Sunday, October 16, 2011

Bohol vies for P5M nat’l
“Gawad Pamana” prize
By: Rey Anthony Chiu

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol, Oct 13 (PIA) – Bohol contends for the national prize of the Gawad Pamana ng Lahi for provincial category after lording it over among Central Visayan provinces for the prestigious Department of Interior and Local Government’s (DILG) distinction.

P 5 million  is at stake as national prize each for provincial, city and municipal categories, according to the DILG.  

Information from the local DILG bared this as elated Bohol Governor Edgar Chatto also reported over a radio station he personally received the award from President Benigno S. Aquino Jr in rites last week.

Chatto said the award included a trophy and P 3 Million in cash.

This is not for us [local government officials] but for all Boholanos who worked to get Bohol this award, Chatto said while hinting participative governance as an edge in the award.

The Gawad Pamana ng Lahi award is in recognition of a local government unit’s exemplary performance in administrative, social, economic and environmental governance, according to DILG memorandum Circular 2011-113.

The award attempts to scale up the valuing of accountability, transparency and inclusivity in local administration and development, DILG Secretary Jesse Robredo said.

A team of regional validators assessed Bohol according to the general criteria set up for the award, which is also largely based on the online assessment tool of the Local Government Performance Management System (LGPMS) over-all performance index (OPI).

The award also takes into consideration one’s earning of the Seal of Good Housekeeping (SGH), innovations in those four areas of assessment and its awards and distinctions it garnered from January to December of last year, based on the data from the DILG memo.

According to the DILG memorandum on the Gawad Pamana, local governments would be rated on the following: LGPMS-OPI – 80%, Seal of Good Housekeeping (10%), Innovations – (5%) and awards and citations (5%).

As Bohol wins it over in the region, it automatically qualifies for the national evaluations, said DILG Gawad Pamana point-person Ma. Reina Quilas on Thursday.

Bohol however enters the competition with 10 points less while being assured of high points in innovations and about in awards and citations, shared observers close to the DILG.

Bohol has won the best governed local government unit in the country which, according to DILG is based on the LGPMS, so a high point in the 80% could be expected.

The province has also won at least two more awards including TESDAs Kabalikat.

According to Quilas, Bohol included at least 14 innovations in governance which should also merit a high score.

While DILG admits it might be a tough challenge for Bohol which has still to earn its Seal of Good Housekeeping (SGH) to earn 10 points in the national assessments, Quilas also said SGH is newly opened for provinces and she has not heard of any province earning the seal. (30)


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“Faith, hope, charity” spells
Home food sufficiency here        
By: Rey Anthony Chiu

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol, Oct 13, (PIA) – There is something in faith, hope and charity that Boholanos get, other than the proverbial room in God’s mansion.

While these three theological virtues carry a promise of allowing men to share in the nature of the creator, these also guide the people of Bohol in achieving food sufficiency at home, at the very least.

In the era of complicated theories for food security, widely conservatively religious Boholanos need not look farther for a secret formula for sustaining the body and the soul.

Widely disseminated in the island’s towns is an easy to memorize Filipino folksong to help them attain Food Always In The Home (FAITH).

By using the template provided by the Bahay Kubo, Governor Edgar Chatto explains that a simple and reliable guide to food sufficiency is imbedded in the song.

According to the lyrics of the song, a nipa hut, though small, has different plants around it.

These include: singkamas (jicama or Mexican turnip), talong (eggplant), sineguelas (Spanish plum), mani (peanuts), sitaw (yard long beans), bataw (purple hyacinth beans), patani (Lima beans), kondol (white gourd melon), patola (sponge gourd), upo (bottle gourd or white pumpkin), kalabasa (squash), labanos (raddish), mustasa (mustard), sebuyas (spring onions), kamatis (tomato), bawang (garlic) and luya (ginger).

An advocate of backyard gardening even before rising as a governor, Chatto, as a mayor of Balilihan town, relentlessly engaged his people to plant the 17 vegetables around the house to supplement the vitamin and mineral requirements of the family member in rough times.

Other than waving the FAITH slogan, Chatto also pushed for a pocket herbal plot at home. This he calls as Herbal Organic Plants Enhancement (HOPE); a model for organic herbal garden which can be a source of treatment for common maladies.

“In these times when medicines and medical care can dent on the meager family budget, a pocket pharmacy of fresh organic herbal medicines at home is a logical solution,” said assistant provincial agriculturist Larry Pamugas.

Aside from the food benefits of the 17 vegetables named in the Bahay Kubo, local authorities also name several Department of Health and Food and Drug Authority approved herbal plants which also own therapeutic and pharmacological uses.

And to complete the list for food sufficiency in the home, Bohol leaders pick up Chatto’s formula of Chicken Always Raised In The Yard (CHARITY).

In Bohol, the office of the provincial veterinarian aggressively advocate the raising of free range and thus organic chicken in the homes to help low income families earn a little and perhaps find another source of proteins for their nutrition.

Native chicken costs a lot more compared to the commercial breeds and the taste is simply incomparable, admits a tourist who has tasted a fried native chicken in Carmen and has since been pining for the same food every time he and his family comes to Bohol.          

While listening and seemingly amused at the simple formula for local food sufficiency, the self confessed globetrotter and a lover of native chicken taste audibly intoned: “faith, hope, charity, these three abide for always, but the greatest is charity.”  (30) 

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Catigbian pays trash workers
From vermi-compost income
Rey Anthony Chiu

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol, Oct 15 (PIA) -- Catigbian town assures sustainability of its solid waste management by using the income it generates from its organic fertilizer production to pay for its garbage workers.

“The pay is not that big but for a casual worker whose task feeding biodegradable waste to shredders and then spreading them out in compost beds where the rest of the task is done by earthworms,” Mayor Roberto Salinas shared.

Speaking at the Kapihan sa PIA Thursday, while disclosing a local garbage management program that has been a source of pay for at least three casual workers, the mayor added that the cashing in on garbage is already a good pay-off while the main aim is to manage garbage.

Called Waste to Wealth (W2W), Catigbian has put up in its Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) organic fertilizer production beds, which facilitate the breakdown of garbage through a technology called vermicomposting.  

Simply put, vermicomposting is a biotechnological process of hastening the breakdown of compost by using a kind of earthworm which cuts the normal composting into half.

Sources from the Catigbian MRF said that shredded garbage needs about two months to compost, while getting earthworms to help allows the compost to rot in less than a month.

This kind of composting uses African night-crawler earthworms which eat an equivalent of their body weight and of which, 50% is cast out as worm manure, says Ardissa Estavilla, town municipal information officer now the tourism officer of the town.

Catigbian ecological solid waste management program mandates a segregation at source and this makes the job easier for the three personnel at the town MRF who immediately feeds the biodegradable waste to shredders to facilitate breakdown of solids.

This means that wastes that can be decomposed are already placed in proper containers once they arrive at the MRF, which also makes it easy for the men at the MRF to feed these to the shredders.

Shredded garbage are then spread in vermicomposting beds where non-burrowing earthworms eat 90% of these waste produces and 10% soil to produce vermicast of 90% high nutrient fertilizer and 10% soil, she added.

“The demand is so strong,” mayor Salinas said pointing out that municipality of Danao alone orders 15 sacks per month and Bohol Bee Farm also sources out their fertilizers from Catigbian.

“Besides, we also have our local producers who need our locally produced fertilizers,” he stressed.

With a widening market for these kind of fertilizer which has become a trend for organic vegetable production, local officials leaked the plan to open up more vermin-beds to increase its production capacity.

We do not even need to monitor our workers, if they do not work well, their pay is not assured, Salinas quips. (30)

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DATE Park earns P800K
in barely four months
By: Rey Anthony Chiu

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol, Oct 14 (PIA) – Consistent with the projections, local leaders said Catigbian’s prime eco-adventure park has grossed more than P800, 000, barely four months after adventure tourists started piling in.

And, unlike what their projections were, the main bulk of adventure tourists were not even foreigners, admits Mayor Roberto Salinas over at Kapihan sa PIA Thursday.

“We never even realized it would be the locals who would be more attracted to the park and its activities, Mayor Salinas said.

Catigbain’s newest product is the Dagook Adventure Tourism Experience (DATE), a park that offers at least four adventure activities all set to solidly stake its claim as a wholesome family tourism destination.

DATE is in line with the Green Recreational Eco-Adventure Tourism (GREAT) Catigbian, he adds while relaying that the park was in fact their biggest gamble ever. 

Already looking at the town’s great outdoor potential, Catigbain has supported private investors in designing outdoor activities, but several of them could not survive. 

Seeing the concept for DATE, the local leaders saw an activity that complements the Abatan River Community Development as identified by the management council.

DATE park is our newest tourism product as Catigbian joins the tourism bandwagon within the Abatan circuit, adds Municipal Tourism officer Ardissa Estavilla.

Sold as an initiation into the emerging extreme eco-adventure tourism in its sister town in Danao, Catigbi-an’s four in one activity at the DATE park includes three traverses: on a hanging bridge in the Canopy Walk, on steel cables at the knee shaking Monkey Bridge and on a spine tingling zipline that swings you out from the top of the mountain back to the main activity center via the Mountain slide.

The traverses are ushered in by to moderately manageable treks based on their eyed market niche: students and aging citizens who profess they still have the nerves to explore the outdoors.  

Identified by the Catigbian Performance Team as a tourism venture, the Date Park is the biggest gamble the local officials had waged in the past years, admits mayor Salinas.

Set in a 22 hectare lot the local government unit has acquired and developed using its local sources, DATE park slowly emerged from a convergence of fund sources including the Department of Tourism, The Department of Agriculture, former Senator Migs Zubiri, Catigbian’s Millennium Challenge Fund prize and a bold loan form a commercial bank.

We tapped a loan of P5.5 million from a commercial bank, payable in two years, to largely finance the development of the four in one activity, according to Mayor Salinas, while banking on the promise of an adventure tourism niche that has not been well explored that much.

Boasting of more than 5 thousand guests in the park logbook, the mayor who is also a retired navy captain claimed not everyone who comes in and experiences the rides puts in their names in the logs.

Now hoisting the challenge to students and senior citizens who may not have the luxury of time getting into local destinations, the mayor said handsome discounts are up for these markets.

Not a lot of young people have said they did not realize there is a thrilling destination out here, and we have gone to far away places to find them, the mayor said.

Now, we would make sure they would get a chance to prove they can get a slice of the thrill here, he said. (30)

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