Saturday, August 29, 2009

Philippine Women's Volleyball Team Showed their Skills in Butuan

#5 Mary Jean Balse

#16 Michelle Pauline Datuin, #11 Rhea Saet, #14 Cindy Velasquez, #15 Suzanne Roces-crowds favorite, #4 Marietta Carolina

#3 Danielle Michico Castaneda the fairest of them all, also crowd's favorite

RP Women's Volleyball Team with Head Coach Thelma Rojas getting some pointers, while Assistant Coach Normal Miguel looks on

Visayas-Mindanao Gay Selection team planning their strategy

It was truly a great night of volleyball as people watched and cheered a great game between Philippine Women’s National Volleyball Team and Visayas-Mindanao Gay Selection sponsored by Butuan City Volleyball Association at FSUU Gym on August 27, 2009.

The game lasted a gruelling almost three hours close fight tying several times rendering a deciding set race to 15 score.

RP Women’s National Volleyball Team won the game scoring 3-2 in 5 sets with a tight score of 15-13 against their opponent during the deciding set.

A day before the exhibition game in Butuan, both teams had a match in San Agustin, Surigao del Sur garnering a score of 3-1 favouring the RP Women’s National Volleyball Team.

RP Women’s National Volleyball team’s Head Coach is Thelma Barina-Rojas the former SEA Games best spiker and Most Valuable Player and 1993 Southeast Asian Games gold medalist in Singapore. The Assistant Coach of the team is Norman Miguel from UST, Las Piñas.

“We are thankful that an invitation game was extended to us to play in San Agustin, Surigao del Sur and Butuan, we need this for our practice as part of the girls rigorous training in our preparation for the 25th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games slated on December 2009 in Vientiane, Laos,” said Head Coach Thelma Barina-Rojas.

The national team who played in Butuan and San Agustin is composed of Mary Jean Balse, Danielle Michiko Castañeda, Dahlia Cruz, Rubie de Leon, Rhea Dimaculangan Saet, Suzanne Roces, Cindy Velasquez, Patricia Torres (Team Captain), Ivy Elaine Remulla, Michelle Pauline Datuin, and Marietta Carolino.

The last time Philippines participated in indoor volleyball was in 2005 Manila Games. It was only in 2009 that a women volleyball team was reorganized after 4 years of being dormant due to the retirement of veteran players.

Head Coach Rojas said, Thailand is still the strength to reckon with because they have years of preparation and have competed in some of the world’s prestigious tournaments.

Rojas is optimistic the team can grab a medal for the Philippines in the SEA Games.

Butuan City Volleyball Association President Arnold Razon meanwhile urged the youth of today’s generation to join their team and be active in volleyball.

Butuan has yet to organize a strong team to be able to compete in Mindanao wide competition after creating a new set of athletes solely for Butuan instead of continuing to be members of Northern Mindanao Volleyball Team, to represent Caraga Region.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Butuan Getting Ready to Build Balanghai and in Welcoming Diwata ng Lahi

The Kaya Pinoy sails the Diwata ng Lahi led by Art Valdez with Team Everest

Balanghai also being referred to as the Butuan Boat. As early as the 10th century, according to the chinese song shi (history), people from Butuan have already established trading relations with the kingdom of Champa which is now South Vietnam.

By the 11th century, Butuan was the center of Trade and commerce in the Philippines. The best evidence to prove this fact is the discovery of 9 balanghays (The Butuan Boat) and other archaeological finds in the vicinities of Butuan City, particularly in Ambangan, Libertad near the old EL RJO de BUTUAN and MASAO River.

Balanghai images published by the Kaya Pinoy describes the method and technique of construction

The Butuan City Tourism Council is getting ready for the coming of Diwata ng Lahi sometime in November of this year and already created different committees to focus on several activities.

“First activity is the rehabilitation of Balanghai Shrine in Ambangan, Libertad by the Butuan Global Forum with an estimated funding of 500 thousand pesos,” said SP Tourism Committee Chairman Ramon Carampatana.

The Balanghai Shrine is the site of the 15 meter wooden balanghai boat excavated in the 1970’s, a proof that Philippines have a rich cultural past, and a tradition that is worth preserving.

The city government on the other hand will soon start a complete repair of the now dilapidated building of Butuan Regional Museum and appropriated 2 million peso budget.

Councillor Carampatana estimated 1.5 to 2 million funding cost in building the Balanghai. It is hoped that the City Tourism Council with the Butuan Historical Foundation and Butuan Global Forum can raise obtainable fund for the whole activity for the coming of Diwata ng Lahi that includes the holding of a cultural presentation for the welcome honours on the day of its arrival, medical mission, and the building of Balanghai.

It was earlier informed by Diwata ng Lahi Team Captain Art Valdez that the Balanghai will lead the voyage upon departure from Butuan to start another leg in going to Gingoog, Camiguin, Cagayan de Oro and other parts of the country.

The Diwata ng Lahi tentatively will arrive in Butuan on November 16 if the weather continues to be in favourable condition.

However, Mr. Greg Hontiveros of the Butuan Historical Foundation is informing the public that there would be a delay in the procurement of the materials in building the Balanghai due to the required permits imposed by the DENR as they will be using Dungon Trees sourced out outside Butuan.

“There will be ample time because the construction of Balanghai Boat will only take a month but what we are more concerned of is the curing period of the dungon. That will take us a little more time but we’re confident we can finish it by the time Diwata ng Lahi arrives Butuan,” said Hontiveros.

The first Balanghai built in Manila now named Diwata ng Lahi officially sails on September 1 for its Phase I navigation within Philippine seas until February 26, 2010having a grand total distance of 2,136 nautical miles or almost 4 kilometers.

It is expected to arrive in Butuan on Novembre 16 from San Bernardo, Limasawa for its 5th leg after a short stop-over in Cabadbaran, Agusan del Norte on November 14, 2009.

Balanghai will be joining Diwata ng Lahi to start with the 6th leg from Butuan to Ozamis City and every port and stop-over, the “Kaya ng Pinoy” team manning the Balanghai expedition will hold environmental awareness campaigns, outreach programs and teach the youth about the country’s rich cultural tradition.

The “Kaya ng Pinoy” team led by the former Transportation and Communication Undersecretary Arturo Valdez hopes that with this undertaking, they can effectively showcase the character, culture, ingenuity and survival skills of the Filipino.

Greg Hontiveros of the Butuan Historical Foundation meanwhile urged the public to support the undertaking in building of the Balanghai in Butuan.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Butuan City Mayor Retiring from Politics

It was official Mayor Democrito D. Plaza II will not be running in 2010 and bids goodbye to politics.

A swift call to gather Lakas-Kampi-CMD leaders early this week was made in time for Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro and Political Adviser Gabriel Claudio’s visit here in the city.

When Mayor Democrito “Boy Daku” Plaza proclaimed his wife Daisy to be the Lakas-Kampi-CMD Mayoralty candidate for Butuan in May 2010 elections, it didn’t come as a surprise from everyone present in the FSUU gym during the assembly.

For health reasons, Mayor Plaza has to end his political career and pass on the political mandate to Daisy B. Plaza who once served as the Mayor for 1 term in 2004 naming her as the First Woman Mayor of Butuan.

Boy Daku served Butuan from 1992 until 2000 and in 2001 until 2003. He was re-elected in 2007 elections. Had it not been for his failing health, Boy Daku will continue to field his candidacy in May 2010.

In his first appearance to public for this year in a scheduled Mayor’s Forum in March after several months of confinement at St. Luke’s Hospital in Manila, Mayor Democrito D. Plaza II announced he may have kidney ailment, aneurism and underwent angioplasty, but he remains strong and capable for running in 2010 elections.

However, several days and months the Mayor continue to battle against his illness and was even confined again for a longer period of time in a hospital in Davao City.

It was only during the Lakas Leaders Assembly on August 19 that an announcement was formally made, of him not running for re-election and endorsed the candidacy of his wife, Ma. Theresa “Daisy” Plaza.

Daisy Plaza who is the current Chairman of the City Tourism Council in a press conference said that the proclamation was not yet official as the Lakas-Kampi-CMD party has yet to convene to approve her candidacy. (photo provided by Franklin Caliguid)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

BCWD Privatization: Creating Equity to Butuanons Access to Cheaper Water Rates, Better Service

The struggle over water is certainly not a new phenomenon. A series of discussions, meetings, SP Committee hearings have been conducted by different agencies in the government including NGO’s in an effort to resolve the Taguibo Watershed Issue that allegedly affects the quality of water supplied by Butuan City Water District (BCWD.

However, in the morning of August 15, a press conference was held by People’s Movement for Socio Economic Development (PMSed) with Head Convenor Roberto Rosales who presented a whole new idea that will accordingly reduce payments of water bills benefiting BCWD consumers and could result to better management of the utility.

In a letter dated July 3, 2009 to Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA) Chairman of the Board, Prospero Pichay Jr. the movement proposed for BCWD’s privatization allowing consumers to become stakeholders.

Under the PMSed proposed privatization plan, it was being offered to pay off the existing 1 billion peso loan obligations of BCWD to LWUA.

By allowing consumers to be stakeholders, it was also being proposed to convert their deposits into equity contribution and be accorded 35-45% of the total equity contribution giving the people of Butuan a chance to be members of the board, while the 55% will be offered to interested local businessmen.

With the contention that BCWD is to go up against privatization, instead of proposing a total overhaul of the top management level, PMSed Head Convenor Roberto Rosales said, “there will be an option of retaining them from their position as they are more knowledgeable of the operation.”

The Taguibo Watershed controversy have always posed a major challenge to the people of Butuan, but with the privatization plan it is now the local media industry that was being challenged by Mr. Rosales for the realization of said proposal.

The media, as catalyst for change will lead Butuanons in convincing the majority to support and lobby for BCWD’s conversion into a public corporation.

Rosales revealed, PMSed’s letter to LWUA Board Chairman Prospero Pichay seeking his support for the privatization proposal has something to do with BCWD’s 1 billion total loan to LWUA.

During the said press conference, part also of the revelation is LWUA’s alleged disclosure of more than 140 million loans for BCWD’s mechanical filtration plant which includes the installation of 7 micro filter projects contrary to what has been divulged to the public which is only 83 million.

Said micro filter supposed to be BCWD’s solution of providing continuous water supply despite turbidity in its water source in Taguibo River.
Another revelation according to Mr. Rosales is the fact that BCWD is not in the position to get hold of a new loan outside LWUA.

“Acquiring another multi-million loan to purchase from Israel the 7 micro filters now installed by BCWD according to LWUA Board Chairman Prospero Pichay can put them in jail,” said Mr. Rosales.

As the technical advisory service and financial provider of water districts n the Philippines, LWUA’s policy states that a waiver has to be executed first to grant authority to water districts to obtain loans from other lending institutions if the funding requirement is not available from LWUA or the project being endorsed for funding was not approved.

In BCWD’s case, it needs such waiver after LWUA disapproved the granting of additional funding requirement of the micro filter project in which it did not obtain.

The challenge of PMSed to the local media to build an alliance in an effort to get the public’s support to convince LWUA Board Chairman Pichay to let water consumers become part owners of BCWD and in the hope to be replicated in other areas in the country gained favourable response.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Diwata ng Lahi to Sail on September 09

photo by Anton Diaz

Balanghai built in Manila now named Diwata ng Lahi is set to officially sail on September 1, 2009 and expected to arrive in Butuan on November 16 after a short stop-over in Cabadbaran, Agusan del Norte on November 14.

The City Tourism Council of the city government of Butuan headed by Daisy B. Plaza is now working with the Butuan Historical & Cultural Foundation, in partnership with the Butuan Global Forum, Inc. in re-creating the second Balanghai boat that will join "DIWATA NG LAHI" in sailing from Butuan to northeastern and southern Mindanao, then onwards to Southeast Asia including China.

PHASE I – PHILIPPINE WATERS: September 1, 2009 to February 26, 2010
Grand Total Distance – 2,136 Nautical Miles(3,960 Kilometers)
1ST. LEG – MANILA to CALAPAN -7 WAY – PORTS in 10 days






PORT NO. WAY- PORTS Dates Inports
32 JAGNA, BOHOL I. Nov 8






The sailing schedule are subject to changes due to weather conditions.

Phase II – Southeast Asia – March to July 2010

Malaysia (Sabah), Brunei, Indonesia (Kalimantan), Singapore, Malaysia (Peninsula), Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, China, and Taiwan

Friday, August 14, 2009

2010 deadline to Rout the NPA Unattainable as the Struggle Continues



“NPA stronghold in Caraga is gaining strength despite the surrender of few as new generations are on the verge of entering a new stage of revolutionary struggle,” this was revealed by Ka Lenin who was among the 3 additional NPA members who surrendered to authorities.

Police Regional Director Lino Calingasan admits the 2010 deadline for the AFP in active support of the PNP to solve insurgency problems is unattainable, but it will reduce the number of NPA rebels and assured the people that they are doing the best they can to comply the guidelines and achieve the goals that has been set by the President.

On the part of the AFP, 26IB Commanding Officer Lt. Col. Andres Centino said that the campaign against insurgency in the region is encouraging with the series of NPA members who returning back to the folds of the law as a result of the sincerity of the government in attaining a lasting peace.

“Communist rebels will no longer be treated as a national security threat by 2010 and would be reduced into a matter of police concerns,” added Lt. Col. Centino.
Yesterday, 2 NPA leaders and 3 members who surrendered on August 6 in Talacogon, Agusan del Sur were presented to Police Chief Supt. Lino Calingasan in a press conference at Police Regional Office 13 conference room with the presence of Operations and FESAGS Chief PSS Nestor Fajura, Chief of Directorial Staff PSS Samuel Yordan, Agusan del Sur Police Provincial Director Antonio Paguirigan and Lt. Col. Centino of the 26IB, 4th Infantry Division.

Ka Lenin confessed about how they, as Lumads were being exploited by the NPA’s taking advantage of their innocence and vulnerability to certain issues confronted by people living in poverty.

He blatantly said that they were forced to join the NPA due to the lack of government support in their hope to have a better life.

However, comrades and families were beginning to get sick and medical attention was not given although they were being promised by NPA leaders.

The surrender of Ka Lenin, Ka Alfon, Alyas Joy, Alyas Braggo and Alyas Ayaba disclose the state of insufficiency in motivation to keep on fighting for the armed struggle movement. They broke free from the NPA and decided to live a normal life and now undergoing social integration program to prepare them to join the community.

To date, the Office of the Presidential Adviser for Peace Process was able to release close to 3M for the Social Integration Program of Caraga’s rebel returnees, now called Kauban sa Reporma.

PNP on Right Track on its Campaign Against Loose Firearms


Police Regional Director Lino Calingasan with Agusan del Sur Provincial Director Antonio Paguirigan inspected the high powered firearms


loose fa

In a joint operation by Agusan del Sur Provincial Police Office and 26IB of the 4th Infantry Division, Philippine Army serving a warrant of arrest should have been the main purpose in going to Sitio Gacub, Barangay La Purisima, Prosperidad, Agusan del Sur but it turned out negative.

The team led by Agusan del Sur Provincial Director Police Senior Supt. Antonio Paguirigan and Lt. Col. Andres Centino maximize their time by conducting information campaign on the implementation of the National Firearms Control Program and against loose firearms that yielded positive results.

A local leader identified as Datu Simon informs the team of 3 residents who refused to be identified for fear they might be subjected to investigation, wishes to turn-over some firearms.

Turned-over to PSS Paguirigan and Lt. Col. Centino were 1 unit Elisco M16 rifle with four long magazines, 79 ammunitions and 3 rifle grenades, 1 unit M1 garand rifle with 7 clips loaded with 58 rounds of ammunitions and 1 unit US carbine rifle who are all in good condition but with defaced serial numbers.

Agusan del Sur PPO are now planning to install firearm deposit boxes in municipal halls to intensify the campaign against loose firearms and encourage people’s support to surrender all undocumented firearms with no questions asked.

“We in the PNP and AFP is bent on controlling firearms in order to contain criminality and therefore appeal to the community to support this laudable program in everybody’s effort to obtain a lasting peace in our country,” said Police Provincial Director PSS Paguirigan.

Datu Simon likewise promised to bear with the program along with his neighbourhood in convincing other firearm holders within their community to turn them over to authorities or avail of the amnesty to have these licensed.

The firearms were presented yesterday to Police Regional Director Lino Calingasan and urged the public to be with them in this campaign.

According to PRO 13 Operations Chief Police Senior Supt. Nestor Fajura an estimated total of 381 loose firearms is in the possession with the NPA, 190 from criminal groups which have been in close monitoring by the PNP and AFP at check points, but the biggest volume that were accounted are owned by civilians at more than 40,000.

PSS Fajura added, with the implementation of the Final Firearms Amnesty control Program the PNP is conducting firearm accounting in preparation for the massive confiscation of unrenewed licensed firearms beginning November 1, 2009.

Firearms issued to PNP were 100% all accounted for, while 30% have already been accounted from the 3,899 unrenewed licensed firearms.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

New Caraga Police Director Installed

welcome honors

trooping the line

milla & barias

PDDG Geary Barias shakes hands with outgoing PRO 13 RD Jaime Milla




The new Police Regional Office 13 Regional Director, Police Chief Supt. Lino Calingasan

Deputy Chief for Administration, Police Deputy Director General Geary Barias personally graced on August 7 the turn-over of command ceremony at Camp Rafael Rodriguez for the new Police Regional Director of Police Regional Office 13 (PRO 13).

The newly installed Police Chief Supt. Lino Calingasan assumed office replacing Police Chief Supt. Jaime Milla, who was designated as Director of the Directorate for Integrated Police Operations-Eastern Mindanao with jurisdictions over Regions 10, 11 and Caraga.

PCS Milla received awards and tokens from groups in grateful acknowledgement for a commendable service rendered in the region.

“I hope the new leadership will have a continuity of improving the service to the public, maintaining the peace and order in Caraga and providing logistics to police,” said outgoing PCS Milla in his speech before signing the relinquishment order.

Milla during his 22 months of service in PRO 13 as Regional Director was able to turn over 5 mobile patrol cars, almost 40 single motorcycles for motorcycle cops, standardized 11 police stations, established the 1st Regional Women & Protection Office inside Camp Rafael Rodriguez, among ithers, and boasted changes in recruitment of policemen based on qualifications and doing away with red tapes.

New Police RD Calingasan in its inaugural speech promised to equal Milla’s prowess in leading policemen in Caraga and vowed to instil discipline, uphold human rights, and a better service.

He sought the support of the LGU, the army and the PNP personnel giving emphasis on working as a team to accomplish the peace keeping efforts and in achieving the transformational goals of the PNP.

Newly installed PRO 13 Chief vowed to likewise give priority efforts of recovering loose firearms as directed by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

Specifically, PCS Calingasan appealed to the local officials to allow PNP members to work hand in hand towards the development of the region, for the people to allow the PNP to serve and protect, for the media to help portray the true image of the PNP and correct mistakes by providing him true information, and to the religious sector to help, guide and pray for the policemen that they may be guided accordingly in performing their duty.

Police Regional Director Lino Calingasan served in Caraga during the 80’s in different capacities, became Provincial Director in Agusan del Sur, re-assigned at PRO 13 in May 1998 until February 2001 as Chief of the Planning Divison, then Chief of the Intelligence division before he was assigned in NCR as Deputy Regional Director for Administration (DRDA) and now in PRO 13 as Regional Director.

Minyoay Ngani Butuan, Legitimizing Couples Living More than 5 years





in love



The city government of Butuan through the Local Civil Registry in celebration of the 59th Adlaw Hong Butuan held a mass civil wedding ceremony dubbed as “Minyoay Ngani Butuan” at Almont Inland Resort.

Mayor Democrito D. Plaza II solemnized the wedding ceremony to 70 couples living together for more than 5 years but never received the sacrament of matrimony due to financial reasons.

The project has been running for 13 years now and benefitted more or less 3,000 couples in 86 barangays.

City Civil Registry Chief Judith Alvizo was hands on during the entire ceremony making sure everything will be in perfect setting.

The city government has been holding the mass wedding during the Mayor’s barangay visitation, but it was during the Adlaw Hong Butuan celebration that the City Civil Registry arranged a mass wedding in a special venue, gathering all the couples from different barangays who are ‘mansibados’ to form part in one of the highlights of the celebration.

The “Minyoay Ngani Butuan” purposely aims to solemnize marriage among couples in the city who cannot spend for a wedding ceremony and reception.

After the ceremony, the newlyweds shared a cake and red wine in a single glass for them to experience the traditional wedding ceremony.

To celebrate the occasion, Congressman Jose Aquino II represented by his wife Salome gifted every passionately kissing couple with cash money while Mayor Plaza and wife Daisy gave them a mug.

Butuan Celebrates 59th Adlaw Hong Butuan



Champion BCSAT Pep Squad


The ANHS Eagle Squad


Libertad National High School Pep Squad


Champion, 1st Hip Hop Dance Competition


1st Prize Winner Grand Float Competition: DILG family


DOH entry specal award for Best Thematic on its campaign against A(H1N1)


Congressman Jose Aquino II looks on as City Fire Marshall Rey Antonio Restauro received the keys from DILG Secretary Ronalpo Puno and Councilor Randolph Plaza, witnessed by City Tourism Council Chair Daisy Plaza





Officialdom of Butuan City led in today’s activities in celebration of the 59th Adlaw Hong Butuan, a yearly event that celebrates Butuan’s Charter Day.

The celebration started with an early morning Thanksgiving Mass at St. Joseph Cathedral, followed with a floral offering of the tomb of Congressman Marcos Calo at Zamora cemetery and a motorcade from J. Rosales Avenue going to the city sports Complex where a program was held.

Three pep squads with their own official drummers’ chants their most popular cheer in Butuanon dialect during the cheerdance competition.

Declared champion for two consecutive years is the Butuan City Schools of Arts & Trade (BCSAT) receiving a cash price of 15,000 pesos, while the Agusan National High School (ANHS) and Libertad National High School got the 2nd and 3rd prize respectively.

Entry 9 from the DILG Family comprising the Bureau of Fire, Bureau of Jail and Management and the PNP won 1st prize with a 50,000 cash prize for the Grand Float Competition, followed by the City Schools Division of the Department of Education who was awarded with a 30,000 cash prize, while Butuan City Water District won 3rd place.

The distribution of 36 multicabs, 1 ambulance, 1 patrol car and 3 fire trucks by Congressman Jose Aquino II became the best part of the activity well applauded by the crowd.

The turn over of keys to City Fire Marshall Rey Restauro, Butuan Medical Center Chief Dr. Joyce Hidalgo, and City Police Director Joseph Plaza was witnessed by DILG Secretary Ronaldo Puno with the presence of City Tourism Council Chairperson Daisy B. Plaza and members of the Sangguniang Panglunsod.

Congressman Aquino in his speech reiterated his commitment to the DILG family and said, “The new patrol vehicle will boost the police visibility and response operation Butuan City, while the new fire truck is a big help to the BFP’s operation during fire incidents.”

The fire trucks being utilized in the City’s Bureau of Fire was last acquired in 1992.