NHA expedites release of PHP30,000 aid to Zambo IDPs

Created on Friday, 02 May 2014

The National Housing Authority (NHA) has facilatated the release of the PHP30,000 home material assistance (HOMA) to internally displaced persons (IDPs) affected by the September 2013 siege in this city.

City Planning and Development Coordinator Rodrigo Sicat said the NHA has set a target to release HOMA to 100 families per week to be able to cater to most of the identified beneficiaries by the end of June this year.

The materials that the beneficiaries receive through the HOMA include gravel, sand, cement, deformed bars, tie wires, plywood, lumber, corrugated galvanized iron sheets, plain G.I. sheets, and nails.

Sicat, who heads the rehabilitation cluster, said that there are 1,661 families that were identified as HOMA beneficiaries.

The beneficiaries are residents who are lot owners and whose houses were burned down during the fire incidents that broke out at the height of the September 2013 siege.

The HOMA is being provided by the NHA in coordination with the city government.

The grant of the HOMA is part of the Zamboanga City Roadmap to Recovery and Reconstruction.(PNA)

SOLCOM spearheads Balikatan 2014 in Bicol Region

Created on Friday, 02 May 2014

The Southern Luzon Command (SOLCOM) based here and United States military counterparts spearhead this week until May 17 the “Balikatan 2014” or the Joint Civil-Military Task Force (JCMOTF) in conducting humanitarian civic activities in the province of Albay.

The join military and civilian activities are undertaken through the Command’s 901st Infantry (Fight ‘Em) Brigade, 9th Infantry (Spear) Division, Philippine Army, Naval Forces Southern Luzon (NAVFORSOL) and Tactical Operations Group 5.

Under the arrangements, SOLCOM and US troops conduct various humanitarian and civic activities such as the construction and renovation of school-buildings, medical and veterinary services, medical symposia including training and other cooperative expertise-exchange endeavors in Legazpi City and Guinobatan, Albay.

SOLCOM Commander Lt. General Caesar Ronnie F. Ordoyo said the SOLCOM troops and US counterparts are currently constructing a health center, two-room classroom building, water catchment system and concreting of sidewalks in Malobago Elementary School in Barangay Malobago in Guinobatan.

Another one-room school building at the Doña Mercedes Elementary School also in Guinobatan is a joint civil-military work in progress.

Lt. Gen. Ordoyo also underscored the installation of water storage tank and construction of a public rest room for the benefit of residents in Barangay Pawa, Legazpi City.

Ordoyo added that another repair and renovation of school building is on-going in Tamaoyan Elementary School in Barangay Tamaoyan also in Legazpi City.

He said the 565th Engineering Construction Battalion of 51st Engineering Brigade, Philippine Army; Air Engineering Wing of the Philippine Air Force and the Philippine Navy Engineering Team “Seabees” along with the US engineers are now working shoulder to shoulder to complete these engineering works.

“Besides these infra projects, our troops continuously conduct civil-military symposia by engaging military experts of both the Philippines and United States Armed Forces to share best practices and ideas in order to further develop methods of operations in each area of civil-military operation,” Lt. Gen. Ordoyo explained.

A symposium on cooperative health and community relations was organized with the participation of professional health practitioners in Bicol region in order to promote and encourage multi-sectoral participation in the Balikatan 2014.

The SOLCOM commanding general pointed out that “Balikatan” aims to enhance the capabilities and inter-operability of the AFP and US troops to address significant areas of concern and provide assistance on areas where the need is greatest.

The joint military partnership activities will also strengthen humanitarian assistance mechanism through non-traditional approach.(PNA)

DA-Bicol opens summer youth internship program

Created on Thursday, 01 May 2014

The Regional Field Unit (RFU) for Bicol of the Department of Agriculture (DA) based here has opened its doors to this year’s Summer Youth Internship Program (SYIP), taking in 26 applicants who qualified following a rigorous screening process.

SYIP, DA Regional Executive Director Abelardo Bragas on Thursday explained, is under the Government Internship Program (GIP), which is a summer training-cum-employment opportunity that engages the youth in constructive and productive public service to draw their support and understanding of government programs and projects.

It accommodates youth or those aged between 18 and 25 years old who are high school, college or vocational students, out-of-school who are poor but deserving and college graduates with interest in working in government.

Those taken in to the program, Bragas said, are entitled to an incentive of 75 percent of the existing daily minimum wage rate during the entire duration of their services.

“We had 300 applicants when we recently opened the program but unfortunately, only 26 made it by passing the screening process,” he said.

Bragas, together with various regional technical directors and division chiefs of the RFU 5, welcomed these passers during ceremonies marking the start of their tours of duty over the week.

In the ceremonies, the youth were made to understand the rules and regulations of the program, the preface of the agency’s profile and its programs and projects.

A pledge of commitment was also undertaken, he said.

SYIP, according to Bragas, is an annual program of the DA that offers a 20-day experience wherein the interns are introduced to actual government operations in accordance with Section 13, Article XI of the 1987 Philippine Constitution that says “The state shall promote and protect the physical, moral, spiritual and social well-being of the young people and inculcate in them patriotism and nationalism, and encourage their involvement in public and civil affairs.”

It is also part of the DA’s responsibility to the National Council for the Welfare of Disabled Persons as member of the governing board, thus, persons with disability are one of the priorities of the program. (PNA)

EMB-12 sets massive fund drive for rehab of critical creek in Koronadal City

Created on Thursday, 01 May 2014

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) in Region 12 will launch a massive campaign to raise funds for the rehabilitation of the critical Bulok Creek in Koronadal City.

Ma. Socorro Lanto, EMB Region 12 director, said Thursday they are currently organizing a fun run to jumpstart the series of planned fund drives, which will be assisted by the city government of Koronadal and other local stakeholders.

She said the fun run will mainly promote the revival of Bulok Creek, which traverses the main commercial district of Koronadal City.

“Our main goal is to revive the creek and establish a cleaner, safer and healthier environment within the areas that it covers,” Lanto said in a press conference.

The official called on local stakeholders to support their initiative, especially the fund raising campaign for the creek’s revival.

She said they opted to organize a fun run, which will be staged as part of the Earth Day celebration in June, so they can reach out to various sectors within the locality.

Through the activity, she said they’re hoping to generate more support for their information and education campaign about the importance of keeping the creek clean and implementing proper solid waste management in the area.

Aside from these efforts, Lanto said they will continue with their cleanup activities at the creek in coordination with concerned barangays and other sectors.

“We need to prevent people from throwing their garbage at the creek as they would eventually cause flooding and health problems,” she said.

“We just would like to enjoin all sectors in this endeavor and make people understand that we are just trying to make our community safe,” Lanto added.

Last year, EMB-12 launched the “adopt-estero” program in coordination with the city government and local businesses to help maintain the creek’s cleanliness.(PNA)

DavNor’s Learning Institute scholars get diploma for Public Admin degree

Created on Thursday, 01 May 2014

It was a dream come true for seven scholars of the Davao del Norte Learning Institute (DNLI), who graduated with the specialized degree of Bachelor of Public Administration.

Governor Rodolfo del Rosario presented their diplomas during the commencement program of the Davao del Norte State College (DNSC) early this month.

The graduates finished the course one year after enrolling in the innovative degree program that credited their combined trainings and seminars attended, relevantwork experience and placement examination.

They were among the 30 Capitol employees comprising the first batch of DNLI scholars enrolled at the DNSC, the partner institution granting the degree. The other 23student employees are set to graduate in July 2014.

The first in the country, DNLI is an academy established by the provincial government to serve as a learning facility for public employees, barangay functionaries, and out-of-school youths.

The governor launched the program to provide opportunity for undergraduate personnel to upgrade their academic qualification, as well as, enhance governance and public service.

The province shouldered a big portion of the tuition fee leaving just 25 percent of the bill to the undergrad regular employees, who have been working at the Capitol for not less than five years.

Maritess Macansantos, 57, is forever grateful for the opportunity given her to earn the degree.

“This truly is the greatest treasure that Gov. del Rosario has given us that we can never repay,” she beamed.

The nursing attendant at the Provincial Health Office considered herself a failure when she quit college in 1979 in order to marry during her second year in B.S. in Secondary Education. It took her a long time to get a permanent position and most awaited promotion due to lack of educational qualification. She got her permanent appointment only in 1989 after 12 years of working at the Capitol.

She now cherishes the thought of retiring in few years time bringing home with her most valued diploma. She regards the degree as her redemption from the disappointment she brought her deceased parents decades back. “Now my parents are proud of me,” she said.

After the success of its first batch of scholars in BPA, DNLI’s alternative delivery mode for continuing studies will be offering next the Certificate in PhysicalEducation (CPE), Certificate of Training in Physical Education, (CTPE) and Diploma in Early Childhood Education (DECE). (PNA)

Rotational brownouts in parts of Region 12 worsen

Created on Thursday, 01 May 2014

The daily rotational brownouts in parts of Region 12 has stretched to as high as eight hours on Thursday due to the worsening power supply shortage in the critical Mindanao grid.

Distribution utilities South Cotabato 1 Electric Cooperative (Socoteco 1), South Cotabato 2 Electric Cooperative (Socoteco 2) and the Sultan Kudarat Electric Cooperative separately announced extended rotational outages, which they blamed on the reduced power allocations from the National Power Corporation (NPC) and the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP).

Santiago Tudio, Socoteco 1 general manager, said the NGCP has cut down their daily power allocation earlier this week to around 17 to 20 megawatts (MW) as a result of the drastic reduction of the Mindanao grid’s system capacity.

As of Thursday morning, the NGCP listed the island’s system capacity at 922 MW or 314 MW short of the area’s system peak or power demand of 1,236 MW.

Citing an advisory from the NPC and the NGCP, Tudio said such deficit was mainly caused by the continuing shutdown of the Steag State Power Corporation’s coal-fired power plant in Misamis Oriental and the emergency shutdown of the diesel plant of Therma Marine Inc.

He said the generation capacities of the NPC’s Agus 2, Agus 4, Agus 6 and Pulangi 4 hydropower complexes further declined in the last several days due to the declining water levels at Lake Lanao and the river systems running them.

Such situation was triggered by the lack of rains and the prevailing intense warm weather in the area because of the summer season, he said.

Owing to this, Tudio said they were forced to implement at least three hours of daily rotational brownouts within their service area in the last three days.

He said the electric cooperative has already been operating its leased 12 MW modular generator sets but they were not enough to contain the area’s deficit.

Socoteco 1, which lists a daily peak power demand of 34 to 38 MW, serves eight municipalities in South Cotabato, Koronadal City and Lutayan town in Sultan Kudarat.

In Socoteco 2’s franchise or service area, the rotational brownouts have so far increased to three to four hours from the previous two hours and 30 minutes as a result of the worsening power shortage.

The electric cooperative serves this city, the entire Sarangani Province and the municipalities of Polomolok and Tupi in South Cotabato.

In Sultan Kudarat province, Sukelco officials said they were forced to extend the area’s rotational brownouts from five to eight hours daily due to the power supply deficit.

Claudia Pondales, acting general manager of Sukelco, said they were continually looking for some measures to address the power shortage in the area but noted that they were primarily dependent on the capacity of the Mindanao grid.

She said local power consumers should understand that the Mindanao grid has been facing a huge deficit in terms of power supply.

“Rest assured that we’ve been doing everything we can to address this problem and our focus right now is to bring in immediate solutions,” she said. (PNA)

Davao Light imposes longer brown-outs on and off peak hours

Created on Thursday, 01 May 2014

Starting Thursday, the Davao Light and Power Company (DLPC) increased the rotating brownouts from one hour to a maximum of up to six hours following the reduction of supply allocation to power utilities from the National Power Corporation (NPC).


DLPC consumers will now experience four hours rotating brownouts on peak hours between 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. and two hours on off-peak hours between 9:00 p.m. to 9:00 a.m. the next day.


DLPC prioritizes vital industries and installations such as the hospitals, airport, military installations, water pump stations and the Davao Central 911.


Arturo Millan, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of DLPC, said the reduced capability of the NPC’s Agus 2, 4, 6 and Pulangi 4 hydro-electric power plants resulting from very low water elevation, which is now at 699.5 meters (critical level is 699.15 meters), has forced NPC to reduce its power allocation to DLPC to 120 megawatts (MW) or a shortage of 110MW for Davao City.


Yesterday, power demand in Davao City reached to a highest 330MW as usage increased due to hot temperatures the past days. Normally, demand was only 300MW.


Last week, NPC allocated DLPC about 180MW of power from the contracted supply of 280MW. Currently, Davao Light's total energy supply is about 220MW while its peak demand is estimated at about 320MW resulting to a deficiency of 100MW.


While hopes are high when the two units of STEAG Coal Power Plant are up and running on May 5 (one unit) and June 5 (second unit) and assuming water level at hydro power plants is constant, Millan said the situation will improve a little. However, Davao City will still experience power outages.


The STEAG power plants with a total capacity of 44MW, bogged down since February resulting to Mindanaowide blackout.


Ross Luga, Davao Light Corporate Communications officer, said that with the decreased power allocation by the NPC, the only option remaining is to stretch the duration of the rotating outages.


“This is to avoid total collapse of the entire Mindanao transmission grid which happens when the demand for power exceeds the available supply,” he pointed out.


Luga informed that the electric distribution company will go on with this measure until further advice from the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) to lift its implementation is received. (PNA)

28,000 job vacancies at stake in 2 Labor Day job fairs in GenSan

Created on Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Around 28,000 overseas and local job vacancies will be up for grabs for job seekers here and the neighboring areas in two major job fairs organized by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) in Region 12 in connection with the Labor Day celebration on Thursday, May 1.


Edna Sales, DOLE Region 12’s technical support services chief, said Wednesday a total of 201 employers have so far confirmed their participation in the job fairs that will be conducted at the KCC Mall Events and Convention Center and at the SM City General Santos Trade Hall.


She said 113 companies and job placement agencies are joining the job fair at the KCC Mall and 88 at the SM Mall that would open at 8 am.


Some 16,960 job openings or vacancies will be opened at the KCC Mall job fair and around 11,300 at the SM Mall event, Sales said.


She said most of the job vacancies are for local placements, “which means immediate hiring or work for the successful job seekers.”


“These figures could still increase by the time the job fairs would open as we’re still waiting for confirmations from a number of companies and job placement agencies,” the official told PNA on the phone.


Aside from the job fairs, Sales said a forum for members of the academe will be held at the sidelines of the activities at the SM Mall trade hall.


She said the activity will gather stakeholders of the region’s academic sector to discuss problems on job mismatches and other related concerns in the area.


Region 12, which is also known as the Soccsksargen Region, comprises the provinces of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, North Cotabato and the cities of General Santos, Koronadal, Tacurong, Kidapawan and Cotabato.


Sales said a grand skills display dubbed “world of work” will be staged at the same venue by professional groups and industry stakeholders in the region, she said.


Sales said the event will feature presentations and demonstrations focusing on various skills involved in “blue collar” jobs.


Attached agencies of DOLE will open desks at the two job fair venues to respond to inquiries and provide some services to concerned residents, she said.


The participating agencies include the Technical Education Skills and Development Authority, Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, National Labor Relations Commission and the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration.


Meanwhile, Sales said they will also launch on Thursday morning the newly-installed solar panel system at the DOLE-12 regional office compound in Koronadal City.


She said the system involves a solar-powered generator that could provide stable power supplies to DOLE-12’s offices during power outages or brownouts.


The official said the installation of the solar panel system is part of the agency’s efforts to address the impact on their operations of the daily rotational brownouts affecting the area and help promote the adoption or use by local industries of the green technologies. (PNA)

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