Saturday, May 31, 2008

Worsening Drainage Problem in Tagbilaran City, Bohol, Philippines

Bohol Vice Governor Julius Caesar Herrera is willing to address the country's top leaders in Malacanang via a privilege speech, if the national Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) accepts the "unfinished" controversial Tagbilaran City drainage infrastructure project.

  Herrera gave the statement a day after accusing the Highway District Engineer's Office of "sleeping on the job" for its failure to "oversee" the project as implemented by Hanjin Construction.

  Herrera, who said the DPWH is mandated to supervise and check all government and public construction refused to believe that local highways office did not know of the illegal taps.

  "They could have stopped the contractor right there and then," he said in a separate radio interview. 

  Asked to comment on the Herrera tag, DPWH District Engineer Celestino Adlaon, reasoned out that the local DPWH has no participation in the implementation of the project.

  The Philippine-Japan Highways Loan Project Management Office (PJHL-PMO) and the national DPWH, its being foreign funded supervises the project, Adlaon bared.

  He however admitted his men occasionally "look over the project implementation". 

  According to Engr. Adlaon, the city drainage project was covered by the Bohol Circumferential Road Improvement Project and contracted by Hanjin.

Philippine President Suspends Land Conversions to Boost Rice Production

Ensuring food sufficiency inches closer as President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo nails the government attempts to arrest the problem of decreasing rice farm lands.

  As worries are becoming more pronounced with the threat of rice shortage, the President suspended the processing of all land conversions applications for rice lands to boost rice and agri-productivity. 

  The move is also seen as affording the poorer sectors of the society better access to the country's resources. 

  Citing the basic state policy of giving its people equitable access to resources and promoting food security, the President signed Administrative Order 226 Friday last week, sources said. 

  Aside from rice-lands for conversion into residential and semi-industrial zones, also covered in the moratorium are alluvial plains suitable for agriculture, agro-industrial crop lands, highlands with elevations over 500m sea level especially with a high potential for semi-temperate and high value crops, ecologically fragile lands, mangrove areas and fish sanctuaries. 

  As the rice supplies tightening hit the country, Bohol farmers sheltering under the Hugpong sa mga Mag-uumang Bol-anon have asked quick government intervention especially on the immediate cancellation of all land use conversion programs among many other recommendations. 

  Farmers have complained that the conversions, which have goaded farmers to shift to the less sensitive and agro-industrial crops like oil palm and jatropha have significantly reduced rice landsa nd harvest.

  Upon the signing of the order, the President stressed the need for all lands utilized and intended for rice production to be protected from any other land use or conversion… to ensure sufficient rice supply.

  The two-year suspension also covers lands considered within the Network of Protected Areas for Agricultural and Agro-Industrial Development (NPAAD) and automatically blankets all irrigated areas and irrigable lands already covered by irrigation projects. - Rey Anthony Chiu, Philippine Information Agency

Lousy Singing of the Philippine National Anthem Means Money or Jail

Canned "Lupang Hinirang", sloppy rendition of the anthem and display of tattered and frayed flags could get offenders a fine between P5T to P20T plus jail terms, the Flag Law states.

  And "Lupang Hinirang" should be sang briskly like its original marching tempo, the same law directs.

  Over noticeably weakening of respect to the national anthem and the flag, which embody the national ideals and traditions, the country's authorities now pitch on renewed efforts in strengthening the reverence for the national emblems.

  "No more canned music, the renditions should be in accordance with the slow march composition, says Department of Education Bohol Division Makabayan Coordinator Elizabeth Caberte.

  Even during indoor flag ceremonies, a flag must not be held when it is on a staff, rather it should be allowed to fly, she added.

  Sitting as sole guest for the weekly Kapihan sa PIA to discuss the activities for the National Flag Days, Caberte reported that Bohol Division has not gone through the orientation on the conduct of proper flag ceremonies in its schools and teachers unlike what its Luzon counterparts had done. 

  The efforts to renew reverence to the flag also coincide with the main highlights of the National Flag Days, celebrated every May 15-June 30 and the 110th Independence Day.

  The nationwide campaign this year adopts "Igalang and watawat, sa Isip, sa Salita at sa Gawa". It was launched in Ifugao a few weeks ago.

  DepEd, one of the lead campaign agencies, through Secretary Jesli Lapuz, has accordingly issued the necessary guidelines for the campaign, Caberte said.

  She also reported that the education chief has directed its field offices to disseminate and comply.

  The Bohol Makabayan elementary coordinator also reported that the DepEd has already sent new flags for the schools and these should be hoisted on the first day of school.  

Extravagant Theme Float During Philippine Independence Day Celebration

Lavishly decorated themed floats take the sidelines for the government's development thrust caravans during the Philippines 110th Independence day.

President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has recently directed key government officials to spearhead development thrust caravans across the country. Such is to showcase government presence in services to make the "people feel the sacrifices of [our] heroes, not by words but through deeds that give flesh to their visions." 

The celebration, which has been traditionally highlighted by simultaneous flag raising ceremonies, patriotic speeches and parades of themed floats would now be augmented by government service caravans, the president has directed, sources revealed.

Moreover, a showcase of government services or "Lingkod Bayan" activities complement the celebration, says Philippine Information Agency Secretary Conrado Limcaoco.

According to him, Lingkod Bayan activities have been into holding job fairs, cleaning and greening activities, social and health services dispensation, information and interaction with government service agencies concerned with education, health, agriculture, micro-financing, energy and housing, Limcaoco bared.

For the day, the President's directive as revealed by Press Secretary Ignacio Bunye wanted the celebration to be that, which would ""honor the sacrifices of our heroes, not by words alone but through deeds that give flesh to their vision."

Bunye also pointed out that among the government's programs and projects that will be showcased as part of the Independence Day celebrations are: livelihood assistance projects, housing projects, healthcare programs, feeding programs for school children, food security, distribution of Conditional Cash Transfer Cards, education programs, care for the environment, energy independence thrusts, among other pro-poor services." - Rey Anthony Chiu, Philippine Information Agency

Was it Food Poisoning in Pangasinan Philippines?

Alaminos, Pangasinan: It was not food poisoning but more of a food reaction that downed 68 people from Sual and this city last May 20 to 21, according to Dr. Jackson Soriano, provincial health officer.

Soriano clarified that the incident was more of a food reaction because allergies were very visible in the bodies of the patients.

The victims, he said, ate milkfish which were sun-dried and not well-preserved.

"They will experience the same manifestations when they eat other species of fish which are not fresh or improperly preserved," he stressed.

Soriano said many locals bought bangus when it was sold at a bargain price of P25 to P40 per kilo, whereas the normal price of the fish is from P70 to P90 per kilo.

The milkfish were believed to have come from both Sual and Alaminos where almost 90 percent of fish pens and cages were washed out by typhoon 'Cosme'.

There was massive premature harvesting of bangus before, during and after the typhoon, forcing the price of the commodity to go down.

Milkfish is one of the city's major produce which is being brought daily to Metro Manila.

Soriano said those affected by food reaction bought bangus by the volume, had it sun-dried, preserved or stocked for future consumption.

"It's good the city and WPHD (Western Pangasinan District Hospital) have easily detected it (food reaction) and immediately alerted us," he added. - Philippine News Agency

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Philippine Mayors from Visayas Region Gather in Bohol Island

Some 300 town mayors of the various provinces in the Visayas are arriving here today to attend the League of Municipalities (LMP) Visayas Island Cluster Conference at the Bohol Tropics Resort Club, this city.

Bohol LMP president, Jagna Mayor Exuperio Lloren, said the three-day conference will welcome the delegates at 1:30 this afternoon.

Rep. Edgar Chatto delivers the opening remarks while Gov. Erico Aumentado will deliver his solidarity remarks.

Among the invited panel of reactors are Defense Sec. Gilberto Teodoro, Jr., Energy Secretary Angelo Reyes, DILG Undersecretary Austere Panadero, Health Undersecretary David Lozada, Jr., Agriculture Asst. Sec. Dennis Araullo and DBM Director Carmencita Delantar.

Lloren, as president of the host chapter, to be assisted by Catigbian Mayor Bert Salinas, LMP-Bohol executive vice president, will formally welcome the delegates who will be arriving this morning.          

LMP National President Ramon Guico, Jr., mayor of Binalonan, Pangasinan will deliver his message while Barotac Viejo Mayor Raul Tupas will render the first quarter and progress report.

Senator Manuel Villar is expected to arrive here to conduct a high level policy dialogue while he will be hosting the welcome dinner and fellowship tonite at the Fisherman's Wharf at the Bohol Tropics Resort Club. The Loboc Youth Band and the Dimiao Children's Rondalla will provide entertainment. - The Bohol Chronicle

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Philippine Congress Tackles Food Crisis in Bohol

Congress listened to the Boholanos on how food sufficiency can be attained amidst crisis during a well-attended joint House committee consultative conference here Friday primarily tackling the Agriculture and Fisheries Modernization Act (AFMA).

In an interaction, the lawmakers appreciated the sober assessment by Bohol's concerned sectors and stakeholders on the present condition of agriculture while AFMA has yet to proximate its food security target.

The consultation, done at Bohol Tropics' Grand Ballroom, formed part of the continuing congressional public hearing nationwide on House Resolution 170, which calls for the review of AFMA implementation.

The conference was led by Rep. Abraham Kahlil Mitra, chairman of the House committee on agriculture and food, Rep. Alfredo Marañon, chairman of the committee on aquaculture and fisheries resources, Rep. Edgar Chatto, senior vice chairman of the agriculture committee, and Rep. Nicanor Briones, vice chairman of the special committee on food security.

They came with committee members Rep. Rodolfo Antonino, Rep. Lorenzo Tañada III, Rep. Salvacion, Rep. Roberto Raymund Estrella of ABONO Party-List who authors the AFMA review resolution, Rep. Roberto Cajes and Rep. Adam Relson Jala. - The Bohol Chronicle

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King of Swaziland Cancels Flight to Bohol Philippines

The Bohol Chronicle: King Mswati III of the Kingdom of Swaziland cancelled his trip today to Bohol for lack of landing rights at the Tagbilaran Airport, Gov. Erico B. Aumentado announced yesterday.

The Swazi king is supposed to visit Bohol today with Queen Lankhambule and high ranking officials of the South African kingdom.

Quoting Malacañang sources, Aumentado said the king's private plane, the latest and bigger Boeing 737 model, was not given landing rights by the Air Transportation Office (ATO) for lack of advance paperwork and the obvious risk of landing at the airport's very limited runway and six daily flight schedules of PAL and Cebu Pacific Air.

The king's plane cannot also park for a long time to wait for his flight to Manila to meet President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo because of the six flights daily at the airport.

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Friday, May 30, 2008

Calling Participant to the 7th National Youth Parliament (NYP). Apply Now

The National Youth Commission (NYC) announces its search for delegates to the 7th National Youth Parliament (NYP), a gathering of youth leaders aged 15-30 years old representing youth organizations from around the country to discuss issues affecting them.

Anchored on the theme, Unity in Diversity: An Intercultural and Interfaith Parliament, the 7th NYP will be staged in Davao City on October 19 to 22, 2008. Elected officers during the Parliament will be trained on Leadership and Advocacy on October 23-25, 2008 in the same venue.

According to NYC Commissioner Benjie Oliva, the NYP aims to empower the youth in effectively advocating, lobbying and influencing the policy makers in creating a policy environment supportive of the total development of the young people.

Republic Act 8044 mandates the NYC to convene the NYP every two years to serve as a venue for policy discussions to formulate resolutions that will be presented to the NYC, and later on be advocated to policy makers.

Past NYP delegates have become active partners of NYC not only in promoting and implementing youth programs and projects, but also in advocating for youth issues. The 6th NYP batch has even organized themselves into a confederation of youth advocates. Considerable efforts were made in lobbying for the creation of Local Youth Development Councils (LYDCs) and formulation of Local Youth Development Plans (LYDPs), localization of the Magna Carta for Students' Rights, and promotion of Adolescent Reproductive Health (ARH).

Qualifications of applicants for the 7th NYP are as follows: Filipino citizen, between 15 to 30 years old; residing, studying or working at the place/institution for not less than six months; must be a president/officer of a youth organization (school, community, civic, religious, professional, tribal, etc.); must not be a member of any previous National Youth Parliament; must be an SK Provincial/City Federation President, if representing the SK; and must not have been convicted of any crime.

Delegates will be asked to prepare and submit their organization's chosen position paper or study in one of the following topics: Youth Values and Good Citizenship, Youth Community Involvement/Engagement, Youth Participation in Governance, Violence in Youth Organizations, Youth Lifestyles, Peace building, and Specific Youth Groups (Juvenile Justice and substance abuse).

We are expecting some 200 youth leaders to represent their organizations and have their voices heard on vital issues that they face nowadays, says Commissioner Oliva, Chairperson of the 6th National Youth Parliament which was held in Bohol Tropics last October 2006.

NYC will shoulder the food and accommodation of the successful applicants. Application forms are downloadable at the NYC website or visit the NYC office for application forms.

Send applications to the NYP Secretariat, National Youth Commission, 4th Floor Bookman Building, Quezon

Avenue, Banawe, Quezon City on or before June 30, 2008. For queries, call the NYP Secretariat at (02) 749-9404 or 7812373. - Published by the Bohol Standard

Donate Seized Smuggled Vehicles in Cebu City

Cebu City Philippines - The Police Regional office (PRO) 7 is planning to ask the Bureau of Customs (BOC) to donate seized smuggled vehicles to them to address the police's lack of mobility.

PRO 7 Director Ronald Roderos said this was one of the topics discussed in the last Regional Law Enforcement Coordinating Committee (RLECC).

He pointed out that since the BOC warehouse burned, the seized vehicles are not stored properly and are exposed to the elements.

Since the lack of police vehicles is always a problem for most police offices and stations, Roderos said they plan to request the BOC to donate the seized vehicles instead.

Also, during the meeting, the need for coordination among law enforcement agencies was raised.

This concern was brought up following incidents wherein the police received reports of kidnapping but these turned out to be agents from other agencies.

There were reports involving agents from the Bureau of Immigration (BI) last month.

The first report was when two Indian nationals were picked up in Boljoon town, sending citizens to report to the police about a kidnapping incident in the middle of the town market.

Police in Santander had intercepted them and learned they were agents of the BI picking up the two Indians who did not have proper documents.

After that, a Korean couple was picked up in Banilad, Cebu City, that sent police checking on another kidnapping report. Their "abductors" also turned out to be BI agents.

Senior Supt Carmelo Valmoria, Cebu Provincial Police Office director, said that if the agency did not want to inform them before conducting operations for confidential reasons, they could always tell them after the operation has been conducted. - Philippine News Agency

Calling Donors for Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm in Palawan

Puerto Princesa City, Palawan - A priest in Palawan province is now seeking donations to rebuild the Catholic chapel at the Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm (IPPF), the country's oldest and largest prison with bars.

In the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) website said Fr. Nelson Pagayona, the prison chaplain wants to rebuild the prison chapel that was built in the 1960s.

Pagayona said that when the chapel was first built, there were only 60 prisoners, 12 employees and 31 family members in the colony.

"Since then the chapel has fallen into a state of serious disrepair and now in urgent need of renovation, not least in order to accommodate a much larger prison community," said Pagayona.

Iwahig is an open prison where prisoners cultivate farm occupying 26,629 hectares. Originally 41,007, hectares, but 14,377 hectares were disposed by virtue of presidential proclamations.

Despite the fact that most of the 2,300 inmates have been convicted of homicide, the majority are minimum security prisoners and are thus not locked up within the colony.

Instead, these minimum security inmates live in dormitories and work on one of the many agricultural projects located within the prison farm.

The prisoners live in small settlements and can receive visits from their families, said Pagayona.

He said the prison chapel is a very important element satisfying the spiritual needs of the prisoners and in promoting a spirit of peaceful coexistence among themselves. - Philippine News Agency

United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Helps Children in Northern Samar

Northern Samar Philippines - The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) has donated to this province some P11.2 million to help children here, said Sylma Lutao, Communication Officer of the CPC-VI.

The Sixth Country Programme for Children (CPC 6) is a programme of cooperation between the Government of the Philippines and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) for the period, 2005-2009.

The five-year programme, which came into force through the signing of an agreement in April 2005 called the Country Programme Action Plan (CPAP), aims to improve the well-being of children in the Philippines.

Carrying forward the Child Friendly Movement (CFM) that was adopted since the previous five-year programme (CPC V), the goal of the current programme is to reduce by at least 50 per cent from 2004 figures the disparities for the major health, nutrition, education & protection indicators particularly in 24 CPC 6 pilot areas nationwide.

The Child-Friendly Movement is a nationwide campaign that involves all sectors of society to promote and protect children's rights.

For its part, the Provincial Government headed by Governor Raul Daza allocated P2.2 million as counterpart fund.

In whole, the total allocated funds for the implementation of CPC-VI is P13.5 million.

CPC-VI has six components – (1) communication, (2) social policy, (3) local development, (4) health and nutrition, (5) education, and (6) child in need of special protection and HIV/AIDS prevention. - Philippine News Agency

Bloody Road Accident in Surigao Del Sur Philippines

Butuan City Agusan del Norte: The driver and the owner of a mini bus involved in a bloody road accident in Surigao del Sur, Philippines are now facing multiple charges, police reports said.

Northeastern Mindanao PRO 13 regional director Chief Supt. Jaime E. Milla said the driver of the passenger mini bus, identified as Sulpicio S. Altamia is confined also at a hospital where other casualties were brought, and is currently under "hospital arrest" where two policemen from Hinatuan Police Station are guarding.

As of press time, injured people has risen to 50, where 20 of them are in critical condition, and are being treated at the D.O. Memorial Hospital in Patin-ay, Prosperidad town, Agusan del Sur, progress police report stated.

Milla, said the patients are " still under observation."

He said Hinatuan police station filed reckless imprudence resulting to multiple homicide and multiple injuries charges in court against the driver and the owner of the mini bus. - Philippine News Agency

Build A Strong Republic Free From Terror and Extortion

A field commander of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Thursday stepped up implementing programs to build a strong Republic that is free from terror and forced taxation or extortion.

More than a month in his post as area command chief of the AFP's Northern and Northeastern Mindanao Fourth Infantry (Diamond) Division, Brig. Gen. Ricardo A. David, Jr, ordered anew all his brigade and battalion commanders as well as operational control (Opcon) unit commanders to "stop at all cost" those groups creating instability and obstructions towards peace and development in the twin regions in Mindanao.

"Those terror groups who create diabolic plot to democracy, peace and development must be put to an end now," David stressed during command conference with field unit commanders.

He specifically mentioned the communist terrorists who exact revolutionary tax from rural folks and businesses. "These must be stopped now," he reiterated.

David also ordered field unit commanders to closely coordinate with the local PNP, LGUs, political leaders, indigenous peoples, religious and civic groups.

"It is only through concerted support and efforts of all stakeholders to achieve our goal to degrade enemy capability to inflict loss of lives of our people and damages to properties," he pointed out.

The continuous all-out offensive drive and civil military operations of the 4th Division have already neutralized 3 guerilla-front committees in Northern and Northeastern Mindanao, and capturing several encampments of the New People's Army (NPA). - Philippine News Agency

Pres GMA Visit in Palawan for Tourism and Economic Growth

Puerto Princesa Palawan | Philippine News Agency: President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo is set to arrive on Thursday in Bataraza town, some 275 kilometers south from this city, for a brief and tourism economic growth visit in southern Palawan.

First district Rep. Antonio Alvarez confirmed that President Arroyo left Manila Thursday morning where she brought private investors to lure investments, particularly in the construction of airport in Balabac, located southern tip of the province.

Reports disclosed that President will fly to Palawan after her trip in Tawi-Tawi, where inspected a aquaculture project and led in the implementation of National Food Authority's food-for-school program in the said province.

The construction of airport in Balabac was mentioned by the Chief Executive during 2006 State of the Nation Address (SONA) aimed to enhance the tourism competitive advantage of Palawan, as part of the Central Philippines under the "Super Regions" concept.

Balabac has vast potential for tourism, where the Balabac Strait Corridor links the Sulu Sea with the South China Sea and serves as the passageway of marine lifeforms from plankton to fishes, sea turtles and marine mammals (dolphins and whales).

It is a known haven for about 24 true mangrove out of 34 species reported in the Philippines.

The strait reportedly hosts five life stages of the sea turtles in relation to their habitats: mating/nesting, hatching, pelagic, developmental, sexually mature, and feeding stages.

Balabac qualifies as one of the important sea turtle habitats in the Philippines as well as in the Indian Ocean and South East Asia region.

Both Alvarez and Rep. Abraham Mitra lauded the initiative of President Arroyo to bring investments in southern part of the province to boost tourism and create much needed jobs.

Mitra authored a bill creating Southern Palawan Special Economic Zone that will promote economic activities made attractive to investors.

The last time Arroyo visited Bataraza was on April 2005 where she inaugurated the $ 180-million Coral Bay Nickel Corporation (CBNC) expanded Hydrometallurgical Processing Plant (HPP) that produces nickel.

The nickel plant brought more jobs to the residents and beefed up the treasury of the Bataraza municipal government.

Avoid Military Adventurism: It's A Total Waste of Time

Cebu City Philippines | Philippine News Agency: Avoid military adventurism because its is not worth to die while violating the oath of allegiance to the Philippine flag, the Cebuano commanding general of the Philippine Air Force told his men.

Lt. Gen. Pedrito S. Cadungog issued the statement during Tuesday's change of command of the 2nd Air Division from Maj. Gen. Nicomedes B. Corpuz Jr. to Brig. Gen. Nathaniel C. Legaspi at the Benito Ebuen Mactan Air Base in Lapu-Lapu City.

Corpuz filed for optional retirement effective June 1, ending 35 years and two months of military service. Legaspi, on the other hand, was the deputy commander of the Southern Luzon Command prior to his transfer to Cebu.

"As soldiers, we offer our lives to defend the country and the people. We will not run away from the enemy. But to die uselessly because of military adventurism, that is foolishness," Cadungog said.

Cadungog is confident that no PAF soldier is against the government or is violating the code of conduct.

"I challenge them that if there's anyone that would go against the government, let that one kill me first because if he cannot kill me, I will kill him. He has no place in the Armed Forces of the Philippines, most especially in the Philippine Air Force," Cadungog said.

"I don't even have to ask each and everyone of you to take part in winning the hearts and minds of the people by talking to them and showing goodness to them," Cadungog said.

How to Respect the Philippine Flag and Show Love for Country

Iloilo Philippines | Philippine News Agency: The public can show their respect for the Philippine flag and love for the country by protecting the environment, says Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) regional executive director for Western Visayas during the celebration of the National Flag Day here in Iloilo.

She explained that the motto of the celebration, 'Maka Diyos, Makabayan, Makakalikasan, Makabansa' emphasizes the need for environmental protection.

"As we celebrate the National Flag Day may it remind us of the double concept on sustainable development. We have to translate that concept into practical reality," DENR regional executive director Lormelyn Claudio said.

She said the people must protect their environment to manifest their love for the country.

Claudio stressed that DENR in Western Visayas is going strong as far as protection of the environment is concerned.

Davao Light and Power Company (DLPC) Builds Public School Classroom

Davao City Philippines | Philippine News Agency: The Davao Light and Power Company (DLPC) will construct a new four-classroom school building at the campus of Dondoy Elementary School in Cagangohan, Panabo City, this province.

This development came as the Aboitiz-owned DLPC, the Aboitiz Foundation, Inc., the City Government of Panabo, and the Department of Education – Panabo City Division signed last Friday a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) that will govern the project implementation.

Ross Luga, Davao Light's Corporate Community Relations officer said the project will cost P1.8 million.

Davao Light, through its social development arm, the Aboitiz Foundation, Inc., has approved a donation budget of P1.4 million and the local government of Panabo City is putting up a P400,000 counterpart, Luga said.

Luga said the signing of the MOA came after the Panabo City Council approved the appropriation for the counterpart fund, and at the same time granted, through a resolution, City Mayor Jose L. Silvosa the authority to sign the agreement in behalf of the city.

Davao Banana Plantation Complies Minimum Wage Order

Davao City Philippines | Philippine News Agency: The Lapanday Agriculture and Development Corp. (LADECO) in Davao del Norte will be complying with the new wage order issued by the Regional Wage and Tripartite Board (RWTB) Southern Mindanao last week.

Lapanday human resources manager Gerardo Ongkingco said the company will give the P15 increase in the Cost of Living Allowance (Cola) and the integration of the current P26 Cola into the minimum wage.

"We will be complying with the new wage order," Ongkingco said.

Lapanday was one of the first companies to have announced the implementation of the new wage order.

Late last year, the company closed one of its banana plantations in Mandug, Davao City. The area will be converted into an industrial and residential area.

Although the company's closure of their Mandug plantation is part of their long term plans, it also said that it has been hastened due to the rising costs and low productivity of the area.

Stephen Antig, president of the Pilipino Banana Growers and Exporters Association (PBGEA) said some companies in the banana industry may have to "rightsize" their structures with the implementation of the P15 increase in the Cola and the integration of the current P26 Cola into the basic pay of the minimum wage earners as stated by the wage order.

Peter Bucky Says Food Safety Is Most Important Skill for Chef

Philippine News Agency | Davao City Philippines: Food safety is the number one skill that a chef must imbibe, according to Peter Bucky, a full time Director for Studies of Technical and Further Education (TAFE) assigned at the Joji Ilagan Foundation, College of Business and Tourism in Davao City.

Bucky said chef is a tough job and must have a passion about food.

"They have to have the passion of the industry," she said.

But food safety he said is important on the program and they have to develop that among their students.

He said there are 49 jobs for one to make a chef and the task is difficult.

"It is tough job and with lots of pressures but will bring you anywhere in the world and you travel around at no cost," he said.

He said it is not merely cooking but the chef must also have to have several skills like being a painter for him to pain the dish to make it attractive.

A chef also is a sculptor because you make designs out of chocolate or vegetables and one must create and develop style.

Other than that, he said the chef also has to have management skills where he or she can effectively run the kitchen and produce food that will make the customers happy and owners as well because of profit.

Speaking of profit, the chef must also have knowledge on accounting so one would know whether his creation could earn profit.

The chef too is also an engineer and constructor where he or she develop dishes and a doctor as well because they produce food that are healthy as based on the customers food requirements.

Health Concern at Tambubo Bay Yacht Basin

Negros Oriental Governor Emilio Macias II has formally turned over the responsibility of the proposed Tambubo Bay Yacht Basin to Mayor Vincent Emil Arbolado of Siaton town.

The governor wanted to immediately implement the regulations at Tambubo Bay after Quarantine Officer Dr. Benjamin Bautista of the Department of Health raised a health concern during a meeting early this week.

The governor said the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) will be signed between and among the local government unit of Siaton and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

The line agencies involved in the proposed development plant are the Bureau of Customs (BoC), Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), Philippine Ports Authority (PPA), Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), Community Environment and Natural Resources (CENRO) and Department of Health–Medical Quarantine.

Dr. Bautista, who was invited to attend the meeting, clarified that all vessels traveling domestic or abroad before embarking and boarding, should be checked by a medical quarantine officer.

This is the health safety standard operating procedure that should be done especially on yachts owned by foreign tourists.

In fact, all yacht operators should have a quarantine clearance prior to boarding and sailing, she said. - Philippine News Agency

Negros Oriental Bullish On Sanitary Landfill Project in Dauin Town

Negros Oriental Governor Emilio Macias II has pledged to allocate Php 2.5-million for the establishment of a sanitary landfill in Barangay Tunga-tunga in Dauin, Negros Oriental.

The commitment of the governor was announced during a recent meeting with the Metro Dumaguete mayors at the conference room of the Provincial Capitol.

Among the mayors present were Agustin Perdices of Dumaguete City; Antonio Renacia, Sibulan; Nelson Ruiz of San Jose; Bentham dela Cruz of Amlan; Rodulfo Gonzales, Jr. of Valencia; Lenin Alviola of Bacong and Rodrigo Alanano of Dauin.

Macias said he believes in the concept of clustering of efforts with neighboring local government units, especially with a project like the sanitary landfill.

The meeting was called primarily to discuss and identify the source of funds for the initial operation of the landfill.

The mayors are looking at an estimated amount of Php 5 million for the first year operation of the sanitary landfill, since they will have to purchase the land for the said facility.

Also during the same meeting, Mayor Perdices promised to give Php 500,000 as contribution for the project.

The group agreed to source the remaining funding requirement from Rep. George Arnaiz and Rep. Henry Pryde Teves at Php 1 million each. - Philippine News Agency

Illegal Fishing Boats in Negros Increasing

Negros Oriental Philippines | Philippine News Agency: The number of illegal fishing boats operating in the provincial waters of Negros Oriental is increasing, most likely because of the absence of a representative from the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA), according to Leonardo Aro, head of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) in the province.

Aro said that over the past two or three years, the province did not have a MARINA personnel assigned here after its representation had died.

This has slowed down the paperwork and processing of other requirements for the commercial fishing vessels, particularly in the renewal of their licenses, Aro added.

According to Aro, there are an estimated 183 small and medium-sized commercial fishing boats operating in Negros Oriental, most of which are engaged in "cobcob" fishing, a type of activity that employs ring-nets.

This was based on a survey conducted by the National Statistics Office, he said.

Aro believes that of the total number of fishing boats, about half is operating illegally although he admitted that there was no way to confirm this unless MARINA would do an actual inspection.

He also lamented that some of these commercial fishing vessels continue to encroach on the 15-kilometer municipal territorial waters despite a law that bans their entry to these areas.

Philippine Army Intensifies Operations Against Filipino Rebels in Negros

Judy Flores-Partlow | Philippine News Agency | Negros Oriental Philippines: The Philippine Army here has warned that it will intensify operations against the insurgents in Negros Oriental following a clash between rebels on Tuesday in the southern town of Sta. Catalina.

Lt. Col. Erwin Neri, 79th Infantry Battalion (IB) commander, told reporters on Wednesday that the government scored in its anti-insurgency campaign after his troops overran and seized a guerilla base camp in the hinterland Sitio Avocado in Barangay Talalak, Sta. Catalina town.

Two separate clashes erupted between the government soldiers and the New People's Army (NPAs) guerillas on that day as helicopter gunships were also deployed to the area, but because of the camp's proximity to populated areas, the military could not conduct air strikes.

Neri highlighted the cooperation and support of residents in the hinterlands of Sta. Catalina that led to Tuesday's seizure of the guerilla base camp in Talalak, a village known to be a hotbed of insurgency in the late 80s and the early 90s.

He said that over the past week, information was building up on the presence of NPA rebels in Avocado, Talalak, Kakha and other nearby areas.

According to Neri, residents there are complaining, saying they are already fed up with the rebels who allegedly collect "taxes" and food from them.

Civilians had tipped off the military on the rebel camp situated about two to three kilometers from Avocado, and within days from receiving verified information, the 79th IB troops swooped down on the rebels, he said.

Albay and Sorsogon Philippines Declared Malaria-Free Provinces

Albay Philippines | Philippine News Agency: The Department of Health (DOH) in Bicol disclosed Malaria cases and deaths in the country are now on the downtrend.

DOH Bicol Regional Director Nestor Santiago said among the Bicol provinces now cited by the DOH as malaria-free are Albay and Sorsogon aside from Samar, Eastern Samar, Marinduque, and Surigao del Norte.

Out of the country's 81 provinces, 59 are endemic for malaria.

Santiago explained that Albay's last indigenous case was in 1997 in the towns of Manito and Rapu-rapu.

Vector control activities (such as seeding of streams with larvivorous fish, focal spraying) and mosquito collection were done to ensure that no case of malaria will occur.

However, regular activities (such as stream clearing, distribution of insecticide-treated mosquito nets) are still being conducted coupled with vigilance against suspected cases to maintain their status.

In 2002, Sorsogon reported their last case of malaria in the municipality of Donsol. Blood smears from different barangays were taken and were negative to the disease.

In 2006, DOH data showed that there were 35,405 cases and 122 deaths from Malaria in the country, a 23 precent and 18 percent reduction, respectively compared to the 2005 malaria report.

The DOH said Malaria is a disease common in rural areas and is one of the mosquito-borne diseases affecting 11 million people living in hilly or mountainous, remote areas of the country where access to and availability of basic health services and correct information are difficult for the people at risk.

Philippine President Names Cebu Mayor Irrigation Consultant

Argao Cebu | Philippine News Agency: Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has designated Argao, Cebu Mayor Edsel Galeos as a consultant for the National Government's water projects after she was impressed with the southern Cebu town's irrigation scheme.

Mrs. Arroyo, who visited Argao last May 19, saw the system that, for only P300,000, has benefited about 80 families without using any electricity.

"The President was very impressed with this because as you know this is part of the government's program, especially that we are confronted with the global food crisis and we are trying to enhance food production," Presidential Management Staff Director General Cerge Remonde said.

"So, she has immediately ordered the National Irrigation Administration to go to Argao to study the Galeos model. She has appointed Mayor Galeos as a national consultant for small irrigation projects," Remonde said.

Galeos can no longer receive a separate salary as consultant because he is already a government official, but as an incentive, President Arroyo will give Argao town P30,000 per small irrigation project that the mayor can help create elsewhere in the country.

Philippine New People’s Army (NPA) Admits Killing 3 Public Officials

Philippine News Agency and Malu Manar: The New People's Army (NPA) in Southern Mindanao has admitted it was their group that killed three village officials from North Cotabato, Davao del Sur, and Compostela Valley who they suspected as government informants.

In a press statement issued on Wednesday, rebel spokesman Rigoberto Sanchez said the killing of Wilson Latimbang, councilor of Barangay Noa in Magpet, North Cotabato; Deonito Carmona, chairman of Barangay Coronan in Sta. Cruz, Davao del Sur; and Felimon Eyana, former chair of Barangay San Vicente in Montevista, Compostela Valley, was executed after their group conducted a thorough probe on the three.

Also, these officials were warned many times that they could get killed if they continued to help government forces in crushing the rebel movement, said Sanchez.

The three slain officials were active members of the Barangay Intelligence Network (BIN), which Sanchez said has become the Army's potent tool in its counter-revolutionary campaign in the countryside.

Latimbang and Carmona were under the BIN of the 39th IB whose base is in Makilala, North Cotabato, while Eyana was under the BIN of 28TH IB based in Moncayo, Compostela Valley

An Affair To Remember Between Iloilo and Quezon City

Philippine News Agency: The proposed sister city agreement of Iloilo and Quezon cities has been approved by the respective Sangguniang Panlungsod of these two local government units (LGUs).

This was confirmed by Iloilo City Councilor Nielex Tupas, chairman of the committee on domestic and foreign relations and the proponent of the sisterhood pact.

Tupas said they are just waiting for the copy of the memorandum of agreement which is being finalized by the Quezon City government. Thereafter, Tupas said they will pass a resolution authorizing Mayor Jerry P. Treñas to sign the agreement in behalf of the city government.

"I am very happy for Quezon City not because I spent my college days there but because it is the richest local government unit in the country," he said.

Tupas said he is also excited about the possible support Quezon City will extend to Iloilo.

Tupas said he will request Quezon City to help in the establishment of a huge recreation center that can be used not only by the Sangguniang Kabataan but by everybody, as well as additional school buildings.

Join Nationwide Simultaneous Mangrove Planting

Iloilo Philippines | Philippine News Agency: The Municipality of Ivisan has joined the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) nationwide simultaneous mangrove planting activity recently held to highlight the "Fisherfolk Month Celebration".

The planting activity dubbed as "Mangrove and Watershed Reforestation: Healthy Environment and Sustainable Fisheries Development" was participated in by around 105 employees from the municipal government of Ivisan, Environment and Natural Resources, and BFAR.

Students from Capiz National High School, Filamer Christian College in Roxas City, other schools and the fishermen were also among those who trooped for the mangrove planting activity which was has held in a one-hectare of the total estimated 10 hectares coastal area in Barangay Balaring, Ivisan.

Before the actual mangrove planting activity, a short program was held whereby Ivisan Municipal Agriculture Officer Leticia Andrade encouraged the community people to take care of the mangroves along the coast as these serve as breeding areas for the fishes.

Former Barangay Balaring captain and currently Fisherfolk Director (Mangingisdang Direktor) Norberto Apaitan also thanked all the participants for helping them plant the mangroves and assured them they will take care of it.

Erwin Ilaya of BFAR, for his part, talked about the importance of mangroves and its relationship to other ecosystems in the coastal zone. He emphasized the healthy environment impacts on the lives of the coastal communities and the sustainable fisheries development on the long-term viability of the livelihood of fishermen.

Albay Bill That Exempts Ordinary Tax Payers

Mike De La Rama | Philippine News Agency: Albay provincial board member Ireneo Sales has lauded the Senate for approving on final reading a bill that exempts minimum wage earners from paying tax.

Sales said the approval of tax exemption is timely as it will increase the take home pay of minimum wage earners. "This will enable them to cope with the increasing prices of commodities, tuition fees and fare," he said.

"It is appropriate to provide tax relief for minimum wage earners due to the unprecedented price hike and we are expecting continuous increase in basic commodities including agricultural products by next month," Sales said.

According to him, this is the reason the provincial legislative body has decided to pass an ordinance providing 10-percent wage increase to Albay employees.

"As much as possible we wanted to give a much higher salary increase specially for those rank in file employees but our increase depends upon the savings of the provincial government," Sales also explained.

The provincial official filed a resolution urging the bicameral conference committee to ratify the proposed measure before Congress adjourns next month. "We are optimistic that this bill would be approved by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and be implemented in July, this year," he said.

Sales, chairman of the committee on energy, is also set to file a separate resolution expressing full support to the proposal pending in the House of Representatives seeking to restore the exemption from VAT of electric cooperatives and marginal power end users.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

A Trade Fair to Remember

An Agro-industrial trade fair and cultural exhibits were held on May 13-15 in front of the Municipal Hall of Tubigon, Bohol.

The eight clusters that participated in the activity represented four barangays from this town.

In line with this, a simple program was made by the local government unit on May 13.          

Provincial Administrator Tomas Abapo Jr. represented Bohol Gov. Erico Aumentado, while Provincial Board Member Caezar Yul Lopez of the first district represented Vice-Governor Julius Caesar Herrera and Billy Tongco, chief of staff of First District Rep. Edgar Chatto represented the congressman during the occasion where they delivered inspirational messages.

Highlighting the program was the turn-over of the assistance of P20,000 check for the street dancing, P18,000 check for the agro-industrial fair and P15,000 for social services.

In behalf of the provincial government, Abapo handed the checks to the local officials of Tubigon.

Tongco, in behalf of Chatto, for his part, turned over P30-million check for the construction of the Ubujan bridge in Tubigon and P4-million check for the improvement of Tubigon water works system.

Mayor Luna Piezas, in his welcome address, emphasized particularly the promotion of tourism in Tubigon which he said is a promising endeavor. - Bohol Sunday Post Newspaper

Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) Activity Keeping Youth Away from Drugs

Tubigon Bohol | Bohol Sunday Post: The Pambayang Pederasyon ng Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) filled up this summer with activities that keep the youths out of drugs and vices.

SK Federation president Erica Javate led the various activities in line to keep the youth busy in May, which were part of the highlights of the town's fiesta celebration in honor of their patron saint, St. Isidore Labrador on May 14-15.

On May 2, they conducted a tree-planting activity at the town's mini-forest in barangay Ilijan Sur, in coordination with MLGOO Ma. Sharon Marimon and MAO Yolanda Labella.

It was part of the SK's Green Brigade Program implementation.

SK chairpersons here, headed by Javate, together with Marimon, planted 80 trees in the mountainous part of this town.

PPSK also initiated the ongoing SK summer league which started on April 21 which is now on the championship level at the Tubigon Cultural Center.

The activity was aimed primarily at promoting camaraderie and developing the skills and potentials of the youth.

The search for Anyag sa Tubigon '2008 where Clarice Elaine Radoc of barangay Centro got the crown, was also conducted under the chairmanship of Dennis Walton Balbero, the designated tourism, culture and arts officer of the Local Government Unit (LGU).

Nationwide Public Hearing on Philippine Agriculture and Fisheries Law

Published by the Bohol Sunday Post Newspaper: Filipino Congressmen from all over the country came Friday to hold the Bohol round of the ongoing nationwide public hearing on House Resolution 170, calling for the review of the Agriculture and Fisheries Modernization Act (AFMA), the most-participated, so far.

In an interaction, Boholanos had a chance to raise their concerns as to attaining food sufficiency amidst the perceived crisis during Friday's well-attended joint House committee consultative conference at the Grand Ballroom of the Bohol Tropics.

Rep. Abraham Kahlil Mitra, chairman of the House Committee on Agriculture and Food, led the conference together with Rep. Alfredo Marañon, chairman of the Committee on Aquaculture and Fisheries Resources, Rep. Edgar Chatto, senior vice chairman of the Agriculture Committee, and Rep. Nicanor Briones, vice chairman of the Special Committee on Food Security.

The committee members were Representatives Rodolfo Antonino, Lorenzo Tañada III, Andres Salvacion, Roberto Raymund Estrella of ABONO Party-List who authored the AFMA review resolution, and Bohol's Representatives Roberto Cajes and Adam Relson Jala.

Boholanos weighed down on the need for the appropriate use of the billions fund for AFMA, access to credit or financing with low interest rates, and recognizing the plight of the municipal agricultural workers who are devolved without fund support.

Among the concerns was to allocate 30 percent of AFMA's starting annual budget of P18 billion should go to irrigation, but sustaining the communal irrigation system (CIS) facilities.

The Hot Debate Over the Controversial Panglao Bohol Airport Project

This article first came in the Bohol Sunday Post, a weekly newspaper in Bohol, Philippines.

The Great Panglao Airport Debate

In so many scathing words, a retired manpower provider took the cudgels for embattled Panglao Bohol International Airport proponents who were pilloried by so-called concerned Boholanos for advocating the construction of the ambitious project.

Frony Fortich who during his heydays was riding high on the popularity of his Atlantic Gulf and Manpower Services zeroed in on the adverse position of two vocal critics of the project-Dr. Ernesto Pernia, an economist teaching at the UP-Diliman and a certain Ago Cloribel, who claims to be an NGO stalwart.

In a three-page advertisement, Fortich minced no words in castigating the two, the most biting of which was the one that described them as "prophets of doom".

Asking why these people were scared of progress, Fortich said were these objections well grounded and not based on unfounded assumptions calculated to scare the Boholanos?

Giving premium to Pernia's thesis that the country has too many airports already, Fortich countered "what is wrong with adding another international airport for the sake of progress?

Fortich volunteered the information that the airport project will not take away funds for anti-poverty efforts. He said "what we are using are the unpaid rentals of Mr. Lucio Tan in using the centennial airport in Manila for his PAL planes representing landing fees."

Provincial officials were not spared by Fortich's barbs. He said if they(provincial officials) do nothing to promote the airport and merely bask in the glory of the new airport then they are do nothing officials.

He added that if the airport is finished, the provincial officials must implement a herculean job of promoting the airport to all parts of the world and this is not impossible with the wonder of the internet and close communication with tourism players throughout the world

At the same time, the former manpower executive lamented the critics' negativism about the project. Saying that they would rather focus on positive actions, Fortich stressed, that the airport is a pro poor project and therefore it promises to generate vistas of opportunities to Boholanos and yield much needed jobs. He added that it would open more jobs to Boholanos who are working in this particular sector of the industry to manpower jobs in Canada, United States, Singapore and even Australia.

While Fortich admitted that there were so-called economic indicators floated around by perennial objectors, yet it was widely known fact that these are used as convenient tools by economists to project what they want for certain projects in most cases. He added that they are used to scare people or scare away investors.

Summing up, he said that in the end thousands of these so-called economic indicators have been proven to be damned wrong.

Fortich disagreed with the theory that because "we are poor we might as well spend the resources of government into helping the poor. Contending that this argument is fallacious, he said there are proven ways for the national government to spend money for infrastructures which will ultimately help the poor.

On the belief that some airports are underutilized, Fortich has a ready answer for this. Saying that it was only a claim, Fortich said he has yet to be provided with statistics that this is true. Citing an example, if the Mactan International Airport is underutilized, then why it is still operating.

Fortich also took to task the proposal of the two prominent objectors why not improve ship transport facilities instead of building an airport. Without batting an eyelash, Fortich said he wondered if the two objectors are Cebuanos instead of being dyed-in-the wool Boholanos.


Fortich also discussed at length the implications to ecology once the airport is constructed.

He said the contention that the ecology in Panglao would suffer with the presence of the airport is erratic and a downright lie.

According to the manpower bigwig, there is no respected study yet made by an independent body that the ecologies of places where there are airports have suffered tremendously to a certain point that it is irrepairable.

He countered that if "we follow this premise, then let us go back to the old age when no planes landed in our shores so our environment will be saved."


In the same vein, Fortich belied the canard that this is all about politics.

He said the claim that politics is all behind this is simply not true. Paying glowing tribute to Gov. Erico Aumentado for advocating the project, he said the only thing beneficial for the governor is that this would be a legacy for him and many others who made this project a reality.


As Fortich remained steadfast in his airport position, he called on the oppositors to stop this nonsense and proceed with the airport construction.

He said the issue has been on the table for the past 29 years and now that the project is about to be started, these oppositors want to delay and discuss more why? Saying that these people are foisting unfounded fears on the populace like a sword of Damocles for whatever reasons, it's about time that they should stop this insane and stupid act and "let's stop it for heaven's sake".

Fortich also blasted Cloribel's thesis.

He said Cloribel's long talk was a long monotone, nay, boring. He said except for Cloribel's utter display of one-sidedness against the project, listening to him would give the impression that there is no tomorrow in Bohol-everything is bad and this is totally absurd.

Philippine Senator, 3 Cabinet Executives Swing to Bohol Philippines

Published by the Bohol Sunday Post, a weekly paper in Bohol, Philippines: Philippine Senator Manuel Villar and three Cabinet members are here today for the three-day Visayas Island Cluster Conference of the League of Municipalities of the Philippines (LMP) that kicks off today at Bohol Tropics Resort, Tagbilaran City.

This was according to the LMP-Bohol chapter president, Jagna Mayor Exuperio Lloren, who will lead Bohol Mayors in the event.

Villar will have a dialogue on high-level policy with LGUs Leagues and Legislators, in the second part of Today's session.

The senator will also attend another event on tomorrow which is the BCI Golden anniversary celebration where he will give an inspiration message.

Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Assistant Secretary Gerardo Calderon, mayor of Angono, Rizal from 1998 to 2007, will also present LMP Advocacy Programs with emphasis on Population Management, Socially Responsible Mining Development, Solid Waste Management, Sustainable Upland Development, and Coastal Resource Management.          

Secretaries Gilberto Teodoro Jr. of the Department of National Defense (DND), Domingo Panganiban of the National Anti-Poverty Commission, and Angelo Reyes of the Department of Energy (DoE) and chairman of the Presidential Task Force on Climate Change will compose the panel of reactors. Undersecretaries Austere Panadero of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and David Lozada Jr. of the Department of Health (DOH), Department of Agriculture (DA) Assistant Secretary Dennis Araullo and Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Director Carmencita Delantar are also among the panel of reactors.

With High Oil Prices, the Poor Are the First to Suffer

Written by Romy Teruel of the Bohol Sunday Post Newspaper: The difference between economic growth and high prices is that with the latter, everybody, especially the poor, immediately feels it while with the former, the poor will feel it only, if they will at all, long after it is announced.

This is what is happening now. As soon as the price of oil breached $135 a barrel, pump prices immediately soared too. When it was announced that the country is affected by food crisis, the price of rice suddenly went up too. And people have to queue to buy cheaper rice sold by the National Food Authority. To this day rice has become an expensive commodity. But when Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Aroyo told the Filipinos that economic growth of 7.3% was attained last year, people asked when it would start to benefit them.

With high prices, the poor are the first to suffer while the rich won't feel it at all. With economic growth, the rich are the first to feel and benefit from it while the poor wonder whether they will ever feel it at all. The poor are always the last to feel good.

When fuel prices go up in the world market, the businessmen can immediately also increase their pump prices while the poor bus, taxi, jeep and tricycle operators have to seek government approval first, which takes a long time if they ever get it at all, before they can correspondingly increase transport fares.

Where is fairness and justice here?

The ordinary man will understand why pump prices must be increased because the price of fuel at the world market has increased. What they could not understand is why it will take so much difficulty to ask for raise in salary and wages for the worker. People have to eat. Children have to be sent to school. To deny workers a just wage is a violation of their human rights.

Perhaps the economists can tell the people the reasons for these in a layman's language - a language they can understand - because to the ordinary man these things don't make sense.

Why are businessmen allowed to pass on to their consumers the recovery of their systems loss, as in the case of Meralco for example? Why must the buyer assume payment of the EVAT for the commodity he buys? What is value added to a trip on the Ocean Jet, for example, when the passenger can't even see clearly the beautiful scenery outside?

In the light of these skyrocketing prices of practically everything, it is high time to revive the consumers watch. No one can protect the people from exploitation except the people themselves.

NOTES. For a while there the issue raised by some concerned latecomers on the Panglao Airport was drowned by the drainage controversy in Tagbilaran City.

Public officials should not be onion skinned on issues that have direct bearing on the everyday life of the citizens like the drainage in the city. The drainage problem was there for a long time. May be the city government is doing something about it but people failed to know what was being done. So when the rains came and the city experienced flooding, people are reminded of the problem.

Unlike the Panglao Airport that was there and studied for the last 20 years, the Tagbilaran City drainage project was there for completion for more than a year already. Its use therefore is long overdue.

Reflecting On A Family Reunion In A Tourism Favorite Island

This column was written by Mr. Boy Guingguing, publisher of Bohol Sunday Post

- - -
So sorry again for indulging in a self-serving story-the kind that smacks of "hometown decision".

It may not interest those who were not a participant of the going out party we had just concluded. But at any rate, those belonging to the Buhion Clan which had just ended its three-day of fun, food, music and camaraderie had all the reasons to celebrate if only for its pompous billing as the "grandmother of all grand reunions".

Yes Kith, it was one reunion that go down in the history of family get-togethers as the most memorable and exciting, not to mention as the most elaborate and extravagant.

But hey!, make no mistake about it. By extravagant we don't mean lavish because clan members are a bunch of show-offs. Far from it. It was just that so many benevolent sponsors came our way to rescue us from possible financial dehydration.

Truth is, it was a collective effort of clan members in cooperation with our friends in media that made the reunion a successful one. Mind you, if we were left to fend off with our own resources, we would have been thousands of pesos poorer.

All told, this piece comes as a glowing tribute to all sponsors who made our reunion successful and an affair to remember even by the coming generation of the Buhion clan.

We know that until now-- from Zamboanga Sibugay to General Santos City, two of the many places where members of the clan are happily settled, our recent reunion was still the talk of the town.

One place that reaped ohs and ahs by our relatives was the Bohol Beach Club.

Touring the premier resort according to one clan member was like being transported to another world. Well, if you are an "alien" to BBC, it is possible that as a first timer one would react that way. Our profound thanks to our coffee crony Anos Fonacier for the free entrance and merienda courtesy of his famous beach resort.

Our relatives were also mesmerized by the ambiance and scenery of the Bohol Tropics Resort and Club. There, the whole Buhion caboodle were treated to a hearty lunch. Just do not ask this BGlante who foot the bill. You'll be shocked to know that the lunch cost P13,000.

Who would imagine that clan members (about 80 all including children) were assembled in one boat cruise for a sumptuous lunch courtesy of power couple Walter and Lourdes Sultan of Travel Village Resto and Cruises. The couple also provided the air conditioned bus that brought clan members to all the tourists attractions in Bohol.

Our special thanks also went to Mayor Theresa PM Camacho who provided Getafe's favorite, king's crabs while Mayor Stephen Rances of Mabini gave us bunches of blue crabs. Another seafood provider was Alo Jardenil who gave us several kilos of shrimps.

Two friends in media, Board Member Ae Damalerio and Boy Pernia of the Capitol media affairs also gave their share of the gargantuan task of feeding our relatives.

They gave one roasted pig each. Our special thanks also went to Mavil Lechon Baka for the delicious roasted calf.

If our reunion attracted so much attention in Baclayon, it was because of the spectacular fireworks display. If we remember right, only fiestas and other important occasions are replete with the spectacle of a fireworks explosion, but in the case of the Buhion clan it was one experience they can't forget in their lifetime.

Anyway, the Bohol homecoming for the Buhions started well and ended well. It was indeed a long way since Silvestre Buhion, our great grandfather and in whose honor the reunion was dedicated, lorded it over as one of the illustrious sons of Montana, Baclayon. At least two generations of the Buhions have produced nurses (one of them is Jean Buhion Real now in the States), his brother Oscar, a popular dance instructor and professor of the Dr. Cecilio Putong Memorial High School, a journalist (that's me, Kith), a flight stewardees, teachers, doctors, engineers, lawyers and other money-making pursuits.

Jagna and Camiguin Linkage Increases Sales of Bohol's Calamay

Written by Joe Espiritu
Columnist of the Bohol Sunday Post

Don't look now but he Jagna Camiguin ferry has done wonders for Jagna. This is noticed by calamay makers and vendors. Sales of their product has doubled and tripled. Even if the holiday season is marred by early rains passenger traffic has not let up. Some make pilgrimages up the Ilihan Shrine. For a time, Jagna becomes a local tourism spot.

There had been stories that the Jagna Sierra Bullones road is starting to be improved. The road to Mayana, the northernmost barrio is cemented. The landslide portion is to be rehabilitated. The Jagna Sierra Bullones connection via Mayana has to be improved. Commuters are of the opinion that this is not an all weather road. The national government program will remedy this.

There is one thing that may render the Looc Mayana portion of the Jagna - Sierra Bullones road better. Highway authorities say that the required grade for a national highway is six percent (6%). That is; the rise is six meters every hundred meters. This is to limit the wear and tear of the engines of those plying that route. There are buses that navigate those places and the nearby barrios of Mayana. However they only run once or twice a day.

There would be entrepreneurs, who would want more frequent service. With transportation frequency, downtown living schoolteachers would not mind being assigned to the upper barrios where the busses will reach them. Upper barrio folks would not feel neglected by downtown municipal authorities. Some are more loyal to the centrals of the towns near them.

Commuters have to time their activities. They have to finish whatever their transactions are in time for the return trip. Otherwise they will be stranded downtown at night. There may be those who would mind being left downtown at night. That is if we have some nightlife to offer. However, after twelve midnights Jagna is dead. Commerce ceases, most activities stop. What will be up are drunks and rowdies.

Perhaps, some sociologists would be asked how to sustain the fiesta momentum after May. This could be possible. If Jagna is to offer nightlife, laws should be stringently enforced. More policemen or women should be hired. Amusements attract undesirable elements. Those who would like to find amusements would like to feel safe while they are at it.

Take this case in point. We have been hearing about Matapay. First we thought we heard Magtapay and that is in the Cantagay point. But it is somewhere else.

Such an odd name, perhaps derived from the Visayan word tapay or flat. Yet according to stories, there is nothing flat there except the pocket when going home. It is a seashore resort in Nausok where the girls there will help one go broke with pleasure if it suits one's taste.

There are those who enthused that girls there are beautiful. He must be drunk.

The beauty of Helen of Troy was judged on how many ships had been launched in the Greek crusade to recover her. So we will make a standard how many beers will one drink to make a Matapay girl beautiful. If she is pleasing to the eye without drinking a bottle, then she is beautiful. One to two beers mean she is pretty.

Three to five means she is allowable, six to twelve means doubtful. Over that, she is a horror, a candidate for horror movies.

Before we introduce nightlife to Jagna, it is best to consult municipal and religious authorities as well. A well-run establishment would be a tourist attraction; locals would patronize it as well. A badly run concern might arouse the ire of the Josephenians, CWL, JAMAVEA, JACAMAVEA and other women organizations looking for their errant husbands who went with the members of the JAMCODA, Habalhabal Inc and other motorcab drivers to those doubtful places.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

2 Tourist Destinations in Caraga Declared Protected Zone

By Robert E. Roperos

Philippine News Agency | Butuan City -  Out of the ten priority protected areas in the Philippines, two tourist destinations in the region are among those that has been declared by the Philippine government, thru the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the NGOs for Integrated Protected Areas (NIPA).

This was learned from Miro Ajoc, coordinator of the Sohoton Cove located in the northern part of Siargao Islands and Bukas Grande during the visit of the first inter-regional caravan team recently.

According to Ajoc, Sohoton Cove is one of the hidden treasures of Caraga Region and has been declared protected area because of its uniqueness having rare species of flora and fauna as well as the marine lives present in the area.

The landscapes and seascape of the island is considered a surfer's paradise with extensive system of old-growth mangrove forest and rich marine reserves.

Ajoc added that aside from the Siargao and Bukas Grande Islands, Agusan Marsh in Agusan del Sur was also declared protected because it is a sanctuary for wildlife. It is the most biologically diverse marshland in the country, where more than 200 species of birds from neighboring countries like Japan and China, and even as far as Russia spend during the winter months.

Other protected areas in the country are the Batanes Protected Landscapes and Seascapes, Northern Sierra Madre Natural Park, Subic-Bataan Natural Park, Apo Reef Natural Park, Mount Kanlaon Natural Park, Mount Kitanglad Range Natural Park, Mount Apo Natural Park, and Turtle Islands Wildlife Sanctuary.

Located at the northernmost part of the Philippines, Batanes Protected Landscapes and Seascapes is composed of scenic islands and beautiful seascapes inhabited by the indigenous Ivatans peoples. It has a high level of floral endemicity and is a major flyway for migratory birds from northern Asia.

The largest and most important protected area in the country in terms of biodiversity is the Northern Sierra Madre Natural Park. It is the home to 12 of habitat types and 40 species of wildlife (most of them endemic) included in the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) list of globally threatened species.

The Subic-Bataan Natural Park is the major protected area nearest to Manila and a test case to demonstrate how the nation's economic development can take place successfully alongside the conservation of the country's last remaining forests.

The Apo Reef Natural Park is the biggest atoll-type reef in the Philippines and a natural haven for marine and bird life, and a variety of endangered plants.

Mount Kanlaon Natural Park in Negros is an active volcano and the tallest peak in the Visayas Group of islands, which is also a microcosm of the fragmented state of Philippine ecosystems.

Another protected area located in the central part of Mindanao is the Mount Kitanglad Range Natural Park. This is the second highest peak in the country and the headwater catchment area for the major rivers of Northern Mindanao and home of the Talaandig, Higaonon, and Bukidnon tribes, as well as the Philippine eagle.

The country's tallest peak and host to a diverse variety of endemic flora and fauna is the Mount Apo where its Natural Park has been included in the areas that has been protected. Mount Apo is the home to numerous indigenous cultural communities.

Philippine NFA Shuts Down Rice Dealers in Bohol

By Kit Bagaipo | The Bohol Chronicle: The National Food Authority (NFA) Bohol has closed down at least 13 rice retailers here in the province for overpricing and rice adulteration.

NFA- Bohol Assistant Manager Ma. Fe Evasco told the Chronicle yesterday the rice outlets were totally closed as their violations are considered as grave offenses.

NFA monitoring teams conducted raids this week and caught the violators. Instead of selling the government subsidized rice (NFA rice) at P18.25 per kilo these were sold at a much higher price, said Evasco.

Some of the 13 authorized rice retailers were likewise caught mixing the NFA rice with commercial rice varieties (adulteration) which are also sold at a higher price.

There were outlets caught diverting or selling government subsidized rice in another place other than the authorized retailers' stall.

"All NFA rice retail outlets should follow NFA rules and regulations," Evasco stressed. "These outlets are accredited by us in order for them to sell NFA rice at P18.25 per kilo."

According to Evasco, normally they just suspend or cancel accreditation of the rice retailers depending on the violation committed.

Recently, an accredited NFA rice retailer in Janopol, Balilihan was caught by police mixing NFA rice with commercial rice.

When asked regarding the present supply of rice in the province, Evasco pointed out that there is no shortage.

"The issue of rice shortage is brought about by the disparity of the price of the NFA rice compared to the commercial rice varieties," she said.

Evasco bared that about 100,000 bags of rice are shipped weekly into the province from the NFA depot in Cebu and are stocked at the Tagbilaran and Ubay wharehouses.

Bohol is currently about 85-percent rice sufficient, said Evasco. By 2009, the province's sufficiency rate is expected to hit 100-percent with the provincial government's Rice Accelerated Emergency Response (RACER) project which received a P15-million funding.

PBA's Purefoods Giants Invade Bohol's Gerry's Grills

The Bohol Chronicle | Press Release: Known to be the PBA's official bar and grill, Gerry's Grill at the 4th level of BQ Mall hosted the "Giants" to a buffet of selected healthful food.

After intensive practice at the Calape Gymnasium, the players came to Tagbilaran to dine, though they arrived a little late for dinner, fans have waited in line to get a glimpse of their favorite stars.

The cagers came back for lunch the following day, sharing a la carte of steamed plapla, chicken kebab, beef spareribs and sinigang na hipon. Taking the opportunity, fans took pictures.

The game at the Calape gymnasium has proven the team's skills. James Yap took consecutive three-point shots. More power plays added heightened thrills.

The following day, the cagers took their breakfast at the MetroCentre Hotel resto where they were billeted.

As they bid goodbye to their local fans, the cagers promised to return to Tagbilaran City which they described as a city of beautiful and friendly people.

Panglao Bohol Airport Irregularities in Collecting Notarial Fees?

By Ric V Obedencio | Bohol Media: There are no irregularities in imposing and collecting notarial fee of 3.5% by lawyers of the Provincial Legal Office (PLO) on land purchased for the Panglao airport.

PLO chief Atty. Handel Lagunay issued the clarification anew over the questioned notarial fee in connection with the land acquisition for the controversial 211-hectare Panglao Bohol International Airport project set for groundbreaking by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on May 20.

The issues on several fees on airport land acquisition, including notarial fee, surfaced again during the airport forum held at Jojie's Bakeshop last week in this city where Dr. Ernesto Pernia, professor of economics of the University of the Philippines (UP) was the guest along with organizers of the newly formed Bohol for Truth, Accountability and Reform (BTAR).

Pernia raised several concerns regarding the viability of the Panglao airport project, saying it becomes a moral issue and question of priority and yet the government can afford to spend billions of pesos for the airport project that may not be necessary at this time of economic hardship while most Boholanos are languishing in dire poverty.

The said forum was attended by former Panglao mayor Doloreich Dumaluan, former Panglao town Tourism councilman Agustin Cloribel, private and business sectors and Albur town residents opposed to sanitary landfill project which was linked to the airport project.

Panglao's solid wastes generated from beach resorts are expected to be dumped in Albur, about 20 kms. from here, once the landfill project is completed.

Lagunay, in an interview yesterday, explained that the notarial services by lawyers who happened to be employees of the PLO are legal and allowable under the law, aside from the fact that lot purchase is not part of their function and duties.

He said that lawyers under his office are not forbidden to practice their professions.

He stressed that all notarial fees collected by lawyers concerned are subjected to withholding tax with the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR).

He also brushed aside allegations that the notarial fee is cornered by PLO, adding that other lawyers who are not connected with the PLO also came into the picture and the lot owners have always the options to choose their lawyers in the land deal with the Department of Transportation and Communications.

For his part, Cloribel said that notarial fee is not only one being charged against the sale of lots. Charges, such as broker fee of about 3%, heir's bond, 1.5% and processing fee, 1.5%, are also done. What is left to the owners may amount only to about or between PhP30 and PhP35 as net of the P60 per square meter after the purchase.

He also disputed claim of about 80% of the total lots have already been paid. He said based on some owners accounts there are only about 30% who have been paid and maybe 80% are being processed but not yet paid.

He is also in quandary for what is the other charges of 10% and where it goes, which may be considered as 'unexplained' or 'ghost' charges. Asked whether the airport project proponents explained the 'ghost' 10% charge, he said in the negative.- The Bohol Standard

Asia Foundation nominated Cecil Flores-Oebanda for Skoll Foundation's Award

The Philippines is one of the world's leading sources of migrant workers. Domestically, there is also large scale internal migration, as people seek what they believe will be better financial opportunities.

Although many of these workers travel and undertake their assignments as planned, a significant number of Filipinos, including children, fall prey to traffickers who exploit them for sex-work and abusive labor.

Today, The Asia Foundation and others working to combat human trafficking gathered to celebrate Visayan Forum Foundation President Ma. Cecilia Flores-Oebanda's recognition as a social entrepreneur by Skoll Foundation.

Cecilia Flores-Oebanda is a leader in the struggle against human trafficking and child labor in the Philippines. The Founder and President of Visayan Forum Foundation Inc., she works for the welfare of marginalized migrants, especially those in the invisible and informal sectors such as domestic and sex workers.

In recognition of her innovative and successful efforts, after a highly competitive international search, she was selected to receive the Skoll Foundation's Award for Social Entrepreneurship. The award was presented to Ms. Oebanda by the Skoll Foundation on April 27 at the University of Oxford in England. Present for the award was former U.S. President Jimmy Carter.

According to the U.S.-based Skoll Foundation, Ms. Oebanda is "the first Asian awardee, who will join the growing global network of Skoll social entrepreneurs, now numbering 59, who have created innovative, proven solutions for tackling the world's most urgent social and economic challenges."

Ms. Oebanda said that "The Visayan Forum wants to see the day where human trafficking, a modern-day form of slavery, is abolished. Through the concerted efforts of various stakeholders, we want to create a counter-culture against deceit and abuse.

We want to ensure that operations of traffickers will be increasingly difficult and young people, especially women, will be able to find work and explore opportunities without the risk of being abused, exploited, sold and enslaved."

"The Asia Foundation nominated Cecil Flores-Oebanda for this honor because of her valuable contribution to addressing gender-based violence, particularly human trafficking, in the Philippines," said Maribel Buenaobra, Managing Program Officer at The Asia Foundation.

Flat Bed Rice Dryers Given to 37-Rice Producing Provinces in the Philippines

Written By Bruce Zabala - Bohol Media

The Department of Agriculture has so far installed over 500 of the 1,000 flatbed dryers that the DA is set to put up in 37 rice-producing provinces across the country this year, in step with the long-term government goal to guarantee stable rice supply and prices through record-high yields of the grain till 2010.

In its report to DA Secretary Arthur Yap, the Bureau of Postharvest Research and Extension (BPRE) said that as of May 5, it has already installed at least 53 flatbed dryers in Nueva Ecija, one of Luzon's largest rice-production sites.

At least Ten (10) flatbed dryers were also installed as of last month in Iloilo; six (6) each in Bulacan, Bohol and Leyte; five (5) each in Zamboanga del Sur, South Cotabato and Agusan del Sur; four (4) each in Davao del Sur, Kalinga, Pampanga and Nueva Ecija; three (3) in Pangasinan; two (2) in Camarines Sur; and one (1) each in Tarlac, Occidental Mindoro and Isabela, according to BPRE Director Ricardo Cachuela, who gave an update on the status of the project during the last DA Management Committee meeting.

Cachuela said the BPRE is putting on the fast track the completion of this project, which this DA-attached office is implementing in Irrigators' Associations (IA) sites in cooperation with the National Irrigation Administration (NIA), National Food Authority (NFA) and the National Agribusiness Corp. (Nabcor).

Yap said this postharvest support for rice clusters nationwide will be complemented by continuing subsidies for seeds and inputs, disease prevention measures, and the repair and rehabilitation of irrigation facilities in unusable lands to help attain the goal of producing an all-time high of 17.24 million metric tons (MT) of rice this year and even higher yields in 2009 and onwards.

The DA is carrying out a twin-pronged approach to guarantee stable stocks and prices of rice in the short and long terms, which involves sustaining higher palay production in the years to come and in the meantime securing imports while the government is still in the process of attaining its food security or self-sufficiency targets.

Palay production reached a record 16.24 million MT in 2007 despite a dry spell, and is expected to hit an even higher yield of 17.32 million MT this year as a result of the continued, unprecedented levels of public investments by the Arroyo administration in the agriculture and fisheries sector.

This year's production target will most likely be attained by the DA, given that for the summer harvests alone, the Bureau of Agricultural Statistics (BAS) expects yields to reach 7.1 million MT, which is higher than the 6.8 million-ton output during the same April-June period in 2007.

As of May 5, DA officials on the field have reported that rice producing regions have so far harvested 5.893 million metric tons of palay in 77% of the total areas planted.

Moreover, the DA will also expand areas planted to palay during the main or wet planting season this year to 2.54 million hectares; and pinpoint some 92,000 hectares for its quick turnaround (QTA) program, which involves the insertion of a third-cropping season in between the summer and wet cropping seasons.

Yap has also ordered the Bureau of Soils and Water Management (BWSM) to provide him an update on Strategic Agricultural and Fisheries Development Zones (SAFDZs) suitable for palay production so that both the government and the private sector can intervene in a focused manner to convert these into rice production sites.

For the dry season of 2009, Yap said that the DA will target at least 1.8 million hectares of land for planting with hybrid and certified rice seeds.

To help stabilize rice prices, President Arroyo already directed the DA and NFA to clamp down hard on hoarders and profiteers, and to take legal steps against them along with NFA people responsible for the diversion of government-subsidized rice stocks to private traders.

She had also ordered the NFA to revoke the passports of some 10,000 licensed grains dealers accredited by the food agency and to re-accredit only those engaged in legitimate trading practices, and the DA to stake out NFA and private warehouses to prevent diversion of government-subsidized stocks.

The NFA is now selling not only government-subsidized rice but mid-priced commercial varieties as well at 25 a kilo, as part of the supervised selling strategy drawn up by the DA to stabilize the retail cost of the food staple for both low- and middle-income consumers.

The DA is tapping Catholic Church networks and local government units to help bring quality and affordable rice to the country's most hunger-prone provinces, and is also mobilizing LGUs to engage in palay production programs for the benefit of their respective constituents.

For its part, the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) has lifted the truck ban for perishable goods in Metro Manila in a bid to ensure food supplies in the metropolis. The DA is issuing permits to these truckers so LGUs and the police will no longer accost them on their way to urban markets.

Kasapa Dos People. Meet Umayamnon Folks from Agusan del Norte

by Florian Faith Jr. and D. Paghubasan

Butuan City Agusan del Norte | Philippine Information Agency:  Umayamnon! This is what the people are called in Kasapa Dos. Umayamnon is taken from the river called Umayam. In its riverbanks is where the people lived until they became a sitio and then a barangay. Mainly dependent to their environment, an Umayamnon relies on the food that can be found around them like corn and root crops.

The Umayamnons of Kasapa Dos belongs to the Manobo ethnic group. To honor their god and prevent their tribe from experiencing bad luck, they gather at least once a year and worship beside the river by offering a native chicken. They have their tribal chieftain who leads ceremonial activities like weddings and burials and arbitrate disputes of the community.

Situated in the mountain of La Paz, Kasapa Dos was not spared from insurgency-related conflicts. To save themselves from danger and chaos, the residents of Brgy. Kasapa Dos in La Paz, Agusan del Sur has desperately moved out from their ancestral home. However, earnest in protecting their precious ancestral domain, seventy percent (70%) of them transferred to Kalampayan, a sitio 3 kilometers from Kasapa Dos and the rest moved to Purok 4, Selco of Brgy. Panagangan.

This exodus has led to separated families and clans. Distraughtly trying to save every single belonging they can carry with them, most of them brought their domestic animals and some herbs. And while pulling their pigs and goats, as others were riding on their carabaos, the only thing they couldn't bring with them is their land.

Endowed with talent in beadwork, Umayamnons make necklaces, bracelets, and other accessories made from Chinese bamboo for their own consumption. Every accessory has its own design that corresponds to a certain meaning. Men and women of the community have been endowed with this ingenuity. It has been a part of their culture and a significant part of their clothing. They believed that wearing these accessories constantly reminds them that they belong to their group. The men and even some of the women don't wear anything on top aside from those necklaces and accessories. Their lives in Kasapa Dos were simple.

But reality is sometimes bitter. Fate turned its wheels from the Umayamnon.

After leaving the land they thought would be the place for their deathbed, their life became miserable. As settlers, they received hostile treatment from the residents. Unable to adapt to the new environment, farming as the only means of living was very difficult. They could hardly taste their crops because the natives claimed ownership of the land they tilled. True enough, the natives harvest their crops leaving nothing for them to eat. For them, eating three times a day is a luxury. They usually have one meal a day. Believing that the government has no place for them, it was needless to beg for mercy.

But their datu, Manbandayan Melvin G. Pundog who was very resistant to the government for fear of discrimination has already revealed his willingness to consider it and hopes for some assistance. However, fearful that the government will influence their culture and practices, still the community hesitated to participate to government-initiated activities. Even the entry of KALAHI-CIDSS, a flagship anti-poverty program of the Philippine government was met with indifference and skepticism. Their low participation was a result of the farms they need to attend to everyday. They cannot prioritize government-initiated activities due to their everyday struggle of providing food for their families.

Despite this, the government continue to look for programs that could help the people of Kasapa Dos to participate KC activities without affecting their economic activites. The Japan Social Development Fund – Social inclusion Project, better known as JSDF-SIP was the answer. As a complementary facility to the KALAHI-CIDSS project, it identifies what skills are needed to be enhanced for their active involvement and participation in the project.

Talking about skills enhancement, the Umayamnons were just too unmindful about their talent in making necklaces, bracelets, and other accessories. Unaware that their talent could possibly help them to be recipients of the JSDF-SIP project, their creative ability has left undiscovered.

Sometime in uly of 2007, the Umayamnons had their barangay assembly for a brief overview of the project. The JSDF-SIP Participating Learning Facilitator (PLF) for Kasapa Dos is Maribel Verula. She is a resident of Brgy. Sagunto, La Paz who can understand the Manobo dialect. Anticipating that issues will arise, PLF Verula has prepared to let the indigenous People (IP) of Kasapa Dos understand what benefits they could get from participating in the project. Some were defiant and doubtful while others were hopeful. Others would even walk-out in the middle of the meeting. Trying to encourage the people, the PLF's strategy was to bring food during assemblies in order to draw their attention. In this way, participation from the Umayamnons will be quite easy.

After the gruelling task of identifying what project to venture is amenable to all, the Umayamnons finally opted for beadworks. It was raised by one member of the community. After the suggestion was brought up, many were astounded because they were too blind to recognize their own potential. This has awakened the Umayamnons from their long unconscious state of being gifted with such talent. The people showed samples of their works and it was indeed very practical for them to decide for such proposal. Their main objective, that is to uplift their economic well-being and to improve their skills is now a wink away. Through the enhancement of their skills, it will even capacitate the Umayamnon for active community participation. At first, the IPs preferred Bayoy and Suyam making, a native clothing worn by their tribe. But some has protested that it would be hard for them to sell the product in the market and will have less buyers.

Highly expecting to the benefits of the project, a testimony was given by Datu Manbandayan Melvin G. Pundog. He said, "Kaname no onapad no panahon wada pad Governo mig tabang kaname singaman koy og kalepay doy og mahay so manya to konakoy og ka atiman". It means that before when the government has not helped them, they felt bad or unhappy and discouraged because they felt they were deprived from the benefits and opportunities which they too must enjoy.

The entry of the Japan Social Development Fund – Social inclusion Project has helped them realize their place in the government. They realized that it is not too late to trust the government. Being open-minded in all aspects will bear good results.

With a total project cost of P378,000.00, the recipients in Kasapa Dos was trained in the Municipality of La Paz for ten days. A trainer, Margie Abaquieta was hired to provide Skills Training on Handicraft Production, specifically on Beadworks. Certain designs were introduced so that their product could compete in the market. The quality has improved and designs were developed with certain limits in removing certain symbolism of their culture. The material used was not Chinese Bamboo anymore, instead it was purely beads with different varieties of color. But this colourful tiny beads was not new to them, they were very eager to learn and apply the new technique they have learned. According to them, the tiny beads will be their hope to eventually from the bondage of poverty.

The Local Government of La Paz and the barangay LGU has helped them in marketing their products. After the training, an association with twenty-two members mostly women was organized and named: "Umayamnon Manobo Tribal Association". Women are mostly the ones willing to learn and produce necklaces, bracelets, even rings and earings, and other accessories including pen holders, and even cellphone holders. This project has tremendously brought an impact to their way of living, changing their routines instead of staying at home all day and sometimes accomplishing nothing. Children were beginning to learn and help their mothers producing any kind of beadworks. Materials like beads, nylons and locks was not a problem for it was provided to them through the implementing agency, Department of Social Welfare and Development – Caraga.

To further capacitate the Umayamnon's drive for participation, their representatives and officers of their association were invited to the Team Building Seminar and Values Formation Seminar held respectively last September and October 2007 at Balanghai Hotel. It has helped them enrich their culture and enhanced their attitudes towards achieving the objective of their organization which is to gradually take them out of poverty.