(PAGASA 24-HOUR PUBLIC WEATHER FORECAST as of Tuesday, 20 October, 2020) At 3:00 AM today, the center of Tropical Depression "PEPITO" was estimated based on all available data at 240 km Northeast of Virac, Catanduanes or 450 km East of Infanta, Quezon (15.1°N, 125.8°E) with maximum sustained winds of 55 km/h near the center and gustiness of up to 70 km/h. It is moving West Northwestward at 25 km/h. Northeasterly Surface Windflow affecting Northern Luzon. Caraga Region will experience cloudy skies with scattered rainshowers and thunderstorms due Trough of Tropical Depression Pepito.Possible flash floods or landslides due light to moderate with at times heavy rains. Moderate to strong winds coming from Northwest to Southwest will prevail and the coastal waters will be Moderate to rough with wave height from 1.2 to 3.7 meters.

Monday, October 12, 2020

Over 100k hectares in Mindanao planted with high-quality rice seeds

BUTUAN CITY, Oct. 12 -- The Department of Agriculture – Philippine Rice Research Institute (DA-PhilRice) in Agusan del Norte contributed in ensuring food security in its area of coverage by providing seeds planted in more than 100,000 hectares (ha).

Under the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF)-Seed Program, Jasmin Reyes, PhilRice Agusan RCEF branch focal person said more than 250,000 bags of certified inbred seeds were distributed and planted in the Northern, Northeastern, and Southern Mindanao.

Reyes said that over 76,000 farmers in about 120 municipalities received at least 40 kilograms (kg) of certified seeds. Farmers were listed in the Registry System for Basic Sectors in Agriculture.

Gregorio Orig, a 52-year-old farmer in Carmen, Surigao del Sur shared his harvest had increased with the certified inbred rice seeds he received from the program.

“I used to produce only 60-80 bags (60kg/bag)/ha, but through these certified seeds, I harvested 100 bags per hectare!” Orig said.

Meanwhile, Robert Oracion, a municipal agriculturist of New Corella, Davao del Norte commended the program as farmers in their area now prefer high-quality seed.

The RCEF-Seed Program, which is a component of the Republic Act 11203 or Rice Tariffication law signed by Pres. Rodrigo Duterte, allots P10 billion fund every year for the rice farmers. Sponsored by Sen. Cynthia Villar, the program is a six-year government initiative to help the farmers compete in the international rice market. The local government units and lawmakers assist in its implementation.

PhilRice leads the RCEF-Seed Program and is the government’s lead agency on rice research and development mandated to help ensure a rice-secure Philippines. With eight stations across the country, its programs and projects are in line with the DA’s “Masaganang Ani, Mataas Na Kita” battlecry.

For more information about the Institute’s program, queries can be sent thru PhilRice Text Center (0917 111 7423) or email prri.mail@philrice.gov.ph. (DA-PhilRice/PIA-Caraga)

Serbisyo Caravan continues in AgNor amidst COVID-19 pandemic

By Capt. Miguel O. Borromeo, Jr.

BUTUAN CITY, Oct. 12 -- The troops of the 29th Infantry (Matatag Fighters) Battalion (29th IB), Philippine Army in collaboration with the Local Government Unit (LGU) of Jabonga headed by Mayor Napoleon M. Montero, together with the Municipal Local Government Operations Officer (MLGOO), and various partner agencies held a one-day ‘Serbisyo Caravan’ in Brgy. Bangonay, Jabonga, Agusan del Norte on September 18, 2020.

The one-day ‘Serbisyo Caravan’ is a convergence of stakeholders supporting DILG's Retooled Community Support Program (RCSP) Immersion. This is in line with Pres. Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s Executive Order (EO) 70 which institutionalizes the Whole-of-the-Nation approach to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (ELCAC) by delivering basic services to Conflict-Affected Areas (ConAAs) and Geographically Isolated Disadvantaged Areas (GIDAs). A total of 899 beneficiaries received basic services and goods from the different line government agencies.

These included prenatal consultation, medical check-up, tooth extraction and free tuli (circumcision) done by the Municipal Health Office and 29IB; free haircut rendered by the Jabonga Municipal Police Station and 29IB; various seeds of fruit trees distributed by the Municipal Agriculture Office; food packs and hygiene kits provided by the Municipal Social Welfare Development Office (MSWDO) who also provided psycho-social support counselling; and legal assistance from the Public Attorney’s Office.

In his statement, Lt. Col. Isagani O. Criste, Commanding Officer of 29IB, said that this time of the year is crucial to the Filipinos since Christmas is approaching. "During this time, we are accustomed to helping our fellow countrymen, but because of this pandemic, some of us became hesitant and complacent in doing what we used to. This pandemic outbreak is a challenge for us to extend our hospitality to those who are in need through the ‘bayanihan’ spirit," he said.

"As fellow frontliners, we are committed to giving our best in serving and performing our duties. We urge each one of you to also help and reach out to those who are in need because one single act of kindness can change a life," Lt. Col. Criste added. (CMO Officer, 29IB, 4ID, PA/PIA Agusan del Norte)

PSA conducts October 2020 consumer expectations survey

BUTUAN CITY, Oct. 12 -- The October 2020 Consumer Expectation Survey (CES) has already commenced since October 1 up to 13, 2020. The CES is a nationwide quarterly household-based survey on the consumers’ assessment of their family income, financial situation, and the economic condition of the country.  

It aims to provide a quick and regular assessment of the financial condition of consumers as well as the economic condition of the country at present and in the near future from the consumers’ own viewpoints; generate forecasts in the direction of the country’s economic activity based on consumers’ outlook in the current quarter, next quarter and the next 12 months; provide quick and regular assessment of consumers’ confidence in terms of their income and expenditures as well as their outlook on key economic indicators closely monitored by the BSP such as inflation, exchange rate and interest rates; provide quick and regular assessment of the saving condition of consumers and outstanding debt situation of the household head, their spouse/partner, their children and other family members at present.

This is administered on a sample basis at the household level drawn through a stratified multi-stage random sampling. Agusan del Norte and Surigao del Norte are the provinces covered for this survey round. It is a joint undertaking between the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) and the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP). The PSA’s responsibility is to undertake the data collection using Computer-Aided Data Collection System (CADaCS) while the generation of tables and analysis of the results for the BSP.

All information collected by the hired Statistical Researchers from the sample households shall be kept strictly confidential and shall not be used for purposes of taxation, investigation, or regulation as provided under Article 55 of RA 10625. (PSA Caraga/PIA Caraga)

PH, US sign new P10.5-B deal to boost economy

BUTUAN CITY, Oct 12 -- The United States, through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and the Department of Finance (DOF) signed a new five-year bilateral assistance agreement valued at more than P10.5 billion ($213 million) to boost the country’s economic development and growth.

This agreement enables USAID and the Philippines to deepen their commitment to accelerate inclusive, broad-based economic growth through policies that increase investment and trade throughout the Philippines.

New programs and activities will promote inclusive, market-driven growth; improve the business environment; expand economic opportunities through private sector-led innovation for medium and small businesses; and increase information and communications technology access for the digital economy that benefits both producers and consumers.

Activities also include strengthening local civil society organizations to advance locally-led programming and policy-making in the Philippines and facilitating coalitions and partnerships between government and other stakeholders toward data-driven decision-making.

Also, USAID will continue to support Philippine government objectives by improving public sector transparency and accountability; advancing the rule of law and the justice system; and boosting local governments’ responsiveness to Filipinos’ needs.

“This new USAID and Department of Finance bilateral agreement will expand our support to help the Philippines achieve long-term, private sector-led economic growth and strengthen economic governance. These programs will create jobs and help ensure a more inclusive, broad-based economic development,” said USAID Mission Director Lawrence Hardy II. 

This bilateral agreement with the DOF is one of the four new five-year USAID-Government of Philippines Development Assistance Agreements launching in 2020, with an anticipated total value of P32.7 billion ($675 million) over five years.

These new agreements include:

Department of Health: To improve underserved Filipinos’ health by strengthening health systems while improving the quality of health services, especially in treating tuberculosis, providing access to those who seek family planning services, and community-based drug dependence treatment;

National Economic Development Authority: To protect ecosystems by promoting sustainable use of natural resources, enhance energy security, and build capacity to mitigate risks and respond to natural disasters; and

Department of Education: To improve early grade reading, expand science and mathematics curricula, and increase out-of-school youths’ access to education, professional and technical skills development that will lead to new job opportunities, and strengthen education governance.

Over the past 20 years, the United States has provided nearly P228.8 billion ($4.5 billion) in total assistance to advance the country’s development goals. (United States Embassy in the Philippines/PIA-Caraga)

US, PH universities forge partnerships anew

BUTUAN CITY, Oct. 12  -- The representatives from Philippines and United States (U.S.) universities met for a virtual partnerships fair hosted by EducationUSA and the Commission on Higher Education International Affairs Staff (CHED-IAS).

At the event, university presidents and senior officials from 68 Philippine schools and 45 U.S. institutions heard from the U.S. Embassy and CHED on the importance of creating and expanding partnerships that sustain international educational exchange.

“There is no greater way to strengthen the ties between two countries than through expanding educational linkages, and creating these enduring ties between our countries is as important as ever,“ said U.S. Embassy Cultural Affairs Officer Matt Keener  as he welcomed the participants after Atty. Lily Freida M. Milla, director of CHED-IAS, gave her opening remarks.

The U.S. universities also hosted individual breakout rooms to meet with Philippine universities interested in exploring new partnership opportunities, including student exchanges, visiting scholars, collaborative research programs, and lecture series.

The virtual fair was the sixth event under the “Pathways to Opportunity: EdUSA-CHED Speaker Series on Internationalization” meant to build the international capacity of Philippine universities and expand linkages between U.S. and Philippine institutions.

The speaker series is also one of the primary outputs of the U.S.-Philippine Joint Statement on Higher Education Cooperation signed during the 2019 U.S.-Philippine Bilateral Strategic Dialogue.

Along with promoting internationalization in higher education, EducationUSA provides free advising services to prospective international students in more than 170 countries and offers students resources and tools to help navigate the five steps to U.S. study: researching schools, identifying financial aid opportunities, completing applications, obtaining a student visa, and preparing for departure.

There are more than 4,700 accredited higher education institutions in the United States, and an EducationUSA adviser can help students narrow their options, define their priorities, and plan their college careers. EducationUSA does not offer scholarships but can assist students in identifying scholarship and financial assistance opportunities.

You can find more information about EducationUSA on Facebook at www.facebook.com/educationusa.philippines and on Twitter at @EducationUSA_PH. (Unites States Embassy in the Philippines/PIA-Caraga)