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(PIA Southern Leyte)

2,011 trees planted to launch 2011 as International Year of the Forest

SILAGO, Southern Leyte, Feb. 10, (PIA) --The Visayas State University, in cooperation with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)- Southern Leyte,on Feb. 3, led the planting of 2, 011 seedlings to launch the year 2011 as International Year of the Forest, as declared by the United Nations (UN) to raise awareness and strengthen the importance of forests.

It was learned that the UN also did their launching on Feb. 2 (Feb 3 in Manila) in New York.

“Some 2,011 pieces of local indigenous seedling were planted, like lawaan, tugas, narra as a way to launch 2011 as international year of the forest,”
Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Officer (PENRO) Ricardo Tomol told Philippine Information Agency (PIA) in a phone interview yesterday.

These were planted by high school students, personnel from VSU and the local government unit, said Tomol, who was present during the event.

Congressman Roger Mercado and Governor Damian Mercado each sent representatives who also joined in the tree-planting, he added.

Venue of the activity was the watershed area, the upstream portion of Silago’s Mag river.

The VSU-led project headed by their President Jose Bacusmo called for a close monitoring in two to three years’ time of some 50 hectares of Silago’s total forest, while another component was the rehabilitation or reforestation of some 75 hectares of this town’s denuded mountains and open areas.

PENRO Tomol said DENR’s participation of this endeavor, together with the LGU, was the identification of specific areas that need to be closely watched and to be focused attention.

He said Silago still has over 530 hectares of virgin forest. (PIA-Southern Leyte/bp)

Partner org from Germany to replace lost landslide sensor in St Bernard

SAINT BERNARD, Southern Leyte, Feb. 7, (PIA) -- The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ)will replace the early warning device stolen during the time that everybody in this city was being evacuated.

The said sensor which was installed by the same German organization was one of six installed at barangay Malinao sometime in November last year.

According to St. Bernard mayor Rico Rentuza it was stolen January 4, a day after the local government ordered a massive, pre-evacuation of all the residents in the area at the height of the heavy rains.

The device carries about two months’ data at the time it was carried away, Rentuza mused.

GTZ will have the lost sensors replaced not in just one barangay but in two, Rentuza added.

He said the equipment was a first-time testing tool of its kind that promised to record ground-shaking as a way to predict possible occurrence of landslides so people can be duly warned and can act accordingly.

In an interview on the sidelines of a relief goods distribution, Rentuza said a technical team has been conducting a survey for the re-installation of the vital device in two locations, at barangay Bolod-bolod and at barangay Tambis II.

With the survey done the soonest possible time, probably within this week, he hoped that the early warning system can be put up again, so it can serve its purpose well.

And he thanked the German government organization, GTZ, for the undying support, for the continuation of the project despite what happened.

As to the culprit who stole the device, Rentuza said the Police already has a suspect, and they are now closely monitoring this case. (PIA-Southern Leyte/bp)

Water Service in Maasin City Gets DOH Help

When it rains, it pours, especially for Maasin Water District (MWD).

With abundant supply brought about by the torrential rains in the past several days this month, water shortage would seem to be the last thing in the mind of its General Manager Nestor Geraldo.

The back-up provided by nature has given the water-deprived utility firm a long shot because, in the words of Geraldo himself, they have been accepting new applicants for water connection, and have been resuming the processing of long pending ones.

The condition prevailing now would have been just wishful thinking back then -- certainly they would not entertain such transactions for the most part last year when supply levels were so critical water had to be rationed.

Once the present La Nina phenomenon shall have tapered off in a couple of months or so, GM Geraldo said he can rely on the two additional deep well pumps now installed in barangay Soro-Soro and at Sitio Capores barangay Batuan which will be put to work beginning next month, to augment their existing underground spring water sources and one single deep well.

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And then there is this potential assistance coming from the Department of Health (DOH).

When realized, the grant of P 30 Million from DOH would greatly solve the various water needs of the city for the next five to ten years following the full development of a vast water source in barangay Maria Clara, Geraldo said, adding that the barangay Council there had okayed to tap its natural resource for the increasing water concessionaires of MWD.

Geraldo gave the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) a copy of first endorsement letter dated January 12, 2011 from DOH Regional Director Eduardo Gonzaga, directing the MWD Manager to "please facilitate the immediate submission of Site Development Plan and Location Plan, Specifications, Detailed Estimates and Program of Works, Feasibility Study of the proposed water supply system project, for his (Geraldo's) information and action."

Since last week, it was learned that the "action" as required on the part of MWD has been in full swing, with one Engineer tasked to survey the elevation at the proposed Maria Clara site, and all the other pertinent papers for submission be submitted within this week.

In the midst of these generous blessings, both nature-given and man-made, Geraldo acknowledged the key role played by Cong. Roger Mercado, in the man-made part, even as he was grateful to the heavens for the nature part of it.

It was the Southern Leyteno solon who made representations with Health Secretary Enrique Ona so the basic water service in the city can keep up with the ever increasing demands brought about by changing times, where investors are fast locating into the city coupled with a rising household population.

In December last year, Cong. Mercado also managed to fork out a financial support from the Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA) for a P 22 Million financing of MWD's development plans.

Geraldo said the LWUA-sourced funds are still in the pipeline, but for the moment time is of the essence to seize the opportunity offered by the DOH-funded undertaking.

Either coming from LWUA or from the DOH, the fact remains that both initiatives came from Cong. Mercado.

The concern showed by the lone Southern Leyteno lawmaker is definitely one other reason why, at least for MWD, when it rains, it pours. (PIA-Southern Leyte/bp)

NSO So. Leyte spearheads first provincial barangay secretaries convention for civil registration

MAASIN CITY, Feb. 3, (PIA) -- In connection with the observance of February as Civil Registration Month, the National Statistics Office (NSO) in Southern Leyte will be initiating the first Provincial Civil Registration Convention of barangay secretaries this coming February 18.

According to Ms. Faith Genovana of NSO Southern Leyte, the said event will be held at the Southern Leyte State University (SLSU) gym in Sogod town, and it will be graced by luminaries and civil registration experts coming from the NSO central office.

The visitors will also serve as lecturers during the one-day orientation seminar for all the barangay secretaries from all the 500 barangays of the province, Ms. Genovana said.

In fact, she said that this will be the first time such gathering of barangay secretaries can take place all throughout the country for the purpose of learning how to handle civil registration procedures and related matters at the barangay level.

It is expected that the village secretaries can learn the basics of birth, marriage and death registration, including the new civil registry laws such as RA 9048 (Clerical Error Law) and RA 9255 (Illegitimate Children’s Act).

The convention was carried out in coordination and cooperation with the Southern Leyte Municipal Civil Registrar’s Association, Inc. (SOLEMCRA).

Also in the month of February, the provincial NSO will be initiating civil registration symposiums in different schools and colleges around the province to further create awareness among students on the relevance of their civil registry documents.

February every year was declared as Civil Registration Month pursuant to Proclamation No. 682 signed by then President Corazon Aquino.

This year’s theme, “Quality Civil Registration in Support of the National Development Goals,” enshrines the importance of quality civil registry data in the formulation of accurate development plans.

Among the activities suggested to mark the month-long observance included mobile registration, display of streamers, free issuance of certification, mass weddings, symposiums, civil registration quiz, slogan contest, and holding of exhibits promoting civil registration. (PIA-Southern Leyte/bp)

PNoy signs EO imposing a moratorium on cutting and harvesting of timber

MAASIN CITY, Feb. 4 (PIA) -- A month after heavy rains brought calamities to the country, including Southern Leyte, President Benigno Aquino III issued an executive order to halt logging operations all over the Philippines.

According to published reports, the President, in signing Executive Order No. 23, ordered the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to prohibit issuing and renewing logging agreements and tree cutting permits in all natural and residual forests.

According to the report published in the Inquirer issue today said, Pnoy also tasked the DENR to “review all existing agreements and immediately cancel those whose signatories have violated forest laws at least twice; and to close and disallow sawmills and other wood processing plants that are unable to present proof of sustainable sources of legally cut logs for a period of at least five years.”

“We want to tighten up ... In the (wood) processing sector, if you fail to prove that you really have a supply of (legally cut logs), you won’t be allowed to operate. Illegal loggers won’t be able to sell,” the President was quoted as telling reporters during the inauguration yesterday of a water treatment plant in Muntinlupa city.

EO 23 also specified the creation of an Anti-Illegal Logging Task Force to enforce the moratorium, composed of the environment secretary as chair, the interior secretary, the Armed Forces Chief of Staff, and the PNP Chief.

Exemptions on the prohibition for the issuance of tree cutting permits are limited to those clearing for road right of way by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), site clearing for tree plantations, silvicultural treatment and other similar activities, “provided that all logs derived from the said cutting permits shall be turned over to the DENR for proper disposal,” the report stated.

President Aquino pointed out in EO 23 that “it is the obligation of the State to protect the remaining forest cover areas of the country not only to prevent flashfloods and hazardous flooding but also to preserve biodiversity ... and to allow regeneration of residual forests and development of plantation forests.” (PIA-Southern Leyte/bp)


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