Social Concerns Notes – November 2012

The Dreams of Ordinary Papua New Guineans

PNG Blogs Nov 7, 2012

Everyone has dreams. Every year more then 60,000 school leavers enter Papua New Guineas job market, most certainly with dreams and hopes of finding a job and earning a living. For a very select few, they come true, for others, the dreams and hopes evaporate and are replaced with reality, bitterness and struggle, accepting whatever one can. Every one wants a good life, not everyone gets it. What is a good life? There are of course many possible answers but basically it is to have a home, to be gainfully employed, to live in a safe and secure environment, to be able to provide, to care for ones parents and the ones you love, family and friends to be able to enjoy the simple things in life that make life sweet, listening to a favorite song or watching a movie, sharing a cup of coffee, playing with your children, hearing them laugh and be happy. That is a good life.

Such a life eludes an increasing population of Papua New Guineans. Eventually, one has to make do with reality and let go of dreams, even if for only a while, although only for a while can be anywhere between tomorrow and a lifetime. Opportunities make dreams come true. The opportunities will most certainly present themselves as a result of increasing exploration and discovery of our resources, globalization and increased investment. But will these opportunities be ours to seize? Already we are competing with citizens from other economies, already our protected sectors of business have been opened up to off shore investors and already we are becoming spectators on our own land and already our country is being packaged for sale to whoever comes along for instance with a bag of money…in a jet perhaps…citizenship application in hand…

 Choose Life, students told

The National, Monday 19th November, 2012

“CHOOSE life not death” was the main message delivered at a graduation ceremony last Friday at the Father Peter Secondary School, Fatima, Jiwaka.
A total 219 Grade 10 and 192 Grade 12 students were told to live a life of honesty and stand firm to avoid corruption.
Catholic Archbishop Douglas Young reminded the graduates they were now entering a new journey where they needed to take stock of their lives.
He said Papua New Guinea was a spectacular country, truly blessed with vast resources, but the problem was corruption. “Corruption means decay and it stinks. Corruption is what happens to a dead body and it is death, not life,” he said. “Each of you has to make a choice whether to be on the side of honesty and integrity or to be on the dark side of society, which is corruption.

How home skills can save you money

The National, 10 October 2012

People in remote areas of the country can make their own necessities like cooking oil, livestock feed, soap and fuel for lamps with the resources found on their land, a man who does just that says. Gibing Oboko, from Gawenglabu village, Finschhafen, Morobe, has been doing that for the past 10 years and is eager to pass on the knowledge to others. He said for many people in remote areas, their land and forests already had an abundance of material they could use to be self-reliant. He said people could grow their own herbs, fruits and nut trees, peanuts, sweet potato, tapioca and taro and turn them into soap, medicinal oil or cooking oil or make them into fuel to light their homes at nights.  “Planti taim ol manmeri long ol insait ples isave laik kam long Lae long baim samting olsem sop, oil blong kuk na bilasim bodi tasol oli no save olsem ol yet iken wokim ol displa samting long ol diwai na kaikai blong ples yet (Many times remote villagers come into town just to buy soap, oil for cooking or their body without realizing they can make their own out of local plants and staple food,” he said.

 PMIZ on hold indefinitely

PNG Blogs 23 Oct

THE state’s controversial Pacific Marine Industrial Zone (PMIZ) project – a USD$235 million proposal to develop a free trade industrial zone in Madang – is officially on hold. Madang Court ordered all progress on the PMIZ project to cease until the court makes a decision on whether the proposed development has sufficient legal grounds to proceed. The decision put an immediate freeze on a US$200 million Chinese loan to develop the project – just a week before the PNG Government was to access $3 million from the loan to progress development of the PMIZ. Lawyers representing hundreds of aggrieved customary landowners in Vidar, Madang will seek to have the loan agreement put on ice permanently when they return to court next month.

Teacher, students robbed

The National, Wednesday 24th October, 2012

TEACHERS at a school in Port Moresby want tighter security after a teacher and his students were held up by armed  robbers in their classroom.
The teachers and the Grade 6 students at St Paul’s Catholic Primary School at Gerehu were attacked by the armed thugs who had entered the school compound last Tuesday.
Teacher Moses Kwana said he was in the middle of a lesson when he heard a knock on his door. He opened it thinking it was other students.
He was held up at gunpoint.
“They came in with one home-made gun and a bush knife. One of the thugs was swinging the knife in front of the poor kids,” Kwana said.
He said he was hit with the barrel of the gun and fell to the ground. The thugs collected money and other items from the students.

 Students robbed 

Post Courier 30 Nov.

THIEVES brazenly looted the Divine Word University’s St Benedict’s Campus at Wewak on Tuesday, within sight of a graduation ceremony attended by East Sepik Governor and former Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare.
Despite a heavy university security and police presence for the annual event, thieves entered the campus unseen, stealing everything they could carry from one of the female students’ dormitories.
Some of the resident graduate students, from across PNG, were packed ready to leave Wewak and had left packed suitcases and other possessions in the dormitory.
 The robbery took place even as the campus vice president Fr Patrick Gesh was making an address, criticising the level of security at the Educational facility.
“ We (have been living) with a deteriorating set of law and order concerns,’’ he told Sir Michael and a crowd of several hundred people .
He said the campus had suffered regular intrusions by “offensive” outsiders, some of them violent.
Some students lost everything.

Deadly new TB threat

Post Courier 26 Oct.

THE World Health Organisation has confirmed seven cases of Extreme Drug Resistant TB (XDR-TB) in PNG, which have been identified by Brisbane SRL laboratory.
The XDR-TB is a form of tuberculosis caused by bacteria that are resistant to some of the most effective anti-TB drugs. 
XDR-TB strains have arisen after the mismanagement of individuals with multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB). 
TB germs are released into the air when a person with TB of the lungs or throat coughs, sneezes, speaks, or sings.
These germs can float in the air for several hours, depending on the environment. 
Persons who breathe in the air containing these TB germs can become infected. Minister Malabag said: “XDR-TB is now a time-bomb for PNG and unless we pay attention to addressing it, many of our hospitals, will be filled with TB patients and the treatment costs will be high that human resources will be stretched to the limit.”

 NEC okays biometric system

The National, Thursday 1st November, 2012

THE National Executive Council has approved the introduction of the biometric electronic identification system in the country.
The US$76 million (K158 million) national electronic ID card system has been awarded to the Chinese company Huawei Technology, the second largest technology company in the world, according to National Planning Minister Charles Abel.
Abel said the funding of the project would come from the Exim Bank of China, as part of the K6 billion loan facility.
A total of K20 million as counterpart funding will come from the next year’s budget.
He said during the exercise, all citizens would be registered electronically with a biometric identification based on fingerprints.
“This will give the government the platform to support activities such as the national census, electronic voting, e-passport and general data and statistics generation,” he said.

 Serena Sasingian presenting at the ANU 2012 Pacific Update

Development Policy Digest   5 Nov 12.

A new generation is emerging in PNG, a generation who have grown up better quality education and technology, like the internet and social media. Sadly this experience accounts for less than 15 percent of our total population. The rest continue to rely on subsistence farming for their livelihood. For them, life has not changed greatly since independence, but we are seeing an erosion of customary social structures and the systems that supported communities for thousands of years. 37 years after independence PNG is still developing as a nation. You will notice I say “developing as a nation” and not “developing nation” to avoid the negative connotations associated with this. We were given democracy, you and I know that democracies work on the premise that there is an educated, engaged and informed population able to elect parliamentarians capable of producing laws and policies that serve the interest of the people. In PNG we have a long way to go before we see that happen. Much of the population are uneducated and they vote according to “big man culture”. Youth are a critical component when we talk about development because PNG has a very young population: 40 percent are under the age of 15. Unfortunately they are entering adulthood amid a range of health and social issues. The Department of Education tells us that approximately 80,000 young people leave the school system each year. The formal labor force has been able to absorb less than 10,000. What then becomes of the rest of this vital resource?

 We want what the Ok Tedi women have!

Development Policy Digest  5 Nov 12

The Ok Tedi mine has a well known and troubled history with impacted communities, yet in the minds of some, the women at Ok Tedi had secured a good deal. In securing control of 10% of benefits , the women at Ok Tedi did something women hadn’t done anywhere else in the country – and as far as we can discern, anywhere in the world. And the deal is quite lucrative – from 2007-2010 AUD$33m has been set aside for women and children.  In addition, women secured rights to half of all educational scholarships and reserved seats at all levels of the deal’s governance structure. Fairness aside, the deal was a significant advance on the status quo. Women decided to initially spend the bulk of their 10% on three learning centers (to build skills to engage in processes of development) but progress is slow, decision processes are not widely understood and the impacts unfelt in the villages we visited. At the same time, one change that is having a real impact is the use of family – rather than clan – bank accounts for cash payments. Women – and youth – report this has greatly increased their chances of seeing the money and controlling how it is spent.

 Minister: Only 200 airstrips operating

The National, Monday 5th November, 2012

OF the initial 900 remote airstrips, only 200 are now operating and the country is on the verge of losing all its airstrips if no proper aviation policies are put in place, parliament has heard.
This was highlighted by Civil Aviation Minister Davis Steven in parliament. ”Currently we have MAF, SDA aviation, other third level and mission operators’ servicing our airstrips in remote areas and the government hopes to work with them to ensure this service is continued.”
Davis said during the CAA reforms in 2008 that funding and management of rural airstrips were handed to provincial governments, but some airstrips had ceased operations.
He said there had been continuous negligence by former governments to address this area.

Trucks bogged down in EHP

The National, Friday 9th November, 2012

TWENTY-two heavy trucks were bogged down in the Eastern Highlands section of the Highlands Highway over the past five months, police said yesterday.
Eastern Highlands provincial police commander John Kale said half the number of those trucks had their contents looted.
“Youths and people of Daulo district took the law into their own hands to overpower police to loot eight trucks that got bogged down in their district,” Kale said.
“Seven of them had gone down due to bad road conditions, while one was due to driver negligence
“Over 20 trucks getting bogged down from June to October 31 (five months) reflects the deteriorating condition of the highway,” he said.
“We found that people living along the eastern part of the province (Henganofi, Kainantu and Yonki) have started to take care of trucks that broke down.
“However, the Daulo people have a track record of looting all the trucks that break down in Daulo,” Kale said. He reported that a 22-year-old youth was run over by a truck at Kassam Pass this week as he was trying to chop the driver of the truck.
Kale said youths at Kassam Pass were patching potholes and were demanding money from passing trucks and vehicles.
When the driver of the truck told them he had no money, the deceased youth got onto the driver’s side and tried to chop him with a bush knife.
“As the truck took off the youth jumped off but unfortunately went under the truck and was run over by the back wheels. He died instantly,” he said.

 Study links hospital woes to LNG project

The National, Friday 9th November, 2012

THE liquefied natural gas project has affected the implementation of the national health plan (2011-20) at the Port Moresby General Hospital, a study shows.
Hospital chief executive officer Dr David Moekela told the week-long national health conference in Kimbe, West New Britain, that the project had caused an influx of people into the National Capital District, Central and Gulf.
Moekela said the population in NCD and the two provinces before the LNG project was 600,000 and that had jumped to close to a million.
Moekela said the inpatient bed capacity was 900 and the bed occupancy rate had steadily increased with patients having to wait two to seven days for beds.
He said the hospital was now struggling with the sudden increase in the catchment population to keep up with its implementation of the national health plan.

 Action needed to stem sex violence

Post Courier 12 Nov.

IT IS time to turn policy commitments into actions to end family and sexual violence in the country.
This message comes from Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF). MSF international president for MSF, Dr Unni Karunakara, told Radio Australia briefly while in Tari that MSF’s focus was to put the spotlight on the problems that tend to be neglected by the national health care system for the community at large, but MSF was struck by the high levels of social violence in the Highlands.
“Violence is sort of normal there, it is an every day fact of life.”
In a report by MSF titled “Hidden and Neglected” there are shocking reports of unmet and emotional needs of survivors; and a shocking number of victims are children.
According to the report, in Lae, Morobe province, between January 2008 and October 2011, MSF and Angau Hospital treated 6869 survivors of intimate partner violence — the equivalent of 149 victims a month — and 1,599 survivors of sexual violence (35 victims per month). 
In Tari, Hela province, from September 2009 to October 2011, MSF and Tari Hospital reported 1,471 survivors of intimate partner violence or 59 per month and 398 survivors of sexual violence or 16 cases per month.

 Project affects food supply

The National, Wednessday 14th November, 2012

THE LNG project in Hela is affecting food supply because people have abandoned their gardens to work in project areas, a teacher says.
Primary school teacher Michael Molomb said Hela natives were concentrating on making money by working in project sites and other activities.
Molomb said they were not gardening anymore and that had resulted in an increase in the price of goods in mining townships and a low supply of garden produce in markets.
He said there was a demand for food but the supply was low because locals could not produce enough.
“As a result, the price of goods have sky rocketed,” he said.
“A small piece of cooked kaukau now costs K2, while small bundles of greens are being sold for K2.
“Cabbages are being chopped into quarters and sold for K3 or K4 each. Molomb said there had been an arrangement between him and his students who volunteered to help him with firewood and garden produce.
 “Students help me, as well as other teachers, with garden produce and firewood but they are not bringing it anymore because they don’t have any,” he said.

 O’Neill reveals grim education figures

The National,Monday 19th November, 2012

ONLY 3.3% of the country’s college-aged population are enrolled in higher education institutes, Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has
revealed.The grim figures were disclosed by the prime minister during the launch of the Institute of Business Studies Mt Eriama Campus in Port Moresby last week.
“We have 800,000 people between the age group of 18 and 25. Out of this, a mere 28,000 are enrolled in our 32 declared higher and technical education institutions,” O’Neill said.
“That is to say that only 3.3% of our college-aged population are currently enrolled. O’Neill said the economic and social development of any country depended on the education of its people and Papua New Guinea was no exception. O’Neill said to achieve the aims, existing state and private providers would be asked to scale up their operations while new private providers, including reputable providers from overseas, would be encouraged to enter the higher education market in
PNG.

 Villagers conserve land, refuse mining and logging

Post Courier 20 Nov.

THE MANAGALAS people in the Afore district of Ijivitari electorate in Northern Province have donated their 360,000 hectares of land to the Government of Papua New Guinea to serve the people of the world as a conservation area for biodiversity.
A five-day district-wide combined forum held in Tahama village (Zone 5) from November 13 to 16, 2012, revealed that the project to conserve the area was discussed by the people in the plateau for the last 28 years.
Forum facilitator Mr Brian Tasira said in the forum that the people of Managlas have agreed to conserve the land for the future of their children.
He said that it was not a one-man decision to conserve the land, but all the people in the plateau took 28 years to educated themselves before they decided to opt for conservation. “They say no to mining and logging to take place in their untouched, virgin environment because what they have learnt from such activities is that they bring negative impacts to the local communities and the future of their children,” he said.

 More than 700 living in tents

The National, Tuesday 20th November, 2012

MORE than 700 people, including children, displaced by the ethnic clashes last year in Lae, Morobe, are still living in a makeshift so-called  “care centre” made up of tents at an out-of-way location known as Kamkumung Gravel.  A visit by The National yesterday revealed some shocking and unsafe living conditions, especially for the many women, girls and children living there.
There is no fence around the area, no electricity and no connected water. The centre is located minutes off the Uni Gate road and has been in existence for more than a year now.
Shockingly, the 700-odd people had the use of just one pit toilet, as permitted by the customary owner of the land on which they were squatting, spokesman for the centre Simon Kulame said yesterday.
“It is much worse (than it seems) because we have been allowed to build and use only one pit toilet,” Kulame said.
He also pointed out that a tent accommodated up to 20 people, including children and babies, in cramped and unhygienic conditions that significantly increased the risk of contracting diseases.

 Report: 2012 election most expensive

The National, Friday 30th of November, 2012

AN ELECTION campaign finance report launched by Caritas PNG reveals that the 2012 general election is the most expensive for the country to date.
Speaking at the launching in Port Moresby yesterday, Caritas PNG national director Raymond Ton said the report revealed that apart from the extensive costs incurred by the electoral commission in running the elections, there was a huge increase in campaign finance expenditure.
The report said the upward spiral in money politics provided fertile ground for the payback of campaign debts in the form of political favours, which led to the corruption, abuse of power and undue influence.
Caritas PNG representatives said the challenge for the country was to find the best ways of matching the need for a sustainable financial base for parties, with the wider public interest of reducing corruption and avoiding undue influence in politics.
“This report will form the basis for Caritas PNG’s advocacy and awareness activities into the future regarding the role of money in politics and its effect on governance practices in this country,” Ton said.

 Land Owners plug sewerage; hospital panics

Post Courier 22 Nov.

MOUNT Hagen Provincial Hospital will be forced to shut down and discharge its in-patients as early as tomorrow if nothing is done immediately to remove stones and other rubbish blocking the city’s main sewerage system. 
The hospital management fears that if two manholes situated at the lower end of the hospital premises, that were blocked by land owners early this morning, are not cleared, there would be a backflow of human waste that would create havoc for the hospital.
The landowners, in pursuit of an outstanding claim for compensation from the national government, decided to draw its attention by blocking off major manholes around the city as early as 3am, stopping human waste from flowing into the town’s main sewage pond.
Chief executive officer of the Western Highlands Provincial Health Authority, Dr James Kintwa, said such an act would put a lot of lives in danger and urged all parties involved to come up with an amicable solution that doesn’t put the lives of people at risk.
“We already have enough sick people in our wards. We cannot accept any more because there is just not enough space for additional patients.
“The blockage must be removed immediately or else waste would flow back and spill onto the ground through other manholes and spread diseases and put innocent lives at risk,” he said.
“Who is going to be blamed if we are forced to discharge our in-patients without them recovering?” he asked.
Mt Hagen police could not do much to stop the landowners.

 Polye and Manase urged to stop tribal war

Post Courier 23 Nov.

Treasury Minister Don Polye and lawyer Alfred Manase are being urged to return to Kandep immediately and fix up the chaos in the electorate. 
The two leaders are wanted by police, the Enga provincial government and the people of Kandep to return and broker peace among the election related warring tribes and enable government services to flow into the remote electorate. 
Government services ceased following the voting during this year’s elections. All schools, health services and other government services closed down and staff fled as tribal clashes erupted sporadically all over the electorate. 
A fight between Mr Polye’s and Mr Manase’s supporters in the Marend LLG, which allegedly involves over 36 council wards, has so far resulted in an unconfirmed 50 deaths, according to Kandep police.

 Catholic church continues to serve

Post Courier 23 November

The Catholic Church has been contributing immensely in Papua New Guinea’s development in providing basic services to the people for the last 165 years.
The Church has been in the fore front of the country’s development in giving much needed basic services in education, health, youth, family and general community development.
In Education, the Catholic Church has well over 1,700 elementary schools throughout the country with over 116,395 students. 
It also has 1102 primary schools which caters for 181,721 students and 38 secondary schools with over 15,000 students.
The Catholic Church also holds six technical secondary schools with 2630 students, 51 vocational training centres with 5688 students and three teachers’ colleges with well over 2000 students.
The Divine Word University in Madang Province is also a Catholic institution which enrols more than 5000 students while the 14 Callan service centres has over 1,300 students.
The Church also has an HIV/AIDS Committee that serves a total of more than 5 million people in 116 Centres in 19 Dioceses for Anti-Retroviral Treatment for HIV/AIDS Patients.
It has 18 HIV/AIDS treatment Centres, 49 ANC Testing Sites to provide PPTCT and 25 sites for couple counselling.
The Catholic Church is also the largest health service provider in PNG with a total of 177 hospitals, aid posts and health centres which comprises of five Catholic rural hospitals, 132 aid posts and 40 health centres.

 Education gets K484mil increase

The National, Friday 23rd November, 2012

THE government’s spending on education has increased by K483.5 million to K1.8446 billion under the 2013 Budget announced on Wednesday.
 The government will provide an additional K2.4 million to universities, taking the total allocation for universities to K120.7 million.
The national scholarship scheme will also receive a boost of K6.5 million, which would provide more than 10,000 tertiary students with K30 allowances per fortnight for 40 weeks.
An extra K33.2 million has been earmarked for the existing tertiary education scholarship and assistance scheme (TESAS).

 The Pacific’s digital future

http://www.lowyinterpreter.org/post/2012/11/21/The-Pacifics-digital-future.aspx

In a new Lowy Institute Analysis research paper launched today, Digital Islands: How the Pacific’s ICT Revolution is Transforming the Regionoutlines how about 60% of Pacific Islanders now have access to a mobile phone and this figure continues to climb. This has coincided and fused with another global phenomenon, the rise of social media. This growth in mobile phone access is extraordinary given that only four years ago, six countries (PNG, Vanuatu, the Solomon Islands, Kiribati, Tuvalu and the Marshall Islands) had penetration rates of 16% or less, meaning less than just 1 in 5 people had access to a mobile phone. In 2006 only 2% of PNG’s population had access to a mobile phone; today this figure is fast approaching 40%. The mobile growth statistics are impressive, but the region is home to some of the lowest internet penetration rates in the world. For example, Only 2% of PNG’s population had access to the internet in 2011 and in Solomon Islands, Samoa and Vanuatu, it is less than 10%. However, web-enabled mobile phones and Facebook phones are enabling the region to leapfrog barriers (such as remoteness, cost and availability) to computer-enabled internet access. PNG is leading the region’s growth in social media use with Facebook membership nearing 150,000, a figure which has tripled since mid-2011.

 Asylum Seeker Policy Chaotic, Inhumane and Explosive – Priest

Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese, 
15 Nov 2012http://www.sydneycatholic.org/news/latest_news/2012/20121115_872.shtml

Father Jim Carty, Coordinator of the Marist Asylum Seeker and Refugee Services says the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees alarm that conditions on Nauru for more than 400 asylum seekers have become “unbearable” is well founded. In June this year the Government commissioned an Expert Panel led by Air Vice-Marshall Angus Houston and comprising refugee advocate, Paris Aristotle and Professor Michael L’Estrange to develop a series of recommendations to stop asylum seekers risking their lives on boats. The recommendations were handed down by the Expert Panel three months ago and were immediately adopted by the Government. “What is happening in Nauru today was completely predictable. Quite simply, people went mad. Most were eventually found to be genuine refugees and were settled in Australia but almost all continue to struggle with mental illness as a result of their time on the Island,” Father Carty says. “What the Government hasn’t made clear to Australians is that many asylum seekers who arrive on our shores have already spent five or six years waiting in Malaysia or Indonesia or other countries for resettlement and finally in desperation to find safety for themselves and their families decide to risk their lives at sea,” he says. “For them threats of Nauru are simply a Sophie’s choice between sitting in a country with no rights, no access to work and living a life of deprivation or gambling that at the end of the boat journey, they may find safety in Australia.” [ Now some asylum seekers are being sent to Manus Island in PNG]

 Asylum seekers to relocate

The National, Monday 26th November 2012

THE asylum seekers camp in Lombrum, Manus, will be relocated to a new place on the island, a government official said last Friday.
A senior military officer based at the Tarangau (Lombrum) naval base, who did not want to be named as he is not authorised to speak on the issue, said the administrators of the facility wanted to move the centre to a new location.
The official, who is familiar with the matter, said: “Around 9,000 asylum seekers are expected here, we were told.“Right now, the facility can cater for 500 people.
“This is a temporary facility.”
He confirmed that 19 people, among whom were four children, arrived at the facility last Wednesday.
“They just live in tents and bunkers erected by the Australian army.”

 ‘No advantage’ policy more harmful than leaky boats

http://www.eurekastreet.com.au/article.aspx?aeid=34265

The Australian Federal Government is using its imagination and casting around for further ways to be cruel to asylum seekers living in the community on bridging visas. Fairfax reported on Friday that the Immigration Department has invited church groups to suggest measures that would make the lives of asylum seekers more difficult, as part of its ‘no advantage’ policy.

The policy is the most politically palatable of the measures recommended by the Expert Panel on Asylum Seekers when it handed down its report in August. It promotes disincentives that will cause asylum seekers to decide against taking ‘irregular maritime voyages’, by ensuring that they gain ‘no benefit by choosing not to seek protection through established mechanisms’.

Last week, Immigration Minister Chris Bowen announced conditions under which asylum seekers will be released into the community. These include a living allowance that is less than the dole and a ban on working for five years, even after they have been granted asylum.

The fact is that if you treat people harshly, you will diminish them as human beings, and they will cease to value their own lives. Already they are prohibited from working. They will have difficulty sustaining relationships and it is unlikely they will feel that they can make a positive contribution to society, perhaps ever. This undermines the justification for the initial harsh treatment. One of the stated reason for the ‘no advantage’ policy is that dangerous maritime voyages put the asylum seekers’ lives at risk, but surely no more than the ‘no advantage’ policy itself.

 Mt Hagen not safe for girls: police commander

Post Courier 27 Nov

THE Western Highlands Provincial Police Commander has issued a strong warning to teenage girls in the province to take extra precaution while moving around in Mt Hagen city or the main market areas.
PPC Superintendent Kagilo Ambane issued this warning recently.
From the 20 major crimes reported in the province last week alone, unlawful sexual penetration and rape cases topped the record where many of the victims are teenage girls while murder and other crimes were second on the list.
Mr Ambane said many young women were falling prey to opportunists and rapists who were forcefully holding up vulnerable women and girls who were alone and are forcefully sexually assaulting them or raping them.
“These rape cases are becoming more often around the main markets in Mt Hagen and the streets of the city itself,” PPC Ambane said.

 MP prefers four seats

The National, Tuesday 27th November, 2012

SOHE MP Delilah Gore is calling for four reserved seats for women in parliament instead of the 22 that has been suggested.
Highlighting this yesterday, Gore said 22 seats were too many. However, she proposed there be only four, one representing each region – southern, highlands, Momase and the New Guinea Islands. 
“I don’t support the 22 reserved seats for women because this would only contradict how I came into parliament. But I would like to see women given autonomy through these four reserved seats – to be the voice for women in each of their regions,” Gore said.
Her comment supported that of fellow female MP (Lae) and Minister for Religion, Youth and Community Development Loujaya Toni’s about how women should seek parliament representation through elections.
Gore said being equally elected members of parliament, she and her other fellow female MPs (Toni and Eastern Highlands Governor Julie Soso) had gained equal respect from their male counterparts to have their say in parliament.

 Doctor: Govt needs to address social chaos

The National, Tuesday 27th November, 2012

THERE is a need for the government to address increasing social disorders in the country, a doctor says.
Former Tari hospital chief executive officer Dr Bravy Koensong said social disorders were “eating away the core of the society”.
Koensong said domestic violence, rape, abortion, prostitution, women’s health issues, HIV/AIDS and infertility, among others, were affecting families.
He said obesity, lifestyle diseases, mental disorders and similar issues were part of the social disorders hindering the livelihood of the people.
He said a tribal war had erupted at Sugu valley in Kagua district, Southern Highlands, as a result of an abortion, while wife-beatings, HIV/AIDS, divorces, rape and infertility had sparked disputes.
Koensong, who is the deputy administrator  for Southern Highlands, said the government needed to look at ways to address these increasing chaos at the community level.
He suggested government begin by setting up family life support centres and frequently monitor them with funding.
 “It is now up to the government, through the Community Development Department, to fund family life support centres and look into new ways of addressing disorders at the community level.”

 Pacific kids learn survival through nursery rhymes

http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/pacific/2012-11-27/pacific-kids-learn-survival-through-nursery-rhymes/1052146

An Australian charity [Caritas] has developed a DVD which uses nursery rhymes to help early childhood teachers in the Pacific teach techniques on surviving natural disasters. Adam Elliot, Caritas program manager in the Solomons has told Radio Australia, children are among the most at risk from natural disasters. “We found that kids were vulnerable in emergencies, particularly to panic, and as adults we’re all inclined to worry about our families first,” he said. “So the possibility was there for kids to be left behind or forgotten in the event of an emergency, and we felt that we need to start to prepare the kids.” Mr Elliot says children are taught nursery rhymes with accompanying actions that contain memorable and simple emergency response information. “Teachers [will] identify something…as a risk for their community, and they’ll talk in their group and find a common tune that they all know, and that they think their school kids know,” he said. “Then with the disaster management office, they’ll develop simple lyrics to fit that tune, that follow the best and recommended response in the event of something like a cyclone.”

 Pirates rob passenger ferry

The National, Wednesday 28th November, 2012

A PASSENGER ferry was held up by pirates in coastal waters off Bukawa between Finschhafen and Lae, Morobe, yesterday morning.
They held up passengers and crew of the mv Geyam­sao and made off with the ship’s takings.
Some of the men boarded the vessel as pretending to be passengers at Buki, with guns and bush knives hidden in their luggage.
He said the onboard pirates waited until they arrived at Cape Arkona, off Yambo and Widuru villages, before they took their weapons out and ordered everyone to lie face down on the lower deck.
Men armed with bush knives then rummaged through the belongings of some passengers and stealing whatever they could find.
 The ship’s mastera said he was at the wheel when a man armed with a gun appeared on the port side and ordered him to do as he was told. 
Another man then entered the wheelhouse and damaged the ship’s communication equipment. 
The robbers left in two banana boats that had come to pick them up in what was obvious­ly a planned operation.

 IT, OBE blamed for poor English

Post Courier 28 Nov
.

A teacher who taught 10 years in secondary school revealed that mobile phones, Outcome based education and educational structural reform are among other factors that contributes to the fall in the Standard of students English in the country. 
Tobias Yambe, a teacher at Fr Peter Secondary, Fatima, in the Jiwaka Province said that communication via mobile phones was very much abusing the basic structure as well as the phonetic alphabet. He said there was non-existence of letter writing from one student to another or to institutions. “We do teach the correct formats and provide samples for students to follow, but I wonder if students would use them accurately in the real world. Much of the written communication is done using sound symbols (numbers and letters of the alphabet),” he said.

 PM: Curriculum not ready

Post Courier 28 Nov.

PRIME Minister Peter O’Neill has expressed fears that a new curriculum to replace the OBE may not be ready before schools begin classes next year.
Mr O’Neill said the government had decided to abolish the Outcome Base Education but there had been very strong resistance by the Department of Education.
He said it was the government’s intention and parents desires that there needs to be changes in the education system.
“It is the concern of all parents and the government that OBE must go but somehow this has fallen on deaf ears.”
“We are working with our development partners to get a new curriculum in place before school begins next year. I fear it will not be ready.” Mr O’Neill said.

 PNG hands down big spending budget

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-11-21/an-png-hands-down-big-spending-budget/4383952

The government in Papua New Guinea has handed down a big spending budget with a focus on rebuilding the country’s crumbling infrastructure. At just under six billion dollars it’s PNG’s biggest ever budget and the government is going to have to borrow more than a billion dollars to fund it. Some of the big ticket items include 200 million dollars to start rebuilding the country’s main economic artery, the Highlands Highway, and 140 million dollars to comprehensively restore the Port Moresby General Hospital. The budget predicts growth will fall from 9 per cent this year to 4 per cent next year. Inflation is expected to climb to 8 per cent.

Director of PNG’s Institute of National Affairs, Paul Barker has told Radio Australia’s Pacific Beat that although he considers the budget conservative, the government is counting on the situation in Asia improving. “With a decline in the growth of some of the major Asian economies – like almost recession in India again, Chinese growth back to 7 per cent, this is resulting in lower commodity prices and we’re dependent on those commodity prices for getting us the level of revenue that are expected particularly from the mining sector and through taxes,” he said.

“What was concerning me was that there doesn’t seem to be anything, as far as I can see so far, for building up the capacity building at the local level – the district, local government level – there seems to be an indication that this would be left to the development partners,” he said.

 Budget strategy paper

http://www.treasury.gov.pg/html/national_budget/files/2011/budget_documents/Related%20Budget%20Documents/budget_strategy_paper.2012.pdf

 

 

Feel free to distribute these Social Concerns Notes.  Archives of previous notes may be found at http://tokstret.com

 

 

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