Archive for the ‘Contributions’ Category

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DENR scored for diverting funds for Guimaras

August 12, 2008

By Nestor P. Burgos Jr.
Visayas Bureau, PDI
08/12/2008

JORDAN, GUIMARAS – Guimaras officials have scored the Department of Environment and Natural Resources for implementing oil spill rehabilitation projects in areas not affected by the oil spill.

Guimaras Gov. Felipe Nava said the DENR had implemented livelihood projects using rehabilitation funds even in communities that were hardly affected by the Aug. 11, 2006 oil spill.

“I’m not contented with what’s happening. We are in the dark and we don’t know if these are beneficial to the people of Guimaras. I think we should correct this (because) we are wasting precious money,” Nava said during a presentation of updates on the rehabilitation programs marking the second anniversary of the oil spill held on Monday. (Click here for the rest.)

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Guimaras chief hopes to receive additional oil spill fund

June 24, 2008

By Maricar M. Calubiran
The News Today
June 20, 2008

Guimaras Gov. Felipe Nava said they are hoping to receive additional oil spill funds from the national government. He said, of the P800 million oil spill rehabilitation fund, only P100 million was released to the province.

Nava said a team from the National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC) in Manila arrived in the province last week and assessed the damage brought about by the oil spill.

As far as the governor is concerned, the releases that the national government had made was the P50 million for infrastructure, P25 million for the Department of Social Welfare and Development, P2.4 for the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) and more than P4 million for the Department of Health (DOH).

However, Nava is banking on the funds released to the Department of Social Welfare and Development for its cash for work program. The department has still in hand some P100 million for the cash for work program intended for the affected areas.

In one of his visits in Iloilo City, Budget Secretary Rolando Andaya said the national government would only release funds on a case-to-case basis.

Andaya said they are not in a hurry to release any fund without any purpose. The fund should be spent only for rehabilitation purposes and not for anything else. There are proposals from different national government agencies that were disapproved because of its non-relevance.

He stressed out that the fund should not be spent for projects such as road construction which is not in any way related to the rehabilitation of the island as an aftermath of the August 11, 2006 oil spill. The project proponent should give exact and convincing reasons why they should be given funds.

One of those projects that were disapproved by the government is the “food for work” of the Department of Social Welfare and Development Office. There is no need for the government to give allocation to the “food for work” program since the affected residents already returned to their normal lives.

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IOPC releases P7.6M oil spill claims

May 7, 2008

By Maricar M. Calubiran
The News Today, Apr. 29, 2008

Presidential Assistant for Western Visayas Raul Banias said the International Oil Pollution Compensation (IOPC) Fund recently released a total of P7.6 million to 902 approved claimants from the five coastal municipalities of the province of Iloilo.

Banias said the release may be the last of the releases made by the IOPC as compensation to those who were affected by the oil spill that hit the island province of Guimaras on August 2006 which also caused damages to the neighboring coastal municipalities. The release was made in Concepcion, Iloilo two weeks ago.

Assisted by IOPC’s local contact Patricia Amboy, the highest release went to the municipality of Concepcion. The compensation amounted to P6.7 million for 698 approved claimants out of the 5,973 who applied for claims. The claims for the town of Concepcion was made last April 10 to 11, 2008.

Banias said each claims were distributed in the recipient towns. In Ajuy, out of the 7,970 claimants, the IOPC approved 81 who were compensated with P56,184.

The town of Miagao has 1,573 applicants but only 43 were approved and given a total compensation of P141, 226.

Meanwhile, in the town of Dumangas, there were 70 approved claimants from out of the 4,513 applicants. The claimants received a total compensation of P152,184.

The town with the least compensation was Barotac Nuevo where only 10 applicants were approved out of the 581 claims with a total compensation of P44, 888.

Applicants whose compensation claims were rejected filed an appeal. No response has been heard yet from the IOPCF.

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UNDP supports Guisi heritage tourism project

May 7, 2008

By Maricar M. Calubiran
The News Today, Apr. 24, 2008

THE United Nations Development Programme has released P995,000 for the procurement of mountain bikes, snorkeling materials and masks for the Guisi Discovery Quest, according to UNDP Resident Representative Kyo Naka. The Guisi Discover Quest is an eco-tourism initiative designed to help communities hit by the oil spill in Guimaras Island, Iloilo.

UNDP’s involvement in the Guisi Community Based Tourism initiative was primarily in response to the oil spill disaster that hit the island-province in 2006.

Guisi Discovery Quest is managed by the Barangay Dolores Tourism Council (BDTC) in Nueva Valencia, Guimaras. Aside from UNDP, the Department of Tourism and Canadian Urban Institute (CUI) also helped in the tourism project. Naka, along with Department of Tourism Secretary Joseph Durano, was in Guimaras last week for the Guisi Discovery Quest launching.

Naka said the UNDP’s intervention in the tourism initiative in Guimaras was an offshoot of their emergency meeting. The UNDP is supportive to projects with emphasis on the protection of environment and tourism friendly initiatives.

Naka said like other donor agencies that entered the island because of oil spill, the UNDP is also supportive in all human development. The Guisi Discovery Quest, which is a community-based tourism project could help the residents.

Naka added that the catastrophe has been turned into opportunity with the entry of all donor agencies in the island. If the project is done and implemented properly, it could be a model for the entire country. It will lead new areas in tourism industry.

The initiative which begins with the hospitality of the residents will draw number of tourists to the island. It will generate income for the residents.

The UNDP also wants environmental management laws in South East Asia and the International Maritime Organization to prevent similar oil spill accidents, said Naka.

The Guisi Discovery Quest, a tour package, includes a visit in the 18th Century old Guisi Lighthouse, Guisi beaches, Panluron Falls, wilderness trail, island hopping, boating, snorkeling, fishing, visit in marine sanctuaries, Hinalaran Cove and Guisi Coral Reef.

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COA finds irregularities in oil spill funds

May 7, 2008

By Nestor P. Burgos Jr.
Visayas Bureau, Inquirer
04/23/2008

ILOILO CITY – The Commission on Audit (COA) has found irregularities in the use of P10 million in taxpayers’ money to help towns on Guimaras Island that were suffering from the country’s worst oil spill.

An 18-page report of the COA, dated Feb. 8, said some of the funds were released to municipalities that were not listed as suffering from the oil spill. A copy of the report was sent to Iloilo Gov. Niel Tupas Sr.

The P10 million was part of at least P40 million released by the Office of the President to Guimaras, Iloilo and Negros Occidental in response to calls for help from towns hurt by the oil spill.

Funds for Iloilo province were released in two installments – P5 million on Aug. 25, 2006, and another P5 million on Sept. 25 the same year. These were used to buy fishing equipment, boat engines and kerosene lanterns.

The provincial government reported that it released P1.95 million to 19 coastal municipalities and P360,000 to 13 barangays.

The COA report, however, said the provincial government also released P1.1 million to 11 coastal municipalities that were not listed as suffering from the oil spill based on a report by the Provincial Disaster Coordinating Council (PDCC). The towns included San Joaquin, Guimbal, Tigbauan, Leganes, Zarraga, Anilao, San Dionisio, Batad, Estancia, Balasan and Carles.

The report said the release of P1.1 million to the 11 towns violated rules on the use of taxpayers’ money. It was signed by Marietta Sofia, audit team leader, and Arlene Togonon, regional cluster director.

Manuel Mejorada, provincial administrator, denied any irregularities in the use of funds for oil spill-stricken towns.

Mejorada said the PDCC report was not an accurate basis to determine whether or not a town was suffering from the oil spill.

While the oil spill didn’t reach the shores of some towns, they also suffered because of lower fish catch, he said.

The COA report also noted a delay in the purchase and distribution of fishing equipment worth P7.68 million.

“Had the equipment been acquired earlier, the equipment and supplies could have curbed the urgent impact of the oil spill …,” the report said.

It also noted a P1.48 million overprice in the purchase of boat engines worth P4.22 million.

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Oil rehab fund for Concepcion to be used for ecological camp

March 7, 2008

By Maricar M. Calubiran
The News Today
March 5, 2008

Presidential Assistant for Western Visayas Raul Banias yesterday said the P6.5 million oil spill fund intended for the municipality of Concepcion in Iloilo would be spent for the establishment of an “ecological camp” in said town. The P6.5 million came from the special budget allocated by the national government and coursed through the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

Banias, who has been the municipal mayor of the town for nine years said the ecological camp includes mangroves reforestation, protection of marine protected areas, establishment of additional marine protected areas and organizing of small fisherfolks.

The August 11, 2006 oil spill in Guimaras did not only affect the island but some coastal towns in Iloilo. In Concepcion, 10 barangays were affected by the oil spill. The MT Solar I was carrying 2.2 million liters of bunker fuel when it sank off the coast of Guimaras island. It was Petron that chartered the tanker to transport fuel from its Limay port in Bataan to Zamboaga City.

Banias said DENR is now on the process of transferring the fund to the municipal government of Concepcion. The P6.5 million oil rehabilitation fund is different from the fund to be released by the Department of Social Welfare and Development Office, said Banias.

Meanwhile, Banias stressed the importance of good governance and responsible tourism. He was very proud of his accomplishments during his term as the town’s municipal mayor. The town has been recipient of both national and international awards for the successful outcome of the projects he introduced to the town.

In yesterday’s workshop on The Environmental Security on Tourism (TEST), Banias told the attendees that he refused an offer from an international Japanese salvage group to salvage a sunken Japanese vessel in the Pan de Azucar.

The former town mayor said he wants to preserve the area for tourism and historical purposes. Banias said his decision is a manifestation of good governance. Until now, the vessel stays in the area where it sunk number of decades ago.

Local history said that on September 1944, a Japanese transport vessel and a convoy of naval boats were attacked by American air and naval forces. Four days after the fierce battle not one of the Japanese vessels remained afloat. Today, the mast of a ship could be seen protruding above the water during the low tide at the Pan de Azucar island.

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Guimaras groups get P2.25M aid

February 3, 2008

Visayan Daily Star
Jan. 11, 2008

THE Department of Social Welfare and Development turned over P2.25 million to 15 Self-Employment Assistance-Kaunlaran associations in Guimaras as part of the ongoing oil spill rehabilitation program.

DSWD Regional Director Teresita Rosales said the money will serve as seed capital for livelihood programs to be implemented in five municipalities of the province.

Rosales led the recent turnover ceremony attended Regional Director Angel Gaviola of the Office of the Civil Defense-6, Gov. Felipe Nava, Mayor Samuel Gumarin of Buenavista, Mayor Cresente Chavez of Jordan, Mayor Alejandro Araneta of Nueva Valencia and Mayor Jimmy Gajo of San Lorenzo held at the GTIC Function Room in Jordan, Guimaras.

The towns of Buenavista and Sibunag, which have four SEA-K associations each, will receive P600,000, respectively.

Nueva Valencia will get P450,000 for its three SEA-K associations while Jordan and San Lorenzo will receive P300,000 each.

Rosales said the SEA-K associations have undergone social preparation and capability building activities such as business management skills training to ensure that they will be properly guided on how to sustain their projects.