Monday, September 30, 2013

DILG, BANGON sign MOA for 
Institutionalizing innovations 
Rey Anthony Chiu 

TAGBILARAN CITY, September 30, 2013 (PIA)—Relentless in its pursuit for innovations in governance and in maximizing civil society participation, the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) signed this week, an agreement with Bohol Civil society groups for a partnership project that institutes a system for competitiveness in local development. 

During the opening program for the Civil Society Week, Monday, September 23, the DILG through Provincial Director Loisella Lucino and Bohol Alliance of Non-Government Organizations (BANGON) through executive director Emilia Roslinda, signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) that will allow the local government agency and NGOs to advance their commitments to aggressively push for innovations in local governance. 

Already a nationally acclaimed trailblazer in innovations in governance, Bohol has put in a system where government and NGOS become part of tri-folding of sectors to achieve more participative and thus, sustainable governance. 

The system is however apparently only true in Bohol. 

Governor Edgar Chatto, in his message during the opening program recalled the times when government and NGOs both enjoy a healthy distance from each other.

Things changed for Bohol when a participatory governance was adopted in late 90s.

With the MOA on partnership, both agree to make scale up interventions in the local governments and raise practice of governance and values transparency, accountability, participation and performance into an institutionalized status, according to the signed document. 

The DILG has earlier recognized the need to tap the active involvement and participation of NGO’s and the private sector to effect responsive development projects at the local levels. 

Now, the MOA engages both in joint collaborative work towards effective resources-tracking, outcome and performance monitoring, and establishes a mechanism on public accountability and transparency monitoring covering the different areas of concern. 

Among the common concerns where both can synergize are: procurement, health, disaster, relief and rescue, education, environment and ecology, water, agriculture, labor, transport, women and children, persons with disabilities (PWD), senior citizens, youth, peasant, crimes including illegal gambling and drugs. 

BANGON owns a provincial and town based members working on capability building, self-regulating mechanism, and in development policy-related work, pursuant to its mission of taking civil society leadership in policy advocacy and partnership building in the public arena. 

The DILG on the other hand, is linking with NGOS to advance its commitments. 

With the new opened window, both agree to meet regularly to plan for conduct of regional dialogues and workshops that will firm up the partnership program components and establish LGU-CSO partnership, assessment and capability building of partner CSO’s, launch monthly policy conferences as venue for addressing various local governance issues and concerns, launch a social accountability initiative involving citizens participation in monitoring government service delivery and program implementation, follow a Periodic assessment of engagement of LGU-CSO-PS and communicate engagement results.

The MOA binds Bangon and its allied NGOs to convene and mobilize CSO’s/NGO’s/PO’s to be partners in promoting good local governance, transparency and accountability at the Provincial/City/Municipal and Barangay levels, participate in Policy Dialogues, enhance existing programs on transparency and accountability, provide inputs on how best to pursue specific advocacies of marginalized sectors in local government and provide assistance to DILG in undertaking performance monitoring of its agencies and constituencies. 

For DILG, they are to design and coordinate activities for the partnership program, issue policies and guidelines implementing the components or the partnership program, and coordinate with the Department’s regional and field offices, and local officials pertaining to any activity sanctioned by the parties.

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Salvage operation at Lawis ledge 
causes massive shipping delays 
Rey Anthony Chiu 

TAGBILARAN CITY, Sept, 30 (PIA) –Ships not arriving on time has also dented on Bohol tourism industry. 

Fast craft companies offering day tour services to Bohol have felt the effects of delayed arrivals, a fact most boat authorities ascribe to the ongoing salvage operations at the site where the ill-fated Saint Thomas Aquinas sunk. 

As this mandatory slowing down is mandated, passage in the narrow area , causes huge delays. 

While it is true, according to the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), its authorities beg for more patience from sea commuters who would tend to suffer delays in their appointments. 

The mandatory cutting of speed following another the implementation of a channeling speed while entering or leaving the port of Cebu affects Bohol tourism. 

But it won’t be long, according to the PCG. 

It may be recalled that in the night of August 16, passenger boat St. Thomas Aquinas and cargo vessel Sulpicio Express 7 figured in a sea accident which left 2GO ship St. Thomas taking in water and sinking after thirty minutes off Lawis ledge in Talisay City. 

Since then until today, a continuing salvage operation is ongoing, not anymore for the dead during the sea mishap, but containing the oil spill that is still posing a threat to the nearby environment. 

Lawis Ledge, off Talisay City is a narrow strip of deep waters that could barely accommodate two ships at a time, as it has rocks on its shallow sides and a strong current passes through it. 

It is a maritime disaster prone area, according to Cordova Mayor Adelino Sitoy, in reports. 

In fact, reports said, St. Thomas Aquinas-Sulpicio 7 express mid-sea collision was not the first “disaster” which happened in the area within the year. 

On February 23, 2003, M/V Trans Asia 9 ran aground at the narrow entrance to the Cebu City south harbor. All 376 passengers were stranded but were safely rescued, reports The Freeman. 

In August 2011, M/V Island Fast Craft I of Island Express Shipping sank in Lawis Ledge leaving three people dead. 

Cordova Mayor Adelino Sitoy said that the area has a narrow passage with rocks on both sides and has a strong current. 

At the Kapihan sa PIA on Maritime Industry week, Maritime Industry Authority Norma Enriquez confirmed the ongoing salvage operations needing more stable waters so as not to risk the lives of divers and assure the safety of boats actively involved in the operations. 

PCG authorities, through Coast Guart Officer Timbal said the operation which has started since last August 16 would continue until a month or so, from now. 

Even if the boats are mandated to use up the 1 hour and 45 minutes of travel time to and from Tagbilaran, a mandatory slowing down would necessarily use up more time, Enriquez explained. 

Boats on anchor have designated length of stay in harbors, any excess of that forms up a penalty, sources said.

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Mayors to put up 
Local info officers 
Rey Anthony H. Chiu 

TAGBILARAN CITY, September 30, (PIA) –Majority of Bohol mayors are putting up their government information conduits. 

Last week, the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) in Bohol, the development communication arm of the government set off on a two goal mission: campaign for an establishment of information conduits, and bring the information about key government services to the towns, especially to the new mayors. 

Such is to set up a more organized a government information dissemination program through the establishment of local information workers designated by the local governments or positions created to permanently assign the task of echoing developmental communication, according to Elvira Bongosia, institutional development officer at the PIA. 

In Bohol, an association, commonly called Association of United Development Information Officers (AUDIO) has been established. 

Audio is composed of the older Association of Government information Officers (AGIO) in Bohol and the strong Municipal Information Officers (MPIO). 

But, over time, with the position not mandatory, local governments with a narrow fiscal leeway often tends to leave the position unfilled and designate a local information instead, with a little additional compensation. 

As this becomes a tough act, when employees do dual roles, information dissemination has become perfunctory. 

On this, the PIA, along with AUDIO members embarked on a government information caravan to personally talk to mayors for the establishment of the municipal information officers. 

As Information officers, these workers have huge roles to play: be the local media worker, sending out news reports and updates to media outfits, act as medial liaison for the town, handle government information programs as well as manage information component of the implementation of key local government programs. 

Earlier, Gov CHatto also wrote to mayors encouraging them to put up local information workers, 

Seeing the necessity of such and the establishment of local information links, Lila, Dimiao, Valencia, Duero, Guindulman, Anda, Getafe, Buenavista, Inabanga, Clarin and Maribojoc. 

Towns with working information officers in Bohol include Alburquerque, Loay, Garcia Hernandez, Jagna, Alicia, Pilar, Mabini, Candijay, Ubay, Trinidad, Talibon, CPG, Tubigon, Calape, Cortes, Loon, Corella, Antequera, San Isidro, Balilihan, Catigbian, Sagbayan, Danao, Bilar, Carmen, Dagohoy, San Miguel, Panglao, Sevilla and Tagbilaran City. 

Towns who still need to put up information officers and are up for the next round of campaigns include Dauis, Baclayon, Sikatuna, Batuan, Sierra Bullones and Loboc.

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