(PAGASA 24-HOUR PUBLIC WEATHER FORECAST as of Friday, 23 April 2021) At 3:00 AM today, the center of the eye of Typhoon "BISING" {SURIGAE} was located based on all available data at 575 km East Northeast of Basco, Batanes (21.4°N, 127.4°E) with maximum sustained winds of 140 km/h near the center and gustiness of up to 170 km/h. It is moving East Northeastward at 20 km/h. Caraga Region will experience Partly cloudy to cloudy skies with isolated rainshowers due to Localized Thunderstorms. Possible flash floods or landslides during severe thunderstorms. Light to moderate wind from Northwest to Southwest will prevail with slight to moderate seas/0.6 to 2.1 meters).

Friday, January 8, 2021

DA-Caraga distributes cash, food aid to marginal farmers

By Aurelius P. Arais

BUTUAN CITY, Jan. 8 -- No one will be left behind.

A word of commitment of the Department of Agriculture in its quest to support the farmers in this time of the pandemic. 

According to Melody Guimary, in an interview over BahandisaKaumahan, a DA-Caraga radio program, as of January 4, 2021, around P3.1 million worth of vouchers have been distributed to qualified farmers in Caraga Region for the Cash and Food Subsidy for Marginal Farmers and Fishers (CFSMFF) Program.

“We already had distributed subsidy vouchers to a total of 639 farmers in Caraga Region out of 911 recipients endorsed to the central office,” she said.

Another batch is expected to receive the vouchers as soon as they will receive approval from the central office.

The voucher indicating a QR code has an amount of P5,000.00 each divided into P3,000.00 for cash and P2,000.00 for food subsidy.

“Each recipient will present their voucher to the private paying outlet specifically MLhuiller identified by the Development Bank of the Philippines as a program partner. The same voucher will be presented also for the food subsidy from the supplier identified by the Agribusiness and Marketing Assistance Division (AMAD) of DA-Caraga,” Guimary explained. 

The food subsidy includes rice, dressed chicken, and table egg. 

She said that the program aims to help the corn farmers who are tilling of not more than 1-hectare farm and a residence from 4th to 6th municipalities or cities and registered in the Registry System for Basic Sector in Agriculture (RSBSA).

She clarified that the respective local government unit will be the one to submit the list of qualified farmers and the regional office will endorse the same to the central office for review and approval.

“The recipients will undergo a series of reviews to ensure that they haven’t received any government cash subsidy from other government agencies to prevent duplication,” Guimary explained.

The budget of the program had been included in the Bayanihan Act II to help marginal farmers to recover from the crisis brought about by the pandemic and calamities that hit the country.

“Under the program, Caraga Region has an indicative target of 2,395 recipients or an allocation of P11.9 million," Guimary added.  

Aside from marginal corn farmers, other recipients for CFSMFF are coconut farmers, fishers, and sugarcane planters, and Indigenous People (IPs).

Caraga Region has around 23 classified as 4th to 6th class municipalities and cities. (DA-Caraga/PIA-Caraga)

Mga residente sa bayan ng San Francisco, AgSur tumanggap ng regalo sa bagong taon

By Jennifer P. Gaitano

LUNGSOD NG BUTUAN, Enero 8 (PIA) - Nagsanib pwersa ang mga kawani mula sa Philippine National Police (PNP), Ladies Club Caraga, Agusan Media Club, at lokal na pamahalaan sa bayan ng San Francisco sa Agusan del Sur para sa isang gift-giving at tulungan ang mga padyak drivers at residente ng iba’t-ibang barangay na naapektuhan ng bagyong na nagdulot ng pagbaha sa lugar.

Bawat pamilya sa Purok 1-A, Barangay 1 sa nasabing bayan ay tumanggap ng food at relief packs mula sa nasabing grupo.

“Magpasalamat tayo na mga taga Purok 1-A dahil isa tayo sa mga napili na mabigyan ng pamaskong handog. Maraming salamat sa lahat ng sponsor,” ani ni John Ananoria, punong barangay.

Binigyang-diin ni Richard Grande, president ng Agusan Media Club ang kahalagahan ng pagkakaisa at pagtutulungan ng mga Caraganons. “I-extend po natin ang diwa ng pagbibigayan, huwag nating isipin kung gaano karami o kalaki ang ating ibinigay kung hindi ang diwa sa ating pagiging mapagbigay sa kapwa,” banggit niya.

Nakibahagi rin ang Aliwan Fiesta Digital Queen 2020 na si Jannarie Zarzoso sa nasabing gift-giving at pinuri nito ang pagkakaisa ng bawat sektor na tumulong sa mga nangangailangan.

Samantala, tumanggap din ng relief goods ang may 25 padyak drivers sa barangay 2 ng San Francisco.

Ayon kay PNP-Agusan del Sur Provincial Director, Police Colonel Ringo Zarzoso, patuloy nila itong gagawin sa iba’t-ibang barangay upang marami ring matulungan lalo na sa mga sektor na lubhang naapektuhan ngayong pandemya. Nanawagan din sya sa lahat na sundin ang health protocols upang masugpo ang pagtaas ng kaso ng coronavirus disease (COVID-19) sa rehiyon. (JPG/PIA-Agusan del Sur)

Youths pursue agri-related courses under ATI’s 'EAsY Agri Program'

By Kelly Alyza Evign Corcuera

BUTUAN CITY, Jan. 8 -- In support to the Department of Agriculture’s (DA's) advocacy to entice the Filipino youth in leaning towards agriculture, 223 scholars from all over the country were recruited and accepted under the Agricultural Training Institute’s (ATI) newest scholarship program - the Educational Assistance for the Youth: Degree Courses in Agriculture, and Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering or the EAsY Agri Program.

This program is dedicated to children of small-scale farmers and fisherfolk to encourage them in pursuing a professional career in agriculture and fisheries or to venture in agri-entrepreneurship.

The EAsY Agri Program will run from 2020 to 2025 to cover the four-year program for the Bachelor of Science (BS) in Agriculture and related courses and five-year program for the BS Agriculture and Biosystems Engineering (BS ABE).

To date, a total of 160 scholars have been accepted where 119 will take up BS in Agriculture; 13 for BS AgriBusiness; 11 for Bachelor in Agricultural Technology; 9 for BS Fisheries; four for BS Agro-Forestry; two for BS Forestry; and two for Bachelor of Technology and Livelihood Education in Agri-Fishery Arts.

Meanwhile, 63 grantees are to pursue BS ABE. They are currently enrolled in different state universities and colleges where a Memorandum of Agreement has been forged through the ATI Regional Training Centers (ATI-RTCs).

To date, the ATI has partnered with 58 state universities and colleges (SUCs) nationwide to ensure the delivery of quality education to all youth scholars.

With the current pandemic situation, the education system is greatly affected causing the late opening of academic year, the earliest of which was August 10, 2020 and the last was last October 16, 2020. From the traditional face-to-face mode of learning, partner SUCs are on online, applying blended learning courses.

Some setbacks that scholars are experiencing are the unstable internet connection as most of them live in remote areas with very weak signal to participate in their online classes, or no available laptops or tablets.

Despite the limitations, the scholars are committed to do their best as they are closely monitored and guided by the scholarship point persons of the ATI-RTCs.

By the end of the program, the Institute is expecting to produce 223 youth scholar-graduates. (DA-ATI/PIA-Caraga)

Army facilitates christening of 32 FRs, dependents in Agusan del Norte

By 1Lt. Roel T. Maglalang

BUTUAN CITY, Jan. 8 -- The 23rd Infantry (Masigasig) Battalion (23IB), Philippine Army in partnership with the Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office (PSWDO) of Agusan del Norte recently facilitated the baptism of 32 former rebels (FRs) and their children during a Thanksgiving Mass conducted in the unit’s headquarters at Jamboree Site, Purok 6, Barangay Alubihid, Buenavista, Agusan del Norte.

The baptism was officiated by Rev. Fr. Jhonny Villanueva, the assistant parish priest of Saint James the Great Parish in Buenavista.

Among the FRs who received the sacrament of baptism was Alias Osang, 39, a mother of seven children. She was thankful to the 23rd IB and the PSWDO of Agusan del Norte for facilitating the baptismal rite, saying that it was a way of renewing her commitment to become a productive member of their community and continue to serve the government.

One of the godparents of the newly-baptized FRs and their children is 2nd District Representative of Agusan del Norte Ma. Angelica Rosedell Amante-Matba,  represented by Nita Racho who stood as witness to the baptism rite.

Lt. Col. Julius Cesar C. Paulo, Commanding Officer, 23IB, congratulated everyone for doing their best to start their new lives.

“As we always hear that men cannot stand by bread alone, we also need to feed ourselves with the words of God and follow his commandments. We are all sinners but we are saved by the grace of God," Paulo said in a message during the baptismal rite.

"I am so proud to see not only the kids but also these adults or parents who’ve been helping themselves to build an intimate relationship with God. May you seek wisdom every day in order for you to follow the right path in all your undertakings,” he added. (CMO Officer, 23IB PA/PIA Agusan del Norte)

4 NPAs, 1 MB surrender to Army in Agusan del Norte a day after CPP anniv

By 1Lt. Roel T. Maglalang

BUTUAN CITY, Jan. 8 – Four regular combatants of the Communist New People’s Army Terrorist (CNT) and one Milisya ng Bayan (MB) member in Agusan del Norte have decided to abandon the cause and ideology of the communist movement and surrendered to the troopers of the 23rd Infantry “Masigasig” Battalion (23IB) in Jamboree Site, Purok 6, Barangay Alubihid, Buenavista, Agusan del Norte.

The surrender came one day after the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) celebrated its 52nd anniversary last Saturday, December 26, 2020.

The four NPA members were identified as Alias Else, 18, who brought one caliber .30 M1 Carbine with one magazine and three live ammunition; Alias Dodong, 30, who also handed over one caliber .45 pistol, Cal .45 Pistol with two live ammunition, one caliber .357 revolver and two caliber .38 revolvers; Alias Rebo, 30; and Alias Indai/Bea, 23.

The MB member was identified as Alias Jimmy/Omar, 55, a resident of Barangay Durian, Las Nieves town who also surrendered one shotgun (ARMSCOR) with four live ammunition.

Alias Else, Dodong and Rebo were active members of Sub Regional Sentro de Grabidad (SRSDG) SAGAY, Sub Regional Command 3 (SRC3), of the North Central Regional Committee, while Alias Indai/Bea served as the Finance Officer of SRC 3, NCMRC. In his testimony, former MB member Jimmy/Omar admitted that he was already tired of serving the CPP-NPA but he cannot leave the group due to fear for his life and the safety of his family.

Lt. Col. Julius Cesar C. Paulo, the Acting Commander of 23IB welcomed the five surrenderers and urged the remnants of the CNTs in the area to go back to the folds of the law and live peacefully with their families.

“I am glad that the members of the CNTs have recognized the sincerity of the government in helping the FRs and they have seen the deceptive tactics of the CNTs,” Paulo said.

The 23rd IB commander added: “Inside the 52 years of CNT existence, they were claiming that they were the protectors of the poor but as we can see, they only manipulated and exploited the vulnerabilities of the people to elevate their status in life. Instead of providing the basic necessities of the people, they only extort and harassed them so that they will follow the orders given to them.”

He further asked the remaining CNTs to start their new lives this 2021 by laying down their arms and return to their families.

“Leave your chaotic life behind and live peacefully with your family. Set your goals in life in order to live prosperously in the upcoming years. Let us help one another to stop the CNTs from conducting rampant exploitation with their rotten ideology that kills the future of our nation,” Paulo said. (CMO Officer, 23IB PA/PIA Agusan del Norte)

 Two NPA terrorists killed in AgNor clash

By Cpt. Joash U. Pramis

PLACER, Surigao del Norte, Jan. 8 -- The remains of the New People's Army (NPA) terrorists who were killed in the recent encounter between the 29th Infantry Battalion (29IB), PhilippineArmy and communist NPA terrorists (CNTs) in Jabonga town were positively identified and claimed by their respective families on Wednesday, December 30.

The dead bodies were identified  by their kins as Marife Mercansel Montero @Owen, 23, single, and  a resident of Purok Pangasian, Unaban, Tago, Surigao del Sur while the other male cadaver was identified as Regie Mae Ochavillo @Thunder, 20, single and a resident of Purok 8, Del Pilar, Cabadbaran City.

In the investigation conducted, it was found out that Marife was recruited to join the CNTs sometime in 2018. She was a second-year college student taking up Political Science at St. Theresa College in Tandag City. According to Annabelle, an older sister of Marife, all they know was her sister is doing well in her studies but unknowingly she got involved in the underground movement with the CNTs. 

On the other hand, Regie’s body was claimed by his grandfather. Accordingly, he stayed with his grandparents prior to his involvement with the armed movement sometime in October 2019. In his stint with the armed group, he was identified as a regular member of SYP16A of Guerilla Front 16 operating in the towns of Kitcharao-Jabonga-Santiago-Tubay.

In his statement, Lolo Nerio Ochavillo, expressed his heartfelt thanks to the soldiers who assisted them in claiming the remains of his grandson. 

Meanwhile, Col. George L Banzon, Commander of 901st Infantry (Fight ‘Em) Brigade, strongly condemned the CNTs for their longstanding deceptions and exploitations on the students and youth to advance their hidden agenda. He added that the CNTs are using lies and propaganda to entice the youth to join their violent movement.

“We strongly denounced the CNTs for the unfortunate demise of two young individuals. Just like the other members of NPA who went astray with the communist terrorist group, they were victims who fell in the CNT’s modus. Their recruiters brain-washed and radicalized them using propaganda on societal issues with the intent of agitating their youthful minds, arousing their emotions and building hatred in their hearts. These youngsters took arms and went against the government because of CNT’s exploitations," he said.

Along this line, he also reminded the public to be mindful of their children who are vulnerable and target of CNT’s recruitment. He further explained that the CNTs are aiming at the youth because they need to fill the dwindling numbers of their cadres and members in order to sustain their armed struggle.

The 29th Infantry (Matatag) Batallion in coordination with the local government unit of Jabonga facilitated the turnover of the remains of the dead NPA members to their respective families so that they will be accorded with a decent burial. (CMO Officer, 901 Infantry Brigade/PIA Agusan del Norte)

Soldiers score anew in Agusan del Norte

By Cpt. Joash U. Pramis

PLACER, Surigao del Nort, Jan. 8 -- The 29th Infantry (Matatag) Battalion (29IB), Philippine Army scored anew after a firefight ensued between soldiers and communist NPA terrorists (CNTs) in Sitio Tinago, Barangay Baleguian, Jabonga, Agusan del Norte recently.

According to a report of 29IB under Lt. Col. Aristotle Antonio, the unit launched an operation in response to the information provided by displeased civilians regarding the presence of more or less 15 armed CNTs who were seen staging a celebration of the Communist Party of the Philippines founding anniversary a day before the said clash transpired. The said group was believed to be under Marvin Bugas @ Eman of SYP16A, Guerilla Front 16.

The said encounter lasted for almost an hour and resulted in the death of two NPA members (1 male and 1 female) and seizure of two AK47 rifles, assorted magazines with live ammunition, one cellphone, personal belongings and subversive documents with high intelligence value.

In his statement, Mayor Napoleon M. Montero of Jabonga said the local government unit fully understands that the incident was a result of a legitimate military operation conducted by the government forces in their area. He further cited that Barangay Baleguian was among the identified conflict-affected areas in the province and one of the recipients of the Retooled Community Support Program with the objective of ending the local communist armed conflict.

He also added that the local government will do its part to support the Philippine Army and all the involved government agencies and instrumentalities in ending the insurgency problem to finally bring peace and development in their area.

Meanwhile, Col. George L. Banzon, Commander of 901st Infantry (Fight’Em) Brigade, said that the encounter was a product of the continuing efforts and proactive measures being implemented by the unit to deny the communist terrorists from conducting atrocities while the communities are in observance of yuletide season.

“We intensified our monitoring and operations during these holidays to ensure that these communist terrorists will not have the opportunity to unleash violence to highlight CPP’s anniversary which they usually practice in the past years,” the commander said.

He further said that the intensified operation will continue particularly in the areas where the armed CNTs are frequently sighted in order to keep them away from their traditional guerilla bases and be isolated from their former masses. He further said that with the convergence of different sectors and cooperation being extended by the civilians, the CNTs are now losing ground and running out of space.

“The recent encounter may serve as stern warning for the remaining members of the CNTs that there’s no more safe place for them. The people nowadays are aware of their deceitful tactics and they are already cooperative in our peace efforts. The CNTs' remaining option is to surrender and abandoned the armed struggle,” he added.

On the other hand, Col. Banzon expressed condolences to the families of the CNT casualties citing that they were just victims of CNT’s deceptions and lies. (CMO Officer, 901 Infantry Brigade/PIA Agusan del Norte)