(PAGASA 24-HOUR PUBLIC WEATHER FORECAST as of Thursday, 05 December, 2019) Today, the center of TS "TISOY" was estimated at 540 km West of Subic, Zambales (14.8N,115.3E) with maximum sustained winds of 65 km/h near the center and gustiness of up to 80 km/h. It is moving West Northwest at 15 km/h. Mindanao will have partly cloudy to cloudy skies with isolated rainshowers due to Localized Thunderstorm. Moderate to strong winds from Northeast to Southeast with moderate to rough seas. PAGASA/jpf

Friday, September 27, 2019

Care and cure: A compassionate collaboration

By Venus L. Garcia

Imagine how it can bring about a better world when everyone bids to nurture a sense of compassion and charitably provide the necessary cure and health care services regardless of one’s race, color, religion, or creed.

It’s absolutely a phenomenal thing for these selfless individuals who embrace the passion to perform pro-social and altruistic acts.

When a delegation made up of physicians and surgeon-volunteers who are experts in their field made their journey in the province of Surigao del Norte, they brought hope to the underprivileged children and adult patients.

All Set for a Mission

Early morning of September 3, 2019, patients started queueing for the final screening prior to the massive surgical services in the successive days.

Leading the team was Dr. Lester Suntay, president of the World Surgical Foundation Philippines, who personally looked at the nitty-gritty of the preparation for the success of the mission.

The team had their series of surgical missions for several years already and had to meet every challenge with optimism, starting from determining the destination of the mission to packing and unpacking of supplies and equipment. 


The logistical plight, wherein huge parcels holding tons of medical equipment and supplies had to be transported on-time by air or via reliable sea freight forwarder to ensure that these are adequately protected from damage, never hindered them to push through with the activity.

“Our mission is to help patients in the Philippines who have no means to support for their needed surgical treatments. So, we do this to provide free surgery; to furnish hospitals with the needed equipment; and also impart additional learning to local surgeons, anesthesiologists and nurses,” said Suntay.

The Surigao Surgical Outreach was indeed a ‘complete package’ through the sponsorship of the Megawide Foundation, supported by Sun Life Foundation, and other partner stakeholders.

“We really appreciate the WSF team because they’re really excellent and very dedicated. They’re really providing service to address the surgical backlog in these underserved communities. So, one of the goals of Megawide Foundation is to provide underserved Filipino communities with the first-world solution. We hope that it will be a blessing to this community,” underscored Sheila Lynn Nawata, chief operating officer of the Megawide Foundation.

The Presidential Communications Operations Office through Secretary Martin Andanar, together with the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) Caraga headed by Abner Caga who is now the concurrent officer-in-charge of PIA, also provided communication support and necessary assistance in the course of this significant endeavor of the Foundations.

180 Patients Avail Free Surgical Services

Some 180 adult and children patients benefited from the free surgical services conducted by the Megawide Foundation, in partnership with the World Surgical Foundation Philippines (WSFP), and in support with the provincial government of Surigao del Norte and local hospitals.


The surgical team completed 54 major surgeries of varied cases such as hernia, thyroid mass, cleft palate, breast mass and others, while 65 patients have underwent minor surgeries.

According to Dr. Chrismar Mocorro, officer-in-charge of Surigao del Norte Provincial Hospital, the beneficiaries had never spent a single penny for the hospital bills as these were charged to the social services fund of the provincial government office.

“As much as possible, we don’t want the patients to pay so we follow the ‘no balance filling’ policy of PhilHealth. What’s unique here is the presence of pathologists. So, the readings of mass among patients are readily available and we would automatically know whether it’s cancerous or benign. Hence, we can have a better decision whether to recommend that for chemotherapy or radiation,” said Mocorro.

He added that they always welcome this kind of mission and it is a rare opportunity for the people to avail such services considering the lack of surgical teams in the locality.

Mocorro expressed in great delight and gratitude to the pediatric, ENT and general surgeons, the anesthesiologists, internists and pediatricians, and all other members of the team for their commitment and much-needed competence to handle any situation and condition of the patients.

According to Suntay, 47 patients were accommodated for minor surgery in Dapa District Hospital and consultation services were provided for those who were not qualified for the surgery.

Cry of Joy and Gratitude

At the break of day, young and adult patients crowded in rows while seated at the hospital waiting area. Some came from other provinces and patiently waited for their turn as the doctors performed the surgery procedures.

Wearing a white hospital gown, Remegio Caligner, 64 years old, never seemed to notice the time and got ready to step inside the operating room. His fearless smile brought a positive vibe for a successful surgery.

He narrated how he suffered from hernia for a long period of time already and worried about the potentially dangerous complications. Caligner was obviously perturbed about how it will affect his livelihood as a farmer.

“I’m very grateful and happy to have availed of this free surgery. At long last, my health problem will be given a solution. I endured all of this pain but has caused me much financial pressure where to source out an amount for the operation. Thank you so much for the help, especially to the doctors and sponsors,” said Caligner in teary eyes while sincerely expressing his gratitude.

In one corner sat a woman at her fifties who was endearingly accompanied by her husband. Corazon Morillo relayed how thankful she was since the lump in her breast will finally be treated.

“I can’t thank them enough for helping me with my health dilemma. I appreciated so much the medical practitioners and benefactors for their concern and love to us who have less to support for our medical treatment,” uttered Morillo while shedding her tears of joy.

The beneficiaries were incredibly thankful and satisfied with the free surgery. They consider it a great help for their health care and medical needs.

As to the aftercare of the patients who availed of the free operation, Suntay said that they are in close coordination with the local surgeons to assure easy tracking of medical cases among patients in case of any complications.

Suntay added they are more than glad to have served the public and more than willing to conduct it again in Caraga region.

The surgical mission that the Foundations had conducted in Surigao del Norte is the 7th leg for this year and the same activity is also lined up to be held in Roxas City, Ilocos, and Sorsogon. (PIA-Surigao del Norte)

AgNor LGU welcomes over 200 NPA surenderees

By Jennifer P. Gaitano

BUTUAN CITY, Sept. 27 (PIA) -- The provincial government of Agusan del Norte has welcomed and received the more than 200 members and supporters of the New People’s Army in the three barangays of Agusan del Norte, who have voluntarily surrendered to the folds of the law and promised to closely coordinate with the government to help curb the problem on insurgency in the area.

This was in time with the conduct of the Provincial Peace And Order Council (PPOC) immersion held in Barangay Tagbongabong in the municipality of Remedios T. Romualdez (RTR).

According to Rocky, a former member of the Militia Ng Bayan, his voluntary surrender to the government meant a lot to his family, as he would now be able to spend quality time with them and could now send his children to school.

“I’m happy to see my family again and will now live peacefully with them. My children would now go to school and I will be there to guide them,” he said.

Edwin, another surrenderee, also shared his hardships and sufferings while he was still in the organization. He expressed his hope that his decision of going back to the mainstream society will ultimately improve his way of living.

“It’s been hard, but now that I’m back in the community, I’m optimistic that there’s a lot of opportunities that I could avail from the government’s programs and services,” he said.

According to Brigadier General Maurito Licudine, commander of 402nd Brigade, Philippine Army, the Barangays Tagbungabong, Balang-Balang, San Antonio and Mahaba are rebel-infested areas, where the terrorist-NPAs recruit new members and supporters.

Along with the conduct of the PPOC immersion in Barangay Tagbongabong, the local residents also declared the NPAs as persona non-grata. (JPG/PIA-Caraga)

Mahigit 2,000 residente nakinabang sa 'Project Heart' ng PNP Caraga

By Jennifer P. Gaitano

LUNGSOD NG BUTUAN, Set. 27 (PIA) -- Mahigit 2,000 residente sa Barangay San Antonio, bayan ng Remedios T. Romualdez (RTR) sa Agusan del Norte ang nakinabang sa isinagawang outreach program kamakailan na tinawag na “Project Kasing-Kasing” o “Project Heart” ng Philippine National Police (PNP) Caraga, 33 porsyento nito ay mga Indigenous Peoples (IPs).

Tumanggap ng libreng gamot ang mga residente matapos dumaan sa medical check-up, tooth extraction, eye check-up, at circumcision. Nabigyan din sila ng school supplies, tsinelas, laruan, libreng gupit, at food packs.

Laking pasasalamat din ni Mayor Richard Daquipil sa PNP dahil sa napili ang kanyang barangay na maging benepisyaryo ng outreach program. Ang Barangay San Antonio ay napabilang sa NPA-affected barangay sa rehiyon ng caraga.

Ilan-ilang insidente na rin ang naitala sa lugar kung saan nagdulot ng pangamba sa seguridad ng mga residente. Matatandaan na noong nakaraang taon, tatlong sundalo ang napatay sa pag-ambush ng teroristang grupong Communist Party of the Philippines – New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) sa nasabing lugar.

Ayon kay dating PNP Caraga Regional Director Police Brigadier General Gilberto Dc Cruz, ang “Project Heart” ay flagship program ng Police Regional Office 13 na layung matulungan ang mga kababayang mahihirap na nasa liblib na lugar ng rehiyon. layun din nitong mas pagtibayin pa ang magandang relasyon ng mga kapulisan sa ibat-ibang komunidad na apektado ng insurhensiya.

Ito ay isang paraan din ng PNP sa pagpapatupad ng Executive Order No. 70 o ang whole of nation approach sa pagsugpo ng insurhensiya at pagkamit ng pangmatagalan na kapayapaan at kaunlaran sa bansa.

Ibinahagi rin ng opisyal na mula Enero hanggang Agosto ngayong taon, may kabuuang 2,000 Caraganons na ang nakabenepisyo sa kanilang “Project Heart.” (JPG/PIA-Caraga)



'Tsuper iskolar' ng TESDA at DOTr, inilunsad sa Caraga

By Jennifer P. Gaitano


LUNGSOD NG BUTUAN, Setyembre 27 (PIA) -- Sa harap ng pagpapatupad ng Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program (PUVMP) ng pamahalaan, isinusulong din ng Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) at Department of Transportation (DOTr) ang "Tsuper Iskolar" Program para tulungan  ang operators, drivers at maging sa iba pang stakeholder gayundin ang kanilang mga kaanak.

Layun ng programang “Tsuper Iskolar” na makapagbigay ng skills training at madagdagan ang kaalaman ng mga benepisyaryo sa PUVMP, pati na sa entrepreneurship o pagnenegosyo.

Sa isinagawang pagtitipon ng mga operators, drivers at ibat-ibang sektor sa lungsod ng Butuan, mas naintindihan nila ang magandang intensyon at oportunidad na hatid ng nasabing programa.

“Buo po ang aking suporta sa programang ito ng gobyerno at alam kong marami itong matutulongan. Mabibigyan po ng oportunidad na patuloy pa rin ang kabuhayan ng mga maaapektuhan ng modernization program sa pamamagitan nitong tsuper iskolar program,” pahayag ni Elizalde Mission, operator of Balangay Transport Service Cooperative (BALTRANSCO).

Ayon kay Dir. Florencio Sunico, spokesperson ng TESDA, alinsunod ang scholarship program sa nilagdaang memorandum of agreement ng DOTr at TESDA noong December 11, 2018 para sa Stakeholder Support Mechanism Component ng PUVMP.

Sa ilalim ng tsuper iskolar, makatatanggap ng food at transportation allowance ang mga benepisyaryo habang sumasailalim sa pagsasanay.

Sinabi naman ni Atty. Martin Delgra III, chairperson ng Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), na layon ng ahensiya na mapalago pa ang transport sector at umangat ang kakayanan at pamumuhay ng sektor at kanilang kaanak. Base sa kanilang monitoring, positibo ang pagtanggap ng mga Caraganon sa nasabing programa, at marami pa itong matutulongan.

Samantala, ibinahagi naman ni TESDA Caraga Regional Director Ashary Banto na marami na ring indibidwal mula sa ibat-ibang sektor ang komunsulta sa kanilang ahensiya at nais makabenepisyo sa scholarship program.

Regular din daw na pinapatupad ng ahensiya ang iba pang programang tutugon sa pangangailangan ng sektor sa rehiyon. (JPG/PIA-Caraga)


200 miyembro, supporters ng NPA nagbalik-loob sa gobyerno

By May Amor O. Alabado

LUNGSOD NG CABADBARAN, Agusan del Norte, Setyembre 27 (PIA) -- Mahigit 200 myembro at supporters ng New People's Army o NPA sa tatlong barangay ng RTR, Agusan del Norte ang nagbalik loob at makikipagtulongan sa gobyerno upang tuluyang sugpuin ang insurhensiya sa lugar.

Sa ginawang provincial peace and order council o PPOC immersion sa barangay ng Tagbongabong sa bayan ng RTR, nanumpa silang itakwil ang teroristang grupo at nangakong makipagtulungan sa gobyerno at makipag-ugnayan sila sa militar upang tuluyang masugpo ang mga gawaing terorista ng mga NPA.

Pahayag pa ni Rocky, dating miyembro ng militia ng bayan, malaki ang tulong ng kanyang pagbabalik-loob sa gobyerno dahil makapag-aral na ng maayos ang kanyang anak.

Isinalaysay din ni Edwin ang hirap na kanyang naranasan noong siya pa ay miyembro ng NPA, umaasa siyang sa pagbabalik-loob nya sa gobyerno mag iba ang takbo ng kanyang buhay.

Ayon kay Brigadier General Maurito Licudine ng 402nd Infantry Brigade, Philippine Army ang barangay ng Tagbungabong, Balang-balang, San Antonio at Mahaba sa bayan ng RTR ay mga rebel-infested barangays kung saan dito ang mga NPA kumukuha ng mga bago nilang kaanib at mga susuporta. (May Amor O. Alabado/NCLM, PIA Agusan del Norte)