Friday, October 22, 2010

“Contrasenyas” nullifies ballots

BALLOTS deliberately marked for purposes of countersigns (contrasenyas) can be considered null and void.

On this, the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) in Bohol warns vote buyers and voters trooping to the polls in Bohol’s 1109 barangays on Monday against wasting their votes on scrupulous practices that challenge the integrity of elections.

In the country known for its fraudulent manual polls, candidates instruct their “paid” voters to strictly follow markers so that the buyers can track specific votes read during canvassing from his materlist of assigned countersigns.

Marked ballots, or as the Board of Election Tellers (BET) agree that it is deliberately put by the voter for idetification purposes it make the ballot null and void.

Provincial Election supervisor Atty Eliseo Labaria, citing the General Instructions for BET and Barangay Board of Canvassers in connection with the 2010 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections also reiterated this.

The ruling is to prevent voters from putting up the “contrasenyas” or a practice of deliberately marking ballots in manual elections to assure the candidates that the votes read belongs to a voter he has bribed, explains a teacher who used to be a BET member in the past manual polls.

These marks however do not include commas, dots, lines or hyphens, accidental flourishes, strokes or strains in a ballot, rule 22 of section 211 of the Omnibus Election Code.

While it may be considered that a typical writer’s mistakes can be manifest in the ballot, clearly marking them would invalidate the whole ballot, not just the vote in favor of the name of the candidate, a recap from the general instructions show.

The BET however should decide and agree if the marks are such to be considered strong enough to be considered rejected.

The cardinal rule however is to consider the ballot valid and in favor of the voter, but the Comelec has allowed the BET independence in the ballot appreciation, Comelec Genereal Instructions said.

According to the rules, names of candidates printed and pasted on a blank space of the ballot or affixed there on a mechanical process would also be deemed null and void.

This would then render the whole ballot null and void. (PIABohol)

Newswriting: HEAT Caravans new offer

A NEWSWRITING workshop is now an added service at the Capitol-led Heath, Education, Agriculture Tourism (HEAT) Caravan.

The HEAT Caravan, an offshoot from the Provincial Peace and Order Council’s (PPOC) Civil Action engages government fronline service providers to bring their services to selected communities whose residents find it hard to get to the Capitol or to the government services owing to the distance.

Thye civic action is the government’s regular activity to bring government closer to the people in far flung communities for them to get services which are otherwise hard for them to avail due to distance.

Reporting for peace should find a way and empowering people especially the youth to be able to do so may perhaps allow the youth to participate more actively in governance, the concept paper for the project states.

It is not just a simple news writing module, it is showing to the learners how news stories can be done in the context of peace and its recurring issues, it added.

Starting off with free services for minor medical operations and surgeries, dental services, medical consultations and vitamin supplementation including feeding activities, free legal clinics, land disputes counselling, tax education, relief assistance, agritechnology support and extension services and livestock dispersal, the HEAT Caravan has gone from the island town of President Carlos P. Garcia to Pilar under Chatto at the helm.

Wanting to maximize the services which residents in indetified towns would get from the caravan, the governor has urged private sector and non government organizations interested in putting up help booths to join.

On the aspect of education, the Philippine Information Agency has offered the news writing workshops for junior peace partners, on a module developed by the government agency to equip student writers to write for peace, the concept paper states.

At its test run October 19, 2010, the Basic Newswriting Workshop for Youth Peace Advocates ran from 10:00 am to 3:00 PM and dealt on the basic news writing skills for student reporters, said training facilitators.

About 30 students from Virgin del Pilar Academy, Pilar Technical Vocational High School and San Isidro Technical and Vocational High School in the town participated in the PIA facilitated writeshop.

The module is basically straight news writing and reporting which also includes side topics in copyediting so students and school organ advisers can experience the task of editing copies for publication, the training facilitator explained. (PIABohol)

DILG awards P2M each for Balilihan, Catigbian towns

TWO Bohol towns are P2 million pesos richer after the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) rewards them for their good performance in governance.

The honor also goes to Bohol for being the only province with two town winners among the 15 innovative local government units in governance.

Obtaining for each, a seal of good housekeeping for local government units are Catigbian and Balilihan towns.

Both are also reportedly included in the DILG’s first 100 days accomplishment report to President Benigno Simeon Aquino.

Catigbian and Balililihan were last categorized as fourth class towns, or are among those whose average income is less than P30 million.

The Bohol towns are among the 15 LGUs picked for this year’s awards, which also include Anilao in Iloilo; Balete in Aklan; Clarin in Misamis Occidental; Damulog, in Bukidnon; Datu Paglas in Maguindanao.

Leon B. Postigo of Zamboanga del Norte; Mobo of Masbate; Naawan of Misamis Oriental; Pitogo of Quezon Province; San Agustin of Surigao del Sur; Santol of La Union; Sto. Domingo of Albay and Tampilisan town of Zamboanga del Norte.

Earlier, the DILG put up the Performance Challenge Fund (PCF) to motivate local government units further in their efforts to excel in governance.

Winners would be judged according to the Local Governance Performance Management System, which has become a guide for LGUs to complete their state of local governance report and the state of development report.

Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo as cited in reports said 15 LGUs successfully obtained the seal of good housekeeping – meaning they exhibited strong performance in key areas of governance – and received P2 million each.

He said the seal of good housekeeping was completed and is currently used to identify LGUs that exhibit strong performance in the key governance areas of planning, fiscal management, transparency and accountability and value performance monitoring, he was quoted by Philstar.

Recently, Robredo again encouraged local government officials to disclose their local budget and finances in an effort to promote greater accountability and transparency in their fund utilization and financial transactions. (PIABohol)

Andalucia finds harbor in Bohol

DIOS llevandolo en salvamento – God bring it to safe harbor.

The inscriptions which are carefully written at the foot of each shipment on the galleon’s manifest more than 500 years ago, could also be said today, for the 51 meter replica of the great wooden galleons that plied the Manila-Acapulco (Mexico) calmly sways with the gentle swells of Catagbacan Port in Loon, Bohol.

Now safely protected from the betraying and foaming shoals, shallow reefs and the lurking pirates that haunts and hunts for for the treasures carried by these galleons, the cruise ship port Catagbacan which was blessed and inaugurated yesterday October 23, ideally offers deep waters and the lee side to provide the right shelter to a foreign boat without disturbing the daily commercial traffic at other ports considered to host the wooden hulled ship, said Gov. Edgar Chatto.

The inscriptions were just as apt, for the often overloaded ships from safe harbors of Manila challenged the infamous and treacherous Pacific storms, insatiable pirates and uncharted waters in a shippling route that is largely dependent on trade winds and the ever-changing monsoons.

For 250 years, these galleons carried silks, spices, and other rich goods from the Orient to trade with European products and Mexican silver.

Here, the East meets West across the routes of the galleons making the trade route the most significant pathway for commerce and cultural inter-change between Europea and Asia through the Americas, an article from the National Geographic September 1990 issue states.

The trade also puts the Manila in the Philippines the center of the web of trade and commerce by linking India, Southeast Asia, Japan, and China.

In all of them, the galleons are the crucial links that ferry all these oriental goods, ranging from exotic spices of Moluccas, silk from China, pewter, table ware, furniture, pearls and diamonds, fine stones and gems, musks and other essences and still a treasure hoard for Europeans where these products command high prices.

Largely credited for breathing life into the Manila-Acapulco (Nueva Espana) trade route, the galleons, many of them built and fitted in Cavite in the Philippines also facilitated the exchange of culture and commerce, historical annals would tell.

The ship that has moored in the Port of Catagbacan Loon however is one replica of the Andalucia galleons, for it was in the province where they lay the keel and raised the masts of these galleons, between Puerta Umbria and Huelva, Ignacio Hernandez Vial, expedition director and ship builder was earier quoted in reports.

With its crucial role in the exchange of culture and commerce, the United nations Educational Scientifi and Cultural Organization declared the Dia del Galleon, a festival to commemorate the crucial role the galleons brought to human history, said a UNESCO Jakarta Director during the launch in Bohol last July 22.

The great wooden boat replica of the Galleon Andalucia rises forty feet high, made even more daunting by her three masts anchoring seven sails re-traces the journeys of the galleon, the formidable ships overloaded with spices and precious cargo from the east to stimulate the taste and embellish the royalties of Europe.

Coming to the Philippines from Seville, the largest city in the southern Spanish province of Andalucia, the ship, which has six decks is largely made of iroko wood, oak, pine, fiberglass and polyester resin, the boatbuilder married the 15tyh century boatbuilding skills with modern technologies still took a combined work of 150 men 2 years to complete.

In Manila, an religious ceremony, the enthronization of our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage (our lady of Antipolo) was done to keep the museum ship and her crew away from harm.

Coming to the Philippines from Manila to Cebu and then to Bohol, the Andalucia sails off from Bohol on Tuesday and is expected to retrace her journey, not eastward across the Pacific but by the south and then west to Indian Ocean back, to Seville.

When she leaves Bohol, like the silent whispers of the Manileno, who stands to gain a fortune upon every galleon that arrives safely, Boholanos who have the undeniable traces of the Spanish, Chinese, Malay and the European races may again say “Dios llevandolo en salvamento.” (racPIABOhol)

Consumer’s rights come with great responsibility

A consumer just bought an item with a price tag of P29.95, almost P5 pesos off the price at another store. Bringing it to the counter, she realized that the price scanner showed item price tag erroneous. What would she do?

The Price Tag law would be applied, and since the law says that the price tag of the item on display shall prevail, it is the store’s mistake if they fail to replace their tags, a leading consumer rights advocate hints at the recent forum held at the PIA.

Just as consumers have rights, they also have responsibilities to be alert and questioning about the price and quality of goods to ensure getting a fair deal, says Mrs. Marieta Corales of the Consumer Watch Bohol Inc (CWBI).

Herself the CWBI president, Corales that consumer rights also come with responsibility and only by being an informed consumer can they be great consumers.

During the recent Kapihan sa PIA set in time for the culmination of the consumer consciousness month is also aired over DyTR on a slightly delayed schedule, Corales also admitted that CWBI is a new baby nurtured by the Department of Trade and Industry.

She added that the organization picks up what an older but now defunct consumer organization here has dropped off.

She insists however that it is similarly committed to organizing more consumers to enhance the strength and influence required to promote and protect consumer rights.

A single midrib hardly matters but a bunch could do things, she illustrates as she proves a point in engendering more consumers to assert their rights by getting the right information.

Consumer groups not only protect consumer rights, they also aim to educate consumers about their responsibilities to build a more equitable and fairer society, a DTI website claims.

By this, Corales adds that by building a broader base of informed and responsible consumers especailly in the towns could also allow them to expand their information education communication tasks.

According to CWBi, in their IEC component to spread the consumer rights and responsibilities, they are initially eyeing to get them into church based organizations as they are better organized and easy to mobilize.

While most people believe that consumer organizations help sue establishments for unfair tarde parctices, CWBI said, “we do not promise to solve consumer problems.”

“The best we can do is bring them (consumers and service providers) to a certain plane where we all can strike a happy deal when everyone feels like a winner, she said. (PIABohol)

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