nation

LGU tapping divers to maintain Camiguin’s marine life

June 24, 2019

To preserve its flourishing marine flora and fauna, the provincial government of this island has urged divers and tourists to help them in preventing the destruction of its coral reefs.   Outgoing Gov. Maria Luisa Romualdo said visitorsto the province, especially sea divers, also play a role in the protection and preservation of Camiguin’s marine life.   “We hope we can get more divers, responsible tourists, like you who would help us in the maintenance, in the preservation of our dive spots,” Romualdo told the crowd of divers, tourists and locals during the opening ceremony of the 1st Camiguin Dive Festival held at the Lagundi Beach in this town on Sunday, June 23.   The two-month festival runs from June 23 to August 31 and will showcase various activities such as Scubasurero, fun dive, dive classes, underwater photography contest, among others.   She said they are taking care of their marine-protected areas, even organizing the residents and fisherfolk to safeguard the dive sites and fish sanctuaries around the island.   “So anything you see in the marine-protected areas, in the dive spots, which you think can destroy our coral reefs, our fish, please feel free to remove it. I will give you that authority,” the governor added, referring to fish traps that are placed on corals and have proven to be destructive.   Camigun has around 30 dive sites scattered throughout the island’s provincial waters.   According to Department of Tourism-10 (DOT-10) regional director Marie Elaine Unchuan, the Philippine Commission on Sports Scuba Diving has already accredited six dive shops in Camiguin, owing to the increasing number of divers who visit the province.   Unchuan noted that operators are investing in dive shops, which would mean more local and international divers are coming over to Camiguin.   “We’ve talked to the stakeholders to really up their game to develop dive facilities and dive shops that are DOT-accredited and worthy of international visitors,” she said, adding that more foreigners are visiting the island’s dive spots.   “You can see we have a good percentage of foreigners. We’re tapping the European market,” the regional director added, referring to the influx of divers.   Veteran diver and underwater photographer and videographer Bo Mancao, who documented the festival, said Camiguin has always been unique because it’s one of the volcanic reef islands in the country.   “I keep coming back here and I keep finding new stuff, be it coral, be it fish, be it invertebrate. There’s always something new in Camiguin,” Mancao said.   He said he was impressed by how clean the coral reefs are. “I think this goes to show how the leadership in Camiguin works. They are very good in organizing their trash management. Even if there are wastes that float from the mainland to Camiguin, they have a way of collecting and disposing it.”   Diver and blogger Gian Carlo Jubela said he was surprised that Black Forest, a part of the coral reef near the White Island is free of garbage considering that the sand bar is one of most visited tourist destinations in Camiguin.   “We do hope that it can be maintained; the ocean is life, and if the oceans die, the planet dies, we all perish,” Jubela said.   Mambajao mayor and governor-elect Jurdin Jesus Romualdo said he cannot understand why people still throw their trash in the sea despite the existence of laws and ordinances prohibiting it.   Romualdo said they want to preserve the reputation of Camiguin’s coral reefs as pristine and dive-worthy, with the help of divers.   “I’m really banking on the dive resorts and all the divers that come here. Help me preserve this beautiful island. I cannot do this alone,” he said.   What makes Camiguin’s corals and other underwater life still intact after the occurrence of volcanic eruptions in the past is in itself a cause for wonder and amazement, he said.   “Divers have been telling that it’s more beautiful under the water than on top,” Romualdo said. Camiguin provincial tourism officer Candice Naome Dael said they expect the volume of tourists to further increase because of the Dive Festival and other regular annual activities in the island, which include the Lanzones Festival and the Panaad, a yearly activity involving Roman Catholic devotees who walk around the island as form of penance during the Holy Week.   The Manila-Camiguin flights recently offered by an airline company would also help boost the number of foreign and local visitors to visit the province, she said.   “We are projecting a million or more tourists for this year,” Dael said, adding that the establishment of new multi-room hotels and resorts will help address the growing number of vacationers to the island.

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25 teacher-scholars complete Graduate Diploma in Cultural Education

June 24, 2019

A special ceremony was held in their honor last May 19 at Casa Real of the VIP Hotel in Cagayan de Oro City. The Graduate Diploma in Cultural Education is a flagship project of the Philippine Cultural Education Program (PCEP) of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), and Xavier University - Ateneo de Cagayan (through its Xavier Center for Culture and the Arts, School of Education Graduate School Program, and as facilitated by the Department of Education - Region X) acts as one of the delivering institutions in the country.  The diploma course has a total of 53 graduates since it started in 2015 at Xavier Ateneo. In his message to the graduates during the ceremony, Dr Arturo Bayucot, OIC regional director of DepEd-X, highlighted the significance of strengthening the teachers’ capacity to “radiate goodness” and not just to transform the lives of the students in our country. The graduation exercise was attended by the family and friends of the graduates and guests Dr Bienvenido U Tagolimot Jr, education program supervisor of DepEd-X; Irene Grace A Guitarte, XU's VP for mission and ministry; Dr Junefel Macagba, faculty member XU School of Education; and Hobart P Savior, XCCA director. “This is the positioning where our dear graduates are equipped and trained with, not just as scholars or teachers but also as enablers on cultural education and cultural work," Savior shared during the event. "We need more of them so we are able to strengthen a community of artists, leaders, and teachers who have high regard on developing greater awareness and appreciation on our very own arts and culture," he added. The said program has definitely inspired the “cultural warriors,” with their deeper understanding and appreciation of culture and the arts and they all have become “cultural champions” in their respective areas, having been able to gain local, national, and even international acclaim in their works.  The president of their batch, Cheryl Pontillas, particularly acknowledged some achievements of the graduates like awards in research competitions, Araling Panlipunan Regional Research Summits, and even for outstanding performances as educators; recognition for cultural mapping and establishing a strong link with Talaandig tribe to name a few. Dan Ralph Subla from Bayugan, Agusan del Sur, one of the graduates, who delivered a message on behalf of their batch said: “Evidently, the point at hand is to materialize each of our potentials into its actuality. Not only ours but to who makes us purposeful – our learners who will then become cultural educators in their respective time frames and circumstances.” The scholars turned "cultural enablers" have realized that they will leave a legacy already with what they have accomplished. Last May 29, another group of scholars completed their 42-unit master’s program of the same graduate diploma program and will have their own graduation exercise next year. This will once again produce compelling contributions to culture-based education. The people behind this program consider this a significant transformation brought about by PCEP-NCCA and Xavier Ateneo which by itself will leave a mark not just in the academe but also in our country.

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Habitat for Humanity Philippines mobilize 2000 youth volunteers in 20 sites for Young Leaders Build 2019

June 24, 2019

Michael Ng a Grade 12 student of British School Manila was one of the youth volunteers at the May 18 HYLB event in Bistekville 1, Quezon City, he shares “I learned that it is important for all of us to be our own little leader, doing our best to inspire others to help other people, especially the less fortunate.” “We would like to thank the communities, sponsors and youth volunteers for participating in HYLB2019. Your enthusiasm and dedication is inspirational. We do hope for your support in HYLB 2020 and beyond,” says Lili Fuentes, Chief Operating Officer of Habitat Philippines. HYLB is Habitat’s flagship youth program in Asia Pacific which started in 2012 and has happened every year since. It aims to engage youth to take the lead in helping communities have safe, decent and affordable housing. Volunteer sites for HYLB 2019 include: Brgy. Tanza-Navotas City; Brgy. Pinagbuhatan- Pasig City; Bistekvilles 1, 4, 5-Quezon City; Kaakbay Community-Caloocan City; FTI Complex-Taguig City;  Brgy. Bignay-Valenzuela City; Katuwang Village-Silay City; and a dozen sites in Leyte, Cebu and Davao

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Construction of Classrooms in Bagong Buhay Elementary School, Ormoc City

June 21, 2019

Numerous school buildings in Leyte were severely damaged by typhoons which passed through the province, including Typhoon Haiyan in 2013. Due to the lack of resources and ever-increasing enrollment, the school had to use makeshift classrooms to accommodate its students. The makeshift classrooms are made up of bamboo, plywood and plastic tarps which are not safe and conducive learning environment for children. Through the GGP, the Embassy of Japan provided assistance to the IsraAID Philippines with a grant amounting to Forty-Eight Thousand Five Hundred Fifty Six US Dollars (USD 48,556) or approximately 2.4 million pesos. The grant covered the construction of the two-storey two-classroom school building and the provision of furniture and fixtures which will benefit more than 400students of Bagong Buhay Elementary School.  The Government of Japan, as the top ODA donor for the Philippines, launched the Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Projects in the Philippines in 1989 for the purpose of reducing poverty and helping various communities engaged in grassroots activities. At present, GGP had implemented 543 grassroots projects in the country. Japan believes that these projects will not only strengthen the friendship between the peoples of Japan and the Philippines but also contribute in sustaining strategic partnership between the two countries.

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President Duterte leads Independence Day rites in Lanao del Sur

June 14, 2019

Delivering his Independence Day speech at the 6th Infantry Battalion Headquarters, the President rallied the nation to pay tribute to the country’s patriots, both past and present, by safeguarding the democratic institutions built from the rubble of the wars that gave rise to Philippine heroes. “And while the noble heroes of our past faced the might of colonial powers, this time, we face the modern problems of poverty, corruption, environmental degradation, terrorism, criminality, and illegal drugs,” he said in his message. “These threats, just like the threats our nation faced centuries ago, have infringed on our inalienable right to live peaceful, safe, comfortable, and meaningful lives.” The President acknowledged that the country is at a crucial juncture in its history, stressing the need to learn from the lessons of the past to ensure that these threats do not cause harm to the present and future generations of Filipinos. “Let us all work together so we may preserve this gift of liberty that all our children deserve to inherit,” he said. He praised the soldiers from Philippine Army’s 6th Infantry Battalion, also known as the “Redskin Battalion,” for their bravery in fighting the Dawiah Islamiyah, the Maute Group, and other lawless elements that continue to threaten the region. “On behalf of a grateful nation, I thank the brave men and women of the Redskin Battalion for your bravery, selflessness, service, and unconditional love of country. Your valor has indeed earned you a place among the valiant heroes who built this nation 121 years ago,” he told the soldiers. And as part of the formal commemoration Wednesday, the President led the wreath-laying rites on Dr. Jose Rizal’s monument to remember his patriotism. President Duterte also recognized the members of the armed forces who neutralized ISIS-Maute leader Owayda Abdul Najid B. Marohombsar alias Abu Dar in Lanao del Sur in March this year. They were awarded the Order of Lapu-Lapu with the Rank of Kamagi. Among the recipients of the Order of Lapu-Lapu were Col. Romeo A. Brawner Jr., Col. Jose Maria R. Cuerpo II, LTC Ian Noel P. Ignes, LTC Edgar Allan S. Villanueva, Cpt. Jay S. Duma-og, and Cpt. Brenn S. Fabros (represented by LTC Jake Jumawan). The Commander-In-Chief also led the donning of rank to Maj. Gen. Roberto T. Ancan, the commander of the 1st Infantry Division. 

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DENR-PENRO Camiguin acquires new fabricated watercraft for patrol, surveillance

May 1, 2019

To further strengthen its seaborne patrol and surveillance of  the areas under the Coastal and Marine Ecosystems Management  Program (CMEMP) and 31 Marine Protected Areas, the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (PENRO) of Camiguin  launched its new fabricated watercraft in Mambajao, Camiguin recently.      The double engine watercraft was blessed by Reverend Father Ramon Francis Burlat early in the morning of April 5 and a launching voyage/test run was made from Yumbing, Mambajao, Camiguin to Medano Island more popularly known as White Island Marine Park.  The motorboat has a capacity of more or less 10 passengers.  The fabrication of motorized boat is one of target activities under CMEMP for FY 2018.        The said activity was graced by Regional Executive Director Arleigh J. Adorable, Environmental Management Bureau – 10 Regional Director Reynaldo S. Digamo, Assistant Regional  Director for Technical Services Paquito D. Melicor, Jr, division chiefs of the regional office, other field officials and local government officials and PENRO Camiguin personnel headed by PENR Officer Merlyn O. Dumalahay.      The CMEMP is a program of DENR which aims to comprehensively manage, address and effectively reduce the drivers and threats of degradation of the coastal and marine ecosystems in order to achieve and promote sustainability of ecosystem services, food security and climate change resiliency for the benefit of the present and future generations. Collaborative partnerships with other National Government Agencies, local government units, civil society organizations, academe and other stakeholders is undertaken in the implementation of the program.      Its components include Marine Protected Area Network Establishment and Strengthening, Knowledge Management Platform, Biodiversity-Friendly Social Enterprise Development, Social Marketing and Mobilization, Capacity Building, Technical Assistance, and Monitoring and Evaluation.  (From the report of the Biodiversity Management Bureau of DENR)  Rose Ann C. Baron #TayoAngKalikasan

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