(PAGASA 24-HOUR PUBLIC WEATHER FORECAST as of Thursday, 09 July, 2020) Synopsis:Easterlies affecting Palawan, Visayas and Mindanao. Caraga Region will experience partly cloudy to cloudy skies with isolated rainshowers mostly in the afternoon or evening due to Easterlies/ Localized thunderstorms. Possible flash floods or landslides during severe thunderstorms. Light to moderate winds coming from the East to Southeast will prevail and the coastal waters will be slight to moderate with wave height of 0.5 to 1.5 meters.

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Cancellation of major events not needed for COVID-19: Andanar

By Doreen Marielle N. Rosales

BUTUAN CITY, Feb. 18 (PIA) -- In his recent radio interview, Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Martin Andanar was firm to soothe the panic brought about by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) around the globe, so long as the health protocols set by the Department of Health (DOH) are strictly followed.

Sec. Andanar reiterated the major points tackled during the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Disease (IATF) meeting conducted on February 14 at the Presidential Guest House in the MalacaƱan Palace, wherein the Resolution No. 5 lifting the travel ban in Taiwan has been issued.

He disclosed that among the other special administrative regions (SARs) of China, Taiwan has zero cases documented for local human-to-human transmission of the disease and was able to establish a protocol for COVID-19 whereas Hong Kong and Macau failed to do so. In addition, among the said SARs, Taiwan holds the least number of cases and mortality, with over 20 confirmed cases and one mortality recorded.

The task force might also reconsider lifting the travel ban in Macau, as it awaits the Chinese region’s protocol countering COVID-19.

On the issue concerning local tourism, Sec. Andanar said that there is no need to cancel major festivities and events that will garner a huge crowd though he cautions to strictly observe proper hygiene and cough etiquette set by the Department of Health (DOH), such as practicing the proper handwashing technique and coughing at a distance away from the crowd to avoid contaminating others.

He also advises the public to be ‘honest with themselves’ and report to the nearest health authorities if one can observe symptoms of the disease and has a travel history in China.

“It is our civic duty to maintain proper hygiene and follow health protocol set by the national health agency. This is the best method to prevent the disease from spreading across the country,” he added.

He also reminded the public that the wearing of face mask should only be for front-line employees and health workers and for individuals with a respiratory illness or has diseases that can compromise the immune system.

At present, there are about 137 persons under investigation (PUIs) admitted in the country, around 387 have been discharged. From the three confirmed cases of infected Chinese nationals in the country, two patients have recovered while the death of the remaining patient has been reported.

For local up-to-date information and status of COVID-19, visit ncovtracker.doh.gov.ph. (DMNR/VLG/PIA-Caraga)

High ranking NPA terrorist arrested

BUTUAN CITY, Feb. 18 -- Joint government forces of Police Regional Office (PRO) 13 and Philippine Army arrested a high ranking official of New People’s Army (NPA) who has ten standing warrants of arrest during an enhanced police-military checkpoint operation conducted along the national highway of Sitio Tagmalinao, Brgy. La Purisima, Cagwait, Surigao del Sur on February 15.

Police Brigadier General Joselito T. Esquivel, Jr, Philippine National Police (PNP)-Caraga regional director, identified the suspect as Renan Ayad Cantos, also known as Loki/Ronin/Sanjo, male, 30 years old, and a resident of Purok Pagbahanan 2, Brgy. Poblacion, Marihatag, Surigao del Sur.

Cantos is a former commanding officer of dismantled Guerilla Front 8, dismantled Guerilla Front 14 of the communist terrorist group (CTG) under North Eastern Mindanao Regional Committee (NEMRC).

Cantos was charged with multiple attempted homicide under Criminal Case No. 10091, frustrated murder under Criminal Case No. 10171, multiple attempted murder under Criminal Case No. 9870, multiple attempted murder under Criminal Case No. 4574, murder under Criminal Case No. 4575, kidnapping and serious illegal detention under Criminal Case No. 4611, robbery with violence and intimidation of person under Criminal Case No. 6526, kidnapping and serious illegal detention under Criminal Case No. 6527, kidnapping and serious illegal detention under Criminal Case No. 6525, and arson under Criminal Case No. 3279.

Arrested person was duly informed of his constitutional rights and was brought to Cagwait Municipal Police Station for documentation and proper disposition.

“The operation that led to his arrest is part of our aggressive and more intensified campaign against insurgency and wanted persons. I am encouraging all our brothers and sisters who are deceived by the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) – New People’s Army (NPA) terrorists to surrender and return to the folds of the law,” Esquivel said.

Esquivel also reminded all private individual to include politicians and local chief executives on the prohibitions of Republic Act 10168, otherwise known as the “Terrorism Financing Prevention and Suppression Act of 2012 and Section 3 of Executive Order No. 773 series of 2009, directing regional, provincial, municipal peace and order councils to apply moral suasion to and/or recommend sanctions against local chief executives who are giving material and political support to criminals and Communist Terrorist Groups.

These legal provisions are further reinforced by the pronouncement of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte that the local chief executives should not give ‘any aid’ to rebel, terrorist, and criminal groups as it would result to much distress, embarrassment, even losing power over the police.

"The government is offering its support through an Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) which provides several benefits like financial assistance and livelihood program to former rebels and militiamen who surrendered to the government," Esquivel said. (PNP PRO-13/PIA-Caraga)

Over 5K Caraga farmers benefit from DA’s expanded cash assistance 

By Rhea C. Abao

BUTUAN CITY, Feb. 18 -- To help the rice farmers regain their capacity to continue their production, various financial aids such as loan programs are available for the farmers.

The Department of Agriculture – Agricultural Credit Policy Council in partnership with the Landbank of the Philippines already released 84.9 Million cash assistance to the rice farmers from the four provinces in Caraga under the Expanded Survival and Recovery Assistance (SURE-Aid) Program.

Since last October, a total of 5,661 rice farmers from the provinces of Surigao del Sur, Surigao del Norte, Agusan del Sur and Agusan del Norte including Butuan City received a zero-interest loan of 15,000, payable in eight years.

DA-Caraga Regional Executive Director Abel James I. Monteagudo together with LBP Caraga North Lending Center Manager Linbert Fajunio and Municipal Mayor Richard Daquipil led the second batch of cash card distribution to the 150 rice farmers in the municipality of RTR, Agusan del Norte on February 14.

"The DA continues to support the farmers. I am hoping that the cash assistance that is given to the farmer-recipients must serve its purpose. This must be applied to each rice farm and must not be converted to other things,” Monteagudo said.

The DA together with its partner agencies and the local government unit will conduct monitoring afterward to ensure that the assistance has truly served its purpose.

Yolanda D. Lozano, 55 years old, a rice farmer from P-2 Tagbongabong, RTR, Agusan del Norte said that she is thankful for the government's support. She will use the amount to purchase fertilizers and pesticides for her area.

"I am very happy that I am one of the recipients of the SURE Aid Program. The financers in our area offer a 20% interest rate in a 1,000 that I borrow. But the program's zero percent interest rate and flexible paying terms is a big help for us to continue producing local rice, she said.

SURE Aid Program supports farmers affected by the low buying prices of palay as an initial impact of the RTL implementation.
With the assistance of the local government units, rice farmers who are farming one hectare and below were identified and validated by the DA-Caraga to qualify and receive the said assistance. (DA-Caraga RAFIS/PIA Caraga)

DAR turns-over P17-M worth of farm machineries to AgSur farmers

By Rechel D. Besonia

SAN FRANCISCO, Agusan del Sur, Feb. 18 -- Just before Valentine’s day, the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) Agusan del Sur Provincial Office has shown love and warmth to the farmer-beneficiaries by giving them not the usual bouquet nor chocolates and teddy bears, but millions of peso worth of Farm Machineries and Equipment (FME) held at DAR Provincial Office in San Francisco, this province.

“Dako gyud among pasalamat sa DAR sa pagsuporta sa amoang mga mang-uuma pinaagi sa paghatag nila ug mga ekipo (We are thankful to DAR for supporting us through the provision of these farm machineries and equipment),” said Emilia Eribal, Chairman of Kahugpungan sa Malahutayong Mag-uuma Para sa Ekonomikanhong Kalambuan (KAMMPE).

KAMMPE along with nine other Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Organizations (ARBOs) in five municipalities of Agusan del Sur, Veruela, Trento, Bunawan, Sta. Josefa and Loreto were among the recipient ARBOs of the said FMEs amounting to a total of P17-million, of which P3.3-million is under the Climate Resilient Farm Productivity Support Project (CRFPSP) and P13.7-million is under the Project Convergence on Value Chain for Rural Growth and Empowerment (Project ConVERGE).

Maximo Gegato, Manager of Southern Agusan Seed Producers Cooperative (SASEPCO) said that with the farm equipment they received, there will be efficient processing of rice which would mean an increase in their income.

The ceremonial cutting of ribbon, which signifies that the FMEs were formally turned- over was led by Undersecretary of Foreign Assisted and Special Project Office (FASPO) Bernie F. Cruz, Regional Director Leomides R. Villareal, Asst. Regional Director Daylinda Paz Narisma, Asst. Regional Director for Operations Agnes Dela Cerna, PARPO II Jamil P. Amatonding Jr. and PARPO II of Surigao del Sur Leoncio C. Bautista Jr.

“We always consider the welfare of our farmer-beneficiaries in consonance with President Duterte’s mandate to pursue a more aggressive and genuine agrarian reform program and ensure that you are provided with the needed support services to increase your household income,” Usec. Cruz said to the farmers.

He also added that with the cooperation of the ARBOs to take care of everything that the government had given is very vital for the improvement of their organizations.

In his message, Director Villareal emphasized that the department will always be there to help the farmers become self-sufficient and sustain the productivity of their awarded lands.

Meanwhile, PARPO Amatonding bared that with the provision of these equipment, more than 3,000 farmers are expected to benefit from it. “We are aiming to increase our reach in the years to come. We are also eyeing to resolve the problem of hunger in the province by linking our farmer’s produce to available institutional markets,” he added.

The signing of the Trust Agreement and Handing of the Certificate of Turn-over and Acceptance were also among the highlights of the day.

The Climate Resilient Farm Productivity Support Project is a project of DAR intended to support the areas vulnerable to the impacts of climate change while the Convergence on Value Chain for Rural Growth and Empowerment (Project ConVERGE) is funded by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the Government of the Philippines (GOP). (DAR-Agusan del Sur/PIA-Agusan del Sur)

LGU, Army hold info campaign, medical check-up to 2 SurSur schools

By Capt Jonald Romorosa

TANDAG CITY, Surigao del Sur, Feb. 18 – The local government unit (LGU) of San Miguel in partnership with the 36th Infantry (Valor) Battalion, Philippine Army conducted a convergence awareness campaign to around 400 students of Sagbayan National High School and Sagbayan Elementary School in San Miguel town, this province, on Feb. 13, 2020.

The said activity was a collaborative effort of the Community Support Program (CSP) team of the Army’s 36IB and the Local Municipal Nutrition Office and Division Health Team of LGU San Miguel, which aimed to intensify its information and education campaign to the students.

During the activity, Municipal Nutrition Action Officer (MNAO) Jessebel Esparagoza, gave a lecture about Healthy Lifestyle, while Health Coordinator Mary Jane Ongayo discussed and gave insights about teenage pregnancy and its consequence.
Meanwhile, the 36IB troopers conducted the film showing and gave a lecture about the Communist NPA Terrorists' (CNTs') deceptive tactics of recruitment to students and youth sector.

The activity was highlighted with a free haircut from the 36IB and free medical check-up and dental services offered by the Division Health Team led by Medical Officer III Dr. Andrew Lumang.

The school also provided porridge as part of the Department of Education (DepEd) School-Based Feeding Program to the students. (CMO-36IB/PIA-Surigao del Sur)

18 FRs receive E-CLIP assistance in SurSur

TAGO, Surigao del Sur, Feb. 18 -- A total of 18 former rebels (FRs) received government assistance through the Enhanced-Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) last week held at the Provincial Governor’s Office (PGO) in Tandag City, a military official said.

According to Capt. Jonald Romorosa, 36th Infantry Battalion (36IB) Civil Military Operations officer (CMO), the 18 FRs composed of 17 regular New People’s Army (NPA), and one Militia ng Bayan (MB) member were coming from Sitio Ibuan, Barangay Mampi, Lanuza, and Barangay Hinapuyan, Carmen, respectively.

Capt. Romorosa said 17 of them identified as regular NPA members received P70,000.00 each, which comprised of livelihood assistance (P65,000.00), and cash assistance from the provincial government (P5,000), while the lone MB member received a total of P20,000.00 (P15,000.00 as livelihood assistance, and P5,000.00 from the provincial government).
                                        
“The activity conducted was part of the reintegration program given by the government for them to start a new life as they return to the mainstream of society together with their loved ones,” said Romorosa.

Lt. Col. Jezreel Diagmel, 36IB Commanding Officer, said that the awarding of ECLIP assistance to the 18 former rebels is a manifestation that the government is sincere in its program to help the FRs to start and begin a new life together with their family.

The commander then called on the remaining Communist NPA Terrorists (CNTs) to surrender and return to the folds of the law to avail the E-CLIP of the government intended for them.

"Once again, I am calling the remaining Communist NPA terrorist to surrender now, and return to the folds of the law, avail the E-CLIP of the government and live with peace," Ltc Diagmel said. (PIA-Surigao del Sur)

22-km road project to connect villages in Surigao Norte by 2022

SURIGAO CITY, Surigao del Norte, Feb. 18 -- The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) is constructing the two-lane national road junction (NRJ) Rizal – Togbongon – Mat-I – Mabini – Trinidad road that will connect various barangays in Surigao del Norte.

The road project which comprises of 22-kilometer road including four bridges, namely Hubasan Bridge, Togonan Bridge, Sangay Bridge, and Anomar Bridge with a total length of 194 linear meters, is now 39 percent completed.

Citing a report from DPWH Caraga regional director Pol M. Delos Santos, the P815.9 million road project will connect Barangays Rizal, Togbongon, San Roque, Poctoy, Serna, Mat-I, Mabini, and Anomar in Surigao del Norte.

“Upon completion in 2022, the road will also serve as an alternate route of the Surigao-Agusan Section of Daang Maharlika Primary Road, diverting the traffic in the congested area,” said Secretary Mark A. Villar. (DPWH/PIA-Surigao del Norte)

Caraga army welcomes new EastMinCom chief

BUTUAN CITY, Feb. 18 -- Officers and personnel of the 402nd Infantry “Stingers” Brigade, Philippine Army welcomed the newly designated commander of the Eastern Mindanao Command (EastMinCom), Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Major General Jose Calingasan Faustino, Jr. for his visit in Barangay Bancasi, this city on February 8.

This was his first field visit to a Brigade in the EastMinCom area of responsibility (AOR) since his assumption as the 12th commander of the EastMinCom last January 25.

Prior to his designation, MGen. Faustino was the commander of the 10th Infantry (Agila) Division where he led various operations that resulted in the dismantling of different New People’s Army (NPA) units in Regions 11 and 12.  He also served as the former head of the 11th Intelligence Service Unit based in Davao City and led the 35th Infantry Battalion and 501st Infantry Brigade.

The Army officer was welcomed with a military arrival honors led by 402nd Brigade commander, Brigadier General Maurito L. Licudine, together with Police Brigadier General Joselito S. Esquivel, Jr., regional director of the Police Regional Office 13 and the commanding officers of the OPCON Battalions and commanders from tenant and attached units.

During his visit, MGen. Faustino lauded the accomplishments of the 402nd Brigade during the campaign updates provided by the unit from January to December 2019 wherein a total of 98 combat operations were conducted resulting in 80 encounters against the Communist Party of the Philippines – New People’s Army Terrorists (CNTs) in guerilla bases and engagement areas.

The traditional signing of guest book and a viewing of some of the captured, confiscated, surrendered and recovered (CCSR) firearms of the Brigade during the successful combat operations that neutralized CNTs in the region were also part of the highlights of the event.

A ceremonial tree planting activity was also conducted and led by MGen. Faustino together with PBGen. Esquivel.

In his message, MGen. Faustino stressed the importance of properly performing the tasks and emphasized the participation of the AFP units in the Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (TF-ELCAC) in view of the Executive Order No. 70 as a solution for the more than five decades of insurgency problem in the country.

“We are optimistic of the security situation in our country. We have gained significant headways but the challenge is how we can sustain our efforts. Hence, we need to perform our tasks 100 percent and contribute to our campaign in our own little ways. Our job is to protect the people and secure the land,” he said.  

Meanwhile, BGen. Licudine said that the visit of the top commander of the whole Eastern Mindanao Command is a big boost to the morale of the troops, particularly in the pursuit to end the insurgency problem in Caraga.

"We will perform in accordance with the guidance of the commander of the EastMinCom particularly in our participation to the TF–ELCAC in sustaining the peace and security in Caraga region,” he said. (402nd Infantry Brigade, Phil. Army/PIA-Caraga)


Kaalaman sa pagtukoy ng tamang impormasyon ibinahagi sa mga kabataan sa Butuan

By Nora C. Lanuza

LUNGSOD NG BUTUAN, Pebrero 18 (PIA) -- Ang kahalagahan ng pagkakaroon ng sapat na impormasyon ay mahalaga lalo na kung ito ay tama at nakakatulong, ito ang binigyang diin sa ginagawang Youth for Truth caravan na dinaluhan ng mga kabataan, mag-aaral at mga student leaders sa Butuan City.

Sa panahon ngayon, lalo na na ang banta ng coronavirus ay patuloy na tinututukan, mahalaga lamang na magkroon ng tamang impormasyon ang mga tao.

Ayon kay Elimelech Mendoza V, napakahalagang kaganapan ang Youth for Truth caravan dahil na-equip silang mga kabataan kung paano lalabanan ang paglaganap ng fake news lalo na sa social media na karamihan gumagamit nito ay gaya nilang mga kabataan.

Masaya din si RM David Martinote na naging bahagi siya sa napakahalang kaganapang ito, ayon sa kanya usisain munang mabuti ang impormasyon bago ito i-share.

Nananawagan din ni Butuan City SK federation president Zynph Zephanee Nietes sa kapwa niyang mga kabataan na maging responsable at alisto sa mga impormasyong masasagap sa social media na huwag ito basta-bastang ikalat.

Bilang tugon din ng lokal na pamahalaan ng Butuan sa pagbibigay ng sapat na kaalaman sa mga kabataan, ibinahagi din ni Nietes ang pagrerevitalize ng local youth development plan ng lungsod.

Ang nasabing caravan ay isa sa mga programa ng gobyerno sa pamamagitan ng Presidential Communications Operations Office o PCOO sa pangunguna ni Secretary Martin M. Andanar upang turuan ang mga kabataan na maging katulong sa pagresolva ng paglaganap ng fake news.

Nagkaroon ng break-out sessions ang mga ito depende sa kanilang interest at masayang nakisali sa mga discussion ang bawat partisipante. Masaya naman si PCOO director Vinci Beltran sa naging resulta ng caravan na dinaluhan na mahigit isang daan at pitumpong kabataan. (NCLM/PIA Caraga)