Friday, August 25, 2017

PNP AgSur bags awards during 116th Police Service Anniv

By Jennifer P. Gaitano

PROSPERIDAD, Agusan del Sur, Aug. 25 (PIA) – In time with the 116th Police Service Anniversary celebration of the Philippine National Police (PNP) Caraga held at Camp Rafael Rodriguez in this city, Agusan del Sur Police Provincial Office and some city and municipal police stations in the province bagged awards witnessed by Police Deputy Director General Ramon Apolinario.

The following were awarded by PDDG Apolinario, together with PNP-13 regional director PCSupt Rolando Felix and other PNP officials: 1) Best Component City Police Station - Bayugan City Police Station, Agusan del Sur Police Provincial Office (PPO); 2) Best Municipal Police Station - Talacogon MPS, Agusan del Sur PPO; and 3) Best Provincial Public Safety Company - Agusan del Sur PPSC.

Also, the unit with the Most Number of Surrenders in the Implementation of Project Double Barrel (PDB) was given to Agusan del Sur PPO.

Guest of honor and speaker PDDG Apolinario encouraged his fellow police officers to make the citizens feel they are safe from the threats of criminal elements. He said that PNP's higher authority is in full support to the aspirations of PNP Caraga.

PCSupt Felix recounted how their office has effectively and efficiently performed their mandates including the sensible utilization of government funds such as acquisition of seven drone aircrafts and Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) vehicles, among others, to improve their capabilities.

In his message, PCSupt Carlos Lozano, deputy regional director for administration of PNP Caraga also emphasized that the PNP, in unity with the various sectors in the community can do so much in fighting against criminality and illegal activities. He also stressed that there is more to do with the implementation of its campaign to maintain peace and order in the region.

The 116th Police Service Anniversary is anchored on the theme, "Buhay ng Pulis Handang Ibuwis para sa Katahimikan at Kaayusan ng Bayan." (JPG/VLG/PIA-Agusan del Sur)


Surigao del Sur remains Bird Flu-free province: Quarantine Office

By Nida Grace P. Barcena

TANDAG CITY, Surigao del Sur, Aug. 25 (PIA) - The entire province of Surigao del Sur remains free from Bird Flu, said Romy Ronquillo, Quarantine Office chief in an interview aired over Radyo Pilipinas.

Accordingly, with the alarming issues raised recently in Luzon, they have doubled there efforts to prevent the alarming issue by closely monitoring all the entry points in the province in coordination with the Philippine National Police and the Department of Health, here.

The Quarantine Office in this province is continuously monitoring all entry points of all the poultry products coming in and out the area despite the temporary ban on the movement in all poultry products was already revoked by the Department of Agriculture.

Ronquillo explained that with or without Bird Flu outbreak or issues raised, their office will remain active with the monitoring.

It can be recalled that the Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Animal Industry (DA-BAI) issued a memorandum on the “Temporary Ban on the Movement of Live Domestic and Wild Birds and their Products Including Poultry Meat, Day Old Chicks, Eggs, Semen, Manure from Luzon to Visayas and Mindanao”, dated August 11, 2017 due to the Avian Influenza outbreak reported in Pampanga, and was lifted later. (NGPB/PIA-Surigao del Sur)


U.S. Pacific Command chief visits PH, affirms support for Marawi crisis

SURIGAO CITY, Surigao del Norte, Aug. 25 (PIA) - The Commander of the United States Pacific Command Adm. Harry B. Harris Jr. visited the Philippines on August 23-24, 2017 and met with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte at the Malacañang to discuss U.S. support to the Philippine government for ongoing efforts to end the conflict in Marawi, interoperability between the two militaries, and regional threats.

Admiral Harris participated in a wreath laying ceremony on August 23 at the Heroes’ Cemetery, or Libingan ng mga Bayani, in Taguig to honor the sacrifice of the brave Filipino military heroes buried there.

He also met with Secretary of National Defense Delfin N. Lorenzana, Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines Gen. Eduardo Año, Secretary of Foreign Affairs Alan Peter Cayetano, and traveled to Zamboanga to meet Commander of Western Mindanao Command Lt. Gen. Carlito Galvez Jr.

The Admiral’s meetings focused on upcoming bi-lateral engagements, recent aid and military assistance that the U.S. government has provided to the Philippines, as well as opportunities for additional U.S. support in Marawi. (U.S. Embassy/PIA-Caraga)


News Feature: Spreading Moringa Miracles

BUTUAN CITY, Aug. 25 (PIA) - “Seven times the vitamin C of oranges, four times the vitamin A of carrots, four times the calcium of milk, thrice the potassium of bananas, twice the protein of yogurt, 25 times the iron of spinach, three times more vitamin E than almonds, four times more fiber than oats, with as  much protein in eggs and with better protein than soy,” are among the ways used to describe the countless health-enhancing benefits of what is known in the Philippines as malunggay or Moringa Oleifera, oftentimes called the Miracle Tree.

In 2005, residents of Cuyago in Jabonga, Agusan del Norte were mainly fishermen who, together with the women, planted malunggay, kamote (sweet potato), banana and balanghoy (cassava) on the side.

The Cuyago Women’s Association, through the Department of Agriculture, was granted a livestock project that enjoined their men to tend to cattle and other animals, and so in December 6, 2010 (although organized on June 10, 2005), the United Farmers of Cuyago Incorporated, or UFCI, came to be. 

The UFCI, an organization composed of 35 farmers, focused on the production of fresh moringa leaves with 133 moringa farmer-planters in the area. The moringa leaves would then be processed into moringa flakes and powder by their 13 processors.

With the help of the Agri-Aqua Development Coalition Mindanao (AADC), a non-government organization based in Tagum City, Davao del Norte, the UFCI was given seeds and other materials needed to plant malunggay. By then, malunggay had been  proven to thrive in Jabonga’s dry, stony soil. Organic herbal nutrient (OHN), indigenous microorganisms (IMO) and Fish Amino Acid (FAA) were also given through funds from the Oxford Committee for Famine Relief (Oxfam), also through the AADC.

“Taking care of children is a lot easier,” says UFCI President Virginia D. Montilla, recalling how one needed to be enduring and uncomplaining, as weeds needed to be pulled out individually from around each malunggay tree every single day, and then strategically placed around them to serve as fertilizer.

From the years 2005 to 2007, the UFCI made use of tissue culture, where growers painstakingly bagged and transported seedlings from the nursery at the Northern Mindanao State Institute of Science and Technology (NORMISIST, now the Caraga State University or CSU) to plant in the one-hectare San Pablo School Site.

“The women in charge of bagging would get ten pesos for each seedling that thrived.  The process would start once the seeds were transported from the nursery to their homes. They had to be very careful in handling the seedlings, as even a tiny bruise caused by road bumps or injuries such as a torn branch would mean that the plants could die,” Montilla shares.

In 2014, realizing that the sales of fresh malunggay leaves in the locality was experiencing a lull,  the UFCI consulted with the Department of Trade and Industry- Agusan del Norte (DTI-AdN), which addressed their concerns through a series of consultative meetings and the evaluation of the project’s viability. Seeing that the UFCI needed their intervention,  the DTI made it a cooperator in their Shared Service Facility Program (SSF) for moringa powder processing.

The support came in the form of P645,000 worth of equipment: a leaf dryer, a leaf pulverizer, a computing weighing scale, an impulse foot sealer and two stainless steel tables. The local government of Jabonga also extended help by giving P367,000 for building renovations.

On October 1, 2014, the UFCI’s moringa farms were certified and declared as organic farms by the Ecoland Organic Certification Services’ Second Party Certification. Such classification, totalling 100 hectares,  is enjoyed by its farmers until the present.

Gone are the hours of tambay or loitering around sari-sari stores for chitchats, as moringa processors have their days full gathering fresh malunggay branches from farmers and processing these into sun-dried flakes or moringa powder. The mere stripping of leaves off of 100 kilos worth of branches require at least seven to eight people, while a minimum of two persons tend to the flaking of the sun-dried leaves. Two pugoneros or dryer operators are needed in the Monday to Saturday processing of the malunggay leaves.

Today, the community’s productivity extends even to their elders as they even have an 85-year old member who enjoys tending the malunggay trees and intercrop these with luy-a (ginger), atsal (pepper), sili (chili), okra (lady's fingers) and balanghoy. The balanghoy also serves as a clever hedge of sorts, indicating  ownership or responsibility of a farmer to his or her own parcel of land.

Currently, the UFCI produces four tons of fresh malunggay leaves per month. These are then processed, packaged and marketed into sun-dried flakes and powdered malunggay. The sun-dried flakes sell for P350 per kilo, while a kilo of powder sells at a higher price of P500.

Sales in 2014 was tagged at P10,000 and increased to P260,760 in 2015. From January to June of 2016 alone, sales have reached P165,820 with collectibles from a regular buyer.

Their fresh moringa leaves enjoy sales ranging from P16,000to P20,000 per month, while their flaked and powdered moringa sales range between P30,000 to P35,000 per month.

The UFCI is now able to give back to their community through the daily malunggay harvests of different farmers, where  a ten percent (roughly P3,000) added income is given to  San Pablo School every two weeks.

Interestingly, what used to be a “sideline” has now become the main source of income for the  farmers and processors of the UFCI. In their words, they are now,  “80 percent moringa and 20 percent fishing.”

To date, the DTI has provided assistance through trainings on moringa powder processing and entrepreneurial and financial management, marketing assistance through a market linkage with Fruit Gems, and between 2015 to 2016, participation in Butuan, Davao and Bohol Trade Fairs from which the UFCI gets repeat orders from establishments such as the Altluras Super Market, Island City Mall-SM Selling Area, Plaza Marcela in Bohol and in local resorts and individual buyers from Cebu and Manila.

Soon, with the professionalization of transactions and the granting of a license to operate (LTO) by the Food and Drug Administration, the UFCI will finally be able to sell their products at a price proportionate to the effort and patience that they put into production.

Jab and Kitch Wonderm Moringa products can be bought from any of the One Town One Product (OTOP) Pasalubong Centers and Negosyo Centers in Butuan City and Agusan del Norte. (DTI-Agusan del Norte/PIA-Agusan del Norte)


Voluntary safety recall of certain Honda Accord models

SURIGAO CITY, Surigao del Norte, Aug. 25 (PIA) - Honda Cars Philippine, Inc. (HCPI) in a letter addressed to Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Consumer Protection Group Undersecretary Teodoro C. Pascua have informed the Voluntary Safety Recall of Honda Accord models sold in the Philippines from January 2014 to March 2017 due to possible battery sensor short circuit.

The voluntary safety recall aims to replace the battery sensors of 474 units of Honda Accord models sold in the Philippines which could possibly corrode overtime and cause short circuit due to inappropriate seal which creates a gap in the boundary surface of the battery sensor.

HCPI Administrative Division Head Atty. Louie C. Soriano explained in his letter that while there have been no known or reported case specifically due to this, the HCPI would like to replace the battery sensors through the 40 authorized Honda dealers and service outlets nationwide.

“This will be free of charge for the vehicle owners and will take about thirty minutes to complete,” said Soriano.

Owners of affected vehicle units can inquire in any of the Honda dealers or HCPI hotline numbers 1-800-1000-46632 and (02) 857-7240. (DTI-Surigao del Norte/PIA-Surigao del Norte)


Energy chief lauds PH solar energy development

SURIGAO CITY, Surigao del Norte, Aug. 25 (PIA) - The inauguration of the first Filipino-owned solar panel facility in Batangas held on Wednesday is a testament to the government's progress in revitalizing the local renewable energy (RE) industry for the benefit of consumers and the economy, according to Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi.

“Investments in RE facilities and technologies can create more jobs," Cusi said at the event graced by President Rodrigo Duterte. "We can also take pride in trading Filipino-made energy technologies, while also developing Filipino expertise in RE technologies. The RE investment also empowers consumers through more affordable and sustainable energy use,” Cusi added.

“The solar panel facility and similar investments on solar energy will support the implementation of vital renewable energy policies. This includes the net-metering program, which encourages consumers to become 'prosumers'. This is done by the installation of solar rooftop systems in their properties and enable consumers to produce their own energy. In the end, it results to energy efficiency and savings on power cost,” Cusi underscored.

Cusi said that with more energy options available, consumers are expected to gear towards finding the right balance and ‘diskarte’ in satisfying their energy needs.

“Having more energy choices would also support the implementation of Retail Competition and Open Access (RCOA) under the Electric Power Industry,” Cusi pointed out.

Cusi also said the these investments would support the total electrification goal by 2022, accelerate delivery of energy services, and drive the development of RE particularly solar for baseload through a 24/7 battery storage.

He further emphasized that the DOE remains aggressive in providing a level playing field for the investors in the various energy technologies for the benefit of the Filipino consumers. (DOE/PIA-Surigao del Norte)


DAR trains farm business school mentors

By Joie L. Ceballos

BUTUAN CITY, Aug. 25 (PIA) - The Caraga Regional Office of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR-13) conducted a Training for Trainers of the Farm Business School (FBS) held in this city last August 14-18, 2017.

The 5-day course was attended by 24 select field personnel from the four provinces in the region.

DAR-13 regional director Felix B. Aguhob said that the activity aimed to orient field implementers on the concepts and mechanics of the implementation of the FBS.

“This is to ensure that the project will be managed smoothly and in a manner that our beneficiaries will get the best benefits possible,” Aguhob said.

In Caraga region, four FBS sites were already established as of reporting time.

“But we are targeting six more, two of which will be implemented this year and four more next year,” Aguhob added.

The training was facilitated by Delia Gabales and Agnes Rojas of the Bureau of Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Development of the DAR central office.

Gabales explained that the 5-day activity is only part of the Phase 1 of the training. “There are 11 sessions in the Phase 1, while sessions 12-25 will be practical applications,” she said. (DAR-13/PIA-Caraga)


US delivers new aerostat radar system to Philippine Navy

BUTUAN CITY, Aug. 25 (PIA) - Col. Ernest C. Lee, chief of the Joint United States (US) Military Assistance Group in the Philippines, formally transferred a new 28M Class Tethered Aerostat Radar System (TARS) to Flag Officer in Command of the Philippine Navy Vice Admiral Joseph Ronald S. Mercado in a turn-over ceremony at the Naval Education and Training Command (NETC) in Zambales on August 22, 2017.

Vice Admiral Mercado was the guest of honor and keynote speaker, and U.S. Embassy Deputy Chief of Mission (DCM) Michael Klecheski also graced the event.

The 28M Class TARS is a self-sustained, rapidly deployable, unmanned lighter-than-air platform which can rise to an altitude of 5,000 feet while tethered by a single cable.
Sixteen Philippine Naval Information and Communication Technology Center personnel are engaged in a rigorous six-week training program at the NETC in Zambales to learn assembly, handling, operation, maintenance, and troubleshooting for the TARS.  These sixteen students will become instructors for the next class of operators.

Through this donation, the Philippine Navy is poised to enhance its capability in Maritime Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance by effectively detecting maritime and air traffic within the country’s coastal waters using sensors.  Moreover, it will also be utilized in humanitarian assistance and disaster response operations.

The TARS includes a weather station that provides telemetry data for the monitoring of ambient temperature, pressure, wind speed and other pertinent parameters to successfully operate the system.

The NETC in Zambales is the staging point for the TARS as it is the largest Philippine Navy base with flat terrain, and fits the minimum requirement of 300 square feet for the launching of the system.

This donation is part of the U.S. maritime security initiative, a capacity-building assistance program for Southeast Asian countries including the Philippines that aims to improve their ability to address a range of maritime challenges. (U.S. Embassy/PIA-Caraga)


Feature: Giving back compassionate service to SLP beneficiaries

By Mary Carmelle C. Jumawan

Success is no accident. It is perseverance, sacrifice and most of all love – loving what you are doing or learning to do.

And this perfectly embodies the story of success of Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP) San Vicente Association in Butuan City.

A story of a group’s dream which was realized and made possible by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) through the SLP.

This is a story which proves that goals and persistence can turn dreams into reality.

Humble Beginning

Established in October 2015 through the Seed Capital Fund from SLP, the 136 members agreed to merge their funds to start a credit facility that will alleviate the economic condition of the people within the community from unscrupulous money lenders or loan sharks and that will uplift their quality of life.

“Wala mi nagdahom na makatukod mi ani na proyekto (We didn’t expect that we can put up a project like this),” association president Elizabeth Tandoy happily shared.

“Mao nang amumahon namu ni pag-ayo aron molambo kini ug makatabang pud mi sa mga lain  taong nanginahanglan ug tabang (We will take good care of this project to prosper so that we could also extend help to others)," she added.

Operating like a bank, their association project is a socialized Micro-Lending and Social Insurance that is Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) registered. Its Social Insurance is registered to Insurance Commission.

Partnership Towards Efficiency

Apart from the assistance from SLP, its success has been reached through the strong collaboration with the barangay local government unit (BLGU), city LGU of Butuan, Cantilan Bank, and Landbank of the Philippines (LBP).

The BLGU donated a building and created a barangay ordinance that aids the effectual operations of the project. The association enjoys tax holiday as a support of the CLGU. Furthermore,  one of the Sanggunian Members of the city, Atty Glenn Carampatana, acts as the legal counsel of the group with free of charge.

The association has forged partnership with Landbank for rediscounting notes.

Serving the Community

For almost two years of service, it has touched the lives of its members and has responded to the emerging needs of its community and even the nearby communities in its service area.

“Kay natabangan mi sa programa, galantaw pud mi na makatabang mi sa among isigkatawo (Because the program has helped us, we also aim to extend help to others),” Elizabeth narrated.

“Gahandom mi na tungod ani na proyekto, makalingkawas  pud ang laing tao sa kalisod (We wish that this project will help others to be alleviated from poverty),” she added.

In an attempt to be a competitive and credible credit facility, it is geared towards uplifting the socio-economic conditions of the members through its various financial product and services.

It offers various types of loans such as chattel, salary and ATM and micro-enterprise. Apart from its loan services, it also provides insurance services.

Three of the many people who benefitted with the association’s services are Alicia Guiral, Fortunata A. Duque and Ceverino L. Guindulam.

After availing the micro enterprise loan, Alicia and Fortunata both have their own business.

“Naa nakoy kaugalingong carenderia tungod sa na-avail nako na loan (I now have my own food eatery business because of the loan that I’ve availed),” Alicia shared.

“Nabalik nako ako negosyo sa humay mao nangg dako akong pasalamat sa SLP San Vicente (I got back in my business in rice production that’s why I’m greatly grateful to SLP San Vicente),” Fortunata expressed.

Due to the association’s insurance, one of the deceased family member of the principal insured, Ceverino, has been aided by the insurance.

In terms of social responsibility, it has five college scholars and they have an annual “Adopt-a-Barangay” and tree planting activities.

Headed to Empowerment

At present, the association remains steadfast to its goal in helping poor families and those who wanted to engage into business by implementing micro-enterprise activities through its multiple credit services.

And as part of its business expansion, it ventures in food eatery and catering services.

“Sa nahitabo karon sa amoa, maingon nako nga na met ang goal (For what’s happening now, I can say that it has met its goal),” Elizabeth proudly shared. (Social Marketing Unit/DSWD Field Office Caraga/PIA-Caraga)


25 agri workers train on cacao production

By Ginalyn V. Arbutante

BUTUAN CITY, Aug. 26 - A total of 25 Agricultural Extension Workers (AEWs) from the five provinces in the region participated in the Season-Long Training of Trainers (TOT) on cacao production. It aims at enhancing the AEWs’ knowledge, attitude, and skills in producing and processing cacao as trainers in their respective localities.

Said training was conducted by the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) - Regional Training Center 13. Spearheaded by the focal persons of the High-Value Crops Development Program (HVCDP) under the Partnership and Accreditation Services Section (PASS) of the institute.

On the other hand, 150 cacao farmers will be involved in five affiliated Farmers’ Field School (FFS) that will be conducted by the trainees in the middle of the training.

The season-long TOT started on August 8, 2017, and is expected to culminate on December in the same year within the four months duration. It also involves processing and utilization of cacao with the application of the good agricultural practices that are suitable in the region.

This training on cacao production addresses the Department of Agriculture’s goal to lead farmers towards generating high income from cacao through processing and packaging of technologies without jeopardizing the environment. It is also substantial for the AEWs as well as farmers in strengthening their capability of producing quality cocoa beans, thus enhancing food security and safety. (with reports from JLaure, ATI-Caraga/PIA-Caraga)


Tagalog News: Advocacy campaign ukol sa ASEAN naging kapaki-pakinabang sa mga estudyante at guro sa rehiyon Caraga

Ni Venus L. Garcia

LUNGSOD NG BUTUAN, Agosto 25 (PIA) - Ang malawakang pagpapaigting sa kampanya patungkol sa Association of Southeast Asian Nations o ASEAN ay nakakatulong ng malaki lalung-lalo na sa mga mag-aaral at guro mapa pribado man o pampublikong paaralan dito sa rehiyon ng Caraga.

Kabilang nito ang pakikilahok ng Agusan Pequeño National High School dito sa lungsod ng Butuan kung saan inilunsad ang ASEAN Information Caravan na dinaluhan ng mahigit limandaang estudyante, faculty members at general PTA officers.

Sa pakikipagtulungan ng Philippine Information Agency Caraga, sabay ding binuksan ang PIA Info Kiosk sa loob ng campus at ang pamamahagi ng IEC materials gaya ng leaflets, handouts at newsletters na naglalaman ng mga mahahalagang impormasyon na may kinalaman sa programa, proyekto at serbisyo ng pamahalaan.

Naging sentro ng aktibidad ang entrance of flags ng bawat bansang kabilang sa ASEAN. Isa-isang iwinawagayway ang watawat habang suot naman ng mga guro ang national costumes ng asean member countries.

Ayon kay Jean Ramirez, punong-guro ng paaralan, iniintegrate umano nila sa mga asignatura ang talakaying ASEAN upang mas maintindihan pa ng mga mag-aaral ang kahalagahan at benepisyo bilang kasapi ng ASEAN communities.

Ikinagalak naman ni Edy-Ann Arorong, isang grade eleven student na malaman ang impact ng ASEAN integration sa paglago ng ekonomiya ng Pilipinas gayon na rin ang mga oportunidad na dala nito para sa mga kabataang katulad niya na nangangarap ng matiwasay, progresibo at masaganang pamumuhay.

Samantala, nakatulong din na mapahusay ang kamalayan tungkol sa ASEAN sa pakikilahok ng mga mag-aaral sa isinagawang friendly kumpetisyon sa pamamagitan ng essay writing at poster making.


-->
Dagdag pa ni Ramirez, adhikain ng Agusan Pequeño National High School administration na mamulat ang mga kabataan sa usaping ASEAN upang maging kaisa sila ng bawat sambayanang pilipino sa pagkamit ng mga mithiin ng ASEAN. (VLG/PIA-Caraga)