Friday, February 1, 2013

Rebels striking strategic 
alliances with politicians 
Rey Anthony Chiu 

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol, January 30, 2013 (PIA) –The communist insurgents operating in Central Visayas have veered from their strategic direction of generating logistics and financial support from collecting permit to campaign fees. 

According to Task Group SugBohol (TGSugBohol) report, the absence of armed components, push the rebels to shift direction: instead they are now negotiating for alliances from politicians seeking elective posts in 2013. 

Army Colonel Dino Dolina of Task Group SugBohol (TGSugbohol) bared this during the Regional Peace and Order Council meeting held at the posh Bohol Tropics Resort here, January 30. 

In their assessment of the current peace and order situation region and using military intelligence data and allied reports, TG SugBohol said the Communist Party of the Philippines-National Democratic Front-New People’s Army (CNN) in Cebu and Bohol have refrained from collecting Permit to Campaign (PTC) and Permit to Win (PTW) fees in the absence of armed components. 

Military sources said the standard operating procedure for the rebels is to create high profile incidents involving a show of armed force, and as usual, the objective is to sow fear and project the picture that they are in control. 

But with the failure of generating the arms and the show of force, they could hardly exact the fees to raise funds for their operations, a military intelligence operative at the Special Forces camp in Bilar, Bohol said. 

Absent the fear factor, they have to resort to other means to advance their strategic goals, he explained. 

On this, Col. Dolina said in the absence of armed components, they have negotiated for alliances with politicians seeking office in 2013. 

To those politicians who are gullible enough to take the bait, Col. Dolina warns, these planned alliances are not just limited to short tactical victories in the May 2013 elections. 

He said these alliances also extend with the CNN goal of achieving strategic stalemate in 2015. 

For this, a relative lull may have been experienced in the region but military authorities also told council members gathered at the Sandugo Ballroom of the resort that the relative peace and order in Cebui and Bohol can’t be taken for granted. 

With the monthly army reports indicating that there is noticeable movement especially in the insurgents organizing white area committees, the military further said they [rebels] “always incorporate in their intention of organizing their mass base, the recruitment for its armed components from all sectoral organizing activities.” 

Dolina added that the upcoming May 2013 election has given the CNN perfect cover to revive and reorganize their dormant organizations not only in urban centers but also in the rural areas. (30/sjp)

Report extortion, poll 
violations -authorities 
Rey Anthony Chiu 

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol, February 1, 2013 (PIA) –With the insurgents now declared as insignificant in Bohol, there is no reason why candidates for the upcoming May 2013 polls should give in to demands for permit to campaign or permit to win. 

Amid reports that the insurgents’ legal fronts have shifted their direction from exacting fees from candidates accessing their formerly held areas to forging tactical alliances, an Army authority advises politicians: report any attempt to exact fees. 

2nd Special Forces Battalion Commander Col Julius Tomines said “generally, we have solved the [insurgency] problem, but we have to admit that there could be unscrupulous elements who would use their being known personalities in the underground movement and bank on it to sow fear and consequently exact fees.” 

The special forces commanding officer also hinted that there could also be attempts of people who are just out to find easy money by false claims. 

On this, he advises: the best response is to report it to authorities. 

He assured that information they receive would be treated with secrecy and immediately verified. 

In fact, as the election period entered January 13 and would extend until June 12, Superintendent Caña, who heads operations at Camp Dagohoy added, even those violations against election laws can be reported to authorities. 

Speaking for Bohol police Chief Superintendent Constantino Barot, C/Inspector Caña stressed that everybody’s active participation and vigilance can make or break Bohol’s peace and the integrity of the upcoming political exercise. 

At the Kapihan sa PIA, Colonel Tomines and Inspector Caña then each shared police and military hotlines where all information regarding the matter are coursed through. 

The army hotline is 0908-268-2695, shared Col Tomines. 

On the other hand, Inspector Caña said the police hotline is 0917-316-3297. He also pointed out that reports can also be reported through TaRSIER 117 and its open mobile numbers 0917-510-1490 or 0949-795-5530. 

Election violations that can be reported are on gun ban, illegal use of security escorts, extortion or threats, including carrying of explosives, bladed weapons and other harmful objects to be used to intimidate to gather votes. (30/gg)

CV firms up inter-agency 
drug enforcement group 

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol January 30, 2013 (PIA) – Governor Edgar Chatto painstakingly eased the Regional Peace and Order Council (RPOC) into seeking areas for cooperation to firm up a Regional inter-agency Anti-Drug Enforcement Group. 

The move is also consistent with the reports from Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) in Bohol which earlier pointed out lack of coordination among government enforcement agencies and allies that make their anti-drug operations wanting. 

According to police operatives, their roles in anti-drug operations are only to lend support to the PDEA. Beyond the two agencies, coordination among other anti-drug trafficking interest groups is done on “as the need arises” basis. 

At an earlier Bohol peace council meeting weeks ago, Bohol PDEA chief Ma Chona Egam hinted lack of coordination among port authorities and law enforcement agencies which hinder their work. 

The new policy to tackle the problem on drugs in a manner of an inter-agency cooperation assures PDEA that that coordination among government and specific interest sectors could be expected. 

At the RPOC meeting, PDEA Regional director Julius Navales said drugs in Region 7 comes from Manila and Mindanao with Cebu and Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental as transshipment points to other provinces. 

He said the availability of ships and airplanes coming from Manila and Mindanao to Cebu makes Cebu rank first in drug proliferation due to its central location in the region. 

From Cebu, drugs are easily offloaded and hand-carried or shipped for distribution to the provinces. 

PDEA sources said they received reports that illegal drugs are being transported through small bancas that dock in some coastal Barangays in the Cebu. 

They said they interdiction units are monitoring the docks in Barangay Pasil in Cebu City and Barangay Tangke in Talisay City, as well as other coastal barangays as the areas where drugs are shipped out. 

Also, Bohol anti-narcotic operatives busted a drug trafficking modus operandi which uses a legal cargo forwarding service to get the contrabands into destinations. 

On this, PDEA Bohol, in previous peace council meeting, recommended port interdictions that could be the best counter measure in reducing the supply that gets to the region. 

“…port interdiction is seen as the best counter measure, yet it is not being optimized due to constraints of manpower and logistics and the lack of coordination between the port authority and law enforcement agencies,” Egam reported during the PPOC in January in Bohol. 

Again, in Bohol, observers also pointed out that the anti-drug drive barely scratched the surface as the problem has put the province in category 2, which PDEA defines as moderately affected. 

Category 2, according to the PDEA is characterized by the presence of at least one pusher or trafficker. 

“Everyone has the unanimous understanding that the present state of enforcement is not as sufficient to address the menace,” he laid out the biggest singular reason why the group has to be done. 

Other than port interdiction operations, the PDEA along with other counter-part law enforcement units in the region conducts regular anti-narcotic operations, which have resulted to the arrests of 970 persons and 1,040 cases filed and are now pending in various drug courts, Dir. Navales reported. 

Also, in its effort to drastically reduce the demand for drugs, the agency initiates lectures and various activities in schools and universities, and in local government units in collaboration with different sectors of the society to spread the word against the social menace. (30/gg)

Swertres slowly runs 
Out of luck in Bohol 
Rey Anthony H. Chiu 

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol, February 1, 2013 (PIA) –Illegal gambling slowly runs out of luck here in Bohol as police methodically clears 33 of the province’s 47 towns and a city from the addictive lure of the vice. 

From 48 towns and city which have been previously reporting certain degrees of “swertres” affectation, police are now slowly betting on ridding 15 more towns of the social malaise, according to reports of the Regional Police Office which was also delivered to the Regional Peace and Order Council Meeting held at the Bohol Tropics last Wednesday, January 30. 

After an intensive saturation drive against swertres, Bohol police are now focusing their attention to three clusters: Tagbilaran City, and the towns of Dauis, Panglao and Antequera; Loboc, Bilar, Batuan, Carmen, Sagbayan, Clarin, Inabanga and Guindulman, Alicia, Ubay, Trinidad, Talibon and Getafe. 

This as the police operatives currently plan out operations to continue their pursuit of further cutting the business of 14 persons now currently in the business of financing the illegal gambling operations in the 15 affected towns. 

The police illegal gambling operations started with 22 game financiers, a figure which they successfully trimmed down in a few months. 

In the region, Bohol’s success however is second to Cebu, which has attained success rate with only three remaining areas affected. 

Talisay City, Toledo City and Santander are still largely affected by the illegal gambling threat, according to Police Regional Office 7 reports. 

Pockets of affectations by barangays however are noted in five barangays of Mandaue City and three barangays of Lapu-lapu, RPOC reports bared. 

Also in the region, both Negros Oriental and Siquijor are saddled with the social menace, said Police Regional Director Marcelo Garbo said. 

Emphasizing the seriousness of the problem, Gen. Garbo assailed that this has caused two provincial directors, city police chiefs and police intelligence operatives their heads. 

P/CSupt. Garbo also said the police one strike policy still remains in effect in the region. 

Bohol police chief, P/SSupt. Constantino Barot explained that one strike policy would cause the head of a police chief who is caught sitting on the job in the drive against drugs and illegal gambling. 

It may be recalled that the RPOC earlier unanimously passed a resolution supporting the Department of Interior and Local Government’s anti-illegal gambling drive, which also triggered the start of no-nonsense anti-gambling operations.

Artists descend to Bohol 
Art’s Month’s Likha Asya 
Rey Anthony Chiu 

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol, January 30, 2013 (PIA)—Artists from at least four countries in Asia descend to Bohol on February 26-30, to take part in the Likha Asya, a highlight of the National Arts Month in 2013, according to the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA). 

In fact, NCCA Chair of the Drama Committee and Bohol Festival chairman Lutgardo Labad said that Bohol would host at least four major national and international events in line with the National Arts Month in February. 

At the first coordination meeting held at the Capitol recently, Labad said artist performers, resource persons and craftsmen from Indonesia, Cambodia, Thailand and Japan, plus Filipino counterparts come here to share regional experiences, best practices and innovations in a bid to strengthen consciousness during the Likha Asya. 

According to the NCCA, Likha Asya is the First Asian Festival and Conference on Community Theater, Creative Industries and Community-Based Tourism for Sustainable Livelihoods. 

Likha Asya convenes in Bohol on Feb. 26 to 28, where majority of the activities are set at the Bohol Cultural Center and the Abatan Ecological Theater in Cortes, said Labad. 

Aside from sharing sessions, Likha Asya also brings in regional arts performances, arts flea markets, fora and conventions. 

It is envisioned to be a venue for a cross-cultural exchange of practice and imagination in the artistic industries and in informative tourism, Labad said during the meeting. 

Also sharing for the Philippines is a network of theater workers in the Visayas composed of thespians from communities and school anchored theater organizations doing a collaborative effort for theater as a tool for empowering communities through cultural education in a movement called Lihok Bisaya, he explained. 

Lihok Bisaya is an informative organization of 7 community-based informative groups in the Visayas region who will interact with identical groups in Asia, where each groups detail an essay of how each have made livelihood in their respective regions using the creative arts. 

Labad also explained that Likha Asya convenes most of its activities at the Bohol Cultural Center but moves to some locations for performances including the Abatan Ecological Theater in Cortes, Punta Cruz Watch Tower and possibly Dauis Church Complex. 

During the coordination meeting attended by local artists and cultural workers including tourism workers, Bohol Center for Culture and Arts Development Head Enriquita Butalid said Capitol is also joining the flurry of activities for the Arts Month with their Art Icons exhibit as well as its Arts Bazaar. (30/HD) 

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