Monday, May 21, 2012

Hooked hawksbill swims 
To freedom, after rehab 
Rey Anthony Chiu 

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol, March 21, 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 either 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 come-ons to tourists. 

That 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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