Philippines - ReliefWeb News
ILOILO CITY, Feb 1 (PIA6) - - Seven local government units in the province of Iloilo got heavy duty 4-wheel drive tractors with implements under the Reconstruction Assistance on Yolanda (RAY) program of the Department of Agriculture
Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala personally turned over the tractors with implements to the local chief executives of the recipient-LGUs during the Regional Farmers’ Forum at the Western Visayas Integrated Agricultural Research Center in Jaro, this city on January 30.
Recipient-LGUs included Btac.Viejo, San Dionisio, Ajuy, Bingawan, Passi City, Lemery and Concepcion.
Aside from the seven local government units in Iloilo province 18 more LGUs from the Western Visayas received such kind of farm machinery worth a total of P52,450,000.
Other LGU recipients were Ibajay, Libacao, Malinao and New Washington in Aklan province; Barbaza, Bugasong, and Culasi in Antique; Curatero, Dao, Dumarao, Jamindan, Maayon, Pilar, Pontevedra, Tapaz in Capiz; Sagay City, Toboso, and Calatrava in Negros Occidental.
Alcala also turned over seven hand tractor with tiller cultivators amounting to P1,476,076.00. Beneficiaries included local government of Calinog; Concepcion-Buenavista Integrated Farmers Association in Concepcion, Iloilo; Brgy. San Antinio Communal Organic Garden in San Antonio, Btac. Viejo, Iloilo; Fe Multipurpose Cooperative in Jamindan, Capiz; LGU-Kabankalan City and LGU-Murcia in Negros Occidental; and Batan Rural Improvement Club in Poblacion, Batan, Aklan.
He also turned over the following agricultural machineries and implements: 6 units of mini 4-wheel drive tractor with implements worth P5,369,328.00; 4 units combine harvester P6, 624,000.00; 8 units of reaper worth P1,200,000; 8 threshers worth P1,440,000; 5 corn shellers P600,000; 4 hammer mills worth P1,000,000; 3 cassava granulators worth P600,000; 3 units of cassava grater worth P450,000; 33 Baby tanks Artificial Insemination equipment worth P386,545.50;10 mother tank A.I. equipment P312,075.00; 2 Shredder machines worth P300,000; and 50 pump and engines worth P3,090,000.00.
Alcala also graced the blessing and turnover of the P7.5 million Agri Pinoy Rice Processing Center I and P10 million slaughterhouse, all in the municipality of Btac. Nuevo.
In one of his messages here, Alcala said that starting now until 2017 the government will continue to build infrastructures and post harvest facilities to reduce production cost and to make farmers more competitive.
He said the mechanization program will be continued wherein it gives farmer organizations counterpart funding to buy farm machineries as well as the Sikat Saka, a credit assistance program in support to the Food Staples Self-sufficiency Program of the country. (JSC/LAF-PIA6 Iloilo)
MANILA, Feb. 2 -- The Government Peace Panel and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) on Saturday committed to continue to work for peace in the wake of the tragic Mamasapano incident that killed 44 Special Action Force Commandos on a law enforcement operation.
GPH chief negotiator Miriam Coronel-Ferrer during a press conference in Kuala Lumpur Saturday said that they wanted this tragic incident to be “the last” in the difficult journey to peace in Mindanano and the country.
She said that both the GPH and the MILF peace panels are exerting all efforts to pursue the road to “peace with our brothers and sisters in Mindanao.”
Ferrer said the GPH and the MILF peace panels have agreed to undertake specific actions as part of their confidence-building measures, to wit:
Begin preparations for the turning in of the first set of MILF weapons which will signal the start of the decommissioning process laid out in the Annex on Normalization as Phase 1. This will be done with the help of the Independent Decommissioning Body (IDB) and other security mechanisms,
Hold within this month a joint security assessment of the situation that will address criminality and terrorism, with the end in view of enhancing the security cooperation between the GPH and the MILF.
Continue with the investigations. The International Monitoring Team (IMT) has already announced the conduct of its own official field verification mission.
She added that last January 22 (three days before the fateful events in Mamasapano), MILF Chair Ebrahim Murad already personally handed over the list of 75 weapons (20 crewserved, 55 high-powered arms), including their make and serial numbers, to IDB Chair Turkish Ambassador Haydar Berk and the rest of the members of the IDB who visited him in Camp Darapanan.
“The list of first 145 MILF members to be decommissioned, we understand will be handed over to the IDB this week,” Ferrer said. “Government in turn will prepare the socio-economic package that will be given to the decommissioned combatants in order to facilitate their path to productive, civilian lives in their respective communities.”
Regarding the panels’ joint security assessment of the situation, Ferrer said, the peace panels have standing protocols on ceasefire and the conduct of law enforcement operations.
“These were well thought out protocols that had from the very beginning involved AFP and police generals,” Ferrer said. “They aim to prevent unwanted hostility between the ceasefire parties without – I repeat, without- impeding law enforcement operations.”
She added that these protocols have worked well in the past, have helped save lives, prevented escalation of conflict, and also provided a stable environment for the peace negotiations.
However, she conceded that, “Operationally, they are not perfect and therefore there is room for improvement.”
“And there is more to be done in order to quell the infiltration of terrorist cells and neutralize all sorts of lawless elements in these marshlands, hills, coasts and cities of Mindanao,” she said.
She added that this will be discussed as they agreed to hold this joint security assessment which will be participated by high ranking security officials on the government side and on the side of the MILF, especially of the BIAF.
She also assured that investigations will continue with both parties pledging full cooperation to this mission and the other investigations being undertaken by the Board of Inquiry and the Special Investigative Commission of the MILF.
During the press conference, MILF chief negotiator Mohagher Iqbal also said that MILF is fully committed to the peace process. He likewise appealed for sobriety.
"Let me appeal to everybody, especially members of the media, to journey with us in this peacemaking in Mindanao and to treat the tragic incident in Mamasapano, Maguindanao on January 25 with utmost consideration of what really happened and not to fan the emotions, hatred of people," Iqbal said. (PIA)
The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) will be helping the families of the 44 Special Action Force (SAF) commandos recently killed in an encounter in Mamasapano, Maguindanao.
DSWD Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman said the Department received a list of the slain policemen.
“I was instructed by President [Benigno] Aquino to provide assistance to the bereaved families… We shall extend government’s help to them since they lost their breadwinner. We also extend our sympathies and condolences to our fallen SAF policemen,” Sec. Soliman explained.
The DSWD will provide psychosocial counseling to the policemen’s families, as well as educational and livelihood support.
Other forms of aid will be given to the families, which will be determined by the results of the counseling sessions.
At the same time, Sec. Soliman said that a bank account has been opened to receive donations for the families.
Interested donors may deposit to Landbank of the Philippines (Batasan Branch) Peso Current Account No. 3122-1026-28 under DSWD Donation Account for Armed Conflict in Mamasapano, Maguindanao.
Aid for displaced families
Since Monday, the DSWD has distributed more than 600 food packs to the displaced residents in Mamasapano who have fled their communities because of the incident.
The Department has also provided P25,000 in assistance each to the families of four civilians killed in the encounter.
On the other hand, P10,000 was given to each of the four wounded civilians. One is still recuperating in the hospital, while the three others have already been discharged.
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Gil Arevalo, OCHA’s CwC Officer in the Philippines, explains how networks and relationships built during the response to Typhoon Haiyan enabled communicating with communities initiatives to get off the ground quickly when Typhoon Hagupit hit the same area one year later.
The late American writer Alexander King once said that the basic need of the human heart in nearly every great crisis is a good hot cup of coffee.
And that was probably all it took for OCHA to be able to call an emergency meeting on December 13 2014 with the First Response Radio-Far-East Broadcasting Company (FRR-FEBC) [a partnership between Manila-based radio station and CDAC Network Member First Response Radio] and the Peace and Conflict Journalism Network (PECOJON).
In a coffee meeting near the UN office in Manila, with no memorandum of agreement or any official partnership paper, OCHA witnessed how the FRR-FEBC and PECOJON agreed to deploy a team together to set up a humanitarian radio station on the December 15 in the municipality of Taft, Eastern Samar --- the area worst hit by Typhoon Hagupit.
The network, or Community of Practice (CoP), of Communications with Communities (CwC)/Accountability to Affected Populations (AAP) was established in Eastern Visayas in early 2014, during the response to Typhoon Haiyan. The CoP includes staff from humanitarian agencies, local government and media agencies who participated in the CwC/AAP technical working groups, which were part of the cluster system post-Haiyan.
However, the response to Hagupit would be the first time that a partnership was forged between FRR-FEBC and PECOJON for a joint humanitarian radio project, using emergency radio equipment entrusted to FRR-FEBC by International Organization for Migration (IOM), as partners in CwC.
And the rest was a good example of how to further improve working with CwC partners both in preparedness and emergency response.
Lessons from past typhoons
The Typhoon Haiyan response in 2013 taught us, CwC/AAP specialists and practitioners, the importance of having CwC/AAP technical working groups across three affected regions in Eastern Visayas, which were coordinated and integrated into the cluster system.
The Typhoon Hagupit response, almost one year later, taught us not only the valuable lesson of sustaining the good practice from Typhoon Haiyan, but also expanding the level of partnership within the network or CoP.
It was one of those rare experiences when the same region, Eastern Visayas, was badly affected by two calamities. It was the first landfall area in Haiyan and happened to be the most affected by Typhoon Hagupit, which hit the region less than a month after the first year commemoration for Haiyan.
However, Hagupit brought some silver linings in the proactive engagement of Members of the CwC/AAP CoP in Manila and the various field level working groups in Western and Eastern Visayas – largely thanks to experience and learning from Haiyan.
All members and partners of the field level working groups and CoP responded collaboratively, pre-positioning staff, solar radios and other resources for Hagupit’s expected impact (it was anticipated to be as strong as Haiyan). Assessments carried out by members immediately after the typhoon highlighted areas where access to information was poor. And that paved the way for FRR-FEBC and PECOJON (including local journalists from Radyo Abante) to broadcast as 98.7 FM from December 15 to January 7 2015 in Taft, Eastern Samar.
Just like OCHA and IOM, FRR-FEBC and PECOJON are CDAC Network Members and worked in various capacities during the Haiyan response in 2013. They were active members of the Philippine CwC/AAP CoP based in Manila and were also part of the successful field level technical working groups in Western Visayas and Eastern Visayas
For over three weeks, the 98.7 FM station was recognised as a conduit bridging local government units (LGUs), humanitarian and development agencies and affected communities in Eastern Samar.
In some ways, this was déjà vu for FRR-FEBC and PECOJON, given the stations they set up during the height of Haiyan response. The big difference this time was that even prior to the destruction brought by the typhoon, there was no radio station active or operating in Taft municipality.
The CwC/AAP technical working group based in Borongan, Eastern Samar, reported that the LGUs were thankful for the presence of 98.7 FM, and felt relieved to have a radio station that caters to the ongoing humanitarian response reaching most affected areas.
More than just providing access to critical information, once again humanitarian radio became the voice and ally of the affected communities, while putting some positive pressure on humanitarian agencies, the government and LGUs.
As recognised by FRR-FEBC, PECOJON, IOM and even OCHA, partnering for the first time on this humanitarian radio initiative was a laboratory test in various ways. It was a big test for the CoP in terms of working with each other’s strengths and weaknesses. It also highlighted the benefits of the ad-hoc nature or level of partnership among FRR-FEBC, PECOJON and IOM. From the onset, the usual bureaucratic process in any level of partnership was simplified, as this collaboration depended on trust and commitment within the network to look at the existing capacities, resources, and mechanisms. It proved that formalising partnership, and developing relationships and trust between different actors, should be a priority as part of preparedness.
Creating exit and transition strategies was of course a challenge. It has always been. And this response was no exception.
Three weeks might not be enough to bridge the gap in access to information for communities, and to ensure that LGUs will continue to address the unmet humanitarian needs of those affected.
What FRR-FEBC, PECOJON and IOM accomplished in a short span of time was already commendable. It opens more windows of opportunities for the network or CoP to continue to improve the various levels of engagement or partnership, and find opportunities to work together.
After all, it’s a small world for all CwC/AAP specialists and practitioners. The next thing we know, we’re going to work together either in preparedness or emergency response. I am looking forward for more hot cups of coffee with my colleagues. As the old saying goes, ‘it’s like déjà-brew: the feeling or experience that you’ve had this coffee before’.
Reference Guide - Communication and Complex Emergencies is a reference guide developed by the University of Adelaide’s Applied Communication Collaborative Research Unit (ACCRU) and the Australian Civil–Military Centre (ACMC).
This guide examines the broad topic of communication and its role in a range of different humanitarian and complex emergency situations. Such situations demand communication initiatives that support and promote humanitarian relief efforts, conflict reduction processes, and post-conflict transition and recovery.
The country should remain focused in achieving a long and lasting peace in Mindanao and should not allow emotions to rule in overcoming challenges confronting the country today especially after the deaths on more than 40 police commandos in Maguindanao last week, a Palace official said.
This is in the midsts of reports that 43 administration allies are mulling to withdraw their support for the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), seen as the hope to bringing stability to Mindanao.
In a radio interview over dzRB by Radyo ng Bayan on Saturday, Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma said this issue was raised by President Aquino during his address to the nation Wednesday.
“Ipinaalala ng Pangulo ang kahagalahan na matanto natin ‘yung kung bakit kinakailangan nating patuloy na magtrabaho tungo sa pagkamit ng pangmatagalang kapayapaan,” Coloma said in the radio interview.
The country has witnessed decades of war in Mindanao, Coloma said, noting the conflict has not helped the region in attaining stability and instead had brought misery and despair to the people.
“Kaya dapat nating alalahanin ang mga mahahalagang leksyon na natutunan na noong nakaraan at tanungin ang ating mga sarili kung paano ba ang pinakamainam na landas tungo sa kinabukasang mas maaliwalas,” he said.
Although there are those voicing their doubts on the ongoing peace process, Coloma said there are other leaders who echoed their support to the peace talks.
Among them include Senate President Franklin Drilon, House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, and Supreme Court Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, among others.
Asked if the Palace plans to talk to its congressional allies to rally support for the BBL, Coloma there is no such plan at this time adding however that the executive branch is ready to reach out to its supporters in Congress.
Asked to comment on the possible restiveness in the police force as a result of the Maguindanao incident, Coloma said police personnel are free to voice their sentiments in a constructive way.
But everyone must not be swayed by their emotions and should not forget the real picture of the roadblocks that the country is facing, he said.
The true concerns he said is effectively fighting terrorism and at the same time working to achieve enduring peace in Mindanao.