Social Concerns Notes – February 2016

State slashes K50m from Christian Health Services budget
Post Courier, February 18, 2016

THE Government has slashed K50 million from the 2016 budget for Christian Health Services, its major partner in the delivery of health services. This was confirmed yesterday by the CHS chairman White Kintak and chief executive officer Joseph Sika. They said the cut was affecting different CHS health facilities, including its 12 district hospitals. “CHS provides 798 health facilities, of which 12 are district hospitals. This is about 47 per cent of the country’s health services,” Mr Sika said.

He said the CHS has submitted a budget of K167 million but the Government had given K98 million.

He said the K167 million budget was based on a study conducted by a technical mission funded by Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. CHS has 4000 workers, including 375 new positions that were created last year following the study by the technical mission.

Mr Kintak said the budget cut of K50 million has put CHS in a difficult situation and is affecting all areas of service delivery. In relation to yesterday’s news on Kudjip Nazarene Hospital’s plan to increase its hospital fees, he said this is a result of the budget cut to the CHS which is affecting this hospital as well as all other CHS hospitals.

 

More Calls To Expedite Strategy Against Violence in PNG

http://www.onepng.com/2016/01/more-calls-to-expedite-strategy-against.html, January 31, 2016

In light of the alarming rate of abused women in Papua New Guinea, Senior Constable, Juliana Epe from the Royal PNG Constabulary, has rallied behind calls for government to expedite the country’s Gender Based Violence Strategy to address and quell violence-related crimes. … The rate of cases dealt with by the Boroko Family and Sexual Violence Unitd (FSVU) in 2009 has increased dramatically from between 1 to 5 cases of female victims per day, to figures between 20 to 35 cases being processed by the Unit on a daily basis, at present. “This is a big problem in Papua New Guinea, but it needs more than government intervention, it needs the police force working with community to address the implications of violence.

 

Update on impact of drought in PNG on food supply, early February 2016

Some selections from report by Mike Bourke

Western Province

Olsobip area. There have been reports that food remains scarce in the Olsobip area, with possibly the situation worse in Selbang and other more remote locations in the east. Some food has been transported by air to trade stores at Olsobip Station. These are commercial deliveries, not food aid.

Highland fringe locations

Southwest Southern Highlands Province. Villagers who live in SHP between Mt Bosavi and Mt Sisa (South of Komo; west of Lake Kutubu) – There have been some reports that they are suffering from food shortages similar to those of people to the west in Western Province.

Gumine, Salt and Nomane LLGs, south Simbu Province. A number of observers, including Mathias Kin in Kundiawa and staff of CARE PNG reported serious food shortages in these three LLG areas in the south of Simbu Province and less serious issues in areas immediately to the north.

Very high altitude locations in Enga, Hela, Southern Highlands and Western Highlands

It was estimated that an estimated 410,000 people at very high altitude locations in Kandep and other districts in Enga and nearby locations in parts of Hela, Southern Highlands and Western Highlands provinces were affected by severe and repeated frosts in July-August 2015. The frosts destroyed most food crops, including the staple food sweet potato. This has been further compounded in places by wild fire damage to property and fallow vegetation. There are indications that some people are suffering from lack of food, as well as loss of property. However, many villagers in the very high altitude locations seem to have coped with the loss of gardens, possibly because of improved transport links, cash remittances and some food aid.

Small islands in Milne Bay Province

The Milne Bay provincial authorities’ assessment in October 2015 indicated that 18,700 villagers on 31 islands were suffering from severe food shortages. The Provincial Disaster Coordinator (Steven Tobessa) and colleagues organized for food and water to be delivered to these islands in December 2015, using funds allocated for rebuilding after cyclone damage in 2014. They advise that the food would last until February when further assessments would be conducted.

 

El Niño takes its toll on PNG’s agricultural output

Post Courier, 16 February 2016

EFFORTS to promote agricultural self-sufficiency in Papua New Guinea saw a setback in 2015, with sector growth affected by severe drought conditions triggered by the El Niño weather pattern.

The drought is also likely to impact PNG’s agri-business sector, disrupting supplies of produce for processing and hitting the country’s key agricultural export – coffee. According to World Bank estimates, PNG accounts for 1% of global coffee production. Floods in early 2015 damaged some coffee plantations in the Highland region, while the subsequent drought is expected to take its toll on the upcoming harvest. Supply chains have borne the brunt of the drought, as water levels in many of the country’s larger rivers are now too low to transport produce or other goods. In late January the prime minister announced plans to hold consultations with farmers, wholesalers and retailers on improving supply chains. According to O’Neill, airfreight is being considered to ship produce from remote regions, such as the fertile Highlands.

 

Most refugees are West Papuans: Pato

The National, Thursday February 11th, 2016

MINISTER for Foreign Affairs and Immigration Rimbink Pato says more than 90 per cent of refugees in the country are from West Papua. “Under the National Refugee Policy, we have helped more than 1100 West Papuans to apply for PNG citizenship and will help thousands more in 2016,” Pato said. “In comparison, only a few hundred non-Melanesian refugees are likely to settle in PNG.
“Many of them have skills that are needed by PNG businesses allowing them to stay and work and strengthen our nation’s economy and development.” He thanked the people for their support in the national refugee policy. “As Melanesians and Christians, we have strong traditions of helping people in need,” he said.  “Refugees fled war, persecution and torture to be able to survive in peace and safety – the Govenment is happy to offer them this opportunity. “Refugees must work to support themselves. They will receive support to establish themselves but will not be given long-term housing or other special treatment. “Some have already started working and are successfully and independently rebuilding their lives.”

 

Pato: 515 on Manus

The National, Wednesday February 10th, 2016

MINISTER for Foreign Affairs and Immigration Rimbink Pato says 515 asylum seekers on Manus have had their refugee status determined under the Regional Resettlement Arrangements.
He confirmed that 472 “have been determined to be refugees and are free to depart from the processing centre and commence settling in PNG”.  He said 61 had already left the centre to undergo training to prepare for life in PNG.  Six have left Manus and were believed to be living and working in Lae. “Many of these refugees have skills which are in short supply in PNG and are needed by employers to grow our economy,” Pato said. “They will be provided some short-term support to establish themselves in locations where they can obtain jobs, including Lae and Port Moresby. We expect to finish refugee status assessments for the remaining asylum seekers by the end of March.”
He said those who received a negative assessment were entitled to apply for an independent review.
“I expect these to be finalised by the end of June,” he said. “Those people who are not refugees will be required to go home. They can either be assisted to return voluntarily or else they will be deported.”

 

Human trafficking in Papua New Guinea – small but significant progress

Source: http://devpolicy.org/in-brief/human-trafficking-in-papua-new-guinea-small-but-significant-progress-20160204/?utm_source=Devpolicy&utm_campaign=82c8ca882d-Devpolicy_News__Feb_15_2016&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_082b498f84-82c8ca882d-227683090.   February 4, 2016

Papua New Guinea had made some progress in addressing human trafficking, moving up a level from the worst-performing group of countries in the U.S. Department of State’s annual Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report. In the 2015 update of the report, released at the end of last year, Papua New Guinea moved from Tier 3, the group of countries deemed not to be making any effort to address trafficking, to Tier 2 (watch list). PNG has been listed as a Tier 3 country since the 2008 report, so this change reflects small but significant progress.

Some of the positive improvements in PNG outlined in the report have included the tightening of laws and policies regulating human trafficking. The government’s recent Criminal Code Amendment made in 2013 prohibits all forms of trafficking and prescribes a maximum sentence of 20 years’ imprisonment for trafficking of adult labour and sex, and 25 years for cases involving children. The code also established a new anti-trafficking training program for front-line officers and judiciaries. There have also been improvements in law enforcement in PNG to match the tightened policies.

 

The (soft) power and the passion: challenges to anti-corruption activism in PNG

By Grant Walton on February 19, 2016 http://devpolicy.org/the-soft-power-and-the-passion-challenges-to-anti-corruption-activism-in-png-20160219/?utm_source=Devpolicy&utm_campaign=e101718491-Devpolicy_News__Feb_26_2016&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_082b498f84-e101718491-227683090

Papua New Guinea has a long history of anti-corruption activism. The churches, unions, landowner groups, students as well as local and international NGOs have all been involved in fighting abuses of power. And there has been some success. In 1997, concerns about corruption fuelled protest towards the government’s attempt to bring in mercenaries to fight the civil war in Bougainville, which became known as the Sandline Affair. This led to the resignation of the then prime minister Sir Julius Chan. In 2005 a Community Coalition Against Corruption (including NGOs like Transparency International PNG and the churches) helped scupper two parliamentary bills aimed at reducing the power of the Ombudsman Commission and increasing Members of Parliament’s constituency funds. They collected tens of thousands of signatures, which were presented to parliament. (This only temporarily stopped the rise of discretionary funding as these funds have grown exponentially since 2013).

The propensity for citizens to resist corruption should have increased since these success stories, as access to the internet has spread throughout the country. Citizens are now better informed about alleged corruption than ever before. However, questions remain about the willingness of citizens to en masse protest the country’s many corruption scandals. The state of PNG sometimes expresses its growing power through threat and violence. Anti-corruption activists are threatened by the police, have had their protests forcibly broken up, and have been assaulted. Yet there are signs that it is the state’s soft power that is even more effective in quelling dissent. PNG has a history of activists running for political office, and getting into power can significantly disrupt their movements. This occurred after the Sandline Affair when those associated with civil society organisations protesting against the government got into power.

PNG’s anti-corruption activists are connected to the state in various ways, which reduces their legitimacy in the eyes of some. In turn, their perceived politicisation reduces the potential for broader protest movements. The key threat to these movements is not the state’s hard power, but its soft power, expressed through the lure of political office.

 

Import ban shows positive impact

The National, Wednesday February 3rd, 2016

THE ban on imported vegetables last August had a positive impact on the people, especially those living in rural areas who survive on agriculture activities. Toppy Sundu, programme coordinator of Individual Reform and Restoration Movement Inc  (IRRM), a community based organisation located at Womkama village in Gembogl district of Chimbu, said the Minister for Agriculture and Livestock had made a landmark decision, given that majority of the country’s population rely on agriculture.
Sundu said during the period of the ban, they have carried out a case study for Gembogl bulb onion farmers through  interview leaders’ comments and recommendations in general informal meetings and physical development which indicated that:

  • RRM have built 21 of 100 house using income from their bulb onion produce;
  • parents have money to clothe and pay for their children’s school fees and also pay for their medical fees: and,
  • Youth’s habit of drug consumption, home brewing, stealing, road blocks and other social disorder in the community have been substituted for vegetables farming.

“The decision on the ban has unfolded a new sense of direction and focus for rural farmers to actively participate in improving their life style and at the same time contribute towards nation building,” Sundu said.

Mob kills family over ‘sorcery’

The National, Friday February 5th, 2016

A STUDENT and his immediate family were killed at a village in Chimbu last weekend after they were accused of sorcery, police say. Provincial police commander Supt Albert Beli said student Wemin Peter, his brother, father and mother were chopped to death by family members of a man who died in Lae. Two other relatives of the family were also attacked but were unaccounted for.
Beli said he had sent a police unit from Gumine into the area to investigate the killings. According to a source who requested that his identify be protected, the Mul Primary School Grade Seven student and his family were killed on allegations of using sorcery to kill a man. The source said the man died after drowning in the Bumbu River. Police Commander Beli condemned the killings. “Suspecting someone of sorcery does not give anyone the right to take someone else’s life away.”

 

Missionary Sisters serving in Africa
Post Courier, February 08, 2016

THREE Papua New Guinea Catholic missionaries working in Africa say it is a challenge working away from one’s home country, but it is about making known the love of Christ. Sister Pauline Dilou, originally from Milne Bay Province, and colleagues Sister Mary Robu, from East New Britain, and Sister Philemona Ani’isa, from Central Province, work in different parts of the African continent. Between them, they speak French and Portuguese as well as English and Tok Pisin. They say that being a missionary is not easy, especially in the initial years, but it is all about making known the love of Christ. For them, it is also about sharing the heart of the Daughters of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, the order that they belong to as nuns. Currently they are in the country on holidays; Sr Pauline returns to Cameroon next month where she had been for three years, working as an assistant at the formation house which trains young girls life skills. Previously, she worked for six years in South Africa with women and children, including those living with HIV and AIDS. Sr Mary Robu is returning on Wednesday to Angola where she had been working for 11 years and love the people and the country. She arrived in Angola in 2005 soon, after it gained independence so she worked in a refugee camp, and then with street children and young people which was tough. Now, she is helping run a program for orphans aged between four and 15 years. The third nun, Sr Philemona Ani’isa, had recently returned after working for six years in Sudan where it had not be easy; the country had long years of civil war and is rebuilding but it is still often tense, but she loves the people. “Sudan is still at war but I love my people,’’ says Sr Philemona. “I told my superiors that I’m open, if they want me to go back I will go back.’’ The three are trained nurses, but often respond to calls out of their profession as the need arises.

 

How the Yuri found an answer to destructive tribal warfare

JOE KUMAN http://asopa.typepad.com/asopa_people/2016/02/how-the-yuri-found-an-answer-to-destructive-tribal-warfare.html#more

AFTER more than 40 years of disintegration and acrimony due to warfare among the clans of one of the biggest tribes in Simbu Province, tribal members had to try to change the course of events.

The world had changed rapidly and people were no longer to be enslaved to primitive ways, as in fighting each other over trivial and preventable causes that escalated into lost lives, destroyed property and migration to distant land. The Yuri tribe of Simbu engaged in 10 years of war from the mid-1970s over a mosquito bite that had occurred in Kimbe in West New Britain Province. Another clash broke out over the theft of an egg and resulted in dozens of deaths on both sides. A major was between the Golin and Yuri tribes had its cause in the non-repayment of pork meat given to a Yuri man by a Golin man during a pig killing ceremony. The Ela Nauri fight broke out over a fallen branch of a pandanus tree when a Yuri man imitated an Ela Nauri man lamenting the fallen branch. Such insignificant and somewhat comical causes of tribal fights happen not only in Yuri but all over Simbu. But most often people use national elections as an excuse to fight each other every five years.

On 22 December 2012, there was a milestone meeting of youth, elites and prominent citizens of the tribe at Mingende Pastoral Centre. As the issues were addressed, many people burst into tears especially those who could no longer could not speak in their original mother tongue. Some of them were born, raised and educated in far-off terra firma. …

The movement gained support from like-minded tribal members as well as a neighbouring tribe and it was registered as an association with the PNG Investment Promotion Authority under the name of Yuri Alaiku Kuikane Association (YAKA Inc). It is neither a political nor a religious movement but a body established to ensure that the people of Yuri are one cohesive and united people worki.ng towards building peace and development to be equal with other communities throughout the world.

More information about YAKA can be accessed in its Facebook page Yuri Alaiku Kuikane Association or contact YAKA Admin on email yaka.association.inc@gmail.com

 

PNG urged to use safe chemical gases
Post Courier, February 10, 2016

PAPUA New Guinea is buying, selling and using cheap refrigerants, a workshop on the environment has been told in Port Moresby. Refrigerants are chemical gases used in a cooling mechanism, such as an air conditioner or refrigerator, as the heat carrier which changes from gas to liquid and back to gas in the refrigeration cycle. Industries should think seriously about the long-term and environmentally friendly technologies, not cheap, low quality stuff, says Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) senior project manager Neeta Sharma. She said the Government must do more awareness to get rid of the ozone depleting substances (ODS) and provide proper equipment and training for users seeing that the current chlorodifluoromethane (HCFCs) used in PNG. “The chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs – the R11, R12, R500 and R502) play a similar role but have caused more harm to the ozone layer hence it was phased out in 2010. “HCFCs are harmful but they need to be handled by qualified people in order for a wise use. In 2050, all HCFCs will be phased out,” Ms Sharma said. She said that will leave the importing industries and users to use only the HCFs, which is also known as the natural and environmentally friendly refrigerants. Ms Sharma said. She congratulated the PNG Customs Service for working hard to confiscate several banned ODS coming into PNG.

 

Insects destroying gardens

The National, Wednesday February 10th, 2016

THE drought situation in the Trobriand Islands has been delivered another blow – insects destroying food gardens. Kiriwina-Goodenough MP Douglas Tomuriesa said insects had invaded gardens and destroyed the remaining crop which survived the drought. He said the invasion of insects was severe as it could worsen the suffering of the people. He said just as humans were affected by a shortage of food, the insects were feeding on plants like never before.  “While we are trying to fix one problem, another one arises. And this is not helping our efforts at all,” Tomuriesa said.
“Right now, I am not sure where to focus my attention on or to divert funding towards – toward the drought or to fight the insects.” The El Nino has affected all the food gardens in the islands.

 

Tari secondary shut
Post Courier, February 10, 2016

TWO weeks into the school year and about 1000 plus students at the Catholic Church run Tari secondary school in the Hela province are still not in classes. The school has been forced to close for an indefinite period after the Hela provincial education board (PEB) without ‘consulting’ the school selected 572 grade nines and sent them to the school. Deputy principal (administration) Sr Jasmine George said the school has five classrooms and can only accommodate 275 grade nine students which is 50-55 students per class. Sr George said the Hela PEB is forcing the school to enroll the 572 students which would mean that the school would take an unrealistic 13 classes of grade nines which the school simply does not have the capacity to do so. “Unless the Hela PEB re-select and send us 275 grade nine students, we would not be able to resume classes,” Sr George said. Catholic Bishop of Mendi Donald Lippert said it is a failure of communication between the Hela PEB and the Catholic education agency. “We want the best for the students and we cannot take in the 600 students the Hela PEB has selected. “The school does not have the capacity, classrooms and teachers to take in this number of students. “We want to work in partnership with Hela PEB for the benefit of our children and we hope the PEB re-select and send us 275 students so that we begin classes.

 

Basil: Drugs & human trafficking real
Post Courier, February 15, 2016

The Deputy Opposition Leader Sam Basil, has called on the National Government to wake up to the threats of illegal and illicit drug trading, money laundering and human trafficking. Consumption of liquor, illegal brews and drugs such as marijuana and other illicit drugs has attributed to many crimes committed in PNG. PNG’s own law enforcement agencies including our very own National Narcotics Control Bureau (NNCB) lacks capacity including government’s support and control to combat those illegal activities which is getting out of control, Mr Basil said.

 

TFF policy increases school enrolments
Post Courier, February 18, 2016

SCHOOL enrolments have increased sharply since 2011 because of the introduction of tuition fee free policy. The net enrolments during 2011-2014 increased by 68 per cent in Grade Eight and Grade Nine and by 45 per cent in Grade 10 and Grade 11. These are figures that were shared at the leaders’ summit yesterday by the education sector. Acting Education Secretary Dr Uke Kombra says there has been a huge bridge in gender parity, meaning more girls were enrolling in schools and doing academically well since 2011. He said there has been a growth in the number of schools – 11,224 schools, about 52,832 teachers and two million students. Praising the Government’s policy that is intended to give every school-aged child an education opportunity, Dr Kombra admitted there are pressures that come with it. This is especially the bottlenecks at Grade Eight, Grade 10 transitions and the annual exit of Grade 12 students. Dr Kombra said that inspectors have the right to suspend school directors or teachers if they are found to have misused funds. Also such matters should be investigated by the police. But the secretary said that this year the Government has introduced the single integrated tuition fee free policy transparency and accountability of school funds.

 

TFF not helping’
Post Courier, February 17, 2016

THE Catholic Professionals Society says it is concerned about the Government’s apparent chaotic handling of the education system. The society is calling on a public meeting to deliberate at the St Joseph School hall in Port Moresby to voice concerns about tuition fees. The Catholic Church with 20 education agency services is the largest education service provider in PNG. They own and manage about 20 per cent of all education services with 3165 schools (elementary, primary, secondary, tertiary, technical and vocational) providing for about 379,863 students. Society president Paul Herricknen said in a statement yesterday that the Government has not consulted the church and its agencies on the education reforms relating to curriculum and the much-politicised free education policy. The church and its agency schools have been undermined, and treated with contempt considering the fact that the Catholic Church is a major education service provider, he said.

There have been constant changes to the education policies from outcomes based education to standard based education. Mr Herricknen said that doing away with grades eights and grade ten (10) national examinations, over-enrolments in schools, lack of qualified teachers, equipment, resources and infrastructure are serious concerns. “The much-publicised tuition fee free policy seems more a political gimmick than a serious free education policy. There is no free education. “The Government has no money to fund its free education policy. School fees are continued in the guise of project fees.

“We call on the Government not to play politics with essential services like education and health.

“We also call on the Government to engage the church agencies as equal partners for the education of our people,” he said.

 

Progress not widespread

The National, Thursday February 18th, 2016

THE progress on human development for Papua New Guinea is not widespread, United Nations Development Programme’s resident representative Roy Trivedy says. He told the Leaders’ Summit yesterday that PNG failed to achieve any of its Millennium Development Goals (MDG). “We make leaps ahead and we fall back and it is liable to slip back unless we give the same amount of attention that we give to building infrastructure into building the human capital,” Trivedy said. “We did not meet any of the Millennium Development Goals. Despite that there are phenomenal levels of growth.”
Trivedy said universal primary education was beginning to transform the country but more children needed to be in schools. He added PNG had reduced its child mortality rate.
In 1990, there were 89 children under the age of five dying out of every 1000. By 2013 this was reduced to 61, he said. “We have 36 per cent of our population who are below the poverty line and we need to address that together,” Trivedy said. “We need to do better and keep improving. This is an indication that there is progress that we need to build on. “With human development index, PNG wants to be in the top 50 and we have our aspirations.  “There are basically three key dimensions of human development, health education and living standards none of that can be achieved without better institutions.”

 

Many face injustice: Bishop

The National, Thursday February 18th, 2016

INJUSTICE is a vital development issue for Papua New Guinea, chairman of Papua New Guinea Christian Leaders Alliance on HIV and AIDS John Ribat says. “The negative effects which are evident in the lives of our people at different levels on a daily basis, the ongoing practice of injustice overtime has created a culture of its own that those who practice injustice cannot feel guilty and reason that the acts of injustice are wrong,” Ribat said in a statement. “Injustice directly denies and deprives people who are the intended beneficiaries of the country’s development plans as envisaged in Vision 2050.” He said injustice was the opposite of justice for the people in their plight to access legal and social justice as well as to basic goods and services.
He said injustice happened when:

  • people were not having equal and fair access to basic goods and services which they are supposed to access in their respective wards, districts and provinces;
  • mothers in rural areas in PNG continued to die of birth complications due to lack of proper health facilities;
  • men, women and children suffered and die due to late arrival of food and medical supplies as a result of disaster such as El Nino;
  • people were not given equal and fair opportunity to improve their socio-economic status;
  • women and girls who had were raped and sexually abused continued to face delay in justice by enlaw enforcing agencies serve justice to perpetrators; and
  • people living with HIV, sex workers and people with diverse sexual orientation continue to face stigma, discrimination and sexual abuse and when they are denied access to social and legal justice.

He urged PNG to lift its show.

 

PM O’Neill halts death penalty law
Post Courier, February 22, 2016

JUSTICE Secretary Lawrence Kalinoe confirmed that the regulations and procedures for the execution process to fully implement the death penalty have been completed and ready for Cabinet. However, he said the death penalty law has been put on hold as instructed by Prime Minister Peter O’Neill for an indefinite period. “The paper is complete and ready but I have been instructed to put it on hold,” he said. “Once we hear again from the Prime Minister we can give you another update,” he added. There are now 13 death row inmates who were sentenced to life imprisonment.

 

Schools in doubt: Bishop

The National, Monday February 22nd, 2016

THE future of three large boarding institutions in Kairuku-Hiri district, Central is in doubt due to lack of funding, Bishop Rochus Tatamai of Bereina says. An analysis of the tuition fee-free payments revealed that in secondary, primary and elementary schools, about 25 per cent of schools missed out on the TFF. Schools which received the TFF only got around 10 per cent based on the NEC fee limits for 2016 – not the 50 per cent first payment promised by the Education Minister.
From the TFF:

  • Mainohana Secondary (Bereina) with 539 students received K92,984;
  • Sacred Heart High School in Tapini Goilala with 279 students had received K34,584; and,
  • St Peters’ Vocational (Mainohana-TVET) with 152 students received K594.

The diocese of the Bereina Catholic Education Agency administers 108 operating schools – one secondary school, one high school, one vocational school, 52 primary and community schools and 53 elementary schools. They also administer 15 community schools in Goilala and two elementary schools on the coast which are currently suspended.
“We have been advised by the TFF secretariat with the Department of Education that schools received a shortfall in the first TFF payment due to a shortfall in funding received from the Treasury.”

 

Cursed Generation: People along Angabanga river doomed to chemical poisoning

Post Courier, February 23, 2016

A cursed generation is how pathologist Dr Sylvester Kotapu describes the fate of the people living along the length of the Angabanga River in the Kairuku-Hiri district of Central Province. “The physical derangement of the environment, we don’t need an expert opinion on this. You go there, you’ll see: the chaotic flooding because of the buildup of sediments, the loss of food crops. “But what’s more specific affecting the people there is the chemical poisoning coming about because of practice of a tailings management which is unlawfully deemed in the world,” he says. Dr Kotapu had been commissioned by the Central Provincial Government in 2007 to carry out a study on the communities along the river. He has released his report which was to identify the cause of peculiar diseases being reported by Veifa and Bereina health centres. Dr Kotapu’s finding was in par with other preceding studies which reported high levels of mine-related chemicals in the river system, biota and bloodstream of people. It was concluded with the understanding that these groups of people have been exposed to very dangerous toxic chemicals believed to be discharged from mining activities upstream.

“From there we realised that high chemicals of mercury and lead and all that, was affecting the people.

“In one or two of the post-mortems that I’ve done, the brains, lungs, kidney, everywhere are full of these chemicals,” he said. He said this was the result of riverine tailings disposal (RTD) practised by Tolukuma Gold Mine, located at the Angabanga river head, in Goilala district of Central Province.

RDT had been outlawed worldwide because it is considered environmentally unfriendly and socially irresponsible. Dr Kotapu’s report said the decision by the previous owners since productions in 1996 has cursed the generations of Goilala, Mekeo and Kuni villages forever. “Our people are actually cursed for life because of the fact that genes transfer from one to another by way of egg and sperm, the genes transfer. “If there is a mix-up in the father, I’m passing through to the next so it shows out in the way of expressing whatever chemicals – this is cross-generational inheritance,” Dr Kotapu said.

 

Dare to dream, but in PNG dreaming’s not enough

http://asopa.typepad.com/asopa_people/2016/02/dare-to-dream-but-in-png-dreamings-not-enough.html#more. By Dulciana Somare-Brash. Pacific Institute of Public Policy

THERE are many people commenting online on the impacts of decisions taken by the current Papua New Guinea government. Many express their feelings about a looming fiscal crisis, these range from fury to indifference. In the haste for change, once again it is easy to assume that a new crop of freshly elected leaders in a newly constituted PNG parliament after 2017 will miraculously create the change PNG needs! We must not forget that the same laws will apply in the same national parliament and provincial houses of assembly. In the same national and district courtrooms, case law will grow and precedents will continue to be set in the absence of the hard questions that may never get asked about the blatant breaches in our society and adopted system of government….

For the rest of this article, see the url above.

 

Tough times take its toll

Post Courier, February 24,2016

THE downturn in global commodity prices is putting more pressure on Government cash flow and starting to impact on local Papua New Guinean businesses. The Government yesterday announced the abolishing of the National Cultural Commission and the transfer of its functions to the National Museum and Art Gallery, with the Tourism Minister Justin Tkatchenko indicating that the decision to abolish the commission was made before he took over the portfolio last month. The demise of the entity charged with the responsibility to protect and nurture PNG’s diverse cultures coincides with reports that the country’s oldest locally owned insurance firm – Kwila Insurance Corporation Limited – will close its doors next month after it pays out all its policy holders. “Yes it is in a runoff mode, meaning pay out all the policies and stop operating as a life insurance company. They are not accepting new policies now,” said an official in the financial sector, who spoke on condition of anonymity. In Alotau another company that was established in 1975, Nawae Construction, began laying off workers yesterday with the management advising that the immediate outlook for the company was not viable. It is understood the marine and civil engineering company advised the Milne Bay Provincial Government and the Department of Labour office in Alotau of its decision.

In Madang the Steamships Trading Company (STC) has put its Coastwatchers Hotel on the market and invited expressions of interest for the 32-room hotel, which is located opposite Madang’s iconic Kalibobo lighthouse. “Now with the current economic slowdown, the private and public sector are reducing travel at least to the provinces and I would say that most hotels in PNG – in the provinces – have between 10 to 40 per cent occupancy, which has placed many in a situation they are no longer viable enterprise,” he added.

 

So is PNG Broke?

http://www.pngblogs.com/2016/02/so-is-png-broke.html?m=1 Wednesday, February 24, 2016

by Bryan Kramer
The short answer is, Yes.. … For the rest of this article, see the url above.

 

The Great Timber Heist

For an interesting article on the Timber Industry in PNG, see the following url

http://www.oaklandinstitute.org/great-timber-heist-logging-industry-papua-new-guinea

Although PNG supposedly enjoys the most equal distribution of land on earth and is governed by a constitution that protects people’s customary land rights and the environment, it has become a major target for international logging operators who are facing growing resistance and scarcity of timber resources in other countries. As documented in the Oakland Institute’s report and film On Our Land, logging in PNG obscures a multilayered tragedy of the betrayal of people’s constitutional protections and the loss of cultural heritage and land for millions of Papua New Guineans. All over the country, local communities are being deprived of their resources and their rights while their government turns a blind eye to the deceptive practices of the forest industry and police forces that often work on behalf of logging companies.The industry and its proponents argue that logging contributes to the development of the country—pointing to tax revenues the government receives on log exports. However, our research uncovers disturbing facts surrounding the practices and finances of the logging industry in PNG. This new information raises important questions about benefits to the national economy, given figures that suggest rampant tax evasion and financial misreporting in the sector.

 

Cult practice sees 100 suspended over cult activities

The National, Friday February 26th, 2016

MORE than 100 students at a school in West Sepik have been sent home after being allegedly involved in cult practices, police say. Aitape police station officer Kelly Vavena told The National that the students who attended the St Ignatius Secondary School were sent home last week.
They have been told to return to school with their parents or guardians when the board of governors’ disciplinary committee next sits. The board suspended the students after they were identified as members of the Faul Pes Congregation (FPC), a group which reportedly practised cult activities, which oppose school rules.

Address growing school leavers problem, institute says

The National, Thursday February 25th, 2016

THE Government must seriously address the increasing number of school leavers if it is to achieve Vision 2050, director of the Asia Pacific Institute of Applied Social Economic and Technical Studies Thomas Pillar says. “The Papua New Guinea education system has almost 26,000 schools leavers,” he said. “But the college and universities in Papua New Guinea can only cater 4000 to 5000 school leavers. “It leaves 21,000 to 22,000 students coming out of schools in the streets.” “If this country is serious about addressing the 2050 Vision, they better start looking at the school leavers seriously because this lot will pull the country down,” he said. “Because they will be without any formal education, they won’t find good jobs and they won’t be able to look after themselves. “So they will be out trying to survive.

Youths clean up

Post Courier, February 25, 2016

MANY unemployed are rejected in their respective communities and are roaming around doing nothing looking for opportunities for their survival. Therefore they involved in illegal activities to consume marijuana and home brew, while some of them claim themselves as street crews campaign for passengers for the PMV bus to earn some income. But this is a different story for some youths living along the Banks of River Mombol near Banz Town, Jiwaka Province.The youths felt that they were some of the rejected ones in their respective communities and have no hope for their living and were finding very difficult for their lives. Despite they came together with an idea to clean the filthy hub near River Mombol which the public used to dump their waste and also most of the young girls feared going there because some young men take advantage of the thick bushes and hide there and rape them. But these youths came together and contributed ideas that Jiwaka was a new province that needs tangible developments to take place to benefit the people so they decided to clear the filthy area without any resource. They started the River Mombol cleanathon program last year during the dry spell period to cut down the long shrubs, collected the rubbish dumped into the river.

Now young girls and mothers are feeling free to go to the river to fetch and wash clothes.

The youths are doing good a very wonderful and tremendous work to benefit the public so some people gave them coins after washing their vehicles and using the river, while those that don’t have money help the youths to carry stones for recreational. They also built a public toilet and collected money from the people and this money they used to set up a trade store to mini theatre and trade store that will benefit them in the long run. Speaking on their behalf John Brus and Tobias Humar admitted they spent most of the time consuming illegal home brew and marijuana but they did not realize that danger was waiting for them. Mr Brus said despite associating with illegal activities they contributed ideas to change their attitude and but there was no other alternative so they decided to do that in a small way. He said this was the foundation, adding that they would not give up because there were no other options so they would continue further.

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