PIA News Service - Tuesday, Feb. 1, 2011

Massive evacuation enforced in Butuan as alert level rises

by: Jennifer P. Gaitano

BUTUAN CITY, Feb. 1 (PIA) – City Mayor Ferdinand M. Amante Jr. today declared suspension of work in all public and private offices, as well as in all levels of private and public schools after alert level 3 was declared in the city.
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Mass forced evacuation is also conducted as flood waters already affecting majority of the barangays in the city.

In an interview with Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (RDRRMC) Chair and OCD-Caraga Regional Dir.Blanche Gobenciong, the official said Mayor Amante has also declared no work in all public and private offices here.

Gobenciong also encouraged the public especially those living in the low-lying areas and along the riverbank to evacuate as early as possible to avoid any untoward incidents.

It was learned that the following barangays requested for assistance in their evacuation: Brgy. San Vicente, Brgy. Aupagan, Brgy. Golden Ribbon, Brgy. Sto. Niño, Brgy. Buhangin and nearby barangays along the riverbank. CDRRMC is responding to barangays using speedboats and dumptrucks.

Meanwhile, Brgy. Capt. Jessie Jemida of Brgy. Leon Kilat reported that the water level in their barangay raised to waist-level. Jemida is also calling the attention of DPWH personnel to close the urban drainage since the water in Agusan River overflowed, which also caused increase of water level in Brgy. Leon Kilat. He also said that residents started to evacuate the area and vehicles can no longer pass.

Meanwhile, Division Support Area (DSA) based in Camp Bancasi, dispatched 3 M35 trucks to augment the dump trucks of the city in transporting affected populace along Agusan River particularly in Brgy. Buhangin and immediate barangays of Butuan City. Alert Level 3 is now enforced in the city after majority of the barangays are already flooded due to incessant rains that hit the region for almost 3 days now.

In related event, Caraga Highway Patrol Group (CHPG) Chief PS/Supt. James Macarilay reported that floods brought by heavy rains due to LPA have rendered the low-lying area of Santiago in Agusan del Norte not passable to light vehicles. Macarilay also said that roads and bridges along the national highway of Brgy. San Vicente, Barobo, Surigao del Sur are not passable to all moving vehicles due to rising of floodwaters. The CHPG is now on high alert and still conducting monitoring to roads/bridges prone to floods.

With this, the public is advised to be vigilant and take necessary precautionary measures to avoid any untoward incidents. (PIA-Caraga)


Heavy rains displaced 60 families in Dinagat Islands, Caraga now on alert level 3

DINAGAT ISLANDS, Feb. 1 (PIA) – Heavy rains caused by the low pressure area in Southern Mindanao have displaced 60 families or 203 individuals in the entire province.

Reports from the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC) revealed that the local DRRMC of San Jose initiated a pre-emptive evacuation to 60 families or 203 individuals on Monday, Jan. 31 from the barangays of Wilson, Matingbe, Jacquez, Luna and Don Ruben.

PDRRMC Deputized Coordinator Rosario Roxas said that relief goods were already extended to the affected families.

As of press time, no reported untoward incidents from the local DRRMCs as monitoring to its respective area of responsibility and alert advisories are on on-going.

Meanwhile, alert level 3 is now raised in all provinces of the region, the Caraga Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council declared today.

Classes in all levels are now suspended. Likewise, work in the public and private offices is suspended.

Office of Civil Defense Caraga Director Blanche Gobenciong said a force evacuation will likely be implemented in the areas prone to flashfloods and landslides. Gobenciong urged all the people living near the mountain slopes and in the low lying areas are advised to seek safer grounds.

“Let us untiringly aim for zero casualties,” said Gobenciong.
(FEAbkilan, PIA-Surigao del Norte)
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TSMWA buoyant on vaulting thru enterprise development
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Tandang Sora, Butuan City, Feb. 1 (PIA) – Ms. Ida Parcon has been enthusiastic because of her new-found skills learned recently through the community-based massage skills training sponsored by the Barangay local government here. Even while still a trainee, she boasted to have a monthly average income already of as much as PhP3,000.00 just by being an on-call practitioner. Because of her passion, her regular clients kept on seeking her services and others are being added too.
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She’s part of the group dubbed as the Tandang Sora Women’s Massage Association (TSWMA) organized here by TESDA Agusan del Norte late last year in cooperation with the PANGKALAMBUAN, Inc. and the World Vision.
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This late, TSWMA had up the ante by undergoing a skills training and educational tour dubbed as Lemon Grass Liniment Making and Livelihood Exposure. The exposure was done at the Joy Table Sauce (JTS) in Los Angeles, Butuan City and was presided by no less than JTS Proprietor Engr. Roderico Cane, a known local inventor cum entrepreneur, who shared with them the efficacy of lemon grass oil and its derivative products.
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He pointed out that lemon grass oil and its derivative products can be used as ingredients for food, medicine, cosmetics, and perfume. As a medicine, he shared, it can be used to regulate high blood pressure and urinary tract infection, and can be utilized also as insect repellant, soothing agent, and anti-septic among others.
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At the sideline, a brewing possibility of a tie up with the Rotary Club of Central Butuan (RCCB) is brightening as Charter President Rotarian Eliseo Malayao and PANGKALAMBUAN, Inc. Board of Trustees President Aniceto C. Cerdenia were mutually encourage with the prospect of helping the least of the brethren, who belong to the coverage area of the latter. Rtn. Malayao, while hobnobbing with the group, divulged that his organization is really bent on collaborating with engagements that tackle community development.
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At the end, Engr. Cane showed them on how the lemon grass oil and its derivative product were extracted using his invented equipment. He also exposed them to steam bathing, where they experienced the soothing aroma therapy using lemon grass oil. The group was likewise given a 350ml bottle of pure lemon grass oil for free that cost more than PhP1,500.00 in the prevailing market. It would be used as an ingredient for the group’s liniment making.
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At the bottom line, BOT President Cerdenia was able to extract a juicy tie up with Engr. Cane wherein the former, through his organization, would plant lemon grass and the latter would purchase all of them at a good price.
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The formal seminar-workshop on liniment-making was conducted by Mr. Marlito Castro of the City Cooperative and Enterprise Development Office at the residence of one of the members here. Through said training, the group was able to produce tinctures and ointments, which further needed testing to be promoted. DTI Agusan del Norte promised to come in and helped them develop a packaging for their products that would hopefully appeal to the clients or customers.
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Meanwhile, the group is upbeat that with their massage service and liniment products to be marketed in tandem or singly, the road to enterprise development would be gaining solid grounds. “With the help of other institutions and agencies,” TSWMA President Ms. Leonora Missiona said, “we fervently believed that this venture would be for good.”
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In TESDA’s framework, this is marrying and consummating community-based training with enterprise development – a far cry really from simply doing trainings but without minding whether there were palpable outcome such as self or wage employment. (Gervacio Dauz, Jr./PIA-Caraga)
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News Feature: 2 in 10 Pinoys anemic

MANILA - The food consumption survey (FCS) conducted in 2008 by the Food and Nutrition Research Institute of the Department of Science and Technology (FNRI-DOST) showed that the proportion of Filipino households meeting the recommended iron intake decreased over the last five years.

The survey also revealed that from 19.4 percent of households in 2003, the proportion significantly decreased to 13.5 percent in 2008.

The results further showed that the main sources of iron in the diet came from plants, like cereals and its products as well as vegetables.

Non-heme iron or iron from plant sources is not as readily available as heme iron or iron from animal sources like liver, oyster and shellfishes and fish.

Iron is needed to help build and maintain blood supply, give a healthy red color to the blood and prevent simple anemia.

Iron deficiency may cause easy fatigability, general weakness, poor physical performance, paleness in the face, conjunctiva, lips and fingernails, weight loss and nutritional anemia.

The FCS is a component of the 7th National Nutrition Survey (NNS) conducted every five years to update the nutritional status of the Filipino population.

The 7th NNS in 2008 showed that overall, 19.5 percent or about 2 in every 10 Filipinos have nutritional anemia.

Looking into the population groups, children 6 months to less than 1 year old have the highest prevalence of nutritional anemia at 55.7 percent or about 6 in every 10 infants.

Among pregnant women, 42.5 percent or about 4 in every 10 are anemic.

The prevalence rates of nutritional anemia among infants and pregnant women are considered of high public health significance based on criteria set by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Children 1-5 and 6-12 years old, adolescents, female adults 20-39 years old, adults 40-59 years old, the elderly and lactating women have moderate anemia prevalence.

Moderate anemia prevalence ranges between 10 to 39 percent.

Only male adults 20-39 years old have low anemia prevalence at 6.8 percent.

While the prevalence of anemia decreased from 2003 to 2008, its extent still calls for strengthened intervention to address it.

Interventions may include providing nutritious complementary foods while continuing breastfeeding infants after 6 months, increasing consumption of iron-rich foods, providing iron supplements especially to pregnant women, and encouraging backyard or home gardening to increase food security at the household level.

For more information on food and nutrition, contact: Dr. Mario V. Capanzana, Director, Food and Nutrition Research Institute, Department of Science and Technology, General Santos Avenue, Bicutan, Taguig City; Tel/Fax Num: 8372934 and 8373164; email: mvc@fnri.dost.gov.ph, mar_v_c@yahoo.com; FNRI-DOST website: http://www.fnri.dost.gov.ph. (Charina A. Javier, FNRI-DOST S & T Media Service/PIA-Caraga)


Govt. initiates creation of Task Force Drug Couriers

by Robert E. Roperos

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Feb. 1 (PIA) – Following the increasing number of Filipino drug couriers in the international scene, the national government through the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and its partner stakeholders has initiated the creation of Task Force Drug Couriers (TFDC).

Created on February 8, 2010 by virtue of Administrative Order 279, the task force is chaired by PDEA and co-chaired by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA). The task force is composed of 11 member agencies: Philippine Information Agency (PIA), Dept. of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Bureau of Immigration (BI), Bureau of Customs (BOC), Philippine Tourism Authority (PTA), Office of the President – Office of Executive Secretary (OP-ES), Dept. of Justice (DOJ), Commission on Higher Education (CHED), National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), PNP-Avsecom Group, and Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA).

Along this line, the task force has crafted three-year action plan involving three strategic areas, namely: prevention, law enforcement and prosecution, and coordination enhancement.

Of the three strategies, the taskforce allocated the highest budget to law enforcement and prosecution with P28,100,000; followed by prevention – P21,470,000; and coordination enhancement with P8,430,000.
(PIA-Caraga)


News Feature: Pinoy vitamin C intake mostly from veggies, not fruits

MANILA - The food consumption survey (FCS) conducted by the Food and Nutrition Research Institute of the Department of Science and Technology (FNRI-DOST) in 2008 showed that the main source of vitamin C in the diet of Filipinos is from vegetables.

Vegetables contribute 34-53 percent of the vitamin C intake of the population, except for preschool schoolchildren, while fruits contribute only about 19-29 percent.

The survey also showed that for adults, the elderly, and lactating women, more than 50 percent of their vitamin C intake comes from vegetables.

For adolescents and pregnant women, vitamin C intake from vegetables contribute 42.2 and 41.7 percent, respectively.

Children have lower vitamin C intake from vegetables, contributing 34.6 percent to diets of 6-12 year-old children and only 17.2 percent to 6 months to 5 year-old children.

The bulk of vitamin C intake of preschool-age children comes from milk and its products, contributing 33.3 percent.

However, no more than 30 percent of the population met the estimated average requirement (EAR) which is 80 percent of the recommended intake for vitamin C. Only 3 in every 10 households met the EAR.

Furthermore, the FCS showed that vegetable consumption is on the downtrend over the years.

Vegetable consumption has decreased from an average per capita vegetable intake of 145 grams in 1978 to 110 grams in 2008.

Vitamin C-rich vegetables include leafy greens like malunggay, ampalaya, petsay, saluyot as well as red and green pepper, sitsaro and raw cabbage.

The FCS is a component of the 7th National Nutrition Survey (NNS) conducted every 5 years to update the nutritional status of Filipinos.

The results call for a more aggressive promotion and advocacy of vegetables consumption among the public, especially that these are the main sources of vitamin C and other vitamins and minerals.

Backyard or home gardening should be further encouraged to increase food security at the household level.

The government should also provide support to local vegetable producers to increase supply and help sustain or reduce price of vegetables.

For more information on food and nutrition, contact: Dr. Mario V. Capanzana, Director, Food and Nutrition Research Institute, Department of Science and Technology, General Santos Avenue, Bicutan, Taguig City; Tel/Fax Num: 8372934 and 8373164; email: mvc@fnri.dost.gov.ph, mar_v_c@yahoo.com; FNRI-DOST website: http://www.fnri.dost.gov.ph. (Charina A. Javier, FNRI-DOST S & T Media Service/PIA-Caraga)


PDEA reveals modus operandi of drug syndicates

by Robert E. Roperos

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Feb. 1 (PIA)
- Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) Director-General Jose Gutierrez Jr. on Monday revealed modus operandi of syndicates victimizing individuals to become drug couriers during the press conference conducted in one of the local hotels here.

Dir. Gutierrez said some syndicates befriend potential recruits or even marry potential recruits. They also meet them through a casual acquaintance and via internet. The syndicate offer $2,000 for every successful transaction and even provide plane tickets for the drug courier.

Gutierrez said some methods of concealment practiced by drug couriers are by hiding in luggage and suitcases, through ingestion or swallowing, placed in books, bottles, parcels, undergoing minor body operation and by placing it in shoeboxes.

The PDEA chief also enumerated types of drugs seized: Heroin – 46%, Shabu – 7%, Cocaine – 1%, Marijuana – 1%, unspecified – 27%.

Meanwhile, Gutierrez said some points of origin of drugs are Malaysia – 24%, Macau – 8%, Thailand – 7%, Nepal – 6%, Philippines – 6%, Vietnam – 5%, and other countries – 44%. Major destinations of drugs are China (90%), Hong Kong (9%), and Taiwan (1%).

When asked on the profile of drug couriers, Gutierrez said more women then men are arrested; some are displaced OFWs; others are looking for jobs abroad while still a number are those with poor educational background – easily lured by syndicates, while some are well-educated, seeking for easy money.

Director Gutierrez is here in the city to forge partnership with Philippine Information Agency (PIA) headed by Director-General Atty. Jose A. Fabia during the launching of the “Anti-Drug Courier Program” in Mindanao. (PIA-Caraga)


PDEA bares accomplishments, challenges

By: Robert E. Roperos

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Feb. 1 (PIA) – With Philippines included in the top six point of origins of drugs in the world whose major destinations include China, Hong Kong and Taiwan, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) Director-General Jose Gutierrez on Monday presented the agency’s accomplishments as well as challenges lie ahead.

During the launching of the “Anti-Drug Courier Program” held here, Dir. Gutierrez presented two successful operations undertaken by the country’s crime-busting agency.

The “Operation: Homerun,” conducted on March 7-31, 2010, led to the apprehension of members of the West African Drug Syndicate (WADS), an international operation covering Malaysia, Thailand, China, and Philippines. The task force arrested nine Nigerians, one Thai, two Filipinos, and one Malaysian seizing two kilograms cocaine, one kilogram heroin, and 14 kilograms of shabu, and rescued one Filipina drug courier.

Also, the recent “Operation: Bull’s Eye” which was conducted on November 25, 2010 to January 8, 2011, also led to the apprehension of members of the West African Drug Syndicate (WADS), arrested one Mozambique, one Togolese, one Ghana, and one Thai. The team seized three kilograms cocaine, and rescued two Filipina drug couriers.

Meanwhile, the PDEA chief also presented major challenges that greatly affect the agency’s operations. He said drug syndicates are well-organized, well-funded and continue to expand.

The PDEA chief said underlying problem of poverty has lured Filipinos to be drug couriers in exchange for the huge amount of money. He also said members of WADS also take advantage of the displacement of OFWs abroad, they offer easy money by engaging OFWs to be drug couriers.

More importantly, Gutierrez stressed TFDC lacks the financial capability to launch an international anti-drug operation. (PIA-Caraga)


AFP augments Butuan city’s facilities to evacuate flood victims

By: Robert E. Roperos

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Feb. 1 (PIA) – Following the declaration of Alert Level 3 in Caraga Region by the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (RDRRMC), the Armed Forces of the Philippines, through the Division Support Area (DSA) based in Camp Bancasi here dispatches three M35 trucks to augment the dump trucks of the city government in transporting the affected populace along Agusan River after it overflowed because of the incessant rains that hits the region for the past days.

Also, Mayor Ferdinand M. Amante Jr. earlier declared suspension of classes in both the public and private schools in all levels as well as work in public and private offices.

In an information sent to PIA through Short Messaging System (SMS), the official said the city, in particular was declared under alert level 3 enforcing the affected residents for evacuation as water level in majority of the barangays already goes up.

Mayor Amante said, massive forced evacuation will be enforced as the local DRRMC is aiming for a zero casualty. (PIA-Caraga)


LPA continues to affect Caraga Region

By: Robert E. Roperos

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Feb. 1 (PIA) – The low pressure area which continuously affecting Northeast of Mindanao region worsen the condition of all provinces in Caraga Region, forcing the Regional Risk Reduction and Management Council (RDRRMC) declared Alert Level 3 region-wide.

In latest reports of the provincial, municipal and city DRRMC, massive forced evacuation are already enforced in some areas including its regional center Butuan City as majority of the barangays are already submerged with flood waters.

As of press time, Caraga Highway Patrol Group (CHPG) Chief PSSupt James Macarilay reported that floods brought by heavy rains have rendered low-lying areas of Santiago in Agusan del Norte impassable to light vehicles.

Macarilay also said that roads and bridges along the national highway of Brgy. San Vicente, Barobo, Surigao del Sur are also impassable to all moving vehicles due to high level of floodwaters. The CHPG is now on high alert and still conducting monitoring to roads and bridges prone to floods.

Meanwhile, barangays along the riverbank are already submerged with flood waters caused by the overflowing of Agusan River.

In an interview with Brgy. Leon Kilat Brgy. Capt. Jessie Jemida, the official said water-level in their barangay is now on waist-level.

Jemida also called the attention of DPWH personnel to close the urban drainages since water in Agusan River overflowed, causing the increase of water level in his barangay. The official added, residents were already evacuated and vehicles cannot pass the area. Brgy. Leon Kilat is among those located along the riverbank of Agusan River and also within downtown area. (PIA-Caraga)

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Local electric coops shut-off power supply in Caraga Region’s flooded areas

By: Robert E. Roperos

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Feb. 1(PIA)
– Local electric cooperatives in Caraga Region were forced to isolate/shut-off power supply in flooded areas as the low pressure area continuous to strike the Northeastern Mindanao Region.

In an information from Agusan del Norte Electric Cooperative, Inc. (ANECO) information Officer Danilo dela Cerna, ANECO is forced to isolate/shut-off barangays in Butuan City and Agusan del Norte since said areas are already submerged with flood waters to prevent from danger.

It can be recalled that during the recent massive flooding in the region, the local government units through the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council reported some casualties after it was accidentally electrocuted. (PIA-Caraga)
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Caraga LGU other gov't agencies join efforts to mitigate effects of LPA

BUTUAN CITY - The City Government of Butuan, under the leadership of City Mayor Dr. Ferdinand M. Amante, Jr and in coordination with the City Social Welfare Desk headed by Mrs. Aldebaran Mordeno has already started their relief operations to the barangays affected by the Low Pressure Area (lpa). Evacuation Centers were also identified in the respective barangays. The Headquarters of the relief and rescue operations is centered at Father Saturnino Urios University (FSUU) Gym.

Government officials, government-line offices, non-government organizations, private and socio-civic groups such as the FSUU, City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (CDRRMC), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), City Health Office, Philippine Information Agency (PIA), Balangay Team, Philippine National Police, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Dy Teban Hardware, DPWH-Regional Office, Philippine National Red Cross and the Boy Scouts of the Philippines also extended their support through information dissemination, rescue volunteers and other resources such as dumptrucks and relief goods.

“It is the role of the government to ensure public safety in times like this. The City Government is doing everything to mitigate the effects of this Low Pressure Area.” Mayor Amante stated.

Mayor Amante further advised the public to remain calm and to coordinate with their respective barangay officials if evacuation is needed.

The rescue and relief operations hotlines are as follows: FSUU Gym - 345-6451; CDCC - 345-5940; CDRRMC - 346-1205. (PIO/PIA-Caraga)

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More than 3 million preschoolers malnourished

MANILA, Feb. 1 -- Only 17.8 percent or about 2 in every 10 children 6 months to 5 years old met the recommended energy intake daily, according to the food consumption survey (FCS) conducted in 2008 by the Food and Nutrition Research Institute of the Department of Science and Technology (FNRI-DOST).

The survey also revealed that the average one-day total food intake of preschool-age children decreased from 562 grams in 2003 to 492 grams in 2008.

In terms of calorie intake, the trend among preschoolers went down from 980 kilocalories in 2003 to 843 kilocalories in 2008.

The survey further showed that the average one-day intake of preschool-age children in all food groups, except starchy roots and tubers, decreased in the five-year period.

The intake of starchy roots and tubers among preschoolers remained the same from 2003 to 2008.

The FCS is a component of the 7th National Nutrition Survey (NNS) conducted every five years to update the nutritional status and dietary intake of the Filipino population.

Looking at the nutritional status of preschool-age children, the 7th NNS showed that in every 100 children aged 0-5 years old, 26 are underweight, 28 are stunted and 6 are thin.

This proportion translates to about 3.35 million underweight preschool-age children, 3.57 million stunted and 780,000 thin.

Moreover, nutritional anemia is prevalent among 6 months to less than one year-old at 55.7 percent and 20.9 percent for children 1-5 years old.

Also, vitamin A deficiency is prevalent at 15.2 percent among these same age group.

Inadequate food intake and illnesses affect the nutritional status of children.

This period in the life cycle is critical for promoting optimal growth, health and development, thus, adequate quantity and quality of complementary foods must be provided.

Complementary foods should be readily consumed by young children and must provide energy, protein, fat, vitamins and minerals the growing children need. Complementary feeding is defined as giving other foods in addition to breastmilk after exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months.

Combinations of locally-available and commonly-consumed food items like rice, dried beans or legumes, cereals like corn, rootcrops and tubers served with flaked meat or minced or powdered small fishes serve as nutrient-dense meals or snacks for young children.

The government and other concerned agencies must review existing nutrition and health programs for children given the current situation.

Given the current status for 0-5 year-old Filipino children, there is a need of strengthened promotion of breastfeeding and nutritious complementary foods.

Breastfeeding and nutritious complementary foods must be intensified and monitoring of children's growth must be continued.

For more information on food and nutrition, contact: Dr. Mario V. Capanzana, Director, Food and Nutrition Research Institute, Department of Science and Technology, General Santos Avenue, Bicutan, Taguig City; Tel/Fax Num: 8372934 and 8373164; email: mvc@fnri.dost.gov.ph, mar_v_c@yahoo.com; FNRI-DOST website: http://www.fnri.dost.gov.ph. (Charina A. Javier, FNRI-DOST S & T Media Service/PIA-Caraga)

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More women used as drug couriers

By: David M. Suyao

BUTUAN CITY, Feb. 1 (PIA) -- Women are mostly used as courier of drugs in the international drug trafficking than men, according to the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA).

Ret. Gen. Jose Gutierez, director general of the PDEA said, many women are arrested in airports and other entry and exit doors of the country than men because drug syndicates believe that the international law are more lenient to women than men.

“Members of the syndicate befriend women thru the internet or any other ways and court them to become their sweetheart and even wife in order to satisfy their desires to transport drugs to other places and countries. Women have many ways to conceal drugs, because they have plenty of areas in their body where drugs can be concealed, especially when the authorities lack modern gadgets to detect the presence of drugs.”

According to Gutierez, they have identified at least five profiles of drug couriers. Among them are the displaced overseas Filipino workers, those looking for job abroad, those with poor educational background because they are easily lured by syndicates while others are well educated also because they seek for easy money.

These drug couriers have major destinations, mainly China, 90 percent, Hongkong, 9 percent and Taiwan, one percent.

During the program Operation Homerun by the PDEA on March last year, the agency apprehended members of the West African Drug syndicate in the country. They have also arrested nine Nigerians, one Chinese, two Filipinos and a Malaysian. The PDEA also seized two kilogramss of cocaine, one kilogram of heroine and 14 kilograms of shabu.

Because of the alarming drug trafficking inside and outside the country, PDEA has organized a task force dubbed as Task Force Drug Courier by virtue of Administrative Order No. 279 on February 8, 2010. The Task Force is composed of the Philippine Information Agency (PIA), Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), the Philippine Tourism Authority(PTA), Bureau of Customs (BOC), Bureau of Immigration (BI), the Office of the Executive Secretary-Office of the President (OP-ES, Department of Justice (DOJ), the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), the PNP AvseGroup, and the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA). Its funding will be taken from the President’s contingency fund and will implement the task force’s three year action plan to address the drug courier problem. (PIA-Agusan del Sur)

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Surigao Sur Prov’l Governor recognizes NSBBSP 2010 winners

TANDAG, Surigao del Sur, Feb. 1 (PIA) – Surigao del Sur Gov. Jonny Pimentel recognized the winners of the 2010 National Search for the Barangay with Best Sanitation Practices (NSBBSP) provincial winners at the provincial capitol lobby during Monday's, (January 31), program activity

According to Mr. Rodrigo Gordo, Supervising Sanitary Inspector, the awardees’ Barangay Captain Charliemyne Intano with their Municipal Health Officer (MHO) Dr. Doseph Ague and Sanitary Inpectors attended the said ceremony.

A report from the Provincial Health Office (PHO) revealed that Barangay Babuyan, Carrascal grabbed the highest rank recently, early this year and it was reportedly included in the said search for National Level. The said barangay received a Plaque of Appreciation and Cash Prize of P5,000.00 for provincial level category.

Meanwhile, Barangay Bitoon in Hinatuan, this province proclaimed as second placer and received Plaque of Reconition with Cash Prize of P4,000.00; Barangay Batuna, Tagbina take as third prize and received Plaque with P3,000.00 cash prize; and Barangay Buenavista, Tandag also grabbed the fourth prize and received Plaque with cash prize amounting to P2,000.00 respectively.

The recognition of winners is only a way of the Provincial Government headed by Governor Johnny Pimentel as motivating factor to the Local Government officials and employees recognizing their efforts that leads them to success. (NGBTranquilan/PIA Surigao del Sur)

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AFP augments Butuan city’s facilities to evacuate flood victims

By: Robert E. Roperos

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Feb. 1 (PIA) – Following the declaration of Alert Level 3 in Caraga Region by the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (RDRRMC), the Armed Forces of the Philippines, through the Division Support Area (DSA) based in Camp Bancasi here dispatches three M35 trucks to augment the dump trucks of the city government in transporting the affected populace along Agusan River after it overflowed because of the incessant rains that hit the region for the past days.

Earlier, Mayor Ferdinand M. Amante Jr. declared suspension of classes in both the public and private schools in all levels as well as work in public and private offices.

In an information sent to PIA through Short Messaging System (SMS), the official said the city, in particular was declared under alert level 3 enforcing the affected residents for evacuation as water level in majority of the barangays already goes up.

Mayor Amante said, massive forced evacuation will be enforced as the local DRRMC is aiming for a zero casualty. (PIA-Caraga)

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Caraga's RDRRMC members join efforts to lessen impact of LPA

BUTUAN CITY, Feb. 1 (PIA) –- Caraga’s Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (RDRRMC) is fully operational with its members working together in preparation for any eventualities as torrential rains continue to batter the region.

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RDRRMC Operations Center maintains a 24/7 monitoring operation and disseminated warning bulletins to Local DRRMCs and RDRRMC member-agencies with the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) assisting in disseminating advisories as well as in providing situational update to the general public through its 172 networks in the region.

The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) monitoring team also established a hotline number where the public can contact for assistance.

Likewise, the Butuan CDRRMC convened at 4:00 PM yesterday (Jan. 31) to discuss preparation for any eventualities. Dump trucks were positioned in identified flood prone barangays with PNP personnel and DISART members for evacuation. Relief goods were also prepositioned.

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Meantime, the PNP Surigao City, BFP, 30th IB-PA, PNP Recruits, QART and members of Brgy. Council of Washington conducted forced evacuation to 354 families of Sitio Pagasa and Sitio Bonotan of Brgy. Washington and brought them to identified evacuation centers.

PDRRMC Surigao del Norte dispatched Medical Teams and the Five Clusters to their respective areas of concern while PDRRMC Dinagat Islands response and relief mechanisms were on standby for immediate augmentation to municipalities. (PIA-Caraga)