Choco Hills gains 3rd spot in new 7 wonders search

DISPERSED Boholanos across the globe have organized campaign groups to generate the most number of votes cast for their favorite Chocolate Hills, which has earned a notch up in the new wonders of the world search.

Governor Erico Aumentado said one of his missions upon embarking on a journey to the US is precisely to campaign for more votes for the Chocolate Hills, during Friday’s Governor’s Reports.

He added as he would invite Boholano organizations to come home for the global gathering of Boholanos, thje Chocolate Hills campaign would get in the way.

Practically in almost every nook of the globe, Boholanos in their own capacity, or via the vast information superhighway is spreading the word about rooting for the Chocolate Hills, support groups based in Bohol said.

The move to hoist the Chocolate Hills in the new seven wonders of the world search gained its initial foothold after Provincial Government officials in Bohol led by Governor Erico Aumentado gathered all internet operators in Tagbilaran City to help in the campaign which Bohol Capitol adopted as its singular mission for tourism promotion.

The move also pushed the chief executive to name Tagbilaran City Mayor Dan Neri Lim to lead the campaign to propel Bohol’s wondrous hills to the top of the list. The official campaign head then headed for the US to tap Boholano organizations in attempts to gain the necessary votes.

Tourism stakeholders here, led by Carmen Mayor Manuel Molina also pitched in their campaigns by organizing support groups, asking local tour guides to include in their spiels the support for the Chocolate Hills.

This as President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo herself, in her sorties across the country never fail to mention her own campaign for agenda for the country’s natural wonders to get into the top seven list of modern-day Wonders of Nature.

As of June 13, Friday Wednesday, Chocolate Hills ranked third in the global search after Tubbataha Reef east of Palawan, which is at number 2. The Underground River in Palawan, still in the Philippines is at Number 5.

The Chocolate Hills in Bohol, is an “unusual geological formation… composed of around 1,268 perfectly cone-shaped hills of about the same size spread over an area of more than 50 square kilometers, the hills are covered in green grass that turns brown during the dry season, giving them the name ‘Chocolate Hills,’” proclaims the New7Wonders site.

Tubbataha Reef, on the other hand is an atoll coral reef in the Sulu Sea east of Palawan. It is a marine sanctuary protected by the Philippine government as the Tubbataha Reef National Marine Park.

The reef is composed of two atolls – the North and South Reefs, separated by a channel of about 8 kilometers wide. The atolls each have a single small islet that rises out from the water.

Over 1,000 species, including many that are endangered, can be found at the reef, including manta rays, lionfish, tortoises, clownfish and sharks, according to the website literate on the well-known scuba-diving site.

Meanwhile, Palawan’s Underground River – also dubbed the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park — features a limestone karst mountain landscape with an 8.2 kilometer-long navigable underground river.

Located about 50 kilometers north of the city of Puerto Princesa in Palawan, the river winds through a cave before flowing directly into the South China Sea.

The underground river features amazing formations of stalactites and stalagmites, and several large chambers, with the lower portion of the river subject to tidal influences.

The website enthuses that “the underground river is reputed to be the world’s longest.

At the mouth of the cave, a clear lagoon is framed by ancient trees growing right to the water’s edge. Monkeys, large monitor lizards, and squirrels find their niche on the beach near the cave.”

In Number 9, or just two places short landing in the Magic 7 is another Philippine wonder – the perfectly-shaped Mayon Volcano.

“Mayon Volcano is an active volcano on the Filipino island of Luzon, 15 kilometers northwest of Legazpi City. It is classified by volcanologists as a stratovolcano (composite volcano). Its symmetric cone was formed through alternate pyroclastic and lava flows.

“Mayon is the most active volcano in the country, having erupted over 47 times in the past 400 years, and is part of what is called the Pacific Ring of Fire.” (rachiu/PIA)

Study to double Malinao dam storage on KoICA

STUDIES are now started to determine if doubling the holding capacity of the multi-million Malinao Dam is feasible, says Governor Erico Aumentado, who met a team of Korean experts recently.

The feasibility study worth a million US dollars is a grant by the Korean Government for the governor’s request on upgrading the Malinas Dam and enlarging its service area.

Malinao Dam, of the Bohol Irrigation Project Phase 1 cost 1.4B yen and was designed to catch the waters off Wahig-Pamacsalan River and irrigate 4,960 hectares of prime rice lands.

The governor said he personally persuaded Korean authorities to fund the study through a grant, when he was in Korea last year, Aumentado reported in his weekly radio program aired over Bohol radio stations.

The governor, who was also instrumental in establishment of the P3.6 million Malinao Dam, reported his meeting with the representatives from the Korean International Cooperation Agency (KoICA) June 12 night, as an offshoot of his earlier request.

The study, which the KoICA team is doing would determine the feasibility of doubling the holding capacity of the Malinao Dam, from its current 5 million cubic meters and thus, widening the dam’s service area, according to Aumentado.

Aumentado named Dr. Kim, KoICA head consultant who assured him that the experts would finish the feasibility within the year so that the Provincial Development Council can finally endorse the project to the Regional Development Council for approval.

If such happens, it may be up to the National Economic Development Authority to give its green light on the project, the governor revealed.

Over this development, frustrated farmer beneficiaries of the multi-million dam in San Miguel, Bohol said they would have wanted to settle the answers to their questions on the “sub-par” performance of the Bohol Irrigation Projects Phase 1 infrastructure.

Concerns over failure to deliver the desired results especially in lands leveled and converted to rice fields but are way beyond the service capacity of the dam still pop as sore issue among farmers.

Moreover, militant farmers calling themselves Panagbugkos Kontra K4 have been openly airing their dismay over the water services of the dam. The alleged that even without the dam, they were able to irrigate their fields because the dam could only give out water during the rainy season, not year-round as promised. (rachiu/PIA)

PGMA signs law reorganizing Court of Tax Appeals

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo recently signed Republic Act (RA) No. 9503, reorganizing the Court of Tax Appeals, and raising the CTA to the same judicial level as that of the Court of Appeals (CA).

RA 9503, also raised the number of CTA justices from six to nine to speed up the resolution of tax cases before it.

It also states that CTA justices shall possess “all the inherent powers of a court of justice, and shall consist of a presiding justice and eight associate justices.”

Under RA 9503, the CTA justices, “shall have the same qualifications, rank, category, salary, emoluments and other privileges, be subject to the same disqualifications, and enjoy the same retirement and other benefits as those provided for under existing laws for the Presiding Justice and Associate Justices of the Court of Appeals.”

“The Presiding Justice and Associate Justices shall hold office during good behavior, until they reach the age of seventy (70), or become incapacitated to discharge the duties of their office, unless sooner removed for the same causes and in the same manner provided by law for members of the judiciary of equivalent rank,” the new law said.

RA 9503 will take effect 15 days after its

Relive Filipino nationalism-PGMA

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo said that we need to internalize and relive the Filipino traits of nationalism, concern for countrymen and the resolve to defend our freedom to overcome the challenges posed by the current problems of the world.

The president made this statement during her speech keynoting the celebration of the Philippines’ 110th Anniversary of Independence.

According to the President said, these traits were the same traits our forefathers used to overcome their problems during their time.

She pointed out that much of the freedom we Filipinos enjoy today is the product of our forefathers’ sacrifice.

“Noon tulad din ngayon, maraming banta at maraming hamon ang hinarap ng ating bayan,” the President noted.

She then called on all Filipinos to unite and join one another in achieving this great dream of justice, peace and prosperity for our families and the next generation. (PIA/Bohol)

Gov’t stepping up investments to ease impact of price surges on Filipino poor

To address the continued soaring of food and fuel prices, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo said the government is stepping up investments in the three E’s — meaning economy, education and environment. This is to lessen the impact of the global economic crunch on the Filipino masses.

She said the government is doing everything possible to put food on the table, and create job and livelihood opportunities by investing heavily on the three E’s.

Increased investments in the three primary sectors have been made possible because of the country’s strong, fiscal reform-driven economy, she said.

She also pointed out that last year the country’s economy registered a 7.3 percent growth, the highest in 30 years. But despite the flourishing economy, the government will not rest in its quest for a better future for the Filipinos and to provide ways and means for them to rise above their present situations, she added.

She also stressed that the country has adequate supply of rice, adding that the government will pursue three measures, namely ensure steady supply, proper distribution of the staple food, and a relentless crackdown on illegal traders. (PIA/Bohol)