(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).

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

AgNor ELCAC Task Force intensifies campaign vs CNTs

By Nora C. Lanuza

BUTUAN CITY, Feb. 26 (PIA) – “The province of Agusan del Norte is now in full swing in the implementation of Executive Order NO. 70,” says Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) provincial director Ellen Vee P. Chua, in an interview, during the Provincial Peace and Order Council (PPOC) meeting held Wednesday, here.

A convergence of efforts has been done to realize the order of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte to end local communist armed conflict (ELCAC) in the country, Chua said. The members of the ELCAC Provincial Task Force headed by provincial governor Dale B. Corvera, national government agencies and local government units, military, policemen and even private sectors have joined hands to solve the insurgency problem of the province through the conduct of community immersions by providing different services, consultations, fora, and many more.

According to director Chua, 90 percent of the municipalities of the province and 97 percent of its barangays have already organized their local ELCAC task forces. "They are now conducting different activities especially those insurgent-affected areas," Chua added.  

Meanwhile, following the assessment through the series of campaigns made by the 23rd Infantry (Masigasig) Battalion (23IB), Philippine Army headed by commanding officer Ltc. Francisco L. Molina, Jr. that the influence of the New People’s Army (NPA) has already reached inside campuses in both elementary and high school in the province. Ltc. Molina described the situation as alarming.

Because of this, the 23IB in coordination with the Department of Education (DepEd) Agusan del Norte and with the support of second district representative Ma. Angelica Rosedell M. Amante-Matba has conducted a series of information drive to the different schools to counter the NPAs propaganda and in their recruitment of the youth.

Molina said the information drive has also enlightened the youth on the true intention of the NPAs because they usually disguise as their friends. (NCLM/PIA Agusan del Norte)

Value adding through chocolate making

BUTUAN CITY, Feb. 26 -- Start small but dream big! This was the message of Marinus Heemskerk, Resource Speaker during the Chocolate Making Training conducted by the Caraga Cacao Industry Council in coordination with the Department of Agriculture (DA)-Caraga, Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA), Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA), Department of Trade and Industry, Department of Science and Technology and DA-Agricultural Training Institute (ATI).

“Learn to crawl first before you start to run,” he told the participants who were mostly cacao growers and “tableya” processors.

Heemskerk is a food technologist and chocolate processor from the Netherlands. He discussed the process of chocolate making explaining the importance of each step.

The two-day training was held at the ATI Training Complex on February 21 and 22.

Caraga Cacao Industry Council Chairman Christopher Lindo said they organized the training to present cacao farmers another opportunity they can tap from their cacao production. He also said the training is also in line with the pursuit of the DA to encourage farmers to go into value-adding.

“Hopefully after this training, new chocolatiers will emerge in the region,” he said. 

On the other hand, another Resource Speaker, Mary Grace Belviz, facilitated the demo on actual chocolate making.

Belviz is a chocolatier from Davao City. She and her husband Emmanuel own Rosario’s Chocolate. She shared that they too started small but gradually, through hard work and perseverance, their chocolate making business is now growing.

“Chocolate making requires a lot of patience so you have to put your heart into it,” she said.

Further, Belviz emphasized that making good quality chocolates starts with using quality cacao beans. She encouraged the farmers to follow good farming practices to meet the demands of the market and command higher prices for their products.

On the other hand, Istanislao O. Basalo, a cacao grower and tableya processor from Tagbina, Surigao del Sur said he was thankful for the opportunity to attend the training because he gained new learnings that he hopes to make use of soon.

Cacao is one of Caraga region’s priority commodities. It is also the main ingredient in chocolate making. (Vanessa P. Sanchez, DA Caraga/PIA Caraga)

Bishop: Communist ideology not compatible with Christian faith

By 1Lt. Krisjuper Andreo Punsalan

BAYUGAN CITY, Agusan del Sur, Feb. 26 – “Espousing the communist ideology is not compatible with Christian faith.” 

This was the statement of Most Rev. Cosme Damian R. Almedilla, D.D., Bishop of Butuan, during a courtesy call of Brigadier General Lincoln Francisco T. Tagle, Armed Forces of the Philippines, Special Forces Regiment Commander, held recently at the Bishop’s House at St. Peter Seminary, Ampayon, Butuan City.

Bishop Almedilla bared that based on theology, communism is an atheistic ideology and in its sense, is anti-religious. He stressed that the communists in the country have been using religion or Christian faith's credibility not really for faith, but as a material and front to gain more sympathizers.

Meanwhile, BGen. Lincoln Francisco T. Tagle emphasized that the Church and other religious groups should also be protected from the deceptive tactics of the Communist NPA Terrorists (CNTs) who are taking undue advantage on the kind-heartedness of our religious leaders.

The 3rd Special Forces “Arrowhead” Battalion, the unit that covers the area of conflict-affected IP Communities of from Lianga to the Southern part of San Miguel, Surigao del Sur, sought an advice to the Bishop on the proper approaches to promote reconciliation to end insurgency.

“We really need to have a unified partnership with the religious sector because they are the subject matter experts in promoting reconciliation which can help induce more peaceful surrenders in the future,” said Lieutenant Colonel Joey B. Baybayan, 3SFBn commanding officer.

Moreover, the Army was alarmed through the revelations of former rebels that some religious groups in Lianga were the ones backing the alleged CNT-affiliated militant and anti-government group, the Malahutayong Pakigbisog alang sa mga Sumusunod (MAPASU) to request the Surigao Province to stop the Community Support Program and the implementation of Executive Order No. 70 to End Local Communist Armed Conflict in the area.

Bishop Almedilla reminded the diocesan and missionary religious groups on the teachings of the Lord on reconciliation to attain genuine peace and encouraged them to focus on ministering faith and not an ideology.

“We need a new expression of solidarity and the poor and this should not be related to the communist ideology,“ the bishop exclaimed. (CMO officer, 3SFBn/PIA-Agusan del Sur)

Caraga RTF-ELCAC to provide better access for legal services 

By Doreen Marielle N. Rosales

BUTUAN CITY, Feb. 26 (PIA) -- In the recent 3rd Regular Meeting of the Legal Cooperation Cluster (LCC) of Caraga Regional Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (RTF-ELCAC) held recently here, the said cluster vows to better the provision of legal services especially during service caravans, as agreed upon by its members.

LCC chairperson and regional prosecutor Atty. John S. Magdaraog called for the members of the cluster to discuss the programs and plans for the current year 2020.

One of the major discussions in the meeting is the creation of a more organized comprehensive database of incidents and criminal cases involving the communist terrorist groups (CTGs).

Atty. Magdaraog said that there is an observed incongruence of the data submitted by the Philippine National Police (PNP) Caraga with that possessed by the Prosecutors Office (PO).

In response, the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) Caraga regional director Ferdausi Cerna and PNP Caraga representative PCapt. Junalyn Suan agreed to collaborate to produce a more accurate data for the issue.

Cases involving CTGs

According to the data presented during the meeting, a total of 1,137 cases have been reported in the region, comprising of 300 cases filed from the province of Agusan del Sur; 348 cases in Agusan del Norte; 252 cases in Surigao del Sur and; 233 cases in Surigao del Norte yet only over 766 cases have been duly filed in the Prosecutors Office.

In Agusan del Norte, only 280 cases were officially documented, 155 of which were duly filed. Only about 91 cases were validated by the cluster’s Secretariat as of December 31, 2019. Over 10 of these complaints were withdrawn during the preliminary investigation (PI); one complaint was partially dismissed during PI. Eighty complaints were filed during the preliminary investigation.

Moreover, 53 complaints are awaiting trial, 23 have been archived and four were dismissed.

Among the total number of cases from the specified province, 131 complaints involved murder/homicide, both frustrated and attempted; seven complaints involved arson; one complaint involved kidnapping; two complaints involved robbery; one complaint involved trafficking in person (TIP) and; one complaint involved inciting in sedition.

With the improved comprehensive database, the cluster can handle cases against CTGs better, especially with the strengthened implementation of the Executive Order No. 70 in the country.

LCC 2020 plans and projects

Magdaraog also raised the issue concerning the lack of beneficiaries of their legal services, as observed during the recent 4th RTF-ELCAC Peace Caravan in Brgy. Mt. Carmel, Bayugan City, Agusan del Sur.

As such, the cluster has proposed of erecting a booth exclusive for legal services provided by LCC and intensified awareness campaign by distributing information, education and communication campaign (IEC) materials with the cooperation of the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) Caraga.

In addition, the airing of a Legal Hour radio program was also proposed, wherein line agencies are able to inform the public of the legalities of certain issues relating to their respective mandates. (DMNR/VLG/PIA-Caraga)

DSWD Caraga’s FMS is 2019 PRAISE Best Knowledge Management Initiative

BUTUAN CITY, Feb. 26 -- The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Field Office Caraga is again on the spotlight for its innovative systems during the recently concluded DSWD 69th Anniversary held at the DSWD Central Office in Quezon City.

The Field Office bagged the Best Knowledge Management Initiative during the Program on Awards and Incentives for Service Excellence (PRAISE) Awards 2019 for its Integrated Financial Monitoring System (INFIMOS) and Text Query System, designed and developed by the Financial Management Division (FMD).

INFIMOS is a management tool used to monitor funds utilization. It is an advanced computerized system used by DSWD Caraga’s Accounting, Budget, and Cash Sections for the recording of details of the transactions of all funds, programs, and services.

DSWD Caraga is the only Field Office in the country that has this kind of automated financial system.

The INFIMOS, which was initially introduced in 2014, has been the workhorse of FMD Caraga since then.

Due to its benefits, the said system has been used by DSWD Caraga until the present. The nominated team/system developers have been continuously adding new features and functionality resulting to a more useful and powerful system that truly supports the implementation of various programs in its financial management and many more ways.

INFIMOS has stored 1,661,348 pages of digital images of 62,708 vouchers and supporting documents. These digitized file storage of INFIMOS resulted in savings on office supplies. The 1,661,348 pages of digital files amount to 3,322 reams of paper. The office had saved about P764,000.00 because of this.

Due to INFIMOS, it has become less daunting to account, analyze, report, manage the numerous accounts covering the P2.5-billion budget of DSWD Caraga for its 36 programs and projects, 45 responsibility centers, 11 bank accounts, and more than 1,000 employees.

Among the benefits of INFIMOS are accuracy of records and reports; reconciled records of Accounting, Budget, and Cash Sections; shorten processing time and reduce the burden of heavy workload on the staff; status and whereabouts of vouchers are tracked; and data and files are ensured from loss since they are digitized and backed up.

Moreover, another best initiative of DSWD Caraga is the Text Query System, which is a facility for use of staff, vendors, and service providers to get information, about the status of their claims and payment made, thru text message. The system is fully automated to provide information upon the request of staff, vendors, and service providers – 24/7.

It is a facility for FO Staff, Vendors and Service providers – makes use of tracking of claims and status of payment and whereabouts of Suppliers and Service Providers’ claim in the INFIMOS to autonomously respond to their queries.

With information on details of payment, vendors and suppliers can claim the payment as soon as check or ADA is made. Thereby, it hastens the payment and with OR issued, the transaction’s voucher can be submitted to COA early.

The PRAISE or the Program on Awards and Incentives for Service Excellence is designed to encourage creativity, innovativeness, efficiency, integrity, and productivity in the public service by recognizing and rewarding officials and employees, individually or groups, by providing incentives and rewards for their suggestions, inventions, superior enhancement, efficiency, economy or other improvement in government operations/service. (DSWD-Caraga/PIA-Caraga)

AgNor ELCAC task force puspusan ang ginagawang kampanya laban sa CNTs

By Nora C. Lanuza

LUNGSOD NG BUTUAN, Pebrero 26 (PIA) -- Tulong-tulong ang pagsagawa ng mga aktibidad ang iba’t ibang myembro ng provincial task force to end local communist armed conflict (PTF-ELCAC) sa probinsya ng Agusan del Norte, kasama ang mga local government units, mga sundalo, pulis at maging mga pribadong ahensya upang tuluyang maresolba ang problema ng insurhensiya.

Ayon kay Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Agusan del Norte provincial director Ellen Vee Chua, nasa 90 porsyento na ang mga munisipyo at 97 porsyento na rin ang mga barangays na may local task force, lahat na mga ito ay may mga aktibidad na ginagawa kagaya ng mga community immersion sa mga lugar na apektado ng insurhensiya.

Puspusan din ang ginagawang  information drive ng 23rd Infantry Batallion (23IB) ng Philippine Army kasama ang Department of Education sa mga malalayong paaalan sa Agusan del Norte ukol sa banta at panlilinlang ng New People's Army.Ito ay kasunod ng ulat ng umano'y pagrerecruit ng  NPAs sa mga paaralan.

Bahagi rin ito ng hakbang ng PTF-ELCAC sa probinsya para tuluyang maresolba ang problema ng insurhensiya.

Sa ginawang information drive, pinakiusapan din ni second district representative Maria Angelica Rosedell Amante-Matba ang mga guro na tumulong na protektahan ang mga mag-aaral sa mga masamang hangarin ng mga NPAs.

Binigyan ng 23IB ng kaalaman ang mga guro at estudyante hinggil sa mga malateroristang gawain nga mga NPAs at maaring pagrerecruit sa kanila upang maliwanagan ang mga ito sa tutuong hangarin at pagkatao ng mga NPAs. (NCLM/PIA Agusan del Norte)