Agusan del Sur floods left 3 dead, thousands of families affected

By David M. Suyao

PATIN-AY, Prosperidad, Agusan de Sur, Jan. 14 (PIA) - Three persons died while some 22,600 families were affected by the recent floods that hit the entire province due to continuous rains caused by the low pressure area (LPA) since Thursday, January 9 until Monday, January 13, 2014.

Died by drowning were Melito Gortina, 19 years old from Lucena, Prosperidad; Loreto Sabatin, 43 years old from Magsaysay, Prosperidad and Arian Alpeche Malayag, 1 year; and 9 months old from Taglatawan, Bayugan City, according to a report from the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC) here.

As of 6:00 AM today, PDRRMC thru Action Officer Roberto Natividad reported that some 22,611 families or 122,641 persons were affected, and 5,352 families or 18,101 persons evacuated in designated evacuation centers while others stay with their neighbors and relatives.

Most number of affected persons are the municipality of Prosperidad with 5,115 families or 42,115 persons from 15 barangays, followed by Trento with 6,160 families or 30,184 families from 16 barangays, then Bunawan with 5,589 families or 23,954 persons. Least affected municipality is Sibagat with only ten families or 29 persons from one barangay.

The rest of the six municipalities and Bayugan City who submitted their reports to PDRRMC are Rosario with 2,050 families or 10,129 persons from nine barangays affected; Veruela with 529 families or 2,028 persons from five barangays; Sta. Josefa with 186 families or 930 persons from 11 barangays; San Francisco with 1,469 families or 5,899 persons from 27 barangays; San Luis with 92 families or 368 persons from four barangays and Esperanza with 1,099 families or 5,505 persons from 12 barangays.

The municipality of Trento has the highest number of partially damaged houses reaching to 28, followed by Prosperidad with four and Bayugan City with only one.

On crops, partial report states newly planted rice fields totaling to 1,996 hectares in Veruela, Bunawan and Trento were affected.

Since the start of the calamity until 6:00 AM today, Bunawan, Sibagat and Veruela have distributed food relief assistance such as rice, sardines, noodles to their affected constituents.

Search and Rescue Agusan del Sur (SARAS) teams with PNP and army are still on standby at the SARAS headquarters ready to respond to any emergency call. (DMS/PIA-Agusan del Sur)


LPA displaces 3,491 families in Surigao Sur

By Nida Grace P. Barcena

SURIGAO DEL SUR, Jan. 14 (PIA) - Around 3,491 families were displaced by floodwaters in the entire province as Mindanao was hit by continuous rains brought about by the low pressure area (LPA), the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO) said on Tuesday.

PDRRMO Supervising Specialist Abel de Guzman bared that the affected families were from the towns of San Agustin, San Miguel, Cagwait, Lanuza, Bayabas, Carrascal and Madrid while power lines in San Miguel town are not yet restored.

"The figure on the displaced and affected families are expected to rise since other local DRRMOs are still consolidating their reports," said de Guzman.

Meanwhile, PDRRMO also said that some 30 houses were washed out due to flashfloods in Barangay Pagtilaan, three houses were totally damaged due to landslide in Barangay San Roque, one house was damaged due to the uprooted coconut tree in Barangay Poblacion, all in the municipality of Lingig while three houses were washed out due to flashfloods in Barangay Buhisan in San Agustin town. (NGBT/PIA-Surigao del Sur)


FESAGS urges firearm owners to secure license

By Venus L. Garcia

BUTUAN CITY, Jan. 14 (PIA) – P/Supt Excelso Lafuerte Lazaga, Jr., chief of the Firearms Explosives Security Agencies and Guard Supervision (FESAGS) Caraga emphasized the advice for the licensing of firearms among its owners during an interview over PIA Caraga’s Power FM.

“As part of our main function to supervise all firerms and explosives covered by our areas of responsibility. We are in strict monitoring of the firearms of our registered holders especially with our program dubbed as “Oplan Katok”, where we visit the residence of gun owners and check their firearms and license, and urge them to renew if their license is due to expire or when it lapse the valid date,” Lazaga said.

When asked about the status of the security agencies operating in Caraga region, he bared that of the more than 100 security agencies operating in the region, many are well-performing except for those few which are facing cases due to non-conformance with the standard and some do not give due salary to its security personnel.

Their office is also continuously conducting enhancement training to security guards to capacitate them.

“Last November 13, 2013, we conducted a Shooting Orientation in partnership with security agencies with the use of 38 caliber firearm,” he mentioned.

He further stessed that security agencies should give its personnel a salary of not less than P10,000. “In coordination with DOLE and other concerned agencies, we monitor the security agencies’ implementation of the salary standardization for their employees. If found to have violations, the agency will face the corresponding penalty, and to the extent of license revocation,” he added.

Their office is situated inside the Camp rafael Rodriguez in Brgy. Libertad, Butuan City. FESAGS has also an office in every provincial police station with presonnel incharge for renewal services.

“Those who want to renew their firearms can just visit to the nearest provincial police station or to our regional office,” he said.

New applicants are encouraged to apply at the Camp Crame in Quezon City. Among the pertinents requirements for firearm registration are police clearance, result of psychiatrist test, and gun testing seminar.

Applicants may contact at (085) 341-1624 for any concerns regarding firearm registration. (JPG/VLG/PIA-Caraga)


Surigao City PNP launches “Hataw Na” Program

By Darryl P. Pinabacdao

SURIGAO CITY, Jan 14 (PIA) – The Philippine National Police (PNP) here has launched a program dubbed “Hataw Na” by conducting various physical fitness activities held at the Surigao City Police Station, this city.

The main objective of the program is to promote, maintain fitness and love for sports among members of the PNP while instilling discipline among them.

The said program started with stretching, warm up exercises and performed various physical fitness activities.

The event was headed by Police Chief Inspector Rudy Elandag, Police Senior Inspector Renato Badajos and Police Inspector Tessiel Moleta together with personnel of Surigao City Police Station. (DPP/PIA-Surigao del Norte)


Surigao City PNP rescues 382 families

By Darryl P. Pinabacdao

SURIGAO CITY, Jan 14 (PIA) – The Philippine National Police (PNP) Search and Rescue team has rescued 382 families or 1,869 individuals who were affected by heavy rains brought by the low pressure area (LPA) in the city.

The operation was led by PNP Surigao City chief PCI Rudy Elandag with PSI Renato Badajos and PI Tessiel Moleta, some PNP Surigao City personnel and the Surigao del Norte Provincial Public Safety Company team headed by PI Garry Gamutan.

The affected families were transferred to the different evacuation centers of the city.

The rescue unit roamed around and instructed the community people living in low-lying and landslide prone areas such as Barangay San Juan, Taft, Luna, Washington and upper Bonotan area to evacuate, it was learned.

The team also carried inflatable boats, which can be rowed or pulled into position to recover members of the public stranded in flooded location and bring them safely to evacuation centers. (DPP/PIA-Surigao del Norte)


Agusan Norte solon seeks PAGASA modernization

QUEZON CITY, Jan. 14 (PIA) - Agusan del Norte First District representative Lawrence Lemuel H. Fortun has co-authored a substitute bill that will modernize the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) otherwise known as the “PAGASA Modernization Act of 2013.”

Previously, an earlier version of the bill was filed July last year. During the committee deliberations, the solon from Butuan City and Las Nieves introduced vital amendments to the original bill which were considered and paved the way for the introduction of a substitute bill. The bill is set to come out through a committee report in the plenary once Congress resumes session. It also incorporates the important provisions introduced by Fortun during the committee level discussion.

The said legislation affirms PAGASA’s critical role as the government’s primary agency tasked to monitor and report weather conditions to the public.

PAGASA also takes a very crucial role in conveying precise weather information that forms part and parcel of disaster preparedness and risk management for the government. “Damage can be prevented and lives can be saved if we are scientifically informed and appropriately prepared,” the explanatory note of the bill aptly stated.

Because of this critical role, it is pertinent “to elevate its technological and operational capacity to effectively and efficiently perform its mandate.”

Among the objectives of the bill are, a) To upgrade physical resources and operational techniques through the acquisition of state-of-the-art instruments, equipment, and facilities to enhance current capabilities in providing timely and reliable forecasting, warning services for the general public and information for agriculture, transportation and other industries across the country, b) To raise the salary and compensation of the officers and employees of PAGASA to make their pay competitive in the global market, c) To raise the research and development capability and human resource development, adopting a rationalized and integrated approach with focus on improvement of operations for specialized services and cost recovery, d) To develop mechanisms for integrating disaster management and socioeconomic development planning at the national and local levels, e) To establish regional weather service centres  in strategic areas in the country to broaden the agencies base for delivery of service to the countryside, f) To cultivate greater awareness by the public of weather systems, the progress of typhoons, climatic changes and other related information through the educational projects and programs, and g) To develop a technology-based and financially self-sufficient data center which will serve as the central information station for real-time weather updates available to every individual and for the Philippines’ typhoon preparedness plan.

The house bill finds impetus with the experiences of the country being located in a typhoon belt and ‘ocean-encircling belt of active volcanoes and earthquake generators.’ Just late last year, regions of central Philippines have experienced the havoc of one of the world’s strongest typhoon. “We have seen the most damaging calamities that hit our country with super typhoon Yolanda and the strong earthquake which devastated the Visayas region and left thousands dead and millions of pesos in damages. With these occurrences, I really see the need to modernize PAGASA for them to give timely and accurate forecasting so as to make us more prepared when calamities hit,” Fortun said in co-sponsoring the bill. (LAWig/PIA-Agusan del Norte)