(PAGASA 24-HOUR PUBLIC WEATHER FORECAST as of Thursday, 24 September, 2020) At 3:00 AM today, the Low Pressure Area (LPA) was estimated based on all available data at 655 km East of Infanta, Quezon (15.3 °N, 127.7 °E). Southwest Monsoon affecting Palawan, Visayas and Mindanao. Caraga Region will experience partly cloudy to cloudy skies with isolated rainshowers due to Southwest Monsoon. Possible flash floods or landslides during severe thunderstorms. Light to moderate winds coming from Southwest to West will prevail and the coastal waters will be slight to moderate with wave height from 0.6 to 2.1 meters.

Monday, June 15, 2020

Cases in Caraga spike to 32; RTF vs COVID-19 requests for GCQ implementation in Caraga

By Doreen Marielle N. Rosales

BUTUAN CITY, June 15 (PIA) -- Amid the easement of community quarantine protocols in Caraga region, cases of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) have now reached to 32, per the Department of Health DOH) Caraga’s latest update.

Majority of the newly tallied cases are imported cases, wherein patients are those who recently returned to the region such as Locally Stranded Individuals (LSIs) and Returning Overseas Filipinos (ROFs).

At present, there are now 14 confirmed cases in the province of Agusan del Norte; 11 in Butuan City; two in the province of Agusan del Sur and in Surigao City; and one case in Bayugan City, Cabadbaran City, and the province of Surigao del Norte.

Three of the confirmed cases are currently admitted while 22 of these are on strict facility quarantine. Meanwhile, seven have recovered and have been discharged.

This prompted the Caraga Regional Task Force – One Caraga Shield (RTF-COCS) to issue Resolutions Nos. 40 and 41, Series of 2020 to the National Task Force against COVID-19, requesting the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Disease (IATF-EID) to ensure stringent testing and tightened screening process for the LSIs and ROFs before permitting them to return to their respective regions.

The task force also stated in Resolution No. 41 their favourable endorsement of placing the entire Caraga region under General Community Quarantine (GCQ) and the moratorium of all modes of transportation for the said individuals.

The city government of Butuan also proposed for the placement of 33 of its barangays under Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ) for the purpose of containing the spread of the disease and ultimately halting its transmission.

DOH Caraga regional director Dr. Jose Llacuna, Jr., bared that coordination has been continuous among authorities. He commended local government units (LGUs) for their swift response in accommodating the arrival of the returning Caraganons.

Dr. Llacuna, Jr. also reiterated that the construction of COVID-19 testing laboratories in the region is now almost complete. In Butuan Medical Center (BMC), infrastructure is halfway done, with accreditation such as laboratory staff training still on-going. In Adela Serra Ty Memorial Medical Center, construction of the laboratory's infrastructure is scheduled to begin. The D.O. Plaza Memorial Medical Center has also applied for the establishment of the said laboratory.
The laboratory in BMC is expected to become operational at the end of the month.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, Caraga has had 33 probable cases, wherein four are currently admitted and four turned negative in the confirmatory test, and 154 cumulative cases, wherein 14 are currently admitted, eight turned negative in the confirmatory test, and samples of six cases are yet to be collected. (DMNR/PIACaraga)


DOTr-Caraga reminds public to renew their driver’s license

By Jennifer P. Gaitano

BUTUAN CITY, June 15 (PIA) -- The Department of Transportation (DOTr)-Caraga has reminded the Caraganons to renew their expired license as they are strictly monitoring drivers and motorists.

According to acting regional director Engr. Nordy Plaza, all the registrations and licenses which have expired and due for renewal were given until 60 days as grace period due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

The official added that in the entire country, Caraga region is among the 24 pilot sites for the establishment of the Land Transportation Office (LTO) Management System, a new system which is aimed to improve the process in appliying for a new driver’s license.

Urbano Maglines, Jr., operations chief of LTO-Caraga said, heightened law enforcement and monitoring on the national highways are still observed under the Modified General Community Quarantine (MGCQ) especially that more vehicles are already moving in the thoroughfares.  

Maglines further bared that apart from ensuring road safety, the said agency made sure that public health is protected and prioritized.

Meanwhile, the City of Cabadbaran in the province of Agusan del Norte has acquired more than one million revenue collections within five days since the district resumed its operations, which include registrations, licensing and law enforcement. (NCL/JPG/PIA-Caraga)

DepEd-Caraga bares initiatives in preparation for opening of classes

By Jennifer P. Gaitano

BUTUAN CITY, June 15 (PIA) -- The Department of Education (DepEd) Caraga has geared up for the upcoming opening of classes amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

According to DepEd Caraga assistant regional director Arsenio Cornites, Jr., the region has established a Learning Continuity Plan (LCP), which would ensure the continued schooling of students while the country deals with the pandemic.

It serves as guide for the teachers, parents and learners in light of the modifications in certain policies and practices and new learning delivery modalities being introduced.

Part of the LCP is filling out the learners enrollment survey form, which is used to assess the situation of the learners and their parents, and their capability of acquiring the needed gadget and internet connection for the online class.

Cornites also admitted that this would be very challenging but manageable.

“In this home schooling, parents participation is really important. We will be sending them the modules for their children to use. We are also considering the means of delivering these modules to the concerned households and how we could get it on time,” said Cornites.

Agusan del Norte Schools Division Superintendent Romeo Aprovechar also emphasized that the lack of the needed gadgets will never be a hindrance for students to continue learning, as the government is already working on appropriate interventions which include the orientation to parents on the different modes of teaching that are applicable even during this time of the pandemic.

“We can go on with our education even without gadgets. This is through the use of modules to be given to the students. The teacher may distribute these to their respective homes or place that in a barangay where parents can accessibly get the modules every week. There are tasks given to the pupils,” Aprovechar cited.

Aprovechar added that the local government units of said province have been very supportive and are addressing the needs of the schools in their respective areas. Other stakeholders are also reaching out to provide assistance.

Meanwhile, one of the elementary schools in Butuan City has recorded more than 900 pupils already enrolled within five days or 19 percent from the total number of expected enrollees.

School principal Dr. Jonas Jomonong bared that they have coordinated with the service barangays to help the DepEd in providing the needed gadgets and internet connections for the said school that will be used during the enrollment period and during the regular online classes.


Jomonong also called on the parents and stakeholders to give their full support to make the whole preparation for the opening of classes more organized, and for this endeavor to be successful. (NCL/JPG/PIA-Caraga)

Agrarian org receives farm equipment to fight recession

By Gil E. Miranda

BUTUAN CITY, June 15 -- Some 105 farmer-members of Avancena Beneficiaries Farmers Multi Purpose Cooperative (ABFMPC) received a farm tractor worth P1.2-million from the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) of Agusan del Norte  through the agency’s Climate Resilient Farm Productivity Support Project (CRFPSP).

Provincial Agrarian Reform Program Officer II Andre Atega, CESO V, said that the equipment improves the farmers’ agricultural productivity that will significantly raise the farmers’ level of income.

ABFMPC Chair Sergio Baguhin said that the equipment is a need of the farmers to shift the move to be more resilient in manuevering against climate change risk.

“The turned over of the farm tractor happened timely when we need  it most because the farmers already feel more painfully during this time of Covid-19 pandemic,” Baguihin said.

Baguhin said that through the closed coordination with the DAR officials and staff on their appeal about the coop’s absence of farm equipment is now in reality.

Vice Chair Constancio Dalanon of ABFMPC in an interview said that the equipment will benefit not only the farmer-members but also non-farmer-members living outside the agrarian reform community.

Both officers expressed gratitude to the agency’s effort for the release of the equipment during this time of devastating corona virus where the farmers suffered terrible recession.

“The equipment is expected to enhance the members’ capacity during land preparation of palay and vegetables, transport and marketing of goods, generate employment, and improve the farmers’ economic condition,” Dalanon said.

The CRFPSP involved a package of capacity building for adaptation and mitigation practices and the provision of farm equipment and machinery aimed at building resiliency at the ARC levels.

It is a DAR’s response to the risks of climate change to agrarian reform communities (ARCs) and complies with the provisions of Republic Act 9729 or the Climate Change Act. (DAR Agusan del Norte/PIA Agusan del Norte)

DA launches hybrid rice tech demo in Butuan villages

By Rhea Abao

BUTUAN CITY, June 15 -- The Department of Agriculture (DA) continuously intensifies its campaign for the adoption of hybrid rice technology among local farmers.

In 2018, hybrid utilization is at 11.99% and posted an increase of 17.11% in 2019 based on the DA-Rice Program rice performance report.

To further convince farmers to adopt hybrid rice practices and technologies that would help improve farm productivity the DA – Caraga will be hosting the 11th National Rice Technology Forum (NRTF) in collaboration with Rice Productivity Advocacy Incorporated (Rice Board) in partnership with the Local Government Unit of Butuan.

For this year, a technology demonstration will be established in the three Barangays in Butuan City namely Lemon, Basag, and Ampayon with a total area of 100 hectares.

Around 40 participating farmer cooperators, the demo farms will be established in collaboration with the agri-companies namely SL Agritech Corporation, SeedWorks, Bioseed, Ramgo, Bayer, Pioneer, Syngenta, Advanta, and LongPing, alongside the DA-Philippine Rice Research Institute (DA-PhilRice) and Phil-Sino Center for Agricultural Technology (PhilSCAT).


DA-Caraga Regional Executive Director Abel James I. Monteagudo said that NRTF is part of the strategy of the Department to intensify the efforts in increasing the yield and productivity of farmers and ensuring food sufficiency, availability, accessibility, and affordability.

"Food is a vital commodity especially now as we are overcoming the threats of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is our mission to bring to the farmers the latest technology in rice production, this can be achieved by our collaboration and partnership with the rice industry stakeholders," Director Monteagudo said.

In an interview with Renante D. Polistico, Farmer Cooperator from Brgy. Basag, Butuan City, he accepted the project for him to acquire the latest technologies on rice production.

"In my 14 years of rice farming this will be my first time to grow hybrid rice, I am excited to learn and looking forward to increasing my production for this wet cropping season. I am grateful to the DA for this opportunity," Polistico said.

Currently, the farmer cooperators are now on its land preparation in their respective areas, preparing the rice field for planting. They will be provided with the seeds, input requirements, crop protection as well as technical assistance following the package of technology recommended for a particular hybrid rice variety by the agri-companies and rice institutions.

Different planting methods will also be demonstrated and rice mechanization will be integrated.

Through the technology demonstrations, farmers will have the opportunity to choose which among the best practices and technologies introduced are applicable to their farm conditions. Results are expected to be seen this coming October during the 11th National Technology Forum. (DA 13 RAFIS/PIA Caraga)

Planting benefits: Nutrition and immediate food source

By Donna Cris Corpuz

BUTUAN CITY, June 15 -- With the strict order of staying at home, many Filipinos relied on relief goods for daily food. But dishes from these relief goods can be made healthier through the availability of vegetables around the house.

As access to food may be limited during pandemic, malnutrition becomes more prevalent; doubling the burden in already undernourished conditions in rural and urban areas. The State of the World’s Children: Children, Food, and Nutrition report of the United Nations Children’s Fund showed that “one in three 12-23-month-old Filipino children suffer from anemia while one in three children are irreversibly stunted by the age of 2. One in 10 adolescents are also obese from wrong eating habits.”

Moreover, data from the 2015 Updating of the Nutritional Status of Filipino Children and Other Population Groups of the Food and Nutrition Research Institute showed that overweight and obesity were the prevailing problems for adults over 20 years old in Central Luzon.

The 2015 Food Security Status, on the other hand, showed that only 3 out of 10 Filipino households are food secure. This meant that almost two-thirds of the households are still struggling from not having enough food for their families.

“This calls for the need to urge consumers to eat healthy and teach them ways how to have a stable food source at home,” said Jesusa Rivera, an expert from the Agronomy, Soils, and Plant Pathology Division of the Department of Agriculture-Philippine Rice Research Institute (DA-PhilRice).

According to Rivera, consumers do not have to wait too long to have a sustainable source of food from vegetable farming as green leafy vegetables like pechay, mustasa, kangkong, saluyot, and alugbati can already be harvested within 25-35 days after planting. Other vegetables like eggplants, tomatoes, and chilis usually take 45 days to 3 months to be harvested. 

Willy Hidalgo, 53, from Talavera Nueva Ecija said that vegetable farming, which he integrated with rice growing, eases his life.
“I harvested squash, chili, and pechay in a parcel in my 4-ha field, and it really made a huge difference. I can be assured that my family will always have something nutritious to eat, and I am confident because I grew them myself,” the 53-year-old farmer said.

Hidalgo said that planting vegetables is a good way to secure a stable source of safe and nutritious food at home, especially now that everyone is advised to stay at home as much as possible and practice social distancing.

“With vegetables in our yard, we don’t have to go outside our homes to buy food and risk ourselves catching viruses and infecting other members in our household,” he said.

Integrating vegetable farming with rice growing is promoted in one of PhilRice projects, Palayamananan Plus (PalayPlus), a rice-based production system program that started in 2014. Guided by its goal of sustainably increasing farmers’ income and tightening food and nutrition security, this program exemplifies the “BE RICH” principle, which stands for better resource allocation; enhanced biodiversity and ecological balance; reduced production risks; increased cropping intensity, productivity, and sustainability; continuous supply of nutritious food; and higher and more stable income.

Palayamanan concept also encourages farmers to diversify food and income sources, intensify farm productivity, and integrate other components aside from rice like livestock raising and vegetable planting. To know more about Palayamanan, visit https://www.philrice.gov.ph/databases/references/. (DA-PhilRice/PIA-Caraga)

DA-Caraga intensifies effort to promote food sufficiency

BUTUAN CITY, June 15 -- As the country shifts to the so-called ‘new normal’ way of living, the Department of Agriculture (DA) - Caraga continues to strategize its interventions and advocacies to promote food production.

With this, the DA-Caraga headed by regional executive director Abel James I. Monteagudo provided various interventions to people who are interested to have their own food production initiatives at home.

The DA Caraga’s ‘Project Maisan sa Nataran’ (PRO-MAIS) was launched on Thursday led by supervising agriculturist Melody Guimary in order to promote backyard corn production as a means of ensuring food availability in households.

Individuals who want to plant corn and have at least 100 sq. m available area were given ¼ kilogram of corn seeds. To further encourage them, walk-in clienteles were also treated to a free-tasting of cooked corn and rice-corn blend.

Also, through the High Value Crops Development Program, DA-Caraga has distributed another batch of vegetable seedlings and vegetable seeds to those who want to have their own backyard vegetable garden.

To complement these food production initiatives is the Organic Agriculture Program wherein they handed out organic concoctions that the people can use and apply for their vegetables to ensure these would be safe for them and their family members to consume.

Further, the first 15 lucky individuals who took part in the activities received two heads of native chickens from the Livestock Program for them to raise and start their own chicken production. Vitamins for the chickens and stylo seeds were also given to them.

Monteagudo emphasized in his message that everyone needs to be self-sufficient with food especially in own household. He thanked the people who joined the activity and showed their interest in doing their part of attaining food sufficiency.

With these initiatives, which is in support to the Ahon Lahat Pagkaing Sapat (ALPAS COVID19) or also known as the Plant Plant Plant Program, the Department aims to ensure food availability and security for every Filipino even as the country continues to fight against the COVID-19 health crisis. (DA-Caraga/PIA-Caraga)

U.S. gov’t announces new Mindanao-focused COVID-19 assistance

BUTUAN CITY, June 15 -- The United States (U.S.) Embassy in the Philippines announced that the U.S. government is providing an additional P201 million ($4 million) to help support vulnerable populations in Mindanao in the fight against coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), bringing the total amount of U.S. pandemic assistance to the Philippines to over P978 million ($19.5 million). 

On June 2, U.S. Ambassador Sung Kim met virtually with Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) officials, led by Chief Minister Ahod ‘Al Haj Murad’ Ebrahim, who also chairs the BARMM Inter-Agency Task Force on COVID-19, and reiterated the U.S. commitment to partnering with the Philippines to address COVID-19 in the region. 

The meeting provided an opportunity for BARMM leadership to discuss challenges and present its COVID-19 contingency plan, while Ambassador Kim and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Mission Director Lawrence Hardy provided updates on U.S. COVID-19 assistance.

“In these trying times, I am inspired by the resilience and courage of the Filipino people. The United States and the Philippines have met and overcome many challenges together, and I am confident that by working together we will overcome this challenge as well,” said Ambassador Kim. 

With the additional $4 million in humanitarian assistance, USAID will protect vulnerable populations such as those displaced by conflict and the recent earthquakes in Mindanao, and from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. 

USAID and its partners will work with local governments, local health authorities, and communities so that vulnerable populations have access to the most accurate and up-to-date health messages. 

USAID partners will reach over 100,000 persons with distributions of essential hygiene supplies, handwashing stations, hygiene promotion to reduce transmission risk and help communities re-open. 

USAID will also continue to provide vital water supply in transitory sites in Lanao del Sur for families displaced by the Marawi Siege and in North Cotabato for earthquake-affected communities.

The U.S. has provided more than P228 billion ($4.5 billion) in development assistance to the Philippines over the past 20 years, including over P29 billion ($582 million) in health assistance. (U.S. Embassy in the Philippines/PIA-Caraga)

DA provides inputs for sustained soybeans production

BUTUAN CITY, June 15 -- To provide support to soybean farmers in Tago, Surigao del Sur and help them increase their production, the Department of Agriculture (DA) - Caraga turned over various interventions on June 9 to the Meme Agricultural Farmers Association (MAGFA).

The production support included 2,000 kilos of soybean seeds, one unit of grain master/thresher, one unit sorter, and two rolls of UV plastic sheets which will be used for the drying pavement facility.

The MAGFA is an association of farmers engaged in soybean farming. They were organized in 2017 and now has a total of 100 hectares planted with soybeans intercropped with corn.

Soybean is one of Caraga’s priority commodities. The region is also the producer of the said commodity. (DA-RFO XIII, RAFIS/PIA-Caraga)

DA-Caraga prepares for 11th national rice technology forum

BUTUAN CITY, June 15 -- The Department of Agriculture (DA) – Caraga, in collaboration with Rice Productivity Advocacy Incorporated (Rice Board) and local government unit (LGU) of Butuan, is now preparing for the 11th National Rice Technology Forum (NRTF).

The DA continuously intensifies its campaign for the adoption of hybrid rice technology among local farmers. This is to further convince farmers by showcasing the best farming technologies through the collective efforts by the national government, LGU's, farmers, and the private sector.

A technology demonstration will be established in the three barangays in Butuan City, namely Lemon, Basag, and Ampayon with a total area of 100 hectares.

With around 40 participating farmer cooperators, the demo farms will be established in collaboration with the agri-companies, namely SL Agritech Corporation, SeedWorks, Bioseed, Ramgo, Bayer, Pioneer, Syngenta, Advanta, LongPing, and PhilSCAT alongside the DA-Philippine Rice Research Institute (DA-PhilRice).

DA-Caraga Regional Executive Director Abel James I. Monteagudo said that NRTF is part of the strategy of the department to intensify the efforts in increasing the yield and productivity of farmers and ensuring food sufficiency, availability, accessibility, and affordability.

"Food is the vital commodity especially now as we are overcoming the threats of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is our mission to bring to the farmers the latest technology in rice production. This can be achieved through our partnership with the rice industry stakeholders," Monteagudo said.

In an interview with Renante D. Polistico, farmer cooperator from Brgy. Basag, Butuan City, he said he accepted the project for him to acquire the latest technologies on rice production.
"In my 14 years of rice farming this will be my first time to grow hybrid rice, I am excited to learn and I am looking forward to increasing production for this wet cropping season. I am grateful for the DA for this opportunity," Polistico said.

Farmer cooperators are now on its land preparation in their respective areas. (DA-RFO XIII, RAFIS/PIA-Caraga)