Friday, March 8, 2013

Bohol generated revenues 
Increase by 27% in 2012 
Rey Anthony H. Chiu 

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol, March 8, 2013 (PIA) – Bohol’s locally generated revenues increased by 27% in 2012, a fact the local fiscal manager credits to streamlined collection, prudent use of resources and implementing innovations in tax revenue generation. 

The net increase also helps Capitol fund more social service programs to move Boholano lives a few notches higher, said Governor Edgar Chatto. 

At a gathering of employees and local government officials at the Capitol Acacia Garden for the weekly Flag Ceremony and Convocation Program, Provincial Treasurer Eustaquio A. Socorin said Bohol’s collection of 112,520,834 locally generated revenues in 2011, was topped by the 143,713,995 collection in 2012. 

The difference forms the 27% increase in revenues generated through the measures which Bohol implemented to increase its fiscal standing. 

With robust cash assets apportioned for annual programmed disbursements, Capitol fund custodians, smartly put funds which are not due for immediate disbursements, into short term yet high earning time deposits. 

This was done with the expressed legal authority granted by the Provincial junta and upon recommendations by the advisory Local Finance Committee, Provincial Treasurer Eustaquio Socorin assured. 

Efficient expenditure programming and prudent use of bank’s high interest rates offer for short term time deposits has greatly contributed to Bohol’s posting of a liquid financial position, he said on Monday, March 4. 

He also explained that short term time deposits earn much higher interest compared to ordinary savings and current deposits. 

Because of this, keeping the money in vaults while the disbursing office awaits the authority to disburse it might be good, getting it in banks appeared to be a wiser option, shares Socorin during a week-starter ceremony attended by Capitol and some national government employees. 

Bohol, according to him, has placed around P720 million of these cash assets in Bohol banks, and these has earned for Bohol around P7,442,388, the earnings now declared part of the locally generated income for 2012. 

The interest earning however were a bit lower this year compared to the previous year, he added pointing to the fact that the more stable economy posted in 2012 placed the bank interest rates lower. 

Along with innovations in revenue generation and treasury management to help Bohol build a more solid fiscal standing, Bohol has aggressively pushed for the implementation of the Electronic-Tax Revenue Assessment and Collection System, which is now implemented in 27 of Bohol’s 47 towns and one city, he said. 

For one, Bohol has caused the publication and notice of sale and public auction for delinquent real property which triggered increased collection of real property taxes. 

In keeping up with efficiency and time management especially for frontline services, Bohol has also implemented automated-teller machine withdraw-able salaries for contractual, plantilla positions, job order casual employees and Special Education Fund paid teachers, to cut on service time lost as these workers use to collect their pays, he said. (30/ED) 

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Climate change adaptation measure… 
Boholano farmers put up 
Organic rice seed bank 
Rey Anthony Chiu 

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol March 5, 2013 (PIA) --We may not know it but in a bid to adapt to climate change, Boholano farmers have sought the climate-smart organic rice variety that would deliver the best harvest for specific types of climates. 

Dr. Marina Labonite, research for development director at the Bohol Island State University (BISU) said, since 1998, farmers and non-government organizations here have bred more than 200 organic rice “accessions” in the search for the most suitable breed fitting the challenges of adaptation. 

Here, climate change resistant local upland rice were interbred with other breeds to produce organic rice that would stand the heat, brave the floods and withstand all these without inorganic fertilizers, she tells. 

“These are local breed so we can’t call them varieties yet, and yes, we have a seed bank but these are back up supplies for farm trials, to allow farmers to sow them in seedbeds for their own production,” Dr. Labonite shared. 

She recalled that a few years ago, farmers noted that commercial rice breeds produce bountiful harvests but the costly inorganic fertilizers needed to grow them have drained farmers of their profits. 

Farmers also noted the onset of new pests and rice infestations which quickly affects commercial varieties, so that the option to go back to the native varieties just came naturally. 

To this, Dr. Labonite confessed during an interview at her office inside the sprawling BISU campus inside hectares upon hectares of sprawling rice-fields in Bilar town, that the demands for adaptive rice varieties and the withdrawal of inorganic fertilizers soared high. 

Some commercial rice varieties grow lush from the start, but sudden rains affect their productivity, she narrates, taking swipes at the unpredictable abrupt changes in climate, despite the town’s regular hydrology patterns. 

“The production of these organic rice seeds is based on the demand,” she admits adding that in 1998, with Searice, an NGO into preserving the rice heritage of the region, and the Central Visayas State College of Agriculture, Forestry and Technology (CVSCAFT) now BISU, they trained farmers to collect the seeds. 

With the help of Searice, farmers started foraging back into their seed banks for the local varieties that have proven to survive intense climate changes. 

Since 1998, these seeds have not tasted any commercial fertilizer, she boasted. These are stockpiled for easy access to farmers and for those who would want to grow the same, but they have to produce their own seeds from these seeds. 

“Some of these seeds contain the genes of high-producing rice varieties and those that have been tested to survive in droughts or heavy rains, the seed banks become viable,” she said. 

Then, the seed bank also provides enough knowledge to farmers who were initially advised by technicians to vary the rice variety for every cropping season to break their susceptibility to diseases and pests. 

First stockpiled by farmer organizations in nearby Campagao and Cansumbol, the rice seed bank became so useful so that the neighboring communities themselves were encouraged to put them up, she notes. 

Then, because it was too burdensome to keep up with the demands to curate the community seed banks, the decision to transfer it to BISU was logical, according to Dr. Labonite, who now keeps the stockpile of rice accessions in air-dried panicles, in threshed forms and in cold storage. 

Here, being an agriculture institution, students take care of the seed banks and at the same time, learn about the technology of harvesting, air dried panicle storage, panicle in threshed form storage, including measurement of panicle, she tells. 

The school also maintains small patches of fields for annual test planting of these 200 accessions to make sure they are fresh and can germinate when farmers get them, she said. 

Here in Bohol where an anti-genetically modified organism ordinance is in effect, and the farmers have started to feel the effects of climate change. 

Also here, going back to the basics may mean sustainable agriculture for future generations, Labonite said. (30/cc)

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Rabies victims skipping 
rabies shots, alarming 
Rey Anthony Chiu 

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol, March 6, 2013 (PIA) –Health authorities monitoring the possible spread of rabies here howl in alarm over the apparent failure of dog bite victims to continue their full anti-rabies treatment regimens. 

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Reymoses Cabagnot voiced out the concern and apprehension of medical practitioners who know that rabies virus can remain dormant for years and would later emerge, at a time when the victim is least expecting it. 

Rabies is a fatal infection caused when a virus, which thrives in dog saliva gets to the human body by way of bites, although cases have been reported in vampire bat bite cases and very rare in cats, according to experts. 

In dog bite cases, the usual protocol is for the victim to immediately go to rural and municipal health centers where initial check-up is done and where authorities record the bite case, shared Dr. Stella Marie Lapiz, Bohol Provincial Veterinarian and BRPEP action office for animal rabies cases. 

At the health centers, the bite cases are categorized according to gravity of affectation, and then referred to treatment centers she said. 

Category 1, is when a bite is in a form of a scratch, minor wound, while category two is a major wound but it is in the extremities, not on the head part. 

Category 3 is for bite cases where the wounds are in the victim’s head, and which puts the virus in proximity with the brain where it does most of the damage, the petite but energetic multi-awarded veterinarian added. 

From there, health center authorities immediately refer the patient victim to the nearest Animal Bite and Treatment Center, where victim gets the first dose of anti-rabies injections in two sites. 

The treatment by injection continues three days later, then after seven days and after 30 days where two injections in two sites are administered, Dr. Cabagnot explained. 

He also hinted that an incomplete treatment could mean a virus is insufficiently disabled so that it could hide and lay dormant, only to rear its ugly head much later. 

But the costs of anti-rabies shots are sometimes too restrictive to victims who may have to personally pay for these shots. A rabies shot costs approximately P350.00, so victims would have to pay P700 per treatment, one which they should bargain with dog pet-owners to share in the costs in line with the liability for the dog bite, provided by law. 

During the Bohol Rabies Prevention and Elimination Program (BRPEP) Awarding ceremonies, and using 2011 data of dog bite cases, Dr. Cabagnot points out that there were about 4,018 dog bite cases recorded all over Bohol. 

Of this, only 2,663 of 2,794 category 2 dog bites cases complete treatment regimens while another 131 victims opted to skip the shots, perhaps thinking there were no signs of danger emerging. 

Of the more dangerous category 3 cases, only 1,115 of the 1,224 bite cases religiously pursued treatments. This also leaves some 107 victims who have incomplete post exposure prophylaxis in 2011. 

According to studies, some rabies cases recur after decades of dormancy and when it happens, it becomes almost always lethal. 

Without positive rabies cases in the past years, Bohol rabies officials have openly feared that those with incomplete treatments, may just be lucky that non-rabid dogs bit them, but Dr. Cabagnot admits, there is practically very little way for them to determine if rabies was just nil or if it has remained dormant and waiting for the right time to rise. (30/SJP)

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PPOC eyes Philhealth 
Benefits for Muslims 
Rey Anthony Chiu 

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol, March 7, 2013 (PIA) --Around 114 Muslim families permanently residing in Bohol have no health benefits and the Provincial Peace and Order Council (PPOC) wants to see if they could be enrolled in PhilHealth’s universal coverage program. 

At the PPOC out-of-town gathering months ago, Muslim tribal chief and sector representative AmborDatumanong asked the PPOC if it would be possible for Muslim brothers to be included in the provincial government’s PhilHealth beneficiaries so they too could avail of free government health services. 

In Bohol, social welfare office Carmelita Tecson reported recently that they accounted some 126 Muslim families spread all over three towns in Bohol. 

Council chairman and Governor Edgar Chatto directed Tecson, who heads the Provincial Social Welfare Office in Bohol to come out with an inventory of the possible magnitude of the beneficiaries from the Muslim communities who will be eligible to get the socialized health services. 

Weeks later, in succeeding PPOC meetings, Tecson reported that only a very few Muslim families have availed of the government health care benefits. 

Tecson told council members that about five Muslim families are among the National Household Targeting System identified beneficiaries which also have PhilHealth coverage. 

She also said another four Muslim families have voluntarily paid for their PhilHealth contributions so they could avail of the free or government subsidized health services. 

Moreover, Tecson cited another three families which have been sponsored by local government units, so they were enrolled in the service. 

In Tagbilaran City, Muslim communities can be found at the CPG North Avenue and there is another Muslim Village at CPG East. 

In Jagna town, Muslim communities arefound in Barangays Pagina, Poblacion, Tejero, and Pangdan, while in Ubay, Tecson named communities in Bood, Tubod and Poblacion. 

On the Datumanong pleadings, PPOC Chair also directed the OPSWDO to evaluate each of the cases and use the same standard that the government is using for ordinary cases. 

Governor Chattohinted that if the PPOC concedes to the request from the sector, it would not be a consideration of the religion but an application of the same standard that every Filipino is subjected to, so they could be eligible to the government help. (30/hd)

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Valencia tops 2012 
RP Tax collection 
Rey Anthony H. Chiu 

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol, March 8, 2013 (PIA)—Valencia topped this year’s performers in real property (RP) tax collection when it posted some 162.50% efficiency rating, according to the office of the Provincial Treasurer. 

During the weekly flag ceremony at the Acacia Garden of the Capitol Monday, March 4, Provincial treasurer Eustaquio Socorin and Governor Edgar Chatto handed to the visibly proud Valencia Treasurer Aquilina Ampit a certificate which highlighted the Provincial Government’s appreciation for the achievement. 

Last year’s third top performer Pilar, settled for second place this year improving its records with 140.99% tax collection efficiency rating from 106.40 rating in 2011. 

Pilar Municipal Treasurer Fortunato Corciega and his Mayor Wilson each received the certificates of recognition handed by Socorin and Governor Chatto. 

Valencia easily beat last year’s top performer Clarin, which now earned Bohol’s third place in real property tax collection performance. Also with Clarin in the third spot is Catigbian, which earned 136.31% efficiency ratings. 

Municipal treasurers Cresilda Rulida and Victorieta Loquere, from both towns also received citations accompanied by Catigbian Vice Mayor Rey Lacea and Clarin Mayor Allen Rey Piezas. 

This year too, Inabanga, Sevilla, Getafe and Loon barged into the top performers list. 

Inabanga occupied the fourth top performer slot with treasurer Columba Escamillan working it out to squeeze a 128.48% efficiency rating for the town. 

Sevilla, another newcomer into the list managed to cap 117.75% rating making it to the fifth place, thanks to the efforts of the office under Belinda Cayoca. 

Getafe’s Eduardo Social Jr. also snuggled his town’s real property tax collection performance to sixth place managing a 115.92% rating. 

On the 7th place is Jagna, as treasurer Raymond Emmanuel Cuadra bagged for the town a collection rating efficiency of 112.80%, a better performance from its last year’s rating of 107.85. Jagna was 2nd to Clarin in 2011. 

Efforts of Alicia’s Lourdes Unajan, which ranked 5th then in 2011 fell three notches lower to number 8, but still posted a better efficiency rating in 2012 with 109.34 over last year’s 99.52%. 

Rene Guivencan of Panglao settled at ninth place this year by posting 108.16% efficiency rating, also higher than its last year’s 99.52%. Panglao also claimed the 5th rank in 2011, according to data from the Provincial Treasurer. 

Loon Treasurer Teofista Marilla also proved her real property tax collection efficiency with a 101.94% to land her town in the 10th place for this year. 

Last year’s top performers in their proper ranks were the towns of Clarin, Jagna, Pilar, Panglao, Alicia, Catigbian, Corella and Balilihan. (30/ed) 

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Despite conflicting scheds with Boracay 
Bohol dragonboat race 
Still rows, April 26-30 

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol, March 8, 2013 (PIA) –Despite rowing smack into the more established and internationally renowned Boracay International Dragon Boat Festival, the Bohol race continues. 

Bohol Philippine Dragonboat Federation (PDBF) International Crew Challenge organizers assure this even as the attempts to move the Bohol international Crew DragonBoat race to a new date was pursued. 

It just was just too much of a hassle to confirmed participating teams which have sealed their accommodations, reports said. 

Bohol PDBF International Crew Challenge is set for April 26-30, which incidentally runs within the weekend when the 7th Boracay International Dragon Boat Festival races row. 

Amid the feverish preparations following the timelines prepared for the eventual success of the Bohol races, one Charisse Yudin who claims to be a Filipina dragon boat paddler from Florida informed Bohol organizers how saddened she was to see the race on the exact weekend as that of Boracay. 

“It would have been more beneficial to our Philippine tourism and the economy, if Bohol PDBF hold the[ir] race a week before or after Boracay International DB Festival,” she said. 

“The people visiting from abroad would spend the week in between the two races, sight-seeing our many beautiful country side,” she continues in her comment at the Bohol event facebook page. 

“It does not bode well of the sportsmanship that the PDBF and the IDBF are holding their FIRST RACE on the same weekend as the SEVENTH YEAR Boracay Festival,” she pointed out. 

Seeing possible misunderstanding, she ended by saying “I hope that "powers that be" with PDBF and IDBF put their sportsmanship hat on and rectify this mess. 

In fact, had the schedule been earlier settled, it could boost Bohol’s chances of more race participating teams. 

According to a certain Corinne Perez de Tagle, “the Boracay teams would have loved to participate in your first Bohol PDBF Dragon Boat Festival,” as she suggested that organizers move the Bohol race to a week after the Boracay race so that the Boracay teams can participate in this “wonderful race.” 

Bohol race organizers however admit that having the Boracay teams to participate in Bohol’s maiden offering would be great. In fact, they shared that an attempt was made to move the schedules to the first week of May. 

The problem, organizers said, was that participating teams have already booked their flights and accommodations, and it would be more costly moving their flights. 

“We even had our tourism regional director talk to her counterpart there to clarify things. This will be corrected in the future. It is precisely our intention to have the two tourneys feed on each other,” Bohol organizers commented. 

Over the mess, Bohol race has to stick with the schedule for this year. 

“Let [me] assure you though that we will work closely with Boracay next time so we can optimize opportunities for both our events. We also have local teams here which can join your races there in the future, Bohol PDBF administrator said. 

Also, as neophyte hosts, organizers begged for indulgence. 

“Ilagay na lang muna natin ang episode na ito sa 'lessons learned', kasi mga bagito pa lang kami rito,” but also assured, “we are rectifying this for the future”. (30/hd)

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