(PAGASA 24-HOUR PUBLIC WEATHER FORECAST as of Sunday, 01 October 2023) Trough of a Low Pressure Area (LPA) affecting the eastern sections of Visayas and Mindanao. Southwest Monsoon affecting the western sections of Southern Luzon and Visayas. 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 to Trough of LPA /Localized Thunderstorms. Possible flash floods or landslides during severe thunderstorms. Light to moderate winds coming from Southwest to West will prevail with slight to moderate seas (0.6 to 2.1 meters).

Friday, May 21, 2021

Over 26K senior citizens in Caraga receive COVID-19 jabs

By Doreen Marielle N. Rosales

BUTUAN CITY, May 21 (PIA) -- A total of 26,076 senior citizens (A2) in Caraga Region have already been vaccinated for COVID-19, the Department of Health (DOH) Caraga reported.

As of May 19, 2021, some 3,071 in Butuan City have been inoculated; 5,080 in the province of Agusan del Norte; 4,860 in Agusan del Sur; 3,873 in Surigao del Norte; 7,933 in Surigao del Sur; and 1,259 in the Province of Dinagat Islands.

“This constitutes 12.38% of the 210,616 masterlisted eligible population under the said priority group in the region,” said Cheryl Mary Plaza from the Family Health Cluster of the DOH Caraga during the 32nd Caraga Regional Task Force against COVID-19 (RTF COVID-19) Meeting Thursday, May 20.

Around 14,491 or 6.88% were inoculated with the Sinovac’s CoronaVac COVID-19 vaccines while 11,585 or 5.50% with AstraZeneca.

Meanwhile, vaccine rollout for the priority groups A1 (healthcare workers) is still ongoing. The health department reported that 43,554 HCWs have already received their first dose of the vaccines, making up 80.95% of the 53,802 total masterlisted vaccine recipients.  Of the total number, 51.49% or 27,700 received Sinovac vaccines while 29.47 or 15,854 received AstraZeneca.

The DOH Caraga also noted that 18,204 HCWs have already received their second dose of the vaccines and have now completed their vaccination.

Vaccination for persons with comorbidities or the A3 priority group has also commenced in the region, with 3,202 having already received their first dose of the vaccines. Around 4.11% or 2,939 received AztraZeneca vaccines, which comprises the majority, while 0.37% or 263 received the Sinovac vaccines.

At least 71,441 under the said priority group are expected to receive jabs.

The region’s vaccination efforts have resulted in the inoculation of a total of 72,842 recipients. Local health authorities are now doubling their efforts in order to vaccinate a total of 333,859 masterlisted eligible populations from the three priority groups.  (DMNR/PIA-Caraga)

DOH detects 9 additional COVID-19 variants in Caraga

BUTUAN CITY, May 21 -- The Department of Health - Center for Health Development (DOH CHD) Caraga on Thursday announced the detection of another batch of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) variant cases in the region based on the results received from the University of the Philippines-Philippine Genome Center. Of the samples sequenced, nine tested positive for COVID-19 variants of concern: eight (B.1.351 (variant first detected in South Africa) and one B.1.1.7 (variant first detected in the UK) cases.

The confirmed B.1.351 cases are locals of Cantilan, Surigao del Sur (1), Butuan City (1), and Province of Dinagat Islands (6). Among the eight (B.1.351 variant cases, five were close contacts of confirmed positive cases; two had travel history from NCR+ Areas; and one neither had a travel history nor a close contact of a confirmed positive case. All of these cases have completed their prescribed quarantine period and were discharged from their isolation facilities. Currently, all cases are asymptomatic.

On the other hand, the B.1.1.7 variant case is a resident of Cabadbaran City, a 101-year old, female, with no travel history and was not a close contact with a previously confirmed case. She was admitted due to pain at her left side with general weakness and anorexia. As the health facility’s standard procedure for admission, the patient was tested for COVID-19. Her result came in positive and was tagged as a severe case. A day after, the patient died.

“Moreover, we are closely monitoring and coordinating with the health authorities of the Local Government Units concerned for implementation of appropriate actions and national protocols for these identified variant cases,” said DOH-CHD Caraga Regional Director Cesar C. Cassion.

Based on current studies, these variants of concern have increased transmissibility. Meaning, more people will get infected, which poses a risk for those people with a weak immune response. If left uncontrolled it will create a domino effect, overwhelming our health care system.

“To prevent such scenario, we strongly urge the public to consistently and strictly practice the BIDA Behaviours. The existing minimum public health protocols remain effective against the new variants of concern. Moreover, our vaccines against COVID-19 give an added layer of protection, the more people we vaccinate, the higher chance of halting the transmission across the population. Let us work together to beat this pandemic,” Dir. Cassion added. (DOH Caraga/PIA Caraga)

PCG-Surigao Norte recognized for support in coral reef farm project

SURIGAO CITY, Surigao del Norte, May 21 -- Commander Elaine R. Pangilinan of the Coast Guard Station (CGS) Surigao del Norte was given a Certificate of Recognition by the JCI Surigao Nickel in recognition towards outstanding contribution and generous support to JCI Surigao Nickel’s Coral Reef Farm Project in Brgy. Mabua, Surigao City on May 20, 2021.

Said project was successfully conducted last March 27, 2021 spearheaded by the JCI Surigao Nickel wherein several artificial coral reefs were laid out at the seawaters off Brgy. Mabua, Surigao City, Surigao del Norte purposely for the temporary shelter of marine creatures in the area.

Pangilinan expressed her sincere gratitude to JCI Surigao Nickel for such a significant endeavor and stressed that the PCG in Surigao del Norte will continuously render full support and cooperation for the best interest of the public and for a safer and cleaner maritime domain. (PCG-Surigao del Norte/PIA-Surigao del Norte)

Coast Guard dons rank to new auxiliary officer

SIARGAO ISLAND, Surigao del Norte, May 21 -- Admiral George V. Ursabia, Jr., commandant of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), led the donning and oath-taking of Surigao del Norte first district representative Francisco Jose “Bingo” F. Matugas II as the newest Auxiliary Commodore of the PCG Auxiliary (PCGA) Executive Squadron on May 12, 2021.

In his speech, Matugas expressed his gratitude for becoming part of the PCG that is in the first line of defense, especially in the promotion of safety of lives and properties at sea, as well as in the protection of the country's rich marine resources.

"Rest assured that as a member of the House Committee on Public Order and Safety, I will continue to push for measures in support of the programs of the PCG, especially those that affect our people and our province. May God bless our plans and actions in the PCG as we together continue to guard lives and territories, especially now that we are in a world war against the pandemic," he said.

For his part, Ursabia thanked Matugas for partnering with the PCG, especially in lobbying for the expansion of Coast Guard infrastructure and the recruitment of sufficient number of PCG personnel in various parts of the country to be able to delivery quality public service to all Filipinos.

"The PCG is relatively young. We separated from the Navy in 1998 and acquired our enabling laws in 2010. Technically, we are only 11 years old and with 18,600 personnel to date, we have yet to achieve our initial goal of having one PCG personnel in every kilometer of our 37,000-kilometer coastline, excluding our internal waters and exclusive economic zone," Ursabia said.

"That is why I have been saying that the PCGA is our secret weapon for they are helping us in addressing such shortage in manpower, especially in this time of the pandemic. Nevertheless, we need to have permanent solutions to resolve this gap. I am grateful that first district representative, and now Auxiliary Commodore Matugas assured that he will continue to rally behind us to achieve such goal," Ursabia furthered.

Also present during the ceremonies held in Barangay Libertad, General Luna, Surigao del Norte were Reverend Father Julian Dayola, Surigao del Norte Governor Francisco "Lalo" Matugas, and Commodore Luisito Sibayan of the PCG District North Eastern Mindanao. (PCG/PIA-Surigao del Norte)

PCG inaugurates search, rescue base in Siargao 

SIARGAO ISLAND, Surigao del Norte, May 21 -- The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) has inaugurated its first-ever search and rescue (SAR) base in the country situated in Siargao Island, Surigao del Norte on May 12, 2021.

Photo courtesy of Philippine Coast Guard
The PCG Base Siargao is a 600-square-meter and four-story building constructed in a 5,000-square meter lot in Siargao Island donated by the provincial government. It is equipped with an automatic identification system (AIS) monitoring equipment, watch tower, helipad, and an elevated base defense zone, among others.

During the ceremony, PCG commandant Admiral George V. Ursabia Jr., shared the challenges that the PCG encountered in pursuit of the PCG SAR Base located in a world-class tourist destination in the country.

"It is not easy to look for an area, more so that for it entails significant amount of investment. Hence, Siargao Island is truly blessed dahil kayo ang kauna-unahang nagkaroon nito. If this will be a success story, our lawmakers will be easily convinced that we should have more of this kind of facility nationwide," Admiral Ursabia said.

With such accomplishment, Admiral Ursabia assured that competent and skilled locals of Siargao Island will be given opportunities to become part of the PCG and serve their fellow Surigaonons at the PCG Base Siargao.

"We will certainly be recruiting locals to be members of the PCG not only in Siargao, but in the entire Caraga region. In order for us to be effective, it is better for us to get locals and train them to become patriotic, compassionate, and God-fearing public servants," the Coast Guard commandant said.

Admiral Ursabia furthered that two to three units of 40 fast patrol boats that will be acquired by the PCG will be assigned at the PCG Base Siargao to strengthen maritime law enforcement and improve disaster management.

More importantly, the Coast Guard Admiral said that the newly-constructed PCG infrastructure will also serve as a radar station to safeguard the island and nearby vicinity waters against illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing.

"We need to have a radar station here in Siargao Island so we can monitor and control fishing operations in our maritime domain in this part of the country remotely. These are high-value government assets and effective tools for us to protect our waters," Admiral Ursabia said.

Also, Admiral Ursabia reaffirmed the PCG's commitment to support the tourism industry by working with the local government in ensuring safety in the conduct of water sports and other water-related activities in accordance with international standards.

"We will certainly cooperate and collaborate, as we expect local and international tourists to come here after the pandemic. This island is a paradise rich in natural resources and a home of good people. Rest assured that we will be stewards of Siargao Island's vast marine environment, and advocates of safety of lives and properties at sea," Admiral Ursabia said.

Also present during the inauguration were Auxiliary Commodore Congressman Francisco Jose “Bingo” F. Matugas II of the First District of Surigao del Norte, Surigao del Norte Governor Francisco "Lalo" Matugas, Commodore Luisito Sibayan of the PCG District North Eastern Mindanao, and Commander Ellaine Pangilinan of the PCG Station Surigao del Norte. (PCG/PIA-Surigao del Norte)

PCG, M-NAV Solutions Inc. install buoys in PH Rise

SURIGAO CITY, Surigao del Norte, May 22 -- The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and M-NAV Solutions, Inc. successfully installed three state-of-the-art lighted ocean buoys in the Philippine Rise on 14 to 16 May 2021.

Photo courtesy of MV-NAV Solutions, Inc.

The buoys were transported by vessel, MV Morning Light from the Uni-Orient Pearl Ventures Inc. Shipyard in Mandaue, Cebu to the Philippine Rise on 12 May 2021. The vessel arrived in said vicinity waters on 14 May 2021 when the two-day installation commenced.

According to PCG commandant Admiral George V. Ursabia Jr., the presence of buoys in the Philippine Rise communicates that said vicinity waters is considered a special protected zone. Hence, mining and oil exploration are strictly prohibited to preserve its rich natural resources.

The buoys are equipped with modern marine aids to navigation lanterns, specialized mooring systems, and a remote monitoring system that uses satellite technology to transmit data to the PCG National Headquarters in Port Area, Manila.

The PCG Maritime Safety Services Command (MSSC) said seven more state-of-the-art lighted ocean buoys will arrive in the country this year to mark other vicinity waters inside Philippines' exclusive economic zone.

The PCG is an attached agency of the Department of Transportation (DOTr) under the leadership of Secretary Arthur P. Tugade. (PCG/PIA-Surigao del Norte)

Surigao solon commits to support PCG programs

SURIGAO CITY, Surigao del Norte, May 21 -- "Rest assured that as a member of the House Committee on Public Order and Safety, I will continue to push for measures in support of the programs of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), especially those that affect our people and our province," expressed Congressman Francisco Jose “Bingo” F. Matugas II of the First District of Surigao del Norte as he formally became the newest Auxiliary Commodore of the PCG Auxiliary Executive Squadron during a ceremony held in Barangay Libertad, General Luna, Surigao del Norte on May 12, 2021.

"May God bless our plans and actions in the PCG as we together continue to guard lives and territories, especially now that we are in a war against the pandemic," he furthered.

For PCG commandant Admiral George V. Ursabia Jr., the PCG Auxiliary is the Coast Guard's secret weapon, most especially in this unprecedented time when the men and women of the PCG are seen anywhere and everywhere to assist concerned agencies and local government units in upholding public health and safety.

These pandemic-related initiatives need not only assets and resources, but more importantly the selfless commitment of each and every frontline personnel in implementing the whole-of-nation approach in curbing the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Despite the limited budget, manpower, and assets, the PCG continues to provide public service with utmost humility and genuine compassion - made possible through sustained assistance from civilian volunteers of the PCGA.

PCGA members willingly provide necessary equipment and supplies and offer their time, expertise, and connections to help the Coast Guard in the performance of its mandates to the Filipino people.

With congressman and auxiliary commodore Matugas as the recent addition to the pool of government officials who are actively rallying behind the PCG, the humanitarian armed service is confident that the Coast Guard presence in Surigao del Norte, especially in the Siargao Island, will be intensified all for the promotion of safety of lives and properties at sea, and marine environmental protection. (PCG/PIA-Surigao del Norte)

Konstruksyon sa Concepcion Bridge, sugdan na

DAKBAYAN SA BUTUAN, Mayo 21 -- Gihimo sa pagpanguna nila Gob. Dale Corvera ug Kongw. Angel Amante-Matba kagahapon, Mayo 20, ang groundbreaking sa Php163-million Concepcion Bridge ug ang component nga road concreting niini.

Niini, gipaambit ni Gob. Corvera ang iyang kalipay alang sa mga lumulupyo sa Barangay Concepcion kansang hangyo gitabangan nila ni Kong. Amante-Matba pagpahiluna nga mapadangat gyod sa nasudnong panggamhanan.

“Nalipay gyod ko nga nia na, matuman na gyod ang inyong proyekto,” pahayag ni Gob. Corvera.

Gipahibalo usab sa gobernador nga kabahin ang concreting sa 929 metros nga kalsada sa maong proyekto.

Nagpahayag usab si Mayor Judy Chin Amante sa katumanan sa maong proyekto.

“Nalipay ko kay nia na gyod ang tubag sa dugay na gyod natong gidamgo diri sa barangay Concepcion. Nia na ang tulay kay kada muuwan diri mao gyud ni ang atong problema,” sumala pa ni Mayor Amante.

Pipila sa mga lumulupyo sa Barangay nakasinati diha kalisod sa pagtabok sa tulay ilabina pag abot sa mga kalamidad ug katalagman tungod sa paspas pag-apaw sa tubig.

Makita usab sa panagway sa mga residente ang kalipay sa pagpatuman na gyod sa proyekto sa ilang lugar nga lisud nang matabok tungod kay dali ra kaayong molapaw ang tubig sa suba sa mga panahon nga kusog ang ulan.

Nanguna usab sa maong groundbreaking si Pol M. Delos Santos, ang regional director sa Department of Public Works and Highways sa Caraga, city ug barangay officials, mga personahe sa PNP ug mga residente sa maong barangay.

Mahimong kaabag sa konstruksyon sa maong tulay ang ARQ Builders. (Sinulat ni Shena Mae Pabia, hulagway kuha ni Sonny Montilla, LGU Agusan del Norte/PIA Agusan del Norte)