LAKE SEBU, SOUTH COTABATO --- Members of the Technical Working Group (TWG) of the Search for South Cotabato Model Schools in Solid Waste Management recently conducted program implementation review and revision of mechanics and criteria for this year’s contest at Evelandia Lake View Resort, this municipality. Spearheaded by the Provincial Environment Management Office (PEMO) as Secretariat, the TWG revised the contest mechanics specifically on the qualification of schools which can join in the elementary and high school categories. Likewise, the TWG decided to change the general criteria including the schedule and the mechanics of the conduct of the 2 evaluations (initial and final). Criteria in the Special Awards such as Best in IEC, Best in Documentation, Best in Recycling, Best in Composting, Best in Organic Garden, Best in Community Participation and Best YES-O Implementer were likewise refined with each TWG member given an assigned task as part of “focused judging.” Meetings with City and Municipal Environment and Natural Resources Officers and Principals/Administrators of participating schools were also set on May and June, respectively. TWG members in attendance were SEMS Elbe Balucanag, EMS I Jobie de Jesus and CDA I Reynaldo Fabrigar of PEMO, Information Officer III Fruto Sumagaysay Jr of PIO, Dr. Nida Pastor, EPS – DepEd City Division, Bai Soraya Meditar of DENR 12 and Gemma Guyos of South Cotabato Foundation Inc.
TUPI, SOUTH COTABATO --- In celebration of the 22nd Anniversary of Linggo ng Matutum, the local government (LGU) of Tupi launched CINEMA22M, a video-production contest among Municipal Environment and Natural Resources Officers (MENROs) and schools with Youth for Environment in Schools Organizations (YES-0) chapters located within the Bio-Diversity Project of the Provincial Environment Management Office (PEMO). MENRO Rolly Visaya of this municipality, who is the forerunner of the project disclosed that the CINEMA22M video-production contest is the start of the series of video-production contests that will be conducted this year. “This year’s launching will be a 30-seconder infomercial video-production which will focus on the importance of Mt. Matutum in the bio-diversity of the province. The next contest will include short documentary and there will be an open category,” Visaya added. MENROs that participated in the contest were Banga, Sto. Nino. T’boli and host Tupi while YES-O school chapters include Bonifacio National High School (NHS) and Palkan NHS in Polomolok, Kablon NHS, Cebuano NHS and Tupi NHS in Tupi, Lampitak NHS and Maltana NHS in Tampakan. The judges were Lyric Paolo de la Cruz, a noted independent film producer, Dr. Precy Regalado, MSU Professor and Connie Valdez, Information Officer of DENR – 12. Announcement of the winners will known on March 29, where netizens can participate by voting online their favorite choice in the official facebook account CINEMA22M. PEMO’s Forester Mary Jane Manlisis formally welcomed the guests and participants during the launching after the brief motorcade along the main thoroughfare here. The theme of this year’s Linggo ng Matutum is “Mt. Matutum : Paraisong Pinanggagalingan ng Tubig, sa Pangangalaga Tayo’y Kapit-bisig.”
South Cotabato’s share in the sand, gravel and mining (SGM) tax collection has now reached P1,064,104.00 after collecting P2,856,143.15 for the months of January and February this year, the Provincial Environment Management Office (PEMO) reported. Breakdown of the collection report submitted by Provincial Treasurer’s Office to PEMO showed that P1,246,345.00 was collected in January and slightly increased to P1,609,798.15 in February. Based on the Provincial Imposition on SGM, Sand and Gravel increased from P1,027,780.00 in January to P1,211,150.00 in February. Other impositions that increased include Mining Tax (from P92,500.00 to P181,390.00), Ore Transport Fee (P6,000.00 to P11,500.00), Filing Fee (P23,640.00 to P30,310.00), Governor’s Permit Fee (P12,000.00 to P15,200.00), Processing Fee (P6,220.00 to P7,820.00), Fines/Penalties/Surcharges ( P40,700.00 to P92,822.00), Miscellaneous/Delivery Receipts (P24,825.00 to P25,275.00) and imposition based on PD1856 (P680.00 to P820.00). Occupational Mining Tax, Verification Fee (Mining) and Verification Fee (Sand Gravel) have collections of P1,911.15, P7,200.00 and P21,400.00, respectively, in February but have no collections reported in February. PEMO reported an SGM Tax Collection of more than P18.7 million in 2016, the highest in 10 years, with a total provincial share of more than P7.5 million.
Visiting environmentalists from Dialogos, a Europe-based non-government organization (NGO) are planning to replicate the mercury-free mining advocacies and practices of South Cotabato to projects that they are currently undertaking in Uganda and other third world countries. Nencita Acain, chief of the Provincial Environment Management Office – Mines and Geo-Sciences Division (PEMO-MGD) disclosed that the visitors, namely; Environment Planner Sofie Pedersen, Geology Student Asta Sekamane and Medical Student Johann Allerup, were impressed of the Small-Scale Mining (SSM) Program of the province particularly its Galing Pook-awardee Minahang Bayanihan Program during their learning visit last March 16 - 19. “The visitors clearly stressed that the province’s SSM program is well-regulated and is focused on banning the use of mercury in artisanal mining especially in T’boli,” Acain added. The 3 were accompanied by Eve Cubelo and Jimbea Lucino of Bantoxics!, a Davao City-based NGO which partnered with PEMO in advocating mercury-free mining on SSM community sites in T’boli, the recognized SSM area in the province. A presentation earlier on the Provincial Local Action Plan on Mercury Reduction, Elimination and Storage was viewed by the group at the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) Conference Hall with SP Member Ellen Grace Subere –Albios, SP Committee on Health Chairperson, PEMO staff and Engr. Roger Tamayo of the Provincial Mining and Regulatory Board (PMRB) in attendance. Dialogos likewise visited the Office of T’boli Mayor Dibu Tuan and SSM communities at Barangay Komati, where they were able to interact with women’s association leaders and made a brief stop at the Barangay Health Center. They also experienced first-hand a field demonstration on mercury-free gold processing using borax as a substitute at a ball site located near the town and more interaction with women miners. The 3-day visit [...]
Thirteen (13) individuals are now facing criminal case for violation of Section 102 (Theft of Minerals) under Republic Act 7942 or otherwise known as “Philippine Mining Act of 1995’ after they were apprehended by elements of 27th Infantry Battalion (IB) , Philippine Army (PA) last February 17 at the mountainous area of Tablu, Tampakan in South Cotabato. The 13 were identified as Nelson Collado, Sereno Quibol, Leah Matibay, Roy General, Albert Ngoho, Lito Malayon, Joni Masamlok, Bobet Abyag Peras, Richi Jolan, Macky Labuayan, Anthony Malit and Aldrin Dayem. In the affidavit of apprehension and seizure executed by Lt. Rollie Palino of 27th IB, PA, that while they were conducting military operations against the New People’s Army particularly in Crossing Sitio Datal Mangisi, Tablu, Tampakan, they chanced upon the group conducting illegal hydraulic mining or banlas in said area. Seized from the group were I piece short shovel, 1 piece moil, 2 small bottles containing mercury, 1 piece bilingan and 5 pieces black pipe #2 (20-foot long each) as evidence. Aside from the 13, 6 minors, aging from 13 to 17 years old, were likewise apprehended and turned over to the Municipal Social Welfare and Development Office – Tampakan. They were later released later to their respective parent after counseling and with the barangay officials requested to monitor the minors. Governor Daisy Avance Fuentes filed the complaint on behalf of the province and assisted by Provincial Prosecutor Joseh Boyd Atensor as Inquest Prosecutor under Case Number XII-08-INQ-1TB-00080.
The “Treasures of SOX” Travel and Trade Expo is slated from April 24 – 28 this year at Glorietta Activity Center, Makati City, Regional Director Nelly Nita Dillera of the Department of Tourism (DOT) 12 disclosed during the Kapihan sa PIA 12 media forum conducted early this week. SOX is short for SOCCSKSARGEN which refers to the provinces of Cotabato, South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat and Sarangani and the cities of Cotabato, Kidapawan, Tacurong, Koronadal and General Santos which comprises region 12. RD Dillera enumerated the major activities for the 5-day event which include Trade Fair, Travel Fair and Sales Calls, Investment Forum and Matching, Daily Shows/Cultural Shows, Fashion Show, among others. SOCCSKASARGEN LGUs are expected to participate by showcasing in their products in their respective booth during the expo and by joining in other activities. “We will be launching Farm Tourism and new products during the travel and trade expo,” Dillera added. Felicidad Orchard in Katangawan, General Santos City is being eyed by DOT 12 as one of the Farm Tourism destinations in the region. Dillera likewise confirmed during the media forum that last year’s travel and trade expo generated more than P20 million in terms of sales and they are still targeting the same amount to be realized this year.
A total of 3,764,664 tourists visited Region 12 in 2016 posting an increase of 18% compared in 2015, Regional Director Nelly Nita Dillera of the Department of Tourism (DOT) 12 reported during the Kapihan sa PIA 12 media forum held recently. “All the local government units (LGUs) in the region reported an increase in tourist arrivals,” RD Dillera pointed out, “with Cotabato City garnering the biggest percentage increase at 70%.” Region 12, also known as SOCCSKSARGEN, is composed of the provinces of Cotabato, South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat and Sarangani and the cities of Cotabato, Kidapawan, Tacurong, Koronadal and General Santos. South Cotabato and its lone component city and provincial capital Koronadal City posted a tourist arrival of 535, 203 and 117,707, respectively, showing an increase of 22% and 40% in that order. Tourist arrivals registered by other LGUs are as follows: General Santos City – 1,345,570 (11% increase); Sarangani – 619,940 (2% increase); Cotabato Province – 340,909 (19%); Cotabato City – 346,063 (70% increase); Kidapawan City -156,125 (1%); Tacurong City – 188,935 (43%); Sultan Kudarat – 114,842 (28%); “Among foreign tourists, Koreans topped the list of visitors, followed by Saudi Arabians, Chinese, Americans and Malaysians,” Dillera added. DOT 12 ill embark into another marketing and promotional campaign this year dubbed “SOX is NEXT”, enticing local and foreign tourist that SOCCSKSARGEN should be the next tourist destination of choice in the country.
The 2017 Search for Cleanest and Greenest LGU officially started last February 28 with the municipality of T’boli as the first town evaluated in the unannounced initial evaluation by the team of evaluators composed of representatives from the provincial Environment Management Office, Provincial Planning and Development Office, Provincial Information Office, Arts, Culture, Tourism and museum Promotions Unit, Department of Interior and Local Government, South Cotabato Foundation Inc. and Dole Phils. The window periods of the unannounced initial evaluation is scheduled on February 28 to March 17, while the unannounced final evaluation will be from the last week of May 30 to June 16. Up for grab is this year’s cash prizes which were increased compared to last year as an additional incentive to participating LGUs. First Place winner will receive P800,000.00, second place P500,000.00, third place P300,000.00, fourth place P10,000.00, fifth place P100.000.00 and sixth place P80,000.00. A consolation prize of P40,000.00 will also be given each to non-winning LGUs. Special Prizes will also be awarded to deserving LGUs who are adjudged Best Public Market (P30,000.00), Best Plaza & Park (P30,000.00), Best Central Material Recovery Facility (P30,000.00), Best Barangay - (1ST) P30,000.00, (2ND) P20,000,00, (3RD) P10,000.00, Best Roadside Beautification (P30,000), Best Nursery (P30,000), Best Community Garden (P30,000.00), Best Backyard Garden (P10,000.00), Best Public Toilet (P10,000.00). Aside from the increase in cash incentives, a new set of criteria and mechanics will also be introduced this year that was revised by the TWG on November last year during the Program Implementation Review session. The new criteria are the following: Clean and Green Governance (30%), Support Facilities and Establishments (15%), City/Municipal Hall/Slaughterhouse/Health Center 15%), Barangay (20%), Public Market (10%), Plaza and Parks (5%), Roadside Beautification (10%), Public Terminal [...]
More enhancement and skills training are in store for members of T’boli Jewelers Association (TJA) this year, according to Nencita Acain, chief of the Provincial Environment Management Office – Mines & Geo-Sciences Division (PEMO-MGD). Acain confirmed in a recent interview by this writer that their office has allotted P65,000.00 under its “Skills Training and Strengthening of Jewelry-Project” for calendar year 2017. She pointed out that the skills training will focus more on designing on the different pieces of jewelries such as necklace, ring, earring and bracelet to further enhance the craftsmanship of TJA members. “We want to showcase jewelries made from gold and silver produced from the locality as an added attraction to mining tourism,” Acain stressed. The components of the program, according to Acain, does not only include skills training but also the purchase of equipment such as polisher or other equipment requested by TJA. Earlier this year, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) – South Cotabato conducted training on Basic Accounting and Simple Bookkeeping among TJA members with Rictoniel Reginio of DTI – South Cotabato as Resource Speaker. TJA, which has 16 full-time members, has joined trade fairs last year and was able to showcase their products with local and foreign tourists as buyers.
Sixteen (16) vermi-beds are now being constructed at the Integrated Provincial Environment Management Center (IPEMC) in Tnongkop, Tantangan to produce vermi-casts that will be used as organic fertilizer. Supervising Environment Management Specialist Elbe Balucanag of the Provincial Environment Management Office – Environment Management Division (PEMO-EMD) disclosed that Provincial Capitol generates bio-degradable waste such as vegetable waste and that will be use as “feeds” to the “African Night Crawlers” or ANC to generate the vermi-casts. “We produced substantial vegetable waste on a daily basis, that is why we need to have vermi-production area,” SEMS Balucanag explained. Aside from vegetable waste, Balucanag said, they will also coordinate with the Animal Production and Processing Center (APPC) which is under the management of the Provincial Veterinary Office and also located in Tinongkop, Tantangan for animal manure which they will use in the vermi-cast production. “The vermi-production area will likewise serve as a demo and research center where PEMO-EMD will conduct verification trials. Students from Agricultural Institutions will be invited to visit the area to have a hands-on experience about vermi-production,” Balucanag pointed out. Measuring at 1 meter by 5 meters per bed, some 200 kilograms of vermi-cast are expected to be produced or a total of 3,200 kilograms for the 16 –bed capacity. “We will sell the vermi-cast at P5.00 per kilogram as stipulated in the Organic Agriculture Ordinance of the province or utilize it for our reforestation projects and other similar undertakings,” PEMO Siegfred Flaviano added. The vermi-bed project has a total budget of P100,000.00 and its construction is being undertaken by the Provincial General Services Office.