Monday, December 12, 2011

AIDS council bare ambitious
Targets for Bohol thru 2015
By: Rey Anthony Chiu

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol, Dec. 8, (PIA) – A council in Bohol against the spread of Human Immune Virus (HIV) picks ten goals as targets for accomplishment through 2015.

While most of these goals reflect the global effort to rouse international awareness about the almost always fatal virus, the goals include ambitious reduction into half sexual transmission of HIV, AIDS related maternal deaths, TB deaths among people with HIV, countries that have counter-productive practices on HIV transmission and those that ban entry, stay and residence of HIV victims.

This as the Provincial HIV/Acquired Immunity Disease Syndrome Multi-Sectoral Council (PHAMSC) has identified these goals after a series of workshops and planning activities, says Mila Israel, program coordinator.

First, the council, which has been largely coordinating efforts to spread the word said, they want to reduce by half sexual transmission of HIV, its attention beamed on young people, men who have sex with men and commercial sex workers.

In its 2011 strategic planning workshop, the council stressed that the campaign would be focused in schools, out of school work environments with the end goal of organizing young advocates, she shared.

In fact, to kick off the campaign, the council conducted the HIVAIDS Quiz Bee for city high schools to open up more creative avenues for information dissemination and spreading.  

In a hand-out leaflet distributed during the World AIDS Day Celebration at the Island City Mall, the council also pegs an ambitious reduction into half, AIDS related maternal deaths including the elimination of the transmission of HIV from mother to infant.

Also at the recent Kapihan sa PIA, Israel bared that aside from the two major goals, the council also aims to prevent new HIV infections among people who use drugs and, fourth; attain universal access to anti-retroviral therapy to people living with HIV and eligible for treatment.

Israel explained that HIV AIDS is global concern, in unity with its global partners, the council aims to reduce by half tuberculosis deaths among people living with HIV.

Sixth, the council said in as much as households affected by HIV ought to gain access to care and support, national and social protection strategies are addressed.

Seventh, the council echo the global advocacy to reduce by half, countries with punitive laws and practices around HIV transmission, sex work, drug use or homosexuality that block effective responses.

Eighth, countries with HIV relater restrictions for entry, stay and residence shall have been eliminated if not halved, the council said.

Ninth and tenth, HIV specific needs of women should be addressed in at least half of all national HIV responses and finally for the country to implement zero tolerance for gender-based violence. (30)

CHR notes decrease of
HRights cases in Bohol
Rey Anthony Chiu

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol, Dec. 9, (PIA) – From 30 cases filed at the Commission on Human Rights in 2010, the cases dropped to 19 this year as Boholanos continue to advocate for the universal protection of human rights.

Bohol CHR Provincial officer Rito Montes bared the decrease of human rights abuse cases at the recent Kapihan sa PIA in celebration of the National Human Rights Consciousness Week.

According to Montes, since January to November, Bohol CHR records only 18 cases which victims and their families personally filed, while on another case, the CHR pursued it motu propio, or on their own accord, not really waiting for some one else to file the complaint.

Over the huge decrease, Montes showed though a matrix that cause oriented groups did not figure out in any of the 18 cases.

This was in comparison to cases in 2002, or about a decade ago when Bohol recorded 88 cases of human rights violations, most of these cases filed by cause oriented groups.

That year, Bohol was at the height of its insurgency problem. 

CHR also noted an erratic trend in its human rights abuse monitoring when it noted 24 cases in 2008 and 2009, 30 cases in 2010 and 19 this year.

Foremost in the possible case of human rights abuse which the CHR is investigating involves 10 cases of inmates allegedly being subjected to inhumane conditions, Montes showed.

Of all recorded cases, CHR Bohol said they have found probable cause on 4 cases and to which these have been elevated to the Ombudsman in the Visayas.

Around 13 cases have been docketed at the CHR Regional Office for investigations, Montes said. (30)

Integrate trafficking, cyberporno
Topics in curriculum, says RDC 7
Rey Anthony Chiu

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol, Dec. 9 (PIA) -- In the rising cases of human trafficking and cyber-crimes that has reached alarming levels, how do you make dependable information spread to the grassroots?

For the Central Visayas Regional Development Council (RDC), it could be facilitated by pushing for the integration of topics on human trafficking and cyber pornography to the school curriculum.

In its meeting last November 18, the RDC has deliberated on the recommendation and acted positively on the move by endorsing to concerned agencies in the education sector to integrate relevant topics into the curriculum they are offering to their students.

With government information campaigns apparently not denting as much on the issue, the Social Development Committee has endorsed the Regional Sub-Committee on Gender, Anti-Trafficking and Violence against Women (RSC-GATV) recommendations.

The sub committee recommends to ask the Department of Education, Commission on Higher Education and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority to integrate in their respective curricula relevant topics on human trafficking and cyber crimes.

The RSC-GATV has noted the alarming steady increase in the trafficking in persons and cyber-pornography in the region.

Since then, the search for a no-nonsense program to get information spreading quick pops as police authorities in the region continue piling cases against trafficking in persons and cyber-crimes suspects.

Even Bohol Governor Edgar Chatto has aired alarm over reports that several Boholanos have been rescued from potential case of abuse through trafficking.

At least a case of women and minors on their way to promised job in Manila were intercepted by Cebu Port Police, while two Boholana minors were also safely assisted home from Cagayan de Oro on a potential case of trafficking, weeks ago.

In its recommendation to the SDC, the RSC-GATV cited the significant role that the schools play in creating awareness and in mobilizing action from the students especially on topics deemed important for the protection of children. (30)

Sevilla invests P 5.3 M 
In agri-related services 
By: Rey Anthony Chiu

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol, Dec 10, (PIA) – Talk about putting the money where the mouth is, leaders of this largely agricultural town plans to invest some P5.3 million for agriculture and related services, in hopes that by sowing seed money into the sector, farmers would reap the benefits.

Here, local leaders are convinced that keeping the farmers’ access to the markets spell the difference between losing perishable farm produce and getting them on time in the highways to the city.

For this, jumpstarting Sevilla’s progress would have the town spending P3M this year for barangay farm to market roads maintenance and bridges repair in this town that is crossed by the headwaters of Loboc River.

Similarly, with some of its barangays separated from the highways by creeks and rivers, the town also invests some P85,000 for the improvement of its footbridges, and make sure the link from households to schools and social services is assured.

Aiding it in its task of road maintenance is a newly acquired road roller and compactor vibrator, which the town amortizes annually at a little more than a million.

As to its markets, Municipal Engineer Alma Ganas is set to implement some P500K improvement of its block tiendas and open some more economic enterprise opportunities for its residents.

In this largely agricultural town, the town leaders also deemed it proper to put in funds into its largest single source of income: agriculture, which includes livestock, aqua-fisheries and vegetable production.

For this, in efforts to upgrade its existing breeds of hogs, the town ventures into P500K hog breed upgrading and dispersal program, P10,000 purchase of liquid nitrogen for its artificial insemination program,  P30,000 poultry raising and dispersal program, P15,000 for Tilapia Culture and Aquafisheries while it also allocates P10,000 for livestock protection program; the seed money goes to dewormers and veterinary services collaterals, said Budget officer Eumar Barro.

For crops, the town puts up P25,000 for the purchase of certified seeds to hopefully entice farmers to suit into the practice of using high yielding seeds, P6150 for the purchase of vegetable seeds and another P10,000 for its crop protection.

Other then these, the town also invests in the improvement of Bugwak Waterworks system and allocates P400,000 for the purpose.

This year, Sevilla town plaza and park gets an allocation of P300K.

Strained in its finances, the town could not disregard its local government units and apportioned P1.2M as municipal aid to barangays and their identified priority projects, according to the AIP of 2012.

In general, of the town’s P39 million 20% Development Fund, some P10.9 million goes directly to projects which the people benefit.

Another P19 million goes to personnel services and salaries for the administration of the identified programs and projects as well as mandatory services of the town.

These services include the executive, legislative, planning and coordination, Treasury, Accounting, Engineering, Civil Registry, Assessment, Budget, Social, Agricultural, Health, Auditing and an appropriation for calamities, states the AIP prepared by Planning and Development Officer Artemio Perin.  

Spending for its priorities
Key to Sevilla’s progress
Rey Anthony Chiu

SEVILLA, Bohol, Dec. 10, (PIA) – In terms of triggering an avalanche of development for a fifth class town, what can you expect from Sevilla?

So much, says municipal information officer Walter Pondoc, who has brought with him documents to prove that it is not the limitations of funds but the vision and judicious spending of meager resources that would matter for his town in the end.

For a landlocked town with 13 mountainous barangays, old town Sevilla has clearly had a generous share of hard times.

But for Mayor Ernesita Digal, sulking in their misery is not going to help.

For her, empowering people, whose major occupation is agriculture, into getting the right technology and giving them access to whatever they would need to elevate their economic condition levels the playing field for residents in far-flung barangays.

Cleverly apportioning its resources according to its priorities, Sevilla has set aside some P6.6 million of its Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) funds for its priority projects and also succeeded in sourcing out some P4.3 million for outside sources to trigger a spending of P10.9 million for projects and programs here.
This year, the town has appropriated some P2M from its Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) and completed its maintenance and rehabilitation of barangay roads.

 Moreover, the town also opened up better access for Lobgob residents to the highway which is located on the far side of the Loboc River.

Sevilla then funded the construction of the P300K Lobgob foot bridge, another hanging bridge spanning the headwaters of mighty Loboc River.

This is to facilitate the flow of farm products to the markets and similarly allow technology and new information to reach the farmers for better productivity, he said pointing to the town’s list of completed projects. 

And to make sure that there is a place that would entice city-based businessmen and entrepreneurs, the town officials have been relentless in sourcing out funds to put up the necessary facility that would support their goal of brisk trade in their local market.

Their insistence has been providential, as Sevilla found Congressman Arthur Yap, Senator Ramon Revilla each giving them a million a piece for the improvement and rehabilitation of their old public market.

The P2M which the town sourced out was in fact propped up with Senator Chiz Escudero who gave another P500 thousand from his pork barrel for the same project, the list showed.

Also seeing the town’s potential as a fresh market hub, the Department of Agriculture also nodded to a P1 million Bagsakan Center, which construction is still ongoing.

Now an emerging tourist destination town for its alternate adventure experience in the hanging bridges crossing, the town has decided to put its money where its mouth is, Pondoc claimed.

Already racking in from the daily tourist traffic visiting Sipatan Hanging Bridge in Barangay Ewon, the own has set aside P85,000 for the annual repair of the bridge and the construction of a waiting shed for the place, its tourism earnings being rolled into the same investment.

Believing that tourism generates jobs and opes up countless opportunities for their people, Sevilla also funded for the P610,000 Sipatan Souvenir Shop to give the locals a presentable venue for them to sell souvenirs in the predominantly cottage industry and crafts villages nearby.

In the town center, he town leaders also set aside P1M for the development of their municipal park and plaza.   

As to social development, the town reached deep into its pockets to fund the construction of its senior citizen’s building, on the firm belief that the sector provides an integral role in mapping up the local development of the town.

From its IRA sources, Sevilla appropriated P100 thousand for the purpose.

For health development, the town judiciously spent half million from its IRA funds for developing access to potable water via the Bugwak Waterworks system project and another P85,000 for the purchase of water meters for the project.

From the Department of Health, the town also accessed P800 k for the renovation of the town health center and improve its services to its constituents.

In education, the town also appropriated P200K in town aid for the site development of the proposed Bohol Island State University-Sevilla annex.

As the town procured the lot for the complex, Filipino Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry also funded the construction of a two-classroom building 

For sustainable environment in this slowly emerging tourism town, local officials funded the ongoing construction of the P450,000 Municipal Materials Recovery Facility, in its efforts to keep their solid waste properly managed and sustain the river which has become one of Bohol’s signature tourist attractions.

Whilesome towns would most likely fund infrastructure projects, Sevilla’s adversity has taught us a lot of things. The biggest of them is intelligently prioritizing things to fund the provision of needs of the people, he said. (30)

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