Social Concerns Notes – September 2016

Australia & PNG warn Manus detainees: ‘No future for you here’

http://asopa.typepad.com/asopa_people/2016/09/australia-png-warn-manus-detainees-no-future-for-you-here.html

AUSTRALIA and Papua New Guinea are escalating efforts to clear the Manus Island detention centre, telling refugees they must settle elsewhere in PNG, while warning they are preparing to deport asylum seekers whose protection claims fail.

A four-page “communication guide” given to Manus Island detainees on Tuesday tells them “there is no future for you here”: The purpose of this centre is for refugee status processing. All processing will end soon If you are a refugee, you can either settle in PNG or depart from PNG to any country where you have a right to live. If you are not a refugee, you can either voluntarily depart from PNG to any country where you can have a right to live. The police may direct the movement of those who refuse to cooperate

Those found to be refugees will be moved to Foxtrot compound. Those with a ‘negative’ assessment will be moved to Mike. The document hints at “changes to the services and conditions” for the different groups. Those inside the detention believe those found not to be refugees will have their conditions significantly worsened in an effort to encourage them to leave. Their rights to limited movement, and their ability to access cigarettes, phone credit at the internal store, are expected to be cut.

“We will give you further information about these changes soon,” the document says. The inducements for people to leave PNG – in the form of cash payments – have been raised, reportedly up to $20,000, though this is denied by the immigration department. Efforts to resettle refugees in PNG have foundered. PNG told the UN last week more than 70 people had been resettled but the Guardian understands this figure includes refugees with severe medical conditions who have been moved to a Port Moresby hotel so they can access the capital’s hospital. They remain dependent on Australian government-funded support. Fewer than 20 have successfully found houses and ongoing employment.

Many of those who were moved, mostly to Lae, have been assaulted, robbed and, in one case, left sleeping on the streets. Several have travelled back to Manus and tried to break back into detention.

 Eviction Attempt on West Papuans     http://www.emtv.com.pg/news/2016/08/another-eviction-attempt-on-west-papuans-in-port-moresby/    Distraught West Papuan refugees in Port Moresby are pleading with the Government of Papua New Guinea to send them to a third country following another eviction attempt on them. The refugees say the eviction attempt and the court battle that they are pursuing over the property under dispute shows a distinct lack of government support to them as refugees. The eviction exercise began around midday today on a property in Port Moresby by members of the Hohola police station. Donatus Karuri, has been living on this property for over 30 years. He says they were not give any prior eviction notice. The police showed up this morning and forced them to start vacating the premises.

“Where will we go?” he asks. The property in Hohola, has become an informal refugee camp for West Papuans who have come to PNG seeking safety and protection. Donatus said this eviction attempt and the fact that they are representing themselves in court shows the lack of PNG government concern over their plight. “If the PNG government is not concerned, send us to a third country,” Donatus pleaded, repeating a plea he has been making for some time now because of the lack of government support to them as refugees. More than 50 men, women and children live on the property in Hohola. While the title of the property is a matter before the courts, the bigger question remains; How best will the PNG government provide practical support towards people who have been recognised as refugees, and are living on PNG soil.

 

Australia Sounds Alarm on Rice

https://www.facebook.com/groups/326819464091972/permalink/1076740599099851/

Sometimes all the hallmarks of an impending disaster are plain to see. The course of action has been charted and the engine is running at full steam, but a myriad of obstacles both big and small cover the tracks. Is there anything that can stop the train before it is too late? In this case the proverbial train is PNG’s proposed rice policy which aims to make the country’s rice production self-sufficient by 2030. This is no small task. However, it seems that the PNG government is determined to press ahead.

The challenge is to increase domestic rice production by 20-fold, from around 15,000 tons currently to 300,000 tons by 2030, according to the Minister for Agriculture and Livestock, Tommy Tomscoll, in his introduction of the policy in parliament. Despite a poor track record of previous government attempts to increase rice production by smallholder farmers, the government seems convinced that a new super-sized approach of focusing on large-scale highly mechanised irrigated farming will generate success.

Under the proposal, pioneering status will be granted to the investor willing to commit a large amount of funds (at least K200 million but possibly over US$2 billion) to build large scale rice farms in PNG. The pioneer investor will then receive protection and concessions to help it establish production, brand recognition and a customer base.

It just so happens that an Indonesian backed company – Naima Agro-Industry Ltd – has been negotiating with the PNG government over the last eight years to invest US$2 billion in a Central Province rice project. This project was approved earlier this year, and it may not come as a surprise that Naima has been slated to receive pioneer status. According to Trukai Industries, which currently commands an 80 per cent share of the PNG rice market, the PNG government is planning to implement an import quota system which would provide Naima with control over 80 per cent of the PNG rice market, clearly at Trukai’s expense.

There are two important points to note here. First, the proposed quota system will not require Naima to supply 80 per cent of the PNG rice market with domestically grown rice but instead allow it to supply it through imported rice. Second, Naima’s 80 per cent share of the PNG rice market would be the result of protective measures provided to it by the PNG government. This is in contrast to Trukai’s current 80 per cent market share, which according to the ICCC’s Review reflects its product quality, strong distribution network, and marketing efforts, rather than any exercise of market power.

Under the proposal, total rice imports will be restricted, and because increases in domestic rice production are unlikely to occur for many years, the amount of rice supplied in PNG will fall relative to demand. The likely result will be an increase in rice prices in PNG. There is no guarantee that these profits will be used to invest in domestic rice production in PNG at all, and if anything there may be a strong incentive for Naima to limit increases in PNG rice production to the extent that it keeps rice prices high.

How high can the price of rice in PNG go?  [See the url for the whole article].

 

PNG spots high rates child violence in Asia-Pacific region
Post Courier. September 08,2016, 02:12 am

ALTHOUGH there is no reliable national data on violence against children, the few available small scale studies have demonstrated that children in Papua New Guinea experience some of the highest rates of violence in the Asia Pacific Region, a study has revealed. According to United Nation International Children’s Emergency Fund PNG End Violence against Children Campaign: 2016-2017 Strategy Summary, these children experience physical, sexual and emotional violence and around 80 per cent verbal abuse. The study also revealed that general lawlessness contributed to around 50 per cent of children feeling unsafe in their communities at night. 85 per cent of men reported that they beat their children while 29 per cent of children were beaten at least once a week by male family members.

The report also summarised that sexual violence is also perpetrated against children where in some areas in the country, 55 per cent of children experience some form of sexual abuse. Young girls and those living with relatives and step parents are at higher risk of sexual violence perpetrated against them by male relatives, the study showed. Available evidence from a domestic violence center in Port Moresby indicates that 60 per cent of children who went to the centre with their abused mothers had been abused as well. As a result of these, many more children are made vulnerable through the endemic rates of violence perpetrated against women. According to the study, some of the things that are linked to increased vulnerability of girls and women to violence and abuse are forms of sexual exploitation such as early marriage, polygamy, and the payment of bride price remains legal and are commonly practiced in many communities in PNG, with some girls forced to marry as early as 12 years old.

 

Madang settlements progress
Post Courier. September 06, 2016

Three urban settlements in Madang province that are notorious for crime have turned a new leaf.

Pilot poultry projects were established recently at Sisiak 3, Finch road and Kerema compound with their youth taking ownership and pushing for more participation by their peers.

According to project coordinator Chris Torot, the project is an initiative of the crime prevention and restoration justice office, which the Madang provincial government has undertaken to facilitate.

“These projects are a window for other projects that the provincial government will look forward to carry out in the settlements and other areas in the province. The team is grateful for the support of the provincial administrator who has been supportive to see the project is carried out,” said Mr Torot.

Under the Department of Justice and Attorney General, the poultry project is a priority area and would enable the engagement of youths in development projects such as a poultry business to sustain their livelihoods. “The main aim of the project is to see that youths could take responsibility to participate in the projects therefore could reduce bad social behavior and crime rates in the province,” he said.

Meanwhile youths in the three pilot project areas have vowed to work together with stakeholders in similar projects to reduce law and order issues in the province.

 

B’ville family finds refuge in Australia
Post Courier, September 09,2016

THE family of a primary school teacher beheaded for allegedly practicing sorcery in Bougainville in April, 2013, are now Australian refugees.

Former primary school teacher Helen Rumbali was beheaded by a mob in Lopele village, Southern Bougainville, after being accused of sorcery. The ordeal involved torture for three days and nights, before finally being beheaded. Houses were burnt down and the immediate family of the accused fled the village and eventually evacuated to a safe house out of Bougainville. The ordeal has been traumatising for the Rumbali family who have now found a new home outside of Bougainville. This week, it was officially announced that the family have successfully sought refugee status in Australia.

It was reported in The Australian newspaper this week that the Refugee Review Tribunal ruled that PNG police were unable to guarantee the safety of the man and his family, who fled their remote Bougainville village after attacks on their immediate and extended relatives over sorcery claims.

But The Australian newspaper reported that an unpublished copy of the case determination, seen by The Australian, suggested the use of sorcery as a justification for violent attacks which may actually be increasing despite a law change following the 2013 torture and murder of a school teacher in southern Bougainville by a mob convinced she was a witch. “The beheading of Helen Rumbali was the catalyst for the repeal of the Sorcery Act 1971, which provided a partial legal defence to a defendant charged with murder if he or she suspected the victim of black magic,’’ the tribunal noted. “(However) more recent reports indicate that in some parts of the country, sorcery-related violence has actually increased after 2013.” Experts on PNG also said sorcery claims were sometimes maliciously levelled at individuals during disputes about money or between families.

 

Rural health centres in Chimbu reduce operations

September 9, 2016 The National

TEN rural health centres run by the Catholic Church in Chimbu have scaled down operations.
That has put pressure on the healthcare system in the province, the chief executive officer of the Kundiawa General Hospital, Mathew Kaluvia, says. Kaluvia told The National yesterday that Catholic Health Services secretary Sr Elizabeth Koai advised KGH in a letter that the shutting down of 10 rural health centres was due to lack of resources and funding from the Government. Koai said they could not continue to provide health services because there was no funds to pay staff and no money to sustain operations.
She said they tried to continue to operate with limited resources available until they were exhausted.
Kaluvia is concerned about the impact it was going to have and has requested urgent intervention from the Health Department and the Government. “All the patients in these rural health centres are seeking medical treatment at the hospital and we are now running out of medicines,” he said.
“Our medical personnel are also becoming exhausted and it’s a very tough situation for us here on the ground.

Understanding needed on violence against children

September 9, 2016 The National

LITTLE priority is given to child protection due to a lack of general understanding about violence against children. This is among a list of findings from the Save the Children report on The Children Protection Systems in PNG which was launched yesterday. Family PNG operations manager Denga Ilave said there was a big need for crisis accommodation for children while their cases were processed. She said more than 10 child abuse cases in Lae had been committed through the national court and two of them were prosecuted.
“Two of those cases have been prosecuted and we are happy for those results and it’s the collective efforts of everyone that’s working together,” Ilave said.
“Our programme is to provide case management services to family and sexual violence survivors and child abuse.
“Children’s Crisis Centre in Lae has very limited space to accommodate children needing immediate crisis accommodation. “Child abuse cases are very critical and have to be placed where they are safe and we still have child abuse cases that need crisis accommodation.” Ilave acknowledged the many non-governmental organisations and faith-based organisations that were providing services and awareness in terms of prevention. “I would like to recognise many of these NGOs that we work together. I hope that with all these challenges, we can work together. “With the report that Save the Children has launched, it helps me feel supported.

Addicts come clean

September 9, 2016 The National

MORE than 1000 people in Western Highlands have admitted publically that they are marijuana addicts and promised to change. Of that, 35 are women, 70 high and secondary school students and 16 others appear to have lost their senses, according to an advocate against marijuana. The figures were released on Wednesday by the chairman of the Stopim Drug Marijuana (SDM) association Ps Johnny Mawa from Western Highlands.
Mawa said the association was formed in 2011 at Kolge village outside Mt Hagen city and the purpose of it was to deal with the use of marijuana and save the affected population. He said marijuana was becoming a major problem and with awareness, it could change the people. Mawa said law enforcers such as the police and the court could impose heavy penalties but this would not do much as people would still get to live their lifestyles. He said there could be more addicts adding that the association was carrying out awareness with the support of SDM members who were using their own resources and money.
“My team is reaching out to the entire province as we have seen that marijuana is the root cause of every problem here,” Mawa said.

 

Violence cases increasing, Soi says

September 9, 2016 The National

THERE is an increase in cases of violence against women and children being reported to the Port Moresby General Hospital Family Support Centre, clinic manager Tessie Soi says. Soi said 70 per cent of children under the age of 16 have been brought to the centre and the rate was alarming since people from all over Papua New Guinea resided in Port Moresby. “I like to urge Papua New Guineans out there, please, if anyone is sexually abused or violated, bring them to the centre within the 72 hours to prevent HIV, pregnancy, hepatitis B,” she said. “We continue with the psychological first aid then we just do counselling then just trying to tell them that they are not at fault especially children.”
She said in a month they received over 30 patients and every year they saw over 1000 patients and that has increased compared to past years. “The severity of physical abuse is getting worse, before we were seeing just a black eye and now it’s cut and chopping and all those sorts of things and gang rapes are becoming high again,” she said.
Church Partnerships Program supports training for HIV counsellors
Post Courier, September 08, 2016

People living with HIV are being trained to become HIV-counsellors under a church-led initiative to improve the level of support to available to those with the virus. Twenty-five people living with HIV and their carers from across the Highlands region attended a recent counsellor training session in Mt Hagen hosted by the United Church of PNG. The session was funded by the Church Partnership Program – a successful partnership between the Australian Government, Papua New Guinea’s seven mainline churches and their seven respective Australian faith-based NGOs. HIV-positive woman Monica Joe, 40, from Hela Province, was one of 25 participants who attended the HIV and AIDS counselling session, hosted by the United Church of PNG. She said she was grateful for the assistance she received from the Kupari Voluntary Counselling and Testing centre, run by the Catholic Church. “In 2013, I took a rapid blood test at the Kupari VCT centre, as this was the only centre in my area offering care services to people living with HIV,” Ms Joe said. “When I found out about my status, I realised I had to do more to sustain my life for the sake of my children.” “I started to take the antiretroviral drugs which were introduced that year then worked for the centre as a counsellor and mentor for women living with the virus. Ms Joe said networks already existed in churches – such as youth ministries, and women’s and men’s fellowships – which could be used to sensitise congregations to the needs of HIV positive people.

 

Church’s health services in crisis

September 13, 2016 The National

CHURCH health services in Northern will shut down at the end this month if Government funding is not forthcoming, Anglican archbishop Clive Igara says. He said that 50 per cent of the health services in the province were run by the Anglican Church’s health services. “We are in a crisis situation because we have not been receiving the regular monthly grants for almost four months now,” Igara told The National yesterday. “The last grants we received were in June this year and that was it. “We have not received any funding since and we are in a very critical situation. “The church health services have started scaling down their manpower and the next step would be to shut down.”

Schools yet to get full funding

September 13, 2016 The National

SCHOOLS in National Capital District have not received their full allocation of funding under the Government’s tuition fee free (TFF) policy and most of them are just surviving. One of the biggest schools in NCD, Wardstrip Primary, with a roll of more than 3,000, is struggling, like others, to keep up with expenses and general operation of the school, head teacher Emily Ricky says. Ricky said the policy for the allocation of the TFF had changed over the years and this year the schools were receiving funding in three components. “They said they were going to pay the cash for administration. Commodity and infrastructure would be held back,” Ricky said. “They have confused us, this term for this quarter we received only K93,000 which is just one bit of the payment. They paid us K97,000 and then K73,000 (in the first and second quarters).
“Last year, we were paid K400,000 in the first batch and now we are receiving much lesser.
“They would pay one component from the ratio that they accumulated for the number of children we had and we would receive about K400,000.
“This year, the policy has changed. “We are only getting 30 per cent for the cash component so that’s not enough to run the school administration and all the little expenditures like bills. “When that cash component comes, we are expected to cover everything, maintenance, buy text books and administrations.” School treasurer Matthew Kulimbao said in 2013 and 2014, the Government paid in two batches. “The costs should cover all the damage, property repair and all these expenses but that’s all being excluded now,” he said. “As the biggest primary school in NCD with an enrolment of 3100 and a large number of teachers, we are struggling to manage within our means. “They paid 70 per cent for the first lot and 30 per cent towards the end of the year. But starting last year and this year, we don’t know what component they are paying.
Keep it below 1.5 – impacts of climate change on the Pacific

http://asopa.typepad.com/asopa_people/2016/09/keep-it-below-15-impacts-of-climate-change-on-the-pacific.html#more

THE CALLS by Pacific small island developing states to curb emissions and reduce climate change impact are gradually being heard post the 2015 Paris Agreement. The reality is that some of these islands are headed for total annihilation. A 2014 United Nations report has locked in a 1.3 meter sea level rise, even if we reduce emissions tomorrow. This was a conservative estimate and other projections suggest that it may already be too late for some populations. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a 2 meter rise in sea level will see a displacement of close to two million people. This would wipe out atoll nations across the Pacific.

Extreme weather events such as the increased frequency and stronger intensity of cyclones, extreme and prolonged droughts, ocean acidification, water table contamination by salt water and coastal erosion are all threatening our Pacific people. In February, the Fiji islands witnessed the strongest ever cyclone in the southern hemisphere with an estimated $US1.4 billion of damage. As many as 40% of Fiji’s population was affected and many villages are still recovering in the wake of the destruction. Tropical cyclone Zena also wreaked havoc on Tonga and Fiji in April, killing three people. A similar disaster, severe tropical cyclone Pam in 2015, inundated and destroyed two of Tuvalu’s islands.

Vanuatu, Solomon Islands and Kiribati have recently faced similar disasters and the terrifying consequences have led to redefining the concept of security in the 21st century. The 2015-2016 El Nino events affected 2.7 million people in Papua New Guinea, where the government spent more than $US60 million in development funds. This was one of the worst droughts to hit the Pacific. The UN estimated around 4.3 million people in 12 Pacific countries were affected.

We must respect the right to live and exist and to save our future. As stated by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, the small islands are a magnifying glass; exposing the vulnerabilities that all countries around the world may face in the future. And they know the world needs to act now because, if it fails to do so, it will condemn our future and the future of everyone on the planet.

 

EU Launches ‘2016-2020 Human Rights and Democracy Country Strategy’ for Papua New Guinea

http://news.pngfacts.com/2016/09/eu-launches-2016-2020-human-rights-and.html

Port Moresby, 9 September 2016 The European Union (EU) and two of its Member States, France and United Kingdom, have recently endorsed a five-year ‘2016-2020 Country Strategy on Human Rights and Democracy for Papua New Guinea’. The main activities to drive the strategy will be financed under the European Instrument for Human Rights and Democracy (EIDHR), other relevant financing instruments, and through targeted public diplomacy.
The strategy identifies three priority areas which the European Union, jointly with France and United Kingdom, willpursue in PNG. These are to:
· Promote a Human Rights culture in Papua New Guinea society,
· Support the ratification and implementation of Human Rights international conventions and instruments, and
· Strengthen good governance, democracy and rule of law.
In announcing this strategy, the EU Delegation and its Member States, France and United Kingdom, issue the following joint statement: “Papua New Guinea society is going through a vibrant transformation and the human rights landscape is evolving, while adequate responses and implementation by Government agencies are still progressing. Against this background, the EU Delegation and EU Member States will explore opportunities to align with government efforts and support areas where meaningful impact can be achieved.” The strategy targets to promote activities in two separate ways. It aims to build on former and ongoing projects, in particular initiatives to prevent violence against women, through awareness raising, targeting leadership and decision makers and empowering survivors. It will also promote activities that support Human Rights Defenders, provide technical assistance to counter People Trafficking or assist with the development of the Public Finance Management Road Map. Moreover, the strategy will also explore issues such as empowering women, raising awareness of LGBTI rights, advocacy of death penalty abolition, international treaties compliance, establishment of a Human Rights Institution and support to the Referendum on Bougainville.

Read more: http://news.pngfacts.com/2016/09/eu-launches-2016-2020-human-rights-and.html#ixzz4K7qtw4wP

 

PNG’s economic history: a failure to deliver to the people

http://asopa.typepad.com/asopa_people/2016/09/pngs-economic-history-a-failure-to-deliver-to-the-people.html#more   Paul Flanagan | Edited extracts

The PNG economy, after allowing for inflation, is 3.3 times larger than in 1975. Many people doubted that this would be possible at the time of Independence given the challenges and uncertainties facing the new country. This growth is probably clearest in Port Moresby – it is a much more modern city with freeways, flyovers, luxury hotels, traffic jams, pollution, large shopping complexes and many taller buildings downtown. This in part reflects the strong urban bias of PNG’s economic policies.

For PNG, almost all of this real growth can be accounted for from population increase. Since Independence, the population has risen from 2.9 million to an estimated 7.6 million. For every Papua New Guinean at the time of independence, there are now 2.6 people. The number of people in the formal sector has more than doubled according to Bank PNG business surveys. While jobs growth is positive (a 2.1 times increase from 1978-2014), it is disappointing that it has not even kept up with population (a 2.6 times increase). In other words, the share of working-age people getting jobs in the formal economy has been falling. This is not inclusive growth.

The start of production from the Kutubu oil fields and new mines in the early 1990s led to massive increases in GDP of around 36% between 1991 and 1994 (even larger than the 25% increase in 2014 and 2015 driven by the commencement of the PNG LNG project). However, by 1994, PNG had fallen into recession.  And, since 2015, history is repeating itself as PNG has probably fallen into recession again after the promise of rivers of resource revenues led to poor fiscal, monetary and structural policies.

A better measure of economic performance is to focus on non-resource GDP which grew very slowly for the first two decades from 1980. Over the late 2000s, there was more rapid growth, but this had slowed by 2010. An even better measure of economic performance is to use per capita figures – how much income is available per person. This trended down through both the 1980s and 1990s.

The sharpest decline was related to the economic crisis of the late 1990s. A pattern of recovery slowly commenced from 2005, but this has flattened out since 2012 and is now in serious decline.

By 2015, using a five-year average, incomes are 4% lower than they were in 1980 and the drop in real incomes is larger if the comparison is made between 1980 and 2015 – a drop of 8%. On this key measure of economic well-being, real incomes in PNG have gone backwards. And emerging data for 2016 indicates this is getting worse. This is very disappointing, and a long way from the aspirations of people at the time of Independence. It is also a long way from future aspirations shown in Vision 2050. [See the full article at the url above]

Sorcery related killings on a rise
Post Courier, Sept 19, 2016

NORTHERN Province police commander Lincoln Gerari has received a threat on his life.The threat was issued following the deployment of police to his Katuna village in the North Coast area of the province, which saw his fellow clansmen threaten him with death through sorcery.

This has now earned the ire of the PPC who said that with such threats, people who believe in sorcery have gone on to kill innocent people without any evidence. “What these people have done, they have killed another person after claiming they (deceased) killed another through sorcery. You cannot prove a sorcery killing so why should you kill another person which will land you in jail. I cannot comprehend what these people are thinking,” MrGerari said. He added that the recent barbaric killing of a 45-year-old father and his 29-year-old son who had their heads chopped off by villagers at Mora in the Ijivitari district as suspects of sorcery was not right. He revealed that the two blamed each other openly over the killing of a young man by a crocodile. They were then brought before the village and without evidence and suspecting sorcery they had their necks chopped off. “It is high time the government reintroduced the repealed Sorcery Act. This will allow police to act upon sorcery related cases which will in turn save innocent lives and stop unnecessary sorcery killings,” he said. In another case 12 men in the same district are on the run after they accused a man of sorcery and killed his brother. They also destroyed his house and his food garden at Uvivi village. Mr Gerari said people are openly accusing others of sorcery so the government should reintroduce the Sorcery Act and allow the police to deal with it. He said that with sorcery cases there would be cause to look at the circumstantial evidence presented and thus get an elder in the village to describe what can be used in sorcery. This would then allow for the evidence to be presented as admissible or opinion evidence. I want the government to intervene and do something about sorcery related killings, Mr Gerari said.

 

Delay of TFF to affect students
Post Courier, September 21, 2016

THOUSANDS of students attending five secondary and seven high schools throughout Bouganville will be going home early because the schools are yet to receive their term three tuition fee free school subsidies. Principals of these schools met yesterday and decided to send all students home one week early before the Term Three break and not to return for Term Four after the one-week break.

The slow release of the term three TFF school subsidies has frustrated many service providers in the autonomous region who were longer willing to supply the schools on credit basis because they have already incurred high debts for their services. Secondary and High Schools Forum chairman Martin Takali, who is Hutjena Secondary School principal, said at the meeting yesterday that if the money did not reach the schools by week’s end “we will not continue Term 4 and this will greatly affect the Grade 10 and Grade 12 examinations coming up in week two, three and four next term.” Mr Takali said that if the Education Department did pay, then it must pay for both terms Three and Four in full because the Term Three payment will cover the expenses that had already been incurred by the schools from service providers.

 

Govt owes Church agencies
Post Courier, September 21, 2016

THE church health agencies have not received funds to pay for staff salaries for the month of August and operational cost for more than K8 million, says Christian Health Services chief executive officer Joseph Sika. He said that despite an assurance by Health Secretary Pascoe Kase that some money had been released for July and August, the information was incorrect because staff have not been paid for the past three pay days which is a total of six weeks.

On Monday Mr Kase confirmed the released of funds and K20 million captured in the Supplementary Budget, was sufficient enough to take the Church Health Services right through the end of this year. Mr Sika said that K9.4 million was released to the agency headquarters in July which included a shortfall from the previous month. For the month of August, the church agencies have not received just over K8 million to cater for staff salaries and the operational component. The agency receives about K8 million monthly under revised budget from a previous K12 million. “Government is not serious about the funding. This is affecting service delivery,” Mr Sika said. Mr Sika said that from verbal reports reaching his office, scale-down of services and cuts in staff ceiling have happened for Jiwaka (Kujip), Chimbu (nine facilities), Southern Highlands, West Sepik (Raiho), Madang, and Milne Bay and Northern.

These health facilities have scaled down services but not totally shut down. Christian Health Services has a staff ceiling of 3290 and 780 health facilities nationwide

 

Battling TB on the frontline in PNG
Post Courier, September 19,2016, 06:00 pm

For Papua New Guinean health worker Celestine I’Ova, tackling the tuberculosis (TB) epidemic in her country has become somewhat of a personal crusade, after losing both of her parents to TB and contracting the disease herself. More than 9,000 people have died from TB in PNG over the past three years – including hundreds of children – and it is people like Celestine working on the frontline who urgently need support to tackle this terrible but treatable disease. “I always wanted to help sick people get better, but I never wanted to work with TB patients. I was afraid I would catch it,” says Celestine.  Celestine is a health worker at a small rural clinic in Papua New Guinea’s Central Province. The clinic is a basic shack, typical of many across PNG. There are just six staff to provide support for around 15,000 people, some of them travelling six hours by boat for medical attention.

In PNG, TB is a growing epidemic. Over the past three years, it has killed 9,000 people in the Pacific island nation, with children particularly susceptible to the most disabling forms of the disease. By comparison, the Ebola virus, which galvanised such international fear and concern, killed 11,300 people globally in the same period.

 

Article on economy

http://devpolicy.org/pngs-discretionary-expenditure-crunch-20160919/?utm_source=Devpolicy&utm_campaign=6f16909efb-Devpolicy_News_Sept_23_2016&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_082b498f84-6f16909efb-227683090

 

Refugees refuse offer

September 23, 2016 The National

FOREIGN Affairs and Immigration Minister Rimbink Pato says most refugees based at the Manus regional processing centre have refused to be resettled in PNG. They want a third country to accept them, he said. Pato, who co-chaired a recent United Nations General Assembly meeting to address the huge movements of refugees and migrants, told of the constraints PNG faced in dealing with refugees and migrants. “Papua New Guinea currently hosts 1,007 refugees and other migrants from around the world at the regional processing facility on Manus Island,” he said. “And of these, 671 are prima facie refugees, 204 asylum seekers and 132 migrants.” He said the Manus centre was also a demonstration of PNG’s humanitarian gesture, goodwill and recognition of its international human rights obligations. He said PNG and Australia were in the process of closing down the Manus centre following the Supreme Court ruling in April declaring the detention as unconstitutional and in breach of their personal liberties and freedom.
Pato said the refugees were allowed to move around freely.

 

Five women get pride awards
Post Courier, September 24, 2016

Five Papua New Guinean women were the recipients of the prestigious 2016 Pride of PNG Awards.

The annual awards are funded by the City Pharmacy Group and co-sponsored by media organizations Post-Courier, PNGFM and EMTEK (EMTV) and are given to women bringing change in their communities and have little to no media coverage.

This year’s winners were Enid Barlong Kantha (bravery and courage), Mary Pakore Tore (care and compassion), Anna Hilda (community spirit), Sister Pauline Marie Kagl (education/role model) and Stephanie Paraide (young Papua New Guinean). For the environment category, the judges said there was no clear winner. The awards patron, Governor General Sir Michael Ogio, said the women had shown the ‘true spirit’ of PNG by intervening and changing their communities with limited resources. “They have, instead, stood up, used whatever limited resources they had to and serve their communities, oftentimes, at personal expense to themselves and their families. In their selflessness, they have shown the true spirit of Papua New Guinea,” he said. “And they do all this without expectation, without applaud, and sometimes, without reward. They do so, simply because they saw a need in their community and knew that they could meet it. They do so, because they care. They do so because they had to.” Sir Michael said this year’s winners are heroes and should be the inspiration for Papua New Guineans. “For the rest of us tonight and for all the people of Papua New Guinea, let these heroes, and all the past heroes of the last 10 years of the Pride of PNG Awards for Women, be our inspiration.

 

PNG supports Paris agreement

September 26, 2016 TheNational  http://www.thenational.com.pg/png-supports-paris-agreement/

MINISTER for Foreign Affairs and Immigration Rimbink Pato has deposited PNG’s instrument of ratification of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change to the United Nations in New York last week.
The special event was hosted by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at the UN General Assembly in New York which Pato attended on behalf of Prime Minister Peter O’Neill.
Pato said depositing the instrument followed PNG’s support for consensus to adopt the Paris Agreement in Dec 2015 in Paris and the subsequent signing of the agreement on April 22, 2016 in New York.
“Parliament made a unanimous decision in Aug 2016 to ratify the accord, where 68 members of Parliament voted in support of the accord’s ratification with no votes against it,” he said. “So the deposit of the instrument of ratification now formalises the application of the Paris Agreement in Papua New Guinea.” He said 60 countries out of 185 signatories have ratified the accord. “This accounts for 48 per cent of the total global greenhouse gas emissions and needs a further 7.2 per cent for the Paris Agreement to enter into force.” Pato said one of the two requirements for Paris Agreement to enter into force was fulfilled, which is for 55 parties to the accord to ratify it. “The second precondition not met yet is for at least an estimated 55 per cent of the total global greenhouse gas emitters to deposit their instruments of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession with the depositary.”

 

Momis urges B’ville unity as O’Neill government plays hard ball

BOUGAINVILLE President John Momis has made a call for unity to Bougainvilleans as the autonomous region prepares to decide its political future through a referendum. “Bougainvilleans must unite to peacefully implement the Bougainville Peace Agreement and the referendum and let it be a process of integrity,” Dr Momis said.  “Due to the Bougainville crisis it is only in Bougainville that we have the unique opportunity to develop a new socio-economic political order and determine our own political future.” He said it was imperative that Bougainvilleans make an informed decision to determine their future and they must be prepared to except the consequences of their decision in the referendum.

“If we mess it up now, then we are bound to fail and not realise our aspirations,” he said. “But if we follow through with the Bougainville Peace Agreement and respect the rule of law, promote good governance and accept responsibility for our actions, then we will be able to liberate ourselves.”

The referendum to determine Bougainville’s political future has been tentatively scheduled for 15 June 2019. Meanwhile the ABG and the PNG national government remain at loggerheads over the O’Neill government’s continued delay in releasing funds owed to Bougainville.

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