Monday, September 2, 2013

PPOC raises “alarm” over 
Soliciting groups’ resurge
Rey Anthony Chiu

TAGBILARAN CITY, September 09, 2013 (PIA) –The Provincial Peace and Order Council (PPOC) raises an alarm against the proliferation of groups roaming around Bohol, soliciting funds for “noble purposes” but with seemingly some hidden agenda. 

At the recent meeting held at the Jjs Seafoods Village, August 29, Provincial Social Welfare and Development Officer Carmelita Tecson brought into the council’s attention a group of bus-riding missionaries soliciting funds, but apparently without the necessary DSWD permits. 

At the Alona beach in Panglao, another group approaches unsuspecting tourists and hands in solicitation letters for a Young Achiever’s Club in Makati, without similar permits to solicit.

Sources also report that groups also knock into houses in the towns to sing carols this early, Christian songs or social awareness songs and await for donations to groups they represent. 

Most of these do not have DSWD permits, or barangay certifications, as most Barangay Peace and Order Councils mandate for groups doing businesses in their areas. 

At the PPOC, Tecson relayed to the council a complaint by concerned citizens of Jagna about a group claiming to be Good Samaritan Missionaries raising funds for their works of charity.

This group is composed of missionaries who are one with all the Christians who love the works of God, the group’s leaflet hand-outs state. 

We wish to give hope and direction of the lives of those who are sick and victims of calamities loke storms that often hit the country, the group claims in their hand-outs. 

The group said they can do this by giving free dental and health services and relief goods of their needs as we claim to give them hope in their sad situation. 

The hand-out, signed by a certain Bro. Allan Estorco also said while giving donations, the group can do their mission. 

Despite an apparently noble intention, concerned citizens from an eastern town asked the OPSWD the authenticity of such group, specifically asking of the group has the necessary permit to solicit. 

The group’s modus operandi is for its Tagalog-speaking representatives to ride on passenger buses from IBT in Dao, distribute the leaflets and then collecting them back while declaring the group’s mission, before disembarking before boarding another bus, according to complainants. 

While the group does this wit apparent tolerance from conductors and drivers, the concerned citizens want this to be investigated to protect the public from illegal and syndicated crimes. 

Also in the past, the presence of groups soliciting money with “noble intentions” have been the ploys of scrupulous individuals raising logistics in support of underground groups, as well as mapping areas for possible mass base support, a military intelligence operative admitted. 

At the PPOC too, army Major Paolo Baylon, speaking for Col. Julius Tomines assessed that legal front organizations would continue to arouse, mobilize and organize. 

This is in order to regain their lost mass base in Bohol.

Crimes plummet as new 
Cop chief “rolls sleeves”
Rey Anthony Chiu

Tagbilaran city, September 02, 2013 (PIA) –- Call it making an impression, but the crime data in Bohol shows that the first two weeks upon the assumption of the new chief saw crimes really plummeting down. 

In the first three weeks of the last two months, total crimes in Bohol reached 254 in July and dipped to 101 in August, for a significant decrease to more than half. 

But as it shows, crimes started really going down in the third week of August. 

In a crime statistical presentation at the Provincial Peace and Order Council (PPOC) meeting August 29, new police provincial director PSSupt. Dennis Agustin showed that the police in Bohol recorded 88 total crimes in the third week of July, which further dipped to 24 in the same period in August. 

What is worth a scrutiny is, was a week of leading Bohol anticrime operatives enough to pull the crime volume down as shown by the third week crime statistics? 
this also shows 148 index crimes recorded in weeks 1-3 in July, the same week saw a decrease to 106 index crimes in August. 

Non index crimes reached 82 in July but nearly scrapes bottom at 19 in August, for the same period. 

It may be recalled that Pssupt. Agustin assumed the provincial top police seat August 14, to replace PSSupt Constantino Barot who had over a year in extension duty after his mandatory two years of service in Bohol expired September 8, 2012. 

After the turn-over of command, Camp Dagohoy sources said the new provincial director immediately rolled his sleeves to visit stations, confer with the police rank and file and personally issue his administrative directives. 

At the turn-over ceremonies witnessed by no less than PCSupt Danilo Constantino, Police Regional Director, Supt. Agustin took the general orders to implement five strong mandates.

PCSupt. Constantino told Supt Agustin to continue implementing the Police Integrated Patrol System, intensify intelligence reports, follow on target-hardening measures, arrest more criminals and report true crime picture. 

Agustin, who had extensive experience in the Criminal Intelligence Detection Group and the anti-fraud, anti organized crime under now Senator Panfilo Lacson said he was to apply everything that he learned in school and continue with the best practices that he knew. 

In the weeks following the turn-over, Agustin was not as visible in the media, but a long list of successful police operations became highlights in the daily news casts. 

Part of the successes were 28 persons arrested under illegal drugs, 17 illegal firearms recovered and 10 nabbed, 29 against illegal gambling and 72 person arrested on illegal fishing charges. 

A graduate at the Philippine Military Academy, Agustin only told council members gathered at the PPOC August 29, that he had made himself available in the last two weeks, but did not elaborate on how he had this.

TESDA Bohol offers free
Competency assessment 
Rey Anthony H. Chiu

TAGBILARAN CITY, September 02 2013 (PIA) –Do you want to know if what you learned in vocational training is enough to land you a job? That’s the job of Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).

For the months of September to December, TESDA in Bohol under Dr. Francisca Opog joins the synchronized implementation of the national Technical Vocational Education Training (TVET) Competency Assessment and Certification Program and renders free services for 17 skills qualifications.

In a press material, TESDA said they will give out free assessments for Automotive Servicing NC II, Animal Production NC II, Bread and Pastry production NC II, Consumer Electronics Servicing NC II, Carpentry NC II, Commercial Cooking NC II, Computer Hardware Servicing NC II, Driving NC II.

Electrical Installation and maintenance for NC II and NC III, Horticulture NC II, Shielded Arc Metal welding for NC II and NC III, Refrigeration and Air-conditioning Servicing NC II, Motorcycle and Small Engine Servicing Mechanic, Tile Setting NC II and Reinforced Steel Bars Installation NC II. 

The activity is part of TESDA’s effort to strengthen the scale and popularization of the assessment and certification nationwide and hopes to create more awareness and understanding for Filipinos to embrace the importance of Tesda’s assessment and certification services.

Qualified applicants are trainers of private and public technical vocational institutions, local government units and other agencies providing TVET programs, Department of Education trainers, public utility drivers, industry workers and practitioners, professionals and career shifters who wish to undergo competency assessment. 

Also, returning overseas contract workers, Filipino expatriates with relevant experience and who wish to undergo competency assessment as well as industry practitioners who want to be competency assessors can avail of the free assessment, according to TESDA. 

Interested applicants can visit TESDA’s fiver provincial training centers namely: PTC Bilar, PTC Jagna, PTC Inabanga, PTC Pilar, and PTC Tubigon, or for them to visit TESDA Bohol Office at B. Inting Cogon District. 

TESDA can be contacted at (038) 501-8761. 

PCA gives rewards to coco-farmers 
In participatory planting program 
Rey Anthony Chiu 

TAGBILARAN CITY, September 02, 2013 (PIA) –In the onset of misbehaving copra prices in the world market, the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) dangles a possibly hard-to-turn-down offer through its Participatory Coconut Planting (PCP) program. 

In fact, this year, the government through the PCA is releasing P10.8 million incentive for its first batch of rewards for farmers who successfully picked the seedlings, prepared them in nurseries and planted them. 

Another set of incentive is due when these farmers who planted the seedlings can have the seedlings stabilized and surviving, according to PCA authorities at Kapihan sa PIA. 

This is despite the ongoing government attempts to stabilize the price of copra by bringing local production processes here, instead of relying on the exporting of such copra for oil. 

While stressing that copra price trends tend to be erratic, Bohol PCA manager Timoteo Lago Jr., hinted that the key intervention is to be able to produce and take on the most as copra prices does not stay low all the time. 

Over this, he urged coco-farmers who still have idle lots to spare to join the PCP, which adopts a participatory and reward system approach in replanting or planting new areas with the native, hybrid or the dwarf coconut varieties. 

According to Lago, farmers who participate in the program are allowed to handpick the variety they would like to raise, prepared the areas to be planted and then transplanted and stabilize seedlings on the ground, for a monetary incentive amounting to P18.00 per plant. 

Six to eight months later, when the transplanted seedlings have stabilized in the half a cubic meter hole within the 9 meters by 9 meters or ten by ten meters spacing, farmers are again entitled to another monetary incentive equivalent to P22.00 per live plant, he added. 

Lago also said in 2013, Bohol PCA targets P2700 hectares to be covered by the project, and PCA, having completed the first verification and inspection sorties, is ready to release the first batch of incentives, now worth P10.8 million all over Bohol. 

This is a hassle-free rare offer by the government, emphasizes Carmelo Tandugon, PCA Bohol senior agriculturist, who added that after getting the incentive, the coconut farmer does not have to return any amount to the government. 

Over and above all these, PCA is also into its salt fertilization Program where it gives free agricultural grade salt to interested farmers who have a maximum of five hectares of coco-plantations. 

This as Allan Cajilog, PCA information officer recently told member information officers of AUDIO about PCA’s receipt of some 23,957 bags of salt fertilizer programmed to 528, 925 coconut trees covering some 5,000 to 6,000 hectares. 

Interested farmers who would want to avail of the said services can contact 501-7716 or visit the PCA near the LTO compound in Tagbilaran.

GIAHS team validates Bohol ubi as 
Among vital agri-heritage systems 
Rey Anthony Chiu 

TAGBILARAN CITY, September 02, 2013 (PIA) –Steps are in to finally enthrone the Boholano ubi into the list of Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS). 

This week, a team from the International Council for Sites and Monuments (ICOMOS) and a GIAHS Philippine Project Consultant conducted exploratory discussions on the prospects of nominating the Bohol Ubi Production as part of the Philippine heritage system and a possible GIAHS candidate. 

The team, composed of Architects Augusto Villalon and Joycelyn Mananghaya-ICOMOS vice president as well as Eduardo Queblatin- Philippine GIAHS project consultant, also discussed insights and suggestions to increase the Ubi’s chances of getting a national recognition as unique agricultural heritage, or maybe declare ubi-production areas as agri-heritage sites. 

Earlier, the Philippine Information Agency run a series of articles on the description of the unique ubi production system which caught attention of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, the Department of Agriculture, National Commission for Culture and the Arts and the National Museum enough to merit the validation visit to Bohol. 

“The PAWB GIAHS Project would like to thank you for the valuable assistance provided the DENR and DA earlier for the identification and description of the Bohol Ube production system as a potential GIAHS candidate,” Theresa Mundita Lim, GIAHS Director wrote to PIA. 

Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems refers to agricultural landscapes that possess “Remarkable land use systems and landscapes which are rich in globally (nationally) significant biological diversity evolving from the co-adaption of community with its environment and its needs and aspirations for sustainable development,” as FAO has defined (GIAHS 2007). 

While there have been around 20 GIAHS sites worldwide, and when the Bohol ubi passes the test, it would be the country’s second GIAHS, after the Ifugao Rice Terraces, according to Architect Villalon. 

The nationally renowned heritage architect added that government agencies are now in the process of incorporating agricultural heritage sites in the national cultural heritage system, seeing that agricultural heritage sites declaration may be in for declaration as national cultural properties. 

Having been roughly identified, the Bohol Ubi then undergoes two levels of screening criteria which are: largely contributive to the community’s food and livelihood security, supportive of biodiversity conservation and ecosystems functions, being part of the indigenous knowledge systems and are adaptive, its practices becoming part of culture, value systems and social organization as well as its involvement to a remarkable landscape that has been maintained for a very long time, said Eduardo Queblatin, GIAHS consultant. 

Although with a slim chance of getting global recognition, ICOMOS Philippines Vice President Joycelyn Mananghaya hopes the Ubi could get a national acclaim as a cultural property of the country. 

Queblatin also said the ubi could well pass four of the five criteria, but insists the ubi farms would also tend to suggest that it could slip through as remarkable landscapes, especially with surrounding secondary growth forests or shrubs, a fallow and sometimes other root crop patches.

Tagbilaran City hosts SPAM 
Nat’l Journalism Quiz Bee 
Rey Anthony Chiu 

TAGBILARAN CITY, September 02, 2013 (PIA) – The city of Friendship hosts the National Journalism Quiz Bee on September 12-14. 

At this, the School Press Advisers’ Movement (SPAM Inc.) also invites student-journalists and advisers nationwide to join its 7th Annual National Convention and Fourth SPAM National Journalism Quiz Bee: Pambansang Pautakang Pampahayagan on those dates. 

With the theme, “Intensifying the power of Campus Paper in Protecting and Preserving the Environment and Natural Resources,” SPAM Inc., in coordination with the Bohol Island State University (BISU), aims to recognize the excellent services of campus journalists and advisers, hone their talents, and provide them with the recent trends in campus journalism. 

SPAM President Dr. Melanie V. Briones, in a statement said, “SPAM Inc. will continue to live by its battle cry which is to ‘advocate responsible campus journalism’.” 

“The conference encourages student-journalists and advisers from both public and private elementary and secondary schools to participate,” SPAM called. 

At the convention, officials, employees and students from higher education institutions (HEIs) could join but it would be voluntary on their part, organizers said. 

Officials and employees from State and Local Universities and Colleges (SUCs and LUCs) willing to join must secure prior approval from the President or Head of the concerned institution, so the proper use of government funds could be observed,” Briones added. 

The registration fee will include two nights and three days accommodation; breakfast, lunch and dinner meals, snacks, tour and outbound education to the famous Chocolate Hills at Carmen, Boholand to the Tarsiers’ Sanctuary at Loboc, Bohol; as well as kits and certificates. 

For further inquiries, Dr. Briones can be reached through mobile number 09268685451 or through e-mail address 

Meanwhile, representatives from different respective institutions will compete on the following on-the-spot competitions: Digital Lay outing (feature page), Feature Editing, News Editing, Devcom Editing, Editorial Editing, best in Digital Photography (magazine cover design), and Pautakang Pampahayagan. 

For SPAM members, major awards will also be conferred which include the following: 2013 Top 3 Awards of Excellence in the field of Campus Journalism in the Philippines (Highest Pointers among all publications, individual and group points combined); SPAM’s Medallion Award of Excellence in the field of Campus Journalism in the Philippines (10 College Student Journalists and 10 Campus Paper Advisers from Elementary to College); and SPAM MEDALLION AWARD OF EXCELLENCE IN THE FIELD OF CAMPUS JOURNALISM IN THE PHILIPPINES (10 Best Publications per level). 

In addition, pre-judged awards, with two categories (English and Filipino) from three levels (Elementary, Secondary, and Tertiary) will also be given as follows: Opinion Journalist of the Year, News Story Writer of the Year, Feature Story Writer of the Year, and SPAM’s Award of Courtesy for Institutions. 

Awards to be vied by group categories from three levels, on the other hand, includes: Best Magazine, Best Literary Folio, Best Newsletter, Best Tabloid, Best Broadsheet, Best in Cultural Page, Radio Broadcasting Team of the Year, and Best Documentary Film: SPAM’s I-dokumento. 

In line with these, the awards for Cultural Page shall be Mother Tongue-based language. 

The Radio Broadcasting and the newly added contest which is the SPAM’s I-dokumento are also open to Mass Communication students. 

For the first time in its seven years of existence also, the organization will bestow the SPAM’s Award of Excellence in the fields of Broadcasting and Documentary Reportage to mainstream media practitioners Mike Enriquez and Howie Severino respectively. 

Aside from the various awards at stake, SPAM Convention also includes different lectures by top-caliber journalists from different media outlets and organizations. 

Among the resource speakers who will grace the confab are: Earl Victor Rosero of GMA News Online, Ricky Soriano Dimaun of Mexico Printing, Bingo Dejaresco of Bohol Chronicle, Loy Palapos of Radio Bohol, Weslee Dizon of GMA 7, Lorelei Dela Cruz of Colegio San Agustin – Binan. 

A research paper entitled “Promoting Environmental Initiatives and Awareness through Campus Journalism” shall also be presented by Kara Salazar Panolong of Benguet State University. 

Boholanos demand solons’ 
explanation on pork mess
Rey Anthony Chiu

TAGBILARAN CITY, September 02, 2013 (PIA) –Boholanos demanded for former Bohol solons whose names have been dragged into the pork barrel controversy to clear their names and account for how they implicated themselves in the process. 

Implicated in the pork barrel mess were former Bohol 1 Congressman now Governor Edgar Chatto, Bohol 2 Congressman Roberto Cajes and Bohol 3 Congressmen Eladio and son Adam Relson Jala. 

Newspaper reports implicated them of having spent considerable amount of Priority Development Assistance Funds (PDAF) through spurious or inexistent non government organizations to pocket 70% of the funding amount. 

At the local activity organized by civil society members in solidarity with the social media-triggered citizens’-call to occupy public places and march to call for scrapping of the pork barrel, a little over a hundred Boholanos in also went out their way in solidarity with the million people march in Manila.

Coming in trickles to the local event, the participants wore white, some of them sporting printed shirts declaring No to PDAF, Makibaka, Huwag Magbaboy, or simply wore pork thumbs down necklaces.

By 11:00 AM, the number has grown to a little over a hundred as non-government workers, doctors, government workers, housewives, social scientists, artists and activists slowly came in to join a heated discussion on the pork, at the kiosk of the Plaza Rizal in front of the St. Joseph’s Cathedral. 

In Bohol where most people would rather conveniently act as fence sitters, the group agreed to put in more awareness campaigns to muster more participants in the discussion. 

A move to hold weekly information education and communication sessions at the Kiosk took on positively as the participants agreed to meet every Saturday at 3:00 to campaign for more support to the snowballing nationwide call. 

In a statement signed for the occasion, Boholanos joining the activity demanded for the complete scrapping of the pork barrel be they in the guise of Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), or all modes of public spending that has little or no accountability including the billions upon billions of discretionary funds in all branches of government. 

The Boholanos who signed up for the Tagbilaran City activity also demanded for full accounting of all spent pork and the investigation and eventual punishment for those found guilty of abusing the pork. 

“Successive governments, including the incumbent, have failed to safeguard our interests by allowing and supporting all kinds of corruption in the pork barrel system,” the unity statement claimed. 

We, the taxpayers, are always told to be patient because the government lacks funds. Now we know why -- our money, billions of pesos worth, have been siphoned off by the corrupt, it said.

As for the accounting of all spent pork, the statement said, “If we truly want to rid the nation of corruption, we cannot focus only on one sector or one administration. There is no such thing as “unaccountable” power to spend OUR money.”

As the signed statement acknowledged President Benigno Simeon Aquino III’s response to the people’s mounting anger as a positive sign, they also alleged that “Pork” is not just PDAF, but all modes of public spending that has little or no accountability. 

“This includes the billions and billions of discretionary funds in all branches of government,” they said.

Over this, the local movement, which still has to adopt a name, asked for full investigation and eventual punishment of those people who have been found to be guilty of dipping their hands into the barrel. 

“Scandal after scandal shows corruption involves private as well as public institutions and sprawls across all branches of the government,” it also said.

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