(PAGASA 24-HOUR PUBLIC WEATHER FORECAST as of Friday, 06 December, 2019) Mindanao will have partly cloudy to cloudy skies with isolated rainshowers due to Localized Thunderstorm. Light to moderate winds from Northeast to Northwest with slight to moderate seas. PAGASA Mindanao/jaf

Thursday, November 14, 2019


Agusan Norte launches dev’t agenda

By Nora L. Molde

BUTUAN CITY, Nov. 14 (PIA) – “There is nothing that can stop us, Agusan del Norte is now up.” This was the statement of Agusan del Norte Governor Dale Corvera during the launching of the Agusan Up, the eight-point development agenda of the province of Agusan del Norte.

Agusan Up stands for Agricultural and Processing Productivity Optimization; Genuine Concern for the Welfare of the Poor and the Marginalized, Youth and Children,  Differently Able Persons, Elderly and the Indigenous Peoples; Utilizing, maximizing Government Assets for Revenue Raising; Sustaining the Gains of the previous administration and strengthening cooperation by working closely with the National Government Agencies; Advance the cause of Peace and the Rule of Law and Order; Natural greening of the environment and Resiliency to Disasters; Unity of Vision, complementarity of Mission and close coordination in the implementation of programs and projects among all Government Functionaries in the province; and People's participation.

With Agusan up, many opportunities are now available for the residents of the province, with Governor Dale Corvera taking the lead in realizing its development vision for the province.

“With Agusan Up!, we are embarking on a development vision of rising as an Agri-Forest Province and Economic Processing Zone of Caraga by year 2027 and deliver for us caring communities where opportunities abound for us to nurture better lives,” Corvera said.

Prior to its launching on November 8, various activities as a pre-launch were made by the local government units. The city and municipal mayors, together with their constituents expressed their support to the development agenda of the province – the Agusan Up.

Also, with her full support to the program, 2nd congressional district representative Ma. Angelica Rosedell M. Amante-Matba congratulated the initiatives of the province. “The development of the province does not have boundaries anymore,” she said.

Agusan Up has four component flagship programs, namely: Agus 3Ps or the Plant and Process for Prosperity Program for agenda falling under economic development services; Amumang Agusanon for social development services; Lunhaw’ng Agusan for environmental development services; and Hiniusang Lihuk Agusan for development governance concerns.

With Agusan Up, governor Corvera said that the province would initiate efforts for it to stand as reliable partner of the municipalities in their efforts to take on the following roles: Buenavista would stand as the center of coconut and agri-forest cluster and recreation and leisure tourism; Carmen would serve as center for mango cluster and the secondary center for eco-tourism; Jabonga would serve as the center for tourism, agri-aqua and hydro power development; Kitcharao would likewise serve as the center for tourism and agri-aqua but would also take on the role as center for ago-forestry; Santiago would be the center for agri-industrial and eco-tourism; Tubay center for agri-processing and eco-tourism development; Las Nieves would stand as center for coffee, rubber, high-value crops and the regional dairy stock farm development; RTR would be the center for rice, eco-tourism and agri-forest development; Magallanes would be the aqua farming capital of the province, the historical tourism and the forest cluster development center; Nasipit would not just be the agri-industrial center with the full development of the Nasipit Agusan del Norte industrial Estate (NANIE) but also host to a highly developed international port; and Cabadbaran City would not just serve as the center of banana and abaca clusters but also stand as the administrative, commercial and educational center of the province.

“With each municipality backed up by the province, the national line agencies and other development institutions taking on their respective roles, the development scenario is seen to become realities in the next eight years,” Corvera added. (NCLM/PIA Agusan del Norte)

Two female NPA minors surrender to Army

By 1Lt. Roel T. Maglalang

BUENAVISTA, Agusan del Norte, Nov. 14 -- Another two female members of the New People’s Army (NPA) who are minors voluntarily surrendered to the 23rd Infantry (Masigasig) Battalion (23IB) in the months of September to October 2019.

The two surrenderees were identified as alias "Gethel" (Political Guide), 17 years old and alias "Christine" (Medic), 17 years old. They were recruited by alias "Ron-ron," a member of Sub-Regional Command (SRC) 3, SAGAY, North Central Mindanao Regional Committee (NCMRC) through black propaganda regarding the present situation of the country. They were deceived and promised to be given a brighter future including their families once they join in their group.

Prior to the recruitment, these two surrenderees were studying, but they were not able to finish their studies because of the exploitation, deception and manipulation of the NPAs.

They were not clearly informed that they will be joining the armed movement. Contradictory to their promises, they only suffered from loneliness, exhaustion and starvation until they find an opportunity to escape from the said group.

Meanwhile, Gethel expressed her resentment against the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army Terrorists (CNTs). “I was a student by the time I was recruited by the CNTs. Due to the hardship and hunger I experienced inside the movement, I decided to go back to the folds of the law. I am also afraid to lose my dreams, future and precious life because of the continuous military operation. At first, I was afraid because our leader told us that there’s a big possibility that the military will torture and kill me upon knowing that I am an NPA member, but I stand firm with my decision. I am so glad that the soldiers of 23IB never fail to help me and they assisted me to start a new life," she said.

Moreover, Christine also revealed the struggle she encountered inside the armed movement. “I didn’t know that I am going to be a member of CPP-NPA. My parents also do not know that I became a member of the NPA. We were not allowed to visit our parents and even prohibited us to contact them. Later, I knew that my family received a death threat telling them that once they will report to the authorities regarding my situation, they will be killed. They were also forced to leave our home and stay away from our barangay," she recalled.

Lieutenant Colonel Francisco Molina, Jr., commanding officer of 23IB continuously reminds the youth to be vigilant to the alarming NPA recruitment. "Some of the leaders of the NPA have already surrendered to the folds of the law, but it was so alarming that even the female youths are also fighting against the government troops just like what happened to Gethel and Christine. They were recruiting the young ones to be victims of their false ideology and these innocent youths will be suffering their entire life being enslaved by the CNT leaders. The recruitment of the youth is a big violation to the International Humanitarian Law (IHL) and Republic Act 7610 (Special Protection of Children against Abuse Exploitation and Discrimination Act)," he said.

Molina further reminded the youths to become active peace advocates towards a brighter future. "Be vigilant! Do not fall victim to their trap," he added. (CMO Officer, 23IB, PA/PIA Agusan del Norte)

Gov’t troopers conduct feeding program to school kid in Mainit town

SURIGAO CITY, Surigao del Norte, Nov. 14 (PIA) -- The soldiers from the Community Support Program (CSP) of Alpha Company under the 30th Infantry Battalion (30IB), Philippine Army generously conducted feeding program to day-care pupils in Barangay Tolingon, Mainit, this province.

Acting commanding officer Lt. Jonel G. Castillo said the activity aims to give hope and happiness to the children in their area of operation, provide assistance, and uplift the morale of the students who are inspiration to their families.

He said securing the future of the student is very important for them and seeing smiles on every face of these children gives them the inspiration to perform their duties well to achieve lasting peace and development.

Lt. Castillo said that the feeding program assisted by the military is a great opportunity for them to help children in rural areas that need a complete meal in a day.

“The army serves as a volunteer and teacher at the same time. They not only perform duties on the battlefield but serve the needy children through a collaborative effort, cooperation and involvement of various stakeholders,” Lt. Castillo added. (Susil D. Ragas/30IB, Philippine Army/PIA-Surigao del Norte)

402nd Brigade welcomes little brigade commander

By Major Francisco P. Garello, Jr.

BUTUAN CITY, Nov. 14 -- In line with the celebration of the 27th National Children’s Month, the 402nd Infantry (Stingers) Brigade, Philippine Army welcomed the arrival of the little brigade commander at its camp on November 11, 2019 in Brgy. Bancasi, this city.

Officers and other personnel of the 402nd Brigade warmly greeted Nina Mae Pugtol, from Manila De Bugabos National High School, in a reception line led by Col. Cerilo C. Baloro, Jr., deputy brigade commander, that was followed by a meet and greet session to start the day of being the little commander. 

The city government of Butuan through the Council for the Welfare of Children chaired by City Councilor Rema A. Burdeos has partnered with the 402nd Brigade and other government agencies to allow the children to enjoy a day of experiencing the role of being a local official.

It aims to inculcate to the young minds the principle of public service and trigger their interest to join the government service and become a public servant.

Pugtol currently led the Supreme Student Government (SSG) of their school as the president. She was given the opportunity to preside a military-style command conference with unit information briefing presentation held with the presence of all brigade staff officers and attached units of the camp.

“Hadlok man diay mag-preside sa conference kay daghan kag need nga mandoan kung unsa ang angay buhaton arun ma-keep ang peace. The more hinoon na mas na-inspire ko nga mag military.  Gusto jud nako mag military kay aside sa taas sweldo kay maka serve pako sa katawhan (I was a bit petrified when presiding because I had to decide and delegate the things that need to be done to enforce peace and security. The more I am inspired and convinced to join the military service, not only for the high salary that I will be earning but more importantly to be able to serve the people and the country),” Pugtol said.

Also, Pugtol was given a brief orientation on the different individual and crew-served weapons. As the little commander, she visited and inspected different tenant units attached to the brigade and toured around the camp to see the different aspects of soldiery. To conclude her duty, Pugtol was treated with a lunch at the officers’ mess hall.

“Ms. Pugtol was overjoyed upon serving as our little brigade commander and we cannot help but be proud and honored that she was inspired and wanted to be one of us," said Col. Balaoro.

"That only justifies that the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is on the right track in its pursuit for peace and development.  Sometimes, we need the innocent minds of the children to somehow understand the military profession and recognize the sacrifices and dedicated service that the soldiers had been doing to the people and this country,” he added.

Meanwhile, Brigade Commander Col. Maurito L. Licudine vowed full commitment in upholding the children’s rights. “We are always committed to supporting the children. This is in recognition of the importance of the children in nation-building and as part of our mandate to protect the welfare of the children against those who violate their rights under the provisions of International Humanitarian Law and the fundamental laws of the land,” he said. (402nd Bde-CMO Officer/VLG/PIA-Caraga)

Manobo tribe to NPAs: Stop killing IP leaders

By 1Lt. Krisjuper Andreo J. Punsalan

BAYUGAN CITY, Agusan del Sur, Nov. 14 -- As indigenous peoples (IPs) in Caraga region become more empowered and determined to halt the atrocities of the New People’s Army (NPAs’), the Lianga Tribal Council of Elders has pushed the issuance of Resolution No.1, series of 2019 condemning the NPA’s killing of certain members of the Manobo tribe.

This was signed by the Lianga municipal chieftain, Datu Constancio Duhac, and adopted by the local government unit of Lianga led by mayor Novelita M. Sarmen.

The indigenous peoples mandatory representative (IPMR), with the tribal chieftains representing the whole Manobo tribe of Lianga, Surigao del Sur (SDS) called on the communist NPA terrorists (CNTs) to stop supplanting legitimate IP leaders citing that this causes divisiveness and the disintegration of their customs and traditions in Barangay Diatagon, Lianga, SDS.

“Our customary laws and traditions were disrespected as the NPAs forcefully supplant legitimate tribal leaders with communist-influenced IP leaders in the far-flung sitios so they can control and advance their armed and political struggle. “Stop exploiting us,“ said Hawudon Jumar Bucales, IPMR of Lianga.

The tribal council leaders also urged the Malahutayong Pakigbisog alang sa Sumusunod (MAPASU) to honor and respect the legitimate IP leadership to exercise the traditional tribal governance system based on the customary laws of the tribe and the authority of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP).

“You (MAPASU) must not dictate the tribal council. You must adhere to our legitimate IP leadership. You are not supreme over the tribal council of elders and you must abide by our traditional governance system. You talk about fighting for self-determination and self-governance but your group is the first to violate our customary laws by defying the tribal council elders,” Datu Duhac said.

The MAPASU has resorted to lobby the support of Bayan Muna partylist representative Eufemia Campos Cullamat, the sister of Pablito Sinzo Campos (alias Batik), the communist NPA top propagandist and root cause of terror in Agusan and Surigao provinces who was nabbed by the 3rd Special Forces Battalion and the PNP in February 2018.

The tribal council of elders has steadfastly and repeatedly stated that not even Cullamat could dictate them because she is not the legitimate IP representative, citing that being a political leader does not necessarily equate to legitimate IP traditional leader.

The council further urged Cullamat to focus on crafting laws that will benefit the IPs instead of using her authority and privilege as a member of the Congress to discredit the government and the military in the IP communities during her privilege speeches.

The IP council urged the IP communities not to join or attend any CPP/NPA-oriented activities such as “bakwit” and any violent tactical offensives targeting government troops and defenseless civilians just to highlight the CPP’s founding anniversary on December 26. (CMO, 3SFBn/PIA-Caraga)

Higaonon sa Agusan del Sur suportado ang EO 70, CTG kinundina

By Venus L. Garcia

LUNGSOD NG BUTUAN, Nobyembre 14 (PIA) -- Nagtipon-tipon ang mga lider at miyembro ng tribung Higaunon sa isinagawang “Dumalongdong” sa barangay Sinakungan, Esperanza, Agusan del Sur para talakayin ang usaping pangkapayapaan, at iba’t ibang hamong kinakaharap ng indigenous peoples (IP) community.

Dinaluhan rin ito ng mga opisyal ng National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict o NTF-ELCAC, Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP), National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA), Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), Philippine Army, Philippine Information Agency (PIA), obispo ng Diocese of Butuan, at iba pang government stakeholders.

Layon nitong tugunan ang mga pangangailangan ng nasabing tribu at ipaabot ang suporta ng goberyerno sa pamamagitan ng pagbibigay ng basic services sa kanilang lugar.

“Ngayon na meron nang NTF-ELCAC, mas lalo pang mabibigyan ng pansin at atensyon hindi lamang ang tribu (Higaonon) ninyo kundi lahat ng tribu sa buong Mindanao at Pilipinas,” sabi ni Leouel Santos, director for operations ng NTF-ELCAC.

Ayon naman kay Atty. Leuben Lingating, chairperson ng Indigenous Peoples’ Peace Panel ng OPAPP, nais nitong palakasin at tugunan ang panawagan ng bawat katutubo na maipatupad ang Indigenous Peoples' Rights Act (IPRA) of 1997 upang sa gayun ay tuluyan nang makamit ang minimithing kapayapaan at kaunlaran.

Nakiisa rin sa Higaunon ang mga tribu ng Banwaon, Omayamnon at Polangiyon galing sa probinsiya ng Agusan del Norte, Misamis Oriental at Bukidnon para suportahan ang Executive Order 70 ni Pangulong Rodrigo Duterte. 

Kinondena rin nila ang communist terrorist group o CTG na kanilang itinuturing na kalaban at hadlang sa kaunlaran lalung-lalo na ang pakikialam nito sa kanilang katutubong lupa at paglabag sa kanilang karapatang pantao.

Sinabi naman ni Inday Lindahog, isang Higaonon sa Agusan del Sur, na isinagawa nila ang Dumalongdong upang mapag-usapan at masolusyonan ang mga propaganda ng CTG.

“May karapatan kami na ipaglaban an aming tradisyon, kultura at lupain dahil dito kami namumuhay at minana pa namin ito sa aming mga ninuno,” sabi ni Lindahog.

Tiniyak din ng DILG-Caraga at NICA na tutukan ang kahilingan ng nasabing tribu.

“Ang aming opisina ay bukas ano mang oras sa kung sino man sa inyo na gustong komunsulta hinggil sa mga isyu. Nariyan din an gating mga lokal na pamahallan na lagging handang tumulong s ainyo. Kaya huwag kayong mag-atubiling lumapit sa amin, sa ating pamahalaan. Kaagapay ninyo kami at sama-sama nating itaguyod ang kapayapaan upang matamasa ang kaunlaran,” sabi ni DILG-Caraga Assistant Regional Director Donald Seronay.

Ipinaabot din ni Jun Bringas ng NICA na “ang NTF ay mananatiling kasama ng iba’t ibang tribu sa kanilang pangayaw laban sa NPA.”

Samantala, nagbigay ang NTF-ELCAC ng tulong pinansyal sa nasabing tribu. 

Matatandaan na ang barangay Sinakungan ay inatake ng mahigit kumulang isang daang rebeldeng NPA taong 2018 sa araw mismo ng eleksyon ng barangay kung saan nagdulot ng pananakit sa ilang Higaonon. (VLG/PIA-Caraga)