(PAGASA 24-HOUR PUBLIC WEATHER FORECAST as of Wednesday, 21 October, 2020) At 3:00 AM today, the center of Tropical Storm "PEPITO" {SAUDEL} was estimated based on all available data at 30 km West of Baguio City (16.4°N, 120.3°E) with maximum sustained winds of 75 km/h near the center and gustiness of up to 115 km/h. It is moving West Northwestward at 30 km/h. Mindanao will have partly cloudy to cloudy skies with isolated rainshowers or thunderstorms due to Localized Thunderstorm. Moderate to strong winds from Northwest to Southwest and the coastal waters will be moderate to rough (2.5 to 4.0 m).

Friday, October 16, 2020

Sen. Go provides aid to fire victims in Butuan City

BUTUAN CITY, Oct. 16 -- The team of Senator Christopher “Bong” Go distributed food packs, cash assistance, masks, face shields, vitamins, medicines, and meals to 69 fire victims from Barangays San Ignacio, Doongan and Dumalagan in this city on Wednesday, October 14.

The fire incidents in these barangays happened on different dates.

“Mayroon akong kaunting ipinadala na financial assistance sa inyo. Mayroon din akong food packs na ipinadala, masks, at face shields kaya suotin ninyo ang mga 'yan dahil delikado pa ang panahon sa ngayon. Kailangan mag-social distancing tayo at maghugas ng mga kamay, at kung hindi naman kinakailangan ay 'wag ng lumabas ng mga bahay,” Go told the beneficiaries.

The team also handed out bicycles to selected recipients to help them in their daily commute to work. They also provided tablet computers to other individuals to be used for the online classes of their children.

“Mayroon din akong ipinadala riyan sa inyo na bisikleta para magamit ninyo sa trabaho. Mayroon din akong ipinadala na mga tablets diyan para magamit ng mga anak ninyo. Sa mga bata na nakikinig ngayon, mag-aral kayo nang mabuti dahil ito lamang ang tanging kasiyahan ng inyong mga magulang,” he added.

The National Housing Agency also identified 52 out of the 69 beneficiaries for their Emergency Housing Assistance Program. Assistance will be provided to help fire victims buy materials to build their new home.

Meanwhile, the Department of Health provided hygiene kits, vitamins, food packs, and containers, while the Department of Social Welfare and Development also distributed financial assistance to the beneficiaries.

In addition, the Department of Trade and Industry, Department of Labor and Employment, and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority profiled and assessed potential beneficiaries for their Pangkabuhayan sa Pagbangon at Ginhawa Program, Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers Program, and Training and Scholarship, respectively. (OSBG/PIA-Caraga)

Army welcomes newborn baby of former NPA Amazon

By 1Lt Roel T. Maglalang

BUENAVISTA, Agusan del Norte, Oct. 16 -- An 18-year-old pregnant former member of the New People’s Army (NPA) amazon successfully delivers her first baby on October 9, 2020 at the Agusan del Norte Provincial Hospital in Barangay Libertad, Butuan City.

It was late in the evening when Alias Wena felt the pain in her tummy as a sign that she will be giving birth to her first baby. She was then assisted by the troops of the 23rd Infantry (Masigasig) Battalion (23rd IB), Philippine Army and immediately brought to the hospital.

Alias Wena (true name withheld for security reason) serves as the Squad Medic of SYP SIKOP, Guerrilla Front-4A, North Central Mindanao Regional Committee (NCMRC) for nearly two years. She was lured and recruited by the Communist NPA Terrorist (CNT) at the young age of 16. She had big dreams in life but realized that she could not finish her studies because of poverty. To pursue her dreams, she applied as a working student and studied at Buenavista National High School in Agusan del Norte.

Unfortunately, she was not able to finish her schooling because the leaders of the CNTs destroyed her life and killed her dreams and ambitions. She was easily lured by the CNTs also because her father and her two other brothers were also active members of the armed group. In other words, her entire family was ruined by the CNTs by taking the most important foundation of their family which was her father-the person who should guide, protect, take care and look after them while they grow.

Alias Wena together with her companion Alias Apay who was also pregnant was rescued by the troops of 23IB in Barangay Guinabsan, Buenavista, Agusan del Norte way back May 16, 2020. They then stayed inside the Masigasig Happy Home and were assisted and monitored by the FR NCO especially during their prenatal, ultrasound, and other necessary activities to make sure that they will deliver their babies healthily. The unit also made sure that they can avail of all the assistance and benefits offered by the government for the FRs.

Alias Wena thanked the government especially the PSWD, PLGU Agusan Norte, and the 23IB, and other line government agencies who never failed to extend assistance to them especially to her who is bearing her first child. She needed a peaceful environment, nutritious foods, and must not be stressed as being pregnant is so sensitive to stressful environments. Unfortunately, her husband, who was also a member of the CNT, already passed away. She needs to stand on her own but luckily, the government is always ready to help her anytime.

Meanwhile, Lt. Col. Julius Cesar C Paulo, the Acting Commander of 23IB happily welcomed the newborn baby. He expressed gladness upon knowing the baby was successfully and healthily delivered despite the pandemic that we are facing.

“I am glad that another blessing enters inside our Battalion. While the NPAs are only good in destroying families, your army and the government will mend what the NPAs have broken especially the families,” Paulo said.

He added that Alias Wena was one of the survivors in the encounter that transpired in Sitio Likudon, Brgy Kamanikan, Gingoog City way back May 10, 2020, wherein 15 NPA combatants were killed in action and Alias Nady (their comrade), a pregnant NPA Amazon was one of the casualties.

“Indeed, coming back to the folds of the law is the most wonderful thing that the FRs can give to themselves especially for the Amazon because it is so dangerous for them. You are destined to be the light of your families to guide your children. You are not supposed to be suffering in the mountains to fight against the government without gaining any profit,” Paulo said. (CMO Officer, 23IB, 4ID, PA/PIA Agusan del Norte)

DBP backs public transport sector recovery

BUTUAN CITY, Oct. 16 -- State-run Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) is working with the Department of Transportation (DOTr) and the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) in coming up with financial interventions to help the transportation sector get back on track after reeling from the ill-effects of the pandemic, a top official said.

DBP President and Chief Executive Officer Emmanuel G. Herbosa said the assistance includes government subsidies to public utility vehicle (PUV) operators to cover revenue gaps during the period when a temporary ban on PUVs were imposed as part of community lockdowns.

“DBP is one with the DOTr and LTFRB in finding suitable and sustainable solutions to assist the transport sector as it steadily begins to recover from the devastating losses spawned by this pandemic,” Herbosa said.

DBP is the seventh largest bank in the country in terms of assets and provides credit support to four strategic sectors of the economy – infrastructure and logistics, micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), social services and community development, and the environment.

The bank’s assistance to the transport sector would be implemented through its Rehabilitation Support on Severe Events (RESPONSE) program, which extends financing support for the rehabilitation efforts of both public and private firms adversely affected by calamities such as the latest national public health emergency.

As of end-June, DBP has provided a total of P19.16-billion in credit assistance and payment deferment under DBP RESPONSE, which benefitted 606 clients of which 19 clients are from the transport sector.

Herbosa said DBP recognizes the essential role of the transport sector in the country’s economic recovery as it caters mostly to workers belonging to the MSME sector, which is considered the backbone of the local economy.

He said industry stakeholders should collaborate and muster the needed resources to implement innovative approaches and adapt to new regulations to ensure the health and safety of commuters.

“This an opportune time for the public transport sector to examine its future role in the country’s mass transportation system while optimizing available resources to meet the growing demand for cleaner and more efficient modes of transport,” Herbosa said. (DBP/PIA Caraga)