(PAGASA 24-HOUR PUBLIC WEATHER FORECAST as of Tuesday, 24 November, 2020) Northeast Monsoon affecting Luzon and Visayas. Tail-End of Frontal System (Shearline) affecting the eastern sections of Mindanao. Caraga Region will experience Cloudy skies with scattered rainshowers and thunderstorm due to Tail-end of a Frontal System (Shearline). Possible flash floods or landslides due to light to moderate to at times heavy rains. Light to Moderate winds coming from Northeast to North will prevail and the coastal waters will be Slight to Moderate with wave height from 0.6 to 2.1 meters.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Caraga remains negative from COVID-19

By Jennifer P. Gaitano

BUTUAN CITY, March 26 (PIA) -- As announced by Dr. Jose Llacuna, Jr., Regional Director of the Department of Health (DOH)-Caraga, during his briefing on Thursday, the nine swab samples sent to the Southern Philippines Medical Center in Davao City were tested negative of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Dr. Llacuna bared that six patients were confined at the Caraga Regional Hospital in Surigao City while three were at the Adela Serra Ty Memorial Medical Center in Surigao del Sur.

 "We're happy to announce that none of them tested positive of COVID-19," he said.

Latest data showed a total of 36 patients under investigation (PUIs), 12 are currently admitted while 24 are on strict home quarantine. Three PUIs have already been discharged following negative results and good medical condition.

To date, Caraga region does not have a specialized molecular biology laboratory capable of performing biohazard tests like the COVID-19. Confirmatory testing for COVID-19 includes certain requirements like Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) based testing kits, Biosafety Level 2 (BSL 2) Cabinets, trained Medical Technologists on biohazard safety and the Biohazard Safety Laboratory itself which will cost millions in purchase and more time for proper training before operation. With this, all nose-throat swab collected samples of qualified Persons Under Investigation (PUIs) are brought to SPMC as it is the only qualified sub-national confirmatory testing laboratory in Mindanao, Dr. Lllacuna said.

“We collect samples from qualified individuals and bring them to SPMC in Davao City because we still don’t have the capacity to perform them here in the region. In the meantime, while we are still awaiting for the other results, I urge all Caraganons to continue cooperating with us, the LGUs, and the uniformed personnel by simply staying at home and practicing health preventive measures,” Dr. Llacuna added.

Based on the Department Memorandum No. 2020-0108, or the “Guidelines for Management of Patients with Possible and Confirmed COVID-19,” it stated that admitted patients with severe manifestations, elderlies, and PUIs with co-morbidities are the criteria for specimen collection and COVID-19 testing.

Meanwhile, Dr. Llacuna urged everyone in the region to continuously cooperate with the government in its effort to avert the spread of the dreaded coronavirus (COVID-19) disease. He further enjoined all Caraganons to follow precautionary measures for the region to remain as COVID-19-Free.

“We are all in this together. May it be big or small; we can contribute in halting the spread of this disease. I encourage everyone to continue to wash your hands, practice cough etiquette and physical distancing,” the health chief concluded. (JPG/DOH-13/PIA-Caraga)

DA issues food lane passes to ensure delivery of agri-fishery essential commodities

BUTUAN CITY, March 26 -- The food lane accreditation of the Department of Agriculture (DA) in the Caraga Region has already served 1,097 walk-in and online clients from the region.

DA Caraga through the Agribusiness and Marketing Assistance Division leads the issuances of the food pass and food lane vehicle pass cards to suppliers and farm producers. This is to ensure the unhampered delivery of food supply and other agricultural commodities amid the Community Quarantine period in the region due to coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

To fast track the applications the Local Government Units through the Provincial, City, and Municipal Agriculture Offices and the DA-Agriculture Program Coordinating Offices extended their assistance in the processing of documents in their respective areas.

According to OIC-Regional Technical Director for Operations Rebecca R. Atega the DA-Caraga augmented an additional workforce to act to the bulk of online applications and to cater to the needs of the walk-in clients.

"The verifying team makes sure that all applicants are complying with the needed requirements. The process of application is easy and it is also accessible online," Atega said.

In adherence to social distancing guidelines and to ensure that health and safety of both DA frontliners and applicants are not compromised, the Department encourages the online application, she added.

The agricultural suppliers are requiring to furnish scanned copies of the official receipt of registration, certificate or registration, and business permits.

They will also accomplish the Food Lane Accreditation Application Forms, Food Lane Reference Form, and Statement of Commitment, which can be downloaded on the department's website.

For livestock, poultry, and by-products, additional requirements include a scanned copy of the handler's license, accreditation of transport carriers from the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI), and accreditation of meat transport vehicles from the National Meat Inspection Service (NMIS). Transport of live hogs and pork products should continue to comply with shipping permits in monitoring the African Swine Fever (ASF).

On the other hand, OIC-RTD Atega recently coordinated with the Philippine National Police – Police Regional Office XIII (PNP-PRO XIII) and Philippine Army 402nd IB-4th ID to allow vehicles of agri-fishery suppliers issued with Food Lane stickers to pass the checkpoints with no hassles.

"In response to Agriculture Secretary Dar's directives, DA-Caraga seeks the assistance of the PNP and Phil Army to give immediate support during the product delivery as we value the importance of the unhampered movement of food supplies is necessary in these trying times," said OIC-RTD Atega.

Miguel Ledesma, owner of the St. Michael Rice & Corn Mill and Pidol Miki Factory in Barangay Noli, Bayugan City, is grateful for the initiative of the Department in issuing the Food Lane Conduct Pass.

"We cannot deny that this is also a risk for our suppliers. This is not just only for business but also this is part of my social responsibility to help more people as we commit to continue the delivery of our product to our distributors so that there will be available and affordable food for their customers. This is a big help for all of us," he said. (DA Caraga/PIA Caraga)

Caraga wins POPDEV nat’l contest anew

By May Ann O. Escobal

BUENAVISTA, Agusan del Norte, March 26 -- For the second year in a row, Caraga Region was declared Champion in Population and Development Quiz (POPQUIZ) during the recent National Festival of Talents at Ilagan City, Isabela jointly administered by the Department of Education (DepEd) and the Commission on Population and Development (POPCOM).

Joemarie B. Castones from Caraga Regional Science High School, Surigao City, won the 1st Place, the same school who brought honor to the region in the last year National PopQuiz. Marife C. Curada is the same coach who never gets tired in doing researches despite full-time work as classroom teacher.

In an interview, the young POPQUIZ wizard revealed that he felt very well-heeled for winning in one of the significant competitions for population and development.

Castones added that the event helped him increased his knowledge of the current issues faced by them, the young people.

Meanwhile, Merreny J. More of Antonio C. Dagani Central Elementary School, Cabadbaran City, ranked 2nd in Poster-Making contest in the said festival of talents.

More is thankful for the opportunity to showcase her artistic talent in poster-making; raising awareness by depicting the main issues on the rising incidence of too early pregnancy and encourage her fellow adolescents to become more sexually responsible to have a brighter and better future.

Castones and More are consistent honor students of their respective schools. As an agent of change, they continuously drive to great achievements by actively engaging into different competitions, academic or non-academic; inspiring their fellow young people to practice positive and responsible sexual behaviors among themselves.

In its continuing and intensified advocacy, POPCOM underlined the significance of the Festival of Talents as one key strategy of the Adolescent Health and Development (AHD) Program, where students challenge one another in the battle for population and development knowledge and information.

The Festival of Talents is an innovative way to reach young people and involve them in the advocacy while showcasing their skills and talents. This is done yearly from school elimination to division and regional level. (POPCOM Caraga/PIA Caraga)


SK leaders render service as Army reservists amid quarantine

By Doreen Marielle N. Rosales

BUTUAN CITY, Mar. 26 (PIA) -- Upon the implementation of the community quarantine in Butuan City, the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) leaders in the city have partaken in the heightened inspection in the checkpoints alongside police and military forces.

Former SK Federation president Engr. Wen Kok Lim Chiang II reiterated that all SK leaders will automatically become reservists upon their appointment to the position. As such, they are to respond to the directives of the military, especially at dire times such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

“As we are only reservists, we may not be equipped with advance level training such as those of our police and military personnel but we are doing our best to help our local government and maximize our role as public servants," he added.

Much like the police and military personnel, the reservists are tasked to conduct thermal scanning and profiling of visitors in the city.

Engr. Chiang recounted some of the major problems faced by the military and police personnel during their shifts such as the failure of the residents and visitors alike to comply with the protocol imposed under community quarantine. Despite the mandatory stay-at-home policy, some still choose to go out and loiter in public. There would also be instances that those waiting in line in the checkpoints would mock and sometimes curse them.

The youth’s act of volunteerism has thus contributed significantly to improve the response of the local government unit (LGU) of Butuan in repressing the spread of the disease in the region.

At present, thirty-seven SK leaders are designated at the five entry and exit checkpoints in the city. In order to continue fulfilling their other duties as youth officials, they work by shifts. In terms of sanitation, the former SK president bared that they are also made to follow disinfection procedures to maintain hygiene and sanitation. (PIA-Caraga)