(PAGASA 24-HOUR PUBLIC WEATHER FORECAST as of Friday, 25 September, 2020) At 3:00 AM today, the Low Pressure Area (LPA) was estimated based on all available data at 615 km East of Baler, Aurora (15.4 °N, 127.3 °E). Southwest Monsoon affecting Southern Luzon and Visayas. Caraga Region will experience partly cloudy to cloudy skies with isolated rainshowers or thunderstorms due to Localized Thunderstorms. Possible flash floods or landslides during severe thunderstorms. Moderate winds coming from Southwest will prevail and the coastal waters will be moderate with wave height from 1.2 to 2.5 meters.

Tuesday, September 9, 2020

AgSur town takes vegetable production in center island

By Vanessa P Sanchez

Taking inspiration from the Department of Agriculture’s (DA’s) Plant Plant Plant Program, the municipality of Prosperidad in Agusan del Sur has taken on a municipal-wide vegetable gardening as part of its Food Security Plan in response to the coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) health crisis.

One of the municipality’s initiatives is the Center Island Vegetable Gardening Project wherein vegetables are planted on the center traffic island along the stretch of the national highway of Prosperidad.

According to Municipal Agriculturist Marlita P. Cortez, all the municipal offices are involved and were grouped into nine clusters with each cluster taking charge of 77 meters of the center island.

“Rather than planting flowers for beautification, we chose to plant vegetables instead. This way, we do not only get to harvest vegetables but we can also show the public that vegetable gardening can be done easily so that they will also be encouraged to have their own food production initiative at home,” Cortez said.

Further, she said that this initiative is approved by their Municipal Mayor Frederick Mark P. Mellana and that they plan to sustain this project.

Vegetable seeds and organic fertilizers were procured and distributed to the nine clusters and by June they started planting. The vegetables planted were eggplant, kangkong and pechay. The clusters have already been harvesting vegetables which the members divided among themselves for their own consumption. Some of the vegetables were also shared with the needy especially those who do not really have an available area to plant on.

Following this was the implementation of Food Always in the Home (FAITH) program through which vegetable seeds were distributed to households for them to plant in their backyards while 17 barangays of the town were also chosen for the establishment of their own communal gardens.

In addition, the Municipal Agriculture Office also distributed five heads of chicken to 45 beneficiaries per barangay. Two kilos of feeds were also given to the recipients together with the chickens.

Another project of Prosperidad under its Food Security Plan is the distribution of tilapia fingerlings. This is in coordination with the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) to those who have fishponds. The number of fingerlings given depends on the size of the area of the recipient.

On the other hand, as a way of assisting the farmers in selling their produce, the local government unit (LGU) of Prosperidad allocated a budget of P5 million to buy the products of the farmers. To date, 571 bags of milled rice have been bought from rice farmers. These were then sold by the Employees’ Union to interested buyers, mostly the employees of the LGU.  

Cortez said that Prosperidad’s Food Security Plan has a budget allocation of P10 million to be utilized for its various initiatives that aim to cushion the impact of the pandemic on the people. (DA13-RAFIS/PIA-Agusan del Sur)

Bislig massage therapists provide free wellness service to SCs, PWDs  

BISLIG CITY, Surigao del Sur, Sept. 8 (PIA) -- The Bislig Massage Therapists Association (BISMASTA) has provided free massage service to senior citizens (SCs) and persons with disabilities (PWDs) to the nearby barangays within this city.

The group has been doing the activity for nine years now, benefitting two vulnerable sectors of the society.

Due to the declaration of the pandemic brought by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), the provision of services was suspended for a month. But after its resumption recently, the group implemented the skeleton workforce following the guidelines issued by the local government unit and the local Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF).

The association has also initiated free distribution of surgical masks benefiting around 150 senior citizens and PWDs.

At present, the group is raising some 500 washable face masks which will be distributed to the same indigent clienteles for free.

Meantime, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) was able to assist the BISMASTA in 2013 through its DOLE Integrated Livelihood Program (DILP). They availed the amount of P161,000.00 as their 'Kabuhayan Formation.'

In 2015, the DOLE revealed that BISMASTA availed the Kabuhayan Enhancement amounting to P267,750.00 from the said agency.

The BISMASTA was formed in 2011 with 28 members only, and in 2019, they reached to 82 members.

They have already provided employment opportunities to the therapist-members of the group with 60%-40% sharing of income. The 60% goes to the therapist while 40% goes to the clinic, it was learned.

Meanwhile, the city government of Bislig has proposed to delineate an area of 255 square meters with an estimated value of P1,275,000.00 for the construction of the association's building clinic located at the market site.  (DOLE-Surigao del Sur/PIA-Surigao del Sur)