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[ Contents

27 January - 02 February 2018

Volume 1, No. 96

Bayugan cut flower growers train on production, marketing ASEAN NEWS

7 8

DOT: Tourism arrivals reach all-time high at 6.6M

PH among top inbound M&A targets in ASEAN


10 11 12

DA Caraga supports ricecorn blend campaign


111 housing units awarded to PNP Caraga beneficiaries


Mayor Lagnada creates crisis management committee


13 15 16 17 18 20 21 23 24

7 10

HIV does not have to be a death sentence


Bayugan City youth train on beauty care

28 29

Agusan del Sur holds 1st freelancers meet-up


Agnor guv strengthens veterans’ benefits

AgSur joins Regional Forum on MSME development, disaster resilience AgSur food producers, KMME graduates join Regional FDA writeshop Teachers’ Congress set in Surigao del Norte




MinDA renews call for extension of feed-in-tariff in Mindanao US gov’t exchange alumni lead projects #forMindanao

Duterte still studying SSS contribution hike: Palace PhilHealth to employers: Premium adjustment is necessary

Surigao Norte marks ‘Buyan nan Arte and Kultura Surigaonon’ 61 SurSur farmers received CLOA 6 NPA members surrenders in SurSur



News Briefs Social Security System (SSS) members may now get their Personal Reference Number (PRN) by calling the SSS PRN Helpline at 9206446 to 55 or local Toll-free Hotline 1-800-10-2255-777 anytime from Mondays to Fridays. The SSS has recently announced the mandatory use of PRNs in the payment of members’ contributions in line with the implementation of the Real-time Posting of Contribution Payments (RTPC) project.

As more business one-stop shop (BOSS) for business permits and licensing were conducted in various local government units (LGUs) of this province, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) thru its Negosyo Centers (NC) also continued to be present to ensure that business name registration is facilitated.

The Sangguniang Bayan of Magallanes, Agusan del Norte has limited the operation of karaoke and videoke bars and other similar establishments in a particular time in the locality through the Municipal Ordinance No. 011-2017, authored by Sangguniang Bayan Member Mercelita C. Buenaventura. According to the ordinance, the establishment of videoke and karaoke bars shall be located at least 10 meters radius from the residential houses and 30 meters radius from public institutions like schools, hospitals and churches.

The Department of Energy (DOE) saved consumers billions of pesos with its efforts to ensure that the impo­sition of the new ex­cise tax rates on pe­troleum products und­er the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law in the industry wou­ld be fairly and res­ ponsibly implemented by all the particip­ants. The DOE estimates th­at its actions saved consumers around P2­.64 billion for liqu­id petroleum fuels, and P58.4 million fr­om liquid petroleum gas (LPG).

Cover Story

Bayugan cut flower growers train on production, marketing

BAYUGAN CITY, Agusan del Sur – “The cut flower growers of Barangay Pinagalaan of this city already adopted the practices they acquired in the learning visits in Davao and Cebu last year (2017).” This was shared by City Agriculture Office (CAO) officer-in-charge (OIC) Godofredo Curie during the Skills Enhancement on Quality Cut Flower Production Cum Marketing Seminar held on January 23 to 24. This training


was a component of the 2016 Bottom up Budgeting (BuB) project on Quality Cut Flower Production. During the opening session, Charlotte Pingol of the Department of 27 January - 02 February, 2018

Trade and Industry Negosyo Center (DTI NC)-Bayugan City gave a brief discussion on the Negosyo Center (NC) services including the Barangay Micro Business Enterprise (BMBE) and Pondo sa Pagbabago at Pag-asenso (P3) to the Bayugan Federation on Cutflowers and Ornamental Plant Growers (BAFEDCOPGro) – the BuB implementing group.

cut flower growers.

Paway added that the growers should motivate themselves to be role models among Bayuganons or Agusanons as successful flower farmer entrepreneurs who started small. He also emphasized that they should maximize and utilize the opportunities given by the government because all of these initiatives are for their own benefit and Marketing inputs were provided development. on the second day by Merlie Penalver, member of the resource persons pool The cut flower growers for #AdSNegosyoCenters, and a were refreshed on flower farming Philippine Center for Entrepreneurship- technologies as shared by Teresita accredited Kapatid Mentor Me mentor. Segundino and Joselito Boque of CAO. They were reminded to practice proper In the training, Curie asked the preparation for planting site, fertilization, flower farmers to share knowledge with seedling, pesticide, common pests/ each other, to work as one, and motivate diseases and their control, spray one another to develop, enhance and and mixing, trellising, lighting and sustain their production. He added blackening, pinching, pruning and the that the LGU-Bayugan City thru the dis-budding. Tying and trellising were CAO and the City Cooperative Office also demonstrated to the group. (DTI(CCO), together with the DTI NC and Agusan del Sur/PIA-Agusan del Sur) other government offices are ready to support the said undertaking. Fortunato Paway, officer-incharge of CCO, also encouraged the group to have perseverance and dedication to sustain their economic activity. He believed these qualities are within the heart of the 27 January - 02 February, 2018


DOT: Tourism arrivals reach all-time high at 6.6M

MANILA - In 2017, 6,620,908 foreign tourists visited the Philippines marking the unprecedented growth of the country’s tourism industry. It grew about 11 percent from the previous year’s arrivals of 5,967,005. “We would like to express our sincerest gratitude to all the tourism stakeholders who worked hand in hand with the Department of Tourism (DOT) in achieving another milestone for the country,” Tourism Secretary Wanda Tulfo-Teo said.

the country last year.

Philippine tourism even bested the average tourism growth of Asia and the Pacific which is at six percent and Southeast Asia at eight percent according to the latest United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) World Tourism Barometer.

Teo also thanked all stakeholders who made country’s hosting of the Miss Universe and the ASEAN Summit, Madrid Fusion Manila 2017, World Street Food Congress, and the UNWTO International Conference on Tourism Statistics a huge success.

“We overcame these challenges with the innate resiliency of the Filipinos and the cooperation of everybody. And for that we are very thankful,” Teo added.

The tourism milestone came Improved air routes and more after a series of political noise, security cruise calls together with travel concerns, and travel advisories against infrastructure development, travel 27 January - 02 February, 2018


facilitation, product development and the month of January 2017 at 620,121. tourism investments drummed up the tourism industry last year. “The seven million that some people refer to was a fighting target South Korea remained the that we have set for ourselves. Officially country’s top source market with the the target is at 6.5 million which is lion’s share of 1,607,821 attributing for embodied in the National Tourism almost a quarter of the total tourist Development Plan (NTDP) and we arrival. Boracay and Cebu remains the have achieved it,” Benito Bengzon, top destinations for Koreans last year. Jr. DOT Undersecretary for Tourism Development explained. China followed suit with 968,447 arrivals due to the improved ties For 2018, the NTDP projected 7.4 between the Philippines and China, million international tourist arrivals. added air routes, and the Visa Upon Arrival (VUA) option for Chinese “For this year, with an expanded nationals. marketing plan, improved quality, human resource capacity, and service It is the most improved market with standards, we will continue to push for 43.33 percent growth rate overtaking new and underrated destinations. We USA with 957,813 arrivals. are also looking at the farm and faith tourism sectors.” Teo said. Japan and Australia wound up the top five markets with 584,180 and Another centerpiece of 2018 259,433 arrivals respectively. would be sports and adventure tourism with the hosting of Strongest Man, the December registered 603,062 Iron Man, and other sports-related foreign tourist arrivals second best to events. (DoT)

PH among top inbound M&A targets in ASEAN By: Kris Crismundo

MANILA - M&A intelligence service provider Mergermarket has cited the Philippines as among the top targets for inbound merger and acquisition (M&A) deals in Southeast Asia in 2017. Mergermarket data released Wednesday show that the top three targets for inbound M&A transactions in Southeast Asia in 2017 included Singapore with 123 deals amounting to


USD36.1 billion; followed by Malaysia, with 84 deals worth USD14.1 billion; and the Philippines with 32 inbound M&A transactions amounting to USD12.8 billion. 27 January - 02 February, 2018

overseas assets,” the Mergermarket report read. “Despite the Chinese government’s effort to tighten capital outflow to foreign countries, activity to enhance regional capabilities and infrastructure in Southeast Asia soared with the One Belt and One Road initiative,” it noted. Meanwhile, Mergermarket data also listed the consolidation of San Miguel Corp.’s (SMC) food and beverage business as one of the top deals in Southeast Asia last year.

The acquisition of San Miguel Pure Foods Co. Inc.’s shares in Ginebra San Miguel Inc., and San Miguel Brewery Inc. from SMC, which amounted to It was noted that 59.4 percent of USD6.5 billion, was the third biggest inbound M&A deals across Southeast M&A transaction in the region. Asia involved Greater China-based companies. Top M&A transaction in Southeast Asia last year was the acquisition made Greater China’s M&A transactions by the China-led consortium of Global in the region ballooned in 2017 to Logistics Properties Ltd. in Singapore USD33.8 billion from 58 deals from worth USD15.9 billion. USD8.9 billion in 2016 involving 55 deals. This was followed by the USD7 Moreover, 2017 was a record year billion deal on Malaysia’s refinery for M&A in Southeast Asia as value of and Petrochemical Integrated transactions jumped by 54.2 percent Development (RAPID) Project by Saudi to USD89.1 billion from USD57.8 billion in Arabian Oil Co. 2016. The Philippines’ SMC deal This is despite the decline in the was on top of the 70-percent share number of transactions to 431 in 2017 acquisition of Myanmar’s Kyauk from 454 deals in the previous year. Pyu port by Chinese firms and the acquisition of Singapore’s Equis Energy by United States-led companies, with “This banner year was largely transactions worth USD5 billion each. due to Chinese companies’ chase for (PNA) 27 January - 02 February, 2018


Regional News

DA Caraga supports rice-corn blend campaign By: Aurel P. Arais

BUTUAN CITY – The Department of Agriculture (DA) Caraga vowed to support government’s effort to lessen the dependence of Filipinos on rice as staple food.

One initiative is to blend rice with DA Caraga Regional Corn corn or the so-called Rice Corn Blend Coordinator Melody M. Guimary said (RCB) which was launched in Davao that preferred sites for the model farm City. should be compact and not less than 50 hectares. DA Caraga is coordinating with the local government units to look for “The qualified farmers to areas suitable for the establishment of participate on the model farm will white corn production as model farm be assisted with interventions such as that would showcase to the farmers technical training, inputs, and farm the viability of flint type white corn machinery and equipment,” she said. production. During the launching in Davao City, Target areas for model farms PhilMaize, a federation of corn farmer are cluster areas with strong farmer associations signed a memorandum associations. Other areas can also be of agreement with the Department of tapped as long as potential for flint Agriculture and National Food Authority type corn production. (NFA) for the processing and marketing


27 January - 02 February, 2018

REGIONAL NEWS of the product.

Blend is a welcome initiative of DA. “Aside from helping lessen the dependency of rice among Filipinos, it is a healthy alternative since corn has low glycemic index and high in fiber,” she said.

“The RCB is also a business opportunity for cooperatives, association or any private individuals who would like to invest in processing and marketing of the Rice Corn Blend,” Guimary added. Glycemic index is a number associated with the carbohydrates in a DA Caraga together with LGUs particular food that indicates the effect is benchmarking the local demand of of these carbohydrates on a person’s flint type white corn in the region to blood glucose or commonly called ascertain local marketing opportunities. blood sugar. According to Provincial Corn Coordinator Oscar Tuyor of Agusan del Norte, blending of rice and corn is not new for him as he is fond of eating such even when he was still a small boy.

Under the National Corn Staple Development Plan, DA aims to increase production of quality flint corn for nutrition and food security, and increase income of farmers specifically to increase production of flint corn from “Rice can be blended with corn 1.952M metric ton (MT) in 2017 to 4.91M either on a ratio of 70:30 or 50:50 or mt by 2022. depending on the preference of the consumer,” he explained. Corn (flint type) serves as staple food of about 15% of the total Meanwhile, Lydia Apatan, an population, mostly in the islands of agricultural extension worker of Nasipit, Visayas and Mindanao in the form of Agusan del Norte said that Rice-Corn corn grits. (DA-Caraga/PIA-Caraga)

111 housing units awarded to PNP Caraga beneficiaries

BUTUAN CITY – A total of 111 housing units in Brgy. Mabini, Surigao City were awarded to the police officers.

27 January - 02 February, 2018


REGIONAL NEWS Engr. Erasme Madlos, Project Manager of the National Housing Authority in Butuan City and Senior Supt Ernesto Flores, Deputy Regional Director for Operations, spearheaded the distribution of units through a raffle draw.

Caraga applied for the housing unit that has a floor area of 44 square meters and a lot area of 80 square meters.

The construction of “Smart Homes” or the subdivision for the AFP and PNP commenced on March 2016 and was completed in November 2017. (PNPA total of 279 police officers in Caraga/PIA-Caraga)

Mayor Lagnada creates crisis management committee

BUTUAN CITY – In order to make decisive actions to resolve crisis or emergency and putting forward government and public effort towards control of the crisis or incidents in the city, Butuan City Mayor Ronnie Vicente C. Lagnada issued Executive Order No. 1, creating the Butuan City Crisis Management Committee (BCCMC).

The crisis committee is primarily during crisis are met and all actions tasked to perform the following: are coordinated and complementary; and Establish procedures for producing timely direction and guidelines; Establish accessible communication lines so that reliable Coordinate and implement and timely information are received responses to crisis in an integrated and disseminated to appropriate manner; offices or persons responsible. Ensure that the perspective of government agencies and other stakeholders are integrated into the overall government response;

It shall also be the role of the Crisis Committee to organize the Incident Command System (ICS) and designate its Incident Commander (IC), in accordance to the nature of Provide and mobilize available the crisis. resources through an established interagency resource sharing protocol; It shall also have the prerogative to create several Incident Command Coordinate inter-agency crisis Systems with different Incident management efforts; Commanders to address specific types of crisis simultaneously. (Butuan City Ensure that operational demands PIO/PIA-Caraga)


27 January - 02 February, 2018

Provincial News

Agusan del Norte

Agnor guv strengthens veterans’ benefits By: Aimee B. Sienes

BUTUAN CITY – Provincial Governor Ma. Angelica Rosedell M. AmanteMatba ensured that the provincial government of Agusan del Norte extends its support to the veterans of the province, including their dependents, for the realization of their hospitalization program and medical care and treatment. This is based on the mandate of Republic Act (R.A.) no. 6498 or “An Act Standardizing and Upgrading the Benefits For Military Veterans and their Dependents,” as amended by R.A. no. 7696, which states that the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office will provide hospitalization, medical care and treatment to Filipino veterans and their dependents with its accredited government or private hospitals through a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA). To include the said program for the veterans in the province, Gov. Amante-Matba was authorized by the Sangguniang Panlalawigan through Sanggunian Resolution No. 333-2017, authored by Provincial Board Member Elizabeth Marie R. Calo, to sign the MOA with the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office, Agusan del Norte Provincial Hospital and Cabadbaran District Hospital. 27 January - 02 February, 2018

Under the said MOA, the Provincial Hospital and Cabadbaran District Hospital were chosen by the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office (PVAO) to be included in its accredited hospitals to carry out its objectives. The agreement further stated that the two hospitals shall make available their services and facilities for the care and treatment of veterans and their dependents in accordance with the provisions of R.A. 6498 as amended by R.A. 7696. All bills incurred for the hospitalization and treatment shall be reimbursed under the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office-Veterans Memorial Medical Center (PVAOVMMC) Hospitalization Program. (LGUAgusan del Norte/PIA-Agusan del Norte)


Photo Gallery National Grid Corporation of the Phils. (NGCP) Hotel Oazis, Butuan City 29 January 2018

Regional Development Council (RDC) - Regional Gender and Development Committee (RGADC) Caraga DENR Caraga Training Center, Butuan City 01 February 2018

Agusan del Sur


Bayugan City youth train on beauty care

BAYUGAN CITY, Agusan del Sur – The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Agusan del Sur (AdS), through the Negosyo CenterBayugan City and in partnership with the Bayugan City Social Welfare Development (CSWD) Office conducted a skills training on beauty care: manicure, pedicure and foot spa to the Pag-asa Youth Organization (PYO) held at the CSWD Training Hall, City Hall Compound, this city. The activity was part of the implementation package under the 2016 Bottom Up Budgeting (BuB) of the LGU, which named the PYO as one of its beneficiaries. Julibee Gorne, an accredited Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) trainer, assured that the participants will learn the required skills and can actually make 27 January - 02 February, 2018

this as source of income. After the training, an assessment will be conducted by TESDA, and once the participants pass, a certificate of completion will be given to them or they will be officially certified. The training covers lectures and hands-on session with starter kits for the trainees. (DTI-Agusand el Sur/PIA-Agusan del Sur)



Agusan del Sur holds 1st freelancers meet-up

SAN FRANCISCO, Agusan del Sur – The Department of Trade and Industry-Agusan del Sur (DTI-AdS), through the Negosyo Center (NC)-San Francisco, organized the First Freelancers Meet-up held at the Mabe’s Savory Place, this municipality. The session was aimed to advocate the maximum use of internet through online jobs, orient the participants on the advantages it offers, understand the need to align with the trends, and know the opportunities. Lawrence Salang, provincial team lead of Agusan del Norte and Agusan del Sur, presented the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) programs and services.


Also, giving a virtual talk and discussing Rural Impact Sourcing (RIS) through Skype is RIS Philippines (RISPh) mover John Paul Lagura. He told participants that everyone should learn continually about information technology. “To the freelancers – doing job online as they are already skilled, they still need to re-skill and up-skill the knowledge and skills that they have; learn more, know more,” Lagura said. 27 January - 02 February, 2018

PROVINCIAL NEWS Lagura added that “aside from the hard skills that should be taught and be learned, the most important thing to develop are the soft skills like flexibility, creativity and complex problem solving.”

work, the unemployed and even workers or professionals who still have spare time in their hands.

The participants are composed of students from South Way College of Physically representing RISPh and Technology, Agusan del Sur College, also a freelancer, was Angelito Cagulada, Patin-ay National high school, business an Information System student of Caraga owners, freelancers and the media. State University (CSU) who gave a testimony on his being a freelancer. He Corazon de la Pena, DTI-Ads shared the importance of building a Senior Trade and Industry Development portfolio and keeping a complete record Specialist informed the participants that or file of one’s work as this will form part by January 2018, an ICT stakeholders of the “resume” when pitching for other forum/orientation will be organized to jobs. ensure convergence in the province’s ICT agenda. DTI pushes the program regionwide and coining it RISE or ‘Rural Impact A General Virtual Assistant Training Sourcing Everywhere’ to provide other (GVAT) is also being arranged within options or sources of jobs and income the year 2017. (DTI-Agusand el Sur/PIAeven to students, graduates still to find Agusan del Sur)

AgSur joins Regional Forum on MSME development, disaster resilience

PROSPERIDAD, Agusan del Sur – Business entrepreneurs, together with the officials and staff from the Provincial Economic Enterprise Development Office (PEEDO), Agusan del Sur Chamber of Commerce and Industry Foundation, Inc., and Department of Trade and IndustryAgusan del Sur (DTI-AdS) Provincial Office joined in the Regional Forum on Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) Development and Disaster Resilience held at the Grand Palace Hotel, Butuan City. It sought to strengthen the and institutionalize the mechanisms that commitment of each partner agency will help MSMEs prepare for and recover and other stakeholders to advocate quickly from disaster. economic disaster resilience of the region 27 January - 02 February, 2018


PROVINCIAL NEWS The province’s industry cluster players, producers and other members of the business sector also attended. Together with attendees from the other provinces, they participated in prioritizing roadmap and action plan strategies and lay down specific initiatives or tasks to pursue the regional plan. The province expressed hopes to localize the same activity and put on board more MSMEs, as well as partner civil society organizations, partner institutions conduct of an orientation-workshop on business continuity management held for and the local government units (LGUs). some members of the provincial disaster This initiative will be part of the risk reduction management council. (DTIfollow through activities after the earlier Agusan del Sur/PIA-Agusan del Sur)

AgSur food producers, KMME graduates join Regional FDA writeshop

SAN FRANCISCO, Agusan del Sur – Four food producers of Agusan del Sur participated in the Regional Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Writeshop cum Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) briefing organized by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI)Caraga’s Business Development Division.


27 January - 02 February, 2018

PROVINCIAL NEWS The five-day activity aimed to ready Two other IPAPADSI members and food producers in the region to tap and KMME mentees are awating FDA action/ enter more and bigger markets. inspection on their LTO applications – RADIN FOOD Products (special guinamos), The Agusan del Sur contingent was and Hillsview Trento Food Products composed of Cleotilde Potencioso of (mangosteen tea). They are also working Cleo’s Food Products, Madelyn Alvizo of on their Halal Certification. Calabash “The Miracle” Fruit Juice, Ervian Sotis of ERMIX Mangosteen TEA, and Another KMME mentee, Bernadette Auxillian of Pidol Miki. Magkiangkang Multipurpose Cooperative, maker of tableya is working The first three were pioneer mentee- on LTO renewal and its Certificate of graduates of the province’s Kapatid Product Registration (CPR). Mentor Me (KMME) program and Facilitating the workshop and briefing members of the Integrated Producers session was Philippine Center for Association of Prosperidad Agusan del Sur, Entrepreneurship (PCE)-accredited KMME Inc. (IPAPADSI). Auxillian, who graduated Mentor of Agusan del Norte Jason Balacuit under Batch 2 KMME, was cited as one of of JCB Express Solutions. (DTI-Agusan del the best business improvement plans (BIP). Sur/PIA-Agusan del Sur)

27 January - 02 February, 2018



Surigao del Norte

Teachers’ Congress set in Surigao del Norte

By: Venus L. Garcia & John Glenn A. Platil

SURIGAO CITY – Over 6,000 teachers and school administrators are expected to join the provincewide Teachers’ Congress set on February 16, 2018 to be held at the Surigao del Norte Provincial Gymnasium. Gov. Sol Matugas of said province will unveil the proposed Provincial Division Office and the Teachers’ Training Center in Siargao. She will also lead the launching of the Provincial Online Education and the ceremonial distribution of umbrellas, bags and laptops.

Meanwhile, actor-singer Sam Concepcion and Keiko Necesario were also invited to take center stage and showcase their performance.

It can be recalled that DepEd appointed Concepcion as the ‘Youth Role Model and Spokesperson’ while the Part of the event will be the Schools National Book Development Board (NBDB) Excellence Award and Awarding of named him as the ‘Get Caught Reading’ Outstanding Educators to be presented campaign Ambassador. by Department of Education (DepEd) Caraga Regional Director Beatriz Torno As the DepEd’s mouthpiece for and be assisted by Schools Division the youth, Concepcion initiated drives Superintendent Nelia Lomocso of the and promoted meaningful co-curricular DepEd-Surigao del Norte Division. The activities in line with the “SAMa SAMa outstanding Parents-Teachers Association saEskwela” project among other life(PTA) will also be recognized. changing projects.


27 January - 02 February, 2018

PROVINCIAL NEWS By personally touring the entire country, Concepcion visited 50 schools and immersed with 100,000 students on its first month and had been to various points all over the Philippines like Pampanga, Bohol, Laguna, Cebu City, Cagayan De Oro City, and Davao City. In his talking engagements, he continually stressed the value of literacy, English proficiency, enriching one’s capacity, and excelling in school. Conception was also given a representative role by the Department of

Tourism (DOT) to the Korea World Travel Fair. United Nations Youth Association of the Philippines (UNAP) also conferred upon him the prestigious UNAP ‘Outstanding Youth Leader Award’ at the Malacañang Palace. The Teacher’s Musicale Concert will likewise feature the ‘kundiman’ and popular music beside Philippine folk dances and modern bop. To cap the grand celebration is the fellowship to enjoy the camaraderie of participants. (PGO-SDN/PIA-Surigao del Norte)

Surigao Norte marks ‘Buyan nan Arte and Kultura Surigaonon’ By: John Glenn A. Platil

SURIGAO CITY, Surigao del Norte – By virtue and pursuant to Provincial Ordinance No. 3, s. 2014, Governor Sol F. Matugas endeavors to institute and organize activities for the promotion of indigenous culture and the arts. 27 January - 02 February, 2018



Meanwhile, the Feast of Saint Lourdes Procession in celebration of the Capitol Fiesta was calendared on February 11 that would cover the entire Capitol Park. Lots of fun, activities and food will relish the distinguished guests and faithful employees of the province. Thanksgiving mass would start at 6:30 a.m. to be followed with the Team Capitol Family Day. On February 15, a total of 16 candidates for the Binibining Kalikasan will vie for the crown. Provincial Planning Development Coordinator Arturo Cruje said that the 16 candidates were pre-selected from each DepEd Divisions – five candidates from Surigao City, five from Siargao Island and six from Surigao del Norte (mainland).

According to Provincial Tourism Officer Ivonnie Dumadag during the Convergence Meeting on February 5, 2018, the provincial government is also getting ready for the conduct of ‘Sajaw’ (dance) Siargao Festival as a special program with the help and support of the Surigaonon Association of Trained Choreographers and a symposium upholding Surigaonon language is also put into order by members of the academe. Dumadag said that Atty. Charlo Paredes and Steve Egay strongly advocated for a localized, sociobased curriculum using the Surigaonon dialect.


Teachers’ Summit will also push through on Feb. 16 at the Provincial Gym with DepEd Undersecretary Tonisito Umali as keynote speaker representing Secretary Leonor Briones. To top it all, a festival management workshop with the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCAA) will take place at the Provincial Convention Center from March 7-8, 2018. Symposium for the Preservation and Enhancement of the Surigaonon dialect as a mother tongue will commence the month-long observance. (PGO-SDN/PIA-Surigao del Norte) 27 January - 02 February, 2018


61 SurSur farmers received CLOA By: Nida Grace P. Barcena

TANDAG CITY, Surigao del Sur – A total of 61 farmers from Tago town this province received the Certificate of Land Ownership Award (CLOA) from the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) on January 30, 2018 at Shacene Ballroom, this city.

DAR Undersecretary Karlo Bello personally handed-over the certificates to the identified agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs) assisted by DAR Caraga Regional Director Felix Aguhob, PARO Surigao del Sur Benjamin Mataksil with the representatives from the 1st Congressional District Office, Provincial Government Office, City Government of Tandag and Municipal Government of Tago.

maximum of three hectares during the said distribution, while some farmers received less than the maximum. (MYuDAR-SDS/PIA-Surigao del Sur)

Mataksil said that a total of 110.8 hectares have already been distributed to 61 farmers beneficiaries located in the Barangays of Anaho Bag-o, Badong, Lindoy and Bangsud, all in Tago town. PARO Mataksil also revealed that the beneficiaries received the 27 January - 02 February, 2018


Surigao del Sur


6 NPA members surrenders in SurSur By: Nida Grace P. Barcena

TANDAG CITY, Surigao del Sur – Six communist rebels have yielded their guns and surrendered to the army’s 75th Infantry Battalion (IB) based in Surigao del Sur, the military reported on Jan. 30. 401st Brigade Civil Military Operation Officer Captain Rodulfo Cordero said that the six former rebels belong to the Samahang Yunit Propaganda (SYP) Platoon in Surigao del Sur. The former rebels (FRs) surrendered the following firearms: one AK47, one M16A1, one improvised M14 rifles, one homemade shotgun, one caliber .357 revolver, and two hand grenades. Based on his interview to the former rebels, 75IB Commanding


Officer Lt. Colonel Jaime R. Datuin said that they have surrendered to the government forces because they were already tired of the armed struggle. “They can no longer tolerate the corruption happening inside the CPP/NPA organization, where they extort money from the businesses, and the people were controlled by few CPP/NPA leaders while the ordinary members were hungry and have not received enough support from the leadership of the said terrorist group,” Datuin said. 27 January - 02 February, 2018

Photo Gallery ASSOCIATION OF CARAGA EXECUTIVES Executive Learning Session (ELS) and General Assembly Hotel Oazis, Butuan City 31 January 2018

Health News

HIV does not have to be a death sentence By: JRADoringo

BUTUAN CITY – Starting as a mysterious pneumonia-like infection in the 1980s, acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) is the most advanced stage of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection usually manifested by the accumulation of diseases rooting from having very low or no immune system response.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), HIV targets the immune system and weakens people’s defense systems against infections and certain cancers. It destroys and impairs the functions of the immune cells while


increases the vulnerability of an infected person a wide range of diseases that a person not infected can normally fight off. Although a lot of misconceptions about the transmission of HIV have been 27 January - 02 February, 2018

HEALTH NEWS circulating for years now, HIV can only be transmitted through the exchange of certain body fluids specifically the blood, vaginal secretions, semen, and breast milk.

As to date, there is no known cure for HIV. The issue of HIV has imposed a stigma in the society up until today. However, getting tested positive for HIV is not a death sentence anymore.

Consequently, saliva or sweat and There is a continuous development any other body fluids can not transfer for the regression and treatment the virus, not even mosquito bites. of the virus through effective antiretroviral (ARV) drugs to help prevent Signs and symptoms of the virus transmission of the virus and let people infection may vary from one person living with it enjoy productive lives. to the other, but the most noticeable are swollen lymph nodes, weight loss, In line with this, the United Nations fever, diarrhea, and cough that can (UN) in 2000 has committed and signed later develop to severe illnesses such as time-bound and quantifiable targets tuberculosis, cryptococcal meningitis, to address issues of extreme poverty, lymphoma, Kaposi’s sarcoma, to name along with its underlying causes known a few, as confirmed by the WHO. as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) which are expected to be met Nevertheless, the only way to by 2015. know if a person is HIV positive is through HIV testing. The MDG 6 focuses on combating HIV or AIDS, malaria and other diseases The WHO revealed that “HIV by reversing the spread of HIV or AIDS, continues to be a major global public malaria and other diseases by 2015. health issue, having claimed more than 34 million lives so far in 2014, where 1.2 The battle against HIV or AIDS is million people died from HIV-related achievable by limiting exposure to risk causes globally. Moreover, there were factors and observing HIV preventions approximately 36.9 million people living like using condom and sterile injecting with HIV at the end of 2014 with 2 million equipment, and early detection of the people becoming newly infected with virus via HIV testing. HIV in 2014 globally.” If found positive, don’t lose In the Philippines, the Department hope. With continuous ARV treatment, of Health (DOH) revealed that there regular check-up and counseling were over 27,000 cases of reported HIV coupled with healthy lifestyle, eating as of July 2015. Though the prevalence properly, having the right mind and of HIV and AIDS in the country is low, attitude, and regular exercise, people the Philippines has the fastest growing living with the virus can live longer HIV epidemic in the world, according and stronger. (FNRI-DOST S&T Media to WHO. Service/PIA-Caraga) 27 January - 02 February, 2018


Mindanao News

MinDA renews call for extension of feed-in-tariff in Mindanao

With the ending of feed-in-tariff (FIT) awarding last year, the Mindanao Development Authority through the inter-agency power monitoring body has recommended the extension the FIT program for hydro and biomass in Mindanao.


MinDA has put forward the recommendations through the Mindanao Power Monitoring Committee (MPMC), which it co-chairs with the Department of Energy.

Chairman Datu Abul Khayr Alonto, the agency has already submitted the recommendation in order to further encourage the entry of renewable sources in the Mindanao grid.

This is also in support to the recent announcement of DOE on the possibility of FIT to be extended for three more years. According to MinDA

“We need to mitigate the anticipated electricity price spikes given that Mindanao’s power capacity will be primarily based on fossil fuels. 27 January - 02 February, 2018

MINDANAO NEWS This can significantly add up financial In the recommendation submitted burden of the residential consumers,” by the National Renewable Energy Alonto said. Board, developers can fill the remaining allocation for biomass and run-of-river From about 58% in 2010, renewable plants until 2020. energy (RE) capacity in Mindanao is down to 36% in 2017, and is expected “We are requesting for five-year to be dominated at 70 percent by fossil extension exclusively for Mindanao so technology. that our developers will have enough time to catch-up and get the most out “This is part of the reasons why of the FIT allowance, considering that MinDA had been pushing for increased Mindanao has a unique challenge in deployment of RE technology, in line a sense that we currently do not have with our long-term target of bringing a Wholesale Electricity Spot Market, energy mix back to the ideal energy yet,” said MinDA Deputy Executive mix by 2030,” Alonto said. Director Romeo Montenegro, who also sits as the TWG co-chairman of the MPMC. He however assured that there are more than enough natural In a data released by the resources for RE found geographically committee, Mindanao only has a 3.6% in Mindanao. Hydropower capacity share of the total FIT-All availment while tops Mindanao’s potential renewable Visayas and Luzon has 26% and 70.4%, energy source at 1,945 MW. Being the respectively. country’s food basket, the island-region also has a potential for Biomass Energy FIT is a government mechanism to development, which is roughly around entice renewable energy projects by 146.65 MW potential capacity as of providing fixed returns to developers for December 2016. 20 years.

US gov’t exchange alumni lead projects #forMindanao

MANILA - As part of its continuing response to the Marawi crisis, the US Embassy in the Philippines has launched the P18.5 million #ForMindanao campaign supporting 37 projects throughout Mindanao led by Philippine alumni of US government-sponsored exchanges, many of whom have already played a crucial role in responding to humanitarian needs in Marawi and surrounding areas. 27 January - 02 February, 2018


MINDANAO NEWS These projects will address educational enrichment, economic development, and the psycho-social effects of conflict, among other pressing needs in the region.

P85,000 to conduct Ramadan iftars that fed more than 3,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs), while the US alumni chapter in Davao, in partnership with the Rotary Club, delivered food, clothing, and basic medicine to nursing The year-long #ForMindanao mothers in IDP camps. campaign will impact an estimated 13,500 people, focusing especially on US exchange alumni out-of-school youth, university students, complemented their humanitarian madrasa students, and women in efforts with psycho-social activities to Mindanao. support more than 7,500 IDPs affected by the crisis. The Lanao del Sur Provincial Since 1948, the US government Government awarded the US alumni has sponsored people-to-people chapter in Marawi City for the success exchanges that have built the of their #MaraWe art therapy program leadership and professional capacities that helped 817 IDP children in the city. of more than 8,000 Filipinos from across the nation. Upon their return, many The US Embassy’s #ForMindanao US exchange alumni collaborate with campaign builds upon these earlier their fellow alumni and with the US programs by providing US exchange Embassy to strengthen the bilateral alumni with ongoing opportunities to relations between the United States contribute to the recovery to the Marawi and the Philippines. Their immediate Crisis and the overall development response to the Marawi crisis and of Mindanao. In November 2017, the their engagement in the US Embassy’s US Embassy awarded more than P9.7 #ForMindanao campaign exemplifies million to support 17 community-based the commitment of US exchange projects led by US exchange alumni, alumni to work together to advance including agro-enterprise development; the prosperity of all Filipinos. a roving toy library for IDP children; and Project YACAP (Youth Amplifying, Co Within hours of the outbreak of creating, and Advocating Peace), a fighting in Marawi, US exchange alumni youth-led peace advocacy initiative. were on the frontlines of the humanitarian response. Individual exchange alumni “Project YACAP was inspired by and US exchange alumni chapters our experiences as volunteers in the throughout the country contributed evacuation centers and by our friends nearly P2.2 million in food, hygiene kits who have been affected by the siege. and clothing that assisted more than The project will bring youth into the 20,000 people impacted by the crisis. conversation on peace and security US exchange alumni from universities in Mindanao,” according to project around the country launched the leader Lynrose Genon, an alumna #MealsforMarawi campaign, raising of the Philippine Youth Leadership


27 January - 02 February, 2018


Program, a month-long high school US exchange alumni-led civil society student exchange in the United States. organization based in northern Mindanao. In the next phase of the #ForMindanao campaign, public These alumni-led projects are school and madrasa teachers, as well just one part of the US government’s as women’s cooperative leaders who response to the Marawi crisis. To date, have participated in US-government the US government has announced over training programs, can apply for fifteen P1 billion for recovery and rehabilitation P100,000 #ForMindanao grants to help of Marawi and surrounding areas their schools and communities respond through the US Agency for International to local needs. Additionally, the US Development (USAID). The U.S. Embassy will support four alumni-led government also funds extensive projects of P1 million each, addressing counter-terrorism, law enforcement, the root causes of conflict and violent development, health, and countering extremism. The grant competition is violent extremism programs across administered by Naawan HELPS, a Mindanao. (US Embassy Manila) 27 January - 02 February, 2018


National News

Duterte still studying SSS contribution hike: Palace

By: Jelly Musico

MANILA Malacanang on Wednesday said President Rodrigo Duterte is still studying the proposal of the Social Security System (SSS) to increase monthly contribution rate of its members.

“Until the President does not make the executive order, the President is still thinking and studying that (request),” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in media interview. SSS President Emmanuel F. Dooc had reportedly submitted a written request to the President to issue an executive order that would allow the state pension fund to increase monthly contribution from current 11 percent to 14 percent beginning April this year. “The evidence that the President is convinced to impose higher premium is when he issues the executive order. So, right now, the SSS request is still being


studied,” Roque explained. Dooc has explained that the increase in the monthly contribution rate was needed to improve the viability of the fund since increase would mean additional collection of PHP45 billion. Duterte approved in January last year a PHP2,000 across-the-board increase in monthly pensions for retired private workers. At present, SSS monthly contribution rate is 11 percent with 7.37 percent being shouldered by the employer and 3.63 percent being deducted from the employee’s salary. (PNA) 27 January - 02 February, 2018


PhilHealth to employers: Premium adjustment is necessary By: Alice Sicat

QUEZON CITY - In response to public reactions on the adjustment in premium contribution rates starting this month, the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) reiterated that the latest adjustment affects only the members in the Formal Sector, and that the adjustment in premium rate is long overdue. “The adjustment will enable the corporation to strengthen its current financial position so that it can boost the social health insurance benefit packages and frontline services that are currently accorded to the country’s workforce and their qualified dependents,” said PhilHealth Interim/ OIC President and CEO Dr. Celestina Ma. Jude de la Serna.

to enable PhilHealth to continue providing benefit packages that respond to what its members need. For the last three (3) years, PhilHealth has introduced benefit packages without raising the premium contribution rate.

Very soon, PhilHealth is extending the availability of the Primary Care Benefit (PCB) 1 Package to employed members. The package includes Primarily, de la Serna said that the primary care consultations, risk profiling premium rate adjustment is needed for hypertension and diabetes, 27 January - 02 February, 2018


NATIONAL NEWS periodical breast examination, among others. This package was earlier pilottested among teaching and nonteaching personnel of the Department of Education, thus, its roll-out to the rest of the Formal Sector is welcome news. Among the latest packages were the medical detoxification package worth P10,000, Z benefit package for small and pre-term babies worth as much as P135,000, the upgrading of coverage for Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia from P210,000 to P500,000, among others. Also up for implementation soon are four (4) Z benefit packages for children with disabilities, covering hearing impairment, visual impairment, mobility and developmental disabilities. While studies are being


conducted to determine the appropriate amount of coverage for hearing and visual impairment, children with developmental disabilities are entitled to PhilHealth benefits ranging from P3,626 to P5,276; and claims for mobility impairment starts at P13,110. De la Serna added that the adjustment is timely as PhilHealth puts into effect programs that improved its service standards. For instance, the All Case Rates provider payment mechanism empowered members to immediately know how much PhilHealth pays for each and every compensable medical condition or surgical procedure. The list of medical conditions and the corresponding fixed, pre-determined amount can now be viewed through a mobile application or through the PhilHealth website. (PhilHealth)

27 January - 02 February, 2018

For more info. contact: Tel. No.: (085) 225-9219 / 300-0722 Cell Nos. 0908-875-9185 / 0917-580-2609 / 0925-556-2417 Email:


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Caraga InFocus – January 27-February 02, 2018  

An Electronic News Magazine of PIA Caraga

Caraga InFocus – January 27-February 02, 2018  

An Electronic News Magazine of PIA Caraga