Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Legarda foresees overspending 
Even with 120 mins TV ad cap 
Rey Anthony H. Chiu 

CITY AIRPORT, Tagbilaran Bohol, April 23, 2013—With or without the Supreme Court lifting of the airtime restrictions for political advertisement of candidates, Loren Legarda said she will stick to the Commission on Election (COMELEC) Resolution 9615. 

It may recalled that in January, the COMELEC, in its supervisory and regulatory function in matters of political advertisements promulgated Resolution 9615, which pegs the limits for airtime privileges of national candidates to be, not over an aggregate of 120 minutes for television advertising and 180 minutes of radio advertising. 

For local candidates, the resolution provides that airtime advertisement should not be over an aggregate total of 60 minutes of television ad, and 90 minutes of radio ad, whether airing on national, regional, or local radio, whether by purchase or donation. 

Legarda’s contention is grounded on the fact that if a candidate uses up his 120 minutes of television time, he would be left with practically nothing for other logistics, considering that a national candidate has only about P150M of campaign kitty to spend. 

The Comelec resolution triggers a media giant and a broadcaster’s organization; the Kapisanan ng mga Broadcasters sa Pilipinas to seek SC intervention via a petition, as they allege that the resolution is too restrictive, reports said. 

A few days ago, the SC resolved and stopped the COMELEC from imposing the restrictive ad ban by issuing an ante order status quo which leaves the 2010 resolution in effect. 

This also allows candidates to contract airtime at 180 and 120 minutes in each station, instead of the aggregate total. 

But for Loren Legarda, who has been in television for a long time, she hinted that at the current rates, a 30-second television ad costs almost half a million. 

A candidate is allowed to spent P3.00 per candidate and with the country’s registered voters now reaching 50 million, which sums up to P150M allowable expenditure for each national candidate, she calculated. 

“With a 30 second spot for television reaching almost half a million, if a candidate were to use up his 120 minutes as ruled by Comelec, that would already be P120M in expenditure,” she told media covering her arrival in Bohol. 

As to the radio airtime of 180 minutes, if a candidate uses up all his allotted media ads slot, he would be spending more and what the law provides, she said. 

“it is unconscionable to spend that much too,” Legarda said. 

In short, even if there is a lifting of the airtime, as long as there one spends his allotted time, he should already be in violation of the Comelec resolutions. 

On this, Legarda then calls for her fellow candidates to be transparent instead. 

If everybody follows the airtime policy, he would surely go beyond the allowable spending time, Legarda, who promised to keep her expenditures below P100M, now pointed out. (30/gg)

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Cops fear new crime reporting 
System “could stir” Boholanos 
Rey Anthony Chiu 

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol, April 23, 2013 (PIA) –Changes in the parameters for police recording of crimes all over the country, which would now reflect all blotter entries worry Camp Dagohoy, and Police Senior Superintendent Constantino Barot shares an apprehension of possible spike in crimes in his report to the local peace council. 

At the meeting of the Provincial Peace and Order Council (PPOC) at the Conference Room of the Jjs Seafoods Village Tuesday, Barot aired his apprehension about the new police directive on crime reporting in the light of the sensitivity of Boholanos in monitoring local crime incidence. 

He revealed the new format for reporting crimes wants to show how much crime is reported in every police station in the country. This, he said could suddenly increase the number of reported crimes. 

The new system accordingly forces police desk officers to record all cases; even if these were petty crimes of misplaced object reported as theft, or those referred for settlement by other bodies like the Lupong Tagapamayapa and other mediation bodies. 

Unlike the old National Crime Reporting System, the new system looks into the bulk of non-index crimes, which may include the unrecorded violations against local ordinances then. 

Over this development, Barot fears that the recent trends in the proactive anti-crime police operations, which deal more on persecution of non-index crimes offenders, will significantly affect the crime volume tally. 

Earlier, police crime statisticians said a rise in non-index crimes is indicative of police, going out of their stations to advance the campaign on special laws. 

On his report prelude, Camp Dagohoy chief showed that indeed, crimes recorded all over Bohol showed significant increases compared to the past months reports. 

Using the new template which the police organization is now adopting as to the mandates of the director general, Barot showed that crimes recorded in Bohol rose almost a hundred cases from January 2013’s 568 to March 2013’s 657. 

Barot showed in a chart the crimes for the beginning months of the year as 558 for January, 530 for February and 657 for March 2013. 

The increase can best be seen when these crimes are compared to the three consecutive months of 2012 where there were only 178 crimes in September, 172 in October and 145 in November. 

Over all these, theft still tops, followed by robbery, physical injuries, carnapping, homicide and other index crimes monitored. 

While theft still ranks on top of March 2013 crimes at 129, a slight difference has been pointed out which showed physical injuries overtaking robbery, a consistent second in police-logged crimes. 

Slight physical injuries in March zoomed to 126, which constitutes 35% of the crime pie chart for the month. (30/sjp)

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Bohol hosts DSWD-7’s ASEAN 
Cyberporno, Prostitution gab 

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol, April 23, 2013 (PIA) –The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in Central Visayas brings to Bohol, ASEAN countries representatives for its 2nd Conference on Working toward a Cyber Pornography and Cyber Prostitution-Free Southeast Asia. 

The event to be held at Bohol Tropics in Tagbilaran City on April 23 and 25, 2013, will allow representatives from 11 ASEAN countries to enhance the capacities of their service providers in responding to the issue on human trafficking. 

This is also after ASEAN kicked off its first conference in Manila in June of last year, a conference that tackled the dynamics and realities of cyber pornography and cyber prostitution as well as the development of comprehensive and responsive interventions to address this issue, according to Jaybee Binghay, DSWD Visays information officer. 

“This conference specifically aims to share various enabling (coordinating and protection) mechanisms in addressing the issue on cyber pornography and cyber prostitution, as well as determining effective, preventive and responsive strategies, identifying good practices to combat cyber pornography and cyber prostitution issue and formulating regional agenda to address these cases,” she shared. 

The 3-day activity will be conducted through a variety of methodologies: lectures, group discussions and workshops, she said. 

The 21st century technological advancement facilitated the production, storage and distribution of information and at the same time, brought in new forms of human exploitation through cyber pornography and cyber prostitution. 

These also provided a convenient window to violate the inherent worth and dignity of numerous women and children in the region. 

“This happens due to poverty and lack of stringent laws to address the problem,” Bingjay pointed out. 

Aggravating the proliferation of cyber pornography and cyber prostitution are: public’s lack of information on the problem and addressing cyber-pornography and cyber prostitution as well as non-cooperation of cyber café owners and operators in disclosing any information of their users. 

This makes tracking of victims and perpetrators almost impossible, DSWD noted. 

Participating ASEAN countries in the Bohol conference include: Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Korea and the Philippines. (jb/PIABohol) 

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Well paved roads down-side: 
Injuries from road accidents 
Rey Anthony H. Chiu 

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol, April 23, 2013 (PIA)-- There is a downside for good and well-paved roads: road accidents which contribute to physical injuries in local police blotters, Camp Dagohoy said. 

Attempting to explain the surge of physical injuries getting second top spot in the list of crimes here, Camp Dagohoy chief Police Senior Superintendent Constantino Barot said smooth roads are tempting drivers to speed up a bit, upping the chances of road accidents. 

“What is apparently increasing the risks of drivers flooring it, in Bohol roads is the lack of traffic engineering, correct road signs, markers, and lighting facilities that forewarn drivers of accident prone areas,” Barot pointed out recently. 

He also cited incidents where Bohol’s tourism lure has also put foreign drivers in unnecessary risk. 

“Foreign drivers are so well-attuned to driving four-wheeled vehicles, but not motorcycles,” Barot said. 

“Allowing them to drive these engined two-wheelers put them at risk, to other road users, he told members of the Provincial Peace and Order Council (PPOC) in a meeting Tuesday at the Jjs Seafoods Village. 

During the meeting presided by chairman Governor Edgar Chatto, Barot then shared a police plan to organize a team to look into these issues. 

He said Provincial Traffic Enforcement Composite Team (ProTECT) is to be established to jointly enforce traffic rules and recommend to authorities especially to the Department of Public Works and Highways corrective engineering measures to make certain stretches of road safer for motorists. 

On this motorists also said the doubling of motorcycle users on the road also opened up these vehicles to young motorists who do not own licenses yet. 

The ease one can own a motorcycle through a low down-payment schemes also increase the potential of adding risks because many of these motorcycles get to freely travel without the necessary papers, another motorist noted. 

“We hope that putting up a composite team of traffic enforcers lessen enforcement issues,” according to a police officer who said apprehending traffic violations, in the absence of LTO agents, require a deputation from the Land Transportation Office. 

The composite team specializing in traffic enforcement is a good step in the right direction for Bohol, he said. (30/gg)

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Unity Walk for SAFE 2013 
Kicks off in 2 city venues 
Rey Anthony Chiu 

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol, April 23, 2013 (PIA) -- Boholanos from all sectors of society walk and bow down in prayer in a unity walk and interfaith prayer rally for Secure and Fair Elections (SAFE) 2013 Sunday, April 21, 2013. 

Organized by the Philippine National Police (PNP) Bohol Provincial Office and supported by government and non government agencies, the unity walk and interfaith rally is in line with the activities proposed by a resolution passed by the Provincial Peace and Order Council (PPOC) during its previous meeting Tuesday, April 16. 

It may be recalled that the PPOC passed a resolution proposed by Fr. Jose Warli Salise which expresses the council’s deep concern over reports of violent incidents in Bohol which were believed to be election related. 

Salise, Tagbilaran Diocese’s head of its Social Action Center (SAC) also proposed for the council to univocally condemn all forms of harassments which have been reported over the media in a time when the nation is preparing for the May 13, 2013 elections. 

For this, the PPOC unanimously adopted the proposed resolution which also gave way to the widened call for all sectors of the society to stand united and participate in all activities that would promote clean, honest, accountable, meaningful and peaceful elections. 

As this happened, the Bohol Provincial Police Office organizes the Unity Walk and Inter-Faith Prayer Rally for SAFE 2013 where Muslims and Evangelical churches including other Christian denominations who aspire for peace in the upcoming polls join in a single roof to pray for peace. 

Organizers said the activity will have two parts: Unity Walk which starts at 5:30 in two venues: Plaza Rizal and Cogon Shrine where the walks for SAFE contingents start at 6:00 Am to converge at the Bohol Cultural Center. 

Part two of the activity includes community singing, interfaith prayers, messages and voters’ pledge to be led by Atty Castillano. 

The activities would be capped by signing of the Pledge of Commitments by religious leaders, agency heads and participants, and the release of doves, symbols of peace. 

Slated to attend the event are PNP-7 Regional Chaplain Fr. Arnulfo Castillo, Msgr. Jeffrey Malanog, vicar general of the Diocese of Tagbilaran, Imam Solaiman Malabi of the Muslim faith and Senior Pastor Rev. Rufino Fudalan of the Philippine Evangelical Missions. 

Also co-organizing the activity and expected to share the stage on the interfaith peace rally are Fr. Salise, LtCol. Julius Tomines of the army’s Task Group Bohol, Bohol police Chief Constantino Barot, PNP Regional Director PCInspector Marcelo Garbo, Bishop Leonardo Medroso of the Diocese of Tagbilaran and Bohol Commission on Elections’ Atty. Leonil Marco Castillano. (30/sjp)

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PCOS now arriving, final 
Test, sealing set May 4 
Rey Anthony Chiu 

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol, April 23, 2013 (PIA) –Some of the 1,355 Precinct Count Optical Scanner (PCOS) machines have arrived here for the May 13, 2013 midterm elections, reports Atty. Leonil Marco Castillano. 

During the recent Provincial Peace and Order Council (PPOC) held at Jjs Seafoods Village, the officer in charge at the Bohol election office also said these computer poll machines are now closely guarded in an undisclosed bodega of the Commission on Election (COMELEC) and awaiting for their deliveries to voting centers. 

These delicate machines would be sent to their respective precincts in 1,067 voting centers, 301 of them in the first district, 348 of them in the second district and another 418 in Bohol’s third district on the day of their final testing, a report from Bohol Comelec said. 

These Voting Centers, located in 1109 barangays all over Bohol, now serve 4,887 established precincts here clustered into 1355 centers, a report from the local Comelec to its Manila office show. 

As these computerized counting and tabulation machines arrive at the voting centers under tight watch, and these would be opened for the final testing and sealing, on May 4, Comelec Bohol said, while urging well-meaning citizens and concerned party representatives including interest groups and the media to observe the testing. 

The Final Testing and Sealing of the PCOS is in line with a COMELEC en banc resolution which says Testing and Sealing should be done within seven days prior to their re-opening on Election day, May 13, he said. 

Atty. Castillano pointed out that this is a new decision because in 2010, final testing and opening of the PCOS happened three days before elections. That time, when problems were noted, it was too late for the poll agency to provide speedy solutions. 

In the region, the Comelec decided to do a simultaneous activity and move the testing, two days ahead so if fix anything needs to be fixed before the machines serve on May 13, there is still time, Castillano said. 

Come election day, Comelec expects a huge turn-out of the 775,785 registered voters to come and exercise their rights. 

254, 246 of these voters would come from Bohol’s First District including Tagbilaran City, 253,224 from Bohol II and 268, 315 for Bohol III. 

Accommodating all these from 8:00 AM to 3:00 would entail a little bit of patience, Atty Castillano pre-warned voters. 

Then, when voting centers catered only a cluster of five precincts, Comelec now has clustered a maximum of seven precincts due to a smaller budget and growing population. 

This would also mean, without a good management by the Board of Election Inspectors, voting may last longer, which may disappoint voters. 

But, when voters know the critical roles their votes can do to realize the dreamed change, waiting becomes a non issue, a young voter wrote in his facebook wall. (30/gg)

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Feature… 
Discovering lessons in 
covering “Magsaysay” 
Rey Anthony Chiu 

What am I doing here? 

Lying on my back, desperately trying to disengage the spare tire under the AUV, I realized how stupid I was. I did not have the right tools, and now my face was an inch away from a dusty spare tire which could not be disentangled from a chain in its elevator. 

In the last half hour, fate heaped all odds against me. And I am in this situation, not because I wanted fun or leisure. 

I was covering the preparations by a community who was set to get thousands of volunteers for a historic simultaneous nationwide community building activity. The Bayani Challenge is a five day community building marathon organized by GawadKalinga in more than 30 locations all over the country. 

The soon to be community would rise some 16 kilometers from the nearest highway, on top of the mountains of Talibon, where shrubs have retaken the carved road hospitable only to habal-habals or motorcycles for hire. 

But the local government unit of Talibon, under Mayor RestitutoAuxtero thought by committing to make the roads passable, it makes the delivery of construction materials and volunteers easy. 

But it also loosened the gravel in the road and this made navigating through the roads a hairy experience. 

It also worsened my situation. 

I had a flat tire, and I would have to change tires in a dusty and isolated road. Since the spare tire in hidden under the car, I had to eat dust. 

Then I found out the hydraulic jack leaked and would not work. 

The spare tire too was stuck under the car and the tool to lower the tire elevator did not match the slot. 

It was about to rain and the sun was descending fast to the horizon. 

ON THE ROAD AND BACK 

Before I ventured into the hinterlands and drove up all the way to the village center some 18 kilometers from Talibon town center, I sought information from the people who frequent the place: habalhabal drivers. 

They said the road has just been reopened for 4 wheel vehicles, heavy equipment from the town still re-carving the road which countless rains have pounded to the point of becoming impassable. 

I drove up here to talk to beneficiaries of a GawadKalinga project and navigated the winding roads which led me to the village center where I talked to five beneficiaries and the road crew. 

As I was doing this, clouds gather overhead. 

The worst thing that could happen to me is to be on top of the mountains when it rains. It would practically render the road slippery, and dangerous to vehicles. 

After waving a short farewell, I was off, loose gravel crunching under the tires as I snaked my way down the mountains racing against time to get to the highway and to safe grounds before the rains fall. 

I was driving solo.I could have brought with me a companion, but decided against it for several reasons: I do not have to fit into somebody else’s schedule and the lighter I travel, the lesser are the chances of tire problems. 

Then I do not have to be accountable if in some parts of the rough road where the most notorious highway robbers ply, somebody would be stupid enough to hit a red plated vehicle. 

I was foolishly reassuring myself, no bandit would hit a government vehicle with only a lowly driver on board. 

The roads were tough, some portions only wide enough for the AUV to slip through. 

With the home-building activity set the following week, fixing the road alsoloosened the gravel that a faulty step on the gas would send you to a moderate skid, dangerous on a read carved out of some precipice where slip could be a neat plunge to a flowing creek a hundred feet below. 

What am I doing here? I was asking myself, angry that I was so stupid to forget to check my tires; or my tools at the very least. The last thing that one could wish when traveling in these isolated stretches of road is a flat tire. 

That was also what I got, at the worst part of mountain road. 

ALONE 

Situated in the mountain top of Talibon, Magsaysay lies near the boundaries of Trinidad, Danao and Getafe and Buenavista towns. 

Because it is too far out for law enforcers to go, the community slowly gave in to a host of criminals. 

One of the region’s most notorious armed robbery groups used to come from here. His house just happens to be a stone throw away from where I eased the ill-fated car. 

Changing car tires was no big deal for me, having a weather beaten double-cab pick-up truck at home. 

I slipped off my sweatshirt, anticipating for a sweaty job ahead. 

Indeed, it was. That was when I realized the jack leaked and would not work. 

Remembering a road crew quarrying for gravel as filling materials on the road on my way down, I decided to wait it out for a habal-habal to get me to the quarry. 

Five minutes of wait and a motorcycle came but stopped short of me, to drop off a fare. I called on the driver and I asked him to get me to the quarry. He did drive me to the road crew, reluctantly accepting my fare. 

There, I was able to borrow a hydraulic jack, and with it the dump-truck driver, helper and the truck. 

A few minutes later, we were able to raise the wheel and was about to lower the spare from under the car when I realized I was using the wrong tool. 

The tool which the car carried was not the one that could open the spare tire elevator. 

I had to manually saw-off the iron chain holding the tire and as I was doing so, a police officer astride a motorcycle stopped and asked some questions. 

The cops talked to the road crew, and yes, they knew each other being both based in the same complex in town. 

From their exchange, I learned they were pursuing a highway hold-upper who hit an innocent driver, less than a kilometer from where the ill-fated car was. 

Ishuddered in afterthought and my sawing off the spare tire turned desperate, I had to be on the road early to be freed from the risks. 

After agonizing sweaty minutes, I finally disentangled the spare tire, and hurriedly changed the tires as quickly as it can be done. 

I was on my way off after profusely thanking the road crew who helped me. 

On my way down, still wet from sweat and dirt, I contemplated on what the police man said. 

Had the robber picked me instead, he’d be hitting a jackpot. 

I had with me my Canon DSLR, two lenses: a telephoto and a kit, a notebook computer, a 3G cellphone and a tab, and a little bit of cash. 

As I was musing about this, I told myself, I am here, committed to volunteer for a community that may not know me at all. 

I have this rare opportunity of reaching into the often un-used core of my being, and when I do that, I have to let go and let things come as God will. 

If he is good, he would never lead me to danger. 

Few days later, I went back to Magsaysay, shivered when I see that same spot I was stuck and silently thanked God for delivering me from evil. 

Then, I went back again, my third time to get back, after that incident. 

Perhaps, when God allows me to, I’d be back to volunteer again. Whatever happens, I have the faith that I could be the start of a change I dreamt. 

This is why I am here and will be. (30/hd)

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