forged partnership with Government instrumentalities
ALVIN T. DEVARAS
July 22, 2004
– In an effort to improve the lives of upland communities, SIBP forged
partnerships among government instrumentalities to educate and impart skills
that would prepare communities for a sustainable livelihood while at the
same time focusing on health, population management through family planning
and biodiversity conservation.
In line with their advocacy campaign to promote biodiversity conservation
and sustainable development in Samar island through the establishment of the
Samar Island Natural Park (SINP), the Samar Island Biodiversity Project (SIBP)
recently entered into partnerships with government instrumentalities by
forging Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) among selected partners.
SIBP and the Family Planning Organization of the Philippines (FPOP-Samar)
agreed to jointly develop and implement a family management program for SINP.
The MOA formalizes the partnership of the two (2) organizations to assist
SINP communities surface and address family management needs such as those
concerning health, food and nutrition, literacy and access to education,
environmental sanitation and care for the sick and elderly. The program will
be initially implemented in Brgy. Cansolabao, Hinabangan, Samar in
partnership with the barangay local government unit.
Relatedly, the provincial office of the Technical Education and Skills
Development Authority (TESDA-Samar) mutually worked with SIBP for a joint
planning and agreed contribution to manpower skills development in the
province with TESDA partners. Partners will work hand-in-hand to ensure
commitment and efforts to provide quality training and technical assistance
in the field of technical and community-based competencies particularly its
interventions to capacitate non-government organizations (NGO’s) partners on
approaches to community resource management and livelihood trainings for
Meanwhile, the Department of Education (DepEd) Regional Office 8 concurred
with the proposal to integrate biodiversity in school curriculum and extend
assistance to upland communities on basic literacy. Initially, DepEd-8 and
SIBP have led to consensus on two (2) major points of collaboration:
through its Assistant Regional Director Jesusita Arteche, has agreed in
principle to work with SIBP for the integration of the teaching of
biodiversity conservation and the SINP in the school curriculum of public
schools and proposed for a curriculum development workshop; and,
responded positively to the request of SIBP to provide assistance to upland
communities on adult literacy education. Non-formal education (NFE) chief
Linda Cinco has committed to prioritize SINP barangays with high incidences
of illiteracy as beneficiaries of DepEd Literacy Services Contracting
Program. Participation in the program will allow communities to receive
assistance from DepEd in the training of community facilitator and for the
conduct of literacy classes in the barangays.
A memorandum of agreement
is currently being drafted by these two (2) agencies to formalize the
partnership. The integration of biodiversity in school curriculum is being
strongly advocated by the SIBP partners particularly the Information,
Education and Communication (IEC) committee headed by Dr. Elfleda Bautista.
APO-AUSTRALIA says “Help A Child To Plant A
– Alpha Phi Omega Australia (APO Australia) is calling on parents,
grandparents and teachers to get kids planting native trees on this year’s
‘National Tree Day’.
‘Tree Day’ is organised nationally by Planet Ark in association with Toyota
and AMP Foundation.
The aim of the event is to get people planting trees and shrubs that are
native to their local area.
This year’s ‘Tree Day’ is being celebrated at Rydalmere on
APO-Australia Tree Day Coordinator Ronaldo Villaver says that volunteers are
welcome to join in and help out on the day.
“‘Tree Day’ shows kids how easy it is to help the environment,” says Ronaldo.
“It’s a lot of fun for them and as the child grows, so does the tree
that they plant,” he said. Local planting begins at 9:00AM and the site is
located at Upjohn Park, Kirby Street, Rydalmere NSW 2116.
last year’s ‘Tree Day’, 247,000 volunteers planted 2.25 million native trees
at 3,340 sites across Australia.
APO-Australia under the leadership of President Edgar Sanchez collaborates
with Parramatta City Council in its participation in this year’s ‘National
Tree Day’ that put into action one of APO Australia’s development plans
Mining operations start in 4 Samar towns;
RICKY J. BAUTISTA
CATBALOGAN, Samar – Majority of
the residents and village officials has sought the intervention of the civil
society to bear with them as they strongly expressed their opposition to the
mining operations, which is now apparently underway in the municipalities of
Matuguinao, San Jorge, Gandara and San Jose de Buan, all in the province of
In the morning of July 8,
2004, the Samar Island Natural Park (SINP) central office based in this town
said they received unconfirmed information and feedbacks that mining
activities were already underway in San Jose de Buan, Samar.
On July 9 until the 14th
day of this month, another residents coming from the towns of San Jorge and
San Jose de Buan, Samar reported that the Bauxite Resources, Inc. (BRI) has
“started to implement mining exploration and collection of limestone, soil
samples in Mineral Production Sharing Agreement (MPSA) sites” particularly
in Sitio Kadaragan, Barangay Can-aponte towards Barangay San Nicolas in San
San Jose de Buan town, which is actually located inside the newly-proclaimed
As this developed, the SINP
Protected Area Superintendent Herminigildo Jocson concurrently the project
manager of the Samar Island Biodiversity Project (SIBP) has immediately
ordered an investigation into the matter.
Randy Gacoscosin, team
leader of the Park Rangers Fact-Finding Team (FFT) who were dispatched to
confirm the information said the tip was indeed true. “The villagers
disclosed to us that there were massive hiring and transporting of residents
for the supposed mining” in San Jose de Buan town.
Gacoscosin said “There was
no signal or attempt by the BRI to inform the SINP Protected Area
Superintendent Office of their impending and on-going mining activities
within the protected area, (in which) covered around 96% of the SINP core
zone and 70% are old-growth forests protected by law, covering the four
towns in Samar.”
To recall, the said four
towns was among the areas included by the MPSA No. 180-2002 awarded by
former DENR secretary Heherson Alvarez to the Bauxite Resources Inc. through
its President, Benjamin T. Guingona, last December 5, 2002 covering an area
of 5,519.01 hectares.
The hectares to be mined
per municipalities runs as follows: San Jose de Buan (3,553.8298), Gandara
(1,318.1070), Matuguinao (389.0764) and San Jorge with 257.9969 hectares.
Accordingly, the report of
the Fact-Finding Team stated, the MPSA was granted under Republic Act No.
7942 or The Philippine Mining Act of 1995, Presidential Proclamation No.
1615 dated February 4, 1977 declaring the Samar Bauxite Mineral Reservation,
and Office of the President Memorandum dated January 3, 2003 declaring a
policy shift from “tolerance to promotion” of mining operations.
The MPSA grants a 2-year
Temporary Exploration Permit to BRI that “shall commence… not later than 3
months after the effective date.” The amount to be spent by the BRI in
conducting exploration in these towns is specified as follows: In the first
contract year under their Exploration Work Program, P4,300,000; while in the
second contract year is at P3,200,000. In their second phase, called the
Environmental Work Program, they will spend, at least, P750,000.
It was learned that, per
agreement between the BRI and Mines Geosciences Bureau in Eastern Visayas
(MGB-8), the BRI will pay the “necessary occupation fee for the target
5,519.01 hectares, which is equivalent to P551,901.00,” at P100 per hectare.
A document obtained by this
writer revealed that BRI already paid the amount of P25,799.70 under DBP
Check No. 0014599 last May 27, 2003 as “occupation fee.”
It was also learned that
BRI also paid the amount of P355,383.00 as occupation fee for the 3,553.8298
hectares in San Jose de Buan town as confirmed by the mayor itself to the
investigating team. However, there is no receipt was made available to this
writer as of press time. This writer also made several attempts to contact
BRI for reaction and comments but to no avail.
It was also learned that
the provincial government, who earlier imposed a 50-year mining moratorium
in the province of Samar, was also set to file a Temporary Restraining Order
(TRO) against the BRI.
“Today, we, through the
Provincial Attorney’s Office will file necessary legal actions against the
mining operations,” says SP member Susano Salurio, chairman of the Committee
on Environment Protection.
imposed new power rate and billing scheme
By ROMMEL L. RUTOR
CATBALOGAN, Samar – Despite relentless
effort made by the Samar Electric Cooperative II (Samelco II) here for the
Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) to reconsider the new guidelines
established for power cooperatives by the EPIRA Law, the new component in
power consumer bills, known as the “lifeline subsidy” will still take effect
starting this month.
During a forum organized
by the Samelco II here, power consumers assailed the additional P0.0788/kWh
in electric cost, calling the new component as unwarranted, and are an added
burden to the majority of the power consumers. However, nothing can be done
by now, since the law is already approved.
The new component called
“lifeline rate” will be accumulated from the power cooperative members for
every kilowatt-hour (kWh) of electric consumption, and will be used to
pay-off the discounts which are given to marginalized power users, whose
consumption does not exceed 20 kWh per month.
Under section 73 of the
Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA) of 2001, it provides that
residential customers consuming 20 kwh and below in a given month will enjoy
a “Lifeline Discount” to be applied to the total component of the electric
bill in varying percentage.
The new EPIRA law further
stated, that power customers utilizing 15 kWh and below will get 50%
discount on electric charges; 16 kWh will get 40%; 17kWh will get 30%; 18
kWh will get 20%; 19 kWh will get 10%; and those consuming 20 kWh will be
get a 5% off from their total electric bills.
“With this new power-rate
scheme, electric consumers utilizing more than what is set as ceiling in the
“lifeline subsidy”, are likely to pay more”, says Hon. Joseph Escober of
this province Sangguniang Panlalawigan.
Residential Power Rates
The ERC approved unbundled
rate of the SAMELCO II here, likewise posted a much higher power rates for
the residential electric consumers than those who registered their line as
Based on the new rate
scheme, residential consumers will be charged P5.9521/kWh, as compared to
commercial line rates pegging to only P5.9006/kWh, while street lights,
which are normally paid for by the government are charged at P4.5276/kWh.
During the forum, some
cooperative members assailed to charged the “lifeline subsidy rate” to a
very low rate pegged on the government paid “street lights”, citing a very
unfair price scheming.
“Ig-charge na la lugod ito nga P0.0788/kWh ha mga street lights, kay
total gobyerno man ngani it nabayad hito, para makahalibway man liwat it mga
tawo hin ura-ura na nga gastuson”
pointed Brgy. Bunuanan chairman Dacaynos of this town.
However, Hon. Escober
here disputed the suggestions of some members of the Samar Electric
Cooperative II, to charge the new “lifeline rate” to the government,
explaining that “street lights are charged a fix customer rate of P80.49 per
month as compared to a measly P5.00/month for residential customers”.
Another apprehensions looms
Further during the
forum, SAMELCO II Gen. Manager Ponciano Rosales stressed that once the
consumers of the Luzon grid stop subsidizing the Visayas and Minadanao Grid,
another component of the new ERC unbundled rates known as the “Inter-class
cross subsidy charges” is likely to be implemented after 3 years.
This apprehension was
presented to the cooperative members by the Samelco II management here to
let them prepare for possible power rate hike eventualities, and to come-up
with viable lobbying to repeal or amend the EPIRA Law in congress, thru the
newly elected congressman Hon. Catalino Figueroa.
Aside from this looming
electric cost after 3 years, which is already a law, Rosales likewise
informed the coop members that the National Power Corporation, just recently
applied for another power rate increase at the ERC for the generation and
“This makes the figures
on our power bill - for the generation and transmission charges -that we pay
to the NPC variable in the amount of P3.5614/kWh” Mr. Rosales explained,
“and for the total of P5.9521/kWh that appears on the power bills, only
P2.3907/kWh actually goes to the cooperative” he further said.
Southeast Asian Canadian youth tired of being
invisible – Organizes independent multimedia forum for change
By GENE LARA
July 15, 2004
– Over two hundred
East and Southeast Asian-Canadian youth will be joining together to make
their voices heard by policy makers at a one-day multimedia action forum on
July 24th, 2004, at the University Settlement House and Recreation Centre.
Entitled "Identification Asian: Asian Canadian Youth Unite!" – Five
East and Southeast Asian Canadian youth serving organizations: Chinese
Canadian National Council Toronto Chapter (CCNCTO), Hong Fook Mental Health
Association, SEAS Centre, Silayan Filipino Community Centre, and Vietnamese
Youth Services, will be hosting an important forum for youth to engage in
discussions under the theme of identity and alienation as well as developing
various multimedia strategies.
According to Lead Organizer
and Youth Coordinator of CCNCTO Barnett Chow: "Despite being one of the
largest ethno groups in Toronto,
Chinese Canadian youth are still feeling enormous inequities in the media,
employment and the criminal justice system... Its time that we come together
to address this using multi-media as a tool for effective social and
"Many of our youth clients
of Vietnamese descent are telling us that our systems are not as inclusive
as it claims to be, issues such as racism, cultural stereotypes and the lack
of access to culturally competent health services continue to add mental
stress and feelings of isolation" said Sue Leba of Hong Fook Mental Health
Oliver Li, Youth Worker of
SEAS Centre: "More and more East and Southeast Asian immigrant youth face
problems in our society due to poverty and homelessness, non-recognition of
credentials, as well as having to juggle issues of multiple identity and
language - Our decision makers need to listen and provide meaningful support
Participants of the event
will be actively engaged in a panel discussion and receive multi-media
training on civic participation and community activism, compounded
alienation and immigration, media misrepresentation and
under-representation, as well as racism and anti-oppression.
The panel will feature
well-known Activist Mitchie Esguerra of the Filipino Youth Action Network;
Playwright Marjorie Chan, of "China Doll;" " Activist and former Toronto 1
Reporter Min Sook Lee, and Author Terry Woo, of Banana Boys". Workshops will
be facilitated by award wining Documentary Maker and Activists Kwoi Gin,
renowned Artist and Activist Aries Cheung, and Activist Ariel.
For more information on
this event, please contact: Gene Lara, Center Coordinator, Silayan Community
Abduction in Motiong to be investigated
Maj. FELIX M. MANGYAO, (INF) PA
CAMP LUKBAN, Catbalogan, Samar – MGen.
Glenn J. Rabonza, 8ID Commanding General issued a directive to investigate
the accusations made by concerned citizens of Brgy. Sto. Nino, Motiong, Samar
regarding the abduction case allegedly perpetrated by government soldiers
last July 4. The 8th Infantry Division, Philippine Army, being the mandated
protector of the people and the state, will not tolerate any misdeed or
crime committed against the civilian populace.
It should not be
discounted, however, that the allegations could be merely propaganda efforts
by the enemies of the State to discredit the military organization and the
Another case being
investigated by the 8th Infantry Division are abduction cases coming from
three barangays of Matuguinao, Samar committed by the Communist Terrorists (CTs)
or New People's Army (NPA) two weeks ago and confirmed by several sources. These actions by the CTs are
intended to sow fear among the civilian populace who are not sympathetic to
At present, the 8th
Infantry Division is coordinating with the Philippine National Police to
find out the real perpetrators of the abduction incident in Motiong.
AVE launches Scholarship Program
By Alliance of Volunteer Educators
July 10, 2004
– Just seven days in
its seat in the 13th Congress, the Alliance of Volunteer
Educators(AVE) has already launched its AVE Scholarship Program last July 7
in the “2004 Philippine Association of State Universities and Colleges (PASUC)
Mid-Year Conference” held at Sarabia Manor Hotel and Convention Center,
Participated by more than 600
administrators and educators from 110
Universities and Colleges and their respective satellite campuses
nationwide, this year’s three-day conference carried the theme, “SUCs
Responding to the Challenges and Concerns of the Higher Education
The signing of the
scholarship’s Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between AVE Representative Amang
R. Magsaysay and PASUC President Dr. Eldigario D. Gonzales was the highlight
of the said event.
The AVE scholarship program
aims to provide financial assistance to poor but deserving college students
nationwide by covering full tuition and all other expenses.
According to Magsaysay, the
scholarship program is particularly drafted for students enrolled in Science
and Technology-related course offerings of different State
Universities and Colleges in the country.
“This scholarship program
will definitely lessen the burden of those young students who dream to
finish tertiary education despite financial difficulties,” Magsaysay said.
Also, Magsaysay asked for the
support of his fellow educators, particularly those of the PASUC officers
“We ask you, my dear
educators, to join hands and fully cooperate with the full implementation of
AVE’s scholarship program for the sake of these students who will definitely
benefit from this,” Magsaysay stressed.
AVE is a newly-elected
party-list in the 13th Congress whose main advocacy is to
ameliorate and uplift the quality of education in the country by supporting
the demand for adequate government subsidy to all learning institutions to
make education affordable.