Butuan dad declares no class, work today

By Jennifer P. Gaitano

BUTUAN CITY, Jan. 20 (PIA) – As per Proclamation No. 7, Mayor Ferdinand Amante Jr has declared suspension of classes in all levels today in both public and private schools, and no work for government and private including banking institutions.

“In view of the disastrous effects of the weeklong Low Pressure Area and subsequent Tropical Depression ‘Agaton’ which have brought floodwaters submerging almost all barangays of the city, there is an urgent need to cancel classes in all levels from pre-school to college level and suspend work both in government and private institutions, including banking, in order to prevent any untoward incidents including loss of lives and properties, pursuant to Section 1 (c) of Executive Order No. 66, series 2012, issued by His Excellency Benigno S. Aquino III," Amante said.

The cancellation of work in private institutions is due to the fact that the flooding has already affected 63 barangays, making the transportation difficult and necessitating the need to safeguard every family in the barangays including those 8,107 families in the various evacuation centers which is still increasing in number.

Also, Amante said that after consultation with the members of the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (CDRRMC), the Office of Civil Defense (OCD), and Schools Division Superintendent’s Office, said proclamation was signed and released.

It was also stated in the proclamation that all government offices within the city, particularly those directly involved in disaster risk reduction and management shall maintain the operations of their respective offices through a skeletal force to ensure the continuity of the delivery of services to the public. (JPG/PIA-Caraga)


Agnor province placed under state of calamity

By Nora L. Molde

BUTUAN CITY, Jan. 20 (PIA) – Due to the effects of Tropical Depression “Agaton” that caused flooding to most parts of Agusan del Norte, the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC) chaired by governor Ma. Angelica Rosedell Amante-Matba recommended the approval of the declaration of the province under the state of calamity, Sunday, January 19.

On the same day, Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) members convened for a special meeting and declared the province under the State of Calamity through SP Resolution Number 003-2014.

The PDRRMO headed by officer Erma Suyo is continuously monitoring the status of water level in the different municipalities of the province, local DRRMCs are likewise advised to be on 24-hour monitoring since January 11. Forced evacuations were enforced to those residents living in low-lying areas.

To ensure safety of school children, classes in all levels on Monday are suspended until such time the order will be lifted.

The Cuyago road in the municipality of Jabonga is passable only to heavy vehicles as the road is flooded, as per Department of Public Works and Highways latest situational report today.

Also, as of 5PM, Sunday, eight barangays in the municipality of Jabonga were affected (Poblacion, Magsaysay, Bunga, San Pablo, Colorado, Beltran, Libas, San Jose) with 2,089 families or 8,559 individuals.

Around 395 families or 2,370 individuals affected in the municipality of Las Nieves and three barangays (Lapaz, Tagbuyacan & E. Morgado) with 60 families or 238 individuals were affected in the municipality of Santiago.

A total of 12 barangays (Brgy. 4, Brgy. 5, Brgy. 6, Brgy. 8, Brgy. 9, Brgy. 10, Matabao, Manapa, Malpoc, Sacol, Simbalan and Abilan) in the municipality of Buenavista with 1,293 families or 6,288 individuals are also flooded

According to Erma Suyo, PDRRM Officer, as of 10PM, Sunday, 69 families or 201 individuals are now evacuated at the municipal gym in Nasipit.

Relief goods were distributed to the affected families/evacuees.

Community Affairs Officer IV Edgar M. Palarca, Jr. of the provincial government of Agusan del Norte also said that as of 11:30AM Monday, January 20, the province has extended and distributed a total of 2,330 packs of goods and 500 mats to all affected areas in the province.

The PDRRMO has recorded a total of 5,103 families evacuated to designated evacuation centers. Total number of families affected now reached to 5,871 or 29,528 individuals as of 10:30AM Monday, Palarca added.

Rescue and relief operations are still going on.

Palarca also said, the provincial government has extended assistance to the Butuan City DRRMO in their rescue operation at barangays Mahogany, Baan Riverside and Buhangin where some 60 families have been evacuated at the provincial capitol, here. Some equipment like rubber boats is being used by the Philippine Coast Guard. (NCLM/PIA-Agusan del Norte)


Butuan dad asks for donations for TD Agaton flood-victims

By Jennifer P. Gaitano

BUTUAN CITY, Jan. 20 (PIA) – Mayor Ferdinand Amante Jr asked everyone to extend help to the families affected by Tropical Depression (TD) Agaton.

"They need hot meals like champorado, binignit or pospas, which you can directly serve in the evacuation sites. Good rice, canned goods other than sardines, mineral water especially for kids, mats and blankets, slightly used clothes, milk for children, coffee and sugar, and most of all your love and prayers to sustain them through the storm. It’s so heart-warming to do it and always they show their happiness and appreciation, "said Amante.

The city hall basement is open to receive the donations in cash or in kind.

Amante further expressed that TD Agaton has inflicted more damage and has affected more Butuanon lives than the killer Yolanda. It has displaced more than 3,000 families and its complications may even persist for a few more days.

It was also learned that repacking of relief goods for immediate distribution to different evacuation centers in the city is still ongoing. The disaster brigade/City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (CDRRMO) and other government agencies concerned are closely coordinating for the relief distribution.

The city government according to Mayor Amante has already given several rounds of relief goods together with the Congressional Office of Cong. Law Fortun, other agencies and some donor institutions and friends to the displaced families. (JPG/PIA-Caraga)


Water level in Agusan River increases due to TD Agaton

By Jennifer P. Gaitano

BUTUAN CITY, Jan. 20 (PIA) – Thousands of residents in this city were evacuated since weekend after the water level of Agusan River continues to rise as the city and other parts of Caraga region are still experiencing moderate to heavy rains caused by Tropical Depression ‘Agaton.’

As of 6:00 a.m. today, the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (CDRRMO) here said the water level reached its critical point at 4.12 meters.

At around 10:20 last night, the water level was recorded at 3.80 meters and has increased into 3.90 meters at 11:20 p.m.

In a phone conversation with Butuan City Mayor Ferdinand Amante Jr., Dr. Mahar Lagmay of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) said flood water is expected to rise due to high tide.

With this, Amante calls on all Butuanons to be more alert. "Forced evacuation will be done for those people who have not evacuated yet. Let's work together," he stressed.

The City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (CDRRMC) reported more than 3,000 people from barangays Baan, Baan riverside, Mahogany, Mahay, Agao and other nearby barangays have already evacuated at the designated evacuation centers.

Also, the Butuan Search and Rescue Team is fully utilizing its resources/equipment to rescue other affected individuals. Elderlies and persons with disabilities were given the priority to be transported to evacuation centers.

For emergencies, the public may call the CDRRMO Operation Center (OpCen) at (085) 341-2247, 343-7007, 09462369628, and 145.630MHz simplex. (JPG/PIA-Caraga)


DOH-13 distributes hygiene kits, other logistics to evacuees

By Jennifer P. Gaitano

BUTUAN CITY, Jan. 20 (PIA) – The Department of Health (DOH) Caraga distributed hygiene kits, jerry cans and other logistics needed by the flood victims housed in the evacuation centers due to Tropical Depression (TD) ‘Agaton’.

According to Sunshine Alipayo, Public Information Officer of DOH-Caraga, due to continuous rains and flooding caused by TD Agaton, there is a possible occurrence of leptospirosis.

“One of the symptoms of having said disease is fever. Better consult a physician right away. There are local health workers assigned in the evacuation centers," she said.

DOH will also give Prophylaxis treatment to victims of leptospirosis.

Alipayo also bared that their office will be conducting the following: Mop-up immunization on Measle Vaccine with 100,000 iu of Vitamin A for children six months to less than one year old; and MMR with 200,000 iu vitamin A for children one year old to less than five years old in the evacuation centers. This is to prevent measles and possible outbreak in evacuation centers.

DOH is also monitoring the Sanitation in the different designated evacuation centers. "It is one of our concerns that’s why we distributed jerry cans and Hyposol or Waterine to disinfect drinking water to prevent Diarrhea," added Alipayo.

The DOH’s health message on water safety: "If doubtful, boil your drinking water or disinfect with Aqua Tab or Waterine." (JPG/PIA-Caraga)


TD Agaton displaces 11,104 families in Agnor

By Nora L. Molde

BUTUAN CITY, Jan. 20 (PIA) – A total of 11,104 families in the province of Agusan del Norte are affected with the floodings brought about by Tropical Depression Agaton.

Governor Ma. Angelica Rosedell Amante Matba who chairs the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (PDRRMC) has enforced a forced evacuation to all residents in low-lying areas of the province.

According to Edgar Palarca, Jr., Community Affairs Officer IV of the province, as of 11:30 a.m., a total of 36,862 individuals are now at the identified evacuation centers of the different municipalities of the province.

As of 5p.m., the total families evacuated as per PDRRMC record in the municipality of Jabonga now reached to 2,089; Las Nieves - 2,017; Santiago - 115; Buenavista - 1,293; Kitcharao - 462; Magallanes - 600; Cabadbaran City - 1,099; Remedios T. Romualdez - 2,006;  Tubay - 1,327; and Nasipit – 69.

Search and rescue operations of the PDRRMO headed by officer Erma Suyo are still on going.

The province has been declared under the state of calamity on Sunday, January 19, 2014 due to the massive floodings that the municipalities are experiencing until this time. (NCLM/PIA-Agusan del Norte)


Classes suspended in Surigao Sur due to TD Agaton

By Nida Grace P. Barcena

TANDAG CITY, Jan. 20 (PIA) – Two cities and 11 towns of Surigao del Sur have declared the suspensionof classes in all levels both public and private schools on Monday due to continuous rains brought by forecasted Tropical Depression Agaton (International name: Lingling).

The Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management (DRRM) operation center report said the cities of Bislig and Tandag, and the towns of Lanuza, Cantilan, Carmen, Lingig, Madrid, Tago, San Miguel, Bayabas, Carrascal, Tagbina and Hinatuan have already declared the suspension of classes due to flashfloods as early as Sunday.

Tandag City Mayor Roxanne Pimentel on Sunday evening has also declared the suspension of government work except those concerned departments and volunteers in rescue and relief operations.

In Bislig City, employees in the city government have resumed their work except those who are directly affected by floods in the area.

Meanwhile, the town of San Miguel and some barangays in Tago are still flooded as of Monday morning after Tago River overflowed yesterday. (NGBT/PIA-Surigao del Sur)


Tacloban: The team PIA Mindanao experience

By David M. Suyao

AGUSAN DEL SUR, Jan. 20 (PIA) - This is nightmare!

This is the first impression that enters the mind of Philippine Information Agency (PIA)  Caraga  Region  regional  director  Abner  Caga  who  was  tasked  by  the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Herminio “Sonny” Coloma  to  extend  communication  support  to  super  typhoon-devastated  Eastern Visayas Area.

Dir. Abner said what greeted their eyes when his team, the Team Mindanao, set foot in Tacloban two weeks after Super Typhoon Yolanda hit  Tacloban and the rest of Eastern Visayas on November 8, 2013 is beyond his imagination. While looking in all directions,  everything  they  see  were  ruins  and  remains  of  even  the  strongest structure of the city. Along the side of the roads were makeshift tents made of rotten lumbers and old plywood serving as temporary shelters for the typhoon victims.

“What catches my attention was a kid, around nine years old, sitting by the side of the road,  looking down on the  ground.  Slowly, I  approached him and mildly greeted him with a soft hello and a smile. He looked up at me with blank, teary eyes, and slowly returns his focus on the ground. Stepping back, I almost bump a middle aged woman, and after saying sorry, gather my courage and ask her about the boy who just stared at me when I greeted him,” Dir. Abner said.

He said the woman told him that the boy is the only survivor in his family. His mother, a five and two years old brother and sister, were not seen after the typhoon. Their house is nowhere to be found. They just look after the boy, who sometimes eat when they invite him to eat, but most of the time, look down at the ground, but no more tears to cry.

Almost everywhere, the same situation meets the team. But even with the smell of dump and rotten garbage and human and animal remains, the mission must go on.

Comforting themselves in the tents at night, the team PIA brought with them a generator set, an FM radio transmitter and some video showing materials. Dir. Abner said, in the midst of ruins, the only thing that makes people aware that there is government helping them, the victims of typhoon, and people giving their utmost assistance generously, is the FM radio brought by team PIA.

With the generator set they brought, team PIA maximized the use of its power by extending free charging of electronic gadgets, rechargeable lamps and power storage device. Dir. Abner also organized the media practitioners into one media group dubbed "One Media for Tacloban" and gave them time slot in the radio in order  for them to air their concerns, needs and experiences.

“On our second night in Tacloban, we conducted film showing. For the first time since we arrived, I hear children yelling with joy to see the movie that we shown. Every night thereafter, the children were waiting for us in order to see the film showing, which I believe the only luxury they enjoy after the shocking attack of typhoon Yolanda,” Dir. Abner said.

For the free charging of cellphones, Dir. Abner said even in that very small way, we can see in the eyes of the beneficiaries of free celphone charging the joy that they can contact their relatives and friends and tell them they are lucky enough to survive the tragedy.

“Another situation that touched my heart is the nine families sharing one tent in order that their children can sleep and enjoy the luxury of two hours rest and privacy. After two or three hours, the mother would awaken her children so another family could occupy the tent for another three hours rest. I could feel the discomfort of the children when their mother wake them up, but can do nothing except to give-in for another,” Dir. Abner said.

The need of tent in the area made up the mind of Dir. Abner to solicit for tents in Caraga Region and PIA regions in Mindanao and vowed to go back to Tacloban to distribute the tents. “This, and what we did in Tacloban, are our small, little ways to give and share our love and heartfelt services to typhoon Yolanda victims,” Dir. Abner said. (DMS/PIA-Caraga)


Mining companies assist in conducting rescue operation

By Darryl P. Pinabacdao

SURIGAO CITY, Jan. 20 (PIA) – Several mining companies in Surigao del Norte have assisted in conducting rescue operations to the barangays affected by flashfloods caused by Tropical Depression Agaton.

It was learned that Taganito HPAL Nickel Corporation and Taganito Mining Corporation have assisted in conducting rescue operations in the Municipality of Claver to around 500 families. They were rescued from different barangays of Taganito, Hayangabon and Cagdianao residing near the riverbanks, shoreline, landslide and flood prone areas.

The said families were evacuated to Taganito Barangay Hall, Taganito Barangay Gym and Taganito Mining Corporation Multi-Purpose Gym.

Relief goods were distributed to the evacuees such as bottled water, rice and instant noodles. (DPP/PIA-Surigao del Norte)


RORO vessels resume trips as winds, waves calm down

By Eugenio Lira, Jr.

SURIGAO CITY, Jan. 20 (PIA) – After opting to stay at the port of Lipata due to strong winds and rough seas, in spite of an order from the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) directing them to resume operations the other day, two vessels of the Montenegro shipping lines on Monday have decided to sail for Leyte after the Surigao-Leyte channel calmed down, port authorities said.

Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) Surigao Port Manager Isidro Butaslac, Jr. said that RORO vessels M/V Maria Vanessa and M/V Maria Felisa made their first voyages at around 7:00 a.m. and 8:00 a.m., respectively, after assessing that the Surigao-Leyte channel was already navigable.

“We’re glad that shipping has already resumed its operations and would bridge again the distance between Mindanao and Visayas all the way to Luzon as far as trade and commerce is concerned,” Butaslac said.

Earlier, in spite of a PCG order directing the RORO vessels to resume its operations on January 19, M/V Maria Vanessa and M/V Felisa refused to navigate the Surigao-Leyte channel citing safety concerns due to prevalent strong winds and big waves. The move resulted to cancellations of its scheduled trips bound for Southern Leyte, Butaslac disclosed.

PP/Superintendent Froilan Caturla, port police station commander, expressed relief on the resumption of shipping operations on the Surigao-Leyte route saying “the more than P75-million worth of various cargoes earlier reported as stranded in Lipata Port have already been transported to Leyte all the way to its destinations.

“We’re happy on this development and looks forward for the smooth operations of our shipping companies,” Caturla said.

He had earlier estimated the stranded cargoes as valued for more than P75-million broken down as follows: perishable goods P20,050,000.00, livestock cargo P28,000,000.00, marine products P18,000,000.00, construction materials  4,400,000.00 and heavy equipments P5,000,000.00.

Caturla said that as of 7:00 a.m. on Monday they recorded a total of 115 vehicles and 1,235 stranded passengers inside the Port of Lipata. (PPA/PIA-Caraga)


DSWD Caraga allots P4M of family packs to TD Agaton affected LGUs

By Stella Maris V. Barcelon

BUTUAN CITY, Jan. 20 (PIA) - The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Field Office Caraga has alloted a total cost of Php 4,092,419.92 which includes 15,233 pieces of family packs to the 16 municipalities in the region affected by Tropical Depression Agaton.

The relief goods were augmented to the following municipalities, namely: Las Nieves, Jabonga, RTR, Tubay, and Butuan City for the Agusan del Norte; Bunawan of Agusan del Sur; the municipalities of Basilisa, Libjo, Tubajon, San Jose, Cagdiano, Loreto and Dinagat for the Province of Dinagat Islands. The municipality of Mainit and Surigao City of Surigao del Norte Province also requested augmentation of relief goods, while only the municipality of Tago requested for augmentation in Surigao del Sur.

In addition, DSWD Caraga has provided burial and cash assistance amounting to Php 70,000.00 to the families of six reported dead and two injured in the municipality of Cagdiano, Province of Dinagat Islands.

Assistant regional director for Operation Mita Gupana-Lim said that the agency is ready to augment relief goods at any given time to support the request of Local Government Units (LGUs).

The province of Agusan del Norte is now under State of Calamity due to the continuous rain brought by TD Agaton that caused floods in most areas in the province.

DSWD Caraga Quick Response Team (QRT) will render 24 hours duty. Municipal Action Team (MAT) leaders, community-based workers and other project-based staff are already mobilized to continuously monitor for updates on the situation in their respective areas. (Social Marketing Unit/DSWD-13/PIA-Caraga)