2.15.2017

Tuesday, February 15, 2017

DSWD-13 to conduct forum on adoption, foster care

By Venus L. Garcia

BUTUAN CITY, Feb. 15 (PIA) – In line with the annual Adoption Consciousness Week which is celebrated every third week of February, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Caraga is set to hold an ‘Adoption and Foster Care Forum’ on Feb. 16 at 1:00 p.m., this city.

The week-long celebration that commenced on Feb. 10 until the 10th of this month is anchored on the theme, “Pagmamahal Palaganapin, Legal na Pag-aampon, Ating Gawin (Spread Unconditional Love Through Legal Adoption)."

“For this year, series of activities will be done in order to intensify the appropriate and legal adoption of children. DSWD is reaching out partner agencies which we believe could help us in proper dissemination of the legal adoption procedure,” said DSWD-13 OIC regional director Mita Chuchi Gupana-Lim.

The activity also aims to help the prospective adoptive parents legalize the adoption especially for those families who already have children under custody without proper documents yet. (VLG/PIA-Caraga)


Surigaonons show their resilience amidst dreadful tremor

By Venus L. Garcia

When catastrophe strikes, a person or a family is caught blindsided. It was a terrible Friday evening of Feb. 10 for clueless Surigaonons when their faith and forbearance were put to a serious test in the midst of a powerful 6.7-magnitude earthquake.

For Amparo Donoso, 56 years old, a resident of Purok Baybay Parola, this city, living in a shanty and rearing four youngsters, she was able to withstand the fright as she briskly brought her family to a safer ground.

“I am mindful of how the hazardous earthquake and aftershocks might cost our lives. My instinct and adequate knowledge and awareness dictated that I prioritize the safety of my family,” said Donoso despite knowing about the advisory of the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center that there’s no tsunami threat in effect.

Seen at the Capitol grounds, where a multitude of common people sought refuge, were lactating mothers carrying innocent babies in their arms, elderlies, persons with disabilities, people helping other people.

The total power blackout did not hamper them from finding reasons to grin as they stayed safe under some makeshift shelters pitched by the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) Surigao City-Surigao del Norte chapter personnel.

“We see to it that the quake victims be given assistance. Large tents are provided to them appropriately protect them from getting wet from rains than leaving them helpless. Medical and first aid services are available for them. In addition to that, those who are still under the state of trauma were given psychosocial support services or stress debriefing,” said John Rafael Daño of PRC Surigao del Norte.

Romel Empalnado and his wife, together with their eight months, three and five years old children, who all came from Nueva Extension, Barangay Taft, flocked to the evacuation area to secure themselves after series of aftershocks continued to disturb them. “I am more concerned for the welfare of our baby and kids. I can afford to lose my house but not my loved ones,” said Empalnado in a voice quavered with emotion.

Meanwhile, no one would ever expect to witness this scene at the CARAGA Regional Hospital (CRH).  Patients being attended to in the hospital or folding beds under portable tents. Despite the structural damages where the beams collapsed at the medical ward, the management was able to give assistance to a large volume of patients who suffered from a panic attack, lacerations, and fractures.

“In support of the patients, the city government of Surigao and the Department of Health (DOH) were able to furnish additional tents, folding beds, assorted medicines and jerry cans to the hospital for the use of the victims who are staying in the hospital.

The Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) has also operated a rationing of water and more assistance are expected from the Chinese Chamber,” declared Delfin Antallan, officer-in-charge, administrative department of CRH.

On fatalities due to the earthquake, the bereaved family of Lito Wilson, 35 years old and a resident of Brgy. Nonoc received an initial monetary assistance of P20,000 from the national government and P5,000 from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Caraga. They are also entitled to claim for an additional burial assistance from the DSWD upon complying the requirements.

Some members of the community opened eateries and barbecue stalls utilizing generator sets to illuminate the dimness and gloomy atmosphere as they serve the customers in need of food.

Resilience made the people easily adapt to adversity. They have their own ways of defining and showing resilience.
“Resilience is not only capacitating the people with disaster preparedness capabilities or decreasing their vulnerabilities to the effects of disasters but resilience has been found to be associated with social support to the variety of population. It can be a social support assistance, tangible and intangible, or shielding people from the adverse effect of calamities,” underscored Rosauro Arnel Gonzales, Jr., Office of Civil Defense CARAGA regional director.

To give more relief to the victims, apart from the humanitarian aid afforded by the Rotary Club and other non-government organizations, the C130 has arrived on Monday at the Bancasi Airport, this city, loaded with 137 boxes of assorted medicines, 500 hygiene kits, 75 tents, 500 jerry cans and two drums of chlorine. These are all part of the promised support from the national government through the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), DSWD, DOH, and PRC.

With the suspension of business operation of the major mall and other supermarkets in the locality, Surigaonons who are badly affected by the quake plead for more food and non-food items, including financial assistance adequate to repair their destroyed houses. (PIA-Caraga)


Caraga tourism council set to hold Tourism Stakeholders’ Summit in Butuan City

By Regal C. Oribia

BUTUAN CITY, Feb. 15 (PIA) – In celebration of the Caraga Region’s 22nd Anniversary, the Caraga Region Tourism Council Incorporated (CRTCI), in partnership with the Department of Tourism (DOT) Caraga Region, will be holding a Caraga Regional Tourism Stakeholders’ Summit and General Assembly on February 22-23, 2017 at the Watergate Hotel, this city.

With the theme, “Adventure Caraga: Reaching New Heights in Tourism Development,” the event will be another learning opportunity for all tourism stakeholders in the region to better understand the dynamics of tourism development, create more linkages and strengthen our partnership for more meaningful tourism initiatives for the region.

“We have invited distinguished resource speakers who will be talking on their field of expertise to give us fresh perspective on tourism developments,” said Richard Nick A. Amores, chairperson of CRTCI.

Also, the DOT Secretary Wanda Corazon T. Teo is expected to grace the affair as the keynote speaker. (RCO/PIA-Caraga)


Army assures quake-stricken Surigaonons of continued relief assistance despite NPA’s attack

By 1Lt. Karl Jan Devaras

BUTUAN CITY, Feb. 15 (PIA) – The 4th Infantry Division of Philippine Army has assured the Surigaonons of continued relief assistance despite the recent attack of the New Peoples Army (NPA) to the troops together with team from ABS-CBN Foundation who were conducting relief operation in the vicinity of Sitio Huwat Baboy, Barangay Linonganan, San Francisco, Surigao del Norte.

It can be recalled that at 8:20 p.m. on Tuesday, a composite platoon of 30th Infantry Battalion (IB) and other disaster relief units led by 1Lt Ryan Layug and a team from ABS-CBN Foundation were fired upon by undetermined number of NPAs while transporting additional relief goods for the quake victims in Barangay Karihatag, Malimono of said province. There was no casualty on the government side while the team from ABS-CBN Foundation is safe.

Localities in the province were enraged on the NPA’s misdemeanor and have expressed their disappointments on the incident. In these trying times, Surigaonons are one with the Philippine Army and will not be shivered on such kind of attack.

Major General Benjamin Madrigal Jr., 4th Infantry Division (4ID) Commander strongly condemned the recent harassment of the NPA in Surigao del Norte. He stressed that there is no way that people can really trust these terrorists. Marigal said the NPAs have deceived the entire nation when they fired upon the team that is composed of Army and civilian volunteers who have just delivered relief goods to the earthquake-stricken communities.

"Their (NPA) recent declaration of ceasefire in that area is nothing but lie and deception. While we are in the area helping our people to rise up again after they were badly hit by the recent earthquake, the NPA terrorists are also busy in making our people's lives miserable," underlined Madrigal.

Madrigal said the 4ID, Philippine Army has always been committed to pursue peace and development in the region, and maximizing its efforts in helping localities especially in times of emergency/disaster.

Also, Col. Franco Nemesio Gacal, commander of the 402nd Brigade underscored that the recent attack on their troops coming from a relief distribution mission together with the benevolent non-government organization in Surigao del Norte reflects the duplicity of the NPAs' unworthy of their own declaration to stop any attacks on the soldiers on mercy and compassion mission.

Col. Gacal further accentuated that the Philippine Army will not allow this recent act of treachery on the part of the NPA to cause the deprivation of basic needs for the people. "We will continue to bring help to alleviate the suffering of our people who are victims of the earthquake," he stressed. (4CMO Battalion, Phil. Army/PIA-Caraga)


“Limited ceasefire,” “Too good to be true!” says army chief in quake worst-hit area of Surigao del Norte

By Greg Tataro Jr.

TANDAG CITY, Surigao del Sur, Feb. 15 (PIA) – The army chief of the 402nd Infantry Brigade of the Philippine Army (PA), whose area of responsibility (AOR) includes Surigao del Norte, aside from Surigao del Sur and Province of Dinagat Islands (PDI), described the gesture of the New People’s Army (NPA) on its own declaration of  “limited ceasefire” over the worst hit area by the 6.7-magnitude earthquake on Friday night as “Too good to be true!”

Col. Franco Nemesio Gacal, commander of the said army brigade, claimed of having lost full trust with the rebels operating in the north of his AOR of Surigao del Norte due to the series of atrocities being carried out while its own declaration of unilateral ceasefire was still in effect.

His distrust with the NPA seemed to have been pepped up with last night’s harassment in Malimono, Surigao del Norte.  Col. Gacal, in a text message alleged that rebel groups had fired upon their troops who were together with ABS-CBN Lingkod Kapamilya on their way back after delivering “relief goods.”  

Among others, the army brigade chief recalled the abduction of Private First Class (Pfc) Erwin Salan on January 29, 2017.  No word behind the abduction had been heard of, Gacal complained.

Besides, Col. Gacal also said of the “limited ceasefire” as mere “propaganda.”  He noted that this act was made in order for the rebel groups to get a share and take advantage of the limelight in the guise of impressing upon the public their participation in the relief operations.

The army officer further observed that the worst-hit areas of Surigao del Norte and Surigao City were getting much attention this time around.

The “limited ceasefire” was learned to have started on February 11 and would end at 11:59 p.m. of February 20, 2017.

Likewise, the army brigade chief voiced out concern that such declaration could not be validated from reliable sources.

Hence, with the surrounding circumstances, Col. Gacal had to issue guidance to his men in the area, particularly the 30th Infantry Battalion,  “not to lower their guards” for security reasons while busy helping in the disaster relief operations being their priority.  

The said battalion headed by Lt. Col. Rico Amaro is under the control of 402nd Infantry Brigade based in Surigao del Sur.

A day earlier, Lt. Col. Amaro, in a separate interview, while expressing his appreciation for the so-called good gesture of the rebel groups in his AOR, Surigao del Norte, admitted to have been already cautious about such statements.

Citing specifically the case of Pfc Salan, Amaro had accused the rebels of saying one thing but doing another.

The battalion commander likewise said having no firsthand knowledge of the declaration of the ceasefire as he only learned about it from the press.

Meanwhile, Col. Gacal had issued their reactions on what happened last night, stressing on his guidance “to be vigilant” at all times while performing “their relief and rehabilitation mission;” the recent incident of attack “reflects the duplicity of the NPA unworthy of their own declaration;” and “the PA will not allow this recent act of treachery.”  (Radyo ng Bayan-Tandag/PIA-Surigao del Sur)


Insurance Commission activates quick response mechanism for Surigao quake victims

BUTUAN CITY, Feb. 15 (PIA) - lnsurance Commissioner Dennis B. Funa has activated Tuesday the Disaster Response Mechanism to expedite quick insurance claims for the speedy recovery of the residents of Surigao.

Last February 10, a magnitude 6.7 earthquake struck Surigao City killing at least six and injuring hundreds.

The quake left over 1,400 houses damaged in 54 barangays across Caraga, displacing over 5,170 people. lnitial estimates placed damage at over P140 million.

The mechanism mobilizes the Agarang Proseso, Benepisyo ay Sigurado Program for the setting up of Claims Action Center, for simplified and quick claims where insured victims can go for their legitimate insurance claims.

"The sooner earthquake victims who are insurance policyholders can get their claims, the sooner they can get back to their feet. The Agarang Proseso, Benepisyo ay Sigurado Program aims to address the urgent need for relief available to the victims of the recent earthquake," Commissioner Funa said.

Likewise, Funa instructed all insurance companies to expedite, with the help of the Claims Action Center, the processing of the insurance claims filed by persons affected by the recent earthquake.

"We directed them to put a system in place to guarantee the speedy processing of claims upon submission of minimum documentary requirements," he added.

ln order to ensure the efficiency in the processing and settling of claims, the lC will require the insurance companies to submit a report as to the number and type of insurance claims filed, a number of claims paid, and other relevant information.

Last Monday, 15 non-life insurance claims have been filed in connection with the recent Surigao earthquake, according to the Commission. The destruction brought by Typhoon Yolanda in 2013 was somewhat cushioned by the activation of the Claims Action Center in the ravaged areas of Leyte and Samar.

Over P200 million in claims were rapidly processed and released by life, non-life and mutual benefit associations (MBA), the main microinsurance provider, for hundreds of thousands of victims. The main bulk in terms of lives protected was covered by MBAs, which includes cooperatives, credit unions. Policyholders affected by the recent Surigao may seek the Commission's assistance through its telephone numbers (02) 5238461 to 70 local127 and 103 or (02) 4041758 or through emaiI at publicassistance@insurance.gov.ph. (Insurance Commission/PIA-Caraga)


Gov. Pimentel welcomes CRAM delegates, officials

By Marvin Ranario

TANDAG CITY, Surigao del Sur, Feb. 15 (PIA) – Showcasing its Surigaonon trademark of hospitality, host province of Surigao del Sur and city of Tandag headed by Governor Vicente T. Pimentel Jr. warmly received the delegation heads and honorary officials from the 12 divisions during the governor’s welcome socials of the 2017 Caraga Regional Athletic Meet (CRAM) held Sunday night at Villa Maria Luisa Hotel, this city.

In his message, the provincial governor expressed his cordial welcome to all attendees and cracked jokes that brought the crowd to a chuckle.

Taking the chance to boast its bountiful nature, the host province virtually toured the visitors from the different divisions around the Shangri-la by the Pacific through a media presentation featuring its renowned tourist destinations.

As the night drifted, formalities were kept and the participants enjoyed the lavish dinner laid before them. They also got acquainted with one another through a social dance while being entertained by the musical band which immensely rocked the hall; thereby rocking the whole CRAM experience of the delegates and officials. (DepEd/PIA-Surigao del Sur)


Science Explorer sails to Mindanao

BUTUAN CITY, Feb. 15 (PIA) - For the first time in its six-year existence, the Science Explorer is landing in Mindanao.

The Science Explorer, the Philippine’s first and only mobile learning science facility, will be bringing a unique science experience to the elementary and high school students of the newly formed province of Davao Occidental on February 20-24, 2017.

Repurposed from the Mobile IT Classroom in the early 2000s, the Science Explorer is a bus converted into a classroom, which brings to students from underprivileged municipalities in the country fun and exciting science learning through interactive and hands on activities facilitated by young scientists and researchers from the industry and academe.

Spearheaded by the Department of Science and Technology – Science Education Institute, the Science Explorer has touched the lives of more than 15,000 students in eight regions in the country.

For its Mindanao leg, it will be serving the students of Jose Abad Santos, Don Marcelino, Sta. Maria, and Malita, Davao Occidental’s capital.

Students are bound to experience learning about mangroves; earthquakes, tsunamis, and storm surge; weather science; marine micropaleontology; astronomy; fun mathematics; and the scientific method, which will be facilitated by experts from the University of the Philippines – Diliman.

DOST-SEI Director Josette T. Biyo said that the Science Explorer’s venture to Davao Occidental is the first step of the project to reach out further into the south.

“We were successful in our first attempt last year to go further south as we brought love for science to the students of Samar and Leyte.  We are hoping that we could bring the same experience to our participants in Mindanao,” she said. (DOST-STIIPR/PIA-Caraga)