(PAGASA 24-HOUR PUBLIC WEATHER FORECAST as of Monday, 05 June 2023) Southwest Monsoon affecting the western section of Central and Southern Luzon. Butuan City, Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Dinagat Islands, Surigao del Norte and Surigao del Sur will experience partly cloudy to cloudy skies with isolated rainshowers or thunderstorms due Southwest Monsoon. Possible flash floods or landslides during severe thunderstorms. Light to Moderate winds coming Southwest to West will prevail with Slight to Moderate seas (1.0 to 2.1 meters).

Friday, November 27, 2020

AgNor residents benefit from 'Amomang Agusanon' program

By Nora C. Lanuza

BUTUAN CITY, Nov. 27 (PIA) – Over 500 Agusanons from Barangay Olave in the Municipality of Buenavista, Agusan del Norte expressed gratitude to the provincial government for reaching their area and for providing them with needed services and relief goods.

Punong barangay Jerry Daal Escobilla of Olave thanked the government and the 23rd Infantry Battalion (23IB) for the support provided to the residents to improve their way of life.

“I am thankful to the government for supporting the residents by giving their needs and I assure the government that we will also do our part in supporting their efforts in attaining lasting peace and development in the area,” Escobilla said.

According to 23rd IB Commanding Officer Lt. Col. Julius Cesar Paulo, the outreach program conducted in the different barangays in the province of Agusan del Norte is part of the government’s effort to eliminate insurgency and improve the peace and order situation in the area.

During the activity, the residents received relief packs containing vitamins for the children and pregnant, canned goods, hygiene kits and many more. The said activity also formed part of the Amomang Agusanon Program and the anniversary celebration of the AGUSAN UP, the 8-Point Development Agenda of the province under Governor Dale B. Corvera.

Gov. Corvera also expressed his full support for the passage of the NTF-ELCAC budget in order to totally eliminate the insurgency in the country.

It can be recalled that Governor Corvera issued Provincial Resolution No. 514-2020 entitled “Resolution Expressing Strong Support for the Inclusion in the General Appropriations Act for CY 2021 the Funding for the Identified Recipient Barangays Under the Retooled Community Support Program (RCSP) in the Amount of Twenty Million Pesos (P20,000,000.00) per Recipient as part of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) Initiatives and Programs." (NCLM/PIA-Agusan del Norte)

Butuan youth launches relief drive for typhoon victims in Luzon

By Doreen Marielle N. Rosales

BUTUAN CITY, Nov. 27 (PIA) -- With thousands of families in Luzon left distressed in the aftermath of typhoons Rolly (Goni) and Ulysses (Vamco), the youth of this city spearheaded various relief drives to aid these families.

Youth members of the Akbayanihan Foundation, a non-profit organization, launched a donation drive called ‘Akbayanihan sa Butuan’, in partnership with local universities and university organizations.

 “We felt the need to spearhead this project because we saw that the Butuanon youth, who are affiliated with other organizations, are active in responding to times of crises. This project is a great opportunity to make use of that attitude towards volunteerism whilst using the youth as a catalyst for change,” said project head Shem Cordova.

Proceeds will go to the victims in the National Capital Region (NCR), particularly in Caloocan, Catanduanes, Bicol region, and Cagayan Valley.

Since its launching on November 12, the relief drive has received 500 boxes of donated clothes, food, and non-food items, and 100 liters of water for the relief packs. The team also launched a fundraising drive, hoping to collect at least PhP10,000 to donate for the victims, which they were able to raise successfully.

According to Cordova, they will be seeking the assistance of the Philippine Air Force to transport the in-kind donations to the typhoon-struck areas.

Gender and disasters

Meanwhile, the Sangguniang Kabataan  (SK) Federation of the city launched a donation drive to create Basic Dignity Kits which contain hygiene products and toiletries for women and children. SK Federation President Cynth Zephanee Nietes said they chose to focus on the unique needs of these sectors, as they are overlooked during crises.

“The intimate needs of women and special needs of children do not vanish even during disasters. In addition to providing them their basic necessities, it is just as important to shed light and provide assistance as well to the needs of these vulnerable groups,” she said.

The kits contain underwear, sanitary napkins, toiletries such as toothbrush, toothpaste, bath soap, and comb, and washing powder.

Donations can be in-kind and in cash. As of November 24, 2020, the youth group has already accumulated PhP 12,705.

'Our youth, our future'

When the whole nation joined hands for the typhoon victims, youth entrepreneurs Angielyn Maregmen, Gemrose Arcenal, and Lindsay Cedro decided to take part and find ways to donate to those affected by the disaster.

With the network they have established through their business called ‘Idol Alley’, where they sell merchandise items mostly for K-Pop fans, at their advantage, they launched a raffle for a cause “80 for a TV”, where participants purchase a raffle ticket for PhP80 to get a chance in winning a 40” television.

“As people who are capable of helping and doing more, we decided to help in ways we can,” said Angielyn Maregmen.

Apart from customers, friends, loved ones, and friends of friends also joined the raffle and since its launch on November 14, their little project is now able to accumulate PhP4,000. Some of the funds collected were in part monetary donations from anonymous individuals.

The young entrepreneurs also accommodate in-kind donations and will be sent to Akbayanihan Sa Butuan.

When asked about their motivator to pursue their initiative, they imparted their belief in the importance of the youth’s actions in the development of not just the community, but of the whole nation.

“It has always been said that the youth is the future and that belief can definitely be manifested in helping our countrymen. Today’s youth is enriched with information and experiences, which makes them more suitable agents of change. I also believe that how we use that privilege helps determine the fate of this nation,” Maregmen said.

Arcenal furthered that the change this nation needs lies in the hands of the youth.

“By taking part in causes, not only are we igniting hope for these people but also catalyze change. Our capability to help is highly important in generating the change we’ve always yearned for. Taking action guarantees progress, which is what our country truly needs,” she said.

Donations are still welcomed by the said groups. To take part in the relief drive of the Akbayanihan Foundation, cash donations can be sent via GCash through 0967-804-3296 (Shem Cordova); via bank deposit through the BPI account number of Jade S. Ampong, 8689170464; or Paypal, paypal.me/jadeampong. For queries, contact Imi Espina, 0956-245-4534, or  Shem Cordova, 0930-952-3121, or email them at akbayanyouthbxu@gmail.com.

To donate to the SK Federation’s cause, cash donations may be sent via GCash through 0917-122-7764 (Cynth Zephanee 2) and in-kind donations may be dropped off or delivered to New SP Building, City Hall Complex, J. P. Rosales Ave., Brgy. Doongan, Butuan City. For queries, contact 0930-360-3909/0910-891-0149/0977-110-8315, the SK Federation Hotline, 0951-881-3555, and/or the SK Federation Landline, 817-8480.

To learn more about the mechanics of the ’80 for a TV’ raffle, visit bit.ly/80ForATV. Cash donations may also be sent via GCash, 0956-764-3144 (Lindsay Cedro), or via Paypal, PayPal.me/Idolalley. (DMNR/PIA-Caraga)

Cassava: A promising crop for Caraga

By Aurelius P. Arais

BUTUAN CITY, Nov. 27 -- There is money in cassava!

This was the unanimous yell of the farmers in Las Nieves, Agusan del Norte after learning that there is a big market waiting for their produce.

Members of the Lingayao-Kahayagan Cassava Farmers Association are now starting to harvest after seven months of nurturing their crop with the hope of additional income for their family.

The group is the project-cooperator of the 30-hectare cassava model farm of the Department of Agriculture (DA) - Caraga in partnership with the Provincial Agriculture Office of Agusan del Norte and the Local Government Unit of Las Nieves.

DA-Caraga with the LGU counterparts provided production and technical support.

Model farms are aimed to showcase appropriate technology as an avenue for learning for the farmers and other stakeholders in the community.

During the Cassava Production Field Day on November 18, 2020, farmers were also elated with the turn-over of P4.8 million worth of farm equipment from DA-Caraga’s Corn and Cassava Program to the farmers in the said town.

The equipment consisted of two unit cassava granulator, two units cassava chipper, and one unit each of pulverizer, digger, corn sheller, 4WD tractor, vacuum pack sealer, and corn planter to Lingayao-Kahayagan Cassava Farmers Association, Lingayao-Maningalao Corn Growers Association, and Malungtarung West Las Nieves Farmers Association.

The turn-over was graced by DA-Caraga Regional Director Abel James I. Monteagudo, Regional Technical Director for Operations Rebecca R. Atega with Provincial Corn Coordinator Melody Guimary, Provincial Agriculturist Alvin Aclan, Municipal Mayor Avelina S. Rosales, and barangay officials.

“We were encouraged to plant cassava upon learning that our products will be purchased by a big company, hence we are sure of our market,” Roberto Calapre, chairperson of the Lingayao-Kahayagan Cassava Farmers Association said.

Dir. Monteagudo challenged the farmers to be proactive partners for agricultural development.

“Continue tilling your land, the government is always there for you. DA and LGU is working hand in hand to support your noble profession, the farming,” he said.

Eyeing the potential of cassava, Provincial Agriculturist Alvin Aclan bared that cassava has been identified as one of the priority commodities of the provincial flagship project dubbed as Agusan-Up.

“To further boost the cassava industry in Agusan del Norte, the program is planning to establish a feed mill in support of the livestock industry,” he said.

Aside from human consumption, cassava is an important raw material for feed and other industrial products. (DA Caraga/PIA-Agusan del Norte)

Organic agriculture in Caraga region on rising trend

By Aurelius P. Arais

BUTUAN CITY, Nov. 27 -- Organic agriculture in Caraga Region is now gaining ground with the support of the Department of Agriculture (DA).

According to Cindy Burdeos, Organic Agriculture (OA) Program focal person, the number of farmers adopting and practicing an organic way of farming is on an increasing trend.

“As of the latest monitoring, we have recorded in Caraga Region around 13,000 hectares of organic farms with 6,000 organic farmer practitioners,” she revealed.

She added that two products were already 3rd party organic certified in the region, the organic fertilizer of Caraga Agricultural Business Corporation of Pianing, Butuan City, and organic rice produced by CRV Rice Mill of Alegria, Surigao del Norte.

Both are duly certified by a 3rd party certifying body the Negros Island Certification Services (NICERT).

So far in the Philippines, there are only two certifying bodies, the NICERT based in the Visayas and the Luzon-based Organic Certifying Center of the Philippines (OCCP).

On the other hand, a private firm, Celebes Corporation is an internationally certified, producing coco and banana based-products exported to the United States and Europe.

A certification is a guarantee that the product is carefully monitored and inspected to assure that the farming processes of such grower conform within Philippine National Standards for Organic Crops.

Burdeos said that there are three levels of organic certification in the country, the first, the second, and the third-party certification.

“The first party means the producer claims that his or her product is organic while the second party means somebody would stand or witness as the product is organic in support to the claim of the producer, while the third party refers to somebody or agency that will confirm the product as organic after a thorough assessment based on the standards set,” she explained.

However, there is an ongoing move to amend the Republic Act 10068 to allow the localization of the certification through the Participatory Guarantee System (PGS).

Under PGS, a reputable institution or group advocating organic agriculture can certify the product as organic to hasten the certification process and lessen the costs.

As of now, only third party certified products are allowed to label as organic.

Aside from technical and production support, DA-Caraga also helps the organic producers market their products through the Organic Agriculture Trading Post (OATP) situated in different parts of the region.

To bolster DA’S campaign for organic agriculture, every November of the year is observed as an Organic Agriculture Month under Proclamation No. 1030 signed on May 21, 2015, by then President Benigno Aquino III.

According to the proclamation, the practice of organic agriculture, as a farming system, is an effective tool for development, environmental conservation, and health protection of farmers, consumers, and the general public.

This year’s theme, “Sa Pagsasakang Organiko, Ani at Kita ay Sigurado, Kalusugan ay Garantisado.” (DA Caraga/PIA-Caraga)

CTG member killed in Surigao City shootout

By PCpt. Dorothy M. Tumulak

SURIGAO CITY, Surigao del Norte, Nov. 27 -- Ignacio M. Arevalo alias “Tukoy,” 59 years old, a member of the Communist Terrorist Group (CTG) and chairperson of Purok-13, Barangay Mat-i, this city was killed during the implementation of the search warrant for violation of Republic Act (RA) 10591 or the Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act on Nov. 25.

Arevalo fired upon the operating troops which caused them to retaliate to defend themselves, thus, resulting to the death of the suspect.

Police Brigadier General Romeo Caramat, Jr, PRO13 regional director, disclosed that joint operating troops of Surigao City Police Station, 1st Surigao del Norte Provincial Mobile Force Company, 901st Infantry Brigade, and 29th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army implemented Search Warrant No. 2020-002 for violation of RA 10591 issued by Executive Judge Leonila P. Gorgolon, RTC, Branch 30, Surigao City.

Arevalo is the president of Nagkahiusang Ginagmay Minero (NAGAMI), a member of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) – New People’s Army (NPA) Mass Union Organization (CAMO), and an alleged member of the Communist Terrorist Group (CTG) under Guerilla Front 16B, North Eastern Mindanao Regional Committee.

Confiscated during the operation were one unit of MKN Colt .45 caliber pistol with one magazine and four live ammunition; two fired cartridge cases of caliber .45; four fired cartridge cases of 9mm; one fired bullet of 9mm, one fragment of fired bullet; one improvised electrical wire; one improvised black switch; one improvised C4; and one hand grenade.

“Around 500 meters away from the place of operation, the withdrawing government troops were fired upon by members of the CTG. No casualty was recorded on the government side during the exchange of firefight which lasted for 15 minutes,” PBGen. Caramat, Jr. disclosed.

With the continuous efforts of PNP Caraga on the campaign against insurgency, the region’s top cop urges the active members of the terrorist group and its supporters to return to the folds of the law and avail the benefits from the government’s Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP). (PIO, PRO13/PIA-Surigao del Norte)

Most wanted persons, drug peddler nab in Caraga

BUTUAN CITY, Nov. 27 – As the Police Regional Office (PRO)-13 continues to intensify its campaign against wanted persons and illegal drugs, the operatives were able to capture six wanted persons including the four most wanted persons and a drug peddler on November 25.

In the campaign against wanted persons, six were arrested by virtue of Warrants of Arrest issued by the local court during separate police operations. They were identified as follows:

Mark Niel M. Rosales, 27 years old, of Brgy.19, Poblacion, Gingoog City, Misamis Oriental for rape and listed as Top 1 Most Wanted Person in Municipal Level with bail bond recommended amounting to Php120,000.

Jericho P. Cabatingan, 23 years old, of P-3 Brgy. 1, RTR, Agusan del Norte for carnapping and listed as Top 5 Most Wanted Person in Provincial Level with bail bond recommended amounting to P300,000.

Hurry S. Labiste, 42 years old, of Sitio Lambago, Brgy. Lapasan, Cagayan de Oro City for violation of Republic Act No. 9262 also known as “Anti-Violence Against Women and Their Children Act of 2004” with recommended bail bond fixed at P100,000.

Rodelyn C. Ruaya, 36 years, of P-3, Brgy. Bon-ot, Carrascal, Surigao del Sur for Violation of PD No. 1602 also known as Illegal Gambling and listed as Top 7 Most Wanted Person in Municipal Level with bail bond recommended amounting to P24,000.

Alfredo C. Fuentes, 38 years, of Brgy. Mabini, Cabadbaran City, Agusan del Norte for resistance and disobedience to an agent of a person in authority with a recommended bail bond of P2,000.

Cristy A. Ortiz, 18 years old, of P-2, Mangagoy, Bislig City, Surigao del Sur and Relyn L. Agosto, 21 years old, of P-3, Mangagoy, Bislig City, Surigao del Sur for Violation of Republic Act No. 9271 also known as The Quarantine Act of 2004.

Meanwhile, Drug Enforcement Unit of Magallanes Municipal Police Station, Agusan Del Norte Police Provincial Office (ADNPPO), together with Provincial Intelligence Unit-ADNPPO and Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) Caraga arrested John Laurence Frias Plaza, 22 years old, of Brgy. Soriano, Cabadbaran City through a buy-bust operation.

Confiscated from his possession were six sachets of suspected Shabu with an estimated weight of 3.5 grams with Dangerous Drug Board value of P41,300 and P500 marked money.

All arrested suspects are in police custody for proper disposition.

"The success of our police operations against wanted persons and illegal drugs has been sustained due to the support and cooperation of the public in our anti-criminality drive. There is no slowing down in our efforts to ensure public safety and internal security despite this pandemic," said Police Brigadier Gen. Romeo Caramat, Jr. (PRO-13/PIA-Surigao del Norte)

Female NPA rebel surrenders in Surigao Norte

SURIGAO CITY, Surigao del Norte, Nov. 27 -- An active member of New People’s Army (NPA) finds her way back to the mainstream after she successfully surrendered to the Community Support Program Team in Barangay Quezon, Surigao City on November 12.

Based on the report, the said personality was identified as alias Leilan (true name is being withheld for security), 19 years old, a regular member of SYP16B, Guerilla Front 16, NEMRC, and  a resident of Purok Avocado of the same barangay.

In her return to the folds of the law, she turned over one Caliber .45 and a hand grenade to the combined elements of Charlie Company, 29th Infantry Battalion, 1st Surigao del Norte Provincial Mobile Force Company, and Regional Mobile Force Battalion 13.

Regretful of her involvement with the Communist Terrorists Group (CTG), she disclosed that she joined the underground movement hoping that it will give her a better status of living. 

She said that the Communist NPA Terrorists (CNT) are using lies such as financial support and scholarship to encourage the youth to join and support their agenda. 

She further revealed that her first involvement with the said group includes joining the underground mass organization in their locality wherein they are being mobilized in mass actions and rallies.

She also said that she served as a courier of the armed group before she was formally recruited to be a regular NPA member. 

Leilan cited that she was radicalized together with other young recruits through indoctrinations and “teach-ins” about communist ideology and propaganda to inculcate culture hatred against the government.

Realizing her mistakes, she said that for several times she asked permission to return home but her superiors prevented her to do so. She admitted that she was only allowed to leave the group when she got pregnant by her team leader. For months, she went on hiding until she decided to surface and formally surrender to be reunited with her family and live a normal life.

Meanwhile, Colonel George L. Banzon, commander of 901st Infantry (Fight’Em) Brigade, said that he was grateful of the decision of the former rebel to totally abandon the armed struggle.

Taking the case of lias Leilan, Col. Banzon stressed that it is a clear manifestation of communist’s exploitation of the youth. 

“The communist terrorists are opportunists who capitalize on the vulnerabilities of our youth and the case alias Leilan was a classic example of this. By luring her to join the violent armed struggle, the CTG deprived her with the opportunity to have a better future. Indeed, her situation is difficult knowing that she is now facing the responsibilities and challenges of being a parent after she was exposed into a situation where she was not supposed to be in,” he said.

In coordination with the local government unit (LGU) and other government agencies, Col. Banzon said that they will help the victim to avail of the benefits under the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (ECLIP).

“The government door is always open for those who will choose to surrender. Through our local task force to end local communist armed conflict (ELCAC), we will help her to avail the government programs intended for them so that she will have a new lease of life after her miserable experiences with the CTG,” Col. Banzon said. 

Meanwhile, Col. Banzon reminded the local populace to be careful and watchful against the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) - NPA - National Democratic Front’s (NDF’s) deceitful tactics so that they will not fall into the communist’s trap.

“We are hoping that the surrender of alias Leilan may serve as a reminder for everyone, especially to the parents to be vigilant so that their children will not end up victims of the CNTs,” said Col. Banzon. (901st Infantry Brigade/PIA-Surigao del Norte)

DOT welcomes reopening of PH’s surfing capital

SURIGAO CITY, Surigao del Norte, Nov. 27 -- The Department of Tourism (DOT) welcomes and supports the reopening of one of the premiere destinations - Siargao Island.

The teardrop-shaped island, known as the Philippines’ Surfing Capital, started welcoming local tourists to its world-class white sand beaches, natural rock and cave pools, romantic sunsets, and wild water surf sites again on Monday, November 23, as confirmed by Mayor Cecilia L. Rusillon of the municipality of General Luna, Surigao del Norte through a local executive order.

“This is encouraging news for everyone who loves the sea, especially the surfers. As Siargao reopens to travelers, subject to minimum health and safety standards, the people of the island will regain their livelihood and share their paradise to our kababayans once more with the same level of hospitality they have always been known for," Secretary Puyat enthused.

As flights to Siargao resume on December 1, tourists can visit the country’s most well-known surf spots through Sayak Airport near the barangays of Del Carmen and General Luna and discover a variety of hidden attractions.

With its towering limestone hills, shorelines of white sands and tiny shells, mystical caves with crystal formations, and clear waters, Siargao has become the buzzword for surfers and nature travelers over the years.

Aside from surfing, other popular leisure activities include island hopping, kayaking, nature trekking, bird-watching, and leisure swimming.

The local government unit of Siargao has set minimum health and safety standards and COVID testing requirements before tourists arrive on the island, in compliance with inter-agency task force (IATF) directives and local COVID-19 management procedures.

Tourists arriving via Surigao City/Sayak Airport will be required an e-Health Pass with valid ID; negative RT-PCR result taken within 48 hours from point of origin; a five-day confirmed booking from an accommodation establishment with a Certificate of Authority to Operate (CAO) or Provisional Certificate of Authority to Operate (PCAO) from the Department of Tourism, and a round-trip ticket/travel details.

If RT-PCR is taken more than 48 hours of departure from point of origin, a negative antigen swab will be required on the day of arrival.

Meanwhile, tourists from the province of Surigao del Norte will be required to present an e-Health Pass with valid ID; certificate from barangay captain that traveler is not a close contact; confirmed booking from an accredited DOT-accommodation establishment (AE).

For hotels and resorts, requirements to operate are Business Permit; Certificate of Authority to Operate (CAO) from the DOT; E-Health System Registration; E-Health Pass or QR Code reader and new normal protocols approved by the Municipal Health Office.

Curfew is also be enforced from 11:00 p.m. to 4:00 a.m. (DOT/PIA-Surigao del Norte)