Sunday, March 25, 2012

SSS sickness benefit covers 
lost income due to sickness 
Rey Anthony Chiu 

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol, March 24, 2012 (PIA) – Unlike what most members believe, sickness benefits for Social Security System (SSS) are not for medical expense, but only for filling up a member’s lost daily earnings due to sickness. 

SSS Field Inspectorate Section Chief Dioscoro Madanguit explained this during the weekly Kapihan sa PIA Thursday. 

Madanguit, along with SSS Bohol Filed Office Head Marino Talictic who came to the radio forum aired live over DyTR Am to clarify issues about the membership benefits as well as reveal a new amnesty program on loan penalties for SSS individual members. 

SSS is a government owned and controlled corporation which services caters to individual or company members workers in the private sector, or those who opt to be voluntary members, including non-working spouses. 

Social security membership automatically extends Sickness benefits, maternity, disability, retirement, old age pension and death benefits including funeral benefits, Mandanguit enumerates. 

But unlike the government service insurance that has medical benefits, SSS fills up sickness benefits computed on the daily wage basis coverage of the member. 

Without a membership, a daily wage earner who falls sick loses his income, but with sickness benefits, he can claim for 90% of his daily wage which can be determined on his monthly rate where he bases his contributions, Madanguit said. 

Moreover, with its short loan privileges for members, SSS is again offering its member loan penalty condonation program. 

According to Talictic, SSS branch head, members who have been deducted SSS payments by their employer for loan payments but employer failed to remit such could already be penalized. 

But under the new program, members who paid at least three monthly contributions in the last 6 months before filing the application can practically pay no penalty for accumulated arrears until April 1, 2012. 

Availment of the loan condonation program is only until September 30, according to SSS. 

Members only need to show the payslip which shows the deduction made for loan application, or a certification, if not, applicant’s notarized affidavit stating deduction from the salary for the loan amortization or certification that the member has paid the contribution before the month of filing is done. 

Talictic also said beneficiaries of a deceased member with outstanding payments but needs to file death claims during the availment period can also use the amnesty program. 

In this case, accumulated penalties until April 1, 2012 are wiped out. 

Mode of payment however is by deducting the full amount of the outstanding loan and accumulated penalties until April 1, 2012 from the death benefit claim. 

Also eligible for the loan penalty amnesty are those members who have paid lesser than 3 monthly amortizations and members who file for retirement or total disability claim within the availment period. 

For more information, visit the local SSS Office, urged Talictic. (30)

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Chatto appeals for conscience 
From big 3, in Bohol fuel row 
Rey Anthony Chiu 

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol, March 23, 2012 (PIA) – Governor Edgar Chatto appealed for conscience and corporate social responsibility from the three major fuel companies, after a heated forum failed to settle the needed cheaper fuel prices in Bohol. 

At the Consultative Forum on Oil Price in Region 7 held at the Bohol Tropics Resort Friday March 23, Chatto swung to an appeal to emotions after attempts to squeeze the truth behind why Bohol’s pump fuel prices are P8.00 more than those of other consumers in the region proved a futile argument. 

Before it came however, Chatto hinted that Bohol would consider taking the same trail Cebu took when it filed cases against the big three. 

It may be recalled that Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia took on the cudgels for the apparent collusion of the three major fuel companies in their pricing to the detriment of the Cebuano consumers and the industries largely dependent on fuel there. 

While nobody could exactly point if the case has something to do with the lowered fuel prices there, Chatto, who heads the Regional Development Council seemed determined to rally the regional council with him. 

At the forum, which was attended by representatives of the big three companies: Shell, Caltex-Chevron and Petron, all three representatives invoked effects of global pricing and trends in fuel market economies as the main reasons why pump prices in Bohol significantly differ from that of other major cities. 

The three fuel companies basically reiterated what the Department of Energy (DOE) explained through Oil Industry Management Bureau chief, Director Zenaida Monsada presented in the forum. 

Director Monsada showed the same presentation the government energy department gives to explain to consumers across the country the nuances of determining fuel prices especially in the deregulated oil industry. 

Earlier, DOE also said that competition in Cebu and Manila forced market players to bring down their pump prices, adding that Cebu has about 250 pump stations each outsmarting other companies to rack up on sales. 

Bohol, she said has only about 56 stations. 

Using the economies of scale which fuel representatives and the DOE used to illustrate their point, Board Member Abeleon Damalerio pointed out however why Ubay, a much smaller town in terms of fuel consumers has a P3.00 price difference when transporting expenses from city depots would be an add-on factor. 

On the other hand, Fil-oil, a new industry player in Bohol admitted that they would have to charter barges to bring in fuel from Cebu and the entail a cost of about P3.00 per liter. 

Mandy Ochoa, Filoil vice president however said selling his product in Bohol does not make much money for them but hints that the operation could be break-even, considering their continued operation with only two stations here. 

At this, most sectors attending the forum somehow realized that determining fuel prices in Tagbilaran City could be for reasons not of the DOE presentation could explain. 

“We can not change the global phenomenon,” Chatto intoned, admitting that there are factors that are beyond control. 

But sensing there are still hidden factors, of which topnotch lawyer Victor dela Serna accuse the three companies of price fixing, Chatto went the way of pleading. 

“If you can do something to cushion the impact, it would be a big help, he plead. (30)

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Chatto to BIPC: study tax 
Incentives to new players 
Rey Anthony Chiu 

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol, March 24, 2012 (PIA) –Governor Edgar Chatto orders the Bohol Investment Promotion Center (BIPC) to make feasibility studies for incentives to new fuel industry players getting to Bohol. 

Chatto’s order follows the argument that the entry of new players in the fuel industry here puts up more competition to the major fuel players whom consumers accuse of monopoly and price fixing. 

During the Consultative Forum on Oil Price in Region 7, the Department of Energy through Oil Industry Management Bureau chief Director Zenaida Monsada hinted that competition, as in most economic situations, create the desired effect of bringing the price down to market a product. 

The idea also settled in a new industry player Filoil, represented by its Vice President Mandy Ochoa bared that transporting bulk fuel to Bohol and then trucking it to stations entail substantial amounts of money that could eat up profits. 

He said the bulk transshipment and trucking costs, entail some P3.00 for every liter of gasoline form his depots to Bohol stations. 

Despite all this hassle, Ochoa said he could still make out a P2.00 per liter, as profits. 

According to him, Fil-oil does not have any depot in Bohol and would have to ship his products to his two stations in Bohol. 

Making public his desire to open up more stations to start making money for his operations here, Ochoa also shared that he has plans to put up an import terminal in Bohol so he could cut on the transshipment expenses. 

He also shared that he is planning to put the facility in Loon, where he could truck his products to his refilling stations. 

While sharing the need to put up more stations to recoup the expenses of running an import terminal, which would not be feasible if there are only two stations to serve, Ochoa aired his desire to widen his fuel business here so he could also put up corporate social responsibility projects. 

On this, Department of Trade and Industry Regional Director Asteria Caberte told Boholanos that she would ask the DTI 

to work with the BIPC for the preparation of feasibility studies on tax incentives to new industry players like Fil-oil. 

The governor also said he would talk to town mayors to offer similar deals to new players so as to encourage them to put up their businesses here. 

As this happened too, Chatto has pleaded to the big three fuel companies to do something to help Boholanos relative to the fuel price, which has also driven the prices of basic commodities up. 

“It could really be a big help,” Chatto said. (30)

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Bohol cops get help from 
“Extra eyes” on streets 
Rey Anthony Chiu 

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol, March 17, 2012, (PIA) –Bohol police may be grossly outnumbered by criminal elements prowling the city streets, but unkown to many with evil intent, cops here have extra eyes on the streets. 

Enthused by the great help closed-circuit television cameras (CCTVs) provide in securing Bohol Cultural Center (BCC) and the Carlos P. Garcia Sports Complex (CPG Complex), Governor Edgar Chatto said their newly placed CCTVs in undisclosed strategic locations in the city entry and exit points as well as main thoroughfares prop up police presence. 

Speaking at the recent out of town Peace and Order Council (PPOC) Meeting in San Miguel, Chatto shared an information that may be so new to most Boholanos. 

Earlier, Bohol Police Chief Police Senior Superintendent Constantino Barot has proposed the installation of CCTV cameras in the ports and terminals to help police and peace authorities track those who enter and leave Bohol. 

As soon as a crime happens in the city and a description of the get-away vehicles or the suspects are known, police can easily scan the exit and the cameras along the crime incident areas to know the direction of where the culprits fled, Chatto said. 

It may be recalled also that the Regional Peace and Order Council also eyed the move to copy a system installed at the Supercat Terminals where passengers passing through are documented through digital imaging. 

Chatto, who has seen the advantage of non-human eyes to watch over public areas shared that Bohol has installed CCTV cameras in strategic locations at pilot locations at the CPG Sports Complex and the BCC has pushed the concept outside of the pilot sites. 

At the meeting, Chatto cited an incident at the BCC where, at a function, one man was caught by the CCTV stealthily pocketing a mobile phone. He did not elaborate however if the CCTV capture was evidence enough for the item to be returned and the culprit to be punished. 

Along the same line, Chatto shared that Bohol has installed in undisclosed locations in the city some CCTVs that could see images even in the dark of night. 

In fact, he said that a few hours after a CCTV was installed, the governor accordingly saw an motor vehicle accident where it was clear who was at fault. 

Meanwhile, League of Municipalities of the Philippines (LMP) President and Trinidad town Mayor Roberto Cajes added that the CCTV captures can even stand as evidence in courts. 

Himself a staunch CCTV technology user, Cajes said it would even be better if Bohol can convince the private sector to put up their own surveillance apparatuses and connect them to the servers so that more areas could be covered by the digital monitors. (30)

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TBTK Journal benefits 
Bohol women’s center 
Rey Anthony Chiu 

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol, March 23, 2012 (PIA) – Whether it is an act to embellish the women’s month commemoration here or plain and simple concern for the battered women, Capitol pitched for propping up fund sources for its facility for women. 

In time when elsewhere in the country, women parade the streets and mouth slogans of empowerment, equal protection of law as well as access to opportunities with men, Capitol is slowly working to tighten up the operational capacity for its operated women refuge center in a fund raiser. 

Bohol First lady Pureza Veloso-Chatto then urged the members of the League of Municipalities of the Philippines (LMP) led by Trinidad Mayor Roberto Cajes to support and patronize a publication they are coming up to raise funds for the Bohol Crisis Intervention Center (BCIC). 

The BCIC is a DSWD and a French non government organization co-funded facility built in 2001 on a provincial government donated lot as a residential center for female survivors of gender based violence. 

Since then, the center has since grown modestly to contain a girls’ dormitory, therapy building and its operational supervision managed by the provincial government and supervised by the office of the provincial social welfare and development. 

For its initial run, Bohol allocated for its operations and has set up and managed the crisis center for victims of violence against women and children and was understood as a residential facility for survivors of abuse. 

In the absence of a sustainable source of operational funds and being at the mercy of government, local volunteers have started thinking of ways to help the facility. 

Mrs. Chatto told mayors that the Tigum Bol-anon sa Tibuok Kalibutan (TBTK) is coming up with a journal of activities and accepts advertisements from local government units. 

You can put you’re your tourism spots, products and potential areas for development, Chatto engages mayors. 

TBTK, a global gathering of Boholanos in Bohol draws home locals who have made it big abroad and are on the mood to find for themselves suitable investments while meeting old friends or blood relations. 

To hitch on this, the TBTK journal, which will be handed to returning potential investors will contain paid advertisements by Local Government Units, private individuals and businesses that aspire to make a bigger break in their businesses, hints Chatto, whose sister sits as the key TBTK organizer. (30)

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Feature….
TBTK: Conbusac’s stimulus 
package for Bohol since ‘03 
Rey Anthony Chiu 

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol, March 20, 2012 (PIA) – Long before the idea of “stimulus package” came in trend, Boholanos abroad have used one for the province since 2003. 

“Tigum sa mga Bol-anon sa Tibuok Kalibutan or simply Tigum Bol-anon sa Tibuok Kalibutan (TBTK) was initially proposed to bring in to Bohol fresh cash to capital starved Bohol”. 

“It may not be necessarily a rags-to-riches magic template, but it approximates that,” continues a Boholano who has permanently settled in Canada and who was at the Houston Texas 6th Convention of Boholanos in the United States and Canada (CONBUSAC). 

“The idea was born after CONBUSAC spends thousands of dollars in billeting for the convention of Boholanos when this could altogether be a modest fund to stimulate Bohol economy.” 

“Only, it has to be brought home to Bohol,” he shared. 

“Why not hold the conventions in our hometown in Tagbilaran? Maybe it can also be a great time to get back home and meet relatives and friends,” he enthusiastically recalls what most of the convention delegates saw. 

That time, Bohol leaders were also doing their homework in a superb preparation for a blue-print for Bohol as an eco-cultural tourism destination, he narrated. 

Then, homecoming Boholanos saw the perfect opportunity for investments in eco-tourism, he added. 

Everything else is history. 

Meant to be a global homecoming since then, the TBTK has been a showcase for Bohol’s potential investments following projections from its investments promotion center and its tourism sector development plans. 

Now for the 4th global homecoming in Tagbilaran City this May 8-18, Bohol first lady Pureza Chatto revealed that preparations have been on track. 

TBTK Bohol Coordinator Mariquit Oppus has been reportedly doing rounds in Boholano organizations all over the country while CONBUSAC counterparts campaign for Boholanos in the US, Canada and elsewhere in the worlds continents to come home, Governor Edgar Chatto told the media. 

At the recent League of Municipalities of the Philippines Meeting, Governor Chatto’s Pureza sought mayors support for a new TBTK highlight: a journal that will be a venue for LGUS to advertise their eco-tourism products. 

The TBTK journal will be a perfect venue for LGUs to advertise your existing tourist spots, products and sites potential for development, Mrs. Chatto told mayors. 

Consistent with the 2003 TBTK goal, the succeeding TBTKs allocate an Investment Forum where Capitol presents areas feasible for investments where we-off Boholanos can put funds. 

According to host organizers, Bohol leaders had series of meetings with sectors and events specialists to plan out the activities during the week-long event. 

We want it that the TBTK would not just be a venue for conventions but allows our lost sons to retrace their steps back to their origins in Bohol, explained Betty Garcia, another TBTK convenor. 

First proposed in Houston Texas by the Confederation of Boholanos in the United States and Canada (CONBUSAC) during its 6th biennial convention, the TBTK was earlier seen as a possible source of stimulus funds for capital starved Bohol. 

Now, Boholanos in and homecoming anticipate another grand meetings and reunions while affixing in each day of the week-long event special memories of reminiscing, making new friends and helping each other make Bohol a much better place for the future generations. (30)

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Six historians mentor
History writing w’shop 

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol, March 23, 2012 (PIA) -- Six historians of national stature mentors the Seminar Workshop on Local History Writing in Bohol, set May 31 to June 1. 

This as efforts to finally put historical annals of Bohol in their proper perspectives towards a better understanding of the place and its people could be put after decades of collective memory storage. 

With only a handful published books that can earn the credit of being rightfully written according to historical perspectives, most of primary sources of history here can be sourced out from archives in distant Spain or Mexico. 

Spanish annals which could have been helpful sources were simply lost to neglect, rotting in convents or destroyed by natural calamities like typhoons, fire or flood. 

Helping Bohol writers during the workshop is a team top-billed by University of the Philippines multi-lingual expert and Professor Emmanuel Luis Romanillos. 

Expert in Latin, English, Italian, Spanish, Chabacano, Cebuano dialects with the access to primary materials often unavailable to most local writers, Romanillos has been dishing out historical accounts and literature about Bohol in the past 

Himself a well published historiographer, Romanillos is also expected to present his scholarly works in the tow day seminar aimed to present to aspiring local history writer an overview of historiography in Bohol. 

Prof. Romanillos delivers his “Manuscripts and Published Sources for Local History in Bohol,” according to the seminar schedule. 

Apart from that, the workshop also attempts to build capacities in local history writing and upgrade local history writing skills while coming up with a manual for local history writers, said Dr. Gloria Casabal of the University of Bohol. 

University of Bohol Community Development Foundation Incorporated (UBCDFI) and the school’s Research and Planning Office, along with Capitol’s center for Culture and the Arts Development tapped the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) for an activity that will bring local historians, academicians involved in history writing in the towns. 

Set for May 31 to June 1, the Local History Writing Seminar Workshop also uses the extensive knowledge and experience of Dr. Jes B. Tirol, UB president and Visayan language Specialist, local historian and part of the pool of national advocates for mother-language education. 

Dr. Tirol tackles Historiography: Significant battles in Bohol. 

Also in the mentors’ pool is Dr. Erlinda Alburo, NCCA Assistant Secretary and Executive Committee, National Committee on Historical Research and research national awardee. 

Dr. Alburos topic centers on “Updates on current Local History Research” and “The NCCA program and Opportunities for Local Historians.” 

In the pool is Professor Rene Alburo, Cebu provincial Town and City History Project Manager, Department of History Chair of the University of San Carlos in Cebu and the school’s coordinator for its Social Science Research Center. 

Prof. Alburo’s topic is “Local History Writing and Research: The Cebu Experience. 

Another professor in the pool is Earl Jude Cleope, Philippine National Historical Society Vice President, College of Education dean and supervising dean of the School of Basic Education of the Silliman University. 

According to Dr. Gloria Casabal, Prof. Cleope specializes in Maritime and Navigational History so that his topic in the seminar is centered on Historiography: Navigational Maritime, Trading and Colonization in the Visayas Region. 

Also in the pool is Pro. Carlos Magtolis, History and Political Science Department Chairman and NCCA executive Committee Member of the National Committee on Historical Research. 

He will be discussing on the Perspectives and Approaches in Local History and Research. 

The seminar workshop is opened to those people involved in writing and publishing historical documents and are willing to be trained on local history writing and research. 

These people also needs to have the potential to pursue scholarly research work after the workshop and are endorsed by their mayors or heads of offices, Dr. Casabal said. (30)

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Bato-Sangay: a soulful 
Retreat for this ‘lent’ life 
Rey Anthony Chiu 

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol, March 20, 2012 (PIA) –Lenten has been most people’s perfect time for spiritual retreats and looking into their souls. 

Trinidad town just does that: makes sure people, with this intention finds a calming place for such sought ambiance. 

Perhaps there is something in the Bato-Sangay (or more popularly known as Batongay) twin peaks in Barangay Banasan, that draw the body and sates the soul. 

It could be the green cloaked trees that remain lush, huddling like men in the cold, that make these hills stand out. Or it could be the aura of the hazy fog that hang like drapes every morning, wrapping the pace with solemnity that old mansions exude. 

If here, you chance upon an harbulario pulling up roots and young shoots of choice plants carpet of undergrowth and forcing out from the rock-face crevices, chances are these roots find their way to tiangges along with habak, anting-anting, sumpa and lumay. That is, after stirring the concoction in vats of simmering coconut oil made to cure some unnamed illness. 

Until now, Batongay attracts tambalans who gather these ingredients, former town mayor Judith Cajes admits. 

For those who see challenge when they see the ascent of the hill presents, Batongay beckons. 

It is a relatively easy climb, for when you look harder, you will never miss the stooped figures of old manangs in lace veils dragging their spent selves through the winding ways of the Stations of the Cross carved along the trails to the peak of mount Batongay, their presence would lend the air of solemnity to this ground. 

It is easy, especially when after noticing that more and more believers flock to the mystic hills on Good Friday, the local government has developed a flight of steps that would make the ascent pale in comparison with the Via Dolorosa. 

But, here, Batongay climb is anybody’s ascent to Mount Carmel. And Batongay Caves below is that perfect venue where one can approximate the Dark Night of the Soul this Lenten Season. 

ASCENT TO MOUNT CARMEL 

For Christians, lenten season is a self retreat time and contemplation to attain the desired communion with the creator. 

For St. John of the Cross, it is a tedious trek ascending Mount Carmel. 

For Trinidadnons, not withstanding their Trinitarian namesake, the struggle to purge oneself is symbolic of going through the Batongay 14 stations of the cross. 

When it is set on an uphill climb, it’s without fear of contradiction, a “penitensya” similar to flagellation, some discreet act of masochism or being nailed to a cross. 

For in Batongay, the ascent is both a challenge and relief for the mystical and the mundane. 

It doesn’t really matter if you go excruciatingly slow or relatively quick, as long as you do not stop, says mayor Roberto Cajes, on whose term the walk way to Calvary was started. 

It was conceived during the tern of his wife, Judith. 

Midway to the top, seeing the expansive view of the valley stretching to the distant mountains of Alicia and the hills of Bien Unido makes you feel the devil is right beside you, promising the whole place only if you worship him. 

DARK NIGHT OF THE SOUL 

While Batongay complex features ascending persona mountains, there is also a way down to the bowels of self examination. 

And going down to the bosom of the earth is surrendering oneself the Dark Night of the Soul like St. John of the Cross’ way. 

Right beneath the mystical peaks lie a series of chambers, cavernous and tricky to the uninitiated. 

According to town Information Officer Jojieline Ruiz-Buendia, one passage at Batongay cave leads to an estimated 800 meter walk, and that is about an hour of trudge in the dark and damp, in twisting ducts of solid rock and occasional water beds. 

No big deal. 

Then, at one point, the passage tapers into a tight tunnel that may pale the claustrophobic. 

Here, switching off the lights (yes, the cave has a guide and heavy flashlights are lent to spelunkers) would let the choking darkness get at you, she adds. 

“The feel of brushing with death,” she said, “shakes the soul.” 

But that is exactly what Batongay is, dipping your human self into the pools of thought; The finiteness of life and the human weakness in the face of the divine. 

So, is Batongay that scary? 

No, in fact the mystical experience of getting a glimpse at raw truths in life makes the experience worth it. 

For, according to mayor Cajes, Batongay cave experience is communion with the self, nature and the forces that affect man. Thinking included. 

That is why, the stations of the cross is there as a sucking reminder that while death awaits all of us into her embrace, there is resurrection that would bring us back to the glory of seeing God, Cajes said. 

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