Saturday, May 26, 2012

20% bio-fuel blend in diesel 
possible by 2030, NBB agree 
Rey Anthony Chiu 

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol, May 25, 2012 (PIA) –Attaining 20% biofuel mix for the country’s diesel fuel by 2030 is possible, members of the National Biofuel Board (NBB) agree, during their recent planning workshop at the Bohol Tropics Resort May 21-25, 2012. 

This can be had when the NBB member agencies and institutions stick to their commitments and aggressively pursue the plans and programs which the board adopted during the entire duration of the five day workshop, add representatives from the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA), Department of Agriculture and the Sugar Regulatory Authority (SRA). 

Both the PCA, DA and the SRA have been into expanding the country’s plantations to support the biofuel industry needs. 

Coconut is a main source of coco-methyl ester (CME) a component for biodiesel and sugarcane bagasse is a major source of biomass, upon where biofuel is extracted. 

To date, the country’s liquid fuel contains 2% biofuel for diesel and 10% bio-ethanol, as mandated by law, the National Biofuel Board (NBB) said the over-all plan is increasing it to 20% by 2030. 

Biofuel, as defined refers to bioethanol and biodiesel, or other fuels made from biomass and primarily used for motive, thermal and power generation, with quality specifications in accordance with the Philippine National Standards (PNS). 

Identified as a clean fuel source, biofuel, when developed and promoted is the country’s response to the clamor to wean from expensive imported fossil fuel by using indigenous, sustainably-sourced out indigenous and renewable energy. 

All to mitigate the toxic greenhouse gas emissions which accelerate the destruction of the environment, members of the National Biofuel Board, who held their planning workshop in Bohol recently said. 

“It must, however be a fuel that would have to go through rigid standards and the Department of Energy (DOE) certifies such after tests that the biofuel is indeed suitable for use in engines and in accordance with the PNS,” DOE’s Renewable Energy Management Bureau (REMB) director Mario Marasigan said. 

Since the Biofuel Act of 2006 took effect, all liquid fuels sold for motors and engines in the country have contained increasing amounts of locally sourced bio-fuel blends, he explains. 

At the recently concluded NBB workshop at the Bohol Tropics, Marasigan, said all liquid fuels in the country today have 1% to 2 % bio-fuel blend in biodiesel. 

At present also, there is already some 10% bioethanol blended in gasoline, and as planned, it would hit the 85% target by 2030, as to the National Renewable Energy Plan. 

But, beset with problems like less than projected production of bio-diesel and bio-ethanol additives, NBB members press for the revisit of the plan and update each other on the commitments and how far have they gone in support to the law, during the workshop (30).

Bikers pedaled for the Ocean, 
Raised funds for rescue kits 
Rey Anthony H. Chiu 

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol, May 26, 2012 (PIA) – More than fifty bicycle riders pedaled to almost 50 kilometers of highway May 26, to raise funds for the purchase of rescue kits for Bohol’s Rescue Unit for Marine Mammals (BRUMM). 

The bikers, members of local bike groups including Paseo de Loon, Association of Tagbilaran Amateur Cyclists, folding bike riders, police bike groups and cycling enthusiasts each gave P100 registration to prop up the fund box for the noble intention. 

BRUMM members have sought for more equipment and rescue kits to include gurneys, towels, pails and water splashing equipments to be included in their rescue kit. 

The bike for the Ocean activity intends to gather funds for the BRUMM rescue kits, ssaid Arissa Nancy Jule Tirol, JCI Boholana Kisses President, during a short capping program at Baluarte de Baclayon. 

JCI has partnered with the Bohol Coastal Resource Management task Force to coordinate for the May 26 Bike for the Ocean event as among the many council organized activities for the Ocean Month. 

According to Bohol Environment Management Office coastal resource management coordinator Adelfa Salutan, more marine mammal rescue happening frequently in southern Bohol coasts bring up the need top equip the BRUMM volunteers. 

Composed of a multisectoral, inter-agency volunteers, BRUMM was established in the late 90’s as a quick response team for marine mammal and large marine vertebrate rescue as well as the information communication arm of the BCRMTF, Salutan recalled. 

Chaired now by the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, BRUMM members have responded to numerous calls for rescue of distressed animals from whales, to dolphins and even marine turtles. 

With stranding incidents of dolphins, whales, manta rays and sea turtles frequently happening in the southern coasts, local government units have responded to the call of rescue and protection by organizing their own local BRUMM chapters, headed by the chief executives, municipal agriculturists and chiefs of police. 

The strandings have been associated to Bohol being rightly situated near the deep trenches that provide migrating large marine mammals the depths and the numerous fresh water rivers in the area spew out the krill and plankton, which constitute the marine mammals main diet. 

But with the numerous subsistence fishermen and commercial trawlers using the same area to fish, “the incidents of by-catch remains high,” a foreign non government organization now based in Bohol expressed the concern. 

Besides that, coastal law enforcers also agree that poachers who intentionally target whales, manta rays and dolphins still slip through in the guise of legitimate fishers. 

Dolphins, whales and other large marine mammals which escape the nets of illegal fishers and which are belatedly freed after getting snagged in nets sometimes get so disoriented they usually swim to the shallows, while sending out distress calls. 

Several BRUMM members believed the calls can also act as beacon, which guide more whales or dolphins in the area, sometimes triggering more strandings. 

In cases of strandiung, immediately notify the municipal MAOs, the police or call Tarsier 117, Dr. Alessandro Ponzo sai.d 

While awaiting for the rescue team, always make the animal feel comfortable by keeping it wet. Normally, they recover after a few hours, he added. 

Then immediately release them back to the sea, where they have more chances of recovering, according to Ponzo. (30)

Hooked hawksbill swims 
To freedom, after rehab 
Rey Anthony Chiu 

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol, March 24, 2012 (PIA) – Had it happened somewhere else, where communities still eat sea-turtle meat, the fisherman who has hooked a hawksbill could have served an exotic food for his family’s dinner, or sold the endangered animal in the black market and pocketed a sizable sum. 

But in Jagna town, and elsewhere in the southern Bohol coastal communities, fishermen and the families know the stiff penalties of possession, slaughter of hawksbills, green turtles or leatherbacks: the often sighted sea turtles in Bohol. 

Apart from that, these fishermen know that their hometowns are actively engaged or poised to be into eco-tourism tourism activity, which puts sea turtles, dolphins, whales and their pristine dive sites as additional come-ons to tourists. 

Last May 13, when a fisherman hooked a young sea turtle, he attempted to dislodge the hook so he could unceremoniously release the turtle out to sea. 

Noting that the turtle has swallowed the line and that dislodging the hook proved futile, he brought the distressed animal to shore and immediately called Physalus. 

Physalus is a foreign non government organization implementing the Large Marine Project in Bohol. 

Aside from research and documentation of Bohol’s large marine animals, Physalus also extends technical assistance to dolphin, whale and sea turtle rescue, along with a local Bohol Rescue Unit for Marine Mammals (BRUMM), Bohol Environment and Management Unit, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, BFAR, MLGUS and other non government organizations with similar goals. 

The young hawksbill sea turtle is listed in the Convention of International Treaties on Endangered Species (CITES) as critically endangered, according to Physalus’ Caitlin Birdsall. 

Upon receiving the animal, Physalus veterinarians brought the animal for an x-ray and found the hook snagged in the animal’s opening of the stomach. 

Physalus marine biologists monitored the animal for several days and Dr. Alessandro Ponzo anesthesized the turtle to attempt the removal of the hook. 

Vets inserted a small tube down the turtle’s threat to dislodge the hook, but unfortunately, the hook was lodged too deep that it was impossible to remove the hook without significantly damaging the lining or the animal’s stomach or esophagus, reported Birdsall. 

Considering the lack of equipment available and the potential risk to the turtle, surgery was not an option, she stressed. 

Physalus experts also said they deemed that the turtle had a better chance of survival by leaving the hook in place, while they administered antibiotics to the turtle to reduce the potential for infection. 

The turtle’s coping behavior and health was monitored for the next ten days, and when it was noted that the animal was feeding normally and appeared in good health, the team decided for a quick release as the best option for this turtle. 

It just swam away quickly, a very good indication that it was already okay, Birdsall said. (30)

NCCA opens national training for 
theater arts teachers at DCPNHS
Rey Anthony Chiu 

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol, May 19, 2012 (PIA) –The National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) band the Department of Education along with Artists Pars Association bring to Bohol SanayGuro, a five day National Arts Training for teachers handling the Special Program for the Arts in the Visayas, on May 22-26. 

“The program opens to five Boholano SPA theater artists and theater teachers,” Lutgardo Labad who used to head the NCCA Drama Committee said. 

Set at the Dr. Cecilio Putong National High School (DCPNHS), the training program aims to respond to the dire need for professionally trained arts teachers, just as the NCCA also picked the need when it conducted the national training for Special Program for the Arts training in Baguio last year. 

“The Department of Education (DepEd) has adopted the Special Program for the Arts (SPA) and had it running for more than a decade, with DCPNHS in Tagbilaran City among the 17 schools piloted for the integrated arts training,” he said. 

The NCCA and DepEd believe that an institutionalized SPA cultivates a good source of future artists, cultural workers and educators. 

“But there is still so much to work on, especially when arts education forms only a very small part in the curriculum for teachers,” the Boholano multi-awarded artist and cultural worker admitted. 

Program proponents also share Labad’s observation about the urgent need of artist-teachers who have been professionally trained to teach the various arts disciplines. 

Also noted was that, there was non-availability of regular, sustaining, and comprehensive workshops and trainings for teachers, professional arts education programs, and instructional materials, while logistical and infrastructural requirements for arts training are all wanting, according to Labad. 

Organizers for the Baguio training said the teachers, despite their limited training in the arts, developed initiatives and efforts to collaborate with local artists in their regions, tried to become more creative, resourceful and determined despite lack of artistic experience and resources. 

On the other hand, the summer workshop revealed insufficient knowledge in basic theater and arts production, skills in presenting Asian and world theater and the arts which are major components in the syllabus distributed for implementation, the organizers noted. 

Labad, who used to chair the NCCA Committee for Drama in the Visayas said the NCCA deemed it urgent to provide collaborative support to re-engineer and re-design a training program for the SPA teachers all over the country. 

“The SanayGuro essentially responds to that need,” stressed Labad, who received an outstanding Boholano award for Culture and the Arts recently. (30)

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