Monday, July 23, 2012

Army pushed for ban on 
illegal use of uniforms 
Rey Anthony Chiu 

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol July 20, 2012 (PIA) – Keeping off a repeat of an incident when communist terrorists overtook a Bohol camp without a single fire by disguising as friendly forces, Army Special Forces have recommended a ban on unauthorized use of military uniforms by civilians. 

The recommendation is based upon intelligence reports that an undetermined number of military uniforms have been smuggled to Bohol, its use not really intended for the government forces, said 802nd Brigade Commander Colonel John Bonafos. 

At the Provincial Peace and Order Council (PPOC) Meeting held at the 2nd SF Battalion Headquarters in Riverside Bilar, July 17, SF Commanding officer Lt. Colonel Romeo Brawner bared the recommendation as among the two which the army internal security operators see as a potential entry point for the abusive terrorists. 

The other recommendation is a ban on ambulant vendors selling their wares without the necessary clearances and permits from concerned government authorities. 

It may be recalled that more than a hundred rebels seized a police detachment in Rizal, Batuan without a single shot being fired. 

The terrorist rebels then came to the camp in vans with Department of the Interior and Local Government markings, and the men dressed as PNP troopers bringing in a captured guerrilla. 

Also alighting from the van was a guerrilla in a barong tagalong, accompanied by three smartly dressed women—all looking like government officials. 

Another guerrilla was accordingly in a police major’s uniform, and was even saluted by the guards. 

Too late did the police members of the Regional Mobile Group realize the men who arrived were enemies dressed as police men. 

Dead set on making an impression of their return to Bohol, returning terrorist rebels could also use the same ploy in taking a military camp or simply dressing as a legitimate soldier and sow abuses so that blame is cast on government forces in uniform. 

Military personnel should always wear their proper uniforms, including name cloth, patches, insignias and other decorations, Colonel Allan Martin adds, when asked how to identify impostors. 

On the other hand, terrorist rebels could pose as ambulant vendors and gain access to areas in Bohol while in espionage mission. 

Over the recommendation, Governor Edgar Chatto hinted that unless it does not contrast national laws, an appropriate resolution could emanate from the body. 

Lawyer and newly installed Regional Trial Court Judge Raul Barbarona cited Article 88 in the Revised Penal Code which penalizes the unauthorized use of uniforms as a possible basis for the recommendation. (30)

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“Level-off,” Chatto tells 
Helmet-implementors 
Rey Anthony Chiu 

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol, July 20, 2012 (PIA) –Governor Edgar Chatto calls for a meeting among key government agencies tasked to implement the Motorcycle Helmet Law to level off on issues, a few days before a full enforcement of the mandatory wearing of standard protective headgear takes effect August 1. 

The meeting, set within the week came as an agenda at the recent provincial Peace and Order Council (PPOC) leaked of a potential incendiary issue that could stir people into committing crimes amidst unresolved issues prior to the implementation of the law. 

These issues could not be resolved at the provincial levels of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Land Transportation Office (LTO) and its deputized members of the Philippine National Police (PNP), Chatto said. 

The meeting hopes to thresh out issues relative to the details before the campaign gets on the road, according to Chatto. 

Republic Act 10054 or the Motorcycle Helmet law mandates all motorcycle driver and backriders to wear the standard protective motorcycle helmets at all times while driving in any type of road or highway in the country. 

It also directs all manufacturers and importers of these standard motorcycle helmets to secure Product Standards (PS) mark for locally manufactured helmets and Import Commodity Clearance (ICC) for helmets sourced out from abroad. 

Upon the effectivity of RA 10054, only those standard protective motorcycle helmets bearing the PS or ICC marks shall be sold in markets, according to the law. 

This also means that, prior to the effectivity of the law, PS and ICC marks were not mandatory on helmets. This also complicates the task of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), upon whose shoulders fall the task of inspecting helmets if they comply with the law. 

Helmets bought prior to the law, even if these meet standard for helmets, need the necessary certification from the DTI who issues the necessary stickers after evaluating the product according to Bureau of Product Standards (BPS) partial list of accredited importer clearances, according to Maria Elena Arbon, DTI Bohol Provincial Director. 

During a press conference Tuesday, Arbon also said DTI has been tasked to check on old-purchased helmets that do not bear the ICC and PS marks, and collects a state regulated fee, which they do not have the right to put aside. 

Most motorcyclists think that the collection it is just a DTI Bohol policy, but DTI regional Director Asteria Caberte clarified in radio interviews that such is a duly receipted transaction that would be remitted to the state treasury accordingly. 

As to the old-purchased helmets whose imported brands are not among the DTI-BPS list, the evaluators at the local DTI still holds in abeyance its certification, pending an updated list. 

This goes on as August 1 nears and the Land Transportation Office, the agency mandated to do roadside inspections of motorists would be compelled by law to implement. 

Bohol LTO Registrar Joel Maloloy-on shared that come August 1, they would dispatch men on the streets to check on the compliance of the law. 

This is despite the fact that there is still an unresolved issue with the LTO capability to assess the standard helmets which motorists may wear, even without the ICC or PS marks. 

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NCCA rings call for 2013 
project fund proposals 
Rey Anthony Chiu 

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol, July 20, 2012 (PIA) – Pushed by a strong partnership forged through the years, the National Commission for Culture and the Arts comes to Bohol to deliver an urgent message. 

At the recent Kapihan sa PIA, The NCCA, which came to Bohol rang the call for Boholanos to submit project proposals for culture and arts development for funding, as the deadline is August 30, 2012, is fast approaching. 

According to NCCA Deputy Executive Director Marlene Ruth Sanchez, the deadline for the submission of proposals Bohol has been a consistent strong partner and they would not want the province, which has been prominently figuring in the national government endowment funds, to miss this rare opportunity. 

At the special Kapihan sa PIA, cultural worker Lutgardo Labad, who has been among the top NCCA grantees in Bohol also enumerated high impact NCCA funded projects implemented here to illustrate the government’s assistance for the cultural development in Bohol. 

At the special radio forum billed as Salabat at Sining, Labad and NCCA Deputy Executive Director Marlene Ruth Sanchez dangled the tempting offers for funds on projects that capture the aspiration of the Filipino arts and the cultural community, in line with the NCCA 21st century vision: “Filipino Culture as Well springs of national and global well-being.” 

Sanchez said that the projects for funding must establish culture as pillar of sustainable development, advance creativity and diversity of artistic expression as well as advance a strong sense of nationhood and pride in being a Filipino through culture and the Arts. 

Now encouraging art workers, groups and institutions to submit project proposals for government funding, the NCCA said its funds come from the National Endowment Fund for Culture and the Arts to support individuals and organizations in fields that are aligned with the Philippine Culture and the Arts and the defined priorities of its four sub-commissions. 

The NCCA funds projects that fall under the Sub Commission on the Arts, Cultural Heritage, Cultural Dissemination and Cultural Communities and Traditional Arts, according to Sanchez who personally came to Bohol for the purpose of calling for project proposals from Boholanos. 

The NCCA came knowing the cultural renaissance in Bohol has been a concrete step in uplifting pride of place among Boholanos who have started to assert their rights to development. 

As to the interested individuals and groups who submit proposals, accomplished forms should be sent to Marichu G. Tellano, Chief, Policy, Plan Formulation and Programming Division, 5th Floor NCCA, 633 General Luna Street, Intramuros Manila or emailed to ncca.paio@gmail.com

For more information, visit www.ncca.gov.ph. (30) 

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Move to increase PWDs 
participation in polls on 
Rey Anthony Chiu 

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol July 20, 2012 (PIA) – Moves to increase participation of persons with disabilities in the coming elections advanced here as the country celebrates the National Disability Prevention and Rehabilitation Week, July 17-23. 

No less than the Australian Government found it encouraging that there is in fact a promising increase in persons with disabilities (PWD) participating in Philippine the elections, in their short span of time. 

Bernadette Cariaga of the Ausaid said the developments are just the beginnings of a continuing education and awareness campaign involving PWDs informing them of their rights and responsibilities. 

In the national scene, while authorities admit there is not much accurate data on the country’s PWDs, analysts peg them at 1 % of the population, which gives them enough voice to be heard in elections. 

In Bohol, Antequera, Ubay and Mabini, includiung Tagbilaran City are piloted for the project in Bohol to run programs that are geared towards increasing PWD polls participation, while local government beneficiaries commit to facilitate their access to the polling places and necessary services. 

Bohol federation of Disabled Persons Incorporated President Mateo Quilas, whose group owns 2376 members said he is also advocating for a special polling date for PWDs to assure that those with disabilities are not rushed into taking the booths, or are stepped upon, pushed and discriminated when voting on regular polling days. 

Antequera Mayor Jose Mario Pahang, one of the beneficiaries said his town has 342 PWDs, about 82 of them have registered to participate in the coming elections. 

Mabini, on the other hand had 338 PWDs and comprise more than 2% of the town’s voting population, said Mayor Esther Tabigue, adding the number, when fully participating in the polls can be bigger than a barangay in town. 

“It is the LGUs responsibility to lift the barriers that hamper their participation and provide reasonable accommodations to ensure their participation,” Board Member Godofreda Tirol shared in her message. 

She cited the Magna Carta for Disabled persons (RA 7277) as enough of an enabling mechanism which local governments can follow to advance the rights of the physically incapacitated. 

Atty Ronaldo Gutierrez said the program looks at the situation and hopes to engage local officials into drafting solutions to problems associated with PWDS access to polling places, registration and voting. (30)

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Drive for “Sin Tax Bill” 
on the road in Bohol 
Rey Anthony Chiu 

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol, July 20, 2012 (PIA) –Concerned health advocates and authorities confesses: there is more hope in expunging to ash the smoking habit in the country by passing the “Sin Tax Bill” now at the Senate. 

In a gathering at the Dao Diamond Hotel, July 18, 2012, health promotion authorities and “no smoking advocates” attempt to start off in Bohol “one million signature campaign” as gesture of support to the bill that attempts to reform the country’s excise tax law and possibly make a pack of cigarettes a little bit less tempting to young teens and the country’s smoking poor. 

Billed as One Million, 24/7, the one million signatures to support the sin tax bill will increase tax rates for alcohol and tobacco products, allow the country to adopt a simplified tax system for them and index taxes to inflation as well as erase freeze on price classifications. 

Campaign advocates stress that passing the bill protects the susceptible poor from the smoking-0related diseases, reduce the number of young smokers, broaden the coverage of health care provision due to increase revenues and boost the country’s economy. 

In a country where nearly 30% smokes, observers pointed out that cigarettes and alcohol are priced so temptingly low that it is 10 times lower that in Singapore, where claims of a high level of discipline among its people is visible everywhere. 

Financial analysts claimed that excise tax on cigarettes in the country have not been indexed to inflation while a cigarette classification system used now direly needs reforms. 

This means that under the present classification, a cigarette brand offered in the market is still classified according to a system put up in 1996 and taxes it at 2.70+ per pack where it could already be considered a premium brand and should be taxed P28.30+ in present bill tax computations. 

This should also increase the price of a pack of cigarettes, for, from a P2.70+ taxes on machine packed cigarettes, this becomes P12.00 per pack, thus adding a proportionate increase in its stall selling price. 

According to studies shared by these mentioned health advocates bared that there is an ever increasing prevalence of smoking among young people, who may be exposed to such cheap yet addictive habit of smoking. 

Without doubt, smoking and alcohol kills, said Dr. Greg Sodusta in a casual talk during the event. 

Bohol health authorities from the Provincial Health Office and the department of Health, including volunteers from the health sector and the Red Cross Youth (RCY), who have been sold out to the idea of pressuring the Senate to pass the bill said they are committed to support the signature campaign. 

We are coming up with signature campa

ign booths this month, to increase awareness and get people into showing their concern for health, said RCY volunteers. (30) 

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Tapon gets kinder classroom 
Building from AGAPP Fdn 
Rey Anthony Chiu 

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol, July 20, 2012 (PIA) – A barangay in Ubay recently received a two-classroom school building for Barangay Tapon’s kindergarten class. 

No less that Pres Benigno Aquino’s sister who headed the turn-over of the yellow and green building addition of the Barangay Tapon Elementary School, July 12, 2012. 

Pinky Aquino-Abellada who represented the Aklat Gabay at Aruga tungo sa Pag-angat at Pag-asa (AGAPP) in turning over the two (2) classroom building which is the Foundation’s third of such school building donations for Bohol. 

It was learned that among Ubay, other towns in Bohol who received similar infrastructure donations include Jagna Central Elementary School and Dauis. 

The foundation has been searching for depressed remote areas nationwide where the Foundation could extend assistance through construction of school buildings that cater to the needs of pre-school learners. 

Highlighting the event, was the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the town of Ubay, represented by Mayor Eutiquio M. Bernales and Ms. Abellada for the foundation. 

The MOU stipulated the parties’ responsibilities in making sure that the school building is properly used and maintained, said Virginia Dupa, municipal information officer designate. 

The Division of Bohol has earlier proposed the three town recipients of AGAPP school buildings. 

The project was being proposed by the Division Pre-School Coordinator Mrs Elizabeth Castolo finding the needs of the 2nd Congressional District where Bgy Tapon is located. 

Among as witnesses of the activity were the ASDS Ma. Linda Namocatcat PhD, Pre-School Coordinator Carmela Restiticar, DepEd Ubay/Administrators, Councilor Marilyn Ranara, Tapon Barangay Council ed by Barangay chairman Calixto Palmero , PTA members and the Tapon Elementary School Principal Zenaida Logroño Boyles. 

Mayor Bernales and Ubay 1 District Supervisor Ma. Maya Valleser Tumalon PhD profusely thanked the foundation in behalf of DepEd and the people of Ubay for the huge help which eloquently stated the Foundation’s concern for education and helping the country’s less privileged. (30) 

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Feature… 
Sustaining STAC: expanding 
Services to Boholano CWDs 
Rey Anthony Chiu 

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol, July 20, 2012 (PIA) –“Palit ta…”, a lisping 10 year old Zosima Zane Inojales shyly pleads to her mother, Zenaida, which the elder politely refuses, during an interview. 

Zosima Zane, has been up and about, picking up objects that interest her, occasionally casting a fleeting glance at us and then shyly walking to a distance, not to far to hear us. 

Zane has asked her mother to buy something, if only to break us off the interview and get her off the therapy campus to explore some more interesting things outside. 

Nibbling a half eaten pack of biscuits and sipping from a tetra-packed juice, was obviously not hungry. 

But, she used to be incapable of doing what she is doing right now, excitement betraying her mother’s revelations . 

An athetoid cerebral palsy (CP) made her incapable of intelligible speech, she had problems holding head firmly, much more, walking then. 

An unattended infection her mother had while still carrying her in her womb caused problems with the baby’s full development, according to Maricel Lumuthang, physical therapist at the Stimulation and Therapeutic Activity Center (STAC). 

At birth, the infant had beyond normal manifestations, which the parents responded to by getting her into a series of physical and occupational therapy sessions. 

Zane’s condition improved and had her walking, albeit flimsily three years after a paying a clinic P120 per hour-long daily sessions, three times a week. 

On times when a doctor is present during the therapy, we pay P350.00 more, Inojales said. 

In Bohol now when therapy sessions can go as high as P350.00 per hour and with three sessions in a week, that becomes a huge amount, the mother points out. 

Getting therapy sessions at STAC Bohol since 2009, Inojales and a company of Boholano parents have so much to be thankful about. 

Working as a store clerk at a local mall while her husband checks stocks at the store warehouses, P360 per week then was already a sizable amount denting on their family income. 

Hearing of a free government operated STAC facility, the Inojales family enrolled her at the center to continue with her therapy sessions even as she was greatly improving. 

Zane is among the more than 600 beneficiaries of a project that was Breaking Barriers for Children (BBC), where children with disabilities, 0-14 years old get free therapy sessions, courtesy of the government. 

At the end of the BBC project, Bohol Capitol adopted STAC and operated it and its satellite offices out of its own resources. 

Of the more than 600 children enrolled in the STAC, around 400 have been rehabilitated and are now in the mainstream while about 200 are still undergoing rehabilitation, says Lumuthang, who is among the oldest workers in the Center. 

Where about 60% of its beneficiaries are CP patients, STAC also attends to other formative development disorders including autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorders, said Gligen Nistal, the new OIC at STAC. 

Working since the STAC was still in its infancy stage, Lumuthang has been with the program and has more than enough testimonies to attest to the help STAC has impacted on children with disabilities in Bohol. 

“We had many cases of children now joining the mainstream after they have shown they can already adopt to the learning environment in schools,” Lumuthang said in an interview in time for the National Disability Prevention and Rehabilitation Week. 

Lumuthang has also followed up on Zane’s case as her first and second physical therapists have long gone abroad, lured by the promise of stable income and secure life. 

We do not have regular staff here, Lumuthang said, stressing the problem of starting all over again as soon as a therapist quits for another job. 

We survive on contractual job with Capitol, she said. 

The insecurity attendant to a no-employer-employee relation the contract brings has been blamed for the moving out of workers who see that trying out abroad was better. 

Now that Zane has slowly been restored as a normal child, her parents hope that Lumuthang and the rest of the STAC staff stays to sustain the services they get. 

Zane’s parents’ wishes are also shared by countless parents who are confident that sustained therapy sessions by practitioners who have known their kids for a time even hastens their mainstreaming. 

According to Board Member Godofreda Tirol, she would bring the matter to local officials even as she said there are to make the STAC operation more sustainable and secure. 

But it all depends on the Governor Chatto and the local officials who are going to make things happen to our CWDs. (30) 

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