(PAGASA 24-HOUR PUBLIC WEATHER FORECAST as of Monday, 04 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).

Sunday, April 12, 2020

LTFRB-13 chief calls on employers to provide temporary shelter, assistance to workers

By Jennifer P. Gaitano

BUTUAN CITY, April 12 (PIA) -- Due to tight implementation of the Enhanced Community Quarantine in the entire Caraga region, operation of the public utility vehicles was temporarily suspended.

Kristina Cassion, OIC reguonal director of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB)-Caraga, bared that effective April 8, the agency implemented the suspension of operation of the public transportation in the region.

However, several private establishments including government agencies in the region are still operating in order to cater and accommodate the locals on their basic necessities and services, and other essentials. Hence, their workers are also affected particularly those who are far from their workplaces.

She then asked other government agencies and private establishments still operating to also provide assistance to their personnel, which include shuttle services for them as they continue to do their functions or may also provide a temporary shelter so it would not be hard enough for them to travel to and from their houses to their respective workplaces.

The LTFRB also provides free shuttle services intended for the frontliners and health workers. “Prior to the implementation of the Enhanced Community Quarantine, we have prepared a contingency plan to ensure that the health workers in Butuan City and parts of Agusan del Norte would be able to work in the health facilities, hence, we provided shuttle buses with corresponding routes in a day,” she cited.

She expressed hope that the “Libreng Sakay” Program to support the transportation of the health personnel will be operational by next week because it entails big resources like the need of fuel, meals and personal protective equipment (PPEs) of the drivers and conductors. She said they are planning to field 17 routes with 40 total number of units.

She also asked the management of the health facilities as partner to help and provide meals to the conductors and drivers, as well as the provision of a personal protective gears for them.

Cassion also ensured the transport sector that they will be given assistance amid this crisis situation on coronavirus disease (COVID-19). "We are hoping that by next week, they will start receiving the cash assistance for them once needed requirements and documents will be completed. We are also closely coordinating with Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and cooperatives for any possible help that they could provide," she said.

On this crisis situation on COVID-19, Dir. Cassion further emphasized the need to unite with all the stakeholders in addressing the needs of the vulnerable sectors in the region. She further asked the government officials to allocate a portion of their salary to help others.

Meanwhile, Jose Evalegous Lawenko, chairperson of Diamond Transport Service Cooperative (DATSCO) also expressed his concern with the affected drivers and conductors who are currently jobless due to the implementation of the Enhanced Community Quarantine in the region.

“We are calling on the concerned government agencies and private stakeholders to include the transport sector in the assistance that they provide, which could be in kind or in cash to help them cope with this crisis,” underscored Lawenko. (JPG/PIA-Caraga)

AgSur records 12 PUIs, awaiting results from SPMC

By Jennifer P. Gaitano

BUTUAN CITY, April 12 (PIA) -- During his interview over Radyo Pilipinas Manila on Saturday (April 11), Agusan del Sur Governor Santiago Cane, Jr. bared that there are 12 patients under investigation (PUIs) recorded in the province and have already taken their swab samples tested, and are now awaiting results from the Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC) in Davao City.

“As of reporting time, there are some 12 PUIs in the province, one is in Bunawan, the other one in Loreto, one in Prosperidad, and nine are in  Langkilaan Elementary School (situated along the boundary between Caraga region and Davao de Oro) under the care of the Provincial Health Office and with the help of the Department of Health (DOH)-Caraga,” Cane enumerated.

For the persons under monitoring (PUMs), Governor Cane revealed that they were categorized into two -- PUM 1 are those with travel history from abroad or in other places where there is a confirmed local transmission of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) while PUM 2 are those persons under monitoring with travel history outside the region without confirmed COVID-19 case.

The governor emphasized that the provincial government and its constituents are not being complacent despite having only one confirmed COVID-19 case in Caraga region. "We have established a quarantine facility through designated schools in the province to serve as the PUI centers. The PUIs with severe symptoms are being brought to Caraga Regional Hospital (CRH) in Surigao City and Adela Serra Ty Memorial Medical Center (ASTMMC) in Tandag City, Surigao del Sur for appropriate treatment and monitoring," he said.

Cane also highlighted that the provincial government took the initiative to produce more personal protective equipment (PPEs) for the frontliners as they still tightly operate in the checkpoints and ensure that all who enter the province are properly screened and are following the necessary health protocols and preventive measures.

Meanwhile, Governor Cane said that provision of the needed assistance for the local residents are underway.

“There are around 66,000 plus poorest of the poor households in the province of Agusan del Sur being recorded and the list was already forwarded to the DSWD for their reference and will also serve as basis for the benefits and assistance that they would give to the target beneficiaries,” mentioned Cane.

He added that the provincial government has also provided unhampered access to the DSWD personnel for the distribution of the social amelioration package/program to the intended beneficiaries in the province.

The vehicles and cargoes with food supply and other essentials coming in the province of Agusan del Sur are also unhampered and could easily pass through the designated checkpoints as the provincial government wanted to make sure that people would not end hungry and starving during this crisis situation on COVID-19. (JPG/PIA-Caraga)

Rice farmers get P5.6 million cash assistance from DA

BUTUAN CITY, April 12 -- Around 1,124 rice farmers from the Caraga region received the cash assistance under the Department of Agriculture's - Rice Farmers Financial Assistance (RFFA) Program.

Each farmer received 5,000 financial support for their farm inputs, food, or anything they need for their families.

The program is intended for the rice farmers who are tilling 0.5 hectares to two hectares of land and registered in the Registry System for Basic Sectors in Agriculture (RSBSA).

For the municipality of Trento, Agusan del Sur 281 rice farmers have received the cash aid.

For the province of Agusan del Norte, the municipality of Kitcharao has 343 beneficiaries and 500 qualified farmers for RTR's second batch of recipients.

The direct cash transfer is intended to help farmers affected by the implementation of the rice tarrification law.

Joseph M. Libres, 47, rice farmer from P-5 Barangay Humilog, RTR, Agusan del Norte said he will use the amount to buy food and if there still some he will also buy fertilizers for his one-hectare rice area.

"The cash assistance is a big help for my family and for my continuous production of local rice," Libres said.

The release of the cash support is in close coordination with the Local Government Units.
In the region, a total of 2,529 rice farmers have been served by the program with total cash released worth 12.6 Million. The distribution of the cash aid continues until the 35,471 target eligible rice farmers in the region will receive financial assistance. (DA Caraga/PIA Caraga)

AgNor solon pushes for Caraga Regional Hospital as COVID testing, screening center

BUTUAN CITY, April 12 -- Instead of restricting COVID-19-related patient admissions, Agusan del Norte Rep. Lawrence “Law” Fortun urged the Department of Health (DOH) to equip and capacitate the Caraga Regional Hospital (CRH) laboratory to make it a COVID testing and screening center in Caraga Region.

This call was made after the Sangguniang Panlungsod of Surigao City passed a resolution to limit COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease 2019)-related admissions in the CRH to those from the provinces of Surigao del Norte and Dinagat Islands only.

“Instead, I appeal that we all come together and collectively push that the DOH equip and capacitate the Caraga Regional Hospital laboratory to make it a COVID-19 testing and screening center that will cater to the demands of the entire Caraga Region,” Fortun said.

“While there is still only one confirmed case in Caraga, the number of PUIs (Patients Under Investigation) is continuously rising, and recent rapid tests revealed several presumptive positive cases needing immediate confirmatory tests. There is no way we can determine the real numbers unless we pursue mass testing. This also gives our health care system a clear direction on immediate and appropriate interventions to be made,” he added.

As noted by the lawmaker, it currently takes significantly longer to know the results of tests on patients from Caraga Region because the collected specimens still have to be brought to the Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC) in Davao City, which is already overwhelmed by the demands of Davao Region alone.

He also noted that Caraga alone is huge, having five provinces and six cities with several municipalities remotely situated.

While there is already a proposal submitted by the CRH to the DOH, Rep. Fortun urged all the Sanggunians of Caraga Region to pass resolutions calling for the DOH to make the CRH laboratory a COVID testing and screening facility.

“I appeal to the governors, mayors, and representatives of Caraga that we collectively lobby for this as part of a nationwide measure for mass testing. Mass testing is imperative and an essential component of this is to immediately put up more testing and screening facilities in strategic locations around the country. The most strategic for Caraga is the Caraga Regional Hospital,” said Fortun.

Rep. Fortun said that the Caraga Regional Task Force for COVID-19 One Caraga Shield can also urge the DOH to put up this center to cater to Caraga Region. This is seen to be most welcome for the Davao Region as this will effectively lessen the burden and backlog of the already overwhelmed SPMC in Davao City. (First Congressional District of Agusan del Norte/PIA-Agusan del Norte)