(PAGASA 24-HOUR PUBLIC WEATHER FORECAST as of Friday, 30 October, 2020) At 3:00am today , the center of Typhoon ROLLY (GONI) was estimated based on all available data at 1,195 km/h East of Central Luzon (16.4N, 133.3E)with maximum sustained wind of 140 km/h near the center and gustiness up to 170km/h. It is moving Westward at 20 km/h. Caraga Region will experience Cloudy skies with scattered rainshowers and thunderstorms due to Trough of TY Rolly . Possible flash floods or landslides during moderate to at times heavy rains. Light to Moderate to strong winds coming from Northeast to Northwest will prevail and the coastal waters will be Moderate to rough with wave height from 1.2 to 2.8 meters.

Thursday, October 01, 2020

Andanar to Filipinos: Maintain optimism amid challenges vs pandemic

By Doreen Marielle N. Rosales

BUTUAN CITY, Oct. 1 (PIA) -- Communications Secretary Martin Andanar encouraged fellow Filipinos to maintain optimism as they face the challenges posed by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

In today’s episode of the Laging Handa Network Briefing, the Presidential Communications Operation Office (PCOO) secretary cited the life of famous silent film actor and comedian Charlie Chaplin and drew inspiration from his hardships and success, considered by biographer David Robinson as the “most dramatic of all the rags-to-richest stories ever told.”

Born in a rather dismal childhood, the actor was known to have raised himself, since both of his parents were inept to take care of him. His father was an alcoholic while his mother was confined in a mental institution. Chaplin’s success and stardom were established entirely from his own brilliance and dedication to produce and create silent comedy films which remained iconic even today.

Secretary Andanar imparted to his fellow Filipinos to try to live by Chaplin’s wisdom when dealing with crisis: remember that nothing is forever, not even one’s problems, and dismiss troubles with gracious forgetfulness.

“Like Chaplin, let us laugh our problems away. These, too, shall pass. All the problems in this world have their solutions. Have faith, never lose hope and surely one day, you will achieve what you’ve been yearning for,” the secretary affirmed.

Today’s episode featured the municipal mayor of San Fransisco town in Agusan del Sur Solomon Rufila and Rosario town Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) Federation president Kirkja Fuentes. Joining them are the undersecretaries of the Department of Health (DOH), Usec. Maria Rosario Vergiere and Department of Education (DepEd), Usec. Diosdado San Antonio, with Alexis Cabardo from PTV Agusan del Sur as the media co-host. (DMNR/PIACaraga)

DOH exec advises granular lockdown in AgSur town

By Jennifer P. Gaitano

BUTUAN CITY, Oct. 1 (PIA) - “We are having difficulty in finding out the direct contact of those who tested positive. We don't know who tested positive from private hospitals.”

This was the statement of San Francisco, Agusan del Sur Mayor Solomon Rufila, as he raised during the Network Briefing hosted by Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Martin Andanar, that local transmission in the municipality is increasing and these cases mostly involved the private individuals.

DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire responded that a granular lockdown should be implemented in the target communities, as it will help prevent the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), along with the implementation of a strict quarantine for those affected individuals.

“When this happens, we need to implement granular lockdowns. When you have identified that there's clustering or local transmission in a certain facility, the LGU's local chief executive has the right to investigate and do very strict contact tracing. If the establishment needs to be closed to contain the transmission, that needs to be done. If it's a hospital, we can extract the health care workers who are infected, put them in a temporary treatment and monitoring facility, and do strict contact tracing,” said Vergeire.

The health official added that as early as possible, the LGU should be able to contain the transmission in that area. “The granular lockdown, aside from the coordinated operations to defeat the epidemic, that's CODE strategy. You need to do a house to house visit, identify those with symptoms, and all with exposure or close contact. Once you identify them, you must quarantine them away from their house," she said.

"With the CODE strategy, you can identify who has symptoms, you can subject them to testing, quarantine and prevent the spread of the virus. You have to strengthen your barangay health emergency response team so they will monitor the community, do contact tracing, and will be a direct link of the local government to the community,” Usec. Vergeire added.

Mayor Rufila emphasized that the LGU is continuously conducting contact tracing. “Our frontliners are monitoring those that tested positive so they cannot go out, and the barangay officials provide their needs,” he said. (JPG/PIA-Agusan del Sur)

Army, TESDA aid AgNor villages toward productivity, resiliency

By 1Lt. Roel T. Maglalang

BUENAVISTA, Agusan del Norte, Oct. 1 -- The 23rd Infantry "Masigasig" Battalion (23rd IB) and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority in Agusan del Norte(TESDA-ADN) conducted a "Grand Pulong- pulong sa Barangay" in support of the Poverty Reduction, Livelihood and Employment Cluster (PRLEC) of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) on September 25, 2020 and was joined by residents of Barangays Poblacion and Rojales in Carmen, Agusan del Norte.

The NTF-ELCAC was established through Executive Order No. 70 s. 2018 or the Whole-of-Nation Approach assembling the different national government agencies (NGAs) and the private sector to aid communities that are in need of assistance and social development and to solve the 52-year-old insurgency problem in the country. The PRLEC is one of the 12 clusters of NTF-ELCAC led by TESDA with the task of designing new and different strategies to ensure better services for communities and as part of the state’s efforts to further promote sustainable and inclusive peace.

Director Rey Cueva of TESDA-ADN presented the overview of PRLEC to the 100 members and supporters of the Communist New People’s Army Terrorist (CNT) from Poblacion and Rojales during the activity. He emphasized to the participants the objectives of the creation of PRLEC, to include the development of self- reliant, resilient and sustainable communities through harmonized and culturally responsive development programs. He also stressed that the harmonious implementation of government programs in local communities is a big factor to influence the communities to realize their own capabilities. He further said that the PRLEC must conduct a community needs assessment, not only on the level of skills needs assessment but also on other factors wherein the other government instrumentalities can intervene to gain much bigger and wider impact, output and outcome.

“PRLEC programs are specific and not just a series of activities so that impact will be felt. There are different kinds of poverty - not only food but also basic services from the government like health and sanitation. We should be able to categorize what best suits Livelihood we need, capacitate as many special clients as possible, as part of our mandate as an agency, as well as in support to the national endeavor to promote sustainable and inclusive peace,” Cueva said.

Carmen Municipal Administrator Wilfredo Taglucop, who represented Mayor Jovette C. Calo, expressed gratitude to the PRLEC members for their efforts of bringing the plans and programs of TESDA and other line agencies to the constituents of Carmen.

He said that the LGU of Carmen is always ready to support the PRLEC team to address the root causes of the insurgency in the area.

Meanwhile, Lt. Col. Julius Cesar C. Paulo, Commander of the 23rd IB, urged the people of Barangays Poblacion and Rojales to unite and support the government.

“The peace and development efforts of the government to communities particularly to the identified conflict-affected barangays aim to strengthen the barangay-based institutions and sectoral organizations to engage in participatory issue resolutions and the different peace and order interventions,” Paulo said.

He pointed out that the PRLEC is one of the national government’s mechanisms in implementing the Whole-of-Nation Approach to peacefully end the local communist armed conflict as institutionalized by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte through EO 70.

He added that the PRLEC plays a vital role in the implementation of the programs and services of EO 70 through entrepreneurship and marketing, employment, training, financing, institutional development, and food production to enhance the livelihood and employment of the communities. (CMO Officer, 23IB, 4ID, PA/PIA Agusan del Norte)

AgSur town imposes stricter health protocols vs COVID-19

By Jennifer P. Gaitano

BUTUAN CITY, Oct. 1 (PIA) - As there has been an increase in the number of the local transmission cases recorded in the municipality of San Francisco, Agusan del Sur, Municipal Mayor Solomon Rufila implements strict health protocols for his constituents, while awaiting for the approval on the request of the local government unit for the declaration of a Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ) in the municipality by the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF).

During the Network Briefing on Thursday (Oct. 1) hosted by Secretary Martin Andanar of the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO), Mayor Rufila announced that the LGU focuses on the implementation of granular lockdown to the barangays with high cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). “This is to monitor the health condition of the affected individuals and provide them the necessary treatment while they are observing the quarantine,” he said.

The conduct of contact tracing is also ongoing in the targeted barangays of the municipality. “The barangay officials are monitoring the situations in their respective areas and take care of the concerns of the affected individuals,” he said.

It was also learned that the operation in the public market is strictly monitored and basic health protocols are observed by the vendors and consumers such as wearing of face mask and face shield, while only essential travel going to and from San Francisco is allowed so far. This he said, is to control the movement of the people and avert the spread of infection.

The mayor called on the locals to continue to follow the health protocols and minimum health standards and help prevent the increasing number of infected individuals. He added that the LGU does not tolerate violators of the imposed guidelines and will continue to monitor the movement of its people.

“Let’s all unite and work together as we fight against COVID-19 by simply following the guidelines imposed by the IATF,” said Mayor Rufila. (JPG/PIA-Agusan del Sur)

Youth leaders provide aid to affected sectors in AgSur villages

By Jennifer P. Gaitano

BUTUAN CITY, Oct. 1 (PIA) - Amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) officials in the province of Agusan del Sur continue to take part in the government’s effort to address the needs of the locals and keep them safe from the spread of the virus.

This was emphasized by Kirkja Fuentes, SK municipal federated president of Rosario, Agusan del Sur during the Network Briefing on Thursday (Oct. 1) hosted by Secretary Martin Andanar of the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO).

Fuentes revealed that they have distributed relief goods to the affected sectors in the municipality particularly the senior citizens and the tricycle drivers.

Also, in preparation for the opening of classes, they have distributed school supplies to the pupils/students in different schools in their area. "We are continuously reaching out and helping the different sectors in the barangays who are greatly affected by this pandemic," he said.

“The youth plays a vital role in our society, hence, we feel and take responsibility and contribute to the solutions to the pressing issues of our community especially during this time of the pandemic. We will continue to do this kind of activity to help more people,” underscored Fuentes.

Fuentes urged the youths to take courage and be of help to other people who are in need even in their own simple ways. “Let’s remain to be strong and we could all get through this, and in unity, we will heal as one.” (JPG/PIA-Agusan del Sur)

DBP loan portfolio up 15.6%, reaches P364.4B in 1st half

BUTUAN CITY, Oct. 1 -- State-owned Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) continued to boost its financial support for strategic growth initiatives in the second quarter of the year, with P364.4-billion in loans to borrowers reflecting a notable 15.6% increase from the P315.13-billion recorded during the same period last year, a top official said.

DBP President and Chief Executive Officer Emmanuel G. Herbosa said the provision of sustained development financing to business and industry remains crucial as the country gradually recovers from the effects of the current global health crisis.

“As the premier infrastructure bank of the country, DBP will continue to streamline its lending programs to be more responsive to the funding needs of priority economic sectors, in support of the government's recovery initiatives given the adverse impact of the pandemic,” Herbosa added.

Herbosa said that bulk of the loans amounting to P165.3-billion went to the infrastructure and logistics sector, followed by loans to social services, P77.1-billion, environment projects, P43.6-billion, and micro, small, and medium enterprises, P29.6-billion.

He attributed the increase in its loan portfolio to aggressive lending activities by its 30 lending units nationwide despite the challenges posed by the pandemic during the second quarter of the year.

“Our Rehabilitation Support Program on Severe Events (DBP RESPONSE) has helped our clients mitigate the impact of the prevailing health emergency with four borrowers benefiting from the P429-million loan approval from January to June this year,” Herbosa said.

Herbosa also reported that the bank’s total deposits grew by more than 37% as of end June this year, to P637.11-billion from the P463.83-billion reported in the same period in 2019 as a result of the marketing and financial inclusion initiatives undertaken by DBP's expanded branch network of 129 branches and 11 branch-lite units nationwide.

He said this deposit growth typifies the growing public sentiment that DBP is a strong and stable financial institution, manned by dedicated public servants who continued to provide service despite the prevailing health climate.

“During the second quarter of the year, DBP’s total assets also grew by more than 25%, to P835.81-billion from P667.91-billion during the same period last year, bringing us closer to our goal of becoming a one trillion-peso bank by 2022,” Herbosa said.

DBP Executive Vice President for Corporate Services and concurrent DBP Head of Operations Marietta M. Fondevilla said the bank’s net income for the first semester reached P2.9-billion, down by 6.45% from the P3.1-billion from the same period last year, due mainly to higher provisioning for credit losses.

She said gross revenue totaled P16.53-billion, showing a 4% increase from the P15.91-billion that DBP generated in 2019.

“Notwithstanding the various congressional initiatives to strengthen DBP’s financial position, the bank will continue to maximize and re-allocate its resources to fund initiatives with optimal development impact, while ensuring DBP’s viability during these challenging times,” Fondevilla said. (DBP/PIA Caraga)

Surigaonons continue to cry for justice, denounce NPA violence

By 1Lt. Edmar C. Colagong

SURIGAO CITY, Surigao del Norte, Oct. 1 -- Some 80 residents of Brgy. Ima, Sison, Surigao del Norte staged an indignation rally on September 21, 2020 to denounce all forms of violence and terrorism perpetrated by the Communist New People’s Army Terrorists (CNTs).

The indignation rally was a manifestation of the residents' sincere desire to support the government in its campaign to put an end to the local communist armed conflict and to demand justice for the death of PSSg. Restie Dandan who was ruthlessly murdered by the CNTs of Guerilla Front 16 under Rolando Leyson Jr. alias Edroy on August 18, 2020.

It can be recalled that Mayor Karissa R. Fetalvero-Paronia of the municipality of Sison gave her strongest statement of condemnation against the CNTs who have shown great disrespect for human life.

“It is truly heart-wrenching to lose a fellow who fought with us to achieve peace. I know that people are anxious to know what happened to our brother in faith, PSsgt. Dandan,” said Lt. Col. Isagani O. Criste, commanding officer of the 29th Infantry “Matatag” Battalion (29IB),

He added he was surprised that people gained so much courage to conduct an indignation rally and denounce the evil works of the CNTs. “We feel reassured and certain of winning the war against violence and terrorism because we could now feel the unwavering support of the people. Rest assured that we are here to continue to protect each of you and secure our beloved land against these heartless terrorists," Lt. Col. Criste said. (CMO Officer, 29IB/PIA-Surigao del Norte)

US, PH universities forge partnerships

SURIGAO CITY, Surigao del Norte, Oct. 1 --  The representatives from Philippines and United States (U.S.) universities recently 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.

After the opening remarks delivered by Atty. Lily Freida M. Milla, Director of CHED-IAS, U.S. Embassy Cultural Affairs Officer Matt Keener welcomed the participants.

“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 Keener.

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.

More information about EducationUSA can be accessed on Facebook at www.facebook.com/educationusa.philippines and on Twitter at @EducationUSA_PH. (U.S. Embassy in the Philippines/PIA Surigao del Norte)