(PAGASA 24-HOUR PUBLIC WEATHER FORECAST as of Monday, 26 February 2024) Easterlies affecting the eastern section of the country. 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. Light to Moderate winds coming from East to Northeast will prevail with Slight to Moderate seas (0.6 to 2.5 meters).

Monday, July 27, 2020

TESDA, Army chiefs lay down peace interventions

By Robert E. Roperos

BUTUAN CITY, July 27 -- Peace interventions are now put in place by the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA)-Agusan del Norte Provincial Office and the Philippine Army’s 23rd Infantry Battalion (23IB) under its new leaders.

The development came after TESDA-Agusan del Norte Provincial Director Rey M. Cueva recently paid a courtesy visit to the 23IB headed by Lt. Col. Julius Cesar C. Paulo.

During the meeting of the two officials, Dir. Cueva presented the interventions that TESDA is offering to communities that are considered Peace Development Zones (PDZs). He also pointed out that former rebels (FRs) are one of the special clients that TESDA is serving, in support to the implementation of EO 70 institutionalizing a whole-of-nation approach in attaining inclusive and sustainable peace.

Through this, the official said the “TESDA Abot Lahat” slogan of the agency was conceptualized following the directive of Sec. Isidro S. Lapeña which anchors on EO 70.

For his part, Lt. Col. Paulo welcomed the newly-assigned provincial director and ensure its continuous partnership with TESDA. For the past years, TESDA has been closely working with the Philippine Army’s 23rd IB in the implementation of skills trainings and livelihood programs to FRs and the Indigenous Peoples (IPs).

Paolo stressed that a number of FRs are currently in their custody. They will be resettled in resettlement areas dubbed as “Masigasig Village for Peace” (MVP) which will be constructed in the following areas: MVP-1 in Sitio Bulak in Brgy. Lower Olave in Buenavista town; MVP-2 in Brgy. Hinandayan in Nasipit; and MVP-3 in Sitio Bukbokan in Brgy. Lawan-lawan, Las Nieves, all in Agusan del Norte. While in the village, the community will develop a farm as a form of livelihood.

The official further said that Agusan del Norte 2nd District Cong. Ma. Angelica Rosedell Amante-Matba and Agusan del Norte Governor Dale B. Corvera have already committed to provide construction materials for the resettlement village.

Together with Dir. Cueva are the Vocational School Administrator II of the Northern Mindanao School of Fisheries (NMSF) Mr. Romel M. Natad whose trainers are regularly handling skills trainings in the 23IB, and Buenafe G. Enaya, Supervising TESD Specialist of TESDA-Agusan del Norte Provincial Office. (TESDA Agusan del Norte/PIA Agusan del Norte)

Agrarian groups prosper amidst pandemic

By Gil E. Miranda

BUTUAN CITY, July 27 -- While the rest of the agrarian-organizations’ groan in the face of the recession due to coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, some of them were appeared unaffected. 

The Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Organizations (ARBOs) in Agusan del Norte are the Department of Agrarian Reform’s (DAR's) assisted organizations to continue their marketing activities during the impact on travel restrictions by issuing quarantine accreditation pass within and outside of the region.

Provincial Agrarian Reform Program Officer II (PARPO II) Andre B. Atega, CESO V, said that the farmer-organizations, as frontliners in food sufficiency, remained profitable, which recorded millions of pesos in gross sales.

In a Facebook post, PARPO II Atega said that nothing deters our cooperatives and the Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries (ARBs) in Agusan del Norte to continue marketing their products to markets.

Planning Officer Annelyn R. Chan, Provincial Project coordinator of the Project ConVERGE, said that like the case of the San Isidro Upland Farmers Multi-Purpose Cooperative (SIUFMULCO)  in Santiago town, the cooperative, a Project ConVERGE assisted organization, continuously marketing their abaca fiber product during the pandemic.

Chan said that SIUFMULCO successfully took a number of deliveries during locked-down across Caraga region and earned a gross sales of more than P37-million from abaca fiber sold to a market center in Baybay, Leyte.

“Despite the challenge, the effort of partner-agencies on deliveries of abaca fiber was covered by certifications from the Department of Agriculture (DA), the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), and the Philippines Fiber Development Authority (Phil-FIDA),” Chan added.

SIUFMULCO Manager Leonila Mila said that the volume traded from March to June reached up to 535.684 metric tons or 56% increase compared from 301.38 metric tons in the first quarter this year.

The venture earned a gross income of P37-million or 57 percent increased from a gross sales of P21-million from the first quarter, Mila added.

This was also the case of the Avanceña Beneficiaries Farmers Multi-Purpose Cooperative (ABFMC) in Cabadbaran City and Butuan-Agusan Farmers Multi-Purpose Cooperative (BAFMPC) that continuously supply milled-rice not only to the regular market but also to local government units' social amelioration program.

Both agrarian cooperatives earned profits by delivering thousands of sacks of milled rice which made the groups earned millions of pesos in gross sales.

DAR Program Beneficiaries Development Division (PBDD) Ellen J. Torralba said that these cooperatives have shown their effort to reach out to their respective buyers where they could sell their produce.

In a separate interview with ABFMPC Chair Sergio Baguhin said, "We managed to deliver 1,600 sacks of milled rice from March 30 to April 6, 2020, which made the coop earned over Php3-million."

The BAFMPC also recorded millions of pesos in gross sales and continue serving its members amidst the pandemic.

Another three more cooperatives, whose entrepreneurship lies on the delivery of assorted vegetables, are the CLOA  Holders and Vegetable Producers Association (DRCHVPA) in Tubay, Agusan del Norte; the Kilometer 7 Producers Cooperative (KM. 7 PC) in Butuan City; and the De Oro Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Cooperative (DARBECO), of Brgy. De Oro in Butuan City.

These three cooperatives underscored by ensuring their steady supply of vegetables to Butuan City Jail Management and Penology (BJMPC) as part of their marketing tie-up arrangement facilitated by DAR under the Enhanced Partnership Against Hunger and Poverty program (EPAHP). (DAR Agusan del Norte/PIA Agusan del Norte)

Farm machineries help boost FAs soybean production in SurSur town

By Vanessa P. Sanchez

BUTUAN CITY, July 27 -- Faster, less costly, and better in quality. These are the major changes that the members of the Meme Agricultural Farmers Association (MAGFA) of Tago, Surigao del Sur feel in their farming operations now that they have some farm machineries.

The Association which was organized in 2017 has 111 members who are engaged in soybean, corn, rice, and vegetable farming. They have a total of 100 hectares planted with soybeans.

The association Chairman Annabelle Dela Fuente Loja said that soybean is suitable in their area. “It thrives well especially here in our Barangay, in Layug, that is why we have been planting this crop for a long time now,” she said.

In June this year, MAGFA availed of a multi-grain thresher and a sorting machine from the Department of Agriculture (DA) – Caraga. They also received soybean seeds last March. They were also able to avail of a water pump back in November 2019.

Loja narrates that their old practices in soybean farming were really time-consuming and laborious since they used to do manual threshing by stamping on the harvested soybeans.

“Back then, threshing 40 sacks would take us a month, but with the multi-grain master thresher it only takes a few hours,” she said.

As for sorting, they used to do the “paligid” wherein they used plywood on which the beans were placed to roll. “With that kind of system, we were able to separate the beans from dirt and other materials but it was not efficient in sorting the beans according to its sizes. Now with the sorter machine, in addition to removing dirt, the beans are also classified according to its sizes. Further, before with manual sorting, we can only finish 5 sacks a day, buy now with the sorting machine, we can finish 100 sacks each day, ” Loja added.

Joel Ochavillo, a member of MAGFA who is also into soybean production said that the machines made farming easier and more convenient. “Our labor cost, as well as the time we spend on our farming operations, have been lessened, thanks to the interventions we have availed from the DA –Caraga,” he said.

Loja said they used to spend P25,000 – P30,000 for labor but now they save to as much as P5,000.

Ochavillo said that the traders who would come to their place to buy their produce did not really offer them a competitive price before, ranging from less than P20 - P23 per kilo. Now though, with the assistance of the DA-Caraga’s Agribusiness and Marketing Assistance Division, they have tied up with a buyer from Davao City which offered them a price of P30 per kilo.

On the other hand, DA-Caraga Regional Executive Director Abel James I. Monteagudo, who personally witnessed the farming activities of the group in their area was happy to note that the machinery from the DA is working and helping the soybean farmers in improving their farming practices. “Even before, with their not so advanced way, this town already produces more than half of the country’s soybean supply. So we hope to provide them with more of the Department’s interventions to help them further boost their production and sustain it,” Monteagudo said.

According to Loja, their average harvest for one hectare is 40 sacks per hectare at 50 kilos per sack. Caraga is the country’s top producer of soybean in the country with the bulk of it coming from Surigao del Sur. (DA13-RAFIS/PIA-Surigao del Sur)

PNP Caraga supports President Duterte’s SONA

By PMaj. Renel E. Serrano

BUTUAN CITY, July 27 -- The Philippine National Police (PNP) Caraga expressed its full support on the government’s plans and programs that will be presented by President Rodrigo Duterte during his State of the Nation Address (SONA) today, July 27. 

On the issue of Anti-terrorism Act of 2020, PNP Caraga regional director Brigadier General Joselito T. Esquivel, Jr. said that the PNP is sincere and progressively applying human rights principles and right-based approaches in the implementation of the law.   

He also announced that PNP Caraga is in partnership with other sectors including local communities as it works hand in hand to combat terrorism while observing the rule of law.

“The PNP organization stands for freedom of speech, assembly and expression. We highly respect the rights of any people and adhere to the procedures of the law. However, I urge the groups that are planning to physically stage a protest to just do it online and avoid mass gathering due to the COVID-19 pandemic to prevent the further spread of the virus,” BGen. Esquivel said.

PNP Caraga completed its security preparations for the places where mass gathering is allowed and will continuously at maximum tolerance during the SONA 2020 to maintain peace and order at all times. (PIO, PNP-13/PIA-Caraga)