Archive for June, 2011

Philsaga mining backs call for Mt. Magdiwata preservation

Philsaga mining backs call for Mt. Magdiwata preservation

By Anthony S. Allada

DAVAO CITY – The Philsaga Mining Corporation (PMC) has thrown its full support to those calling for the preservation of Mt. Magdiwata water shed area in San Francisco, Agusan del Sur.

Dr. Victor P. Salvado, Mindanao Philsaga Foundation President, said that their company has been operating in a couple of years and they are trying to it that their operation is within the bounds of the law and at the same time giving protection to the environment.

“We are sincere in our battlecry, that is, we are socially-responsible and environment-friendly mining company,” Salvado said.

This after reports claimed that Philsaga is allegedly engaged in mining activities in the gold-rich Mt. Magdiwata.

Recently, San Francisco Water District general manager Elmer T. Luzon was quoted as saying that the APMEDORO Mining Corporation is a subsidiary company of Philsaga. Luzon said that they issued a position paper opposing the entry of Apmedoro, which applied at the Mines and Geosciences Bureau of the

“Philsaga is operating since 2000 but ever since we are involved in mineral extraction within the bounds of the law. In Mt. Magdiwata, we are not operating there. We even share the sentiments of the San Francisco Water District to preserve the area which is the only source for potable water in the municipality,” Salvado said.

Hundreds of big-scale and small-scale mining companies are now reportedly engaged in mining activities in Mt. Magdiwata, which is about 1,658 hectares.

“What’s the logic of operating there illegally? For several years already, we are never engaged in mining clandestinely,” Salvado said.

He said that Philsaga will be happy to help the SFWD advocate for the preservation of the Mt. Magdiwata watershed area.

“We  are one with the SFWD and other non-government organizations advocating for the protection of the watershed area,” he said. (ASA)





Cultural communities will be given a seat in policy-making bodies

Cultural communities will be given a seat in policy-making bodies

 Representatives of indigenous cultural communities will now be given a seat in policy-making bodies or local legislative councils all across the country.

Congresswoman Nancy  Catamco (2nd District, North Cotabato), one of the main authors of House Resolution 916, lauded Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo for issuing a memorandum circular mandating the right to representation of indigenous cultural communities or indigenous peoples (ICC/IPs) in policy-making bodies and other local legislative councils.

The House of Representative has adopted HR 916 as House Resolution 1373 on June 7, 2011. The measure was submitted for approval by the House Committee on National Cultural Communities headed by Rep. Teddy Brawner Baguilat Jr. (Lone District, Ifugao).

DILG Secretary Robredo issued on October 20, 2010 Memorandum Circular MC2010-119 entitled “Mandatory Representation of Indigenous Cultural Communities or Indigenous Peoples in Policy-Making Bodies and Other Local Legislative Councils.”

Catamco said the circular directs all local chief executives to strictly observe the ICC/IP mandatory representation in the local Sanggunian. Robredo also directed all DILG Regional Directors and the

ARMM Regional Governor to disseminate the circular and provide technical assistance to LGUs, if necessary.

“The DILG Secretary’s directive is highly praiseworthy and is in congruence with State advocacy and the policy of recognizing, protecting and promoting the rights and welfare of ICCs and IPs throughout the country,” Catamco said.

Catamco said the State recognizes and promotes the rights of indigenous cultural communities under the constitution.

“One of these rights is to participate in policy and decision-making,  for which reason Republic Act 8371, or the Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Act of 1997, was enacted,” Catamco said.

“If ICCs and IPs may participate fully at all levels of decision-making on matters which may affect their rights, lives and destinies through procedures, they themselves have determined, as well as maintain and develop their own indigenous political structures,” Catamco said.

Catamco said although the processes for the qualification and selection of ICC/IP representatives in local legislative bodies have already been provided for in the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) Administrative Order No. 1, Series of 2009, there is still minimal compliance on the part of local government legislative bodies.

“There is still inadequate representation of indigenous cultural communities in policy-making bodies in LGUs, to which they belong,” Catamco said.

The co-authors of the measure are Reps. Mylene J. Garcia-Albano (2nd District, Davao City), Eric G. Singson Jr. (2nd District, Ilocos Sur), Dakila Carlo E. Cua (Lone District, Quirino), Ma. Carmen Zamora-Apsay

(1st District, Compostela Valley); Reps. Reynaldo V. Umali (2nd District, Oriental Mindoro), Bernardo M.

Vergara (Lone District, Baguio City), Teddy A. Casiño (Party-list Bayan Muna), Arlene J. Bag-Ao (Party-list Akbayan), Eleandro Jesus F. Madrona (Lone District, Romblon), Walden F.  Bello (Party-list Akbayan), Angelo B. Palmones (Party-list Agham); Reps. Victorino Dennis M. Socrates (2nd District, Palawan), Randolph S. Ting (3rd District, Cagayan), Eleanor C. Bulut-Begtang (Lone District, Apayao), Maximo B. Dalog (Lone District, Mt. Province), Raymond Democrito C. Mendoza (Party-list TUCP), Jesus N. Sacdalan (1st District, North Cotabato) and Pedro Acharon 1st District, South Cotabato).

Isko Moreno’s successful life revealed

Isko Moreno’s successful life revealed

The life of Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso is a story of success, triumph and victory. It is an inspiring story that reminds us that poverty and deprivation are not hindrances to success.

Born October 24, 1974 in a depressed area of Tondo, Manila Isko Moreno started his young life amongst the most underprivileged and in a portion of the City that’s almost forsaken.

Reared by doting parents, Joaquin and Rosario Domagoso, whose natural desire was to see their only child succeed in life, the Domagoso family was beset with problems endemic to most families in Parola, Tondo. His father worked as stevedore at Manila’s North Harbor, earning barely enough for their family’s needs. Thus, Isko Moreno even at an early age was aware of his social and economic condition and standing. Because of poverty, he missed the luxury of boyhood joys, like toys, new shoes and clothes and other things a young person usually craves for.

As the only child, Isko Moreno took upon himself to share the burden of earning for himself and his family. He was in Grade 4 when he started gathering old newspapers, plastics, carton boxes, used bottles and any reusable and recyclable junk worth selling. These went on until he finish his elementary grades at the Rosauro Almario Elementary School. For his secondary education, Isko Moreno went to the Tondo High School. Now a budding teenager, he “promoted” himself into a pedicab driver. In high school, Isko Moreno was likewise deprived of teenage indulgences like parties, outings, proms and other activities inherent in growing adolescents because he was busy eking out a living. Undaunted by these early setbacks in life, Isko Moreno knew that adherence to hard work and belief in one’s self are key ingredients to success.

Upon graduation from high school, deeply committed and firmly determined to advance and change his economic status for the better, he enrolled at the Philippine Maritime Institute, hoping to earn a degree in Marine Engineering, a course many Filipinos believed would free them from the abyss of poverty by plying international waters with the hope of earning the mighty dollar. In 1992, while enrolled at the PMI, fate intervened.

At a wake in Tondo, star maker Wowie Roxas spotted this dashing young man. With an inherent talent and physical attributes of a star material, Isko Moreno entered the life of glitter and glamour and he adopted the screen name Isko Moreno as a tribute to his discoverer and mentor. He started his showbiz career in the “That’s Entertainment” program hosted by German (Kuya Germs) Moreno. Like most up-and-coming showbiz talents, success was not easy.

At the outset, he landed only small roles but patience and perseverance paid off. From bit roles, he landed big projects that propelled him to be one of the most promising actors of his time. Yet, in spite of the glitter of the silver screen, Isko Moreno never lost focus on his dream.

In 1998, in his desire to help alleviate the sad plight of his neighbors in Tondo, Isko Moreno began a new leaf of his life-a career in politics and public service. In that year’s elections, in spite of being a neophyte politician, he was elected among the top Councilors of the 1st District of Manila. His showing surprised a lot of political observers. In 2001, he was re-elected, garnering the most number of votes than any other Councilor in all the 6 districts of the City. His winning ways continued that in 2004, he landed among the topnotcher- Councilors in that year’s elections. His stint as a 3-term Councilor speaks for itself. He authored and sponsored pro-poor ordinances and resolutions especially in concerns like education, health, and housing. His political stand always find him at the side of truth and righteousness, a move which necessitates him crossing party lines and sometimes foregoing personal gains when these run in contrary to the interest especially of the poor and unprivileged, the very people he vowed to serve.

Notwithstanding his political successes, Isko Moreno continued to seek his life-long dream to conquer poverty thru education. In spite of heavy work load demanded by the City Council and his public service initiatives, thru the help of former Manila Vice- Mayor Danny Lacuna, he found time to obtain a degree in Management at the International Academy of Management and Economics. In preparation and anticipation of a fruitful and efficient public service career, he took up crash courses on local legislation and finance at the NCLRG of the College of Public Administration, University of the Philippines. Not content with these accomplishment and certainly not a person who will sit on the laurels he has achieved, Isko Moreno’s aspiration for greater educational attainment were far from over. Now on his 2nd year at the Arellano University School of Law, this once upon a time garbage collector and pedicab driver is on the verge of a victorious quest.

Drawing inspiration from an equally talented, supportive and understanding wife, Dynne and 4 adorable kids, Isko Moreno’s dream took another step forward in May 14, 2007. Backed by his outstanding legislative agenda and a meritorious public service record, Manileños elected him overwhelmingly as the youngest ever Vice Mayor and Presiding Officer of the City Council.

As a Councilor of the 1st District of Manila, Isko Moreno was adequately appraised of the ills and problems of the City. But coming to grips with reality, he was awed by the magnitude of the problems facing Manileños. So even before the ink could dry out in his oath of office, Isko Moreno buckled down to work. He soon learned that the biggest of those concerns are the medical and health needs especially of the poor and needy. Staying healthy and fit became his advocacy. Thereafter, medical missions in depressed areas of the City became weekly events. And to address the high cost of medicines, Isko Moreno established “BOTIKA NI ISKO”, a mini-pharmacy right at his City Hall office, wherein medicines and vitamins are given free. To date, some 13, 200 have availed of this program. Moreover, referrals to various medical facilities and social fund institutions have benefited thousands of indigents. Other projects under health care initiatives are the summertime Operation Libreng Tule, Oplan Katarata and Oplan Kagat Aso, an anti-rabies immunization activity for pet dogs.

Ever aware of the importance of education as a means to liberate people from the throngs of poverty and helplessness, Isko Moreno launched an ambitious program, ISCOM, which aims to provide people from all walks of life to be computer- literate so that they will be competitive in the world of information technology. Starting with just one (1) Computer Learning Center in 1999, ISCOM have branched out to 7 locations all over the City. Likewise, in partnership will well – meaning friends, the ISKOLAR NG BAYAN program continues to provide free scholarships to poor but deserving students. Also, Lakbay Alalay Program has benefitted those who could not afford to participate in educational tours and experiences.

Even before the advent of the global financial crisis, Manileños continue to suffer economically due to joblessness and the inadequacy of jobs opportunities. Since 2007, Isko Moreno’s Trabaho Para Sa Manileño program have conducted some twenty (20) local and overseas job fairs which resulted in thousands of job generated. In coordination with the POEA, TESDA and the Department of Labor, Trabaho Para Sa Manileño program is a constant source of joy and happiness to families who were given the opportunity to land jobs to support their needs.

In response to the needs of the call center industry, training programs have been created to afford Manileños the chance to get involved in this “sunshine” industry. Countless job seekers are given job referrals to various business and commercial establishments who, more often than not, are accommodated and accepted.

In pursuance of the initiative to make daily living easier and manageable, the Asenso Manileño program was launched. Thus born services like, ‘Murang Karne at Pagkain “ free legal services, free haircut, libreng tubig and others.

Always believing that educational skills and knowledge are better acquired thru modern facilities and methods, a program better known as PEP or Promoting English Proficiency was initiated thru the assistance of the American Chambers of Commerce- Phils. Today, 10 computer speech labs are installed at the Isko Moreno’s alma mater, Tondo High School, providing training and refresher courses to both members of its faculty and students.

In February 2008, due of the increasing incidence of fire, Isko Moreno purchased an Engine Firetruck to help abate and fight fires which has caused loss of countless lives and properties. Based in Tondo, Manila, the Kaagapay Engine Firetruck managed by volunteer fire fighters are ready to respond to any emergency and need.

To be better appraised of local situations, dialogues with community folks and their leaders are periodically conducted, wherein the true and real pulse of local folks are directly known. As a result, responses to their needs and concerns are correctly formulated.

As Presiding Officer of the City Council, Isko Moreno has presided over the passage of countless resolutions and ordinances whose primordial concern is to benefit of the place of his birth and City of his dreams.

The budget of the Office of the Vice – Mayor can hardly cope up with the demands of its constituents. Luckily, Isko Moreno possesses the skill and charisma of encouraging the rich to share their blessings with the poor. Thus, in spite of his meager and limited resources, Isko Moreno is continuously providing public service due to the help and generosity of friends and supporters. One the factors and primary reasons for the success of every Isko Moreno project is the guidance being provided by the KAAGAPAY FOUNDATION, an NGO whose faith in the vision of Isko Moreno to make Manila a safer, healthier, better and happier place to live in is beyond reproach.

Much could be learned from Isko Moreno’s life story. First, don’t let poverty be a hindrance to the fulfillment of your dreams. Second, make education your key to your success. Education is the great equalizer that could bring people from all walks of life on an equal term. Practice virtue that will enhance your humanity-discipline, perseverance, kindness, charity and hard-work are just few of these noble traits. Seek strength from the Almighty and thank Him for the Blessings and Grace.

In the 2010 local elections, Isko Moreno ran under the aegis of the Asenso Manileño Program and was reelected with a voting record never before witnessed in the City of Manila. He garnered 485,828 votes or 80.12% of the total votes cast. With this overwhelming margin and fresh mandate Manileños bestowed upon him, Isko Moreno vowed to repay and reciprocate this kind gesture with an honest, dedicated and efficient public service and governance. Isko Moreno’s advocacies and vision for the City of Manila is unwavering and consistent- that the welfare and benefit of his beloved City and its residents is his primary, principal and primordial consideration, priority and concern.

Surely, more still has to come. A very young man at 35 years, the horizon of greater things loom. The door to success is open, far and wide. This is Isko Moreno’s rendezvous with destiny.

DPWH Agusan del Sur 1st DEO saves P32M

DPWH Agusan del Sur 1st DEO saves P32M

The bidding of eleven (11) projects out of the fourteen (14) projects under CY 2011 infra program of Agusan del Sur 1st District Engineering Office, generate a savings of P32,202,519.45 or 16.6%.

The total ABC for the 11 projects amounted to P 194,181,474.97 and the total bid offer is only P161,978,955.52.

This is attributed to the success of the competitive bidding recently conducted where numerous contractors participated.

Agusan Del Sur 1st DEO is implementing a total of 14 projects under the CY 2011 infrastructure program with a total allocation of P239,302,000, the biggest among the nine (9) District Offices in Caraga Region.

It welcomes the participation and cooperation of the contractors and hope that the partnership will see through the advantage of the Filipino people.

Meanwhile, to make sure that all projects especially those under contract are complying with the DPWH standard specifications of highways and bridges, District Engineer Jaime T. Bernat, Sr. urge all Project Engineers and Inspectors to closely monitor the implementation of projects.


Agusan Bridge repair nearing completion

Agusan Bridge repair nearing completion

The on-going rehabilitation works of Wawa Bridge in Sibagat, Agusan del Sur will be completed soon.

This was learned from the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Regional Office XIII after Secretary Rogelio L. Singson ordered that all carry-over projects must be completed by the middle of this year 2011.

With an accomplishment of 85.51% as of May 31, 2011, repair works, which includes reinforcement/replacement of structural steel component, repair/replacement of dilapidated 228.20 lineal meter concrete deck slab, asphalt overlay, painting and electrical lighting and bank protection structure, will be completed on June 30, 2011 as targeted.

Regional Director Danilo E. Versola said that inspite of two (2) recent flooding which affected the construction activities, the contractor doubled its efforts to complete the project Director Versola enjoins the motoring public to bear with the temporary inconvenience brought about by the project as this will bring more benefits in the days ahead.

Earlier, Secretary Singson has directed all the 16 Regional Directors and 180 District Engineers that fast tracking the completion of 2010 projects must be done in order to give focus on the implementation of CY 2011 projects, otherwise targets to achieve the inclusive growth vision of the President Benigno S. Aquino III administration will be jeopardized.

Relatively, DPWH Region 13 has 68 projects under the CY 2011 Regular Infrastructure Program for a total appropriation of P2.387 Billion. DPWH targets that by 2014 all national arterial roads are paved and all bridges along the national road are permanent by 2016.

DPWH 13 RD Danilo E. Versola: A man of action

DPWH 13 RD Danilo E. Versola:
A man of action

Engineer Danilo Versola has been noted as having high regard for efficiency and quality work. He combines system, motivation and tact in managing people. His work ethics is also expressed in his receptiveness to the call of duty even if it meant sacrificing personal time to respond to emergencies at work. As a leader, one can find him at the frontline of his workforce; pushing his pencil on the drawing table, lifting a rock to clear the path, and most of all setting the direction and pace of the office towards its goal.

His hard work and determination were not put into waste for he was promoted OIC-Assistant Regional Director on February 23, 2009 and 19 months after providing exceptional service at DPWH Region XI, he is now serving the CARAGA Region as its OIC-Regional Director.

His work paradigm developed through his extensive government experience of thirty-four years in the Department. He started early in his career as a working student- a laborer at the Bureau of Public Works, City Engineering Office in Davao City in 1975. Determined on his career path, he worked on his Civil Engineering Degree at the University of Mindanao and later International Harvardian University from 1970 to 1981. On his final year as a student, he was promoted to Civil Engineering Aide I and later earned permanency in the government service as Water Rights Investigator. Not long after he passed the Licensure Exam for Civil Engineering in 1981 he got the position of Civil Engineer.

His technical and leadership skills were honed at the Regional Office for twenty years. In 2002, he led the Davao Oriental 2nd District Engineering Office (Mati) as District Engineer and three years later he was reassigned to Davao del Sur 2nd District Engineering Office (Malita).

He prepared himself for higher level positions. He got a study grant by the Australian Assistance for International Development (AUSAID) at the prestigious University of Sydney in Australia and a earned a degree on Master in Urban and Regional Planning in 1996. Upon his return, he became the chief-of-staff of former Regional Director Ernesro Silvila. It was during this time when he was promoted from Engineer III to Engineer V for his effective work attitude and qualifications.

When he became the Chief of the Planning and Design Division, he took and passed in 2001 the Career Executive Eligibility. He later became the Chief of the Maintenance Division. He was given a rank of CESO VI in September 2007.

He underwent leadership trainings for executives, environment impact assessment, project development appraisal, project management and supervision by PERT/CPM, project identification and programming system (PIPS), regional physical framework planning, development planning and investment programming, site supervising of labor base/equipment supported methods (for the supervision/management in the construction and maintenance of infrastructure projects), among others.

To expand his network, he became an active Board of Director of the Philippine National Red Cross, Davao Oriental Chapter; President of the Philippine Institute of Civil Engineers; Vice President for Mindanao of the District Engineers League of the Philippines (DELP); Member of the Association of Government Civil Engineers of the Philippines; and Member of the Road Engineering Association of the Philippines.

The discipline he got from his years of paying attention to his superiors, of learning from hands-on experience and experts here and abroad, of cultivating his profession through continued learning, and of sharing his passion and knowledge to others defines the kind of leader he is today- an intelligent leader who understands his job and knows the organization well.

Regional Director Danilo E. Versola was born on August 8, 1953 to Demetrio and Severa from Caba and Naguillan, La Union. He is happily married to Ferlinda Amores and proud father to Daryl, Derek and Danica.

Philsaga school enrollees soar high


Philsaga school enrollees soar high

By Anthony S. Allada

High school students enrolled at the state-of-the-art Philsaga High School Foundation in Barangay Coo, Bunawan, Agusan del Sur have continued to increase.

Philsaga president retired Army Col. Samuel G. Afdal said the school which was built six years ago has 580 students enrolled in this month’s school opening.

“The number of our students enrolled every year is increasing. This is our commitment to give quality education for free to those living near our mining site in Bunawan. Last March, at least 75 students graduated in our school,” Afdal said, adding the students are all scholars and they only have to pay miscellaneous fees in their studies.

He said they have also two school buses to fetch the students from their respective houses in going to the school.

“We are also giving them free books and other school supplies,” he told the Mindanao Newsmakers.

The school has its mission to commit itself to provide quality instructions and adequate school facilities that enhance the Holistic aspect of an individual and a vision as a progressive school of well-developed individual who is globally competitive in the present society.

Mary Grace Reyes, a fourth year class adviser and a Math teacher, said that their students are excelling academically because they do not have to worry their financial problems in paying their tuition fees because they are scholars.

“Unlike in other private high schools which have very expensive tuition fees, our school is giving free education to our students. They are really very lucky here,” Reyes said.

The school is equipped with fully-furnished 15 classrooms, 15 teachers and seven non-teaching staff, covered court, canteen and a teachers’ cottage where teachers use it as their boarding house.

Aside from the school, Philsaga also owns a hospital, Philsaga Mining Hospital, which is also located near the school premises.

The hospital which is located at the mining site in Banahaw, Barangay Bayugan 3, Rosario, Agusan del Sur has 25 beds and is capable of conducting major surgeries.

“We are also very concern of the health of our workers and even those living near our mining site,” Afdal said.

Along this line, Philsaga is also conducting a quarterly medical and dental missions in areas of Bunawan, Sto Rosario and other neighboring towns in Agusan del Sur, this was according to Dr. Victor P. Salvado, Mindanao Philsaga Foundation President.

“This is to fulfill our commitment for corporate responsibity to host communities and even in communities already very far from the mining areas of our company,” Salvado said.

He said “we are doing this quarterly for the past five years apart from providing free health care programs to our workers and their immediate families, our hospital is not only open to the more than 2,000 mining workers but to the host community residents and the public as well.” (ASA)

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