Archive for September, 2011

Transforming the 10th ID camp into an ECO-MILITARY TOURISM PARK

The place is called Camp Manuel T. Yan, the headquarters of the 10th  Infantry (Agila) Division of Eastern Mindanao. The camp is named after Yan,  the former Armed Forces chief-of-staff, who oversaw the signing of the GRP-MNLF peace process in 1996. It is less than ten  kilometers from the town proper of the municipality of Mawab, Compostela  Valley  and  almost the same distance from Tagum City in Davao del Norte.

The  camp is the western flank of Barangay Tuboran in Mawab. It covers more  than 100 square hectares of rolling hills, pockets of forests, valleys,  known and unknown flora and fauna, and abundant springs.  It  has a history of bitter and bloody military-communist clashes until the  rebels fled their then regional party headquarters in the site, never  to return.  Yesterday’s battlefield is today’s promise for a lasting peace through eco-tourism.

The  command, headed by Maj. Gen. Jorge Segovia, has begun opening its doors  to civilians to give them the opportunity to discover the secrets of  this biggest army camp in the region. No, the secrets are not related to  perceived military cloak and dagger; activities inside the sprawling  camp.               The  secrets are more about the wealth of eco-tourism potentials inside the base.

They include, the Mahayahay cave, a rubber plantation on one of  the hills, a wild deer and bird sanctuaries, for local government units dash;  a model waste management system,  a bamboo and lawaan forests, panoramic view decks, and challenging trails.

To complement these natural riches, the 10th ID welcomes guided tourists with their unique marching band music and tours to unrestricted areas.

A number of plans have been laid out for the future development of the ecotourism potentials of the site.   Even  before drafting any plan for the site, Maj. Gen. Segovia has been very  cooperative to tap the existing attractions of the camp for visitors.

Officials of Compostela Valley’s tourism department led by Christine T. Dompor had conducted initial tours that feature a trek to the cave of  Mahayahay. They have also received queries from as far as Manila about our  ecotour, particularly that of the cave which is inside the camp’s quo.

Governor  Arturo T. Uy, who discussed and agreed the improvement of the site with  Segovia a few months back, is looking forward to seeing the  camp as a major ecotourism destination in the future.

On  the other hand, Segovia, a nature lover, desires to include the  indigenous peoples of the province in the plan by building a tribal  village at a still unidentified place.

In  a meeting last June with representatives from the province and the  camp, Maj. Gen. Segovia said his command wished to show the people that  the military camp was not detached from the civilian community and that  it was part of the community.

The 10th ID park concept underscored the mission of the military based on the Constitution.   The  mission of the AFP as mandated by the 1987 Philippine Constitution is  to defend the People and the State. In pursuance of this mission, 10th  Infantry Division will continue to conduct peace and development  operations to preserve an environment of peace and stability conducive  to economic growth and development, the concept statement said. This  constitutional duty also brings us to the shared prime social  responsibility of promoting ecological balance in Region 12 and part of  Region 11. In this hallowed ground, the soldier and the community can  best be portrayed as living with wildlife as neighbors, it added.

In  line with this and part of the campaign to develop the eco-tourism  potentials of the camp, the provincial government, the municipal government of Mawab, and the 10th ID command officially launch on August 12 the initial ecotourism package available to visitors.

The  launching was highlighted with the signing of a Memorandum of  Understanding by Governor Uy represented by Exec. Asst. Belo Melendres,  Maj. Gen. Segovia, and Mawab Mayor Evalina Jampayas represented by Vice-Mayor Ruprio Gonzaga at the 10th ID grounds and a tour to the  initial ecotourism sites.  SP Members Neri Barte and Augusto Blanco,  SHARE President Zosillee Yanong, national line agencies, Mawab officials  and other stakeholders also join the launching.



HEROES in times of disasters: Soldiers frontliners in Pantukan landslide

Soldiers are always the frontliners of every disaster response operation. Indeed, in the most crucial of times and in the advent of disasters and emergencies, they are not far behind.

And every situation, their self-sacrifice, courage, and dependability are re-created, carved, and remembered.

On April 22, 2011, a landslide hit a mining site in sitio Panganason, Barangay Kingking in Pantukan town in Compostela Valley that left eight people dead and a number of persons missing. It was really a sad Friday as the wrath of nature destroyed houses and buried miners alive.

As it is, government soldiers under the 71st Infantry Battalion led by Lt. Col. Camilo Ligayo were the first rescuers. They wade through murky waters, scoured rubbles and debris just to retrieve landslide victims. One could not see in them tiredness as they expended the last of their energy to save lives in distress.

Ligayo says they could no longer feel hungry as their focus is to save the lives of those miners who were victims of poverty. The retrieval operation that time lasted for more than three days until the area was closed to human occupancy by the Office of the Civil Defense 11.

Those victims whose houses were ravaged by the disaster were ushered by soldiers to the safer grounds and evacuation sites. The soldiers’ vehicles were there to ferry innocent children, sickly adults and pregnant women.

Deep in their hearts, soldiers are willing to give up their lives in rescue efforts. They will not hesitate to do it because the mantra of every soldier-rescuer is “every life saved is worth the sacrifice.”

Indeed, soldiers are the hope at the bleakest hours in some peoples’ lives. Indefatigably, like the 71st IB men, their strong arms will continue to reach out whenever and wherever their help is most needed.



Army’s YOUTH FOR PEACE in Maco, Comval national finalist in Ten Accomplished Youth Organizations

The YOUTH FOR PEACE in Maco, Compostela Valley was organized by the Army’s 71st Infantry Battalion to become the latter’s partner in promoting peace and development outreach programs in the municipality.

That was the humble vision for its organization. Youth leaders are very passionate and dedicated enough to hit a very good record of their members who in turn are very active in the group’s various activities.

The 71st IB commander, Lt. Col. Camilo Ligayo, believes in the capability and the power of the youth to play a vital role in reaching out the people, in bringing the government closer to the people.

After it was organized, the Maco Youth for Peace members are the active partners of the Army battalion to conduct outreach programs like medical and dental mission, peace rallies, bloodletting activities, tree planting, Gawad Kalinga, rescue operations, among others.

The passion to be always of service is there for these young fellows. This took the recognition of the Ten Accomplished Youth Organizations (TAYO) Foundation, an award giving body that recognizes and supports the outstanding contributions of youth organizations to the country.

TAYO Inc., the National Youth Commission, and the Office of Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan organize the annual search for TAYO.

The search is presented by The Coca-Cola Foundation Philippines and sponsored by the Philippine Center for Young Leaders in Governance, Starbucks, PAGCOR, Department of Social Welfare and Development, Department of Agriculture, TeaM Energy, Jollibee, Bank of the Philippine Islands, Ninoy and Cory Aquino Foundation, SM Supermalls and SM Cares Foundation.

Without hesitation, the Maco Youth for Peace joined the search. On September 15, 2011, the organization received a letter from the NYC affirming its inclusion to the Area Finals for Mindanao that was held last September 23. Of the ten organizations all over Mindanao, the group was on the Top 5 to represent Mindanao in the National Finals.

In last year’s awarding on December 10, 2010, no less than President Benigno Simeon Aquino III gave the award in Malacañang.

Winners of the TAYO Award received P50,000 cash grants from the Coca-Cola Foundation Philippines and trophies specially crafted by artist Toym de Leon Imao. The winning groups also received gift certificates from Jollibee.

The following special awards were also given: Coke Barkada award from Coca-Cola Foundation; Best Financially Managed Organization award from BPI; TeaM Energy award for protection of the environment; three Gawad Kabataan Agri-Pinoy awards from the Department of Agriculture (DA); and two special awards from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

Last year’s winning organizations are:

• Pro Drop-out Reduction Program, Surigao del Sur

• Mandaya Tribal Youth Organization, Mebatas, Upper Ulip, Monkayo, Compostela Valley

• Pag-asa Youth Association, Talisay City chapter, Cebu

• Pagaypay 4-H Club, Barangay Pagaypay, Passi City, Iloilo

• Link.Exe West Visayas State University, Iloilo City

• Brotherhood for Peace, Baguio City

• Education Revolution Movement, Sta. Maria, Bulacan

• Pochon and Maanichar Centennial Batch Association, Inc., Ifugao Province

• Alay ni Ignacio, Ateneo de Manila University, Quezon City

• Philippine Stagers Foundation, Balic-Balic, Manila.

New Bataan Mayor Lorenzo Balbin Jr.: A close ally for Army’s peace and development efforts

The town of New Bataan, Compostela Valley is known before for being one of the hotspots of the New People’s Army (NPA). But this time, it is the other way around. It is now promoted to become an investment haven.

This is one major accomplishment of  New Bataan mayor Lorenzo Balbin Jr., who has the aura of a very simple and approachable local chief executive.

Balbin is a firm believer of  teamwork. Reaching out to other stakeholders of peace and development of his municipality for the general welfare of his constituents is truly working within him.

The Army’s 66th Infantry Battalion under Lt. Col. Antonino Florendo finds in him the essence of a true leader, a staunch advocate of peace.

Hence, Florendo and Balbin have become close allies for peace and development of the entire municipality of New Bataan.

There is now a very close partnership and collaboration in the implementation of projects like livelihood, outreach programs, medical and dental missions, bloodletting activities, Youth For Peace organizations, peace rallies, among others.

Florendo is just praying that the healthy camaraderie between the local government of New Bataan and the 66th IB will continue as they pursue the vision of winning the peace through team spirit or Bayanihan.


BANANA FIBER-MAKING INDUSTRY: An innovation introduced by soldiers in New Bataan, Compostela Valley

Voluminous amount of banana stalks in banana plantations are normally left to the elements to rot and be wasted after the fruits are harvested.  Their disposal in an added burden and entails additional operations cost.

But this is no longer the case in New Bataan, Compostela Valley. Soldiers under the 66th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army have found a new innovation to make use of these banana stalks that are already considered wastes.

Banana trunks are now turned into banana fibers, which is very in demand nowadays abroad especially in Japan. Banana fibers have various uses — from fashion designing, handicrafts, paper making, among others.

The idea of starting the banana fiber-making industry stemmed from conceptualizing on giving livelihood project for the people in New Bataan.

Major. Gen. Jorge Segovia, commander of the 10th Infantry Division, and 66th IB commander Lt. Col. Antonino Florendo met with officials of the AZTROPEX, an international exporter of banana products, to come up with a livelihood project.

As they agreed to embark on banana fiber-making industry, Aztropex conducted a one-day Banana Fiber Production Seminar on October 18, 2010 at the Executive Building of New Bataan which was attended by the soldiers, local government unit including officials from 15 barangays of New Bataan.

Florendo said this livelihood project is intended for the Peace and Development Volunteers as beneficiaries.

As early as this year, the banana fiber industry of PDVs earned 1,333 dollars equivalent to P60,000 as proceeds of its first exportation to Japan.

This is only their initial export since they are now in a full-blast of operation after fixing the mechanical trouble of the two machines  and the establishment of a bigger stock room.

Compostela Valley Governor Arturo Uy and New Bataan Mayor Lorenzo Balbin were all praises for the military-initiated banana fiber-making industry and committed full support to the project. They expressed hope that such livelihood project will be emulated by other municipalities.

Soldiers’ VEGETABLE FARM a model for `Gulayan ng Masa’ in Baganga, Davao Oriental

Government troops have shown that they are not only good for combat and military operations but also into  sustainable vegetable farming.

In Baganga, Davao Oriental, the camp of the Army’s 67th Infantry Battalion is a showcase of various vegetable plants like squash, eggplant, radish, pechay, among others.

Lt. Col. Reuben Basiao, 67th IB commander, said they are trying to practice the food sufficiency program or the so-called FAITH (Food Always In The Home) but then it turns to be more than that since the farm has become the model of “Gulayan ng Masa” of the Department of Agriculture.

That’s why, the military and DA forged a partnership to launch the “Gulayan ng Masa” in different barangays of Baganga. At least 10 barangays have already adopted the livelihood program, providing them great opportunity to have an additional income. The Barangay Defense System (BDS) of each barangay managed the project.

In the neighboring Tarragona town, five out of its 10 barangays also adopted the “Gulayan ng Masa” while four other barangays went into mushroom culture and fish production. The Civilian Active Auxiliary initiated the project where the Tarragona detachment is now a model of integrated farm of vegetables, mushroom and fish production.

These barangay-based livelihood project is also part of Davao Oriental Governor Corazon Malanyaon’s “Pagkain Kita” program.

Eighty percent of LGUs have local councils for children — DILG


More than 80 percent of the local government units (LGUs) in the country have set up their local council for the protection of children (LCPC) that promotes children’s rights and implements child-centered programs at the local level, according to the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).

Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo, citing reports from the National Barangay Operations Office (NBOO) and the Department’s regional offices, said 83 percent or a total of 36,527 of the 43,279 LGUs in the country have organized or reorganized their children councils as of last year, while 512 did not organize them at all.

On the other hand, 20 provinces, 17 cities, 174 municipalities and 3,876 barangays did not submit their report.

Of the 36,527 LCPCs, 55 are at the provincial level, 114 at the city level, 1,195 in municipalities and 35,163 in barangays, he said.

Robredo, however, explained that organization of LCPCs does not automatically translate to its ideal functionality.

“The Department evaluates the functionality of these councils based on their performance along the following areas: organization, meetings, policies, plans and budget and accomplishments on programs, projects and activities related to children’s welfare and protection,” he said.

LCPCs can be categorized as Ideal or having a rating of 80 to 100% for satisfying all the requirements for all the indicators; Mature or with a rating of 51 – 79% for satisfying the requirements for organization and meeting and any of the sub-indicators; Progressive or a rating of 21 – 50% for satisfying the requirements for organization and meeting and some of the sub-indicators; and Basic or a rating of 20% and below for satisfying the requirements for organization and/or meetings only.

Based on the same report, Robredo said that of the total of 37,193 LCPCs assessed nationwide, 5,581 are Ideal; 14,018 are Mature; 11,547 are Progressive; and 6,047 are Basic.

“With these information, the Department shall focus more efforts in sustaining the functionality of the LCPCs as well as undertake appropriate interventions to make them truly functional,” he said.

Yearly, the DILG through the NBOO and its Regional Offices, conducts the monitoring and assessment of the functionality of LCPCs to determine how much efforts are being given by LGUs in addressing the concerns of children at the local level.

“I call on all LGUs to put the rights and welfare of children, who belong to one of the most vulnerable sectors in the society, on top of their priority by setting up and strengthening their LCPCs,” he said.

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