(PAGASA 24-HOUR PUBLIC WEATHER FORECAST as of Monday, 28 September, 2020) Southwest Monsoon affecting the western section of Luzon. Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) affecting Mindanao. Caraga Region will experience Cloudy skies with scattered rainshowers and thunderstorms due to Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ). Possible flash floods or landslides during severe thunderstorms. Light to Moderate winds coming from Southeast to Southwest will prevail and the coastal waters will be Slight to Moderate with wave height from 0.6 to 2.1 meters.

Monday, May 25, 202

Caraga LGUs’ good practices significant in fast, successful SAP implementation

The Local Government Units (LGUs) of Caraga Region have used different initiatives and strategies in the implementation of the Social Amelioration Programs (SAP), specifically for the Emergency Subsidy Program (ESP) implemented by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Field Office Caraga.

These strategies purposely aim to hasten the cash aid distribution of P5,000 to low income-households who are heavily affected by the enhanced community quarantine brought about by the coronavirus disease or known as the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), as this is also the directive of the current administration – to address immediately the needs of the people.

Due to the limited capacity of the department to implement the said program given a very short period of time, the LGUs played a vital role since they were deputized to implement the programs. This includes the identification of the eligible recipients of the said program, since they know their constituents better, and they can identify families who belongs to the informal sector, or the poorest of the poor.

The strategies crafted and used by the LGU is not just to hasten the distribution of the cash subsidy but also in the process of identifying the qualified recipients of the program. This includes strategies in addressing complaints and queries from the community.

For Placer, Surigao del Norte, the Municipal Social Welfare and Development (MSWDO) conducted revalidation tapping the Barangay Health Workers (BHWs), Barangay Nutritionist Scholars (BNS), and Day Care Workers after several unqualified families were able to receive the assistance. They also created a task force headed by the mayor and the vice mayor who acted as the chairperson and vice chair in order to correct the erroneous payout.

While, in Bislig City, the BHW, BNS, Day Care Workers, and CSWDO staff were primarily responsible for the validation of potential list from DSWD (Listahanan Data). The validating teams were assisted by the Barangay and Purok Officials since they are the ones who know the people on the ground better. The validated list was then consolidated by the CSWDO cluster in-charge for the consolidation of the qualified list of beneficiaries.

Prior the actual payout, potential beneficiaries were given “coupons” which serves as an invitation to participate on the final validation. The coupon holder then went through three levels of validation/verification/cross matching by the validating staff. The three levels of validation were conducted to ensure that only eligible beneficiaries will receive the ESP.

Other than that, during the actual distribution of SAP assistance, the LGU designated grievance personnel who were in-charge in addressing complaints and clarifications from the public.

However, even if the LGU was able to put up a good system for the validation process, it still earned a lot of criticism from the public – especially from those who believe they were qualified from the program. This is why, the LGU will set-up a post-payout validation task force to act on grievances and to verify those families who have received but are subject to complaints.  Once proven ineligible, the recipients were asked to refund the said subsidy.

For Lingig, Surigao del Sur, after receiving the potential list from the Department, the LGU created a team who conducted the table and house-to-house validation. The LSWDO immediately proceeded in meeting the BHWs and Day Care Workers, who were then tasked to do the validation of beneficiaries.

“The LGU and BLGU don’t have participation in the identification of the eligible beneficiaries. I don’t want the program to be politicized by anyone, that is why I let the MSWDO do the identification. My order is to use the list from DSWD and use it to conduct validation immediately,’’ said Mayor Roberto of Lingig.

However, on the actual payout, the LGU provided assistance by ensuring the safety of the front liners. This includes the augmentation of the Philippine National Police (PNP) personnel, additional manpower to speed up the payout, and ensure the observance of social distancing and wearing of masks. The payout only lasted for four hours in each barangay, as a result of the well-coordinated plan.

The LGU was able to release 100 percent of the fund allocation to the 1977 beneficiaries for the municipality of Lingig. They completed the payout is a span of 10-day, way ahead of the deadline.

Another LGU who have done well in the ESP implementation is the municipality of Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur, headed by Mayor Shem G. Garay. After receiving instructions from the DSWD Field Office, Mayor Garay instructed the BLGU to conduct the validation and finalization from the list of potential beneficiaries from the DSWD Listahanan database. 

Again, all BHW were deployed in the different barangays. Also, they hosted radio programs to inform the public about the criteria of the beneficiaries for the program, as well as the guidelines for the SAP implementation. Instant queries and clarifications from the listeners were answered on-the-spot. Eventually, this good practice led to 100 percent disbursement of funds following the allotted timeline.

Aside from the well-organized implementation of the SAP/ESP, several LGUs have also ensured that they addressed the needs of those who were not covered by the program. Several LGUs have provided relief goods to their constituents. Field Office Caraga was able to document good practices related to this in the municipalities of Carmen, Surigao del Sur, and Malimono, Surigao del Norte (stories posted on the DSWD Caraga account).

Whatever the strategies made by the 73 LGUs, these all led to the timely distribution of the financial assistance to the eligible beneficiaries in the region. Although the Department together with the LGUs are already used in providing aid to its constituents specially those who are in crisis or emergency situations, but this is the first time that such a program, with its guidelines, have been implemented. There were challenges met by the implementers along the way, but with coordination and good communication strategies, DSWD and the LGUs were able to achieve its goals and targets. The government was able to provide social interventions to the people during this time of pandemic.

The role of LGU and DSWD have been critical in the implementation of the program. But also worthy of praise and admiration is the gallant act of the PNP, the AFP, and the DILG, who have given their 100% support in the implementation of the program.

Caraga Region has been lauded as the Top Performing Region in the SAP aid distribution all over the Philippines. And this is because all players, all stakeholders made sure they played their part in providing maagap at mapagkalingang serbisyo to the people of Caraga. (Social Marketing Section, DSWD-13/PIA-Caraga)

SAP aids crippled tourism communities in country’s surfing capital

The island of Siargao is considered as one of the preferred destinations and one of the most coveted tourist hotspots in the country. Every year, specifically during the summertime, the local government units (LGUs) in the province are preparing for foreign and local tourists to flock the breathtaking spots in the island, to enjoy sand, sea and surf, in what surfing aficionados consider as the best surfing spot in the country.

The 5th class municipality of General Luna (GL), Surigao del Norte, one of the nine municipalities in the island, is considered the busiest and most sought-after tourism destination in Siargao. It is home to one of the well-loved surfing spots, not just in the island, but in the world – the Cloud 9 surfing area. It is one of the few places in the country where surfing can be done throughout the year.

GL also offers tourists a run for their money with their tri-island (Daku, Guyam, Naked island) hopping tours, if they are not into the extreme activity of surfing. Aside from these activities, the island’s nights light up with its superb parties and events.

And if people had their fill of General Luna’s spots, the entire island has a lot more to offer. One could always have a side-trip to the Tidal Pools of Magpupungko in Pilar; go swimming with stingless jellyfishes in the crystal-clear waters of Sohoton Cove in Socorro; enjoy the calm waters of Sugba Lagoon in Del Carmen; and enjoy cliff jumping and explore the top of Taktak Falls in Sta. Monica, all of Surigao del Norte.

Indeed, the island is a dream destination for a lot of tourists, especially those who love the beach. The Local/Municipal Tourism Office has recorded a total of 274,547 (86,144 international/188,403 local) tourists visiting the island, in 2019 alone. This had a major impact in the lives of the communities in the municipality, giving jobs to thousands of families.

HOPING FOR A RECORD-BREAKING YEAR

With the influx of tourists coming in and out of GL in 2019, the LGU had high hopes for 2020. Arceli Gallentes, Local/Municipal Tourism Officer of GL shared that they were expecting a record-breaking year for 2020. “We had quite a number of reservations already for 2020, some had their reservations as early as late last year. We were hoping that more tourists would come in, and boost livelihood in the island, especially that a lot of local shops have opened,” Gallentes said.

Though there were already reports of a deadly virus ready to spread havoc in Asia as early as December 2019, thousands still flocked the island in the 1st quarter of 2020. It was only mid-March that people began seeing the seriousness of the threat when local transmission was recorded in the country.

“We gave tourists some time to leave the island before we had our lockdown. Once we closed our borders, we never let anyone in, to ensure the safety of everyone,” Gallentes said.

General Luna was placed on lockdown, as the provincial LGU tried preventive measures to ensure that the COVID-19 pandemic spared the island communities in Siargao. No tourists were allowed to travel to Siargao. And with no tourists, and with no definite end to the pandemic in sight, their dream of a record-breaking year was now fading. There was a total shutdown of the municipality’s tourism industry by the end of March.

INDUSTRY DOWN – FAMILIES FEELING DOWN

With the lockdown in place, everyone in the island whose livelihood is connected to the tourism industry was now in peril. Hotels/bed and breakfast/home stays, restaurants/café/bars, souvenir shops, beach resorts, were now being closed. Only a few shops selling the necessities were allowed to operate. This meant loss of jobs to workers, artists, and loss of income to entrepreneurs’/business owners.

Most affected were those who belonged to the informal economy – workers who did not have security of tenure, those who were earning on a day-to-day basis. Hospitality industry workers, surf instructors, boatmen (island hopping), tricycle/habal-habal drivers, tattoo artists, tourist guides – these were the most affected during the community quarantine period.

Mark Anthony Ayuda, a 32-year-old surf instructor, was among those who were affected by the lockdown. “Sa pagsarado sa mga resort, naundang pud akong pag-tudlo. Lisod kay duna koy tulo ka anak, singko, tres, ug uno anyos. Ang gamay kailangan pa palitan ug gatas (When the resorts closed, I also stopped having surfing sessions. It was hard for me since I am raising 3 kids – five, three, and 1 year-old. The youngest is still consuming formula milk),” Mark shared.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Mark said that he was able to provide for the needs of his family since he was an “on-call” instructor in several resorts in GL. He would earn P300 for a 1-hour session. In a week, he would be able to have at least four sessions, and during peak seasons (April/May and August-September), he would be able to have sessions daily.

“Dako gyud nga kawalan kay sa wala pa ang virus, makakuha man ko ug hantod upat ka kliyente kada semana. Sa peak season, kada-adlaw duna koy matudluan. Karon, wala na, wala na koy income (It is a big loss for us, since prior to the virus hitting us, I could have at least 4 clients a week – even having daily clients during the peak seasons. Now, I do not have any more income),” Mark said.

The lockdown started on March 18, and all surfing activities were banned starting April 1. So this forced Mark to try fishing, just to provide for the needs of his family. He also started some gardening in a vacant lot beside their house.

“Buhi-buhi sa gyud karong panahuna kay unsaon man, wala naman koy income. Maayo nalang maka-uban ko panagat sa akong mga kauban. Naa pud ko gisugdan tanom-tanom sa among kilid kay wa man ta kahibalo hantod kanus-a ning lockdown (I needed to find ways to provide for my family since I no longer have a source of income. I would tag along with my neighbors when they go fishing. I have also started some gardening since we all do not know how long this lockdown will last),” he said.

Aside from the surf instructors who were living off the opportunities brought about by the tourism trade, island hopping guides and boatmen were among the most affected also. When tourists were banned from the island, the boatmen, who used to have daily trips in the summer, now lost their jobs.

Tomasito M. Crisologo, 64, head of a family composed of nine members, is among those affected by the lockdown in General Luna. He works as a boatman, catering to boat rentals of those who would avail of the island hopping activities in GL. What made their situation worse was that his son, Tomasito Crisologo, Jr., who is married and lives with him, is also a boatman, and equally affected by the pandemic.

“Lisod among kahimtang sugod nagka COVID, kay nawala ang mga turista. Pagkawala sa turista, nawala pud among trabaho kay bawal na man mag island hopping. Ang lisod pa gayud sa among sitwasyon kay akong anak nga pamilyado, si Junior, nga kauban nako ug puyo sa among balay, lakip pud walay trabaho kay boatman man pud siya (We have a problematic situation since COVID hit us since it affected tourism in the island. When the tourists stopped coming, we lost our jobs since island hopping was banned in the municipality. What made the situation worse was that my son who’s married, Junior, who lives with me, was also affected, since he also works as a boatman),” Tomasito Sr., said.

Since both father and son lost their jobs, it was hard for them to provide for their families.

“Okay ra unta ug usa sa amo naa pay trabaho kay makapakaon pa mi sa pamilya, ug makahatag pa mi sa panginahanglanon sa among pamilya. Pero pareho man mi apektado ni Papa mao nga lisod gyud sa amo (It would have been okay if one of us still had a job, we would still be able to provide for the needs of the family. But sadly, Papa and I had the same job, so we were both affected),” Tomasito Jr., said.

Tomasito Sr. and Jr. looked for ways to provide food on the table. Junior, who was the better fisherman, borrowed a small bangka (boat) so that he could fish. He would go out to sea twice or thrice a week to fish for liplipan (black marlin).

“Nanagat ko aron naa mi makaon. Maayo nalang makakuha ko ug usa or duha ka liplipan kada semana. Mga 20 kilos, okay na kay makatabang na sa mga panginahanglanon namo. Ako na ibaligya sa mga taga merkado dayon (I went on to fish so that we would have something to eat. It was of great help when I get to catch one or two 20-kilo black marlins in a week. I would sell my catch to those selling in the market, so that I would be able to buy stuff that we need),” Junior said.

It was hard for the Crisologo family, but they tried their best to earn a living despite the limitations due to the community quarantine. Fishing provided for their needs. But they would still prefer the island-hopping job they had since fishing was not Junior’s bread and butter.

For Junior, catching at least one or two black marlins was a good week for him and his family. But for Clementino Cabadonga, a 33-year-old fisherman who is expecting his second child, the lockdown affected his livelihood differently. There was no problem with the catch. His problem was more on the buyers of his catch.

Clementino used to directly sell his catch to the restaurant and hotel owners. Compared to those who sell their catch at the market, those who directly sold the fresh catch to private resorts, earned bigger. Clementino used to have a 'suki' or a patron, who would always get his catch. But with the restaurants closing, he no longer has a regular customer.

“Akong mga kuha diretso na sa akong suki. Mas taas man sila mo presyo kay sigurado man sila nga presko unya pilian gyud pud nako sila ug nindot nga kalidad sa isda. Pero karon nga nanirado na sila, maglisod nako ug baligya kay naa man pud lain mamaligya sa merkado (I sold my catch directly to my patrons. They bought my catch on a much higher price since they were sure I only gave them the freshest catch, and they were sure I gave them the best quality of fish that I caught. But since they no longer are open for business, I now have a hard time selling my catch since there are also those who are selling fish in the market),” Clementino shared.

With the growing needs of his family, especially that his wife is 4 months pregnant, Clementino is worried of what the future holds for them.

“Kinahanglan ko makatigum kay buros akong asawa sa among ikaduha. Wala ta kahibalo hangtod kanus-a ning COVID. Mao nga nabalaka ko kay ang among kita karon panahuna igo ra sa among konsumo. Wala nay sobra nga akong ma tago para sa pagpanganak sa akong asawa (I need to save up for my wife’s delivery of our second child. What worries me is that nobody knows how long the COVID problem would affect us. This is why I am very worried since the income I get for fishing could only cover our daily needs. There is no extra that I could save for my wife’s impending delivery), Clementino exclaimed.

With the effects of the pandemic affecting the lives of all three families, the first thing that they wanted to do was to call out the government for aid. With government implementing strict quarantine protocol, they thought that it was just right that government would address their needs since it was impossible for them to have a decent income.

SAP TO THE RESCUE

The government needed to step up its provision of emergency subsidy to the most affected families due to the Enhanced Community Quarantine. President Rodrigo Roa Duterte was given special powers to realign P200 billio to aid 18 million low-income earning households who are most affected by the economic standstill due to the pandemic.

General Luna was allocated 1,368 slots to aid the affected families. Tomasito Sr., was among those identified to receive P5,000 emergency subsidy under the Social Amelioration Programs implemented under the Department of Social Welfare and Development. Through the program, the LGU is deputized to identify low-income earning families belonging to the informal sector, most affected by the community quarantine.

“Dako kaayo akong pasalamat nga naapil mi sa programa kay naglisod na gyud mi sa among kahimtang. Pagkadawat namo sa ayuda, nagpalit gyud mi diretso ug is aka sako nga bugas para sa among tanan. Salamat kayo kang Presidente Duterte kay nahuna-hunaan mi niya mga pobre (I am really thankful that we were considered for the program because we were really affected by the situation. I immediately bought a sack of rice for all of us when I received the aid. I am really grateful to President Duterte for thinking of the poor’s welfare), Tomasito Sr. said.

Mark and Clementino’s families also qualified for the program. But they almost did not make the final list of beneficiaries since the validating teams had a hard time locating their addresses.

“Halos walay makatuod sa ilang mga panimalay. Naa man sila sa lista gikan sa DSWD, so amo gayud sila gipangita aron ma validate. Apan mismo mga barangay officials dili makatuod ug asa gyud sila nagpuyo (No one really knew where their houses were. Their names are in the DSWD list of probable qualified families, so we really tried locating them for the validation. But even the barangay officials could not pinpoint where they exactly live), Marilou P. Gonzaga, Municipal Nutritionist Action Officer, and one of the lead of the validation team shared.

With the economic boom spreading all over GL like a brushfire in the past few years, several new buildings (houses, homestays, shops) would pop up from time to time, changing the landscape of communities drastically. Small houses visible from the road are now covered with huge buildings, making it difficult for people to locate homes of the locals, especially those whose houses have been moved further back after their lots where rented out by business establishments.

Naglisod ug pangita sila ni Ma’am sa among balay kay natabunan naman sa sementado nga building among atubang. Mao niadto gyud ko sa opisina nila aron magpavalidate ko kay wala man ko naapil. Maayo nalang ila ko giadtoan unya nalakip ko sa programa. Dakong tabang ang P5,000 nga among nadawat. Gipalit gyud nako dayon ug bugas, vitamins, ug gatas para sa akong mga anak (The validating team had a hard time locating us since a new cemented building was built in front of our house. So I really went to their office and demanded that I be validated. Good thing they really went out of their way and visited us, so we qualified. The P5,000 we received really helped us. I immediately bought a sack of rice, vitamins, and milk for my children), Mark said.

Clementino also had the same fate. He was also excluded from the initial list because his house was located just behind a big, cemented house. So the barangay officials thought he was not qualified. But again, the validating team from the Local Social Welfare and Development Office made sure to really locate the possible beneficiaries, so they found Clementino’s house.

“Dako kaayo akong pasalamat kay natud-an gyud nila among panimalay. Kay kung wala pa mi na validate, sigurado ko dili gyud mi maapil ug hantod karon maglisod gyud unta gihapon mi. Salamat sa DSWD ug kang Pres, Duterte sa ayuda. Dako kaayo ni ug tabang sa amo. Nakapalit gyud ko ug vitamins sa akong asawa ug gatas sa akong anak. Naa pud ko gitago para sa pagpanganak (We are really thankful that they were able to locate our house. Because if we were not located properly, we would have been left out of the program – we would still be suffering right now. We thank the DSWD and Pres. Duterte for the aid. This has really helped us in this time of crisis. After receiving the money, I bought some vitamins for my wife and milk for my son. I also made sure to save some of the money for my wife’s delivery)," Clementino emotionally shared.

Marilou, who was tasked to lead the validation teams, admitted that they had a hard time locating the families who were on the initial list from DSWD’s Listahanan Database.

“Naglisod gajud kami kay dili na matuod ang mga balay nila, ang uban natabunan na sa mga dagko nga balay ug building. Apan ako mismo naniguro nga makita sila kay luoy pud ug dili sila makadawat labi na nga apektado sila sa (We really had a hard time locating their houses, especially that some houses were hidden in plain view due to the newly built buildings and houses. But I made sure that they be located and identified since it would be unfair on their part since they are qualified for the program because they are affected by the pandemic),” Marilou said.

But amidst the challenges, the LGU of General Luna made sure that they did all the necessary preparations, especially in the validation of qualified families. “Wala kami nagpa pressure sa timeline, wala kami nagdali-dali. Kay mas importante sa amo nga mavalidate ang mga pamilya aron ang mahatagan kadtong qualified gajud (We did not rush the process. We did not succumb to the pressure of meeting the timeline. What we did was we ensured the calidation process to ensure that we identify those qualified families),” Marilou added.

DSWD – LGU PARTNERSHIP

The implementation of the SAP was a challenge not just for DSWD, but also to the LGUs. This has been the first time that such a critical program was implemented in a short period of time. This includes the orientation, preparation of documents, fund transfer, validation, the payout, and eventually the liquidation. The partnership of DSWD, the LGUs, the Philippine National Police, The Armed Forces of the Philippines, and the Department of Interior and Local Government made the SAP implementation successful, especially in Caraga region.

Everyone understood how important the program was to the most affected families, so the cooperation and coordination between DSWD, the LGU, and the other partners was kept tight.

For a 5th class municipality which is basically dependent on its tourism industry, the pandemic was more than a challenge – it was a crippling force that brought the economy, the life in the island to a standstill. It was a big problem to the families who were dependent on the influx of tourist in the island, especially that majority of the job opportunities in the tourism industry is informal. But with the Social Amelioration Programs, the affected families were given a lifeline. It was a breath of fresh air for them, a chance to at least provide for the needs of their families.

DSWD and the LGUs are continuously working to provide a more sustainable service to the communities affected by the pandemic. No one knows how long the COVID-19 virus would post as a threat, so no one is backing down, or relaxing. Continued efforts are being done to address the needs of the communities, even those who have yet to receive any aid from the government. (DSWD-13/PIA-Caraga)

Caraga ARBOs continue to earn amid COVID-19 crisis

By Jennifer P. Gaitano

BUTUAN CITY, May 25 (PIA) -- Amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) crisis in Caraga region, the livelihood of the Agrarian Reform Beneficiary Organizations (ARBOs) is still up and earning with the help of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR).

While the ARBOs ensure continuous production of rice, vegetables, and organic eggs, among others, DAR also helps in providing the potential market centers for the farmer sector in the region.

DAR-Caraga regional director Leomides Villareal bared that the ARBOs in the entire Caraga have earned more than P51-million.

Villareal added that DAR-Caraga has constantly been providing assistance to the ARBOs in order to help them cope with their daily needs during this crisis due to COVID-19 pandemic.
Meanwhile, apart from the government’s Social Amelioration, DAR-Caraga has also extended food packs to the ARBs and continues to facilitate lending mechanism programs through the department of agriculture and other concerned government agencies.

Director Villareal also revealed that the ARBs have also been reaching out to the different local government units where they could sell their produce, hence, they were able to earn higher income and profit.

DAR-Caraga chief is also grateful to the LGUs for properly managing the COVID-19 crisis in the region, including the frontliners for their commitment and sacrifices. (JPG/PIA-Caraga)

Over a thousand stranded tourists in Caraga successfully sent home during lock down

By Doreen Marielle N. Rosales

BUTUAN CITY, May 25 (PIA) -- Over a thousand foreign and local tourists stranded in Caraga were successfully sent home during lock down.

The Department of Tourism (DOT) Caraga facilitated the sweeper flights of 1,201 tourists during the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) period in the region. Eight hundred forty-one (841) of these were foreign tourists while 360 were domestic tourists.

According to DOT Caraga regional director Mary Jean Camarin, the department was able to facilitate 18 international flights, two domestic flights, 13 land transfers, and two boat transfers to ferry the tourists. During quarantine period, they also provided kits containing food packs and hygiene products for the tourists’ use.

Since foreign tourists had to be sent home first, a P2, 000 cash allowance was given to the local tourists who were scheduled under the succeeding batches of sweeper flights.

Director Camarin bared that they had to ensure that every tourist could go home despite border restrictions as part of their Quick Response Kontra Pandemic.

She stated that gathering the tourists was definitely challenging. While it was easier to gather the tourists who were from the Siargao Islands, additional transportation had to be provided to others who were stranded in far-flung areas municipalities in other provinces.

“There were times that we had to scout for tourists who happen to be near the airport just to replace the slots that were initially allotted to tourists who did not show up on their flight schedule. We also took the time to urge tourists to avail of the sweeper flights since we also do not want to waste our resources,” she added.

The department also had to work their way around strict provincial border protocols.

The DOT Caraga is yet to schedule the flights of the remaining 101 foreign tourists and 107 domestic tourists.

The regional director hinted that DOT is yet to come up with interventions to assist stakeholders in the tourism sector that will also be congruent to the regulations set under the “new normal.” (DMNR/PIACaraga)

DOH Caraga confirms 5th COVID-19 case

By Doreen Marielle N. Rosales

BUTUAN CITY, May 25 (PIA) -- The Department of Health (DOH) Caraga confirms the fifth case of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Caraga region.

The patient is a 65-year-old male and a resident in the province of Agusan del Norte. The patient has a travel history in Manila on late February. The patient is also asthmatic and hypertensive.

DOH Caraga regional director Dr. Jose Llacuna, Jr. bared that the patient is currently asymptomatic and is under strict home quarantine.

“Since his arrival, the patient has been under strict home quarantine and isolation. He will be subjected to close monitoring and further evaluation,” he said.

Dr. Llacuna added that the department and other concerned agencies are now conducting contact tracing.

Meanwhile, Agusan del Norte provincial governor Dale B. Corvera appealed to Caraganons, especially those residing in Agusan del Norte, to continue to abide protocols and lend their cooperation to the authorities if needed be.

The patient’s sample was among the 47 samples sent to the Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC). The remaining 46 samples tested negative in the confirmatory test. (DMNR/PIACaraga)

Ika-5 kaso ng COVID-19, kinumpirma ng DOH Caraga

By Doreen Marielle N. Rosales

BUTUAN CITY, May 25 (PIA) -- Kinumpirma ng Department of Health (DOH) Caraga ang ika-limang kaso ng Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) sa Caraga region.

Ang pasyente ay isang 65-year-old na lalake at residente ng probinsya ng Agusan del Norte. May travel history ito sa Manila noong Pebrero. Ang pasyente ay may asthma at hypertension.

Ayon kay DOH Caraga regional director Dr. Jose Llacuna, Jr., kasalukuyang asymptomatic ang pasyente at naka strict home quarantine.

“Simula nang makarating ang pasyente ay in-isolate na siya at naka strict home quarantine. Isasailalim din siya sa close monitoring at kinakailangang evaluation,” aniya.

Giit pa ni Dr. Llacuna, patuloy ang kanilang koordinasyon sa iba pang mga kinauukulang otoridad para sa pagsasagawa ng contact tracing.

Panawagan naman ni Agusan del Norte Gobernador Dale Corvera sa mga Caraganons, lalo na sa mga residente ng Agusan del Norte, na maging agresibo pa sa pagsunod sa mga protocols at ilaan ang kanilang kooperasyon sa mga otoridad kung kinakailangan.

Ang sample ng pasyente ay kabilang sa 47 samples na ipinadala sa Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC). Nag negatibo sa confirmatory test ang natirang 46 samples. (DMNR/PIACaraga)

Caraga mining firms spend P73.5M for COVID-19 response

SURIGAO CITY, Surigao del Norte, May 25 -- Member-companies of the Chamber of Mines of Caraga Region Incorporated (CMCRI) have already spent a total of P73.567 million in their respective mining communities and surrounding areas to help the government ease the impact of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) crisis.

CMCRI is composed of large-scale mining firms and mineral processing companies that either have active operations in Caraga region or are in ‘care and maintenance’ status.

Based on the consolidated reports received by the Mines and Geosciences Bureau-Region 13 (MGB-13), a total of 14 mining and mineral processing companies under CMCRI have readily responded to the call of the national government to help affected communities that are struggling following the imposition of lockdowns or quarantine measures.

These containment measures restrict the movement of people and temporarily shuttered businesses, prompting the government to ration food and other essential services to residents, even as it called on the private sector to help.

CMCRI member-companies spread in the region's five provinces immediately heeded to the call of President Rodrigo Duterte, who has earlier signed the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act [Republic Act No. 11469] to boost the government's response to the pandemic.

Of the total cash aid as of May 13, CMCRI member-companies released the following amount per province: Agusan Sur - P5.19M; Agusan Norte- P4.001M; Surigao Sur - P9.043M; Surigao Norte - P52.388M; Dinagat Islands - P2.945M.

CMRI emphasized that the running figures are still subject for auditing and validation of MGB-13.

Further, the region's premier mining organization has also committed to spend some P105.903 million based on the realigned budgets mandated by MGB for COVID-19 assistance and other relevant purposes. (CMCRI)

DSWD-Caraga completes SAP distribution for non-4Ps families

BUTUAN CITY, May 25 — The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Field Office Caraga has completed the distribution of the emergency cash subsidy under the Social Amelioration Programs (SAP) first tranche. All 73 cities and municipalities in the region have accomplished 100 percent of their total targets for the Emergency Subsidy Program (ESP).

Caraga Region served a total of 305,096 low-income families who are Non-Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (Non-4Ps) beneficiaries, amounting to P1,525,480,000.00. This was divided to the five provinces namely: Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Surigao del Norte, Surigao del Sur, and the Province of Dinagat Islands. Agusan del Norte was allotted 96,055 slots, and has the largest number of beneficiaries among the provinces.

The Emergency Subsidy Program (ESP) through SAP of DSWD, is a cash subsidy granted under Republic Act (R.A.) No. 11469, to the families qualified as “low-income-households” that are most affected by the virtual economic standstill and most vulnerable to the economic slowdown resulting from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) crisis and are now unable to earn for their daily sustenance under the stay-at-home or community quarantine conditions.

The subsidy in Caraga Region was pegged at P5,000.00 based on the prevailing regional minimum wage rate. This addressed the basic needs of a family like food, medicine, toiletries, and other basic necessities.

DSWD has earlier commended the Local Government Units (LGUs) in Caraga for their prompt and efficient implementation of SAP. As early as April 08, 2020, several LGUs have already started delivering the financial aid to Non-4Ps beneficiaries, the municipality of Malimono, and Surigao City are among them.

Among all the regions in the Philippines, Caraga is one of the few that was able to finish the distribution within the period allotted. This was made possible by the strong partnership between DSWD Field Office Caraga, the local government units, Philippine National Police, Armed Forces of the Philippines, Department of the Interior and Local Government, and the different agencies that took part of the implementation of the Social Amelioration Programs. (DSWD-13/PIA-Caraga)

Mahigit isang daang turistang stranded sa Caraga nakauwi na sa kabila ng lock down

By Doreen Marielle N. Rosales

BUTUAN CITY, May 25 (PIA) -- Mahigit 100 turista na nastranded sa Caraga ang napauwi sa gitna ng pagpapatupad ng lock down.

Pinangasiwaan ng Department of Tourism (DOT) Caraga ang sweeper flights ng 1,201 turista habang napasailalim pa sa Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) ang rehiyon. Walong daan at apat naput isa dito ay foreign tourists habang 360 dito ay domestic tourists.

Ayon kay DOT Caraga regional director Mary Jean Camarin, pinangasiwaan ng departamento ang 18 international flights, dalawang domestic flights, 13 land transfers, at dalawang boat transfers sa pagpapauwi ng mga turista. Namahagi din sila ng mga kits na naglalaman ng food packs at hygiene products sa kasagsagan ng lock down.

Dahil inuna na muna ang pagpapauwi sa mga foreign tourists, nagbigay din ang DOT ng P2, 000 cash allowance sa mga local tourists na nakatakdang bumyahe sa susunod na mga sweeper flights.

Ibinahagi din ni Director Camarin na bilang parte ng kanilang Quick Response Kontra Pandemic, siniguro nilang makauwi ang mga ito kahit na may mga restrictions sa local at international borders.

Naging hamon din ang pagtipon ng mga turista. Bagamat naging madali ang tipunin ang mga turistang galing Siargao Islands, may iba na nastranded sa mga munisipyo sa ibang probinsya kung kaya’t kinailangan pang maglaan ng dagdag transportasyon.

“May mga pagkakataon din na pinostpone ng ilang minutos ang ilang flights dahil kinailangan naming maghanap ng mga turistang papalit sa mga slots ng mg turistang hindi makakarating sa kanilang flight schedule. Hinimok din naming ang iba pang mga turistang hindi pa nakapag apply sa libreng sweeper flights nang makauwi na sila,” dagdag niya.

Inaasikaso pa ng departamento ang pagpapauwi ng natitirang 101 foreign tourists at 107 domestic tourists.

Pahiwatig din ng regional director na nasa proseso pa ang DOT sa pagpaplano ng mga susunod na hakbang upang matulungan ang mga stakeholders sa tourism sector na sasangayon din sa mga regulasyon ng “new normal.” (DMNR/PIACaraga)

Hulyo gitakdang ‘Blood Donors Month’ sa Carmen

MUNISIPYO SA CARMEN, Agusan del Norte, Mayo 25 -- Gitakdang magpahigayon na ang lungsod sa Carmen ning probinsya isip Blood Donors Month matag Hulyo kada tuig human gi-aprobahan sa Sangguniang Panlalawigan ang Municipal Ordinance No.03-2020 nga nagmugna niini pinaagi sa Sanggunian Resolution No. 206-2020.

Basi sa rekomendasyon sa Committee on Health and Nutrition nga gipangunahan ni Bokal Elizabeth Marie R. Calo, ang nasangpit nga ordinansa nga gi-aprobahan bag-ohay pa lamang nahiuyon sa Provincial Ordinance No. 449-2017 nga giilang Sandugo Ordinance of Agusan del Norte.

Isip pakig-operar niini, ang Sangguniang Bayan sa Carmen magpahigayon og Blood Donors kada buwan sa Hulyo aron mapauswag ug madasig ang mga katawhan sa pagboluntaryo nga pagdonar ug aron maila nga ang pag donar og dugo usa ka makatawhanong lihok.

Ang nag-unang tahas sab niini mao ang paghatag og igo, luwas ug barato nga suplay sa dugo ug ipahibalo sa publiko ang kahinungdanon sa boluntaryong pagdonar aron mapugngan ang mga peligro tungod sa pagbaligya sa dugo.

Ang maong programa naglangkob sa pag-apil sa tanang establisamento, mga institusyon, non-governmental organizations, people’s oraganizations ug mga indibidwal uban ang suporta sa Municipality’s Blood Donation Program nga pangunahan sa Rural Health Unit sa Carmen sa koordinasyon usab sa concerned national government agencies ug uban pang partner stakeholders.

Sa laing bahin gitakdang magpahigayon usab ang lungsod sa Carmen og Eye Examination Month matag bulan sa Agosto diin kini ubos sa Municipal Ordinance No.02-2020 nga naaprobahan sa Sangguniang Panlalawigan pinaagi sa Sanggunian Resolution No. 207-2020 sa pagpanginahan ni Bokal Calo.

Ang maong programa nahisubay sa Department of Health No.40 ug Philippine Academy Opthalmology kun PAO isip “Sight-Saving Month.”

Kini aron madugangan ang kahibalo sa katawhan sa kalidad sa pag-atiman sa mata ug aron makunhuran ang pagkaylap sa pagkabuta. (SVD, LGU Agusan del Norte/PIA Agusan del Norte)

Implementasyon ng 'Balik Probinsya Program,' pinaigting pa sa Caraga

By Jennifer P. Gaitano

LUNGSOD NG BUTUAN, Mayo 25 (PIA) - Sa bayan ng San Francisco sa probinsya ng Agusan del Sur, may mahigit 40 indibidwal ang sinundo sa boundary na nagmula pa sa ibang probinsya. Ang mga ito ay third batch na ng kanilang listahan ng mga locally stranded individuals (LSIs) at dumaan sa health protocols at preventive measures ng nasabing local government unit (LGU).

Sa tulong ng PHILTRANCO, nagagamit ang kanilang bus sa pagsundo ng mga na-stranded na indibidwal pabalik sa kani-kanilang bayan. Ang mga bus na ito ay mahigpit ding sumusunod sa health protocol at social distancing sa mga pasahero.

Tinututukan naman ng LGU-La Paz ng nasabing probinsya ang pagsundo ng may mahigit 600 indibidwal na na-stranded sa iilang high risk areas ng bansa. Patuloy din ang kanilang pagsasaayos ng mga quarantine facilities para sa mga nagbalik probinsya.

Sa bayan ng Trento, Agusan del Sur, may mahigit 100 indibidwal na rin ang nakabalik sa kanilang lugar at lahat ay dumaan sa rapid testing upang masuri ang kanilang kondisyon.

Mahigpit ding pinaalalahanan ni Allen Joe Lumanta, ang information officer ng nasabing bayan sa lahat ng gustong umuwi na huwag kaligtaang makipag-ugnayan sa kanilang barangay bago ito bumiyahe.

“Sa lahat ng ating mga Trentohanon, huwag pong kalimutang makigpag-ugnayan sa inyong mga barangay official upang maging maayos at organisado po ang inyong pag-uwi. Ang ating LGU naman ay patutuloy na magbibigay serbisyo sa inyo at tutulong sa inyong ligtas na pagbalik sa probinsya,” ani ni Lumanta.

Samantala, patuloy din ang implementasyon ng “Hatid Estudyante Program” ng Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), kung saan nauna nang humiling ng tulong ang mga studyanteng mula sa Mindanao State University (MSU) na nastranded sa Iligan at Marawi City. Nakauwi na ang may mahigit 500 studyante sa kani-kanilang lugar sa Caraga region.

Binigyang-diin ni LTFRB-Caraga regional director Ma. Kristina Cassion na malaki ang naitutulong ng programang ito sa mga studyante na nastranded mula pa noong Marso. (JPG/PIA-Caraga)

Mga guro at tricycle drivers, nakabenepisyo sa ayudang hatid ng LGU-Trento

By Jennifer P. Gaitano

LUNGSOD NG BUTUAN, Mayo 25 (PIA) - Sa harap ng coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) crisis, patuloy ang pamimigay ng ayuda ng lokal na pamahalaan sa ibat-ibang sektor. Kabilang sa nakabenepisyo ang dalawang magkaibang displaced workers sa bayan ng Trento, Agusan del Sur.

Mahigit 800 guro mula sa ibat-ibang pribado at pampublikong paaralan ng nasabing bayan ang tumanggap ng isang sakong bigas mula sa lokal na pamahalaan.

Paglilinaw ng LGU-Trento, na ang mga benepisyaryong guro ay yung napabilang sa "No work, No pay status", special education fund at Parents-Teachers Asociation (PTA)-paid, at mga volunteer teachers na hindi nakatanggap ng ayuda mula sa eskwelahang kanilang pinagtatrabahoan.

Samantala, tumanggap din ng tig-P2,000.00 ang bawat isa ng may mahigit 300 tricycle drivers bilang ayuda sa nasabing sektor mula sa lokal na pamahalaan.

Base sa tala ng Business Permit and Licensing Office ng Trento, naging batayan ng pamamahagi ng ayuda ang pagkakaroon ng driver's license at bagong permit to operate ng bawat benepisyaryo.

Tiniyak din ng LGU-Trento na ang mga guro at tricycle drivers na binigyan ng ayuda ay hindi benepisyaryo ng social amelioration at hindi kabilang sa Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), Indigenous Peoples (IPs) o anumang grupo na tumatanggap ng social pension.

Sa kabuuan, umabot sa halos P2.5-million ang dagdag na ginastos ng nasabing LGU mula sa kanilang Gender and Development (GAD) fund para sa magkaibang ayudang kanilang ipinamahagi sa grupo ng mga guro at tricycle drivers.

Ayon naman kay Trento Municipal Mayor William Calvez, sadyang ipinatupad ng kanyang administrasyon ang pamamahagi ng nasabing mga ayuda sa layuning maibsan ang hirap na dinaranas ng mga sektor na lubhang naapektuhan sa krisis na dulot ng COVID-19.

“Nang dahil sa kinakaharap natin na krisis sa COVID-19 kung saan apektado ang kabuhayan ng ating mga guro at tricycle drivers, pinaabot din natin sa kanila ang tulong mula sa gobyerno. Umaasa tayo na malalampasan din natin ang lahat ng ito,” ani ni Calvez. (JPG/PIA-Caraga)