Politicking at Tagbilaran City Hall

By Jorge Cabalit
Bohol Chronicle


Some casual employees of the City Government complained that they were directed to secure the signatures of at least 20 registered voters in their localities. The act of compelling these casual employees to get the signatures of at least 20 registered voters is a violation of the Omnibus Election Code and the Code of Ethics for Public Officers and Employees.

Until now, the committee on appropriation and accounts and personnel and reorganization of the Sangguniang Panlungsod of Tagbilaran, tasked to investigate these complaints, have not come out with the results of their investigation.

The gathering of signatures by every casual employee will mean thousands of signatures of registered voters in the hands of the Office of the City Mayor. These signatures can easily be copied during the voting on election day. The gathering of some signatures would lend support to the allegations that some signatures of the voters in the ballots in the previous election were done by one or two persons.

The officials and employees causing the gathering of these signatures are degrading the Office of the City Mayor.

* * * * *

The Barangay of Cabawan has been neglected by the present city administration. The sad state of the barangay hall is a testament of the neglect of the barangay. Comparing the state of the barangay hall, we would lament the fact that the City Government has constructed a new City Government Center to the chagrin of the barangay folk of Cabawan. Blame it on politics. The barangay captain of Cabawan does not belong to the political camp of the city mayor.

Too much politics is destroying the city government. No city government employees can be promoted unless they promise some favors to the city mayor. Persons staying at government lands are threatened by the city mayor with ejection unless they support the political camp of the city mayor. - 2004 Column Archive

Home Grenade Explodes When Drug Suspect Was Cornered By Police

A homemade grenade exploded as a drug suspect was cornered by CIDG-PNP operatives at his residence at Airport Road, corner Lamdagan Street, early Friday morning.

Police Inspector Joe Pacito Yape Jr., chief of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG), identified the suspect as Paul P. Dagamac, 34, of Cogon district, Tagbilaran City, Bohol.

In the search warrant issued by RTC Executive Judge Fernando Fuentes, the area raided was pinpointed as a drug den, a venue for the sale of shabu.

CIDG agents PO1 Renato Garcia and PO1 Herold Bihag alleged that the suspect was engaged in the distribution of shabu.

When operatives surrounded the area, the suspect noticed their presence. It was at this juncture that Dagamac allegedly threatened to release the grenade, and barred the operatives to go near him.

Sensing the arrest, he released the grenade. However, a shrapnel strayed upon explosion and hit him.

Operatives said that neighbors interviewed confirmed that the suspect is peddling drugs at said residence at the corner before entering the City Airport.

Dagamac was brought to the Gallares Memorial Hospital for treatment. Afterwhich, he was transferred to Camp Dagohoy stockade.

Seized by the operatives were two decks of suspected shabu, plastic with traces of shabu, empty plastic of various sizes, twisted foil, rolled tin foil, syringe, improvised sealer, forcep, a cutter and tooter. Also seized from the suspect's bedroom were an improvised hunting knife, a shirt with PNP markings, leather wallet containing the badge, ATM Landbank card and notebook with calculator.

The city PNP operatives who joined the raid were led by Police Inspector Miguel Jimenez.

With the raiding team were Zacarias Castro of DOJ, Cogon barangay kagawads Jeremias Pabe and Philip Besas, Cogon Barangay Chief Tanod Generoso Diez and DYRD radio reporter Willy Maestrado.

PO2 John Guilbert Basalo conducted the inventory of seized items inside the Dagamac residence last Friday. - 2004 News Archive - Bohol Chronicle

City Hall Documents To Probe Corruption Scandal

The independent composite evaluation team (ICET) dissecting the alleged anomalies in the construction of the new City Hall still cannot proceed its "technical" probe after the city engineer's office on Friday failed to provide the other "crucial documents."

However, the legal and auditing aspects of the investigation will commence this week.

City Hall sources privy to the multi-million project have described the lacking documents â€" as-built plan of the realized building â€" a "smoking gun" of the controversy.

City engineer Pianicita Castolo only provided the blueprint of the "proposed architectural and engineering plans and specifications" but without the as built-plan of the realized building, according to probe team member, architect Socrates Fucanan of the United Architects of the Philippines (UAP).

Fucanan and engineer Wellington Pilongo of the Federated Parents and Teachers Association (FPTA) told the Chronicle the lacking documents were vital in finding out if what was proposed was actually implemented in the construction.

"We will check if what was planned was really implemented," Fucanan said.

Fucanan and Pilongo noted that any glaring overpricing (or anomaly) in the project would be unmasked by examining the lacking documents.

But while the technical work suffered delay, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) and the Philippine Institute of Certified Public Accountants (PICPA) were due to start reviewing the legal and auditing/budget aspects respective-ly, noted IBP president and probe team leader Florendo Columnas.

DARE

"I challenge the City Hall to produce the lacking documents," replied Columnas when asked if City Hall can fulfill what it promised to the public: to be transparent to the people of Tagbilaran.

Earlier, mayor Joe Torralba indicated that all the documents pertinent to the project were open for public scrutiny, saying "I have nothing to hide."

Columnas quoted Castolo as saying there was already an agreement between the latter and Ariel Migriño, staff of the Sangguniang Panlungsod, to have the documents ready for photocopy on Friday.

But Migriño had denied there was such an agreement.

A letter on Friday from the ICET was sent to Castolo asking her office to provide the documents.

NO FUNDING

The team also failed to take off its technical work when it cannot reproduce the gigantic sheets of documents.

Measuring 48 inches on all sides, some 50 sheets of the blueprint of the proposed plans and specifications and another 40 sheets of the as-built plan could cost around P17,000 for reproduction (each set for four persons).

During the team's meeting on Thursday at the second floor of the new City Hall, none had the personal cash to spend for the photocopy.

According to the resolution that created the ICET, expenses for paperwork and documentation will be taken from the SP fund.

However, the SP fund source was not specified except that it will be taken from SP's "other available sources."

Confronted with tight finances, Migriño asked the opinion of city vice-mayor Jorge Cabalit who advised that the matter had to be canvassed first.

There is only one establishment in the city that can serve "large paper xerox."

The team, which members are working voluntarily, said the canvass was no longer necessary.

RESOLUTION


Probe member lawyer Salva Diputado of the Bohol Times said the resolution creating the ICET had a lapse when it was not accompanied with specific funding for expenses.

He said that the city councilors had overlooked future expenses the team would incur.

INHIBITION


Public works and highways district engineer Celestino Adlaon, representing PICE, did not attend the meeting. He had been absent twice in a row.

Columnas on Friday sent a letter to Adlaon clarifying the latter's commitment to the ICET.

Earlier, Adlaon expressed reluctance about the ICET, saying he was a government employed.

Although there was yet no immediate report he was pressured by City Hall, Adlaon had earlier expressed hesitancy to the team, saying "what if the findings would be adverse to the Torralba administration."

Columnas said there has to be a representative from PICE if Adlaon backs out.

Adlaon, for his part, reasoned he was not informed about the two meetings.

On the other hand, PICPA's Leah Tirol-Magno, niece of Nuevas Tirol-Montes (vice mayoralty running mate of Betty Torralba), did not also attend the meeting twice in a row. Last week, she was represented by Merlinda Mendez. - 2004 News Archive - Bohol Chronicle

Rampant Tagbilaran City Hall Graft and Corruption?

"You will be wondering why the platform of eradication of graft and corruption is our no. 1 platform. This is one important aspect of governance in which the present city administration has miserably failed."

With these words, city vice mayor Jorge Cabalit opened his 14-point platform of governance during Friday's mayoralty forum organized by the Bohol Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) and held at the Bohol Tropics Resort.

"Efforts of the present administration to reduce if not eradicate graft and corruption in the city government have been superficial and insignificant," stressed Cabalit, sounding hell bent on bringing down something giant.

Cabalit, who spoke after Cogon barangay captain and Association of Barangay Captains president Betty Torralba's (wife of city mayor Joe Torralba) turn, said that what the present administration had done so far was creating a new bidding and awards committee.

"There are no significant measures to address graft and corruption," Cabalit reiterated even as he cited the Bohol Poll 2003 survey results which gave a -17 rating to the city government's efforts to fight against graft.

NO LONGER A BUDDY


During the open forum, however, Cabalit was asked to clarify his claims on graft and corruption in an administration in which he has been part of.

"I am now in the opposition," Cabalit said curtly.

He said since he broke up with the administration, he has been supporting to the creation of the independent composite evaluation team (ICET) who looks into the alleged irregularity in the construction of the new City Hall, and the creation of an ad hoc body who would probe the alleged bidding anomalies at City Hall.

RECLAMATION


The vice-mayor, once accused by mayor Torralba as "destitute and senile," reiterated his opposition against the 48-hectare bay reclamation.

"Hindi ako nag-iisa (I am not alone)," he said, rebutting mayor Torralba's earlier claims that Cabalit was the lone oppositor to the controversial project.

Cabalit stressed the recla-mation, aside from being hazardous to the environment, would eventually kill tourism.

"Definitely, the Cabalit-Clarin team has the slogan, ‘Save Our City By The Bay," Cabalit said.

SOCA TWIN

Meantime, Mrs. Torralba would push for her STRENGTH platform, which stands for Security, Tourism, Renewal, Education, Employment, Natural Resources Management, Good Governance, Trade and Health and Housing.

BCCI sources, commenting on Mrs. Torralba's speech, said it was somewhat a continuation of her husband's Feb. 9 state of the city address (SOCA).

"Well, more or less, she and her husband have the same mind framework, perhaps of the same speech writer," a BCCI official said on condition of anonymity. "What can you expect?"

The mayor's wife said that within the first year of her administration, whenever she is elected into office, she would bat for the creation of an Economic Enterprise Department "so we can better manage all of the City's enterprises…"

Some of her legislative agenda included, among others, the creation of a Citywide Crime Watch Brigade; creation of City Investment Board; City Cooperatives and People's Initiatives Development Office; and full implementation of the Coastal Resource Management Plan.

"We shall see to it that the local government will be a helping hand as each individual fulfills his potentials and break free from the shackles of poverty," Mrs. Torralba concluded.

AVOIDING POLITICS

Former OIC mayor Dan Lim did not attend the forum.

Through an advance notice, Lim explained he shunned discussions on political issues as the official campaign trail is yet to start on March 25.

He said that had he attended the forum, he could have not avoided touching on sensitive political issues.

Lim however said he was looking forward to a multi-sectoral forum, together with the mayoralty bets, to be held on March 25. - 2004 News Archive - Bohol Chronicle

2 New People's Army (NPA) Rebels Killed In Army Encounter

Two members of the New People's Army were killed during a 45-minute gunbattle with government troops in Sitio Ipo, Barangay Bigtik in Catigbian town about 3 p.m. Friday.

The rebels, led by Kumander Domingo Samuya alias Ka Minggoy or Ka Jake, numbering to about 40 were chanced upon by troopers of the 17th Special Forces Company under Capt. Dennis Cuaresma.

The armed clash resulted to the evacuation of some 116 families, comprising 528 residents.

Intelligence reports revealed suspicion that the rebels were about to hold a conference in the secluded sitio when they were spotted by the government troops.

The slain rebels were among those assigned to guard the area. Their bodies were recovered during clearing operations conducted by elements of the 6th Special Forces under Col. Abundio Cases based in Bilar town.

Senior Police Officer 3 Modesto Renoblas, Catigbian PNP station commander, told the Chronicle that the suspected leader of the rebels is a resident of Catigbian, a brother of a chief tanod working under Catigbian Mayor Aurelio Dinorog.

The slain rebels, identities still unknown, were in their middle 20s, with height measuring 5'2" and 5'6".

After five days, if no claimants will come, they will be buried, Dinorog said.

BETTER INTELLIGENCE

The military is on the upper hand of the drive against insurgency after a much improved support of the civilians, according to Col. Juanito P. Gomez, commanding officer of the 302nd infantry battalion.

He said that it was the fourth encounter during the first quarter of the year, an indication that rebel operations can easily be aborted by the military.

Working under Col. Gomez are the 15th IB, 6th Special Forces, engineering battalion and the scout rangers.

EVACUATION AND FEAR

In a separate interview, Triple Union barangay chair Cresencio Lupian, 50, confirmed that some 40 families evacuated to the barangay hall and St. Vincent Chapel. The barangay about seven kilometers from the town proper, has 216 households.

After the pulong-pulong conducted by the Special Forces, the residents were allowed to go back home.

Residents of puroks 1 and 3 evacuated due to proximity to the encounter site.

Daguing said that some 68 households took shelter at the barangay hall after the first volley of gunshots.

The barangay chair said that burst of gunfire prompted him to suspend a session with the barangay council. He immediately called his tanods to urge residents of sitio Ipo to evacuate to nearby elementary schools.

Fear still gripped Teodora Batestes, 45, a resident of Liboron; and Ciriaca Tortor, 54, of Triple Union when both were interviewed by the Chronicle yesterday. Tortor expressed relief when she was allowed to go back with her husband Nicolas Tortor, 55, and their only child Richard, 19. - 2004 News Archive - Bohol Chronicle

Monopoly at Pamilacan Island Dolphin and Whale Watching Tour?

Pamilacan Island's former whale hunters now turned tour guides on Friday asked the National Ecotourism Office of the Department of Tourism (DOT) to stop DOT's "unequal treatment" and to abolish the alleged business monopoly by a travel operator.

"We felt (the) DOT has given false promises in their project in Pamilacan as none of the benefits reach the majority members of the local community," read a resolution passed last Friday by the Pamilacan Island Boat Operators and Spotters Association, Inc. (PIBOSAI).

PIBOSAI officials complained that Travel Village and Tours, owned and managed by Walter and Lourdes Sultan, allegedly monopolized the dolphin and whale watching enterprise, "to the disadvantage of the other DOT accredited travel agent and tour operators in Bohol."

The officials said it was the Travel Village's complete contact information which was being printed in the posters used in the marketing and promotion of the so-called marine tour. The colored posters were printed at government expense promoting a private travel operator identified closely with Gov. Erico Aumentado.

"…prudence and ethics dictates that any support intended to enhance the delivery of the tourism services should involve the maximum participation of all the affected stakeholders regardless of religion and political affiliation…," the resolution said.

The Marine Life Tour is a project supported by the New Zealand Agency for International Development (NZAid), DOT, provincial government, and the local government of Baclayon.

Jojo Baritua, PIBOSAI manager, told the Chronicle that if the project is under the government, it has to benefit for everybody. He said the DOT envisioned to professionalize all former whale and dolphin hunters, but that vision has failed since only few were benefited by the project.

"The benefit should not be consigned to one business entity," Baritua said.

"We are in a disadvantage because they (Travel Village) get free production of advertisement," he added.

Printed in all materials and brochures produced through government funding were the following contact details: "for inquiries and bookings, please contact: in Bohol, telno: (038) 411 3510 local 607 | telfaxno: (038) 411 5928, in Cebu telno (032) 231 1495 | email: tvillage@mozcom.com or PIDDWO mobtelno: (0917) 971 3101 or contact your favorite travel agent:."

The Chronicle checked the landline numbers and it was confirmed that the no. 411-3510 local 607 is the front desk number of the Bohol Tropics Resort where Travel Village's office is located while 411 5928 is the Travel Village's direct number.The number for Cebu is that of the IslandSkipTrip, a business partner of the Travel Village.

Lately, new brochures were reportedly circulating but now without the name of Travel Village. However, the same contact numbers appeared in the brochures.

PROMISES

The resolution noted that the DOT, in partnership with the New Zealand, "promises to provide livelihood opportunities that will benefit the majority of the people of Pamilacan."

"Majority of the people of Pamilacan has not felt the assistance of the (DOT)…," PIBOSAI officials said in the resolution.

They said that since the banning of catching dolphins, whales, whale sharks and manta rays, the islanders' livelihood now largely depends on watching tours, looking forward to DOT's promise of assistance.

Even so, the officials said they noticed that the DOT "has concentrated only its assistance to a few people who were not directly involved in the hunting (operations)."

Baritua said Travel Village is working with the Pamilacan Island Dolphin and Whale Watching Organization (PIDWWO). He said PIDWWO has only two boats being used for whale watching.

"We pray and request the National Ecotourism Office of the Department of Tourism to give equal treatment to all organized group and tour operators…," the group appealed in the resolution.

The resolution was unanimously approved on March 5 by Baritua, Maximiniano Valeroso (chairman/president); Teotito Valeroso (vice president); Nonita Baugbog (secretary); Moises Opada (treasurer); Oseta Rodulfo (auditor); Teresito Arano and Marcial Aguipo (PROs); and Rogelio Arano, Teodoro Miculob, Victorino Araula, Nazario Valeroso and Teodoro Pioquinto (board of directors).

Copy of the resolution has been furnished to DOT Manila, provincial tourism council, Bohol Tourism Office, and the DOT-Region VII.

SULTAN

Sultan was used to be the technical consultant on investments of Aumentado. However, Sultan filed his resignation after tourism industry players demanded his ouster due to glaring conflict of interest being a tour operator himself.

However, even after his resignation, Sultan continued to attend government meetings as shown in the recorded meetings of the Regional Tourism Council (RTC) chaired by Aumentado.

The local tourism industry, led by top hotelier Anos Fonacier, has expressed surprise why Sultan continued to act as if connected with the governor's office.

REPLY

Sultan, in an interview yesterday, said it was the decision of the PIDWWO to choose Travel Village as its partner because "PIDWWO requested our support and they recognize our capability."

"PIDWWO cannot run its own business without marketing network," Sultan said.

Sultan said that long before the New Zealand Aid came in, Travel Village has been supportive to PIDWWO through training.

When the NZAid was looking for beneficiary, Sultan said, the choice was PIDWWO "because it's a people's organization," unlike the PIBOSAI, a private group.

"PIDWWO was the only qualified and accredited group. The organization's members have been professionalized," Sultan said. - 2004 News Archive - Bohol Chronicle

Philippine Presidential Candidates Profiling: The Race Is On

By Bingo P Dejaresco

The presidential race took a dramatic turn, per SWS and Pulse Asia surveys, in the middle part of February. For the first time, President Gloria Arroyo is leading the pack.

This probably results from two political theorems: "All Philippine politics is local" and "One week is a long time in politics."

The local grassroots machinery of an incumbent president (the first one since Marcos) of GMA throughout the nation is telling now. The refusal of FPJ to engage in a debate and the cloud over his citizenship may also have slowed down Da King's march to the Palace.

The actual SWS figure results are as follows: GMA (31.8%), FPJ (31.6%), Roco (17%) and Lacson (12%). Last year Roco lead all with 27% at one time.

FPJ and GMA also had the most loyal voters with 54% and 51% of them respectively stating they will not change their minds come election time compared to only 49% for Roco and 46% for Lacson. There is a 6% undecided with survey margin of error at (+) and (-) percent. So it is still a toss-up between GMA and FPJ even down the wire.

GMA is leading strong in the ABC market and a slight lead over FPJ in the D market. FPJ is a runaway winner among the E class. Roco has sewn up the regional-minded Bicol vote, some of the women and young voters and the principled intelligentsia (unfortunately not too many). Lacson is the favorite of some Chinese groups and those who want an iron hand to check graft and criminality.

GMA is 2:1 favored over FPJ in the Visayas (her strongest bailiwick) and a significant winner in Mindanao. However FPJ is leader in Manila and Luzon which has three powerful vote-rich provinces in Pangasinan, Cavite (Lacson's birth place) and Laguna.

FPJ and Lacson, however, have been talking one-on-one secretly. Is there an unwritten bond for FPJ to support Lacson had he been disqualified by the Supreme Court? And for Lacson to give way to Da King after their scheduled April 15 meeting in order to unify and ensure an opposition victory in the May 10 polls?

Theoretically, combining FPJ's (32%) and Lacson's (12%) is a 44% total, nearly where Erap was when he walloped all rivals in the 1998 polls. That will certainly be ahead of GMA's current 32%.

Wouldn't that prospects talk sense to the GMA and Roco camps, whose totals combined can beat FPJ-Lacson's 44% with their total of 49% (32% + 17%)?

Truly, politics is literally addition in this case. One thing sure though, FPJ is no longer a runaway winner as many hoped or feared. - 2004 News Archive of the Bohol Chronicle

Philippine Ports Authority Project Budget for Bohol

Port Manager Raul Oblenda of the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) was assured of a gigantic funding for the development of ports in the province.

The port official told the Chronicle that earmarked for release is P223 million, as approved by PPA General Manager Alfonso Cusi at central PPA offices in Manila.

The city port will surely become the country's showcase of "tourist port," Oblenda said as further improvement of the Tagbilaran port will continue this year.

The modern board walk, complete with lighting facilities will transform the reclaimed portion like "Roxas Boulevard" where coffee shops and restaurants will be put in place.

Other projects being pipelined are the construction of the Port Management Office building, 15,000 sq. meter reclamation and fencing of the port.

Meanwhile, PPA has recently completed the air-conditioned passenger terminal building at Jagna Port. The transit shed and reclamation of the Tubigon port will follow and the putting up of breakwater at Catagbacan and Jagna ports. - 2004 News Archive in the Bohol Chronicle

Boholano Association of Metro Manila, Inc. (BAMMI) To Adopt Towns

Some 2,000 Boholanos will gather this morning at Malacanang Park to initially launch the new kick-off of the Boholano Association of Metro Manila, Inc. (BAMMI).

The huge flock of Boholanos will be hosted with a luncheon gathering by First Gentleman Mike Arroyo, representing Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

Napolcom Director Bernie Calibo, reelected president of BAMMI and realtor-civic leader Purita Soliven, reelected chairperson will lead the Boholanos in today's affair at the park.

This activity will preempt the scheduled induction of BAMMI at the Heroe's Hall of Malacañang with Pres. Arroyo as inducting officer. This induction rite is set on March 17.

Of the 47 Bohol towns, some 36 municipalities have their respective associations in Metro Manila.

The "adopt-a-town" project will be formally launched during today's affair. - 2004 News Archive

Commission on Elections in Manila To Review Tubigon Petition

The Commission on Elections in Manila has received the three petitions filed by Tubigon mayoralty bet Tony Herrera against the incumbent mayor and the local Comelec chief.

Sources at Herrera's camp said the outcome of the petitions may be due before the official start of the campaign trail on March 25.

Copies of the three petitions have also been sent to provincial Comelec supervisor lawyer Fe Virginia Odtohan and the same were forwarded to the regional office of the Comelec.

The petition filed on Jan. 31 sought the immediate reassignment of duty of Tubigon's Comelec assistant registrar Dolores Moniza-Boligao, a first cousin of Tubigon mayor Paulo Lasco.

Ealier, Odtohan, taking action on Herrera's move, had indicated that Boligao would be one of the Comelec officials to be revamped before the start of campaign sorties.

Another petition to be reviewed by Comelec Manila is the hiring of three casuals â€" Esterlita Delos Santos, Violeta Falcon and Deodith Cirunay â€" by Lasco and assigning the three to the Comelec office in Tubigon.

Herrera and his camp believed that since the three were hired by Lasco, they would be loyal to the mayor. Their wages are sourced out from the general fund of the mayor's office.

Tubigon Comelec officer Cirilo Esperanza Jr. had admitted it was Lasco who offered that the three be deployed at the Comelec office.

The most recent petition has charged Lasco and Esperanza for alleged graft and corrupt practices.

In the complaint, Herrera said the casuals were hired to work with the poll body even without the approval of the Comelec.

MISSING

Perceived as an initial effort to defend his reelection bid, Lasco on Thursday called a meeting among the 34 barangay heads.

Only 18 of the 34 barangay chiefs came over.

There was no immediate report if the 16 who did not attend the meeting have shifted alliance to Herrera. - 2004 News Archive

Bohol Wisdom School Is Now A College

Bohol Wisdom School, which used to be the premier Chinese school in the province is now a college.

The elevation of the school into a college is prime for the institution which has served the Boholanos for over 70 years. The school started as Bohol Chinese School with campuses along Libertad Street (now CPG Avenue).

After its student population grew beyond the capacity of the old campus, the institution, later known as the Bohol Wisdom School transferred to its present location in a sprawling lot along CPG North Avenue, across the New Capitol Site.

By the coming school year in June, Bohol Wisdom College will be opening Teacher Education offering Bachelor in Elementary Education (BEED) and subjects on Mathematics, Science, English, Early Childhood Education.

Teacher Education is the flagship course of the new college, says board of trustees chair/pres. Mario Uy.

The school envisions to produce more globally competitive teachers with professional know-how and communicative compe-tence.

The school has announced that the aptitude exams for first year college applicants will be on March 20 for the second batch. Reservation is now being accepted for limited students. - 2004 Press Release Archive - Bohol Chronicle

Holy Name University (HNU) Alumni Day

 The annual Alumni Day of Holy Name University is on March 13. As usual this is a day of homecoming of alumni.

The board of directors, through its president Reynald Gatal is calling on all alumni to be present on this occasion at the gymnasium of the Lesage campus. The activities of the day include Holy Mass at 8:30 a.m., lunch, fellowship and election of board members.

Registration is at 7:30 a.m. Donations of any amount will be accepted.

All alumni are encouraged to participate actively in the election by sending nominations for board membership. Nomination forms are available at the office of alumni affairs and job placement, at Grupo Street (behind Julie's Bakeshop). Deadline for filing of candidacy is March 8.

As in the past years, lunch is BYOP although the Alumni Association through its board will serve a common viand.

All homecomings in the past had been well attended. It is hoped that this year's homecoming shall be a success. - 2004 News Archive - Bohol Chronicle

"Youth and Responsible Sexuality"

The Federated Sangguniang Kabataan of Tagbilaran City and Safe harbor recently conducted a forum on "Youth and Responsible Sexuality" at the Bohol Cultural Center.

More than 600 fourth year high school students from the following schools who attended: Dr. Cecilio Putong National High School; University of Bohol; Mansasa High School; Manga High School; Bohol Institute of Technology; Holy Spirit School; and Central Visayas State College of Agriculture, Forestry and Technology (CVSCAFT).

The forum was graced by youth leaders and youth welfare and development advocates Betty Torralba, City ABC chair and city councilor Nuevas "Jas" Montes.

The discussion was led by a panel of students who spoke on their views and opinions on matters related to sexuality such as virginity, masturbation, pre-marital sex, too early pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections and rape. The student panelists were Baylani Cabatos and Rotsen Maglajos, CVSCAFT; Jinky Baliog, Manga High School; Gerardo Osabel Jr., Dr. Cecilio Putong National High School; Ma. Shiril Jalad, Holy Spirit School; Margaret Borromeo, Mansasa High School; Irish Stephanie Amizola and Mark Jayson Resus, University of Bohol.

Youth and development workers Mary Grace Granado and Silvia Doron of the Safe Harbor were also part of the panel that gave interpretation on the perceptions of youth on sexuality and deliberately answered questions of the audience.

The panelists were flooded with questions by the students from the audience. According to Mary Grace Granado, the program manager of Safe Harbor and one of the speaker of the forum," We don't take these questions lightly although they seem at face value to be nonsense; for example, the questions on how would we know if the girl is still a virgin, or does the size of penis affect sexual relationships. Safe Harbor believes that there is more to this question than just curiosity.

As behavioral sciences major, I even believe that this is not curiosity but a question born of apprehension. The fear of not being able to distinguish whether or not he is the first and only man with whom his girlfriend or wife had sex with, in the case of virginity. It is an issue of power, an issue of someone conquering his conquest before him.

This is not an issue of virginity being a value but an issue of how men treat women. Evidently, in this scenario, they are treated as properties. This kind of attitude among men needs attention." - 2004 News Archive - Bohol Chronicle

Alturas Job Fair

The Alturas Job Fair, coordinated by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), is still going on today at the Bohol Cultural Center with hundreds of vacant positions await the jobseekers.

Alturas Group of Companies public relations manager, Loy M. Palapos, said that the job fair, which started last Friday in Mabini, Bohol, will help the thousands of Boholanos joining the rank of jobseekers satisfy their employment needs through the biggest job opening in the province.

Palapos, a constant speaker in human resource management who organized and managed the Human Resource Department of Alturas before he was appointed as manager of the PR Department, added that it is no longer necessary for Boholano jobseekers to seek the proverbial greener pasture away from the province as better employment opportunities await the applicants with the expected opening of Island City Mall this year.

The Island City Mall is now hiring hundreds of service crew for Chowking and Jollibee, as well as thousands of pharmacists, food handlers, salespersonnel, industrial engineers, auditors, opthalmologists, housekeeping supervisors, office personnel, encoders, cashiers, cooks, janitors, stockclerks, repackers, inventory clerks, promodisers, baggers, dispatchers, runners, checkers, butchers, and ovenmen. - 2004 News Archive

Bohol Vice Mayor Awarded Exemplary Public Service Award

City vice mayor Jorge D. Cabalit was among the recipients of the Exemplary Public Service Award given by the Vice Mayors' League of the Philippines (VMLP) at Heritage Hotel Pasay City, Metro Manila over the weekend.

Local Governments Secretary Jose D. Lina, Jr. and VMLP National President Luis I. Bustamante handed the award to Cabalit.

Other awardees from the different parts of the country were also given their awards.

Cabalit is serving his third consecutive term as vice mayor of Tagbilaran City. He is the regional chair of the VMLP in Central Visayas. He also sits in the Regional Development Council as a non-voting member.

He is running for mayor of Tagbilaran City in this year's local election.

Tirol-Montes Is A Model

Nuevas "Jas" Tirol-Montes modeled for advertisement print artists in the city. She was chosen for her credibility, impact and wholesome personality.

Every election, local adprint artists choose their model to rest their skills and expertise in giving concert information to influence people's choice.

Jas this time projects the happy, confident upbeat working woman with a nurturing personality as a trusted public servant. Jas said "the final print is too beautiful to be true, but it is true."

Design and concept is by Lourd Pocon and Artifacts. Assisting him are local artists and students of the College of Architecture and Fine Arts of University of Bohol headed by its Dean, Archt. Eufracio Araneta. Sandra de la Serna-Lee is the set designer. - News Archive 2004 - Bohol Chronicle

Earnings in Japan Lost At Home

Police do not discount the possibility of an inside job following the loss of more than P200,000 of a lady overseas worker.

Julieta Cañete Baga, 22, single, of Barangay Casate this town told police probers that when she woke up early Monday dawn, the travelling bag containing her earnings abroad was nowhere to be found. Accordingly, it was placed at her bedside while asleep with some close relatives.

Lost were Philippine money worth P75,000; 31 pieces of Japanese Yen bills with exchange value about P158,000; and jewelry worth P15,000.

The victim had just arrived from Japan working accordingly as a salesgirl.

Police investigator PO2 Luis Rotol said the emptied travelling bag was later recovered early in the morning on the same day along the national highway barely 500 meters away from the victim's residence.

Rotol also said they have already established identities of some suspects now under their surveillance.

Investigation further disclosed that the suspect gained entrance at the window of the victim's bedroom. Said window, accordingly, can easily be unlocked from outside. Moreover, outside and below the window are piles of sawn lumber, Rotol said.- News Archive in Ubay, Bohol - 2004

Boholana Ends Own Life, Leaving 2 Year Old Child Motherless

Ubay, Bohol - A mother of a two-year-old child hanged herself to death Wednesday morning inside the house of her live-in partner in Purok 7, Barangay Gabi, this town.

The victim, identified as one Melly Duhaylungsod, 25, of Guindulman town, lived with one Francisco Ulan, 22, single, of said barangay after meeting each other only in September 2003. Her child was born by another man.

Dr. Elpidio Bonita, chief of hospital of Don Emilio del Valle Memorial Hospital here, who conducted the post-mortem examination, theorized that the victim may have hanged herself at early dawn and died instantly.

The live-in partner Ulan told the Chronicle, that at about 5:30 p.m. the day before, they were going to see a quack therapist (manghihilot) for the victim's child's sprain. Along the way, he asked the victim if she had with her the money to pay for the said services. But the victim, accordingly, retorted and was irked when deciding to forego their purpose and immediately went back home.

Ulan said the victim locked-up the house with her child, leaving him outside.

He further recalled that every time they had altercations, the victim had the attitude to lock the house. However, this time he did not insist of entering, accordingly, to avoid further trouble and he stayed overnight at his sister's home nearby.

Early that morning when he was beside his house he heard the child wailing loudly which prompted him to forcibly open the window. Much to his consternation, he found out his depressed live-in wife hanging by a rope tied to a wooden truss.

Meanwhile, neighbors and some relatives of the victim would describe the latter as a jolly woman and not a loner, nor had she shown any sign of desperation. # # #

Culion Foundation, Inc. (CFI) Donates Pueri-Culture To Bohol Town

Bien Unido is one of the recipients in the second district of a new pueri-culture center, courtesy of Culion Foundation, Inc. (CFI).

The other beneficiary is the town of San Miguel, located in Barangay Mahayag. Both buildings were simultaneously inaugurated and turned over in simple ceremonies, respectively, last Tuesday.

Mayor Felix "Lingging" Garcia expressed gratitude to the foundation, saying it is a worthwhile donation necessary in the delivery of health services in his community.

The building alone cost about P750,000 with the lot provided by the local government unit as its counterpart, Garcia said.

Lingging, who is eyeing a slot in the provincial board in the second district, added that the new facility also has furnishings worth P100,000, provided by CFI.

Furnishings include television set, CD player, tables, swivel chairs, electric fans, electric stove, water dispenser, among others.

Ubay Municipal Health Office Recognized For Excellence

The Municipal Health Office here with two rural health units had a resounding performance in the recently conducted Ligtas-Tigdas program. Both units scored over 100 percent responses from parents.

The two RHUs are under one health physician, Dr. Edgardo Ladera.

RHU I head nurse Basilides M. Pepino told the Chronicle that as of Feb. 27, supposed the last day of the activity, their unit had a 100.53 percent turnout of the estimated target.

RHU I has 24 out of 44 barangays in the municipality with a population of 4,735 of the grand total 64,860.

Pepino said that of the 21.75 percent target or 8,727 children with ages ranging from nine months to 95 months old (8 years. and 11 months old), 8,773 availed the Philippine Measles Elimination Campaign (PMEC). She added that the percentage will increase as they are still to conduct a door-to-door vaccination.

Scheduled for visits are those who failed to avail during the campaign period and also in response to request to include children aged eight years and three months.

Barangay Tapos scored the highest percentage of turnout at 127 percent while Barangay Juagdan had the lowest with 83 percent. In Barangay Poblacion, 716 responded out of 806 target or 88 percent, Pepino added.

On the other hand, at RHU II based in Barangay San Pascual, RHU nurse Julie Bersamina disclosed they had already completed the program in 20 barangays comprising their unit. She said that with the population in the area of 25,559 they set a target of 5,512. - 2004 Bohol Chronicle

Shocking Church Attack: Ancient Relics Stolen

"I never expect our church would be burglarized, having someone sleeping nightly in the sacristy, at the back of the main altar."

This was the statement of the parish priest of the Immaculate Conception Parish here during the program, "Ang Katilingban sa Kinatibuk-an" over radio station DYZD in Ubay recently.

Said program, aired daily except Sunday from 9 to 10 a.m. is sponsored by the Talibon Social Action.

Early Friday morning last week, while about to say the Holy Mass, Rev. Fr. Raymund Estillore and the parishioners noticed that both side altars were already empty.

Lost at the left-wing altar were the icons of Sta. Monica and St. Agustin, mother and son, respectively, said Fr. Estillore. Also nowhere at the right side were the images of Sta. Rita and St. Nicolas de Tolentino. All were believed taken by unidentified perpetrators.

Later, the footholds of the stolen saints were recovered outside the church.

Fr. Estillore further said that the missing items were not made of ivory but carved out of antique wood.

The parish priest added that there were thunderstorms the night before when the person sleeping in the said sacristy heard unusual sounds like a falling lumber. - Bohol Chronicle - 2004 News Archive

Do We Really Need A Presidential Debate?

By Jes Tirol - Bohol Chronicle

Proem

There is a controversial move to hold a debate between the candidates for President of the Philippines. It is controversial because one candidate, particularly Fernando Poe Jr. (FPJ) is not inclined to participate. It is said that if FPJ will not participate, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (GMA) will not participate also.

What is a Debate?

A debate is defined as a formal contest in argumentation conducted between persons taking opposite sides of a question.

The presentation of arguments in a debate is an art. It requires special training. Among the five presidential candidates, it is Ex-Senator Raul Roco who had that special training and experience in the art of debating. He would be the giant among pygmies. In other words it would be an unequal fight.

In 1998 when GMA was a vice-presidential candidate, she did not participate in a debate because she knew that she was no match to Senator Angara. Despite her refusal she still won as Vice President of the Philippines. Nobody belittled her for not participating in the debate.

Debate is Passé?

In previous times the formal public debate was very popular. Different schools have their debating team. In fact the most famous debating team was composed of students from the University of the Philippines. It was led by Carlos P. Romulo and included the Boholano Jacinto Castel Borja. The team was undefeated in fourteen (14) debates against American University student debating teams on the issue of Philippine independence.

However, upon declaration of martial law in 1972 the popularity of debating teams disappeared. Until the present you can hardly witness a contest between debating teams.

Educational Emphasis

When Philippines democracy was restored in 1986, the atmosphere had changed. The schools no longer gave emphasis in debating but in "consensus building." The aim is no longer to convince the other side to follow your viewpoint but to compromise to have a win-win situation. Even today, the different Non-Government Organization (NGO) use the technique of consensus building.

Candidates' Forum is "In"

The educational establishment views "concensus building" as very democratic. In the field of politics the "Candidates' Forum" has substituted the "Candidates' Debate." The Candidates' Forum is more of a consultation than argumentation. It is not necessary that all the candidates will be on stage at the same time. It is possible to have the candidates appear one by one just like an applicant for a job.

Noblesse Oblige

Noblesse oblige (nobles' oblezh') is a French word that means that those of high social position must behave generously or nobly toward others, especially the lower class of society.

In recent years the behavioral trend of Filipinos is towards noblesse oblige. They are not looking for someone who is a good speaker or brilliant in mind but someone who truly represents the concept of noblesse oblige. Maybe this is a reaction to the experience undergone with President Ferdinand Marcos who was a good speaker and brilliant in mind.

So nowadays you will see the politicians pandering to the desires of the voters.

Military Asset Found Dead: Who Killed Him?

By Danny Reyes - A suspected military asset of this town was found dead in an area believed to be an abadoned campsite of the New People's Army.

Local police chief Francisco Alburo identified the victim as Olimpio A. Crame, 50, of sitio Tarahan, barangay Suhoton, Calape Bohol.

Crame was last found in his home on Feb. 24 before he was reported missing.

Major Jacinto Cesar of Camp Dagohoy intelligence section told the Chronicle that reports bared that the body of the victim was exhumed from the said rebel campsite yesterday morning. A joint team of the Calape PNP and the Regional Mobile Group led by P/Insp. Jacob Crisostomo found the body of Crame. No medical details of the body's condition were released as of newstime as the autopsy is yet scheduled to be done today.

Calape Health Officer Dr. Sulpicio Yu will conduct the autopsy to determine the time Crame was killed and to determine if there are wounds in the body.- News Archive 2004

Bohol Eyes National Award

News Archive - After being adjudged the Best Provincial Peace and Order Council in the regional level, the Bohol Provincial Peace and Order Council (PPOC) is now among the finalists for the national competitions.

A team of national evaluators composed of Commissioner Linda L. Malenab Ornilla of the National Police Commission, senior state prosecutor Purita Deynata of the Dept. of Justice, Atty. Allan Montano of the Federation of Free Workers and Dir. Verulo Mapanao of the Napolcom Legal Affairs Service were in Bohol since Sunday until yesterday to conduct on-the-spot inspections and validate the report of the Bohol PPOC for 2002.

During a special meeting of the PPOC, which Gov. Erico B. Aumentado called for the purpose, the council presented to the evaluators its accomplishments for 2002, the year under review.

The meeting also gave the evaluators and opportunity to be clarified on some important aspects of the PPOC that were not discussed in the report submitted as part of the provincial government's entry to the competition.

Montano particularly commended the provincial government for creating the Bohol Poverty Reduction and Management Office, and said that, where it is possible, he would recommend to other local government units to replicate the program.

The province's poverty reduction program provides for the economic component of the campaign to maintain peace and order, and has built the confidence of the people in government, the governor said. - 2004 Bohol Chronicle

Israeli Government Makes Relationship With Bohol Province

By Angela Sanchez

News Archive - The Israeli government has again strengthened its ties with the provincial government when it sponsored the On-the-Spot Course on Integrated Rural Development Planning, Micro-Enterprise and Rural Tourism Development.

Israeli Ambassador to the Philippines Yehoshua Sagi keynoted the opening of the 12-day training, which is running from March 1 to 12, here in Tagbilaran City.

Gov. Erico B. Aumentado was on hand to welcome Sagi and his wife, Hanna, upon arrival in the city last Monday. Sagi is the second Israeli envoy to visit Bohol, following his predecessor Amb. Irit Ben-Abba.

Two Israeli technical experts are here to lecture on integrated rural development planning, micro-enterprise and rural tourism development to 45 selected participants from the provinces of Bohol, Cotabato and Sarangani.

In his keynote speech, Sagi pointed out that development and tourism cannot thrive so long as the government carries the burden of safety in its back.

At the same time, he called on media to keep to the facts without blowing them up.

By way of explanation, Sagi cited his native land, Israel, where the reports from CNN and other international news organization picture it as a dangerous place to walk in. He said, however, that in reality, this is not the case. Although bombings go on, life also goes on as usual in Israel, Sagi pointed out.

"If we bow our heads to the terrorists, it will be the end of the free world. We have to keep our heads up and continue on," the envoy advised.

Aumentado, on the other hand, thanked the Israeli government, particularly its Center for International Cooperation (Mashav) of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, for authorizing the 12-day training, which is being handled by Michael Gorelik, the deputy director for international cooperation of the Weitz Center for Development Studies and Ben Josef Ilan, a professor and technical expert in rural tourism.- published in 2004

Widespread Corruption at Tagbilaran City Hall

Flashback 2004 - Tagbilaran City Hall authorities released last Monday the lacking documents vital to the investigation on the construction of the new City Hall.

Lawyer Florendo Columnas, head of the Independent Composite Evaluation Team (ICET) said that, as promised by City Engr. Pianicita Castolo, the documents were released to the Sangguniang Panlungsod.

However, Columnas (as of 7 p.m. last night) said that he has to check if all the lacking documents are intact as released last Monday.

Columnas said that the probe team will convene at 2 o'clock tomorrow afternoon for its second meeting at the office of the city lawmaking body.

Archt. Soc Fucanan, representing the United Architects Association of the Philippines (UAP) was commissioned by Columnas to conduct an inventory of the documents released last Monday. He said that Archt. Fucanan will be more familiar with the documents since majority of the "missing" documents are technical in nature.

The ICET asked the office of Engr. Castolo to release the following documents: architectural and engineering plans for the first contract of P49.9 million; architectural and engineering plans for the additional works of P25.2 million, bill of materials and estimates of the revised or additional works of P25.2 million, specifications for the additional works of P25.2 million; as-built plan for the realized building and supplemental documents of the additional works, namely supplemental contract, and availability of funds.

Columnas said that these vital documents will be taken as the basis of the investigation.

The ICET head reminded the public that the ongoing investigation is an off-shot of the resolution approved by the SP creating the said body and at the same time commissioning it to conduct a truly "independent investigation."

The latest documents released last Monday will be evaluated by the probe team when it convenes tomorrow.

The body met last Thursday for their first meeting. However, it failed to proceed since vital documents were not included in the documents released by the office of the city accountant through the Commission on Audit.

The non-availability of the vital documents surprised members of the probe team.

Together with Atty. Columnas in the probe team are Archt. Fucanan of UAP; Leah Magno of the Philippine Institute of Certified Public Accountants (PICPA), Engr. Welington Pilongo of the Federated Parents-Teachers Association and lawyer Salvador Diputado of Bohol Times, representing the media. Highways Dist. Engr. Celestino Adlaon failed to attend the meeting last Thursday. 

Widespread Corruption at Tagbilaran City Hall

Flashback 2004 - Tagbilaran City Hall authorities released last Monday the lacking documents vital to the investigation on the construction of the new City Hall.

Lawyer Florendo Columnas, head of the Independent Composite Evaluation Team (ICET) said that, as promised by City Engr. Pianicita Castolo, the documents were released to the Sangguniang Panlungsod.

However, Columnas (as of 7 p.m. last night) said that he has to check if all the lacking documents are intact as released last Monday.

Columnas said that the probe team will convene at 2 o'clock tomorrow afternoon for its second meeting at the office of the city lawmaking body.

Archt. Soc Fucanan, representing the United Architects Association of the Philippines (UAP) was commissioned by Columnas to conduct an inventory of the documents released last Monday. He said that Archt. Fucanan will be more familiar with the documents since majority of the "missing" documents are technical in nature.

The ICET asked the office of Engr. Castolo to release the following documents: architectural and engineering plans for the first contract of P49.9 million; architectural and engineering plans for the additional works of P25.2 million, bill of materials and estimates of the revised or additional works of P25.2 million, specifications for the additional works of P25.2 million; as-built plan for the realized building and supplemental documents of the additional works, namely supplemental contract, and availability of funds.

Columnas said that these vital documents will be taken as the basis of the investigation.

The ICET head reminded the public that the ongoing investigation is an off-shot of the resolution approved by the SP creating the said body and at the same time commissioning it to conduct a truly "independent investigation."

The latest documents released last Monday will be evaluated by the probe team when it convenes tomorrow.

The body met last Thursday for their first meeting. However, it failed to proceed since vital documents were not included in the documents released by the office of the city accountant through the Commission on Audit.

The non-availability of the vital documents surprised members of the probe team.

Together with Atty. Columnas in the probe team are Archt. Fucanan of UAP; Leah Magno of the Philippine Institute of Certified Public Accountants (PICPA), Engr. Welington Pilongo of the Federated Parents-Teachers Association and lawyer Salvador Diputado of Bohol Times, representing the media. Highways Dist. Engr. Celestino Adlaon failed to attend the meeting last Thursday. 

Fishermen Asked Australia To Stop Oil Exploration in Bohol-Cebu Seas

An alliance of small fishermen is appealing the Australian government to stop offshore mining firm NorAsian Energy Ltd. from pursuing its oil exploration in the Bohol-Cebu Strait.

In a letter to Prime Minister Kevin Rudd of Australia last Friday, the small fisherfolks organization Pamalakaya, said the Australian government should issue a cease and desist order to NorAsian to stop its oil and gas exploration here as it will have a "devastating impact" on fish production not only in Bohol and Cebu but other provinces who are dependent on the abundant fish supply of the Visayan basin.

According to Pamalakaya data, there are about 100,000 small fishermen to be affected by the oil and gas exploration in Bohol, Cebu and Leyte. These fishermen also have 500,000 dependents.

Bohol and Cebu harvests some 205,000 metric tons of fish a year which will be affected with the scheduled drilling this year off the Cabilao and Argao prospects.

A seismic survey will also be undertaken by NorAsian in offshore northern Bohol covering the Danajon Bank, a protected marine sanctuary that lies in between Bohol, Cebu and Leyte. The oil exploration in the area will be done for a period of 7 years.

According to Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap, the ambitious offshore mining contracted by NorAsian will cover some 445,000 hectares of ecologically diverse marine waters.

"We believe [this] is nothing but an all-out destruction of people's resources and at the same time, an assault to the Filipino people's patrimony and sovereign rights," Hicap said.

NorAsian is a wholly owned subsidiary of Otto Energy Ltd. of Australia which has clinched the offshore mining service contracts in partnership with Filipino partner Trans Asia Oil and Energy Development Corporation.

Last year, NorAsian acquired 146 square kilometers of 3D seismic data over two prospects in Service Contract 51. It said Area 8 (north of Bohol) of Service Contract 69 offers significant follow-up potential in additional structures if initial drilling in Service Contract 51 is successful.

NorAsia said Service Contract 69 has approximately 3,000 kilometers of existing 2D seismic and an active petroleum system as shown by the abundant onshore oil seeps and seismic supported direct hydrocarbon indicators on prospects in the area.

"On top of this so-called potential rich deposits of oil and gas reserves in the area is the socio-economic reality that the offshore mining to be conducted by NorAsian and its Filipino partner company poses extreme danger to the Philippine marine environment, and in particular, the East Visayan Sea, which is the center of marine biodiversity in the Philippines and Southeast Asia," Hicap added.

The fishermen's group told the Australian prime minister that the offshore mining in Bohol and Cebu "will pave way for the systematic gross destruction of the marine environment and affect their livelihood."

Tagbilaran Banking Hopes from AIM Survey

Mayor Dan Lim yesterday paid tribute to city residents after the Asian Institute of Management (AIM) picked Tagbilaran as one of the best places in the country to live in.

Aside from Tagbilaran which emerged on top in the small cities category, the others cited by AIM were Makati for metropolitan cities and Cabanatuan for mid-sized cities.

The three cities were among the top 25 performers in the institute's 2007 Philippine Cities Competitiveness Ranking Program.

"This honor is in recognition of the efforts of our city to uplift the quality of life among its residents," the mayor added.

In the AIM survey, quality of life takes into account social welfare, peace and order, the quality of the living environment and amenities.

He said the recognition is an opportunity for the people to reflect in the light of the prevailing crisis in the country.

The mayor noted that the recognition is a message to big business on the lookout for investments.

"Coming from a respected voice in the industry, they have an assurance that Tagbilaran is ready for investors," he added.

The mayor said the recognition is also a sign for banks, agencies and lending institutions that Tagbilaran has the capacity and the determination to pay for its investments in infrastructure and other projects.

"Whatever capital they lend will return to them," he noted.

More than anything else however, the mayor said the recognition pays tribute to the city's resolve not only to persevere in times of crisis but even to aim for progress.

Lim said the AIM study that resulted in the recognition has given the city a new resolve to work harder.

"We express our gratitude to our people for their confidence and especially their support as shown by the survey conducted by the Holy Name University ," he added.

He said it is the people themselves who are the best judge of the quality of service they have experienced.

The mayor recalled that not too long ago, the city was the object of ridicule by visitors and tourists because of the "monument to government neglect" which was the Agora.

Habal-Habal To Be Legalized in the Philippines

Congress has approved a bill regulating the operation of habal-habal, a two-wheel means of transportation in Bohol and many other provinces that is most practical in traveling to rural areas.

Also known as motorcycle-for-hire, habal-habal has been regarded as the "king of barrio road" since it can get to areas no longer negotiable or passable to four-wheel vehicles.

House Bill 3726, passed by the House of Representatives on third and final reading, grants

autonomous authority to the local government units (LGUs) like towns and cities to regulate and control habal-habal operation.

Thousands of poor Boholanos drive such type of passenger unit despite their illegal operation just to earn and sustain the daily needs of their families.

Rep. Edgar Chatto said legitimizing habal-habal operation is one approach countering poverty since as many families not just in this part of the country have survived from it.

The bill, hoped to get a parallel Senate enactment, is a consolidation of HBs 205, 1107 and 2872 respectively filed by Chatto and Cebuano solons Reps. Ramon Durano and Antonio Cuenco.

From the Senate or Upper House, an approved bill ought to be signed by the Philippine president to be fully enacted into law.

The First District lawmaker of Bohol said it is not an exaggeration to admit that many children in Bohol have been educated out of their fathers' or brothers' income from driving habal-habal.

The LGUs can generate additional revenues from habal-habal franchise, business permit and regulatory fees.

Alfredo Gutierrez, Jr., vice president of the Tagbilaran Private Motor Service Association (TPMA), estimated the habal-habal operating in Tagbilaran City alone at not less than 1,000 units.

But the figure already included those which are based in nearby localities yet park in certain city areas as their departure points from earliest dawn to the dead of next night.

Once legalized and regulated, the habal-habal, their owners and drivers, as well as substitute drivers, will be officially registered by the LGUs.

The said transport group can be a reliable partner in maintaining peace and order once its workers undergo proper seminar and training, according to some policemen.

Authorities said the law can control the indiscriminately growing number of habal-habal units in contrast to the present condition in which anybody can just operate his motorcycle as a habal-habal.

Unregulated habal-habal operation can create trouble among the very members of the said transport sector, the police hinted.

The riding public has observed that even the policies and rules of habal-habal organizations have been blatantly violated by their many members.

One of these is prohibiting a habal-habal driver from smoking or being drunk while fetching passengers.

Timely enough, the provincial board of Iloilo just transmitted to the Sangguniang Panlalawigan here its resolution expressing unwanted consequences of unregulated habal-habal business.

Earthquake Scam from A Fake Brazilian Prophet

By Kit Bagaipo - Bohol Chronicle

Authorities and church leaders are appealing to Boholanos to help spread the official pronouncement that the much talked about prediction of an 8.1 magnitude earthquake which will reportedly hit the country on Friday is a big hoax.

This was the categorical statement issued by the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) last Friday.

"There is no basic science behind it," Phivolcs Director Renato Solidum, Jr said in an interview with Manila media following the series of mild tremors which rocked several portions of Luzon last week.

There is no science organization that could determine or predict an earthquake - its exact magnitude and date.

Solidum said that before the public started to panic and believe on the widely circulated e-mail, it was best to check the authenticity of the source of said prediction. "It must be proven whether this person is real or not," he said

The strong tremor was predicted by a 47-year old Brazilian teacher, Juseleeno Nobulega Daroose which got wide global circulation through e-mails, blogs and online journals.

Meanwhile, Bishop Leonardo Medroso, in a text message from Australia said "there is no one in the world who can predict such disaster. Our Lord said we do not know the day or the hour when the end is coming."

"As good Christians, we should always be prepared for Christ's coming and not get scared on human predictions," the bishop stressed.

Bohol, which is a predominantly Catholic province should help "keep calm the people" who must have heard about the prediction of a very strong earthquake to shake the country this coming Friday, the church leader concluded.

For his part, Msgr. Jeffrey Malanog, vicar general of the Diocese of Tagbilaran said "the prediction is just like playing the role of God. Only God knows when and where an earthquake strikes," while saying "we continue to pray that no disasters will happen."

"NO TECHNOLOGY PREDICTS QUAKE"

Engr. Eusil Talisic of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) here in Bohol said no technology could yet predict the specific date, time and magnitude of an earthquake.

He dismissed as bogus the e-mail being proliferated that the strong quake will hit the country on July 18.

Although tremors could be felt in Bohol every now and then, Talisic said this is due to the existence of 2 offshore faults located near the town of Anda and another in the northern shores of Bohol. An inland fault is also situated under several eastern and interior towns of the province.

In 1976, Talisic said, there was a similar prediction in Japan that a strong earthquake would occur in Tokai province.

Since then, the Japanese have been developing the most sophisticated technology in an effort to forecast an earthquake before it could put lives and properties at risk.

However, until now the quake has not happened as predicted in Tokai, Japan.

"BRAZILIAN TEACHER

Written in poor English, the letter claimed that Daroose had foretold correctly the death of Princess Diana, the 9-11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City and the powerful tsunami in Aceh, Indonesia, among other things.

The Brazilian has also allegedly predicted that a 9.1-magnitude earthquake would hit Nanning and Hainan in China on Sept. 13 and that the temperature in many African countries would peak to a scorching 58 degrees Celsius in 2010.

"NOTARIZED PREDICTION

"All the events which Mr. Juseleeno predicted had clear indication of the year, month date of the disasters, in case any third party wants to confirm the facticity (sic) of his prophesy (sic). Mr. Juseleeno always put the story which he predicted to the notarization office or post office for the approval," read the anonymous e-mail.

The Brazilian "prophet" supposedly started having dreams about disasters and global events at the age of 9. He supposedly has predicted a total of 80,000 events, including the "earthquake" that would rock the Philippines on Friday next week.

The apocalyptic message also warned all Filipinos to skip work and avoid going to high places and crowded malls on that day.

"Please let us be alert and mark this date, July 18, 2008, Friday. Let's be prepared and let us all pray that this will not happen to us … Maybe, this is God's way to save you, your family, your friends and your officemates or [to] lessen casualties," said the letter.

Several weblogs, the texts of which were culled from the purported "Doomsday e-mail," describe Juseleeno Nobulega DaRoose (also spelled on some websites as Jucelino Nóbrega da Luz) as "Brazilian, born in 1960."

The blogs say that Daroose dreamt "three events a day, sometimes nine events."

In 2005, Reuters reported that Da Luz claimed the US government owed him a $25-million reward for information he said he provided on the hiding place of former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, who was captured in December of 2003.

Bohol's Son and Pride: Carlos P. Garcia

Carlos P. Garcia (b. Nov. 4, 1896, Talibon, Phil.--d. June 14, 1971, Quezon City), fourth president of the Republic of the Philippines. After graduating from law school in 1923, he became, successively, a schoolteacher, representative in the Philippine Congress, governor of his province Bohol, and then (1941-53) senator.

During the Japanese occupation of the Philippines in World War II, Garcia was active in the resistance movement. He was elected vice president on the ticket of the Nacionalista Party in 1953 and was also minister of foreign affairs (1953-57).

He became president of the Philippines in March 1957, upon the death of Pres. Ramon Magsaysay, and was elected to a full four-year term the same year. He maintained the strong traditional ties with the United States and sought closer relations with non-Communist Asian countries. In the election of November 1961 he was defeated by Vice Pres. Diosdado Macapagal. - source: Angel Fire

Miss Bohol Sandugo 2008 Is Miss Catigbian: Was It Bias?

Miss Catigbian Joy Marie Maglajos won the most-coveted Miss Bohol Sandugo 2008 crown during pageant and coronation Friday night at the HNU gymnasium.

Sangguniang Kabataan bet Chandrina Elluiska Naldoza Schreurs of Garcia-Hernandez town was first runner-up, followed by Miss Talibon Mischelle Latras, second runner-up.

Miss ICM Donna Maricel Cardino and Trinidad town candidate Ma. Cielo Angelli Cajes emerged third and fourth runners-up respectively.

Maglajos also grabbed the Best in Gown Design award.

Miss Tagbilaran Mary Lovely Ligones was adjudged as Miss Photogenic and Miss Trinidad (Cajes) as Best in Talent.

Other minor awards went to Schreurs. She was adjudged as Best in Festival Attire, and awards from Aldea Photo, HBC, Dunkin' Donuts and Miss Pepsi Smile.

Miss Talibon also settled for Best in Gown and Best in Swimsuit. Best in Production Number was grabbed by Miss Cherry de la Cruz of Shopper's Mart.

The board of judges was composed of labor regional director Elias Cayanong, furniture designer Kenneth Cobonpue, Globe Telecom's Raymundo Crystal, San Miguel Beer's Napoleon Murillo; and Miss Cebu 2002 and Bb. Pilipinas 2005 second runner-up Melanie Ediza.

The search was spearheaded by the Bohol Sandugo Foundation, Inc. in partnership with the city and provincial governments.

The major sponsors were Globe TeleCom, Pepsi, First consolidated Bank, MiraVilla Resort through deputy Mayor Mario Uy, San Miguel Corporation, Bohol Light Company Inc./Bohol Water Utilities, Inc., Chowking, SRN Fast Seacrafts, Inc and minors sponsors Bohol Quality, STI, Island City Mall, Dunkin' Donuts, Derma Blend and "hbc exclusibo."

Reduce Pork Barrel of Congressmen

The internal revenue allotment (IRA) will decrease in the last six months this year, and has caused concern among local government units (LGUs) on hampered delivery of basic services.

An allocation from the national government, IRA is the biggest source of fund that determines the yearly budget of the LGU.

There are fears that constituents may misperceive the reduction as an indication of a government getting out of fiscal control in the wake of crisis that has admittedly sown discontent among the people.

Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Regional Director Carmela Fernan timely explained in a consultative conference in Balilihan on Tuesday the causes of the adjustment.

She said the decrease in IRA starting this month until December is caused by the bigger releases from January to June.

The releases in the first half of this year already exceeded half of the entire IRA for 2008, the budget official said in the meeting attended by five other regional directors, provincial officials, mayors and vice mayors.

Rep. Edgar Chatto, together with Rep. Roberto Cajes and Rep. Adam Relson Jala, arranged the important interactive conference which the First District solon hosted during Balilihan's vesper day.

The other regional directors in attendance were Ric Oblena of the Department of Agriculture, Josefino Rigor of the Department of Public Works and Highways, Merceditas Enriquez of the Government Service Insurance System, Danilo Bonabon of the National Food Authority and Pedro Noval of the Department of Interior and Local Government.

Mayors themselves helped identify the regional agencies that should participate in the consultative conference and direct interaction.

Town leaders were eager to be enlightened so that they could in turn explain to their constituents the sudden thinning of coming IRA releases.

National Food Authority (NFA) and GSIS Should Help In Times of Crisis

More cheap National Food Authority (NFA) rice and ready Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) pension claims, both necessities in crisis time, are top concerns that regional and Bohol officials will address in the coming days.

Serious evaluation of local government spending, upgrading of police capability and execution of impact infrastructure works are also marked with preference.

Their need to be prioritized was made clear in a consultative conference in Balilihan on Tuesday jointly initiated by Reps. Edgar Chatto, Roberto Cajes and Adam Relson Jala, who all agreed on more collaboration in service areas that matter most to people.

NFA Regional Director Danilo Bonabon said his agency is prepared to flood cheap rice in Bohol by a volume that can go even higher by 50% of its present supply to accredited market dealers, parish outlets and other designated distributors.

This is hoped to neutralize the spiraling prices of commercial rice and even corn.

The NFA is currently assessing the situation to determine the heightening of the flow of affordable rice.

Bonabon encouraged the local government units (LGUs) to ink respective agreements with the agency on rice credit in anticipation of any possible emergency condition.

The towns can be represented by the League of Municipalities of the Philippines (LMP), which Bohol members led by Jagna Mayor Exuperio Lloren directly interacted with Bonabon and other regional officials.

By virtue of a memorandum of agreement with NFA, an LGU can have ready access to the cheap staple food in case of a disaster or calamity that may result in a grave grains shortage.

The Bonabon cited the recent Panay-Aklan-Iloilo experience as an offshoot of storm Frank that ravaged the agriculture in the area.

NFA-Cebu was forced, for the first time, to augment rice supply to the Visayas area in disaster, according to Bonabon.

Globe Telecom Brings Rivermaya to Bohol Island

As part of its commitment to add more color to this year's celebration of the Sandugo Festival, Globe Telecom Inc. in cooperation with the Bohol Sandugo Foundation Inc. brings Rivermaya live in concert this coming Sunday at the CPG Sports Complex 7 p.m., right after the Sandugo reenactment.

For free admission, just reload worth P30, enroll in everybody text 20, and get a free GHP Starter Sim and a free concert ticket. Get your load from any authorized roving agents.

Rivermaya, has released their first full-length studio album in five years, entitled "Buhay". The album spotlights two intriguing must-listens - the songwriting skills of Mark Escueta, Mike Elgar and Japs Sergio as well as the vocals of brand-new, 18-year old member Jayson Fernandez who was plucked out of a field of 500 hopefuls to become the newest brother in the Rivermaya family.

Jayson joins Mark, Mike, and Japs in delivering compelling vocals to a fresh Rivermaya sound. - press release

Double Pizza Hut in Cheesy Pops

Media men attended the double treat by Pizza Hut for the launch of Cheesy Pops N' Dip pizza. The event featured a back to back movie and TV commercial screening for Pizza Hut's latest masterpiece.

Pizza Hut wanted to add a playful element to the whole pizza dining experience. This brought about the birth of one of its great successes. Taking things a step further from the ingenious Stuffed Crust, Pizza Hut caused everybody to rave about the 'pullable' outer crust made of an explosive mix of three cheeses. All the fun entailed from eating it made it a favorite among families and friends.

Continuing its legacy in pioneering product innovations, Pizza Hut took surefire hit for a spin and created another showstopper - the Pizza Hut Cheesy Pops N' Dip. With a new twist, there's more to the 'pullable' cheese-filled pops made of mozzarella, parmesan and cheddar cheeses that is currently enjoyed.

With a new twist, Pizza Hut adds more to the fun by offering thick and rich cheddar dip to go along with it! Their favorite Cheesy Pops Pizza now comes with a rich cheddar dip at no extra cost! There are now even more exciting ways to eat pizza with all the pulling and dipping that people will surely enjoy.

This creative "interaction" is what its new product is all about. The 30- second commercial showcased the Cheesy Pops N' Dip experience through a kid's point of view. In the commercial, the kid is seen imagining that the dipping of the Cheesy Pops was a competing diver immersing into a swimming pool. This association kept the viewers engaged and even more thrilled to have a bite of the new Cheesy Pops N' Dip Pizza.

So what else are you waiting for? Rush to the nearest Pizza Hut and be sure to bring your friends. 'Cause with the new Cheesy Pops N' Dip, the fun possibilities are definitely endless.

Bohol DepEd Welcomes Lagura of Guihulngan, Negros Oriental

The Division of Bohol headed by Dr. Elpidio M. Jala gave recognition to Dr. Joseph Irwin A. Lagura, officer in charge of the newly created City Division of Guihulngan of Oriental Negros.

Lagura served as Assistant Superintendent of Bohol prior to his present position. In the same celebration, top ranking officials of the department from the three Educational Service Areas (ESA) were officially installed after its reorganization and reshuffling.

The event, held at the Bohol Tropics Resort Grand Ballroom last July 4, was graced by congressmen Edgar M. Chatto, Adam Relson L. Jala and Cong. Roberto C. Cajes.

As tribute to the honoree, a plaque of recognition was presented by Jala together with the invited guest. In his farewell message, Lagura was thankful for the wonderful experiences he had in his stint as assistant superintendent of Bohol.

Dr. Jala, in his challenging message to the newly installed officials, gave importance on the initiatives he implemented to support the basic education at the grassroots level.

With the institutionalization of Maintenance and Other Operating Expenses (MOOE) downloaded directly to the schools, and was implemented during the month of June, the superintendent made a commitment that he will continue to find ways and programs to help the administrators carry out their tasks and responsibilities effectively. As a response, the school heads applauded the superintendent for his new initiatives and concern.

Giving more excitement for the people present during the program was the pledge done by the three congressmen allocating five million pesos each from their discretionary funds for the construction of a new office of the Department of Education , Division of Bohol. Congressman Chatto stressed that the three lawmakers from Bohol will always be on the side of education, looking all priorities be best addressed.

As Vice Chairman on Committee of Education at the House of the Representatives, he made mention of policies which would benefit the education sector. One of which is the Compensation Bill which proposes a three thousand salary increase per year to all public school teachers up to 2010. On the other hand, Congressman Jala emphasized the importance of policy directions for the best of education in the province. He added that the basic education should be understood as a multi sectoral responsibility and therefore he shared this noble responsibility being a son of a former public school teacher.

The said activity started with a holy mass officiated by Rev. Fr. Joel Ruyeras. Also present during the program was Madame Norma S. Varques, the superintendent of Tagbilaran Division. Giving the words of thanks was Mr. Ernesto Calamba, the OIC of the office of the assistant school division superintendent.