(PAGASA 24-HOUR PUBLIC WEATHER FORECAST as of Saturday, 27 November 2021) Shear Line affecting the eastern sections of Northern and Central Luzon. Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) affecting Palawan and Zamboanga Peninsula. Easterlies / Localized Thunderstorm affecting the rest of Mindanao. Caraga Region will have Partly cloudy to cloudy skies with isolated rainshowers due to Easterlies / Localized Thunderstorm. Possible flash floods or landslides during severe thunderstorms. Light to Moderate winds coming from East to Northeast will prevail with Slight to Moderate coastal waters / (0.6 to 2.1 meters). /span>



Thursday, May 6, 2021

14 Milisyang Bayan members, 325 UGMOs surrender to Army

By Cpt. Roel T. Maglalang

BUENAVISTA, Agusan del Norte, May 5 -- The 23rd Infantry (Masigasig) Battalion (23IB), Philippine Army together with the Provincial Government of Agusan del Norte and the local government unit (LGU) of Las Nieves welcomed back to the folds of the law 14 members of the Milisya ng Bayan (MBs) and 325 members of Underground Mass Organizations (UGMOs) in a pledge of allegiance ceremony recently in Barangay Consorcia, Las Nieves.

The MBs and UGMOs once served as the main support mechanism of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) New People’s Army (NPA) Terrorist (CNT) in Barangay Consorcia for years.

The mass surrender ceremony was witnessed by Las Nieves Mayor Avelina S. Rosales; Gerry Joey Laurito, the Provincial Administrator of Agusan del Norte; Lt. Col Julius Cesar C. Paulo, INF (GSC) PA, Commanding Officer of 23IB; PLt. Fritzel V. Cubillan, Chief of Las Nieves Municipal Police Station; Dir. Rey M. Cueva of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) of Agusan del Norte; Ms. Karen S. Rosales, head of the Youth for Peace in Las Nieves; and the member of Sangguniang Bayan of Las Nieves. Barangay Captain Wennie A. Loquinte, together with the members of the barangay council joined by hundreds of residents of Consorcia.

It can be recalled that a peace consultation and dialogue, locally known as pulong-pulong, was conducted last December 18, 2020 in Barangay Consorcia. During the activity, the residents expressed their issues and concerns, especially on peace and order. They also lamented on the continuing terroristic activities of the CNTs and voiced out their worries on the recruitment of the terrorists among the vulnerable sectors in their community, especially the youths. The 23IB, during the pulong-pulong, also provided the residents with inputs and information on the different schemes the CNT members utilize in recruitment. When enlightened, the residents, especially the members of MBs and UGMOs decided to surrender to the government.

During the mass surrender activity, the MBs and UGMOs also handed over to the government nine (9) Caliber 22 (Airgun) rifles, four (4) homemade shotguns with two (2) live ammunition, and one (1) Caliber 38 pistol with five (5) live ammunition.

Alias "Nong" was among the MBs who surrendered and shared his experience and difficulties when he was still supporting the communist movement and even ask for forgiveness to the people of Barangay Consortia for extorting them.

In her message, Mayor Rosales lauded the courageous act of the residents of Consorcia for condemning the CNT and making a turn to the right path.

"As you chose to start a new life, you have finally made up your minds to cut ties and withdrew your support to them. We are grateful that you have finally realized that there is no tomorrow with the presence of CPP NPA Terrorists in your barangay. This program is not only for the Army, the police, and the government agencies. We want nothing but peace and development. We can only achieve this through your cooperation," Rosales said.

Provincial Administrator Laurito, who represented Gov. Dale B. Corvera, expressed gladness for the decreasing number of CNT members and supporters in the province.

"Our government is always here to listen to your concern and is very eager to give the basic services to the people.We are glad that you have denounced your support to the CPP-NPA Terrorists for hindering the development interventions," Laurito said.

The head of the Youth for Peace in Las Nieves, Karen S. Rosales asked the parents to look over their children to prevent them from being recruited by the CNTs, and transform them as effective youth in the community.

"The youths are among the vulnerable sectors of the community and the CNTs are taking undue advantage of their vulnerability. Let us go hand in hand to end the 52 years of deceptive recruitment that have been destroying the future of our youth," Rosales said. 

TESDA Dir. Cueva extended his compliments to the residents for their bravery.

"Now that you have withdrawn your support to the CNTs, development will surely boost in your community. In partnership with the LGU of Las Nieves, we at TESDA are providing support, especially in honing your knowledge and skills for increased productivity," he said.

Lt. Col. Paulo welcomed the former rebels and mass supporters and thanked them for the withdrawal of support and enslavement from the CNT.

"We are grateful that you denounced the CNT and finally cut your support with them. You also surrendered tools and devices used against the Army and the police. Rest assured that this kind of act will never be put to waste," Paulo said.

The 23IB commander thanked the barangay officials of Consorcia for their support of the mass surrender activity.

"We thank you for the support you have given to us.  Your Army, especially the troopers of 23IB, will always be your partner in attaining lasting peace and development here in Barangay Consorcia," Paulo said.

He also reminded the residents to guard their community against the terroristic activities of the CNTs and shield the youth from the deceptive recruitment of the terrorists. 

"Now that their number continues to decrease, they will never stop to regain their strength by recruiting new members. The first line of defense in shielding our youth against these terrorists are the families and the community as a whole. I also assure you that your 23IB is always ready to provide support to secure your community," Paulo said. (CMO Officer, 23IB 4I PA/PIA Agusan del Norte)

17 IP soldiers complete DepEd ALS A&E program in Butuan City

By Maj. Francisco P. Garello

BUTUAN CITY, May 6 -- Seventeen indigenous peoples (IPs) who enlisted as soldiers under the 402nd Infantry (Stingers) Brigade completed the two-year Alternative Learning System Accreditation and Equivalency (ALS A&E) program facilitated by the Department of Education (DepEd) - Division of Butuan City on April 30, 2021 at the 402nd Brigade Headquarters, Camp Romualdo P Rubi, Brgy. Bancasi, this city.

The Army ALS learners are composed of IPs and former rebels (FRs) who were enlisted in the regular force through special enlistment as part of the government’s support to Indigenous Peoples and Reintegration Program (IPRP).

Colonel Cerilo C. Balaoro Jr., 402nd Brigade deputy brigade commander representing on behalf of brigade commander BGen. Maurito L. Licudine, attended the simple Completion Ceremony with a theme, “Edukasyon Pahalagahan, Ito’y Daan Tungo sa Magandang Kinabukasan…Alternative Learning System ang Kailangan.”

The ceremony signifies that the soldiers are now on their way to become eligible and qualified members of the regular force of the Philippine Army.

Ana Marie L. Ceniza, representative of School District Supervisor of West Butuan; Remedios C. Hinampas, the district in-charge and ALS manager; and Brgy. Kagawad of Bancasi Teresita A. Durante were also present to witness the moment of success of the IP soldiers. 

It can be recalled that the Philippine Army allocated a special enlistment quota for IPs and FRs and waived all their educational and age requirements to serve for at least six years term.

As part of sustaining the professionalism of all Army troops, the higher headquarters directed the said soldiers to complete at least secondary education soonest, hence, they enrolled in the DepEd’s ALS A&E program. 

Captain Algiem U. Basig, the personnel officer of the 402nd Brigade who monitored the status of the ALS education of the IP and FR soldiers said, “We always monitor the progress and development of our soldiers’ as ALS students and continuously guide them to ensure that they could continue their service in the Army. They must cope up with the qualifications or requirements as members of the AFP once they will be subjected to examinations and/or when they become eligible for promotion.”

The ALS A&E assessment and certification is a process that comprises an exam and other appropriate assessments to measure the competencies acquired by ALS learners based on the ALS K to 12 Basic Education Curriculum (BEC).

Col. Balaoro congratulated the soldiers for completing the DepEd A&E program. “We are pleased that these soldiers painstakingly hurdled the process of undergoing the program that will be of their best interest in continuing their military service. We also laud the efforts of the ALS teachers who patiently taught our soldiers. More than anything else, it’s their sacrifices that led to the success of our soldiers,” he said.

Meanwhile, BGen. Licudine conveyed his sincere gratitude to the leadership of DepEd - Butuan City led by schools division superintendent Marilou D. Dedumo for the continuous commitment and partnership that enhances the capability of its personnel.

He said the Department of Education is always a committed partner of the Philippine Army towards peace and development. Hand in hand, the DepED became part of continuously professionalizing our troops. Thank you, DepEd.

“As we move towards sustaining our gains against those who utilize education as a way to deceive learners and advocate violence for their own agenda, we implore everyone to be wary of the Sectoral Front Organizations of the Communist Terrorist Group (CTG) and drive them away from the campuses and communities, and support our efforts to stop youth recruitment,” said BGen. Licudine. (CMO Officer, 402nd Infantry Brigade, PA/PIA-Caraga)

AgNor bares 12 core processing projects for LGUs

By Aimee B. Sienes

BUTUAN CITY, May 6 -- The provincial government of Agusan del Norte under Governor Dale B. Corvera, foresees that “By 2027, Agusan del Norte is the Agriculture Processing Center and Industrial Estate Zone on the Caraga Region driven by Godly, Efficient Services and Effective Governance towards a Progressive and Sustainable Environment."

Armed with this vision, the mission is to “Take the lead in achieving sustainable agri-forestry base and emerging industry clusters, operationalizing Special Economic Zones (SEZ), developing social and basic infrastructures support facilities and utilities and environmental protection and conservation.”

Anchoring from what the province wanted to be and how to achieve its dream to have a remarkable feat in Caraga region, the local government of Agusan del Norte is currently running a development campaign dubbed as AGUSAN UP! an eight-point development agenda that is broken down into four flagship programs.

Plant and Process or AGUS 3Ps for concerns related to economic development; AmomangAgusanon for social development concerns; Lunhaw’ngAgusan for environment development concerns; and Hiniusang Lihok Agusan for development management concerns.

Through the AGUS 3Ps, which is more known for its Plant! Plant! Plant! And Process! Process! Process! projects, the province intends to realize its vision of rising as the Agricultural Processing Center in the Caraga region, and with its mission, deliver to its constituents a satisfying life.

As a strategy to realize the economic vision, the province had to set in motion the rise of as many processing activities as possible under AGUS 3Ps.

The LGU Agusan del Norte entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to spearhead the implementation of the core processing projects of the city and municipalities of the province and solidified under Sanggunian Resolution No. 525 -2020, resolution authorizing the Provincial Governor, Hon. Dale B. Corvera to sign various MOU to be entered into by and among the provincial government of Agusan del Norte, the Office of the 2nd Congressional District Representative, regional offices, provincial offices component local government units and private entities for the implementation of a core processing project in each LGU of the province.

With this MOU, 12 Core Processing Projects are placed in the province, one for each local government unit and the inclusion of the NasipitAgusan del Norte Industrial Estate (NANIE).

In a glance, spare a look for these 12 Core Processing Projects that make Agusan del Norte to rise in the region of Caraga.

Nasipit Agusan del Norte Industrial Estate (NANIE), Nasipit

The 62-hectare NANIE has been a thrust for development for over 20 years now but only 11 hectares have so far been taken and at land development stage yet with no certainty on when processing activities could kick off.

Located in the barangays ofCamagongangTalisay, the idea is to make it the center of industries and factories in the province where plants, warehouses, container yardsand other industrial facilities will be established.

The signatories of the MOU are the provincial government of Agusan del Norte, Office of the 2ndCongressional District Representative, LGU Nasipit, National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) Caraga, DTI Agusan del Norte, DOST Agusan del Norte and Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA).

Orchard Stopover, Carmen

LGU Carmen has an abundant supply of mango and is into the production of fruits. Currently, it is also operating a mango processing plant but is operating at only around 10% of its operating capacity of 2000 kilos of mango a day.

It desires to raise its operating performance and is open to a cooperative undertaking with the provincial government, with other government agencies, other mango and fruits stakeholders in the municipality and the province.

The keyplayers include the provincial government of Agusan del Norte, Office of the 2nd Congressional District Representative, LGU Carmen, Department of Agriculture (DA)Caraga Region XIII, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI)Agusan del Norte and Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Agusan del Norte.

Chocolate City, Nasipit

The project involves the development of a complex that will serve as the provincial market and processing center of various chocolate products. The facility will also serve as the Provincial Chocolate Processing Center. To be even more interesting and appealing, the facility will also have a chocolate-themed children or family park to attract this segment of the market known to be chocolate lovers to frequent the place.

Chocolate City can create more jobs for post-harvest, initial processing, continuous production and marketing activities.

The signatories of the MOU are the provincial government of Agusan del Norte, Office of the 2nd Congressional District Representative, LGU Nasipit, DA Caraga, DTI Agusan del Norte and DOST Agusan del Norte.

Sardines Processing Project, Buenavista

The LGU Buenavista is rich in aquatic resources; the presence of “tamban” is very prominent and also serves as the mainingredient in making sardines. The Sardines Processing Project involves the putting up of a 3,000-kilo a day tamban (sardine) processing plant. This project, once realized, will finally improve the economic status of the municipality and its constituents.

The signatories of the MOU are the provincial government of Agusan del Norte, Office of the 2ndCongressional District Representative, LGU Buenavista, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), DTI Agusan del Norte and DOST Agusan del Norte.

Feed Mill, Las Nieves

LGU Las Nieves is rich in corn and cassava crops that propels to the establishment of a Feed Mill Project that involves the operationalization of the 500-kilo capacity set of equipment awarded to a corn farmer association (A.G. Montilla Corn Farmers Association) in Las Nieves.

The signatories of the MOU are the provincial government of Agusan del Norte, Office of the 2ndCongressional District Representative, LGU Las Nieves, DA Caraga, DTI Agusan del Norte, DOST Agusan del Norte and E.G. MontillaCorn Farmers Association.

Bibingka, Puto, Suman, UPB Stopover (Beyond Rice), RTR

LGU RTR has an abundant supply of rice. It is initially conceptualized as a project idea to put the interest of stakeholders together to shepherd the rise of RTR delicacies.  The project seems to spell out the establishment of a marketing center of rice products like bibingka, bitsu-bitsu, puto, suman, UPB and also level up the operation of existing processing plant with the coming in of more supply from the entire province and trigger the interest of more farmers to go into rice production.

The keyplayers include the provincial government of Agusan del Norte, Office of the 2nd Congressional District Representative, LGU RTR, DTI Agusan del Norte and DOST Agusan del Norte.

Abaca Handicraft Village, Cabadbaran City

LGU Cabadbaran has been chosen to be the location of the project mainly because of the various products, the existence of a considerable size of abaca farms and the presence of organizations active in abaca handicrafts making.

The keyplayers include the provincial government of Agusan del Norte, Office of the 2nd Congressional District Representative, LGU Cabadbaran City, DA Caraga Region XIII, DTI Agusan del Norte and DOST Agusan del Norte.

Banana Processing Center, Santiago

LGU Santiago has an abundant supply of banana and has an existing processor for banana chips. The project involves the putting in place of a facility that would serve as provincial market development campaign center, processing and training center in processing of products made out of banana as raw material. Among these processed products are banana chips, banana flour and banana ketchup.

The keyplayers include the provincial government of Agusan del Norte, Office of the 2nd Congressional District Representative, LGU Santiago, DA Caraga Region XIII, DTI Agusan del Norte and DOST Agusan del Norte.

Integrated Coconut Processing Center, Jabonga

LGU Jabonga is rich in coconut crops and known for its coconut processing products.
The project involves expanding the virgin coconut oil, processing capacity of the Libas Farmers Multi-Purpose Cooperative from the current 200 kilos a week to 10,000 kilos a day.

With this capacity, the project will already pull other coconut industry players into the project and serve as coconut processing center of the province. Other than the VCO, other products such as geonet, activated carbon and desiccated coconut will be produced at the center.

The keyplayers include the provincial government of Agusan del Norte, Office of the 2nd Congressional District Representative, LGU Jabonga, DA Caraga Region XIII, DTI Agusan del Norte, Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) and Libas Farmers Multi-Purpose Cooperative.

Food Basket, Kitcharao

LGU Kitcharao desires to raise its operating performances and is open to a cooperative undertaking with LGU Agusan del Norte, other agencies of the government, vegetable stakeholders in the municipality and the province. The project is seen to spell out not just the establishment of a marketing center of fresh vegetables but also facilitate the rise of various processing activities of vegetable as raw material.

The key players include the provincial government of Agusan del Norte, Office of the 2nd Congressional District Representative, LGU Kitcharao, DA Caraga Region XIII and DTI Agusan del Norte.

Mineral Processing Project, Tubay

LGU Tubay has abundant supply of nickel. The project seems to spell out not just the establishment of a marketing center of minerals, but also level up the operations of the existing processing plant with the coming in of more supply from municipalities rich in nickel.

The key players include the provincial government of Agusan del Norte, Office of the 2nd Congressional District Representative and LGU Tubay.

Power Plant, Magallanes

The municipality of Magallanes has abundant supply of waste from wood and situated at the center of the province and the two major producers of waste, the cities of Butuan and Cabadbaran that can be used as Waste-to-Energy Technology.

Magallanes is willing to serve as host of the power plant. PRESCORP has an existing partnership with Waste-to-Plant technology provider Evergent Canada and has expressed interest to offer a public private partnership (PPP) with the local government of Agusan del Norte.

The keyplayers include the provincial government of Agusan del Norte, Office of the 2nd Congressional District Representative, LGU Magallanes and Philippine Renewable Energy Solutions Corporation.

Gov. Corvera is hopeful that the key players will fully back up these 12 core processing projects of the province for full implementation through their respective help and support most especially from farmers, processors, workers of the projects and consumers of the products made from the province.

“The province entered into various Memorandum of Understanding that we will spearhead the establishment and implementation of the core processing projects of the local government units of Agusan del Norte that will start the influx of economic activities for the processing of the produce of farmers and other raw materials abundant in the locality,” Gov. Corvera said.

He expressed confidence that these will pave the way to open new doors and opportunities for job generation, additional income and economic development and improve the quality of life for the province and its people.

“Signing the MOU is a vote of confidence,” says Brenda B. Corvera, DTI Agusan del Norte Provincial Director. They are committing their support through the possible assistance in terms of equipment through their shared service facility, market development, investment generation and product development of existing and those products that still need to be developed.

Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Caragat through the Provincial Science and Technology Center of Agusan del Norte committed to extend support to the various products identified by assisting the key players in the identification of appropriate processing technologies; with the deployment of technologies it will help shorten processing time, ensures the quality of the products and improve productivity.

The Department of Agriculture (DA) Caraga Region fully extends its support and assistance for providing equipment for cacao production and other farming activities.

All other national line agencies involved committed their full support and assistance as mandates of their respective departments.

These projects once realized, would create value adding products, decrease the rate of unemployment and finally improve the economic status of the province that will leave lasting imprint in the Caraga region and the nation as a whole. (LGU Agusan del Norte/PIA Agusan del Norte)

AgNor school facilitates conduct of anti-insurgency campaign

By Victoria A. Sumayod and Wyler C. Eupeña

BUENAVISTA, Agusan del Norte, May 6 --  In support to Executive Order (EO) No. 70 series of 2018, ”Institutionalizing the Whole-of-Nation Approach in Attaining Inclusive and Sustainable Peace, Creating a National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict and Directing the Adoption of a National Peace Framework”, the Northern Mindanao School of Fisheries  (NMSF), Barangay Matabao, Buenavista, Agusan del Norte headed by Officer-in-Charge Nancy C. De Guzman has facilitated the Anti-Insurgency Campaign conducted by the 23rd Infantry (Masigasig) Battalion (23IB), Philippine Army under the Acting Commander Lt. Col. Julius Cesar C. Paulo attended by 245 students.

According to OIC De Guzman, this is a very laudable activity in order for students to be aware and be informed on how they are being led by those insurgents in another direction.

“So we are trying our best for our students, especially in TVET, not to go in that direction. TVET is one of the responses, because according to some experts that the very cause of rebellion is poverty and the answer to poverty is education,” de Guzman said.

Assistant Civil-Military Operations Officer 2nd Lieutenant Angel Grace M. Sebelina who led the advocacy team, has stressed how it will save the students from going to the wrong path. Louie Fuentes a.k.a. Kuya Louie, a former rebel has bared the recruitment activities in Caraga and inside campuses. Kuya Louie revealed that even though his parents are pastors, he was still persuaded by one of the CPP-NPA members to join because of the “welfare and good of everyone propaganda.”

Further, Kuya Louie shared how he found out that the doings of the CPP-NPA were the exact opposite of the promises they made during his recruitment. These vicious and unlawful acts of destroying government properties used for the concreting of roads for example and going hungry for many days due to the scarcity of food were just some of the factors that opened his mind and led him to leave and return to the fold of the government. Finally, he hoped that through his testimonies, the students will not go through the sufferings he experienced at the hands of the CPP-NPA.

During his talk, Captain Roel T. Maglalang, 23IB Civil-Military Operations Officer, has warned the students on how to avoid becoming the prey of the terrorists and other criminal groups. He supplemented it with video presentations that effectively show how their lies ruined the lives of the youths and their loved ones.

Capt. Maglalang concluded by posing these challenges to the students: Be a good and obedient youth, focus on your studies, obey your parents, and be law-abiding citizens.

The activity reflects NMSF’s commitment and support towards the attainment of true and lasting peace in the country. (TESDA-NMSF/PIA Asan del Norte)

PCAF bares 2022 plan and budget, welcomes proposal for improvement

BUTUAN CITY, May 6 -- The Philippine Council for Agriculture and Fisheries (PCAF) presented the 2022 plan and budget proposal, a 69 percent increase over the 2021 enacted budget, to further strengthen the involvement of its private-sector partners in the realization of the Department of Agriculture’s (DA) Program, Activities and Programs (PAPs).

The proposal was presented by the agency to its partners, the Agricultural and Fishery Councils (AFCs) at the national and regional levels, during the online Civil Society Organization (CSO) consultation on Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 Plan and Budget Proposal on April 21, 2022.

The activity aims to generate greater appreciation among PCAF’s private sector-partners on the budget requirements of the agency’s planned activities and strategies for FY 2022, as well as to get suggestions on how to improve the proposed plan and budget of the agency.

Aside from the chairpersons of Regional AFCs and the National Banner Program Committees (NBPCs), also present were regional executive officers, regional coordinators and key PCAF officials and staff.

“It is about time to help us defend and convince legislators that we need relevant funding to engage fully the AFCs, volunteers and industry players to support and implement the DA’s PAPs,” said PCAF Acting Executive Director Liza G. Battad to the agency’s private sector-partners.

Battad also presented the agency’s goals and strategies, in line with PCAF Innovative Consultation for Agriculture and Fisheries Policy Reforms and Engagement or PCAF iCARE.

Included in the proposal were the agency’s planned activities and commitments towards the operationalization of OneDA framework through policy research and evaluative policy study.

Under the policy research, PCAF will shepherd the AFCs’ engagement on the State University and Colleges (SUC)-CSO co-implementation on the research and development policy action and strategies.

Battad mentioned the creation of SUC-hosted PCAF service hubs to ‘creatively’ tap the expertise of the academe.

“It is fundamental that PCAF benefits from the mentoring culture of the academe. This will help us empower the AFCs because this is inherent to the universities and we have the right personnel and officials to work with. At the same time, (we want to) bring about the engagement of the Agricultural and Fishery Youth Council in policy development and improving the monitoring and evaluation (M&E), feedbacking system and into the R4D policy,” said Exec. Dir. Battad.

The policy research involves online opinion poll, enforcement of biosafety standards for livestock and other commodities of high export potential and border disease prevalence, M&E of DA’s Plant, Plant, Plant Program, effectiveness of regulation and monitoring of DA and its food safety regulatory agencies in the importation and exportation of agri and fishery products, and expanded crop insurance compendium package to farmers affected by recurrent disasters and calamities to sustain agriculture credit and financing towards food security.

For the evaluative policy study, PCAF also engage AFCs with third party and CSO co-implementation to review the Food Safety Act of 2013, review the National Livestock Genetic Improvement and its planned effects in sustainability of community livestock enterprises, and ex ante analysis of the Republic Act 7160 known as the Local Government Code of 1991 (Mandanas Ruling) effects on food security.

Through an improved budget, Battad also presented the agency’s commitment to enhance its agriculture and fishery stakeholders’ participation in policy development.

She also added that in 2022, PCAF will also focus in co-implementing agri-fisheries issues and concerns with good focus on Bantay ASF sa Barangay, Bantay Presyo, Bantay FAW and PAFES concerns. 

As discussed over the consultation, the private sector-partners recommended the following to PCAF to consider in the 2022 plan and budget:

· To work on the implementation of the convergence of the AFCs and the Fisheries and Aquaculture Resources Management Councils.

· To provide status of utilization of the PL480-funded projects

· To strengthen monitoring and tracking of activities in coordination with NBPCs and AFCs specifically on the operational adoption of policies endorsed.

· To explore the possibility of providing communication expenses and other incentives for NBPCs and AFCs for the conduct of virtual meetings and consultations.

· To work on the bushels per acre with PhilMaize in coordination with the Philippine Carabao Center, National Dairy Authority, National Livestock Program on the utilization of corn silage.

· To set special consultation on the corn industry on the genetic improvement, post-harvest and insurance programs.

·  To consolidate the policy researches and evaluative studies’ suggestions from the NPBCs and AFCs.

· To enhance the Information Communications Technology capacity specifically for the development of PCA’s industry desk dashboard

· To enhance participation for AFCs in the Agriculture Dialogues and Information Network Groups (ADING) by ensuring their involvement the post qualification or awarding of bids

· To work on the needed requirements for the implementation of Mandanas Ruling. (JC / DA-PCAF/PIA-Caraga)

Agri chief prompts to transform PH agri-fisheries sector

BUTUAN CITY, May 6 -- The Department of Agriculture (DA) is advancing the transformation of the agriculture and fisheries sector into a competitive, science-based and technology-backed industry, managed by young, creative, innovative, and vibrant Filipino agricultural and biosystems engineers (ABEs).

Agriculture Secretary William D. Dar articulated the Duterte administration’s over-all vision of a food secure and resilient Philippines with empowered and prosperous farmers and fisherfolks, in his keynote message at the opening of the 70th Philippine Society of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineers (PSABE) Annual National Convention held online on April 27.

“The theme for this year’s celebration, ‘Harnessing Industry 4.0 for Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering,’ is indeed relevant to the current situation faced by the agriculture and fisheries sector,” said Sec. Dar. “Engaging the youth is imperative to attain a growth of 2.5% goal for 2021 and to sustain our progress towards a fully food-secure nation.”

Attendance of ABEs in the annual event is meaningful since they are key players in the implementation of RA No. 10915 or the Philippine Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering Act of 2016, RA No. 10601 or the Agricultural and Fisheries Mechanization Law, and other related laws, he added.

Now more than ever, farmers need to maximize tried and tested technologies and generate new ones responsive to the present times. The Agri Chief elaborated the four key pillars in transforming the Philippine agriculture and fisheries sector under One DA Reform Agenda- farm consolidation, modernization, industrialization, and professionalization of agriculture, and urged agricultural and biosystems engineers (ABEs) to look into how they can come in and support.

In farm consolidation, “DA considers the establishment, operation, maintenance and management of Agri-Fisheries Machinery and Equipment Service Centers (AFMESCs) and the Laser Land Levelling spearheaded by DA-BAFE (Bureau of Agricultural and Fisheries Engineering) to support the Bayanihan Agri-Clusters.”

Modernization heavily requires the involvement and participation of ABEs through the provision of agricultural machinery hugely funded by DA banner programs for rice, corn, high value commercial crops, livestock and organic agriculture which form part of the implementation of National Agricultural and Fisheries Mechanization Program or NAFMP.

DA is pursuing the industrialization of agriculture by strengthening of local assembling and manufacturing of agricultural machinery with the on-going formulation of agricultural machinery manufacturing road map and feasibility study of Agricultural Machinery Exhibition in Clark. Agro-processing like the expansion or upscaling of the Rice Processing Centers as well as processing centers for corn and high value crops need the services of ABEs.

Sec. Dar emphasized the need to establish the career system of ABEs, agriculturists, veterinarians and fishery professionals who are frontline professionals in the agriculture sector. A career system for ABEs in DA is established with the creation and institutionalization of BAFE, Regional Agricultural Engineering Divisions (RAEDs) and ABE Groups of concerned DA bureaus and attached agencies, and with corresponding ABE plantilla positions. LGUs at the provincial, city and municipal levels are currently replicating the system.

To complement professionalization in agriculture, DA and the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) entered a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) in 2020 for the implementation of Government Internship Program (GIP) for ABE Youth. The internship program has already deployed the first batch of 110 young ABEs in DA Regional Field Offices and other DA agencies like Philippine Fiber Industry Development Authority (PhilFIDA), and Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA).

DA is likewise pursuing the implementation of a MOA with Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), PSABE, and Agricultural Machinery Manufacturers and Distributors Association Foundation, Inc. (AMMDA) on the rolling out of the training regulations for the agri-fisheries mechanization sector with the end-view of producing adequate number of agri-fisheries machinery operators and technicians. ABEs would serve as trainers and competency assessors in the said program.

Sec. Dar enjoined PSABE and all its member ABEs to the furtherance of the four key pillars in harnessing Industry 4.0 for agricultural and biosystems engineering. The annual convention coincides with 17th International Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering Conference and Exhibition and 32nd Philippine Agricultural Engineering Week.

National officers and members of the PSABE, PSABE Board of Trustees, regional chapter officers, past presidents council, Young Engineers Section, Pre-Professional Groups or ABE students, Professional Regulatory Board of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering (PRC-BOAE), officials of the Bureau of Agricultural and Fisheries Engineering, agricultural and biosystems engineers from ASEAN member attended the two-day event that concludes on April 28. (DA-BAFE Media Group/PIA-Caraga)

Caraga’s economic performance drops by 7.2%, GFCE posts growth in 2020

BUTUAN CITY, May 6 --The economy of Caraga contracted by 7.2 percent in 2020 compared with the 5.4 percent growth in 2019. The top three contributors to decline in 2020 were construction, which dropped by 32.9 percent; transportation and storage at -26.8 percent; and mining and quarrying at -11.5 percent, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) in Caraga.

PSA reported that agriculture, forestry, and fishing (AFF) grew by 3.9 percent in 2020 from a contraction of 3.6 percent in 2019. AFF contributes 14.3 percent to the regional economy.

Of the -9.6 percent economic contraction in the country, Caraga’s contribution to the decline was estimated at -0.1 percentage points while accounting for 1.6 percent of the total Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

On the other hand, Caraga’s GFCE recorded 9.5 percent growth in 2020. Other expenditure items showed contractions, in which the Imports of goods and services from the Rest of the World posted the largest decline of 33.4 percent.  Likewise, Gross capital formation dropped by 27.9 percent, contributing 8.9 percentage points to the decline of the expenditure in the region. Meanwhile, region’s household spending, which accounted to 74.6 percent of the region’s economy, declined by 7.8 percent in 2020.

Meanwhile, the per capita Household final consumption expenditure (HFCE) of Caraga declined by 8.8 percent, higher than the national per capita HFCE of -9.2 percent.

The highlights of Caraga’s economy were presented during the simultaneous Regional News Conference in the country last 29 April 2021 via Zoom platform. (PSA/PIA-Caraga)

U.S., PH conclude ‘child protection compact partnership’

SURIGAO CITY, Surigao del Norte, May 6 – The United States (U.S.) and Philippine government officials conducted the final high-level dialogue to mark accomplishments and outline next steps after the conclusion of the four-year U.S.-Philippines Child Protection Compact (CPC) Partnership on April 29.

The dialogue centered on recognizing the progress made over the last four years towards achieving the CPC Partnership’s objectives of improving the government’s capacity to investigate and prosecute cases of online sexual exploitation of children (OSEC); identify and respond to child labor trafficking; provide comprehensive services to protect child trafficking victims; and prevent future human trafficking crimes.

During the meeting, Philippine government officials and civil society leaders committed to carry forward and build on the accomplishments achieved under the partnership and reaffirmed their commitment to combat all forms of child trafficking.

“Through the CPC, the Philippine government has been able to carve out a more targeted and focused response to OSEC by identifying key objectives and adjusting critical resources in order to address priority responses in the prevention and prosecution of OSEC cases as well as the protection of victim survivors,” said Department of Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra.

Emphasizing the U.S. commitment, the U.S. State Department’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (TIP Office) Acting Director Dr. Kari Johnstone said, “Today we celebrate the tremendous work accomplished under the Child Protection Compact Partnership over the last four years and look ahead towards new initiatives to sustain the improved capacity of both the Government of the Philippines and civil society organizations achieved under this partnership.”

“Our strong partnership with the Philippine government and civil society organizations has built a solid foundation reflected in various efforts aimed at eliminating all forms of exploitation against children. I remain confident that this Partnership will become even more effective at combating many forms of abuse against of children in the years to come,” said U.S. Embassy in the Philippines Chargé d’Affaires John Law.

The partnership, signed by the two governments in 2017, concluded on April 11, 2021. Its jointly developed and implemented plan strengthened the capacity of the Philippine government and civil society to address online sexual exploitation of children and child labor trafficking in the Philippines, specifically improving their ability to prosecute and convict child traffickers, provide comprehensive, trauma-informed care for victims, and prevent these crimes from occurring.

Throughout the partnership, the TIP Office committed P237 million ($4.9 million) and the Philippine Department of Justice Inter - Agency Council Against Trafficking in Persons pledged approximately P44.6 million ($921,760) to meet these objectives. Programming was implemented by partner organizations International Justice Mission and The Salvation Army.

Under it, the International Justice Mission has successfully identified 312 child victims of online sexual exploitation and facilitated the arrests of 97 perpetrators of trafficking crimes, while The Salvation Army trained more than 355 social workers on victim-centered care and directly supported 44 survivors in aftercare facilities. (U.S. Embassy in the Philippines/PIA-Surigao del Norte)

Pangalawang COVID-19 isolation facility sa SurSur ng DPWH inaasahang matatapos ngayong buwan 

LUNGSOD NG TANDAG, Surigao del Sur, Mayo 6 --  Tanging “finishing touches” na lang ang ginagawa para ganap na matapos ang pangalawang COVID-19 isolation facility ng Department of Public Works and Highway (DPWH) dito sa lalawigan ng Surigao del Sur.

Ayon kay Asst. District Engineer Annabelle Acma ng 1st District Engineering Office (DEO), ang P25 Million halaga na imprastraktura ay inaasintang mai-turn-over sa loob nitong buwan ng Mayo, taong kasalukuyan.

Nito lang nagdaang buwan ng Abril ay nauna nang nai-turn-over ang kaparehong pasilidad na matatagpuan sa Bislig City.

Sa katunayan, ayon mismo kay DPWH 2nd District Engr. Noel Oclarit, malaking pakinabang ang nabanggit na pasilidad dahil pati aniya ilan sa kanyang mga tauhan na nadapoan ng COVID-19 ay kabilang sa naipasok. (DXJS RP Tandag/PIA-Surigao del Sur)