Monday, July 29, 2013

DTI 7 launches in Bohol
MSME Roving Academy
Rey Anthony Chiu

BOHOL, July 29 (PIA) –The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI launches in Bohol July 24, an intervention that promises a series of follow-through assistance in continuous learning program modules for the country’s micro, small and medium enterprises in efforts to make inclusive growth happen. 

During the opening ceremonies of the annual Sandugo Regional Products Expo which showcases products from micro, small and medium enterprises in the entire region Bureau of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development (BMSMED) chief at the DTI, Jerry Clavisellas said the program aims to promote continuity of interventions which the government through various partners give, to ultimately get the country’s MSMEs into becoming exporters themselves. 

Clavisellas was among the honored guests during the opening ceremonies of the annual Sandugo crafts and trade fair which runs from July 24- 28 at the Island City Mall here in Tagbilaran City.

The MSMED Roving Academy uses integration strategy, and unifies all the help which sectors give to small entrepreneurs and then helps them keep track of their business development progress so they can continue the growth momentum, he explained. 

Implemented in partnership with local government units, chambers of commerce and industries, academe, financial institutions and trade and industry groups, non-government and people’s organizations, the MSMED Roving Academy, according to DTI sources is hoped to inspire more entrepreneurs to sustain their business growths with the assurance that somebody is helping them nurture their investments. 

The SMED Roving Academy unifies various business development services which these partner groups assist MSMES, Clavisellas explained through a power point presentation, during the launch. 

It operates in the following process framework: start-up and capability building, market awareness, market readiness, export readiness, export market entry, export sustainability and export expansion, Clavisellas added. 

Earlier, during the same ceremony, Bohol Governor Edgar Chatto cited the country’s economic performance in the first quarter of the year, which has not been short of being stellar. 

But he said for this growth to be truly experienced by Boholanos, it has to be felt by all, and the government focus on helping SMED is a step in the right direction. 

The challenge however, the governor pointed out, is how to make these MSME produce products that are globally competitive, attain good design and quality, apart from going for environment friendly or green products. 

The Sandugo Products Showcase adopted Go Green, Buy Local as its 2013 theme. 

The MSME Roving Academy packs all the help which a small entrepreneur would need to respond to the need, assured Clavisellas in his address to regional trade exhibitors gathered at the ICM activity Center.

DTI, GIZ briefs Bohol LGUs on 
“green” tourism development 
Rey Anthony Chiu 

BOHOL, July 29 (PIA) – To make sure everybody starts on the right foot when it comes to tourism development here, Bohol government authorities gathered local government unit heads for an orientation on the Bohol’s green development agenda. 

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the German Development Corporation (GIZ) briefed newly elected mayors and reiterated to those who are getting fresher mandates on the Promotion of Green Economic Development (Pro-GED) as local economic development guide, during a forum July 25, at the MetroCenter Hotel here. 

In addressing the mayors and town leaders, Governor Edgar Chatto said Bohol’s sustainable development has always been identified in the overarching goal of green Bohol. 

Chatto Administration picked the enhanced vision and mission of Bohol’s development based on the earlier crafted vision of making the island a prime eco-cultural tourism destination with a bias for the environment. 

With tourism as an engine for development now driving a huge portion of Bohol economy, local leaders think a move towards a pro-environment tourism would give Bohol a unique edge, Chatto said. 

Pro-GED is a management model for sustainable development which the GIZ and its partners developed in the spirit of collaborative partnerships and developing the atmosphere of learning and implementing innovations, DTI Regional Director Aster Caberte explained. 

In Bohol and Cebu, where ProGED is piloted in the country, tourism stakeholders have been in a series of discussions to prepare the transition and adoption of greener technologies as well as streamline their operations with the least to zero carbon impacts to the environment. 

But, with local governments eager to join the tourism development bandwagon, the orientation on the ProGED is a timely step to further guide local governments in helping plan for investments rising in their respective areas, tourism stakeholders observing the forum said. 

During the forum, Department Of Tourism Assistant Secretary Rolando Cañizalbriefs town dad of the salient points of Tourism Act of 2009 and dealt exhaustively on the crucial role of LGUS in implementing the law. 

On the other hand Interior Local Government Regional Director Ananias Villacortadelved on the local application of national laws especially on the context of the Local Government Code. 

To expose the local chief executives on the ProGED best tourism practices in the country, GIZ Consultant Sarah Muniz gave LGUS the idea of how to further craft their development plans from the available templates.

Laziness, not poverty restricts 
Boholanos from good nutrition 
Rey Anthony Chiu 

BOHOL, July 29 (PIA) – To those who think the way towards nutritious food is costly, think again. 

In a province where a prevailing poverty “restricts” a family’s options for healthy food, Barangay Health Workers (BHWs) and agriculture officials hint, malnutrition is due to laziness and plain indifference. 

During the weekly Kapihan sa PIA which attempted to chop to pieces nutrition problems into bite-size discussions for the family, both BHWs Natividad Torrevillas and Judith Bonhayag said the path to nutrition can be easily laid beginning in one’s back or front yard. 

“You do not need to buy, because all that the body needs for a healthy and productive life can be sourced out, fresh and organic from your garden,” Torrevillas said. 

And talking of backyard gardening, Sergio Cuaco, crops division chief at the Provincial Agriculture quickly inserted in the discussion the unforgettable image of the Bahay Kubo in the Philippines. 

A typical nipa hut in the song showcases a surrounding garden of assorted vegetables like singkamas, eggplant, (talong) sireguelas at peanuts (mani). String beans (sitaw) bataw, patani, kundol, gourd (patola), upo, squash (kalabasa), labanos, mustasa, onions (sebuyas) tomatoes (kamatis), garlic (bawang) and ginger (luy-a). 

A Filipino folksong, Bahay Kubo has now become a catchword for a local campaign for food sufficiency in Bohol where households down to the smallest purok are enjoined to start cultivating patches of gardens in the backyard. 

Governor Edgar Chatto has aggressive pushed for the Food Always in the Home (FAITH) using the bahay kubo model. 

To complete the picture, Chatto instructed Bohol agricultural workers to also relentlessly campaign for Chicken which are Always Raised In The Yard (ChARITY). 

When you have the vegetables in the backyard, raising chicken gives you eggs which man needs, while meat can be easily within reach, Chatto said. 

It is easy, but we have to engage all members of the family so the children can also understand the value of work, added Eleno Evangelista, Bohol Agriculture Program Promotions and Marketing Chief. 

We can even give them the seeds they will need to grow the garden, Evangelista volunteered. 

The OPA, in its outreach program, hands out vegetable seeds and seedlings to motivate Boholanos into joining the fight against malnutrition. 

“It all starts with the right education,” Bonhayag quipped, adding that the modern age of fast food has unwittingly conditioned parents’ minds into surrendering to the lure of easy to cook fast food. 

Both health workers also agree that some parents are not keen on focusing on their key roles as he first nutrition teachers to kids. 

Bonhayag said it is never too late for parents, especially those who have children aged 0-7 years who are underweight, to pick up the nutrition guide which health workers disseminate in clustered learning teams commonly named Pabasa sa Nutrisyon groups. 

The country commemorates Nutrition Month every July. 

Bohol towns earn top ratings 
for NNC Pabasa sa Nutrisyon
Rey Anthony Chiu

BOHOL, July 29, (PIA) – A town in Bohol earns this year’s exemplary award for a top national nutrition council program implementation while five more towns barged into the winners circle for rating outstanding in the Pabasa sa Nutrisyon (PSN) for last year’s cycle of implementation.

Jagna town earns PSN Exemplary Award for its consistent outstanding implementation of the program while the same programs for Alicia, Balilihan, Carmen, Duero, Lila and Pilar earn outstanding ratings for last year, a committee organized to evaluate nutrition program implementation performance by the National Nutrition Council (NNC) said.

The towns, represented by their mayors or representatives and the Municipal Nutrition Action Officer received the citations in fitting ceremonies in Manila, weeks ago, according one of the winning Bohol town and Pilar Mayor Necie Cubrado recently. 

PSN is an information dissemination strategy which Barangay Nutrition Councils adopt to arrest the problem of parents’ lack of proper information and guidance on nutrition, and is aimed at engaging pregnant women, lactating mothers and mothers or guardians of pre-school and schooling kids into properly planning for the nutrition requirements of the kids, the NNC said.

PSN allows the local nutrition councils to set up a core of trainors and program managers composed of experienced representatives from provincial and city or municipal health offices, nutrition and education offices organized and trained to plan and implement these information sessions.

PSN takes the form of a participative, cluster gathering of ten to twelve mothers per cluster informally discussing the health and nutrition information contained in the Nutri-Guide. 

A Nutri-Guide acts as the bible of the program, which will be the main source of information for a cluster of learning mothers. 

The cluster picks out a Pabasa Leader (PL) from among the health workers and mother volunteers based on the recommendations of the Barangay Nutrition Councils (BNC). 

The PLs were trained on the mechanics of Pabasa sa Nutrisyon. 

With the activity, organizers seek to empower the women in reducing the families' vulnerability to malnutrition as well as trailblaze a way towards healthy lifestyle. 

About ten topics detailed in the Nutri-Guide helps mothers, especially with kids from zero to seven who have been monitored to have weight deficiencies to share experiences in relation to the topics on the 10 required sessions, according to Barangay health Worker Judith Bonhayag at Kapihan sa PIA. 

While mothers, PSN targets could be busy, pabasa sessions are easily convened in venues where women converge, like when awaiting for their kids to come out from classes. 

Beyond the PSN, teachers also conduct nutrition education in the school through the integration of nutrition in Science and Health; Edukasyon sa Wastong Pag-uugali; Heograpiya, Kasaysayan at Sibika; Edukasyong Pantahanan at Pangkabuhayan.

Local green products showcase
At Sandugo Regional trade fair
Rey Anthony Chiu

BOHOL, July 29, 2013 (PIA) –A window of opportunity for green products opened, the country’s trade and industry department in the Visayas sees a rare chance for small craftsmen to weave their way to inclusive growth.

This, through showcasing green products for micro, small and medium enterprises at the 8th Sandugo Regional Trade Expo, which opened this year at the Block of the Island City Mall July 24 and runs until today, July 28.

Organized by the Department of Trade and Industry, no less than DTI Undersecretary for Regional Operations Zenaida Cuizon Maglaya graced the event which also launched the Small Medium Enterprises Development Roving Academy.

Since its opening, the longest running trade fair in the Visayas has heaped record sales performances during the duration of the exposition, giving small crafts makers that chance to display and sell their products to local and international buyers who have also been primed to get into the green industries bandwagon. 

In this year’s trade exhibits, DTI focuses on the theme, “Go green. Buy local.” 

The theme pushes industry sectors to “green” their tourism value chains to capture a wider global market. 

The trade and crafts exposition also brings in products and crafts from nearby provinces and regions, the farthest of them, Region 11, which brings in coco-sugar. 

A special set-up at the exposition showcases the best of the region which banners exquisite furniture, an array of crafts masterpieces, pasalubong items and other green products which a tourist could bring out of the region. 

The DTI targets the tourism market and wants to influence buyers, particularly resort owners, to make use of our local materials, which are also competitive with imported products in terms of quality and pricing, DTI regional Director Aster Caberte said. 

This way, we are not only helping the environment, but also helping our fellow Filipinos because of the jobs we create, she added, as a side comment during the ceremonies at the ICM activity Center Wednesday afternoon.

During the opening program, the DTI Undersecretary Maglaya stressed the department’s expectations for better sales performance considering an increase in the number of exhibitors this year as compared to last year. 

“What makes the expo different in 2013 is that we have lined up activities which would help strengthen the products and services of local micro, small and medium enterprises,” Maglaya said.

Further, Maglaya said that recently, DTI has launched the Shared Service Facilities (SSF) in Bohol and Siquijor. 

The SSF is a project of the DTI that is meant to improve the quality and productivity of micro-enterprises and MSMEs by addressing the gaps and bottlenecks in the value chain of priority industry clusters through the provision of processing equipment for the common use of MSMEs and other micro-enterprises. 

According to Maglaya, a total of P29.58M funds have been approved by DTI for the establishment of SSFs in the country.

Solutions sought for the 
tourist arrivals’ decline 
Rey Anthony Chiu 

BOHOL, July 29 (PIA) –Governor Edgar Chatto admits there could be truth behind the reports that there is a slump in tourist arrivals in Bohol, but also assures that authorities are now looking into the problem and solutions are now worked out. 

Speaking at the Forum on Local Government Officials on the promotion of Green Economic Development (ProGED) at the MetroCenter Hotel Thursday, Chatto told mayors that the Provincial Tourism Council (PTC) under Atty Lucas Nunag is now looking into reports that the decline in tourist count here is due to failure of hotels and accommodation establishments to properly report their occupancy status. 

The governor did not however share how the PTC plans to generate the exact figures and which steps have been introduced to remedy the problem of non-reporting. 

The Department of Tourism (DOT) is using the reported data in its regional tourism profiles which it compares with other areas in the country. 

Tourism statisticians have shared a common problem of hesitation among resort and accommodation establishments to make daily occupancy reports for fear of taxation. This could also be true to Bohol, they said. 

Then putting up a day tour package cognizant of its lack of overnight accommodations, Bohol now boasts of a little over 2,000 rooms, most of them fully booked and unavailable for walk-in tourists. 

Years ago, Japan International Cooperation Agency and Bohol Provincial Government trained tourism officers on data generation of tourist arrivals and occupancy in the towns of Bohol, but Bohol Tourism Office sources said very few towns are submitting reports. 

BTO Josephine Cabarrus, in a meeting once said BTO is implementing an incentive system for hotels and accommodation establishments who are submitting regular occupancy reports. 

These establishments get free promotions in information collaterals which the office produces, she said. 

On the other hand, the governor also presumed that the decreased arrivals could also be ascribed to the Civil Aeronautics Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) policy of lessening inbound flights to Tagbilaran due to the risks posed by a severely congested City airport. 

CAAP used to allow two planes on the city tarmac, one on its pre-flight status while the other one parked on the small space at the runway. This has been changed. 

This policy, and the lean months also forced airplane companies to cut few their trips to and from Bohol, which could drastically affect the tourist count. 

Over this, the governor said there is now a proposal for the DOTC to scout for a temporary apron for parked planes at the city airport. The present parking area is accordingly considered. 

Recently however, in a meeting with airport authorities, Chatto said they have found an area which can be rented out for temporary parking apron in a vacant lot midway through the airstrip. 

This development also has been reported by the DOTC through Undersecretary Catherine Jennifer Francis Gonzales during the Tourism Congress Philippines Consultative Forum at the Bellevue Panglao last Friday. 

We have identified parcels of land for the Tagbilaran City apron and the DOTC will now work out the detailed engineering of the project, Usec Gonzales said. 

Chatto also said this will be temporarily set up while Boholanos await for the completion of the mulled Pangalo airport. 

With the development, Chatto hopes that the CAAP would again green light the return of the flights bringing back the tourists which the province solely missed.

Military assures security 
Of volunteers for NGP
Rey Anthony Chiu

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol, July 29, 2013 (PIA) –A military official assigned in Bohol assures security to the communities and volunteers organized by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources in implementation of its National Greening Program (NGP).

Concerned over reports that communist rebels are still into their recovery efforts, especially in their formerly held mountain areas in the Central Visayas, DENR Regional Director Isabelo Montejo aired his apprehension on the safety and security of the people involved in the implementation of Executive Order 26. 

At the recent Regional Peace and Order Council meeting held here in Bohol, Montejo shared to the council his apprehension amidst the fact that most of the NGP areas are right smack in formerly rebel infested or controlled areas. 

Signed in February 2011 by President Benigno Aquino III, EO 26 declares a Department of Agriculture, Department of Agrarian Reform and DENR as well as inter-departmental convergence initiative for the National greening program. 

The NGP aims to plant some 1.5 billion trees covering about 1.5 million hectares for six (6) years, or from 2011 to 2016, as a move to regenerate lost forestlands, mangroves and protected areas, ancestral domains, civilian and military reservations, urban areas under LGU greening plans, inactive and abandoned mine sites and other suitable lands, further harmonizing all greening programs like Luntiang Pilipinas and Upland Forestry Development Program, under the NGP.

In the Central Visayas, the social mobilization for the massive re-greening activity starts in July to December and puts volunteer tree planting groups to areas, which have been identified under insurgency influence. 

In Bohol, NGP areas are in the mountain areas of Talibon, Trinidad, Getafe, Buenavista, places where the communist rebels had their strongholds. 

In Negros Oriental, greening areas are also located in the areas where state troopers are currently conducting mop-up operations after a series of violent encounters in the past months. 

Fearing the security of people joining the activity, Director Montejo asked the military in charge of internal security in these areas, of the current state of peace there. 

Bohol 2nd Special Forces Batallion Commander LtCol Julius Tomines however assured DENR that the identified areas in Bohol are all safe and secure.

The young commanding officer of the state security forces in Bohol also added that the military is also joining the mobilization and assured that the nearest military detachment would be coordinated to keep the security in these areas. 

Meanwhile 302nd Brigade Commander Col. Francisco Patrimonio also said the rebel forces in Negros are already out of the mentioned areas of concern like Bindoy, Mabinay, Siaton and Zamboanguita. 

NCC offers to Bohol its
Performance scorecard 
Rey Anthony Chiu

BOHOL, July 29, (PIA) – Getting excited upon hearing the plan to establish a performance-based financial assistance system for Bohol towns, the country’s top private sector representative at the National Competitiveness Council (NCC) of the Philippines offers a developed template for determining local government performances. 

Former Makati Business Club president and NCC private sector co-chairman Guillermo Luz offered to Governor Edgar Chatto its 30-indicator local government performance evaluation system which the NCC is using to rank the country’s cities and provinces against the best performance benchmarks in the world. 

At the NCC Roadshow last Friday July 26 at the Panglao Bluewater, the Department of Trade and Industry brings to Bohol the NCC, to brief Boholano investors and local government units on the country’s competitive ratings as well as potential ratings for a spread of development initiatives the LGUs may venture into. 

The activity is part of the week-long series of fora which briefs Boholanos on the need for competitiveness in tourism for inclusive growth in Bohol and its communities. 

Governor Chatto earlier shared to Boholanos at the forum the plan to use a scorecard in Bohol as basis for government assistance to local government units. 

Chatto hinted that the provincial government would now base its assistance to performance, this way it can motivate local government units into doing their best to be able to access assistance from the PLGU. 

But, aside from the known poverty database and the already set up seal of good housekeeping which the interior and local government is giving out to performing LGUS, Chatto did not mention of any score card from which the government uses as a pattern for the aid to LGUS. 

Over this, Luz even said he is willing to give to Chatto the template, and walk him through it, so the rating system would be easy for Bohol. 

Moreover, the competitiveness advocate also said the offer also goes for getting Bohol into the NCC database so that Boholanos can see how the province and its towns rate against the other benchmark areas in the world. 

“We do not compare ourselves with other places in the Philippines, that way we remain intramural, we want to rank LGUs side by side with leading government units abroad, according to Luz.”

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