Monday, August 5, 2013

PVet calls for seriousness 
Against rabies resurgence 
Rey Anthony Chiu 

BOHOL, Aug 5 (PIA) – Anti-rabies advocates urge more local governments to get serious with the threat as Bohol sees five positive cases of canine rabies this year. 

The only way dogs can get rabid is when they are not properly cared, Dr. Stella Marie Lapiz said at the weekly Kapihan sa PIA. 

In Bohol, where its rabies program earned an award in innovation for drastically reducing cases from 10 in 2007, to zero in 2010, getting five positive cases in 2013 is a serious drawback, she hinted during the radio forum on air. 

The program in Bohol has empowered communities to report to the Bantay Rabies sa Barangay (BRB) presence of stray dogs, which for want of vaccination, almost always, spread rabies. 

BRB is the parallel barangay organization of the Bohol Rabies Prevention and Elimination Council (BRPEC), tasked to implement anti-rabies programs in their turfs. 

The BRBs conduct dog registration and vaccination, implement the Rabies ordinance in Bohol and spread the proper responsible pet ownership guidelines to dog owners. 

They also perform dog population control and management by catching stray dogs or allowing owners to reclaim them after paying penalties. 

But, seemingly, the proof presented by five cases this year indicates a need for going back to the drawing boards, a BRPEC member said. 

The problem is also compounded by the fact that a resurgence of rabies could mean getting back to the ground Bohol’s already soaring rabies program, he added. 

In 2007, Bohol ranked fourth among the provinces under rabies-watch. 

To curb the problem, local rabies advocates based at the Office of the Provincial Veterinarian (OPV) planned for a multi-pronged approach to combat the disease which has become a public health concern. 

In 2007, Bohol implemented its Rabies Prevention and Eradication Program (BRPEP) which integrated expertise from several sectors to jointly focus on finding solutions to the problem. 

The BRPEP allowed advocates to campaign in communities to increase local community involvement. It also improved dog population control by spaying and neutering; promoted responsible pet ownership through school based curriculum and mobilizing rabies scouts, dog shows and animal care clinics as well as underwent massive dog registration and vaccination. 

The program also improved dog bite management for human patients by establishing Animal Bite Treatment Centers; initiated veterinary quarantine for suspected rabid animals; and instituted a risk management system that included improved diagnostic capacity, disease surveillance and monitoring, sums up World Health Organization which picked Bohol’s model for eliminating the rabies threat. 

As the program implementation entails huge sums of money for mobilization and logistics, Bohol anti-rabies team forged partnerships with funding donors and a variety of sectors including government and non government to secure the required funding and financial support. 

As the management of the BRPEP was under the direction of the Governor of Bohol, from then Erico Aumentado to Edgar Chatto, the order of the day was to institutionalize the program by putting up parallel organizations consistent with the provincial BRPEP at the municipal and barangay levels. 

But, like all government based programs, some of them do not consistently rise up to the challenge of sustainability. 

After successive massive vaccination and responsible pet ownership discussions, para-legal empowerment of communities and enhancement of local skills to keep the program baying, Bohol saw one suspected rabies case in humans in Bohol for each 2011 and 2012. 

Attaining a herd vaccination percentage of over 80%, owing to consistent twice-a-year vaccination, Dr. Lapiz thought the rate compared to 74,000 dogs in Bohol can already do it. She was wrong. 

Romy Garcia, a rabies advocate at the OPV said they gathered reports that the 74,000 dogs registered may not be all of it, as dog teams failed to get and account all dogs, including the strays which scavenge trash cans and community garbage deposits. 

Bohol’s rabies problems may again rear its ugly head, controlling it now rests in local governments and communities whose people are at the greatest risks.

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2 long-weekends, holiday allow
Tourists to experience country
Rey Anthony Chiu

BOHOL, Aug 5 (PIA) – Local stakeholders aspire to get boost in tourism profits as the country is set to have two long weekends and a holiday this August. 

The long week-ends, also among the rationalized “holiday economics” to allow longer vacations, come this August 9-11 and August 24-26.

Malacanang declared August 9 as Eid’l Fitr, or the end of the month-long fasting associated with the Ramadan.

President Benigno S. Aquino III signed Proclamation No 629, series of 2013 on Thursday, August 1, to allow the operation of Republic Act 9177, which marks the observance of the Eid’l Fitr as a non-working holiday. 

August 1 falls on a Friday and extends the vacation to three days, with Saturday and Sunday after it as regular rest days. 

On the other hand, August 26 is lumped among Proclamation 459 which President Aquino declared in August of last year. 

The Proclamation declared all regular holidays, special non-working holidays and special holidays for all schools in 2013. 

August 26, which falls on the last Monday of August, has been declared regular holiday in observance of the National Heroes Day. The day marks the start of the revolution with the symbolic Cry of Pugad Lawin.

Falling on a Monday, August 26 then extends the weekend holiday to three days beginning August 24-26. 

Meanwhile, August 21, which falls on a Wednesday is Ninoy Aquino Day, and has been declared special non-working holiday. 

The day commemorates the death of Benigno S. Aquino, who died by assassination and brought to his grave a memory as a staunch critic of President Marcos.

August 21 became a public holiday when former President Gloria Arroyo declared the day as one which commemorates the death anniversary of former senator Aquino. 

With two long weekends and a midweek holiday, tourism stakeholders hope to invite more tourists to Bohol so as to fill in the slump in tourism arrivals.

While local government officials presumed the slump is caused by a Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines policy of disallowing plane parking at the Tagbilaran City Airport while another plane is on the runway. 

This effectively cuts the plane trips to and from Manila, as this causes massive delays in plane companies operations. 

Bohol trips by fast craft from Cebu have been restored however, allowing the daily stream of tourists taking the boat ride from nearby Cebu to get to experience Bohol.

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177 Bohol families benefit 
From 7th set of Pantawid
Rey Anthony Chiu

BOHOL, Aug 5 (PIA) – Some 177 households from 43 poor towns in Bohol will have a small stream of cash as government expands its conditional cash grants to families living below the poverty threshold. 

Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) said the 177 households in Bohol is part of the 1,731 beneficiaries which will receive conditional cash transfer through the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps). 

Since 2008, the 4Ps has reached out and empowered some 43, 329 households in Central Visayas and in this seventh set of beneficiaries, the government allots for some beneficiaries whose registration will start within the month, Aileen Lariba, DSWD’s 4P information officer. 

In Central Visayas too, majority of the first batch for this set of beneficiaries come from Negros Oriental where 798 families from 18 towns would soon start getting education and health support funds in exchange for following the conditions set in the cash transfers. 

Cebu gets the next bigger bulk of beneficiaries, the province and its cities get 708 household beneficiaries from 50 local government units, while Siquijor has a share of 123 household beneficiaries from its four towns. 

Over this, DSWD personnel will conduct the orientation and registration of new Pantawid Pamilya members, immediately within the month, Lariba said. 

For beneficiaries, important documents such as birth certificates of children of both parents and children, baptismal and marriage certificates, if available and 2x2 picture, are needed for the registration. 

However, prior to official declaration, families are made to understand and sign the Oath of Commitment to follow the conditions of the program: pre-natal and post-natal care, delivery by a trained health professional, monthly preventive health check-up, enrolment and 85% attendance in school as well as monthly attendance to family development sessions, she reminds. 

Failure to commit on these conditions would mean non-registration, or delisting form the beneficiary roll.

Since 2008, Boholano families from a few towns started benefitting government assistance, which also pushed them to shoo their children to school and get involved in their kid’s participation rate at school.

The most direct effect is a drastic reduction of school drop-outs as this would also cut the kid’s share of educational funds. This too quelled child labor, according to DSWD. 

Aside from education, beneficiary families are slowly seeking professional advice especially for pregnant and lactating mothers; another cash transfer conditionality. 

As of 2012 impact evaluation, 83.6% of the poor under the program are prioritizing their health such as vitamins, de-worming and weight monitoring, DSDW data showed. 

The new beneficiaries in Bohol are also part of the more that 889,000 households in the country which the 4Ps have reached.

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Albur dad demands investigation 
for “fake team” at Boholympics 
Rey Anthony Chiu 

BOHOL, Aug 5 (PIA) – A town mayor demands an investigation on the alleged anomalous behavior of the Sports Commission and the Boholympics Committee. 

Alburquerque Mayor Efren Tungol wonders why the local Olympics committee allowed a team to wantonly misrepresent his town when the local government has earlier said it is not authorizing the use of the town by a team which claims to be from Barangay Ponong, of Alburquerque town. 

The mayor, in a letter which the local government shared via email to media, insisted that the 17 years old and under football team for the provincial inter-town sports meet is not recognized by the office of the mayor. 

Boholympics, an inter-town age-group sports competition operates on official representation of sports groups via a formal recognition of the town mayors, sources said. 

Such is, so that the town mayors can attest to the veracity of the claims of athletes that they come from the town, organized by the town and would officially represent the town in the competition. 

A source form Alburquerque, Vera Villovido-Gesite said Alburquerque initially trained for a team of elementary school soccer team, but later withdrew from its intent of joining the competition for insufficient funds from their end. 

Alburquerque has a slot in the Boholympics, but it did not send any soccer teams to the meet, she said. 

On the day of the competitions however, Alburquerque officials were astonished how a team, claiming to be from Alburquerque, showing papers signed by another town official, played in for Albur. 

On July 18, 2013, reports reaching the Mayor’s Office bare that there was a team that was formed to represent Albur in the Boholympics. 

Earlier that day, a person came looking for Mayor Tungol in the afternoon. The person was intending to have the mayor sign the papers to attest that the official delegation is composed of residents of Albur, and to validate the claims that they represent the town. 

The mayor did not sign the papers however. 

Anent to that, Mayor Tungol also instructed Gesite to coordinate with the Provincial Sports Commission through Joel Molina, to officially relay the information that the team which claims to be Alburquerque is not recognized by the office of the mayor. 

Gesite claimed Molina assured her that the information would be acted upon appropriately. 

On July 24, 2013, reports reaching the Office of the Mayor said Alburquerque Team still played during the Boholympics 17 under soccer group, despite the Mayor’s putting all the stops to the fake team. 

Over this, in a statement, Office of the Mayor condemned the fraudulent and brazen trickery that led to the formation of the fake Alburquerque Team, especially the getting of Certificates of Residence from the Barangay Captain of Ponong and the signing of the forms by the Albur MPDC in behalf of the Mayor. 

“In Albur, we teach our children honesty and integrity! We do not teach them to lie just to play in the Boholympics,” Gesite quoted the mayor.

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