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Surigao del Sur Integrated Provincial Health Office bares accomplishment

by (Greg Tataro, Jr., DXJS Radyo Ng Bayan-Tandag/PIA SUrigao del Sur)

TANDAG CITY, Surigao del Sur, May 11 (PIA) -- The Integrated Provincial Health Office (IPHO) in Surigao del Sur bared its accomplishment in a presentation called “A Gift For Surigaonons.”

Dr. Romeo De los Reyes, provincial health officer, presented the office's feat recently and pointed out their objectives in the near future through “facilitated activities”.

He particularly cited the reproductive health care program, which has a total grant of P7,007,412 million for Calendar Year 2012 and the P8 million per year for the next four years from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the approved 2012 Annual Operations Plan (AOP), the Agencia Española de Cooperacion Internacional para el Desarollo (AECID) Phase III P18 million grant, and the Health Rationalization Plan together with the approved infrastructure for Rural Health Units (RHUs) which will be implemented in 2013.

De los Reyes also stressed that all proposed health infrastructures and facilities with a total cost of P192.9 million programmed until said period will have to be in place.

NPA's 'child warrior' surrenders

by Alexis Romero

MANILA, Philippines - A child warrior of the New People’s Army (NPA) has surrendered to Army troops in Bislig City, Surigao del Sur.

Major Eugenio Osias IV, spokesman of the Army’s 4th Division, said the 17-year-old "child warrior" is a member of the NPA's Southern Mindanao Regional Commitee Front 20.

The teenager had a bullet wound on his left thigh when he surrendered to the 75th battalion last Tuesday in barangay Maharlika in Bislig City.

The rebel was rushed to Camp Evangelista Station Hospital in Cagayan de Oro.

Osias said the young rebel's surrender was made possible by the efforts of barangay officials and the Department of Education district supervisor in Trento, Agusan del Sur.

The teenager is a resident of barangay Pulang Lupa in Trento town. His family is among those evacuated due to an encounter between soldiers and rebels last Monday in their barangay.

Maj. Gen. Victor Felix, commander of the 4th Division, criticized the NPA for recruiting minors as fighters, saying this is a violation of the Comprehensive Agreement on Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law.

“We condemn the strategy of the NPA of using and persuading minor to bear arms and fight against the government. This minor should have been sent to school to study, graduate and be employed in the future,” Felix said. – with Jamille Domingo

4 killed in grenade blast


Philippines – Four people, including three minors, died while two other children were injured when a grenade they were toying with accidentally went off Monday afternoon at Hinipaan Falls in Sitio Hinipaan, Barangay Poblacion, Lingig, Surigao del Sur, police said yesterday.

Chief Supt. Reynaldo Rafal, director of the CARAGA regional police, identified those who died as Michael Ambus, 17; Joselito Nonong, 19; Nelbert Banog y Ortega, 15. They all died on the spot. The fourth fatality is 12year-old Aiko Mae Nonong who died at the Lingig Hospital. The two injured victims were identified as 11-year-old Camille Orillo and 13-year-old Jake Jay Orillo. “The initial investigation conducted disclosed that while the group of children was playing at said waterfalls, one of them found a hand grenade,“ said Rafal. “They then went about 100 meters away, played with the grenade until it accidentally exploded,“ he added. Rafal said the initial result of the probe revealed that the hand grenade may have been either kept or abandoned by lawless elements. He then warned local residents to advise their children to surrender any found explosive materials to the proper authorities to prevent similar incidents.

Four minors die in Surigao del Sur grenade blast


MANILA, Philippines - Three teenagers and a 12-year-old boy died while two more were wounded in a grenade explosion in Lingig town, Surigao del Sur on Sunday afternoon.

Superintendent Martin Gamba, Caraga police spokesperson, identified the fatalities as Michael Ambus, 17; Joselito Nonong, 19; Nelbert Banog, 15; and Aiko Mae Nonong, 12.

Ambus, Nonong and Banog died on the spot due to wounds caused by shrapnel while Aiko Mae expired while being transported to the Lingig Community Hospital.

The two wounded children, identified as Camille Orillo, 11, and Jake Jay Orillo, 13, are now undergoing treatment at Bislig City Hospital.

Gamba said that the six children were swimming at the Hinipaan Falls in Sitio Hinipaan, Barangay Poblacion, Lingig when one of them found a hand grenade at around 12:30 p.m.

The grenade exploded while being played by the group.

Police are now trying to trace who owned the grenade.

Tension grips Red Mountain anew as Mamanwas take over minesite

by Vanessa L. Almeda

KM. 90, Surigao del Sur (MindaNews/06 May) – Tension has gripped another mining company here as at least a hundred members of the Mamanwa tribe have taken over the minesite of a China-based company since Thursday evening. The Mamanwas are now camping at key posts of the minesite of Shen Zou Mining Group Corporation located at Kilometer 90, at the boundary of Surigao del Norte and Surigao del Sur, setting up barricades and campsites at the entrance, including the guardhouse, to bar the entry and exit of company officials and staff including their vehicles.

At least 15 Chinese personnel are reportedly inside the premises of the minesite. Company guards interviewed said the causeway and the motorpool are now “under control” of the Mamanwas from Claver, Surigao del Norte. “We tried to talk with them pero medyo init man sila…bagan tag-control na gani nila (its like they are already in control),” the company’s chief security officer Rene Gumanoy told reporters. Gumanoy said the Mamanwas also set up barricades at the other roads going to the causeway. Policemen from the Regional Mobile Group of the 132nd Regional Public Safety Company (RPSC) stationed at Km. 90 detachment on Thursday after receiving intelligence reports that “armed men” were seen Wednesday at the minesite.

Police Inspector Edgar Polay said they went to the minesite on Thursday but he claimed the Mamanwas threatened them to a fight using their bolos. “Wala lang barilan, itak lang,” (No guns, just bladed weapons), Polay quoted the Mamanwas as saying. Polay also denied they were there to protect the mining company. “Walang tayong kakampihan dito dahil sa security lang tayo (We are not siding with anybody here. We’re just securing the area). Ang sa amin ay insurgency lamang,” he said. As of Saturday noon, Polay’s men were expected to pull out of the minesite that afternoon. Police Senior Inspector Capt. Christopherson Cauilan, chief of police of the municipality of Claver, took to task the eight RMG personnel who were inside the minesite. He said they should not forget that their priority is to maintain peace and secure the area to prevent violence. Cauilan said he received reports from Baby Coter, a Lumad (IP or indigenous peoples) representative and councilor of Barangay Camam-onan in Gigaquit, Surigao del Norte, and a certain Dumadag, administrative officer of Shen Zou, on Friday that some “commotion” happened in the area. “We had to also confirm what happened, but so far peaceful naman. Ang request lang natin eh walang mangyayaring harassment on both sides” (Our request is that there would be no harassment on both sides), Cauilan said addressing in-house security personnel and the RMG.

The Mamanwas on other hand initially refused to talk to reporters but later said they were there because they want the company to pay them an estimated P24 million royalty due them. Under the Philippine Mining Act and the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act, the Lumads on whose ancestral domain a mining firm operates, are entitled to a royalty/share of 1% of the gross production/output. The Mamanwas are members of the controversial CADT-048 led by Datu Renante Buklas. Buklas repeatedly declined an interview with reporters when contacted through his cellular phone. Another tribe leader, Datu Alicio Patac, confirmed to reporters that the Mamanwas have resorted to setting up barricades and taking control of the causeway allegedly because the company has refused to honor its obligation to them. Patac and Buklas through their lawyer, wrote Mines and Geosciences Bureau Director Leo Jasareno to stop issuing the Mineral Ore Export Permit (MOEP) or OTP (ore transport permit) pending the “final decision of the National Commission on Indigenous People’s (NCIP) of its decision dated 12 January 2012.” On January 12, 2012, the NCIP in an en banc resolution ordered Shen Zou to “cease and desist” from operating after finding the company’s Certificate of Precondition (CP) issued by the NCIP on February 22, 2012 was “void ab initio” or a certificate issued without proper authority. In the same en banc resolution, the NCIP said with this development, “all other agreements, licenses and similar issuances premised on the said CP is “deemed void.” A CP is issued after a Free and Prior Informed Consent (FPIC) of the indigenous peoples is obtained. Apparently, the order did not reach the company as it continued to operate until May 2, the same day the Mamanwas started to barricade the mining company. Buklas and Patac also sent a letter on February 27, 2012 to MGB regional director Engr. Alilo Ensomo Jr. on the NCIP’s decision. Ensomo could not be reached for comment as of press time. However, over radio station RPN-DXKS here on Thursday, Ensomo said he had forwarded a letter and the NCIP en banc decision to Jasareno and is now waiting for the “final instruction of the Central Office.” This reporter also tried to contact Jasareno but he could not be reached by phone as of 5 p.m. Sunday. Shen Zou is facing another case from the holder of the Mineral Production Sharing Agreement (MPSA), Claver Mineral Development Corporation (CMDC), at the Regional Trial Court, 10th Judicial Region, Branch 29 here in Surigao City. The case was filed against Shen Zou for the “Cancellation of Operating Agreement” for the latter’s failure to pay CMDC the 5% royalty “of the gross sales of all ores sold or shipped by the company. Shen Zou and CMDC entered into an “Operating Agreement” in July 2009 with the provision that after its 25th shipment of ore, it will start paying CMDC the 5% royalty. Shen Zou allegedly “fraudulenty violated the terms and conditions or stipulations” of the agreement and “unreasonably failed or refused to pay the above royalties despite constant demands.” At the mine site, Shen Zou personnel declined to speak to reporters, claiming they cannot speak on behalf of their Chinese bosses. (Vanessa L. Almeda/MindaNews with reports from Jun Clerigo/RPN-DXKS)

Scores killed in Bislig gunfight

by Mike U. Crismundo

CAMP RAFAEL C. RODRIGUEZ, Butuan City – Undetermined number of rebels were believed either killed or wounded when a two-hour fierce gun battle erupted between government security forces and communist insurgents in Southern Philippines, police reported Friday.

Supt. Martin M. Gamba, regional spokesman of Police Regional Office 13 (PRO 13) said the heavy gun battle occurred at 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday when members of 23rd Cafgu Active Auxiliary (CAA) were harassed by some 40 alleged heavily armed communist-New People’s Army (NPA) in Sitio Soti, Barangay Borbuanan, Bislig City, Surigao del Sur. Supt. Gamba said the encountered rebels were believed members of guerrilla-Front Committee 14 of the CPP-NPA Northeastern Mindanao Regional Party Committee (NEMRPC) under alleged certain “Commander Dodong Ipil”. He said the heavy gunfight lasted for almost two hours until the rebels retreated towards northern portion of Sitio Mamparasan, Barangay San Roque of that same city. Gamba said wide pursuit operation is still going on as of press time. He added that no reported casualty on the government side while there were undetermined number casualties on the NPA side as of this posting. Earlier of that same day, a soldier, identified as Cpl. Contawan M. Bayao of 30th Infantry Battallion, was killed in a clash between patrolling Army troops and NPA rebels in Sitio Upper Sangay, Barangay Anomar, Surigao City, also reported regional Army spokesman Maj. Eugene Julio C. Osias, lV. Maj. Osias also claimed that undetermined number of NPA rebels were also believed killed or wounded during that same firefight.

Surigao Sur to implement last tranche of salary increase in June

by (NGBT/Greg Tataro Jr., DXJS Radyo Ng Bayan-Tandag/PIA-Surigao del Sur)

TANDAG CITY, Surigao del Sur, May 4 (PIA) -- Provincial Administrator Efren Rivas is optimistic that Governor Johnny Pimentel will follow what President Benigno S. AquinoIII has instructed regarding the early release of Salary Standardization Law tranche IV, but local government units (LGUs), as in the case of the province, have some financial constraints.

Rivas cited the income on local tax imposition, Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA), and the ceiling on personal services.

The last tranche of SSL III is supposed to take effect in July, not June, this year.

Earlier, Rivas lauded President Aquino on the favorable move.

Suspected NPA leader nabbed in Surigao

by Charmane Awitan, ABS-CBN News Caraga

MANILA, Philippines – A suspected rebel leader of the New People’s Army (NPA) was arrested by authorities in Lianga, Surigao del Sur early Thursday.

The suspect was identified as Teddy Domandan Bager, who is allegedly a political instructor of the NPA’s Front Committee 19-B.

Recovered from Bager were 3 mobile phones, a memory card, 5 chargers, 8 SIM packs, a grenade, and nearly P10,000 cash.

Authorities said Bager was part of the group that attempted to raid Lianga Municipal Police Station last April 28.

He is facing charges of rebellion.

2 key measures left out of House priority agenda

by Maricel Cruz

THE leadership of the House of Representatives has left out the controversial Reproductive Health and the Freedom of Information bills even as it listed bills to promote human resource development and environment protection policies as among its priority measures when Congress resumes session on May 7.

Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, Jr. said the Lower House will focus on the approval of several pending measures to review existing laws that promote human development and the environment.

“Even as we continue to focus on reforms for good governance and other concerns, we will never deviate from reinvigorating our national policies on human development, promoting investments and protecting the environment,” Belmonte said in a statement.

Belmonte said the House has already transmitted to the Senate some 179 bills of national scope and some 446 local measures. Likewise, some nine national and 58 local bills are expected to be passed on final reading this month.

“Directly and indirectly, Congress is determined to propose more new statutes or update existing laws to promote human development, particularly for the country’s labor force,” he said.

Based on the list of priority bills, those lined up for final approval include HB 6050, which establishes rural farm schools as alternative delivery mode of secondary education in the country, and HB 6048, which provides for universal health care to all Filipinos, amending R.A. 7875 or the National Health Insurance Act of 1995.

Also awaiting final approval are HB 6022, which rationalizes the taxes on international air carriers operating in the Philippines, amending some provisions of the National Internal Revenue code of 1997, and HB 6023, which aims to prevent and control pollution from ships, providing penalties for violations.

Likewise in the pipeline are HB 6040, which sets a three-year validity for security guard licenses, amending R.A. 5487 or the Private Security Agency Law, and HB 6044, which aims to institute reforms in real property valuation and assessment in the Philippines, reorganizing the Bureau of Local Government Finance.

The local bills include, among others: the upgrade and modernization of the J.R. Borja City Memorial Hospital as an extension hospital of the Northern Mindanao Medical Center in Cagayan de Oro City; the grant of franchises to broadcast entities in Luzon; franchise for the construction and operation of a distribution system for electric power in Nueva Ecija; and the establishment of national high schools.

Furthermore, the local bills propose to establish multi-purpose fish breeding farms and hatcheries in Surigao del Sur and in Cagayan (Luzon), a fish port and cold storage facility in Cagayan and Pangasinan, and a fisheries research center, also in Cagayan.

“All these would mean benefits for the workers and their families, jobs and income for their respective areas,” Belmonte said.

Club officers commit to empower OFWs in Surigao del Sur

by (RER/Ritchel A. Molero, OWWA-Caraga/PIA-Caraga)

TANDAG CITY, Surigao del Sur, May 1 (PIA) -- Sixteen sets of officers have committed to empower all overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in Surigao del Sur, after taking oath as the new officers for the OFW family clubs from the 16 municipalities of the province of Surigao del Sur.

The oath-taking ceremony, conducted during the Organizational Development Seminar here, was graced by representatives from the local government units, provincial government of Surigao del Sur, Department of Trade and Industry, Department of Labor and Employment – province of Surigao del Sur, and was spearheaded by the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA)-Caraga Regional Welfare Office, through the leadership of Regional Director Dr. Marietta A. Lumawag.

According to Dir. Lumawag, more than 130 officers from the different municipalities and two cities of Surigao del Sur are now part of the legitimate officers of the OFW organizations in the region.

Lumawag further said the newly inducted sets of officers were informed on their duties and responsibilities as leaders of their organizations.

OWWA-Caraga has also committed to continuously monitor, guide and support them in the movements they are to take for the welfare of the Surigaonon OFWs in the region.

PNP, AFP set for Labor Day celebration in Surigao del Sur

by Nida Grace B. Tranquilan

TANDAG CITY, Surigao del Sur, April 30 (PIA) -- The Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said they are ready for the Labor Day celebration here tomorrow.

According to Tandag City Police Chief C/Insp Greggie Pimentel, security preparations have already been laid for the occasion including the setup of checkpoints in all entry and exit zones of the city.

Lt Col Henry Robinson, commanding officer of the 29th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army also said, they are always prepared for any eventualities and “aggressive move” or “tactical operations” that might be launched by the New People’s Army (NPA).

Robinson also mentioned, rallies in urban areas are but normal phenomenons during Labor Day celebrations.

As of press time, the Police Provincial Office (PPO) here told Radyo Ng Bayan, there is no information yet as to any scheduled rally in the province. (NGBT/Greg Tataro, Jr., Radyo ng Bayan-Tandag/PIA-Surigao del Sur)

Surigao del Sur residents stage mining rallies: Bishop leads anti; Ex-Gov leads pro

by Mindanews

CANTILAN, Surigao del Sur (MindaNews/28 April) – Residents supporting and opposing mining in the province held separate rallies Saturday, the former led by Carrascal mayor and former Governor Vicente Pimentel, the latter led by Tandag Bishop Nereo Odchimar. Odchimar, former president of the Catholic Bishop Church in the Philippines (CBCP) said he did not need to speak after seeing at least 4,000 residents from various towns gather in response to his and environmentalists’ call for an “all-out protest” against mining and to take a stand for mother earth. Thousands more of representatives from the church and from various sectors also participated s by forming a human chain along the national highway from Cantilan to Madrid town at around 8 a.m. In Madrid, a program was held near the Carac-an River shortly before noon. In Carrascal town, some 1,000 residents and mine workers from mining companies operating in Carrascal expressed their support for mining, in a rally led byPimentel. Participants gathered on the sides of the national highway and were entertained by a band at around 10 a.m. The rally in Carrascal was held also before noon. No to mining Cantilan Mayor Genito Guardo said majority of his constituents are opposed to mining because the mining activities of Marc Ventures Mining Development Corporation has caused the degradation of their environment. He said residents are in danger because their watershed has been affected by the ongoing mining operations which he said had no permit to operate. He blamed the mining firm for aggravating the situation, citing, among others, an “unprecedented flooding” last year which destroyed thousands of hectares of farmlands. Guardo said the mining firm has contributed nothing, “not even a single centavo” to the town’s coffers. He said Marc Ventures attempted to secure a permit for its nickel mining project and even tried to pay local taxes but he said the people of Cantilan do not need their taxes and their presence. Retired Air Force Brig. General Charles Hotchkiss, now executive vice president of the family—owned Cantilan Bank, said mining operations do not just pollute the rivers and shorelines of Surigao del Sur but also ruin the life of the entire community. Employees of the bank joined Hotchkiss in the riverside rally. The Carac-an River, said Hotchkiss, feeds the 14 irrigation systems that provide water for the farmlands in Madrid and neighboring towns. “Our environment is a gift from God, but creation is in pain because we can see the destruction imposed by man on it. It is very important for us to express how we feel in the protection of our environment, because God did not transfer ownership to us but transferred stewardship to us as caretakers of mother earth,” said Fr. Elvis Petros. Hotchkiss said he does not mind if mining firms and their allies do not avail of the services of the family-owned bank. He said Marc Ventures used to transact in the bank but stopped because of the family’s position on mining. His sister, Emma, is president of the Carrascal, Cantilan, Madrid, Carmen, Lanuza (CCMCL) Baywatch Foundation which is very active in opposing mining operations in the area. Hothckiss said their bank has been serving the area since 1980 and has been helping micro entrepreneurs, especially the farmers. Mining, he said, is destroying their watershed and his bank’s clients, many of them farmers, have been complaining on the effects of mining in their farmlands. MindaNews sought the president of Marc Ventures for comment but he could not be reached. Rosalina Montinegro, a Mamanwa tribe member from Cortes town, told MindaNews that even as there are no mining operations in their town, this doesn’t mean that they are not affected. He said fellow Mamanwas in the affected areas can no longer gather firewood in their area and will therefore move to their area to gather wood and food. Yes to mining Carrascal Mayor Vincente Pimentel said mining is needed for his town to progress. He told MindaNews that mining has contributed to the local coffers but did not say how much. He said the mining sector’s contribution means more funds for education, livelihood, agriculture, infrastructure and other social services. Pimentel said three large-scale mining firms are operating in this fourth class town: Carrascal Mining Corporation, Marc Ventures, and CTP Construction and Mining Corporation. CTP stands for Clarence T. Pimentel, the mayor’s elder brother who recently passed away. Pimentel said that aside from paying taxes, these firms contribute some P70 million to the local government, at P6 per ton as environmental hazard pay.

He said the presence of minerals in his town is a gift from God that must be utilized for the advancement of the people. Domalyn Calinawan, 30, of Barangay Adlay, Carrascal, Surigao del Sur said mining can help uplift their situation. She said her husband, a former fisherman, is now a worker in one of the mining firms and can now afford to put food on the table. She said she joined the rally because the income from mining has helped them raise their six children. “Kon pangisda lang ang amo saligan, inday (ambot) kon mabuhi kami ini koman (karon),” [if we depended only on fishing, I don’t know if we could survive]. she said. Divided Surigao del Sur has a long history of mining operations but remains among the poorest of the poor provinces. In 2008, Mayor Pimentel, then Governor, criticized the Church whose representatives were present in a forum on Marc Ventures’ nickel project, for its stand against mining. “The Church wants the people to be poor so that people would constantly supplicate on them. We should not allow them to dictate to us. How will the anti-mining advocates solve unemployment?” Pimentel asked, adding in ten years, there will be no more poor people in Carrascal. Bishop Odchimar had criticized as “bribery” the distribution of P90,000 per barangay captain cash benefits and other assistance including P20-M rehabilitation work of barangay roads and bridges allegedly given by Marc Ventures Mining while its application for environmental clearance was pending. According to Mines and Geo-Sciences Bureau then, the company was implementing its Social Development and Mining Plan. Human chain Participants to Saturday’s anti-mining rally tried to form a human chain in the towns of Carrascal, Cantilan, Madrid, Carmenand Lanuza (CarCanMadCarLan). An hour later, vehicles from other parts of Surigao del Sur and from as far as Bislig City started arriving at the Carac-an Bridge for a concelebrated mass by the Bishop and parish priests in all 18 towns of Surigao del Sur. Mayor Guardo said this was the biggest event and the first ever for residents of CarCanMadCarLan who are against mining and the destruction of their ecosystem. “Since 1995, our town had stood in defiance against mining companies who tried to come in and establish their trade here. Sad to say, they are finding a different way to get inside our town. Now Marc Ventures has started its operation in Barangay Kabangahan part of this town without any business permit and mayor’s permit,” he said. Guardo explained that even if they want to raid the area since it is illegal, they are exerting efforts to settle the problem to avert bloodshed. “We are here to support the call for anti mining and the need for us to protect our environment. Our group consisting of almost 200 peoples started our trip at around 2 a.m just to get here on time. On our way, we also noticed other groups as we passed by other towns. It is heartwarming to be a part of such a huge activity,” said Evic Peninsula of St. Thomas parish in Bislig City. About a hundred police personnel from the consolidated police force of the towns representing CarCanMadCarLan were deployed to the riverside rally venue, supported by the Provincial Public Safety Battalion, complete with ambulances and fire trucks. (Roel Catoto and Erwin Mascarinas/MindaNews)

Farmer Field School (FFS) yields more graduates in Surigao del Sur

by (Greg Tataro, Jr./NGBT/Radyo Ng Bayan Tandag)

TANDAG CITY, Surigao del Sur, April 27 (PIA) -– The Farmer Field School (FFS) in Surigao del Sur has produced more number of farmer-graduates.

Marcos Quico, provincial agriculturist, said two separate batches of farmers will add to the list since they are slated to graduate at the end of this month in Barangays Unidos and Kinabigtasan in Tago, Surigao del Sur.

Quico stressed, since the implementation of the FFS in the province several years back, over a thousand farmers have already graduated and learned on organic farming which, he said, is a “marching order” from the Department of Agriculture (DA).

It was learned that during the 16-day training, farmers here are discouraged to use pesticides in order to protect the ecosystem.

Meanwhile, Quico said the inclusion of the province of Surigao del Sur in the “2011 Ten Rice Achiever Provinces” in the country was partly attributed to the FFS which paved the way to increase rice production.

Campaign To Preserve Environment Backed


SURIGAO CITY, Philippines – At least 400 mining advocates coming from various places in six regions in Mindanao have expressed their support in the government’s campaign to preserve the environment, protect the forests and promote global warming and climate change mitigation program.

These mining advocates also pledged to help the government’s “greening” program and other environmental projects that will benefit not only to this generation but also to the coming generation.

In an interview at his regional office here, Regional Director Alilo C. Ensomo, Jr. of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau-13 (MGB-13), said the mining advocates met here recently and mapped out several strategies in an effort to help the government’s responsible mining program, environment preservation and forest protection.

The MGB officials in Mindanao acknowledged their effort, saying this move “would help the agency and enjoined them to collaborate with the agency in monitoring the mining activities in Mindanao, particularly the Caraga region where a number of mining companies are currently operating, especially in the provinces of Surigao del Sur, Surigao del Norte and Dinagat Islands.

Under the Aquino administration, mining continues to be one of the economic drivers of the government with the Caraga region set to become the capital of the mining industry.

Catholic groups plan six-town human chain, noise barrage vs miners

by BEN SERRANO and VANESSA ALMEDA Correspondents

ROMAN Catholics in six Surigao del Sur towns headed by Fr. Francisco Olvis are planning to stage a human chain and noise barrage to dramatize their opposition to mining operations in Caraga. Olvis said the devotees from the Roman Catholic parishes in Carrascal, Cantilan, Parang, Madrid, Carmen and Lanuza would form a human chain as their contribution during the celebration of the International Earth Day on April 28. The human chain would link the six towns--from Carrascal in the north to Lanuza in the south--as a political statement and echo this message: "Stand up for Mother Earth." Olvis said the activity would be highlighted by a 20-minute noise barrage and a people's march to Carac-an River in Barangay San Juan, Madrid, Surigao del Sur.

A mass would be officiated along the highway afterwards. Last Monday, environmentalists in Caraga held a region-wide caravan "Lakbayan para sa Kinaiyahan." Led by Caraga Watch, a multisectoral group of environmental advocates, the caravan was aimed at calling for the repeal of the Mining Act of 1995 which is seen as the cause of the unimpeded entry of large-scale mining operations in Caraga. Dr. Naty Castro, a convenor of Caraga Watch, said the activity was "a glaring remembrance of the world's tragic condition in the face of global environmental destruction wrought by the greedy interests of businessmen and politicians.

"What is more tragic is that our country is now receiving the worst kind of rape of our national resources with the unimpeded entry of large-scale mining companies in the country," Castro said. Castro said massive military operations were being undertaken in the hinterLands of Surigao del Sur, Surigao del Norte, Agusan del Norte and Agusan del Sur in the guise of an anti-insurgency campaign. Castro, who is also the regional coordinator of the human rights group Karapatan, alleged that the recent evacuations of Mamanwas from Kitcharao, Agusan del Norte to Butuan, and Gigaguit in Surigao del Norte were "strong indications of the underlying reason for the conduct of military operations."

"Our region is already under attack. We see the massive destruction of our rich mountains and natural resources, and we will be suffering far worse environmental catastrophes if we will not do something about this today," she said. The Lakbayan Para sa Kinaiyahan had two "choke points" in Butuan and Surigao cities. Many came from Agusan del Sur, Agusan del Norte, Surigao del Sur and Surigao del Norte. Indigenous people's groups also participated in the caravan. They were beefed up by several religious, youth and other civil society organizations.

Midsea Express airlines now plies Tandag-Cebu route

by Greg Tataro Jr.

TANDAG CITY, Surigao del Sur, April 24 (PIA) –- A booming economy, a burgeoning population, and a positive outlook can now sustain plane flights in this province. The maiden flight of the Mid-Sea Express from Tandag Airport to Cebu City was a success.

According to Antonio Haguisan Jr., general sales agent (GSA), the 19-seater commercial aircraft had its flight on Saturday, April 14.

Optimistic for a continued service with the support of the people of Surigao, Haguisan said that the plane’s bi-weekly flight schedule on Wednesday mornings and Saturday afternoons for Cebu-Tandag-Cebu has a promo-fare of P1,999.

Tandag City Airport has not been in use for about 10 years especially for commercial flights.

According to Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CCAP) here, Philippine Air Lines had its flight in late 90s bound for Cebu; then The Asean Spirit commercial flights replaced PAL but it ceased operations due to the few passengers that could not sustain the operations of the airline. (NGBT-PIA 13, Surigao del Sur/Radyo Ng Bayan-Tandag)

Police hunt down 2 escaped inmates from Surigao del Sur jail

by Jamie Marie Elona

MANILA, Philippines—Police authorities are on the lookout for two inmates who escaped from Surigao del Sur District Jail early Sunday, police said Monday. Superintendent Martin Gamba, Caraga police spokesman, identified the fugitive as Joebert Perez a.k.a. “Ondo”, 33, resident of Barangay (village) La Purisima, Prosperidad, Agusan del Sur, and Babring Tejero, 35, resident of Tabon-tabon, Barangay Manyayay, Lianga, Surigao del Sur. Perez was charged for kidnapping, serious illegal detention and robbery in band, while Babring Tejero was charged for kidnapping and illegal detention, he said. Initial investigation revealed that Perez and Tejero cut the corrugated steel bars at the back portion of Detention Cell–1 with a hacksaw, and then leaped through the concrete perimeter fence near the visiting area to escape, Gamba said. He said the duty jailer of the day discovered that the two were missing around 7 a.m. Sunday during headcount. Manhunt operations against said escapees are now conducted by local police officials, in coordination with the Armed Forces of the Philippines for possible recapture of the detainees.

Lakas legislator seeks repeal of mining laws


A LEGISLATOR has sought the repeal of mining laws to institute a revised regulatory framework for an environment-friendly mining industry. “There is now a necessity for a well-regulated mining industry to allow mining to substantially increase its contribution to the national economy while, at the same time, ensure the promotion and protection of the environment,” said Lakas-Kampi-CMD Rep. Philip Pichay of Surigao del Sur in pushing for the approval of House Bill 5781, which seeks the creation of the Department of Mines.

Pichay said mining is a capital-intensive undertaking. A well-planned exploration, well-engineered, and systematic development and utilization of the country’s mineral reserves require that the deficiencies and limitations of the existing laws must be addressed, he said.

The bill seeks to repeal Republic Act 7942 (The Philippine Mining Act of 1995), RA 7076 (The People’s Small-Scale Mining Act of 1991 and Presidential Decree 128 (revising Commonwealth Act 136, creating the Bureau of Mines), and amending Section 15 of Executive Order 192 (providing for the reorganization of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources) and Section 25 of Republic Act 4274 (The Mining Engineering Law of the Philippines).

Pichay said the proposed department shall be responsible for the conservation, management, development and proper use of the country’s mineral resources as well as licensing, permitting and regulation.

It shall oversee the mining operations of contractors and permittees on mining practices and methods relating to protecting life and property, economy of operations, prevention of pollution, environmental protection and mineral conservation, and order the suspension of any or all mining operations or closure of the mines.

The proposed department will be empowered to require the contractors and permittees to take necessary measures to provide for the growth and development of any industry suitable for the contract area, other than mining, in order that when the mine is exhausted or becomes no longer profitable for mining purposes the people residing there or those who used to work for the mine will have a substitute industry or business activity to provide for their means of livelihood, and to place the mine in a condition suitable for habitation or agriculture.

Once established, the department will absorb the powers and functions of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau.

Chinese national arrested for illegal possession of firearm

by BEN SERRANO Correspondent

BUTUAN City--Police arrested on Saturday a Chinese national for allegedly starting a trouble, introducing himself as a cop and possessing an unlicensed .45 cal pistol Colt MK IV series 80 brand inside Nico's Bar in Tandag City, province of Surigao del Sur. In a report by Tandag City Police to Police Regional Offi ce-13 here identifi ed the Chinese national as Jake Zhang, 26, reportedly a companion of a big-time small-scale mining Chinese investor and trader who is presently residing in Barangay Bag-ong Lungsod, Tandag City.

Tandag Pol i ce repor t claimed Zhang was arrested by responding cops from Surigao del Sur Provincial PNP Special Operation Group (PSOG) headed by Police Inspector Ferdinand P. Tavares after being caught in the act of possessing one Colt MK IV Series 80 .45 cal. pistol bearing serial number 676701 and one magazine loaded with seven live bullets. Cops pacifi ed Zhang and when accosted about his firearm, he failed to show legal documents for possessing it. Zhang is now under the custody of Tandag City Police Offi ce, police said.

Chinese mining executive disappears in Southern Philippines

by (Mindanao Examiner)

AGADIAN CITY (Mindanao Examiner / Apr. 20, 2012) – A Chinese mining executive has been reported missing in the restive southern Philippine region of Mindanao where security forces are battling terrorism and kidnappings for ransom, authorities said on Friday.

It said the 40-year old Rui Lei was missing for over a week now and efforts to contact him proved futile.

Lei is working for China’s Chenzhou Mining Group Corporation in the town of Claver in Surigao del Sur province, where communist rebels are actively operating.

Police said the Chinese firm has reported the matter and that authorities were searching for the missing executive, who is a native of Jiangxi province in southern China.

Lei was supposed to visit his Filipino friends in Surigao City when he disappeared.

In October last year, three South Korean nationals - Woo Shu Bong, Kim Nam Dou and Choi - who had been reported missing in the southern Philippines were actually kidnapped in Lanao province.

The foreigners were released later in November, but one of them died in the hospital due to a ruptured appendix.

Tandag City Gov’t support Nat’l Greening Program this Summer

by (Nida Grace B. Tranquilan/RER/PIA Surigao del Sur)

TANDAG CITY, Surigao del Sur, April 19 (PIA) -– In line with the National Greening Program of President Benigno S. Aquino III, the city government spearheaded a tree planting activity on Tuesday, involving the youth this summer planting Narra and Lawaan species.

According to Community Development Information Officer Vicente Cosare, the activity was conducted at Ihawan Spring Watershed, Cagboo, Awasian, this city and was participated by some 297 Special Program for Employment of Students (SPES) beneficiaries and Saint Theresa College students.

Cosare stressed that the SPES beneficiaries will stay at the tree planting site for 20 days starting April 2-May 2 for replanting, cleaning and ring weeding.

Meanwhile, the local government here already conducted several tree planting activities from the past months tied with some private and public agencies, civil society organizations and students of Surigao del Sur State University (SDSSU) and other public secondary schools here in the Watershed area and the newly identified development eco-park which is formerly a dump-site of Tandag City.

The series of activities conducted support the priority program of the national government which aimed to plant 1.5 billion trees by 2016.

Tandag hosts 11th Liga Assembly today

by mdb-admin

SURIGAO del Sur – The 11th provincial assembly of the Liga ng mga Barangay sa Pilipinas – Surigao del Sur Chapter is taking place in Tandag City, April 18-21. According to Mr. Tony Campos, chief-of-staff of Provincial Liga President Vicente Pimentel III. The activity aims to orient barangay leaders on how to fully-develop their respective communities, through the application of current trends in socio-economic development. The assembly theme is “Current Trends In Barangay Development,”

Marian Shrine

by Christina I. Hermoso

MANILA, Philippines — Devotees of the Blessed Mother under the title Ina Poon Bato (Mother of the Sacred Stone) in Surigao del Sur may now visit a shrine built in her honor in the town of Cantilan. Several activities will be held today, April 18, following the blessing of the Ina Poon Bato Shrine Tuesday.

According to Roselyn Magsaysay, president of the Ina Poon Bato Foundation, the blessing of the shrine serves as the highlight of the golden jubilee celebration and third Diocesan Congress on the growing devotion to Ina Poon Bato. The theme for this year’s meet is “Legion of Mary, Church in Action for a Peaceful Earth.” Ina Poon Bato is the well-venerated patroness of Zambales.

DPWH continues to implement infra projects in Surigao del Sur

by (Greg Tataro, Jr./Radyo ng Bayan Tandag/PIA Surigao del Sur)

TANDAG CITY, Surigao del Sur, April 16 (PIA) -- The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) 1st Congressional District Office here has been unrelenting in the implementation of all infrastructure projects set for Surigao del Sur.

According to District Engineer Joseph Calderon, besides the on-going implementation of the almost completed carry-over projects from 2011, all infrastructure projects set for 2012 have already been started.

Calderon said the 2012 projects with the total amount of P218,255,000 include the concreting of the remaining unpaved portions of the Surigao del Sur Davao Coastal Road (SDCR) project along with four bridges and also the continuation of the San Miguel-Bayugan Road.

On the other hand, he pointed out that six of all the seven carry-over projects for 2011 have already been completed except for one which is now nearing completion.

Cops collar Chinese national for carrying unlicensed gun

by Rhea Ruth V. Rosell

Cebu (PNA) RMA/Ben Serrano/rsm

BUTUAN CITY — Police arrested past midnight Saturday a Chinese national for introducing himself as a cop and possessing an unlicensed Colt .45 cal pistol inside Nico’s Bar in Tandag City, Surigao del Sur. Tandag City police identified the Chinese national as Jake Zhang, 26, reportedly a companion of a big-time small-scale mining Chinese investor and trader who is presently residing in Barangay Bag-ong Lungsod, this city. Zhang was arrested by responding cops from Surigao del Sur Provincial PNP Special Operation Group (PSOG), headed by Insp. Ferdinand P. Tavares, while in possession of an unlicensed Colt MK IV Series 80 .45 cal. pistol bearing serial number 676701 and one magazine loaded with seven live bullets. Zhang is now under the custody of Tandag City Police Office, police said.

Nurse in mishap would have turned 45 today

by Rhea Ruth V. Rosell

Cebu Daily News

She came to Cebu City to save a life, but ended up losing her own in an ambulance crash three days before she would have turned 45 years old. Trecie Abaño Cariaso, a Singapore-based nurse and mother of three, finished her nursing degree in Velez College in Cebu City. At one time, she worked as private nurse of Cebu Archsihop Cardinal Ricardo Vidal before she went to Singapore for work. Cariaso’s remains were flown to Manila where she will be buried on Sunday. Cariaso was sent by her employer, Hope Ambulance,a private rescue firm in Singapore, to fetch an American patient from Chong Hua Hospital for further medical treatment in Singapore. The ambulance was on the way to the airport Tuesday when a pick up driven by 20-year-old Anthony Logarta hit the ambulance’s rear in the junction of MJ Cuenco – Juan Luna Avenue in barangay Mabolo at 12: 20 a.m.Seated by the ambulance’s backdoor, Cariaso was thrown off upon impact. Cariaso, a native of Bislig, Surigao del Sur, was the youngest of 13 sibling, hence her name “trese” which means 13 in English. She married an architect. They have three children in Singapore. Her sister Jessica Selisana, dean of the College of Business and Accountancy in the University of Cebu-Lapu-Lapu and Mandaue (UCLM) campus, said Cariaso was excited to return to Cebu which she had not visited for 12 years. Selisana’s 37-year-old son fetched Cariaso at the airport 11 p.m. Monday and brought her to Chong Hua Hospital to fetch her Singapore-bound patient. “She (Cariaso) even told my son to buy mangoes because she missed eating Cebu mangoes,” Selisana said. She learned of her sister’s death when his son called her past 1:30 a.m. about the freak accident. The pickup driver, who tested positive for alcohol use, was charged in court for reckless driving and homicide.

BIR in Surigao del Sur set for ITR filing deadline

by (RER/NGBT/Greg S. Tataro, Jr., Radyo Ng Bayan-Tandag/PIA Surigao del Sur)

TANDAG CITY, Surigao del Sur, April 12 (PIA) -- The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) District Office 106 in Surigao del Sur has already braced itself for the anticipated throng of Income Tax Return (ITR) filers especially on April 16 deadline.

According to Revenue District Officer Amanoding Esmail, his office has already put up a Tax Filing Center in both the cities of Tandag and Bislig. They are manned by a revenue examiner to oversee the operations of the Office of the Collection Agent and the respective branches of the Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP), being one of the BIR Authorized Agent Banks (AABs) here.

He said, under Bank Bulletin No. 2012-07, all BIR AABs are mandated to extend their banking hours up to 5:00 p.m. for the period April 2 to 16, 2012 apart from opening bank operations on March 31 and April 14 for purposes of accepting tax payments.

Esmail expressed confidence that his office will continue to hit its set monthly tax goal which, this April, is pegged at P64,193,000.

Pinay nurse killed in ambulance crash

by Jhunnex Napallacan

Cebu Daily News

A Singapore-based Filipina nurse was killed when an ambulance she was riding was hit by a speeding pickup in Cebu City past midnight Tuesday. Trecie Abaño, 44, a native of Bislig, Surigao del Sur was thrown out of the ambulance where she was seated near the rear door, the point of impact. The ambulance was carrying an American patient from Chong Hua Hospital to the Mactan airport to catch a chartered flight to Singapore. The patient 37-year-old Michael Jasmin of San Diego, California and six others inside the vehicle were injured and brought back to the hospital. Police detained the driver of the Toyota Hilux, 20-year-old Noel Anthony Logarta, a university student in Cebu City. He tested positive for liquor use. He and his unidentified companion suffered only minor injuries. Police said Logarta, a resident of Mountain View Village in Quiot, Pardo, came from Asiatown IT Park when the accident happened at 12:20 a.m. Logarta told police he was driving at 50 kph to 60kph at that time and because the traffic light was still flashing, he continued speeding at the corner of J Luna and MJ Cuenco avenue but the ambulance suddenly appeared on his lane, so he hit them. The vehicle is owned by his father. At 4 p.m. Logarta was brought to the prosecutor’s office for the filing of a charge of reckless imprudence resulting to homicide and multiple physical injuries with damage to properties. Another taxi cab was also damaged after being hit by the Toyota pickup. P02 Edgardo Becoy, investigator of the Cebu City Traffic Operations Management (CITOM) said Abaño was escorting a patient to catch a chartered flight to Singapore. The patient worked in AT & T, one of the largest US telecom firms, which arranged for Jasmin to be flown to Singapore for further medical treatment. The ambulance overturned. The nurse who was sitting near the rear door was thrown out on the road. Paramedics of the Emergency Rescue Unit Foundation (ERUF) responded to the accident and brought the nurse and six others to Chong Hua Hopsital, but the nurse was declared dead. The patient, Jasmin, was brought to the ICU. His injuries and condition before the mishap were not disclosed. Five others taken to the hospital were the ambulance driver Juan Cabigas, 38, and passengers Mahsee Choong, Milan Lester Ningaska, Roy Jumao-as, and Datukon Sayyio. Becoy said they had scratches and bruises. Choong, a Singaporean doctor, and the others were discharged. Only the driver remained at the hospital.With Chito Aragon and BenCyrus Ellorin

1,159 students benefit from SPES in SuriSur

by Jereco O. Paloma

SURIGAO del Sur – This summer vacation, 1,159 poor but deserving students are going to benefit from the Special Program for Employment of Students (SPES) in the province.

Weather bureau sees heavy rains in Davao City

by Jereco O. Paloma

THE weather disturbance seen by the state weather bureau affecting a portion of Mindanao including Davao Region Monday may bring heavy downpour in the city and some neighboring areas in the next coming days, an official said.

Paz Rosas, Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) Davao weather observer, told Sun.Star that a low pressure area (LPA) or an opposite of a high pressure area might trigger flash floods and landslides in areas covered by the weather disturbance.

"Pero naay posibilidad na mag bag-o ang panahon sa mo abot na mga adlaw (But there is still a possibility that the weather might change in the coming days)," Rosas said.

Pagasa said the LPA is affecting eastern part of Mindanao and some parts of Luzon.

In its weather bulletin Monday morning, the LPA is expected to trigger rains Surigao del Norte, Surigao del Sur, Davao Oriental, Siargao, Agusan del Norte, and Agusan del Sur.

Rosas also urged the residents along danger-prone zones to stay vigilant.

Quake jolts Surigao del Sur


BUTUAN CITY, Philippines – A 4.5-magnitude earthquake rattled residents in Surigao del Sur Tuesday afternoon. The Office of Civil Defense (OCD-Caraga Region 13) said no damages or injuries were reported from the disaster councils and disaster risk reduction and management councils in the province as of yesterday morning. The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) in Surigao said the 4.5-magnitude tremor was recorded at 12:25 p.m. The epicenter was traced 33 kilometers northeast of Lingig town, with 33 kilometers depth. Intensity 2 was recorded in Butuan City, Phivolcs said. The earthquake was tectonic in origin and no aftershock was monitored, the Phivolcs added. Region 13 OCD Regional Director Blanche T. Gobenciong said their regional office here is still awaiting further reports from Surigao del Sur.

Earthquake Rattles Surigao Del Sur Residents


BUTUAN CITY – A 4.5 magnitude earthquake rattled residents in the Pacific Ocean facing-province of Surigao del Sur Tuesday afternoon.

However, the Office of Civil Defense (OCD-Caraga Region 13) said no damage or injuries were reported from the different disaster councils and disaster risk reduction and management councils in that province as of this posting.

Region Xlll OCD Regional Director Blanche T. Gobenciong said their regional office here is still awaiting further reports from Surigao del Sur.

Initial field report said residents in Surigao del Sur, particularly in populated areas in the nearby city of Bislig ran to safer grounds while other to the roads. Farm animals were also rattled.

Devotees who were at the church in Lingig and even in nearby Bislig City also panicked during the tremor.

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) in Surigao said the 4.5 magnitude earthquake was recorded at 12:25 p.m.

The Phivolcs said the epicenter was traced at 33 kilometers northeast of Lingig town with 33 kilometers depth.

Intensity2 magnitude was also recorded in Butuan City, Phivolcs said.

The earthquake was tectonic in origin and no aftershock was monitored, the Phivolcs added.

116 Surigaonons graduate from TESDA tech-voc courses

by Greg Tataro Jr.

TANDAG CITY, Surigao del Sur, April 3 (PIA) -- At least 116 trainees from different parts of Surigao del Sur graduated recently from the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) provincial office here.

According to Allan Millan, Supervising Technical Education Skills Development Specialist (TESDS), the new batch of graduates are as follows: personal computer operations – nine; consumer electronics services – 30; housekeeping – 23; bartending – 24; and, driving – 30.

First District Congressman Philip Pichay, Governor Johnny Pimentel, and Tandag City Mayor Alexander Pimentel, who are all TESDA benefactors, have graced the graduation ceremony held recently at the capitol seminar hall here.

The success of TESDA under Provincial Director Rey Cueva in producing graduates in the province is through the close collaboration with the local officials. (Radyo Ng Bayan-Tandag/PIA13, Surigao del Sur)

3 gov’t soldiers wounded on joint PNP, AFP operations vs. NPA

by ( Greg Tataro Jr./Radyo Ng Bayan-Tandag/PIASurigao del Sur)

TANDAG CITY, Surigao del Sur, April 2 (PIA) -- Three government soldiers had been wounded while the number is still undetermined on the enemy side as the joint PNP, AFP forces continue its operations against the New People’ Army (NPA) in Surigao del Sur recently.

PFC Elmer Calabroso and Rodulfo Bautista of the Philippine Army (PA) of the 75th Infantry Battalion and PO1 Sergio Cubillan of the 131st Regional Public Safety Command (RPSC) had been plucked out of the encounter area and brought to Butuan City hospital through a UH helicopter at around 2:45 pm of March 29, the day of the 43rd NPA anniversary.

A day earlier, the government forces recovered some rounds of assorted live ammunition empty shells after a 40-minute gunfight with undetermined number of NPA rebels as they scoured the enemy’s lair in the mountainous area of Sitio Sinai, Tambis, Barobo town, 105 kilometers south of Tandag City.

3 minors drown in Surigao del Sur; 2 still missing

by KBK, GMA News

An excursion among neighbors turned tragic Saturday when three children were carried away by big waves in Surigao del Sur province.

So far, only one of the three, 13-year-old Elizabeth Tariao, was recovered during search and rescue operations, according to Superintendent Martin Gamba, chief information officer of the CARAGA regional police.

The two who were still missing as of posting time were identified as Conadel Peria, 13, and Jeffrel Rabina, 12.

“Accordingly, the victims were swimming few meters from the shoreline when suddenly a strong wave struck them,” said Gamba.

The official said the victims and their respective families were in a resort in Barangay Banahaw in Lianga town for a summer outing when the incident occurred at around 1:30 p.m.

The victims and their families are residents of Tagbina town, also in Surigao del Sur.

Gamba said additional search and rescue teams were dispatched in the area to locate the two other missing children.


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