GenSan fleets to resume Pacific fishing operations
BY ROGER M. BALANZA
Tuna fishing companies in General Santos City, the Tuna Capital of the Philippines, are set to resume operation next month in areas within the Pacific Ocean that were closed for two years by an international fishery organization due to concerns over the rapidly declining tuna stocks.
Joaquin Lu, president of the Socsksargen Federation of Fishing and Allied Industries, Inc. (SFFAII), said 36 tuna catcher vessels will set sail on Sept. 25 to the reopened Pocket I of the Pacific Ocean, a strategic migratory path of tuna and tuna-like species.
Pocket 1, covering 590,000 square kilometers north of Papua New Guinea and east of Indonesia, was closed down by Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) in January 2010 due to a steady decline of tuna catches worldwide. The fishing ground was reopened in March exclusively for Filipino fishermen following a Philippine appeal.
The fishermen are expected to reach the fishing ground on Oct. 1, in time for the lifting of a separate but related annual three-month ban on tuna fishing using fish aggregating devices or FAD.
FADs, locally known as payaos, are fishing devices that attract schools of fish underneath a shaded area composed of a large bundle of palm leaves held on by an anchor and kept afloat by a steel buoy.
Lu said WCPFC observers will be on board the vessels to recrod volume, time and origin of the catches that will be landed exclusively General City.
14th Tuna Festival Grand Opening set
By Ping Aponesto
September 5, 2012 will be the grand opening of the 14th Tuna Festival, a local holiday.
The opening program will be graced by Mayor Darlene Antonino-Custodio, Festival Director Mr. Carlos Hagosojos and other city officials.
Highlights of this year’s celebration include the Karagatan Awards, 14th National Tuna Congress, Tuna Float Parade, Fishtahan sa Fishport and Streetdancing Competition.
Tunafest 2012 celebration is spearheaded by the Philippine Fisheries Development Authority or PFDA in coordination with the City Government of GenSan. (cpio)
Aquino to keynote Tuna Congress
The 14th National Tuna Congress will be held on September 6-7, 2012 at the Family Country Hotel and Convention Center, General Santos City. This year’s theme is “Opening New Grounds and Strengthening Commitments: A Resilient Tuna Industry.”
President Benigno Aquino III is the Keynote Speaker during the Opening Ceremonies in the morning of September 7, 2012 at 10:00 AM.
Among the key issues to be discussed include the prospects of tuna in the global halal food industry, prospects for partnership with PNA countries, review on effectiveness of management conservation measures for tuna in the Western and Central Pacific, assessment of handline fisheries in the Philippines and BFAR programs and plans for the tuna industry.
The 2-day Congress will be hosted by the Socsksargen Federation of Fishing and Allied Industries, Inc. (SFFAII) headed by its President Mr. Jake Lu.
Theme of this year’s Congress is, “Opening New Grounds and Strengthening Commitment: A Resilient Tuna Industry’.
PhilHealth backed vs. fake health cards
By Danilo E. Doguiles
PhilHealth-12 and the city government of General Santos have intensified their campaign against health care fraud by distributing member data records (MDRs) with the family picture of sponsored program members and their qualified dependents, according to Local Health Insurance Office head Nol Valila and City Social Welfare and Development Officer Rebecca V. Magante.
Recently, 712 sponsored program members listed under the National Household Targeting System-Poverty Reduction (NHTS-PR) gathered at Brgy. San Jose, General Santos City with their spouses, children and parents aged 60-years-old for the picture-taking for the MDRs.
Dr. Miriam Grace G. Pamonag, Field Operations Division chief of PRO 12 said that this initiative will “put a face” to the MDR and ensure that only the intended beneficiaries will be able to use the MDRs for purpose of claiming PhilHealth benefits in any accredited hospitals and non-hospital facilities. (PIA)
Garlic, cassava production gets big push in Region 12
By Shahana Joy E. Duerme
KORONADAL CITY — The Department of Agriculture (DA) 12 has bolstered the expansion of garlic and cassava production areas in Region 12 as part of advancing the department’s Food Staples Self-sufficiency Program (FSSP).
This is one of the strategies of the department in giving importance not only to the production of staples but also to other agricultural commodities like garlic, said Jocelyn Torres, engineer, of the High Value Crops Development Program (HVCDP). Torres said the project will start in October and will last for five years.
To improve cassava production, a techno-demo showcase was launched in Barangay Sinawal, General Santos City where a hectare of land was allotted for cassava farming. During the event field demostrations were presented by Dra. Lorna Vilbar, center chief of Tupi Research Outreach Station and station agriculturist Roel De Ramos.
Soccsksargen Region includes the provinces of Sarangani, South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat and North Cotabato.
In the Philippines, garlic production for the last five years reached 12,500 metric tons (MT) in 2005 and 9,500 MT in 2010 which is not enough to meet the needed 61,000 MT of garlic every year.
On the other hand, data from the Bureau of Agricultural Statistics showed cassava production in the region recorded a 25.5 percent change from 34,556 metric tons in 2010 to 43,486 metric tons in 2011. This year, the cassava industry targets production of 2,470,000 metric tons (PIA)
DENR, USM partner in P3.5M clonal facility
By Vilma Flauta-Nitura
KORONADAL CITY — The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has entered into an agreement with the state-run University of Southern Mindanao (USM) for the establishment of a clonal facility.
USM President Dr. Jesus Antonio G. Derije and DENR 12 Regional Executive Director Adeluisa G. Siapno signed the agreement on August 23.
Siapno said the agreement “will obligate DENR to provide the USM P3.5 million for the construction of a clonal facility for the production of high quality planting materials, particularly those from superior indigenous forest tree species such as lauan, molave, and tanguile.”
Through the project, USM will be able to contribute to the National Greening Program, Derije said. USM, besides being a leading academic institution in Soccsksargen Region, is also well-known for its research, development, extension and production functions.
The project is backed by the University of Southern Mindanao Agriculture Research Center (USMARC) and the Philippine Industrial Crops Research Institute (PICRI) located inside the 1,024-hectare main campus in Kabacan town in North Cotabato. (DENR 12)
SoCot Surallah among top performing LGUs
The provincial government of South Cotabato was ranked in a report by the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) as fifth among the country’s 80 provinces in terms of local governance performance in the last three years.
South Cotabato Governor Arthur Pingoy said the ranking “recognized our efforts to institutionalize effective, transparent and accountable governance.”
The booming town of Surallah also made it to the top seven in the national LGPMS evaluation for the municipal government category.
Surallah received a rating of 4.843, besting a number ofestablished and older municipalities in the country.
The DILG report was based on the Local Governance Performance Management System (LGPMS) evaluation.
LGPMS is a metric system of evaluation that covers areas of administrative governance, social governance, environmental governance and fundamentals of good governance, which include transparency, participation and financial accountability.
Based on the 2011 LGPMS evaluation, South Cotabato province posted an aggregate rating of 4.864 to notch the fifth spot. Bohol took the top spot with a rating of 4.94 followed by La Union with 4.89, Cavite with 4.88 and Pangasinan with 4.87.