(PAGASA 24-HOUR PUBLIC WEATHER FORECAST as of Monday, 26 February 2024) Easterlies affecting the eastern section of the country. Butuan City, Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Dinagat Islands, Surigao del Norte and Surigao del Sur will experience Partly cloudy to cloudy skies with isolated rainshowers or thunderstorms due to Easterlies / Localized Thunderstorms. Possible flash floods or landslides during severe thunderstorms. Light to Moderate winds coming from East to Northeast will prevail with Slight to Moderate seas (0.6 to 2.5 meters).

Friday, August 9, 2019

AgNor towns join forces vs CPP-NPA-NDF

By Jennifer P. Gaitano

BUTUAN CITY, Aug. 9 (PIA) -- Several towns in the province of Agusan del Norte have been declaring the terrorist groups Communist Party of the Philippines – New People’s Army – National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) as persona non-grata for their ruthless acts and harassments to the people in the communities.

The municipality of Nasipit was first to make the declaration following the terrorist groups' acts that caused sufferings to the people for being inhumane and for doing senseless activities.

The local government unit of Buenavista headed by mayor Norbert Pagaspas then followed with strong determination to put a stop on insurgency and freely deliver the basic health and social services and livelihood to conflict-affected areas which include the barangays of Sangay, Olave, Simbalan, and Guinabsan.

Mayor Pagaspas expressed his optimism that the government's vision of a peaceful and progressive town would be achieved only if these terrorist groups could no longer penetrate and cause chaos to the locals, and having an enhanced road networks that would bring more opportunities for the upliftment of lives would also contribute to making it possible.

According to Lieutenant Colonel Francisco Molina Jr., commanding officer of 23rd Infantry Battalion, Philippine Army, there has been a significant number of NPAs who have surrendered to the government even until this time. He added that per monitoring, no more recruitment activities are being conducted in the area.

Based on records from January to July of this year, there were 27 former rebels and members of the Militia ng Bayan who are now sheltered at the Masigasig Happy Homes under the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) of the government.

The indigenous peoples led by Datu Manlig-unan Rolando Lanapan, the indigenous peoples mandatory representative supports the Philippine Army, hence, authored the resolution declaring the CPP-NPA-NDF as persona non-grata in the municipality of Buenavista.

Meanwhile, LTC Molina urged other former rebels to surrender to the government and live peacefully in the mainstream society. (JPG/PIA-Caraga)

Transparent governance emphasized in 'Dagyaw' 

By Jennifer P. Gaitano

BUTUAN CITY, Aug. 9 (PIA) -- The significance of transparency in governance to address graft and corruption and achieving real progress in every community was the highlight of the recently concluded "Dagyaw," an open government and participatory governance, regional town hall meeting held here.

During the open forum moderated/facilitated by Assistant Secretary Kristian Ablan of the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO), various issues and concerns of the different sectors in Caraga region were raised and discussed with the presence of the national and regional officials.

According to Undersecretary Epimaco Densing III of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), Dagyaw symbolizes ‘Bayanihan’ among sectors and government agencies towards resolving the problems and challenges that are being faced by people in different communities by coming up with programs that will directly address their needs.

“The Philippine open government partnership is led by the DILG and the Department of Budget and Management primarily to create programs to bring government programs to the people and so that the people could also open up their needs downstairs and tell these to government. It is important that open government is the same with what we call participatory governance in the whole process of government from the barangay up to the national government, where people will always be involved in the crafting of plans, programs and activities of government,” Densing said.

Cabinet secretary Karlo Nograles stressed how the Duterte administration has been transparent in all its endeavors.

He also cited the good results brought about by implementing a participatory governance.

One of which that he mentioned was the immediate response of the government to every complaint or report being sent to hotline 8888.

“So that means that the budget process that we have is very transparent and it allows people’s participation in terms of formulating the budget in terms of reporting the budget. And remember that even without the law, the President also signed executive order for Freedom of Information and that is already in operation now. In fact through the freedom of information, many have already accessed of the data and records in government,” bared Nograles.

The official added that the Philippines has been number one in Asia when it comes to open budget survey.

This, according to him, is one good result of implementing the freedom of information.

Meanwhile, booths from government agencies such as Philippine Information Agency, PCOO, Department of Health, Philippine Health Insurance Corporation, Social Services System, and Home Development and Mutual Fund, among others were installed inside the venue where their programs and services are showcased, and IEC materials were availed for free. (JPG/PIA-Caraga)

Caraganons unite to stop Dengue cases in Caraga

By Jennifer P. Gaitano

BUTUAN CITY, Aug. 9 (PIA) – The different sectors in Caraga region have joined hands in fighting against the spread of dengue disease in the region.

This, after a report revealed that the number of dengue cases in the region has increased and now reached to more than 7,000 while eight barangays identified as dengue hotspots.

Sectoral groups, particularly in the barangays, are now being cautious, especially in maintaining the cleanliness of their surroundings. The barangay officials have also leveled up their mitigation measures in preventing the increase of dengue cases.

Based on the data released by the Department of Health – Center for Health Development (DOH-CHD) Caraga, these are the Barangay Abilan of Buenavista and Barangay Pinanaan, Las Nieves, Agusan del Norte; Barangay Daywan of Claver, Surigao del Norte; Barangay Maligaya of Rosario, Agusan del Sur and Barangays Canlanipa, Luna, Washington and San Juan of Surigao City.

DOH Caraga Regional Director Dr. Jose Llacuna Jr. urged local government units (LGUs) in the region to intensify the campaign against dengue and help people be well-informed about said disease.

Also, Assistant Regional Director Dr. Gerna Manatad said, one of the effective ways to curb dengue is the practice of the four o’clock habit, wherein every four o’clock in the afternoon, people do the search and destroy of the possible sites where mosquitoes breed.

She further stressed that apart from this is the regular conduct of the 4S campaign against dengue - search and destroy mosquito-breeding sites; self-protection measures; seek early consultation; and support fogging/spraying only in hotspot areas where an increase in cases is registered for two consecutive weeks to prevent an impending outbreak.

Dr. Manatad also bared that the health department has already coordinated with the local government units, Department of Education, and other concerned government agencies and private sector for the conduct of simultaneous clean-up activity.

Manatad added that the department, together with the LGUs continue to monitor the dengue cases in their respective areas.

As of reporting, the status of the region is below the alert threshold level.

Meanwhile, the health department thanked all the sectors in different communities for their active participation and support in all the efforts of the government against dengue. (JPG/PIA-Caraga)

Beneficiaries join 1st DSWD SLP Congress in Cabadbaran City

By Marko Davey D. Reyes

CABADBARAN CITY, Agusan del Norte, Aug. 9 -- It was a fun-filled day for the beneficiaries as Cabadbaran City hosted the first ever Department of Social Welfare and Development’s (DSWD) Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP) Congress last July 26, 2019, in this city.

The atmosphere was full of excitement as SLP beneficiaries, together with their families and the program’s partners and stakeholders participated in various activities which highlighted the program’s implementation, and success, most specifically in Cabadbaran City, which was also celebrating its Charter Day.

Judy Amante, City Mayor of Cabadbaran, together with the members of the Sangguniang Bayan were present to give full support to the said activity. The Provincial Government of Agusan del Norte was also ably represented by the Hon. Elizabeth Marie Calo, Sangguniang Panlalawigan Member who heads the Committee on Social Services.

The celebration, with the theme, “Karun ug sa Uma-abot, Kalampusan atong Makab-ot,” (Now and in the coming days, we can achieve success) was a venue for the SLP beneficiaries and partners to interact and showcase the impact of the program. Different activities transpired during the whole-day celebration, which included a poster making contest which was participated by SLP beneficiaries, a livelihood bazaar which exhibited products from SLP Associations, and a livelihood symposium.

Julius Sol Jamero, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) Provincial Director, discussed Social Entrepreneurship to the participants during the symposium, while Gemma Clarin from the Department of Trade and Industry was also able to discuss Business Planning and Promotional Strategies, which came handy to the different SLP Association members who themselves are running different kinds of livelihood programs.

Plaques of recognition were handed over to SLP Associations who have been successful in their business ventures, while supportive partners and stakeholders were acknowledged for their role in the success of the program. Mayor Amante personally handed over the certificates to the proud beneficiaries and partners.

The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) was also able to hold a Jobs Fair during the celebration, which was very helpful to SLP beneficiaries, especially those under the Employment Track of the livelihood program.

The SLP is a capability-building program for poor, vulnerable and marginalized households and communities to improve their socio-economic conditions through accessing and acquiring necessary assets to engage in and maintain thriving livelihoods. It has two tracks namely Microenterprise Development and the Employment Facilitation tracks. (Social Marketing Section/DSWD Field Office Caraga/PIA-Caraga)

DSWD UCT program resumes disbursement of 2018 grants

By Marko Davey D. Reyes

BUTUAN CITY, Aug. 9 -- Beneficiaries of the Unconditional Cash Transfer (UCT) program (under the Listahanan and Social Pension Program) of the Department of Social and Development (DSWD) Field Office Caraga who have yet to receive or have yet to claim their 2018 grants flocked to the Surigao del Sur State University gymnasium, this city, to collect their P2,400 lump sum grants.

The long-awaited disbursement of the funds was made possible after the prohibition period (election ban) on the release, disbursement or expenditure of public funds was lifted paving the way for the resumption of the payout of the grants.

The program’s release of grants started in September 2018, but with the major issues such as the lack of conduit banks (rural/cooperative banks) to serve as pay masters and the hectic schedule of the Land Bank of the Philippines became major setbacks in the implementation.

Amidst the challenges faced by the field office, DSWD Caraga officer-in-charge regional director Mita Chuchi G. Lim has been very positive that the 2018 grants will be delivered by the 3rd quarter of this year.

She has instructed the UCT team to maximize all opportunities and work with Land Bank to fast track the disbursement of the 2018 funds which will be due by the end of September.
DSWD Caraga UCT focal person Adelito Mendoza explained that the team has already plotted the schedule for the remaining areas and that Land Bank has coordinated in the scheduling and are optimistic that all beneficiaries will have their grants by the end of the 3rd quarter.

As for the 2019 grant allocation, beneficiaries for the Pantawid Pamilya UCT will receive their P3,600 (P300 per month) grants, through their cash cards by this month.

On the other hand, UCT beneficiaries for Social Pension Program for Indigent Senior Citizens, and the Listahan-identified poor households will soon follow once funds will be downloaded to the Landbank here in Caraga.

The UCT of the DSWD is a program that provides cash grant/assistance from the government to address the increasing prices of commodities due to the effect of the TRAIN law approved in December 2017. (Social Marketing Section/DSWD Field Office Caraga/PIA-Caraga)

Overcoming challenges to find the ‘right ones’

By Daryl D. Anunciado

Finding the right person is not always an easy thing to do; sometimes you have to chart unfamiliar territory, brave mountains, cross raging seas and rivers, and endure long treks and bad weather.

These challenges hold true to workers of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in Caraga, who literally went an extra mile and took the road less traveled just to find the “right people.”

One of these workers is 23-year-old Donna Rosales, a project development officer for DSWD’s Social Pension for Indigent Senior Citizens Program (SocPen).

Donna, a resident of Barangay Antongalon, Butuan City, has been a SocPen worker for three years now, but still finds it challenging to do her job, especially when conducting validation of senior citizens.

“It’s very hard to find them (senior citizens), especially when a senior has transferred residency. You really need the help of barangay workers,” said Donna, who is assigned in the province of Surigao del Norte.

“We have to walk under the scorching heat of the sun just to find them. Lisud pa gyud mag-handle sa ilaha kay ang uban dili magpa-interview (It’s hard since some of them refuse to be interviewed),” the Sociology graduate of Caraga State University said.

“Despite these challenges, I enjoyed my work since I get to know people and travel to many places. What is really rewarding, is you get to help poor senior citizens,” Donna said.

DSWD-Caraga is currently conducting the validation process of senior citizens for the said program. The Field Office targets to serve 140,000 SocPen beneficiaries this year. SocPen was established in 2010 by virtue of DSWD Administrative Order 15 series of 2010 with an overarching goal of fulfilling the provisions of Republic Act No. 9994, also known as the “Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010.”

Aljen Manilag, 23, a social worker assigned in Agusan del Sur province, said it is part of her job to reach out to senior citizens in far-flung areas even if the weather is bad.

“Typically, ang kalay-on ug kalisud sa dalan para maabot ang beneficiary, bisan pa ulan or init kaayo, mao ang mga challenges (It’s the distance, the rough road, and the weather that challenges me when reaching out to beneficiaries),” said Aljen, a graduate of Social Work in Mindanao State University-Marawi.

During the validation, DSWD workers will have to visit senior citizens in their homes and interview and assess them if they are qualified in the said program.

Qualified beneficiaries are those who are 60 years old and above; frail, sickly, or with disability; without pension from the government and private agencies; and without a regular income, compensation or financial assistance from their relatives.

These beneficiaries will receive P500 monthly or P3,000 stipend every semester intended for their medical and financial needs.

Aljen said that during validation, some senior citizens are annoyed with too many queries so they tend to turn down even some of the basic questions.

“It makes my job more difficult as some seniors will not tell you the truth. Some of them lie and are resistant,” Aljen said, adding that: “There we could see the skill of the validator on how to determine if that elderly is telling the truth or not.”

Aljen said other beneficiaries also forget about their personal information due to Alzheimer’s disease or memory loss.

“Grabe na ka tigulang bisan personal information dili nila mahatag kay dili na kadumdum kay medyo ango-angohon na (They are too old to remember even their personal information),” she said. “What we do is we interview other family members instead or some community members.”

A beneficiary can be removed from the program if he/she has already passed away, transferred residency, cannot be located during the period of validation, is receiving a pension from other agencies, have regular income and support from family, or absent during the last two semestral payouts.

However, a senior citizen who have transferred residency could still be in the program provided that he/she would secure a certificate of transfer from the Office of Senior Citizens Affairs (OSCA) or Local Social Welfare and Development Office (LSWDO) that would then be submitted to DSWD Field Office Caraga. The field office will then submit the name of the beneficiary to the LSWDO where he/she have transferred.

“Personally, I find it difficult no to be emotionally attached sa client. Dili gyud malikayan na maluoy ko sa kahimtang sa client. Lisud pugngan ang luha motulo. (You really will feel pity to the clients’ living condition. It’s so hard to hold back your tears).”

Aljen, however, said that she needs to apply the “no emotional involvement” rule and that she should trust the Department’s process.

“It may sound cliche, pero (but) I stayed because of my passion to help people. Nakuha nako nga (I learned the) ideology when I was in college. My professors inculcate us to have heart for the people. And of course, I need this job para sa akong anak (for my son),” Aljen said.

For Donna and Aljen, taking the road less traveled and overcoming challenges just to find the right persons for the social pension program bring them joy and self-fulfillment. (Social Marketing Unit/DSWD Field Office Caraga/PIA-Caraga)