Saturday, February 18, 2012

Bohol is authentically Philippines, 
New tourism marketing program 
Rey Anthony H. Chiu 

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol, Feb. 17, 2012 (PIA) --- Governor Edgar Chatto’s administration unrolled a banner marketing program for Bohol tourism industry, which comes out amid a Department of Tourism’s catchphrase “It’s more fun in the Philippines.” 

At the State of the Province Address the governor delivered before the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) and invited sectoral leaders in Bohol, the governor, who has been credited as one of those who crafted the Bohol Eco-Cultural Tourism vision in the late 1990’s revealed the marketing program for Bohol’s tourism is “Bohol: Heart of the Islands,” and “Bohol has it all, and it’s all in Bohol.” 

“These are the core messages that we are sending out to the world, through a strong, sustained tourism promotion and marketing program,” the governor said during a forum heard simultaneously in most parts of Bohol. 

When he was vice governor then, Chatto orchestrated the crafting of a province-wide vision and mission and identified eco-cotural tourism as among economic engines for Bohol’s wholistic development. 

Chatto then cited that Bohol’s rich natural resources, high biodiversity and gentle friendly people makes it an ideal magnet for tourists. 

Hailed as the place where the friendliness is so eloquently shown by the Sandugo: first recorded international treaty of friendship and consequently the place where the seed of the United Nations was sowed, Bohol’s hospitable people makes the island a destination because of its people. 

“We want tourists and visitors to realize that Bohol is “Authentically Philippines,” and with our pristine environment and emphasis on local arts and culture, through our Center for Culture and Arts Development, they will see what is authentically Filipino,” Chatto said in a packed SP Session Hall, Friday February 17. 

“The Bohol Tourism thrust is all about recognizing what Bohol truly is – the heart of the Philippine Islands – both geographically and culturally,” the multi-awarded young leader stressed. 

“We are at the heart of the Visayas and, culturally, Bohol is authentically Philippines,” he reiterated. 

We want the world to understand that much more than the trifecta of Loboc, Chocolate Hills and the Tarsier, we have the five pillars of tourism, and we want Bohol to be discovered and rediscovered annually by tourists, eventually becoming a perennial destination. 

According to Chatto, the marketing program is an outcome of the Tourism Summits conducted through the Bohol Tourism Office (BTO) which were aimed at ensuring sustainable growth of tourism industry and unify the tourism marketing of [our] municipalities with one voice. (30)

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Bohol tops P1-B mark 
In new investments 
Rey Anthony H. Chiu 

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol, Feb. 17, 2012 (PIA) – While some part of the country remain lethargic with the almost stagnating global economic slowdown, Bohol enjoys a robust economic pat in the back with new investments surpassing the P1-Billion mark it has previously targetted. 

And Governor Edgar Chatto ascribes the new investments uptrend with the enabling business environment the government and the private sector put up to entice the moneyed. 

Chatto, in his State of the Province Address cited the Bohol Business One-Stop Shop (BOSS) as a crucial innovation that made the economic jumpstart easily noticeable. 

While there is a strong Bohol Chamber of Commerce and Industry and a similarly investment supportive government agency in the Department of Trade and Industry, data from investments never could be easily hailed because most agencies involved in business permits and licensing do not always share data. 

Moreover, potential investors find applying a business permit and license too much a hassle that somehow pushes them to avoid the mainstream, said Maria Fe Dominise, Bohol Investment Promotion Center head. 

The solution was the establishment of the BOSS. 

BOSS was established in 2009. It sets up under one roof a one-stop-shop for business permits and licenses and gathers all regulator agencies involved in legally setting up a business identity in one location. That way, the investor does not have to go across the city to go to another regulatory office and lose steam in the process, Dominise explained. 

Here, legal business name and license processing is relatively cut short, and gathering of data becomes so easy, added Blair Panong, investment specialist at the local DTI. 

“Today, the Bohol BOSS, lodged at the Bohol Investment Promotion Center (BIPC), has achieved a record increase in investments,” Chatto, who was the chief legislator when BIPC was institutionalized, shared. 

“Investments posted for 2011 surpassed all expectations. Total investments amounted to P1.3 Billion from 2,197 new enterprises, greatly exceeding our target, and posting a very impressive 64% increase over last year’s total investments,” Chatto told the Boholanos at his SOPA. 

In addition, the governor said BIPC noted more women micro entrepreneurs, at 52% of total, and these enterprises have generated employment for thousands of Boholanos. 

“This is further evidence of the increasing number of entrepreneurs who are confident about Bohol’s business enabling environment, he noted. 

Already, 26 out of our 47 municipalities have installed business process and licensing systems, he pointed out. (30)

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Chatto shares secret in 
accessing resources for 
Bohol infra development 
Rey Anthony H. Chiu 

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol, Feb. 15, 2012 (PIA) -- Despite local resources which are barley enough to maintain its vital infrastructure in its peak condition, Bohol still manages to get its infrastructure development program moving. How? 

According to Governor Edgar Chatto, the key is counter-parting. 

In his State of the Province Address delivered before a packed Sangguninag Panlalawigan Session Hall Friday, Chatto insists “infrastructure is a basic requirement for development.” 

But with its scant resources tied up to obligate its other priorities and obligations, single-handedly bank-rolling its infrastructure development program would be too costly for Bohol. 

In this light, and over constant prodding of local governments from local leaders on how the province managed, the Bohol chief executive who had an extensive experience as legislator shared, “to add to our substantial resources for infrastructure, we sought counterpart funding from external partners.” 

We have many of these ongoing partnerships, which has multiplied the reach of our own resources. 

Chatto revealed that Bohol’s total resources allocated for infrastructure in 2011, including both internally- and externally-sourced funds, amounted to P748 million. 

The governor enumerated the following: Roads (including Barangay Roads), Barangay Waterworks Development and Electrification, and other support infrastructure, including assistance from Provincial Roads Management facility (PRMF) and national government counterparts given by no less than His Excellency Pres. Benigno S. Aquino III, P 419.7 million, Hospitals, Health and Sanitation Facilities, including counterparts from the DOH, and from the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA) P221 million, School Buildings, including counterparts from DepEd, P 34.5 million. 

Farm to Market Roads, Agricultural Equipment and Other Assistance, including counterparts from DA reached P31 million; Equipment Acquisition and Capacity Development from PRMF, P11.8 Million; and Additional funding for Other priority infrastructure projects, made possible by our Gawad Pamana ng Lahi and Seal of Good Housekeeping Awards, as well as the Local Governance Support Fund (LGSF), amounted to P30 Million, Chatto said. 

All of these figures highlight the Provincial Government’s strong commitment to infrastructure, Chatto, who shares the credit beamed with pride. 

In addition to the Provincial Engineer’s Office (PEO), which is tasked with the formidable mandate of implementing our infrastructure projects, it is proper here to also acknowledge the support services provided by the Provincial Motor Pool Office (PMPO) and the Provincial General Services Office (PGSO), according to the governor. 

Still lavishing from a fortunate support from the national government in Bohol’s development thrust, Chatto pointed out the presidential commitment to the concreting of the Balilihan-Hanopol-Batuan Road. 

He said “the initial amount of P146 million is now under implementation.” 

This road which has been earlier identified as a crucial tourist support access, is the shortest route from the eastern part of Bohol to the center, connecting the major tourism sites of the eastern side, such as Abatan River and Mag-aso Falls, to the Chocolate Hills. 

For Chatto, the development opens new tourism attractions along the way, such as the Makapiko Rapids and the lush greenery in the area, aside from boosting agricultural transport. 

Aside from road development, Chatto also cited the President’s commitment and support the Albur Sanitary landfill. 

He said the president has committed to the release of P114M, while Bohol has also sought Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprises Zones Authority help in undertaking an inventory of all prior development in the area and subject the whole plan to re-evaluation by technical and environmental experts, namely the TWG from UP led by Dr. Rollon, to assure adherence to applicable environmental laws and waste management standards. (30) 

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Lights on for Bohol 
sitios by 2013 
Rey Anthony Chiu 

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol, Feb. 17, 2012 (PIA) – Pursuant to the national government’s agenda for inclusive growth, a program that would make all nooks and crannies of Bohol seeped in light by the end of 2013 starts. 

The program entails energizing 162 sitios for Bohols second and third districts this year and continuing in with the 109 in 2013 for the remaining 271 sitios without electric lights. 

Visibly elated by the development, Governor Edgar Chatto has earlier shared that getting the sitios energized would indubitably increase productivity, not to mention the comfort every schooling child gets and the ease he has in studying under the brighter light compared to the shady glow of gas lamps and candles. 

The program which involves 100% energization of all sitios within 2012 to 2013 is President Benigno Simeon Aquino III promise to Bohol, Governor Edgar Chatto said Friday. 

We are grateful to President Aquino who has been true to his promise to energize all sitios in the Province of Bohol within 2012-2013, Chatto bared during his State of the Province Address Friday, February 17 at the Sangguniang Panlalawigan Session Hall. 

Then leading the country with 100% energization rate for towns, Bohol has long embarked on an ambitious 100% sitio electrification rate to assure every school its deemed internet connectivity. 

“This is the only way we can make sure our children are technologically competent and can be globally competitive,” local leaders have earlier shared. 

Getting Bohol sitios energized however does not come like free lunch. 

“Of course, in the spirit of counter-parting that is standard practice in Bohol, we will provide counterpart funding for some of these sites,” Chatto said. 

This year, 162 sitios in the second and third districts are programmed for energization, Chatto said. 

As of date, BOHECO II general manager Carlos Itable of BOHECO has been directed by NEA Administrator Edith Bueno to submit the project requirements not later than February 24, so implementation can proceed immediately before the end of this quarter, he told Boholanos tuned in to the SOPA Friday. 

According to Chatto, BOHECO I, which has already reported 100% energization, will undertake additional line extension in already energized sitios under its Share-A-Light Program. 

There are 271 as of date, and with 162 to be completed this year, that leaves a very achievable target of 109 sitios for next year, the governor said. 

He also said, “Already, our plans for 2012 look like a handful. No doubt, there will be more accomplishments, more opportunities, more partnerships, and more challenges [in the coming years]. (30)

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BCRMTF offers P50K reward 
for info on oil-spill culprit 
Rey Anthony Chiu 

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol, Feb 15 (PIA) –The Bohol Coastal Resource Management Task Force (BCRMTF) proposes to Bohol Capitol a P50,000 reward for anyone who can lead authorities into identifying the culprit behind the reported oil spill off Danajon Double Barrier Reef. 

The council, spearheaded by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) earlier sent an environmental disaster assessment and probe team to the affected area Thursday last week after Governor Edgar Chatto called for investigation on the reported oil-spill. 

It may be recalled that two weeks ago, environmental advocates in Bohol howled over reports that an oil spill was fast spreading near Jao and Bilang-bilangan Dako islets off Bien Unido Bohol. 

Fishermen from the island said a passing vessel could have dumped the oil while negotiating the channel on the evening of January 6. 

This was also corroborated by Bien Unido Police through PC/Insp. Felicito Garcia, Police chief who made a blotter entry which showed that, “around 7 p.m. last January 6, MV Elizabeth deliberately dumped / splashed its waste of used oil in the sea." 

It was not stated how Bien Unido Police came up with the blotter entry. 

Bien Unido Mayor Rey Nino Boniel has ordered his police to investigate, following an instruction from Gov. Chatto. 

While nobody was able to see the vessel dump its waste oil, fishermen in the area said, apart from MV Elizabeth, there were no other boats transiting the area on that night. 

According to the probe team which consolidated their post-mission findings Tuesday, they believe the culprits dumped around 600 liters of used oil in the areas affected. 

The team also said they documented the oil spill affecting around 1.450 kilometers, despite the fact that the area is exposed to inter-island currents and strong winds. 

Beyond circumstantial evidence of the vessel allegedly dumping the oil, not one in the area could positively identify the culprit as yet, said probe team members. 

They however believe that there could be somebody out fishing that night who could have seen the dumping. Their initial investigations yielded no witnesses so far. 

But Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Officer Canda is firm in his belief that there could be somebody who could have seen the dumping vessel on that fateful night. 

We still would need to go to other neighboring islands to urge fishermen who were out that night to ask them to come out, and the reward may encourage them, Canda said. 

“It must be Elizabeth, stresses a fisherman who asks not to be named. 

“We only noticed the oil on the shorelines of Bilangbilangan Dako early morning of January 7, so it has to be dumped the in the evening,” he said in Cebuano. 

According to Canda, anyone helping the probe team and the council would be recommended for witness protection to assure his safety. (30) 

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Bohol Council aims for 
Accessible, safe blood 
By: Rey Anthony Chiu 

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol, Feb 17, 2012, (PIA) – Making easily accessible safe and ample blood supply for Boholanos would be Provincial Blood Coordinating Council’s (BCC) main mission, says Board Member Cesar Tomas Lopez. 

“And in the long run, setting up of more blood banks and perhaps a blood screening center for Bohol may not be far-fetched,” the legislator physician added. 

Explaining the rationale of the newly reorganized council following an ordinance enacted in the late 1980s, Lopez, who also sits as the Council Vice Chairman to Governor Edgar Chatto said pushing for the enabling ordinance rejuvenating the Council would be part of his sworn service to Bohol and to humanity. 

“The Blood council would be the initial step in correcting a flawed system in the local blood supply network where a healthy and properly screened ready for transfusion blood can be had quickly,” he explained. 

“Blood is life, and like an engine, a body that does not have ample supply of blood will eventually conk out,” he shared at the recent Kapihan sa PIA Thursday. 

The council vice chair also campaigned for voluntary blood donation to prop up the local blood supply inventory for easier access to Boholano patients in need of immediate transfusion. 

He was citing cases of poor patients from far flung towns practically rendered helpless in cases when there is a doctor’s request for blood transfusion. 

At the current situation, requests for blood transfusion can be granted but the patients would have to find a suitable blood replacement donor so the local stocks are not depleted. 

The tough situation is compounded by the fact that there is no blood center in Bohol. 

In such a case, blood units collected and typed in Bohol Blood Service Facilities and recognized blood collection centers including Mobile Blood Donations are sent to Cebu for blood screening which is also into extracting other blood components for specific use. 

A blood center is a blood service facility that has the capability of blood screening for infectious diseases, one that can practically declare a blood unit safe for transfusion, Lopez said. 

Only Gov. Celestino Gallares Memorial Hospital and the local Philippine National Red Cross are Department of Health accredited Blood Service storage facilities here, its screened blood supply coming from Cebu Blood Center. 

In Bohol, according to Lopez, who is also a physician by profession, this process entails at least a day of screening, making the blood not readily available for immediate use. 

As such, the blood units available would also put a patient paying for the blood processing, which runs up to thousands of pesos making it prohibitive to the indigents, Lopez said. 

The reorganization of the council also signals the formation of a team that is sworn to make blood within the reach of patients especially those belonging to the indigents, he asserted. 

Lopez then bared the plan to set up a mechanism to make a reliable inventory of blood units in key areas in the province and a monitoring system that minimizes the loss of blood due to un-use. (30)

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