(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).

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Dinagat Islands town SK eyes youth development amid health crisis

By Doreen Marielle N. Rosales

BUTUAN CITY, Mar. 10 (PIA) -- Despite the ongoing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) Federation of Loreto town in the province of Dinagat Islands is pushing for youth development through the establishment of a Youth Hub Center.

Provincial SK Vice President Kim Salem said that the center “aims to provide the needs of the youth.”

“We will establish facilities to accommodate leisure for the youth so that they can play indoor games. We will also have musical instruments to help them discover and develop their enthusiasm for music, especially those who are passionate about it,” added the youth leader during her interview with Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Sec. Martin Andanar for the Friday (March 5) episode of the Network Briefing News.

In addition, the center will also be equipped with computers to support the youth in conducting their research and homework, now that learning modes have shifted to online and modular due to the pandemic.

The Commission on Population (POPCOM) will shoulder the establishment of the center’s facility in support of the SK Federation’s request to uplift the welfare of the town’s youth.

In light of these efforts, the SK Federation official urged the youth to support the council’s initiatives.

“Wala kaming ibang hangarin kundi to give our sincerest service lalo na sa panahon ng pandemiya,” she added.

She also encouraged the youth to extend help in their own ways to prevent the transmission of the fatal disease, which is also best done by abiding health protocols.

“Stay at home and stay safe, kabatan-ang Loretonhon.” (DMNR/PIA-Caraga)

DA-Caraga introduces Adlay to Agsur farmers through field day

AGUSAN DEL SUR, March 10 -- Thirty-five (35) farmers and agricultural technicians from the local government units (LGUs) of San Luis, San Francisco, Talacogon, and Bayugan, all of this province and an organization of the Center for the Poor (MSC) converged recently for an Adlay Field Day at Del Monte Lowland and Rainfed Research Station (DMLRRS).

The Adlay Field Day aims to present the uses, benefits, and production of Adlay - a staple food crop that belongs to the grass family, the same family to which wheat, corn, and rice belong. This is presented to the interested farmers in Agusan del Sur.

Currently, the municipality of San Luis holds the largest production area in terms of hectares with a cumulative six to nine hectares of adlay production.

The ceremonial harvest was led by Regional Executive Director Abel James I. Monteagudo of the Department of Agriculture (DA) Caraga, together with DMLRRS Center Chief Catherine Juyno, High Value Crops Development Program (HVCDP) Coordinator Marco Antonio Morido, and Research Division Chief Abel Wagas.

According to RED Monteagudo, the field day is a great venue to build linkages with ADS farmers since the production is low but the demand is high in the region.

"Through this, we can encourage them including our agricultural technicians to share the words about the benefits of Adlay since it's very marketable and good for the health," he said.

Aside from the demo farm, the product that can be made out from Adlay were also showcased like the Adlay Aroz Caldo. Sunday Fegi, who started engaging in Adlay production since last year, attested to the benefits he got.

"Aside from that, it decreases or even halt and cure high blood pressure, arthritis, diabetes, and so many other ailments, we can use this as our snacks just like this Aroz Caldo," Fegi said.

The Field Day is just one of the efforts of the Research Division to maximize its information dissemination to reach wider farmers and consumers. (DA-RFO XIII, RAFIS/PIA-Agusan del Sur)

Dinagat Islands town SK joins local gov’t for vaccination initiatives

By Doreen Marielle N. Rosales

BUTUAN CITY, Mar. 10 (PIA) -- With the expected vaccine rollout for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Dinagat Islands in the succeeding weeks, the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) of Loreto town joins the local government in its preparations.

While the schedule for the rollout is yet to be determined, the SK has already vowed to actively take part in the local government unit’s plans for the vaccine deployment.

“We will build a team whose primary function is to coordinate with Loreto’s task force [for COVID-19] for the vaccination program. We will make sure to always participate in the planning [and in] the steps to be undertaken,” said Kimberly Salem, Vice President of Loreto town’s SK, during her guesting at the Network Briefing News recently with Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Sec. Martin Andanar.

The youth leader also said that they will also orient members of the youth council to execute the vaccination procedure properly, leaving no room for errors.

Transparency and information dissemination on the upcoming rollout will also be given ample attention, where Vice President Salem said that monitoring and evaluation will be properly done and all actions undertaken for the vaccination will be documented and recorded.

The rollout for the COVID-19 vaccines is ongoing, with 11 priority public and private hospitals in the Surigao and Agusan provinces and the city of Butuan participating. A total of 4,500 health care workers are expected to get vaccinated on the initial vaccine rollout. (DMNR/PIA-Caraga)

DSWD-Listahanan responded to 71 data requests in 2020

BUTUAN CITY, March 9 -- Assisting the needs of the partner-agencies in the formulation of their programs and services, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Field Office Caraga was able to respond to a total of 71 data requests generated through the National Household Targeting Section’s (NHTS) Listahanan 2.0 database for 2020.

Listahanan is an information management system that identifies who and where the poor are in the country. It provides complete basic information on poor households who will become beneficiaries of the different anti-poverty programs and services of the Department.

Of the said figure, the section was able to provide 9 statistical data requests of poor households to the Provincial Government of Dinagat Islands and Agusan del Norte. The Local Government Units of Cortes and Tagbina (Surigao del Sur), General Luna, Sison, San Isidro (Surigao del Norte) were also provided the latest poverty status. While, the 67 others were name matching requests, where the Department determine if a household is in the Listahanan database and its corresponding poverty status.

These data were used as the basis in the implementation plan for the distribution of food assistance, validation of Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP) potential beneficiaries, basis for the Comprehensive Land Used Plan (CLUP) and research studies.

The NHTS can provide statistical figures based on Listahanan 2 database. Data available such as the number of assessed and identified poor households and magnitude of poor among basic sectors. The requesting party will send a request letter addressed to the Regional Director indicating the purpose of the request. However, for those who want to obtain the complete list of names and address, the forging of Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) is needed between the two parties. (Social Marketing Section/DSWD Field Office Caraga/PIA-Caraga)

DENR receives wildlife ambulance from USAID

BUTUAN CITY, March 10 -- To mark World Wildlife Day and strengthen the Philippine government’s wildlife rescue and rehabilitation efforts, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) turned over on March 2 a new wildlife ambulance to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

This turnover was part of USAID’s P1.2-billion Protect Wildlife Project.

The wildlife ambulance which is the first of its kind in the country will help the DENR’s National Wildlife Rescue and Research Center improve its response time during wildlife rescue and retrieval, as well as facilitate the provision of immediate on-site care for injured and trafficked wildlife.

The specially designed vehicle has furnished cabinets for veterinary and wildlife handling equipment, a collapsible veterinary examination table and seats, and a roof rack for transporting animal crates, ladders, and other equipment for wildlife rescue.

USAID also handed over WILDBase, a centralized online system for recording and monitoring rescued wildlife. WILDBase will help rescue centers keep track of wildlife in their care, as well as medical records, inventory, and other important information for rescue center operations and decision-making.

DENR Undersecretary Ernesto Adobo, Jr. received the wildlife ambulance and WILDBase from USAID Philippines Environment Office Deputy Director Paul Seong during a turnover ceremony held at the Ninoy Aquino Parks and Wildlife Center.

“We appreciate USAID’s continued generosity to the DENR through the years. The enforcement of our wildlife laws, rules, and regulations do not end with the confiscation of the wildlife and the prosecution of the violators,” said Usec. Adobo.

He furthered that with this new ambulance, WILDBase, and newest equipment and materials, they can more easily treat and monitor the health of confiscated wildlife.

“This ambulance and online system complete USAID’s program of assistance for the DENR’s National Wildlife Rescue and Research Center, and complements the Center’s new wildlife diagnostics equipment, wildlife handling tools, and digital innovations,” said Seong.

Since 2016, the Protect Wildlife project has helped protect 750,000 hectares of diverse landscapes and seascapes, trained 2,300 men and women in improved environmental enforcement practices, and brought economic and environmental benefits to 95,000 Filipinos through environmentally sustainable livelihoods, community-based enforcement, and sustainably managed natural resources. (U.S. Embassy in the Philippines/PIA-Caraga)

Army Operation Bayanihan, GMA Kapuso Foundation aid TS Auring victims in Surigao Sur

By Lt. Krisjuper Andreo Punsalan

LIANGA, Surigao del Sur, Mar. 10 --  The GMA Kapuso Foundation (GMAKF), Inc. and the 3rd Special Forces “Arrowhead” Battalion (3SFBn) recently concluded week-long relief operations to seven selected barangays affected by the Tropical Storm Auring in the municipalities of Lianga, Cagwait, San Agustin, and Marihatag from Mar. 3 up to Mar. 9.

About 2,000 beneficiaries came from barangays of St. Christine, Ban-as, and Ganayon of Lianga town; Tubo-tubo and Arangasa Island of Cagwait town; San Isidro of Marihatag; and Pongtod of San Agustin. The relief pack includes assorted canned goods, packs of rice, and noodles.

“The goods from Manila were transported by the Philippine Coast Guard by sea and the 3rd Special Forces Battalion’s line companies ensured the safe delivery to the affected barangays in Surigao Del Sur. We thank them for their assistance and quick response to deliver the goods as fast as possible,” Maria Christina Dungca, head of Kapuso Foundation team in Caraga.

Lieutenant Colonel (LTC) Benedict Harvey Gernale, 3SFBn Commanding Officer, said that the unit is always ready to perform its duty especially when it concerns aid to anyone affected by calamities and natural disasters.

“Amid pandemic, natural and man-made calamities, and disasters, many people count on us because this is part of our sworn duty to serve the people,” Lt. Col. Gernale, said.

“We thank the GMA Kapuso Foundation and the respective Local Chief Executives MDRRMOs and MSWDOs of the municipalities within the area of operations for participating in GMA Kapuso Operation Bayanihan which exemplifies true Filipino Resilience through Government and Non-government agencies’ partnership to help our affected kababayans,” Lt. Col. Gernale, added.

Meanwhile, last Tropical Storm Vicky, GMAKF also launched similar relief operations while strictly following coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) health protocols and is set to implement more possible development programs and projects such as the building of schools and bridges within geographically isolated and disadvantaged communities in CARAGA. (CMO-3SFBn/PIA-Surigao del Sur)

NPA member rescued by Army troops in Surigao del Norte

By Capt. Joash Pramis

SURIGAO CITY, Surigao del Norte, Mar. 10 -- An armed member of the New People’s Army (NPA) Sandatahang Yunit Pampropaganda (SYP) 16C2, Guerilla Front16, North Eastern Mindanao Regional Committee (NEMRC) who ran away from the said terrorist group was rescued by the troops of 30th Infantry (Fight On) Battalion, Philippine Army, bringing along with him his M14 rifle after a firefight transpired in Serinihon, Brgy. Camp Edward, Alegria, Surigao del Norte, morning of March 5, 2021.

The said NPA member revealed after he was successfully rescued that he decided to escape and liberate from the group as he was fed up with the lies and failed promises of the NPA terrorists. Upon learning also the benefits and the seriousness of the government to help former rebels through the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Programs (ECLIP), he has finally decided to return to the fold of the law.  

Necessary information about the ECLIP including contact numbers has been massively disseminated by the 30IB troops through its regular radio programs that reached the far-flung areas of the Battalion’s area of operations. The troops also distributed leaflets in an effort to reach out the NPA’s active members and to provide them with means to contact the said army troopers and other government agencies.

Prior to the encounter the said NPA member reached out to the 30IB's hotline number while he was on his way out from the NPA terrorist group and being chased by several of his ex-comrades.  

Responding to the said information, the unit sent out a patrol to purposely extricate the said defecting NPA member. While approaching the designated meeting place, the government troops encountered more or less seven NPA members of SYP16C2, GF16.

The encounter lasted for about ten minutes of giving the said defecting NPA an opportunity to further secure himself along with his issued M14, seven magazines with 21 live ammunitions and one bandolier. 

Meanwhile, the 30IB troops successfully secured and brought him safely at the headquarters in Brgy Mahanub, Gigaquit, Surigao del Norte. He is now under the custody of 30IB for proper documentation and processing of his benefits under the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP).

“Malisod di ya kahimtang ka banwa daw anisab kanaong na batian nga madajaw sa ya kahimyang na mga kaibahan nga mingbaba ka una. Daw nakitan sab nao nga wara ya kahamjangan ka kalihukan agun min baba koman hao kay para maka hula ka mahamjang. (The situation in the mountain is hard. I’ve heard that my former comrades who surrendered before are now living peacefully and I also noticed that there is no better life in the armed struggle. So, that’s the reason for my surrender in order to live peacefully)," the defecting NPA lamented.

Lieutenant Colonel Ryan Charles G. Callanta, commanding Officer of 30IB, said that “the fateful incident is a clear manifestation that NPA ranks are slowly disintegrating, making most of their ordinary members tired and fed up with the endless false promises and lies by its leaders giving them empty hopes."

"One can imagine how hard it is to being always on the run, hiding, when tiredness and hunger crept in, how can one endure these situations? Amidst of this, we continue to urge the remaining active NPA members to decide and embrace the path of peace and avail the governments’ reintegration program, the ECLIP. Rest assured that we will assist them along with the respective LGUs of Surigao del Norte to renew their lives and build their future with their families and loved ones through the foundation of peace, free from fear and intimidations,” he said. (901st Infantry Brigade/PIA-Surigao del Norte)

NPA rebels withdraw from a clash with gov’t troops

By 1Lt. Edmar C. Colagong

SURIGAO CITY, Surigao del Norte, March 10 -- The members of the Communist NPA Terrorists (CNTs) withdrew in disarray after a 15-minute clash with the troops of the 29th Infantry "Matatag Fighters” Batallion on March 7, 2021, around 7:44 in the morning at the vicinity of Brgy. Linongganan, San Francisco, Surigao del Norte. 

The said troops were conducting a combat patrol in the area as a response to the information provided by the civilians regarding the presence of more or less 10 armed men who were believed to be members of Sangay Yunit Propaganda16-B (SYP16-B), Guerilla Front 16(GF16) of North Eastern Mindanao Regional Command (NEMRC). 

The CNTs have withdrawn towards the east direction of the said barangay leaving one anti-personnel mine, three blasting caps, 12 Eveready battery (A), two bottles of diesel, one backpack, food supplies, medical paraphernalia and other subversive documents with high intelligence value.

There was no casualty on the government side while undetermined on the enemy’s side since bloodstains were also seen in their route of withdrawal.

“Our troops will sustain security operations against CNTs who are hiding in the hinterlands. They have nowhere to go. We will find them. Residents were already fed up with all their lies and deception. It would be better for them to stop and surrender now. The crooked ideology which they have been indoctrinated with is just a snare and chain that will drag them to infinite misery," said Lt. Col. Aristotle F. Antonio, commanding officer of 29IB.

He also commended the troops for courageously facing the enemy. "You did not fail your people on the shared responsibility entrusted on you to secure peace and freedom, especially against deceitful schemes by the CNTs,” Lt.Col. Antonio said. (CMO officer, 29IB/PIA-Surigao del Norte)

U.S. welcomes arrival to PH of U.S.-supported COVAX vaccines

BUTUAN CITY, March 10 -- The United States (U.S.) welcomes the successful arrival of 487,200 doses of theAstraZenecaCOVID-19 vaccine to the Philippines on Thursday, March 4. These vaccines were made available through the COVAX Advance Market Commitment, a global initiative to support equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines.

The United States already has donated P97.2 billion ($2 billion) to COVAX, by far the largest contribution, to ensure the Philippines and other countries receive COVID-19 vaccines.

In February, the U.S. government announced a total planned contribution of P194.4 billion ($4 billion) to the COVAX Advance Market Commitment. The United States already has provided an initial P97.2 billion ($2 billion), and the Philippines is among the first countries in the region to have received COVID-19 vaccines through the COVAX facility.

“The United States is proud to be the largest contributor to COVAX, and we welcome the successful arrival of the first tranche of AstraZeneca vaccines in the Philippines. As we fight the pandemic together, the United States will continue to support the Philippines’ vaccination and COVID-19 mitigation efforts,” said U.S. Embassy Chargé d’Affaires John Law.

The U.S. contributions to COVAX, throughthe U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID),will support the purchase and delivery of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines for the world’s most vulnerable and at-risk populations in 92 low and middle-income countries. This support is critical to controlling the pandemic, slowing the emergence of new variants, and helping to restart the global economy.

The United States has worked closely with Philippine stakeholders throughout the duration of the pandemic to protect public health and strengthen the response to COVID-19. To date, total U.S. government COVID-19 assistance to the Philippines has amounted to more than P1.1 billion ($23.4 million). (U.S. Embassy in the Philippines/PIA-Caraga)

Women of the 21st century transcend to break free

BUTUAN CITY, March 10 -- March is Women's Month, and today's women transcend to break free from the past. Leading this clarion call for women to break free include Miss World 2013 Megan Young and Miss Trans Global 2020 Mela Habijan.

Together with the community volunteers, Megan and Mela headline Transcend by LoveYourself's women empowerment segment of its latest campaign, #BreakFreePH.

This campaign hopes to inspire ciswomen and transgender people to fight off the stigma surrounding sexual health and ensure their holistic well-being. Women deserve to be taken care of and respected even for their sexual health choices.

Filipinos should also continually welcome newer perspectives and create more inclusive actions for all genders. Megan and Mela, whose purposes are beyond their beauty and title, aim to enable voiceless women to break free from any form of abuse, discrimination, and violence.

In the #BreakFreePH campaign video (http://bit.ly/MeganBreakFreePH), Megan emphasized that society is never just a man's world and that empowered women are no different. As women of the 21st century, "We are not limited by our sex and physical built," Megan stressed.

Mela, a woman of trans experience, underscored that trans women are valid and refuse to be seen differently. She mentioned that transgender people can fulfill roles regardless of gender, such as being parents, having a business, or being in anything they choose to pursue.

Mela highlighted that trans people definitely exist as an essential part of the country's developing society. "We are not limited by our gender transition," she firmly said on another #BreakFreePH campaign video (http://bit.ly/MelaBreakFreePH).

Lastly, the #BreakFreePH also discussed gender-related socio-political issues concerning all women like physical abuse, verbal assault, rape, hate crimes, psychological violence, and killings.

Aside from women empowerment, the #BreakFreePH campaign has three more pillars: sexual health, gender-affirming hormone therapy, and women and trans health services under Victoria by LoveYourself community center.

HIV advocate Janlee Dungca, Cebuana vlogger Alem Garcia and trans man Nick Escalderon will also take part in the campaign to promote the holistic well-being of trans people, especially for their gender-affirming hormone therapy (GAHT) and health-related issues about transitioning.

Transcend by LoveYourself was established in 2020 to address the lack of services catered for trans health issues such as biomedical transitioning and ciswomen's sexual concerns. It was finally made into fruition in view of expanding the services offered in the country’s first community-led transgender health center called Victoria by LoveYourself. This community center offers free gender-sensitive HIV testing and transition counseling and consultation services, among others. (LoveYourself PH/PIA-Caraga)

DA Caraga gears economic up-scaling through farm clustering

By Aurelius P. Arais

BUTUAN CITY, Mar. 10 -- The Department of Agriculture (DA)-Caraga is taking a big leap to level-up farmers and fisherfolks cooperative and associations (FCAs) in Caraga Region to attain economies of scale.

This is through the implementation of the Farmers and Fisherfolks Clustering and Consolidation (F2C2) otherwise called Bayanihan Agri-Clusters (BACs).

As a jumpstart of the implementation, massive information dissemination had been implemented for them to be able to grasp the importance of the clustering approach.

“Despite the pandemic, our F2C2 team has had conducted briefing in different municipalities and cities around the region,” Rebecca Reyes Atega, Regional Technical Director for Operations said.

A Regional Technical Working Group (RTWG) had been created for the said purpose headed by Regional Executive Director Abel James I. Monteagudo as the over-all coordinator with RTD Atega and Maria Espenido as F2C2 Regional Focal Person and Alternate Focal Person respectively.

To strengthen the associations, DA-Caraga had already conducted two batches of Training on Financial Management for Bayanihan Agri-Clusters.

“We want to capacitate our FCAs with the necessary skills to effectively manage their group especially in the financial matter, which is considered the bread and butter of the group’s existence,” Atega reiterated.

Atega said that the program is also working closely with the Cooperative Development Authority (CDA) to assist farmers and fisherfolks cooperative and associations, so they can have the legal identity to manage a business.

On August 5, 2020, DA Secretary William D. Dar issued Administrative Order No. 27, series of 2020 mandating DA Regional Offices to establish the F2C2 Program towards greater inclusive agri-business development in the country.

Atega explained that through BACs, DA can effectively assist FCAs to achieve and benefit from economies of scale, forge stronger linkages among agri-producers and markets, improve bargaining and market power, establish better access to credit and financing, encourage active “Big Brother – Small Brother” partnerships and joint ventures between FCAs and large corporate enterprises, and raise the overall productivity of the agriculture sector.

Regional Executive Director Abel James I. Monteagudo said that clustering is an effective way of achieving a food secure Philippines through a prosperous farmers and fisherfolks.
“Clustered areas will be prioritized by the government support and interventions such as production and mechanization support as well as technical training, so in time, they will become a key player in the economy through agribusiness, not just mere producers,” Monteagudo stressed.

As of now, about 32 BACs have been identified as pilot areas in Caraga Region and are expected to increase as more farmer associations appreciate the advantage of the F2C2 program. (DA-Caraga/PIA Caraga)

Mga residente sa usa ka barangay sa Buenavista gipasabot sa hustong pagpahiluna sa basura

By Shena Mae Pabia/Lexter Fernandez

DAKBAYAN SA BUTUAN, Marso 10 -- Mokabat sa kapin 100 ka mga mulopyo sa Brgy. Alubihid, Buenavista, Agusan del Norte ang natudloan kaganina, Pebrero 23, sa proper waste segregation nga gipangunahan sa buhatan sa Municipal and Environment and Natural Resources Office (MENRO) Buenavista.

Kabahin ang maong kalihukan sa Information and Education Campaign (IEC) sa Solid Waste Management sa MENRO sa lungsod.

Unang gipasabot sa mga mulopyo ang mahitungod sa Republic Act 9003 o Ecological Solid Waste Management. Ika-duha ang hustong pamaagi sa paglabay og basura o pag segregate niini sa “malata, di-malata ug mapuslan pa.”

Matod ni Lexter Fernandez, personahe sa MENRO Buenavista, usa sa tumong sa aktibidad nga human sa pag edukar nila makabaton ang barangay sa sistemang “Purok Based Collection” aron mas mahan-ay pa ang pagpangolekta sa basura.

Mitambong sa maong kalihukan ang mga Barangay Officials, Purok presidents, mga personahe sa MENRO ug mga negosyante sa maong barangay.

Gilaoman sa MENRO-Buenavista nga aduna pay mo sunod sama ani nga kalihukan sa walo pa ka-barangay sa maong lungsod.

Ang pagpahiluna sa mga basura kabahin sa Lunhaw’ng Agusan Flagship Program sa AGUSAN UP!, ang kampanya sa pagpalambo sa administrasyon ni Gobernador Dale B. Corvera kaabag ang buhatan ni Kong. Angel Amante-Matba. (LGU Agusan del Norte/PIA Agusan del Norte)