“Suwaan bay humay?” Has the Boholano concept of the sacred rice changed?

Across time, Boholano attitude towards rice and its consumption has apparently changed.

Rice, to Boholanos is as sacred as ubi, its ethno-religious root crop.

Such is so, that when farmer’s child trips and accidentally drops an ubi, the ubi gets a kiss, the child gets a whack in the butt.

When farmers dry the palay in pavements all over Bohol, people would make sure they do not step on it, or drive over it. Traffic accidents have happened because of this.

Such is the respect that when one spills rice on dirt, somebody has to scoop it, winnow and make sure dirt separates from the grains, and the salvaged rice is still good for another meal.

Which makes us wonder why across Central Visayas, data from the Philippine Statistics Authority said, Bohol consumes the biggest share of rice per capita at 103.37 kilos.

Here, where families are overly extended: the grandparents, aunts and uncles and their families sometimes live with a full family under one roof, and elders make it their mission to instil in the kids ways of saving rice.

When it comes as no surprise that these extended families sometimes find it hard to make both ends meet, teaching the kids to be content with what is on the table is good enough. No complaints. Just steamed rice or porridge dunked with asintibuok. That is fair fare.

So they would say, “suwaanba’yhumay,” if only to pound the truth in it.

Humay after all, is that new harvest which if often from the palihi patch: a small test planting patch which is harvested ahead in time for the dogmak. And that is another story.

Dogmak is a thanksgiving feast, or single table spread featuring the first harvest, for the spirits, the souls of the former tillers of the patch or the gods of the farm.

The thanksgiving roots from the quaint belief that among those
invited for the banquet who would be protecting the rice farm from pests infestation, weeds and calamities and a thanksgiving for a good harvest.

From this palihi patch comes the pilit (glutinous rice) for the suman, biko, putohumay, malagkit, all common fare for the padogmaksakalag-kalag.

It would then be no wonder why another expression comes to mind.

“Dilinakakan-on ogwakwakbastamakakaonkaog bag-ongani.” (witcheswont be after you if you’ve had the new harvest).

But that again is another whole new new story.

From that palihi patch, parents would make sure that the children get to know the farm work. So they have to join in the harvest, pile the kalero, thresh rice by hapos (smashing grain laden bundles of rice stalks against a makeshift bamboo slatted floor) or gi-ok (on bare feet, one twists over the piled grain laden stalks) to separate the grains from the chaff. The works, we would say.

Children have to be on it. For a full day or days even. For the itch and all, including tungaw.

Then towards early afternoon, it’smagpapalid: one scoops heaps of palay from the pile, place it on a nigo (winnower), face the wind and gradually pour the grains out to a hapag or an unrolled banigbuli, pinukpok or saguran.

Those that are carried by the wind are the empty grains, the ones that fall nearby are then collected to be dried.

When the grains have dried enough to be pounded, another laborious job awaits the kids: lobok.

Farm families here make it a habit to have wooden pestles weighted for kids, some even craft small pestles for the kids to train.

It is usually in the pinsa, or under some shade where you hit nothing when you raise the pestle.

To keep every grain safe, one unrolls a mat, places the mortar in the middle and there in that hub, is the pounding and grounding. Well, sort of.

Scooping dried palay with a paja (spoke-shaved coconut shell), the kids fill the pestle halfway and the pounding starts.

And that’s play-work.

With two or three kids to one mortar, they take turns lifting their own pestles to a rhythm. This is asud. No, you do not stop from pounding the middle of the palay inside the mortal, and you do not slow down on the rhythm or you hit another one’s pestle. Until the grains come out from the husk.Lug-as.Backbreaking.

And if they think, they’re off it after that, they’re wrong.

Tahop and alig-ig comes next. Here, kids need to multi-task. Manipulate the winnower and at the same time, drive the chicken off the pounded rice.

Not a grain should be lost. Generally.

Tahop is basically to separate the grain from the husk. All one needs to do is to throw the pounded rice into the air and catch it back with the winnower. Over 50 times.

ANd the step is done over and over until one gets all the polished rice from all the nilobok.

Alig-ig is when, from this already huskless load, one shakes the winnower into a rhythm and tilting it to one side: the polished rice tends to stick to the bamboo winnower and goes up while the unpolished tipasi slide down the bottom.

When the islagan comes out, this goes back to the mortar for another round of pounding, the polished rice, now ready for the pot.

When kids complain, elders would say, “daghan pa mo’gbugaskan-on,” although the truth is just right there, in hard work and saving for the family’s future.

And the dogmak.

So, when elders declare to the kids why they do not waste a grain, it never needs an explanation.

To nail it on, elders would say, “sausausiklugaskan-on, usakatuigsaempernoagwantahon.”

No, Boholanos do not want to over-produce. After filling the bandi (buri bag basket) or bakat (bamboo basket) with the year-long supply of palay, they stop.

“I-asa man na’ngdaghan, mabahay.” (What do you do with too much, you’ll just stale them.)

Boholanos are just that. Simple.Never complicated.

But, with rice abundantly growing here, Boholanos generally do not eat corn, unlike Cebuanos who have this as among its staples.

For Cebu’s per capita rice consumption, it is about 25 kilos less than what each Boholano consumes in a year. Beat that. But did we really waste rice?

Food and Nutrition Research Institute of the Philippines says the average wastage is about three spoonful every day. That is across the country.

So where does the 25 kilos more of rice Boholanos cook go?

Boholanos are not so much fond of root crops as rice substitute. Unlike other areas.

There are few who use sinaksakan (boiled rice with sweet potato, cassava, gabi, ube or any rice extender), but farmers always complain they easily get hungry. Towards lunch time, magkutoyangtijan is a usual comment, when the breakfast fare is with a rice extender.

The usual remedy is to cook more. For mid-morning pamahaw-bahaw.An there topo is a mid afternoonpamahaw-bahaw.

It is now wonder why, per capita, Boholanos consume 109 kilos of rice a year, a figure which is 25 kilos more compared to Cebuanos.

That did not did not even include one serving for the dogs. And the cats. In one radio program when people were complaining about the NFA rice, one caller even said the government is inconsiderate for his dogs.

In recent years in fact, that 3 spoons or 16 grams of rice wastage in Bohol, considering that the one who cooks puts in mid-morning and mid-afternoon snacks, and a serving for the pets, is no wonder.

And then, there is that old teaching that resounds in every Boholano mind. Etiquette.

Anything served, it would be damn ill-mannered for you if you take all of it. Leave something for etiquette. Oftentimes, it is a spoon-ful. Or more.Wasted.

Dinner cooking is never as illustrative of a people than in Bohol then.

Reasoning that when one is asleep, one needs no energy, so that is the basis for how much to cook.

They cook, all right, just barely enough, if only, maybe to save. “Igoragudigujodhabol?” That, to them is a measure. Cook just enough to have the energy to pull up the blanket.

At 6:00 PM oracion, everyone must be in, because if one misses it, dinner is served right after and there is not much of anything to be left, even for the cats.

In Bohol then, (and maybe even now) dinner is that worst time to gate crash.

Hospitable as they are, Boholanos know that even when you are not part of the count for dinner, you would be invited to eat, of course.

But you are not expected to eat. Good manners dictate that.

Because, when you indulge with the invitation, you would be depriving a family member of his blanket-pulling energy.

Now, you, who did not inform beforehand that you are coming to dinner, would just be like the one carried by the bad winds from wherever they may come, to their dinner table.

And they have a term for that: hinampak. Do not ever be one. (rahc/PIA-7/Bohol)

55% of drug ‘surrenderers’ Volunteer to rehabilitation

Only 55% of the drug “surrenderers” in Bohol, made true their promise to reform.
This as only 21,896 of the 39,336 drug “surrenderers” in Bohol voluntarily underwent the screening test to determine their level of substance dependence which is the first step to treatment and rehabilitation.
At the Kapihansa PIA last week, Center for Drug Education and Counselling (CDEC) Bohol representative and nurse Van Merriam Borja revealed that considering that the drug rehabilitation program in Bohol is voluntary in nature, not everyone went through the protocol to determine the proper intervention to officially get them back to the mainstreams.
As to what happens to the remaining 45%, CDEC said owing to the voluntary nature of the rehabilitation program, they cannot force everyone to get through the rehabilitation protocols.
But, over this, police authorities said when they have a list of those who surrendered, they would continue with the surveillance and pursue regular police operations for those who would continue with the drug trade and business.
Bohol adopts the World Health Organization approved protocol called Alcohol, Smoking, Substance Involvement Screening Test-Brief Intervention (ASSIST-BI), a validation tool to determine levels of substance dependence to put up the fitting intervention based on the level of substance use.
After the ASSIST-BI, “surrenderers” are classified according to risks: low, medium and high risk, Borja explained.
Only those who are identified as high risk are set for psychiatric evaluation or confinement to a rehabilitation facility as keeping them in the society could be disastrous to them and to the community, CDEC said.
Those high risk have triggers that could easily sway them back to the dependence, so that interventions have to be such that they would be kept off the triggers that could bring them back to lose control of themselves.
Borja said about 114 clients have been identified as high risk and 13 persons who use drugs (PWUDS) now doing after care after completing 6 to 8 months.
As to low and medium risks, drug offenders are referred to barangay and municipal anti-drug abuse councils which have programs specific rehabilitation programs.
CDEC has conducted Matrix Intensive Outpatient Programs (MIOP) in line with the option for community-based rehabilitation and has capacitated 47 towns and the city on psychological education and psychosocial rehabilitation, Borja shared.
In the gravity of the drug affectation considering the 39,000 “surrenderers” and the dire need for facilities to serve the number, Bohol has opted to use the Community Based Rehabilitation Program without walls (CBRP-WOW).
In the current race to declare Bohol as drug free, CDEC, which keeps track of the drug rehabilitation programs implemented by the municipal and barangays, has endorsed 573 barangays for the Regional Oversight Committee, which is the over-all authority to declare clearance from drug problems.
The rest are either being deliberated as to their compliance to the drug clearance parameters set by the Regional Oversight Committee: an inter-governmental body that looks into the degree of risk a barangay has in reference to drugs and other substances’ abuse.
CDEC also clarifies that barangays with drug offenders or “surrenderers” undergoing rehabilitation would not be cleared unless they complete the 6-8 months for the high risk, 5 months for the moderate risk and 3 months rehabilitation for the low risk. (rahc/PIA-7/Bohol)

CDEC’s Van MirriamBorja updates Kapihansa PIA on the status of Bohol’s drug rehabilitation programs under the CDEC. (rahc/{IA-7/Bohol)

DOH-7 brings Ligtas TigdasPlus to Bohol

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol, November 3 (PIA)—In a bid to put a cap to the already spilling measles and rubella threat in Central Visayas, as well as the possible resurgence of the wild polio virus in the region, the Department of Health in Region 7 (DOH-7) brings a simultaneous region-wide supplemental immunization activity (SIA) for measles with its LigtasTigdas campaign and oral polio vaccine, the plus.
Intending to get to kids 6 weeks to 59 months, LigtasTigdasPlus is the government’s response over the monitored increase of measles cases in Central Visayas, according to Ruff Vincent Valdevieso and the DOH team during a coordinative meeting with the Bohol media and the region-wide SIA held at the Bohol Tropics Resort last week.
The region-wide immunization intends to contain the spreading measles, which had broken out in Zamboanga last year and is now being monitored in Dumaguete City and in Negros Oriental, according to DOH nurse Ruff Vincent Valdevieso.
With 112 of the 305 measles cases reported by disease reporting units (DSU) across the region coming from at least 5 of the towns and cities in Negros Oriental, observers have theorized that the airborne viral disease could have spread from Zamboanga to Negros via its boat trips.
Of the region, the disease did not spare Cebu, which now has 25 cases. Lapaulapu and Mandaue cities each had nine and eight cases.
Meanwhile, Siquijor did not escape the measles scourge.
Larena and Maria, of the mystical islands had 17 and 10 measles cases respectively.
In Bohol, of the 12 cases monitored, only one case has been confirmed after laboratory tests, but the single case can easily spread the virus with the patient sneezing or coughing, or by direct physical contact of the patient.
Along this, Board member Cesar Tomas Lopez, who sits as assistant provincial health officer, believes that mobilizing the purok system could be a huge help in the simultaneous immunization activity.
“As to the governor’s instructions, we have set up a system for facilitated and more efficient service delivery with each barangay keeping an average of 7 puroks,” Dr. Lopez shared.
Each purok owns a point person for each sectoral concern and the health concern is among them.
The ultimate target is to get to the kids in the age bracket, says Dr. Cortes during the press conference which happened after the media meeting.
While the SIA seeks to get to the 6 weeks to 59 months kids, children beyond the age group can still avail of the immunization, DOH authorities said.
Another DOH campaign riding on the LigtasTigdas is also trying to get to kids who are exposed to the resurgence of wild polio virus.
The immunization by oral polio vaccine drops, alos promises to protect kids from the resurgence of the polio virus that potentially cripples and renders a person immobile for life.
In 2000, the Philippines has since kept a polio-free status, the country is still on guard against the cases of wild polio strains that could easily reverse the Philippine status as polio free.
As neonates are the most vulnerable, infants a month and two weeks can already be given.
In the campaign, the DOH intends to get to 85-95% of the age groups targeted, Dr. Cortes said. (rahc/PIA-7/Bohol)

Measles alert up in CV, DOH sets free kids’ immunization

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol, November 2 (PIA)—Still reeling from dengue which has parents worried, another risk may just be already in Bohol with a potential to wreak havoc to communities.

This is measles and rubella.

An airborne viral and highly contagious disease that gets fatal when its complications are not properly taken care of, measles is capable of infecting people exponentially.

That means a person infected with the virus can pass the disease to at least 20 persons who happen to personally touch the patient, or are within the vicinity when the carrier coughs, or sneezes, according to Department ofHealth Center for Health Development (DOH CHD).

A disease with no treatment, or until it leaves, medical practitioners can only manage the complications brought about by the disease or it becomes fatal,according to Dr. Jeanette Pauline Arellano-Cortes.

But there is only one thing communities can do to keep off from infection: immunization, she stressed.

Measles manifests itself as skin rashes, fever, cough, runny nose and inflammation of the eyes.

When it complicates and is not properly managed, measles van lead to diarrhea, dehydration, pneumonia, encepahalitis, blindness and hearing problems.

Although preventable by immunization, measles, with its complication is still the leading cause of death among preventable diseases, Dr. Cortes added.

In 2017, DOH authorities declared a measles outbreak in Zamboanga, and another outbreak was noted in Luzo, according to Ruff Vincent Valdevieso.

With proximity to Zamboanga, DOH-7 Regional Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit sounded the alarm over what they perceive as danger signs of possible entry of the virus in the Visayas.
A regular boat trip services Dumaguete and Zamboanga.

According to data from the RESU, from January this year to October 27, there has been a total of 305 cases of measles monitored in Central Visayas.

Of all the cases, 15% or 45 patients are from Dumaguete, 28 or 9.1% from Bacong Negros Oriental, 5.9 % or 17 cases from Sibulan, still in Negros Oriental and in LarenaSiquijor where 5.5% of the cases were monitored, RESU7 said.

Cebu City this year has some 25 measles cases monitored, this is 8.1% of the cases here.

The disease has also caused one death, based on reports from different disease reporting units (DRUs) of the DOH.

In 2016, the same period saw 45 cases and no deaths, that is why this year, health authorities say this year’s cases is 582% higher, Valdeviesa who is a nurse, reported.

RESU 7 also pointed out that the ages of their monitored cases ranged from 5-60 years old.

While Bohol Province has but yet 12 suspected measles cases, there is only one laboratory confirmed measles case and another rubella case, the regional center for disease monitoring shared.

But with a twice daily sea trips from Dumaguete to Tagbilaran, what are the chances that the disease could be spread in Bohol?

High, health authorities said.

To respond the alarming situation, DOH now brings a region-wide supplemental immunization Activity (SIA) in Central Visayas from October 22 to November 23.

Dr. Cortes explained that the Measles Containing Vaccines (MVC), a vaccine that has been used since 1970s would be used in the month-long activity.

Target are children from 6 weeks (one month and 2 weeks) to 59 months or four years and 11 months, according to DOH.

An immunized child is a child already freed from measles and the costs of getting sick and treatment is still way over the trouble of bringing your child to the nearest health center, Dr. Cortes reminded everyone. (rahc/PIA-7/Bohol)

MEASLES ALERT. Assistant Provincial Health Officer Dr. Cesar Tomas Lopez and Dr Jeanette Pauline Arellano Cortes explains the need to get the LigtasTigadasPluss immunization program for Bohol going. (rahc/PIA-7/Bohol)

CJS stakeholders iron out inter-office issues

Heads and representatives of the pillars of criminal justice system (CJS) in Bohol jointly manifested their intent to a better coordination among them towards speedy disposition of cases by signing in the Commitment of Stakeholders capping the day-long round-table conference October 26, at the Belian Hotel.
Organized by the Department of Justice (DOJ) Parole and Probation Office (PPO) in coordination with the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP), the round table conference intends to consult with the key pillars on how each one can efficiently manage and perform their mandates by ironing out issues and concerns leading to the goal of speedy resolution of cases, says PPO 7 Regional Director Georgette Paderanga.
Present during the conference were representatives of the community, law enforcement, the prosecution, the courts and the corrections.
Leading the concerns which the PPO brought up was the problem with court referrals.
PPA, which maintains 22 parole and probation offices in the region, has reported an upsurge in drug cases clients in the past years.
This is largely due to the Supreme Court issued plea bargaining in drug cases to enable drug offenders to avail themselves of such arrangement.
Although the plea bargaining framework is not allowed in drug cases where the imposable penalty is reclusion perpetual or death, or under Section 5 of Republic Act 9165 (Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act.) which penalizes sale, trading, administration, dispensation, delivery, distribution andtransportation of all kinds of dangerous drugs, a plea bargain to a lesser crime can be accepted.
For example, the new framework says an accused charged with violation of Section 11 of RA 9165 for possession of dangerous drugs where the quantity is less than five grams (shabu, opium, morphine, heroin and cocaine, and less than 300 grams in case of marijuana) owns a penalty of 12 years and one day to 20 years in prison and fine P300,000 to P400,000, the accused can plea bargain to a violation of Section 12 on possession of equipment, instrument, apparatus, with a penalty of six months and one day to four years in prison and a fine ranging from P10,000 to P50,000, cited PPO administrator Dr. Manuel G. Co, during his pro-round table conference message.
With the plea bargain, courts are then mandated to refer the accused eligible for probation to the PPO.
PPO Tagbilaran City Aileen Rose Dumalesaid her office gets several court referrals but these do not have complete documents.
A referral without complete documents could hamper the PPO assessment of the application for probation.
Moreover, while the courts send in referrals, these do not come with thenotation that petitioner of the probation should report to the PPO within 72 hours.
Other PPO offices also said that when there are referrals that arrive, the petitioners do not have home addresses, which makes it hard for the probation officers to conduct initial investigation if they do not know where to start.
Former City Police chief George Vale who represented law enforcement pillar admitted that in some cases when the accused apprehended for a crime is non local, the accused often uses aliases or fake addresses and the police may not be able to know if the information is false.
With this, the information forwarded to courts would sometimes contain no addresses, or false names.
For the courts, the office of the Provincial Prosecutor also admitted that the increase in cases caused delays in the submission of post investigation reports, a fact that several of their referrals to the PPO may not have with them file folders this important document.
The courts also insisted that as per mandate, the delay in the submission is also due to the delayed inter-office referrals as these have to be thorough, substantial and complete investigations and accompanying records.
On these, the pillars of the justice system agreed to work on the motion for extensions, and a fixing of the processes in the documentation processes that includes a verified address to solve the issues of the PPO initiated investigation for approval of probation applications.
The PPO also informed everyone that in several cases when the accused who have served part of their sentences are released based on recognizance.
PPO RD Paderanga said some officials who vouch for thesereleases do not even know the person they are supposed to have under their supervision.
“This is dangerous as they can be liable when the persons they accept commit new crimes or escape from their temporary custody,” the lady probation officer said.
Over all these issues, the round table capped the day with the signing of commitment to assist the PPO in the resolution of their issues and concerns affecting the effective and efficient delivery of their services to the public.
In the commitment, representatives of the pillars of criminal justice also pledge to do to the best of their abilities to perform in accordance with their mandates. (rahc/PIA/Bohol)

Traffic related incidents down 51% in 6 months

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol, October 26 (PIA)—Traffic related incidents are getting fewer and fewer through the months from a very high 10.9 incidents per day in March to 5.6 daily average in September, or a 51.37% reduction rate in the last six months.
According to consolidated police reports delivered by Bohol Provincial Police Chief at Camp Francisco Dagohoy during the recent joint Provincial Peace and Order Council (PPOC) and Anti-Drug Abuse Council (PADAC) meetings at the Conference Hall of the People’s Mansion, Police Senior Superintendent Angeles Geñorga showed that in March, Bohol’s traffic related incidents (TRI) peaked at 338 cases.
It may be recalled that Bohol police started implementing the Philippine National Police’s anti-crime Operation Plan Sita (OPLAN SITA), where Camp Dagohoy mandated all police stations to put up road checkpoints to check on the driver’s compliance to traffic rules and safe driving policies.
By April then, crime statisticians at Camp Dagohoy immediately noticed the 73 TRI less in the monthly non index crime trend.
By June, with the continued police operations and their increased presence in the streets, the 266 TRI cases in May drastically dipped to 215; some 51 TRI cases less.
In July, the police traffic operatives and the entire force stepped on the brakes for traffic accidents in Bohol as they staved off 19 more incidents in the monthly average.
TRI in July totaled 196, according to the presentation which Pssupt. Geñorga showed to the two councils in a joint meeting.
When the traffic incidents reached 190 in August, observers surmised that it could be the end of the downward slide as apparently, the decrease has tamed off.
In September however, council members saw an even better police performance in imposing discipline and order in the streets, as shown in the recorded decrease of cases.
The dipping trend in traffic related incidents also embellishes the 13% decrease in the monthly average crime volume for the island province from last month to September.
That means, from 324 crime cases in August, the cases plunged to 287 in September, according to Supt. Geñorga.
The data however did not include traffic related incidents.
Earlier, in previous meetings, some council members have asked the police to separate the index and non-index crimes especially traffic related incidents.
The request was to determine how much of the traffic related incidents are bloating the crime data and marring the true peace and order situation in Bohol.
And true enough, without TRI, the average monthly crime rate in Bohol slipped from 23.50 to 20.81.
And just as authorities now look at the stricter compliance in the helmet law and the traffic code, police data showed that there has been a decrease in motorcycle accidents from a high 198 in March to a down trending 137 in September.
With the helmet law strictly implemented since the beginning of March, Boholanos have found that from 198 cases of motorcycle accidents in the same month, 142 of those involved were injured, 45 unharmed and 11 died.
This September, of the 137 motorcycle accidents, 89 involved in the accident were injured, 43 were unharmed and deaths were now down to five. (rahc/PIA-7/Bohol)

ANGEL ON THE STEERING WHEEL. With Bohol Police Chief Angeles Geñorga, Bohol has seen not just a drastic reduction in index crimes but also in the alarming traffic related incidents that have happened mostly involving illegal drivers, unregistered vehicles and dis-order in the streets. (PIA-Bohol)