Tuesday, August 27, 2013

DPWH defends asphalt
Overlay over concrete 
Rey Anthony Chiu

Tagbilaran City, August 27, (PIA) – Bohol First Engineering District defends the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) in its often misunderstood road maintenance activities. 

Drawing flak over road maintenance activities where seemingly usable concrete pavements are overlaid with asphalt, Bohol I District engineer Francis Antonio Flores said laying asphalt over concrete is a standard agency response to prevent further deterioration of roads. 

Speaking at the Kapihan sa PIA, Engr. Flores not only explained why asphalt overlaying is the option, he also admitted that it is relatively cheaper than re-blocking over a section which can still be saved by stopping further water seepage into its road sub-base. 

Re-blocking, in DPWH terms mean breaking entire defective sections in concrete roads, re-stabilizing the sub-base, and then pouring in new concrete to restore the entire block. 

Meanwhile, asphalt overlaying is practically pouring in asphalt over a section that shows minor defects to contain the damage in the underlay, which is essentially not affected by the repairs. 

DPWH drew criticisms especially when road sections which were still apparently in better shape were laid over with asphalt while the district office still has nearly ten kilometers of national roads that are unpaved. 

The asphalt could have been laid in those areas which have not been smoothed, critics openly complain over Bohol radio lanes. 

Road maintenance activities are based on road conditions survey conducted on a yearly basis, and these are sent to the DPWH for assessment and action, Flores said. 

These, he said, on layman’s term is a concrete roads assessment report, from fixed or rigid pavement and upgrading works for asphalt roads, separate from the regular district allocation which the DPWD apportions to the office. 

He also added that the District supervises public infrastructure projects that cost under P50 million while beyond that, it is the regional office that manages the project. 

In Panglao for example, segments of the Panglao Circumferential project go beyond P50 million so that it is the Regional Office of the DPWH that supervises it. 

The same road building project earned the ire of residents as the contractors who won the bidding immediately scraped off long stretches of asphalted roads, not really thinking that repaving them with concrete takes an excruciatingly long time.

They could have kept portions of the good roads, until they could complete the concreting of some sections which will be more comfortable to the riding, according to critics.

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14 Bohol towns miserably fail 
In dog-vaccine jobs in 2 years
Rey Anthony Chiu

TAGBILARAN CITY, August 27, 2013 (PIA) –Fourteen towns of Bohol’s three districts have failed miserably in the over-all efforts to get at least 70% dog registration and vaccination accomplishment in a bid to sustain a five year consistent program to attain dog herd immunity from rabies. 

Of them all, five towns come from District 1, another 4 towns from District 2 and 5 towns come from District 3.

These towns averaged below 70% to zero accomplishments in the last two years when the local rabies council implemented mandatory registration and vaccination for all dogs in Bohol, to attain herd immunity after all towns should have accomplished over 70%. 

Bohol Rabies Prevention and Elimination Council (BRPEC) authorities shared that the 70% total dog population vaccination accomplishment for five consecutive years is based on the minimum international standards to attain dog herd immunity, upon which a case of rabies would be totally eliminated. 

Bohol used to be among the top ten watch areas for rabies in 2007, where rabies claimed 10 Boholano lives. By 2008, the Provincial Government implemented BRPE Program, which aggressively took on rabies at all angles: by integrating the expertise of health professionals, agriculture experts, education, public safety and legal minds to implement a community based program, Dr. Stella Marie Lapiz said.

Dr Lapiz, a veterinarian, heads the BRPEP for canine rabies said the program included: increasing local community involvement; implementing dog population control; conducting mass dog vaccination; improving dog bite management; instituting veterinary quarantine; and improving diagnostic capability, surveillance and monitoring. 

By 2009 and 2010, Bohol scored zero rabies cases for human and canine, despite an increase in bite cases.

Dr. Lapiz said the increase in bite cases could be associated with people getting more aware of the fatal effects of rabies, that a treatment was ascertained and monitoring increased. 

Just as Bohol sourced out international funds from the program, the national government, provincial, municipal and village units, dog owners, NGOs, the regional office of the WHO, the UBS Optimus Foundation, and the Global Alliance for Rabies Control helped bankroll the campaign that led to convincing results.

But, in 2011 and 2012, BRPEP members noted an increase in confirmed canine rabies cases in Bohol, prompting council members to review the program and plug the holes. 

Many believe that local governments who faltered in their dog registration and accompanying vaccination could have largely contributed to the recurrence of the disease. 

According to a list which Dr. Lapiz and Provincial Health Officer Dr. Reymoses Cabagnot presented during a meeting with provincial officials last week, towns which failed miserably to implement and accomplish over 70% vaccination in the last two years include Balilihan, Catigbian, Cortes, Maribojoc, Tubigon for the first district.

For the second district, faltering in its accomplishments for two consecutive years are Bien Unido, Buenavista, Getafe, Sand Isidro and Talibon.

Bilar, Carmen, Guindulman, Pilar and Valencia also lagged in its anti-rabies accomplishments relative to doc herd immunization. 

Topping the list of best performing LGUs for a high registration and vaccination accomplishments are Candijay and Loay for getting 100% vaccination, Inabanga for 99% and Baclayon at 94.35%

Still several other towns accomplished high in 2011 but stopped in 2012 or vice versa.

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Farmers’ lifeline: call ATI FCC, 
and build your own “Farmville” 
Rey Anthony Chiu

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol, August 27, 2013 (PIA) –If some farmers sit in front of internet-enabled computers or touch screens on android phones, they are not playing the popular wed-based game applications, Farmville. 

When they do that, they are tapping experts in farming and business advice from a government agricultural extension service featuring an electronic Farmers’ Contact Center (FCC). 

Based at the Agricultural Training Institute of the Department of Agriculture, the FCC is another feature of the electronic extension services ATI and partners implement to open up more creative extension service alternative over traditional extension services. 

This however may not be as popular, but the electronic and interactive bridge which FCC creates could be a virtual instruction to farmers into transforming their farms into real FarmVilles. 

The electronic delivery of extension service is a network of institutions provide efficient alternative to a traditional extension system for agriculture, fisheries and natural resources sectors and maximizes the use of information and communication technology to attain a modernized agriculture and fisheries sector, sums up Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) Regional Training Center 7 manager Carolyn May Daquio. 

Speaking at the Consultative Workshop on Maximizing the Services of the FCC through the Development of a Communication and Advocacy Plan, held at the Jjs Seafoods Village, Dr. Daquio says ATI’s e-extension services creates an electronic and interactive bridge where farmers, fishers and other stakeholders meet and transact to enhance productivity, profitability and global competitiveness.

FCC is a support center for agriculture clients for the government to be able to deliver farm and business advisory services through the use of info-communication technology, using voice through calls and text through a text messaging center nationwide, online real time communication through chat, online forum visits and electronic mail, sums up Antonieta Arceo, Knowledge Management and Products Division in charge at ATI Manila. 

This simply means that when a farmer needs to increase productivity by introducing new or cutting edge research technology, he could lean out and ask the FCC by calling a provincial toll free 1-800-10982-2474 (AGRI), texting 0920-946-2474 (AGRI) or 391-32 (DA) for smart and TnT subscribers or email at infor@e-extension.gov.ph, she added. 

Questions about technology, demonstrations and technical aspects of a range of topics can be had when calling the above number, gets its answers or data from a pool of 1,388 subject matter specialists from governments, non government and experts from state colleges, according to Arceo.

Agriculture officials however sense a performance gap between the FCC and the farmers who are supposed to benefit from the service. 

Made operational in 2010, the FCC averaged only 764 queries or contacts per month, 70% of which are e-learning related, while only 1% for marketing related concerns and advices plus 7% of all contacts asked on agricultural technology concerns like, soil, fertilizer and water as well as pest and disease management, Arceo showed in a slide. 

The consultative workshop attempts to popularize the FCC through a dropdown menu of activities: mobilization of extension workers, info-educ campaign materials, media and social media promotions as well as adoption of a systematic tagging system to get the word to the internet search engines.

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Bohol to showcase ICT/BPO 
Possibilities at 6th Nat’l gab
Rey Anthony Chiu

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol August 27, 2013 (PIA) –Information communication technology (ITC) advocates expect to open the floodgates of opportunities when the 6th National ICT summit comes to Bohol in November 2013. 

Bohol ICT Council President Leah Tirol-Magno is confident that summit delegates would see Bohol as the perfect Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) location and something like General Santos City is going to happen here. 

The Summit is a way of showcasing to the whole world how ready we are to adopt BPO/ICT, Magno added. 

In the region, BPO /ICT has been identified as among the major economic drivers in 2012, racking in a whooping P21.67 billion in revenues. 

This has been increasing for about 12 % from 2011 and has generated around 100,000 new jobs, reports the Regional Development Council recently. 

Cebu and Negros Oriental in Central Visayas account for some 27 BPO and call center companies, while recently, the National ICT Conferedation of the Philippines and the DOST awarded to Tagbilaran City in Bohol as the next wave cities for BPO and ICT. 

Other than showcasing the BPO/ICT potential here, BICTC which bade to host the Summit in November 28-29 adopts GET IT as theme for the confab in Bohol.

GET IT refers to Governance, Education, Tourism and Information Technology, areas where Bohol keeps a significant lead and is worth a showcase for the delegates, organizers said. 

At a radio forum on the air, Magno, along with Bohol Investment Promotion Center chief Maria Fe Dominese also believe Bohol’s cutting edge when it adopts ICT/BPO here is its good tourism potential.

BPO and ICT is a good perfect combination, says Magno over DyTR aired government program handled by the Philippine Information Center a few weeks ago. 

Human resources working on ICT and BPO handle very stressful situations, and as a stress relief and detoxifications, Bohol’s tourist destinations and activities like extreme sports would tend to be the perfect alternative activities, Magno pointed out. 

Moreover, Dominese said the summit should be a perfect time for business locators to see that Bohol has instituted an investment code which guides investors to properly plan their ventures. 

Bohol is among the few places in the country with low cost of doing business, and even while processing Philippine Economic Zones Authority (PEZA) accreditation for some of its set infrastructure to attract more investors for its bundled tax holidays, Bohol’s waiving of a real property tax of up to 35% is already a come on.

Besides, experts who put up Bohol’s scorecards already underscored a low minimum wage compared to cosmopolitan centers, competitive talents as proven by an 11% hiring rate compared to only 7% in the national average, reports Magno.

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