(PAGASA 24-HOUR PUBLIC WEATHER FORECAST as of Monday, 27 May 2024) At 3:00 AM today, the center of the eye of Typhoon "AGHON" {EWINIAR} was estimated based on all available data at 95 km East of Baler, Aurora (15.6°N, 122.5°E) with maximum sustained winds of 140 km/h near the center and gustiness of up to 170 km/h. It is moving North Northeastward at 10 km/h. Southwesterly Windflow affecting the western section of Southern Luzon and Visayas. 𝗙𝗢𝗥𝗘𝗖𝗔𝗦𝗧 𝗪𝗘𝗔𝗧𝗛𝗘𝗥 𝗖𝗢𝗡𝗗𝗜𝗧𝗜𝗢𝗡: 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 Localized Thunderstorms. Possible flash floods or landslides during severe thunderstorms. 𝗙𝗢𝗥𝗘𝗖𝗔𝗦𝗧 𝗪𝗜𝗡𝗗 𝗔𝗡𝗗 𝗖𝗢𝗔𝗦𝗧𝗔𝗟 𝗪𝗔𝗧𝗘𝗥 𝗖𝗢𝗡𝗗𝗜𝗧𝗜𝗢𝗡: Light to moderate winds coming from South to Southwest will prevail with slight to moderate seas (0.6 to 2.5 meters).

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Sea, sand and sun in Danawan

By Venus L. Garcia

Are you looking for a snorkeling adventure? Look no further. Your next underwater exploration is calling and waiting for you.

Whether you're an avid snorkeler looking for a big adventure, or consider yourself a beginner, Danawan Island in Barangay Danawan, Surigao City offers the best experience of witnessing the parade of thriving marine life as you hover above the colorful patches of abundant coral reefs.

“Danawan island is one of the island barangays in Surigao City. It’s only a half an hour drive from the city proper via ‘bangka’ (or various native watercrafts). This year, Danawan island became one of the priority attractions that the City Tourism Office has been trying to promote because we see its potential for tourism,” said Roselyn Armida Merlin, department head of the Surigao City Tourism Office.

In the island, the pristine seawater, fresh wind blown from the sea, and other several activities such as the regulated leisure fishing certainly provide a breathing space. However, due to the pandemic and stricter implementation of travel protocols nowadays, the visits are limited only to local tourists until such a time that the international or even unrestricted domestic tourism activities resume.

“Its mountainous area has a six-hectare man-made forest and also a good trekking site. And if they don’t feel like snorkeling or fishing, or if they just simply want to see and be on the island then they can enjoy witnessing the beautiful daybreak that can bring joy into their mundane life,” said Merlin.

The groundbreaking of the Tourism Pavilion and the oath-taking of the newly-elected officers of the Association of Danawan Island Community-Based Tourism highlighted the occasion and a much more improved Danawan island adventure package was introduced.

Meanwhile, 20 sets of snorkeling gears, 10 camping tents, and 15 life jackets were turned over to the Danawan Tourism Council, while 31 first aid kits were also distributed to the lifeguards and community guides.

Prior to the relaunch of the Danawan tourist attractions, a five-day training on standard first aid and basic life support was conducted by the Coast Guard Station - Surigao del Norte.

It aimed at preparing and providing the residents with the right knowledge on how to appropriately respond during emergencies and calamities.

The encounter with nature’s diversity and underwater safari will certainly be an unforgettable experience in Danawan island.

According to Merlin, the City Tourism Council and the Department of Tourism (DOT) Regional Office had already talked about the plan on rural tourism in the said place.

“The community, the people in the area are also very hospitable. You will experience rural tourism, that is why Danawan island is perfect for piloting rural tourism. If you want to experience rural life, it could be the best place kasi walang sasakyan doon you can’t even see a single motorcycle in that island barangay pero marami silang mga bangka. Life is simple in the area and then its really very safe,” described Merlin.

The Surigao City Tourism Office also shared the top 10 wonderful tourist spots in the city to add to the summer bucket list. These are the Mabua Rock and Stone Beach, Looc Bebble Beach, Silop Cave Complex, Day-asan water village, Surigao river, Pagkawasan beach, Buenavista cave, Sagisi beach, Battle of Surigao Strait Memorial and Museum, and Danawan island, and a bonus destination at Alegria Bats Sanctuary.

Also, as part of their observance of the National Heritage Month of this year, the local government unit of Surigao City and City Tourism Office ensured to keep the locals aware of their heritage assets.

“We make sure that everyone will be aware of and is encouraged to preserve our heritage. So, we have a simple showcase of Surigaonon cultural properties that were discovered during our cultural mapping in the different barangays in the city. There, you can see in our display a tadyao, banga, and other heritage items that were kept by Surigaonons for more than 50 years, making them part of the great treasures of Surigaonons,” said Merlin. (Venus L. Garcia/SDR/PIA-Surigao del Norte) 

OCD-13 conducts PSCP training

By Venus L. Garcia

SURIGAO CITY, Surigao del Norte, May 11 (PIA) -- The Office of Civil Defense (OCD) Caraga recently conducted a five-day online blended training course on Public Service Continuity Planning (PSCP).

A total of 51 participants completed the 31 technical training hours course and were awarded with a certificate of completion.

The technical personnel of OCD Caraga and the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Caraga served as the trainers/facilitators of the online blended training course.

The said training is one of the capacity-building activities identified by OCD Caraga in its Annual Plans and Budget (APB) for 2021.

In her message during the opening program, OCD Caraga regional director Liza Mazo pointed out the importance of ensuring the continuous delivery of quality public services during an emergency, disaster, or any other disruption.

“As the entire nation continues its battle against COVID-19, OCD Caraga deems it necessary that PSCP shall be developed by the national/regional line agencies and local government units (LGUs) to guarantee the continuity of their operations amidst the pandemic,” she emphasized.

With the newly-trained PSCP champions of Caraga region and with the existing public health emergency, all government entities are expected to start implementing public service continuity management as a relevant mechanism to address and reduce the impact and adverse effects to their service delivery and continue to perform their essential functions. (VLG/PIA-Surigao del Norte)

AgSur LCE vows to fast-track establishment of IP tribal house

By Jennifer P. Gaitano

BUTUAN CITY, May 11 (PIA) – The local government unit of San Luis, Agusan del Sur is gearing up its efforts to fast-track the construction of the tribal house for the Indigenous Peoples (IPs) in the municipality.

During the Network Briefing News on Monday, Mayor Phoebe Corvera emphasized that the LGU wanted to help and assist the IPs especially those who are in  geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas (GIDAs) and need to travel far just to reach the town proper.

“We are hoping for it to be finished this year because IPs really need to use it since they are from GIDAs. They need to travel for four hours to get there; our fare costs as much as a plane ride. They can use the tribal house whenever they need to stay here or if they need to accompany a patient,” bared Corvera.

When asked about the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) situation in the municipality, Mayor Corvera revealed that the LGU has already conducted mass testing since Friday and they no longer have active cases.

“On April 2021, the second surge of San Luis started but we were able to manage the local transmission. We have active contact tracers so we could contain everyone, with the help of the team in the LGU, they are very focused in monitoring,” Corvera said.

Also, in the implementation of the government’s vaccination program, Corvera underscored that prior to the vaccination, the LGU has conducted series of information, education, and communication (IEC) campaigns in the barangays to let them know of the advantages of the vaccine against the deadly virus.

“In the beginning, the LGU had difficulty because there was a lot of resistance, yet after strengthening the information campaign about the vaccination in the barangay, people have become optimistic and we are one with the provincial government in our target to achieve the 70 percent herd immunity,” said Corvera.

The municipality of San Luis is a 1st class municipality in the province of Agusan del Sur, Philippines. According to the 2015 census, it has a population of 32,109 people.

San Luis was created into a municipality on June 15, 1968, when the barrios of San Luis, Santa Inez, Nuevo Trabajo, Cualision and Baylo were separated from the municipality of Esperanza and constituted into the new town, through Republic Act 5262. Since the 1970s, the town's economy has been largely based on logging industries. (JPG/PIA-Agusan del Sur)

Linking seaweed growers org to financing institution

BUTUAN CITY, May 11 -- The Hinatuan Seaweed Producers Association (HSWPA) has officially forged a financial partnership with the Mangagoy Farmers Fisherfolks and Community Multi-Purpose Cooperative (MAFFISCO-MPC) through the assistance and facilitation of the Fisheries Coastal Resource and Livelihood (FishCORAL) Project.

The HSWPA has open access to up to 20 tons per month of raw dried seaweeds (RDS) by the CEAMSA Asia, however, it has been a challenge for the organization to meet its volume because of the lack of buying capital.

With the P1 million credit line financial assistance from MAFFISCO-MPC, the HSWPA has now the opportunity of buying unlimited RDS and could ship to CEAMSA Asia even at least twice a month.

Department of Agriculture - Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (DA-BFAR) Caraga OIC Regional Director Nilo Selim Katada, together with Hinatuan Mayor Shem Garay and FishCORAL Project Manager Rolando Leopoldo, witnessed the execution of the Memorandum of Agreement between the HSWPA and MAFFISCO-MPC on May 5 in Mangagoy, Bislig City, Surigao del Sur.

The HSWPA is one of the beneficiaries of the FishCORAL Project. With the project, seaweed farmers in Hinatuan who were used to dry their seaweeds on the ground, are now using the solar dryer provided for them by the FishCORAL Project, thus improving the quality of the drying of their seaweeds. (DA-BFAR Caraga/PIA-Caraga)

PNP Caraga to hire 100 new cops 

By PMaj. Dorothy M. Tumulak

BUTUAN CITY, May 11-- The Police Regional Office (PRO) 13 is calling on all highly qualified and worthy individuals to become part of the Philippine National Police (PNP) as hiring continues to fill up the 100 quota for Attrition Recruitment under PNP CY 2021 Recruitment Program.

“PRO13’s recruitment will be based on qualifications and not on 'palakasan or padrino system' because we will choose only the best for the PNP and for the Filipino people,” said PBGen. Romeo M. Caramat, Jr., Caraga police director.

The attrition recruitment quota is intended to replace uniformed personnel losses due to separation from service such as retirement, resignation, death, dismissal from service, and absence without leave.

Applicants shall reach the website: www.recruitment.pnp-dprm.com to file their application through the PNP Online Recruitment Application System (PNP ORAS), a web-based and central recruitment application system.

Applicants must possess a formal baccalaureate degree from a recognized learning institution; has eligibility (NAPOLCOM Entrance, CSC or PRC); has no criminal record; good moral character; and a height of at least 1.62 centimeters (cm) or 5’4” for male and 1.57 cm or 5’2” for female.

Mandatory requirements for the application are duly accomplished Civil Service Commission Form 212; Birth certificate authenticated by Philippine Statistics Authority; report rating of eligibility authenticated by issuing authority; two pieces “2x2” colored pictures indicating the applicant’s name; Transcript of Scholastic Records and Diploma duly authenticated by the school registrar; Clearances issued by Barangay and the PNP or National Bureau of Investigation; Certificate of Good Moral Character issued by the applicant’s collegiate school; medical certificate issued by local health officer; and copy of two government-issued IDs.

Applicants would undergo a series of tests or examinations such as psychological, psychiatric, physical, mental, and dental.

“These will be done in stages and the results will be carefully evaluated by our competent selection and recruitment board,” RD Caramat, Jr. said. (PIO, PRO13/PIA Caraga)

PopCom conducts family planning monitoring on AgSur households

By Charina May Lagunde

BUTUAN CITY, May 11 - The Commission on Population and Development (POPCOM) Caraga continues its thrust of enabling Filipinos to access information and services on responsible parenthood, family planning, and reproductive health and rights.

This, despite the increasing number of COVID-19 cases in the region.

Anent to this, the program assistants of POPCOM Caraga, together with the staff of the Municipal Population Offices (MPO) and Rural Health Units (RHU), conducted its regular household visitation and monitoring to the family planning households in the municipalities of Sibagat, Rosario, La Paz, Veruela, and Loreto in Agusan del Sur.

The aim of these household visitation and monitoring is to check on the status of family planning (FP) users, and to closely monitor the implementation of FP programs at the household level. Standard health and safety protocols were observed during these visitation and monitoring.

Under the said monitoring, there are about 46 couples who became active users and advocates of various FP methods in the said municipalities of Agusan del Sur. With this number, 15 of them have expressed their satisfaction with the different modern family planning methods. Also, 23 couples have been successfully referred to and served with various FP methods, from traditional methods to the modern FP method of their choice.

At present, POPCOM Caraga is rolling-out these regular household visitation and monitoring in other provinces of the region. (POPCOM-Caraga/PIA-Agusan del Sur)

'Business Unusual' Program challenge to LGUs: build youth-friendly communities

BUENAVISTA, Agusan del Norte, May 11 -- The Challenge Initiative (TCI) in the Philippines began its “Business Unusual” Program, challenging the local government units to commit in building adolescent and youth-friendly communities to reduce unwanted teen pregnancies.

This is a joint initiative of the Bill & Melinda Gates Institute for Population and Reproductive Health (Gates Institute), Zuellig Family Foundation (ZFF), in collaboration with the Commission on Population and Development (POPCOM), the program aims to energize the LGUs in developing key programs on family planning, adolescent sexuality, and reproductive health (ASRH) in the grassroots level.

Part of the challenge, TCI will provide technical assistance to participating LGUs in adopting proven intervention methods, with the end goal of replicating global best practices in building youth-friendly communities.

In the Philippines, the cities of Cagayan de Oro, Puerto Princesa, and Dipolog were the first LGUs to have undergone the TCI stages. At present, these LGUs are now up for the fourth (4th) and final phase of the approach.

Here in Caraga region, the POPCOM-Caraga is taking the lead in inviting LGUs to shape-up for the challenge. (Charina May Lagunde, POPCOM Caraga/PIA Caraga)

122 rookie police finish Public Safety Basic Recruit Course

By PMaj. Dorothy M. Tumulak

BUTUAN CITY, May 11 -- A total of 122 new police officers graduated from their Public Safety Basic Recruit Course (PSBRC) at the Regional Training Center 13 today.

The "SIDLAK-ALAB” Class of 2020-04 will carry on the organization’s mandate to enforce the law, prevent and control crimes, maintain peace and order, and ensure public safety and internal security with the active support of the community.

Police Regional Office13 Chief of Regional Staff, Police Colonel Jose D. Manalad, Jr. represented PRO13 regional director Police Brigadier General Romeo M. Caramat, Jr. as the guest of honor and speaker.

Patrolwoman Ana Mae F Zafra, who hailed from Veruela, Agusan del Sur topped the class with 92.41% rating while Patrolwoman Felmar A Dumaum from Las Nieves, Agusan del Norte ranked second with 91.75% and Patrolwoman Manuela M Panaligan from Tagbina, Surigao del Sur placed third with 91.49%.

The 93 patrolmen and 29 patrolwomen finished the six months basic training program and will be turned-over to Regional Special Training Unit 13 to undergo Public Safety Field Training Program (PSFTP) for another six months where they will be stationed in the different police stations in the region.

“You will be soon facing the real world of policing works where there is no room for mistakes. Never engage yourself in any illegal activities, and whatever trials you face in life, in your family, and in your profession, always call on the Lord for guidance. In times when fate tests us, only He will give us the strength to continue to fight,” RD Caramat, Jr. reminded the graduates.

He also reiterated the Chief PNP, Police General Guillermo Lorenzo Eleazar’s message to PNP personnel that when a police officer does the right thing, everyone benefits but when they do wrong, everyone also suffers. (PIO, PRO13/PIA Caraga)

SurSur LGUs intensify drive vs teen pregnancy

By Charina May Lagunde

TANDAG CITY, Surigao del Sur, May 11 -- Four local government units (LGUs) of Surigao del Sur have strengthened their campaign on Adolescent Health and Development Program (AHDP) to curb unwanted teen pregnancy in their area.

In the reports submitted to Commission on Population and Development (POPCOM) Caraga Region, these are the municipalities of Tagbina, Barobo, San Agustin, and Lingig, all of this province, following the strict health and safety protocols have conducted AHDP Sessions with 258 youth participants, out of which, 115 were male and 143 were female. 

The population workers together with their partners shared their expertise on topics ranging from adolescent sexuality to reproductive health and rights. The central theme to this advocacy was the discussions on teenage pregnancy, its truths and myths, and how to prevent the same.

Meanwhile, POPCOM Caraga reported 2,337 cases of teen pregnancy aged 15-19 for the first quarter and 2,081 for the second quarter respectively both year 2020. 

POPCOM vows to continue its push towards curbing out unwanted teenage pregnancy in the region, despite the challenges posed by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. (PopCom Caraga/PIA-Surigao del Sur)

Cabadbaran mohatag economic welfare assistance alang sa JO ug COS

DAKBAYAN SA BUTUAN, Mayo 11 -- Ang Sangguniang Panlalawigan sa Agusan del Norte nag-apruba bag-ohay pa lamang sa City Ordinance No. 2021-004 sa Sangguniang Panlungsod sa Cabadbaran, ning lalawigan, “Granting Economic Welfare Assistance to Job-Order (JO) and contract of service (COS) workers of the City Government of Cabadbaran atol sa ilang ika 87th nga sesyon regular.

Ang mga JOs ug COS makadawat sa economic welfare assistance sa kantidad nga Five Hundred Pesos (P500.00) matag bulan ug ihatag matag Disyembre sa tuig, Kwalipikado modawat matag bulan ang mga JOs ug COS nga nakahatag 4 ka bulan nga serbisyo ug kadtong  wala makaabot og upat (4) ka bulan mahatagan apan pro-rate.

Ang maong ordinansa, nga gipangamahanan ni Sangguniang Panglungsod Member Alan M. Asio, gipatin-aw ang makahuluganon nga katuyoan sa Sangguniang Panlungsod sa Cabadbaran ang hinungdanon nga papel sa tanan nga mga trabahante sa padayon nga pag-uswag niini, ug pinaagi niini maila, gipasalamatan ug gigantihan ang ilang paghago pinaagi sa paghatag kanila usa ka tabang pinansyal.

Ang pagpatuman sa City Ordinance isip tubag sa hangyo ni City Mayor Judy Chin Amante nga ipaabot ang tabang pinansyal sa mga JOs ug COS nga gikonsidera ang hinungdanon nga papel ug kontribusyon sa padayon nga paghatud sa mga serbisyo sa LGU, sa ingon giila ang pagdayeg ug pagganti sa ilang kahago pagtrabaho sa pag-agi sa nasangpit nga ordinansa sa lungsod.

Gi-aprobahan ang maong ordinansa pinaagi sa Sanggunian Resolution No. 201-2021, sa pagpangamahan ni Provincial Board Member Virgilio R. Escasiñas, Jr. tsirman sa Committee on Human Resource Development, Labor and Employment kauban ang mga co-authors nga si Board Member Elizabeth Marie R. Calo ug Board member Rodulfo A. Pitogo. (Jessica O. Mellejor, LGU Agusan del Norte/PIA  Agusan del Norte)

Plastic pollution gihingusgan nga mapugngan sa City ENRO ning panahon sa pandemya

DAKBAYAN SA BUTUAN, Mayo 11 -- Ning panahon sa pandemya mas midaghan ang basura gikan sa disposable products sama sa plastic face masks, hand sanitizer bottles ug alcohol nga kasagarang makita sa kalsada ug sa mga dagat. Epekto usab sa gipatumang social distancing ang pagbaha sa mga produktong gina deliver kada adlaw sa mga panimalay sama sa gipangputos sa pagkaon labi na kay kadaghan sa mga tawo ga online shopping ug mas pilion ang take out services aron makalikay nga mataptan sa Covid-19.

Giawhag sa Butuan City Environment and Natural Resources ang publiko nga hiposon ug ilain ang mga basura ug dili kini ipanglabay lang sa kalsada. Adunay gilusad nga basura patrol ang City ENRO aron maoy maglibot libot sa mga barangay. Tahas nila ang pag dokumento ug pagpahi balo sa mga punong barangay sa mga makita nga basura nga gipanglabay kilid sa kalsada. Sa Butuan City, dugay nang gina regulate ang paggamit og plastics pinaagi sa SP Ordinance No. 5334-2017.

Ilawom sa balaud, gidili ang paggamit og plastic isip packaging material ug sudlanan sa dry goods, paggamit og plastic pouches ug drinking straws alang sa mga imnonon sama sa softdrinks juice, gulaman ug uban pa.

Wala na usab gitugot ang paggamit og mga plastic flaglets ug "banderitas" sa mga okasyon. Gi-engganyo sa syudad ang paggamit og eco-bags aron dili na modaghan ang plastic pollution. (Butuan City PIO/PIA Agusan del Norte)

‘Danawan island adventures,’ muling inilunsad ng Surigao City

By Venus L. Garcia

Hanap mo ba ay snorkeling destination? At balak mong umikot sa malawak na dalampasigan, na puno ng pinong buhangin? Gusto mo ring makakita ng makukulay na isda at coral reefs?

Isali na sa inyong summer bucket list ang mas pinabuti at pinagandang ‘Danawan Island Adventures’ sa barangay Danawan, lungsod ng Surigao.

“Ang Danawan island ay isa sa mga island barangays ng Surigao City. Kalahating oras lamang ang layo nito galing sa city proper sakay ang bangka. This year, Danawan island became one of the priority attractions that the City Tourism Office has been trying to promote because we see its potential for tourism,” sabi ni Roselyn Armida Merlin, hepe ng Surigao City Tourism Office.

Nag-aalok din ang isla ng iba pang libangan gaya ng regulated leisure fishing ngunit dahil nga sa patuloy na pandemya ay limitado pa rin muna sa mga local tourist ang pagbisita sa nasabing lugar.

“Ang mountainous area nito ay may mahigit anim na ektaryang man-made forest and also a good trekking site so pinu-promote din namin ito. Kung di naman nila gusto mag snorkeling or mag fishing, or if they just want to see the island pwede rin nilang i-experience ang sunset or sunrise watching,” dagdag pa ni Merlin.

Naging sentro ng muling paglunsad ang groundbreaking ng Tourism Pavilion at panunumpa sa tungkulin ng mga bagong opisyales at miyembro ng Association of Danawan Island Community-based Tourism.

Kasabay din sa nasabing okasyon ang turn over ng 20 sets snorkeling gears, 10 camping tents, at 15 life jackets sa Danawan Tourism Council, at 31 pirasong first aid kits naman ang pinamigay sa lifeguards and community guides.

Bago pa man muling binuksan ang Danawan, ay isang five-day training on standard first aid at basic life support ang isinagawa sa tulong ng Coast Guard Station - Surigao del Norte.

Layunin nitong ihanda at mabigyan ng tamang kaalaman ang mga residente sa pag-responde sa anumang kalamidad at sakuna.

Ang paningin sa kagilas-gilas na underwater ecosystem ay tunay na hindi malilimutang karanasan sa Danawan island.

Ayon kay Merlin napag-usapan na rin anya nila ng Department of Tourism (DOT) Caraga ang planong rural tourism sa nasabing lugar.

“The community, the people in the area are also very hospitable. You will experience rural tourism, that is why Danawan island is perfect for piloting rural tourism. If you want to experience rural life, it could be the best place kasi walang sasakyan doon you can’t even see a single motorcycle in that island barangay pero marami silang mga bangka. Life is simple in the area and then its really very safe,” sabi ni Merlin.

Ibinahagi rin ng Surigao City Tourism Office ang sampung magagandang lugar ng lungsod na pwedeng puntahan. Ito ay ang Mabua Rock and Stone Beach, Looc Bebble Beach, Silop Cave Complex, Day-asan water village, Surigao river, Pagkawasan beach, Buenavista cave, Sagisi beach, Batttle of Surigao StraitMemorial and Museum, at syempre pa ang Danawan island, at may bonus pa na Alegria Bats Sanctuary.

Samantala, bahagi ng kanilang observance ng Heritage Month ngayong buwan ng Mayo ay siniguro rin ng lokal na pamahalan ng Surigao City and City Tourism Office na mamulat pa lalo ang mga Surigaonon sa mga heritage assets nito.

“We make sure that everyone will be aware of and is encouraged to preserve our heritage. So, we have a simple showcase of Surigaonon cultural properties that were discovered during our cultural mapping in the different barangays in the city. There you can see in our display a tadyao, banga, and other heritage items that were kept by Surigaonons for more than 50 years, making them part of the great treasures of Surigaonons," sabi ni Merlin. (Venus L. Garcia/SDR/PIA-Surigao del Norte) 

Listahanan Heroes: Compassion to serve overshadow hardships

People are thirsty for the services from the government –- quality services that would help uplift their lives especially in this time of pandemic where crisis is being felt all over the world. Every program or service, whether how big or small it may be, during dire times, would eventually be appreciated by those who need them the most.

Just like other offices in the government, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Field Office Caraga unceasingly provided undeniable intervention to poor people who are greatly affected by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). From the higher officials down to the staff and field workers in every municipality, they team up to get the work done quickly especially in providing timely services to the people.

However, there are field workers who, even in the midst of the pandemic, continue to do their job but are not recognized due to the fact that people are focusing on cash and goods provision for their needs.

DSWD Listahanan enumerators, those seen doing the rounds in poor communities in their blue vests and carry along their attaché cases with essential documents – they are the silent heroes of the department. They visit and interview households, even in the far-flung areas, to collect pertinent data for the Listahanan Database of poor households. And no matter how near or far they go, every completed assessment would earn them fifty (50) pesos – yes, Php50.00 for every completed form.

50 pesos every household

In line with the Executive Order (EO) 867, the conduct of household assessment is done every 4 years. Thus, the department hires Area Supervisors, Enumerators, Encoders, and Verifiers who will serve as front liners in carrying out the implementation at the regional level during the validation and finalization phase of the Listahanan. Each of them has different roles and functions but everyone serves an important role in the completion of the 3rd Round Listahanan household assessment.

Among those field workers, the enumerators are likely to be in the field most often. They are the ones who visit households and interview eligible respondents or household members even in the far-flung areas. They are not sitting in an air-conditioned office, rather, they are in the field enduring the scorching heat of the sun, or the unpredictable weather.

“Bisan gamay ra ang 50-pesos matag interview, andam nako adtoon ang mga lugar bisan unsa kalayo ug kakapoy. Wala nako isipa ang kantidad tungod kay andam ko mo serbisyo sa mga tao nga nagkinahanglan kay sa kana nga pamaagi nakatabang ko. (Even though Php50.00 is a small amount for every interview, yet, I am ready to visit the households despite distance and exhaustion. I am ready to give my service to the people who are in need because in that way I can help them),” Leziel Hayagan, enumerator assigned in Lanuza, Surigao del Sur, said.

Moreover, the team assigned in Esperanza, Agusan del Sur had a dreadful experience in going to remote areas in exchange for the Php50.00 they will earn for every completed household assessment, but this did not stop them to do their job.

“Kung nagtan-aw lang mi sa kantidad nga 50 pesos nga among madawat human sa interview, dili mi mu-risgo sa among kinabuhi labina na kadtong nitabok mi sa suba nga grabe ka dako ug kasulog sa tubig. Maskin ang barangay officials sigeg pangutana sa amoa kung mudayon mi tungod sa ka-delikado sa tubig. Apan, disidido kayo mi nga nitabok padulong sa komunidad bisan aduna mi kahadlok. (We are not after the 50 pesos we will receive after the interview, because if we did, we will not risk our lives in traversing the strong current and chest-deep water in the river. Even the barangay officials asked us many times if we will go further, still, we decided to traverse going to the community even though it was frightening),’’ Cristopher Cabellero, enumerator assigned in Esperanza, narrated.

The said municipality has 47 barangays of which 14 are categorized as Geographically Isolated and Disadvantaged Areas (GIDA) due to physical and socio-economic factors such as challenges for transportation, presence of vulnerable sectors, unreachable and underserved communities.

Using the Household Assessment Form (HAF), the interview will last about 15-20 minutes depending on the family size. Information collected would range from socio-economic status, household roster, and health status are collected and inputted on the HAF. This information is very vital as these will become the basis for the computation that would determine whether a family falls under the category of Poor or Non-poor household.

Reaching unreached people

A long walk along mountain trails, muddy roads, a lengthy drive in a skylab (motorcycle with wings), or a wet bamboo raft ride under the heat of the sun or pouring rain was a journey towards giving hope to poor families for the Listahanan enumerators. These are common scenarios experienced by the enumerators every day during the Listahanan household assessment in the region.

One of the most important responsibilities of an enumerator is to reach the unreachable households. Every household missing out on the assessment would mean they will miss the chance to be included in the list of poor households who will be served or will enjoy the anti-poverty programs of the government. This has been emphasized by the Department during the series of trainings for the field workers. And, this has been proven by the enumerators since day 1 up until the end of each validation activity.

“Gi-assign ko sa akong Area Supervisor sa Barangay Rajah Cabungosoan apan sa dihang nakabalo akong papa nahadlok siya tungod sa ka-delikado ug kalayo sa area. Pero walay nakapapugong sa akoa nga nipadayon sa maong dapit bisan nibati ko og kahadlok. Pag-abot nako sa dapit, halos kalasangan among naagian og kung naay balay, labaw pa sa social distancing. Naa pay isa ka balay nga kapig usa ka oras among gi-biyahe sakay ang habal-habal nga miagi sa grabe ka-batohon nga dalan para lang ma-interview. Pero sa dihang niabot mi, grabe ang kalipay ni Tatay kay naay taga DSWD nga niabot sa ilang lugar. Nahuman nako ang interview nga aduna poy kalipay sa akong kasing-kasing. (My Area Supervisor assigned me in Barangay Rajah Cabungsoan but when my father knew about my area of assignment, he was afraid of the danger it might bring considering the distance and the place itself. Yet, no one can stop me from doing my job, and even I was also frightened. When I arrived, all there was are forest covers and houses were too far from each other. There is one household where we travelled more than an hour on habal-habal just to conduct an interview. When we arrived, immeasurable joy was felt by Tatay after seeing that DSWD workers visited him. I ended the interview with a joy in my heart too,” Tessa Castro, enumerator assigned in Lingig, Surigao del Sur, shared.

Glimmer of Hope

The smile in their eyes and the gladness on their faces were common scenarios witnessed by the enumerators as they were welcomed by the households especially those who are living in far-flung areas where public transportation is inaccessible.

A Manobo resident testified how he is grateful for DSWD-Listahanan workers who gave priority to LUMAD people living in Agusan del Sur.

“Pasalamat mi kay bisan unsa kalayo sa among dapit, naka abot mo para makita lang mi. Salamat sa inyong paghatag pagtagad. (We are thankful that you came just to see us despite the distance of our place. Thank you for valuing us),” Jomix Manpinsahan, a Manobo resident of Sitio Kalampayan, Barangay Kasapa II, La Paz Agusan del Sur, shared.

Another testimony from an enumerator whom, despite the exhaustion, experienced going to places she never visited before, not even thinking that family lives in such areas. She witnessed the joy and hope of the households she interviewed.

“Sa akong pagka-enumerator, nakita gyud nako mismo ang kahimtang sa pamilya nga wala nako damha nga naa pa diay magpuyo niining dapita tungod sa kalayo ug kalisod sa mga dalan unya pila pa ka oras among gibiyahe ug gibaklay. Nakita pud nako ang kalipay sa matag pamilya ug paglaum na unta maapil sila sa mga pamilyang kabus. (Being an enumerator, I have personally seen the different economic statuses of the households that I’ve never thought existed because of the distance and difficulties of traveling to their places. I have also witnessed the joy in their faces as they saw with hopes to be included in the list of poor households),” Sandra Bacocho, enumerator assigned in San Miguel, Surigao del Sur, shared.

These are the DSWD-Listahanan field staff, an example of truly devoted workers who work even in the midst of the pandemic just to make sure that every household will be assessed; not mindful of the challenges they face for Php50.00 they would earn per completed household assessment. (Social Marketing Section, DSWD-Caraga/PIA-Agusan del Sur)