Saturday, May 12, 2012

Disaster-ready communities 
On DILG Tapatan Roadshow 
Rey Anthony Chiu 

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol, May 11, 2012 (PIA) – Goaded by the urgency of insulating communities against disasters, the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) puts up its second Tapatan Roadshow, this time, on Disaster Preparedness and Climate Change Adaptation. 

Set for May 25 at the Waterfront Hotel in Lahug, “Tapatan on Disaster Preparedness and Climate Change Adaptation: A call to action,” is a regional summit which aims to promote advocacy on the local government’s institutionalization of disaster preparedness and climate change adaptation and mitigation measures, said DILG Provincial director Louisella Lucino. 

Earlier, the DILG also put up its first Tapatan regional summit on Full Disclosure Policy for local government units and hopes this year’s Tapatan builds on that success, local DILG sources said. 

At the recent Kapihan sa PIA aired live over DyTR, Director Lucino explained that the roadshow gathers the country’s governors, city and town mayors, provincial and municipal disaster and risk reduction management officers, civil society leaders especially those engaged in disaster response. 

The DILG agrees that there is still much to be desired in Bohol, as far as local government response to disaster adaptation and mitigation is concerned. 

DILG information officer Jeffrey Bernasor said they think increasing awareness on the actual and potential threats communities are facing, as well as letting people understand the dangers and risks is incumbent upon local officials and people have to be shaken to engage them in adopting mitigating measures. 

“Disaster preparedness and mitigation is not just a task of government agencies,” quips PD Lucino during the radio forum. 

The female DILG director also added that the DILG secretary Jesse Robredo himself leads the roadshow, which also aims to mobilize communities after generating commitments from local leaders of prioritizing disaster preparedness. 

“We want to develop a culture of preparedness among LGUs and the public, so that the country would be able to respond more effectively and mitigate the adverse effects of every disaster that hits the country,” Robredo was quoted in a prepared material from DILG Bohol. 

The roadshow is in line with Republic Act 10121: the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction Management Act and Climate Change Adaptation of 2009, and in response to the pubic clamor to strengthen efforts in insulating communities against disasters, Bernasor claimed. 

The Philippines has generally felt the effects in climate changes with the unusually shorter cold climates and the longer warm days, stronger and more frequent storms and unusually huge rainfalls causing flashfloods, landslides and affecting agriculture, public infrastructure and washing out communities. (30)

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SEEM steers for MOA unifying 
efforts to conserve Balicasag 
Rey Anthony Chiu 

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol, May 11, 2012 (PIA) – After a long delay, the government has finally looked into the migration problems in Balicasag in the hopes of keeping the island as pristine and as ideal like the promise it was projected when declared a naval reservation. 

At least, this as Capitol’s Socio-Economic and Environment Management cluster has pushed for Governor Edgar Chatto to formalize a memorandum of agreement with Balicasag island stakeholders for a project that would answer to the issues long besetting the island reservation. 

Balicasag Island, lying 10 kilometers southwest of Panglao has a world class seascapes which have been internationally recognized, making it a premier dive site. 

Since 1907, the American Governor General James Smith declared Pamilacan a naval reservation for lighthouse purposes, this allowed the navy and the Coast Guard to put up detachments for lighthouse operations and island security. 

During the time of President Ferdinand Marcos, a presidential decree put the island under the Philippine Tourism Authority, who, under a Memorandum of Agreement, established the Balicasag Island Dive Resort in 1987, allowing it to further build billeting quarters and amenities, to promote underwater sports which the island can boast of. 

The same MOA largely aims to protect the marine life sanctuary that was to showcase a model for marine environmental conservation, ecological preservation and tourism. 

But, like all success stories, Balicasag did not only lure tourists, it also drew people to the 25 hectare island which sits on top of Bohol’s most productive seas. 

Now, the island’s ecological sustainability is seriously threatened from population pressures, unhampered inward migration and expanding tourist arrivals. 

That is however just part of the problems spawned by a tourism island. 

Unlawful buildings using the island’s beach sand, substantial waste-water seepage polluting its reefs, improper waste disposal, harmful fishing practices of island dwellers, unchecked diving and snorkeling activities, unethical tourism service operations and plain disregard for sound environmental policies put the island teetering in its certain crumbling future. 

The MOA, which would launch the activities of the Coastal Restoration of Amazing Balicasag (CRAB) now seeks to unite all government agencies having stakes in the island to jointly pan for the restoration of the island’s lure as Bohol’s marine protected areas showcase, says Liz Quirog, SEEM Cluster head. 

Signatories of the MOA include Philippine Navy, Philippine Coast Guard, Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority, Department of tourism, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, National Housing Authority, Congressional office for the First District, Provincial Government of Bohol and the Municipality of Panglao. (30)

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14 Balilihan farmers get 
NDA calf fattening proj. 
Rey Anthony Chiu 

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol, May 10, 2012 (PIA) –The government lends livelihood support to Balilihan town farmer families in a calf fattening project by turning over to them 14 heads of calves in simple rites Thursday, May 10. 

During the opening ceremonies of the Tigum Bol-anon sa Tibuok Kalibutan (TBTK) Products Showcase at the Plaza Rizal, Governor Edgar Chatto and National Dairy Authority (NDA) Ubay Dairy Multiplier Farm (UDMF) manager Nathaniel Ampo led the turn over ceremonies to residents of barangays Sto. Nino and Cogon, Balilihan town. 

Balilihan farmers, Mayor Dominisio Cahtto and Municipal Agriculture Officer Ruperto Batingal with barangay officials and people’s organization officers received the animals during the turn over. 

The is in line with the Dairy Male Calf Fattening Project which has Bohol provincial Government as partner and is envisioned to upgrade the local breeds of cattle with fattened breeder cows, while helping local farmers increase their incomes. 

The program provides livelihood opportunities for farmers with UDMF making available males calves of about six or seven months old. 

“At that time, the calves live weight would be about 100 to 120 kilos, and at live weight computation of P70.00 per kilo, this would then become the baseline for computation of the gained weight after the farmer beneficiary keeps and feeds the livestock,” according to provincial veterinarian Stella Marie Lapiz. 

After about a year, or when selling the fattened calf is already viable, the NDA weighs the livestock, computes the cow’s gained weight and pays the farmer by multiplying P70.00 over the extra weight, she explained. 

Already implemented in other Bohol towns, the project has also helped farmers in Alicia, Mabini, Sierra Bullones, Dagohoy, San Miguel and towns near Ubay, according to sources. 

The NDA has, by a Memorandum of Agreement, settled in Bohol and envisioned the enhancement of the local dairy industry by offering technical assistance to farmers whose farm animals can still be a source of additional income or source of family nutrition. 

Other than fattening projects, the NDA has also ventured into cascading technologies which allow farmers to milk their livestock, which the government also buys. (30)

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DILG showers praises for 
Trinidad’s “SALIN TUBIG” 
Rey Anthony Chiu 

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol, May 11, 2012 (PIA) –The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) here showered praises for Trinidad’s fast-paced implementation of a presidential priority project in water after leading 12 other Bohol towns in making potable water accessible to its people. 

At the recent Kapihan sa PIA, Thursday May 10, DILG Provincial Director Louisella Lucino pointed out that Trinidad’s decision to spread its waterworks project to its barangays instead of developing a single unit for the whole town is notable as it spreads the benefits fast and allows residents to co-own the project for better sustainability. 

Trinidad is among the 13 towns here which have benefited from the Sagana at Ligtas na Tubig sa Lahat (SALINTUBIG), where the government downloaded P10M funds for water system projects for the country’s waterless towns, said Jeffrey Bernasor, DILG focal person for the project. 

At the forum on air, Trinidad local government operations officer Jose Roel Tumarao informed listeners that it was Mayor Roberto Cajes, who suggested that the P10 million grant, be spread out to as many barangays to cover the most number of beneficiaries. 

Cajes, who is President Benigno Simeon Aquino’s political party strongman here, focused on the Presidential Priority Project in water for the town, Tumarao claimed. 

Recently, elevated tap-stands where potable water gushed rose in Barangays Guinobatan, Bongbong and Hinlayagan Norte, according to reports furnished by Jojeline Buendia, Trinidad information Officer. 

She also identified Poblacion, San Vicente, Kinan-oan, Hinlayagan Ilaya, Sto. Tomas, Tagum Norte, Tagum Sur, La Victoria, Catoogan, Soom, San Isidro, Banlasan, Mabuhay Cabiguhan and barangay Kauswagan as project beneficiaries in the town water project. 

This too, as similar projects of making towns-people get better access to potable water are on the different stages of implementation in Bohol. 

The 13 towns, based on the list which DILG shared, include Catigbian, Tubigon, Bien Unido, Buenavista, Dagohoy, Inabanga, Getafe, President Carlos P. Garcia, San Isidro, San Miguel, Talibon, Trinidad and Ubay. 

Bohol’s 13 towns are part of the country’s 115 local government units which have been identified priorities in the 455 waterless towns, based on the National Household Targeting System survey, said Bernasor. 

Other than that, Bernasor bared the criteria for selection of beneficiaries as those with poor access to potable water, towns with the highest poverty incidence and those with alarming cases of water-borne diseases. 

Moreover, he also added that Bohol have also been picked according to their readiness to adopt the project, having been in compliance with the DILG seal of good housekeeping, exhibiting transparency in service with full disclosure policy. 

With this, Lucino showed her elation saying that the project dents on poverty alleviation, and cuts the number of waterless towns while she hopes it eliminates waterborne and sanitation related diseases here. (30)

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FeatureA year after captivity 
Anda turtles free at last 
Rey Anthony Chiu 

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol, May 13, 2012 (PIA) – As you read this, four hawksbill turtles may have finally wriggled free among sea-grasses off the beaches in Bacong, Anda town. 

Baby sea turtles, after hatching would instinctively crawl out to sea where they would be much safer from land predators. 

Its journey from its nest to the breaking surf is filled with peril. Drawn to the scent of sea and moonlight, some hatchlings would stray, fooled by street-lights and across highways where many do not get so lucky. 

These hatchlings have to reach the water before sunrise, their being exposed to the sun makes they totally helpless against frigate birds, humans or other animals that stalk them. 

For the Anda hawksbills, their start may not be that good, as their freedom belatedly comes. 

Hatched in May last year in the sandy beaches of Bacong, the four were among the more than a hundred which should have wriggled to the sea as they break out from the sand. 

But the community in Bacong decided to keep them in captivity, and a confinement tank became the home of the hatchlings since then. 

It was only recently when the turtles in the confinement tank slowly died one after another that the community realized keeping the turtles is doing the wild animals no good. 

Already classified as critically endangered, hawksbill marine turtles are hunted by human around the globe for their tortoiseshell, which are used as fashion accessories. In still some other parts if the world, several cultures eat sea-turtle meat. 

Allowing sea turtle hatchlings to immediately venture into the water does not even put these rare animals to safety. The sea is teeming with predators for these young turtles, their tender carapace can not protect them from any larger predator. 

But the practice of putting the hatching “in captivity is illegal and threatens the already endangered hawksbill population in Southeast Asia,” says Dr. Alessandro Ponzo of the Large Marine Vertebrates Project in Bohol. 

The 4 juvenile turtles will be released after a month of "rehabilitation," Dr. Ponzo said last week. 

Rehabilitation, by the way consists of giving them high energy food and raising the water levels in the confinement tank to try to stimulate swimming and increase dive capability. 

They will be released at sea in the line of floating seaweed offshore of Bacong, where they will find shelter and food for the first months, he added then. 

If they do not learn how to properly look for food, they won’t survive and they wont do anyone any good, says Macky Lovina, in her comment to the hawksbill captivity. 

Lovina, who works for the CAPE Foundation, thinks a month of rehabilitation is not even enough. 

I think it’s too soon for release, and most probably, it may not be possible anymore, she said. 

According to Large Marine Vertebrates Project, the team handling the rehabilitation of the hawksbill, “we are feeding them with proper food, placed at the bottom of the tank to encourage diving while raising the water level [of the tank] to have them swimming. 

The releasing activity is so times while the seas in Bohol are still calm, said Dr. Ponzo, a veterinarian and president of the LAMAVE. 

On Lovina’s comments, Dr. Ponzo said, “It would be nice if we’d have more time and resources, but the important thing is releasing the animals and raising the awareness on how dangerous the practice is.” 

The confinement tank will be also removed and will be replaced by educational information boards regarding turtles and the Bohol Marine Environment, Dr. Ponzo said.(30)

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Pista sa Abatan stages 
for the TBTK May 17 
Rey Anthony Chiu 

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol, May 9, 2012 (PIA) --Abatan River again takes on the festive beat this May 17 as communities riverside prepare a festive banquet for homecoming Boholanos attending the Tigum Bol-anon sa Tibuok Kalibutan (TBTK) this month. 

TBTK is that once in every three year gathering of Boholanos who live abroad to pool ideas and resources on how to better develop Bohol even more. This also provides the venue for those born outside Bohol to trace their roots through programmed immersion activities and cultural showcases here, Lutgardo Labad, Teatro Abatan artistic director shares. 

Timed for the first time during the fiesta month in Bohol, the TBTK brings back to Bohol expats who also look at Bohol’s development priorities for them to put up investments. 

While fiestas happen everyday in Bohol in May, in Abatan however, balikbayans partake on a different banquet. 

“Pista sa Abatan, is a unique opportunity to showcase to Boholanos who may have been thirsting for the culture they sorely missed when they settled abroad for good,” explains Emilia Roslinda, event coordinator for the May 17 performances. 

To be set in an especially lit Abatan River theater at the Main Village Center of the Abatan in Cortes, the night would be filled with the cultural promise of savory cultural delicacies ranging from theater, music and performances by cultural collectives set up to complement the Abatan River Community Life Tours, she adds. 

“It will be a great opportunity for homecoming Boholanos to look back on their roots through a cultural immersion cooked by the cultural talents of the people in the communities along the Abatan River,” states Abatan River Development Management Council member (ARDMC) and artistic director Labad. 

“We helped communities along the river to form themselves into cultural collectives so they can sustain the work of community based tourism with the communities eloquently articulating life along the river through artistic expression,” he adds. 

We envision to make Pista sa Abatan a spectacular night of unforgettable memories Boholanos can bring home as soon as they step off Bohol, the multi-awarded culture and artist, Labad said. 

During a coordination meeting for the Pista sa Abatan, Roslinda said community theaters and talents from the towns of Cortes, Balilihan, Catigbian, Maribojoc and Antequera are performing original dance dramas, musical theaters, skits and musical numbers themed in such a way that snippets of the life along the river in Bohol is seen. 

There is so much to be seen, histories, traditions and great entertainment that would certainly make you truly proud you are a Boholano, Labad said, referring to Pista sa Abatan. (30)

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