The National Housing Corporation tries another sneaky move to evict 20 families in Lae

NHC

The National Housing Corporation branch in Lae  is attempting to force another lot of families  out of their homes.

Up to 20 families living in a set of  old  brick units along Lae’s 7th street were given notices to pay outstanding arrears  or face the possibility of  eviction after 21 days.

This is not the first time, the government  entity has tried to force  them out of their homes. Previous attempts were unsuccessful after the tenants fought back in court.

One of the main concerns of the tenants has been the manner in which the NHC has been demanding payments of outstanding arrears and the reliability of NHC records.

John Poroda,  one of the many residents,  says the NHC’s  financial records are in disarray. They  have not been given receipts for the  previous payments and in many instances, they’re been asked to pay cash.

“There’s no remittance advice.  The documents appears to have been sent from Port Moresby.”

On Friday, the residents  requested a meeting with the Lae MP John Rosso.   They have  asked him to talk to the Housing Minister on their behalf.

This will be the latest meeting  requested by National Housing Corporation Tenants threatened with eviction.  In November,  Rosso intervened on behalf two Lae nurses – Bafiguo Don and Zuabe Tining –  who were evicted from their homes in the same manner.  The intense public pressure and intervention from the Housing Minister, John Kaupa, caused the NHC management in Port Moresby to reverse the decision made in Lae.

“Of course we understand that the NHC is the legal owner of the property but at the same token we have to establish if the areas given are the exact amount,” Rosso said.

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I know for a fact that the National Housing Corporation’s official records system is  in disarray… It has been for the last decade. They are unable to track how much is owed and how much has been paid.

Zuabe Tining said in  November 2017 that  she was told to pay cash at the NHC office.  Andrew Augwi, who was then Acting Regional Manager,  said the office had no functioning bank account and tenants who  paid rent were being told to pay cash at the NHC office.

He showed me a room where official records where being kept in boxes  and on the floor.  It is not a secret that the NHC’s records are NOT in order.

Many tenants have opted to seek help from their political representative  because the systems of government don’t  work in their interests.  The courts take too long, the police act on (sometimes)  faulty court orders  and the NHC sells houses and then forces the existing tenants to move out.

While the National Housing Corporation may have legal rights over the properties, the organisation’s   track record of poor management and corruption means the public has no confidence in it.

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How a Jiwaka woman started a journey of community transformation before her death

When someone sets out to make a difference in a society, most times one would think of all the pre-conditions that need to be in place before that person can begin to effect that change.

Some would like the change maker to be of a certain gender, come from a certain place, have a certain level of education, wealth and age. Then there are some people who by simply being who they are and doing what they believe is right, change a society.

Maria Koimb was one such person.
From Domil in Jiwaka Province, Maria was the only sister to five brothers. Right after completing her grade 10 education, she was abandoned by her boyfriend with a newborn child. For a sixteen-year-old girl in 1992, in a rural village in Papua New Guinea, Maria’s life could have gone a lot of different directions.
What she chose to do set the course for the rest of her life; one of determination, hard work and passion.

It was a passion that was not going to be found in marriage, as she feared another man may not treat her son well. Instead she dedicated her energy to ensure that she will make a difference in her life, her family and her community.

Armed with her grade 10 education and a lot of conviction, Maria joined a community health programme that was rolled out in Domil in 1992. For the next 26 years, she advocated healthy living in words and in action.
As she talked about making healthy food choices, she made sure her own food gardens produced a variety of food that were rich in nutrients ensuring a balanced diet for her family. This she promoted through the words “plant a balanced meal, eat a balanced meal.”
She promoted hygiene and

championed this by keeping a clean home, and in the cold mornings and cold waters of Domil, she bathed daily and groomed well, whether she was going to her gardens, the market, a village gathering or to the nearby town. When asked why she took so much trouble just to go to her gardens, she would reply, “I am going to my office to work”

Bernard Gunn, Director of the Domil Community Development says Maria had a unique way of looking at life, “She would encourage people to take pride in themselves, what they in the work that they do. She would always say we shouldn’t limit ourselves just because we don’t live in town and earn a formal income.”

This transformative way of thinking earned Maria respect and standing in her community and her unique brand of leadership flourished beyond her gardens and her community. As she matured into her role as a leader, her advice and guidance were sought by different sections of the community. She served as president for the Nondugl Catholic Women’s Association, Minister for Women and Youth in the Domil Community Government and as an executive on two different NGOs.

As a single parent living in a rural community where communal obligations are a significant part of life, Maria’s determination to be recognised as a valuable member of the community ensured that her family of two always contributed to customary obligations. This reinforced the respect and position she had.

Using this recognition in the community, Maria advocated for a cultural change for Domil. As is practiced in many parts of Papua New Guinea, polygamy was accepted and practiced in Domil. Maria saw this as a way through which gender-based violence is reinforced so she joined a campaign against domestic violence in Domil. Due to her level of influence and the support of her family and community, Domil took a stand to revoke the practice of polygamy and as a community stood against domestic violence with values of ‘One wife for life’ and ‘No wife beating’.
This significant cultural change came about through the support of other leaders of Domil, who made the important decision that women can enter a hausman and discuss communal matters.

Maria was one of the first women to enter that space and she used it to the benefit of the community.
As Chariman John Waim, explains when responding to why the community allowed women into the hausman, he said, “With two wings we can fly together.” Recognition that Maria, through her actions, and her representation, was bringing value to the whole community.

In 2009 Maria poured her passion into a class full of children when she was appointed as a teacher in the local Elementary School. Two years later she was promoted to Teacher in Charge of the school.

She had big dreams for the school. As an integral member of the school board they expanded the school and met the National Education criteria to upgrade to a primary school that now caters for elementary up to grade 6. For Maria this was just the beginning of the plans she had for the school. Part of her ambition was to incorporate the Christian Accelerated Learning curriculum after further teacher training; and, to build a library.

Sadly this was not to be.

In July 2017 Maria was confronted by a challenge that was beyond her and her community’s capacity; She was diagnosed with cancer.
Testament to her standing in the community, it was her family and community members who took care of her during this ordeal.
With no access to proper medical

treatment, Maria succumbed to cancer in late May 2018 at just 42. Maria’s achievements are a testament to the inclusivity and progressiveness of the people and leaders of Domil.

As a leader Maria was supported and encouraged to flourish, and as she progressed so did her community.
As an abandoned woman, she wasn’t ostracised. Being a woman, she wasn’t told she didn’t have a voice, but systems were changed to accommodate her voice. As a contributing member to the community she wasn’t cut down in jealousy, she was given recognition and opportunities.
It was these values of an open and progressive Domil that gained national recognition for Domil when they received the Prime Ministers award in September 2015 in the category: Tackling Poverty & Improving Education, Health and Wellbeing Leading to Strong and Sustainable Communities.

Following a successful community development initiative between the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the European Union, in 2016, the UNDP co-produced a documentary, ‘Driving the Change’, to highlight these values. Stephen Liston, from UNDP who met Maria during the filming says Maria was a dynamic person, “When you first meet Maria she is very humble and timid, but when it came to the real issues affecting her community such as hunger, malnutrition, education, women’s rights, cultural obligations and leadership, Maria commanded your full attention with the strength of her passion. She didn’t suggest that things should be changed, she demanded those changes, and worked hard to realise them.”

Through her battle with cancer, her community showed solidarity with her and in her death, they gave her the recognition and honour reserved for prominent leaders in the community.

The Domil community laid to rest one of their champions in front of the hausman as a constant reminder of the life and achievement of one woman’s passion to make a difference.

Maria’s life is a celebration of all passionate Papua New Guineans, past and present, who continue to make a difference in their sphere of influence. Maria’s story shows that when a family and a community support their champions, the society benefits.

Today, there are Papua New Guineas across the country who are working hard to improve their families lives, the lives of their community and the nation. The greatest thing a community can do to prosper, is support them to shine.

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Story by Serahphina Aupong

Bmobile-Vodafone increases data rates by more than 100% after taking over Telikom 4G

Subscribers of the Government owned Kumul Telikom are up in arms over a sudden increase in mobile data rates.

But while Telikom is being accused of the price hike, the company management has indicated, they’re not responsible for the new pricing.

In April, the Government announced a merger between Telikom and former subsidiary, Bmobile-Vodafone. The arrangement has resulted in Bmobile-Vodafone gaining control of Telikom’s 4G retail services as well as the right to use their 4G infrastructure.

Telikom’s Acting Chief Executive, Xavier Victor, referred all 4G related queries to the Bmobile-Vodafone CEO, Athula Biyanwila who, in turn, said in an email, he could not comment on the increase and that a statement would be “released in due course.”

Over the last 36 hours, it has become clear, Telikom had no say in the price increase and that Bmobile-Vodafone, which now controls the two 4G networks, imposed the new price structure on customers.

But with the 4G service, still bearing the Telikom brand name, the company is suffering a public relations nightmare and a serious loss of credibility.

In April, Telikom workers held stop work meetings throughout the country after the the merger.

While many workers were concerned about employee benefits in light of the merger, there were also underlying concerns about the impact on customer service.

Over the course of the month, the Telikom management held various meetings with staff to explain the proposed structure of the merger. What stood out was Bmobile-Vodafone’s imminent control of Telikom’s 4G services and infrastructure.

Telikom 4G customers realised they now have to pay triple the price of data bundles. Dozens of customers vented on social media expressing disappointment over what appeared to be the company’s decision. Three nights ago, customers began posting screen grabs of 5GB rate which had jumped from K80 to a hefty K135.

“Telikom data bundles have increased overnight. Previously, it was K100 for 15GB. Today it’s a whooping K370! What’s the justification for this increase?” Malcolm Winga posted on Facebook.

In terms of its mobile coverage, Telikom has, comparatively, a lesser share of the country’s largely rural market than its competitor, Digicel. But the government telco has been able to make up for that by offering the lowest mobile data rates compared to its two competitors, Digicel and Bmobile.

The price increase comes as Papua New Guinea hosts APEC meetings prior to the Leaders Summit in November. Chief among the discussions has been the wider access to digital communications.

Taking over the APEC chair from Vietnam last year, Papua New Guinea has said it was committed to reducing costs encouraging e-commerce opportunities.

Many people hoped that Telikom’s affordable services would lead the change. However, the price increase now means startups and e-commerce entrepreneurs will have no option but to continue paying some of the highest internet prices in the region.

Two police officers to be suspended for assaulting 15 year old boy

This is a police statement from yesterday.


TWO POLICE officers will be suspended after allegedly assaulting a 15 year boy, says West New Britain Provincial Police Commander SuperintendentJohn Midi.

The 15 year old boy was assaulted by the two police officers after he allegedly attempted to rob a young woman in Kimbe, West New Britain
Province.

“The incident happened three weeks ago but I was not aware of the incident until the matter went viral on social media and Face Book. I identified
the officers this morning (Wednesday 08th August) when I received the video of the incident,” PPC Midi said.

Superintendent Midi said that the matter was referred to the Internal Affairs Unit (IAU) for formal investigation.

“We will follow all procedures in dealing with the matter,” Supt Midi said.

The assault on the teenage was allegedly done by the Airborne Tactical Unit (ATU) officers from Port Moresby. The ATU officers are currently
in the WNBP to assist local police curb a recent upsurge in crime and quell a number of conflicts.

The suspect was caught by the ATU team on a routine patrol. He was arrested, charged and released under the Juvenile Justice Act (JJA) and
is now with his parents.

“According to the reports obtained from the medical team the suspect did not sustain any serious injuries,” Superintendent Midi said, adding
that the youth will appear in court this Friday.

Mr Midi condemned the alleged assault, saying such reactions from police are unwarranted. He said police are required to use reasonable force
in subduing suspects, not assault them as was shown in the video. He said the job of police is to arrest and charge suspects and it is the courts who hand out punishment.

Jelta Wong and Gari Baki, we want them penalised for torturing the kid

The video posted on Facebook and shared on Whatsapp about two armed policemen torturing a teenager in Kimbe is a disgrace to Papua New Guinea and the RPNGC.

The young boy was beaten, stripped and verbally abused.

At one stage, one of the policemen took a sling shot and shot at him on the ground.

I would like the Police Commissioner, Gari Baki to see this. I want Jelta Wong, the Police Minister to watch the video and take action.

We pay taxes and the government pays cops.

There is a way to deal with offenders and this is NOT it.

This shit has to stop!

Defining our children’s future by being ourselves | By Genesis Ketan

My name is Genesis but my friends call me Gen.

I am 29 years old and from PNG – a proud mom to a set of 3 year old amazing twin boys and a beautiful 1 year old baby girl.

I started a personal blog mainly due to the urgings of my friend Janelle and also because the issues/ struggles I face, have hit a nerve with other women/ moms who face the same, day in and day out.

What do I mean by that?

I am referring to the challenges of being the women that we are in our respective organizations, taking the lead in our offices and being good at it too – being appreciated for that from everyone on the outside looking in.

Then coming back home; having to come back to the reality of being told not to raise your voice, not to have an opinion, not to even be noticed.

I am fortunate – I am blessed even.
God has given me a good man – one that respects my voice, one who works with me, one who supports me both professionally and in our home.

What am I talking about?
Recently I was told off about how the partnership my husband and I have in our home is “not right”.

He was ridiculed for helping out with his kids, for bathing, feeding and changing them.

We were told, “It isn’t right to always listen to a woman and for him to take control and start giving more orders.”

“We were told, this isn’t some developed country we live in – its PNG and this isn’t right.”

We were both taken aback – these are exactly the kind of sons we want to be raising and I am proud of their father for the stance that he is taking, leading by example.

We want to have them know that they are helpmates to their future partners and that it IS OK to help raise their own kids, by the side of their wife.

As for my daughter, this is exactly the woman I want her to be in future – one who is strong, has both the career and the family and knows that society can never dictate who she is or her place.

It’s so easy to just say everything is straight forward black and white, and outline womens roles and mens roles but this isn’t true or applicable so much anymore.

There are now even men who stay at home as full-time care-givers while the mummy is the breadwinner.

Long custom side, I know mi pikinini meri (Traditionally speaking, I know I am a female).
That’s not all there is to me though.

I am a good mother to my kids.
A usual day entails me coming home straight from work, letting the sitter off and then starting dinner.
I feed my kids, wash them, put them to bed and that’s all on less than 5 hours of sleep each night working a 5am shift.

And if my husband chooses NOT to ignore the cries of his children and help me out – then that is the decision he makes for his kids.

If he can look past the traditional roles issue and accept me by his side as a mutual breadwinner for our family then so be it.

I am sick and tired of some people telling him he should be more of a man.

Truly, what better way is there to prove his manhood but to actually ACT like the man he is and take up the responsibility.

And no, I don’t consider myself superior to him or disrespect him for all the above, instead it makes me love and respect him all the more.

Because that is the father of our children trying to set a good example for our babies and raise them to better cope with the changing society that is now life and the world we live in.

For at the end of the day, what kind of parents would we be – if we didn’t?

Chris Tabel tells of the pains of public transport with APEC in the Big City

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All aboard the Morning Coach!

You can’t have it all, and the more you want the less you get.

That was the timely reminder this morning when I boarded the City Council Public Commuter Bus.
With the APEC summit looming just a couple of months away, NCD is undergoing a major facelift to cater for visiting delegates. Roads torn up and reconstructed, buildings springing up like mushrooms and cars.. trucks and all sorts model vehicles lining up like ants going about their daily business.

And here I am, a worker ant – on a commuter PMV with so many other worker ants like myself- 96 to be exact on this big bus – face sleepy, blood shot eyes, wet hair and verly heavy scented perfume indicative of a rushed morning. Some grabbing a quick bite while others catching a quick nap.

Gerehu to Boroko used to be a 15 minute drive. Now it has turned into a tedious 1-1.5 hour snail paced trip thanks to the APEC Parliament bypass road construction cutting off from the waigani free-way.

I look up, sigh a little, and let my mind drift off to the tasks that lie ahead.

My temporary peace being disturbed by the police siren screaming at the onslaught of the morning traffic. A buai mouth cop screaming and snarling at the lined up buses.

This is our typical morning.

Love it or hate- yes we have expectations, yes we are idealists to think things will get better and yes we are loyal for clocking in every morning on time to ensure this country runs smoothly.

Before I get off the bus, I take a final glance back at my fellow commuters. Some enthusiastic awaiting thir stop while others crank and annoyed letting the whole world know.

“Ok olgeta – Thankyou tumas na gutpla dei long yupla,” I say

And like the worker ants that we all are- a choir of acknowledgements sung all around.
“Ok son”
“Ok bro”
“Kets bats”

Despite our long morning – and my first time on the NCD coach and crammed up passengers- I am actually quite excited, and most of the passengers were friendly.

I’ll be sure to visit the big bus again- if not regularly.