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Mindanao Newsbits for August 24, 2013

SURIGAO FEST

SURIGAO CITY — The most awaited “2013 Bonok-Bonok Festival” started here yesterday with a colorful opening ceremony. All city officials, along with the provincial government of Surigao del Norte, guest and visitors including tourists, both foreign and domestic, graced the grand opening. The almost two-week long festivities opened with the “Bonok-Bonok sa Surigao Trade Expo (Bosstex) at the Luneta Park along Borromeo Street here yesterday. The opening ceremony, which was supported by the Surigao Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) and the Surigao Mines Chamber, was led by the Surigao City Tourism Council (SCTC) in partnership with the Department of Trade and Industry. (Mike U. Crismundo)

BIRD SANCTUARY

GENERAL SANTOS CITY — The Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) has declared the Baras birds sanctuary in Tacurong City, Sultan Kudarat, free from Avian Influenza Virus, a local official said. City veterinary officer Herminigilda Sanque said the BAI-Philippine Animal Health Center Laboratory conducted recently an avian influenza surveillance on Baras birds sanctuary through a series of serological tests using 36 bird serum samples collected by the City Veterinary Office. The Baras bird sanctuary, which is now becoming a popular bird watching destination in Central Mindanao, is home to more than 20,000 black night herons and cattle egrets species. (Joseph Jubelag)

RETURNING HOME

DAVAO CITY — About 150 displaced families from Loreto, Agusan del Sur, are set to return home, after two weeks of seeking refuge in the city. The groups condemned the creation of Bagani paramilitary forces and the alleged “terroristic acts” of the 26th Infantry Battalion in their communities. The displaced families claimed that the Bagani paramilitary forces and elements of the 26th IB are threatening Lumad residents especially in searching for suspected members of the New People’s Army (NPA) in their communities. (Cherry Mae D. Palicte)

FARMERS’ LOANS

DAVAO CITY (PNA) — Farmers seeking loans from the government-owned Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) can tap funds from a program supported by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Edgardo de Guzman, LBP project development officer, said yesterday. De Guzman said JICA has set up an Agricultural Credit Support Project with the Land Bank and provided P5.23 billion for relending to small to medium enterprises and growers of such crops and commodities as cacao, coffee, malunggay, seaweeds, bamboo, goat milk, coconut, rubber and oil palm. The goal of this LBP lending project, De Guzman said, is to perk up more investments in these commodities, to boost more agriculture output, and to create more jobs in the countryside.

ZAMBO PROJECT

ZAMBOANGA CITY (PNA) — The Department of Agriculture (DA) is calling on possible proponents to submit project proposals for possible funding from the P300-million budget under the PAyapa at MAsaganang PamayaNAn (PAMANA) and Bottom-Up Budget (BUB) Project to be implemented next year in the Zamboanga Peninsula. PAMANA and BUB are the national government’s programs for peace and development in conflict-affected areas (CAAs) as well as communities covered by existing peace agreements. Each of the recipients will receive development programs according to the needs of the people residing in the region.