Bukidnon transport groups join nation-wide strike

MALAYBALAY CITY – Bukidnon transport groups also joined the coordinated transport strike Thursday with barricades in Malaybalay and Valencia cities.

The Solidarity of Transport Alliances in Region X (STAREX)/Piston staged ‘Tigil Pasada’ or transport strike in both cities Thursday morning.

But it managed only to paralyze transportation from 7 to 9 a.m. in Valencia City, where close to 300 persons, including motor cab drivers joined a barricade at the junction in downtown Valencia City. Traffic was stopped but it returned to normal two hours later when motorcab drivers dispersed.

Pacifico Estore Jr of UMBN Radyo Ukay Valencia reported that motorcab drivers, who were demanding approval of the city government for a P1 increase in fare, were a big force in the crowd. A city official spoke to the drivers that the ordinance for the increase is already at the City Council.

Members of the OGYON laborers’ group and the Buffalo-Tamaraw-Limus Association in Musuan, Maramag, Bukidnon also joined the barricade.

Rolando “Bodex” Garcia, federation president of Piston/STAREX Bukidnon appealed for public support of the strike on Radyo Ukay. The group has demanded for rollback of petroleum prices and the repeal of the oil deregulation law.

“We must also show our protest in the local scene, it’s not enough (to hold transport strike) only in Manila,” he said.

In Malaybalay City, there was a barricade in between 7 to 8a.m. along the highway near the public market but DXMB radio reported it was called off.

In the morning, the groups Bayan Muna and Gabriela staged a march along Fortich Street and a rally at the Plaza Rizal until close to noon.

Some motor cab  drivers told this reporter many of them were hesitant to join because of graduation rites in most of the schools in the two cities, including the Bukidnon State University on March 31. (Walter I. Balane)


Invasive, alien plant species identified in Mt. Kitanglad

MALAYBALAY CITY – A team from the Department of
Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the University of the
Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) has identified species considered as “invasive”
and “alien” to the Mt. Kitanglad Range Natural Park in Bukidnon.

Invasive alien species, the DENR said, are plants, animals, pathogens and
other organisms that are not originally from the ecosystem that may cause
economic or environmental harm or adversely affect human health.

The team visited two sites in Mt. Kitanglad Range Natural Park – the
Cinchona Reserve in Lantapan, Bukidnon and Barangay Imbayao in Malaybalay

Found in the park’s Cinchona Reserve are Lantana, Buyo-buyo, Mahogany,
mile-a-minute, African Tulip and Caliandra. In Imbayao, the team found
Lantana, Buyo-buyo, Mahogany, mile-a-minute, African Tulip, Mosisi,
Gapas-gapas and Caliandra.

Felix Mirasol, community environment and natural resources officer, said the
team has yet to come up with an action plan about it.

According to the DENR, the team was conducting preparatory activity in the
identification of potential pilot area for a project on the management of
invasive species in the forests of Southeast Asia.

The project is also being conducted in Cambodia, Vietnam and Indonesia.

A post at the DENR’s web site said that the invasive and alien species may
“impact adversely upon biodiversity, including decline or elimination of
native species – through competition, predation, or transmission of
pathogens – and the disruption of local ecosystems and ecosystem functions.”

The DENR said the identification of alien invasive species is part of the
international commitment of the Philippine government in the protection of
forests in Southeast Asia.

The other potential sites in the Philippines for the project, the DENR said,
include Maasim Watershed in Iloilo and Sibalom Natural Park in Antique; Mt.
Isarog in Naga City; Bataan Roosevelt Natural Park in Bataan; and Lake Sebu
in South Cotabato. (Walter I. Balane)

(Updated) House committees urged to probe Buseco

In this version, a reaction from Buseco was added.

MALAYBALAY CITY – Coop-NATCCO Representative Jose Ping-ay filed a resolution at the House of Representatives urging the investigation of the Bukidnon Second Electric Cooperative.

House Resolution No. 1060 eyes to direct the committee on energy and committee on cooperatives development to conduct an inquiry, in aid of legislation, into the allegations of irregularity in the operation and governance of Bukidnon Second Electric Cooperative (Buseco).

Ping-ay filed the resolution on March 8. It was read at the plenary on March 15, 2011.

The proposed resolution was referred to the committee on rules and will be tackled when Congress resumes session in May.

When sought for comments, Buseco general manager Edgardo Masongsong told this reporter they are yet to verify about the House measure.

He suspected that it could be the handiwork of his detractors. (Walter I. Balane)

(Updated) Bukidnon reps file bill creating 4th district

(In this version, six paragraphs of rejoinder from board member Nemesio Beltran Jr. were added at the end. – Ed.)

MALAYBALAY CITY – Bukidnon’s three members of the House of Representatives filed the bill creating the province’s fourth congressional district, based on records obtained by Bukidnon News.

Rep. Jose Zubiri III (3rd district), the principal author, filed the bill on March 15. House Bill No. 04382 is entitled “An act reapportioning the first (1st) and second (2nd) legislative districts of the province of Bukidnon to hereby create an additional legislative district in the province of Bukidnon to be known as the fourth legislative district.”

Bukidnon’s two other representative’s Florencio Flores Jr (2nd district) and Emmanuel Paras (1st district) co-authored the measure.

As of March 22, the bill is at the Committee on Local Government level for hearings, according to the House of Representatives’ Legislative Information System as of March 30.  Bukidnon News is yet to obtain a copy of the bill.

As of the public consultation on January 6, Vice Gov. Jose Ma. R. Zubiri said the proposed district reconfigures the composition of the existing three districts. He explained that the requirement of 250,000 population for the creation of a new district is behind the reconfiguration.

Bukidnon, with a population of 1.19 million based on the 2007 census, has three legislative districts at present.

The second district where Malaybalay and Valencia cities belong has a population of 474,943.

The move will put the two cities apart in separate districts.

Based on the January 6 presentation of Vice Gov. Jose Ma. R. Zubiri Jr. the proposed new second district will be composed of Malaybalay City, and the towns of Lantapan, Cabanglasan, and San Fernando. Its population will be reduced by at least 200,000, down to 272,883.

Valencia City will be included in the 4th district along with Kadingilan from the 3rd district and Kalilangan and Pangantucan from the 1st district. The fourth district will have a population of 276,128 in the proposed composition.

The municipality of Impasug-ong originally from the second district is proposed to be included in the 1st district to join Baungon, Sumilao, Manolo Fortich, Malitbog, Talakag, and Libona. The first district will have a population of 283, 128.

The third district will be the biggest in population (based on the 2007 population census) with 357, 498. It will be left with seven towns including Damulog, Dangcagan, Don Carlos, Maramag, Kibawe, Kitaotao, and Quezon.

Except for the mayor of Impasug-ong, no other official raised an issue concerning the creation of the new district during the consultation. The mayor of Pangantucan town stood up but eventually agreed that their town will be transferred to the new district.

Impasug-ong mayor Mario Okinlay voiced out their opposition to be included in the first district as they are comfortable with the second district. He said Malaybalay City has a more stable financial status so it would need less use of the PDAF funds.

But Board member Nemesio Beltran, Jr, said the Sangguniang Panlalawigan has passed a resolution in February 2011 incorporating the outcome of the consultation.

He said that the new district will be composed of Valencia City and the towns of Pangantucan and Kalilangan, which belong to the present 1st district.

The 1st district will be composed of the same towns in the north except Pangantucan and Kalilangan.

Only Valencia City will be taken out from the existing second district. This means, Impasug-ong will stay with the district.

The third district will not be reconfigured.

According to Beltran, based on the 2010 census of population each of the reconfigured three districts and the proposed new district will pass the population requirement for the creation of a new district, which is at least 250,000.

President Benigno Simeon Aquino III is yet to sign the 2010 census results.(Walter I. Balane)

BSU Chorale off to Prague expo

MALAYBALAY CITY – The Bukidnon State University Chorale has been included in the Philippine team bound to compete in the Prague Quadrennial (PQ11) on Performance Design and Space in June 2011, sources said.

Organizers of the PQ11 have included the Philippines as a participant in the renowned scenography exposition to be held in the Czech Republic’s capital.

Mercibelle Barroso-Abejuela, the group’s musical director, told Bukidnon News the BSU Chorale have been invited as one of the official representatives of the country to the Prague exposition. But she did not elaborate.

A member of the group said they will sing the Philippine National anthem in the competition and would perform cultural numbers depicting the island of Mindanao.

PQ11 is the largest event of its kind in the world presenting contemporary work in a variety of performance design disciplines and genres — costume, stage, light, sound design, and theater architecture for dance, opera, drama, site specific, multimedia performances, and performance art.

Established in 1967, the PQ11 has presented works from more than 70 countries, from five continents, through individual expositions in three competitive sections: countries and regions, theater architecture, and the student expo.

According to a report, the multi-faceted exhibit is accompanied by a wide spectrum of live events — workshops, lectures, performances, discussions and presentations — and provides an in-depth exploration of contemporary theater and performance design. (Walter I. Balane)

Indigent cash transfer in Malaybalay City

Beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program wait for their turn to be served outside Landbank Malaybalay Branch on March 26. The Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) is a program by the Department of Social Welfare and Development that aims to reduce poverty by providing qualified families conditional cash grants. Photo by Earl Bolivar

Bukidnon airport to be constructed in 2012 – Sen. Zubiri

MALAYBALAY CITY – Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri announced he is earmarking P100 million of his Priority Development Assistance Fund in 2012 to start construction of the P500 million Bukidnon airport.

He said the target is by 2012 the project’s airstrip will already be available for use by smaller planes. The initial fund will be used to fence the site and to construct the airstrip.

By 2014, he said, the airport could serve a regional clientele for planes plying routes like Cebu-Bukidnon and later Manila-Bukidnon.

The senator was the guest of honor at the ground breaking of the P25 million worth of expansion at the Bukidnon Provincial Medical Center (BPMC). They are constructing a two floor building two house additional private rooms at the BPMC in Casisang, Malaybalay City. The fund was taken from his PDAF this year.

Zubiri said he is looking for additional sources from Official Development Assistance such as those offered by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and other international aid agencies to fund the bigger portion of the project.

He added that an airport in the province is important as the Laguindingan International Airport is set to operate. The airport of international standard in Misamis Oriental is set to be completed this year. He said land travel from Bukidnon to the new airport will take much longer.

Zubiri said the site of the proposed airport is in Sinangguyan-Maray-maray, Don Carlos, Bukidnon. He said Malaybalay could not be a site for the airport because of weather problems. [Updated]

Last year, President Benigno Simeon Aquino has tasked the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) to conduct a feasibility study for a an airport “more central in Mindanao so that distances to and from various areas will make more economic sense.”

Valencia Mayor Leandro Jose Catarata said in January that Aquino mentioned this proposed airport in the heartland of Mindanao during the presentation of “Mindanao 2020” to the President on November 30 last year, as he announced his city’s offer of a site for the airport.

Earlier, the towns of Don Carlos and Maramag proposed sites for the airport which is being eyed to be constructed in Bukidnon, Mindanao’s heartland.

Catarata said  senators Juan Miguel Zubiri and Teofisto Guingona III, both from Bukidnon, had requested the President to locate it in the province. Aquino had ended his speech by saying that most Mindanao airports are located near the coast.

“That doesn’t make tremendous sense to me, and I will be directing the director general of NEDA to study the feasibility and the placement of an airport more central in Mindanao so that distances to and from various areas will make more economic sense.”

Aquino, however, noted that “undoubtedly” there will be a lot of tension as to where to actually locate this central airport.

Catarata has offered a site in Valencia City.

He said they are serious in their proposal and are looking at recommending a site in barangays Sugod or Bagonta-as. (Walter I. Balane)