Social Concerns Notes – May 2012

And now when we thought things would improve with the issue of writs, it seems the crisis is deepening, with the arrest of the Chief Justice and a declaration of a State of Emergency in parts of PNG. The State of Emergency is obviously meant to advantage certain political groups and also the LNG Project, but what it will mean for the average citizen remains to be seen.  Some citizens are asking – “What have we done to warrant a State of Emergency?” Optimists hope that the elections will be a solution to the current crisis.  Realists question whether we can have a fair elections in the present circumstances and wonder whether we will continue to face a crisis situation afterwards.  What would happen if Beldon Namah would have an influential position in the new government?

State of emergency declared in parts of PNG

Papua New Guinea’s Government has declared a state of emergency in three provinces.

Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has finally mustered the numbers for a final sitting of parliament on Friday. 

A motion was passed declaring a state of emergency in three provinces – the national capital district (Port Moresby), the Southern Highlands, and Hela, also in the highlands. 

The declaration gives the police greater powers to ensure law and order, and also the participation of defence force troops. 

Mr O’Neill says the declaration is necessary to maintain law and order in the run up to next month’s general election. 

He says it was necessary to declare a state of emergency in the Highlands to protect a massive natural liquefied gas project. 

Mr O’Neill has also condemned the actions of ‘renegade police’ who temporarily set up road blocks outside parliament on Friday.

 A few Comments comments Facebook and Twitter

Tavurvur @Tavurvur 24 May 12

Peter O’Neill must step in and rein-in Belden Namah. Common sense must prevail. PNG’s international reputation is under threat Matt Andrews @moybius

@Tavurvur Forget O’Neill – why are the police obeying Namah’s deluded rants? The guy is a thug unfit for office.

Belden Namah has since rebranded the PNG Party with the fresh slogan “A new direction with young, vibrant leaders”.  And it is precisely this ‘new direction’ with young ‘vibrant’ leaders that is concerning.

This week’s events, is the crowning example of what has now been a long string of simply unfathomable, ludicrous and detestable decisions, actions and words by the deputy prime minister.

UN tells PNG to respect law

The National, 30th April 2012

PAPUA New Guinea is on a slippery path to upending the constitutional order and undermining the rule of law, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said in Geneva last Friday. The UN official expressed concern about the situation in the country, where the government has taken a number of measures in recent months that undermine the rule of law, breach international human rights standards, impinge on the independence of the judiciary – and could lead to serious instability in the country. Pillay said since the Aug 2, 2011, change of government and the subsequent dispute over who was the legitimate prime minister, “the executive and parliament have taken steps which seriously affect the ability of the judiciary to operate independently”.  “One after another, the executive and parliament have taken very worrying steps to interfere with judicial independence,” she said in a statement. The enactment of a new Judicial Conduct Act last month was of particular concern, Pillay said.

Government is detached from reality

The National, 2nd May 2012 (letter)

PETER O’Neill has said that the country’s economy is doing well and that exchange rates have ap­preciated, making goods cheaper to buy. I do not know which country he is referring to, but I live in PNG and goods are certainly not cheaper. Foodstuff that I could buy for K100 a year ago, or even lesser two years back, now  cost about K120 or more. Clearly O’Neill, who is living in his mansion, is detached from the grassroots. As indicated by a report in The National, it now takes longer to have goods cleared at our ports. This has resulted in higher costs for importers, who then pass on the increases to consumers. Amid all this, our tax rates remain among the highest in the world but are complemented by some of the worst social services in the world. Health services, roads, etc, have seen little im­provement over the years. O’Neill and his government can talk about lowering debt levels but it does not translate to real benefits for the people. Every year, our salaries are revised but not at the rate at which the prices of goods are going up. How does the government expect us to feed and clothe our families? Get real and do something constructive and beneficial for the people.
Poorer    Port Moresby

PNG gets poor health rating

The National, 4th May 2012

PAPUA New Guinea has the second highest rate of maternal mortality in the world – next only to Afghanistan, it has been revealed. Western Highlands provincial health authority chief executive officer Dr James Kintwa made the shocking announcement yesterday in Mt Hagen during the opening of a new cervical cancer treatment clinic. Dr Kintwa said the high maternal and infant mortality rate did not give good health indicators in the country. He said many mothers died of cervical cancer at a prime age and that portrayed bad health indicators.

Guns for polls scares Bishop

Post Courier 4/5/2012

AT least three current Members of Parliament from the Enga Province and their people have been amassing guns in preparation for the general elections, the head of the Gutnius Lutheran Church said yesterday. The Gutnius Lutheran Church is based in the Enga Province.
“ I know them,” he said. Bishop David Piso said supporters of the three MPs are saying they are gathering guns to use against their political opponents. “This is very frightening and I am now thinking very seriously about not voting in the elections for fear of my own life,” Bishop Piso said from Wapenamanda. “The MPs are openly arming their own family and clan members with high-powered factory-made guns and giving them police issued uniforms, “ Bishop Piso said.
Bishop Piso called on the Government to take immediate action to stop guns being used to intimidate, threaten and even kill people during the elections. Bishop Piso also called on Christian churches throughout the country to pray for safe elections. “We must pray to God to save our country from destruction. God only can give us peaceful elections – not the guns,” he said.

“If the government does not act now, it is the gun which will be doing the voting, not the people.
“People will not be voting according to their conscience and exercising their democratic right of freedom of choice. “They will be told by the gun on how to exercise their freedoms,” Bishop Piso warned. “Voters will be forced by the barrel of the gun to vote for candidates other than their own choice.

Security deployment begins in Highlands

Post Courier 1/5/2012

Security deployment for the 2012 National Election started with four PNG Defence Force platoons flown into Mt Hagen on Saturday and moved into Enga and Southern Highlands Provinces.
Two police mobile squad groups from Tomaringa in East New Britain and Port Moresby also arrived with the soldiers. Two other highlands-based Mobile groups (Mendi and Wabag) have joined up with the soldiers and police as the Security step up operations for the elections begin.
The National Government decided to call in the troops into Enga and Southern Highlands, the two highlands provinces which are considered as high risk areas.  This is the first of more than 3000 security personnel that would be deployed into the Highlands region during the election. The number of security personnel in the coming election would more than triple to that of the 2007 election.
Highlands Police Commander Teddy Tei yesterday said intelligence indicated there was a lot of illegal firearms, home brew, illegal sale of alcohol and ongoing tribal fights in the Southern Highlands and Enga Provinces. This triggered the deployment. He said security personnel would be moved around as each of the provinces go to the polls. Polling for Southern Highlands and Hela will be on June 23, Enga on the 26th, Jiwaka and Western Highlands on the 29th and Chimbu and Eastern Highlands on July 2. “We got enough manpower and we do not expect anyone to mess around and disturb the elections.” He said apart from the outside personnel, local police officers would also assist in the operations.

Catholic priests warned

Post Courier 4/5/2012

CATHOLIC priests who contest the 2012 elections will be suspended by the Church.
And they will be only considered for re-admission two years after they leave politics. This means that if a priest runs for election this year, he is suspended automatically and if he loses, he cannot practise until two years from now. If he wins election, he stays in suspension for the five-year term of Parliament, and if he loses re-election, he cannot re-enter the priesthood for a further two years. And that is only if his Bishop allows him to return — on application.
The Catholic Bishops Conference (CBC) of Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands, in a meeting in February this year, reaffirmed the policy. Archbishop John Ribat says in a letter, the Catholic Bishops Conference has been concerned about priests entering politics as by doing so, priests have abandoned their duties to the people. “It is like a shepherd abandoning his flock,’’ Archbishop Ribat says in the letter written to his flock. Archbishop Ribat says followers of the Catholic Church believe that priests that engage in politics are forgetting about their duty and the people they are supposed to lead. “It is fine that religious leaders in our church want to go into politics and use the churches’ teachings to lead the people and make some change through their work but it still is just not right for them to fight for a public office and campaign for a party or candidate.” He said this is against the ordinance of priesthood and it is an official law under the church that priests and bishops are banned from politics (Church law – Canon 285). “If a priest is honest and true to his vocation, he should know that through his work, he has the power to make a change. Some brother priests think they can bring change by entering politics and making money to do that, but sadly we have seen it does not.’’

Mobile telephone playing major role in PNG politics

Mobile phones are becoming more and more influential in the shaping of political opinon in PNG.

There’s been a 75 per cent up take of mobile phones in PNG which are now being used by voters to influence the political process. For example, mobile phones were used to spread the word about scheduled protest marches against the Judicial Conduct Law last week.

 MP wants laws on refugees relaxed

The National, 30th April 2012

PARLIAMENT through humanitarian principles should consider removing reservations on the West Papua refugees, Wewak MP Dr Moses Manwau said. Manwau presented to parliament his report on the recent ministerial level meeting of member states of the United Nations on the 60th anniversary of the convention relating to the status of refugees. He admitted that PNG is committed to waiving the K10,000 citizens application fee for West Papua refugees or introducing a normal fee for refugees applying for PNG citizenship. However he said that since he has made the pledge, the PNG government must now take action to relax laws on West Papua refugees.

Govt urged to repeal SABL  

The National, Monday 30th April 2012

THE Umi-Atzera and Onga-Waffa people in Markham Valley, Morobe, are urging the government to repeal the Special Agricultural Business Lease (SABL) policy because it “regards landowners as mere slaves”. “In Markham district, we will never invite and entertain government’s SABL policy,” provincial agriculture chairman and Umi-Atzera president, Daki Mao said. More than 5,000 people gathered at Mutzing station to witness the launching of pioneer Morobe palm oil project last Friday.
“At this juncture, we want our land at Sasiang, Leron plains, Garam and Gusap to be given back to us,” he said. “We never participate and benefit as landowners from projects ope­rating on these lands. Enough is enough.” “Land taken means taking away our birthright, the serenity where our spirits dwell,” he said. He said locals would work with the national government only when it set up a process similar to that set up by the Morobe provincial government which collaborated with landowners to ini­tiate the palm oil project. “This system will work for us because we feel part of the entire operation.

Justice centres to be built

Post Courier 2/5/2012

THE creation of Provincial Justice Centres will drastically improve the delivery of law and justice services to all provinces. High level consultations held last week in the New Ireland capital of Kavieng led by the Office of the Public Solictor Frazer Pitpit has revealed this.
It was also revealed during the seminar that currently in most provinces law and justice sector offices were scattered all over the main provincial towns. In addition various speakers also added that the rural settings of most communities made it difficult for the majority of the people to access law and justice services. Mr Pitpit said the concept of the provincial justice centres would positively engage all stakeholders as it would provide a “one-stop-shop” in accommodating all the different functions of law and justice under a single complex. He said this would improve coordination of the sectors responsible for the different sectors and village people and other ordinary citizens would be better served when seeking legal services. Mr Pitpit said the centres when completed would include conference, training, mediation, library, information technology and networking facilities.

Proof that bed nets cut malaria rate in PNG

Pacific Beat

The Papua New Guinea Institute of Medical Research has found that sleeping under a bed net that’s been treated with insecticides stops mosquitos spreading malaria.

The nets have been so effective that the prevalence of malaria infections in the community has decreased dramatically, from over 12 percent in 2009 to below eight percent in 2011.

SIA on the roll in PNG

Post Courier 4/5/2012

A MONTH into the Supplementary Immunisation Activity (SIA) and all provinces are now in full swing. With the program to end in May 15, the SIA is expected to target 1.8 million women and 800,000 children from 0-five years of age throughout PNG. Tetanus toxoid vaccine is administered to women while children are immunized for measles and polio. The SIA program is administered at any public health facility and schools in the country and targets women at the child bearing age (14-45).
According to the Department of Health, Papua New Guinea made a commitment with World Health Organisation and the Western Pacific Region in 2007 to eliminate tetanus among women, however nothing was done due to priorities given to measles and polio coverage only. “Tetanus was not visibly seen as a concern and was overlooked at that time.” Maternal and Neonatal Tetanus (MNT) is now given priority and included with polio and measles immunization program. UNICEF states the immunization against childhood illnesses is an essential part of improving the health and well being of children and it is also among the most successful, most equitable and most cost-effective public health interventions that can be offered to the children and women in Papua New Guinea.
Health Secretary Pascoe Kase agrees that some 57 infants under one year die from every 1,000 live births and 75 per 1000 live babies die before reaching the age of five. And up to 733 mothers die from child birth complications for every 100,000 live births recorded.

Hospital fees go up

WHILE it’s been three months since Modilon General Hospital started implementing its revised user fees. The fees have been written down in black and white on a newly painted notice board which this week was pinned on the wall outside the newly built cash office just outside the hospital’s main outpatient area.
Among the increases members of the public will now have to fork K200 upfront for admission to the Intermediate Ward, this has since been bumped up to K420, For those coming in to be treated for domestic violence at the Adult Out Patient Department will now have to pay K100, those needing treatment after hour are being charged K25 to be treated at the AOPD, Admission to the Children’s Ward has been set at K20 while parents bringing in children to the Children’s outpatient a fee of K4 previously this service was free.
For Antenatal Clinic the first visit will cost a pregnant woman K40, to deliver the fee had been set at K40 but this has since been scraped and the K20 fee retained, if the mother is expected to undergo surgery she will be expected to pay K60, patients also needing blood transfusion will also be required to pay K15 for those coming in from private clinics, K10 for intermediate patients, K10 for consultation, K5 for outpatient and K2 for inpatients to mention a few.

Rice prices to increase

Post Courier 7 May

The Department of National Planning and Monitoring says a total of 47,000 full-time equivalent jobs, including rural and informal jobs, will be lost as a result of the Naima rice project. 
In a report, released on Friday 4th May 2012, DNPM revealed that the rice project would have severe and potentially devastating economic consequences for PNG.
As well as job losses, the Naima project will mean the price of rice will increase by 64% immediately, hurting PNG families where it matters the most – the wallet. The report also said beyond the immediate price rise, the cost of rice for PNG families will likely double in the next five years. 
These high rice prices will be the result of tariffs and the creation of a monopoly for Naima, giving the Indonesian-owned company full control of the PNG rice industry. All the money Naima will make in PNG (which will be “super-normal profits”) will end up being transferred abroad.
The report also highlighted the fact that production of rice in PNG by Naima will be kept as low as possible, because the easiest way to bring rice into our market is through import. At the same time, landholders who are currently rice producers will be forced to stop growing and selling the crop – even at local markets – or risk hefty fines. PNG smallholders currently produce 20,000 tonnes of rice every year and the Naima project will ban this immediately, leaving a huge shortfall in supply and forcing people to buy rice at very high prices.

200 schools yet to receive subsidy

The National, 07th May 2012

MORE than 200 primary schools in Madang province are on the verge of suspending classes because they are still awaiting the promised free education government subsidy.
The provincial education division said last Friday, of the 292 primary schools in the six districts, only 87 had been paid their share.
It said that included 63 of the 805 elementary schools.
The education office advised that all high, secondary and vocational schools had been paid their dues.
This issue was raised by the chairman of the Aiome Primary School, in Middle Ramu district, where classes had been suspended for the past three weeks, forcing 300 plus students to stay home.
Beven Lester said of the 41 primary schools in Aiome, only seven had received their money.
He described the situation as urgent and unfortunate.
“A provincial government grant of K3,500 for last year has already been used up and we are still waiting for this year’s budget allocation,” he said.
“While we cannot help the situation, most of the schools are still awaiting the failed promise.
“Children are being victims here and it is very sad.  Children and parents who live in the mountainous parts of Middle Ramu inland are disadvantaged as their schools will have to spend more than K5,000 for a chartered plane to bring in supplies.
By road, the vehicle hired from Madang to Banu Bridge costs between K300 and K400, with K1,200 to hire a dinghy.

SHP runs out of HIV drugs

The National, 07th May 2012

SOUTHERN Highlands province is running low on antiretroviral (ARV) drug supply, with patients resorting to taking bactrum to support their immune system, an official says.
The Provincial AIDS Council said it was short on drugs, with “very low supply” that would last two weeks.
Provincial HIV/AIDS response coordinator Henry Hapen said what was left in stock could only cater for very few patients while the healthier were being encouraged to take bacterium.
“What we have in stock is very little, not much to cater for all the patients and this will run out very soon,” he said.
The council fears that those already on ARV will develop resistance and new patients may not be placed on drugs.
The Epeanda voluntary counselling and testing centre in Kumin and Nina clinic in Mendi, which supply drugs to patients, have no stock.
The last supply they received was in February, but with more patients requiring the drug, it was a matter of time before the supply ran out.

Hapen called on the health department to speed up its efforts in bringing the drugs within the next two weeks because patients would suffer.
He said the effects on those on treatment would be immense because they would develop resistance to the drug and the council could not resort to any other options as there was no second line treatment in the country.
It is understood that other highlands provinces are experiencing the same problem but this could not be confirmed.

EDITORIAL K30 million is a record sum

Post Courier 10/5/2012

We believe that one of PNG’s main political parties spent K12-K14 million in the 2007 election and Mr Namah will spend more than twice that amount for the 2012 polls. ”I am donating (K30 million) harvested from my backyard in Bewani because I am serious about winning this election with PNG Party and to bring change to the political landscape in Papua New Guinea,” Mr Namah said.
True to his word, Mr Namah forked out K1 million and bought eight brand new 10-seater Toyota Landcruisers for his election coordinators in various provinces in the Highlands and Momase regions. Mr Namah has made his millions from a logging company he owns. As he puts it: “I am putting my own money down because I believe in what I am doing; I want to see change; and I want to be the next prime minister.” If the K30 million translates into winners for PNG Party, Mr Namah will have achieved his dreams and he will become prime minister and change PNG’s political landscape.

PNG state recovers K52m in corruption probe

Fifty two million kina (NZ$32 million) has been recovered by Papua New Guinea’s Task Force Sweep corruption watchdog and the government hopes to double that to more than K100 million in the next six months. Chairman Sam Koim reported this to Prime Minister Peter O’Neill when winding up TFS operations investigating alleged corruption and mismanagement in the public sector.

The TFS was set by the National Executive Council to weed out corruption in the country.

The money reported to be recovered is believed to be part of the controversial K125 million ($76 million) loan reported by The National last June  to be taken from NASFUND, a leading state superannuation fund in the country purportedly for projects in the Kokopo District on behalf of the state.

“Money destroys minds” 

The National, 16th May, 2012

THE conscience of the people is being distorted with so much money being dished out by candidates in the Southern Highlands, it has been claimed. Intending candidate for the Nipa-Kutubu Open seat Augustine Emil claimed that politics in the Nipa district and parts of the Southern Highlands was becoming a game of the wealthy with so much money being dished out. He said there was so much cash flow in the district and was clouding the minds of the people from electing good leaders.
“I’m going around playing music and educating people to vote on conscience but candidates are handing out free cash as part of their campaign and destroying the minds of the people,” he said.
Emil claimed that there were so many millionaires in the province and they were competing against each other’s wealth. “There are so many tycoons competing both in the regional and the open seats and are dishing out cash like nobody’s business,’’ he said. “But they are not realising that they are destroying the minds of the people.  It’s a time-bomb created by the money men.” He said it was becoming a trend when the bodies of the dead were brought to the roadsides so that candidates traveling on the road could give them something. Emil said the culture of respecting the death and having a decent funeral in the village was now a thing of the past as people were being brainwashed with money.

PNG’s Tekwie pressured to quit electoral race

Source: Radio New Zealand International

The Papua New Guinea Green Party candidate for the Vanimo electorate says she’s been pressured not to run in this year’s election by associates of a rival candidate, Belden Namah.

Dorothy Tekwie says she cannot submit to such pressure because the consequences of letting the Deputy Prime Minister win a seat again would be disastrous not just for Vanimo but the country as well. Ms Tekwie accuses Mr Namah of abusing his power as an MP for personal gain. She says she’s been offered six-figure sums to not run in the elections, which she has refused. “I’ve also been threatened at times and intimidated by certain people that are associated with him. I’m not going to step down because people ask me not to, because I’ve seen what is happening with my people in the inland where he comes from. People virtually have nothing. Women have one skirt for the whole year and nothing else while money that comes from their forest is being squandered to pay for political survival of certain people.”

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon welcoms decision

10 May 2012 – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon welcomed the decision by Papua New Guinea to carry out elections within the timeframe stipulated by the constitution, following recent uncertainties in relation to the country’s next parliamentary elections, and stressed that they should be carried out in a transparent and peaceful manner. “The Secretary-General welcomes the decision of the Government and the Election Commission to conduct the elections within the timeframe stipulated in the constitution,” Mr. Ban’s spokesperson said in a statement issued on Wednesday night.

Last month, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, had voiced concern about steps taken by the country’s Government which seriously affected the ability of the judiciary to operate independently, and had warned that these undermined the rule of law and could lead to serious instability in the country. “The Secretary-General encourages all relevant parties in Papua New Guinea to uphold the democratic process and ensure that the elections are held in a transparent, credible and peaceful manner,” the statement said. “He hopes that the rule of law is strengthened and freedom of the press and the independence of the judiciary are upheld. The United Nations stands ready to assist in this regard.”

PNG assists NZ with relief funds

The National, May 18th, 2012

THE PNG government has given K2.9 million to New Zealand as relief funding for the Christchurch earthquake.
National Disaster acting director Martin Mose gave the cheque to acting New Zealand High Commissioner Nathan Glassey in Port Moresby. 
New Zealand’s second largest city Christchurch was hit by 6.3 magnitude earthquake that killed 181 people and destroyed millions of dollars worth of properties last February.
 Mose said NZ had always supported PNG and was the country’s second largest donor.

Inquiry reveals shady SABL deals

The National, May 18th, 2012

THE commission of inquiry into special agricultural and business leases has found widespread abuse of processes by public officials in their procurement.
The final report presented by the commissioner of the inquiry Alois Jerewai stated that the abuses involved the approval and granting of agriculture development plans and environment permits.
Also mentioned was the forest clearance authority by the departments of lands, agriculture and livestock, national forest services and the respective provincial departments.
It was revealed that many forest operators were involved in the SABL to avoid the difficulty in accessing the granting of timber permits.
It was revealed that the worse affected were East and West Sepik and New Hanover in the New Ireland province in the five years from 2006 to 2011 when the SABL was issued.
It was also reported that there had been blatant disregard of individual and clan rights over land and resources in the lease area.
Jerewai said landowners had transferred the whole leases for the whole of the term of the lease-lease back to foreign companies under sub-lease agreements without residual terms for landowners.
It was also revealed that land sub-leased to foreign companies were not restricted to only suitable proposed agriculture projects.
All unsuitable land were subleased to foreigners while some of the land were issued to title holders especially in Meringberg, East Sepik and New Hanover.
It was also found that many of the leases have imposed hefty penalty clauses in case of termination where landowners had to pay billions of kina as compensation for infrastructure cost and agriculture development cost.

Churches launch LNG report

The National, May 18th, 2012

The PNG churches partnership programme has been concerned about the impact of the LNG project and has launched a research report on it.
The report “The Community Good” looks at the effects of the LNG project in Hela province.
Church leaders council chairman Patrick Gaiyer explained the involvement of the churches in producing the report examining the influence of the LNG project in Hela.
“In relation to the development, the churches are not against it but are major partners in community development and would like to ensure that any major development is sensitive and balanced towards the people’s cultural, spiritual and empowerment needs,” Gaiyer said.
It focuses on the security threats and issues which were important to local people.
He said development should at all times avoid situations where a multi-billion kina project was threatened and reduced the people to a mere community of beggars.
He said the milestone achievement had room for further research on the social impacts that are being currently experienced.

Chimbu group devises rules to prevent fights

The National, 21st May, 2012

A community in Kundiawa, Chimbu province, has launched a set of guidelines to prevent election-related problems. The event, held last Wednesday at Ombondo, located on the fringes of Kundiawa town, made the Kamaneku tribe the first to launch such an initiative. As the town’s natives, the clan leaders have taken the initiative to abide by the laws they made so that the town remains peaceful during the election period. Leaders from clans within the tribe pledged to unite as “One Kamaneku”.
It effectively means that they will put aside all their tribal and political differences and work for the common good. The idea of creating the guidelines to establish unity and stability among the Kamanekus was initiated by “United Kamaneku” organisation adviser Fr Richard Wajda.
Villagers who were forced out of their area due to tribal and political differences have been urged to return home. A community policing programme also saw more than 150 community police officers graduating. Chimbu provincial administrator Joe Kunda Naur, witnessed the event and commended the leaders, churches and stakeholders for taking such a positive step during the election period.

System partly to blame for sexual behaviour

The National, May 22nd, 2012

THE principle of the new HIV/AIDS policy of the Department of Education is “Staff and student participation”. If teachers and students had been more involved in the drafting of this policy, then we would have made clear that: The risk periods for Grade 8 students to en­gage in irresponsible sexual behaviour is after the examinations. Many teachers are taken out of schools to mark the examination papers every year, leaving a small number to supervise the students. The main risk period for Grade 10 students is al­so after the examinations. The Education Department has moved the exami­nations to  the start of term,  leaving these students three and a half months to use themselves before they may move on to Grade 11.  The main risk factor in children adopting irres­ponsible sexual practices is a lack of hope for their future. This loss of hope is mainly due to the many pushouts after Grades  8 and 10. They are the result of poor planning and re­sourcing by the  Education Department, the provincial departments and the government. Why are they not addressed in the new HIV and AIDS Policy?    Paul Harricknen    Port Moresby

Inflation rate at 9%

Post Courier  25/5/2012

BANK of Papua New Guinea (BPNG) forecasts inflation rate to be around 9.0 percent in 2012 due to strong demand conditions and increased government spending in the build-up to the national elections.  This was revealed by the BPNG Governor Loi M Bakani at the 28th Australia and PNG Business Council Forum in Brisbane Australia last week.  Mr Bakani said that inflation is expected to moderate, as the PNG LNG project construction phase winds down, and the continued appreciation of the kina causes prices to moderate. According to Mr Bakani, financial management is more crucial in 2012, which is an election year that is usually characterised by very high government spending. In terms of economic activity, the projected increase in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for 2012, as contained in the 2012 National Budget document, is 7.8 per cent and if realised, the average growth over the five years to 2012 will be 7.6 per cent because the driving force behind the growth for most of the period was the non-mineral sector.

Churches leading in health care

Post Courier  24/5/2012

The Church Health Services (CHS) caters for up to 50 per cent of health services and more than 80 per cent of rural health services in the country. And the Government has very little input in it.
Chairman of the Church Health Services Wallace Kintak revealed this in their 42nd Annual National Conference at Holiday Inn in Port Moresby yesterday. Mr Kintak said that Church Health Services provided much-needed health services to the rural majority in the country where the government of the day cannot go. “We want the government to increase the salary for nursing workers, provide infrastructure and have more funds to fund church health services, if we want better health services in the country. This is because we go to very remote areas where the government cannot go,” he said.
Meanwhile, Acting Secretary for Health Dr Paison Dakulala, in commending CHS for selecting the National Health Plan (NHP) 2011-2012 as the theme for the conference, said that the National Department of Health and the Government acknowledged that the churches and the churches health services was a major, if not the key partner for the delivery of health services in the country. He said CHS in fact accounted for 46-50 per cent of health services in PNG and this partnership would remain strong for a long time as PNG undoubtfully was a Christian country.

Hospital staff leave for more pay

The National, 23rd May, 2012

EMPLOYEES in church-run hospitals have moved to government-run hospitals because of better pay, Dr Scott Dooley said.
Dooley is the administrator for the Nazarene health ministries which run the Kudjip Hospital in  Jiwaka province.
He raised his concern at the Christian Health Services  annual conference in Port Moresby yesterday.
Dooley said employees providing health services at church-run hospitals were not paid as much by the government as those in government-run health service providers.
 “The staff of the government-run health services have received 45% increase in their salaries while no increase was made to the salaries of the workers of church-run health services,’’ he said.
 “Are we the church-run health workers punished for not joining the strike and serving our patients?”
He said churches provide more than 50% of the health services and reach out to the most rural areas of Papua New Guinea.
So they should be considered equally in the government plan and the budget for the health department.
Health Department acting executive manager Ken Wai has advised church-run health service providers to submit data which could secure funding from the government.
Deputy health secretary Dr Paison Dakulala said the 45% increase in the salaries of staff of the government run health services were not budgeted for by the government.
The staff got the increase through an industrial agreement.

PNG a corrupt ‘Mobocracy’ says Taskforce Sweep May 10, 2012

Corruption in Papua New Guinea’s government departments has become institutionalised, where illegality and secrecy is sanctioned to the extent that the nation is now a “Mobocracy”. That’s what the government of PNG has been told by its corruption watchdog, Task Force Sweep, which on Thursday handed its final report on its seven-month investigation into malpractice across government agencies.

Some international statistics

Loreto High School at Normanhurst Australia recently hosted speaker Fr Daniel Groody CSC, Associate Professor of Theology at Notre Dame University USA. He began his presentation with some statistics

– 19% of the world lives on less than $1 per day

– 48% of the world lives on less than $2 per day

– 75% of the world lives on less than $10 per day

– The three richest people in the world have as much as the poorest 48 nations combined

– 212 million migrants are on the move in the world, which is equal to 1 in every 35 people, which is equal to the population of Brazil

– It is estimated that there are 12 – 27 million people being trafficked in the world, mostly for labour and/or sex.

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