Friday, July 5, 2013

Local English News

“Reporting disasters” can be 
as easy as texting “tabang” 
Rey Anthony Chiu

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol, July 5, 2013 (PIA) –You witness a disaster, accident or a crime unfolding and you want to call for help, but your mobile phone’s load is not enough for a call, or composing lengthy messages may be too time consuming, what do you do?

Just text “Tabang” and send it to pre-designated Telephone and Radio Systems Integrated Emergency Response (TaRSIER 117), advices emergency rescue and response team leader Mark Galia, over at Kapihan sa PIA. 

Text messages can be sent to 0917-510-1490 (globe) or 0949-795-5530 (smart), although Tarsier can be direct dialed from any globe landline at 117, Galia explained, adding that the landline call is free. 

During the weekly radio forum aired live over DyTR in commemoration of July 1-7 as Disaster Preparedness Week, Galia said the receipt of the short message prompts TaRSIER 117 operators to immediately call the sender of the message so that proper details could be obtained for the mobile rescue team. 

And it is not just for disaster or accidents, even crime reporting can be done through text, TaRSIER 117 medic Harvey Mendez added. 

TaRSIER 117, a Bohol emergency rescue facility operates via an Executive Order 7-A of Bohol Governor Edgar Chatto, it is Bohol's response to RA 10121 or the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction Management Act of 2010. 

TaRSIER 117 is part of the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council, which deals with concerns on public service and maintenance of peace and order, including the immediate provision of aid and assistance to victims of natural or manmade calamities. 

Although designed to be coordinative, the rescue facility is now linked with town rescue units so that the main purpose of assistance can best be served, according to TARSIER. 

During an incident, people can become too nervous that composing lengthy messages may take the needed time supposedly for the rescue team to mobilize. Tabang is enough, Galia said. 

In fact, all calls are treated confidential and life and death situations, so not everyone at the Tarsier could scrutinize who the caller, texter or informant is, that way we preserve the integrity of the syste, Galia explained. 

Rescue authorities however plead for people not to abuse the numbers assigned for emergencies as this could clog the system. 

Tarsier said they do get prank calls, and they take pity for their rescue teams who come to sites only to realize they have been played upon.

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Bohol PPOC creates TWG 
to help strengthen PDEA 
Rey Anthony Chiu 

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol, July 4, 2013 (PIA) –Bohol Provincial Peace and Order Council (PPOC) creates a Technical Working Group (TWG) which it tasked to study related laws that created the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and empower its drug enforcement tasks in the hope of breathing new life into the seemingly wanting anti-drug campaign which it spearheads. 

The TWG is composed of members from the PDEA, Bohol Center for Development Studies, Provincial Legal Office, Provincial Prosecutors Office, Criminal Investigation and Detection Group, Department of Interior and Local Government and the Philippine Information Agency. 

At the recent peace council meeting at the Jjs Seafoods Village and Restaurant June 21, a confidential agent of the PDEA drew flak and criticisms from council members over the agency’s seeming incapacity to spearhead a campaign which the law mandated. 

The Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, one which was intended to strengthen the older Republic Act 6425 reorganized the country’s drug enforcement system and created the PDEA, which is under the office of the President. 

The same law also abolished the National Drug Law Enforcement and Prevention Coordinating Center, Philippine National Police Narcotics Group (PNP Narcgrp), National Bureau of Investigation Narcotics Unit (NBI NU), and the Customs Narcotics Interdiction Office (CNIO), PDEA website states. 

“The support mechanism for PDEA as the lead agency in the campaign against illegal drugs was reinforced with the issuance of Executive Order No. 218 issued on June 18, 2003.” 

“In compliance with this Executive Order, PDEA provided technical support and exercised operational supervision over respective anti-drug units organized by concerned law enforcement agencies; the Anti-Illegal Drug Special Operation Task Force of the National Bureau of Investigation; and the Customs Task Group and Task Forces on Dangerous Drugs and Controlled Chemicals of the Bureau of Customs. 

In Bohol, the local PDEA admits they only have 3 personnel, and at times, they would have to render court duties, further depleting the precious warm body which Bohol desperately needs in the streets. 

The new system proves incapable of hitting the marrow of the problem in Bohol, a province which PDEA classified as moderately affected by illegal drugs, a council member retorted. 

On the law, the PPOC wants to know why it could happen in the country’s lead agency in anti drugs operations. 

“Here in Bohol, we are going into a no-nonsense war against illegal drugs, PPOC Chair and Bohol Governor Edgar Chatto said. 

As to the TWG, Romeo Teruel said it is the intent of the body to “recommend to the local congressmen a review of the laws so necessary amendments could be introduced.” 

We are trying to understand how our local governance can strengthen the teeth in local enforcement as we are a little concerned about the reports that the PDEA has not gone beyond monitoring in the drugs fight which they are spearheading, Chatto remarked

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Campaign for Bohol as an 
overnight destination, on 
Rey Anthony Chiu 

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol, July 5, 2013 (PIA) –Amid claims of being a widely acclaimed tourist destination, Bohol is nowhere in the Department of Tourism’s (DOT) top overnight destinations list in 2012. 

Question. Are we really that lagging behind? Or are our hotels and accommodations not reporting to the DOT their overnight occupancy for tax fears? 

This question bugs tourism stakeholders here. But rather than dwelling on the fact and wasting precious time to remedy the situation, Bohol Tourism Office (BTO) and the Bohol Federation of Tour and Travel Operators (BOFETTO) now sit with stakeholders to find ways to catapult Bohol into that list. 

According to a DOT National update on Tourism Development Plan for 2012, in its preliminary report for domestic overnight visitors nationwide, the country had 21.82 million guests. 

Of the figure, 18% went to Camarines Sur, 17% went to Metro Manila, 9.1% went to Zambales, 8.7% stayed in Boracay, 8.6% stayed in Cebu City and 7.7% went to Davao City. 

Also among favorite overnight destinations, according to the DOT NTDP is Lapu-lapu City at 6.1%, Puerto Princesa at 4.7% and Baguio City at 4.4%. Albay had a fair share of 3.8%. 

A widely acclaimed day-tourism destination owing to a massive lack of overnight rooms and accommodations, Bohol could not possibly be on the list as tourists take the queue out of Bohol on fastcrafts to stay in nearby Cebu, said a tourist transport provider who has been servicing tourists since early 2000. 

Domestic incoming tourists however claim that Bohol rooms are always unavailable, and if they are, much too overpriced that getting one in Cebu is rather economical. 

Travel Village tour and travel agent Lourdes Sultan agree that rooms in Bohol are pricier, compared to Cebu, but hints a way to make a package of Bohol experience in a mega-sale of sorts, during a focused group discussion at the BTO weeks ago. 

We can ask the room and accommodations establishments to join the Bohol MegaSale Promo and we will bundle a package so that a tourist shopper can still get a Bohol package a lot cheaper, Sultan said. 

The idea came as BOFETTO President Nonette Bolo presented an invitation for Bohol to a tourism fair in Manila this September. 

Bohol Tourism Officer Josephine Cabarrus said Bohol would be putting up booths during the tourism fair, one that it never missed since late 1990s. 

We could even sell low on fair dates so that advanced sales can perk up participating tourist service establishments here, Bolo also said. 

Aside from a planned mega sale, BTO is now finalizing a campaign material to get back tourist travelers attention to Bohol. 

Already in the pipeline is the production of information material collateral via brochure that sells new interesting Bohol tourism products packaged in an array of pictures and succinct texts. 

This month also, stakeholders from across the region gather here at the Bellevue Hotel for the Tourism Congress Philippines Visayas Consultations to craft ways to make Tourism Philippines globally competitive. 

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PPA Tagbilaran has
New port manager
Rey Anthony Chiu

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol, July 4, 2013 (PIA) –Philippine Ports Authority in Tagbilaran has a new manager. 

During the solemn turn-over ceremonies held at the posh Bohol Tropics Resort June 28, out-going port manager (PM) Engr. Manuel Boholano handed over the corporate banner and keys of responsibility to PM Annie Lee Menese, after the tall and lean manager completed a five year uninterrupted service handling port operations in Tagbilaran. 

The turn-over rites, happened after a holy mass celebrated by port chaplain Rev. Fr. Jimboy Saco and Fr. Victor Bompat.

The turn-over, the first time to happen outside the premises of the ports, according to Visayas Port District manager Atty. Fernando Claveria, was a gift of outgoing manager Boholano to Manese, allowing her first-hand encounter with key port stakeholders in a casual environment.

Attending the mass and solemn turn-over rites were town mayors where PPA holds port duties, cargo and stevedoring services officers, cargo handling business managers, shippers, tourist transport operators and members of the media. 

In his valedictory message, Engr. Boholano said the turn-over gift was in fulfillment of a promise he uttered in 2008 when he assumed as the 6th port manager of Tagbilaran. 

He vowed then that he would bring out the next turn-over ceremonies outside the port and begin such with a holy mass, highlighting the need for divine enlightenment in keeping a sustained operation of a port that has become crucial to the tourism industry in Bohol. 

Boholano cited in his stint the omnipresent advice of Fr. Saco who was guiding him in making key decisions for the port of Tagbilaran. 

The outgoing port manager would be steaming off towards the port of Iloilo, his next assignment, by virtue of PPA memorandum ordering the corporate policy of shuffling of port managers, he said.

The port of Iloilo is accordingly the largest Port Management Office in the port district of the Visayas, revealed Atty. Claveria, Visayas Port District Manager. 

Meanwhile, the incoming port manager Annie Lee Manese had two years and five months of managing the Port of Dumaguete. 

Already feeling the warm welcome and Boholano hospitality upon the turn-over ceremonies, Manese committed to do her duty in accordance with the PPA mandates. 

On the port’s sustained role as key conduit for tourists, she said she is confident that PPA would be able to deliver effective and efficient public service as she promised to achieve more not only for PPA but also for Bohol province as well.

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USAid opens up TVWS internet 
Access to Danajon fisherfolks 
Rey Anthony Chiu 

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol, July 4, 2013 (PIA) –A US company, through a USAid Project here, along with the government’s Department of Science and Technology-Information Communication Technology Office (DOST-ICTO) brandishes a cutting edge technology that will revolutionize internet connectivity in the remote is islands of Danajon Reef and its towns. 

ICTO’s executive director and undersecretary Louis Casambre explained to mayors and their representatives from five Bohol towns to be piloted for the project that TV white space initiative came from a need to provide connectivity for those beyond the reach of commercial wired or wireless broadband service. 

TVWS technology uses un-allocated television frequency spectrum to provide data connectivity. 

Technology applications include: telemedicine, educational content delivery, rural last mile connectivity and environmental sensor networks, DOST ICTO website also states. 

Last Wednesday, DOST-ICTO, USAid ECOFISH Project, Microsoft and BFAR signed a memorandum of Understanding for the implementation of the project which will be initially based in Talibon, where a TVWS base would be installed to radiate internet signals to decoders over a 30 kilometer radius. The project would then be scaled up to include Tubigon, according to ECOFish. 

When implemented, floodgates of opportunity opens up for countless communities positioning them at the brink of development, said USAid Philippines regional legal advisor Atty. Randi Ali. 

Microsoft country managing director Karrie Ilagan also said the cutting-edge technology could turn remote Danajon Reef islands schools into e-education centers and barangay halls into e-governance hubs. 

USAid, through Project Ecosystems Improved for Sustainable Fisheries (ECOFISH) offered the low cost solution cutting edge mobile technology to Danajon Reef communities to help fishermen get access to a mandatory registration as provided by the Fisheries Code of the Philippines. 

Since the passing of the RA 8550, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) has since opened mechanisms for compliance to the National program for Municipal Fisherfolk Registration (Fish’R) in efforts to properly align the national government’s increasing budget for the fisheries sector. 

But, BFAR Region 7 director Andres Bojos admits “registration continues to be a very sad scenario.” 

With only about 30% registration compliance, government authorities sought ways to cure the low-turn-out. 

Fisherfolks from remote islands sprinkled across the 272 square kilometers of waters north east to northwest off mainland Bohol need at least some P350.00 to get to the mainland towns to process their manual registration, according to Anecita Gulayan, Bohol Project ECOFISH coordinator. 

BFAR has then opened up its 4-page online registration, but then, islands without or with intermittent internet access could hardly keep up, the registration long and tedious, she added. 

Now, with ECOFISH, BFAR finds an ally in the country’s DOST-ICTO and Microsoft Corporation in opening up more access to the national fisherfolks registration project. 

What used to be a long and tedious manual registration is now drastically staved off, as in a demonstration registration run in Panglao, the system registered a fisherman as facilitated by Monaliza Cruda of Talibon in only 2 minutes and 42 seconds.

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Local bands and pulutan 
In a perfect SMB match 
Rey Anthony Chiu 

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol, July 5, 2013 (PIA) –In a wild and explosive night of heart-pumping bass and rhythm, San Miguel Brewery Inc. hailed a local band as the home champs in rock and alternatives, during the recently concluded Battle of the Bands (BOB) in Baluarte, Baclayon, Bohol. 

Serj Band came over 25 other equally talented and heavy sounding rock sound machines who had to get through weekly competitions to get the finals, said Girlie Garces, SMB events specialist and organizer. 

The band is composed of Noel Earl Racho, lead guitarist, Ben Rey Biloy, bass guitar, Jay Tagra, drummer; and Sergio Atup III, vocalist, a hodgepodge of talents from Maribooc, Catigbian, Tagbilaran City and Loboc, all in Bohol. 

SMB Battle of the Bands, the country’s legendary exposure venue for the country’s budding musicians started in Baluarte last March 15. 

BOB is part of SMB’s Summer Babad which encourages talents and budding artists to take centerstage and show their prowess and showmanship as a band, Garces explained. 

With local participating groups, judges used were also locals who had their limelight at the earlier battle of the abnds. 

Among those who gave their comments to band groups ala Pinoy Got Talent; were musicians Roy Tutor, lead guitarist of the band YorDaddy and Mark Apat, drummer of the Gelatin band. 

The third member of the judging panel was Sean by the way, disc jockey of Kiss FM Tagbilaran City. 

Also on the same night was Summer Babad Pulutan challenge. 

The challenge, this time for the daring gourmets was to spice up a pulutan beer match which goes well with the top-Pinoy brand of beer. 

The pulutans spiked the musical episodes, as the search for the most exotic adventure of “pulutans” or finger foods proved a little too perfect for the overflowing that night. 

At the end of it all, Rodel Malinao and March Chero Torregosa, topped the contest for the best pulutan, whipped up to easily go with the ice-cold beer. 

Winning the night’s pulutan challenge was SilkWorm Mixed Nuts. 

The final challenge for both the band members and the pulutan barkada was held last Month, with Peter Barker of 91.1 F.M. hosting.

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