Saturday, December 17, 2011

Bohol antidrug drive find
Two allies: sniffing dogs
By: Rey Anthony Chiu

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol Dec. 10 (PIA) -- Nosey anti-drug authorities in Bohol find two extra-nosey allies.

Sniffing dogs, they are, but drugs, these two certainly do not do.

Bohol officials showed Wednesday one of the two drug sniffing German Shepherd dogs and its handlers, to add brute muscle and beastly instinct to the country’s incapacity to fund for the keeping of drug sniffing dogs to track and help control its porous coastlines.

The presentation came after President Benigno S. Aquino III admitted the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) has only 16 detection dogs distributed throughout the country’s 16 regions.

These dogs only work two hours every day on the maximum and are practically helpless in keeping the country’s coastal boundaries as no drug entry zones.

Detection dogs are trained animals that use their highly acute sense of small to pick up scents of drugs and illegal substances stashed in the baggage, cargoes or packed with other scents that could mask the odor, according to Wikipedia.

With an island province like Bohol and lying right smack on an area so close to certain cities in Mindanao identified as drug hotspots, and with the steady stream of inter-island traffic, drugs can easily pass through or are shipped effortlessly for distribution in Bohol.

In fact, PDEA Regional Director Jigger Montallana, in his power-point presentation during the latest Regional Peace and Order Council Meeting identified Bohol as one of the destination of drugs from Mindanao, Cebu and Manila.

He also showed that PDEA has ruled that apart from sea ports and airports, drugs are also sent through mail and parcel systems, shipped through the open coastlines and get through the Roll-on-Roll Off system.

At the suggestion that K9 units be put up at Bohol ports, PDEA has hinted that the agency does not have the fiscal capacity to acquire more detection dogs.

Sources who also refused to be named said a sniffing dog and its handler can easily cost P1.5M, and that discounts the other incidental costs of keeping the dog at the peak of its condition.

Even then, at the recent Provincial Anti-Drug Abuse Council planning workshop, provincial administrator Alfonso Damalerio easily convinced council members of the detection dogs’ capability.

As a test, the leashed dog eagerly leaped to search mode.

It picked on boxes one by one and doubled up, sitting right next to where earlier, an agent secretly placed a re-sealable cellophane with methampithamine hydrochloride (shabu) taped to the box underside.

These dogs are trained to sit right next to where the illegal substance is hidden, explains its handler.

On the next attempt, the handler place three transparent plastic cellophanes each under three covered monoblocs; only one had drugs.

The detection dog did not fail to pick the right cellophane too. (30)

Boholana leads Phil delegation to ‘11
Taiwan future leaders’ study camp
Rey Anthony Chiu

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol Dec. 16, (PIA) - - Unknown to many, a Boholana from a prominent family of Baclayon led the country’s delegation to the 2011 Taiwan Study Camp for Future Leaders from its Pacific Allies.

Atty. Denya Gracia D. Uy – Anastacio, sister of Baclayon Mayor Alvin Uy headed the country’s seven-man delegation to the study camp held in Taiwan, between November 16-25 this year.

Organized by the Ministry of foreign Affairs of the Republic of China (ROC) in Taiwan, the study camp hopes to weld stronger relations between host Taiwan and its allies in the Pacific by immersing study camp participants to the culture and development of the region’s one of the most prominently evolving economies.

From a nation that used to be a recipient of international donations, Taiwan has since been shaken off from its economic stupor to compete with the ever expanding race among region’s promising economies.

“How its does this, Taiwan shares with the study camp participant delegates who come from other sovereign nations as Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Solomon Islands, Kiribati, Nauro, Marshall Islands, Palau and other southeast Asian countries,” Anastacio modestly shared.

Part of the goal is to cultivate future leaders and make them understand more about ROC (Taiwan) by promoting its developments in the areas of bio-technology, green energy sources, tourism, and cultural developments.

As an awakening power, Taiwan, which figures prominently in Chinese history, conserved its rich artifacts and heritage structures reminiscent of its being the Chinese capital when Chinese President Chiang Kai-Shek relocated it here.

The preservation and conservation of its history, culture and heritage has become one of the key strengths of Taiwan tourism industry, she said while hinting the Philippines can learn Taiwan’s lessons. 

During the delegation’s stay in Taiwan, they would attend briefings, workshops and would be immersed in sessions introducing Taiwan development and visit other parts of Taiwan such as Taichung, Hsinchu, apart from Taipei. (30)

7 more Bohol towns get
Into 4Ps beneficiary list
Rey Anthony Chiu

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol Dec. 16 (PIA) – Almost six thousand families from seven additional towns in Bohol would expect a good head start in 2012 for their inclusion into the government’s conditional cash grants.

This puts the number of Bohol town beneficiaries to 31, or 18 more towns to cover the whole province in assistance.

Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) provincial link Angelita D. Genil hesitantly breaks the good news, not really wanting to jump into the details without first giving the privileged information to the local chief executives first.

Pressed for data during the recent DSWD 4Ps forum with the local media at the Philippine Information Agency here Thursday, Genil admitted the regional office only learned of the development a few days before the forum.

According to her, residents in the selected barangays in the towns of Guindulman, Candijay, Clarin, Duero, Lila, San Isidro and Valencia can start verifying the list posted in the barangays.

Of these, Guindulman tops the most number of beneficiaries in a town with 1338, followed by Candijay with 1,281 and the Valencia with 1,035.

Other beneficiaries would come from Clarin (738), Duero (712), San isidro (334) and Lia, (329).

With the recent development, the DSWD expects and additional 5,807 household beneficiaries from these seven towns.

For those expansion town residents, DSWD advised that they would need to check if their names are in the list posted at barangay halls.

“As soon as residents find their names in the posted list, make sure they come for the registration while bringing along with them birth or baptismal certificates of children 0-14 years old, certificate of enrollment from the schools, marriage contracts (if beneficiary is married), two 1x1 picture in white background, with name and corresponding household id written on a board,” DSWD urged.

“We have been attempting to connect to several mayors in the seven expansion areas, unluckily, some of them do not have fax machines and we are at a loss on how to get the news to them,” Genil said.

On this, the media offered help during the forum.

It may be recalled that by November of 2009, from Danao town, the 4Ps spread to set 3 areas in Alicia, Bien Unido, Buenavista, Carmen, Dagohoy, Inabanga, Getafe, Mabini, Pilar, CP Garcia, Trinidad and Ubay.

Few months later, 4PS crossed over to Anda, Balilihan, Batuan, Calape, Catigbian, Danao, Loon, Sagbayan, San Miguel and then to Talibon.

Not long later, Tagbilaran City and Sierra Bullones followed suit, said Genil.

This then puts a little more than 40,000 poor Boholanos availing of the government assistance. (30)

Para-vets get awards
at livestock Congress
Rey Anthony Chiu

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol Dec. 16, (PIA) – Cash awards and plaques rained to anti-rabies and livestock advocates Wednesday as the 2nd Bohol Livestock Partners Congress convened at the spacious Carlos P. Garcia Complex.

The day, which was formerly known as Barangay Livestock Aides (BALA) Congress, the Livestock Partner’s Congress was set as a venue to recognize outstanding initiatives in the livestock industry as well as to acknowledge sustaining initiatives in keeping Bohol rabies free, says Dr. Stella Marie Lapiz.

BALAs, or livestock partners, is the island’s in the sleeves in its attempting to deal with the issue of inadequate veterinarians to dispense livestock services all over the province.

Envisioned as para-veterinarians, the BALA establishment catapulted Bohol to the prestigious government innovative programs of the Galing Pook in 1997.

Since then, annual congresses have been set and, for the second time in a row, the Congress forms as the venue for annual livestock awards especially in citing the successes of the Provincial Rabies Prevention and Eradication Program (BRPEP).

This year, The congress provided the venue for the Gov. Edgar Chatto Awards for Best Performing Municipal Rabies Prevention and Elimination Program.

Earning each some P10 K in awards and a plaque are the anti-rabies programs of Loon, Tubigon, Baclayon, Maribojoc, Inabanga, Jagna, San Isidro, Mabini, San Miguel, Antequera, Catigbian, Duero, Dauis, Cortes, Sikatuna, Batuan, Corella, Calape, Dagohoy and Bien Unido.

Compared to last year, only Baclayon, Maribojoc, Inabanga, Jagna and San Isidro maintained their top ten spots while Loon, Tubigon, Mabini, San Miguel and Antequera showed better performance to unseat former winning towns from the top ten list.

From top ten in 2010, the awards opened to the top 20 programs this year while the criteria for judging was tougher, says Romy Garcia, one of the program evaluators.

Criteria for the contest includes program attaining over 70% dog registration and vaccination, key program innovations, continuing rabies patrols in the barangays, dog population control and responsible pet ownership advocacies, according to the details in the evaluation sheets.

On that same day, awards also went to Best Bantay Rabies sa Barangays.

Leading Bohol’s 1,109 barangays are San Roque Mabini, Haguilanan Catigbian, Bugho Loon, Pondol Loon, Basac Loon, Cabawan Maribojoc, San Roque Maribojoc, Tultogan Calape, Tungod Inabanga, Poblacion Inabanga, Lawis Inabanga, San Isidro Mabini, Salvador Sierra Bulones, Abaca Mabini, Danicop Sierra Bulones, Punta Cruz Maribojoc, Canmaya Diot Sagbayan, San Vicente Norte Sagbayan, Danicop Antequera and Hanopol Weste, Balilihan. 

Each of the barangays also received P10K and a plaque.

Compared to last year’s winners, San Roque Mabini, Haguilanan Catigbian and Basac Loon maintained their top ten slots.

Unseated were Cogon Norte Loon, Oy Loboc; Santo Nino Inabanga; Canduao Oriental Valencia, Moto Sur Loon, Lapsaoan Dimiao, San Agustin Sagbayan, Lawis Inabanga, Can-agong Sikatuna, Cabanugan San Isidro, Tabuan Antequera, Tangohay Dimiao, Poblacion Bien Unido, Tupas Antequera, San Agustin Sierra Bullones and Aurora Pilar.


With another key program called Livelihood Enhancement Towards Sustainable Human and Environmental Paradigm for Bohol, the congress also awarded individuals who were able to fully pay the animal dispersal incorporated in the program and “passed on the gift” with a local animal dispersal.

Awardees include Epifanio Tuston (Buyog FA or Getafe), Eutemio Quimado (Can-agong FA Sikatuna for the Caring and Sharing category; Justiniano Lague, Mariano Laurol and Dorotea Percigas for sustainability and self reliance category. Each of them received P1,500.

AWARDEES FOR Improved Animal Management are Gulliermo Calipes Sr., Ansberto Coquilla, Policarpo manatad, Daniel QuiƱo, Casimero lugsanay, Apollo Sarong, Quintin Anbgcahan, Rogelio Canda, Lucio Tamayo and Pelagio Genson.   

For the Nutrition and Income category, awardees include Eulita Estelloro, Christopher Dolera, Crispina Gementiza, Amadeo Perucho, Bernardo Jomo and Marcea Cruta.

As to improving the environment, awardees are Lorena Uli, Pastor Genita, Teodora Huyno, Gregorio Canda and for Gender and family focus, this years’ awardees include Rosemarie Amorganda, Ricardo Andoy and Leonor Flor.

For spirituality, the awardees in 2011 include Nieves Andoy, Jose Polinas and Villasis Geloca.


Awarded for passing on the gift was Cagawasan CARPFB MPC; for Accountability: NAMAO Buenavista, Boyog FA Getafe, DACBA Danao, CEUFA Catigbian and Capayas WA San Miguel.

CKPK San Isidro wins the sustainability and self Reliance while Poblacion WA San Isidro bags gender and family focus award.

POS awarded for improved animal management include Tubod MPC Clarin, Poblacion UFMPC Batuan, Calingaan FA Sevilla while SMART Danao and HUSFA Catigbian bags improving the environment category.

Awardees for full participation are: SFG Inabanga, Cogon SFA Balilihan, Quezon SCFO Batuan, Bagtic NagkaMag Catigbian, Bikals FA in Bien Unido and Liberty Mangrove Planters Assn in Bien Unido.

Three Municipal Advisory Boards each received awards too: MAB-Softwyre San Miguel, MAB Bantayog Talibon and MAB Ubay. (30)

Pantawid and family’s tale 
of crossing over, together 
By: Rey Anthony Chiu

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol, Dec 15, (PIA) – Working in distant places as house help was unthinkable for Ana Shirley, who has vowed to stake it out with husband Mauricio Bitancor, in good times and bad.

Years later and having been blessed with seven children to feed, that promise would have to be broken.

Forced to work away, the young mother left with a heavy heart.

Mauricio would then have to left at home, to care for the kids and tend a patch of land as a peasant, of which the income is never enough to make both ends meet.

To eke out a living, the husband was forced to cultivate a small garden to help sustain the kid’s food needs.

Then, everything else was up to their prayers: that one day, luck tilts their way.

And it did.

In November of 2009, the national government picked Pilar; one of Bohol towns in dire straits, as a beneficiary for its conditional cash transfer (CCT) packed in the Pantawid sa Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps).

Living in Barangay Aurora, a remote village with some of its farms submerged by the Malinao Dam Irrigation Facility, service access has since haunted the people: the lake forming because of the dam has positioned them at P50 habal-habal ride away from the Poblacion, which is only some few kilometers across the lake.

Forced to take P20 boat fare to cross a manmade lake to get to the town center where services are, one can understand right away why residents of the village choose to rather stay in the inter-generational vicious cycle of depravity.

Mired in poverty and compounded by contentious social irritants in irrigation issues, Mauricio, who is a church pastor, can only think of a miracle to pick them out of their sad lot.

Not really lacking in industry, the Bitancor family thought, if only there is something more they could do, they would rather bind as one and face their future hand in hand.

The 4Ps presented to us a perfect opportunity, my wife need not go far to work, after all, the P1,400 per month cash grant would be enough to get us focusing on other tasks that can get us out of this sorry state, shares Mauricio at the recent Kapihan sa PIA.

Granted with certain conditions, the cash grant can only be given to poor families which the National Household Targeting System (NHTS) for Poverty Reduction survey identified the poor families most needing the help, says Angelita M. Genil, DSWD 4Ps provincial link for Bohol and Siquijor.

4PS Conditions

Only those families in the survey directory like the Bitancors: with kids aged between 0-14 or with pregnant women, with no fixed income and are not government employees can be in the list, she reiterates.

From 2009, when the Bitancors enrolled in the program, they still have Mary Grace at grade 5, Myra in grade 4 and Mauricio Jr. in Grade three, all eagerly attending more than the 85% of the school days, per 4Ps condition.

The cash transfer grants P300 for each child aged between 0-14 (maximum of 3 per family) and another P500 for health assistance. This also makes it possible for the Bitancors to get P1,400 monthly in cash assistance.

What is funny is that parents then, who used to ask their children to help them in the harvest, are now pushing their kids to school, lest their cash grants are suspended, Aileen Lariba, 4Ps information Officer added. 

The family also makes sure that their visit to the health center becomes regular and they do not miss any Family Development Sessions (FDS).

Family Development Sessions  

A crucial part of the conditions for the cash grant is for the family to involve itself in the FDS, stresses Jocelyn Adalid, 4Ps social worker.

Here, families are taught basic skills, health tips and share technology to equip them with the right capacities to work out solutions to their problems, Lariba points out.

At the FDS, one of the sessions we had was about vegetable gardening. That was when we realized that it could be a good investment, Mauricio admitted.

Wanting to earn more about it, the Bitancors took several other FDS very carefully learning about just anything they can on the livelihood option before them.

With the DSWD in convergence with other government agencies, the Bitancors also took Farmer Field School (FFS) and agricultural technologists piled upon them new technologies, modern farming methods, free seeds and organic farming technologies.

And our children too, when they see how serious we are, they pick on chores without even having to ask them, she Anna Shirley shares.

Since then, Ana Marie, has long stopped working as house help in Manila, he said.

We learned the benefits of organic farming and getting alternative livelihood, adds Mauricio, who shared that apart from a bigger garden, they also ventured into hog and poultry production.

No, it’s not the P1400 we get after every 2 months, it is the sessions that prove to be that which opens to us the way to honorably dig our way out of poverty, Mauricio stresses.

Poverty is not just about income, it is also about access to services, he implies.

“Now, we are happier. It’s unthinkable, us not sleeping or going together. We want this to be a lasting memory for our kids: loving parents in the hope that they too would build their families with the same bond,” Mauricio said nervously evading the camera. 

“Even our neighbors would tease us: Who is the jealous type between you? Anna Marie laughs while volunteering the information.

Getting more and more engrossed on improving their lot and helping their community, Mauricio also crosses over as peer educator.

On the other hand, Anna Marie, who heads the Aurora Women’s Organization constantly seeks ways to improve their life and bringing along their community through the natural hindrances to get them where the 4Ps wished they would be after the program expires. (30) 

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