Saturday, December 10, 2011

Bohol Island State U annex campus soon to rise in Sevilla
By: Rey Anthony Chiu

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol, Dec 11 (PIA) – Another annex campus of the Bohol Island State University [BISU) will soon rise in Sevilla town, taking one step at a time as the Sanggunian Bayan authorized Sevilla Mayor to buy a lot for the state university.

Sevilla mayor Ernestina Digal is pushing hard to comply with the CHED requirements and she has identified the probable location in barangay Cambagui and immediately shared to the owners about the plan.

Sevilla vice-mayor Emily Dagaang also said that there is a pending request for the opening of BISU Annex at barangay Cambagui.

Dagaang added that the ultimate plan is to open up the Bohol Island State University (BISU) annex in the town, more on the technical and vocational courses through the BISU system.

“This should present a good opportunity for our youth to get the proper training needed for them to land good jobs,” the vice-mayor said.

At the top of the requirements was for the identification of a site to construct the school buildings therein. 

Soon the lot was found and after both parties arrived at a deal in the negotiations, the local government unit, through the express nod of the Sangguniang Bayan allocated P125,000 in its 2010 20% annual development fund for payment of the needed lot.

But, even before the sale took effect, the local government unit of Sevilla sought the help of interested parties who could assist the LGU in preparing the site for the annex.

The Filipino Chinese Chamber of Commerce responded. The organization built two 2-classroom buildings for the new site, said Mercedes Ocio, municipal secretary.

But the heirs of the lot-owners Fabian Cabagnot had a hard time processing the documents due to some problems with the extrajudicial settlement of the estate, the original owners being deceased.

The process would have been simple; extra-judicial settlement of estate of deceased person and to shorten the process, a simultaneous sale would have to be consummated.

To remedy the situation, the LGU assented to the request of the heirs of the lot for additional amount to be used in the processing of the documents and the subsequent transfer of the property.

The town agreed to comply and just recently, the Sangguniang Bayan issued the authorization for Mayor Ernesita Digal to purchase the lot for the proposed BISU Annex. [mbcn/rahc/PIA-Bohol)

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Army, police say: NGCP bombing, not NPA work
Rey Anthony Chiu

TAGBILARAN CITY , Bohol , Dec 10 (PIA) – Police and military authorities investigating the latest bombing of a government power facility in Sagbayan town denied that rebels had a hand in the terrorist act.

Police SSupt Constantino Barot at the weekly radio program “Kita ug ang Gobernador” said that after careful analysis of the evidences collected at the crime scene, investigators agreed that it could never be the handiwork of the dreaded New People’s Army (NPA).

Police and military investigators are now on to a lead that pointed to a brewing misunderstanding between the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) and its contractors, unpaid workers and unsettled right of way disputes.

It can be recalled that on or about 10 PM on December 3, reports reaching the media detailed of at least three bombs wrapped at the foot of the NGCP steel tower 164 located in Sta. Catalina Sagbayan exploded.

The incident hardly dented on the still constructed structures, police authorities said.

Sta Catalina was also the same barangay where rebels staged a brutal ambush against government forces where many resulted in the death of six soldiers including commanding officer 2Lt. Socrates Que and four CAFGUs.

While Sagbayan police, in a radio interview last Monday detailed that they were not discounting that the bombing could be a work of the NPA’s following alleged extortion letters sent to NGCP, Supt Barot and Special Forces Commanding Officer Lt. Col Romeo Brawner believed otherwise.

Pointing to the standard operating procedures for NPAs, Brawner said the rebels unmistakably used the incident as propaganda and would immediately owned the bombing.

He cited bombing incidents in Surigao and Tarlac where the rebels immediately issued statements.

Brawner, who used to be the spokesperson of the Philippine Army added, besides the bomb used, based on the unexploded parts revealed no signature NPA improvised explosive device.

He said NPAs in the Central Visayas use PVC pipes and not tin cans in their devices.

“It’s amateurish,” he suggested as he pointed that the components used, the method of deployment and the intention of the atrocity was definitely unlike their confirmed NPA handiworks based on past experiences.

On the reported claims that the bombing signals the return of the NPAS in Bohol , Barot said based on police intelligence reports, the rebels do not have an organizational structure capable of such act as yet.

They are still on the underground and recruitment stage and doing any atrocity at this time could alert internal security forces and can hamper any forward organizational movement. (mbcn/rahc/PIA-Bohol)

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PHL human rights grade still notably low - CHR
Rey Anthony H. Chiu

TAGBILARAN CITY , Dec. 10 (PIA) – The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) in Central Visayas rates the government’s efforts to advance human rights awareness as low and is equally pessimistic that it can improve in the next years.

CHR-7 regional director Atty. Alejandro Alonzo Jr. said at the Kapihan sa PIA Thursday that his personal rating is 5 in a scale of 10.

Alonzo explained that his assessment is also based on the ratings by international human rights monitors poring into the human rights situation of the country.

Alonzo cited the International Covenant in Civil and Political Rights that a Hongkong-based Asian Human Rights Commission noted that the country has not met the average compliance in terms of the country’s commitment to respect civil and political rights of peoples.

The covenant is a multi-lateral treaty in protecting peoples’ civil and political rights that the United Nation adopted with 74 signatories and more than 167 parties committing to its provisions.

Alonzo said that while extra legal killings have been reportedly rampant during the time of President Arroyo, the crime still continues under the Aquino Administration.

“The monitors also said cases of enforced disappearances continue without let-up,” Alonzo cited.

Citing Amnesty International, the CHR director said that the rights group has noted the country’s apparent failure to comply with its commitments on the International Covenant on Economic and Social rights.

According to Alonzo, Amnesty International rates the Philippine low on giving access of potable water to potable water, decent housing and the right to health.

Aside from a widening poverty base, the Philippines is still saddled with housing backlog and often find itself evicting urban poor dwellings and demolishing them without an option for relocation, Alonzo said.

CHR added that despite a law that bans keeping patients with outstanding balances from discharging in hospitals, there are still cases where patients complain being held against their will. 

Similar law says it is illegal to admit patients only after they have deposited an amount and has satisfactorily proven their capacity to pay.

On this, Alonzo said he still hopes the president, as the representative of the country to the covenant, can use his executive power to address these issues and end the prevailing culture of impunity in the country. (mbcn/rahc/PIA-Bohol)

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

TAGBILARAN CITY , Dec. 10 (PIA) – The Provincial HIV/Acquired Immunity Disease Syndrome Multi-Sectoral Council (PHAMSC) in Bohol identified ten goals as targets for accomplishment through 2015 after a series of workshops and planning activities held recently in the province.

PHAMSC program coordinator Mila Israel said while most of these goals reflect the global effort to rouse international awareness about the virus, its ambition is to reduce by 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.

The council which has been largely coordinating efforts to spread the word wants to reduce by half sexual transmission of HIV among young people and men who have sex with men and commercial sex workers.

In its 2011 strategic planning workshop, the council stressed that the campaign shall focus in schools, out of school work environments with the end goal of organizing young advocates, Israel shared.

To kick off the campaign and in celebration of World Aids Day, the council conducted the HIVAIDS Quiz Bee for city high schools at the Island City Mall in Tagbilaran City recently to open up more creative avenues for information dissemination.  

In a hand-out leaflet distributed during the event the council aims to reduce by half AIDS-related maternal deaths including the elimination of the transmission of HIV from mother to infant.

At the Kapihan sa PIA recently, Israel bared that aside from the two major goals, the council also aims to prevent new HIV infections among drug users and to attain universal access to anti-retroviral therapy to people living with HIV and those eligible for treatment.

Israel explained that in unity with its global partners, the council aims to reduce by half tuberculosis deaths among people living with HIV and to address social protection strategies for HIV victims to gain access to care and support.
Israel added that the council echoes 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.

It is hoped that countries with HIV-related restrictions for entry, stay and residence shall have been eliminated if not halved, the council said.

Israel explained that the council hopes to address the HIV-specific needs of women in at least half of all national HIV responses and finally for the country to implement zero tolerance for gender-based violence. (mbcn/rahc/PIA-Bohol)

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Group suggests barangays enact ordinances to discourage child trafficking
By: Rey Anthony Chiu

TAGBILARAN CITY , Bohol , Dec.  9 (PIA) – With the alarming surge of trafficking of persons in the country, a group –the Philippines Against Child Trafficking (PACT) called on barangays to enact ordinances mandating all recruiters to register first before they are allowed to recruit in the localities.

The call from PACT came as the world commemorates the International Day against Trafficking on December 12.

PACT said communities must exhaust all possibilities to pursue creative programs that track recruiters so as to make them accountable for their recruitments.

According to the group, the registration of recruiters allows local officials to trace the recruits’ destinations and the agencies that hire them.

PACT also said there has to be more community efforts to convince parents that there are still other means of earning a living other than sending their minors to work.

The group noted that extreme poverty has pushed most parents to send their kids to work in distant places to lessen on the mouths to feed while earning at the same time.

“The prospect of milking out income from minors, their high value for the different forms of abuse from human slavery to prostitution, and them as warm bodies for the country’s continuing armed conflict, pile up for the lucrative income a trafficker gets from this illegal business,” says police officer Tomasita Carino of the children and women’s desk at Camp Dagohoy .

These kids however do not always end up with the jobs promised, Carino noted.

Most of the stories recounted by victims detail gory experiences of abuse so inhumane they find ways to get rescued, Carino shared, while wanting to keep these details confidential.

This year’s theme for the International Day against Child Trafficking is “Komunidad Palaakasin, Child Trafficking Sugpuin”, in apparent call for communities to get involve.  

PACT still keeps the hope that the problem of child trafficking can be addressed through proper action and accurate information.

Moreover, PACT said lack of education and information get these children or women close to being trafficked because their parents who lack skills push them to work instead of school.

Other reasons for trafficking which the group details include a sick sense of women and children as sex objects, displacement from armed conflicts, unscreened access to technology and broken families.

Over this, PACT calls on everyone to continue learning about trafficking, to seek creative ways to equip workers with the right skills for work and to establish community based livelihood programs to stop people from leaving their communities to work. (PIA-Bohol/mbcn/rahc)


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Feature: In Sevilla, their tables make everyone even
By: Rey Anthony Chiu

SEVILLA, Bohol, Dec 10, (PIA) –If, sometime you hear that in Sevilla town, “la mesa ra’y patag,” [only tables are even) think of it as a joke. But believe me half of it is probably right!

The other half is that fiesta tables here are great equalizers and nothing can be a better leveler than the moneyed and the barefooted rubbing elbows in a sumptuous feast that they believe would sate their bodies and their souls as well. 

When you partake at the lavish banquet at the feast day of Virgin of Guadalupe, the town patroness, there you would be glad why tables here should be flat, or your stewed carabeef soup would spill before you could take in a deliciously long sip.

Historically, the place was formerly called “Panas” for its characteristic rock cliffs, a part of nearby Loboc town.

Many historians believe that the town only came to be called Sevilla after Spaniards who could have been from Seville , south of Spain came to settle and establish formal government in the town in 1872.

“Panas,” being located on top of the gorges carved by Loboc River the natives settled here who saw the rockslides at the riverbanks and the hinterlands as a perfect venue for escaping the white skinned conquerors’ probing eyes and be relatively independent in their remoteness.

Practically a place diligently carved out of the cliffs, Sevilla’s flat surfaces can be a glaring testament of man’s adaptation to the harsh environment and a little ingenuity to fill the rest.

Having been administered by missionary priests from mother town Loboc, Sevilla picks the habit of taking its mother town’s devotion.

With Loboc’s devotion to the Virgin of Guadalupe as its secondary patroness after Saints Peter and Paul, Sevilla also took on the devotion of Guadalupe.  

That accounts for the two feats days for Guadalupe: May 25 for the Guadalupe de Extremadura of Loboc and December 12 of the Guadalupe de Mexico of Sevilla.

Loboc, picked Our Lady of Guadalupe de Caceres, patroness of Extremadura.

Guadalupe de Caceres is notably the carved black Madonna (Mary with a child) as legends say that Luke, the evangelist personally carved the image and was buried with him.

Guadalupe de Mexico on the other hand, is that unmistakable image on a wooden plank with the light radiating from her body.  

When Luke’s tomb was excavated, the statue was brought to Rome , and at a time when there was a plague that hit the place, the statue was taken out for a great procession and the epidemic ceased.

The statue was buried again in a casket near Guadalupe ( Hidden River ) to hide it from the invading moor. That was when the statue came to be called The Lady of Guadalupe.

Years later, yet another miracle caused its excavation and the statue was then put in a Franciscan hermitage in Guadalupe, an autonomous region south of Spain .

As a Franciscan monk became bishop of far-away Mexico , the prelate heard of another Marian apparition, this one to Juan Diego.

The visionary said the virgin told him her name as Coatlaxopeuh (Quatlasupe) which when translated from its Inca term into “She who crushes the Serpent.”

The image of the lady crushing the serpent is also a common presentation of Mary.

To the monk, the name couldn’t be far sounding than the Guadalupe de Caceres in distant Spain .

Loboc’s virgin of Guadalupe devotion then is that which allows them to celebrate every May 25, while the Guadalupe of Sevilla is the virgin of the Mexican apparition that celebrates her feast day every December 12.

So, on December 12, Sevilla makes sure her tables are leveled and enjoins every devotee of the virgin of Guadalupe to come and partake on the table where the rich and the poor sit as equals in thanksgiving for the blessings.

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