1.27.2014

Agriculture Attaché to UAE visits Butuan, discusses business with city dad

By Jennifer P. Gaitano

BUTUAN CITY, Jan. 24 (PIA) - Mr. Gil B. Herico, Agriculture Attaché to United Arab Emirates (UAE) discussed business with City Mayor Ferdinand Amante Jr. and some heads of government agencies.

In his presentation, Herico bared that the Middle East is one of the world's fastest growing food and beverage markets, and the Golf Cooperation Council Countries import over US$ 12-billion worth of Agri-food annually.

Herico further revealed that the production of Lemon Grass or Tanglad (in local dialect) in UAE is tremendous because almost all of the restaurants there use Lemon Grass in the food they cook.

It was also learned that the Philippine Seafood Industry has been growing substantially and Aquaculture remains to be the main engine for export growth in the fisheries sector.

"I am inviting Mayor Jun Amante and his wife, together with Department of Agriculture Caraga regional director Edna Mabeza and other local officials here to attend the SEAFEX this year in Dubai, UAE. I am convinced that Butuan can really boost its seafood industry," Herico stressed.

SEAFEX is professionally managed and hosted by the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) which provides more than three decades of experience in delivering world-class events in the Middle East, featuring local, regional and international exhibitors with unmatched expertise and in-depth market knowledge. The extensive portfolio of leading trade and consumer brand events include Gulfood, Sweets and Snacks Middle East, The Speciality Food Festival, GITEX Technology Week, Dubai International Boat Show and Dubai International Motor Show.

Also, Herico encouraged the city government to indulge into organic business. "If you have business on organic (native chicken, hog/pork), it will surely prosper. It is such a good investment," emphasized Henrico.

The Agriculture Attaché to UAE also promised to visit the city on a quarterly basis this year to further discuss businesses that will suggest more investments for the benefit of Butuanons. (JPG/PIA-Caraga)


Butuan still on Alert level 3, evacuees not yet allowed to go back to their homes

By Jennifer P. Gaitano

BUTUAN CITY, Jan. 24 (PIA) - Evacuees are not yet allowed to go back to their homes as Alert Level 3 remains in the city.

As of 7:00 a.m. today, the Butuan City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (CDRRMO) has recorded the water level in Agusan River at 3.35 meters. Latest records from CDRRMO reveal six casualties, three missing persons, and one injured.

“We want to make sure that the evacuees are safe when they go back to their homes. Since the water level in Agusan River is still beyond 3 meters which is still on Alert Level 3, we could not let them go back to their homes yet for their own safety,” said CDRRMO chief Grace Espere.

Also, classes for the preschool, elementary and high school levels of both private and public educational institutions are still suspended today while the mandatory suspension of classes in the college level has been lifted on Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2014.

It was learned that the Disaster Monitoring Report as of 12:00 noon on Thursday are as follows: Agricultural damage: Rice - ?27,475,000.00; Vegetable - ? 592,500.00; Banana - ? 782,500.00.

83 barangays were affected by Tropical Depression Agaton. There were 71 barangays with evacuees in the 101 evacuation centers having 22,347 families affected.

Meanwhile, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) with CSWD and other partner stakeholders here are continuously packing family relief packs for distribution to the affected evacuees. (JPG/PIA-Caraga)


Butuan Mayor presents Vision 2010 to Agriculture Attaché to UAE

By Jennifer P. Gaitano

BUTUAN CITY, Jan. 24 (PIA) – “Butuan City will soon fulfill the Vision 2020. It will soon become the Premier Forest City. We will put in place a university in the forest; hotel in the forest; and restaurants/cafes in the forest, among others."

This was the statement of Mayor Ferdinand Amante Jr during the Welcome Dinner and Meeting on Thursday with Mr. Gil B. Herico, Agriculture Attaché to UAE.

“Forty years ago, the city was branded as the Ancient Kingdom where the first mass in the Philippines was held, which later on becomes the Home of the Balangay, where excavation and its voyage were recorded. And now, the city will soon become the Premier Forest City, as we were also branded before as the Timber City of the South,” added Amante.

Amante further bared that the city government’s target on its 2020 Vision include the following: Butuan City as an island of good governance by 2015 and to be featured in the 2015 and to be featured in the 2015 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) as a transformed city.

“To make all of these possible, we are doing strategies which include the following: to incorporate agriculture in the 2020 Vision; to enroll/graduate the 18,000 identified poor families in the city to the 4Ps, PhilHealth, among others; and to make the city a Forest Festival that will start by August this year,” Amante said.

It was also highlighted in Mayor Amante’s message that the city government will ensure that its budget is aligned with the Vision 2010 and to enhance its Performance Governance System, Strategies Performance Monitoring System, and Scorecard Monitoring System.

Some local/barangay officials and heads of government agencies also attended the said activity. (JPG/PIA-Caraga)


FREEDOM Inc. to donate energy-efficient lights to PIA Caraga

By Venus L. Garcia

BUTUAN CITY, Jan. 24 (PIA) – The Foundation for Rural Enterprise and Ecological Development of Mindanao, Inc. (FREEDOM, Inc), through the authority of executive director Antonio Peralta, has pledged to provide the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) Caraga with energy-efficient lights.

The cutting edge energy saving and eco-friendly or so called “green” lights is expected to be installed the soonest.

“These lights will definitely help our office to achieve a decrease in electricity consumption as part of our austerity measures. We have always been planning to convert our existing costly fluorescent lights and now FREEDOM, Inc. gave us the solution through its grant,” said PIA Caraga regonal director Abner Caga.

Caga said tha the agency is targetting to chieve a maximum productivity with minimum expense in terms of electricity use.

“We want our beneficiaries to benefit much from the support that we imparted them. We stand by our Foundation’s fundamental concept of being a catalyst of change, a stimulant of progress, and attaining prosperity for all,” Peralta said.

FREEDOM, Inc. as a non-government organization provides viable economic and social programs. It envisions prosperity and fulfillment while reducing poverty for the rural communities and works toward the kind of communities that are empowered by a strong sense of respect and dignity.

Its deputy executive director Epimaco Galero, Jr. also reiterates “the Foundation’s mission to address the common concerns among the communities including but not limited to health and wellness, food security, secured homes and shelters, and socio-economic growth while simultaneously ensuring that such progress will not sacrifice the environment but rather have the environment reflect sustainable community advancement.”

The commitment between these government and non-government entities indicates a stable partnership.

The agency and FREEDOM, Inc. are currently formulating future plans and projects and one driving tool is coming up with a slogan declaring  “Friday is a FREEDOM Day!” where PIA personnel keep the liberty and responsibility to uphold working with excellence.

With this, FREEDOM, Inc. will also donate to the agency sets of polo shirt to be worn by each personnel especially during its related activities.

It can be recalled as well that FREEDOM, Inc. has joined the “Save Mount Mayapay” advocacy of PIA Caraga and Samahang Magdalo Balangay Chapter which is positively reaping good results. (VLG/PIA-Caraga)


GK provides assistance to flood victims in Butuan City

By Venus L. Garcia

BUTUAN CITY, Jan 24 (PIA) – The Gawad Kalinga (GK) Community Development Foundaton has engaged in relief operations by providing family packs to the evacuees who were affected by flooding due to tropical depression Agaton.

The GK Caraga, in partnership with Father Saturnino Urios University (FSUU), has endeavored in humanitarian aid to the victims/evacuees through distribution of family packs containing 3 kilos rice, noodles and canned goods. These evacuess were from barangay Mahay who are now temporarily housed at the identified evacuation centers.

A hundred families that were assisted by the GK during the time of evacuation are now safe but the necessity for food supply needs to be addressed.

Victor Emmanuel “Butch” Ozarraga, area coordinator for GK Northern Mindanao said repacking of relief goods is ongoing and will soon be delivered for another round of distribution.

Volunteers also willingly rendered their services to speed up the preparation of these goods.

Jerese Madriaga, member of the GK workforce, bared that GK communities in barangays Abilan and Pagatpatan have also received the goods through their relief distribution efforts since the area was submerged in floodwaters.

“This is just one among the many missions of GK to secure, protect, and promote the human welfare. We are conveying our support to our displaced brothers and sisters,” added Ozarraga.

GK which means to “give care” in Filipino has truly exemplified in action its devotion to the service of others especially in times of catastrophic events such as what happened in the region where flooding and landslides inevitably occurred. (VLG/PIA-Caraga)


National govt offices provide relief goods to Agaton victims in AgNor

By Brian Jay Ceballos

BUTUAN CITY, Jan. 24 (PIA) - The province of Agusan del Norte declared under a State of Calamity due to the effects of Tropical Depression (TD) Agaton that caused flooding in most areas of the province, received aid from national government offices of Caraga Region.

Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Caraga, spearheaded by assistant regional director for Operations Mita Lim, provided and distributed family packs which contain three kilos of rice, three cans sardines, three cans corned beef, six packs of noodles, and six pieces coffee to the nine LGUs in Caraga Region affected by TD Agaton.

Meanwhile, the Department of Health (DOH) Caraga is also monitoring the sanitation in the evacuation centers. According to Sunshine Alipayo, public information officer of DOH Caraga, the DOH Team distributed jerry cans & hyposol or waterine to disinfect drinking water to prevent Diarrhea to the evacuees.

The said office is also set to conduct Mop-up immunization on Measle Vaccine for children ages six months to less than one year old; & MMR for children one year old to less than five years old in the evacuation centers to prevent measles and possible outbreaks.

The NFA-Caraga has also activated their Provincial Operations Center to ensure ready assistance of rice. (LGU-AdN PIO/PIA-Agusan del Norte)


DOST-DOLE partnership to open more technology-driven jobs for disaster-devastated communities

By Framelia V. Anonas

MANILA, Jan. 24 (PIA) - More technology-driven jobs are in the offing as the science and labor departments join forces in a nationwide livelihood program that will be technology-driven, resource-based and sustainable.  Priority of said livelihood program are Filipinos who are economically displaced and marginalized due to natural and man-made calamities, including returning or displaced OFWs and their families.

“We do not only aim to rebuild communities,” said Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Secretary Mario G. Montejo, “but also to enhance the resilience of our communities with the aid of technology.”

The program, also in collaboration with the trade and agriculture departments, will have several components, including the establishment of community-based enterprises, business incubators, business and technology centers, innovation and knowledge centers, and promotion of climate change mitigation to increase community disaster resiliency.

Said component programs, according to Sec. Montejo, are built upon the “Filipino’s spirit of self-reliance, resilience, and ingenuity.”

Business and technology incubators will provide a package of support services to start-up enterprises while business and technology centers will serve as alternative sites and technology terminals to create new or revive enterprises. Innovation and knowledge centers, meanwhile, will provide relevant information on science, technology, and innovation.

As well, the Department of Labor and Employment will provide working capital in the form of raw materials, equipment, tools and jigs; trainings on skills and entrepreneurship, and organizational development, as well as on productivity, safety and health; and facilitate entrepreneurs’ enrollment to micro-insurance.

Agreed responsibilities of said agencies are sealed in the signing of a Memorandum of Agreement on Jan. 23 this year at the Occupational Safety and Health Center in Quezon City attended by  the heads, regional directors, and key officials of the involved agencies.

Within the next 30 days, DOST and DOLE regional offices will conduct consultations with possible beneficiaries and come up with a detailed action plan.

Priority technologies for livelihood

DOST’s priority technologies to be included in the livelihood program include indigenous handicraft making, fiber glass bancas, foldaway shelter, ceramic water pot filter, bakery products, charcoal briquetting, vegetable noodles, waste recycling, and complementary foods for babies.

For the fishery sector, livelihood packages include smokehouse kits, fish canning and bottling, fish and squid drying, vacuum packing, fish fillet, and minced fish.

While DOST will provide appropriate technologies and livelihood training, DOLE will handle the employment aspect. The Department of Trade and Industry will take care of the market side, and the Department of Agriculture will manage the agriculture and fishery aspect.

Joint forces to help Yolanda victims

This program is a convergence of government agencies, said Sec. Montejo, to maximize resources and ensure sustainability.

This is echoed by DOLE Sec. Rosalinda J. Baldoz who said that the four agencies, all in the livelihood, employment and commerce cluster, have forged this program in the cabinet level.

She shared that in her visits to Yolanda-hit areas, she found out that employment is now the top need of communities.  “People in the devastated regions are already looking for jobs,” she bared.

This is why the agencies came up with this convergence program, she said, which is a part of the RAY or Reconstruction Assistance on Yolanda.

Technology-driven, resource-based, sustainable

“The use of technology (in the livelihoods) will create value,” Montejo stressed. “The convergence of agencies ensure that there will be markets, and value-adding through technology ensure the program’s sustainability.”

On resource-based livelihoods, he explained, “Whatever we find in a certain area, we will create a product out of it using technology, add value to it, and find market for it.”

As an example, he shared that in his meetings with the local officials in Jaro, Leyte, they planned to package their local lechon (roasted pig) as “Yolanda-brand” and find market for it in Manila. In Basey, Samar, meanwhile, their abundant root crop camote (sweet potato), can be processed into chips, and appropriately package it to make it competitive in the market, he told.

“President Benigno S. Aquno III’s instruction is clear: All initiatives must be sustainable so that we will see better communities in the future,” Sec. Baldoz told. “The reforms pushed by the President are not great changes but reform on how we do things—that these initiatives will go on even after this administration.”

The programs, being technology-based, make us confident that these will be sustainable, according to her.  “Sustainability ensures the transformation of beneficiaries to better families, communities and country, leading to inclusive growth.” (S&T Media Service, DOST-STII/PIA-Caraga)