(PAGASA 24-HOUR PUBLIC WEATHER FORECAST as of Friday, 03 July, 2020) Easterlies affecting the eastern sections of Visayas, and Mindanao. Caraga Region will experience Cloudy skies with scattered rainshowers and thunderstorms due to ITCZ. Possible flash floods or landslides during moderate to at times heavy rainshowers. Light to moderate winds coming from the Southeast to South will prevail and the coastal waters will be slight to moderate with wave height of 0.6 to 2.1 meters.

Thursday, July 2, 2020


Butuan City locals support agri-4Ps during this COVID-19 pandemic

By Jennifer P. Gaitano

BUTUAN CITY, July 2 (PIA) -- To sustain food security in various communities during this coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, the local residents in a village in this city took the initiative along with the Department of Agriculture (DA) Caraga for the establishment of a communal garden.

The concerted effort is under the DA’s Plant, Plant, Plant Program or Agri-4Ps.

Led by Hanawi Alauya, chief of Fisheries Inspection and Quarantine Services of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), residents in the area have started planting in the 400-square meter land.

Alauya said he felt the need to help his neighbors particularly those whose livelihood were greatly affected, hence, he convinced them to get free seedlings from the DA and have it sown in the vacant lot in the village.

”I want to help my neighbors who are affected with this pandemic and with this little way, I believe this could support their family’s daily consumption during this time of pandemic,” said Alauya.

Lyn Montes, a tricycle driver whose husband is a construction worker, was among those hit hard by the community quarantine and is now active in communal gardening.

She added, this does not only help them survive in their daily consumption but also allows them to earn some income.

”Since the onset of the COVID-19, many were unemployed due to temporary suspension of several establishments, including the transport sector and we experience difficulty in coping with our daily expenses while we are on community quarantine. This is why, we are thankful to the initiative and collaboration of the concerned individuals and groups for this communal garden, where we could harvest and consume for our family,” Montes bared. 

Meanwhile, a 300-square meter was added to the current land planted with different vegetable seedlings, and locals are now planning to venture into corn through the Project “Maisan sa Nataran” o Pro-Mais Movement, a new food production initiative of the DA. (JPG/NCL/PIA-Caraga)

Caraga RTF-ELCAC eyes closure of non-DepEd schools amid pandemic

By Doreen Marielle N. Rosales

BUTUAN CITY, July 2 (PIA) -- In line with the pursuit of ending insurgency in the region, the Department of Education (DepEd) Caraga has pursued the closure of unaccredited schools in Caraga region amid the pandemic, per the mandate of the Caraga Regional Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (RTF-ELCAC).

Schools established under the Alternative Learning Center for Agricultural and Livelihood Development (ALCADEV), Inc. and the Tribal Filipinos Program of Surigao del Sur (TRIFPSS), Inc. in Lianga and Marihatag towns in Surigao del Sur have now been closed, which were allegedly being used as training grounds by communist-terrorist groups (CTGs) in the area.

These are now being replaced with DepEd-accredited lumad schools.

In Brgy. Diatagon in Lianga town, over 80 percent of the makeshift classrooms are nearly complete. It is expected to cater in 29 tentative enrolees, wherein 10 students are expected to enrol under the Kinder level; eight under Grade 1; four under Grade 2; one under Grade 3; four under Grade 4; and one in Grades 5 and 6.

The construction of the makeshift building was accomplished by personnel from the military unit in the area and was funded by the provincial government of Surigao del Sur and the municipal government.

Meanwhile, in Brgy. Mahaba in the municipality of Marihatag, enrolment is still being conducted by teachers of the nearby San Roque Elementary School and Mahaba barangay officials.

Due to the gravity of the insurgency situation in the area, the construction of the makeshift building had to be postponed. However, the 9th Coy Special Forces (SF), Philippine Army and barangay officials are coordinating with the municipal government of Marihatag and the provincial government for the fast procurement of the building materials.

Both makeshift schools will be manned by three teachers, one from the department and the other two from the local community.

According to DepEd Caraga Regional Director Francis Cesar Bringas, the technical working group of the task force decided to establish schools for the displaced learners in the area for the pilot batch of establishing government-owned lumad schools. 

“Both areas were chosen since they were identified as ‘most problematic areas’ by the provincial government of Surigao del Sur,” he said.

Prior to the closure of the unaccredited schools, the schools’ directors were given final notice of closure on February 21 of this year. Since no proper response was provided to the authorities, closure of the schools was pushed through.

The schools are expected to become fully functional prior to the resumption of classes on August 24. (DMNR/PIA-Caraga)

TESDA Agusan Norte holds forum on assessment center managers

By Robert E. Roperos

BUTUAN CITY, July 2 -- A forum for the assessment center managers of the province of Agusan del Norte was held Thursday through online/virtual.

In her message, TESDA-Agusan del Norte Acting Provincial Director Liza B. Budtan said the provincial office received letters asking when the assessments will be continued, “thus the need for the conduct of this forum,” she said.

Also, Dir. Budtan emphasized that although a number of programs have been affected due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, TESDA is finding ways so that its mandates will still be delivered to the public observing the new normal. “All of us face challenges brought about by the global pandemic but we need to embrace the new normal, she said.

The official further presented the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) Resolution No. 47, series of 2020 dated June 19, 2020 with emphasis that TESDA is now allowed to resume trainings and assessments.

The TESDA chief of the province explained that the Technical-Vocational Education and Training (TVET) may conduct trainings in Technical Vocational Institutions (TVIs) and TESDA Technology Institutions (TTIs) subject to the compliance with TESDA Guidelines and minimum public health standards under the following conditions: 1. Full online/e-learning trainings; 2. All training programs related to agriculture/fishery qualifications for food production and processing; 3. Distance learning for TVET programs; 4. E-learning component of Blended Learning for TVET programs; 5. Dual Training System, Enterprise-Based Trainings, and In-plant Training in establishments allowed to operate under GCQ; and 5. Virtual assessment and portfolio assessment through electronic means for certain TVET qualifications.

Furthermore, Dir. Budtan said the face-to-face TVET training and competency assessment may be conducted at up to 50% training and assessment site capacity, provided there is strict compliance with minimum public health standards, TESDA Guidelines and consultations with local government units.

Meanwhile, Senior TESD Specialist Irenea A. Dela Victoria who is the Provincial Technical Competency Assessment and Certification System (PTCACS) presented the 2019 Accomplishments of TESDA-Agusan del Norte in as far as Competency Assessment and Certification System (CACS) is concerned.

She also presented the top five assessment centers who have contributed in the accomplishments of the provincial office wherein a remarkable 120% accomplishment was recorded in 2019, as follows: 1. Provincial Training Center of Agusan del Norte; 2. Northern Mindanao School of Fisheries; 3. Candelaria Institute of Technology of Cabadbaran, Inc. (CIC); 4. Philippine Electronics and Communications Institute of Technology (PECIT); and 5. Caraga State University (CSU).

Among the updates of CACS presented include: 1. Accreditation of Assessment Centers; 2. Accreditation of Competency Assessors; 3. Compliance Audit; 4. Administrative and Assessment Protocols and; 5. Online Application.

The provincial forum was attended by 47 participants composed of assessment center managers and processing officers of the different assessment centers in Butuan City and Agusan del Norte. (TESDA Agusan del Norte/PIA Agusan del Norte)

DA Caraga ensures unhampered corn farming

By Aurelius P. Arais

BUTUAN CITY, July 2 -- As the medical experts fight against the dreaded coronavirus, farmers are ensuring food availability for all.

With the support from the Department of Agriculture-Caraga (DA-Caraga), corn farmers are set to establish corn model farms in three sites in the region at Brgy. Mandamo, Butuan City; Bunawan, Agusan del Sur and San Miguel, Surigao del Sur.

DA-Caraga will provide free seeds, fertilizer, soil ameliorants, and bio-control agents as well as technical and marketing support for the three farm-cluster cooperators.

DA Caraga Regional Executive Director Abel James I. Monteagudo together with Regional Corn Program Coordinator Melody Guimary recently led the turn-over of farm inputs to Mandamo Integrated Farmers Association (MIFA) of Butuan City and Bunawan Agusan del Sur Corn Farmers Association held at the DA-ILD Compound, Taguibo, Butuan City.

Gracing also the occasion were officers of Butuan City Agriculture Office headed by Engr. Pierre Anthony Joven and officers of the cluster-cooperators.

Corn model farm will serve as show window of learning for the farmer-cooperators as well as farmers in adjacent areas. This will showcase appropriate technology to increase yield, reduce production cost through farm mechanization, and produce quality yellow and white corn grains.

Each farmer-cluster cooperator committed 50 hectares of land to be a corn model farm involving around 150 farmers.

“To help our farmers continue their noble role as a food producer, DA will support them through the provision of seeds and other inputs to make them productive despite of the pandemic,” Monteagudo said.

Nazario Baslote, chairperson of MAFI said that the project is a big help for them as they have availed free seeds and other inputs which is a big saving on their production cost.
“We are grateful that DA is always there for us. Despite the pandemic, we can produce food continuously,” he said.

The project is in support of the Plant Plant Plant Program (Agri4ps) towards a food-secure and resilient Philippines with prosperous farmers and fisherfolks. (DA Caraga/PIA Caraga)

TESDA distributes toolkits to SSTP scholars in AgNor town

By Robert E. Roperos

BUTUAN CITY, July 2 -- The Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) distributed on Wednesday toolkits to graduates of the Special Skills Training Program (SSTP) in Brgy. Casiklan, Las Nieves – one of the priority barangays identified by the Regional Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (RTF-ELCAC) under Executive Order 70.

According to Agusan del Norte Acting Provincial Director Liza B. Budtan, the training was conducted on January 7-15, 2020 in Produce Organic Vegetables (Leading to Organic Agriculture Production NC II). It was made possible in coordination with Mabakas Techno-Demo Farm, Municipal Agriculture Office of Las Nieves and the 23rd Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army. “They finished the training on January 15, 2020 but due to COVID-19 pandemic, the toolkits distribution was suspended,” Budtan added.

In his welcome address, Casiklan Punong Barangay Erwin C. Pesquito expressed his gratitude to TESDA for the free training that his constituents have availed. “In behalf of the residents of Brgy. Casiklan, I would like to express my sincerest thanks and gratitude to TESDA for the free training that our resident-farmers have availed, especially because aside from the training, we also received toolkits that would help them make their works easy,” Pesquito said.

Further, Marife B. Sanoy, one of the scholars said in her testimony that because of the training she obtained from TESDA through the Mabakas Techno-Demo Farm, she and her husband were able to build a house which is a dream-come-true of the couple.

“When I finished my training last January 25, 2020, I immediately applied all the learnings and knowledge I gained in the training and with God’s help, we were able to sell vegetable products amounting to Php 15,000.00 weekly… With the average income we have per week, we were able to build our own house,” she said.

Meanwhile, TESDA-Caraga Regional Director Ashary A. Banto enjoined the scholars to enroll in Organic Agriculture Production NC II so that the knowledge they have right now will be leveled-up, thus leading to the production of high-valued agricultural products.  “TESDA will always be here for you. Just tell us if you are interested to be trained specially in agriculture-related qualifications and we will be providing you with knowledge, skills, and the right attitude so that you will succeed in as far as agricultural farming is concerned,” Dir. Banto said.

Among the starter toolkits the scholars have received include: steel rake, sprayer, shovel, garden hoe, and sprinkler. Aside from the toolkits, they also received seeds from the Provincial Agriculture Office through its officer-in-charge Mr. Alvin P. Aclan.

Among the officials in attendance are Agusan del Norte Board Member Virgilo Escasiñas and Las Nieves Mayor Avelina Rosales. Likewise, personnel of the 23rd Infantry Battalion, Philippine Army and PNP-Las Nieves were also present in the activity providing security to guests and visitors. (TESDA Agusan del Norte/PIA Agusan del Norte)

Caraga RDC approves COVID-19 recovery program

By Ann B. Jaquilmac

BUTUAN CITY, July 2 (PIA) -- The Caraga Regional Development Council (RDC) has granted approval on the Caraga Regional Recovery Program (RRP) from COVID-19 during its 102nd Full Council meeting on June 26 via teleconference. 

Presented by Caraga RDC Vice-Chairperson and National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) regional director Bonifacio G. Uy, the RRP is a supplemental program to the Caraga Regional Development Plan (RDP) 2017-2022 Midterm Update, which aims to lay down Caraga’s COVID-19 recovery roadmap taking into account the region’s unique needs arising from the ongoing health crisis.

The RRP spells out the overall assessment on the impacts and challenges in the region arising from the pandemic; strategic action plans; and proposed programs, projects, and activities (PPAs) of the key sectors in the region.

RDC Chairperson and Agusan del Norte Governor Dale B. Corvera reiterated the importance of the said program in rebooting the economy from the losses it had sustained due to the health crisis.

“With the present situation that we are confronted with, we have to deal not just with the socio-economic and health impacts of this pandemic, but also its important implications on the role of the Council – not only as an agent of development, but also as an agent of recovery,” the chairperson said.

In the same meeting, the Caraga RDC also passed Resolution No. 27, Series of 2020, entitled “Supporting the Implementation of the Balik Probinsya, Bagong Pag-asa (BP2) Program and Approving the Creation of the Special BP2 Committee.”

Institutionalized by virtue of Executive Order 114, the BP2 Program is geared towards decongesting Metro Manila’s urban areas by encouraging people, especially the informal settlers, to return to their home provinces and assist them in this transition with support and incentives on transportation, family, livelihood, housing, subsistence and education, among others.

Relative to this, the Council resolved that the Special BP2 Committee shall be chaired by the Cabinet Officer for Regional Development and Security (CORDS) for Caraga Region, Cabinet Secretary Karlo A.B. Nograles and, as an initiative of the region, co-chaired by Caraga RDC Chairperson Gov. Dale B. Corvera.

To conclude the meeting, Gov. Corvera has highlighted the importance of cooperation among local authorities primarily to uplift the welfare of Caraganons amid the difficulties faced.  
“Our region’s success in bouncing back hinges primarily on our ability to work together, and our accountability in delivering what is expected from each of us. It is only then that we altogether can successfully transition from the pandemic’s harsh effects and step into the ‘new normal’ before us,” he affirmed. (NEDA Caraga/DMNR/PIA-Caraga)

CHR Caraga holds ‘right to health’ webinar series

BUTUAN CITY, July 2 -- While the country is battling against the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), it is high time also to better understand the right to health.

Participated by different representatives from regional line agencies, the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) Caraga led a webinar series held on June 24 and 30, 2020.

The first session centered on the normative discussion of the right to health by Mi-an Joy Taglucop and Atty. Ralphmar Oñez of CHR Caraga. The agency saw the importance for these offices to be reminded of the State's obligation most especially in time of this health crisis.

Participants were also able to share the measures their respective offices are undertaking to promote and protect the health of their employees and of course their clients.

Meanwhile, the second session highlighted mental health care in the new normal by Dr. Aime T. Guarino, RGC, RPsy of De La Salle University. Discussions include RA 11036 or the Mental Health Act and ways on how to cope with the mental health effects of the pandemic at home and in the workplace. (CHR Caraga/PIA Caraga)