Monday, September 28, 2015

RDC pushes for DPWH feasibility 
Studies on 3 new Bohol bridges

TAGBILARAN CITY, September 26 [PIA]—Three bridges which would be crucial in Bohol islands integrated development are now being endorsed by the Regional Development Council [RDC] for feasibility study by the Department of Public Works and Highways [DPWH]. 

This too as the Provincial Development Council in Bohol, through its executive committee meeting on June 15 resolution 38, 39 and 42 endorsing to the RDC and the DPWH the conduct of feasibility studies for the construction of Tagbilaran City to Panglao Island bridge, President Carlos P. Garcia to Ubay bridge and Bien Unido to Talibon bridge. 

Panglao, a major tourist destination in Bohol and the site of the new and still constructed Bohol Airport can be accessed by land transport now, via its two bridges: Borja bridge in Junction Mansasa and Castil linking Poblacion Ubos to Totolan Dauis.

As population in the two tonws in Panglao island continues to increase by 3.3% from 2007-2010, the projected influx of tourists and visitors with the full operation of Bohol Airport is projected to bring in business and economic activities in the island.

A recent DPWH traffic count survey showed that the annual average daily traffic along Panglao and Dauis junction increased by 50% from 2455 vehicles in 2008 to 11,897 in 2012.

At this rate, the existing bridges in Panglao to Tagbilaran will be rendered inadequate to accommodate the projected increase in traffic volume to and from Panglao to Tagbilaran.

For this, the construction of a new bridge is now considered a viable option to improve traffic inter-connectivity between Panglao Island to Tagbilaran City, according to the RDC. 

Meanwhile, northeast of Bohol sits another island town President Carlos P. Garcia, whose main mode of transportation is motorized bancas to Ubay, its nearest town.

Not only is the existing transport system expensive, it is also risky and the erratic schedules result in huge business losses, leaving the island under developed and its residents being left behind in Bohol’s growth. 

Local leaders believe connecting the two towns will not only spur economic development due to growths in commerce and trade, agriculture and tourism, it will also generate the necessary employment of locals and improve delivery of basic services in the island. 

On the other hand, second district towns Talibon and Bien Unido are separated from each other by Talibon Bay. 

Talibon, notably the district’s commercial hub is about a few kilometers of air distance from Bien Unido but with the bay, residents have to go through a network of national and provincial roads with a combined length of 18.70 kilometers.

The proposed bridge would effectively shorten the distance, cut travel time and boost economic activities in the regions of San Isidro Talibon to Nueva Estrella in Bien Unido, where the proposed bridge would jump off. 

The proposed construction of the three mentioned bridges requires the conduct of feasibility studies to include engineering design, traffic study, comparative alignment study, exploration of alternative routes and transport analysis among others, according to the RDC endorsement to the public infrastructure agency. 

The conduct of the feasibility study to support the construction of these bridges would also be consistent with the DPWH policy direction of promoting strategic tourism support infrastructure in coordination with other infrastructure agencies and LGUS and enhance major thoroughfares to improve traffic and safety situation sin urban centers and tourist destinations. 

Along this line, the RDC, headed by Bohol Governor Edgar Chatto pushed for the conduct of the feasibility studies on the 

mentioned bridges. (rac/PIA-7Bohol)

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RDC-7 endorses P98M Bohol 
Youth Home for funding aid

TAGBILARAN CITY, Sept 25 [PIA]—The Regional Development Council [RDC] in Central Visayas [CV] endorses the P98.78 Bohol Youth Home [BYH] to funding institutions as the need for a provincial rehabilitation center for juvenile offenders and children in conflict with the law [CICL] pops up. 

At the 3rd Quarter RDC full council meeting in San Juan Siquijor, September 24, Bohol private sector representative Panfilo Asares presented the proposal as he points out that the cases of juveniles and CICL in Bohol have steadily increased through the years. 

He added that very little intervention has been done because of the absence of such facility to hose these children, resulting in children languishing in jail with adult criminals or released back to the community without undergoing diversion programs as provided by law. 

Over this, Asares said Bohol Development Council passed a resolution endorsing to the RDC for the establishment of the BYH for possible funding by the Department of Social Welfare and Development [DSWD], Department of Justice and other funding institutions. 

The proposed rehabilitation center aims to provide a gender-sensitive facility which will offer protective, rehabilitative and legal care services to admitted juvenile delinquents and CICL and entails the construction of a residential shelter facility which will open for 50 wards in a remote government property in Zamora Bilar, Bohol. 

The project site however needs to be placed under a geo-technical assessment to ensure that the proposed structures to be constructed are safe from natural disasters, especially with Bohol’s sub base being limestone. 

The facility targets to serve delinquent children who are first time offenders, recidivists, 9-15 years old without court cases, 16-18 years old CICL with no parents or relatives to come home to while under assessment or discernment and youths who have committed penal code offenses needing immediate protection from a high risk and unsafe environment while undergoing rehabilitation, according to Bohol PDC. 

The facility, which is now pegged at P96.78 million will have a fully developed site, male and female cottages, multi-purpose centers, open courts for sports activities, administration building, kitchen and mess hall, outdoor stage, drive ways, walkways, ample parking space, perimeter fence, worship area and staff house. 

Asares also disclosed that the facility is complaint with international and national laws, instruments and policies such as the 1985 UN standard minimum rules for the administration of juvenile justice, 1989 UN convention for the Rights of the Child, 1990 UN rules for the protection of juveniles deprived of their liberties, 1990 guidelines for the prevention of juvenile delinquency, the Philippine Constitutions section 13, article 2, 1974 presidential decree or the Child and Youth Welfare Code and the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act of 2006.

BYH operation would be Provincial Government-managed through the Office of the Provincial Welfare and Development, with the technical assistance of the DSWD owing to Bohol’s lack of capability in undertaking the necessary social services. Similarly, the OPSWD would also be needing the DOJ will also be needed in the facilitation of the disposition of cases of youthful offenders. [rac/PIA-/Bohol]

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Group raises by-catch
concerns on lambaklad

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol, September 6, (PIA) –Lambaklad, that supersized fish corral which the government showcases as a passive fishing device in the municipal waters of Candijay, also corrals concerns that marine environmentalists have raised.

The concern of marine protectors at www.saveourseas.com: lambaklads elsewhere in the country have caught huge schools of pelagic fish, and endangered marine mammals that have been declared protected. 

In Candijay, Bohol, where a lambaklad stretches amidst a known route for migrating fish, the concern becomes even more real as that same place is a known path for migrating endangered and protected species: shale sharks, whales, dolphins, manta and mobula rays.

Moreover, within the vicinity of the same seas, pass the critically threatened leatherback turtles, which have been sighted nesting in Cogtong Bay. 

Set up by the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) as a showcase of environment friendly fishing owing to its nature as a drift corral, the lambaklad, according to Governor Edgar Chatto may solve Bohol’s depleting fish supply. 

Market observers have said that the decreasing supply of fish in the market, has pushed the prices up, making Bohol fish prices notoriously high in the region. 

And, a few days after completely installing the fish corral in the municipal waters of Candijay, the lambaklad proved it can catch a huge amount of commercial fish. 

The lambaklad, a passive fish corral installed in the open seas and identified navigation paths of pelagic fishes like tuna and mackerel, proved effective when it caught over 8 tons of large fish in a day, says BFAR Bohol fishery officer Leo Bongalos.

After that however, BFAR said the catch has also dwindled to half a ton and less, Bongalos added. 

But, owing to the nature of the fish corral, which spreads a wall of nets to distances over 300 meters from the center, any fish hitting the nets would be ushered into the lambaklad holding pens where the fish has no way of swimming out. 

This similarly concern marine mammal protection groups noting that dolphins, whales and whale sharks also frequent areas and routes where fish feed or pass. 

A congregation of large number of fish feeding, also attracts dolphins, whales, manta rays and mobula rays as they would also feed. 

Similar incidents of marine mammal entanglements have also been documented with the use of drift nets in the Mindanao sea. 

When it happens, these protected animals, risk getting entangled in the supersized corral. 

In their website, saveourseas.com, marine environmentalists looking at the lambaklad in Antique have recorded incidents of whale sharks and sea turtle by-catch.

A group of marine biologists is now studying and gathering data of lambaklad by-catch in efforts to craft ways to prevent marine mammal entanglements and harm of protected marine species. (rac/PIA-7/Bohol)

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RDC gears for seamless travel 
from Mactan airport to Bohol 

SAN JUAN, SIQUIJOR, Sept 24 (PIA)--If you happened to be among the people inconvenienced by the far-from-seamless airport to port transfer in Mactan Cebu to Bohol, then this might be good news.

The Regional Development Council 7 (RDC-7) is now laying the ground works for a High Quality Public Transport System (HQPTS) as an airport-to-port seamless travel connectivity that will make the long nagging hassle of airport transfer a thing of the past.

HQPTS would deploy high quality buses that could interface with the existing Cebu traffic and the proposed Cebu Bus Rapid Transit [BRT] System. In fact, it was already franchises for 77 bus units to ply identified routes. 

HQPTS would accordingly be a precursor of a BRT System complete with bus stops and stations, electronic card-based fare collection system using modern air-conditioned and low platform design friendly for persons with disabilities, using state of the art Euro-5 emission compliant diesel engines, which is also hoped top jumpstart the adoption of Euro-4 emission compliant engines and fuels in the country. 

While this may not be an all-good solution to the mess in Bohol’s dream of reclaiming its space in Central Visayas top destination, the transport component solves over half of the hassle. 

Earlier, Panglao resort-owners, have been apprehensive because catering to international guests appear to be a challenge to them, especially now that the dreamt Panglao Airport appears too far to be hoped for.

David Baile, a Briton owner of Alona Citadel in Panglao said his guests tell him it is tough to book to Bohol. 

Apart from no online booking for ferries in Bohol which would have facilitated a tourist’s seamless travel, he would see that he could be left fending for himself and his family scouring for a transport that could bring him to the pier to Bohol. 

Baile has aired apprehensions of Cebu getting a taxi and the inconveniences it could offer: overcharging, luggage loss and limited shuttle space for large groups. 

The problem is even complicated by the fact that as he is dropped at the port terminal building, he has to take the queue of regular passengers to Bohol to obtain a ticket. 

Ferry ticket booths also happen to be outside the port, which leaves him leaving his luggage, risking untoward incidents. 

Through RDC resolution 36 series of series of 2014, the RDC requested Mactan-Cebu International Airport Authority [MCIAA] to allow shuttle service operators to provide land transfer service from the airport to Cebu seaports for seamless travel connectivity. 

RDC Economic Development Committee worked on the proposed airport-port seamless travel connectivity with the HQPTS and met with MCIAA, Cebu Port Authority to discuss the details of the land transfer concern and looked into the cooperation of SM Prime Holdings which earlier planned to field buses taking the Mactan International Airport. 

On this, the RDC has reviewed LGU traffic synchronization and bus stations and stops while SM Prime Holdings has secured permits for moving trees that would be affected in identified bus stations, and the use of certain road right of way sections as terminals. 

RDC then passed another resolution, no 27 [2015] requesting the Department of Environment and Natural Resources Central Office to speed up the issuance of tree permit relocations for those affected by the HQPTS. [rac/pia-/Bohol]

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Bohol remains in 3rd spot
as region gets 1.7 tourists

SAN JUAN, Siquijor, September 24, (PIA) –Regional tourism capital and eco-tourism destination Bohol remains at the third spot in tourism arrivals in Central Visayas, data from the Regional Development Council 7 [RDC-7] showed. 

In its September 24 full council meeting at the Cocogrove Beach Resort in San Juan Siquijor, National Economic Development Authority [NEDA-7] Regional Director Efren Carreon reported the tourist arrivals whish showed Cebu leading the region’s tourism arrival hubs with Cebu, Negros Oriental, Bohol and Siquijor they are rated. 

Cebu posts 1,321,632 local and foreign tourists while Negros Oriental had 250,404 while Bohol keeps a close third to Negros Oriental at 201,133 while Siquijor improves its 2014 record further with 23,430 this early in September. 

Bohol tourism officials however think the numbers could be untrue and insists that if local resort owners and night accommodations are honest in their reports, Bohol tourists would be more than that. 

Some resorts and night accommodations are uncooperative, fearing that the data would be used against them for taxation purposes, Bohol Tourism Officer Josephine Cabarrus once was quoted as saying. 

The NEDA data, which it culled from the Department of Tourism [DOT] through Regional Director Rowena Lu Montecillo also followed guidelines which may not be as beneficial to the count of steady tourists coming in to Bohol for a day tour. 

DOT accordingly counts only the tourists staying in a place for a minimum of an overnight stay, while the thousands of day-tourists coming to Bohol could not be included in the count.

This too as central Visayas pegged 21.8% tourism arrivals this 2015 at 1,796,511, from its 1,474,926 data in 2014.

Carreon, in his regional economic situationer in the Visayas pointed out that the region saw an astounding increase at 185.6% increase in foreign travelers to the region from 239,770 in 2014 to 682,759.

Also, domestic travelers to the region slumped at 9.9% from its pegged 11.6 in 2013-2014 accomplishment.

Meanwhile, tourism industry observers in Bohol point out that when Bohol topped in tourism arrivals in Central Visayas, it was because Bohol had direct flights from Manila to Tagbilaran to Manila, where thousands of tourists come in without getting past Cebu. 

Now, owing to Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines’ one plane on the tarmac policy considering risks, implemented here, Bohol could only get a maximum of 5 flights. 

The Provincial Government has pushed for the Department of Transportation and Communication funding to put up an emergency runway in Tagbilaran, so any plane landing could momentarily “hide” when another airplane readies for take-off. 

The project however has posted negative slippages when local officials assured that contractors have vowed to make the emergency apron ready by July 2015.

Now, emergency apron project engineers said they may not be able to complete the project until end of October, further delaying the scheduling of more plane flights to Bohol. 

Another hope for Bohol, the Panglao Airport has yet to show substantial accomplishments, even as the elections are coming and may disrupt the normal processes in government, further delaying the setting up of tourists access to Bohol. [rac/PIA-7/Bohol]

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RDC endorses Bohol ARCs to 
P10.1 B DAR’s IPAC Project

SAN JUAN, SIQUIJOR, September 24 (PIA) –The Central Visayas Regional Development Council-7 (RDC-7) endorses to the Department of Agrarian Reform [DAR] Secretary, the inclusion of Bohol, Cebu and conditionally, Negros Oriental Agrarian Reform Communities [ARC] clusters in the agency’s nationwide Inclusive Partnership for Agrarian Competitiveness [IPAC] Project.

Negros Oriental has however only its Provincial Development Council Economic Development Committee endorsement for its intention to ne in the IPAC list, where a full RDC council endorsement is needed. 

In its meeting September 24 here, the RDC secretariat informed members that Provincial Development Councils of Bohol, Cebu and recently, Negros Oriental have endorsed their respective intentions to get to the IPAC to help support the government’s thrust to reduce poverty, enhance food security and promote agribusiness development. 

In Bohol, the PDC execom identified three ARC clusters: APCSSD [Alicia, Pilar, Carmen, Sierra Bullones, San Miguel, Dagohoy], CABATUAN [Catigbian, Balilihan, Tubigon, Antequera and San Isidro] and BIBADILL [Bilar, Batuan, Dimiao, Loboc, Loay], all selected on two parameters: magnitude of ARBs and poor population.

In Cebu, its PDC also favorably endorsed the clusters of PABC [Pinamungahan, Aloguinsan, Barili and Carcar].

As for Negros Oriental, PDC economic Committee through resolution [2015] requested for RDC endorsemenrts for BAYBASTAC [Bayawan, Basay and Sta. Catalina] pleading for topmost priority in the IPAC national funding considering that Negros Oriental is among the top ten poorest provinces based on the latest survey of the University of the Philippines National College of Public Administration and Governance. 

As such, its IPAC inclusion aims to increase rice production by 20%, significantly contribute to Bohol’s vegetable production, strengthen farmers’ associations and provide technology improvement to over 5,000 ARBs. 

Moreover, the Bohol PDC believes the inclusion of these clusters from IPAC uplifts the lives of ARBS and their families, contribute to the uplift for the province’s development priority of ensuring food security and inclusive growth. 

Conceptualized in 2010 as an Agrarian Reform Community Connectivity Development Project, and the Gearing Rural Organizations for Wealth Creation Towards Household Income Improvement, the project soon picked IPAC to reflect on the projects emphasis on enabling farmers and their respective organizations to participate in the market through sustainable partnerships with the private sector. 

IPAC covers 50 ARC clusters in 44 provinces across 14 regions and is funded by the P10.15 billion, which would be running from 2016-2020.

IPAC envisions, to increase by 15% average real net farm incomes, 50% or agri-enterprises supported and 30,000 jobs remain viable even after project implementation.

IPAC accordingly, would be implemented in 3 inter-related components which include support services for enhanced market linkages; which provides capacity building activities to improve technical know-how of small holder farmers and organizations, enhance land tenure services and provide rural infrastructure to improve productivity, accessibility and connectivity. 

For Investments in Productive Partnerships component, IPAC aims to kick-start and boost economic growth in the country-side by enhancing the linkages of farmer organizations to viable markets and establishing productive partnerships with relevant private enterprises engaged in agri-business-related activities and the project management monitoring and evaluation component.

As such, DAR leads in the implementation in cooperation with relevant agencies like the Department of Agriculture, Department of Trade and Industry, Department of Public Works and Highways, National Irrigation Administration, Local Government Units and State Colleges and Universities. 

DAR also engages the private sector, non government organizations, networks and federation of farmer organizations, in the delivery of extension and business development services, conduct of feasibility studies as well as the commissioning of consultants and experts in the conduct of policy studies under the IPAC. [rac/pia-/Bohol] 

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Trinidad mainstreams 
Eco-transport e-bikes 

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol, September 24, (PIA)—Tagbilaran City may be big and populous, but if all its environment friendly transport technologies are counted, chances are, a town beats it in the most number of electric bikes (e-bikes). 

Trinidad, a town north of Tagbilaran, is now a showcase of clean transport technology with the silent and energy efficient small e-bikes plying on their streets. 

We wanted to contribute in our little way, to help mother nature and reduce carbon emissions, but we thought the move would be costly, confesses Mayor Judith Cajes, whose administration has allocated over P13 million for the town’s programs that aim to lessen the effects of global warming. 

With the fund focused on the National Greening Program, Ecological Solid Waste Management (ESWM), Upland and Coastal Natural Resource Management Project and the construction of a residual Containment Area for their Materials Recovery facility, the local leaders under Mayor Cajes and Vice Mayor Frank Gonzales sought for more ways to concretize their steps towards environmental management. 

Already cash strapped owing to the numerous priorities that the town is looking at, going for more expensive technologies was just a dream, also admits Jojeline Buendia, secretary to the mayor and town information officer. 

But, somehow, we have to do and contribute in our little ways, in the movement to reduce pollution, Buendia added. 

The town’s lack of capital however was solved when a private investor offered to the town the patronization of its line of e-bikes. 

Racal Motors, whose owners are our friends, offered us to test their e-bikes, and considering a good investment option for our employees cooperative, we accepted the offer, Mayor Cajes shared. 

They shipped us about 60 e-bikes, which we offered for credit for our local employees at very low monthly amortizations, Cajes, who is the town’s first lady mayor after 68 years, noted. 

Now, we have less than 10 e-bikes available for credit by our employees, according to Mayor Cajes. 

Silent and small, but sturdy and efficient, the e-bikes can carry a load of two and one complete battery charging to run its motors, would get you close to 100 kilometers, an e-bike owner shared. 

For his bike, he charges it overnight. 

Now becoming iconic in the streets of the town, their e-bikes ply the otherwise noisy streets, Trinidad being at the crossroads. 

We are thankful to our private partners for this public-private partnership, which we can showcase to our kids, while teaching them why electric is a cleaner energy over fossil fuels, the mayor said. 

Also, the town implements “Munting Basura, Ibulsa,” so as to popularize a personal garbage disposal habit that the town hopes to complement their Sticker campaign which has drastically reduced the garbage volume of the town. (rac/PIA-7/Bohol)

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