Sunday, December 18, 2011

Dairy Goat Project in the Philippines

by Dan B. Codamon

Fourteen farmer cooperators who started a dairy goat project at Barangay Payawan here recently completed their exposure trips to three provinces in Northern Luzon to gain more knowledge and insights in the successful implementation and management of their endeavor.

Accompanied by Dr. Gloria Evangelio of the Ifugao Provincial Veterinary Office (PVO), the farmer cooperators first visited the Small Ruminant Center and Dairy Processing Center at the Central Luzon State University (CLSU) in the Science City of Munoz, Nueva Ecija then to the Agriculture Training Institute of the Department of Agriculture (DA) in Metro Manila, to the Alaminos Goat Farm in Alaminos, Laguna, the Mendoza Goat Farm in Tarlac City and the JSJ Farm at Gerona, Tarlac. They also got some plants in CLSU which they can propagate for forage of their dairy goats.

The farmers said they learned many things from their exposure trip which they can use in their project and which they can also share to those interested in venturing to dairy goat production.

The dairy goat project started July this year from the P1 million Countrywide Development Fund of Ifugao Congressman Teddy Baguilat Jr. and P500,000 subsidy from the provincial government. This budget was alloted for the training of the farmers in dairy goat raising and the procurement of 126 does and 14 bucks that were given to the farmers as loans.

Each farmer was given nine does and one buck which they will expand by 2012 next year to reach the desired module of 24 does and 1 buck or a population herd of at least 300 does that can be sufficient to produce milk for the dairy project.

The loan will be repaid over a three year period in the form of breeder stocks which will also be given to interested farmers.

Government’s Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps)

The government's Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) is successfully implemented in the Cordillera, and will be expanded next year to cover about 58,653 household beneficiaries in all the municipalities and two cities in the region.

According to Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD-CAR) Regional Director Leonardo Reynoso, the 4Ps benefits 28,323 poor household beneficiaries and has disbursed a total cash grant of P336,441,500, as of this year.

He said many success stories that they have documented include the program's immediate impact on the family beneficiaries such as the improved participation rate of children in schools and families' compliance on the program's health-related conditions.

The 4Ps, which is also known as Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT), is a poverty reduction and social development strategy of the national government that provides conditional cash grants to extremely poor households to improve their health, nutrition and education particularly of children aged 0-14.

Reynoso disclosed that the 58,653 household beneficiary target of DSWD comprises about 68 percent of the about 79,000 poor households in Cordillera that were identified by the National Household Targetting System for Poverty Reduction (NHTS-PR) they conducted.

He explained that as much as they want to bring in all the 79,000 poor households into the program, the approved budget hinders them to do so. This is also the same in the national level, wherein of the 5.2 million poor households identified by DSWD's NHTS-PR, so far, only three million of them will be covered by the program.

Reynoso though affirmed that the DSWD will also continue with their convergence program, which means bringing in their two other core poverty programs – the Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan Comprehensive and Integrity Delivery of Social Services (KALAHI-CIDSS) and the Self-Employment Assistance laban sa Kahirapan (SEA-K), to the CCT areas.

Emergence of bibingka and puto bumbong stalls

Emergence of bibingka and puto bumbong stalls, check; MacArthur Highway glowing in roadside lanterns, check; start of simbang gabi and the lighting of the giant Christmas tree tonight, all check. It is really Christmas time in Bulacan.

Bulacan, headed by Governor Wilhelmino Alvarado and guest of honor Health Secretary Enrique Ona, will light the 35-feet high Christmas tree tonight in front of the Capitol building.

The giant Christmas tree is made of intricate bamboo arcs called singkaban and is adorned with 300 star lanterns, and topped by a 2.5-feet tall star.

Alvarado said the activity aims to put Christmas closer to the hearts of Bulakenyos and to remind them of the essence of humility shown by the birth of Jesus Christ in a stable.

Provincial administrator Jim Valerio said this year's concept of the entire holiday decor is eco-friendliness as the materials used were recycled.

According to the Provincial Public Affairs Office (PPAO), a fireworks display will follow the lighting which will be witnessed by more than 700 Bulakenyos including local chief executives from towns and cities of the province, non-government organizations, college and high school students, and employees of the provincial government.

"As the Christmas tree reveals its true beauty and colors, the Capitol's night sky will be alive and colorful as well with dazzling, colorful fireworks display," said PPAO in a statement.

This fireworks display is also pursuant to the call of Ona in patronizing a pyrotechnics presentation rather than the individual lighting of firecrackers. The Department of Health is advocating the Aksyon: Paputok Injury Reduction program which aims to cut firecracker-related injuries from last year's 972 cases.

Indigent Senior Citizens in the Philippines

by Lito Dar

More indigent senior citizens are set to benefit from the Department of Social Welfare and Development's (DSWD) Social Pension Program this coming year.

DSWD-Cordillera Regional Director Leonardo Reynoso said DSWD plans to expand the government's Social Pension Program to more indigent senior citizens nationwide and hopefully, to also bring in other elderly, whose age are lower than current 77 years old minimum age requirement.

Reynoso said they are targeting to bring the number of beneficiaries to 7,000 indigent senior citizens from the present 3,566 beneficiaries. This, however, depends on the 2012 budget appropriations that will be approved by Congress for the said program.

Based on DSWD central office statement, the DSWD has a proposed budget of P1.2 Billion for 2012 to benefit some 185,914 indigent senior citizens, or 46,954 more than this year's 138,960 beneficiaries.

In the Cordillera, a total of P14,281,100 has already been disbursed to all the program beneficiaries in the region.

The social pension program has 1,005 indigent senior citizen beneficiaries in Abra; 440 in Apayao; 72 in Baguio; 563 in Benguet; 363 in Ifugao; 600 in Kalinga and 526 in Mt. Province.

The Social Pension Program, as provided for under Republic Act No. 9994, also known as the Expanded Senior Citizens Act (ESCA) of 2010, provides a monthly assistance or subsidy of P500, given on a quarterly basis on the pre-identified beneficiaries who are indigent senior citizens who are frail, sickly and disabled, without any regular source of income and/or support from any member of the family, and not receiving other pension benefits from government and private agencies.

Laws protecting the rights and welfare of women

by Maritess B. BeƱas

The 18-day end violence against women campaign in the province which started last November 25 culminated on December 12 with the conduct of a symposium on the various laws protecting the rights and welfare of women.

The symposium was attended by the officers of the municipal chapters and the municipal focal persons for Kalipunan ng Liping Pilipina(KALIPI), and the policewomen in charge of the Women's Desk at the Abra Provincial Command and Bangued Municipal Police Station.

Noemi B. Bachiller, the provincial focal person for the KALIPI and women concerns of the Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office (PSWDO), discussed the various laws governing the protection of the welfare of women and children, they being the most vulnerable sectors of society.

The Philippine Information Agency, on the other hand, stressed the role of the community especially the law enforcers particularly the Women's Desk Officers of the PNP in preventing human trafficking.

There are cases of human trafficking in the province, most of whom were children forced into labor and into prostitution. However, due to the concerted efforts of the concerned agencies in monitoring the illegal activities, the proliferation of child laborers and minors working in red houses have been neutralized.

The symposium also accommodated the Department of Education in advocating for the propagation, consumption and processing of malunggay, tagged as the "miracle vegetable" as popularized by Glorifina Mangoltag, the Nurse-in-Charge in the DepEd-Abra Division Office.

DPWH Project in Leyte, Philippines

by Bong Pedalino

The provincial government here will acquire a piece of land to be used as a relocation site for families who will be displaced by an upcoming widening project of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) in the city.

There is an ongoing negotiation with the provincial assessor and the owners of the lot, located in barangay Lib-og, this city, for the purpose.

Teopisto Rojas, lawyer and chairman of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP)Committee on Education and Social Welfare, said each relocated family can be assigned at least a 300-square meter lot.

More than 60 poor families whose houses lie along the edge of the national road in barangays Mantahan and Mambajao this city will be affected as soon as the DPWH starts implementing its drainage canal project next month which was also a way of widening the city's streets.

Bidding for this project which cost about P 4.5 million, is expected to be held today, according to District Engineer Carlos Veloso in previous interviews with the Philippine Information Agency (PIA).

Rojas said the informal settlers in the city will not be the only ones to benefit from the planned acquisition of lot by the provincial government, saying that those living in a mangrove area in barangay Ichon, Macrohon, will also be considered to be relocated.

Importance of liquidation of government funds

by Jocelyn P. Alvarez

The Social Welfare Department during a recent dialogue with state auditors, accountants highlighted the importance of liquidation of government funds, in line with the President's call for transparency.

Thirty-three auditors from the Commission on Audit (COA), 72 municipal accountants and three supervisor accountants participated in a dialogue initiated by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) held in one of the local hotels here.

DSWD Information Officer Narrabelle Bue said in implementing government programs, it is important to have common knowledge and understanding of the COA Rules and Regulations and to strictly implement the rules as expected.

She said that liquidation of program funds downloaded to the local government units is also essential as the president is bent on promoting transparency in the government bureaucracy.

"The local government specially their auditors and accountants are involved because the DSWD downloads to the LGU the funds specially on social pension, supplemental feeding and rice subsidy," Bue explained.

Bue said the dialogue was aimed at orienting the participants on the guidelines and principles of procurement and financial management system, auditing rules and regulations and to have a unified knowledge of the rules so as "to avoid delays and lapses in the implementation of DSWD projects like rice subsidy, social pension, supplementary feeding and the like."

Pensioner in the Philippines

by Alex A. Lumaque

About P5 – million worth of social pension has been allocated by the administration Pres. Benigno S. Aquino III for the pay-out to social pensioners in the province.

Based on the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) – Field Office here, there are about 1,255 identified beneficiaries of the Social Pension Program for 2011.

The amount covers the last semester of the year except for the 405 pensioners who will receive their P6,000 pension from January to December.

Each pensioner is entitled to a monthly stipend of P500 on a quarterly basis, as mandated the Republic Act No. 9994 or the "Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010."

Eligible for the program are senior citizens aged 77 years old and above, frail, sick or with disability and without pension or permanent source of income or regular support from relatives to meet their basic needs.

DSWD 6 – Field Office Public Information Officer Eliseo Abucay said that the identification of beneficiaries were based on the DSWD's National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction (NHTS-PR).

Last May, Social Welfare Secretary Corazon Soliman also led the ceremonial pay-out of social pension to senior citizens at the Governor's Hall of the Provincial Capitol here.

Dr. Rafael S. Tumbokon Memorial Hospital (DRSTMH)

by Venus G. Villanueva

Some 70 indigent patients confined at the Dr. Rafael S. Tumbokon Memorial Hospital (DRSTMH) will receive gift packages from the Provincial Government of Aklan.

According to Jesebel M. Vidal, Gender and Development (GAD) Focal Point Person here, the gift-giving will be conducted December 16, to be led by Governor Carlito S. Marquez, Honorary Chairperson of the Aklan Gender and Development Commission (AGADC) and Engr. Roger M. Esto, Provincial Planning and Development Coordinator and Vice Chairperson of AGADC.

Marquez and Esto will also be joined by Men Opposed to Violence Against Women Everywhere (MOVE) Aklan Chapter in the gift-giving activities.

MOVE-Aklan has been a partner of the AGADC with the aim to eliminating VAWC in Aklan for several years now.

Identified gift recipients are indigent women and children confined at the Charity, OB and Surgical wards of the hospital.

"The recipient-patients will be receiving towels, blankets and mosquito nets," Vidal said.

Development in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao

Tawi-Tawi Gov. Sadikul Sahali hailed the Aquino administration for allotting P1 billion to the province, out of the P8.5-billion stimulus fund it programmed to hasten development in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

"We are very grateful to President Aquino's administration for providing our province a share of P1-billion from the P8.5-billion stimulus fund for ARMM. The amount will propel our efforts in bringing our province to greater heights," Sahali said, after learning from officials of the Aquino government about his province's share.

Sahali added that the P8.5 billion stimulus fund allotted for the autonomous region under the "ARMM Transition and Investment Support Plan" is derived from the P72 billion saved by the current national leadership from cancelling project contracts under the past regime.

The saving is now termed as a national stimulus package of the Aquino administration, he said.

"Thank you, Mr. President, for your concern and kindness to us. The provincial government and the people of Tawi-Tawi is so grateful for the P1 billion allotted to improve our province's socio-economic condition," Sahali said.

He said that all the projects lined up under the P1 billion stimulus package are geared towards poverty alleviation and improvement of the socio- economic condition of the province, which is known to be the country's poorest zone.

According to him, the provincial offices of DPWH in Tawi-Tawi got P240 million; Department of Health, P140-M; Department of Agriculture, P91-M; Department of Science and Technology, P3.6-M; Department of Interior and Local Government, P80-M; Department of Transportation and Communications, P30-M; Department of Energy, P200-M and their Electric Cooperative, P200-M.

Sahali said the projects funded out of P1 billion will greatly help his province and its people, adding that implementation of the development programs will also provide additional employment to his constituents.

Gift-giving and feeding of 600 families

Some 600 families in three barangays in three municipalities of the province of Leyte benefited from the Pamaskong Handog 2011 of the Army's 19th Infantry (Commando) Battalion and 82nd CMO (Busilak) Company in coordination with the provincial government.

Held on December 14, the activity was a simultaneous gift-giving and feeding of 600 families in barangays Mahawan of Kananga, Tinaguban of Carigara ,and Tabangohay of Alang-alang, all in Leyte province.

According to 1st Lt. Philip James Hocson, Civil-Miltary Operation officer of 19th IB, the Pamaskong Handog 2011 is a joint initiative which aims to alleviate the condition of indigents and revitalize the Filipino's tradition of gift-giving and sharing during yuletide season. Priorities of the said activity were indigents residing in remote barangays.

Receiving food packs and warm arroz caldo distributed by soldiers is not a common scenario in Brgy. Mahawan of Kananga, Leyte. But for the constituents of Brgys. Tinaguban in Carigara and Tabangohay in Alang-alang, gift-giving is an ordinary venture rendered by the soldiers.

It may be recalled that the 19th IB, in coordination with the Kiwanis Foundation International (KFI), handed out school supplies (notebooks, paper, pens, pencils, and sharpeners) to 133 pre-elementary and elementary pupils of Brgy. Tabangohay on September 28.

Likewise, three boxes of assorted medicines were dispatched for Brgy. Tinaguban during the launching of the Army-led Pamaskong Handog 2011.

Lt. Col. Cabugon, Commanding Officer of 19th IB expressed his gratitude for the support extended by the provincial government of Leyte who co-sponsored the month-long activity.

Substandard and Toxic Toys

The Department of Health – Center for Health Development (DOH-CHD) Caraga regional office warns the public on the health hazards that can be acquired on substandard and toxic toys.

Giving gifts especially toys to children this holiday season is already a practice by most Filipinos that is why the DOH is providing tips and warnings to the public in order to a have safe celebration and to avoid the bad effects to one's health.

The DOH suggested that in buying toys, buyers should check on the packaging and look for the following information: License to Operate (LTO) number; name and address of licensee; recommended age of child; and warning signs.

Based on the DOH advisory, a good toy is also characterized by the following: suitable to the child's physical capabilities, mental and social development; appealing and interesting to the child; and well constructed, durable and safe for the child's age.

Also, DOH-Caraga cites the Do's and Don'ts in toy safety, like, checking the labels on the packaging and observe precautions appearing in the labels to ensure the safety of the child; ensure that the child will play with a toy suited for his/her age under adult supervision; dispose plastic packaging accordingly and keep it out of reach of children; for children under age three, do not buy the following toys: balls with a diameter of 1.75 inches or less so as to prevent chocking; that easily breaks into small parts of pieces like glass or brittle plastics.

Furthermore, toys containing small detachable parts or pieces which could become lodged in the throat; with sharp points and edges; with electrical parts, unless supervised by an adult; with parts that could pinch or entrap fingers, toes or hair; with parts put together by straight pins, sharp wires or nails that are exposed and easily detached are not advisable for children under age 3.

Provincial Road Network Development Plan

Gov. Sol Matugas led recently the 2nd Provincial Development Council (PDC) meeting to update the members of the latest developments in the various programs and projects and programs in the province.

Among the topics discussed are the revised Provincial Road Network Development Plan (PRNDP) CY 2011-2014, Provincial Monitoring and Evaluation Frameworks, plans and programs of the National Housing Authority, Mindanao Rural Development Program, updates on the presentation schedule of market values of lands and Community-Based Monitoring System (CBMS).

The PDC, which is the highest policy-making body of the province, is chaired by Matugas.

The PDC also discussed the worsening drug problem and electric power shortage in the province. The body agreed to invite the people from the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA-13) and National Power Corporation to discuss the two priority matters in the next PDC meeting.

In attendance were the regular members of the council like the municipal mayors, national agencies, provincial offices and non-government organizations, it was learned.

Christmas vacation for public elementary and secondary schools

The "no collection policy" will still be observed in all public schools in line with the holding of Christmas parties, according to the regional office of the Department of Education here in Western Visayas.

In a radio interview, DepEd 6 Regional Director Mildred Garay said the "no collection policy" still applies even during Christmas parties.

In case there are contributions, these must be voluntary and if these were decided upon by the Parents-Teachers Association, no teachers are allowed to do the collection activities. The collection should be done by the parents and outside the school premises.

"Definitely teachers should not collect fees, to avoid complaints later," said Garay.

She likewise confirmed that the start of Christmas vacation for public elementary and secondary schools is on December 21 and classes will resume on January 3, 2012.