Friday, December 23, 2011

Unpaid land owner denies 
Investigators tower access 
Rey Anthony Chiu 

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol Dec. 22 (PIA) – An owner of a lot near the bombed untapped power tower in Santa Catalina Sagbayan denied police investigators to get near another tower for banned police investigators from poking into a nearby tower. 

PSSupt. Constantino Barot shared this during the recent Provincial peace and Order Council meeting December 20 at the People’s Mansion, while updating council members of the progress of the investigations. 

Earlier, authorities formed a joint police and military investigation team to look into the possible motives of the bombing of National Grid Corporation of the Philippines’ tower 164 last December 3. 

Special Investigation Task Group (SITG) released its investigation results a few days later, all negating claims that the bombing, which did not even scratch the legs of the tower, was handiwork of returning members of the New People’s Army (NPA). 

The bombing happened a few hundred meters from where an ambush incident by NPA rebels happened in March 2000 resulting to the deaths of 6 soldiers and 4 militiamen. 

But the investigators said the bomb components retrieved at the site show them as ones used by amateurs and no indications of the signature bombs used by rebels in the region can be found. 

According to PSSupt. Barot, the owner denied police investigators’ access to the property as we was not yet paid for the lot used. 

The incident also boosts the SITG theory that a land row is a probable motive for the terroristic act. 

Reports of unpaid “right of way” along the areas where the towers are erected continue to float, although several of these allegations are unconfirmed. 

On the other hand, the SITG is also looking at disgruntled workers not paid well by contractors erecting the facilities. 

Governor Edgar Chatt has pointed out that there apparently was no intent to damage the tower during the bombing. 

It’s more of sending a message, he said. 

In a press material sent to Bohol media, NGCP said they are now coordinating with police and residents as to security arrangements of the 250 towers upon which lines of the Bohol Backbone Transmission Project would be strung. (30)

Chatto earns AFP 
Bayanihan award 
By: Rey Anthony Chiu 

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol, Dec 21, (PIA) – The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) awards Bohol Governor Edgar Chatto for being an Outstanding Partner during the Gawad Bayanihan Night as highlight to the 76th AFP anniversary at Camp Emilio Aguinaldo December 19. 

The AFP names Chatto, along with Negros Oriental representative Jocelyn Limkaichong outstanding partners for their exemplary leadership in advocating for convergence in their respective areas in the Visayas and elevating soldiery into new heights. 

Chatto, who flew in from the awarding ceremonies in Manila announced the feat during the Provincial Peace and Order Council Meeting Tuesday, a day after the rites. 

Humbled by the feat, the governor said he shares the honor and recognition with every Boholano who has worked hard for the attainment of peace and security, which has played a huge part in setting the environment for development here. 

Put up as a venue for recognizing local government efforts in partnering with the military in its new kind of fight against insurgency, Gawad Bayanihan has started this year in recognizing the key role of Local Governments in the fight against insurgency. 

Now trailblazing a new template for the country’s most successful counter insurgency program, Bayanihan highlights convergence of efforts with the government, the military and the civil society which has critically advanced development and progress, not by destroying the enemy but by building peace. 

Instead of ruthlessly engaging the enemy in bloody firefights, Bohol and its government forces instead opened up venues for talks and brought down its Community Organizing for Community Development teams to the communities to train and empower people to struggle our of the death grip of poverty. 

Bohol, through Chatto appropriated funds for development support through the commissioning of the military’s special operations teams who are also trained in organizing communities for livelihood and anti-poverty efforts. 

With Department of Trade and Industry and business leaders, the AFP launched Sub-contracting Partners for Innovation (SPIN) where soldiers train locals in high-end basket-weaving to supply a Cebu-based exporter. 

With the Department of Education, Bohol Government and the AFP National Development Support Command of the AFP, the soldiers have successfully built 19 two classroom buildings with all its attendant furnishings and learning modules at the cheapest cost. 

These efforts have significantly contributed to peace-building which reaped its success when Bohol was declared insurgent free. 

Since the awards has just been launched, Chatto revealed that it was indeed an honor as the award was the first ones the armed forces gave for Bayanihan. 

We are happy with all these efforts and that they are recognized, Chatto beamed with pride during the meeting. 

These are for the various programs that we have jointly undertaken, and for this, we would like to commend everyone, he said.
This just shows that the Bayanihan we are using in Bohol mirrors the real spirit of the Bayanihan which the AFP has seen in Bohol, the governor ended.

PPOC mulls fund aid 
for gov’t witnesses 
Rey Anthony Chiu 

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol Dec. 21 (PIA) – If the goal is to speed up convictions by enticing more witnesses to boldly come out and testify, the Provincial Peace and Order Council (PPOC) here looks at inserting an assistance system into its law enforcement program. 

Earlier, Governor Edgar Chatto and PPOC chair tasked Romeo Teruel, head of the Bohol Center for Development Studies to submit a proposal for an operational program to help government witnesses with the expenses attendant to attending court hearings or trials. 

The decision came up after an out-of town council meeting in Guinduman where Councilor Ephraim Licayan theorized that one factor leading to early acquittals and low conviction rates in the court is the dire need for witnesses to support and build solid cases. 

The councilor said he has once volunteered as witness, but he said the hassle he has to go though, spending for his transportation, meals and time spent would be too much for ordinary well meaning citizens. 

Police investigators also air similar concerns. 

We would want to help them if only to assure conviction and keep criminals off the streets, but we too have our own constraints, a police station investigation officer shared. 

On this, Teruel, in his report to the PPOC last month submitted two options: an amendment of the old Legal Assistance for Effective Law Enforcement Program (LAELEP) or the establishment of a separate Witness Assistance Program by an executive Order or by Provincial Board legislation. 

In Bohol, due to similar problem of suddenly losing a case to technicality, or aiding law enforcers who are sure for performance of official tasks, the LAELEP came in partnership with the local Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP). 

Paragraph 2, (a.) of the Memorandum on the establishment of the LAELEP says that the program shall render legal services to members of the PNP, employees and officials of the Provincial Government of Bohol, officers and men of the military based in Bohol, NBI personnel assigned in Bohol, forest guards and rangers of the DENR performing law enforcement duties including barangay tanods who are charged with criminal, administrative and civil cases in connection with the performance of their duties. 

Teruel recommended that the paragraph would include actual transportation expenses and meal allowances to witnesses of government in criminal cases without private complainants and who are not enrolled under RA 6981. 

The proposal also states that (b.) the fund for this program shall be used to defray litigation expenses, posting of bail bonds, conduct of continuing legal education and training seminars, maintenance and other operating expenses including actual fare (going to and from residences to the court) of witnesses not only of covered law enforcers but also of those filed by government without private complainants including meal allowances of not more than P300 a day. 

The other option, Teruel said it’s the establishment of a separate Witness protection program either through and Executive Order of the governor or an Ordinance passed by the Sangguniang Panlalawigan to be funded by the PLGU with an annual allocation of P50,000 and managed by the Provincial Prosecutor’s Office or the PNP. 

Provincial Administrator Alfonso Damalerio has intimated his bias for amending the MOA adding that the LAELEP is already in place. (30) 

Sustaining the peace…. 
Bohol deploys 15 
Prosperity teams 
By: Rey Anthony Chiu 

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol, Dec 23, (PIA) – Sustaining peace and development in Bohol needs a different breed of rural development specialists, exactly the kind of job for 15 Bohol Prosperity Teams (BPT). 

Formed as an integration of skilled experts from the 2nd Special Forces’ Special Operation Team and the former Bohol Poverty Reduction Management Office’s Community Organizers for Community Development (COCD), the joint team is now into an ambitious mission: Purok Power Movement for Peace and Development. 

802nd Brigade Commander Colonel John Bonafos shared this during the recent Provincial Peace and Order Council (PPOC) Meeting held at the Mansion Tuesday. 

These teams have passed through four stages of trainings, and were just recently deployed to target barangays, he said. 

Now deployed in 15 barangays of 12 towns previously picked as pilot areas for the teams, the BPTs would zero in, on purok development initiatives, sources at the PPOC said. 

The teams are now in Doljo Panglao, Totolan Dauis, Matabao Tubigon in the first district. 

In the second district, another team is in Santo Nino Talibon, Calanggaman and Pangpang Ubay, Nueva Estrella and Nueva Esperanza Bien Unido, Concepcion Danao and Cagawasan Dagohoy. 

The BPT is also in Paraiso Mabini, Katipunan Alicia, Panadtaran Candijay and in Montesuerte and Villarcayo in Carmen. 

The team integrates all the interventions by both SF and Bohol Capitol in areas formerly affected or threatened by insurgency, efforts which include community organizing for livelihood projects and technical assistance, skills development which tools communities on basic skills to get them off poverty. 

Called special operations teams, these experts have largely been credited as filling the void after Bohol was declared insurgency free. 

Now the front liners in the government’s service arm reaching the barangays, these prosperity teams who were deployed in threatened barangays would not spread into puroks for more focused development interventions. 

The BPT is again Bohols response to the reported re-entry of communist rebels who were formerly chased out of the province during multi-faceted anti-insurgency interventions in the past. 

This early, the BPT has accomplished pulong pulongs and dialogs, the most prominent of it is the reported “denunciation of the Communist Party of the Philippines New People’s Army” by members of affected farmer’s sector in Barangay Bay-ang Ubay, reports Col. Bonafos. (30)

7% up in pyro victims, 
Mostly kids, drunks 
Rey Anthony Chiu 

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol Dec. 22 (PIA) – Last year’s accidents by firecrackers and pyrotechnics increased by 7% compared to the previous year, records from the Bureau of Fire reveal. 

According to Fire Officer Vincent Ente, most of those in the 7% are children and intoxicated persons who still handled firecrackers and explosives despite relentless campaigns against these kinds of risky behavior to mark traditional celebrations. 

Alcohol and firecrackers simply do not go well, Ente stresses, adding that alcohol, which is a nervous system depressant has been proven to numb the senses, slow body responses and blur vision. 

Dealing with firecrackers require an extremely high sense of concentration 

Speaking at the Kapihan sa PIA, Ente, who came in for Fire Superintendent Pepe Rebusa, said their contribution to Oplan Paalala is exactly this; reminding revelers the risks of improperly playing with firecrackers to mark the holidays. 

Oplan Paalala is the Bureau of Fire Protection’s proactive way of stressing the need to be safe than sorry especially in celebrating the holidays. 

In coordination with local authorities and the police, Oplan Paalala allows firefighters and police officers to visit barangays and remind residents of the safety measures in handling firecrackers and other pyrotechnic devises in holiday celebrations. 

Despite aggressive campaigns to do away with firecrackers and explosives and use paper horns and other safe noisemakers, authorities said they are just realistic and would rather disseminate the right information down just as fast. 

Other than reminders about the dangerous mix between alcohol and firecrackers, the BFP also said their campaigns include doing away from picking are relighting dud firecrackers or those that refuse to ignite. 

The best thing to do is to douse the firecracker or explosive with water, that way we can be sure they do not ignite anymore, Ente said. 

One more thing, he adds. Not everyone likes firecrackers, that’s why we have asked municipal authorities to designate firecracker zones where people can freely enjoy and where revelers are safely at a distance.” 

On electrical appliances, Ente reminds, “Follow products specifications.” 

Do not install indoor electrical devices outdoors and do not overload. Series lights are not designed for a series of connections, this can seriously overload the wire capacity and cause short circuits, he warns. (30) 

Bohol gets DILG’s seal 
Of good housekeeping 
By: Rey Anthony Chiu 

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol, Dec 23, (PIA) – The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) reinforces its “best governed province” for Bohol with this year’s Seal of Good Housekeeping, says Governor Edgar Chatto. 

Among the first provinces to be given the award in this year’s round of evaluations, the seal effectively gets Bohol into the list of local government units that can access a rich resource of development funds in the Millennium Development Corporation’s funds sources, according to the governor. 

Breaking the news during his weekly media interaction Kita ug ang Gobernador, Chatto shared that the DILG has been handing out the seal of Good Housekeeping for towns who have consistently shown high ratings in the Local Government Performance Management System (LGPMS). 

The LGPMS is a web based self-assessment management and development tool that enables municipalities, cities and provinces to determine their capabilities and limitations in the delivery of essential social services, according to Government Assessment Portal. 

The LGPMS attempts to support the development of local governments through improved use of fiscal and human resources, compare local government achievements with set standards and advance these innovations to national platforms for possible replication, explains local DILG key authorities. 

In the previous rounds of Seal of Good Housekeeping evaluations, three Bohol towns got to the DILG list. 

Catigbian, Balilihan and Maribojoc towns each received P1,000,000 as cash award and another resource for locally prioritized programs and projects that dent on the United Nation’s established Millennium Development Goals (MDG). 

The following year, eight more towns barged into the same list after satisfactorily passing the bar of transparency in public service and service capability as sought by the LGPMS. 

The towns of Clarin, Loboc, Dauis, Panglao, San Miguel, Carlos P. Garcia, Jagna and Ubay each qualified for the P1M grant even as Maribojoc, Balilihan and Catigbian easily maintained their seals. 

At the weekly media forum carried over all local radio stations in Bohol, Chatto said the year has been truly fruitful for Bohol. 

Last September, Bohol emerged the “Best Governed Province” among all provinces including component and highly urbanized cities topping them all by capping a total score of 4.935 in a scale of 5. 

Recently, the DiLG also handed Bohol the Pamana ng Lahi regional Award for its exemplary governance, one that qualifies it to the national search. 

The national government, through Technical Education and Skills Development Authority also handed Bohol its prestigious Kabalikat Award for its local innovations in job generation while partnering strongly with the government skills tooling agency. (30)

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