Friday, May 6, 2011

DILG urges LGUS to facilitate 
List of “Pasada beneficiaries” 

Tagbilaran City, May 6, (PIA)---THE DEPARTMENT of Interior and Local Government (DILG) here urges local government units to facilitate the submission of the list of beneficiaries for the government’s Pantawid Pasada for tricycles. 

This is so that DILG Bohol can start processing the P150.00 one-time assistance for drivers, franchise owners or operators within the set deadlines. 

“By now, they should have prepared their certified list of beneficiaries as basis for the downloading of the funds,” DILG Provincial director Ma Louella Lucino said. 

Moreover, she also asked them to put up Pantawid Pasada help desks so the beneficiaries will know where to go for queries. 

Lucino issued the plea at Kapihan sa PIA Thursday amid fears that the cash assistance may not get to the beneficiaries in time for the May target. 

She said the government has allocated P3.4M for the cash assistance in central Visayas, funds that could go directly to the pockets of an estimated P4,600 tricycle operators in Tagbilaran City and 21 other towns all over Bohol. 

The government has noted that the series of socio-political tensions in the Middle East and North Africa, which are primary sources of oil, triggered a series of oil price increases globally. 

To cushion the impact of high fuel prices, Malacanang, on April 5, 2011, issued Executive Order No. 32 establishing the Public Transport Assistance Program or the Pantawid Pasada Program. 

Under this program, the government provide drivers of legitimate franchised jeepneys and tricycles a fuel assistance of P1,050 and P150 per month, respectively. 

Buses are excluded since they have already been granted recently a P1.00 fare hike. 

The government has also tasked the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) to lead in the determination of jeepney beneficiaries and the DILG to coordinate with the Local Government Units who issues local franchises to operate. 

She said the LGUS need to certify the beneficiaries and the local franchising office, the mayor and the vice mayor should sign the list, adding that the town council would need to authorize mayors to sign the memorandum of agreement with the program implementers. 

As to the jeepneys, Land Transportation Office Bohol Chiey Joel Maloloy-on admits they still have to see the implementing circulars but said they are just one of the support agencies to the program. 

“We would be asking the LTFRB to send us the exact number of beneficiaries so we could prepare [beneficiaries] from our end,” Maloloy-on said. (Rey Anthony Chiu)

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Guv orders widening 
of SIP detour road 

TAGBILARAN CITY, May 6, (PIA)---WITH the national highway in Sitio Liloan, Poblacion Cortes, still closed to traffic, Governor Edgar Chatto ordered the Department of Public Works and Highways and the Provincial Engineers to immediately correct the traffic design flaws on the narrow re-route along the Southern industrial Projects (SIP) site to assure safety of commuters. 

During a meeting at the site of the reroute, the governor told the media Friday that an immediate widening of the road by carving off the cliff causing blind curves up the ascent to Cortes town would easen up the road shoulders. 

The traffic reroute opened after series of landslides in Sitio Lilo-an last month pushed authorities to fully close the national highway so engineering works could be done to the unstable cliff looming over the affected portions of the highway. 

The reroute is designed as a provincial road and the sudden huge bulk of traffic has made it inadequate to the heavy traffic load using it. 

“Most inbound and outbound trips to and from the city from the northern towns use the detour route”, a van for hire driver said. 

“We negotiate the climb and then in the middle of it, you realize you are following a ten-wheeler 40-foot container van, it forces the already heavy traffic to crawl up to negotiate the ascent,” he adds. 

“It makes the journey up perilous,” he admits. 

This week, about two heavy ten-wheeler trucks swerved off the pavement to allow approaching traffic to squeeze through and both fell on ditches, further complicating the already heavy traffic situation. 

The concrete pavement road only accommodates two way traffic but the narrow sections of the road forces long span vehicles to slightly swerve off the shoulders so they could not side-sweep approaching traffic. 

The road shoulders are un-tampered limestone which usually turns muddy which usually leads one to the ditches. 

Due to the narrow lands complicated by blind curves, the governor made the decision to implement the specific corrective works at the narrow route. 

More than that, since the works need heavy equipment, he told the engineers to do the job at night when traffic at the site is at minimum. 

“There is a suggestion to pave in another lane, but we know putting in more heavy equipment to do the task would further complicate the already heavy traffic, the governor said. 

The governor said he came to the decision after meeting with the DPWH, PEO, DENR MGB and a mining engineer to discuss immediate action on the matter. (Rey Anthony Chiu)

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Aumentado asks DA tractors 
for district hybrid corn prod’n 

Tagbilaran City, May 6, (PIA)---HAVING set aside some P6M as leverage amount for agriculture development project, Congressman Erico Aumentado now asks the Department of Agriculture for the allocation of ten tractors for his district. 

In a letter Aumentado sent to DA secretary Proceso Alcala, the former governor said the tractors would support the plan to make the district a massive producer of hybrid corn. 

Proposed town beneficiaries of the P600.000.00 tractors are Ubay, Buenavista, Carin, Getafe, Danao, Dagohoy, San Miguel, President Carlos P Garcia, Talibon and Trinidad Multi-purpose cooperative. 

The congressman also said that the towns and farmers coop have allocated P600,000 each as counterpart for the grand plan to undertake the massive hybrid production project. 

The project, Aumentado said, is a joint undertaking of the Bohol APC, IndoPhil Equities, Inc., and in tandem with Asian Hybrid Seeds Technologies. 

According to the Boholano solon, the project initially targets 1,400 hectares of corn land in the second district, and is expected to double by the next year. 

The congressman who has become an expert in convergene has also tapped the help of LandBank, who, he said has committed to finance the Plow-Now-Pay-Later, Plant and Fertilize now-Pay Later programs. 

The farmers pay only after harvest and they own a guaranteed marketing agreement favorable to them, Aumentado explained. 

He said that the DA regional Office and the Bohol Agricultural Promotion Center have already both recommended the allocation of four tractors for the district. 

The veteran solon who has completed a three term stint as representative told DA that the Department of Budget and Management is already set to release a P3 million from the first tranche of the Priority Development Assistance Fund he has allocated. 

Aside from hybrid corn, the long term plan, he said includes hybrid pineapple production, piloting rice ratooning in 540 hectares in the district. 

My determination to support President Aquino’s food security and agricultural development is unqualified, thus the utilization of my PDAF for these projects, Aumentado said. (Rey Anthony Chiu) 

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P150 trikes subsidy may 
not benefit the drivers? 

THE P150.00 one time subsidy for tricycle drivers when schools are on vacation may not get to the affected and vulnerable sectors: the drivers. 

And it may not even get to the beneficiaries on time. 

Bohol Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) director Ma Louella Lucino said in a radio interview that one time subsidy gets to the franchise owners and operators, who may not necessarily be the drivers. 

She however added that most franchise owners here own only a unit, although some hire drivers to operate. 

If the original intention is to help drivers, seemingly the program sets off on the wrong foot, a tricycle driver who takes the night shift drive commented. 

Aimed to be a palliative aid to help drivers recoup loses as schools are on vacation, the DILG officer detailed a long process for the local implementation of the Pantawid Pasada, putting in the impression that the government’s public transport assistance program (PTAP) for the lean summer months may be hitting the beneficiary pockets in the coming months yet. 

“The DILG officers gave an action plan and especially for Tagbilaran, due to the numerous beneficiaries, it could take time,” Lucino said. 

On this, she also added that they may not even be sure if the money would be spent on fuels, the original intention of the law. 

“We do not have monitoring after this. We would only get after the distribution, the liquidation report” which makes sure the cash gets to them, Lucino said. 

On the very small amount, which is barely enough for a three liters needed for a daily operation, she said, even then, the Pantawid Pasada cash assistance is still a little help. 

Provincial director Ma. Louella Lucino said the P150.00 one time subsidy per tricycle operator and franchise owners is the gist of the Public Transport Assistance Program popularly known as Pantawid Pasada. 

Funded by the Department of Energy’s General Fund’s Special account including the shares from Malampaya, Lucino said Central Visayas gets P1 M for its tricycles during this month. 

The DILG head said that the Memorandum Circular mandating the implementation of the assistance to tricycle units under the Pantawid Pasada posts the list of beneficiaries certified by the local Franchise Regulatory Board, the signature of the mayor and the vice mayor. 

She said the Mayor would be signing a Memorandum of Agreement with the DILG to implement the program locally. 

On this, she said a Sangguniang Bayan Resolution would also be needed to authorize the mayors to sign the MOA, so it could also take time. 

Posting these beneficiaries would also happen even as the determination process can also take time, with only the city tricycle franchises submitted for initial regional determination. 

The city operates around 2600 tricycle units while some 21 more towns benefit from the Pantawid Pasada, she said. (Rey Anthony Chiu)

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Power users note price hike 
as Boheco gets new supplier 

Tagbilaran City May 5, (PIA) --BOHOLANOS feeling the spike in their power bills have howled. 

This as a key official of Bohol’s main power distributor, Bohol Electric Cooperative (BOHECO) revealed that an ongoing negotiation with the new power supplier may bring the power utilization price lower. 

During a radio interview, BOHECO operations manager Engr. Rene Tumabang said the power price disparity is mainly because of a change in bulk power supplier from the government’s National Transmission Corporation (Transco) to Cebu Energy Development Corporation (CEDC). 

CEDC is largely using power from a coal-fired plant in Toledo City Cebu and distributes it to the national grid which comes to Bohol via the Leyte Bohol Power Interconnection Projec line, he explained. 

Transco’s contract to supply BOHECO expired September 25, last year and when Transco was privatized, the local power distributor found bulk supplier CEDC which offers a higher base load rate at 14 megawatts of power for Bohol. 

The CEDC-Boheco contract, which was signed last year and was supposed to be effective last December carried an almost over 20% increase as reflected in their notices posted in local newspapers last week. 

At least some P2.80 per kilowatt has been added over the P6.38 Transco rate making the price at P9.25 per kilowatt for the 18 kilowatt hour residential consumption, explained Tumabang. 

Lifeline rates at Boheco is at P8.44 at 17 kw hours. 

He shared that the contract provides that BOHECO pays for the 14 MW base load regardless of whether the whole of the 14 MW is used or not. 

The CEDC also supplies the peaking load at P23 MW, in the absence of local independent power sources. 

Here, Tumabang said the BOHECO management is trying to amend the contract especially with the entry of the wholesale electricity stock market (WESM) which is a marketplace of power suppliers. 

He said that the negotiations would center on reducing the costs by reducing the contracted base load, or paying only what is consumed. 

We hope the next power bill could reflect the result of the positive negotiations, Tumabang said. 

In short, those consuming below 17 kilowatts pay smaller than those who consume more, he said. 

In the interim, Tumabang advised that energy conservation is the most effective way to make sure that consumers are not affected by the price hike. (Rey Anthony Chiu) 

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Bohol adopts multiple 
Solutions to fisheries 

Tagbilaran City, May 6, (PIA)---FOR the Ocean Month, Bohol officials admit multiple approaches to assure the abundance of fish and marine resource harvest and decrease tension in marine fisheries with its inland fishery development program. 

An island sitting in a middle of an area with a high marine bio-diversity, Bohol has also been over-fished in the last decade, the dwindling fish catch a bleak proof of an unsustainable resource in the future. 

Over this, Governor Edgar Chatto and local officials reiterate balanced development through wise resource management and pumping life to dormant inland fisheries, in his message during the Month of the Ocean. 

Over his weekly Kita ug ang Gobernador, Gov. Chatto said apart from supporting the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) in its mari-culture parks development, supporting inland fisheries may help increase Boholano income. 

We are adopting short term and long term programs to generate fish harvest, Chatto said. 

That same day, Bohol Coastal Resource Management Task Force, a team of around 30 organizations and government agencies converged on the city port area for a coastal clean-up activity. 

The clean-up activity focused on ridding the pier of marine debris which pose a serious risk to marine and coastal environment in Bohol. 

“Marine debris is not only ugly, but dangerous to marine life and human health,” writes Leonilo Lafuente of the Bohol Environment Management Office in his communication to task force members. 

Aside from polluting the coastlines, marine debris that are not biodegradable like plastic bags often end up mistaken as jelly fish and are eaten by large fish leading to their death. 

Pollution also drives fish farther from the coastlines further dwindling marginal fishermen’s catch, a BCRMTF member said during the activity. 

Data from the Bureau of Agricultural Statistics revealed that the high fish price in Bohol is an indication of a dwindling fish catch. 

Officials seriously considered finding ways to fill in the need, and developing Bohol’s inland fisheries is the sought solution. 

On this, the provincial government through the Office of the Provincial Agriculture and the BFAR have been seeding tilapia fingerlings to small water impounding system catchments and natural ponds all over Bohol. 

Chatto also said they have been seeding 25,000 fingerlings in Malinao Dam in Pilar, the region’s biggest man-made body of water recently. 

The activity came after the governor also poured in another 25,000 fingerlings in Bayongan Dam in San Miguel. 

Even then, Capitol has established a fish price technical working group to study the marketing trends and hopefully arrest the high price. 

In Bohol, trends show that Boholanos are now starting to consume freshwater fish. (Rey Anthony Chiu) 

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