Monday, June 9, 2014

TESDA’s free competency 
assessment set here soon

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol, June 8, (PIA) – Still wanting to work abroad? If you are into working for the technical and vocational fields, then you need to pass a competency test to be truly work-skill-certified. 

And the government’s Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) in its Competency Assessment and Certification Program is giving out free National Technical Vocational Education Technology Competency Assessment and Certification (NATCAC) this July 14-18, 2014 in five locations all over Bohol, according to Jaminel Damolo for Tesda Bohol. 

In fact, he added that the NATCAC also happens for free on August 11-15 and October 13-17.

Eligible to take the assessments are technical and vocational graduates, trainers, teachers, industry workers and returning overseas Filipino Workers needing the assessment and government certification for possible employment and promotion, Damolo revealed. 

Eleven sectors with their different qualification titles are accordingly opened for the assessment. 

These include sectors in agriculture, automotive, construction, heat, ventilation and air-conditioning, garments, tourism, health social and community development services, information communication technology, processed food and beverage, electronics and metals and engineering. 

For the agricultural sector, qualification titles opened are animal production NC II and horticulture NC. 

In the automotive sector, qualification titles include automotive servicing NC II, Driving NC II and Motorcycle, small engine Repair NC II. 

Damolo also said, construction sector has electrical installation and maintenance NC II and NC III, carpentry NC II, plumbing NC II, reinforced steel bar installation NC II and tile setting NC II. 

Refrigeration and Air Conditioning NC II is there for the heat ventilation and air-con sector, he added.

For the garments sector, skills certifications are for dressmaking NC II and Tailoring NC II. 

For tourism, skills assessments are for bartending NC II, bread and pastry production NC II, Food and beverages services NC II and housekeeping NC II.

Also up for assessments are beauty care NC II, Computer hardware servicing NC II, Food Processing NC II, consumer electronics servicing NC II and shielded metal arc welding NC II and NC III. 

Interested skilled graduates, workers or teachers needing the free assessment need to fill up application form available at the Provincial TESDA office, along B. Inting Street near the new City Hall, so the assessments can be set, quipped Damolo. 

Applicants also need to bring 3 pass port sized ID pictures with applicant wearing collared shirt and taken in white background. 

TESDA, through their information officer urges interested applicants for the assessments and certifications to call the TESDA provincial training centers in Poblacion Bilar (535-9080), Cagayan Inabanga (512-9012), Poblacion Jagna (531-8409), Poblacion Pilar (510-8237) and Potohan Tubigon (508-8216). (PIABohol/RAC)

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GSIS extends accepting 
scholarships ‘til June 30 

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol, June 7, (PIA) – More chances are still up for grabs to poor and yet deserving college entrant student siblings of government employees as the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) Scholarship Program is extended until June 30 of this year. 

This as GSIS president and General Manager Robert Vergara approved the extension for the scholarships for school year 2014-2015. 

According to the GSIS, the program opens up opportunities for children of low-income GSIS members to earn a college degree. 

The GSIS is looking at funding 200 student scholarships for this school year, sources at the government insurance system said. 

The scholarship program packs up to P20,000.00 of the actual cost of tuition and miscellaneous fees of the student beneficiary per semester. This also includes a monthly stipend of P2,000.00. 

Qualified for the scholarship are siblings of active GSIS members who have had premium payments in the last six months. 

But these college-entrant students need to be nominated by members who are permanent employees in government, regular GSIS members and keeping at least three years of service. 

The parent members must also be at least keeping a salary grade 24 below or its equivalent job level, and the student applicants are incoming freshmen dependents who are accepted in a 4 or 5 year course or its priority courses as identified by the Commission for Higher Education in a Higher Educational Institution with its own charter. 

Or it may also be a school qualified by the CHED as Level IV and III, which can either be autonomous or deregulated, according to the GSIS. 

For parent nominees, they must submit a duly accomplished form, certificate of employment and for the school where the freshman is enrolled; a certificate that the candidate has been accepted for the school year 2014-2015. 

The GSIS Local Branch Office initially screens the applicants, when the office looks at the applications with complete requirements will be forwarded to the Human Resources Administration Department, Human Resources Office for the GSIS Central Office for evaluation and processing. 

As to GSIS, questions about the scholarship program can be course through GSIS Human Resource Administration Department or call 479-3600 local 3414 or call 976-4870. (PIABohol/RAC)

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P2.3B Bohol quake rehab 
funds to boost local jobs 

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol, June 6, (PIA) –They have trained and achieved the skills necessary for building back a better Bohol, but where are the jobs? 

That question has its answer now as the national government, through Interior and Local Government (ILG) Secretary Mar Roxas and Budget Secretary Butch Abad handed to Bohol leaders some P2,389,494,190.00 forming its share in the Bohol Disaster Rehabilitation Program (BDRP). 

The amount, when the spending starts would jumpstart local employment and keep the recently skills-trained able bodied earthquake victims employed, Sec Roxas hinted during a briefing at the Mansion Friday. 

A few days after the day when the great earthquake rattled Bohol, international, local organizations as well as government skills training agencies switched to relief and rescue operations. Some days more, when clearly there was so much to be done for rebuilding, training for work programs flourished, tapping unskilled yet able bodied earthquake victims for skills trainings and corresponding government certifications. 

Skills trainings offered by the government’s key technical skills development authority include basic carpentry, basic masonry, house-building wiring installation, basic welding, electronics repair and basic engines repair, all in anticipation for the huge rebuilding which would demand the right skills, according to TESDA sources. 

“The possibilities for work in the flurry of rebuilding activities in the towns would be immense,” Roxas told Boholanos gathered at the turn-over of the check. 

At the ceremonial turn-over of the check, SILG Roxas clarified that the amount would largely be used for local infrastructure rehabilitation, based on the figures which Bohol earlier provided. 

The secretary who arrived in Bohol early morning Friday to get to his usual market inspection sortie he took up as former Trade Secretary, explained that the figure was taken from a post disaster needs assessment. 

Earlier in Bohol, local leaders pushed for a damage assessment during the months immediately following the earthquake which left Bohol a nasty pile of rubbles from both public and private infrastructure. 

Governor Edgar Chatto, in his message beamed to local radio stations in Bohol bared that town and provincial engineers got into the grueling task of identifying critical public infrastructure damage and classified them according to degrees of affectation for possible rehabilitation or rebuilding. 

“The sum of all these figures from the towns, which include critical provincial and municipal roads and bridges, government buildings like provincial and town halls, public markets, gymnasiums and cultural centers, schools and day care centers were set in the BDRP,” Chatto claimed. 

Sec Roxas also went on to say that the rehab amount excludes those which the national government channeled through the Public Works department to fix cracked and compromised national highways, bridges and key road infrastructure including ripraps and embankments. 

The amount is also exclusive of the Health department funds which it released separately for government hospitals, rural health units and birthing centers as well as barangay health centers as well as the education department’s school buildings which the earthquake damaged. (PIA Bohol/RAC)

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Gov’t reforestation awards 
Ownership to tree-planters 

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol, June 6, (PIA) –The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) carves a way towards allowing communities some degree of ownership to reforested lands, in a bid to finally make government tree planting projects sustainable. 

Thus revealed Community Environment and Natural Resources Officer (CENRO) for Talibon, Elpidio Palaca, at the recent Kapihan sa PIA in Bohol. 

Here, government and even foreign funded reforestation projects sagged, and authorities noted the lack of community ownership in the project which proved to be the bane. 

DENR reforestation projects often contract communities to plant the trees in timberlands and pay for each tree planted. 

“This scheme,” observers said, “creates a lull in the money earning venture of residents because after they cover the idle patches, there would be no areas to cover.” 

“Unless there is a real need to replant,” they unite in their comments. 

Idle timberlands where government reforestations are done are the same patches of lands used by communities for pasture. 

Here, when the grasses mature and the livestock would have hard feeding times, residents burn entire acres so new shoots could re-grow and younger green grass for pasture would be available. 

The burning would also kill the newly planted seedlings, making the same fields available for another tree-planting contract, according to DENR field men who have noticed the rather recurring burning incidents. 

To make up for the problem, the DENR still contracts communities to plant trees, some of them fruit trees and then issue certificates of Community based Forest Management Agreements (CBFMA), DENR Bohol icon Palaca shared. 

Of the almost 9000 hectares of reforested lands under CENRO Talibon, around 25% are fruit trees, Palaca conveyed during the radio forum on the air set for the Environment Month in June. 

With fruit trees and with CBFMAs acting as tenurial instruments, contract growers issued with the proper documents can use the resources in the area, Palaca asserted. 

Here, he said communities are in the most favorable position to defend and own the plants, knowing that they can even earn from the trees they grow, the aging CENRO added. 

target compared to the wide patches of areas neighboring islands are setting for the National Greening Program, DENR said. (PIABohol/RAC)

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Over delayed core shelter aids 
Bohol hands over house 
ownership certificates 

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol, June 6, (PIA) –If only to assuage the apprehension of Boholano families still awaiting for that long awaited core shelters, Bohol leaders start distributing ownership certificates in lieu of the houses which would be built soon. 

Habitat for Humanity Foundation Project Manager Vince Delector bared this recently as his organization has built only about 10% as yet of the 8,083 core shelters they agreed to build. 

The government and humanitarian shelter groups have promised a Core Shelter Assistance Program: a simple house measuring at least 16x16 meters to 20x20 meters, with tin sheet roof, plywood or reinforced concrete walls, fitted with toilet and sanitation fixtures. 

This should finally settle the victims who have been in temporary living quarters after the earthquake wrecked their houses. 

The government through the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has agreed to partner with Habitat to build the necessary core shelters, full houses that would allow the victims to start off rebuilding their lives. 

The rest of those families needing shelter assistance, international and local humanitarian organizations are responding. 

In the past week, Governor Edgar Chatto led local officials in distributing Certificates of Ownership, to assure earthquake victims with totally damaged houses and those advised to relocate, amidst unforeseen delays in delivering the core shelters. 

While some humanitarian shelter aid groups have fairly completed most of their core shelter aids to Bohol, like Habitat, several organizations are still saddled by difficulties in securing materials, making deliveries and gathering human labor counterparts, Delector said. 

The long delay has somehow unsettled some of the 8,480 victims whose houses were total wrecks after the 7.2 magnitude earthquake shook Bohol October 15. 

Earlier on, if only to respond to the dire need to put up temporary shelters, organizations initially released Emergency Shelter Assistance, in the hopes of helping families secure temporary shelters, while awaiting for the core shelters. 

But the post earthquake construction boom stirred local markets, sending artificial price increases, scarcity and other strains in local construction industry. 

Compounding to that is the unusually high number of on-site builds, owing to lack of government secured lands for socialized housing where builders could easily deliver materials in a common dump. 

“Imagine the trouble of delivering construction materials to different locations all over the 17 towns, some areas inaccessible by transport,” Delector illustrated. 

On this, he instead asked beneficiaries who have not received core shelters as promised, to coordinate with them so they could also help transport the materials from the nearest road access to build sites. 

“Getting additional labor would again entail additional costs,” he voiced out as the government funds only about 70,000 of the government’s CSAP, while Habitat puts up the P17,000 in any form, to complete a house that would be structurally strong and disaster resilient. (PIABohol/RAC)

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Getting to the “core” issue
So, who gets the
“Core shelters?”

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol, June 6, (PIA)—Farmer Roland Suete has 6 young kids. His wife was 8 months pregnant when the fateful 7.2 magnitude earthquake shook his house to near collapse. 

The house is sitting on the hills of Anonang in Inabanga town. It was made of wood and bamboo, dilapidated on some parts, but nevertheless able to protect them from the scorching sun and drenching rain. 

Barely subsisting on farming few patches of arable land in this hostile and arid hillside, sourcing out extra money to get the house fixed was next to impossible. 

Besides, with an additional mouth to feed in the next weeks, the house repair can wait.

Surviving the earthquake and bringing his kids, one by one from the shaking hills to safety was a feat. Seeing his pregnant wife take the leap and survive off the 3 meter uplift now popularly called The Wall was a miracle. 

The earthquake manifested a fault here in Anonang, raising a hill three meters up with a stretch reaching as far as five kilometers, said resident Alberto Bioco, 71. 

Later, Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ Mines and Geo Sciences Bureau authorities advised full evacuation of Suete and a handful of families living near the vicinity of the manifested fault. 

For Roland, that means starting off anew, building from nothing.

Menecia Aparicio said initial help came to Suete in the form of Emergency Shelter Assistance of P3,000 from the International Federation of the Red Cross. 

Immediately, Suete had the money paid for the chainsaw services so he could have the necessary lumber to rebuild on safer grounds.

“He raised the house frames from posts to roof frames using the cash aid, and it is not even enough, he still needs some more lumber to complete the frames,“ Aparicio narrated how Suete went on to get his new house up.

But later inspection by unnamed shelter assisting organizations visiting the barangay was unsettling for the father of six.

“When they saw the newly constructed frame, somebody said Suete has now built a core shelter, and would not anymore qualify for the full shelter aid,” Aparicio, who tends a table selling bread and nibbles to curious locals wanting to see The Wall mumbled. 

“It’s pitifull,” she shared meaning Suete, who planned to just destroy the newly raised structure, so he could get a full shelter.

“Unless an earthquake victim whose house was a total wreck during the earthquake, he should get core shelter assistance,” presses Almira Alidon, Capitol shelter cluster coordinator, in separate interviews. 

For partially wrecked houses, organizations into shelter support came in, some giving basic tents, emergency house repair kits, others in the form of cash emergency shelter assistance (ESA), 

“There were ESA given previously, but these were to temporarily make emergency shelters while the victims need a place to be safe from the elements,” she explained. 

As to the case of Suete, it was entirely different.

He did not have a totally wrecked house, but it has to be abandoned for safety. The ESA that he got then, must be understood not as core shelter, observers cited. 

Now still wondering what to do to get a shelter for his kids and a nursing wife, Roland may have to see the Municipal Grievance Committee headed by Mayor Josephine Socorro Jumamoy to be clarified. 

For Roland and still some unaccounted earthquake victims who deserve to be given their due, getting the right information could mean finally finding a place to lie down and think of a way to regain the lives the earthquake took from them. (PIABohol/RAC)

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Habitat defends bamboo
needs from beneficiaries

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol, June 6, (PIA) – The organization tasked by the government to deliver the more than 8,000 core shelters for earthquake victims in Bohol defends its recent decision to demand from beneficiaries a bamboo slat counterparts. 

Vince Delector, Habitat for Humanity Project Manager, in a radio interview pleaded for understanding from Boholano beneficiaries of the government Core Shelter Assistance Program (CSAP) for the additional bamboo slats as construction material counterpart.

The original Habitat design was for the core shelters to have environmentally friendly bamboo slatted walls reinforced with concrete palisade which levels with the windows bottom, Delector pointed out. 

This however was not the ultimate protection against the rains which could seep into the woven bamboo slats (sigkat/siklat), he added. 

It may be recalled that the government signed an understanding with Habitat to build Bohol’s 8,083 core shelters which the government gives to victims whose houses were totally destroyed by the earthquake.

Habitat had the winning design in its core shelters, but it recently realized that the rainy season impacts so much on the protection the house could afford its occupants.

To solve this, Habitat now thinks reinforcing the bamboo slats with cement to the rafters would insulate the house from the rains, so that they reintegrated the reinforcements to the bamboo slatted walls.

The resulting product is a wall that resembled full concrete poured wall, which stops the rain water from getting into the house, but in essence, it’s just one with a bamboo framework, Delector explained. 

The additional reinforcing also compels builders to readjust budgets to accommodate more cement used. This also impacts on the cost of the entire core shelter unit. 

And just as bamboo is easier to source out over cement, Habitat has asked mayors and beneficiaries to shoulder the bamboo slats on top of its labor counterparts for the building. 

The government through the DSWD and local governments fund P70,000 for the core shelters while Habitat puts up the additional P18,000 in cash, labor, trainings and other measures to make the new owner beneficiaries sustain their occupancy of the shelter. (PIABohol/RAC)

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