Monday, February 10, 2014

“We can account our funds,” say
Foreign humanitarian workers
Rey Anthony Chiu

TAGBILARAN CITY, February 7, 2014 (PIA) –How much international donation to quake ravished Bohol has come in? The answer: not one can fully account, except the organizations themselves. 

The system is not as centralized, admits international organizations helping Bohol with the rehabilitation. 

It means, international organizations use their own funds for their programmed rehabilitation efforts, while donations coursed through other means, including governments are each of their accountabilities. 

“International funding organizations bring in their own funded relief and rehab work and account them, but for other well meaning organizations, no one can tell,” an international relief worker hinted. 

“We are sure its there, but we don’t know how people can see them, the worker,” who refused to be named said. 

“It would be presumptuous to speak for other organizations or the government,” Jock Paul, head of the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Activities of the United Nations (UN OCHA) said. 

Over the overly-minted and sold idea of corruption and malversation of funds and goods intended for calamity victims, international humanitarian organizations working in Bohol urge people to browse the internet and look at the organization’s websites to see for themselves the accounting of funds. 

OCHA also assured their donations do not get to the local governments, these are coursed through them directly and then implemented on calamity stricken communities. 

He also said the set-up is also true to other international organizations working to facilitate humanitarian assistance to Bohol. 

Each organization maintains their own websites for transparency, and the best thing is to go seek for the information which is always available at their website, Jock said.

He also said they have no way of finding out how much and where these were spent, meaning recovery funds sent directly to local governments. 

At the weekly Kapihan sa PIA Thursday, UN-OCHA, International Organization for Migration (IOM), ShelterCluster, World Vision and Habitat for Humanity Foundation came to respond to several questions many relief beneficiaries keep, foremost of which is, where are the funds? 

They also came to the radio forum to spread the word about their services and activities as Bohol struggles to move the rehabilitation to earthquake devastated Bohol to a new pace. 

Since October 15, international humanitarian organizations have also poured in funds for relief and rehabilitation to Bohol, food, water, sanitation, hygiene, education, psycho social debriefing and shelter. 

But, because the earthquake also caused power problems bringing communications to a standstill, communities needing help could only rely on that which trickles in. 

International organizations coming have to coordinate with local governments see the entire picture and determine where they can help by implementing their relief and rehabilitation work. 

“We work and coordinate with the national and local governments but that is on helping them make assessments and the recovery plans so we can see where we can help,” ShelterCluster through Birgit Vaes added.

Travel ban during typhoons, 
Effective ’til rescinded-PCG 
Rey Anthony Chiu 

TAGBILARAN CITY BOHOL, February 7, 2014 (PIA) – The public uproar over a Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) procedure banning all types of vessels from sailing during high weather remains in effect, until the memorandum gets amended or is scrapped. 

This fairly sums up the position of local PCG authorities, who, by virtue of PGC Memorandum Circular No. 02-13 and its subsequent standard operating procedures, are bound to implement such under existing policie, of they face possible administrative consequences. 

Last week, the hoisted storm signals here in the Visayas left ports alive with bobbling sea-going vessels on anchorage, some smartly seeking shelter, others securely tied to their berths, despite a fair weather here. 

The temporary stoppage of trips had many foreign tourists blowing their tops for the suspension means missing their flights back home, or businessmen cursing authorities `because there was clearly no risk of the storm. The suspension was raised despite clear seas and little sunshine. 

Tourism stakeholders here also felt the choke that no less than Bohol Tourism Council Chairman Atty Lucas Nunag steered the council into churning out a resolution seeking government help to remedy the problem and save a staggering tourism industry here. 

Even Bohol Representative Rene Relampagos, who once fiercely advocated for continued fastcraft service for tourism vowed to call public hearings so he can gather data to back measures he will elevate to the Congress. 

But, left to implement, by operation of law and lest be charged with dereliction of duty and insubordination, Bohol Coast Guard station authorities cited Memorandum Circular 02-13, dated June 5, 2013 and its subsequent standard operating procedure from PCG Central Headquarters, said PCG Commander Agapito Bibat. 

Memorandum Circular (MC) 02-13 laid the guidelines on movement of vessels during heavy weather, while MC No. O2-10 bares the interim guidelines on movement of vessels and motorboats engaged in short distances voyages and special areas, as issued by Rear Admiral Rodolfo Isorena in 2013. 

On PCG Standard Operating Procedure No. 04-13, which provides the guidelines implementing MC 04-13, it says Coast Guard Detachments who have jurisdiction over an area where a public storm signal number 1 is a hoisted within its port of origin, along the intended route and the point of destination, shall stop and disallow any vessel of any type or tonnage from sailing. 

The only exception is when a vessel, with only its crew on board, and no cargo, or cargoes properly lashed, may sail for the purpose of taking shelter. 

Vessels which are underway when the public storm signal is raised in its immediate vicinity, along its route or in its destination, are advised to skirt the path of the storm and to immediately take mandatory sheltering. 

MC 04-12 also stipulates the responsibilities of ship-owners and operators maintain a Company Safety Policy which is in essence, to disallow the ship master to depart from port, except when seeking shelter, when a storm warning is raised in either origin, route or destination. 

As long as this is still in effect, then the PCG could no do away with its responsibilities, Paul Sambas, PCG Bohol operations chief said.

7 Int’l groups signing up 
for Bohol Choir Festival 
Rey Anthony Chiu 

TAGBILARAN CITY, February 7, 2014 (PIA) –Seven international choral groups, excluding five from Korea are signing up for the First Bohol International Choir Festival in March. 

Bohol Center for Culture and Arts Development (CCAD) head Romulo Tagaan said Capitol is right on in making the final arrangements to get Bohol another potential rousing international performance. 

Reporting at Kita ug ang Gobernador, Tagaan, who also heads Bohol Employment Placement Office added that the spectacle of an international choral competition could do well in Bohol, which is the home of the internationally acclaimed Loboc Children’s Choir. 

First floated months back by a Korean Company which has been doing the annual international event in Korea, the decision to get it to Bohol excited the local officials who see the implications of an international event here. 

Earlier, a devastating earthquake practically shut down the whole of Bohol, crippling largely its foreign tourist clientele after the tremor caused major infrastructure collapse and left most of the island in total blackout. 

A few days later, Bohoalnos showed resilience when from the ruins, sectors rose, helping each other and from the rubbish, drawing recovery blueprints. 

In a few days after the devastating calamity, Bohol’s main tourism circuit opened, slowly causing the tourism cogs to grind anew. 

Over the choral festival development, Bohol governor Edgar Chatto hinted that it would reopen Bohol’s curtains, show to the world that Bohol’s beauty is still very much intact despite the devastation and the darkness that blanketed most of the island weeks after the earthquake. 

The international choral festival doubled its appeal to Bohol which is now struggling to rise above from the ruins, and the prospect of a tourism boost with international groups coming in became all too tempting, according to tourism stakeholders, failing to hide their excitement. 

This week, Korean organizers represented by Cool Jae Huh met with Bohol officials to finalize the deal. 

Set this March 18-22, the international festival has also found a recruit supporter in the city government through Mayor John Geesnell Yap. 

Also joining in to assure the success of the competition are known Bohol event organizers as well as cultural workers who had brought international events in Bohol.

Bohol Arts Month centers 
on healing w-shops, fest 
Rey Anthony Chiu 

TAGBILARAN CITY BOHOL, February 7, 2014 (PIA) –Arts Month celebration here opened in style; a simple and austere ceremony, hides what could be Bohol’s innovative contribution to disaster struck communities. 

Just as Sangguniang Panlalawigan Bohol Culture and Arts Committee Chair Godofreda Tirol, declared the Arts Month open, somewhere in the sidelines, Boholano artists huddle to finalize a training module which could make Bohol carve another first in Philippine Arts history. 

The day the Board Member Tirol declared the celebration open was also the day when a team of local artists visit the venue for the next day’s integrated arts workshop for public school teachers of severely affected towns here. 

The goal is to enhance the teaching skills of teachers who would be equipped with special skills in arts for healing therapies, so they can properly process problems of school children which could be disaster trauma related, according to program initiators in Bohol. 

Adopting Kasing Sining, art on the edge, art with a heart, the workshops are arts for Healing disaster-Impacted communities of Maribojoc and Antequera and Loon this next week. 

Using the arts, it aims to restoring the wholeness, life, hope, shelter, community and heritage of people through a movement of culture caregivers and artists for crisis, explains Lutgardo Labad, during a meeting with workshop coordinators and facilitators at Garden Café, a week ago. 

The workshop is a continuing activity of the Dayaw Bohol, and One Heart Express, which uses the Basic Integrated Theater Arts Workshop template to help upgrade the pedagogy experience of local artist teachers, multi-awarded cultural worker Labad added. 

Both programs had arts for healing workshops given to disaster hit communities, take its roots from indigenous cultures as well as community experience. 

The workshop is aimed at equipping public school teachers with another tool to get into the sensitivities of children in calamity areas to process and provide mental health and psycho-social support using arts as the medium. 

The ultimate goal is to allow the children in calamity areas to creatively release their trauma as a starting point for teachers and the communities to get to the children and then motivate them to express, Save the Children representatives said. 

Save the Children is one of the many international organizations handling the post trauma stress therapies of calamity victims, the organization focusing on children in internally displace communities and their issues. 

Arts Month keynote speaker City Mayor John Geesnell Yap also pointed out that the Arts Month belongs to the Hearts Month. 

Heart, Joy, Love----the main elements in the Arts Programs for 2014 Philippine Arts Festival (PAF) for the February Arts Month Celebration, will be the workshop’s underlying theme, local artist and literary arts mentor said. 

Moreover, after the workshops, Bohol intends to bring in Tanghal Asia here, and set up an International Arts for Healing Festival anytime soon.

Bohol wants dengue to 
Be a “thing of the past” 
Rey Anthony Chiu 

TAGBILARAN CITY, BOHOL, February 6, 2014 (PIA)—Bohol health authorities remind barangay dads on a local memorandum from the governor directing them to pour on their anti-dengue campaigns, as Bohol aims to make the threat of death caused by mosquito bites a thing of the past. 

Dr. Reymoses Cabagnot, provincial health officer and nurse Teresita Sarigumba, Bohol dengue campaign coordinator said this should put dengue cases under control in 2014. 

According to records from the Provincial Health Office (PHO), although dengue in 2013 was not that worse compared to the previous years, health authorities said stripping dengue threat of Boholanos’ concerns would contribute largely to the progress here. 

Based on dengue affectation in 2013, about 1735 Boholanos, got to local hospitals and went home treated for dengue, while another unlucky 13 succumbed to the disease. In 2012 however, dengue claimed 23 Boholano lives and sent some 2381 patients to hospitals, health centers and to the care of Barangay Health Workers. 

On a population over number of dengue affectation, Loon town tops Bohol dengue watch with .399% of its population downed by the dreaded aedes aegypti, although the town reports no mortality for the same disease. 

About 171 residents in the town of 42,800 reportedly had dengue. 

Next on the list is Tagbilaran City, where most hospitals and health facilities are present. 

The city registered 367 patients with problems of dengue over its 96,792 residents. The figure is .379 % degree of affectation. 

Now, not among the list of to-watch in 2013, the town of Garcia Hernandez posted 81 cases of dengue in 2012, with one mortality, earning the town with 23,038 residents a .355% affectation. 

In 2013, Baclayon town recorded 65 cases of dengue and although sans mortality, the figure constitutes .34% of its population of 18,630. 

Then there is Dauis, which pegged a .332% affectation for its 39,448 residents as the town had 131 dengue patients in 2013. 

Then there is Jagna, where 103 residents 103 were treated with dengue in 2013, this represents .316% of its population of 32,566. 

Following closely is Loay, .295% or 48 patients over 16,261, Panglao had 60 dengue treated patients and Cortes had 32, both equally getting the same .209% compared to their registered populations. Panglao has 28,603 residents while Cortes has 15,294. 

The date also showed that towns nearer Tagbilaran tend to get more dengue-affected, next to the factor that a town with a huge population exposes more of its residents to dengue. 

Here, the governor’s memorandum seeking local government participation in the fight could drastically hammer steps to control dengue. 

The memorandum also reminds officials to make the 4:00 clean up a habit, and adopt the 4S against dengue: search and destroy, self protection, seek early consultation and say no to indiscriminate fogging, which only drives mosquitoes to other areas. 

In 2013, beginning January to mid December, towns in the top ten dengue case count are Tagbilaran City, (363), Loon (171), Dauis (131), Jagna (103), Talibon (103), Tubigon (94), Baclayon (65), Pangalo (60), Carmen (54), Cortes (32) and Maribojoc (30).

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