(PAGASA 24-HOUR PUBLIC WEATHER FORECAST as of Thursday, 14 November, 2019) Today, the center of Tropical Storm "RAMON" was estimated at 365 km East of Legazpi City,Albay (13.4N,127.1E), 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 10 km/h. Mindanao will have partly cloudy to cloudy skies with isolated rainshowers due to Localized Thunderstorms. Light to moderate winds from Northwest to Southwest with slight to moderate seas. PAGASA/jpf

Wednesday, November 6, 2019


Army to AgNor town officials, residents: Reject communist terrorist group

By Maj. Francisco P. Garello, Jr.

CABADBARAN CITY, Agusan del Norte, Nov. 6 --  The Army Commander in Caraga urged local leaders and its residents to reject the Communist Terrorist Group (CTG) during the Municipal Development Council (MDC) and Municipal Peace and Order Council (MPOC) launching of the Municipal Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (MTF-ELCAC) of the Municipality of Jabonga on October 27 at the Multi-Purpose Gym, Barangay Baleguian, Jabonga.

In his speech during the launching of MTF ELCAC in Jabonga town, Col. Maurito Licudine, Commander of the 402nd Infantry (Stingers) Brigade, challenged the local leaders and residents to reject outright the CTG and its allied left-leaning organizations in order to move forward in one direction particularly in ending the local communist armed conflict and attain a long and lasting peace in the said town.

The launching, as a manifestation of rejection of CTG and support to the EO 70, was also highlighted with the Jabonga MTF ELCAC’s 1st resolution declaring the CPP-NPA-NDF and its allies as persona-non grata in Barangays A. Beltran, Maraiging, Bangonay, Libas and Baleguian of same town.

Present during the joint MDC-MPOC resolution signing of Jabonga which officially created and launched the town's MTF ELCAC were Agusan del Norte Governor Dale Corvera, Agusan del Norte Rep. Ma. Angelica Rosedell Amante-Matba, and other guests from different agencies and stakeholders.

Col. Licudine said the local residents must resist the CTG and reject them from their communities. "Your Army will side by side stand in unity with the local leaders and its people to demonstrate that the CPP-NPA Terrorist (CNTs) and its left-leaning legal organizations have no place in our peace-loving communities," he said.

"It’s easier said than done but with the local leaders leading their constituents in the fight against the terrorist group and at the same time addressing the root causes of the insurgency problem, no doubt we can achieve to end local communist armed conflict in Caraga the soonest possible time,” he added. (CMO Officer, 402nd Infantry “Stingers” Brigade, Philippine Army/PIA Agusan del Norte)

Caraga police top index crime for 3rd quarter of 2019

BUTUAN CITY, Nov. 6 -- The Police Regional Office (PRO) 13 topped among the 17 police regional offices nationwide in index crime solved during the 3rd quarter of 2019.

PRO13 had the highest index crimes solved at 63.33% followed by the National Capital Region Police Office with 62.53% as second and PRO3 with 58.13% as third.

PRO13 Director Police BGen. Joselito Esquivel, Jr. said that based on the data gathered by the office of Regional Investigative Detective Management Division (RIDMD13), 418 cases of murder, homicide, physical injuries, rape, robbery, theft, motorcycle theft, and cattle rustling were reported and recorded from July to September 2019.

Of the 418 reported crimes regionwide, 260 cases have been solved while 324 crimes have been cleared.

Police Provincial Office (PPO) of Dinagat Islands topped among other PPOs and Butuan City Police Office of PRO13 on index crime solved with 16 cases cleared and 16 cases solved out of the 17 reported crimes for the same period.

“This is a result of collaborative efforts of the Philippine National Police, other law enforcement agencies and all stakeholders with the active support of the community,” said Esquivel, Jr.

“Rest assured that the fight against criminality and threats will be strengthened. We will continue our anti-criminality campaign as well as our crime-solving efforts to improve the peace and order and ensure the safety and security of all Caraganons,” he added. (PRO13/PIA-Caraga)

Army launches offensive operation to thwart CNT extortion in SurSur

By Lt. Jonald Romorosa

TANDAG CITY, Surigao del Sur, Nov 6 -- The army’s 36th Infantry (Valor) Battalion, Philippine Army launched an intensified offensive operation to thwart the Communist Party of the Philippines - New People’s Army Terrorist's (CNT's) extortion activity in the province of Surigao del Sur.

The intensified offensive operation is a response to the reports from the concerned citizens that the CNTs are conducting extortion activities in the province.

Lt. Col. Jezreel Diagmel, Commanding Officer of 36IB, launched a series of intensified military operations to trace the hideouts of the CNTs.

Based on the report, an estimated amount of P6 million a month was being extorted by the CNTs from the politicians, businessmen, mining and construction companies and even ordinary citizens in the area of 36IB alone covering the municipalities of Carrascal, Cantilan, Lanuza, Carmen, Madrid, Cortes, San Miguel, Tago and Tandag City excluding Permit to Campaign (PTC) and Permit to Win (PTW) during election period.

Lt. Col. Diagmel revealed that the army is gearing towards eradicating extortion activities to the peace-loving people of Surigao del Sur.

“The intensified offensive operation in the area of operation will thwart and preempt the NPA extortion activities. We will cut their resources for them to surrender and return to the folds of the law,” Lt. Col. Diagmel said.

He also added that the success in combat operation will be a big leap for the victims of extortion activities of the CNTs.

"We call on the public to help us in this campaign and not to support this menace of the country," he said. (CMO-36IB/PIA-Surigao del Sur)

Nursery plant to rise in Zapanta Valley

By 1Lt. Nonette B. Banggad

CABADBARAN CITY, Agusan del Norte, Nov. 6 -- The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) together with the Philippine Fiber Development Authority (PhilFIDA) and the 29th Infantry (Matatag) Battalion, Philippine Army recently conducted a three-day Nursery Establishment and Management Training to the Zapanta Valley Bisaya Organization (ZAVBIOR) at So. Zapanta Valley, Brgy. Bangayan, Kitcharao, Agusan del Norte.

The said training was initiated by DAR Project Converge and was composed of a series of lectures on the first day about abaca seed production by personnel from PhilFIDA followed by the actual planting and bagging of abaca seedlings on the second day and construction of abaca plants nursery on the third day.

ZAVBIOR was organized and registered with the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) by the Community Support Team (CST) of Alpha Company headed by 1Lt. Edmar C. Colagong last June 2018. This organization is composed of more than 50 members who belong to what is called the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) of Zapanta Valley and is part of the priority areas of the Peace and Development Zone (PDZ).

Zapanta Valley was also part of the Conflict-Affected Areas (ConAAs) under 29IB and considered before as base guerilla of the Communist-NPA- Terrorists (CNTs) where there are no government projects and developments present in the area.

Now, through Executive Order 70 or Whole of Nation approach, Zapanta Valley and its community were able to receive training and support from DAR and PhilFIDA who distributed various nursery materials to be used by the ZAVBIOR as another source of income and additional support to the said organization. The said materials included abaca seeds and seedlings, black plastic bags, fertilizers, insecticides/pesticides, nets and additional materials for the construction of the nursery.

Brando Fernandez, Chairman of ZAVBIOR expressed his gratitude in his statement, “Daku nakung kalipay ug pasalamat nga nahatagan mi ug higayon sa atong gobyerno nga matukuran mi ug nursery isip laing paagi sa panginabuhian para sa among organisasyon ug unta dili malugda ang mga ahensya sa atong gobyerno susama sa DAR, PhilFIDA, Army ug ang uban pa sa pagtabang kanamo. (I am very happy and grateful that we have been given such an opportunity by our government to have a nursery which will provide additional support for our organization. I hope that they, like the DAR, PhilFIDA, Army and some other agencies of the government, will never get tired of helping us.)”

According to Annalyn Chan, the government is doing its part to help its people, this is now evident in the support which was given to their organization. "What the government is just asking from all of you is your time, effort and most importantly, your dedication to continuing on this project,” said Chan.

“ZAVBIOR is like a small fishing boat, the organization is the boat itself and the outrigger or ‘katig’ are its members. Without its outrigger which balances the boat, it would surely not survive, just as your organization without the help and cooperation of its members will never improve and prosper,” added Chan.

1Lt. Edmar C. Colagong said that he was happy that ZAVBIOR is one of the privileged organizations that have received support from the government. "Rest assured that Matatag troopers together with the local government unit and agencies will continue to work hand in hand to bring just the right services for everyone especially in the ConAAs and PDZ priority areas such as this Zapanta Valley,“ he said. (CMO Officer, 29IB, Philippine Army/PIA Agusan del Norte)

Legislative support necessary for organic agri sector growth

By Rhea Abao

BUTUAN CITY, Nov. 6 -- The enactment of the Republic Act 100068 or the Organic Agriculture Act of 2010 strengthened the organic movement in the country.

This creates awareness among consumers on the benefits of consuming organic products.

In Caraga, the advocacy of the Department of Agriculture  (DA) through the Organic Agriculture Program started only with a hundred organic farming practitioners in early 2000. Today, almost 5,000 farmers equivalent to 100 farmer associations are now involved in the organic way of achieving the principles of health, ecology, fairness, and care. Close to 100,000 hectares are also undergoing conversion from conventional farming to organic farming.

However, the increasing adaptors for sustainable agriculture are still facing various challenges. One of these is the high-cost third party certification with the tag price ranging from P42,000 to P150,000 per scope, valid for only one year.

This is one of the issues raised during the 5th Regional Organic Agriculture Congress (ROAC), an annual gathering of Caraga's organic practitioners and stakeholders held recently in Butuan City.

"Legislative support is needed in organic agriculture to help our small organic farmers attain the organic certification they need to compete for their products in local and global markets. Farmers must not worry since Senator Cynthia Villar, chairperson of the Committee on Agriculture supports the amendments of RA100068," said DA-Caraga regional executive director Abel James I. Monteagudo.

House Bill No. 8314 seeks to address the problem on third party accreditations in the Philippines by institutionalizing the Participatory Guarantee System (PGS) that offers a complimentary and low-cost system of quality assurance, with a heavy emphasis on social control and knowledge building.

In the region, there are only two organic products certified by the Organic Certification Center of the Philippines (OCCP)  and Negros Island Certification (NICERT).  These are the CRV Rice Mill from Alegria, Surigao del Norte for organic rice and the organic fertilizer of the Caraga Agricultural Business Corporation in Butuan City.

"With no third-party certification, it is prohibited by the law to label our products with the term organic. But we are still hopeful that with the support of our legislators the law will be amended. This is essential for the continued growth of the organic agriculture sector," said Nilo B. Acupinpin, chairperson of the Sta. Josefa Integrated Organic Farmers Association from Sta. Josefa, Agusan del Sur.

The amendment of the Organic Law would have a big impact on organic practitioners in the region considering that numerous groups are already certified under the PGS such as in the province of Surigao del Norte, Agusan del Sur, and Butuan City through the help of the private sector like the Agro-Eco Philippines.

According to DA Secretary William D. Dar, legislative support is one of the keys to level up Philippine agriculture. “The country's agriculture sector needs the help of both the Senate and the House of Representatives for policy and structural reforms that need to be legislated and institutionalized,” Dar said.

With a responsive policy reform, more farmers will adopt organic agriculture standards and methods.  Likewise, this will motivate farmers to self-organize, which will further help in accessing markets in the local and global arena benefitting the sector as a whole. (DA Caraga/PIA Caraga)