(PAGASA 24-HOUR PUBLIC WEATHER FORECAST as of Monday, 19 April 2021) At 3:00 AM today, the center of the eye of Typhoon "BISING" {SURIGAE} was located based on all available data at 250 km East of Virac, Catanduanes (14.0°N, 126.5°E) with maximum sustained winds of 195 km/h near the center and gustiness of up to 240 km/h. It is moving North Northwestward at 10 km/h. Caraga Region will experience cloudy skies with scattered rainshowers and thunderstorm due to TY Bising. Possible flash floods or landslides during moderate to heavy rains. Light to moderate winds from Northwest to Southwest will prevail over the region with slight to moderate seas/ (0.6 to 2.5 meters).

Saturday, March 13, 2021

A jab up for grabs

By Venus L. Garcia

With the government mainly ensuring the welfare of the country and every Filipino, the life-saving coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccines were finally delivered in the Caraga region.

The vaccination speedily commenced wherein more than 900 frontline healthcare workers of the Caraga Regional Hospital (CRH) in Surigao City have signified for the first batch of COVID-19 vaccination in the region.

First to get the jab of CoronaVac vaccine from a Chinese company Sinovac was Dr. Angel Eugenio Batac, Department of Medicine head and vaccination team leader of the CRH where the historic ceremonial vaccination was held.

“Vaccination is most beneficial especially for us medical frontliners and those others who are in the frontline service. Let’s do away with the apprehensions and be glad instead that the vaccines have now arrived in our region. This is one of the means to totally terminate the pandemic,” said Dr. Batac.

Out of the 9,000 vials of Sinovac vaccines received, a total of 650 vials were initially delivered to the CRH while recipients from the Adela Serra Ty Memorial Medical Center in Surigao del Sur were also given from the allocated 500 vials of COVID-19 vaccines.

Grace Platil, chief nurse of the CRH and the first female vaccine recipient in the region, said she did not feel any pain at all as she received her initial dose.

She likewise motivates people by emphasizing optimism that a COVID-19 jab will be up for grabs not only to healthcare workers but to the elderly, people who are considered most vulnerable, and to every Filipino.

“Here I am now, I just got my first dose and I didn’t feel a sting of pain or whatsoever. We really need to be inoculated as a defense against the deadly virus and as a protection not only for ourselves but for our loved ones and the people surrounding us,” she said, describing her condition after taking the shot of vaccine.

Meanwhile, Department of Health - Center for Health Development (DOH-CHD) Caraga regional director Dr. Jose Llacuna, Jr. advised that even with the availability of vaccines, people should not let their guard down and continue to follow the safety and health protocols.

“COVID-19 vaccines help our bodies develop immunity to the virus that causes COVID-19. It’s our defense aside from the regular wearing face mask and face shield, washing of hands, and social distancing,” said Dir. Llacuna.

While the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines continues across the country, the Caraganons have an increased confidence that it would bring hope for a COVID-19-free world.

“I am willing to be vaccinated because I believe this is one important way to help stop the pandemic. I want my family to be protected from the risk of acquiring the virus,” said Arnel Arceso, a resident and an employee in one of the private hospitals in Surigao City.

According to Lacuna, the government assured that the purchased and distributed vaccines are safe and effective.

The initial 9,000 vials of vaccines that arrived in the Caraga region are expected to be distributed to the eleven referral hospitals.

On March 10, DOH Caraga also received an additional 14,800 doses or 1,480 vials of AstraZeneca vaccines. These are for recipients ages 18 and above. Still adhering to the guidelines set, priority recipients are the frontline healthcare workers especially those who are 60 and above.

The allocated vaccines for the region cover two doses with an interval of four weeks from the first dose. (Venus L. Garcia/PIA-Caraga)

PNU-Mindanao supports TF-ELCAC peace efforts

By 2Lt. Cecille Tappa

TALACOGON, Agusan del Sur, Mar. 13 - The Philippine Normal University (PNU)-Mindanao, one of the schools in Agusan del Sur, has expressed its support to the peace efforts of the Regional Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (RTF-ELCAC) during an Information Drive Towards Sustainable Peace Symposium held on March 10, 2021.

Anchored on the theme: "Protect the Youth. Protect the Future," the said forum was aimed to spread awareness to the youth sector about the recruitment schemes and deceptive lies of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army (CPP-NPA), officially designated by the Philippine Government, United States and European Union as a Communist Terrorist Group (CTG).

The symposium was made possible through the joint efforts of the 26th Infantry (Ever Onward) Battalion, 42nd CMO Company and 402nd Infantry (Stingers) Brigade, all of Philippine Army in collaboration with the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA) and POINTY, Inc.-Agusan del Norte. In observance of the COVID-19 health protocols, the forum was conducted via Zoom platform.

A total of 93 students participated in the symposium which composed of 72 student leaders from the PNU-Mindanao Student Government headed by Mr. Alexis Q. Sebote, Student Regent, and 21 campus writers from The Torch Publication, the official publication of PNU-Mindanao headed by its Editor-in-Chief, Herminigildo Genon.

NICA 10 and 13 Regional Director Manuel M. Orduña lectured about the CTG's recruitment to the youth and student sector. "The terrorist group has already infiltrated schools conducting recruitment of students and involving them to all forms of violence and terrorism-related activities. Hence, the different concerned agencies that composed the Regional Task Force to End Local Communists Armed Conflict are intensifying its efforts to protect the youth and promote their rights and welfare,” he cited.

Also, Glynmer A. Jamito, POINTY Board of Trustee, encouraged the youth to become family-oriented individuals, responsible social-media users, disciplined and law-abiding citizens during his lecture on Youth Empowerment.

An open forum after the lectures paved way to the questions of the participants. "This symposium opened our eyes and minds about the activities of the leftist organizations, as a student leader, I realized that involving yourself in the armed revolution is a worst decision that might end your life. To my fellow leaders and to the youth sector, let's focus on our studies and make our parents proud by using our talents and skills in a right way," Sebote said.

Professor Jeanette T. Gongora, Director from the Office of Students Services (OSS) of PNU-Mindanao, highlighted the vital role of the educators in inculcating right and accurate information to the learners. She also emphasized that they support the implementation of the government’s Executive Order No. 70 or the whole-of-nation approach to end the insurgency.

"As mandated by the Executive Order No. 70, we in the State, Colleges and Universities (SUCs) are directed to render the necessary support to the Regional/Provincial Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict. As the second parents of the students, it is necessary for us to protect them from the CPP-NPA terrorists," she said.
 
Meanwhile, Lt. Col. Reynald Romel A. Goce, Commanding Officer of 26IB expressed his appreciation to all the participants and active partners for rendering invaluable support and cooperation with the unit that made the symposium significant and successful. "Thank you for your cooperation and we are looking forward for a more enhanced partnership with you in our peace campaign. The youth is our future and they play a significant role in nation and peace building. Let's protect and empower them to be advocates of peace. Let's be part of this campaign and help the government in achieving sustainable peace," he said. (Acting CMO officer, 26IB/PIA-Agusan del Sur)