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)

Bandits demoralized, left without support


TAGBILARAN CITY, April 18 (PIA)–The remnants of the armed bandits the joint police and military operatives encountered in Inabanga are demoralized, on the run without any support system, and it may not be long before the government troops get to them.

Thus hinted Lieutenant Colonel Adolfo Espuelas Jr, speaking for the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (ISAFP) during a press briefing with the military and the police on the Inabanga incident.

Last April 11, government troops acted upon information from the community in Napo and attempted to confirm the presence of at least 12 armed men, who came up river on three small but fast boats.

The bandits welcomed the troops with sniping fire, that a trading of gunfire ensued which lasted for over 24 hours.

The government used air assets, dropped 10 bombs and helicopter fire to flash out the snipers in well entrenched spots.

When the smoke of gunfight settled, the government lost three soldiers and a special weapons expert while the military declared five body counts from the enemies, including the alleged leader of the group Abu Rami.

Military authorities also recovered one Colt M4 Rifle with long magazine and 28 ammunitions, one M16 A1, one AR Cal 223, one M16 A1 Rifle with short magazine and twenty live ammo, one calibre 45, one M203 ammo, two short housing magazine assembly.


Also recovered were one galva tester (electronic current tester), one Icom radio, one flashlight, two remote control radio, two surgical forceps, five Kuran (Muslim bibles), one  electric soldering gun, 27 glue sticks, one electric cutter, one pair of scissors, one small screw driver, led component, 22 silicon control rectifiers (for electronic power control), four 12 volt relays, eight slide switches, 86 led lights, 46 resistors, three cellphone batteries, one nine volts battery, ten Christmas light bulbs and three pump boats.


The discovery bolstered the  intelligence reports that the group were to do bombing operations.


Two of those who died were a couple who owned the house where the armed bandits.

Military sources later said some 7 armed men may have escaped the onslaught but are still contained in the nearby barangays.

A day later, during mopping up operations, military troops dug up another corpse which later was pegged as the bandit’s bomb expert.

While frightened Boholanos shared hundreds of information on social media about the incident, Governor Edgar Chatto called for vigilance and pleaded to pass any information to authorities so they can handle the analysis.

Even if you have good intentions but do not have the basis for sharing information, do not make conclusions and do not pass it on. You are not helping, Chatto was quoted by his media group the Effective Development Communications (EDCOM).

But as the days went on with the military troops tracking the stragglers, Col Espuelas said the enemies are in no fighting mood and their priority is escaping.

“The firefight has expended most of their ammunition and they have lost the capacity to inflict any more damage,” he said.

On or about 1:00 PM of April 12, residents have confirmed the presence of 7 armed bandits begging for food in the vicinity of the encounter area, and days later, witnesses reportedly saw the same armed men, emaciated, three of them wounded, including their local contact Joselito Meloria, who nursed a wound in the back of the shoulder.

They have no food, they are in a hostile territory unlike in Sulu or Basilan when they have supporters, and Boholanos are reporting their whereabouts, Col Espuelas commented.

“It might not be long, as government troops continue to scour the area,” he added.

Bohol authorities have confirmed that a concerned citizen has put up a bounty of P100,000 for each of the bandits, the reward money to be given to anyone who could provide information leading to the arrest and neutralization of any of the stragglers.  (rac/PIA-7/Bohol)

Bohol Police Chief PSSupt Felipe Natividad and ISAFP Lt. Col Adolfo Espuelas are positive the remnants of the armed bandits are on the brink of breaking down, contained in the fields of Inabanga, where the government troops are catching up on them anytime. (rac/PIA-7/Bohol)

Aris, post-encounter, to Boholanos: Stay calm




REP. Erico Aristotle Aumentado (Bohol, 2nd District) has exhorted the Boholanos to stay calm.

This after the running gunbattle on Holy Tuesday in barangay Napo in Inabanga town between government troops and members of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG).

Aumentado said the authorities have been conducting mopping up operations against the now ragtag band to assure his constituents that “we will be safe”.

He echoed Bohol Gov. Edgardo Chatto’s declaration that the military and the police are using all available resources for these operations to see to it that the Boholanos and visitors to this tourism destination can live in peace.

Aumentado also allayed fears of vacationers who have earlier booked stays in hotels and resorts in Panglao that Napo is over 90 kilometers from the now famous white sand beach and emerald waters of the former, the go-to place hereabouts for bathing, diving, water sports and other beach activities now that summer is officially here,

While there were six ASG killed in the clash, to include their leader Muammar Askali alias Abu Rami, the solon the Bohoholanos must not be complacent.

The slaying of the ASG members, however, cost four lives of government troops.

Killed in action were

He appealed especially to those in his district, where the encounter happened, to inform the officials and the police as well as government troops should there be new faces, more so if carrying firearms or if with suspicious movements, or wounded, sighted in their respective localities.

BRIEFING THE MEDIA. Lt. Gen. Oscar Lactao (center), commander of the AFP’s Central Command, narrates initial information gathered from the encounter site in barangay Napo in Inabanga town. He is flanked by, from left, 302nd Infantry Brigade Commander Col. Arnulfo Matanguihan, Rep. Erico Aristotle Aumentado (Bohol, 2nd District), Gov. Edgardo Chatto and Inabanga Mayor Josephine Socorro Jumamoy. Photo: Aris Aumentado’s Facebook Account

QBO launches hub for startup programs



QBO Innovation Hub, an established partnership between the public and private sector including the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Department of Science and Technology (DOST), IdeaSpace Foundation, and J.P. Morgan, opened its startup enablement programs to help speed up growth and learning for Philippine startups and entrepreneurs.


“We are excited to create success stories that will inspire Filipinos to start their own companies instead of pursuing opportunities overseas,” said QBO and IdeaSpace President Butch Meily.


QBO will start offering programs and services to startups including access to QBO’s networking events such as classes, workshops, mentorship, feedback sessions, and use of its co-working space.


Available services also include professional consultations on legal, accounting, marketing and design, corporate and government partner resources referrals, incorporation assistance, business registration, intellectual property filing, and investors and potential partners pitching.


“DTI hopes that with our partners from industry, academe, and other government agencies such as DOST and DICT, our initiatives will help advance the development of our local startup ecosystem and increase the number of high-growth oriented enterprises that will bring the Philippine brand in a global scale,” emphasized DTI Trade and Investments Promotions Group Undersecretary Nora K. Terrado.


Through QBO, startups will also have an opportunity to join J.P. Morgan’s Incubation Program, a stage agnostic module that will be available to select and high-potential startups all year round. It initially plans to enroll 15 startups by the end of 2017.


“As one of the world’s leading financial institutions, J.P. Morgan celebrates new ideas and we are committed to supporting entrepreneurs in the country, especially those with underserved backgrounds. Engaging with Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) at their early stages is critical and we are excited about the tremendous opportunities they will bring to developing sectors and generating jobs, which are both vital in promoting prosperous and thriving communities,” said Roberto L. Panlilio, Senior Country Officer, J.P. Morgan Philippines.


To avail the said services, startups need to have an initial interview with the QBO team and undergo initial assessment. Through this, a customized plan will be designed to match with the resources needed by the startup.


QBO was launched in 2016 with DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez and PLDT Group Chair Manny V. Pangilinan. It aims to link innovators, explorers, investors, academic institutions, start-up mentors, funders and enablers as well as a broad spectrum of partners and stakeholders from both public and private sectors to convene in constructive interaction.


“The Philippine startup ecosystem is growing incredibly quickly, fueled by a young population engaged in the internet and digital, and more importantly, by entrepreneurs that demonstrate incredible determination and commitment. By continuing to develop ideas into innovative products and technologies, startups can evolve to become great companies that positively impact the future of the Philippines” said DOST Undersecretary for Research and Development, Dr. Rowena Cristina L. Guevara.


QBO is the first innovation hub in the country, pioneering the first public-private effort to establish an innovation ecosystem in the Philippines following success stories of Silicon Valley in the United States, BLK 71 in Singapore, and MaGIC in Malaysia.


The National Organizing Committee (NOC) of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations has reportedly picked Panglao in Bohol as among the few places in the country where Asian ministers and officials meet.

This is a rare opportunity for Bohol to be seen again by the investors and the prospecting financiers of the strong block of Asian power which has the reach to control the large trade and commerce the world is being fed.

Bohol’s tourism potential is definitely getting a big boost, although Bohol has already laid down the tracks upon which its tourism development must get railed.

And since the meetings in Panglao would be largely about trade and investment, Bohol would have the courtside chance of learning from the regional trade and investment policies agreed at the meetings with the 10 country’s most senior trade officials.

When several people still could not readily make the tie on how the ASEAN can bring good news to Bohol tables, tourism officials simply count the least of the number of guests coming in. Multiply it with the possible and reasonable daily spending for the three days of stay in Bohol, and lo, you have a ballpark figure in your hands.

At 200, or some 20 delegates per country, the province would get as much cash flowing in and out of the pockets of hotels, bus and van drivers, tour guides, restaurants and souvenir markets to stimulate the local economy.

The stimulus fund even goes exponentially when the Asian guests get home and start telling their moneyed to take a look and invest in Bohol. This isn’t far-fetched as the ASEAN integration also opens up the boundaries of member states to ease out business in the region.

That is why, we believe Govenor Edgar Chatto is on track when he issued the call for Bohol to fully prepare for the investment opportunity.

Roll out the red carpet, just like fiestas, we clean up our surroundings, we fix our potholed streets, string the banners, pick up and properly manage our garbage and leash our dogs, the governor called.

As the governors call resounds, many see this ASEAN welcome call as a make or break proof or how the governor can command the barangays and the puroks as he claimed his successes in Bohol’s anti drug campaigns are.

So we wait for the puroks, and the barangays to deliver the grand ASEAN welcome. Let’s see how these units which has been flooded with awards and recognitions enough to be called bribes work its way, not to make a huge mess making us come out as a huge embarrassment.





BPPO Proud of 62 new SWAT Members Innovation 1st in the country-PA

AFTER THE TRAGEDY that hit the Province of Bohol which left everyone stunned, the Bohol Provincial Police Office (BPPO) is sending the message that Boholanos can now feel safer.
This is because just last Tuesday, sixty-two members of the Philippine National Police and of the Armed Forces of the Philippines gladly participated in the graduation rites as new members of the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) Class “Pinagsanib” group after an exhaustive and rigid two-month special training.
The number started out with sixty-four trainees, but then, of the three women who have initially enlisted, two dropped out which then left a sole woman survivor who eventually graduated with sixty-one men in uniform.
The SWAT graduation ceremonies at the BPPO grounds commenced with a simulation of an actual combat situation where SWAT know-how and special mind tactics were deployed right before the very eyes of the guests.
The adrenaline rush was upped even more when three explosions were witnessed by everyone and the graduating class exhibited more special tactics, not only to please the audience, but more so, to show what would happen to offenders when they cross paths with Bohol’s latest SWAT corps.
Participants and guests were warmly greeted by Bohol PNP Chief Felipe Natividad, with Guest of Honor, PCSupt. Franklin Moises R. Mabanag, Deputy Regional Director for Administration, PRO-7; and Provincial Administrator Alfonso “Ae” R. Damalerio, in lieu of Gov. Edgar M. Chatto.
The Bohol SWAT Team is a composite group of the PNP and AFP, a clear innovation of the 302nd Achievers Brigade, the 47th Infantry Brigade, BPPO, the Provincial Peace and Order Council (PPOC), and the Provincial Government of Bohol under the helm of Gov. Edgar M. Chatto.
Provincial Administrator Damalerio proudly informed everyone that “this innovation is the very first in the country, and for the next step, we are now planning on an Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) training.”
EOD performs, supervises, and manages explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) operations; and locates, identifies, disarms, neutralizes, recovers, and disposes of hazardous explosives; conventional, chemical, biological, incendiary, and nuclear ordnance; and criminal or terrorist devices.
Other guests during the SWAT graduation ceremonies were Colonel Arnulfo Matanguihan, Commander of the 302nd Brigade of the Philippine Army, LTC Jose Dodjie Belloga Jr., Battalion Commander of the 47th IB of the Philippine Army, Superintendent Renato Dugan of PRO-7 and Tagbilaran City PNP Chief Col. Nicomedes Olaivar. (JLV/PGBh/EDCom)