Monday, October 29, 2012

PPOC adopts DILG anti-drug, 
Anti-gambling, PAGs at meet 
Rey Anthony Chiu 

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol, October 26, 2012 (PIA)—The Provincial Peace and Order Council (PPOC) in Bohol adopts a resolution in an effort to snowball a nationwide support for the government’s drive against illegal numbers game, illegal drugs and private armed guards (PAG). 

During its recent meeting October 25 held at the Badiang Spring Resort and Hotel in Anas, Valencia, Bohol, the PPOC through chairman Governor Edgar Chatto unanimously adopted the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) move to finally give substance to the government’s seriousness in its drive against these. 

Chatto, who met with Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) secretary Mar Roxas earlier shared that the has pushed for the move that local officials think they can help build up towards a nationwide statement of support against illegal numbers game and PAGs as preconditions for a progressive society. 

During the meeting, Chatto, who shared his desire for Bohol to pitch in with the movement hoped that the move can be manifested here, not only in paper and ink. 

The DILG, through the Philippine National Police has been consistently leading the drive against the three major problems besetting communities, but most of these stand only after a few months and the problem again rears its ugly head. 

At the meeting, council member Romeo Teruel revealed that so much of the illegal numbers game operation is dependent on the legal lotto results. 

The illegal lotto operators use the results of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office lotto draws to run a parallel betting game at a low price compared to the legal ones. 

Although the illegal operators pay much lower wins, the betting price appeals more to the low-income brackets in the same concept offered by the Pinoy sari-sari store. 

On this too, the council, though its chairman moved to constitute a technical working group to study and possibly recommend to the council necessary steps in relation with the lotto operations here. 

Although skeptical that the TWG can come up with favorable recommendations, Chatto showed openness to look into the findings to finally submit to higher authorities these recommendations.

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‘TOPCOP’ admits lack in 
training support, funds 
Rey Anthony Chiu 

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol, October 23, 2012, (PIA) –Amid the accolades the Bohol Tourist Police Unit (BTPU) amassed for its being an innovation in tourist protection and peacekeeping, its chief admits a little help going their way wont hurt. 

Police Senior Superintendent Jojit Manangquil, chief of the 100-strong BTPU in Bohol admits they desire to get the needed financial support to equip their men with the proper skills in tourist relations and safety. 

At the Talakayan sa Isyung Pulis held at the Camp Dagohoy Conference Hall Tuesday, the man now leading the members of the tourist police assigned in entry ports, tourist sites and key tourism destinations in Bohol confesses that they would need every help they can get. 

Any help that comes their way would be used to train their men and equip them with the necessary tools needed to effectively and efficiently function as a police assigned for tourist safety. 

He explained that while ordinary police course lets them undergo certain proficiencies to be accepted in the organization, being assigned in the tourist police unit necessitates more training. 

The Philippine National Police and the Department of Tourism (DOT) inked a memorandum of agreement to implement a program called Tourist Oriented Policing for Community Order and Protection (TOPCOP), which ensured the safety and security of tourists, both foreign or local. 

Implemented first in Bohol, the innovation was envisioned to enhance the security of tourists and tourist areas as well as to ensure the special and proper training and handling of tourist-related security and safety issues, according to Police Deputy Director for Operations in Central Visayas, PSSupt. Louie Oppus. 

Aside from a clearly physical build and proficiency in the English language, members assigned to tourist police units have to gain more knowledge in sea and open water rescue, SCUBA, basic first aid and cardio-pulmonary resuscitation especially for drowning victims, Manangquiel said. 

Manangquil, who was among the seven chiefs of police reporting their accomplishments for the period in the regular media and police interaction said while he thinks that even if they operating as another unit with the local police, those using their help can be their source of help too. 

He said the new members assigned to the BTPU still need trainings to be effective. 

“We know that the local government code provides support to the local police, Manangquil added. 

According to him, elements of the BTPU are assigned at the ports of Tagbilaran, Tubigon, Jagna, city airport, Loay Floating restaurant Facility docking, Loboc Tourism Complex and Docking Center, Tarsier in Corella, Tarsier in Loboc, Chocolate Hills in Carmen, Sagbayan Peak, Abatan River in Cortes, Pamilacan Island in Baclayon, DATE park in Catigbian, Alona in Panglao and Anda. (30/sjp)

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Theft, rob cases in Bohol 
comprise 87% of crimes 
Rey Anthony Chiu 

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol, October 26, 2012 (PIA) –Calls for community vigilance resound at the most recent Provincial Peace and Order Council (PPOC) Meeting as theft and robbery cases comprise 87.57% of the total index crimes happening in Bohol during the month of September. 

As pointed out during the meeting held Thursday at the Badiang Spring Resort and Hotel in Anas Valencia Bohol, theft cases comprise 53.40% while robbery is 36.27%. 

On this, Bohol police chief, PSSuperintendent Constantino Barot cites vigilance of the community as a key factor in the overall crime prevention for Bohol. 

He said earlier that much of the incidents of theft happen because, many people in the communities still leave opportunities for such crimes to happen. 

He also hinted in his reports that robbery, where there is forceful taking of things, mostly involves collectors of lending firms. 

To address the proliferation of theft and robbery incidents victimizing operators of lending institutions and other financial establishments, Camp Dagohoy will set a coordination meeting with operators, managers and supervisors of lending institutions to discuss and plan out security issues and concerns. 

This as crimes in September decreased by 9 cases compared to the previous month’s tally of 187. 

The achievement however is only second lowest crime volume for the year with 178 cases, 8 more compared to the lowest, which was recorded in July 2012 at 170. 

The highest crime rate for the month was recorded in March when Bohol authorities noted 288 crimes according to province-wide police blotters during the month. 

This is 110 crimes more compared to the 178 which police noted for this month. 

According to Barot, the 178 recorded in the month is 53 cases less compared to September of last year, which had 231. 

At the PPPOC, Bohol police chief also pointed out that the crimes are comprised of 135 index and 43 non index crimes. 

Despite the following, Bohol police records show that theft and robbery still tops the index crimes at 53 and 36 respectively. 

This is also a huge improvement compared to last year’s 108 theft and 48 robbery incidents, Barot said. (30/sjp)

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PCG explains memorandum 
Denying trips during storms 
Rey Anthony Chiu 

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol, October 25, 2012, (PIA) – Unlike then when the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) can allow a ship to sail despite a hoisted storm alarm, now, things have changed. 

PGC Bohol deputy station commander Alejandro Pamot said a new memorandum circular from the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) has bound them to hold a ship, which is sailing into troubled waters. 

The PCG clarification came amidst building criticisms against the agency over their insistence to hold the ships on port while storm signal number 1 was raised over Bohol and nearby Visayan islands. 

The stoppage of voyages resulted in massive stranding of passengers, many of them left with no choice but to wait it out until weather calms down and the coast guard green-lights the resumption of trips. 

Criticisms cast towards the coast guard questioned why they stopped services along the commercial sea routes when despite a storm signal when, clearly the seas were calm and the skies were clear. 

“We’re just doing our job, we can not give the clearance due to a DOTC memorandum circular,” according to Pamot over at Kapihan sa PIA Thursday. 

The cited memo is DOTC circular no. 01-09, issued February 5, 2009, which set the guidelines on the movement of sea vessels during heavy weather. 

The gist of the memo is to ensure safety of lives and property and states that ships can only be allowed to sail without passengers only to seek shelter as the ship-owner so decides in consult with the ship master. 

In the case of Supercat last Tuesday, Pamot said they asked the captain to execute a manifestation to seek shelter in Cebu from the port of Tagbilaran, as long as due diligence is exercised by the master and his crew to prevent damage to property and life. 

It may be noted that the older guideline allows a ship of heavier tonnage, that is over 1,000 gross tones, to sail, during storm signal 1. 

Everything has been revoked with the DOTC memorandum circular 01-09, Pamot said. 

The memorandum also mandates that any storm signals raised over the port of origin, route or port of destination, is enough reason for the cast guard to deny the ship passage. 

In Bohol, tropical storm Ofel disrupted the sea trips from late afternoon Tuesday until 11 AM Thursday, when the storm signal in Cebu was cleared. 

The government weather bureau lifted the storm signal in Bohol Wednesday at 4:00 PM but then coast guard still held the trips due to the severe weather bulletin still over Cebu. (30/sjp)

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Food stakeholders raise 
Alarm over “golden rice” 
Rey Anthony Chiu 

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol, October 26, 2012 (PIA) –Food stakeholders here led by the advocacy group instrumental in the first anti-genetically modified organism (GMO) ordinance sound the alarm over the introduction of field tests of a genetically engineered rice in the country, which could contaminate Bohol endemic rice varieties. 

At the World Food Day celebrations, October 16, Bohol Initiators for Sustainable Agricultural Development (BISAD) in Bohol put up a gallant stand to advocate for a solid block to deter the entry of golden rice, one that has been portrayed by its creators as a quick-fix solution to the country’s vitamin A deficiency. 

At the gathering which commemorates the founding of the World Food Organization of the United Nations, which has held at the Atrium, food stakeholders listened as Greenpeace, a leading independent campaigning organization using peaceful direct action and creative communication to expose threats to the environment, slowly unhusked the threat of a rice genetically modified to produce vitamin A, also called beta-carotene. 

Greenpeace said the complexity of the processes in genetic engineering manifested in the over 20 years it took to produce golden rice, and still its creators could not see any commercial application for the product makes it suspect for possible unexpected and unpredictable effects when consumed by man. 

Exactly how is the beta carotene produced in this rice variety is still not explained, a Greenpeace volunteer said. 

What happens when this clearly engineered trait in rice gets into the body?, she asks. 

Already put in field tests in at least three areas in the country, the golden rice is now being test planted in Bicol and in two undisclosed areas in Northern Luzon. 

In Bohol however, where an anti GMO ordinance is in place, to secure the sustainability of its native rice, the sneaky entry of golden rice can easily contaminate these native rice varieties, according to BISAD member Zen Darunday. 

BISAD believes a contamination in the food supply poses health risks, she said. 

BISAD also said fortifying rice with vitamin A may lead people to think that rice alone becomes a sufficient source of vitamin A, thereby narrowing their source of other vitamin sources, resulting in even more pronounced malnutrition. 

Over this, BISAD joins Greenpeace in its stand opposing golden rice as a solution for vitamin A deficiency. 

If required, biofortification does not require genetic engineering because non genetically engineered crops are already in the farmer’s fields and in the people’s plates, they said. (30/ed)

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