workers.”

EDSP is a scholarship grant offered to qualified beneficiaries/dependents of OWWA members who intend to enrol in any 4-5 year baccalaureate course.

Each scholar gets financial assistance amounting to P30,000.00 per semester or a maximum of P60,000.00 per school year.

Tuition fees shall be paid directly to the school, while the remaining amount shall be released to the scholar upon submission of the grades for the term duration.

To be qualified, a senior high school student should be a child of an OWWA member or brother or sister of an unmarried OWWA member, below 21 years old, and among the upper 20% of the high school graduation class.

Applicants need to present proofs of relationship to the OWWA member such certified birth certificate, proofs of OWWA membership (such as official receipt of OWWA Contribution or certification from OWWA Membership Registry Division.

Other documentary requirements include high school report card, certificate of good moral character, certification issued by the school principal that the student belong to the upper 20 percent of the graduating class.

Applicants who have taken post-secondary or vocational courses or have started a college course are disqualified from EDSP.

Dolefil, labor group settle dispute

by Danilo E. Doguiles

KORONADAL CITY, South Cotabato, Feb 18 (PIA) -- After more than a year of negotiations, pineapple giant Dole Philippines, Inc. (Dolefil) recently awarded to members of the labor union their unpaid benefits.

Report from the Department of Labor and Employment 12 (DOLE 12) said Atty, Rene Almero who represented Dolefil handed to Jose Teruel, leader of AK-NAFLU–KMU (AMADO Kadena NAFLU -KMU), on February 10 a check amounting to P1,113,363.34, as part of the resolution agreed by the parties pertaining to the settlement demands of the workers.

Present also during the ceremony were the members of the tripartite committee including DOLE-12 represented by Assistant Regional Director Yahya A. Centi, Jimmy Marquez and Gelse Lanzaderas; National Conciliation and Mediation Board- 12 Director Feliciano Orihuela , Jr.; AK-NAFLU-KMU representative and Lead.PH.

“Nagpapasalamat kami, ako at aking mga kasama sa ginawa ng DOLE, lalong lalo na kay (DOLE 12) Director Chona M. Mantilla para sa pagpaunlak na Ibigay ngayong araw ang tseke. Gayun din sa Dolefil na umintindi sa mga prinsipyo na hinahawakan naming,” Teruel said after receiving the check.

Furthermore, he advised the other unions to be open to dialogues and to settlement.

“Dialogue is better than litigation,” he said.

Mesawhile, Atty. Almero said Dolefil is thankful to DOLe 12 and to the members of TRICOM for the time and effort of being with them in settling the issues between Dolefil Inc. and the workers.

“Credit should be given to DOLE and the TRICOM. Candidly speaking, if not for the committee, the case should have been forwarded for litigation and will cost both parties more money and effort,” Almero said.

Dolefil Tripartite Committee was created last January 2011 in compliance to Administrative Order No. 08, creating a Tripartite Committee at Dole Philippines, issued by DOLE Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz.

The committee is composed of the two contending unions: AK- NAFLU-KMU and Lead.PH, DOLE 12, NCMB 11 and NCMB 12, and representatives from CHR, Army, PNP, LGU of Polomolok, and Dolefil Inc.

At the onset, the committee signed a social accord that aimed to maintain the peace and the integrity of the forthcoming certification election of Dolefil Inc., by mutually binding themselves to safeguard the rights of the workers before, during and after negotiations.

ARD Centi citing the success of the committee said that “settlement in the industry is very vital in gaining social justice”.(CDMLadot/DOLE 12/DEDoguiles/PIA 12)

Health official welcomes deployment of nurses by PhilHealth

by (DEDoguiles/PIA 12)

KORONADAL CITY, South Cotabato, Feb. 17 (PIA) -- Philippine Health Insurance Corporation’s (Philhealth) decision to hire and deploy nurses in the entire country would be an advantage to government hospitals, a local health official said.

Dr. Conrado Braña, chief of South Cotabato Provincial Hospital here said PhilHealth’s plan to assign at least one nurse to every public hospital would mean a big improvement in the services to health insurance beneficiaries.

“This would be a great help to our hospital staff because there will be a specific person who will be able to explain to patients about availment process, assist in filling out forms, and even help in computing the amount of services that could be availed,” he said.

With a nurse assigned to attend to Philhealth patients, the hospital staff delegated to this work could be assigned to the actual jobs they were primarily hired for.

Dr. Braña explained that at present, government hospitals have to delegate a staff to assist Philhealth patients, and prepare documents for the claims.

“This move of Philhealth is a very good news to public hospitals, which are often understaffed,” he added.

Delays in the processing of claims could also be ironed out, Dr. Braña said, because problems like insufficient information, wrong calculations and entries and the like could be avoided.

Early this month, Philhealth president and chief executive officer Dr. Eduardo Banzon said Philhealth will hire at least 530 nurses under its Customer Assistance, Relations and Empowerment Staff (CARES) program.

They will be deployed to government hospitals all over the country.

Banzon added the program was conceptualized to employ some of the more than 298,000 jobless nurses.

Philhealth CARES nurses, who will be paid P15,000 monthly salary, will help ensure hassle-free availment of Philhealth benefits via spot eligibility checks in hospitals, expedite the documentary requirements of PhilHealth members in hospitals, and lessen the return-to-hospital benefit claims, according to information posted at the Philhealth website.

“Besides assisting PhilHealth members with PhilHealth availment, these nurses would also conduct interviews with patients whether they were satisfied with the services provided by the health facility,” Hannah Naanep, information officer of PhilHealth 12 explained.

Results of the survey could be used as bases for Philhealth to facilitate improvement of the services that public hospitals should deliver to PhilHealth members, she added.

Naanep said, the PhilHealth CARES nurses will be deployed in March until December this year.

Kidapawan villages get P5-M aid from Department of Agriculture-12

by LM Salvo and Danilo E. Doguiles

KORONADAL CITY, South Cotabato, Feb. 17 (PIA) -- Eight barangays in Kidapawan City recently received P5-million worth of livelihood projects from the Department of Agriculture Region12 (DA-12).

DA-12’s assistance to Brgys. Amazion, Junction, Linangkob, Singao, Kalaisan, Paco, San Roque, and Macebolig were channeled via the agency’s Mindanao Rural Development Program-Community Fund for Agricultural Development (MRDP-CFAD).

During the 14th foundation anniversary of Kidapawan last week, MRDP-CFAD formally turned over P2.5 M worth of cattle livelihood projects to recipient groups in Barangays Amazion, Junction, Linangkob, Singao, and Kalaisan.

Earlier, MRDP-CFAD handed in P2.5-million worth of projects to farmer associations, rural improvement clubs, and farmers’cooperatives in Brgys Paco, San Roque, and Macebolig. These projects include pre- and post-harvest facilities, traveling rice mill, and swine production assistance.

During the turn-over ceremonies, DA-12 Regional Executive Director Amalia Jayag-Datukan said these livelihood projects could be of great help to the members of the farmer’s cooperatives and associations. (LMS-DA 12/DED-PIA 12)

LGU intensifies drive against illegal quarries

by Fruto C. Sumagaysay Jr.

KORONADAL CITY, South Cotabato, Feb. 15 (PIA) – Illegal quarry operators beware.

The local government unit of North Cotabato has beefed up its efforts to protect its quarry resources from illegal quarry operations.

Gov. Emmylou “Lala” Taliño-Mendoza said she is willing to give a P50,000 reward for every illegal quarry operator reported to her office.

Taliño-Mendoza made the declaration during a recent dialogue-consultation with barangay officials, quarry operators, and officials from the National Irrigation Administration, Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), and other line agencies.

She said she is “dead serious” in the campaign against illegal extraction of quarry materials in the province.

The P50,000 cash incentive per illegal operator, she explained, will be given to the first barangay who can report any firm or individual utilizing quarry materials from privately-owned lands and/or public lands within the territorial jurisdiction of Cotabato without permit, or operating with expired permit, or quarrying and mining outside their specified permit area. She also promised to conduct random checks on various quarry sites in the province to personally monitor if there is any unlawful utilization of Cotabato’s mineral resources.

She also warned operators that the provincial government will not hesitate to enforce sanctions or legal action against anyone violating Provincial Ordinance 410 adopting the 2007 Revised Revenue Code of Cotabato.

During the said forum, quarry operators were briefed on the provisions of the said ordinance pertaining to “Tax on Sand, Gravel, and Other Quarry Resources” and “Quarry Operations” of the 2007 Revised Revenue Code of Cotabato.

As she urged the barangay leaders to help protect the province from illegal quarry operations, the governor also explained how the barangay will benefit when required quarry taxes and fees are properly collected.

“When all fees due to the barangay are collected, this would mean more projects for your barangay…more services to your constituents,” she said.

Based on the 2007 Revised Revenue Code of Cotabato, proceeds of the tax on sand, gravel and other quarry resources shall be shared: 30 percent to the provincial government, 30 percent to the LGU where the materials are extracted, and 40 percent to the barangay where the concession area was located.

She then appealed to the barangay officials to help in monitoring quarry activities in their respective area of responsibility and to ensure that the quantity of extracted quarry or sand and gravel resources is declared accurately by the permit holder.

To further guarantee that rightful fees go to the coffers of the government, Governor Taliño-Mendoza also dared barangay officials to report scrupulous tax collector who conspire with quarry operators or truckers. For every collector proven to have illegal transactions with quarry operators, she said is willing to give another P50,000. (LQG/IDCD/PGO N.Cotabato/DEDoguiles/PIA 12)

S. Cotabato launches riparian zone re-vegetation program

by Fruto C. Sumagaysay Jr.

KORONADAL CITY, South Cotabato, Feb 14 (PIA) -- At least 425 bamboo seedlings were recently planted along riverbanks in Barangay BS Aquino Jr. in Norala, South Cotabato to kick off the riparian zone re-vegetation (RZR) program of the Provincial Environment Management Office (PEMO).

Acting PEMO chief Engr. Siegfred Flaviano, who led the launching on February 7, said the province’s RZR program aims to help mitigate the adverse effects of climate change.

The program was a joint collaborative of the municipal LGU, barangay LGU, Norala National High School and the landowners and claimants in the area.

Tita Faciolan , Norala’s municipal environment and natural resources officer and Laarni Fabiano who spoke for the national high school expressed commitment to support the program.

Fabiano narrated that their initial plan was to plant the bamboo seedlings inside the school’s premises, but later decided to plant these along riverbanks as part of their community service.

Earlier, PEMO’s Forest and Inland Water Division conducted an information drive with community stakeholders at Brgy. BS Aquino Jr. barangay hall where re-vegetation of riparian zones was emphasized.

Discussions centered on the use of bamboo for riverbank stabilization. Economic benefits of bamboo were also covered in the discussion.

A signing of a memorandum of agreement that define and stipulate responsibilities of stakeholders followed the bamboo planting activity.

Farmer/landowners and beneficiaries likewise signified their commitment and support to sustain the program through a pledge of commitment officiated by Engr. Flaviano.

Barangay Kagawad Cyril Cancel, representing Punong Barangay Leonar Vincent Lida, acknowledged the participants and expressed their gratitude in choosing their barangay as recipient of the RZR program.

In an earlier interview with a local radio station, Engr. Falviano pointed out that the activity is part of their massive program to protect embankments of rivers in the province.

Besides being an important plant to protect riverbanks from erosion, the provincial government also sees bamboo as a major source of income for farmers. South Cotabato LGU has been pushing for the establishment of bamboo hubs where engineered bamboos can be produced. (FSumagaysay/SoCot PIO/DEDoguiles/PIA 12)

Investors eye S. Cotabato for high value crops development

by Danilo E. Doguiles

KORONADAL CITY, South Cotabato , Feb 13 (PIA) – Good news to farmers in South Cotabato: a group of investors is looking for at least 3,000 hectares for development of high value crops here. Provincial Agriculturist Reynaldo Legaste has confirmed they have been meeting with representatives of Puyat Group of Companies for the possibility of the expansion in South Cotabato for development of at least 1,000 hectares each for rubber, coffee and cassava. “These investors can expand their operations to as much as 5,000 hectares,” Legaste said. Besides these three crops, the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist (OPAG) has also seen this as an opportunity to introduce soybean as an alternative source of income among farmers here. Besides the suitability of the soil and terrain of the province for the development of these crops, Legaste said these investors were attracted to South Cotabato because of the warm welcome they get from residents and local government officials here. Legaste, however assured that planting of these high value crops would not affect the province’s rice and corn production. “We offer for their consideration the watershed areas,” he said. In this way, he explained, watershed areas that have lost their forest cover could be replanted and the farmers in the area will be given opportunity to earn a living. Legaste said more agreements can be arrived at in the coming weeks. (DEDoguiles/PIA 12)

Health Insurance


KORONADAL CITY, South Cotabato (PIA) -- South Cotabato Gov. Arthur Y. Pingoy Jr. lauded the automatic inclusion of conditional cash transfer (CCT) beneficiaries as PhilHealth members as announced by the Department of Social Welfare and Development Office – 12 (DSWD 12). During a recent orientation of social welfare officers on National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction (NHTS – PR) for Indigenous People in this city, Pingoy said this development provides an opportunity for the provincial government to enrol more indigents in the province into the health insurance.

Gov welcomes inclusion of 4Ps beneficiaries as PhilHealth members

by Fruto C. Sumagaysay Jr.

KORONADAL CITY, South Cotabato, Feb 10 (PIA) -- South Cotabato Gov. Arthur Y. Pingoy Jr. lauded the automatic inclusion of conditional cash transfer beneficiaries as Philhealth members as announced by the Department of Social Welfare and Development Office – 12 (DSWD 12) .

During a recent orientation of social welfare officers on National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction (NHTS – PR) for Indigenous People in this city, Pingoy said this development provides an opportunity for the provincial government to enrol more indigents in the province into the health insurance.

He plans to make use of P10 million budget of the provincial LGU, originally intended for "poorest of the poor" -- including 4Ps beneficiaries -- to enrol other indigent families not covered by the CCT.

With 4Ps beneficiaries taken off from original list of indigents that the provincial government sponsored for Philhealth enrolment, he said, more poor residents in the province could become health card holders.

“The provincial government will enroll as Philhealth members those who were not included in the NHTS – PR survey but are identified as "poorest of the poor" in the Community Health Living Standard Survey (CHLSS),” Pingoy added.

NHTS-PR was the basis of DSWD's identification of CCT recipients. CHLSS, on the other hand, was a survey conducted under the auspices of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) that also identified the poorest families in South Cotabato.

Since the national government has paid their health insurance of 4Ps beneficiaries, the provincial government could pay for the Philhealth cards of 15,000 more indigent families, he said.

Jakiya Lao of DSWD 12 said, they will only pay P900.00 per year as health insurance premium of the 4Ps member-beneficiaries to PhilHealth.

South Cotabato , according to DSWD 12 record, has a total of 29,112 4Ps beneficiaries.

They are in T’boli with 12,907 beneficiaries, Lake Sebu, 8,439; Tupi, 6,297; Polomolok, 4,367; Surallah, 4,128; Banga, 3,603; City of Koronadal, 1,088;Tantangan, 924; Tampakan, 922; Norala, 748; and Sto. Nino, 689.

In Mindanao, Region 12 ranks second to Region 11 in having the most IP settlers. (FrutoSumagaysay Jr/ SoCot PIO/DEDoguiles/PIA 12)

Barangay Council commends Gov, PENRO for immediate action on illegal quarry operators

by Fruto C. Sumagaysay Jr.

KORONADAL CITY, South Cotabato, Feb. 9 (PIA) -- The Barangay Council of Klinan 6, Polomolok town commended South Cotabato Governor Arthur “Dodo” Y. Pingoy Jr and officials of the Provincial Environment Management Office (PEMO) for their immediate action against rampant illegal quarry operations in their area.

Through Resolution No. 4 s. 2012 passed on February 6, 2012, Klinan 6 Barangay Council led by chairwoman Florencia Docallos extended their commendation to Governor Pingoy for his leadership in strictly implementing the Provincial Environment Code (PEC), specifically on quarry operations.

The same resolution also thanked acting PEMO Engr. Siegfred Flaviano, Engr. Roldan Lachica and Quarry Inspector Remus Guillermo for their apprehension of illegal quarry operators.

The PEMO staff apprehended and impounded two dump trucks last January 26, 2012 at Klinan 6 for quarrying using expired permits.

They were later released upon payment of penalty, the PEMO report said.

PEMO started this year with a series of apprehensions and impositions of penalties against errant quarry operators as well as resolution of permittee quarry boundaries as part of its campaign to strictly enforce the PEC on quarry operations.

South Cotabato generated P5.76 million in quarry or “sand and gravel” tax in 2011. (Fruto Sumagaysay Jr/SoCot PIO/DEDoguiles/PIA 12)

DA 12 warns farmers on new rice pest


KORONADAL CITY, South Cotabato, Feb. 8 (PIA) -- Agriculture officials in Region 12 or Soccsksargen Region have warned local farmers of a new rice pest that have attacked some parts of the country.

According to a report of the Regional Crop Protection Center (RCPC) in Tacurong City submitted to the DA-12 Regional Executive Director Amalia Jayag – Datukan, this new rice has been observed in Bicol, Western Visayas, Central Visayas, Eastern Visayas, Zamboanga Peninsula, and Caraga regions.

The pest was presented during the KASAKALIKASAN –BPI workshop on the Establishment and Operations of the Community-based Biological Control Agents, Bantay Peste Brigade and Updates on the Management of Insect on Corn, Cassava, Banana, and Coconut in Manila.

On December 21 last year, Dr, Clarito M. Barron , director of the Bureau of Plant Industry, also released an advisory on the pest.

RCPC-12 Officer-in-Charge Ludivina S. Dumaya described that the rice grain or seed bug smaller than rice bug, moves quickly and easily in water and a crawling type of pest.

Dumaya added that this pest is similar to an ordinary rice bug (Leptocoriza oryzae) commonly called tiangaw which feeds on rice grains. This pest, she added differs from the ordinary bug because it has the ability to fall off to the ground when touched or disturbed.

According to the advisory, the recently discovered pest attacks rice panicles from flowering stage to milking stage and results in unfilled or discolored grains that eventually reduces quality and subsequently yield.

RCPC in Bicol Region reported 50 to 70 percent crop damage due to the same pest in estimated 100 hectares of rice in Camarines Sur.

Although the pest has not yet been reported here, South Cotabato Provincial Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Coordinator Dave Nicolas urged local farmers to intensively monitor their farms.

“Bantayan natin ang bagong tuklas na pesteng kulisap na ito nang hindi na dumami at makapaminsala sa ating mga palayan,”he said.

As immediate action, Dumaya said that RCPC will conduct massive information dissemination across Soccsksargen Region about the pest; they will also intensify coordination with IPM controllers in the region.

Aside fom these, RCPC is also set to attend Municipal Agriculture Officer’s (MAOs) meetings to relay the information on this pest and to mobilize Bantay Peste Brigade.

BPI - Manila has recommended the following measures and strategies to control the spread of this pest: 1) burning or plowing under of rice straw/stubbles right after harvest to kill the bugs; b) ensuring sanitation and cleanliness of rice fields, including dikes; regularly monitoring of the field to determine early pest appearance. In case the pest is already present it is recommended that application of green label contact insecticides be done early morning or late afternoon. (with report from LMSalvo/DA 12/DEDoguiles/PIA 12)

PCCI seeks Palace meeting on Tampakan project


THE Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI), the country’s biggest business organization, is seeking an audience with President Aquino to push for the continuation of the $5.6-billion Tampakan copper-gold project.

Miguel Varela, PCCI president, said the group understands the concerns of the provincial government and other oppositors of the open-pit mining method.

However, Varela said based on consultations and studies made for the Tampakan project, the proponent Sagittarius Mines Inc. “will be able to respond to any possible impact of the open-pit mining method.”

Varela, at his recent visit to General Santos City, said the national chamber will make representations in Malacañang for the Tampakan project in support of the local business chambers, including the Mindanao Business Council.

“We will make our own representation because we believe all the safeguards are in place for this project. The Tampakan project is an investment the government must not ignore. The parties supporting the Tampakan project are doing the correct process and we will do our part by talking to the national government”, Varela said.

Varela met with local business groups in South Cotabato and Tampakan Mayor Leonardo Escobillo over the weekend to discuss issues hounding what is seen as the biggest single foreign investment in the country.

Varela said the proponent of the Tampakan project has “consulted the community and that this project will benefit not only the host municipality but the entire country.”

“We were presented with the environmental and safety plans for the Tampakan project and this project is actually doable,” he said.

Varela said they are also willing to dialogue with the South Cotabato provincial officials, consistent with the pronouncement of South Cotabato Gov. Arthur Pingoy that he welcomes a dialogue with any group to finally resolve the Tampakan issue.

Pingoy has declared that he is not against the Tampakan project but wants to resolve an environmental code “he is bound to implement” through intervention from either the courts or the national government.

Aside from the ban on open-pit mining ordinance that was issued by the local government of South Cotabato, the Tampakan project was also denied the environmental clearance certificate by Environment Secretary Ramon Paje.

Construction gov’t hospital in S. Cotabato begins

by Danilo E. Doguiles

KORONADAL CITY, South Cotabato, Feb. 5 (PIA) -- Red won’t be the color of Valentine’s Day in Maguindanao Province. Instead, it will be a beautiful mix of colors of the Muslim culture as the local government, private sector, and residents celebrate their first Sagayan Festival. Organizers said the staging of the five-day Sagayan Festival, which will start on Friday, Feb. 10, is a move to boost this Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao province’s ecotourism. It is also geared to promote a better image for Maguindanao. Although all 32 towns of Maguindanao will be participating in the festival, all Sagayan activities will be held at the interim provincial government seat, Buluan town. Raquel Magalona, overall festival coordinator, said the opening day would be highlighted by a civic parade, opening of the agri-trade fair and a grand kanduli and thanksgiving banquet. At the kanduli, Muslim delicacies and dishes made from tilapia, one of Buluan town’s primary products will definitely be served. Medical and veterinary services, livelihood trainings, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority demonstrations and social welfare services will also be given on Friday and will last until Feb. 14. Other activities include Carabao race, horse fight, drum and lyre competition, rubber and palm oil technology forum and cultural presentations. Saturday, Feb. 11 is exclusive to two important festival competitions such as Sayagan Dancing and Kulintang competion. A street dance, a showdown and a tribute program will highlight Feb. 14. Sagayan is a Muslim war dance traced from both Maguindanao and Maranao tribes. It depicts the steps of their hero Prince Batugan from wearing his armaments, the war he fought in, and his victory. Dancers carry a shield with shell noisemakers on one hand and a kris (double-bladed sword) on the other. (DED/PIA12)

Maguindanao to stage maiden Sagayan Festival

by Danilo E. Doguiles

KORONADAL CITY, South Cotabato, Feb. 5 (PIA) -- Red won’t be the color of Valentine’s Day in Maguindanao Province. Instead, it will be a beautiful mix of colors of the Muslim culture as the local government, private sector, and residents celebrate their first Sagayan Festival.

Organizers said the staging of the five-day Sagayan Festival, which will start on Friday, Feb. 10, is a move to boost this Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao province’s ecotourism.

It is also geared to promote a better image for Maguindanao.

Although all 32 towns of Maguindanao will be participating in the festival, all Sagayan activities will be held at the interim provincial government seat, Buluan town.

Raquel Magalona, overall festival coordinator, said the opening day would be highlighted by a civic parade, opening of the agri-trade fair and a grand kanduli and thanksgiving banquet.

At the kanduli, Muslim delicacies and dishes made from tilapia, one of Buluan town’s primary products will definitely be served.

Medical and veterinary services, livelihood trainings, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority demonstrations and social welfare services will also be given on Friday and will last until Feb. 14.

Other activities include Carabao race, horse fight, drum and lyre competition, rubber and palm oil technology forum and cultural presentations.

Saturday, Feb. 11 is exclusive to two important festival competitions such as Sayagan Dancing and Kulintang competion.

A street dance, a showdown and a tribute program will highlight Feb. 14.

Sagayan is a Muslim war dance traced from both Maguindanao and Maranao tribes. It depicts the steps of their hero Prince Batugan from wearing his armaments, the war he fought in, and his victory. Dancers carry a shield with shell noisemakers on one hand and a kris (double-bladed sword) on the other. (DED/PIA12)

Koronadal LGU brings offices closer to villagers

by (DEDoguiles/PIA 12)

KORONADAL CITY, South Cotabato, Feb. 4 (PIA) -- Residents of the 27 barangays in this city can expect services of the city local government unit to be more accessible.

This after the city LGU launched its “Programang Bayanihan para sa Mamamayan,” which begins this month.

Mayor Peter B. Miguel explained through the bayanihan, basic services will be brought closer to the residents by bringing the city offices to each barangay for a day.

He also hopes to establish closer ties between offiicials and citizens through a fellowship.

Besides the office of the city mayor, other departments such as civil registrar, environment and natural resources, engineering, veterinary, population, social welfare and development, assessor, nutrition, cooperative, Comelec, business permits and licensing system, cooperative and information will set up offices in the target barangays for one day.

The activity will be a one-stop shop where needs of villagers could be attended to. This would also be time for locals to settle their accounts with the city government, the mayor said.

Among the services that residents can avail of include: real property tax, assistance and consultation regarding organization of cooperatives, medical and dental services, lectures on family planning and responsible parenthood, free registration of live birth, payment of taxes, and many others.

There will also be free haircut and sharpening of tools.

Just recently, Mayor Miguel called on barangay captains to actively support the activity. (DEDoguiles/PIA 12)

LGU padlocks 94 stalls in public market

by (DEDoguiles/PIA 12)

KORONADAL CITY, South Cotabato Feb. 3 (PIA) -- Some 94 stalls inside the Koronadal City Public Market were padlocked yesterday following an order from the Office of the City Treasurer.

Owners of these stalls, according to acting city treasurer Marluon Gumbao – majority from the meat section -- have been remiss in renewing their business permit and rental despite repeated notices and reminders.

A composite team from the Office of the City Treasurer, City Administrator’s Office, City Security Unit, Koronadal City PNP, and Office of the Market Supervisor implemented the closure of stalls.

Gumbao said, this is to show that the city government is bent on implementing its campaign against delinquent stall business operators.

He added the treasurer’s office was serious when he promised that they will publish the names of delinquent stall owners and padlock their stalls if they refuse to settle their accounts.

Generally, he said, except for minor altercations, stall owners had not reacted violently to their implementation of the closure orders.

“They know that we have regulatory powers and that we have not exceeded our authority,” he explained.

“I am thankful that the stall owners inside the public market understood us. Although some of them did not expect that we will actually execute our promise,” he said.

Gumbao they will continue with their campaign.

Labor attaché to Rome assumes post as DOLE-12 chief

by Danilo E. Doguiles

KORONADAL CITY, Feb. 1 (PIA) -- Chona Mantilla, labor attaché to Rome, today begins her new assignment at the Department of Labor and Employment in Soccsksargen Region (DOLE-12).

Mantilla takes the place of Atty. Ma. Gloria Tango, who is re-assigned as regional director of DOLE in Central Visayas in accordance to the order of Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz for the department-wide reshuffling of regional directors and assistant regional directors to strengthen the delivery of services and to maintain transparency in all DOLE offices.

Assistant Regional Director Joel Gonzales is also transferred as ARD Caraga Region (Region 13). In his lieu, former Zamboanga Peninsula ARD Yahya Centi now serves as ARD of DOLE-12.

Mantilla, a graduate of AB Journalism and Bachelor of Laws from Silliman University and Master of Social Sciences from the University of Tasmania in Australia, was labor attaché to Rome from 2009 to 2011.

She was regional director of DOLE in Caraga Region from 2005 until 2009.

During the turn-over ceremony on Monday, Mantilla said, she is ready to immediately begin with her new assignment.

“I am very fortunate because I am ushered into a regional office with veteran leaders like RD Tango and ARD Jong (Gonzales),” she said.

One of her most immediate activities, she added, is to look into the work and financial plan prepared by the regional staff under the leadership of Director Tango.

“We will try to continue what has been done before and with the help of the regional staff, as well as our partners in the agency, our private partners and the media we will be able to work out more development for the region,” she said.

She assured that she will continue the agency’s focus on employment facilitation, labor relations, and welfare of the labor force.

“I would also like to strengthen relationship with local government units as well as our private partners,” she said.

Immediately after the turn-over ceremony, Mantilla scheduled a meeting with the Regional Coordinating Council, provincial heads and division chiefs to validate plans and programs.

She said she will also meet with local officials in Soccsksargen Region, which covers the provinces of Sarangani, South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, and North Cotabato and the cities of Cotabato, Kidapawan, Tacurong, Koronadal, and General Santos.

Regarding her predecessor, she said, Atty. Tango has been her role model. “An institution,” she described.

“Mahirap pantayan ang previous leadership, talagang crème dela crème,” she said.

In her stay as chief of DOLE 12, Tango was credited for leading in the promotion of industrial peace in the region as evidenced by zero strike in her entire five-year stint here. It was also during her leadership that DOLE 12 achieved ISO 9001-2008 certification for its quality management system.

Mantilla  is  confident that  her administration  will succeed  with the   help of the regional team  and the network of  partners.

“Let us help one another,” she asked the participants of the turn-over ceremony.

Meanwhile, Carlito Uy, vice chairman for management of the Regional Tripartite Industrial Peace Council said Director Mantilla can expect full support from their group.

“We are ready for whatever program that she will introduce in line with labor and management relationship,” he said “especially in the promotion of industrial peace.”

“I am sure, given her experience as regional director of Caraga and as labor attaché, she knows what would be best for both labor and management,” Uy added. (DEDoguiles/PIA 12)

Tags:   [ information on Department  of Labor and Employment ][ DOLE-12 ][ Chona  Mantilla ][ Gloria Tango ]
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