Friday, May 27, 2011

P2.50 for P25,000 anyone?
Join PSR and earn cool mil

WHERE do you get a chance to pocket P25,000 cold cash from a P2.50 load investment?

Where else but with the Instant Premyo Sa Resibo (I-PSR), says Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) authorities who guested the weekly Kapihan sa PIA Thursday March 26.

The I-PSR is an incentive and reward program using the famous short message system (SMS), explains Bureau of Internal Revenue’s (BIR) Taxpayer Service Station Chief Magna Reselosa.

It is simply text sending the details of the receipt one gets for buying goods or services and with the proper syntax, it gives you the instant chance to win P5,000, mobile prepaid load or MyPhone cellular phones day, added Evelyn Lomantas at the forum aired live over DyTR.

An enhanced and revitalized promo from the BIR, instant Premyo sa Resibo uses the current PSR game mechanics, hoping that this new and exciting way of encouraging consumers to demand for receipts of all purchases of goods or services can also work good for the government, Lomantas who also is the BIR information officer stressed.

To join, one has to type PSR(space)Tax Identification Number of the establishment issuing the receipt (space)Official Receipt Number(space)Official Receipt amount (omitting the peso sign and the remaining centavo value) and sending this to 9777 for single entry or to 9778 for multiple entries.

For example, if one was issued a P500 receipt, he would type PSR 0012345678 54321 500 and send it to either to 9777 or 9778.

9777 is used if one is on budgeted load where each sent to the message center is charged P2.50. This entitles him to a single raffle entry to a single draw, which posts him a chance for the instant premyo and the weekly P25,000 draw.

By using 9778, a sender is charged P2.50 still but he gets multiple entries for his receipt of more than P350.00. This means aside from automatically entering the instant premyo draw, he can avail of the weekly and the monthly P1,000,000 draw, according to Reselosa. 

Maximum amount for single receipt however is only for 50 entries, BIR authorities said.

The message center receivers: 9777 or 9778 issues to your cellphone an Entry Confirmation Number (ECN) and this may be enough for those lucky enough as instant prizes could be won already, she went on.

Non I-PSR winning entry still gets a chance to win in the P25.000 weekly draw of the P1,000,000 monthly draw.   

This simply means that the official receipt one gets for his buys, earns him the chance to win exciting instant prizes.

It can be any official receipt, sales invoice, cash invoice, cash register machine or point of sales machine receipts or those used by professionals, private businesses or commercial establishments, said Magna Reselosa, during the same forum. (Rey Anthony Chiu)

Bacong: keeping tourism
& environment balanced

BACONG RIVER, Cortes, Bohol, May 27, (PIA)---BACONG: a headdress of rolled mat of dried leaves to balance a round earthen jar filed with water carried by pre-hispanic residents here when fetching water. Bacong is also a name to that river that has remained largely the source of livelihood by the communities of Bacong, Lujo’g Bacong, Simoa and Buabog.

For locals, Bacong refers to a huge python that coils itself like a bakong on the riverside after it has taken a meal. Thus the name.

Python? Yes. But it is an age-old tale more forgotten than remembered.

Now, Bacong River is opened for eco-tourism activity, but local paddlers who guide the tour say bakong should keep tourism and environment in a balance.

Thus, the largely untouched river trekked by paddle boats show an untouched environment for tourism.

Untouched that, chances are you can spy on a wild animal: an iguana, monitor lizard, palm civet cat, Malay civet cat, wild chicken and yes, tarsiers aside from a good number of wild pigeons.

Here, you stalk these river denizens here and after a while, you could sense some eyes stalking at you.

At the Bacong River paddle tour, your goal to mince on the delicious serving of a pristine river environment could get you hooked.

Here is a community of people who still think that catching the higante’ng banhawon brings bad luck, noise below the old burial sites summon bad spirits and abusing the river resources resurrect the kogtong.

Now into immersing tourists into their simple world, the Bacong River tour can get you hooked. Here’s why.

As your boat further glides upstream and its bows lap on the edges of time, you’d be ushered in to a different world, a pinch of life left alone by time.

In fact, many swear they never realized such a sphere still exists; 15 minutes away from the city buzz. Here is a slice of time, encapsulized in a neat package of a little more than an hour long paddling experience.

Many come here for the tranquility and peace. But getting boosted with a generous serving of pristine environment is a premium.

Or so they thought. Until they are deep into the river and the feeling of being watched starts. Ow, creepy.

Then you hone your senses and the game is on.

It’s a game of who would be startled first.

A paddler guides an excited tourist to the sights. Here, a lost generation of river denizens feel the same, though mildly amazed at the unfamiliar distraction in their otherwise full day of sun.

Here, the sound of the oar dipping into the water and water dripping off it is hypnotic, the lullaby of waving nipa fronds easily puts you in a trance. You breathe in the air and the marshland becomes a whole new world.

Here, nipa could well be a tree of life as well. Able bodied males from villages above brave the muck to cut these mature fronds, strip the leaves from its fronds and bale them in huge bundles while another paddle boat picks it up for the nearest nipa weaving station.

From there, women fold the leaves in a bamboo stick and weave them into shingles, for some house’s roof. A hundred pieces of that sells for P180 and the average weaver can do 150 pieces per day.

They said there is nipa wine, but an easier and more affordable tuba is just a few pesos away.

Up there, you could hear the mystery descend like the late morning fog and sidle beside you as your boat slices the sacred waters below the mysterious cliff called Lunas.

The paddler guide has suddenly turned silent as the boat glides effortlessly with the tide. You do not speak, this is below the burial grounds.

Lunas, as historical records would show was a pre-Hispanic burial site. Explorations have proven this as true. Shards of broken clay, Chinese blue porcelain, bits of hematite stones and broken bones lay scattered under an-an, taypo and bansilay bushes way up.

After a while, he calls, “here is that tree where a known fisher from Bacong saw a huge python neatly coiled at its trunk, the guide points out. Perhaps, that may be a tale people spin to discourage unnecessary exploration of the sacred cliffs,” he said.

Bacong comes from the native word bako-ong, a rounded potholder spun out of dried banana leaves which locals use to keep their water filled jars from rolling as they ascend form the springs along the river.

Bacong is also used to liken to a coil of a python enjoying the shades along the river bank during hot days. Huh? In the past, that is.
Then, a sudden splash in the water shatters the tense silence. Then a bobbling head of a mudskipper emerges from its new perch, a cut nipa frond emerging a few inches from the rising tide.

“Tambasakan,” somebody calls out from another boat. There’s a folk song for that…and the paddler guide breaks into a lilting tempo of Si Felimon…

Somewhere, a cool cooing slowly builds into a hypnotic tempo. Bacong River is still home to wild pigeons: manatad, tokmo, limocon, punay or the harder to find bawod. The cooing would stop as the paddleboat glides with the coming tides. But it picke when we have covered a safe distance.

As the boat turns a bend, the paddler steers clear of the stones visible under the water.

Bato; three huge rocks emerge just under the clear waters. Bato is a natural fish sanctuary, old people said these stones need to be respected. That way, the fish can have safe place to spawn.
Further, a lone iguana, its sail metallic green in bright sunlight, dives into the water breaking into the waves our paddle boat left at its wakes.
The iguana, also called the Jesus Christ Lizard because it can walk on the water, perches on some safe bastion watching our boat as it glides by Pangi, Bajong, Dungguan ni Anong, Cogtong, Dungguan ni Waning and further to Uhan passing by Dagohong.

A few inches from the water, comfortably nestled in a young nipa frond is a nipa-nipa, another kind of crab which climbs to dry during high tides.

It is edible, as with the maniit, kasag, suga-suga, alimango and the banhawon; the giant green crab. Most make out their homes in the muddy reaches of the tides. The smaller ones simply slide into the crevices of thousands of nipa in this mangrove forests.

There are clams here: punaw, imbaw, bawjan, tagnipis, bebe, tuway and the famed tamislat which people here cook for a relishing tinunoan or simply sautéed in onions as with the imbaw and punaw.

There’s also the balinggukay, balinsungay, sihi, mananggot, dawo-dawo and another weird names for such a treat like shell soup in ginger and spring onions.

Upstream, the boat glides further into thick canopies of overgrown shade trees, a solitary angilan could provide the heavenly scents in summer or the nipa flower picks where the angelic scent leaves.

Bacong also provides a full rundown of a basket craftsman’s raw materials. There’s sig-id, nito, huwag, uway, salimpokot, tikog, romblon, buli and other nameless twines in all desired sizes.

This river has given life to a fully thriving community of fishers, weavers and gleaners all twined in a bakong of respect to balance development through tourism and environment.

Bacong River tour can be arranged from the Abatan Main Village Center, Salvador Cortes, Bohol form 8:00-5:00 PM. (Rey Anthony Chiu) 


School supply shopping?
Try ‘Diskwento Caravan’

FOR school supplies and school item shoppers who are egging to eke out a few savings for the rainy days, try shopping in major city stores on May 31 to June 2.

This as the Department of Trade and Industry in Bohol (DTI-Bohol), in partnership with local superstores bring in an innovation in selling through the discounted rates via the Diskwento Caravan program on those dates.

The promotional sale is actually the national Diskwento Caravan: Presyong Panalo Para sa Mamimiling Pilipino Program brought down with DTI and big-time stores: Alturas Group of Companies and Bohol Quality Corporation.

Set for launching on May 31, 2011, the Diskwento Caravan is DTI’s efforts to present a visible answer to the national governments call to implement non-wage benefit to employees, who are heavily burdened in these during difficult times, says Lucille Autentico, DTI information officer.  

DTI-Bohol Provincial Director Maria Elena C. Arbon said the project hopes to improve consumer’s access to basic and prime commodities at lower prices through the partner companies carrying the products of Manila based manufacturers to their towns if not to their door-steps.  

In Bohol, the Diskwento Caravan comes in two types: the Store Based and the Roving Type. 
Store based Diskwento are participated by Island City Mall, Alturas–Tagbilaran, Alturas–Talibon, Plaza Marcela; all of Alturas Group of Companies and the Bohol Quality Superstore of Bohol Quality Corporation. 

“These establishments, in partnership with the government, offers discounted or reduced prices of school supplies, school items and basic and prime commodities during normal business hours on May 31 to June 2, 2011 at their respective stores here in Tagbilaran City and Talibon town, respectively.”

On the other hand, the Roving Diskwento Caravan will be jointly undertaken by DTI and the Alturas Group of Companies in the municipalities of Talibon, Trinidad and Ubay and Baclayon, Arbon said in a press material. 

For the rolling store Caravan, the schedules are: Talibon-June 7 in the morning; Trinidad– June 7 in the afternoon and Ubay– June 8 whole day.

A Diskwento Caravan also opens in Baclayon on June 10, 2011.
Boholano consumers are advised to take advantage of this opportunity to purchase their needs in time for the opening of classes.
For more information, call DTI-Bohol at (038) 501-8260, 501-8828 and 411-3302. (Rey Anthony Chiu with Lucille Autentico)

House helpers in
business is illegal

HOUSE helpers should only be working as much.

This summary came after labor authorities note that business employers may circumvent the law and hire house-helps to tend their business enterprises, a practice that is illegal.

Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) in Bohol said since house helpers: maids cooks, handy men, yayas, drivers and those doing odd jobs in exchange for roof over their heads are not covered by the existing labor laws, business employers use this ploy to evade from giving these people the righteous wages.

House helps rates are usually determined by personal agreements, some helps do haggle for just rates but those who do not have the voice to strike deals are bound to slavery that gets them to jobs from 4:00 am to past 10:00, sans any medical or health benefits, 13th month pay and other perks.

In fact, according to DOLE information Officer German Guidaben, a law enacted in early 1990s which pegs a house helper’s pay needs an amendment, fast.

Republic Act 7655, enacted August 19, 1993 mandates that house helps be paid P800.00 a month for househelpers in Manila and in highly urbanized cities;  P650.00 a month for those in other chartered cities and first class municipalities; and Five hundred fifty pesos (P550.00) a month for those in other municipalities.

At this rate and with a minimum wage set at P255 per day in Bohol, employers into business may hire house-helps but whose tasks include tending stores or other business venture, DOLE’s Chief Wilson Cenas explained at last week’s Kapihan sa PIA.

In Bohol, the going rate for house helps is P1,500 to P2,500 per month, a pay that entitles them to a free board and lodging, water, light payments and snacks.

Even with agreeably lax implementation of labor laws in Bohol, with the minimum set at P255, a house help’s net take home pay is undeniably lower compared to other industry workers.

Apply that to a house help who needs to be up at 4:00 and would have to stay until 10:00 or until everyone in the house has rested, the pay even shrinks to the state of being undignified.

The worst thing is when, other than these already backbreaking task, some of them would have to tend stores, or are involved in the operation of a business and do not get a pay out of it, Cenas detailed.

House help really deserve honorable wages and working conditions with dignity. They should be treated humanely and afforded all the benefits of an employed individual. We trust them with our homes, our children and our lives and that is almost priceless. While they live with us to work, they are not “family” and their service is as laborious as any good day’s work, so they must be treated right.

Even with a law filed and needing the urgent certification by President Benigno Simeon Aquino, not much has been done to improve the house helps’ lot, most workers agree.  

House helps who feel they are short changed in this manner can seek assistance from DOLE, Cenas urged. (Rey Anthony Chiu) 

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