No sail, no flight over Alona now in effect


TAGBILARAN CITY, April 21 (PIA)–In response to the regional task group managing the security for the meetings of the Association of South East Asian Nations 2017 (ASEAN 2017) in Bohol, marine task groups in Bohol are implementing a 500 meter no sail zone in front of the Alona stretch of beach.


The policy is in effect until the end of the ASEAN 2017 meetings in Panglao.


Seaman (SN1) Ralph Barajan, deputy chief of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) Detachment in Panglao bared this as Bohol Task Group Commander PCSupt Noli Taliño earlier issued the “no sail, no flight” policy over Alona Beach.


This is to add up to the implemented security measures to protect the international and local delegates to the ASEAN trade meetings held at the Hennan Resort and some top level meetings at the Amorita Resort on the southeast end of the 1.5 kilometer stretch of beach.


“We are implementing a 500 meter from the coastline demarcation line for sail boats from the Amorita to Kalipayan Beach on the south west end, SN Barajan revealed.


The PCG elements are not the only ones making sure that navigation by any craft in the area is restricted.


Also there to help secure the sea area fronting the famed Alona stretch are the floating assets of the Philippine Navy and the Philippine National Police Maritime Group.


The Philippine Air Force is also tasked to insure that the airspace over Alona is cleared, PNP regional sources reported.


This too as the local government of Panglao implements the ordinance finally designating a one-stop area for tourist  boats ferrying guests to dolphin and whale watching as well as island hopping tours.


Panglao mayor Leonila Montero said they have designated a unified pick up and drop off for tourists in a bid to streamline policies in implementing marine safety and safety of beach fronts.


The municipal docking facility at the back of the church in Panglao has been picked as a station wile local officials are reportedly eyeing to put up more in areas where resorts congregate, if only to allow faster tracking of boats and PCG safety inspections before embarking on marine tours, PCG said.


Earlier, PCG Bohol District Commander Lieutenant Junior Grade Jimmy Berbo, who has a long record of experience in maritime safety, has also suggested a streamlined docking policy just as the Maritime Industry Authority of the Philippines has campaigned for registration of all boats used for public conveyance.


This also helps assure tourists that the boat they contracted to serve is registered, insured and tracked by the maritime authorities for protection and safety assurances.


Tour guides said the policy of a designated station could help control the operation of illegal fly by night colorum bancas.


Panglao, along with the PCG Panglao detachment has finally implemented Philippine Coast Guard Memorandum Circular 03-14 dated April 2014, as the government asserts safety of beaches in front of resorts, and in Bohol especially at its prime 1.5 kilometer fine white sand beach showcase of the Alona stretch.


A turn-off for tourists owing to the uncontrolled boat parking and dropping of anchors massively ruining its snorkel areas, Alona has also been widely criticized for allowing access to boats with propellers dangerously within the swimming and snorkel areas, practically accidents waiting to happen.

The boat parking is also blocking the sea view and the gorgeous sunsets.

Recently however, authorities have started to see the logic in keeping Alona and its prime beaches cleared of these hazards.

As this developed, Boholanos have praised the Panglao local officials and the PCG and openly hoped that the safety policy is sustained even beyond the ASEAN. (rahc/PIA-7/Bohol)

Duterte: get remaining  bandits, dead or alive


TAGBILARAN CITY, April 19 (PIA)–To ring the message across that he abhors criminalities, President Rodrigo Duterte issues the order to just anyone: get them, dead or alive.

And by everyone, his order did not just mean for the government operatives, he also addressed to civilians willing to finally end the terror and hunt down the remnants of the group of armed Abu Sayyaf bandits contained in the fields of Inabanga.

Coming to Bohol not on his official, but on his personal schedule, President Duterte who just came in from a state visit in the middle east immediately flew to Bohol to be briefed on the Inabanga incident that left 3 military, one police and 4 deaths from the notorious kidnap for ransom group.

Two of those who died were a couple identified as relatives of the local guide of the bandits are still under investigation, explained Armed Forces of the Philippines chief of Staff, General Eduardo Año.

Government troops sweeping the war zone also recovered bomb making tools and electronic parts that can be used to manufacture bombs.

The Abus Sayyaf incursion to Bohol, over 600 kilometers from their strongholds in Basilan, happened in time for the international gathering of leaders of the countries in southeast Asia in Panglao.

“I am here just to warn everybody, my order is to demolish them,” Duterte spoke to Bohol and national media after an hour and 45 minutes of briefings of the Inabanga incident and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Trade meetings set from April 18-21, at the Hennan Resort in Panglao.

“To civilians interested to fight and kill, my order [to them] is dead or alive,” the President was again fearless of the repercussions of his hard and unwavering stance against criminality.

He also announced he is raising the one million pesos bounty for every member of the Abu Sayyaf stragglers hiding in the vicinities of Napo, in Inabanga, Bohol.

Earlier, the provincial government posted a P100,000 bounty per head for anyone who could share information leading to the capture any one of the 7 bandits.

Now led by a local recruit Joselito Melloria, the bandits could not go far as three of them were wounded, according to Armed Forces of the Philippines Intelligence officer Lt. Col Adolfo Espuelas Jr,.

Espuelas, who head the Intelligence Service of the AFP said Melloria nurses a wound in the left back shoulder and left foot, another young fighter with a wound in the right leg and yet another fighter with wound in the right butt.

The strugglers have only 3 M16 rifles, one fitted with  an M203 grenade launcher, one M14, a depleted ammunition supply, an analog cell phone with spare batteries, no food, no local support, have been sleepless and are on the run without any more capacity to fight, Espuelas added.

In rounding up the citizens as well as the government troops to account for the fleeing bandits, the apparently tired president who earlier came to the security briefing on the Inabanga incident and the Bohol said, he wants them dead, not alive to skip from the trouble of feeding criminals.

The President also clarified that the order also applies to drug personalities and terrorists. (rahc/PIA-7/Bohol)

Get the bandits, dead or alive, commands President Rodrigo Duterte, when he came to Tagbilaran Bohol to get briefed about the clash that happened between government troops and the Abus Sayyaf group. Duterte’s coming in, off his official schedule has boosted the resolve of government to hit on the remaining bandits. (rahc/PIA-7/Bohol)

Unobstructed Alona beaches greet Bohol ASEAN delegates



TAGBILARAN CITY, April 19 (PIA)–Delegates to the trade meetings of the Association of South East Asian Nations at the Hennan Resort in Panglao arrive at gorgeous sight mostly new to Boholanos and some national guests.

Then a view seldom fully appreciated due to the obstruction caused by disorganized boat parking, dangerous swimming area due to indiscriminate dropping of boat anchors and crisscrossing dive boats, the more than a kilometer stretch of the gorgeous white fine sand beach of Alona is finally cleared of the hazards.

A stretch of beach accordingly got its name from the starlet Alona Alegre, who, with another Filipino movie icon Fernando Poe Jr., starred the 1978 film Esteban.

In one of the movie scenes, Alona Alegre would frolic in the pristine sand before marauders lad by Max Alvarado would run to capture her.

The chase scene would then introduce the gorgeous beach to national and international audiences.

The shooting would accordingly take days and during the entire duration, residents of Tawala in Panglao would troop to the beach to see the shooting.

When asked where they are going, people would accordingly respond: to see Alona, thus the name stuck to the beach.

Now a home to some of the best beach resorts in Bohol, Alona has lately seen the proliferation of dive boats and island hopping ferry boats anchoring just right in the beach front, obstructing the gorgeous sunset and the splendid blue horizon.

Recently however, the local government unit of Panglao, the beach resorts and the Philippine Coast Guard partnered to clean up the beach front, according to Tagbilaran District Commander Lieutenant Junior Grade Jimmy Berbo.

Along this, citing Headquarters of the Philippine Coast Guard Memorandum Circular 03-14 dated April 2014, the government asserts safety of beaches in front of resorts.

The MC ruled out that resort owners must put up adequate number of buoys attached with a safety net to be spread in an area where there is an abrupt change in depth, and if there are none, the same buoys shall designate the boundaries for safe swimming.

Moreover, for safety purposes, in thses designated areas, no boats, bancas or other crafts are allowed to enter.

The policy however remains unimplemented until recently, Lt. Berbo shared.

While the memorandum also allows the resort owners to designate a portion of the beachfront for loading and unloading resort guests,  the LGU under Mayor Leonila Montero has designated a single pick up and drop off station for guests on to dolphin and whale watching tours, dive tours as well as for island hopping tours, Coast Guard sources revealed.

The Coast Guard said the new pick up and drop off station for boats is the municipal port behind the Panglao Church Complex, and authorities have started to implement the changes recently.

The disappearance of the eyesores in Alona beach elated observers who agreed, having boats in front of the resorts is waiting for an accident to happen.

As of the second week of April, the beach fronts started to be cleaned of boats, while the town also caused the tables set up by resorts near the beaches moved, following the policies on public access.

When these changes would allow the ASEAN guests to marvel at the beaches, police regional director PCSupt Noli Taliño has said they would implement a no-sail, no-flight zone in front of Hennan Resort.

This is for the safety of ASEAN guests having their meetings at Henan from April 18-21.

General Taliño said they would coordinate with the PCG, Maritime Police and the Philippine Navy to put up the demarcation lines to mark the no sail zones and guard it.

Meanwhile, the Philippine Air Force would monitor compliance of the no-flights over Hennan and hail any pilot who breaks the command. (rahc/PIA-7/Bohol)

500 yards, boats are now banned to dock here, an area that used to be crowded by dive and tour boats, as the government implements beach safety along Bohol showcase window of its world class beaches. (foto by Ric Obedencio)

Delegates arrive in Bohol for ASEAN trade gab in Panglao



TAGBILARAN CITY, April 18 (PIA)–The main bulk of the delegates of the trade meetings of the ministers of trade of the 10 country-bloc making their meetings in Bohol arrives Wednesday, April 19, through Tagbilaran City Airport and the sea Port of Tagbilaran.

Taking separate flights or sea trips, the heads of delegates form the nucleus of the 10th ASEAN and Hong Kong Free Trade Agreement (AHKFTA) Trade Negotiating Committee and Related Meetings at the Hennan Resort in Panglao.

The Department of Trade and Industry sponsors the AHKFTA starting April 19 to 21.

The meetings in Bohol push through despite a foiled incursion of an armed group believed to be of the Muslim extremist Abu Sayyaf, according to military intelligence reports.

During the day of the encounter between government troops and the armed bandits, Governor Edgar Chatto clarified that the incident is contained in a few barangays of Inabanga.

As the military operatives proceeded to clear the encounter sites, the Department of Foreign Affairs announced that Bohol ASEAN meetings would push through.

Taking the cue from the Armed Forces of the Philippines officials, Governor Edgar Chatto also assured that Bohol would be a safe place, its tourism hardly dented by the Inabanga incident.

At least some delegates at the Tagbilaran City Airport, including Department of Interior and Local Government Undersecretary for Peace and Order Catalino Cuy, have arrived April 18, according to Capitol’s Special Events Unit head Liza Flores Tuesday.

Confirming their attendance to the meetings are Director Julia Tijaja of the ASEAN Secretariat, International Trade Cooperation Ministry of Trade of the Trade Negotiations Committee Director General Iman Pambagyo, and DTI Assistant Secretary Anna Maria Rosario Diaz Rubeniol.

Arriving at around 9:40 tomorrow are the delegations of Singapore led by ASEAN Division of the Ministry of Trade and Industry Sulaimah Mahmood and Indonesia Ministry of Trade Director Donna Gultom.

Also confirming their attendance to the meetings and events in Bohol are Brunei Darussalam Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade First secretary Yusdiman Saman, Cambodia’s Deputy Director General of International Trade Tan Yuvaroath.

Lao People’s Democratic Republic’s Ministry of Industry and Commerce Director General Dr. Laohua Cheutching, Malaysia’s Minister of International Trade and Industry Deputy Secretary General Isham Ishak and Myanmar’s Director of the Directorate of Investment and Company Administration, Ministry of National Planning and Economic Development Tin Aye Han.

Thailand’s Department of Trade and Negotiations Director of ASEAN Affairs Bureau Chotima Iemsawasdikul, and Vietnam’s Ministry of Industry and Trade Director Coung Ba Tran would be leading their delegates composed of trade and industry consultants, legislative teams and support staff.

While the ASEAN trade meetings hosted by the DTI in Bohol may tackle relevant regional trade policies, the National Organizing Council has closed the events for media coverage, reiterates ASEAN NOC consultant retired General Josephus Angan, during the final coordination meetings with Bohol local organizing council held at the Philippine Ports Authority Multi Purpose Hall Monday.

The arrival and the departure events however are open to media coverage but only for photos and no media interviews are allowed, according to the NOC.

Arrival and departure events however are subject to regular security measures in place at the airport and the ports, and coverage protocols include smart casual attire for Bohol media, NOC said. (rac/PIA-7/Bohol)


Electricians fix the broken lights along Dauis Promenade as the ASEAN flgas are now unfurled along the main routes to the ASEAN meetings as Bohol puts up the finishing touches for the preparations of the trade meetings ahppenoing April 19 in Panglao. (FOTO: RIC OBEDENCIO)

Bohol hosts ASEAN meetings starting today

Bohol is etching history in global policy-making when it hosts starting today a series of major meetings of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) that will expand the country’s market access to half of the world’s population.
The Inter-Sessional ASEAN Caucus Meeting of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Trade Negotiating Committee (TNC) will run at the Hennan Resort on the prime resort island of Panglao until Friday.
The lead negotiators convene to finalize the ASEAN position on outstanding issues and develop a pathway toward the conclusion of negotiations by year-end.
The delegates are led by the ministers and senior officials from the 10 ASEAN members, which are Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam and the host country, the Philippines.
This year’s chairmanship of the ASEAN has been entrusted to the Philippines under Pres. Rodrigo Duterte and the Philippine agency sponsoring the Bohol meetings is the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).
Not just among the ASEAN members, the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiations also involve Australia, China, Japan, India, South Korea and New Zealand.
The 16-party negotiations during the Bohol ASEAN meetings, which have some 200 delegates, are targeted to be concluded within the year.
Once completed, it will be the Philippines’ biggest FTA, linking the country and bringing the Philippine businesses improved market access to half of the world’s population.
The lead negotiators at the ASEAN meetings in Bohol consist of ASEAN Secretariat Director Julia Tijaja; First Secretary Yusdiman Saman, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Brunei Darussalam; Deputy Director General of International Trade Tan Yuvaroath, Ministry of Commerce, Cambodia; Director Donna Gultom, Ministry of Trade, Indonesia; Director General Laohua Cheutching, Ministry of Industry and Commerce, Laos; Deputy Secretary General for Trade Isham Ishak, Ministry of International Trade and Industry, Malaysia; Director Tin Aye Han, Directorate on Investment and Company Administration, Ministry of National Planning and Economic Development, Myanmar; Director Sulaimah Mahmood, ASEAN Division, Ministry of Trade and Industry, Singapore; Director of ASEAN Affairs Bureau Chotima Iemsawasdikul, Department of Trade Negotiations, Thailand; Director General Iman Pambagyo, International Trade Cooperation, Ministry of Trade Negotiations, who is also the ASEAN Trade Negotiations Committee Chair; Director Cuong Ba Tran, Ministry of Industry and Trade, Vietnam; and Assistant Secretary Anna Maria Rosario Diaz Robeniol, Department of Trade and Industry, Philippines.
Amb. Marciano Paynor, Jr., presidential protocol officer and head of the National Organizing Council (NOC) for the ASEAN Summit 2017, commended the preparation of Bohol under Gov. Edgar Chatto for the meetings that will redefine not just the fate of the ASEAN but Asia-Pacific Region.
The Bohol meetings have over 200 ASEAN delegates, according to Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Sec. Catalino Cuy, who saw the governor as soon as he arrived here yesterday.
During their embassy briefing in Manila on Monday, no ASEAN delegate raised the Inabanga incident which could mean the issue has not affected them and they are more excited to experience Bohol’s beauty and its people’s charm, according to Cuy.
The new DILG Secretary said he was asked by Paynor to relay to Chatto the ASEAN-NOC head’s commendation of the governor’s leadership of Bohol.
The delegations from Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines already arrived yesterday.
Chatto will lead the Bohol government in tendering a welcome dinner for the ASEAN delegates and invited guests tomorrowevening.
Bohol is also privileged to promote tourism and investment during the ASEAN event, which resulting trade, industry and other economic policies are to strengthen the ASEAN as a global economic player—and essential to the development and growth of the localities of its member states.
There are few other select areas in the country for the different major ASEAN meetings, which are all integral to the Philippine hosting of the ASEAN 2017 Summit that will culminate in the final quarter this year.
Chatto is optimistic that Bohol will do gain being one of the venues of the ASEAN meetings, which essence and impact on the local economic growth and development can be immeasurable.
Further, Bohol is securing a glowing page in the history of ASEAN as the league of 10 nations marks this year its golden founding anniversary.

PH pushes for promotion of creative industries in ASEAN


The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) through its Design Center of the Philippines (Design Center) will be holding the ASEAN Creative Cities Forum and Exhibition (ACCFE) slated on 24-27 April 2017 at the Bonifacio Global City in Taguig.


Through ACCFE, the country aims to promote the lucrative economic potentials of its creative industries, creative clusters, and creative cities as a viable strategy for sustainable and inclusive development in the region.

“This is also a key initiative to usher the membership of at least one Philippine city in the UNESCO Creative Cities Network by 2018 and further support the development of the 2017 Creative Industries Roadmap,” highlighted DTI Trade and Investments Promotion Group Undersecretary and ASEAN 2017 Committee on Business and Investment Promotion (CBIP) Chairperson Nora K. Terrado.


The event also aims to establish DTI and its Design Center of the Philippines as key players in the development of the Philippine Creative Industries particularly in the area of design.

“The Philippines is teeming with rich talent in various creative fields, including sectors that are under Design Center’s mandate—product design, fashion, graphic design. It’s about time we recognize this, and harness this pool of creativity towards a movement that will be beneficial to all creative stakeholders,” shares Rhea O. Matute, Executive Director of the Design Center.

Creative economy is an emerging concept that deals with creativity, culture, economics and technology. Vital to this emerging type of economy are goods and services that use creativity and intellectual property as primary inputs.

“To have one Philippine city included in the UNESCO Creative Cities Network would mean that every Filipino’s creative assets transformed into products or services contribute to the country’s development,” added Matute.

United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) recently highlighted the role of creative industries in bringing in economic growth through trade and intellectual property rights activities. Various creative services in the Philippines, such as the animation industry which is gaining traction in the international community, are currently being promoted extensively in the global market.

The ASEAN Creative Cities Forum and Exhibition will feature initiatives of 10 ASEAN member states through various activities that highlight the role of culture and creativity in driving sustainable and inclusive development in the region. Key influencers, advocates, and champions in the field are expected to hold discussions.

At present, there are only four cities from ASEAN member countries that are part of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network. These include Bandung in Indonesia for Design; Pekalongan in Indonesia for Crafts and Folk Art; Phuket in Thailand for Gastronomy; and Singapore for Design.