Fisheries experts propose strong  Mariculture investment for Bohol

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol, August 24 (PIA)—Bohol may not look far when it comes to seeking a stable supply of cheap fish, it can be easily found here.

Experts at the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) think a strong support to mariculture and engaging big ticket investments along this line would make flooding fish in Bohol literally at arms’ reach.

Now scampering to stabilize what many believe as an artificial manipulation if only to dictate the local prices of fish, the Department of Agriculture (DA) has stepped in.

DA Secretary Emmanuel Piñol weeks ago, promised to treat the situation by bringing in fish from different regions through his department’s TienDA.

TienDA is DA’s version and actualization of the “farmer’s market” concept, by putting up a venue for farmers and fishers to be able to directly sell their produce, and for consumers to be able to access these products at its farm gate price.

Opened at the Bohol Agricultural Promotion Center (BAPC) last August 16 and 17, the first batch of TienDA’s Bohol Fish Market Bohol brought to Bohol a wide option of fish for the Boholano table, marine resources which were priced way below those found at local markets and travelling peddlers.

Data shared during the tow day selling event bared that the fish market allowed nearly 20 tons of cheap fish and sea products to Boholanos.

Further assuring Boholanos that the TienDA is not just temporary supply spiking to disrupt a local aberration in pricing, Sec Piñol announced: August 16-17 TienDA is just the start of similar farmer-fishers and consumers engagements.

Last August 24, the second TienDA Bohol Fish market reopened for a day at the BAPC.

But instead of the bulk of fish supply, local consumers were in for a disappointment: Zamboanga, which earlier assured to bring the huge bulk of fish supply for the one day selling event refused.
Bohol fish dealers who earlier took a huge supply from Zamboanga did not pay, resulting in the stalling of the supply flow.

Just as BFAR facilities in Calape and Regions 8 and 10, the second Bohol Fish Market managed less than 5 tons, to the dismay of DA officials and consumers here.

It was not known of local officials stepped in to patch the situation, but BFAR fisheries experts said Bohol need not look far.

“We brought in 2.1 tons of milkfish (bangus) from Region 10,” BFAR 10 Aquatechnician Jejomar Grupo said.

The supply, which BFAR 10 arranged to bring in, came from only one source: a fish cage operator in Lopez-Jaena, Misamis occidental.

The supply, Grupo, added, is only from one module of a 10 cubic meters (cu m) by 10 cum by 8 meter-deep cage in a mariculture project. The operator owns many modules.

In Bohol, Talibon resident, regional mariculture expert and now Cebu BFAR Fisheries Officer Edgar Delfin, Bohol Fishery Officer Leo Bongalos and BFAR Panggangan Calape Facility chief Dionisio Colantro altogether believe these is still something Bohol can do: take a second hard look at mariculture as a local source of fish supply.

Delfin, whose office monitors fisheries supply in Cebu admit: a fish cage in Tambo Island in Talibon with an investor from Cebu, grows fish and harvests tons and tons but for Cebu markets.

And while the Tambo fish cage is settled in possible Foreshore Lease Agreement, there are instances when local officials can make arrangements that a certain percentage of the regular harvest would be supplied to Bohol markets, hinted Colantro, whose facility in Calape breeds bangus fingerlings for distribution to government and private commercial fish growers and fishpond owners.

Delfin said building a 10 x10 x 8 cum, using bamboo floaters, nets and mooring buoys, would only cost about P150K to P160K, while a 6 feeding regimen a day for 3 months of operation would cost about P500K.

But with a stocking density of 30 fingerlings in a cubic meter, a 15,000 fingerling seeded, at least 30% mortality, a modular cage can still harvest 5 tons.

With multiple modules, an investor with 10-12 modules or a capitalization of P10 million can easily supply 10 tons of fish every month.

Delfin cited the favorable waters and sheltered bays in Bohol as ideal for fish cages and mariculture parks.

Bohol PFO Bongalos also recalled that the BFAR used to put up about five mariculture parks in Bohol, but now, only two have remained, and these are not even sustainable as these are just single modules enough to transfer the technology to local fishers who could be support workers for investments in the area.
BFAR said these facilities were placed in Maribojoc, Mabini, Candijay, Talibon and Calape.

“We had 5 mariculture parks, but it is sad to say that we have not engaged enough large scale private investors. What we had are small scale investors who could hardly recoup operational expenses,” Delfin lamented, further explaining the economies of scale.

And from these, only in Talibon did an investor, who keeps over 54 modules with alternating fish stocking pattern that a weekly harvest of over 10 tons happen, the bulk of the fish getting to Cebu.

At 29.8% fish sufficiency in Bohol citing Philippine Statistics Authority survey in 2017, an influx of locally supplied fish from mariculture parks, a weekly bulk supply can easily plus stricter marker regulations can dent upon the issue, experts propose.

In Candijay for example, the main bulk of the fishery harvest is dedicated to local markets and only the excess is shipped out, Bohol PFO Bongalos shared.

In fact, there is nothing more Bohol can ask, we have hatcheries that provide over 1.3 million fingerlings in Panggangan, multi-species hatcheries in Sinandigan Ubay, Clarin brackish water nursery and Bentig facility in Calape, BFAR authorities said.

Over this Colantro, who has 38 years of fisheries expertise under his belt proposed more investments in good storage facilities to keep supplies stable even in times of pinch.

He picked emergency harvest situations in fish cages especially amidst threat of impending typhoons, this time, in an oversupply of fish, prices go sagging down, but with storage facilities, everything can be kept to stabilize local prices.

While Bohol boasts of being among the most investor friendly province, questions as to why there are no takers for large scale marine investments, unlike less investor friendly provinces, kept bugging people.

As to its answer, local officials must work harder as the daily influx of tourists all the more put a strain on the local fish consumption, fisheries experts pointed out. (rahc/PIA-7/Bohol)


National Heroes Day was not on Monday



TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol, August 25 (PIA)—If you have this luxury of whiling your time in an extended weekend August 27, basking in the holiday sun, frolicking in some unmapped beach of simply in a hammock under the palm-fringed beach, thank a Boholano, who pounded a grand event which would make the first National Heroes Day distinct from a similar holiday in November.

But did you know that this holiday used to be commemorated on a Sunday?

The first celebration of the National Heroes Day had then Secretary of Education Cecilio Putong, a Boholano, taking charge to make the celebration grand, after breaking off from a seemingly similar celebration on November 30.

November 30 then was in the memory of Andres Bonifacio and those who knew how to sacrifice the interests of self and the rich pleasures of living for the sake of the dignity and welfare of the greatest number.”

This then makes it a duplicate with the holiday on the last Sunday of August.

It was accordingly in the American Colonial Period that the celebration of the National Heroes day began, a celebration pegged every last Sunday of August.

By Act 3827, the Philippine Legislature first enacted the holiday into law declaring the last Sunday of August of every year as a national holiday, in honor of unnamed heroes who have braved death, persecution for home, nation, justice and freedom.

The Act however appears to be a duplicate of the holiday in November 30 by virtue of Act 2946 which celebrates Bonifacio Day and of Filipino heroes. This was in 1943.

In fact, to make matters even more confusing, then President Jose P. Laurel signed Executive Order No. 20, which set the National Heroes Day on November 30, placing celebrations in Mount Samat in Bataan, which commemorates the bravery of the Filipinos and the Americans who fought it out with the Japanese Imperial forces in Corregidor and Bataan.

A decade later, President Elpidio Quirino reverted the holiday to the last Sunday of August, and appointed Boholano Education Secretary Cecilio Putong to head the committee to take charge of the National Heroes Da, which at that time fell on August 31, 1952.

And just as the country got used to the holiday falling on the last Sunday of August, President Corazon Aquino’s Executive Order 292 adopted the Administrative Code which lists the national holidays and special days but presented a manner of modifying these by law, order or proclamation.

On July 24, 2007, using the provision to modify the holidays, by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s holiday economics to reduce work disruptions by moving holidays to the nearest Monday or Friday of the week, allowing for longer weekends and boosting domestic leisure and tourism, Republic Act 9242 amended the Administrative Code and placed the National Heroes Day on the last Monday of August.

The holiday has since then stuck to the last Monday of August.

2019 holidays

Meanwhile, President Rodrigo Duterte has signed Proclamation 555, dated August 15, 2018 which declared the regular and special (non-working) days for 2019.

Regular holidays for 2019 are January 1 (Tuesday) as New year’s Day, April 9 (Tuesday) Araw ng Kagitingan, April 18 (Thurday) Maundy Thursday, April 19 (Friday) Good Friday, May 1 (Wednesday) Labor Day, June 12 (Wednesday) Independence Day, August 26 (Monday) National Heroes Day, November 30 (Saturday) Bonifacio Day, December 25 (Wednesday) Christmas Day and December 30 (Monday) Rizal Day.

Special (Non-Working) Days in 2019 are February 5 (Tuesday) Chinese New Year, February 25 (Monday) EDSA Peoples Power Revolution Anniversary, April 20 (Saturday) Black Saturday, August 21 (Wednesday) Ninoy Aquino Day, November 1 (Friday) All Saints Day, December 8 (Sunday) Feast of the Immaculate Concepcion, December 31 (Tuesday) Last Day of the year, and additional non-working days: November 2 (Saturday) and December 24 (Tuesday).

Also to be declared national holidays are Eid’l Fit’r and Eid’l Adha, which dates can only be determined in accordance with the Islamic calendar and with the recommendation of the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos to the Office of the President. (rahc/PIA-7/Bohol)


The Committee on Tariff and Related Matters (CTRM), Chaired by Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez, together with Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary Emmanuel Piñol and other member-agencies, proposed supply-side interventions to minimize the impact of inflation and lower the prices of agricultural commodities.

Based on the report of Tariff Commission, modifying the tariff rates will not have a significant impact on the prices of agricultural products because many of these have relatively lower tariff base already, or would have landed costs lower than local prices. After consulting with various stakeholders as well as the current status of tariff rates, there’ll be minimum movement if we bring the tariff to 5 percent. So, this would not be the solution. Instead, we focus on supply-oriented actions and volume enhancements that would have immediate impact,” said Sec. Lopez.

During the CTRM meeting on 15 August, potential solutions to reduce inflation as well as the results of the public hearing on the proposed tariff modification on meat, edible offal, fish, edible vegetables, feed wheat, and corn were discussed.

It was concluded that the reduction on most favored nation (MFN) rates will not significantly reduce prices as the agricultural products are already being sourced from Free Trade Agreement (FTA) partners under lower preferential rates.

We need to focus our efforts in finding realistic and practical solutions to lower the prices while balancing the interests of both consumers and producers,” Sec. Lopez added.

Meanwhile, the DA had issued a Certificate of Necessity allowing a maximum 17,000 MT of galunggong to be imported by accredited fish importers. The articles will only be unloaded in Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR)-accredited cold storage facilities and will be sold in Navotas Fishport.

We’re also amending the Fisheries Administrative Order No. 195 to allow the sale of imported fish in wet markets,” said Sec. Piñol.

DA also requested the Bureau of Customs to temporarily suspend of the imposition of Special Safeguard Measures on chicken meat imports.

In the case of pork supply, it was reported that MAV certificate holders utilize 50% only of their allocations. Sec. Piñol directed MAV certificate holders to utilize their allocations, otherwise, these can be cancelled and rebidded to others.

DTI and DA will also be conducting regular inspection of commodity importers’ warehouses to establish level of inventory. Likewise, arrival and distribution of NFA rice imports will also be monitored.

The CTRM meeting was attended by the departments of Finance (DOF), Budget and Management (DBM), Foreign Affairs (DFA), Labor and Employment (DOLE), Agrarian Reform (DAR), and Transportation (DOTr). Representatives of the Office of the Executive Secretary, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), Tariff Commission, Board of Investments (BOI), and National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) were also present.

Central Visayas LGUs among those hailed at the 6th Regional Competitiveness Summit


The National Competitiveness Council recognizes the most competitive local government units in the Philippines during the 6th edition of the Regional Competitiveness Summit held on August 16 this year at the Philippine International Convention Center, highlighting the results of the Cities and Municipalities Competitiveness Index (CMCI).

Quezon City retained the top spot as most competitive highly-urbanized, a distinction it has held for three consecutive years now. Manila likewise remained on the second spot, while Pasay City obtained the third place.

Completing the top 10 for the most competitive highly-urbanized cities in the country are Cagayan de Oro at fifth place, Makati at sixth, Pasig at seventh, Bacolod at eighth, Cebu at ninth, and Muntinlupa at tenth.

Meanwhile, CMCI 2018 named Rizal as the most competitive province in the country; Legazpi, Albay as most competitive component city; and Cainta as the most competitive municipality

It is worth noting that Bohol managed to capture the 12th spot in survey list of top most competitive provinces in the country this year.

The CMCI measures the competitiveness of a local government in terms of four pillars: economic dynamism, or the activities that create stable expansion of business and industries and higher job creation; government efficiency, or the quality and reliability of government services and support for effective and sustainable productive expansion; infrastructure, or the physical building blocks of a locality that enable the provision of goods and services; and resiliency, or the capacity of a locality to facilitate industries and raise productivity despite the shocks and stresses it encounters.

These pillars are aligned with the competitiveness indicators used by IMD Competitive Survey, International Finance Corporation (IFC) Doing Business Survey, and the World Economic Forum (WEF) Global Competitiveness Index.

The 2018 Central Visayas top performers, based on the four competitiveness pillars, are as follows:

  1. Most Competitive Province in Central Visayas
    Bohol  (at 12th place out of 75 qualified provinces in the Philippines)
  2. Most Improved LGUs
    a. Most Improved Highly Urbanized Cities – Cebu City (8thplace)and Mandaue City (2ndplace)
    b. Most Improved Component Cities –  Talisay City, Cebu (3rd place), Naga City,Cebu (5th place), Dumaguete City (7th place), Tagbilaran City,Bohol( 17th place)
    c. Most Improved  3rd & 6th Class Municipalities – Carmen, Cebu (7th place), Bindoy, Negros Oriental (9th place), Pilar, Cebu (18th place)
  3. Economic Dynamism
    a. Top Performing Highly Urbanized Cities – Cebu City(6th place)and Mandaue City(7th place)
    b. Top Performing Component City – Tagbilaran City, Bohol (9th place)
    c. Top Performing 1st and 2nd Class Municipalities –   Talibon (7th place) and Loon, Bohol (9th place)
    d.  Top Performing 3rd to 6th Class Municipalities – Jagna,Bohol(2nd place), Antequera,Bohol(3rd place), Corella,Bohol(7th place), San Remigio,Cebu(17th place), Carmen.Cebu (18th place).
  4. Government Efficiency
    a. Top Performing Highly Urbanized City – Mandaue City,Cebu(20th place)
    b. Top Performing Component Cities –  Dumaguete City,Negros Oriental (2nd place), Tagbilaran City, Bohol(6th place)
    c. Top Performing 3rd to 6th Class Municipalities – Valencia, Bohol (11th place), Trinidad, Bohol (18th place)
  5. Infrastructure
    a. Top Performing Highly Urbanized Cities – Cebu City(8th place), Lapu-lapu City,Cebu(20th place)
    b. Top Performing Component City – Tagbilaran City,Bohol (9th place)
    c. Top Performing  3rd to 6th Municipalities – Tabogon,Cebu (5th place), Albuquerqque, Bohol (13th place), San Remigio,Cebu(14th place)
  6. Resilience
    a. Top Performing Highly Urbanized City – Cebu City(5th place)
    b. Top Performing 1stand 2nd Class Municipalities – Mabinay, Negros Oriental(12th place), Tuburan, Cebu (14th place)
    c. Top Performing 3rd to 6th Class Municipalities – Sierra Bulones,Bohol (2nd place), Batuan,Bohol(8th place), Badian,Cebu(13th place)

    6. Overall Competitive Cities and Municipalities
    a. Overall Competitive Highly Urbanized Cities – Cebu City (9th place), Mandaue City ,Cebu (13th place)
    b. Overall Competitive Component City – Tagbilaran City,Bohol (8th place)
    c. Overall Competitive 3rd to 6th Class Municipalities – Jagna,Bohol (4th place), San Remigio,Cebu(8th place), Corella,Bohol(11th place), Antequera,Bohol(12 place), Sierra Bullones,Bohol(16th place)

    The Cities and Municipalities Competitiveness Index is an annual ranking of Philippine cities and municipalities developed by the National Competitiveness Council through the Regional Competitiveness Committees (RCCs) with the assistance of the United States Agency for International Development. #

Cusi Orders Importation of Low-Cost Oil to Help Arrest Inflation


Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi takes steps to address slowing growth and high commodity prices by tapping the Philippine National Oil Company-Exploration Corporation (PNOC-EC) to import low-priced fuel.


PNOC-EC acquired in December last year, a trading function to generate added income for the government.


“PNOC-EC will source low-priced petroleum products particularly diesel, to mitigate the impact of volatile oil prices,” Sec. Cusi said.


The measure is expected to have a ripple effect on taming the prices of basic commodities, thus controlling inflation. The resulting price relief would ease the plight of consumers.


Under the project, the trading function of PNOC-EC will be employed in the acquisition of low-priced fuel which will mainly come from state deals.


The PNOC-EC Board chaired by the Energy Chief is drafting the trading procedure and policy safeguards for the public on the proposed importation.


The products bought at a special price will be made available to dealers, operators and independent petroleum players under a Memorandum of Agreement.




The Department of Energy (DOE) also issued a Memorandum Order requiring oil companies to provide Euro-II compliant automotive diesel oil to help reduce fuel prices.


“Pursuant to existing Philippine National Standards on Diesel Fuel Quality and in accordance with the provisions of Republic Act 8479, otherwise known as the Downstream Oil Deregulation Law, Republic Act 8749, otherwise known as the Philippine Clean Air Act and for the purpose of reducing the impact of rising petroleum prices in the world market, all industry players are hereby directed to provide at the retail level Euro-II compliant automative diesel oil as a fuel option for the transport and industrial customers,” the Memorandum Order stated.


It also directed oil companies offering Euro-II compliant diesel to submit a monthly compliance report, indicating the list of participating retail outlets.


According to Sec. Cusi, the sale of said diesel will be subjected to close monitoring by the DOE.

DTI launches nursing education fair in Indonesia

PH EDUCATION SERVICES IN INDONESIA. Participants during the two-day education fair in Medan, Indonesia last 30-31 July 2018

The Department of Trade and Industry through its Philippine Trade and Investment Center in Jakarta (PTIC-Jakarta) and the Embassy of the Philippines together with the top Philippine universities and accredited institutions in the field of nursing successfully co-organized the Nursing Education Fair last 30-31 July 2018 in Medan, Indonesia.

Participated in by more than three hundred Indonesian students, faculty, and school administrators from Medan and North Sumatra, the event provided an opportunity for Philippine nursing schools to assess the Indonesian space for expansion as well as forge academic partnerships, student exchange, and capacity building for faculties.

PTIC Jakarta shared that part of its strategic initiatives in Indonesia is the promotion of Philippine education services through school visits and roadshows.

Top Philippine nursing schools joined the fair include University of Sto. Tomas (UST), Centro Escolar University (CEU), Far Eastern University (FEU), San Pedro College – Davao (SPC), University of Perpetual Help Dalta (UPHD), and Saint Louis University (SLU).

During the two-day event, some of the participating schools like UST and CEU have established partnerships with Indonesian universities. Matching sessions among Philippine nursing universities, Indonesian schools, and associations were also conducted at Sari Mutiara University for prospective students and possible memorandum of understanding (MOU).

“The fair aims to further the cooperation between the Indonesian and Philippine nursing educational institutions. By promoting the educational services sector, we hope to provide more opportunities in the country that will eventually lead to job generation,” said PTIC Jakarta Commercial Attaché Jeremiah Reyes.

PTIC-Jakarta Commercial Attache Jeremiah Reyes with some of the participants during the nursing education fair.