Sunday, November 22, 2009

1,156 Members of Barangay Peacekeeping Teams Took their Oath with DILG Secretary

DILG Secretary Ronaldo Puno as guest speaker

The Police Regional Office 13 through its Police Community Relations Office organized the Barangay Peacekeeping Action Team (BPAT) in Caraga Region in order to maintain peace and order in local communities at the same time to immediately respond in emergency situations.
Butuan City and Jabonga in Agusan del Norte was chosen as the pilot areas for the region.
In a simple ceremony held on November 21 at Sanchez gym in Normisist, Ampayon this city, a mass oath taking of 1,156 BPAT’s from Butuan and Agusan del Norte was held with DILG Secretary Ronaldo Puno as the guest speaker.

Mayor Democrito D. Plaza in his message was thankful that Butuan was chosen to pilot the project and assured the city government will support for its sustainability.

The BPAT purposely was created as the primary operators to conduct Community-Oriented Policing and Public Safety System which will be composed of PNP supervisor, Barangay Chairman, and Barangay Tanods.

Police Senior Supt. Nestor Fajura, Plans and Operations Chief of PRO 13 said, the primary mission of BPATs includes the conduct of peacekeeping activities, organize and mobilize various sectors of the community in support of the maintenance of peace and order and safety.

BPAT members were also trained to conduct crisis management, disaster mitigation, search, rescue, and relief operations within the community, played important roles to strengthen and support the Barangay Justice System (Lupong Tagapamayapa) and authorized to conduct crime prevention and deterrence measures to protect the vulnerable sectors of the community.

“With the Barangay Peacekeeping Operations (BPO) and the BPAT, security and safety services traditionally dispensed by the PNP will be enhanced by the grassroots approach. The BPAT, the prime movers of the BPO will render services tailor-made for the community which they belong and serve”, said DILG Secretary Ronaldo Puno.

The Secretary also denied any political motivation behind the move to Launch BPAT.

Meanwhile, Police Regional Director Lino Calingasan explained that this is the new dynamic and proactive approach to community peacekeeping which the PNP leadership is pushing for.

“The formation and operationalization of the BPAT shall be guided by the principles and guidelines composed of the awareness phase, organization and training phase, and mobilization phase. Social investigation shall be conducted prior to the recruitment of prospective members of the BPAT. The results of the investigation will be the basis for the configuration of the team since no two barangays are the same in terms of peace and order and safety situation,” said Police Chief Supt. Calingasan.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Magallanes, Agusan del Norte

Perfect view on sunset at Magallanes, Agusan del Norte. Magallanes is a Spanish name of the Portuguese maritime explorer Ferdinand Magellan. Having only 8 barangays but the the town has two plywood manufacturing firms: EMCO in Brgy. Sto. Rosario and PSPI in Brgy. Marcos, and one safety matches manufacturing firm: JAKA Equities Corp (Brgy. Marcos). The three manufacturing plants are all on the main street and operating near the Baug River and Agusan River.

DSWD Released 6.1M Katas ng Vat for Senior Citizens in Caraga

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Caraga facilitated for the month of October a total of 2,612 senior citizens from Agusan del Sur, Surigao del Norte and Agusan del Sur in the continuing implementation of the government’s Katas ng Vat: Para kay Lolo at Lola Project of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

The Department has continued the one-shot provision of 500 pesos to senior citizens taken from the collection of the oil value added tax.

Implemented nationwide, the program requires that beneficiaries must be 70 years old and above, dependent or belonging to a family whose income is within or below the poverty threshold and not covered by any private or government agency retirement benefits like SSS, GSIS or PVAO.

The guideline also provides that a ratio of one beneficiary per family shall be followed.

DSWD Caraga Director Mercedita Jabagat said the Katas ng VAT: Tulong Para kay Lolo at Lola project was conceptualized to extend support in the form of a one-time cash grant to indigent senior citizens.

The Senior citizen in order to avail the program must present a valid identification card (OSCA ID, etc.) that indicates the birth date for validation purposes or a certification from the barangay captain as to the age of the senior citizen.

Last year, a total of 9,632 senior citizens received the 500 peso allocation fund.

On November 4 of this year, DSWD Caraga had an additional 2,312 senior citizen beneficiaries from Butuan City who will be receiving 500 pesos each.

The latest data of the implementation of the Katas ng VAT: Para kay Lolo at Lola released by DSWD-Caraga showed more than 6.1 million has already been released to senior citizens in different provinces and cites in the region. (with reports from Leah Quintana)

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Agusan River

The main water artery, the Agusan River, cuts across the length of the Agusan Valley traversing from the south to the north direction touching lands which connects the twin provinces of Agusan del Norte and Agusan del Sur.

Butuan River is the widest, deepest and longest navigable river in Mindanao, and the 3rd largest river in the Philippines. A cruise along the river barangays reveals much about Butuan's history, culture, arts, and people.

As a tribute to the Patroness of the Agusan River Senora Sta. Ana, the Abayan Festival- a day-long celebration of baroto races and fluvial procession at the Agusan River held every last Sunday of July. Part of tourism activity, the city government of Butuan holds Balik Butuan River Cruise during the Balangay (pronounced as ba-lang-hāy) Festival in May of every year.

While most rivers are drying up, this famous river, - “sawgan” in Butuanon dialect - of Agusan Valley has the highest overflow of water. Through the ages this serves the civilization that ones dotted in banks and the recent communities of this riverine highway. Great civilization of man here always situated on great valleys and along the rivers that gave them life.

“Agusan” is derived from the visayan word “agus” which means “where the water of life flows.”

Caraga Products

These are the products in Caraga, tissue holders, folders, decorative bottles, exquisite jewelries, and native products. Place your orders through

PGMA to grace 2nd International Game Fishing Tournament, Siargao

The 3-day 2nd International Game Fishing Tournament will kick off on May 7 in Pilar town, Siargao Island, considered as the paradise island in the province of Surigao del Norte, with no less than President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo as guest of honor.

More than a hundred foreign and local anglers are expected to participate and compete to catch the largest bony fish in the open sea off the northeastern tip of the Caraga Region that composed the provinces of Surigao del Norte, Surigao del Sur, Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, and Dinagat Islands. Initially, anglers or game fishing enthusiasts from manila, Cebu, Davao, Japan, Australia, Canada, Malaysia, Russia, Taiwan, the United States and other Asian countries have signified their enthusiasm to participate in this big fishing sea tournament.

Three of the country’s national game fishing clubs, the Philippine Game Fishing Foundation, the Philippine Sports Fishing Club and the Silver Jack Fishing Club of Manila, have also confirmed participation.

Prizes at stake are almost 500 thousand pesos to the anglers who will tally the highest weight points and heaviest catch during the three-day international tourney.
On the first day of the event, President Arroyo will lead the symbolic throwing of a fishing rod in Siargao waters.

Representative of the 1st District of Surigao del Norte Honorable Francisco Matugas is proud to host the event which was first launched last year, introducing the town of Pilar as the game fishing destination of the Philippines, and boasts Siargao Island as having in abundance of giant fishes such as the Swordfish, Sailfish and Great Barracuda, Blue Marlin, huge Pacific Tuna and Barilis (yellow fin tuna), Tanguigue (Spanish mackerel) , Morang (dolphinfish), King Mackerel, Marlin and other big and rare species of fish.

A night before the grand opening, visitors and participants will be welcomed with a Cultural Show, and at 10 o’clock in the morning of May 7, the much awaited event shall begin at Pilar Boulevard with a grand opening ceremony.

A game fishing clinic will also be held during the duration of the tournament, and the holding of a Bikini Babe in the evening of May 9 after the awarding ceremonies, and a “Miss Siargao Contest” are expected to add color to the festivities.

Siargo Island was promoted to be the next tourist destination in the Philippines, famous for its “Cloud 9” which is considered one of the world’s top surfing waves and declared as one of the best surfing sites.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Butuan City Hall

The New and Old City Hall Building, big transformation, bringing into the reality Mayor Plaza's vision. " Tomorrow will start today. The challenge is to make the present a springboard for the future, where today's initiatives will build the pillars of tomorrow's generation.

Another landmark is the Butuan City Hall, it was inaugurated in August 2, 2005, the day when Butuanons celebrate its 55th Charter Day. The old city hall still is being utilized as offices of the PESO, LTTMO, Butuan Manpower Training Center, Community Affairs,City Comelec and the PRC.

In keeping up withe advanced technology, and modern archetecture, Butuan City Mayor Democrito Plaza II, "Boy Daku" to everyone, once has said, "commitment extends beyond the present to preparing our future. Because we have laid firm foundation, we are not forever chasing today's crises, but are able to focus on building for tomorrow."

Today, Butuan City Hall Complex is considered as one of the best City Hall in the country, and the best in Mindanao.


This hill site or “Bood” in Butuanon dialect in Baragay Pinamanculan, is the historic site of commemoration when Magellan and his men erected a cross and celebrated the 1st Mass on Philippine Soil on March 31, 1521. It is the highest elevation and promontory overlooking the whole of Butuan bay and Masao River.

Today, the indigenous “Hadlayati Tree” still abounds lording over a Clonal nursery and tree park, and the serpentine Masao River (ElRio de Butuan) amidst fishponds and archaeological treasures.

On this hill an image of the cross was put up to celebrate the historic event of the 1st Mass and the planting of the sign of the cross in Philippine soil. Pigafetta recorded this event which took place in the afternoon of March 31, 1521 after the Easter Mass was celebrated in the morning of the same date. Two Butuanon brother kings attended these Easter ceremonies of 1521. According to the chronicles of Pigafetta, rice fields and Balanghai boats could be seen on the hill where they were.

The park was constructed not just for its historical significance but to provide to the people of Butuan including its visitors to rekindle the past during the first landfall of Magellan in the Philippines.

Interesting Sites in Butuan You'd Love to Explore: Mount Mayapay

“You’ll know Butuan can’t be far away when you see the majestic Mayapay at a distance”

According to historians, Mt. Mayapay got its name from the ancient Madjapahit Empire which bears much meaning and influence on Butuan’s pre-historic and archeological discoveries which supports its claims as the first kingdom in archipelago.

It has an elevation of 675 meters or 2,214 ft. above sea level, it provides a good camping ground for people who need fresh air and is awed by the majestic view of Butuan.

Mount Mayapay is the highest peak along the Butuan City-Buenavista Mountain and is located West of South from the Butuan City proper.

However, in 1751 the mountain was called in the ‘Mapa de Caraga’ as MONTE de MINAS but geographically it does not belong to the territory of Butuan but to the town of Buenavista, Agusan del Norte.

Its predominant feature is the plateau formation at the peak overlooking Butuan City and nearby municipalities along Butuan Bay. There are three barangays and a sitio found along the foot of the mountain namely: Nongnong, Bonbon and Dumalagan, Butuan City and Sitio Tapnigue, Sangay in Buenavista, Agusan del Norte.

Mount Mayapay can be reached through 4 alternative routes:
1. From Butuan City to Barangay Nongnong with about 21 kilometers to the base of the mountain. From the base to the top will take about 1 hour more or less through trekking.
2. From Butuan City proper to Sitio Matin-ao, Bonbon is about 12 kilometers then about 4 hours of trekking to the top of the mountain.
3. From Butuan City to Barangay Dumalagan is about 20 kilometers and another 8 kilometers through access road to the top of the mountain.
4. Butuan City via sitio Tapnigue, Sangay, Buenavista, Agusan del Norte id about 20 kilometers or about 25 minutes ride then hiking of about 3 hours to the top of the mountain.

Existing Developmental Activities Implemented within Mt. Mayapay
 Reforestation/rehabilitation on degraded watershed area – 58.35 hectares
 Agro-forestry – 29.0 hectares
 Nursery establishment
 Vegetative measures – 9 hectares
 Trail road

Butuan City – ‘The Historic City’

The City of Butuan is the regional center area of the Caraga Region located at the Northeastern part of Agusan Valley sprawling across the Agusan River is Butuan City, known for its archaeological sites. BUTUAN is a term believed to have originated from the sour fruit “Ba-tu-an”. Others opined, it came from a certain “Datu Buntuan”, a chieftain who once ruled Butuan. Scholars believed, it came from the word “But-an”, which literally means a person who has sound and discerning disposition. Whichever theories appear credible depends on the kind of people residing in Butuan, for whatever is said about them, Butuan continues to live on.
Butuan’s history, culture, arts and people date back to the 4th century as showcased in museums which makes Butuan an exciting source of cultural artifacts in Mindanao.
As early as the 10th century, according to the Chinese Song Shi (history), people from Butuan had already established trading relations with the kingdom of Champa in what is now South Vietnam.

By the 11th century, Butuan was the center of trade and commerce in the Philippines. The best evidence to prove this fact is the discovery of 9 balangays (The BUTUAN BOAT) and other archeological finds in the vicinities of Butuan City, particularly in Ambangan, Libertad near the old EL RIO de BUTUAN and MASAO River.

Welcome to a City that has seen over 1,683 years of recorded history! The original site of the First Easter Mass in Philippine Soil, here, the present nurtures the past and vice-versa. While the future waits promisingly in the wings.

81,728 hectares
27 Urban Barangays
59 Rural Barangays

Multi-lingual predominantly Butuanon, Cebuano and English

Dry – March to September
Wet – October to February

May 19 – City Fiesta (in honor of St. Joseph)
August 2 – Adlaw Hong Butuan (Charter Day Anniversary)

What to Wear
Lightweight clothing is recommended. Informal clothing is acceptable when visiting churches or offices. For formal occasions, the traditional barong tagalong is accepted for men. Bars, restaurants and hotels have no dress code but it is considered improper to wear shorts and slipper.

How to get there
Butuan is accessible by plane or boat from Manila and Cebu. Land transportation to any point of Mindanao is available.

Butuan has one domestic Airport, the Bancasi Airport proper with Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific flights. It has various food outlets within the vicinity and souvenir items.

Butuan is easily accessible by boat from Manila, Cebu and Bohol. Fares vary according to accommodations.

Oranged colored tricycles are common in Butuan. They go around and even outside the city proper. Multicab jeeps or AC’s (auto calesa) are used in the main city streets, with corresponding route numbers. Cars for rent are available upon request in most hotels and at the airport, but all are not metered, so remember to agree on the fee before boarding. Few metered taxes are also available in the city. Bus Company plies the routes from Butuan to other municipalites in the region.


Caraga derived from the word Calagan. In a book “Historia de Mindanao y Jolo” published in 1667 Fr. Francisco Combes, S.J., wrote that the name Calagan is derived from two Bisayan words....’kalag’ which means soul and ‘al’ for land. Thus, Calagan means “The Land of spirited and courageous people”. Both Pablo Pastells, S.J. and Sebastian de Oporto, described the inhabitants of Caraga as fearsome, hostile, treacherous, and warlike.

Since there is no ‘k’ in the Spanish alphabet, the ‘c’ is used for Bisayan words with ‘K’ in them. So, ‘kalag is written as Calag’, likewise, Kalagan’ as ‘Calagan’. Later, Calagan became Caraga.

On February 6, 1624 Governor General Alfonso Fajardo divided the island of Mindanao into two big sections, to avoid conflict over jurisdictions. The giant eastern portion of Mindanao Island comprised the “Provincia de Caraga”, and it was almost one-half of the entire island that comprised the province that constituted a portion of Misamis Oriental (from Gingoog), Agusan, Surigao and partly from Vergara.

In 1860, through a Royal Decree, Mindanao fell under one politico-military government and it was finally subdivided into 6 districts: Primero Distrito (Zamboanga), Northern District (Cagayan/Misamis), Eastern District (Caraga-Agusan/Surigao), Fourth District (Davao), Central District (Bukidnon/Cotabato), and South District (Basilan).

The Eastern District later known to become the province of Surigao, hence, the collective name of the old Caraga province was forgotten. A town in Davao Oriental of today carries the name Caraga but it does not refer to the new region at present.

In 1898, Agusan otganized a single-politico commandancia named Butuan, later on became a sub-province of Surigao...and in 1907, Agusan became a separate province. Its capital was Butuan which became a chartered city on August 2, 1950 by virtue of RA 523 authored by Congressman Marcos M. Calo. Further the province of Agusan was divided into two..AGUSAN del NORTE with BUTUAN CITY as the provincial capital, and AGUSAN del SUR with Prosperidad as its capital, based on the approved RA 4979 dated June 17, 1967.

In the process of regionalization when provinces and citries were grouped into regions, Agusan del Norte Agusan del Sur and Surigao del Norte became as part of Region X.

On February 16, 1995, House Bill #10643, principally authored by Congresswoman Charito B. Plaza of the First District of Agusan del Norte was passed and consolidated with Senate Bill #729 and finally passed by the Senate on February 20, 1995. This was signed into law by President Fidel V. Ramos on February 23, 1005.

Republic Act #7901, an act Creating Region XIII, known as The Caraga Administrative Region, heralded the birth of the Caraga Region with BUTUAN CITY as the regional center. The establishment of the new Caraga Region composed of the provinces of Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Surigao del Norte, Surigao del Sur and the cities of Butuan and Surigao brought back a large portion of land from the original Provincia de Caraga.