Friday, April 15, 2011

NFA assures Boholanos
Sufficient rice supply

Tagbilaran City, Bohol, April 15. (PIA) ---BOHOLANOS should remain unfazed over the reported national security concern of shrinking rice supply.

Citing a 112% rice production sufficiency recorded by the Bureau of Agricultural Statistics (BAS), a top National Food Authority (NFA) executive here assures, “we have enough.”

Ramon Banluta, NFA Acting Provincial Operations Officer shared this in reaction to a news carried by the Philippine Daily Inquirer April 12, 2011.

A high rice sufficiency rating means that without bringing local harvests outside the island, Bohol rice production alone should be more than enough to supply local consumption.

But even with the local rice supply stocks, NFA still gets around 400,000 bags of rice this year as its regular allocation to respond to the mandate of providing cheap and accessible rice, Banluta said.

Compared with last year’s data, Banluta added that his office received some 500,000 bags of rice then, but reduced national importation caused the staved-off allocation for the island.

That is no cause for worry either, he said as Bohol farmers did have a relatively good harvest season.

To prove his point, he said the fact has kept government’s local procurement at bay.

Local commercial pick-up buying and selling here is pegged at P17 per kilo of palay, and commercial buyers beat the government because they pick up the palay at the farms while the farmers need to transport their produce to the nearest bodega to sell to the government.

The NFA exec reacted to reports about the threat of a looming rice crisis that has been monitored by intelligence communities.

The apprehension is based on the fact that a rice supply crisis could be the latest potential sources of unrest and would soon be a national security concern.

The threat comes next after terrorist attacks and political conflicts.

Earlier, the report quoted the Department of Agriculture saying that there is a national rice production shortfall of 1.3 million metric tons.

The country’s top officials however revealed that the country has some 2.3 million metric tons of buffer stocks.

DA also reportedly said that NFA is importing some 300,000 metric tons more this time. (PIABohol/Rey Anthony Chiu)

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Energy sector assures
power to keep Bohol
growth momentum

Tagbilaran City. April 15 (PIA)---MAKING sure that the economic growth momentum is sustained, Governor Edgar Chatto generated assurances from the power sector while looking at the future of investments in Bohol.

Aside from dreaming of becoming a strong eco-cultural tourism destination in the country, Boholanos also envision an aggressive agro-industrial economy that has the potential to sap all available energies the province may need.

With this, in a meeting with the key power sector, Governor Edgar Chatto said energy authorities have assured a sustainable power supply in support of local industries.

In the same meeting, the National Grid Corporation along with Bohol Electric Cooperative 1 and 2, Bohol Light Company Incorporated and other energy authorities also assured that the present power capacity can sustain Bohol’s development leap until 2015.

Bohol now is largely supplied by the Leyte-Bohol Power Interconnection Project laid in 1999, which was designed to transmit 138 KV of geothermal power from Tongonan in Leyte to Bohol.

The maximum transmitted capacity however, Gov. Chatto bared at his weekly Kita ug ang Gobernador radio program is about 85 MW, considering the transmission losses.

With the future operation of Panglao airport and its complex, a projected surge in power demand could be expected, energy experts have aired their fears.

To this, according to the governor, the Department of Energy and the NGC has even assured a strengthened power boost with the completion of the Bohol Backbone Transmission Project, which brings more power to the urban centers in Tagbilaran and Panglao.
The P1.4B project also puts up fiber-optics strung through high tension transmission lines through steel overhead towers from Ubay to Tagbilaran, and the 100 MVA Tagbilaran sub-station.
The project aims to accommodate load growth and address the low voltage problem, improve system reliability and operational flexibility and extend electricity service to areas which used to have no access to power supply, said the Governor Erico Aumentado who sought for the granting of the project.

Phase two of the project also includes upgrading the submarine cables from Lapinig island in Carlos P. Garcia town in Bohol to Guadalupe in Leyte, which is aimed to boost more power.

When completed, as the project design shows, Bohol nets an estimated 276 KV from Leyte alone.     

Over this, Chatto also said that aside from the main bulk supply from Leyte, Bohol is also looking at its locally generated power and its capacity for building more island based resources.

Earlier reports also said that Ayala Development Corporation has shares interest in developing an 8 MW hydro power plant in Danao-Inabanga town area, utilizing the Wahig River.
 At present, Bohol’s peak power demand is pegged at 65 MW, sources at the main distribution companies said.

Locally generated hydro electric power includes Ewon (Sevilla town) (1.2 MW), Hanopol (2.5MW), Loboc (1.2MW).  (PIABohol/Rey Anthony Chiu)

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Tourism leaders urge people
participation at consultations

Tagbilaran City, Bohol. April 15 (PIA)---TOURISM authorities in Bohol urge stakeholders to participate in the discussions and make their heard, on towards a more effective and comprehensive tourism development roadmap here.

The call was issued by no less than Governor Edgar Chatto and was reiterated by Provincial Tourism Council Chairman Atty. Lucas Nunag at the recent Kapihan sa PIA Thursday.

The ultimate goal is to bring the people to be involved in the discussions so the communities can also put in inputs on how they would want their tourism areas to be developed in the light of Bohol aiming to be the prime eco-cultural tourism destination it envisioned in 1997.

Known staunch environment advocates, Boholanos has agreed to go for eco-cultural tourism as it would need less capitalization and in return, is labor intensive.

But the effects of unregulated tourism development threatened the sustainability of the industry as it slowly opens its doors to the international market.

The development has also infused into the process issues that would relate to developments which impact on the environment, standards of accommodations and services, travel and transport services, policies on tourism supply and relations, heritage and arts and the impacts to communities.

Bohol has mulled to come up with measures to upgrade its tourism services and infrastructure to adopt it to international standards to be truly viable tourism destination, adds Josephine R. Cabarrus.

All of this, we need to craft policies that would further push us “towards a sustainable and equitable tourism industry for Boholanos and the world, explained Provincial Tourism Council Chairman Atty. Lucas Nunag.

Incidentally, the statement also elaborates the theme of the Tourism Summit.

Bohol erects a major tourism milestone next month with its first Tourism Summit preceded by a series of sectoral consultations according to Cabarrus.

We want to listen to more opinions and we want the people to get involved, stressed Atty. Nunag.

People interested to join the accommodations and academe sector as they convene on April 27 at the People’s Mansion are welcome.

On May 4, the travel trade sector convenes at the Mansion while the next Wednesday would be for the transport providers. 

Also set on the 18th of May is the sector on Sports and Recreation, health and Wellness sector while tourism supplies sector including farmers supplying food and crops, souvenir food item suppliers convene at the same venue on May 27 in the morning.

In the afternoon, heritage, arts and culture sector sector meets at the same venue, points Atty. Nunag.

This way, we can make a road map for tourism development that is responsible, sustainable, and equitable as we do not want just our big investors benefiting from tourism, according to him.

We want the grassroots, rural areas and small industry support workers to taste gains, the lawyer who is a private sector resort owner and operator added. 

At the radio forum aired by DyTR, Atty Nunag also said that while we can not fully claim that we have fully attained the vision of becoming a strong eco-cultural tourism destination, we are on the right track. (PIA Bohol/Rey Anthony Chiu)


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Bohol scores high tourist
Satisfaction–HNU survey

Tagbilaran City, Bohol. April 15 (PIA) ---MOST Bohol tourists are generally satisfied with the service and the experience in Bohol, a recent survey by the Holy Name University (HNU) Research Center bared.

The survey, commissioned by Deutsche Geselschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) however is random and is not scientific, admits German consultant and private sector senior adviser Uwe Sturmann.

Bohol, an island province in the Visayas which has aggressively pushed for eco-cultural tourism as an engine for economic development has successfully elevated its economic standing among the country’s provinces from one among the poorest to among the most promising. 

Sturmann explained that the satisfaction survey is to guide Bohol in determining weak areas to pinpoint possible intervention and move on to address these issues.

According to research specialist Ma Paz Espiritu, the survey was conducted among departing passengers at the Tagbilaran City airport and seaport, or basically those who have experienced a tour in Bohol.

The survey showed that most tourists were clearly satisfied in Bohol’s major destinations.

Some of them however pointed out areas of concern that need to be addressed.

For purposes of brevity, Espiritu only presented Bohol’s top destinations and which include the Chocolate Hills, Loboc Tarsiers, Panglao Beaches and Balicasag island.

Present among these areas are comments like insufficient parking spaces, inadequate garbage disposal system including the presence of rubbish, stinking restroom facilities, inadequate measure to protect the environment and improper management.

While several tourists agree that they have seen the effort to sustain and conserve the Chocolate Hills, the parking space is simply inadequate.

They also suggest putting up a good restaurant to offer diverse food, more activities at the hills and a covered walkway to shelter people to the view-deck.

For the tarsiers, the most common comment is the inadequacy of parking, the deplorable way the wild animals are handled and the need to keep them in spacier cages.

Trash and disposal systems were also common complaints for tarsier stops and the beaches of Panglao including Balicasag.

At this, Governor Edgar Chatto insisted these issues should be acted upon immediately saying “we can not afford to leave these issues unattended as Bohol strives to upgrade its services to international standards. (PIABohol/Rey Anthony Chiu)


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Search for best barangay
anti-rabies programs on

Tagbilaran City. April 14 (PIA)---AS Bohol strives to eliminate rabies from its public health concerns, authorities brace for another round of seeking out the best rabies teams from Bohol’s 1,109 barangays and 48 towns including a city.

This as Bohol Rabies Prevention and Eradication Council (BRPEC) announces the beginning of this year’s Governor’s award for Best Performing Bantay Rabies sa Barangay (BRB) and Municipal Rabies Prevention and Eradication Council (MRPEC) during its recent meeting April 14, 2011 at the Jjs Seafoods Restaurant.

The committee, which will go around the province to evaluate local implementation of programs said barangays which have attained 70% dog registration and vaccination until the end of June this year would be rated among the contenders.

These barangays would however need the endorsements from the MRPEC to be included in the shortlist of semi-finalists, said veterinarian and desk evaluator Dr. Nida Daguro.

A team from the Office of the Provincial Veterinarian would be initially doing the table evaluation in July to further seek out the final list of qualified barangays and MRPECs, said Dr. Stella Marie Lapiz.

Areas to be evaluated include the barangay’s attainment of the 70% dog registration and vaccination form the last two quarters, innovations in program implementation, active BRB, dog population control measures, stray dog control, responsible pet ownership campaigns and participation of communities, Daisy Basco of the Provincial Veterinarian’s Office said.
   
The Provincial Government has allocated prizes for the performing barangays and their bantay rabies teams, the provincial veterinarian Lapiz asserted.

Aside from the prizes, Bohol also put in millions to launch the anti-rabies program years back. International funding agencies interested in seeing successful innovations in the program implementation in Bohol also contributed huge amounts, added Dr. Lapiz.  

This also pushed for the towns and barangays to put in budgets for local programs while a system of rewards in the form of shares of the dog registration income was adopted. 

Last year’s winners include Cogon Norte in Loon, San Roque Mabini and Haguilanan in Catigbian.

Bohol’s community based anti-rabies program has communities helping each other attain the goal of reducing rabies from the one of the region’s top cases into a zero rabies case in the last two years.

Now aiming for an international recognition as a rabies free province, local authorities also say that if a three year consistent zero rabies case is attained, it may result in Bohol being nationally declared rabies free province, a feat very few provinces has attained, Dr Lapiz said. (PIABohol/Rey Anthony Chiu)


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Bohol Guv hails Carmen
health zone med service

GOVERNOR Edgar Chatto brings out an innovation in Bohol’s integrated health zones as he cascades his wish for a paradigm shift for Bohol government hospitals.

In his weekly radio program aired over Bohol, Gov. Chatto hailed Carmen District Health Zone and its cluster of town catchments for its commonly owned and managed drug center.

According to sources from the Provincial Health Office, which supervises the operation of provincial government run hospitals, the integrated health zone is the clustering of towns radiating around a common health facility and pooling local resources to a focus so as to enhance local medical and health services.

The zoning system was also bolstered by the experience that meager town resources for health and medical services could hardly sustain its service to all who need them.

By the integrated health zoning system, health authorities who have also urged active participation and commitment by member towns, have seen the resources getting stretched and people slowly getting satisfied.

In Bohol, for cluster towns to help each other in responding to the medical needs of their constituents, the integrated health district comprised of a health facility and catch-ment area ahs started its services. 

Known health districts are Carmen with Simeon Toribio Hospital, Jagna with Teodoro Galagar Hospital, Talibon with Carlos P Garcia Provincial hospital, Inabanga with Francisco Dagohoy Hospital, Loon with Natalio Castillo Hospital and Gov. Celetino Gallares Hospital in Tagbilaran.

While other health zones still grope the darkness to independently stand, Chatto was particularly picking Carmen for its efforts have gone beyond expectations.

With pooled resources and good management, Carmen Health Zone has not only served its member town’s medical needs, it also has enrolled 200 more of its members to PhilHealth socialized medical care and purchased an ultrasound machine for their hospital, Chatto said.

But what particularly caught the governor’s attention was Carmen District’s revolving drug center which was commonly owned, commonly managed drug store which offers low priced and easily affordable medicines.

Daring other integrated district health zones to follow Carmen’s example, Chatto also shared his vision of “living” government hospitals and proactive health care centers reaching out to the sick and professionally administering to the needs of the people.

The governor, who was instrumental in convening the country’s first local government initiated Health Summit stressed that with multi-sectors addressing the sorry state of government health and medical care services available, there is a way to improve access to good health services at local hospitals.

Chatto said “we are making the hospitals as proactive health care centers and soon a hub of health care to let people know these are living hospitals, caring hospitals and reaching out-facility centers.

This as Bohol adopts a policy in strengthening the image of our provincial hospitals, in services, manpower and equipment, the governor told the media present during his weekly forum at the People’s Mansion. (PIABohol/Rey Anthony Chiu)

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