(PAGASA 24-HOUR PUBLIC WEATHER FORECAST as of Tuesday, 05 March 2024) Northeast Monsoon affecting 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 to Easterlies/Localized Thunderstorms. Possible flash floods or landslides during severe thunderstorms. Moderate to strong winds coming from Northeast to East will prevail with moderate to rough seas (1.2 to 2.8 meters).

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

No COVID-19 case in Caraga, says DOH regional chief

By Nora C. Lanuza

BUTUAN CITY, Feb. 19 (PIA) -- While the region has no confirmed cases yet of the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19), the Department of Health (DOH) in Caraga said only one person is under investigation (PUI) for manifesting flu-like symptoms.

DOH Caraga Regional Director Dr. Jose R. Llacuna said his office with the help of the Emerging and Re-Emerging Infectious Disease (EREID) Task Force, local government units (LGUs) and other concerned agencies has intensified its campaign to address issues and concerns on COVID-19 in the region.

Llacuna called on Caraganons to continuously listen to the health advisories of the DOH and verify sources of information for public order and safety.

As of February 17, 2020, the DOH Caraga has only 12 patients under monitoring or PUMs.

Llacuna said, a total of 36 PUM cases were recorded in the region and 24 of these cases have already completed the 14-day monitoring period. Because of this, he emphasized to practice a healthy lifestyle, do the regular handwashing and proper cough etiquette to prevent the spread of the COVID-19. “Our PUI is recovering now with an only mild cough and no fever, the patient’s specimen was already sent to the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) for a confirmatory test,” he said.

Llacuna has also commended the LGUs especially the surveillance officers for the implementation and monitoring of the PUMs during their home quarantine.

Meanwhile, the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) Port Management Office of Agusan del Norte has also seriously implemented the 14-day quarantine anchorage to one Chinese vessel M/V Jin Shui in Nasipit, Agusan del Norte that arrived in the area on February 7.

Port Manager Mildred Padilla said, the 22 crew of the said vessel were all given clearance by the authorities of the COVID-19 disease.

Padilla said that on February 15, M/V Jin Shui has already sailed towards Tubay, Agusan del Norte for the loading of Nickle ore from Agata Mining.

Also, Padilla said that PPA Agusan with the help of the Rural Health Unit of Nasipit is continuously monitoring COVID-19 and checking passengers coming into the province using the non-contact thermometers. Passengers can also view the video materials on COVID-19 in the televisions installed at the passenger terminal of Nasipit for them to know, be aware and protect themselves from the disease. (NCLM/PIA Caraga)

SurSur town sets up checkpoint vs COVID-19

One of the checkpoints established in Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur along major highways for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). (Photo credit: LGU HInatuan)
BISLIG CITY, Surigao del Sur, Feb. 19 (PIA) -- A checkpoint was set up by the local government unit of Hinatuan in entry point bound for Enchanted River, one of the famous tourist destinations in the province, as a precautionary measure against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). 

Based on the report, the setting up of the checkpoint was aimed to facilitate the speedy tracking of persons who had traveled to countries affected by the COVID-19 and those infected with the deadly disease.

The members of the task force have already conducted a meeting on the matter earlier to map out its strategies to prevent the entry of the tourists coming from the places with identified cases of COVID-19. 

Hinatuan Vice Mayor Atty. Tito Cañedo, Acting Mayor, signed the Executive Order No. 5 Series of 2020 last February 03, 2020, in the absence of Mayor Shem Garay, imposing a temporary ban on tourists from China and other nations with COVID-19 cases from entering the tourism destinations and facilities in the Municipality of Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur.

Admission at the checkpoint is from 8:00 A.M. until 5:00 P.M. with no early admission allowed. (with a report from LGU-Hinatuan Information Office/PIA-Bislig City)

Butuanons donate blood to ensure enough supply in hospitals

By Jennifer P. Gaitano

BUTUAN CITY, Feb. 19 (PIA) -- More than 300 Butuanons have donated their blood during a bloodletting activity held inside a mall here, in time with the Valentine's Day celebration on Friday with the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) Agusan del Norte-Butuan City Chapter.

Said activity was aimed to ensure that there is enough blood supply for those who would need it in any hospital in the city, including the office of Philippine Red Cross local chapter.

The number of individuals who donated their blood this year is higher compared to last year.

Ronalyn Nimez and Mary Grace Lava, both Criminology students, are among of those who came early at the venue and participated in the bloodletting activity.

They claimed that apart from their intention to help other individuals, donating blood also gives several health advantages to them, as it helps in improving cardiovascular health and reducing the risk of cancer, among others.

“I really wanted to help other people who are in need of blood for their medication. In this little way, I hope I could help them save their lives,” cited Nimez.

“Donating blood has a lot of advantages to our body, that’s why I don’t hesitate doing it regularly,” said Lava.

According to Israel Palero, station manager of 95.1 Love Radio in Butuan City, who also initiated and organized the said activity, they wanted to help Butuanons in need of blood and ensure that there is enough supply of it.

He further stressed that as concerned media partner, they do not only provide entertainment to the listening public, but also extend help to them.

“This has been our second year for the bloodletting activity and we are optimistic that more will be joining in this cause to help other people who are in need of blood. We do not only give joy to people through entertainment, but we also care and want to help them in any way possible,” Palero said.

Meanwhile, officer incharge-administrator Alger Boter of the PRC Agusan del Norte-Butuan City chapter called on the public to regularly donate their blood every three months. He also emphasized that whoever needs one could directly visit their office or in any hospital where their patient is to be confined.

“The conduct of bloodletting activity really contributes a lot in sustaining enough blood supply in the hospitals for the patients. I am calling on our co-Butuanons to continue to support such activity and encourage others to do the same. You can donate regularly every three months,” bared Boter. (JPG/PIA-Caraga)

AgNor OKs ordinance granting financial assistance to SK officials

By Nora C. Lanuza

BUTUAN CITY, Feb. 19 (PIA) -- An ordinance authored by honorable Keefe Blue R. Leonar, Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) Federation president, granting financial medical assistance to all SK officials in the province of Agusan del Norte, has been signed on Monday at the provincial capitol lobby, here.

The said signing was attended by Governor Dale Corvera and other provincial officials and witnessed by SK officials from the different municipalities and city of the province.
Governor Corvera, in his message, challenged the SK officials present to regularly conduct activities for the betterment of the youth in the province.

In his response, Leonar thanked the provincial government for supporting the SK officials and members. “The financial assistance adds motivation to the SK to perform more and be an active instrument for other youth to even do good,” he said.

In the Provincial Ordinance No. 544-2020, all SK officials (elective and appointive) in the province of Agusan del Norte may avail of the financial assistance in the maximum amount of P10,000 during their hospitalization. Also, the granting of such assistance shall be based on the billing in excess of PhilHealth deduction but not to exceed the P10,000.00 subject for evaluation by the Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office, and only be availed once by the SK officials.

The province of Agusan del Norte has 167 barangays with 1,670 SK officials. (NCLM/PIA Agusan del Norte)

31 former rebels receive E-CLIP benefits

By 1Lt. Miguel O. Borromeo

CABADBARAN CITY, Agusan del Norte, Feb. 19 --  Thirty-one former rebels (FRs) who already have surrendered to the 29th Infantry (MATATAG) Battalion (29IB), Philippine Army recently received the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) benefits at the headquarters of 29IB, Brgy. Del Pilar, this city.

The said benefits which have been given to the FRs included financial assistance, food packs and personal hygiene kits. Before being given the benefits, they were first subjected to some assessment and interview.

Sheryl Ann C. Disucatan, the Regional Social Welfare development Officer encouraged the FRs in her statement, “While there is life, there is hope. So, never lose hope and keep on believing that change and a better day for every one of you will surely come.

Remember that taking up arms against each other will never be a good solution to any of our problems. Yes, the government is willing to help, but the government will not be there all the time for you, you need also to help yourself. Because the change and help that you are all seeking will primarily start from YOU, and the rest will just follow."

Rosalind R. Sur, Provincial Social Welfare Development Officer reminded the FRs that these E-CLIP benefits are government programs to help them, "So, please plan and spend it well on things that will help and benefit yourself and your family. I hope there will be more training sessions and programs that other agencies will offer for your benefit," she said.

Lt. Col. Isagani O. Criste, Commanding Officer of 29IB, said he was grateful and happy to see how mindful the government is to its people especially in fulfilling its promise to help those former rebels who have once lost their way but have now found their way back. "This Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) of the government is truly a blessing to our brothers and sisters who are now willing to change for the better,” he said.

“And yes, the government is doing its best to help and support its people. But I hope you may realize also that not all the time will there be a government who will look after all of your needs, a government that could always provide you whatever you want in an instant. No, that doesn’t work that way because just like us, our government isn’t perfect. But you and I know that we can do something to support the government and more so can we do something to help ourselves,” Criste ended. (CMO Officer, 29IB, PA/PIA Agusan del Norte)

SurSur LGU bans pigs, pork products from areas affected by swine fever

BISLIG CITY Surigao del Sur, Feb. 19 (PIA) --  The local chief of executive of Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur has issued on Tuesday a temporary entry ban on live pigs and pork-by-products from Luzon and African Swine Fever (ASF) affected areas in Mindanao.

Based on the report, Hinatuan Mayor Shem Garay, through an Executive Order No. 08 series of 2020, temporarily banned all live pigs, pork, and pork-related products, and by-products whether fresh, frozen, processed or cooked from ASF affected areas to prevent the spread of the swine disease and further protect the local hog industry in the municipality.

Likewise, the backyard hog raisers were prohibited from practicing swill feeding (locally known as 'bahug' or 'lamaw') to prevent further spread of the deadly pig virus as food leftovers may contain contaminated pork meat.

Mayor Garay then urged the hog raisers, whether in small or commercial scale, to be vigilant and encouraged to immediately report sick pigs or incidence of pig mortality to the Municipal Agriculture Office.

“The local government unit of Hinatuan will be adopting stringent measures to prevent the invasion of the ASF in the municipality and protect the hog raisers and the swine industry,” said Mayor Garay, in a press statement.

The coordination meeting has already been conducted in the said municipality participated by the concerned government agencies, barangay captains from the 24 barangays, and private individuals engaged in hog-related business. (with a report from LGU-Hinatuan/PIA-Bislig City)

Rotary, ACE to host golf tournament for a cause

By Doreen Marielle N. Rosales

BUTUAN CITY, Feb. 19 (PIA) -- The Rotary Club of Butuan (RCB) has partnered with the Association of Caraga Executives (ACE) and West Highlands Golf Club Inc. (WHGC) for the conduct of the three-day 12th Caraga Executives Open (CEO) Golf Tournament on May 15 to 17, 2020 at the West Highlands Golf Club in Brgy. Bon-bon, this city.

This is in line with the said organizations’ pledge to conduct at least one golf tournament with WHGC every year for 2020 to 2022.

Accordingly, tasking and designation of responsible personnel will be shared with the organizations involved. The host gold club will facilitate the registration before and during the tournament, including the scoring, and in tee-off times. In addition, WHGC will be designating the marshals for the duration of the event.

Partner organizations are tasked with assigning a rules committee that shall organize the rules of the play. Streamers and other advertising paraphernalia will likewise be produced, with the approval of WHGC Golf Operation Ben Ramos and Andy Bartolome.

The RCB and/or ACE are given the authority to determine the placement and distance of the pins, as well as the personnel who will serve as the hole-in-one witness during the tournament but with the supervision of the WHGC golf operation personnel.

WHGC has offered to produce other equipment needed for the tournament, such as fore caddies and hole markers, and ten units of golf carts, as well as two marshals and additional personnel for the participants’ accommodation and partner organizations are tasked to cover the expenses.

The proceeds for this year’s tournament will be given to Balay Silongan, a shelter house for street children situated in Brgy. Pinamungkulan, Butuan City. (DMNR/VLG/PIA-Caraga)

Digging at the roots for better program implementation

By Vanessa P. Sanchez

As the saying goes, to effectively solve problems, you have to dig at the roots.

Thus, the Department of Agriculture (DA) Undersecretary for High Value Crops Development Program (HVCDP) Evelyn G. Laviña conducted a ground-level monitoring and evaluation of HVCDP implemented projects in the Caraga Region on February 10.
Laviña said that their role at the central office is to craft policies and guidelines for the various programs and projects being implemented.

“We want to ensure that the policies we make at the top will really fit the needs of our stakeholders that is why we came here to personally interact with the farmers and see the real scenario at the regional level.  We also want to see how the interventions are being implemented and if the recipients are benefitting from it,” she said.

Moreover, Laviña said they want to solicit inputs from the stakeholders themselves on how the program can be improved further.

The group visited the Sitio Antipolo Farmers Association of Buenavista, Agusan del Norte, Inc. and the  Simbalan Rubber Farmers Association, Inc. in Agusan del Norte, the Agricultural Resource Center of the Office of the Provincial Agriculture in Agusan del Sur, the Magkiangkang Multi-Purpose Cooperative (MAMPC) in Bayugan. Agusan del Sur, the Farmers Alternative to Self-Reliance Multi-Purpose Cooperative (FASRMCO), and the Km. 7 Farmers Producers Cooperative in Butuan City.

Aside from discussing their projects, Usec. Laviña also discussed to the farmers about the Agricultural Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (ACEF), a lending program of the DA that aims to increase the productivity of farmers and fisherfolk by providing the necessary credit. Further, she shared about the Kapital Access for Young Agripreneurs (KAYA) a lending program for farming enthusiasts aged 18-30 years old which aims to bring back the interest of the young generation to farming.

The Undersecretary also emphasized to the farmers the importance of crop diversification for improved productivity and increased income.

On the other hand, Gerry Obsid, the Chairman of SAFABAI, a group of coffee growers from Buenavista, Agusan del Norte said he was thankful that Usec. Laviña was able to visit their place for them to see their situation.

“I appreciate this initiative of the government, that they really came down to our level because it shows their commitment to serving the farmers,” he said. (DA-Caraga/PIA Caraga)

SMILE project addresses off-grid islands’ power, dev’t needs

A Solar ComMunity-Based Island Tourism and Livelihood Energizer Platform (SMILE Project) was being piloted in four sites of this province which addresses the islands’ power and development needs.

The SMILE project, which is being funded by the European Union (EU), is aimed at enhancing their capacity and resiliency against the impacts of climate change by harnessing the power of technology, such as renewable solar energy that have low-to-zero GHG emissions and connected to a resilient and efficient power network to provide sustainable and adequate 24/7 electricity; provides environmentally sound livelihood interventions to attain longer term human and environmental resilience; and developing the islands’ eco-tourism potentials.

All these were made possible by the World Wide Fund for Nature-Philippines (WWF-Philippines), together with the University of the Philippines Asian Institute of Tourism (UPAIT), Association of Isolated Electric Cooperatives (AIEC) through its subsidiary, AIEC Missionary Green Energy Corporation (AIEC MGEC), Siargao Electric Cooperative (SIARELCO), Dinagat Island Electric Cooperative (DIELCO), the Municipality of Del Carmen, and Dinagat Province Tourism Council, in cooperation with the local government units of the Province of Surigao del Norte and Dinagat Islands.

Small-scale fishing communities often live a vulnerable existence. Physically, fishing is a demanding job. It also solely depends on what nature can offer at a particular time. And fishing is fraught with danger, even at the best of times.

In these days where the global community is facing a climate emergency, fishing resources, just like any other environmental resources that sustain households and communities are on a steady decline due to overexploitation in some parts that resulted to a diminishing supply. This put intense pressure on fishing families and communities to make ends meet.

A disruption in fishing is also a disruption in the community since fishing is not just a livelihood, especially in the islands, but a way of life. And this is more pronounced in the island-barangays of Anajawan, where 17 percent of residents aged 15 years old and over are dependent on fishing; Cab-ilan (22 percent); Halian (25 percent); and Kanihaan (17 percent).

Anajawan and Halian, located in the municipalities of General Luna and Del Carmen in Siargao, Surigao del Norte, respectively; and Cab-ilan and Kanihaan, in the municipalities of Dinagat and Libjo, both in the Province of Dinagat Islands; have huge eco-tourism potentials but their lack of 24/7 electricity services, isolation and climate vulnerabilities are hindering the economic opportunities such as livelihood and their development.

They are also very vulnerable to climate shocks. Identified climate change drivers of risks are sea-level rise (SLR), storm surge, tropical storm, increasing air and sea surface temperature and changing rainfall patterns. The risks also include loss of adaptive capacity and ecosystem services on which lives and livelihood of small island inhabitants depend.

Tourists are already visiting these islands to surf, dive or snorkel, among others, but due to lack of reliable 24-hour power and accommodation, there is hardly any development going on in the communities.

An essential part of sustainable eco-tourism is an eco-friendly accommodation that combines conservation with relaxation, whose operations integrate sustainability into its core. Eco-tourism is hailed as a more sustainable form of tourism since the tourists aim to reduce their impact on the environment while partaking in activities that immerse them in nature and promote the conservation of the natural environment they have come to enjoy.

Eco-tourism, according to the World Conservation Union, is an “environmentally responsible travel to natural areas, in order to enjoy and appreciate nature (and accompanying cultural features, both past and present) that promote conservation, have a low visitor impact and provide for beneficially active socio-economic involvement of local peoples.”

Integral to eco-tourism is the use of renewable energy in the project sites. In the case of the SMILE project, a solar powerhouse will be constructed on each site. Powering these powerhouses is an array of solar panels on the roofs of the micro hotels which will also be constructed in the four barangays to accommodate tourists.

With such power plant, the islands become self-sufficient in terms of energy and will no longer rely on GHG-emitting and noisy diesel-fueled generator sets that disturb locals, tourists and guests, and also the wildlife. The islands then have zero to low carbon emissions to help mitigate climate change. (WWF-Philippines/VLG/PIA-Surigao del Norte)

Butuanons nagkaisa sa bloodletting activity sa Araw ng mga Puso


By Jennifer P. Gaitano

LUNGSOD NG BUTUAN, Pebrero 19 (PIA) -- Mahigit 300 Butuanons ang nag-donate sa isinagawang bloodletting activity sa lungsod ng Butuan kasabay ng selebrasyon ng Araw ng mga Puso noong biyernes, katuwang ang Philippine Red Cross Agusan del Norte-Butuan City Chapter.

Layon nitong masigurong may sapat na supply ng dugo para sa mga mangangailangan na  mga ospital, maging sa Philippine Red Cross.

Tumaas ang bilang ng donors ngayon kumpara noong nakaraang taon. Sina Ronalyn Nimez at Mary Grace Lava, na pawang Criminology students ay kabilang sa mga maagang nagpunta at nag-donate ng kanilang dugo.

Ayon sa dalawa, maliban sa nakakatulong na sila sa iba, may kabutihang naidudulot rin ito sa kanilang kalusugan.

“Gusto ko talagang makatulong sa kapwa. Sa maliit na bagay at sa paraang ito, alam kong marami ang makikinabang at buhay na masasagip,” ani ni Nimez.

“Mabuti naman ang naidudulot na epekto sa katawan ng pagdodonate ng dugo kaya hindi ako maghihinayang na tumulong sa kapwa ko,” pahayag ni Lava.

Ayon kay Israel Palero, manager ng Love Radio Butuan na siyang nag-organisa sa nasabing bloodletting, layun nilang makatulong din sa kapwa maliban sa pagbibigay kasihayan sa mga ito.

“Pangalawang taon na naming ginagawa ito kasama ang Philippine Red Cross at iba pang stakeholders at masaya kami dahil dumarami rin ang sumusuporta at gustong tumulong,” sabi ni Palero.

Hinimok naman ni officer-in-charge administrator Alger Boter ng Philippine Red Cross Agusan del Norte-Butuan City Chapter ang lahat na ugaliing magdonate ng dugo kada tatlong buwan.

“Ang pagsagawa ng bloodletting ay malaking tulong upang matugunan ang pangangailangan ng mga pasyente sa ospital. Ugaliing mag-donate ng dugo kada tatlong buwan dahil maliban sa nakakatulong na kayo sa ibang tao, may magandang naidudulot rin ito sa inyong katawan,” ani ni Boter. (JPG/PIA-Caraga)