DHSUD reminds 20 LGUs in E. Visayas to draft land use plan

TACLOBAN CITY: The Department of Human Settlement and Urban Development (DHSUD) reiterated its call for the 20 local government units (LGUs) in Eastern Visayas to draft their Comprehensive Land Use Plan (CLUP) to regulate the allocation of land resources.

The majority of these LGUs without CLUP are in Samar province, while some are in the provinces of Eastern Samar, Northern Samar, Southern Leyte and Leyte, said Anna Marie Camille Bantaculo, chief of the DHSUD regional environment, land use and urban planning and development division.

These LGUs are San Sebastian, Tagapul-an, Matuguinao, San Jose de Buan, Santo NiƱo, Pinabacdao, Pagsanghan, Talalora, Zumarraga and Almagro.

Others on the list are San Ricardo and San Francisco in Southern Leyte; Mayorga in Leyte; General Macarthur, Giporlos and Jipapad in Eastern Samar; and Mapanas, Silvino Lobos, Capul and San Antonio in Northern Samar.

The DSHUD deployed staff in Samar province to determine what assistance they could provide in formulating their CLUPs.

he department provides technical assistance to local governments such as training, mentoring and coaching activities to capacitate officials on data gathering, writing and analysis for CLUP formulation.

‘CLUP is not an ordinary document that can be finished or completed in one month. Prior to formulating it, you need to conduct hazard assessment, risk assessment and sectoral studies like health services, commercial areas, agricultural areas, water and forest use,’ Bantaculo said.

‘Since this is a 10-year development plan, we also assist LGUs in their development framework, land use plan, and then its translation to a zoning ordinance,’ she added.

A CLUP refers to the document formulated by the local government in consultation with its stakeholders defining or providing guidelines on the allocation, utilization, development, and management of all lands within a given territory or jurisdiction, including municipal waters.

The plan includes spatial maps and comprehensive data that will serve as a basis for L
GUs when preparing sectoral and development plans.

The Local Government Code of 1991 mandates its preparation.

Citing studies, DHSUD said that among the common reasons why many LGUs have no CLUPs are budget constraints, absence of a geographic information system specialist in their area, multi-tasking or overload of tasks in the municipal planning and development office, and insufficient qualified staff.

Of the 143 LGUs in Eastern Visayas, 123 have CLUPs and 53 areas have updated plans. Plans formulated 10 years ago are considered outdated.

Source: Philippines News Agency

Cebu guv reiterates return of church’s wooden panel

CEBU CITY: Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia on Tuesday asked the National Museum of the Philippines (NMP) for the return of the four 19th-century wooden panels belonging to the Patrocinio de Maria Parish Church in Boljoon, in southern Cebu.

In a letter addressed to NMP Director General Jeremy Barns dated Feb. 26, 2024, a copy of which was posted on the provincial government’s official Facebook page on Tuesday, the governor urged the NMP ‘to initiate prompt and right return of these panels,’ referring to the four intricately carved wooden panels of a pulpit.

Garcia said the panels that were removed from the church in the 1980s and were recently donated to the NMP hold immense cultural and religious significance to the community.

The church in Boljoon is a duly declared National Historical Landmark.

‘These panels are not simply works of art; they are irreplaceable symbols of faith, heritage, and history deeply woven into the fabric of our community. Their presence within the church pulpit is crucial to mainta
ining the church’s religious significance and cultural integrity,’ she said.

The municipality of Boljoon has passed a resolution, petitioning for the return of the religious artifacts, and the Provincial Board passed a similar resolution last Feb. 19.

Last week, Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma issued a statement calling for the return of the panels to the church in Boljoon.

Source: Philippines News Agency

PBBM seeks LGUs’ help to attain dev’t goals, ‘Bagong Pilipinas’ vision

MANILA: President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. on Tuesday urged the local executives to help his administration in achieving the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the vision of a ‘Bagong Pilipinas’ (New Philippines).

Marcos made the call during the League of Municipalities of the Philippines’ (LMP) general assembly at the Manila Marriott Hotel in Pasay City, as he acknowledged the local governments’ vital role in realizing the SDGs.

He said local government units understand the situation in their respective localities ‘better than anybody else.’

‘Municipalities are not the last outposts of government. Rather, they form the frontlines of government service. You are the first responders to all our people, especially those in need. Municipalities are not mere implementors of national progress because you too can initiate your own programs,’ Marcos said.

‘Municipalities should not be treated as passive receivers of projects from the national government. You must actively incubate your own initiatives,
your own projects because programs developed by municipalities from below, by leaders who know the conditions on the ground, are better than those policies that are dictated from above,’ he added.

Marcos said the SDGs can only be achieved through unified action, stressing that a ‘better’ and ‘new’ Philippines is achievable with the help of the local government units (LGUs).

Amid the efforts to implement the global goals at the local level, Marcos said the ‘best thing’ to do is ‘to touch base with local chief executives.’

‘Each LGU has its own strength and limitations we must all taken into account. Each LGU must act but always in accordance with its capabilities and the needs of its people. Each LGU has a unique vantage point in localizing the SDGs,’ he said. ‘And this is how we should view our 17 Sustainable Development Goals. It is our commitment to solving the problems of today, while ensuring a better tomorrow.’

Marcos said that while the international and national agencies have the ‘bigger picture’ f
or the attainment of global goals, local officials have the ‘clearer lens to craft and implement programs and projects that are aligned with the SDGs to improve the quality of life of [their] constituents.’

He also assured LGUs of the national government’s support, considering that they are ‘agents of positive change towards sustainable development.’

Marcos made the commitment, as he recognized that the 17 SDGs will fuel growth in the country and uplift the lives of the Filipino people.

‘The national government cannot act alone. It must harness the power of LGUs, as well as civil society organizations, the private sector, and communities, towards achieving the SDGs within the committed timeline,’ Marcos said.

‘Only by working together, one municipality at a time, can we build a better Philippines and bring the Bagong Pilipinas into fruition. And this is where the localization of the SDGs matters. The best practice is to learn from each other while adapting to context,’ he added.

About 1,058 municipal may
ors attended the general assembly which carried the theme, ‘SDGs Localization: Pathway to Sustainable Municipal Development.’

The event features collaborative sessions that engage national government agencies, non-governmental organizations and municipal mayors to advance the SDGs locally.

The goals are aligned with the Philippine Development Plan 2023-2028, reinforcing Marcos’ eight-point socioeconomic agenda.

Source: Philippines News Agency

Cebu guv seeks end to Korea deployment moratorium

CEBU CITY: Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia on Tuesday vowed to seek early resolution to the moratorium on sending seasonal workers to South Korea.

The Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) has suspended the Seasonal Worker Program, a tie-up with South Korea which allows the hiring of Filipinos to fill labor shortages in the agricultural and fishery sectors during peak seasons, because of complaints about unsafe labor conditions, underpayment, overwork, and two cases of death.

Garcia said she will discuss the concern with the regional directors of the Department of Foreign Affairs, Department of the Interior and Local Government, and Bureau of Immigration to expedite the lifting of the moratorium and set guidelines to resume deployment.

San Francisco Mayor Alfredo Arquillano Jr., Bantayan Mayor Arthur Despi, and Alegria Vice Mayor Verna Magallon sought Garcia’s assistance to help their constituents who have already spent for their documents.

On Monday, Garcia met with DMW-Central Visayas director lawyer Karl
Arriola at the capitol to discuss the issue.

‘We will come up with a position paper here,’ Garcia said.

Source: Philippines News Agency

Degamo widow pleased over continuous gov’t action on murder raps

MANILA: Mayor Janice Degamo of Pamplona town in Negros Oriental on Tuesday thanked the Department of Justice (DOJ) for its commitment to help solve the assassination case of her husband Governor Roel Degamo.

The mayor met with DOJ officials in Manila ahead of the scheduled pre-trial of the murder charges.

Degamo said the cancellation of the passport of the government’s primary suspect, fugitive former Negros Oriental 3rd Disrict Rep. Arnolfo Teves Jr., is proof of the government’s commitment to prosecute those responsible for the attack.

‘We are grateful that the DOJ officials took time to explain to us the status of the case and which belied the misinformation being spread by certain parties,’ Degamo told the media after a case conference led by Deputy Chief State Prosecutor Richard Anthony Fadullon.

Degamo said among the fake news is that the government is no longer interested in pursuing the cases against Teves and the other co-accused.

In September last year, a Manila court issued a warrant of arrest
against Teves and three others for the killing of the governor and nine others on March 4, 2023 inside their residential compound.

Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 51 Judge Merianthe Pacita Zuraek initially set the arraignment on Oct. 4, 2023, following the filing of murder, frustrated murder and attempted murder cases on Aug. 18.

Included in the charge sheet are Angelo Palagtiw; a certain Jie Ann/Gie Ann, allegedly the sister of Palagtiw; and helicopter pilot Capt. Lloyd Garcia II, who reportedly transported the attackers.

A fifth suspect who was included in the charges, Nigel Electona, was the first to be detained.

Eleven other suspects already indicted in July are Winrich Isturis, Joric Labrador, Benjie Rodriguez, Eulogio and John Louie Gonyong, Joven Javier, Dahniel Lora, Romel Pattaguan, Jhudiel Rivero, Rogelio Antipolo Jr., and Marvin Miranda.

Source: Philippines News Agency

PDEA-Ilocos tightens coastal watch to curb drugs smuggling

DAGUPAN: The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) in Ilocos will strengthen border control in seaports and coastal areas, focus on village drug-clearing operations, and partner with other agencies to increase the drug-cleared villages in the region.

PDEA-Ilocos regional director Joel Plaza, in a virtual forum hosted by the Philippine Information Agency-Ilocos Region on Tuesday, said they plan to establish this year the Seaport Inter-Agency Drug Interdiction Task Group to strengthen security and monitor smuggling in the coastal areas.

“We have vast coastline, thus we are prone to drug smuggling. But even before the establishment of the task group, we have already started with the villages in the municipalities along shorelines. We are asking their help to detect smuggling activities,” he said.

Local government staff of Santa, Ilocos Sur; San Juan, La Union; Burgos, Ilocos Norte; and Tubao, La Union have been trained for coast watch activities and PDEA eyes to give more trainings.

“We want to form a ta
sk group to have first responders on illegal drugs smuggling so we can follow through, back track, and investigate. We really need the help of everyone,” he said.

Plaza said the Comprehensive Provincial Anti-Drug Plan of the provinces in the region focuses on clearing the remaining 337 drug-affected villages, thus, the importance to activate the Barangay Anti-Drug Abuse Council.

“They would be able to identify the drug personalities in their communities and give proper intervention with their resources,” he said.

Plaza also underscored the need to tie up with other government agencies to provide aid such as livelihood programs, similar to what was provided to residents from mountainous areas who were previously involved in marijuana farms; and the construction of roads and provision of support to legitimate farming activities.

He said they are promoting a drug-free workplace in government agencies, noting that seminars have been given to around 208 offices in the region.

In 2023, PDEA-Ilocos conducted 70
3 anti-illegal drug operations, confiscated over PHP3.34 billion worth of illegal drugs, and arrested over 800 drug suspects.

Source: Philippines News Agency