(PAGASA 24-HOUR PUBLIC WEATHER FORECAST as of Monday, 05 June 2023) Southwest Monsoon affecting the western section of Central and Southern Luzon. 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 Southwest Monsoon. Possible flash floods or landslides during severe thunderstorms. Light to Moderate winds coming Southwest to West will prevail with Slight to Moderate seas (1.0 to 2.1 meters).

Friday, January 24, 2020

Caraga RTF-ELCAC reaches out to Bayugan villagers during Peace Caravan

By Jennifer P. Gaitano

BAYUGAN CITY, Agusan del Sur, Jan. 24 (PIA) -- Thousands of villagers in Mt. Carmel, this city have availed and benefited from the free basic social services from various government agencies during the Peace Caravan conducted by the Regional Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (RTF-ELCAC) Caraga.

With the presence of Cabinet Secretary Karlo Alexie Nograles, Cabinet Officer for Regional Development and Security (CORDS) Caraga, the provincial government of Agsuan del Sur led by Governor Santiago Cane, Jr., and local officials in Bayugan City headed by Mayor Kirk Asis, have converged their efforts to meet the objectives for the conduct of Peace Caravan, as well as the host for the scheduled 4th RTF-ELCAC Meeting at the city gymnasium.

Diosdado Cabilogan, 55 years old and a resident in the said barangay, came early morning at the barangay gymnasium of Mt. Carmel to avail of the free medical checkup and medicines from concerned government stakeholders. He expressed his gratitude to the officials of the city government and all the regional and national line agencies for visiting their place and for bringing to them the services they need.

“Despite living in a remote area, away from the metropolis life, the government took extra miles to reach us and bring to us the services we need for free. I’m very thankful that our mayor and barangay officials are really working hard in ensuring our welfare,” said Cabilogan.

Imerald Narra, together with Junde Faith Tacio, and Charlie Verra, all in Grade 8 of Mt. Carmel National High School also participated in the orientation and lectures on the ill effects of illegal drugs, recruitment of the New People’s Army, including the programs and services of the government for the children and youth sectors.

“I’m happy that we’re able to join in this event here in our barangay. We were given seedlings for our backyard gardening and even for our school. My peers have also availed of the free haircut and beauty care services from the government agencies. This is really a fun experience for us,” cited Narra. 

Eager to go home after availing the free consultation/check-up and free vitamins  from the Department of Health (DOH), Dionisa Lariosa, four months pregnant, also received a buntis kit, which she could soon use for her baby.

“This is really a blessing for me and for all of us here in Mt. Carmel. We always feel that the government really cares for us. I hope this kind of activity will continue and even reach other remote areas like us,” shared Lariosa.

Merla Ajan, punong barangay of Mt. Carmel also appreciated the government’s effort and initiative for continuously providing the necessary services in their community.

She also asked the government for a Farm-to-Market Road which will improve their livelihood and a building for their secondary school. (JPG/PIA-Agusan del Sur)

30 FRs undergo ALS skills training

By 1Lt. Roel T. Maglalang 

BUTUAN CITY, Jan. 24 -- Thirty former rebels (FRs) undergone 10 months Alternative Learning System (ALS) skills training at the headquarters of the 23rd Infantry (Masigasig) Battalion (23IB), Jamboree Site, P-6 Barangay Alubihid in Buenavista, Agusan del Norte.

The activity was made possible through the convergence effort of the Department of Education (DepEd) of Agusan del Norte headed by Dr. Romeo Aprovechar, Schools Division Superintendent of Agusan del Norte and the 23IB headed by Lt. Col. Francisco L. Molina, Jr., Commanding Officer.

In his message, Dr. Aprovechar inspires the FRs by citing his experiences in life that bring him to what he is now. He shares that it takes a lot of effort and hard work in order to reach their dreams as long as they do not lose hope, they will surely succeed in life.

Further, he said that education teaches the ability to read and write. It is extremely important for employment and an opportunity to make a decent living. This is due to the skills of a high paying job that Education provides. "Uneducated people are probably at a huge disadvantage when it comes to jobs. It seems that many poor people improve their lives with the help of Education," Aprovechar added.

Meanwhile, Lt. Col. Molina encouraged the participants to take advantage of the program to be enlightened and equipped for their future. The ALS provides an opportunity for the FRs to develop their knowledge and skills in communication and teaches them the value of education in applying what they've learned when they become reintegrated in mainstream society. (CMO Officer, 23IB, PA/PIA Agusan del Norte)

P600-B GRDP for Caraga possible in 10 years, says DTI regional chief

BUTUAN CITY, Jan. 24 -- The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) revealed that Caraga region will reach a targeted P600-billion gross regional domestic product (GRDP) within 10 years if potential productivity of agriculture, forestry, and fishery sectors is maximized.

DTI-Caraga Regional Director Brielgo O. Pagaran said that from its creation, the region started with only P29-billion GRDP in 1994 and reached P100-billion in 2019.

“If we dream of prosperity for all, we should set a target; if you cannot quantify, you cannot target,” Pagaran said.

He also pointed out that with a total land area of more than 2-million hectares, Caraga will yield great productivity potentials through quantifying a macro-development plan.
Pagaran further explained that for agro-industry alone, the 600-thousand hectare agricultural land can generate P60-billion, summing up the P50,000 annual productivity per hectare and the value added pegged at 100 percent.

The region’s top DTI official also sees that the potential of the forestry industry will earn Caraga an estimated P540-billion productivity. This was after considering the region’s capacity to produce bamboo and bay-ang for chopsticks, wood for biomass, and plywood, among others.

An additional P800-million is also expected from the fisheries industry especially through the utilization of mariculture park zones.

Pagaran is hopeful that with the programs of DTI and support from the local government units and regional line agencies, the 28 percent poverty incidence in the region will drop.

In fact, to provide a holistic approach toward agro-agri productivity, DTI Caraga conceptualized and initiated Palm Oil and Agricultural Land Management for Economic Re-integration and Sustainability (PALMERS) which is a development model and framework to develop, expand, rehabilitate and replant palm oil areas.

PALMERS will be the implementing mechanism to the Palm Oil Roadmap for the palm oil industry.

“Palm oil industry is one of the eight national priority industry clusters and it will generate more income and employment opportunities in Caraga,” said Jorge P. Silaga, national palm oil cluster focal person.

Silaga, who is also PALMERS project coordinator, shared that an executive order supported by the Board of Investment Governor Napoleon Concepcion and endorsed by the office of Representative Maria Angelica Matba has been drafted to create the regulatory body for palm oil.

“The said executive order known as the Philippine Palm Oil Development Authority (PPODA) is now at the office of Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea for review and comments from involved national agencies,” Silaga added.

Silaga further said that the palm oil industry will help reduce the poverty incidence in the region and in the country basing on the low poverty incidence of Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand which have palm oil as a common denominator of economic development. (DTI-Caraga/PIA-Caraga)

DSWD-Caraga hits Social Pension 2019 target

BUTUAN CITY, Jan. 24 - The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Field Office Caraga ended 2019 with flying colors as it was able to surpass expectations, especially in hitting its targets for its programs and services for the year.

One of its programs, the Social Pension Program for Indigent Senior Citizens (SocPen) was able to serve 140,000 senior citizens for 2019 – the set target for the Field Office for the year.

The field office has worked tirelessly to disburse the P840-million allocated budget for the program to the beneficiaries of the said program in 73 local government units in the region. A series of payouts were conducted so that beneficiaries could claim their P3,000 stipend every semester.

A total 29,176 beneficiaries were served in Agusan del Norte province; 35,324 in Agusan del Sur; 10,715 in Dinagat Islands; 30,468 in Surigao del Norte; and 38,091 in Surigao del Sur.

The Social Pension program provides a monthly stipend amounting to P500 to augment the daily subsistence and other medical needs of indigent senior citizens. This is in line with the fulfillment of the government’s obligation to the most vulnerable sector through social protection, and for the full implementation of Republic Act 9994 or the Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010.

“Nagpasalamat ko sa Ginoo nga naay pension para sa mga senior. Makatabang gyud sa kawad-on. Gamiton ko ning akong nadawat para ipalit bugas ug tambal (I thank God that there is such pension for the senior citizens. Indeed, it’s a great help. I will use the pension to buy rice and medicine),” beneficiary Rosenda Mabilog, 76, said after she received her pension in San Jose, Dinagat Islands last year.

Another beneficiary, Fernando Bauso, 74, a resident of San Francisco, Agusan del Sur, was more than thankful to the program. “Nagpasalamat kog dako sa DSWD sa akong nadawat…nga di pud ko magsalig sa akong mga anak kay naa napud silay mga pamilya (I’m thankful to DSWD for the pension I got. I will no longer rely on my children as they already have their own families),” Bauso said.

Eligible for the program are senior citizens who are 60 years old and above; frail, sickly or with disability; no pension from government agencies or any other insurance company; no permanent source of income; and no regular support from their family for their basic needs.

Based on the 2015 Census of Population, there are over 7.5 million senior citizens in the country. The number is expected to hit 9.5 million by 2020. DSWD will be ready to cater to their needs, through the different programs and services. (DSWD-13/PIA-Caraga)

AgSur FRs receive cash assistance as part of reintegration program

By 1Lt. Percival Carido

TALACOGON, Agusan del Sur, Jan. 24 – Two former rebels (FRs) have received cash assistance amounting to P5,000.00 each from the Provincial Social Welfare and Development (PSWD) of Prosperidad, Agusan del Sur on Monday afternoon, January 20, 2020.

The said FRs were identified as Jovelyn L. Tahudan and Robert H. Lipanda, both residents of San Luis, Agusan del Sur. Prior to the said aid, they also received an immediate cash assistance amounting to P25,000.00 each from the local government of San Luis few days after their surrender last October 25, 2019.

The two were just few among the enlightened individuals who finally went back to the mainstream society after being deceived by the terrorist Communist Party of the Philippines - New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) propaganda and are currently undergoing reintegration program as part of the Enhanced - Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) from  the national government.

They were happy and overjoyed upon receiving the cash benefit. “Dako kaayo akong pasalamat kay tinood gayud ang gisaad kanamu nga kami pagatabangan sa goberno alang sa among pagsugod sa bag-ong kinabuhi nga gawasnon kauban ang among pamilya (I’m thankful because the government has fulfilled its promise to help the former rebels like us, that we could start a new life with our family),” Tahudan said.

The 26th Infantry (Ever Onward) Battalion (26IB), Philippine Army led by its commanding officer Lt. Col. Romeo C. Jimenea, in collaboration with the PSWD officer Razel Montemor, assisted the enrollment of the FRs to the E-CLIP, which will cover their reintegration, livelihood, educational and  housing benefits.

“We are committed to help and assist to the needs of our brothers and sisters who finally returned to the folds of the law and chose to live in harmony together with their families,” Montemor said.

Meanwhile, Lt. Col. Jimenea congratulated the two FRs after receiving the said benefits. "Said cash assistance is just an initial prize for your surrender. There will be more benefits that will be given to you to help you all in starting anew through E-CLIP," he said.

The official also called on the remaining members of the NPA to stop causing conflicts in the communities, and surrender to the government. "Our door remains open in accepting you all back to the folds of the law. We are offering you a way out but if you continue to resist, then it will cause your own ruin,” Jimenea added. (CMO officer, 26IB/PIA-Agusan del Sur)