(PAGASA 24-HOUR PUBLIC WEATHER FORECAST as of Wednesday, 25 May 2022) Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) affecting southern section of Mindanao. The entire Caraga region will experience Partly cloudy to cloudy skies with isolated rainshowers or thunderstorms due to Localized Thunderstorms. Possible flash floods or landslides during severe thunderstorms. Light winds coming from East to Northeast will prevail with slight seas (0.6 to 1.2 meters).

Friday, September 22, 2017

PIA Caraga to launch ASEAN info kiosks

By Nora CL Molde

BUTUAN CITY, Sept. 22 (PIA) – The Philippine Information Agency (PIA) Caraga region will launch an information kiosk for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in celebration of the National Peace Consciousness Month and National Maritime Week on Sept. 27, 29 and 30.

PIA Caraga Regional Director Abner Caga said these kiosks will help the participants know more about the programs, projects and activities of ASEAN and other government agencies.

On September 27, the information kiosks will be installed during the Media and Communicators forum, to be conducted by the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) in partnership with PIA-Caraga.

The forum will be participated by different media practitioners in the region and communication officers from different national and local government agencies.

On September 29 to 30, PIA will set-up another kiosk at the Robinsons Atrium in Butuan City, where different stakeholders will gather to celebrate the National Maritime Week. Students from different schools will also have a chance to know more about ASEAN through a video showing activity.

The kiosk will contain various information, education and communication (IEC) materials on ASEAN, such as its history, priorities, endeavors and benefits. (NCLM, PIA-Caraga)

National Remote Sensing Conference 2017 set in Butuan City

By Jennifer P. Gaitano

BUTUAN CITY, Sept. 22 (PIA) – The Local Organizing Committee of Caraga Center for Geo-Informatics Caraga is inviting everyone to participate in this year’s Philippine National Remote Sensing Conference (NRSC) to be held on November 28-29 in one of the local convention centers in the city.

Engr. Meriam Makinano-Santillan, chairperson of the Local Organizing Committee said that the NRSC 2017 is jointly organized by the Caraga Center for Geo-Informatics of the Caraga State University (CSU), and the Philippine Geosciences and Remote Sensing Society (PhilGRSS).

“The NRSC 2017 will bring together local and international scientists, engineers, researchers, decision-makers, users and interested individuals, groups from the academe, government, industry and non-governmental organizations to communicate and actively exchange technical information on Remote Sensing and related geospatial science and technology,” said Santillan.

Santillan also said that the theme “Remote Sensing Science for the People,” aims to showcase the country’s best in Remote Sensing and Geosciences research and services, and to recognize their contributions in the development of the country.

“The NRSC 2017 will also discuss the potential and practical uses of this exciting field of science and technology on reducing economic inequality, creating more opportunities, and expanding the potential for growth as a country,” Santillan added.

To join, each participant will have to pay the conference registration fee of P3,500.00, which is inclusive of conference badge, conference kit, programme and Book of Abstracts, Certificate of Participation, as well as meals for each day of the conference. It also entitles the participant to attend the welcome dinner and fellowship night. All participants are required to pre-register online at http://nrsc2017.ccgeo.info/register/. (JPG/PIA-Caraga)

CSC Caraga to gather gov’t employees for 117th PCS anniv. culmination activity

By Jennifer P. Gaitano
BUTUAN CITY, Sept. 22 (PIA) – As part of the culmination activity of the 117th Philippine Civil Service anniversary celebration, the Civil Service Commission (CSC) Caraga will gather government employees and partner stakeholders for the conduct of “Zumba for a Cause” on Sept. 29, 2017 at the City Sports Complex, this city.

“This activity is in keeping with the government’s program of providing physical wellness activities to public servants. This time, though, we do it for a cause,” said CSC Caraga Regional Director Resurreccion Pueyo.

To join, each participant needs to pay a registration fee of P200.00. Light snacks will be provided during the activity.

Pueyo added that said fundraising activity, duly approved by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) with Permit No.: DSWD-SB-SP-00019-2017, aims to raise funds for the Pamanang Lingkod Bayani or PLBi which grants financial assistance and scholarship to family members of government officials who died in the line of duty.

For more information, you may contact CSC Caraga (085) 342-6090 or 0933-868-6127/ 0956-127-3833. (JPG/PIA-Caraga)

DSWD KALAHI-CIDSS Caraga lights up communities in SurSur town

By April Mae N. Waban & Marko Davey D. Reyes

BUTUAN CITY, Sept. 22 – Street lights powered by solar energy will now brighten up some communities in the city, as the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) through the Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (KALAHI-CIDSS) program turned over solar-powered streetlights to two barangays in the municipality of Carmen.

Residents of Barangay Cancavan received 40-unit solar powered streetlights worth P1,244,728.80 while Barangay Antao got 28-unit solar powered streetlights worth P874,750 during the back-to-back inauguration. This community project was realized through the collaboration of the KALAHI-CIDSS community volunteers with the support of the Local Government Unit (LGU) of Carmen.

Carmen Municipal Mayor Jane V. Plaza and Vice Mayor Teofila C. Cabatuan together with some Sangguniang Bayan (SB) members and Barangay LGU officials graced the turn-over ceremony.

The office of DSWD KALAHI-CIDSS was represented by the Community Infrastructure Officer (CIO) III of the Sub-Regional Program Management Office (SRPMO) Surigao, Engr. Wilfredo T. Maquiling Jr. and the Area Coordinating Team (ACT) of Carmen headed by Divina S. Nilda.

Before the streetlights were installed, inhabitants of the two barangays relied on regular light bulbs and gas lamps to light up their homes and roads at night. Several cases of theft were reported in the area of which most residents say they mainly attributed to the lack of streetlights.

Rosalie R. Berador, barangay kagawad of Cancavan, shared how most people of the barangay used to dread the unlit pathways when night falls.

“Sauna kung magbaktas kami pasingud jadto sa among puy-an, manlibarot amung balahibo kay dugyom kaajo. Karun dili na gayud kami mangahadlok ug gana na ang amung pagpanaw tungod naay gihatag sa gobyerno ug sa Ginoo na kahayag dinhi sa among barangay (Before, when we head back to our homes [at night] we got goosebumps because it was pitch dark. Now, we are not scared anymore and we can already walk safe because God and the government has now provided light to our barangay),” Berador said.

The said community project was identified as a priority need during the DSWD KALAHI-CIDSS facilitated Barangay Participatory Situational Analysis (BPSA) activity where communities gather to assess and analyze current socio-economic and political situation. Using the Community-Driven Development (CDD) principle, different stakeholders in the community are encouraged to partake in determining pressing community needs, as well as proposing and implementing solutions to their needs.

Barangay Representation Team (BRT) Chairperson of Antao, Rosalinda M. Elimanco, appreciated the process she went through in the course of their project implementation. She highlighted this in her testimonial speech during the inauguration.

“Adisir matapos ang usa ka proyekto, muagi pa ug daghan proseso. Dili lalim na himuon pero nagpasalamat ako sa tanan trainings na akong na agian pinaagi sa Kalahi-CIDSS. Magamit kini nako [para ma improve ]akong kaugalingon ug ang komunidad (Before a project is completed, it will go through a lot of process. It is not easy to do but I am grateful for all the trainings I have undergone through KALAHI-CIDSS. I can use them to [improve] myself and the community,” Elimanco shared.

The cost-efficient and environment friendly solar-powered technology will benefit around 107 households of Brgy. Cancavan and 236 households of Brgy. Antao.

Plaza thanked the community volunteers of the beneficiary barangays and hoped that they will not waver from helping their communities. She also asked their continued cooperation as the municipality was newly granted a funding for their Food Terminal project from the DSWD KALAHI-CIDSS Livelihood & Enterprise (L&E) modality.

“I hope na hindi matapos ang taon na ito, we can implement the L& E project. Imagine kayo po ang mag-iimplement ng isang project na makakapag benefit sa buong Carmen. Ngayon pa lamang nagpapasalamat na po ako sa inyong lahat (I hope before the year ends, we can already implement the L&E project. Just imagine, you will be able to implement a project that will benefit everyone in Carmen. Right now, I am already thankful to you all,” Plaza said. (Social Marketing Unit/DSWD Field Office Caraga/PIA-Caraga)

AgSur producer of mangosteen tea debuts new variants in 14th CAEXPO

PROSPERIDAD, Agusan del Sur, Sept. 22 – Mangosteen calamansi mix, mangosteen dragon fruit mix and all-purpose kalamansi extract – all in powder form. These are the new products that Hillsview Food Products first introduced to the market in its participation to the 14th China ASEAN Exposition (CAEXPO).

Company owner Irenea Hitgano, together with son Choy, attended personally to the “overwhelming inquiries and interest from potential distributors of their products” as reported by the Department of Trade and Industry-Agusan del Sur (DTI-AdS) Trade Promotion Officer Corazon dela Peña.

Dela Peña said the company hired its own interpreter to be able to respond to clients most of which cannot communicate in English. Two volunteer interpreters tapped by the Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM) also assisted them.

Aside from assisting Hillsview Food Products, CITEM also helped Sunrise Corn Coffee, another Agusan del Sur producer and Agusan del Norte’s bottled bangus producer, Jida Aqua Resources, and other Philippine exhibitors in this year’s CAEXPO. This event was held on September 12 to 15 at the Nanning International Convention and Exhibition Center (NICEC).

Hitgano, discovering the optimal and “medically beneficial” use of her mangosteen tree plantation via its tea concoctions, has successfully grown the market for her products throughout the country in just three years.
China is the first foreign market her company is venturing into.

Hillsview’s participation was sponsored by the Department of Agriculture (DA) and Department Trade and Industry’s Regional Interactive Platform for Philippine Exporters (RIPPLES) program. RIPPLES was jointly implemented by the Export Marketing Bureau (EMB), DTI’s Regional Operations Group (DTI-ROG), and the Philippine Trade Training Center (PTTC).

It aims to expand the supply base of internationally-competitive Philippine export products and services by extending strategic company-level interventions such as capacity building trainings, product development, market information, global product trends, to participating companies to make them export-ready, or to enhance their export capacity and competitiveness.

The Program prepares these companies to compete in terms of volume, quality, price, packaging, compliance with market entry requirements, rules and regulations, and design leadership, or alignment with current design trends. When deemed export-ready, these companies are matched with prospective foreign buyers, and their products are promoted in the export market.

NICEC holds several sections including the Guangxi Exhibition Hall (for CAEXPO Agriculture Exhibition 2017) and the Pavilion of Commodity Trade, where member countries of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) exhibited food and beverage, consumer goods, raw materials, ASEAN Coffee. Other foreign countries also featured some of their food, consumer goods, tourism, advisory, consulting service, machinery and equipment, among others.

The CAEXPO was co-sponsored by China’s Ministry of Commerce and the 10 ASEAN member states, as well as the ASEAN Secretariat. It was organized by the People’s Government of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. (DTI-Agusan del Sur/PIA-Agusan del Sur)

2 AgSur pioneering women entrepreneurs exhibit products in 14th China ASEAN Exposition

PROSPERIDAD, Agusan del Sur, Sept. 22 – The province of Agusan del Sur (AdS) was represented by two of its pioneering women entrepreneurs during the 14th China ASEAN Exposition (CAEXPO).

Alice Paglinawan of Sunrise Corn Coffee and Irenea Hitgano of Hillsview Food Products and Jannicah Food Products featured their goods at the Nanning International Convention and Exhibition Center (NICEC).

Paglinawan pioneered the use of native corn in Agusan del Sur for a brew that was ranged against mainstream and specialty coffee from coffee beans.

Hitgano on the other hand, discovered the optimal and “medically beneficial” of her mangosteen tree plantation through its tea and mangosteen fruit extract, mixed with calamansi and dragon fruit.

The two were graduates of the first batch of the Agusan del Sur's Kapatid Mentor Me program.

Their participation was supported by the Departments of Trade & Industry (DTI) and Department of Agriculture (DA).

Accompanying the Agusan del Sur producers and the rest of the Caraga delegation was Department of Trade and Industry-Agusan del Sur (DTI-AdS) Senior Trade and Industry Specialist Corazon P. Dela Pena. (DTI-Agusan del Sur/PIA-Agusan del Sur)

PNP Caraga holds mass oath-taking, donning of ranks ceremony

By PCInsp. Rene Serrano

BUTUAN CITY, Sept. 22 (PIA) – The Philippine National Police (PNP) in Caraga promoted 668 policemen during the simultaneous mass oath-taking, donning and pinning of ranks at the Police Regional Office (PRO)-13 headquarters after the traditional flag raising ceremony.

PNP Caraga Regional Director PCSupt. Rolando Felix said 33 Police Commissioned Officers, 587 Police Non-Commissioned Officers and 48 from the National Support Units have passed the qualification standards for appointment to the higher PNP ranks, based on the National Police Commission (NAPOLCOM) Resolution No. 2013-501.

The promotion was a result of the merit system to give recognition to the PNP uniformed personnel and uplift the morale of the police force.

During the acceptance speeches, PCInsp. Darwin Y. Yu and SPO4 Ramil D. Ondona thanked the Promotion Board and the whole PNP organization for the promotion given to them.

“I am expecting that you will have a greater commitment to our principles and renewed a sense of service as you accept this promotion. I am looking forward also that you will become good role models of competence, discipline, excellence and professionalism in the police force,” said Felix. (PNP-Caraga/PIA-Caraga)

Negosyo Center in Carrascal town now accepts biz name registration

TANDAG CITY, Surigao del Sur, Sept. 22 (PIA) – Carrascal is the latest town in Surigao del Sur to have a Negosyo Center (NC) and is now accepting application for the Department of Trade and Industry Business Name (DTI-BN) Registration.

The Negosyo Center is located at the 2nd floor of the Bus Terminal Building in Barangay Gamuton, Carrascal.

According to DTI Senior Industry Specialist and NC Carrascal Manager Sarah Estrada, the DTI Business Name registration is valid for five years and costs about P215 to P2,015, depending on the territorial scope of the business and would only take 45 minutes to process.

“For barangay scope, it only costs P215.00; for municipal, it is worth P515.00; for regional, it costs P1,015.00; and for national scope, it will be P2,015.00,” said Estrada.

For requirements and more information about Negosyo Center services, they may visit the center and look for Stephanie Dawn or Rea or send an email to nccarrascalsds@gmail.com. (DTI/PIA-Surigao del Sur)

Agnor PPOC strengthens fight vs. illegal drugs

BUTUAN CITY, Sept. 22 (PIA) – To further strengthen our fight against illegal drugs, the Agusan del Norte Provincial Peace and Order Council (PPOC) conducted its annual Search for Best Performing Anti-Drug Abuse Councils (ADACs) in the province.

Governor Ma. Angelica Rosedell M. Amante-Matba, Chairperson of the PPOC, mandated the local government units (LGUs) to upscale their major role in preventing illegal drugs in the locality through ADACs.

ADACs at all levels in the province – from the municipalities down to the barangays are now activated.

The Search, which recognizes the anti-drug related efforts of different LGUs in the province, is now on its 4th year of implementation. The evaluation mechanism also aims to institutionalize the sustainability of ADACs.

The evaluators of the Search have started its records assessment and validation of different ADACs in 10 barangays, 10 municipalities and one city. The evaluations, which started on August 24, will assess the documentary evidences of the performances, initiatives, and practices of ADACs on their fight against illegal drugs for the period June 2016 to July 2017.

During the assessment, the evaluators will also give possible recommendations and suggestions for their improvement. Each ADACs will be rated base on the criteria set by the council that is: organization and meetings; policies, plans and budget; accomplishments; and best practices and innovations.

The winners of the search will be recognized during the annual Accelerating New Dimensions on Good Governance and Excellence in Local Leadership (ANGELL) Program in the province.

The city and/or municipal ADAC winners will receive an ANGELL trophy and cash prizes of P100,000; 75,000; and 50,000 for the 1st, 2nd and 3rd placers, respectively. The Barangay ADAC winners will also receive an ANGELL trophy and cash prizes of P15,000; 10,000; and 5,000 for the top three winners.

The evaluators of the search is composed of personnel from the Department of Justice-Provincial Prosecutor’s Office (DOJ-PPO); Provincial Administrator; Vice Governor’s Office; Sangguniang Panlalawigan; Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA); Philippine National Police-Police Provincial Office (PNP-PRO); Philippine Information Agency (PIA); Civil Society Organization representative; and Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG). (NCLM/PIA-Agusan del Norte)

Farm service providers seal the deal with institutional buyers

By Rhea Abao
BUTUAN CITY, Sept. 22 – From production support to marketing assistance, Department of Agriculture’s (DA’s) intervention links the Farm Service Providers (FSP) to local rice dealers in the region.

AgusPinoy Inc. and Sto Niño Multi-Purpose Cooperative (SNMPC) are now ready to supply their well-milled rice to the various institutional buyers in the region.

A total of nine individual entrepreneurs and four cooperatives have signified their interest and willingness to buy a significant volume of well-milled rice from FSPs.

DA's Agribusiness and Marketing Assistance Division (AMAD) provides market linkage for the FSPs and buyers. The deal was sealed by the signing of a marketing agreement between both parties under the Corporate Rice Farming Program (CRFP).

“Part of our assistance is to become a consolidator to find market linkages to our local farmers. The marketing agreement between the FSPs and local buyers is the result of our market matching. We continually assist our farmers, as we are advocating agriculture as a viable business enterprise,” said AMAD Chief Lynn A. Pareñas.

Both FSPs will have a guaranteed market for a year through the establishment of the partnership with the local buyers. An estimation of 40.7 million total sales is forecasted for SNMPC while AgusPinoy Inc., has an estimated 24.2 million total sales.

“We already established our trust and confidence with SNMPC and AgusPinoy Inc., in terms of the quality of their product. That is why we are sealing the deal with them as our source of quality rice,” said Mangagoy Fishermen Multi-Purpose Cooperative (MAFISCO) Business Manager Rho Cougee C. Garido.

To ensure quality and adequate supply of rice, DA will provide each FSP the appropriate farm inputs, technologies, and services to increase their farm productivity.

Aside from the additional income to the FSPs, CRFP also promotes local food sovereignty. (DA-Caraga/PIA-Caraga)

Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries benefit from Communal Garden Project

By Gil E. Miranda

BUTUAN CITY, Sept. 22 – Twenty five (25) Agrarian Reform Beneficiary (ARB) members of Doña Rosario CLOA Holders Vegetable Producers Association (DRCHVPA) conducted the Harvest Festival and Techno Expo at Barangay Doña Rosario, Tubay, Agusan del Norte.

The group undergone an eight-month long training on Communal Vegetable Project implemented by Winrock International in Caraga under the Philippine Cold Chain Project, funded by the United States Department of Agriculture and in partnership with the East-West Seed Company.

The activity was participated in by Jun Alyansa of Winrock International, East-West Seeds Manager Robert Acosta and PARPO II Andre B. Atega CESO V, represented by Planning Officer Annelyn R. Chan.

The activity was a good avenue for showcasing their vegetable produce through product display and improving farmers’ confidence by sharing new ideas and technologies

DRCHVPA Chairman Hector Dela Cruz said that vegetable farming is most fulfilling when the farmers experience an increase on their income due to the growth of their crops.

Dela Cruz was thankful for the developments happening in Tubay, through the efforts and coordination of local government partners and other key government agencies.

With the upcoming assistance from DAR’s Project Converge, the group is hoping to become commercially viable and to be able to distribute their products in other markets.

DAR Planning Officer II Annelyn R. Chan said that the sustainability of the project can be achieved if the members work together to reduce many uncertainties.

“On the part of DAR, we have been helping the farmers-beneficiaries through coop strengthening program, developing entrepreneurial skills and other support services to maximize the utilization of the awarded lands,” Chan added. (DAR-Agusan del Norte/PIA-Agusan del Norte)

New police stations inaugurated in Caraga
BUTUAN CITY, Sept. 22 – Police CSupt. Rolando Felix, Caraga Police Director, with the local officials of Agusan del Sur spearheaded the inauguration of new police stations in the towns of Loreto and Sta. Josefa in Agusan del Sur.

PSupt. Gilbert Ilagan, Regional Pastoral Officer, officiated the blessing of the new three storey police station buildings.

Loreto Mayor Ligaya Otaza expressed her gratitude to the Philippine National Police (PNP) Caraga for the improvement of its facilities and the delivery of police services to the community. The lady mayor further promised to extend more financial support for the requirements of the newly-built Loreto Municipal Police Station.

Meanwhile, the Local Government Unit (LGU) officials of Sta. Josefa led by Vice Mayor Richard Plaza joined in the inauguration and also thanked the Caraga police for the new police station.

“The constructions of these police stations have been realized due to the collaboration between the police and the local government units,” Felix said as he thanked the LGU officials for their sustained support to the PNP.

He also urged the police officers to provide better services from these new police stations by ensuring public safety, maintaining the peace and order and enforcing the law in the respective municipalities. (PNP-Caraga/PIA-Agusan del Sur)

DAR, Phil-FIDA team up for abaca fiber production seminar

By Gil E. Miranda

BUTUAN CITY, Sept. 22 – The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) in Agusan del Norte, through its Project ConVERGE targeted abaca production in the 300-hectare farms of the Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries (ARBs) and Indigenous Peoples (IPs) in four municipalities (Tubay, Jabonga, Kitcharao and Santiago) of TUJAKITSAN ARC cluster in Agusan Norte.

In preparation, DAR and the Philippine Fiber Industry Development Authority (Phil-FIDA) team up to transfer the abaca production technology to the owners of the 300-hectares by conducting a series of seminars.

The seminar was facilitated by Provincial Project Management Office (PPMO) of Agusan del Norte headed by PARPO II Andre B. Atega, CESO V.

Phil-FIDA provided on field training on good agricultural practices and other technical assistance to the participating abaca-farmers to produce quality abaca fiber.

According to Project Coordinator Annelyn Chan, around 250 farmers, who will be grouped in nine batches, will be trained towards the end of 2017.

The first batch of training held on September 5 to 7 in Brgy. Bangayan, Kitcharao, was participated by 39 abaca-farmers from the Bangayan Lake View Association (BLA).

After the trainings, the abaca-farmers will be taught on value-chain enterprise to improve their production, value addition and marketing.

This seminar addressed the need to provide knowledge and technologies in order to sustain the farmer-groups capability efforts. (DAR-Agusan del Norte/PIA-Agusan del Norte)

DOT-CAR grants skills trainings for tourism industry workers

BAGUIO CITY, Sept. 22 (PIA) - The Department of Tourism (DOT) is set to provide free skills training to tourism frontliners and workers in line with its goal to improve the competitiveness of the country’s tourism industry.

DOT Cordillera Regional Director Venus Tan signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with representatives of the beneficiaries from the province of Benguet, Kalinga and Ifugao for the skills training under DOT’s Tourism Industry Skills Program (TISP).

For Ifugao, Tan and Kiangan Homestay Association President Marivic Bulatao formalized the agreement for skills training courses on Housekeeping and Service Excellence and Tourism Innovation and Enterprise program, and seminar on effective customer service that will benefit 150 tourism workers.

For Kalinga represented by Provincial Tourism Vice – chair Mila Omengan, training courses to be undertaken shall be on Tour Provision and Standards, Front Office Operations, Transport Training, Eco-tourism/Adventure Tourism Product Development and Enhancement, Housekeeping and Service Excellence and Entrepreneurship Development involving about 320 beneficiaries.

For Benguet, the TISP trainings that are set to benefit 160 tourism workers are Housekeeping and Service Excellence, Food and Beverage Service Training, and Product Development, Store Layouting and Visual Merchandising.

Kabenguetan (hotel club) president Freddie Baday and Garden Breeze Hotel Manager Floresa Capulong represented Benguet in the MOA signing.

The three provinces are the first batch of beneficiaries under DOT’s TISP where skills training are scheduled up to the end of the year.

Other DOT – CAR TISP projects that are already under evaluation by the National Tourism Skills Committee includes skills training provision for the Hungduan (Ifugao) Municipal Tourism Council, Association of Sagada Hotel and Restaurant (Mountain Province), Tinglayan Tour Guides Association (Kalinga), BLISST Tour Guides Inc. and for Hotel Supreme, here.

Tan outlined that the TISP generally aims to boost the competitiveness of the country’s tourism workers in terms of customer satisfaction, service standards, especially within the ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nations) region.

With the service sector as one of the strength of the tourism industry, there is a need to provide our stakeholders with skills training that will empower them to reach the line of excellence and competitiveness geared towards the development goals of increasing employment, improving income opportunities and increasing tourist arrivals and receipts, Tan stressed.

Aside from the partnership with the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, DOT also tapped the Department of Trade and Industry for product and packaging development, Tan added. (JDP/Carlito C. Dar, PIA CAR)

On the Rice

CABADBARAN CITY, Agusan del Norte, Sept. 22 – Brgy. Santo Niño, Butuan City has a total rice land area of 43 hectares and is active in palay production, trading, processing, milling and marketing through the Santo Niño Multi-Purpose Cooperative (SNMPC).

In response to a program of the Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) and through the efforts of the City Agriculturist Office, the Cooperative Development Authority (CDA) was registered on August 5, 1991. A total of 55 members and 15 “co-operators” came up with the paid-up capital of P29,900.00.

Marilyn O. Aranas, Chairman of the Board of Directors, shared how difficult life was before the awarding of the Shared Service Facility (SSF) Program by the Department of Trade and Industry-Agusan del Norte (DTI-AdN) Provincial Office.

“From 1992 to 2014, we spent a lot on labor and maintained as many as 40 workers during the entire harvest season of two months (March to May and September to November),” Aranas said.

Through the SSF, the cooperative was given three hand pallet trucks that can carry up to 2.5 tons or 50 sacks, one 3-ton capacity lifter, an electronic weighing scale that can measure up to 2,000 kilos, a bag closer, air compressor, one automatic vacuum sealer, one manual vacuum sealer and one foot sealer.

“The hand pallet trucks and lifter alone have cut our labor cost by at least 40 percent, as from the original 40 workers, we are now down to only 10. The vacuum sealers have extended shelf life by 4 months. In manual sealing, our rice products would only last until 2 months. Now it can last until six,” she said.

The SNMPC produces organic rice of the brown, black and red varieties, as well as white organic rice, which makes up two percent of their sales. Their tahop or rice bran brings in 10 percent of their total sales, while their broken rice makes up another two percent. Their organic inputs of vermicast, vermicom post and vermitea, sold directly to their farmer-members, bring in two percent. Commercial rice makes up 76 percent of their total sales.

“We are grateful for the assistance from DTI-AdN. They taught us proper packaging and provided us with excellent quality plastic bags and stickers to make our products look more attractive to consumers,” Aranas said.

The cooperative is currently busy with the packaging and delivery of 650 packs of mixed brown, black and red organic rice to a mall in Bohol, whose representative they met through a business matching activity initiated by DTI-AdN.

Through DTI-AdN, they were also able to gather orders for their different organic rice varieties during the 2015 and 2016 Mindanao Trade Expos in Davao City. The recent Reverse Trade Fair, the first of its kind and organized by DTI-AdN in Butuan City also allowed them to meet sellers from Gingoog, Cabadbaran and nearby Remedios T. Romualdez.

They have recently had to turn down an order of 300 to 400 bags per month from an interested Manila buyer due to El Niño, which has made seedlings hard to come by.

The SNMPC has since grown to reach 389 members. They are currently enjoying the use of their own building, completed last April 2017, which houses a conference hall, a training room and a packaging room. (DTI-Agusan del Norte/PIA-Agusan del Norte)

DOT, DPWH, USAID conduct validation for TRIP projects in Dinagat

SAN JOSE, Dinagat Islands, Sept. 22 (PIA) – The members of the validating team from the Department of Tourism (DOT), Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), and United States Agency for International Development (USAID) conducted validations for the proposed Tourism Road Infrastructure Projects (TRIP) to be implemented in the province of Dinagat Islands.

According to Vice Governor Benglen B. Ecleo, the proposed projects are part of DOT’s convergence project with the DPWH dubbed “Convergence Program for Enhancing Tourism Access.”

“The TRIP project was created through the signing of a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) that seeks to boost tourism infrastructure projects in priority tourist destination areas in the Philippines,” Ecleo said.

The validation was also attended by Sangguniang Panlalawigan Chairperson on Tourism, Board Member Joslyn Ecleo and the staff of Provincial Tourism and Culture Office. (APE/PIA-Dinagat Islands)

Major highlights, side events line up for international surfing festival in Siargao

By John Glenn A. Platil

SURIGAO CITY, Surigao del Norte, Sept. 22 - The Department of Tourism (DOT) in Caraga and Surigao del Norte 1st district representative Francisco Jose ‘Bingo’ Matugas II have beefed up meaningful activities for the 23rd Siargao International Surfing Cup scheduled on September 23-30, 2017 in General Luna town of Siargao Island.

A Grand Panambay (Medical Mission) was conducted in Barangays Poblacion and Bailan on September 18 through the Provincial Health Office.

On September 19, the elementary school covered court was turned over during the General Luna and Management Committee (ManCom) meeting. Different activities, such as One Stop Shop for Rabies-Free Siargao, the opening of Tiangge! Tiangge sa Siargao Agri Fair, were conducted on September 20. The Agri Fair featured a boodle lunch and the Agri-Aqua Sector Meeting.

The launching of the eco-friendly septic tank took over on September 21. The following day, the town celebrated the feast day of Señor Santo Tomas and the inauguration of the Siargao Circumferential Road.

The VIP Breakfast at the Siargao capitol was set on September 23, as well as the groundbreaking of General Luna Trauma Center, Magpupungko Lunch, launching of Cuban Model and opening ceremonies of the World Surfing Cup.

The surfing tournament proper was set on September 24, followed by a press conference on the Cuban model, Work Summit (Trabaho, Negosyo, Kabuhayan), opening of invitational beach volleyball, Hataw sa Isla nan Siargao: free zumba, Pahugjaw sa Siargao: senior citizens and PWDs talent search, and awarding ceremonies of Agri Fair Exhibits, which will continue up to the 29th.

The closing and awarding ceremonies of the internationally-acclaimed surfing tournament are fixed on September 30, this year, along with the Siargao Surfing Festival. (PGO-SDN/PIA-Surigao del Norte)

The Green Potential

The Trainor

“I wasn’t very interested. I was hesitant and uncooperative to a point,” laughed Ma. Elena S. Mercado, Trainor and Consultant of Ivory 07 Arts and Crafts Association. It was in 2010 and she attended a training on basic weaving using stalks of water hyacinth. “I thought the quality of the bags we made left much to be desired.”

In 2011, Mercado attended a follow-through of the training that impressed upon its participants a high standard of quality. They made bags and brought their creations to the Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM), the export promotion arm of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). Their bags were sold out, but they could not deliver the volume that the buyers needed. Her curiosity and interest had grown during this time.

The following year, Mercado, now a Business Development Specialist, requested for a basic training on weaving using water lily through the Rural Micro-enterprise Promotion Program (RuMEPP). The training included 35 participants, all Gender and Development (GAD) Focal Persons from the different barangays of Butuan City, in partnership with the Commission on Population (POPCOM).

The 3-day training involved three levels: bleaching, dyeing and weaving workshops; a pricing and costing with time and motion (productivity) training; and marketing exposures for their slippers during the Araw ng Agusan del Norte, different fiestas and finally, the Mindanao trade Expo (MTE) in Davao City. Mercado found that slippers were more competitive than bags, and, together with the other members, they continued developing their products through different market tests.

The Association’s name, Ivory .07, stemmed from the .07 budget from the Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) remitted by the barangays to the city for women’s projects, through RuMEPP.

Ivory .07 facilitated trainings and provided starter kits, which included stalks of dried water hyacinths, rubber soles, glue, patterns, a pail, a pair of scissors and dyes to the participants. The kits, if used properly, would give the women an income of P2,000.00 by producing 20 pairs of slippers.

Between 2013 and 2014, enhancement trainings gave the Association the confidence they needed to participate in the National Fashion Fair, where they enjoyed a sale of P30,000.00 in only 5 days. The event also allowed them to meet one of their most memorable clients, who placed two orders of 150 pairs of slippers for her boutique at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

Ivory .07’s slippers were launched at the MTE in 2014, and enjoyed a warm reception from buyers. It was also around this time that the Association sent slipper samples to Japan through Manila FAME, a premier trade show for buyers. Unfortunately, the group was not able to make good on the order for 2,800 pairs because of the damage left by typhoon Agaton.

Unfazed, Mercado took a course on footwear given by the Philippine Footwear Federation Inc. (PFFI) in Marikina, Metro Manila, to study foot anatomy and standard sizing. This opportunity allowed her to obtain a shoe made by Otto’s patternmaker, to use in the production of their slippers.

In 2015, Mercado trained different women’s groups in Barangays Village 2 in Libertad, Mahay, Baan and Tiniwisan in Butuan City to share the water hyacinth opportunity and meet both local and regional demands for their slippers.

Today, the Ivory .07 Association is a regular participant to the MTEs and sets up a booth during the yearly Kadayawan Festival. The Association has snagged a contract with Robinsons Place Butuan for 100 pairs of slippers per quarter or 400 pairs per year. Mercado and some members have also participated in the Brunei International Trade & Consumer Exhibition (BITC).

“I always knew she had it in her,” Department of Trade and Industry-Agusan del Norte Provincial Director Gay A. Tidalgo says about Mercado. “I saw how her drive and talent could fuel absorption and enjoyment in trainings. I knew that she would be an effective and successful trainor,” Tidalgo added.

The Trainee

In 2011, Mylene Musico Cutor, a GAD Focal Person for Barangay Holy Redeemer, Butuan City, was invited by POPCOM to attend a workshop on water hyacinth slippers.

With other participants, she trained in the mornings and had a finished product in the afternoons. For three days at seven hours per day, they learned the step-by-step process of creating bags and slippers – from braiding stalks to gluing soles. Upon completion of the workshop, she had five pairs of rubber soles that served as her “assignment.”

The basic training extended to bleaching, dyeing, and learning how to braid both natural and dyed materials. On their third level of their training, they learned price and costing and prepared their creations for assessment by their trainor, Ma. Elena S. Mercado, who they call Ma’am Bing.

In 2012, Cutor, along with her family of six, had been able to produce up to 50 pairs of slippers in just two weeks, which they sold for P75.00 per pair at the Mindanao Trade Expo in Davao. She has since participated in events such as the Adlaw Hong Butuan and other MTEs, selling as many as a hundred pairs of slippers at P100.00 per pair.

Through the Shared Service Facility (SSF) Program of the Department of Trade and Industry-Agusan del Norte, Cutor was awarded two semi-heavy duty sewing machines and a cylindrical sewing machine for leather shoes and bags in October 2013.

This assistance allowed Cutor to make enough slippers to bring to the Congressional Spouses Foundation, Inc. Trade Fair, where 180 of 200 pairs were sold at P130.00 per pair. “We had a 20 percent increase in production because of the SSF, and we’re making between 20 to 50 pairs per week, which sold at P150.00 per pair (for women) and P175.00 per pair (for men). With this production strength, we were able to give special prices to bulk buyers at P130.00 and P150.00, respectively,” Cutor shares.

In 2014, she and her family were paying out-of-school youth to harvest water hyacinth stalks from a nearby lagoon at 10 centavos per stalk, which they then sun-dried for a week. The process ensured that the slippers would allow at least a year’s use.

Cutor, now the proud owner of Cutor’s Handicrafts, experiences a better quality of life and earns at least P30,000.00 a month. “I am able to provide more for my family and give them simple pleasures. Before being a member of the Ivory .07 Association, my Barangay Nutrition Scholarship allowed me to earn only P4,000.00 a month. My husband, a carpenter, could only provide so much,” she adds.

Since 2011, Cutor has been featured in at least two media formats: an episode in ABS-CBN Davao’s Magtv Na, Magnegosyo Ta in 2015, and an article in Manila Bulletin in 2016. (DTI-Agusan del Norte/PIA-Agusan del Norte)

LPCC Cabadbaran revitalized under the new leadership

BUTUAN CITY, Sept. 22 – With her desire to ensure the protection of consumers from undue increases of prices of basic necessities and prime commodities, Cabadbaran City Mayor Katrina Marie O. Mortola issued Executive Order No. KM 027 dated August 7, 2017, creating the Local Price Coordinating Council (LPCC) in the city.

The LPCC immediately convened on August 25 to formalize the reorganization, to review the Price Act of the Philippines and start identifying their activities and projects..

Among the initial activities identified are: maintenance of the “Timbangan ng Bayan” now installed at the City Public Market and at the “Taboan”; and the conduct of an inspection of weighing scales or “Operation Timbangan” during the Consumer Welfare month celebration in October 2017.

Member agencies such as the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Department of Agriculture (DAR), Department of Health (DOH) and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) are likewise mandated to conduct regular price monitoring as part of the their activities. The LPCC Secretariat under the Office of the City Administrator will draft the overall plan of the LPCC for deliberation and approval during their next meeting.

Under the Price Act of the Philippines (RA 7581), Local Price Coordinating Councils (LPCC) are to be created in order to coordinate and rationalize programs to stabilize prices and supply of basic necessities and prime commodities in the provinces, cities and municipalities, especially during emergency situations and like occasions. (DTI-Agusan del Norte/PIA-Agusan del Norte)