Sunday, February 17, 2013

PNP wants gun-license 
Process restored here 
Rey Anthony Chiu 

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol, February 17, 2013 (PIA)—Over the hassle of gun-owners have in renewing their licenses in Cebu, Camp Dagohoy officials hope that fire-arms licensing can be restored here. 

The Philippine National Police (PNP) suspended fire-arms license renewals here for Cebu processing, over allegations of irregularity in exacting “payments” from license holders. 

According to Bohol Police Senior Superintendent Constantino Barot, the PNP gathered complaints that Camp Dagohoy application and renewals-personnel “demand” additional amounts from gun-owners to facilitate their transactions. 

At the monthly Kapihan sa Kampo, Supt. Barot also told media that subsequent investigations revealed that gun-owner’s themselves admitted paying more than the usual amount as their gesture of appreciation. 

They said getting the license applications and renewals in Cebu would entail more costs, far more than they could personally “thank” the paper processors here. 

Now, PSSupt Barot hopes that Police Regional office in Cebu would reconsider and restore the license application and renewal processing here, after the organization learned of the unfounded allegations. 

The restoration of fire-arms licensing and processing here encourages more gun-owners to easily renew their expired fire-arm licenses, he stated. 

Moreover, Camp Dagohoy officials shared during peace council meetings here that Bohol scored high in accounting for loose firearms in the region. 

Barot, also admitted that most of the fire-arms accounted during the implementation of the election gun-ban are not accounted from checkpoints. 

He said they have implemented measures to account for loose fire-arms before election season and consequently the gun-ban took effect, with “Oplan Katok.” 

Oplan Katok is a way of reaching out by knocking on homes of gun-owners who may have expired fire-arm licenses, urging them to fix their papers. 

Supt. Barot also told media that Boholanos tend to “willfully surrender” their unlicensed fire-arms than keep them and have illegal possession suits later. 

We had the campaign against loose fire-arms since December and we are just so happy the people responded so well, Barot said. 

Most of the fire-arms we recovered at Camp Dagohoy came to be surrendered by owners who know the implications of possessing an illegal fire-arm, he said in front of media and Camp officials. 

Besides, we implemented a policy in Bohol where every police station has to account for at least one fire-arm per month. 

In February, during the peace council meeting here, Camp Dagohoy reported seven more fire-arms which the government authorities have recovered in January 2013. (30/sjp)

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LTO: no malice in training 
“fixers” as traffic deputies 
Rey Anthony Chiu 

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol, February 17, 2013 (PIA)—There is no malice in training alleged fixers, defends Land Transportation Office (LTO) in Bohol, reacting to news items insinuating an anomaly in the deputation process of traffic agents. 

Last week, the LTO found itself embroiled in yet another accusation when motorists saw that the LTO has in its practicum activity, fielded some identified fixers, who are now apparently on their way to become deputized traffic agents. 

Earlier opinion surveys in Bohol put the land transportation agency here on top of the most corrupt of government agencies. 

Observers point out that the blatant presence of “money-making fixers” hawking and victimizing innocent motorists. They also accuse these crooks of being allegedly in cahoots with LTO personnel who receive “bribes” to accommodate transaction papers processed by these people. 

Over this, LTO Bohol Assistant Registrar Florencio Balazuela, over at Kapihan sa PIA hinted that the agency is still on cleaning up its ranks but also explained that the office has implemented measures to inform people of the problem. 

“We posted notices in the office vicinity, asking motorists to pay and transact their businesses only at the counter,” he said. 

“We even posted on tarpaulins, our services and the rates that these would entail for motorists to get a better idea of just how much is the legal charge for these businesses, Balazuela pointed out at the radio forum aired over Bohol. 

As to the deputation issue, Balazuela revealed that the office’s task was to train those whom local chief executives and the provincial commander endorsed for deputation training. 

The LTO in Bohol facilitated the traffic officer deputation training workshop on the last week of January and the trainees had their practicum on the streets last February 1. 

This was when motorists who have been victimized by alleged fixers saw these men, in the street-flag down operations along with LTO officials. 

LTO Balazuela said we could not stop these people from joining our activity and we accepted them as trainees because they have endorsements which also carry with them accompanying appointments as casual or contractual agents paid by local governments. 

Balazuela, who also sits as information officer said, besides, the practicum is not an assurance that those trained can be legally deputized. 

He emphasized that the LTO regional office, who managed the training course, still screens and determines who would finally be deputized. 

Moreover, he said, those deputized are still subject to the laws of the country and can be sued for abuse of authority. (30/GG)

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Bohol invites volunteers 
To Bayani Challenge ‘13 
for Antequera, Talibon 
Rey Anthony Chiu 

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol, February 17, 2013 (PIA)—The government is inviting volunteers for a five day showcase of love of country and bayanihan spirit in the Bayani Challenge 2013. 

Governor Edgar Chatto, during the Kita ug ang Gobernador last Friday urged Boholanos to join this opportunity to help build communities here. 

Volunteers are engaged into building homes, repairing schools, participating in health missions, joining in climate change mitigation activities and other rendering of a patriotic duty this March 23-27, 2013. 

The activity, a simultaneous event organized under the Pilipinas Natin is set to rally the most number of volunteers to Challenge the Impossible as it dares to stage the biggest volunteerism event, wrote Undersecretary Jose Mari Oquiñena, Bayanihan Challenge event head and special concerns secretary of the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO). 

On that day, volunteers troop to 42 Bayani Challenge sites in the provinces all over the country, including Bantolinao in Antequera and another site in Talibon Bohol, according to a communication sent from the PCOO. 

More than an event, the Bayani Challenge is also a test of endurance and love of country as every year, more and more volunteers and nationbuilders respond to the Bayani Challenge, according to PilipinasNation.org. 

Started in 2006 with 400 volunteers in St. Bernard Southern Leyte, Bayani Challenge has pooled thousands of volunteers already and has helped build more than 500 houses, the website of the organization shows. 

In Bohol, Antequrea information Officer Russel Eustacio Villas said the target is to build five duplex houses to benefit 10 families in barangay Bantolinao. 

At the monthly meeting of information officers here, Villas said the town officials have been coordinating with the preparations and laying the groundwork in the site, the campsite and assembling support system for the volunteers. 

Interested volunteers in Bohol can form a team of 15 members or join individually. Registrations can be done online: at http://bayanichallenge2013.blogspot.com and choose the site you want to volunteer. 

Registering means filling up the Bayani Challenge Forms while providing the name of team for groups or individuals for single volunteers, team leader, contact number, email address, current location and your chosen volunteer site location, then submit forms, according to Usec Oquiñena. 

Volunteers also need to bring food for the duration, cooking eating and sleeping utensils, first aid kits, flashlights, documentation equipment like cameras and videos, and construction tools. 

Must tools for team volunteers include pick mattock, crowbar, shovels, masonry palettes, masonry wooden floats for finishing works, finishing trowel, mixing pails, gardening tools, hammers, saws, hacksaw balde, Phillips screw drivers, electrical pliers, steel meter tapes, individual hand gloves, hard hats, paint rollers, brush and tray and leveling hose or bar. (30/hd) 

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“Able-dis-abled” 
talent search on 
Rey Anthony Chiu 

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol, February 17, 2013 (PIA) – Still on to the task of drawing out persons with disabilities (PWD) who have been “hidden” and are deprived of their political rights, a non-government organization is putting up a talent competition for the dis-abled yet able persons. 

According to Ronald Gutierrez, executive Director of the NGO called Upholding Life and Nature (ULAN), they are currently undertaking a project with the intention of providing legal support to the process of improving the right of suffrage of PWDs. 

These projects also fall under the Dis-ability Inclusive Elections Initiative Fully-Abled Nation program of The Asia Foundation as part of the Australian Agency for International development’s Disability Inclusive Development, Gutierrez said. 

ULAN said they have conducted series of workshops and consultations here in Bohol to pinpoint the problems experienced by PWDS especially during the electoral process to facilitate their participation. 

These consultative workshops also generated recommendations from the under-privileged sector for the organization to help lobby the same recommendations. 

But, in interviews, Bohol Federation of Disabled Persons chairman Mateo Quilas admitted that there is a prevalent culture of Filipinos to hide their relatives who have disabilities, possibly for shame. 

“By keeping them in locked rooms, these people are deprived even more of their development, Quilas, who has been actively networking with social workers to seek out these people for specific livelihood skills trainings. 

But even then, ULAN believes better discussion on these specific issues can only surface and reforms instituted if the PWDS come out. 

In the process, voters education sessions are now ongoing for these PWDS, according to observers who have been following ULAN activities here. 

The ultimate goal is to engage the PWDs into participating in the 2013 mid-term elections, ULAN stated. 

Here, ULAN is launching in Bohol a talent competition billed as “K Factor: Lahat Tayo May K.” 

The underlying theme for these activity is that “everyone, including the PWDs have the right to vote. 

In line with the talent competition, a one-day audition moves across Bohol from February 26-March 1 to seek out the talented PWDs. 

Audition schedules include February 26 in Ubay at the Municipal Gym, and on the 27th at Mabini Annex Building in Mabini, Bohol. 

By the 28th, the audition would be staged in Antequera at the town Covered Court while a tentative schedule for Tagbilaran is set March 1, shared Gutierrez. 

This will culminate in a grand final competition to be held sometime in April 2013. Interested parties may enter individually or as a group. Non PWDS may join but only as a part if a group which should include at least one PWD, Gutierrez continued. (30/HD)

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Chatto signs NCCA MOA 
bringing 2 festivals here 
Rey Anthony Chiu 

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol, February 17, 2013 (PIA) –Governor Edgar Chatto signed the Memorandum of Agreement between the province and the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) formalizing Bohol’s hosting of this year’s four day celebration of creative ingenuity of Asians in the field of cultural community theater work. 

NCCA is Deputy Executive Director Marlene Ruth Sanchez, who signed the MOA for the NCCA generously thanked Chatto and the Boholanos for accepting the activities here. 

Chatto’s formal act signals Bohol opening its doors to delegates to the two of the country’s two capping activities for the National Arts Month celebrated every February. 

Set for Bohol are Tanghal Visayas and Likha Asya; two important cultural events that highlight the Philippine Arts Festival in 2013. 

Tanghal Visayas is a two day-long activity that brings to Bohol a Visayas-wide school and community-based theaters form Negros Oriental and Occidental, Ilo-ilo, Aklan and Samar and builds up to a full day theatrical spectacle on February 26 at the Bohol Cultural Center, according to a festival prepared material. 

Tanghal opens on Tuesday, February 26 at 9:00 and an hour later, Negros Occidental Theater groups stage Balay Taliambong: a three panel play on Karaang Balay, Balay sa Dios and Balay sa Paghigugma. 

In the afternoon, Antique presents Lola Masing and Dumaguete’s Youth Advocates through Theater Arts (YATTA) stages Taytayan ni Favian. 

In the evening, the main show is a collaborative production of multi-visayan language adaptation of William Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream while Bohol University Theater Groups brings in a play by the Immaculate Heart of Mary Seminary Drama Group. 

On the 27th, presentations shift to the Abatan Ecological Theater in Cortes, where the Tanghal closes curtains to presentation of excerpts for the Bohol Cultural Collectives, Sayaw Pinoy and the Visayan Collaborative Production. 

This event also signals the start of Likha Asya: an international festival and conference on community-theater, community based tourism and creative industries. 

Likha Asya is an inter-cultural exchange of experiences and expertise in the creative industries, community-theater and the arts, community-based tourism as brought here in Bohol by Asians and Filipino groups who have been engaged in seeking sustainable development through tourism, explains Lutgardo Labad, Bohol festival director, after the MOA signing at the Governor’s Mansion Friday. 

Around 20 tourism, arts and heritage workers from Asian countries descend to Bohol to share insights and expertise on the various aspects of eco-cultural tourism in their respective countries, Labad said. 

Set to arrive are community theater workers and artists from Cambodia, Indonesia, Japan, Thailand and the Philippines who will join and handle conferences, workshops, performances, see arts and crafts food fair as well as undergo an ecological0cultural community-based guided tour on the heritage sites of Bohol. (30/hd) 

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Bohol dragonboat to row 
tourism to new frontiers 
Rey Anthony Chiu 

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol, February 17, 2013 (PIA) –As Bohol hosts the 2nd Philippine Dragon Boat Festival (PDBF) International Club Crew Challenge 2013 in April, tourism stakeholders and local officials jointly see it as a vehicle for local tourism to row further. 

At the most recent coordination meeting following the presentation of the project here weeks ago, tourism stakeholders, sports enthusiasts as well as local officials said the PDBF allows them the window of opportunity to showcase the best of Bohol to an international crowd, further expanding the benefits of the competition and boosting tourism here. 

Bohol’s hosting the event would attract a horde of foreign and local tourists, and countless business opportunities open, local organizers said. 

Aside from these, the sports in Bohol could open up for tourists more reason to come, one of a healthy lifestyle bolster Bohol’s positive image as a great destination. 

Bohol Executive Committee chair Charlie Holganza also revealed that part of the activity’s proceeds would go to a corporate social responsibility project in Bohol, especially near the race course. 

Already recognized in 74 countries, dragonboat rowing has been a sport which Filipinos can excel, PDBF secretary General Pinky Castillo was earlier quoted. 

Nonette Bolo, chairman of the Bohol Federation of Tour and Travel Operators, who was present during a coordination meeting said her group would come up with packages to make sure the international competitors can get a Bohol teaser in a tour, enough reason for them to go back. 

Earlier, PDBF presented to Bohol officials the concept of the festival and a timeline which, when followed, would assure the success of the first major dragonboat event in Bohol. 

Eyed to be held at the shallow strait between mainland Bohol and Dauis in Panglao Island, organizers hope to showcase the area as a historic site of the famed Dapitan Kingdom. 

The chairman also said Bohol would need to make this and maybe another dragonboat event before this could row into its ambitious dream: Make Bohol as the Dragonboat Capital of the country. 

Bohol’s Governor, Edgar Chatto, who has seen the immense potential of the event in Bohol has instructed the Provincial Sports Coordinator, Joel Molina, thru Provincial Administrator Ae Damalerio, to prepare the ground works for the event. 

Newly formed Bohol Paddlers Association and rowing enthusiast Dr. Doyet Dumaluan also assured that they would help the organizers, the local government, business, tourism and outdoor sports enthusiasts to ensure that the vision to pin the dragonboat capital to Bohol is achieved. 

To date, PDBF has sent instructors to train interested individuals and teams in the art of dragon-boat racing. 

This is to help train locals who will be joining tune-up competitions in March, before Bohol’s teams could be picked for the international races, Holganza said. 

Interested groups willing to participate in the local competitions can contact Bohol Capitol or any BPA member for details. (30/ed)

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Jagna tops “Best Practices” 
In solid waste mgt program 
Rey Anthony Chiu 

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol, February 17, 2013 (PIA) – Jagna proved quite clearly that there is money in garbage, and a 
bigger promise for keeping its people responsible for whatever waste they dispose irresponsibly. 

A port town sitting next to a largely bio-diverse marine highway, Jagna leaders insist that their waste must not get to the sea which could harm marine mammals and their rare marine treasures. 

By putting up a recycling program and instilling in their kids and ingenious way of exchanging waste into school supplies, the town has shown that, with political will and a personal conviction, wastes can be managed right. 

This year, Jagna town distinguished itself anew as the best among the rest when it pocketed the latest recognition topping Bohol’s Best Practices in Ecological Solid Waste Management (ESWM). 

For that, the town officials led by Mayor Fortunato Abrenilla went home after the awarding ceremonies held at the Jjs Seafoods last February 7, with a neat package of tokens for their town’s pro-earth feat. 

Governor Edgar Chatto, who was among those who crafted the vision of Bohol to become an eco-cultural tourism destination as vice governor then, is now savoring the Eco-Governance declaration of Bohol as an ESWM learning destination, as a governor. 

EcoGovernance is a US Agency for International Development funded project which focuses in helping LGUS adopt better environmental governance policies as a sound strategy for sustainable development, explains May Segura-Ybanez. 

For this year’s feat, Jagna, an EcoGovernance grantee, bagged a cool P30,000 cash prize, a certificate of recognition and some P200,000 worth of additional prize in form of projects, shared Maria Socorro Trinidad, ESWM coordinator at the Bohol Environment Management Office (BEMO). 

Gov. Chatto, who was keynote speaker during the ceremony, announced the additional prizes from Capitol’s coffers, to motivate other towns to get serious with their programs. 

He however emphasized that while the LGUS need to identify the projects for Capitol funding, such were to be in line with their ESWM efforts. 

It may also be recalled that Jagna also topped last year’s best practices. 

This year, members of the ESWM Monitoring and Evaluation Team asked LGUS to comply with their recommendations to make their programs impact least on the environment. 

Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) PENRO Nestor Canda presented the monitoring and evaluation results and also read the team’s recommendations to the towns. 

The team rounding up the ESWM programs for Bohol includes DENR, Interior and Local Government, Education, Provincial Health Office, Provincial Planning and Development Office and BEMO. 

Also sweeping the top three spots in the province-wide search for the best practices along with Jagna are Loon and Cortes ESWM programs. 

The top three winners each received P30,000 cash prize and certificates, while Loon picked with the award P150,000 worth of ESWM projects. Cortes also got P100,000 worth of projects. 

Within the top ten best ESWM practices are Duero, Baclayon, Balilihan, Maribojoc, Talibon, Alburquerque and Lila. 

These towns also received P20,000 cash prize and another P30,000 worth of news projects, Trinidad added. (30/CC)

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