Monday, March 13, 2017

PO2 Arlene Manatad:
One, only woman SWAT

TAGBILARAN CITY, March 11, (PIA)—So what’s with a woman in the elite police force?

There must have something that toughened this frail girl in a brood of four from a remote barangay in Buenavista, Bohol to let her squeeze through hardships as they fall one by one the moment she wears the bulletproof vest of prayer and determination. 

The name Arlene Manatad is just like any ordinary Boholano name. 

At 27, and a single parent to an 8 year old girl, this innocent looking face and disarming smile is a woman’s taser. But her normal build masks a core toughness that makes Arlene Manatad a name whispered among the elites of Bohol police force. 

She has just crossed over the fence of the frail woman image to be honored as the first and only woman member of the elite police Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team in Bohol. 

Said to be the toughest test of physical fitness and agility, mental and spiritual strength among elite police officer’s trainings, SWAT commissioning have been notoriously called the most physically rigorous and mentally straining activity for 77 days of police life. 

But for Police Officer 2 Manatad, the pain and the strain are just hurdles towards her determined goal to bring the woman earn its rightful equal footing, with the men. 

Born on June 4, 1989 as the youngest in a brood of four, three of them boys, Arlene traces her playgrounds in remote barangay in Lusong, Buenavista town. Their father works as the barangay captian and sallies back and forth with works at the National Grid Corporation while her mother does the child rearing and the housework. 

For her, being alone to fend off for herself is never new: she has to walk from her barangay to the nearby elementary school in Lubang, and to stay in a boarding house in Getafe for her secondary schools. By the time she was ripe for college, she opted to sail across to Cebu and studied Bachelor of Science major in Criminology at the University of Cebu. Alone. 

A class mate in college, whom she would have to be forced to marry, got her pregnant. Four days after her marriage, her husband left them and would show up again later in her life.

When ladies of less temper would have surrendered to the bad fate, she continued her school while nursing the baby and keeping them eating square meals in economically challenging Cebu. 

By December 1, 2010, she was accepted in the police force after passing the board, at that time, her estranged husband showed up to seek favors, but having survived after he abandoned them, she has had enough. 

Her first assignment was at the Cebu Provincial Police Office, but desk work bores her that she decided to barge into the world of men in the police force: the Regional Public Safety Battalion. 

There she showed what a woman can do in a world dominated by testosterone: become intelligence chief among Alpha ones. 

To prove she still has a fight left in her, she jumped into the chance to train into the anti-insurgency police force: the PNP Scouts.

Along with 2000 at the trainings, Arlene was said to be the youngest but was the source of inspiration among women in the training camp. 

“I was the youngest but I hand to be the mother taking care of the women who feel too tired to go on,” she beamed. 

For that, she said she felt lucky to be among the 264 police officers accepted.

And that plus her precise operational skills endeared her to the elder SWAT: she was often borrowed to infiltrate anti-drug and anti- crime ring operations. 

After completing years of meritorious service for Cebu, PO2 Arlene requested for transfer, where the SWAT and RPSB take turns using her skill and intelligence gathering skills in operations, enough to push her to finally officially join the SWAT training in Bohol. 

Of the 4 women in the 72 who started training in November, PO2 Manatad flew through the hurdles, grimacing but the pain paid off when she finished among the top ten in a graduating class of 64. 

“The training was hard but what was harder was when my father left us and my mother for another woman in 2012,” she bared.

But, if it had to happen, it should, she finally hinted. 

Already whetted by the abrasive stones of trails, the acid test of endurance in trainings and the firm resolve to fight it out; nails and teeth, when life hands a dirty deal, living as a woman, mother and a crime-buster for PO2 Arlene Manatad has always been a multi-tasking feat. 

“Of course, life is tough, she hints, but with the playing fields now expanding for women to get on the arena, all one needs is to commit to the tasks at hand and never give up,” she advised. 

“As women, we should never be afraid to stand for our rights,” she stressed. 

We are not alone. We have agencies that are there to help us, she capped.

That statement etched an image in our minds, “fix eyes to the target, breathe, relax, aim and shoot.”

It could have been PO2 Manatad’s unspoken motto. 

She is an undisputed sharpshooter, co SWAT graduates proudly told us. (rac/PIA-7/Bohol)
Fixing the eyes to the crosshairs, breathe, relax, aim, squeeze and shoot. PO2 Arlene Manatad shares what being a woman is in a world brimming with testosterone. (rac/PIA-7/Bohol)

New building marks start of
new Cortes says Mayor Iven

CORTES, Bohol, March 7 (PIA)—With resolve, Cortes Mayor Lynn Iven Lim declared the new Cortes Police Station as the beginning of a new Cortes. 

Lim, who assumed his first term on office as Cortes top executive inherited a town that has hardly changed its economic landscape.

In fact, if only to show how bad it is, wild vines are slowly retaking the abandoned town hall and ugly piles of rubbles from its crumbling centuries-old stone church are still evident in the town plaza. 

The past earthquake in 2013 has pulled back all the town efforts and set its economic plans decades back. 

Faced with the daunting task of rebuilding and restoring its earthquake damaged infrastructure, Cortes was lucky to have gotten funds from Bohol Earthquake Assistance funds. 

BEA is a national government stimulus funds to help local governments jumpstart its rehabilitation programs. 

For Cortes, a history of bad fiscal management has hampered the release of the funds, sources said. 

This also incapacitated the newly elected local officials from implementing their rehabilitation funds.

Until a lot donation in 1989 has allowed the town to see the Philippine National Police erect its P4.87 million three-storey police station, which Police Regional Director PCSupt Noli Taliño turned over last week. 

“This is the first public building built after the earthquake. This new building, let this be the new beginning, the start of the new Cortes,” Lim who has to do a crash course as chief executive said. 

Barely eight months in his post as mayor, Lim has had a long stint as councilor and vice mayor. 

This time, making sure that BEA which the town receives is freed so that it can be implemented, is the priority of the local leadership, a trusted aide of the mayor said. 

At the turn-over ceremonies, Lim also informed everyone present that after a long wait, the P65million Cortes Waterworks Rehabilitation is set to be implemented within the week. 

“The contract has been awarded and the contractor has visited the office to inform us that they would start mobilization next week,” Lim narrated. 

The earthquake has damaged much of the Cortes Waterworks pipelines, including major reservoirs and has buried a major submersible pump to decommissioning. 

The mayor believes that a restored municipal waterworks, coupled with a stable peace and order would jumpstart the economic progress of the town. 

Moreover, the mayor, who is now forced to occupy a makeshift office with the municipal hall declared as unfit for occupation, announced the ongoing construction of the new town hall. 

We have the town hall relocated to Malayo Norte, where the new regional hospital is to rise, the provincial government has 24 hectares of lot there and 12 hectares has been apportioned to the hospital. 

We also got 6,000 square meters for the municipal hall where we got P31 million BEA funds, he shared. 

“The construction in now ongoing, at about 40%, and we talked to the contractors who promised to finish it by the middle of 2017. We however believe it would be completed by the last quarter,” the mayor said. 

With this, the Lim administration should have at least three major accomplishments to boost the town’s dream of getting ready for the impending crawl of the metropolis that would quickly engulf Cortes should the hospital start its operations. (rac/PIA-7/Bohol)
Cortes Mayor Lynn Iven Lim receives the key symbolizing the official turnover of the responsibilities in the upkeep of the P4.87 million police station in the town. Cortes LGU reportedly would furnish the new police station, according to Cortes OIC chief SPO4 Josue Lungog . (rac/PIA-7/Bohol) 

Fire Prevention Month tip:
Don't leave your phones to 
overcharge, says the BFP

TAGBILARAN CITY, March 6 (PIA)—For those who the habit of unattended charging, fire fighters have a few words: "Anything used in excess is bad." 

Overcharging gadgets and appliances for example, said Deputy Provincial Fire Marshal Fire Inspector Romeo Almiñe has caused so much fires already. 

Stressing the need for attention when charging at the weekly Kapihan sa PIA, FInspector Almiñe also dished out information bits in line with March as Fire Prevention Month. 

Overcharging chargers are usually low class, these should not be left alone unattended as these are prone to short circuit. 

Short circuits generate spark needed to ignite anything combustible nearby, he added, generating even more comment from no less than the city fire marshal. 

City Fire marshal Fire Chief Inspector Randy Mendaros went on saying, "like any other gadgets, they have owner's manuals to guide customers proper care, you just have to follow them."

At the onset of fires generated by over-charged mobile phones, both fire fighters advise: better make sure you get products with the Import Commodity Clearance (ICC) mark. 

The ICC mark assures customers that the product passed through the rigorous tests by the Bureau of product standards of the Department of Trade and Industry. 

This mark also assures that the product can perform as expected, but not abused, fire fighters reminded. 

The Bureau of Fire Protection has been doing rounds in the communities, but FCInspector Mendaros admitted, it is barely enough. 

This year's fore prevention month picks on the theme: Value Life and Property, Start Fire Prevention in the Family.

Faced with a daunting task of bringing fire prevention information to the grassroots, BFP Bohol said they have barely enough men to do the job of awareness. 

But that is not stopping them, asserted the firefighters who have brought their information to the roving government caravans all over Bohol. 

HEAT IT Bohol has been a regular venue for the BFP to advertize and campaign for availment of its services, Almiñe said. 

We even brought the campaign for household prevention to the schools, thinking that the kids might be the perfect persons to convince their parents on fire consciousness, FChiefInspector Mendaros added. 

A simple habit of unplugging appliances or gadgets when they are not in use, and going for simple energy conservation tips also work for us, Castilla, in a talk also interjected. 

This develops even as BFP Bohol still relentlessly pushes for the establishment of fire stations in 12 more towns. 

About 35 towns in Bohol now have already established fire fighter base stations, adds Fire Officer 3 Sircio Castilla at the forum. (rac/PIA-7/Bohol)
You save your life and property and you can save on your power costs when you unplug your appliances and gadgets when these are not in use, share the Bureau of Fire Protection at the recent Kapihan sa PIA. (ECB/PIA-7/Bohol)

Police adopt parameters for 
antidrug enforcement teams 

TAGBILARAN CITY, March 9 (PIA)—They are back, and while there are stricter parameters for police participation in the government's anti drug campaign, they come in with a new tenacity. 

Now reinforced with the 64 newly graduated members of the Police and the military's Special Weapons And Tactics (SWAT), the Philippine National Police again rejoins the fray with a resolve: erase the vile left by rogue cops using the drug raids to mask their corruption. 

PNP Central Visayas Chief PCSuperintendent Noli Taliño told media that when the police rejoin the anti-drug campaign, those involved would he a team of disciplined and police with a good track service record. 

This as the police resume their tasks in the anti illegal drugs campaign with the return of Oplan Double Barrel Alpha Reloaded. 

"Unlike then, not all the police in the force can now join the drive," General Taliño bared during the recent turn-over of the P4.87 million modern police station in Cortes.

Even Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Mike Sueño admitted that when the government started the anti drugs drive, they just accepted those who volunteered, without going for a background investigation.

"That is where we allowed the bad elements to contaminate the program, Sueño candidly admitted during a forum with barangay chairmen in Bohol last month.

Determined not to fall into that same trap, the PNP organization firms up the national Drug Enforcement Unit, PCSupt Taliño, upon which his office also draws guidance from the DILG during operations. 

The provinces also form their Provincial Drug Enforcement Team (DET), and so would the towns firm up their Municipal DETs, CSupt. Taliño explained further. 

Those who constitute the DETs would be going past a rigorous personality check and background information to make sure they are fit and can be trusted, hinted the police chief for Central Visayas.

He said everyone would be placed under investigation, before getting admitted to run the government anti drug drive in their areas.

Even then, these DETS would still need to coordinate their operations with the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA). 

The PDEA is the government agency primarily tasked to head the government anti drug campaign. 

Drug operations, like then would need a barangay official, a priest, imam, pastor or any leader of a religious sect in the area, as witnesses. 

And to get past that, in its efforts to internally cleanse its organization, the regional chief said they did random drug tests to its 8,000 officers and men in the region, including its non-uniformed personnel.

At the random drug tests, 9 tested positive and are now facing summary dismissal proceedings, he told the modest crowd gathered at the turn-over. 

"If found to be truly guilty, I am sure they would be dismissed," he sternly declared. 

On their return to rejoin the drug war, he urged his men: Let's restore the good support given to us, with a good service."(rac/PIA-7/Bohol)
Double Barrel Alpha Reloaded gets its confirmed resumption when PNP Regional Director PCSupt Noli Taliño announced it in Cortes during the recent turn-over of the new police station. Taliño said they will be back, but it would be via a disciplined team of credible officers passing a rigorous test of honesty and courage. (rac/PIA-7/Bohol)

PCSupt Taliño turns over
P4.87 M Cortes station

CORTES, Bohol March 8 (PIA)--Central Visayas regional Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief General Noli Taliño led police and local government officials in the inauguration and turn-over of the P4.87 million three-storey Cortes Police Station, March 8. 

Accompanied by Regional Deputy Director for Logistics PSupt. Pedrillo Villlamor Jr, Bohol Police Chief PSSupt Felipe Natividad, Police Regional Chief for engineering PSinspector Jason Gutierrez, regional and provincial office staff, PCSupt. Taliño openly beamed his appreciation for the Cortes local officials led by Mayor Lynn Ivenn Lim for the support. 

"With the lot donation, the only PNP requirement for the setting up of the fund for the building, we have this to show," the regional chief said, referring to the iconic blue and white police station building. 

"This is part of the police transformation program which CPNP General Conrado Lomibao initiated and put in the funds so the PNP can have separate police stations," Taliño explained. 

He said the PNP minimum lot donation is 400 square meters, and the donation would not go to the PNP, it still belongs to the town. 

"We just make sure that it is the PNP which uses the building," he added. 

Cortes Parish Priest Roderick Pizarras officiated the blessing which was also attended by local advisory council members and town constituents. 

Although seemingly getting to be credited by the accomplishment, Cortes mayor Lim also insisted that the success also goes to the past leaders and the Sangguniang Bayan members led by Vice Mayor Leo Pabotoy. 

He told the crowd that it was during the incumbency of then Mayor Leo Pabotoy when the lot donation happened in 1989. 

Lim said he was still a councilor then. 

When then police inspector Lamberto Hibaya resurrected the plan to build a station, and asked for a donation, all he did was ask the secretary of the council to dig the records, the mayor narrated. 

Cortes donated the lot of which the National Government through the Philippine National Police and its Regional Office implemented the P4.87 million structure. 

The building incorporates detention cells for male and female inmates, offices for Women and Children, Admin and Operations, Chief of Station, officers quarters, radio room, and an open space for conferences at the third floor. 

Built according to the standards followed by the PNP for their buildings, the new structure, according to Mayor Lim, is the first public building built in Cortes during his term.

PCSupt Taliño also thanked the Mayor over local reports that the Cortes leadership intends to purchase furniture and fixtures to the new building which the government fully funded. 

Cortes Officer in Charge SPO4 Josue Lungog along with PCSupt Taliño signed the acceptance documents even as Mayor Lim received the symbolic key to the infrastructure. 

Upon receiving the key, Mayor Lim stressed his gratefulness to the PNP stressing the key role of the police in maintaining peace and order and in effecting progress in the town. 

Taliño urges the police and the town folks to take care of the building as it might be long after a new building for the police could be built. 

And to his men, General Taliño commanded: We will repay the town with a good service. (rac/PIA-7/Bohol)
Cortes Mayor Lynn Ivenn Lim shows off the ribbon to the town folk after the ceremonial cutting signaling the turn-over of the P4.8 M facility for the local police, while PNP7 RD Noli Taliño (back towards cam) witnessed and graced the event. Also there was Fr Roderick Pizarras, PSupt Baja and regional and provincial office staff. (rac/PIA-7/Bohol)

HNU gets free Smart wifi 

TAGBILARAN CITY, March 7 (PIA)--The day after President Rodrigo Duterte approved the Philippine national Broadband Plan to effect a faster and more reliable communications in the country, Holy Name University in Bohol also partners with Smart Telecommunications for a wireless fidelity (wifi) internet access for its students. 

And for that, Smart Communications incorporated allocated 100 megabyte per second (mbps) internet bandwidth to the catholic university, giving students some 30 minutes free internet service daily.

Holy Name University President Fr. Francisco Estepa SVD, pointed out that the provision of SmartWifi in the campus is the third among HNU and Smart partnerships.

He told the modest crowd gathered at the covered shed beside the campus Bates Building that HNU also got Smart suite.

Smart Learning Suite is a facility that combines lesson delivery, assessment, student collaboration and game-based learning software via the Smart Notebook, Smart Lab, Smart Response and Smart Amps. 

He also said HNU partnered with Smart on Smart Sports.

This time, Smart Communications incorporated again partnered with HNU on the SmartWifi in the campus. 

"Our partnership with Smart has been very beneficial to the school, we do hope that we had mutual benefits with Smart," Fr. Estepa said. 

The partnership allows the HNU community to get 30 minutes free wifi access daily, also gets them free infrastructure in cables, access points, 100 MBPS of internet bandwidth, free facility operation and maintenance, while earning a co-branded set service identification (ssid) and leading page, courtesy of Smart. 

For partnering with Smart, HNU also commits to shoulder costs of power used by the facility, provide adequate space for the infrastructure, allows the tapping of the facility to HNU emergency power supply, provides security to the facility and its components, as well as allowing the telecommunications company to advertise its services to students. 

For students who want more access time, all they need to do is buy access cards from the school canteen to continue using the service after the free provisions, Smart said. 

Signing the agreements were Wifi Team Smart Communications head Regina Pineda, and HNU President Fr. Estepa. 

Also witnessing the ceremonies were Smart Area Development Manager Lailane Husain, Fr. Vicente Uy SVD and school professors, students and employees.

Other than HNU, Smart has also put up a fast and reliable wifi connection at the Tagbilaran City Airport, and had been asked to provide the same huge bandwidth at the Tagbilaran City Port, Tagbilaran City Hall, the nw Provincial Capitol and some identified public places. (rac/PIA-7/Bohol)
SMART WIFI team led by Regina Pineda and Lailane Husain present the SMARTWIFI marker to SVD Father Francisco Estepa and Vic Uy during the formal switching of the #HNUSmartWifi which can be availed free for 30 minute daily by students. (rac/PIA-7/Bohol)

explain sanga ban

TAGBILARAN CITY, March 7 (PIA)--Clearly at a loss of explanations on the ongoing ban on hunting rare, threatened and species in danger of extinction, Bohol Provincial Peace and Order Council (PPOC) requests the country's lead agency implementing the ban for enlightenment. 

Governor Edgar Chatto, PPOC Chairman and himself a witness to the rampant roadside and market sales of dried "sanga" meat in Jagna town, intends for the council to also be fully appraised of the nuances among banned sanga (giant manta ray), ordinary manta ray species like smoothtail mobulas (pantihan), spinetail mobula (binsowan), the giant pacific devil rays, sting rays and still the smaller species that are cooked and sold as exotic food. 

A Pamilacan resident and a PPOC member Engr. Camilo Gasatan also admit that because sanga commands a high price, even the smaller non-banned species are called sanga when dried to fetch a high price.

Those who do not actually know may eat other smaller manta ray meat, sold as sanga, he said. 

In fact, many Boholanos still keep an open craving for nilabog sanga, banggis, ang sinugbang buwad sanga despite a ban on hunting, taking, catching, gathering, selling, purchasing, possessing, transporting, exporting, forwarding or shipping out aquatic species listed in the appendices of the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES). 

Also included in the ban are those categorized by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) as threatened and endangered as determined by the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources.

Incidentally, the giant manta rays (sanga) are listed under Appendix 3 or those which are endangered species close to extinction. 

But while the country drafts the ban on manta rays, then Fishery officials thought there is only one kind of giant manta rays here: manta birostris, they put in the ban. 

Subsequent research however revealed that aside from manta birostris, a similar specie in the CITES includes the manta mobular and the mobulids that also frequent Philippine waters. 

The ban for the other species of mantas and mobulids start this month, fishery officials reacting to FAO 193 revealed. 

And because recent scientific assessments show that their population in the wild cannot remain viable under pressure of collection and trade, offenders would face a fine equivalent to three (3) times the value of the species or Three hundred thousand pesos (P300,000.00) to Three million pesos (P3,000,000.00), whichever is higher, and forfeiture of the species.

And upon conviction by a court of law, the offender faces imprisonment of five to eight years and a fine equivalent to twice the administrative fine and forfeiture of the species.

But even then, net fishers in Bohol usually string up long lines and find the banned manta rays as by-catch. 

When found entangled in their nets, fishers try to salvage the meat than throw them in the sea. 

By possessing the meat, these fishermen now earn the culpability that would get them steep fines and jail time. 

The continuing trade of dried meat has also pushed for the patronizing of the illegal product, majority of those who east it, uninformed about the ongoing bans. (rac/PIA-7/Bohol)

Following the apprehension of the persons responsible for transporting over a ton of manta ray meat set for drying, the PPOC needs the BFAR now to elucidate on the ban for taking the giant manta rays, considering that there appears to be a rampant trade of manta rays and sting rays in city and town markets across the province. The ban also incorporates steep penalties for the guilty, fines reaching millions. (rac/PIA-7/Bohol)