(PAGASA 24-HOUR PUBLIC WEATHER FORECAST as of Tuesday, 24 November, 2020) Northeast Monsoon affecting Luzon and Visayas. Tail-End of Frontal System (Shearline) affecting the eastern sections of Mindanao. Caraga Region will experience Cloudy skies with scattered rainshowers and thunderstorm due to Tail-end of a Frontal System (Shearline). Possible flash floods or landslides due to light to moderate to at times heavy rains. Light to Moderate winds coming from Northeast to North will prevail and the coastal waters will be Slight to Moderate with wave height from 0.6 to 2.1 meters.

Friday, October 30, 2020

NGO commends gov't agencies on hosting Dagyaw 2020

By Doreen Marielle N. Rosales

BUTUAN CITY, Oct. 30 (PIA) -- Speakers of the first episode of Dagyaw 2020: Virtual Town Hall Meeting praised the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Caraga, Department of Budget Management (DBM) Caraga and the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) Caraga for spearheading the event, which helped shed light on the strong partnership between civil society organizations, private sector, and the government.

Glenn Bais, regional coordinator of Philippine Partnership for the Development of Human Resources in Rural Areas (PhilDHRRA) – Mindanao, who discussed the first topic of the said episode “Building Resilience” commended the said agencies for hosting the event.

“We are so happy that through Dagyaw and other platforms, we are able to display the spirit of partnership and collaboration between and among CSOs and the government and even with the private sector,” he said.

Dagyaw is one of the main campaigns of the current administration that aims to bring the government closer to the people. This year’s campaign focused on making the actions of the government and non-government stakeholders and partners on the current issues, such as the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

The event was launched virtually on Thursday via Facebook Live on DILG Caraga and PIA Caraga's official Facebook pages. This was aimed to make it more accessible to the public without compromising their health and safety.

The organization head discussed how Caraganons can build resilience, the ability to overcome and recover from challenges and difficulties, despite the pressure brought by the pandemic.

This entailed nurturing the said trait in oneself by keeping a positive outlook in the situation and facing stressors head-on. Having a strong support system can also help with maintaining resilience, which could comprise of friends and families or even peer groups.

Financial literacy was also briefly discussed. According to Bais, to achieve financial freedom, certain habits must be formed.

“These include making financial goals, budgeting, identifying firstly the needs before wants, knowledge on managing finances, investing, and taking care of one’s mental health. You must also be willing to commit to these habits. Doing so will guarantee financial freedom,” he said.

The PHilDHRRA head also emphasized the need to prepare for future uncertainties. On the part of the government, it is suggested that a recovery master plan that includes innovative strategies that address and mitigate multifaceted issues and a financial literacy program must be made. Government agencies and local government units (LGUs) must also mobilize CSOs to deliver its programs to the marginalized and vulnerable groups.

He concluded his presentation by lauding the efforts of the government to strengthen their links with non-state actors (NSAs) such as PhilDHRRA.

“I am so happy that the government is opening its doors. We all know that social accountability works when there is an open and responsive government. Through this, we can also fortify our partnership. When we are united, we can extend more help especially during this unprecedented crisis.”

"Dagyaw", the Hiligaynon word for "bayanihan," is a series of Open Government Partnership (OGP) and Participatory Governance Regional Townhall Meetings launched by the DBM and DILG with support from the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) and non-government partners.

The event serves as a platform for productive, valuable, sincere and visible engagement between senior officials of government and the citizens, promoting and disseminating information on the open government and participatory governance initiatives of the Duterte administration.

Episode two of this year’s series entitled “Urban Gardening and Livelihood” will be aired on November 5, 2020 at 2:00 pm via Facebook Live, which can be streamed on DILG Caraga and PIA Caraga’s official Facebook pages. (DMNR/PIA-Caraga)

BSP to Caraganons: Learn to save money all the time

By Jennifer P. Gaitano

BUTUAN CITY, Oct. 30 (PIA) -- The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) here emphasized that saving money as a practice means people are financial literate.

“Learn to save money all the time not only during this time of crisis, but always,” said Glizriel Rose Quijada, bank officer II of BSP Butuan as she discussed building resiliency through financial literacy during the first episode of Dagyaw 2020 virtual conference held on Thursday.

Quijada revealed that there are people who do not have savings and assets even at the time of their retirement due to "poor cultural money practices, small psychological wallet, and life cycle event."

“Only four out of 10 Filipino adults save. Such low statistics is caused by lack of knowledge on saving and budgeting and the discipline it requires to maintain it. This can be aided by financial planning, which can be done by visioning financial goals, evaluating financial condition, specifically current needs, and listing down all sources of income and expenses,” Quijada bared.

Quijada added that one should take courage to start saving money from his/her monthly income no matter how small or big the amount is. "We can not save if we do not know how to budget. At times, we lack the motivation and courage to save due to lack of financial literacy. This is why, we should learn and practice the habit of saving from our earnings," she said.

The BSP’s main responsibility is to formulate and implement policy in the areas of money, banking and credit with the primary objective of preserving price stability. It has also been conducting financial literacy campaign in the different cities/municipalities of the region.

The Dagyaw 2020 is hosted by the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Caraga, in partnership with the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) and Philippine Information Agency (PIA) Caraga. (JPG/PIA-Caraga)

DTI recognizes CeMAP initiative vs mislabelled imported cement

By Jennifer P. Gaitano

BUTUAN CITY, Oct. 30 (PIA) -- The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) recognized the initiative and effort of the Cement Manufacturers Association of the Philippines (CeMAP) in monitoring the quality of Philippine-made and imported cement products being sold in the country.

In a press statement, the DTI revealed it saw the need for a new regulation following a review conducted by the Bureau of Philippine Standards (BPS) on the policy regarding the manufacture and importation of cement products.

The department has recently announced that it will be issuing a Memorandum Circular (MC) on the Supplemental Guidelines for the Implementation of Department Administrative Order (DAO) 17-06, Series of 2017 after CeMAP raised concerns about imported cement being labelled with “Made in the Philippines.”

Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said the new policy will promote transparency and accuracy on the product markings for both locally manufactured and imported cement products.

“It is incumbent upon the importers and/or manufacturers to properly label their products and reflect the country where these products were produced,” said Lopez.

The official added that the policy will properly guide consumers and help boost the campaign patronizing locally produced products to help the economy recover from the effects of the pandemic.

“While consumer safety is always one of the department’s priorities, it is also the mandate of DTI to protect and support local manufacturing industries. This is why the DTI strongly promotes the Buy Local, Go Lokal campaign, encouraging all local consumers to patronize Filipino products and services,” Lopez underscored.

Meanwhile, the local cement manufacturers also commended the DTI for immediately taking action and issue the needed policy that will also ensure consumer protection against mislabelled cement products in the market. “This is a welcomed development and a huge victory for the local cement industry and the thousands of workers that it employs,” the CeMAP said in a statement.

The group said it will also ensure that legitimate local producers will benefit from the government’s initiative that give preference to Philippine-made construction materials for its infrastructure projects.

“We are hoping that through this issuance, the rampant mislabelling of imported cement products as locally made will be completely eradicated,” the group said.

It was learned that upon the issuance of the supplemental guidelines, the DTI-BPS will be conducting verification and monitoring of cement bagging facilities in the country to ensure immediate compliance with the prescribed product markings.

Under this MC, all locally manufactured and imported cement products shipped in bulk and bagged in a PS licensed bagging facility shall be permanently marked with the name and address of the manufacturer, the country of manufacture, and the words “Bagged by:”, followed by the name and address of the bagging facility, among others.

In addition, manufacturers and operators of bagging facilities are directed to immediately cease all printing operations of previously approved cement bag designs indicating “Product of the Philippines” even if the cement products are imported.

The DTI-BPS will be conducting an inventory of all printed cement bags for recording purposes and employ immediate corrective action to reflect the correct country of manufacture.

“We encourage and support investments in additional cement processing facilities, but we will also not waiver in our pursuit to ensure level playing fields, both for locally manufactured and imported products,” said Secretary Lopez. (JPG/PIA-Caraga)

NGCP secures reliability of transmission services in NE Mindanao

SURIGAO CITY, Surigao del Norte, Oct. 30 -- The Northeastern Mindanao area will now experience greater reliability of power transmission services as National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) energized its new Butuan-Placer 138 kiloVolt (kV) line 2 earlier this month.

The project involves the construction of 100-kilometer of overhead transmission line which connects Butuan Substation in Agusan del Norte to Placer Substation in Surigao del Norte.

With the new line in place, cooperatives in Surigao del Norte and Surigao del Sur will benefit from improved voltage level, reduced transmission system losses, and the mitigation of unwanted power interruptions in the area.

The ERC-approved project costing to P1.1 billion is one of the components of the Mindanao Reliability Compliance Project 1. The old existing Butuan-Placer line, which has been in operation since 1995 was reinforced with a secon, alternative circuit to avert load dropping caused by unplanned outages.

The new transmission line fulfills the N-1 requirement of the Philippine Grid Code, which is the ability of the grid to withstand a major system disturbance through redundancies in the grid system.

“We fully recognize the potentiality of Mindanao and are preparing for significant load growth in the coming years. Through the energization of this project, we are able to deliver quality service and a strengthened transmission network to support the region’s continued growth,” NGCP stated.

The company also appeals to the public to help keep the ROW corridor of this line free and clear from any obstruction that may hamper its ability to transmit electricity efficiently.

"We call all the residents and the local government univ leaders of areas where our transmission lines traverse to help us safeguard these facilities. They can only continue to serve your area if the ROW corridors are kept clean. Not only can these obstructions cause unplanned power interruptions, but it may also pose a danger to life and property," NGCP said.

NGCP’s projects in Mindanao also include the Mindanao Backbone project and the Mindanao-Visayas Interconnection Project. Both projects aim to further enhance the reliability of transmission services for the entire region.

NGCP is a Filipino-led, privately owned company in charge of operating, maintaining, and developing the country’s power grid, led by majority shareholders and vice-chairperson of the Board Henry Sy, Jr. and co-vice chairperson Robert Coyiuto, Jr. (NGCP/PIA-Surigao del Norte)

Trabaho at kita ng mga trabahante sa daungang nasasakupan ng Agusan del Norte patuloy

By Nora C. Lanuza

LUNGSOD NG BUTUAN, Oktubre 30 (PIA) -- Hindi naging problema ang trabaho at kita ng mga manggagawa sa Masao port dito sa lungsod kahit paman apektado ang buong bansa dahil sa coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, ng dahil sa ginawang modernisasyon ng nasabing daungan, tuloy-tuloy ang kanilang trabaho.

Masayang ibinahagi ni Alfredo Paler, ang supervisor ng Concord Arrastre Stevedoring Corporation dahil sa patuloy na may kinikita ang mahigit 40 trabahante na kanyang sinasakupan sa Masao port. Ayon sa kanya mas lumaki pa ang kita nila ng dahil mas marami na ngayon ang mga barkong dumadating dito.

Ayon din kay Agusan port management office (PMO) ng Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) manager Mildred Padilla, dahil apektado ang operasyon ng Nasipit port dahil sa banta ng COVID-19, malaki ang naging kontribusyon ng Masao port sa revenue ng PPA-PMO Agusan, dahil sa patuloy na pagdating ng mga cargo vessels sa nasabing daungan.

Umaabot hanggang 15 cargo vessels ang dumadating sa Masao port buwan-buwan, ngunit patuloy itong napatiling COVID-19-free dahil sa striktong implementasyon ng mga health protocols dito.

Dagdag din ni Clarissa Rosales, ang Masao port manager, mahigpit nilang ipinapatupad ang mga health protocols upang maprotektahan ang kanilang mga tauhan lalong-lalo na ang mga trabahante na araw-araw pumapasok upang magampanan ang kanilang mga responsibilidad.

Upang matugunan din ang new normal, kung saan maging limitado ang pagtanggap ng mga pasahero sa Nasipit port, patuloy ang ginagawang pagpapalawak ng passengers terminal building, paggamit ng contach tracing app, at plano na ding ipatupad ang e-ticketing sa mga pasahero ng barko sa susunod na mga araw. (NCLM/PIA Agusan del Norte)

Rice techno forum demonstrates efficient clustering approach

BUTUAN CITY, Oct. 30 -- To accomplish a mission, one must find allies to support its views and causes. 

The Department of Agriculture (DA) has found a strong ally in vigorously pushing farm clustering and consolidation through a Public-Private Partnership.

DA-Caraga in collaboration with the Rice Productivity Advocacy Inc. or the Rice Board and the Local Government Unit of Butuan City successfully capped the 11th National Rice Technology Forum (NRTF) held at Barangay Lemon, Butuan City, on October 14-16, 2020.

NRTF is a semi-annual event that aims to promote the use of modern rice farming technology such as the hybrid rice in increasing rice productivity and income of rice farmers.

“The six months preparation of the activity encountered limitations but we admired the collective effort by the DA Regional Office and attached agencies, LGU-Butuan, private seed companies, and local farmers who made it possible,” said Ebenezer Basco, Rice Board Secretary.

Basco added that the partnership continues to support a food secure Philippines by demonstrating new technology in rice farming and aim to reach more farmers across the country.

Hybridize and Mechanize

The 11th NRTF 100-hectare demo area showcased the best farming practices that Caraga farmers can feasibly adopt to increase their efficiency and productivity.

Studies show that the use of hybrid seeds can increase farmers’ yield by at least 15% than the use of inbred varieties. Its increased vigor makes it more competitive and increases its resistance to diseases and insects.

DA-Caraga Regional Executive Director Abel James I. Monteagudo highlighted the importance of farm mechanization that should complement the high-yielding rice varieties to optimize productivity.

“The combination of rice hybridization and mechanization is one of the formulas to improve the production and enhance the productivity of farm labor,” Monteagudo said.

Rey Miot, a farmer-cooperator, and member of the Basag-Lemon Irrigators Association has comparative experience with manual and mechanical transplanting.

According to him, walk-behind transplanters save cost and time. Using mechanical transplanter will only take 2-3 hours in one day per hectare with four farm laborers. This would cost around 2,500 3,000, while manual transplanting would cost 6,000 per hectare with 10 farm laborers.

“The free farm inputs and the help of farm machines have cut down my production cost from 12 to 8 per kilogram. I am hoping that for the next cropping season this outcome will continue,” Miot said.

Efficient clustering approach

This year, NRTF does not only promotes the Hybrid Rice Technology but also demonstrates how farm clustering works towards more efficient and productive rice farming.

The 100-hectare compact demo area in Barangay Ampayon, Basag, and Lemon is managed by 61 Farmer-Cooperators in Butuan City.

Participating farmers benefitted from production inputs, farm machines, market information and linkage, and technical support from the implementing agencies.

Ruel Arman, a member of Barangay Lemon Integrated Farmers Association recalled his hardship when he is not yet affiliated with the group.

“Organized group versus individual farming has a big difference. I am one of those who benefitted from the minimal cost of the pre and post-harvest facilities owned by our association,” Arman said.

Before, his awareness of rice production was limited but now he was given the chance to access information and technical services. He was once tied to private financiers but now he was able to access credit and financial assistance from the DA-ACPC that offers zero interest rates and flexible payment terms.

“Heeding to the call of Agriculture Secretary William Dar we are now into clustering and consolidating farms to bring down the cost of operations and improve the harvests of the rice farmers in the region,” said Director Monteagudo.

Cluster farming is a strategy where farmers’ cooperatives and associations are merged to optimize the interventions and assistance provided by the DA and other government agencies.

The majority of rice farmers in Caraga are smallholders such that farmers’ associations need to collaborate and consolidate. To participate in the competitive market, small farmers need to remain unified. One such consolidation effort that may prove to be useful in cluster farming, Monteagudo said. 

The farmer-cooperators of the three barangays in Butuan City will now be considered a hybrid rice cluster in the region.

Further, extension services and activities for the clustered area will continue. DA-Caraga targets 12,000 hectares for hybrid rice production for the September-March 2020 - 2021 cropping season. The 100-hectare demo on hybrid only kick starts the identification of additional hybrid cluster areas in the region for wide-scale adoption of the technology. (DA Caraga/PIA Caraga)

Showcasing Caraga agri products through various platforms

By Vanessa P. Sanchez

BUTUAN CITY, Oct. 30 -- Leaving no stones unturned in its pursuit for development of the farmers, fisherfolk, and Agri-entrepreneurs in the region, the Department of Agriculture (DA) – Caraga through the Agribusiness and Marketing Assistance Division (AMAD) is tapping various portals to showcase the region’s agriculture and fishery products. 

During DA Secretary William D. Dar’s visit in Caraga on October 22-23, DA–Caraga Regional Executive Director Abel James I. Monteagudo and Agribusiness and Marketing Assistance Service Division (AMAD) Chief Lynn A. PareƱas presented the various initiatives of DA-Caraga to assist the farmers, fishers, and local Agri processors to market their products.

One such marketing initiative was the One-Stop Agribusiness Center (OSAC) which was launched early this year. It is an agribusiness hub and a showroom for Caraga’s agricultural and fishery products. Located at the DA-Caraga grounds, OSAC serves as an avenue for farmers and agri-processors to promote and sell their products, as well as to connect and negotiate with suppliers and buyers. Sec. Dar led the unveiling of the OSAC marker.

On the other hand, the Kadiwa ni Ani at Kita mobile market which has been done regularly since the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID 19) pandemic hit the country. Kadiwa is a marketing strategy that connects the farmers and Agri-processors direct to the consumers. Through the Kadiwa, the consumers are given an opportunity to buy fresh fruits and vegetables, fish and other fishery products, fresh and frozen meat and poultry products, as well as some dry goods, right at the premises of their community.

In addition to the two aforementioned initiatives, DA-Caraga has also tapped the online portal to market Agri-fishery commodities.

DA-Caraga’s AMAD partnered with the private organization Sprout Lab IT Services for the creation of the Agrikultura Kadiwa Online, an e-commerce platform for fresh agricultural produce. It aims to provide farmers, fisherfolk, and local processors with direct market linkage among institutional buyers, manufacturers, and individual customers through an online platform. On the other hand, it provides consumers easy access to affordable agricultural products delivered directly to their households. Further, it aims to minimize foot traffic in public markets to help contain the spread of the Coronavirus disease.

Sec. Dar was on a two-day visit in the region to grace the culmination of the National Rice Techno Forum as well as to meet up with agriculture stakeholders of the region.

“I move around the country to inspire and bring hope to the frontliners of the agriculture industry despite the pandemic and to make the presence of the government be felt,” Dar said.

Dar also went around Butuan City and Agusan del Norte to visit various agricultural projects, as well as to the Agricultural Training Institute and PhilRice Agusan. (DA13-RAFIS/PIA Caraga)

BFP Caraga patuloy ang ginagawang modernisasyon, pagpapatayo ng fire stations

By Nora C. Lanuza

LUNGSOD NG BUTUAN, Oktubre 30 (PIA) -- Upang mas lalo pang mabigyan ng mas magandang serbisyo ang mga Caraganons, tinututukan ng Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) Caraga ang modernisasyon ng mga kagamitan at ang patuloy na pagpapatatayo ng mga fire stations sa iba’t ibang munisipyo ng rehiyon.

Naniniwala naman si Direktor FSSupt. Fred Trajeras, Jr.  na hindi problema ang kakulangan ng fire fighters upang maibigay ang maayos na serbisyo, kelangan lang tulong –tulong upang magkaroon ng ligtas na pamayanan. Patuloy ang pagbibigay ng safety awareness campaign sa mga barangays at ang pagkakaroon ng maayos na basihan sa pagseserbisyo. Ayon kay Trajeras, dapat ang mga fire fighters ay magkaroon na tamang pag-uugali, "maging Friendly, Reliable, Energetic at lalong lalo na Dedicated o FRED sa kani-kanilang trabaho."

Ang Caraga region ay kilala din sa magigiting na mga firefighters, matatandaang may itinatag ang BFP Caraga na ‘all female fire stations’ una sa buong bansa. Ito ay nagpapatunay na kaya ng mga kababaihan ang pagbigay ng maayos na serbisyo para sa Caraganons at hindi hadlang ang kasarian.

Ayon kay Trajeras, lahat ng mga personahe ng ‘all female fire stations’ ay nagagampanan ang tungkuling magsilbi. Sa kasalukuyan, may limang ‘all female fire stations’ na ang rehiyon, ito ay sinimulan ng dating Direktor na si SSupt. Romel Tradio.

Aminado din si Agusan del Norte at Butuan City fire marshall Rex Arvin Afalla na  problema sa kanyang sinasakuopan ang mga masisikip na lugar kung kaya't, gumawa sila ng paraan upang maging involved ang  mga taga barangays sa mga gawaing makakatulong sa kanila lalo na ang agarang pagresponde sa panahon na may sunog. Dagdag din ni Afalla, prayoridad nila ang pagbili ng mga maliliit ng fire trucks na gagamitin sa pagresponde sa mga barangays at patuloy ang koordinasyon sa mga opisyales at pagbibigay ng kailangang pagsasanay.

Ayon kay Afalla, kahit paman sa banta ng COVID-19, tuloy pa rin ang ginagawang safety awareness campaign ng ahensya sa iba’t ibang lugar.

Samantala, inilunsad din kamakailan lang ng ahensya ang Oplan Ligtas na PamayanaN (OLP) gamit ang social media upang maipaabot sa mga Caraganons ang iba’t ibang serbisyo at mga tips upang tuluyang masugpo ang pagkakaroon ng sunog. (NCLM/PIA Caraga)