Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Army to hold ‘Operation Tuli’ in Butuan

By Jennifer P. Gaitano

BUTUAN CITY, Apr. 26 (PIA) – The 4th Civil-Military Operations Battalion of Philippine Army is set to conduct a one-day ‘Operation Tuli’ on April 30, 2017 at Father Saturnino Urios University (FSUU) Gymnasium, this city.

According to 4CMO commanding officer LTC Manuel Valdez IV, said activity is in partnership with GMA Kapuso Foundation and FSUU Alumni Association.

“We are inviting the general public to support our free medical mission and Operation Tuli is one of our services. Help us disseminate the information to the different communities here so kids can also join,” bared Valdez.

It was also learned that on May 10, 2017, Operation Tuli activity will also be held at the Barangay Hall of Bancasi, Butuan City, in coordination with punong barangay Filex Ceniza Jr. (JPG/PIA-Caraga)


AgNor to provide medical assistance to provincial workers

By Aimee B. Sienes

BUTUAN CITY, Apr. 26 - The provincial government of Agusan del Norte is set to provide medical and dental assistance up to P10,000 to its qualified officials and employees per approval of Provincial Ordinance No. 444-2017.

Under the said ordinance, authored by Provincial Board Member Elizabeth Marie R. Calo, provincial workers can avail of the following: Financial Assistance for Medical and Dental Examinations – all kinds of medical and dental examinations including executive medical examination being done whether by a private or public medical practitioner in a public or private hospital or clinic. This shall include all laboratory examinations as well as the provision of auxiliary aids such as dentures; Financial Medical Assistance in Cases of Hospital Confinement – financial assistance to a government worker who is admitted or confined to a hospital anywhere in the country for treatment of an injury or sickness/illness for certain inclusive days; Financial assistance for ophthalmology concerns.

However, the province will not extend financial assistance to government workers who met an accident after office hours and do not have travel orders from the Provincial Governor or Vice Governor as the case may be.

The provincial government will not also afford any financial medical assistance to any of the following conditions: self-inflicting injuries; the official or employee is under the influence of liquor, prohibited drugs or substances during which the injury may occur; injury as a result of willful participation of any crime/activity punishable under existing laws.

The province will set aside P2,500,000 for the implementation of the said ordinance. (LGU-Agusan del Norte/PIA-Agusan del Norte)


DSWD-Caraga ensures readiness of PWDs in times of disaster

By Abegail R. Alvarez

BUTUAN CITY, Apr. 26 - In response to the directive of Secretary Judy Taguiwalo to conduct Family and Community Disaster Preparedness, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD)-Caraga initiated the conduct of the three-day training on Disaster Preparedness for Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) and selected LGU PWD focal persons on April 4-6, 2017 at VCDU Prince Hotel, this city.

The said training focused on the modules on Policy Framework, Overview of Hazards and Understanding Disaster Management, Family Disaster Preparedness and Disaster Preparedness Framework, Participatory Disaster Risk Assessment, and Philippine Issuances Relating to PWD.

These modules are the results of the collaboration effort of DSWD through the former Bureau of Emergency Assistance that are designed for Community Volunteers of Emergency Response and Disaster Management.

Wilma Geralla, Senior Citizen/PWD focal person, said, that the PWDs were identified as the most vulnerable sectors in the society especially during disaster. This is mainly the reason why the Department conducted the training for them to prepare themselves and equip with appropriate knowledge in case of any calamity occur in the region.

“With this training, the PWD leaders and the LGU focal persons are equipped with effective tools to enhance their teaching in high-risk places as well as strengthening their fellow PWDs and families on coping mechanism in the advent of calamities,” added Geralla.

Based on the updated Listahanan Database as of February 29, 2016, there are 21,296 poor PWDs in the entire region. (Social Marketing Unit/DSWD Field Office Caraga/PIA-Caraga)


People’s organizations for youth, PWD, senior citizens participate in consultation dialogue

By Abegail R. Alvarez

BUTUAN CITY, Apr. 26 - The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) through the Protective Services Unit (PSU) recently conducted the Simultaneous People’s Organizations Meeting for 1st Semester calendar year 2017 held at Goat2Geder Hotel, this city.

Members and officers who attended the meeting are the Federation of Pagasa Youth Association (PYA), Regional Federation of Senior Citizens Association (REFESCA), and Caraga Federation of Persons with Disabilities Inc. (CARFEDPWD).

Said consultation dialogue was aimed to strengthen and capacitate the People’s Organizations with updated information and awareness on matters that are related to the promotion of their rights, social protection and inclusion of the social development program.

Wilma Geralla, SC/PWDs focal person, hopes that the consultation dialogue will encourage the sectoral organization to participate and involve in the decision making process as well as to conduct productive activities in order to sustain the organization.

During the breakout session, each group delivered their 2016 accomplishment as well as discussed issues and concern in the implementation of their respective programs and services. 

Also, part of the activity is the oath-taking of the members of CARFEDPWD together with their newly-elected President, Pablo Manding.

The DSWD has already institutionalized the conduct of the said activity every semester. (Social Marketing Unit/DSWD Field Office Caraga/PIA-Caraga)


AgSur producers welcome newest member

BAYUGAN CITY, Agusan del Sur, Apr. 26 – The Integrated Producers Association of Prosperidad Agusan del Sur Incorporated (IPAPADSI) - a provincial government and Department of Trade and Industry (DTI)–assisted producers group has welcomed one of its newest members  - the Cleo’s Food Products, with the latter’s inauguration of its official outlet here.

It was only just over a year when this venture started making and selling pork chicharon, camote and banana chips, piñato, ampao, calamay, atchara, and greaseless peanuts.

Cleo and husband Edgar Tabuan Potencioso, Jr., owners of Cleo’s Food have also started consolidating other locally produced goods such as  turmeric, corn coffee and other products within the region like dried fish (danggit) and fermented fish entrails (dayok) from Surigao del Sur, vinegar, sweetened salabat, barquiron and barquillos from Butuan City to maximize their store offerings.

The store located at Purok-8, Libres Street in Taglatawan, Bayugan City is set to increase further the variety of its goods for sale by taking in other goods from other producers in the region. 

It also plans to produce processed meat like longganisa, chorizo and chicken nuggets. (DTI-Agusan del Sur/PIA-Agusan del Sur)


Feature: Life lessons mold Caraga DOST scholars to graduate with honors

By Gabrielle Espinosa

Honor, humility and confidence — these are the three words that mark the seven magna cum laude and 10 cum laude scholars of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) as they proudly marched on stage to receive their diplomas, awards, and medals in separate commencement exercises at the Philippine Normal University (PNU) Mindanao, Surigao State College of Technology (SSCT), and Agusan del Sur State College of Agriculture and Technology (ASSCAT) in the Caraga region.

More than just financial assistance

The scholars from PNU Mindanao shared their experiences on how the DOST scholarship helped them achieve amidst their individual stories of struggle and survival as they juggled academic life, family, and even jobs.

Marinelle Ramos, magna cum laude, revealed unassumingly that the DOST scholarship gave her a sense of fulfillment and purpose. “Being a DOST scholar is a great privilege since it did not only help us financially but also personally,” said Marinelle.  The president of the DOST Scholars Society, Marinelle acknowledged that her position “taught me to govern the group, coordinated with high ranking officials, and boosted my self-confidence.”

Aside from the confidence boost, Marinelle admits that the financial assistance of the DOST Scholarship also helped her to become thrifty and develop a sense of humility.

“That time (when I was a scholar), my family could not afford to pay the tuition of my sister who was studying in medical school. Having that amount of money (from the DOST scholarship) helped my family to get through. I was not forced by my parents but it (the scholarship) taught me to prioritize my needs and use my money responsibly instead of spending it on leisure activities,” she shared.

This was also true for Kimberly Besas and Fevwileane Padalapat, both graduated cum laude, who served as bread winners of their family all throughout their college life.

“I am so thankful that I became a scholar. The DOST scholarship not only changed me but it also moved my parents to change their habits on arguing over money when they saw me taking over the family’s finances. They saw me writing a long list of expenses and felt how I managed our situation. They witnessed how I was able to balance my academic and financial responsibilities. Over time, I became the family’s inspiration,” Fevwileane explained.

“My mom and dad are separated. My mom migrated to Manila and my dad has another family to feed,” disclosed Kimberly. “Being the eldest, I have been through many jobs just to provide the basic needs of my six younger siblings. The DOST scholarship eased the burden, it was not just for me but for my whole family,” Kimberly added.

DOST scholarship empowers

The scholars also shared stories of personal transformation, of how being a scholar changed their mindset in life.  For example, Arnold Abadiano, magna cum laude, developed his interest in research through the DOST scholarship.

“There is a pressure in me because my boss was also a DOST scholar in both her undergraduate and graduate programs. Thus, I have only Sundays to relax,” he revealed.

“I’m glad that as a DOST scholar, I was able to help and serve not just the university but also (in promoting research) by being a contributor in developing research in our institution. An educator’s role does not end in passing knowledge to students. He/she has to expand the knowledge through research to improve curricular programs in universities on the countryside,” Abadiano explains.

Similarly, like how Arnold developed his passion for research, Chris John Cagas, another DOST scholar, also developed passion in his course after passing the DOST scholarship.

“It is unusual how an easy-go-lucky person like me, who is not an academic striver, received one of the most prestigious scholarships nationwide. At first, it felt like I didn’t belong in this circle of excellent students. But after I became scholar, I become conscious of my demeanor. Every time I hang out with my friends, I remind myself that I am not just an ordinary scholar but a DOST scholar, and it’s something worth holding up,” he said.

“Through the scholarship, I am reminded of how education can transform someone like me. I don’t just want to teach my students the information, I want to cultivate their passion in education like how I have developed mine,” Cagas explained.

This was also the case of Marion Jane Montilla, a scholar who is a teenage mother. She dropped out of school after discovering her pregnancy. However, she was able to gather up the courage to reenroll and apply for the scholarship.

“My life as a student is full of regrets. I went through so many courses in different universities and finally settled at PNU. But I became pregnant right after getting admitted. Depression hit me for a year but I didn’t give up, I still sought the positive side of my situation and enrolled again after giving birth.  I did not even expect to become a DOST scholar. The idea of being the scholar pushed me to do more in my life, to not settle for less. Now, I can see myself as an inspiration to other students to work hard and not settle with mediocrity,” said Montilla.

Molding science and technology leaders

Since its implementation in 1994, the Department of Science and Technology scholarship program has benefited talented and deserving students whose families cannot afford college education. The program has produced thousands of undergraduates who excelled in the fields of science and technology in the country.

In Caraga, a total of 42 undergraduate DOST scholars from PNU Mindanano, ASSCAT, SSCT, Caraga State University, Father Saturnino Urios University, and Surigao del Sur State University will graduate as class 2017. The graduates received their scholarships under the Republic Act (R.A.) 10612 and R.A. 7687, or otherwise known as the Junior Level Science Scholarship Program and the Science and Technology Scholarship Act of 1994.

According to Meriam Bouquia, scholarship coordinator in Caraga, the admission exam for the undergraduate scholarships for 2018 will be on the 4th quarter of the year. (DOST-Caraga/PIA-Caraga)


Feature Story: Cops’ striker earns degree in criminology

In the graduation rites of St. Michael College of Caraga (SMCC) in Nasipit, Agusan del Norte on April 4, 2017, one of the graduates was proudly escorted by the members of the Agusan del Norte Public Safety Company. It is not common scenario during a graduation ceremony but to the Caraga Police, it is a shining moment, witnessing an all-around helper in the police camp, also known as striker, earned a diploma in Bachelor of Science in Criminology. The 22-year old striker, Jonard Ecot, successfully graduated through the support and assistance of Nasipit Police Officers serving as good samaritans.

Ecot who hails from Zamboanga del Sur, left his hometown at age of 14, to explore possibilities that will improve his status in life. He worked hard and travelled to some cities in Mindanao until he reached Surigao City, where he did some chores at a carenderia.

In 2011, cops assigned at RTR town in Agusan del Norte conducted checkpoints following reported incidents of theft perpetrated by a minor and was allegedly heading to Butuan City from Surigao City on board a bus. Police arrested the suspect, Jonard Ecot, who was just 15 years old. The police took custody of him and found out that the P2,000 he stole was actually his earnings because the owner did not pay him for the services he rendered.

He started to work for the policemen. He cooked, cleaned the camp, and did carpentry works. In return, the police officers sent and helped him finish high school by shouldering all the expenses including tuition fees, projects and allowances.

After high school, he was brought to Agusan del Norte Provincial Police Safety Company in Camagong, Nasipit, Agusan del Norte where the cops also supported his education to college. Most importantly, he was also accorded the same brotherly treatment while studying at SMCC.

Upon graduation, Jonard’s happiness and words of gratitude are incomparable. This was evidently noticed during the interview and he is excited to take the licensure examination in December 2017. He is looking forward to become a member of the Philippine National Police, the organization that inspired and transformed him to become a better, productive, and law-abiding individual.

Chief Supt Rolando Felix, Caraga Police Director, wishes Jonard Ecot the best of luck “This heartwarming story demonstrates that our policemen in Caraga are not only successful in carrying out their law enforcement mandate, but as well as in facilitating the aspirations of deserving persons,” said Felix. (PNP-Caraga/PIA-Caraga)


Women with disability dance with the rhythm of change

By Eunice Montaos Plaza

BUTUAN CITY, Apr. 26 - Empowered women with disabilities (WWD) in Caraga expressed through dancing their stand on how women like their sector make change in the society conveying the message that they have become not just mere objects of charity and other services rather subjects with rights, who are capable of claiming those rights and making decision for their lives as being active members of the society.

This was during their celebration of the 13th WWD Day spearheaded by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) on April 19, 2017 held at the Prince Hotel Convention here of which they shared their challenging experiences and their will and acts to make change in their lives and eventually become better versions of themselves.

The attending WWDs also encouraged other women with the same situation to excel and be able to work harmoniously with other sectors despite their disability.

These strong women lived with the theme of the celebration which says, “Babaeng May Kapansanan, Manguna at Manindigan Tungo sa Pagbabago.” (Social Marketing Unit/DSWD Field Office Caraga/PIA-Caraga)


AgNor to receive forage chopper from DA

By Aimee B. Sienes

BUTUAN CITY, Apr. 26 - The provincial government of Agusan del Norte, through the Provincial Veterinary Office, will be receiving one unit forage chopper from the Department of Agriculture (DA) Caraga Region in support to the livestock industry in the province.

This is finalized after the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) is signed. As such, the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Agusan del Norte recently authorized Provincial Governor Ma. Angelica Rosedell M. Amante-Matba through Sanggunian Resolution No. 115-2017, authored by Provincial Board Member Virgilio R. Escasinas, Jr., to sign in behalf of the province the said MOA with the DA in support to the development of agriculture in the province.

The provincial government supports the undertaking of the DA to ensure continuity of developing the livestock industry in the province that will attain a high productivity and resistance to diseases in support to the DA program.

The province continue to provide assistance to livestock stakeholders in pursuit for agricultural development and worthy endeavors to promote the interest of the farmers. (LGU-Agusan del Norte/PIA-Agusan del Norte)


AgSur town mayor inducts new local biz club officers

SIBAGAT, Agusan del Sur, Apr. 26 - “I encourage you to strengthen your motivation and help improve the economy of the state.”

This was the statement of Sibagat Mayor Maria Liza Evangelista as she addressed the officers and members of the Sibagat Business Club during its induction held recently.

“Sibagat is blessed with rich agricultural land, I encouraged you to maximize it and make our agricultural areas developed and become more productive,” added Mayor Evangelista.

The inauguration with the theme, “Negosyo padayon, komunidad palambuon” also started with a motorcade joined by Sibagat National High School of Home Industries Band and was attended by the Department of Trade and Industry Agusan del Sur Provincial Office (DTI-AdS), Agusan del Sur Chamber of Commerce and Industry Foundation, Inc., and officials from the national, provincial and municipal offices.

Also, Jose T. Baron, DTI-Agusan del Sur Supervising Trade and Industry Development Specialist urged the members to increase its club members and strengthen their entrepreneurial capabilities. He also invited the members and officers to visit Negosyo Center in Sibagat for their business assistance requirements.


DTI-AdS is also looking forward for the Sibagat Business Club to be an active and significant partner of NC-Sibagat initiatives to help the municipality’s micro, small and medium enterprises. (DTI-Agusan del Sur/PIA-Agusan del Sur)