caraga region

Higaonons build new lumad schools

September 25, 2017

ESPERANZA, Agusan del Sur--Higaonon residents in the far-flung hinterland Hinamaybay village take pride of constructing two new school buildings after two months of voluntary works in the spirit of Bayanihan. The new schools, consisting of one two-classroom and another three-classroom buildings designed with a Higaonon culture concept are now ready to use to some 216 elementary pupils and 75 secondary grade 7 and 8 students . Built under the Kapit Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (Kalahi-Cidss) program of the Department of Social Welfare and Development(DSWD), the new P3.9 million classroom buildings were inaugurated by Esperanza Mayor Leonida Manpatilan and local officials on Wednesday, September 20. Considered by the Department of Education as lumad public school, five of the eleven teachers who belong to the different indigenous tribes of this province will teach the school children using the Higanonon medium of instruction in all subjects in the elementary and secondary level. The opening of the 3-classroom building is also a welcome sigh of relief to the grade 7 and 8 students as they would no longer trek some seven to nine kilometers rugged roads and mountain trail to study in secondary schools in the distant neighboring villages. Kinamaybay is an isolated community inhabited by 90 percent Higaonons which can be only reached by habal-habal motorcycles and 4-wheel drive vehicles with its interior roads can be only accessed using the national highway connecting La Nieves town in Agusan del Norte. It was once disturbed by the bombings at the height of atrocities between New Peoples Army rebels and Army soldiers in 2010 but residents confronted their sad plight to a committed resolve to instead help one another to uplift their socioeconomic condition. This had drawn government attention, making them recipients of various Kalahi-Cidss projects funded by the World Bank in the past years. Visiting DSWD officials were impressed with the way residents cooperate as everybody would be present at a gathering for a meeting at the multipurpose hall of the village as soon as they hear the clang of the distant bell. Aside from the new school building, the residents were recipients of previous Kalahi-Cidss sub projects, including village road, day care center, rice and corn mill, solar dryer and concrete pathway which were realized because of the residents active participation as stakeholders during the implementation stages of the projects. During her visit, Manpatilan also inaugurated the P680,00 300-meter road leading to the new secondary school building and the turnover of P2.5 million farm tractor. “This is a 4-in-1 projects here that will bring total makeover of the community,” the mayor said.. She lauded the Kalahi-Cidss program as a holistic approach that had given residents a proud sense of ownership. Samuel Ampahan, chairperson of Barangay Sub Project Management Committee, said the residents’ sincere commitment to participate in realizing the projects which were carried out with transparency and accountability was the key to their success. He recalled many of those who volunteered to become part of the project monitoring team did not have formal education at school, but managed to learn skills from the trainings that taught them the intricacies on the standards and regulations of the projects. Some of the residents admitted the training and workshops and their exposure on canvassing the materials outside their village helped them better persons to socialize in the outside world, a transformation from the traditional traits of a Higaonon who are meek and shy. Ampahan, a pastor of a Christian church in the village, has been a Kalahi-Cidss volunteer leader for 11 years which made him a finalist in the program’s national awards this year. Village chief Rolando Pinahan said the projects that the community received served as an instrument to develop their ancestral domain.” We never thought the projects would come here,” Pianhan said, adding in local vernacular that “ walay man mi kurso kon grado pero ang among pagka kursunada maoy nagpatuman niining tanan (We did not have courses in education but our strong will and determination made this all happen.)” The Lumad public school would be the first in Caraga with complete package using the indigenous teaching curriculum under the K-12 educational program. The five Lumad teachers, even with the absence of teaching materials and textbooks, have taught the elementary school children the different subjects using the Higaonon dialect. Virginia Talidro, Supervisor of Department of Education District I of Esperanza, said the Lumad teachers have undergone trainings during summer time for them to internalize in the K12 program the indigenization and contextualization of the curriculum. “These will be integrated across learning areas of the school chidren,” she said. Leo Madrina, Teacher-In-Charge of Hinamaybay Elementary School, said two English and Science volunteer teachers who are Lumads are now teaching the grade 7 and grade 8 students who will be transferring to the new three-classroom school buildings. Already, the Lumad teachers have been tasked to work on the orthography of Higaonon dialect and the materials will be given to the tribal leaders for validation.

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Church builds internet to serve far-flung areas

September 20, 2017

BAYUGAN City--A thriving Christian denomination here has established its own wireless internet broadband services not to lure more church members but to connect the world wide web far-flung communities and schools not yet served by major telecommunication networks. To propagate its state-of-the art global Airmax network, the A2wiser Broadband Corporation operated by the United Pentecostal Church (UPC) in this city has already tapped at least five public schools that benefits mostly junior and high school students who are now enjoying fast internet connections in their school campus and in their electronic libraries. Interestingly, the A2wiser wireless internet services was first introduced in Mamapasano town in Maguindanao a few months before the infamous Mamapasano massacre on January 25, 2015 but the unstable peace and order situation there prompted the company to pull out and transferred it to this city. Bayugan City Senior High School, located along the national highway some five kilometers from the city, was the recent recipient of the internet connection when some three new desktop computers were activated at their e-library during the inauguration rites over the weekend. Jessie Esmad, school principal, said availability of internet connection in their new e-library would be helpful on the research studies of the students who can access it anytime considering that the school do not have enough textbooks to cater about 1,069 students. “It is convenient since students would no longer commute to the city to do research work,” Esma said. The three new computers provided by A2wiser to the e-library have included printers for students to print their research works with a minimal fee of P5 per page. Pastor Jocim Galos, A2wiser chief operation officer, said they would set up internet kiosks in the schools furnished with tablet mobile phones and PCs to augment the services of the library making internet connection more accessible inside the school campus. Apart from these services, A2wider has been selling internet cards to students and teachers with an affordable rate at P5 per hour so that they could also access internet on their own mobile phones and laptops. As part of their corporate social responsibility, five percent of the profits gained from monthly internet bills and internet cards will go to the funds of Parent-Teacher Association and student government bodies. Esmad said more PCs allocated for their school from the central office of the Department of Education will be coming and will be connected to the Internet to complete the computer sets needed at the e-library. Even the computer laboratory of the school used only for instructional purposes and the workshops of different technical vocational subjects will be also connected with internet to enhance the learning capabilities of the students. Except Bayugan Comprehensive National High School, other schools are mostly located outside of the heart of the city which were already connected with A2wiser internet are Marcelina National High School, Salvacion National High School and Noli National High School. Galos said their company is bent on covering the entire 68 schools in the city within this year and hopes that could cover the entire Caraga region in the next five years. According to Diomedes Hinacay, network administrator, A2wiser has invested P3 million to set up its state-of-the-art equipment and its towers erected in the schools using the Airmax network technology or what techies would describe as the global standard for last mile connectivity which already connected hundreds of millions of people even in the remote areas of the world. Hinacay said they are tapping the internet services of major telecommunication networks like Globe, Bayantel, PLDT , and Smart that subscribers are assured of uninterrupted internet connection since they could transfer to another network when one would be down. He said Globe Telecom has allocated them 300 megabytes per second (Mbps) for a 2-3 years contract but so far they only utilized Mbps to cater their subscribers in the city. A2wiser is working on its expansion activities as they are assured of another P5 million loan capital from retired Deputy Police Director General Chief Superintendent Geary Barias, who is now chief security and boad of director of Platinum Group Metals Corporation in Claver, Surigao del Norte. Barias who was guest of honor during the launching event lauded the efforts of the church leaders saying the company guided by the blessings of God could go a long way.” What man proposes, God will definitely dispose,” Barias said in his speech. Rene Rojas, a pioneer in the establishment of the company, said A2wiser was established as a crusade of UPC to build more churches in the hinterland communities , provide internet services to the lumads at affordable cost and send more scholars to Bible colleges. Charlie Misagi, business consultant of the company, said money has not been a priority but serving people with no access to internet technology is the main focus. “Our main concern for this company is to serve the unserved.”

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Guv gives away 14 bikes to lucky Aselco raffle winners

September 11, 2017

SAN FRANCISCO, Agusan del Sur--Gov. Adolph Edward Plaza over the weekend handed down at least 14 motorcycles to the winners of the raffle draw of the Annual General Membership Assembly (AGMA) of Agusan del Sur Electric Cooperative, Inc. (ASELCO) held last May 13, 2017. The governor personally attended the awarding ceremonies at the Bae Naipaganda Hall of ASELCO Main Office where the eager winners coming from different towns of the province received the keys of the Rusi motorcycles from him. “This is one humble way of my support to ASELCO to let the national leadership know that we are united here in Agusan del Sur,” Plaza said in his remarks. The lucky winners were drawn from thousands of tickets of ASELCO member-consumer-owners who attended the AGMA being held in four areas of the province where the whole day event was aired live simulcast via Skype. The AGMA held at the fully-airconditioned newly-built ASELCO covered court at the main office, at the Billanes Gym in Trento town, at Lope Asis Gym in Bayugan City and Talacogon municipal gym in Talacogon town were attended by Senator Sherwin Gatchalian, Gov. Plaza, National Electrification Administartion Administrator Edgardo Masongsong and top officials of the Energy Regulatory Commission. Plaza announced impromptu that he would give away 14 motorcycles to lucky raffle winners to the great excitement of the crowd but due to meticulous processing in the release of the funds for the purchase of these motorcycle, the awarding was held last Friday. ASELCO Board President Corazon Cullantes has announced the cooperative is working on a livelihood program that will benefit residents down to the Purok level in the entire province, so that “ you will have now the capacity to pay your monthly electric bills.” For his part, ASELCO General Manager Engr. Emmanuel Galarse said the giving away of motorcycles was a big blessing since it is the first time that at least 18 motorcycles were given as grand prizes. Apart from the 14 motorcycles which the governor has committed, ASELCO has given four motorcycles as grand prizes. “My thanks reaches up the heavens up above,” said Sandy Aguilar, one of the winners living in the upland village of Villangit in Sibagata town. He added the motorcycle will help him bring his chi8ldren to school considering the hardships before of travelling the seven-kilomter rugged roads. Another winner Raul Blanco, a nurse by profession, said he was surprised when he was told that he won since he just left the raffle ticket and went home earlier to work at the hospital.

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Butuan mayor bans city gov’t workers from illegal gambling

September 7, 2017

BUTUAN CITY – In line with his directive to city hall employees to lead by example, Mayor Ronnie Vicente C. Lagnada has issued Executive Order No. 016 strictly prohibiting all local government officials and employees from engaging in all forms of illegal gambling. The city chief executive stressed in his order that his administration condemns the existence of illegal gambling activities such as illegal numbers games as they have become a negative influence on the individual’s regard for the value of dignified work, perseverance and thrift since instant monetary gain from gambling are equated to success, thereby becoming a source of corruption and a social menace. Lagnada noted that engaging in illegal gambling such as card and number games and other gambling activities, electronic or otherwise, have proven to be detrimental to productivity, moral and ethical conduct that hamper the delivery of public services. Any official or employee found guilty of violating EO 016 shall face disciplinary action in any of the following circumstances: a) Permanent officials and employees covered by Civil Service rules shall be punished by a reprimand for the first offense, suspension of up to thirty (30) days for the second offense, and dismissal for the third offense,; b) Non-permanent employees whose employment is either on job order or service contract status will be terminated at the first offense;. Among the prohibited acts unde EO 016 include: a) Engaging or participating in all forms of illegal gambling, card or number games and other similar activities, electronic or otherwise, within and outside the workplace and whether or not in the performance of official duties; b) Possessing illegal gambling paraphernalia, materials, and prizes; c) Promoting and betting in illegal gambling activities, and concealing, aiding or abetting officials or employees therein; and d) Doing any other acts tantamount to those above-Mentioned.

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DA-13: Caraga needs more coffee nurseries to meet production goals

August 31, 2017

Blessed with suitable climatic condition plus available farm technologies, coffee industry in Caraga looks promising. According to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), coffee production in Caraga had an average growth rate of 12.8% from 2010-2015. Yet, coffee supply was not enough to meet demand. “Nestle Philippines, the biggest coffee buyer in the country was able to source out only 25% of local coffee requirement.The remaining 75% had to be imported,” Eddie Baylin, Nestle Area Agronomist for Caraga, said. During the crafting of Caraga’s coffee industry roadmap in 2016, the lack of quality materials was identified as among weak points of the industry. Currently, there is only one accredited coffee nursery in the region, the Mabuhay Kahayagan Coffee Growers Cooperative nursery in Tagbina, Surigao del Sur. Accreditation of plant nurseries ensures quality planting materials that are free from pests and diseases. On the other hand, accredited plant nurseries will have access to technical assistance and supervision, access to government programs in terms of marketing, and are entitled to identified scion/plant propagules from government-registered scion groves. Among the requirements of the Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) for nursery accreditation is the establishment of the nursery at least one year prior to application. It should also have a minimum area of 1,000 sq.m. with a stock inventory of planting materials valued at P100,000 per crop applied. It should also have a scion grove and garden planted with National Seed Industry Council (NSC) approved and registered Varieties/cultivars of fruit, plantation and root crops established at least a year before application. The nursery must also have a minimum of 20 mother trees per variety/strain of the crop applied following the recommended distance. The scion grove should not be more than five kilometer radios from the nursery for accessibility. All propagules to be used in sexual/asexual propagation must be obtained from tagged trees by Plant Material Certification of the established foundation/scion budwood and seed garden. “There is a need to establish more nurseries in the region because we want to be assured of the production of quality and high-yielding planting materials to meet our coffee production target,” said DA-Caraga High-Value Development Program Coordinator Marco Antonio Morido. Based on the roadmap, Caraga has a projected target of increased coffee production from 1,716 MT to 3,712 MT in 2022. Applicants for nursery accreditation may either be an individual applicant or designated representative of an association/corporation/non-government organization (NGO)/local government units (LGUs) or state universities and colleges (SUCs) engaged in plant nursery business. They must have a propagator who has undergone training in nursery establishment, and principles of plant propagation conducted by BPI, DA-Regional Offices and SUCs.

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Rising rabies deaths: S. Cotabato wants more bite centers

August 29, 2017

GENERAL Santos City––Health authorities in South Cotabato are pushing for the establishment before yearend of six more Department of Health (DOH)-accredited Animal Bite Centers (ABC) as it moves to address the rising cases of rabies deaths in the area. John Codilla, rabies program coordinator of the South Cotabato Integrated Provincial Health Office (IPHO), said Wednesday they are currently working with six municipal governments in the province for the opening of their own bite centers. He said the new facilities would be established in the municipalities of Sto. Nino, Lake Sebu, Tboli, Tupi, Banga and Tampakan. Codilla said they are assisting in the processing of requirements to facilitate the accreditation of the rural health unit-based ABCs with the DOH. “This is part of our ongoing efforts to further strengthen our rabies prevention and control program,” he said. The official said the province has four existing DOH-accredited ABCs. These are located at the South Cotabato Provincial Hospital and Dr. Arturo Pingoy Hospital in Koronadal City, Rural Health Unit of Tantangan town and the Upper Valley Community Hospital in Surallah town. Codilla said the DOH will provide 60 percent of the anti-rabies vaccine requirements of the additional bite centers while the host local governments will shoulder the remaining 40 percent. The number of vaccines that would be provided by the DOH to the ABCs will be based on the recorded number of animal bites in their areas. As of the second week of August, the IPHO’s epidemiology and surveillance unit already recorded 16 confirmed deaths due to rabies infection. The municipalities of Lake Sebu and T’boli posted the most number of cases with four each, followed by Polomolok with three, Koronadal City with two, and Banga, Sto, Nino and Norala with one each. The PESU report said the victims were aged between five to 70 years-old and majority of them were males. At least 12 of the cases or 75 percent involved rabid dogs that did not undergo rabies vaccination. Owing to this. Dr. Flora Bigot, acting head of the Provincial Veterinary Office, said they have stepped up their anti-rabies vaccination drives within the province’s 10 towns and lone city. In the last six months, she said they already vaccinated around 60 percent of the estimated 60,000 dog population in the province. Vaccination activities are ongoing in Polomolom town and the next stops would be the Tantangan, Tampakan and Tupi towns, she added. (MindaNews)

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