OCD-10 urges LGUs to be ready for disasters

June 24, 2019

MAMBAJAO, Camiguin – To ensure the safety of residents during earthquakes, the local government units must see to it that they are prepared for any disaster that might occur in their area, the Office of Civil Defense-10 (OCD-10) said. Aside from regular earthquake drills that would remind people how to react in case there is a tremor, OCD-10 regional director Rosauro Arnel Gonzales Jr. said the LGUs must also put in place disaster management mechanism, most especially in the training and deployment of responders and procurement of equipment. He said residents might have already been trained on the basic duck-hold-cover move, but to save lives, the local officials must also be equipped to handle disaster response.“The community might tell us that, ‘we are ready,’ but how secure is the government in responding to disasters, especially if there are people affected or there are casualties?” Gonzales told the participants of the regional level of the National Simultaneous Earthquake Drill (NSED) held at Mambajao town, Camiguin Thursday afternoon, June 20. “In this drill, we’d like to showcase the various responses of the government, from the local chief executives up to the barangay, and the different agencies who provided the necessary responders,” he said. During the drill, different scenarios resulting from an earthquake were being played out by both actual responders such as the provincial and municipal disaster risk reduction and management personnel, Bureau of Fire Protection firefighters and the Department of Health medical staff to community members acting as displaced residents and victims of tsunami, fire, and collapsed buildings. Mambajao mayor and Camiguin governor-elect Jurdin Jesus Romualdo said he sees the need for an exercise like the NSED to constantly raise the people’s awareness since the island-province, which had its share of volcanic eruptions in the past decades, is prone to floods, landslides, earthquakes, and tsunamis.  The eruptions that caused earthquake and other calamities in Camiguin occurred in 1871 to 1875 and in 1948 to 1951. Romualdo also recalled how in 2001 Typhoon Nanang devastated the province causing a massive landslide in Barangay Hubangon, Mahinog town that left 64 villagers dead and 117 more missing. He said the typhoon isolated the island for about two weeks as government agencies and even the Armed Forces and the National Police responders could not land at Camiguin due to bad weather. “We were on our own and the heavy rains, inclement weather made it difficult for help to come,” he added. He said it was local government’s initiative that the people’s cooperation that Camiguin was able to withstand the calamity that struck them. Romualdo described Typhoon Nanang as “the worst crisis that we had in Camiguin in recent history.” He said Camiguin should be ready for any eventuality at all times, and in fact, the local government has published a handbook on disaster management that will guide the Camiguingnons in the event of calamities. Col. Surki Sereñas, police regional spokesperson who was also one of the NSED evaluators, said the simulation was very organized with responders acting quickly to tend to the affected persons. Based on the OCD-10 data, about 3,000 persons participated in the regional NSED held in this province, many of them students, community members, and local government workers.

Mindanao’s youth IP leaders vow support for EO 70

June 19, 2019

YOUNG indigenous peoples (IP) leaders from across Mindanao threw their support behind the implementation of the Duterte Administration’s “Whole-Of-Nation” Approach under Executive Order No. 70 creating the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF ELCAC). The more than 200 participants to the Mindanao Indigenous Peoples’ Youth Assembly committed to helping the national government implement the initiative which primarily aims to address the decades-long communist rebellion in the country. “We, the representatives of this assembly, declare our full and unequivocal support to the national government’s Whole-Of-Nation Approach, which is a centerpiece of the Duterte Administration’s Peace and Development Agenda,” the delegates said in a resolution passed on June 15. “We believe that this approach is the best solution to the communist insurgency that has ravaged our communities, and provide us, the youth, the opportunity to work hand in hand with the government to achieve this goal.” They pledged not to be used and abused by the communist insurgents, and will utilize our voices to speak out and convince members of our communities not to support the organization’s distorted ideology,” the resolution added. President Rodrigo Duterte has formed NTF ELCAC to work out a mechanism to help end the decades-old communist insurgency, and institutionalize a “whole-of-nation approach” in attaining an “inclusive and sustainable peace." The Whole-Of-Nation Approach mandates all concerned agencies of government to work in a holistic and integrated manner to deliver much-needed services to underdeveloped, conflict-affected communities. Through its Sectoral Unification, Capacity Building and Empowerment Cluster with the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) as a member, the NTF-ELCAC has started to engage various peace stakeholders to jumpstart the process. The approach will utilize localized peace engagements wherein local government units and other community members situated in conflict-affected areas will take the lead in providing solutions to best resolve the nation’s insurgency problem. In the same resolution, the youth leaders also urged President Duterte to declare the full implementation of RA 8371 or the Indigenous Peoples Rights Acts (IPRA) as part of the national government’s policy agenda in his upcoming State of the Nation Address (SONA). “Through this declaration, we envision the IPRA’s full implementation to significantly impact on the lives of our indigenous peoples, specifically by allowing us to completely enjoy the four bundle of rights as stated in the IPRA,” the resolution said. According to Dante Tumanding, political officer of the Mindanao Indigenous Peoples Youth Organization (MIPYO), they can contribute a lot to the Whole-Of-Nation approach. “We are the frontlines and are the first ones affected whenever there is armed conflict in our communities,” Tumanding said. This is the reason, Tumanding said, why the conduct of the peace assembly, organized by OPAPP in collaboration with MIPYO, is both timely and relevant. “We wanted to equip our youth IP leaders across Mindanao with the skills and knowledge they will need to support the implementation of EO 70,” he said. (OPAPRU PR) 

DOST gears up for Marawi IDPs’ livelihood programs

June 7, 2019

MARAWI CITY -- The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) has intensified its efforts in providing livelihood programs for the internally displaced persons (IDPs) of this city. Dr. Rowena Cristina Guevara, undersecretary for Research and Development said during the project launching of Livelihood Program for Rehabilitation and Reconstruction of Marawi by DOST’s Industrial Technology Development Institute (ITDI) that the agency would provide them support until they can recover. “Hangga't hindi sila nakakabangon, tutulong kami (Until they can recover, we will help them),” Guevara said. Guevara also emphasized that the agency has been providing a series of training and hands-on programs to the IDPs through its different offices. DOST-ITDI has been providing technologies and training on personal care products, charcoal briquetting, herbal processing and essential oil extraction aimed at improving the quality of life of the IDPs by utilizing indigenous resources for their sustainable livelihood. In partnership with the SMILES Foundation, the DOST also supported the IDPs in Butig with a corn mill facility. The Bayabao Poblacion Farmers Cooperative here has already harvested 2,400 kilos from its 40-hectare corn plantation, earning P26,400 per cycle. Other projects implemented by the SMILES-DOST partnership include “Do-It-Yourself (DIY)” bamboo shelter production for Butig, Lanao del Sur and Innovation Support System and Management Strategies to Vegetable Production to Farmers in Pantar, Lanao del Norte. DOST has also partnered with the Mindanao State University-Iligan Institute of Technology (MSU-IIT) to revive the handloom weaving industry in Marawi through the Maranao Collectible, a group of internally displaced women and men who create heirloom “langkit” weaving. The DOST will provide training and necessary materials and handlooms. “We are thankful to DOST, because the funding for the loans will provide more opportunities for Maranao weavers,” said Prof. Darwin Manubag of MSU-IIT. The DOST provides the technology while its partner organizations assist in the implementation of the projects to the grassroots. Being a member-agency of the Task Force Bangon Marawi’s  (TFBm) Subcommittee on Business and Livelihood, DOST commits itself to provide sustainable livelihood to the IDPs. (LEAntonio/PIA)

Bukidnon promotes town’s ethnic thanksgiving fest

June 5, 2019

MALAYBALAY City – The Sangguniang Panlalawigan (Provincial Board) of Bukidnon has recognized the celebration of SunggodTeKamanga, an annual festival in the municipality of Quezon, which located south of the province. During its regular session Tuesday, the provincial lawmakers unanimously approved a resolution that seeks to support, preserve, recognize and promote SunggodTeKamanga--a thanksgiving festival of the tribes living in Quezon town. “The two-day SunggodTeKamanga is being held every 3rd Monday and Tuesday of February annually,” said Provincial Board Member Benito Baguio, the resolution's principal author. “SunggodTeKamanga is a traditional ethnic celebration showcasing their simple and primitive way of life focusing mainly on pre- and post-farming activities and survival skills of the dominant ethnic groups such as Manobo-Pulangihon who live near Pulangi river, and Manobo-Matigsalug that inhabit the highland areas,” Baguio explained. Baguio said the festival is celebrated through tribal rituals, songs, dances and the popular ethnic sports of the tribes commonly seen during their merry-making and tribal gatherings. He said that since its existence in 2009, SunggodTeKamanga has been continuously attracting and drawing tourists. Baguio said the festival's recognition was necessary so that it can be incorporated into the list of provincial and regional festivals in Northern Mindanao. Quezon is a 1st class municipality composed of 31 barangays. According to the 2015 census, it has a population of 104,116 people. (PNA)

PRRD calls for accountability on effects of climate change

June 5, 2019

President Rodrigo R. Duterte on Friday called for accountability on the global effects of climate change. "The Philippines joined the global consensus to fight climate change. We hope that this consensus would hold and real action be undertaken, especially by those most responsible for this monumental problem. Governments must comply with obligations beyond our constituency," he said during his keynote address at the Nikkei Conference in Tokyo, Japan. "There is not even a sanction. And mankind has always been there as practiced by many over the periods of generations of just talk. And at the end of a century or two, there is trouble, there is war. I don’t know what would be the end result of this climate change, but I can say to you now it will wreak destruction," he added. Duterte said the Philippines is suffering worse than other countries on the issue of climate change. "We are faced with the same global challenges, but some suffer more than others. Nothing demonstrates this better than climate change. Vulnerabilities are not equally shared by all nations. Developing countries that have contributed the least to global warming, like my country the Philippines, suffer the most from its horrendous consequences," he said. The President called for an end to this cycle as he addressed government and business leaders from other countries. "Governments with limited resources and capabilities have to contend with this spiral of suffering on top of the urgent development priorities. This vicious cycle is real. And indeed it must end. There has to be a way. When the lives of millions hang in the balance, there has got to be a way," he said. The President said the Philippines, being an archipelago, is greatly affected by typhoons. "With water levels rising, most countries will measure the losses in terms of coastlines. Developing archipelagic nations like the Philippines, however, measure our losses in terms of islands and the lives of our citizens. Year in and year out we suffer doubly when typhoons strike," he said. Duterte said it is the poor who suffers the most from the effects of climate change. "The poorest of our poor bear the brunt of damage, becoming even poorer in the aftermath," he said. (PNA)

Workers point to contractualization for SWS-DOLE discrepancy on unemployment

November 14, 2018

In its recent survey for the 3rd quarter of 2018, the SWS said that 22% or 9.8 million Filipinos are unemployed. The labor department countered this by citing the official data of the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), which peg the unemployment rate at 5.4%, covering some 2.3 million, in its July 2018 Labor Force Survey.   Informal Economy   “The stark difference between public perception and the official unemployment statistics shows that the unemployed and underemployed millions and our government statisticians have different definitions of ‘unemployment’, said BMP Chair Leody de Guzman.   “To the PSA and the DOLE, the ranks of the employed include those who are working in the precarious informal sector. Those who are out-of-work but are not looking for work are also not counted as unemployed," he added.      “The SWS survey reflects the problem of underemployment. To the workers and the poor, and rightly so, those who are making ends meet through odd and irregular side-jobs – including informal street vendors and street food peddlers - are not truly employed. But are regarded as employed by the PSA and DOLE, partly because these agencies want to turn a blind eye to government’s incapacity to provide full employment to the Filipino people,” de Guzman noted.   “The official definition of employment, which excludes those who are not looking for work by removing them in the category of ‘labor force’, is flawed. A sizeable chunk of the unemployed are not looking for work, not because they are lazy and useless. They would not bother themselves with the costly expenses of finding work only to land in lowly-paid contractual work, if ever they are absorbed by the formal economy,” he explained.    Contractualization, Flexible Work Schemes   De Guzman said the crux of the matter is the changing definition of the term ‘employed’, not only in the Philippines but also in global governing bodies such as the International Labor Organization (ILO). This redefinition transpired in the late 1990s as governments subscribed to the policy of flexibilization of labor by transnational monopoly corporations.   “Gone are the days when employment meant having regular jobs with regular pay, as employers shifted to schemes for cheap and docile labor,” de Guzman, the lone senatorial candidate of the labor sector, running under Partido Lakas ng Masa (PLM) stressed    Rather than deny the problem of underemployment, which is truly unemployed in perception of the public, the BMP leader asserted that the Duterte administration deliver on its promise to end contractualization. “The workers have not forgotten the campaign promise of ‘contractualization must stop’ by then candidate Rodrigo Duterte during the 2016 elections."   BMP claims that Duterte could have easily prohibited all forms of labor contracting, a power that is accorded to the DOLE Secretary by Article 106 of the Labor Code – an alter-ego of the chief executive for labor affairs.   “Duterte could simply issue an executive order for the prohibition of this patently anti-labor work scheme. But he would not deliver on his promises, because there is no honesty to the words of this pro-capitalist compulsive liar,” the veteran labor leader concluded. (30)


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