Saturday, April 13, 2024

Government offices vulnerable to cyberattacks – NorMin cyber cop chief

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (29 January 2024) – The chief of the Northern Mindanao Police Regional Anti-Cybersecurity Unit (RACU-10) warned on Monday that even personnel and government offices are vulnerable to cyberattacks

RACU-10 chief Col. Lemuel Gonda said the caution “think before you click” must be remembered when using gadgets or devices that are connected to the internet.

“We have victims of (online) financial fraud who are members of the banking (and) financial institutions. They are frequently reminded about cybersecurity, how much more ordinary people and those in government offices?” he said in a statement.

Gonda warned that “black hat” hackers, who use ransomware and malware to penetrate a system, can obtain sensitive information of online users, including banking and financial transactions.

One of the common methods used by hackers is “social engineering,” which involves tricking unsuspecting victims into providing sensitive information.

Other than dubious internet links, Gonda warns of free Wi-Fi and charging stations in the public, as these are also vulnerable to cyberattacks.

“The hackers will not stop. Even all your details, name, address, friends, how you call them, they will imitate that,” he said. (Nef Luczon/PNA)

DSWD-10 organizes community volunteers congress in Normin

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) recently held a Regional Community Volunteers’ Congress and Bayani Ka! Awards to gather Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (KALAHI-CIDSS) stakeholders and recognize exemplary volunteers, groups, and partners

The Volunteers’ Congress is the biggest gathering of KALAHI-CIDSS stakeholders in the implementation of Community-Driven Development (CDD) in Region 10.

Mary Nathalie D. Soldevilla, Social Marketing Officer III, KALAHI-CIDSS, shared that the program has utilized community-driven development, where the main actors of development are the community volunteers in the localities.

“Very important ang Community-Driven Development sa DSWD, kay giila nato nga atong mga katawhan adunay gahum sa kalambuan, naa sila’y tingog, ang ilang tahas sa kalambuan dako kaayo gyud. At the same time, partnerships sa atong local government units [The Community Driven Development of DSWD is very important because we acknowledge that the people to have the power to contribute to development, they have a voice, and their task for development is huge. At the same time, partnerships with local government units],” she said.

The Bayani Ka! Awards, the highest honor the program bestows on CDD champions, are a component of the activity that includes recognizing exceptional volunteers, groups, and partners.

Aljie M. Mercader, Kadingilan, Bukidnon, Outstanding Volunteer, shared she did not expect to receive such an award.

“Dako kaayo akong pasalamat sa KALAHI-CIDSS, nga tungod sa KALAHI-CIDSS na-educate ko, na-nurture akong knowledge. Na haw-as mi sa kalisod. Dili lang ako kun dili among komunidad [I am super grateful to KALAHI-CIDSS, that because of KALAHI-CIDSS I am educated and my knowledge is nurtured. We were lifted from poverty. Not only me but our community],” she said.

Meanwhile, the Bayani Ka! Awards also recognized Butadon Solar Dryer with Warehouse and Ricemill Association (BUSODWARA) in Kapatagan, Lanao del Norte, as Outstanding Community Organization and Community Services.

The group said that they started with nothing, and in fact, they loaned their capital for operations. It was only after three years that they gained higher income.

“Ang amo lang gibuhat is to serve the community [What we did is to serve the community],” he said. (JMOR/PIA-10)

NorMin inflation eases to 6.4% in April

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – The inflation in Northern Mindanao eased for three consecutive months due to slower increases in prices of food, transport, and utilities

In a press conference, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA)-10 reported that the region’s inflation slowed down to 6.4 percent (%) in April from 7.4% in March, this year.

PSA-10 attributed the slowdown to the deceleration of Food and Non-Alcoholic Beverages from 10.9% in March to 9.6% in April, sharing 54% of the downtrend.

PSA-X Chief Statistical Specialist Sarah Balagbis said the second driver to the deceleration of the overall inflation was Transport, from 3.5% to 0.6%.

Other contributor was Housing, Water, Electricity, Gas, and Other Fuels which slowdown from 5.0% to 4.0%.

Transport shared 24.2% of the deceleration while Housing, Water, Electricity, Gas, and Other Fuels shared 19.4%.

Balagbis said the top contributor to the deceleration of inflation in Food and Non-Alcoholic Beverages were fish and other seafood which decelerated to 10.2% from 14.2% in March; vegetables, tubers, plantains, cooking bananas, and pulses, from 22.6% to 17.5%; and meat and other parts of slaughtered land animals from 13.3% to 11.3%.

Rice inflation also decreased from 3.7% to 3.6% while corn inflation slowed down to 9.3%.

Contributing to the deceleration in transport were gasoline with -11.7% from -6.2% inflation in March, as well as, diesel with -17.0% from -5.7% inflation.

On the other hand, the decrease in the inflation of housing, water, electricity, gas, and other fuels was attributed to electricity with -2.6% inflation from -1.3% in March, and LPG with -3.5% from 3.1%.

Inflation rates in all provinces and highly urbanized cities posted also eased. The city of Iligan posted the lowest rate at 4.9% while Camiguin registered the highest at 8.2%. Inflation rates in other areas were Bukidnon at 7.3%, Lanao del Norte at 5.4%, Misamis Occidental at 5.5%, Misamis Oriental at 7.5%, and Cagayan de Oro City at 5.8%.

Balagbis further shared that the purchasing power of the peso in April remains at 0.82 which means that the P100 in 2018 is just worth P82 of goods and services in April 2023.

“Since January this year up to April, nagkahinay ang pagsaka sa prices (the increase in prices is slowing down) and we are hoping that it would continue,” she said.

The chief statistical specialist, meanwhile, called on agencies to work hand-in-hand to reduce the risk and cushion the negative impacts of El Niño on commodity prices. (APB/PIA-10)

DA-10 distributes P4.8M in cash aid to Bukidnon farmers

MALAYBALAY CITY – Each of the 965 rice farmers in Maramag, Bukidnon, received P5,000 in cash aid from the Department of Agriculture (DA)-10

DA-10 Regional Executive Director Carlene Collado said that the Department of Agriculture granted P4.825 million in cash aid to eligible rice farmers in Bukidnon through the Rice Farmers Financial Assistance (RFFA) program.

“The Registry System for the Basic Sectors in Agriculture (RSBSA) is a registry of farmers, fisherfolk, and farm laborers that serves as a targeting mechanism for the identification of beneficiaries for different agriculture-related programs and services of the government,” he said.

Collado explained that only those RSBSA-registered rice farmers who till no more than 2 hectares of rice fields are qualified to receive the assistance.

He also emphasized that the RFFA is part of the DA’s continuing effort and strategy to increase rice production volume in the country amid the observed increase in prices of farm inputs and challenging weather conditions. It is being funded through the Rice Tariffication Law.

Under said legislation, excess tariffs collected on imported rice will be appropriated as cash subsidies to rice farmers for a span of six years, from 2019 until 2024.

According to Luis Estenzo, a 74-year-old rice farmer, the RFFA payout is timely for the wet cropping season.

“Ako ni ipalit og abono ang akong nadawat nga hinabang kay padulong na ko magsabwag. Nagpasalamat ko sa DA kay dako kaayo ni nga tabang sa mga mag-uuma sama nako,” Estenzo said.

(I will use this to buy fertilizer because I will start planting soon. I thanked the DA for giving this cash aid to a farmer like me)

To date, DA-10 has released a total of P164.795 million in cash aid to 32,959 rice farmers across northern Mindanao. (DA-10/PIA-10/Bukidnon)

Lumad volunteer teacher receives human rights award in Dublin

MALAYBALAY CITY – A Lumad volunteer teacher received on May 26 the 2023 Award for Human Rights Defenders at Risk in Dublin, Ireland, the Save Our Schools Network, an NGO based in Mindanao, said in a statement on May 27, 2023

The Award was conferred on Jeany “Rose” Hayahay by Front Line Defenders for her advocacy of children’s and indigenous people’s rights.

“Hayahay’s work has made her a target of harassment and threats from the military. She has been red-tagged, had her home raided, and been subjected to online harassment. Despite the risks, Hayahay continues to speak out for the rights of children in Mindanao,” SOS Network said.

Aside from Hayahay, who was chosen as the awardee for the Asia-Pacific, the Award was also given to Olivier Bahemuke Ndoole of the Democratic Republic of Congo for Africa, Segundo Ordoñez of Ecuador for the Americas, Digital Security Lab Ukraine (DSLU) for Europe and Central Asia, and Hala Ahed of Jordan for the Middle East and North Africa.

DSLU was represented by its Executive Director, Vita Volodovska.

“This award is dedicated to all the victims of human rights abuses, including my co-Lumad Volunteer Teachers Chad Booc and Jurain Ngujo, who were both massacred along with three others by the Philippines Military, for my co-teachers and students facing trumped-up charges, my fellow activists and indigenous children who lost their lives in defending their ancestral land, and to the people we served,” Hayahay said in her speech during the awarding ceremony in Dublin.

“The human rights situation in the Philippines is dire. Killings, enforced disappearance, and trumped-up charges along with ‘red tagging’ are rampant. The Lumads have been displaced from their ancestral lands, denied access to education and healthcare, and subjected to violence and intimidation. The Philippine Government has destroyed and forcibly shut down 216 indigenous community schools and disenfranchised 10,000 indigenous learners.

“I used to teach them in their communities, but we were forced to mount an evacuation school in the country’s capital to bring into light thousands of human rights violations and encourage people to rally with us in defending indigenous children’s right to education,” she said.

She added that she has been subjected to threats, called a terrorist, her home was raided, and her mother was abducted.

“But I will not be silenced. I will continue to stand and defend human rights along with other human rights defenders, even if this means living under the threat of life, self-doubt, uncertain, unease and sacrifices,” she said.

“This year’s laureates are a courageous and inspiring group of people who reflect the determination, dynamism and diversity of human rights defenders who are on the front lines of fighting for a more just world,” Olive Moore, Interim Director of Front Line Defenders, said in a statement posted on the group’s website on May 26.

“Their vital work in defense of human rights in DRC, Ecuador, Jordan, Philippines and Ukraine impacts countless people in their communities and beyond. By shining an international spotlight on their struggles and empowering them to continue their work, we at Front Line Defenders hope this Award will touch the lives of many more people on whose behalf they act,” he said.

The laureates received the Award at a ceremony in the Irish Emigration Museum in Dublin, which was attended by foreign diplomats and representatives of the Irish government, civil society and media organizations. Irish parliamentary patrons for the Award included Senator Róisín Garvey, Charlie Flanagan TD, Cormac Devlin TD, Ivana Bacik TD, and Sean Crowe TD. (MindaNews)

DA-10 Agribiz Div convenes with FOPA NorMin for market linkages

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – Aiming to strengthen the partnership with local producers in Northern Mindanao, the Department of Agriculture – Regional Field Office 10 (DA-RFO 10) helmed by Regional Executive Director Carlene C. Collado, through the Agribusiness and Marketing Assistance Division (AMAD), meets with the Food Processors’ Association of Northern Mindanao (FOPA NorMin) to discuss potential local and national market linkages for its members

On May 15, 2023, AMAD led by its chief, Larry E. Paraluman, delivered the various interventions that DA-10 can offer, ranging from market information, market linkage and products promotion, agribusiness promotion and development services, especially for the agri-based processed products that FOPA members produce.

FOPA NorMin officers who joined the meeting were President Craig Mari Padla of De Oro’s Best, Vice-President Ana Marie Viscayno of Sivako Foods, Secretary May Jacobo of May’s Golden Pies, Treasurer Agnes Gonzales of SG Ventures, Inc., and Nenita Tan of Bestfiend Goodies.

Recognizing areas for support, the AMAD has committed to assist the said association towards communication and partnership with farmers across Region 10.

Said efforts also aim to maximize the use of the Farmers and Fisherfolk Enterprise Development Information System (FFEDIS) for convenient market linkages, not only in Northern Mindanao but reaching the island region of Mindanao and the whole of the Philippines. (RLTolentino/DA RFO-10)

3 of 4 Mindanawon boxing finalists win gold in SEA Games

MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews / May 14) — The Philippine boxing team won four gold medals, three of them courtesy of boxers from Mindanao, as the ring competition ended Sunday at the 32nd Southeast Asian Games in Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Cagayan de Oro’s Carlo Paalam, a silver medalist in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, dominated Indonesia’s Aldoms Suguro in the 54 kg class.
Another Tokyo 2020 silver medalist, Nesthy Petecio of Sta. Cruz, Davao del Sur, also pocketed the gold via unanimous decision against another Indonesian fighter in the women’s 57kg bout.
‘But Nesthy’s younger brother, Norlan Petecio, bowed to Bunjong Sinsiri of Thailand in the men’s 67kg category.
Paul Julyfer Bascon of Davao del Norte returned the favor by beating his Thai opponent, Rujakran Juntrong, in the men’s 60kg class.
Ian Clark Bautista scored an impressive victory against Asri Udin, also of Indonesia, in the men’s 57kg class. The Indonesian was given a standing 8-count in the final round.
Four other Filipino finalists in boxing settled for silver — John Marvin (men’s 80kg), Roger Ladon (men’s 51kg), Olympian Irish Magno (women’s 54kg), and Risa Pasuit (women’s 63kg).
The SEA Games will end on May 17. (H. Marcos C. Mordeno / MindaNews)

DOLE secretary leads labor, management confab in Normin

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – Labor Secretary Bienvenido E. Laguesma visited Northern Mindanao and held a Labor and Management Forum to discuss issues and concerns regarding labor and management sectors in the region on May 11 at Limketkai Luxe Hotel

“Mahalaga na mapakinggan ang mga posisyon, justification at mga komentaryo, ng aming social partners, the labor and employer sectors,” the Secretary said.
(It is important to listen to the positions, justifications, and comments of our social partners, the labor and employment sectors)
He added that the goal is to come up with a beneficial solution or formula that will guarantee continuity of employment, the creation of more opportunities for workers in the region, and the stability and continued operation of companies that will provide benefits and other better conditions of employment.
One of the issues raised by the labor sector and proposed by Nicandro Borja of the Associated Labor Union-Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (ALU-TUCP) was the strengthening of tenure security.
Meanwhile, Teresita L. Hadman of the National Federation of Labor Unions-Kilusang Mayo Uno also proposed the abolition of contracting and subcontracting arrangements.
Laguesma reiterated that security of tenure is initiated under Section 3 of Article 13 of the Philippine Constitution and that there is an existing guideline on contracting and subcontracting arrangements under Department Order 174.
“We have heard complaints against abuses; kinikilala nang ating batas paggawa ang legitimate contracting and subcontracting, pero hindi pinahihintulutan ang abuses (our labor law recognizes legitimate contracting and subcontracting, but it does not allow abuses),” he said.
Further, he explained that employers should not tolerate these abuses because they have a big stake in good management and labor relationships.
“You have a stake in promoting and maintaining industrial peace,” he said to the management sector.
As to the proposed increase in wages, Secretary Laguesma said, “Hindi po kami tumututol sa pagdaragdag ng sweldo, hindi naman kami nagsasabi na agad isusulong natin yan, dapat po pag-aralan (We are not against an increase in wages, we are not also saying we will immediately push for that because it needs to be further studied).”
He explained that as the country eased restrictions from COVID-19, companies were also still in recovery mode.
DOLE, he said, is a consultative and advisory body that provides technical input.
“The regional tripartite wages and productivity board (RTWPB) is not a perfect mechanism, but it is the existing mechanism that can actually approximate a balance so that we can sustain, address the wage of the workers without endangering continued operations of the company, and provide for expansion and a reasonable return on investment that can be earmarked for more expansion, which can mean more jobs,” the Secretary said.
Meanwhile, the management sector raised concerns about the inclusion of employees’ salaries and benefits in the computation of value-added tax (VAT) of 12% for legitimate labor contractors and retirement pay concerns. (JMOR/PIA-10)

DOT-10 launches limitless bike adventure in Normin

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – The Department of Tourism (DOT)-10 launched another limitless adventure in Northern Mindanao May 13, to attract more tourists to visit the region

Dubbed “Bike NorthMin,” the program aims to make bike tourism popular in the region and unleash its full potential in the tourism industry.
DOT-10 regional director Marie Elaine Unchuan said biking is one of the fastest-growing modes of transportation and recreational activity. It is also convenient, easy to use, low-maintenance, eco-friendly, and promotes a healthy lifestyle.
She said the campaign aims to encourage both the government and the private sector to invest in promoting and developing bike tourism, which can attract more visitors and create job opportunities for local communities.
“Bike tourism in the Philippines is an untapped potential that can generate economic growth and promote sustainable tourism. This allows tourists to immerse themselves in the local culture and experience the beauty of our region,” Unchuan further said.
To officially kick off “Bike NorthMin,” DOT-10, in partnership with the provincial government of Camiguin and Recreational Outdoor eXchange, is set to hold a 64-kilometer bike tour on the scenic island province of Camiguin on May 28, 2023.
Unchuan said more bike tours will be held in the region after the Camiguin Isle Bike Tour, adding that pilot bike sites and circuits have already been identified.
These include Cagayan de Oro City to Manolo Fortich, Cagayan de Oro City to Misamis Oriental, Claveria to Gingoog City in Misamis Oriental, Ozamiz City to Oroquieta City in Misamis Occidental, Lanao del Norte to Iligan City, and around Del Monte Plantation, among others.
Following the launch, Unchuan shared that DOT-10 would further collaborate with local government units to identify potential cycling routes and develop necessary infrastructure such as bike lanes and parking areas; promote new cycling routes in the region, and organize regular cycling events to encourage bike enthusiasts to explore the region’s natural beauty.
DOT-10 would also conduct road safety awareness programs to educate the public on safe cycling practices. (APB/PIA-10)

MinDA, French group ink partnership on energy investments

DAVAO CITY – The Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) and a French energy firm signed a partnership on Friday for the Olutanga Hydrogen Renewstable power plant project, the first of its kind in the Philippines and Southeast Asia

Hydrogène de France (HDF) Energy, the provider of Renewstable energy systems, vowed to produce entirely non-intermittent, firm, and clean electricity both in Zamboanga Sibugay province and Pagadian City.

In a press briefing here, HDF Energy Head of Asia Business Development Mathieu Geze said the project combines an intermittent renewable source and mass, long-term storage of energy through a hydrogen chain.

He described the initiative as the “green alternative” to a classic diesel fuel power plant as it only uses solar energy and water to produce stable electricity, thereby avoiding greenhouse emissions, noise, and air pollution.

Expected to be operational in two years, he said the project can provide as much as 45-megawatt power depending on the requirement of the area.

The project would position the towns of Olutanga, Talusan, and Mabuhay (OLTAMA) as pilot sites for green energy sources.

As a remote island, Olutanga town in Zamboanga Sibugay is lacking stable electricity supply.

Renewstable’s unique feature is its ability to serve baseload power, which is powered thoroughly by renewable energy,” Geze said.

With more than US$50 million in project cost, he said it would surely help in terms of job generation in the area.

“There is no negative impact on the environment,” Geze assured.

Power crisis

As a project counterpart, Zamboanga Sibugay Governor Dulce Ann Hofer said they are allocating a 40-hectare of land for the venture.

She also expressed optimism that the project would help OLTAMA solve its current power woes.

“OLTAMA is suffering in terms of energy. All their appliances cannot withstand the fluctuating power because we are far from the grid,” Hofer said.

She said that being chosen for the project is a “game changer” for the province.

Power sources

Meanwhile, MinDA Chairperson Secretary Maria Belen Acosta noted that Mindanao’s current energy sources are from fossil fuel (70 percent) and renewable or green energy (30 percent).

“We are trying our best to hit the target of a 50/50 mix of energy up to 2023. So far, we might hit not just 50/50 [more than that] because of this development,” she said.

Acosta bared that HDF is targeting 10 more sites in Mindanao for renewable energy projects. (Che Palicte/PNA)