Sunday, April 1, 2012

RDC appeals for equitable 
Fuel price reduction in CV 
Rey Anthony H. Chiu 

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol, March 30, 2012 (PIA) – Not content with a noted P2.10 rollback on fuel, Bohol Governor Edgar Chatto revved the issue to the Regional Development Council (RDC) in Central Visayas (CV) to officially appeal to fuel companies to bow down to an equitable reduction of prices of petroleum products. 

A high fuel price in the region would most certainly strain the economy, drastically reducing people’s purchasing power, choking furl-dependent industries and causing an uncalled for price increase in products and services, explains Chatto during the Consultative Forum on Fuel Prices in regional 7 last week. 

Through a joint manifestation, the RDC, through Chairman Governor Chatto successfully orchestrated a region-wide resolution following a joint manifestation for the passage of the urgent appeal to the big three companies during its recent meeting March 26 in Larena, Siquijor. 

Chatto said that the gestation of the manifestation began with the conduct of the Regional Oil Price Summit in Bohol on March 23, 2012. 

There, the problematic situation regarding the prices of petroleum products in Region VII was exhaustively discussed with National and Regional Officials of the Department of Energy (DOE), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), concerned government agencies, three oil companies representatives with other stakeholders and consumer groups in the region. 

At the forum, fears that the particularly high fuel price was only in the region popped, further alarming consumers who learned that the disparity of prices reached P8.00, when compared to pump prices in Manila and other cities. 

Bohol ex-OIC Governor Victor dela Serna then accused Petron, Caltex and Shell of causing Boholanos to subsidize oil companies, stretching his allegations to collusion to predatory pricing. 

During the same forum, participants learned Cebu enjoys relatively lower prices of fuel compared to its neighboring three provinces, a thing many ascribe to a suit Cebu filed against the big three companies for unfair trade practices, in relation to the Downstream Oil Deregulation Act of 1998. 

Noteworthy was that even as most observers say the forum in Bohol was practically useless as it was not the DOE who calls the shots in reducing prices, a P2.00 reduction in gasoline and P1.50 on diesel per liter was noted. 

Governor Chatto on Friday at the Kita u gang Gobernador cited Petron for rolling back its pump prices after the forum. 

A few days later, Shell came up with an even bigger rollback at P2.10 for gasoline and P1.50 for diesel, Chatto also said. 

But this did not stop Bohol from bringing the issue to the regional council, noting that “we do not stop the noise until the prices are still up”. 

The RDC then said even with Cebu apparently enjoying a better fuel purchasing power, the situation strains the rest of the sectors in the region’s wages, and could be taxing to other economic development efforts. (30)

DAR partially reinstalls 
Carmen beneficiaries 
Rey Anthony Chiu 

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol, March 30, 2012 (PIA) – Barely six months after installing into government awarded farm lots ten farmer beneficiaries, the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) Bohol reasserts its power by re-installing these farmers in Buenavista Carmen, March 23. 

Last week, DAR Bohol partially re-installed some of the ten families to a lot while representatives of the former land-owners and heir claimants belatedly sign the writ of execution handed to them by DAR Sheriff Donald Doron. 

Tensions were high as former land owners refuse to yield and DAR showed force by bringing in requested security men in the area. 

DAR earlier received reports that former land owners hired armed men and blue guards to effect a “No Tresspassing” order to farmers who were awarded lots. 

Driven out of the titled lots awarded to them, most farmers tarried only a few days after September 30, 2011 when DAR installed them. 

Former landowners allegedly harassed them into moving out of the property. 

Reports bared that former landowners, heirs Avito and Leandria Cesar, strung barbed wire fences enclosing portions of the 6 hectare property, and effectively detaining inside families, including children who have to crawl beneath the wires or climb over them to get to school. 

The family of Evangelline Cellero for example, refuses to leave their newly apportioned lot, thinking their house would be boarded shut as soon as they abandon it, according to reports. 

Outside, a signage read “No Trespassing, private Property” still hangs. 

Led by Provincial Agrarian Reform Officer Atty. Antonio del Socorro and DAR sheriff, the reinstallation team composed of DAR Bohol personnel, Provincial Agrarian Reform Committee with its Chair Virgilio Zabala and security men composed of police and army special forces, trooped to the area last Friday after a briefing at Camp Dagohoy. 

DAR was just cautious as farmer beneficiaries regularly see at least six armed men and four blue guards in the place, information officer Ma. Lydia Bantugan said. 

During the briefing, DAR lawyer Prince Joses Lim stressed that with Transfer Certificates of Titles (TCT) already awarded to farmers, they now have the right of ownership. 

According to sources, the subject lot in contention was sold to Avito and Leandra Cesar in 1979. 

Consequently, the lot was subdivided into three lots, one of which was issued a title number 14508 in the name of Avito and Leandra in 1990. 

By 1994, the title was cancelled in favor of First Consolidated Bank of Bohol, which was also subsequently issued TCT 21214. 

By November 4, 2006, FCB executed a deed of sale of the property to Jesse Cesar and Lillibeth Cesar Naquila. 

The sale however, according to Atty. Lim was null and void, considering that lands covered by CARP can not be sold after June 15, 1988. 

Records also showed that in 2007, FCB was sent by DAR a notice of coverage of the subject lot. 

By July 2007, with the lot up for CARP, agrarian reform beneficiaries signed the application to purchase and farmers’ undertaking, while a year later, the Register of Deeds certified that TCT 21214 has been freed from all liens and encumbrances. 

In May of 2009, a TCT was issued to the Republic of the Philippines covering the lot, while in April, 12 individual titles from the mother lot came out and was awarded to farmer beneficiaries. 

Farmers officially received the lot during the installation ceremonies last September 29, 2011, after more than a year of wanting to finally till the land. 

Some of the farmers have to leave the area again following what they sense as harassments and threats against them. 

To maintain peace, a detachment of police and army special forces committed to stay in the area, as authorities feel that once the team leaves, the harassment recurs. (30)

Oppus highlights mothers’ role 
In mitigating climate change 
Rey Anthony H. Chiu 

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol, March 30, 2012 (PIA) – A key women rights advocate and city legislator underscores the crucial role of mothers in orchestrating action against the effects of climate change. 

Outspoken City Councilor Mariquit Oppus said women own a critical role in the race to insulate families from the effects of global warming which has so far been largely the culprit for climate change. 

Herself into women rights advocacy since the past decade, Oppus shared what she noticed that hardly has disaster preparedness gone beyond the schools and government offices where regular earthquake and fire drills are held. 

“We have to bring these disaster awareness and response activities to the homes where individuals members involve themselves in disaster and risk reduction activities,” she said during the recent Kapihan sa PIA, which was aired live over DyTR, March 29. 

“Women, who are almost always left in the home bear the biggest responsibility of doing things that mitigate disaster effects brought about by global warming,” the lady councilor pointed out. 

Basic things like segregation of waste in the home, making sure none of the non-biodegradables get to the sewer systems and canals already help communities keep their areas free from floods caused by clogged canals, she pushed. 

Moreover, she said many of today’s mothers are closer to their children and would be in a better position to reinforce discipline in schools, Oppus said. 

Children know what to do in school, like they pick cellophanes and garbage, but sometimes they leave the practice when they get home. 

Mother should reinforce these learning because that is how it should work, make kids understand that even when the school is spared, the entire world still gets to be affected by one’s irresponsible act, she stressed. 

As always, mitigation should also find its root in the home and from there, make the habit spread, also adds a media personality who sat with Councilor Oppus at the Kapihan. 

The role which Oppus highlights for the women of this generation in fact adds up to the responsibilities a woman has to tackle over the already full time task of mothering and nurturing the family. 

Still saddled with social issues of being subconsciously projected as objects in media, women who have slowly emerged have been galvanized into stronger persons, but still a far cry from the ideal situation, Oppus shared. 

Exposed to the weathering effects of a culture that has not totally shaken off a psychology that undermines women, these confluence of different factors contribute to the atmosphere that stop women from moving out of her shell to gain more power, hints the lady legislator who has pushed for more women independence to make them decide for their own. 

Speaking on the Women’s Month theme: Women: weathering climate change: A Governance and Accountability, Everyone’s Responsibility, Ms. Oppus also pointed out that mitigating the effects of climate change and global warming is everybody’s responsibility. (30)

“Brydes whale” returns 
Marine researchers say 
Rey Anthony Chiu 

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol, March 30, 2012 (PIA) – Just in time for their migration, Brydes Whale has been sighted calmly feeding off Pamilacan island in Baclayon town, a group of marine biologists and researchers report recently. 

Earlier reported as possibly extinct in Bohol seas due to pressure in whale hunting in the late 1980s, Brydes whales have also been classified data deficient, meaning, there is practically inadequate information to properly assess the extinction status of the second smallest tropical whales, according to

Scientifically called balaenoptera brydei, brydes (pronounced broo-dess) whales are large rorquals- whales with expandable, pleated throats that feed primarily on plankton and small fish. 

Commonly called baleen whales because instead of teeth for feeding, these large marine mammals use keratin, or whale bones that hang from their upper jaws which sieve off large amounts of food, according to California based website. 

According to, Bryde's whales, Balaenoptera brydei, feed almost exclusively on pelagic fish (pilchard, mackerel, herring, and anchovies), pelagic crustaceans (shrimp, crabs, and lobsters), and cephalopods (octopus, squid, and cuttlefish). 

The Bryde's whale consumes whatever shoaling prey is available and often exploits the activities of other predators, swimming through and engulfing the fish they have herded. 

They are therefore frequently found in areas of high fish abundance, along with seabirds, seals, sharks, and other cetaceans. 

Brydes have long and slender bodies which are clearly more streamlined compared to other large whales. 

These are tropical dwellers that belong to the categories of blue whales, fin whales, minke whales, humpback whales and sei whales, adds. 

Hot target for Pamilacan whalers until the mid-1990s, whaler fishermen allegedly landed a big one in 1993, said Dr. Alessandro Ponzo of Physalus. 

Unfortunately, due to over-exploitation, sightings of Bryde’s whales have been virtually non-existent in the Bohol Sea until the past few years, Dr. Ponzo added. 

Physalus works for Bohol in a Large Marine Vertebrates Project, based in Jagna town, some 53 kilometers southeast of Tagbilaran. 

Dr. Ponzo, a marine biologist bared that on their survey undertaken to verify whale sharks in Pamilacan, ideal sighting conditions prevailed which led them to identify the abundant cetaceans in the area. 

“Spinner dolphins, bottlenose dolphins, melon-headed whales, Fraser's dolphins, the most common cetaceans, which is comprised of whales and dolphins, were spotted during the two days of surveying”, the staunch marine mammal protection advocate said in his email. 

What caused the most excitement among the researchers, the marine biologist said, was their sighting of the Brydes whale. 

“The LaMaVe crew was very excited to spot the same animal on two days. These sightings lend hope that the Bryde’s whale population may be making a comeback,” he shared. 

As Bryde's are still a very under-studied species, the LaMaVe crew followed the animal at a distance for a few hours to learn more about its behaviour. 

A local ordinance recently passed in Baclayon posts the minimum distance to observe these large animals at 100 meters. 

“With the banca engine off, the huge whoosh of breath could be easily heard across the water,” he narrated. 

The researchers were also able to take photos of the dorsal fin for identification purposes. 

Upon closer inspection, a huge number of cookie cutter shark bites- perfectly oval scars- were detected along the flanks of the animal. 

While this data collection was an exciting first step, much more information is needed to better understand and protect Bryde’s whales and other cetaceans in the Bohol Sea, he said. 

In Bohol, Physalus, headed by Dr. Ponzo urges people to help by reporting the presence of large whale to researchers by texting to 09277701420 or the Large Marine Vertebrate Project facebook page. 

“If you find any stranded dolphin, whale, pawikan or butanding, kindly report it immediately to the Bohol Rescue Unit for Marine Mammal by calling or texting T.A.R.S.I.E.R.117 at SMART – 09497955530; GLOBE – 09175101490; 038-117, he said. (30)

Ubay 4Ps beneficiaries aid 
Negros earthquake victims 

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol, March 30, 2012 (PIA) -- No one is so poor, to have nothing to give. 

Ignited by this Christian dictum, Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) beneficiaries in Ubay spare P5.00 from their conditional cash transfer funds to pool help for Negros earthquake victims. 

According to Department of Social Welfare and Development sources, Ubayanons pooled around P30,000 and some assorted used clothing, in the hopes of easing the suffering of their neighbors in Negros Oriental. 

It may be recalled that a 6.9 magnitude earthquake almost flattened 4Ps beneficiary communities in Negros Oriental and instantly equalized the living conditions of people in the area. 

As the people slowly start to rebuild their lives, Joel Otero, a 4P beneficiary from barangay San Pascual wondered what the poor victims would do. 

The rich still have their money, the professionals have their jobs to go back to, but what about those who have nothing? he asks. 

Saying he certainly feels the pain of all Negros’ poor who have to crawl their way out of poverty, Otero, along with other 4Ps beneficiary in town said they are still bone poor but would have done what they are doing for Negros, even if that would deprive them of a few pesos. 

The Negrenses Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries have been our models, they admitted. 

Ubayanons were all inspired by the Negrense examples when implementing the 4Ps, which would soon end for them in 2014, according to Aileen Lariba 4Ps. 

Stories of starting small scale business through SEA-K, initiating community clean-ups and other good practices encouraged Ubayanons to make their project as good as Negros, she added. 

But February 6 changed the Negros Oriental people’s story. 

As footages of children crying, families searching for buried love ones and other gory details, Ubay Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries knew they wanted to reach out. 

“We understand their pains and we want to help,” said Lucresia Cadorniga of Barangay Benliw, Ubay Bohol. 

Joel, Lucresia and the rest of the beneficiaries started dropping P5 in a plastic bag passed around to help their fellow beneficiaries in Negros Oriental as their way of saying “All is not lost”. 

As we are thankful to the program, we see our fellow beneficiaries in Negros. We are more thankful that it did not happen to us so we could move on building that bridge to get us out of this poverty, Otero confessed. 

P5 is a small amount but if all of us are united in giving, we know it would go a long way in alleviating a mother or a family’s need, Ubay 4P beneficiaries said. 

Ai the latest pay-out of cash grants for Ubay, Bohol, the P5 and some used clothing for children of affected families came and everyone was certain that the P5 would be a seed of hope to grow in the hearts of the Negrense victims. (Rey Anthony Chiu with Aileen Lariba) 

Reputana’s reputable guitars, 
Honoring a tradition of music 
Rey Anthony Chiu 

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol, March 29, 2012 (PIA) – By the deep sound it makes, not a few people with an ear for music are fooled: what they thought as a Yamaha or Gibson turns out to be home-crafted guitar: Reputana. 

A name almost synonymous to handcrafted acoustic guitars in Bohol, the Reputana’s repute started in very humble beginnings. 

From its shop in their house in sitio Tubig-Dako in Manga District, Cornelio strung an industry that would soon make a name in music circles in Bohol as a trusted wood worker and guitar maker famous for their dreadnought acoustic guitars. 

“My father used to vend textiles and in Candijay town, his usual resting spot is a guitar maker’s shop. That was where he got interested in handcrafting guitars,” reveals Samuel, youngest of a brood of 7: five boys and two girls. 

Living in Manga, where skillful artisans like woodcarvers and customized boat makers live, the Reputanas started a niche industry of guitar making after the war. 

After learning the trade, my father worked at a guitar shop in Boholand and in undue diligence, makes more guitars when he gets home, said Samuel. 

After decades of honing the talent, Reputana’s guitars are hand made by Cornelio Sr., Manuel, Cornelio Jr., Promencio, Romy (sister’s husband who has assimilated the music making industry and Samuel. 

While the girls in the family decided to carve a way away from making music, most of the boys learned the trade, first by assisting their father Cornelio Sr. in manually hand sawing the jackfruit trunk into thin planks. 

Why jackfruit and not any other wood? 

“A jackfruit produces a rare sound: deep bass, fine treble and creates a sound that approximates the guitars from spruce which are basically what Continental guitars are made of,” Samuel said. 

“In fact, my father invented a bamboo plank guitar, it was not wood, it was basically grass,” he quips. 

Talking of inventions, who would say this family is short of one or two? 

Reputanas worked from scratch, crafting their bass strings from bronze wires, stripping plastic for the guitar body trim, fashioning pick guards from broken records, treating wood planks to make them pliant and adopt deep tones as well as fashioning ingenious nuts to produce a string bridge. 

If you think improvising sacrifices the tonal quality, think again. A Reputana guitar nearly occupies the basic tool for a local musician, sometimes they carry one in their Bohol gigs. 

Reputanas also create guitars from other choice wood like balsa wood but their choice is jackfruit, whose yellowish color can be treated to create a deeply burnt brown or any of its color hues. 

One brother died, the other went to Manila as a pastor. That leaves the family about four guitar makers, including the father who still whips up incredible skill in the fine art of music making. 

“It’s really an art for the fine skilled,” Samuel admits while slowly measuring out the fretboards. 

“Every ribbing has to be glued right, the sound hole so precisely cut and the fret guides so spaced or the guitar produces an off-note. One miscalculation often gives you a guitar that is out of tune,” he said. 

But even with the technology, Reputanas still handsaw one eight inch thick wood planks which they glue together to create a whole board that will the guitar’s face and back. 

For the guitar’s arm, readily available gmelina comes, carved to fit in a steel truss cord from deformed iron bar. 

There is a constant tension when you put in the strings and to stop the wooden arm from bending, putting in s metal truss cord provides the necessary protection, Samuel stressed. 

Strumming out 2.5 dreadnoughts or cut-away acoustic guitars a week for each, it would be safe to assume that the family can easily equip an acoustic band of any kind of guitar: the proper guitar or technically the Dreadnought acoustic, the 12-string dreadnought, Cutaway dreadnought, parlor guitar, classic and the jumbo acoustic, a ukulee or even an acoustic bass or the famed bajo de arco. 

Learning the design from scratch, the family’s skill improved when their father availed of a soft loan in the 1970’s where they equipped themselves with power tools to make the job faster. 

Few years later, the family started accepting guitar repairs, that was when they got a first hand view of the interior of a classical guitar and adopted their framework from it, he said. 

Since then, with the craftsmanship and skill, a Reputana guitar can be strummed at P2,500. 

At that rate, you do not pay for the craft, you paid for the materials that go into your new toy. In fact at that rate, many wonder why artists see themselves so lowly they think being one is just so ordinary. 

Sadly, earning a reputable skill is just enough. They should not think so. (30)

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