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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