First Bohol Coastal-wide Dive Forum


The Province of Bohol through the Bohol Tourism Office conducted of Bohol’s first ever “Coastal-wide Dive Forum” on August 11, 2017 at Bohol Plaza Resort, Dayo Hill, Dauis, Bohol.

The forum was in partnership with the Bohol Provincial Tourism Council (PTC), Inc. and the Panglao Association of Dive Operators (PADO) has taken new steps in its efforts for sustainable tourism development.

LGU environment and tourism officers, representatives of Municipal and Provincial Tourism Councils, headed by Atty. Lucas M. Nunag, scientists, national agency representatives from the Department of Tourism, Department of  Environment and Natural Resources, Philippine Coast Guard, PNP Tourist Police and employees of the provincial government attended the forum.

Also present and facilitated the workshop, were private sector stakeholders many of whom are dive operators all over the province, hotel and resort owners, business groups and individuals advocates for Bohol’s sustainable environment and inclusivity of business practices.

Jo Cabarrus, Head of the Bohol Tourism Office welcomed the participants and gave the forum’s statement of purpose. Atty. Mitchell John Boiser, Acting Provincial Administrator and the Provincial Legal Officer in behalf of the Governor speaks of the forum as timely, considering that the diving industry in our province is flourishing with the influx of tourists who come to Bohol to experience one of the best dive sites in the country. Aside from Balicasag being famous as a world-class dive spot, there are other sites like Cabilao, Anda, Jagna and many more that offer the same exhilarating experience.  He emphasized that the diving industry and the community need to be conscientious in creating balance between tourism development and ecological preservation and that government needs to lay down the rules and implement them and for stakeholders and implementers to follow such enactments.

The forum aimed to instill the importance of marine resource conservation for environmental sustainability and formulate appropriate legislations thereto; raised issues and concerns besieging the diving industry. In the workshop conducted, strategies were generated for the development of a uniform marine life protection policies and standards by all MLGUs and ensure that players in the industry comply with such diving industry operations.

“Protecting the resources in the coastal vicinity of Bohol is a shared responsibility between and among LGUs, local communities, NGOs and private sector. If the marine resources are properly managed, sustainable economies will last not only in this generation but also unto the future.”, according to Neil Antoque, a Marine Biologist and Coastal Extension Officer of DENR Bohol, who gave an input on the Science of Coral Reef Ecosystem, its Relationship to the Diving Industry and The Relevant Enabling Policies, Rules and Regulations in Marine Conservation for Livelihood Development.

As best practice model in diving operation, Mr. Holger Horn, President of PADO, shared the Status/Profile of the Diving Industry in Panglao and their Efforts to Save Panglao Dive Sites for Sustainability.  On the part of government, Panglao, Coastal Resource Management Officer (CRMO), Darwin Menorias, presented the CRM Initiatives in Marine Conservation vis-à-vis Diving Industry Operations.

The following next steps were noted down:  (1) Creation of a Technical Working Group (TWG) for a future Bohol Dive Expo; (2) a unified ordinance/legislation (relative to marine conservation, diving regulations and incorporation of diving policies in the Bohol Tourism Code), (3) a Position Paper to DOT so strengthen PCSSD/to establish Regional Offices to facilitate accreditation applications and (4) the establishment of a community-based monitoring task force.

Ms. Liza Quirog, Chief of Staff of the Office of the Governor and Head of the SEEM Cluster, a dive enthusiast and a conservationist at heart, in her closing statements, remarked, that “in order to make our aspirations happen, we can only depend and raise our expectations on the things that we can control. Let us not expect or put to task people who or agencies which are not under our control. For we can only make sure that things are done because WE CAN DO it ourselves or that the agencies or personalities that are mandated to do them are under our systems; either of the Philippine government or under our community’s influence”.


The workshop closed with the signing of the Commitment- ‘to act collectively to conserve and sustainably use our seas, coasts and marine resources for sustainable development’, by all the participants.

Aris pushes for eco-zone, mitigate climate change






BETTER job opportunities for his constituents, and a cleaner, greener and fresher earth.

These are the ends-in-view Rep. Erico Aristotle Aumentado (Bohol, 2nd District) is pursuing so that he filed twin bills last week.

House Bill (HB) 5951 proposes to establish a special economic zone in Bohol. On the other hand, HB 5549 which he co-authored, aims to improve air quality and mitigate the effects of climate change.

To manage and administer the special economic zone, the bill also proposes the creation of the Northern Bohol Special Economic Zone Authority (NBSEZA) with the corresponding appropriation.

But, Aumentado said, businesses and industries that locate in the NBSEZA must only be light, and environment-friendly.

These must complement, not compete, with agriculture and tourism which are Bohol’s prime economic drivers, he emphasized.

Heavy industries, he noted, tend to be detrimental to the environment.

The bill is now being studied by the House committees on Economic Affairs and on Trade and Industry.

Meanwhile, Aumentado said, HB 5549 aims to require parents to plant one tree for every child born to them.

The bill is now being studied by the committees on Natural and Resources, on Ecology and the Special Committee on Climate Change.

Among others, the committees will finalize the mechanics of the requirement, including the types of trees recommended and the planting area for families who do not own land.

The solon said when passed, this law will be the country’s contribution to the mitigation of the effects of climate change.

He said the Philippines cannot compare to Bhutan wherein 70% of its land area is still covered with virgin forests.

This means, he explained, Bhutan is not only carbon neutral but carbon negative, meaning, the oxygen its forest cover produces is more than the carbon dioxide its population, households, machineries and industries produces.

As things are, Aumentado admits, the Philippines cannot yet hope to become another Bhutan.

But the one tree per child policy can certainly improve air quality and with it, the health of its citizens, he explained.

Panglao kids start Energy revolution

PANGLAO, Bohol, August 7 (PIA) –Clean energy revolution in small amperage light rolls off from here and it is a wolf in sheep’s cloak.

An ordinary dirty energy kerosene lantern which otherwise would have given a warm flickering incandescent glow now gets a new light source: clean Light Emitting Diode (LED) powered by solar energy.

“Thanks to Liter of Light and MyShelter Foundation who taught us how to do it,” confesses Jane Heberly Bompat, Grade VI pupil at Lourdes Elementary School (LES) in Panglao.

Assembled by LES kids, the repackaged lantern would soon be among the innovations the Liter of Light and its 34 Bohol children ambassadors would be using to spread light into the country’s communities still darkened by energy poverty.

“How could we help 20 million Filipinos without access to light? Do we give them light from patented sources which is expensive and hard to repair or do we think of innovations?” asked Liter of Light and MyShelter founder  Ilac Diaz.

Asked how his mission came about, Diaz was more willing to share.

It all started with one bottle, one carpenter, one inspiration and an empty liter bottle of soda.

Diaz said they had to come up with a solution in providing light to help communities wiped out by Haiyan, and Filipino bayanihan was a good concept to start with.

Liter of Light filled the PET bottle with water and bleach and stuck it in house roofs to produce refracted illumination indoors.

But for Haiyan victims, “buying was an option but shipping cost would eat up about 70% of our budget, we need to come up with something unique not top down imported, patented and expensive , but bottom up and local so it can be fixed,” Diaz added.

“Why import when we could just overhaul what is there?” he pointed out citing the kerosene lamps which were given to communities after the disaster.

In these areas too, kerosene lamps caused other problems: they burned children and women and houses, he noted.

“In kerosene lamps, we thought of converting it to solar powered lamps using LED,” Diaz who presided over a workshop at the Asian Cooperation Dialog (ACD) in Panglao intoned.

“We want local materials, done by local skills and fixible so the community can build and rebuild or fix it again as we go,” he excitedly narrated his soon-to-be mainstreamed clean energy.

Operating on empowering people to do more to uplift them instead of doling out, Liter of Light saw that transforming a dirty energy into sun power is most sustainable.

“The country has this south-south orientation which provides us maximum exposure to the sun,” he commented on why solar of all low cost and renewable energy sources.

The lanterns they asked children to build is 1 ampere LED mounted on a printed circuit board and getting solar energy packed in a battery inserted inside the lamp.

At the ACD, 34 children: 17 boys and 17 girls patiently showed to the representatives of the 34 country energy bloc how to build and rebuild the solar lanterns.

The ACD gathered Asian energy leaders and think-tanks to share and exchange expertise and ideas about making energy sustainable and affordable to energy deprived areas.

This is transforming a dirty energy to a clean energy solution and the government  is keen in its support because solar energy is the right energy because it preserves our resources, Diaz summed. (rahc/PIA7/Bohol)

Carabao dairy: Bohol farmers

option for additional income

TAGBILARAN CITY, August 11 (PIA)–Then thought of only as a farm animal and meat source, the Philippine water buffalo now proves is also a source of extra income in high quality milk and cheese, says experts at the Philippine Carabao Center (PCC).

A potential source of additional income for farm families who have to sideline farm work to allow a birthing carabao the respite to nurture the young, carabao milk has been proven to be a good income source, according to PCC veterinarian Dr. Gondolino Bahinting.

To highlight on the viability of carabao as milk source, the PCC at the Ubay Stock Farm (USF) says other than giving off a calf, a mother carabao can also be a good source of high protein, low cholesterol, mineral and calcium rich milk that could be suitable for mozzarella.

Compared to other milk, a 200 milliliter glass of carabao milk contains about 9 grams of heat resistant protein.

“Because it doesnt break down easilly, the body tends to get more from it,” explains a dietician when asked about heat resistant proteins.

And carabao milk contains low cholesterol and is ideal milk for persons with diabetes, dyslipidermia, hypertension, kidney diseases, polycystic ovarian disease and obesity, PCC claimed.

Known to have high fat percentage and is thicker than other kinds of milk, the heavy carabao milk has been identified as good for healthy weight gain and is excellent for cheese and ice cream making, says PCC information officer Leniefe Libres.

In Bohol schools now, carabao milk supplemental feeding program supports the province’s goals of wiping malnutrition.

Besides, carabao milk is extremely rich in calcium and is a great source of minerals like potassium, magnessium and phosphorus which is great for building bone and bofy strength, Libres added to highlight its nutritional prowess.

“Experiments showed that carabao milk has very good stretching and melting characteristics that make it ideal for mozzarella,” PCC claimed.

“The native carabao however could only produce about 6 liters in two milking sessions a day compared to 12 liters from foreign breeds, but with a calf to add to the profit, it should be just okay,” a PCC carabao loan porgram beneficiary posed in comparison.

A farmer with a milking carabao however has to wean the calf early and induce the milking to harvest enough to feed the calf and process more milk.

With the provision of carabao milk as alternative, the PCC nears in its mission to make available locally produced affordable and high quality fresh dairy products while uplifting the socioeconomic status of dairy farmers as well ad improve nutrition and lives of Boholanos.

Along this line, the PCC has been tending a carabao ranch, a milking shed and has produced 200 liters of milk a day to prove milking  can be viable for farmers.

“We do not do this for profit. We are doing this for farmers to imbibe as livelihood,” Dr. Bahinting claimed as he explained to tourists at the PCC farm tour.

From its processed milk, PCC and its supervised Bohol Dairy Cooperative makes pasteurized fresh milk, chocomilk, mango flavored milk, yoghurt, banana loaves, milk cakes, torta, pastillas de leche, vinegar-based white cheese, caramilk ice cream and its nutri packaged milk bars. (rahc/PIA7/Bohol)

Good health keeps
body off from “TB”TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol, August 12 (PIA)–Always get a good rest, eat the right food and exercise, that in itself can be a great defense against tuberculosis.

A nurse at the Provincial Health Office and the Provincial Coordinator for the National Tuberculosis Program (NTP) dished out this advice amidst the reality that there are still a good number of undetected cases of microbacterium tuberculosis (TB) in Bohol.

While the PHO noted a high curing rate for people treated with TB, the case detection rate in Bohol is still a low 62%, Rances reported at Kapihan sa PIA for Lung Month in August.

The NTP pegs a target of 90% TB case detection rate but PHO cited problems with finding these people afflicted with the contagious bacteria.

Communities are supposed to help us seek these people who may have cough for the past three weeks, have unintentionally lost weight, has fevers, chest and back pains, said PHO nurse and NTP Bohol coordinator Polizena Rances.

Once reported, these people vould undergo confirmatory tests through gathering of sputum samples and when found positive, be placed under the free Directly Observed Treatment System for TB (TB DOTS).

Unreported, these people put their family members at high risk of infection, Rances added.

TB bacteria is spread with the air as the TB positive coughs or sneezes and the air is inhaled.

Although most healthy people have antibodies that naturally fight off the infection, those with low immunity tend to contract the disease.

About 95% of healthy people with strong resistance can self-cure TB, Rances revealed.

In fact she added that the usual habit of detaining patients in a closed room exacerbates the possibility of infection.

You close the room, you contain the bacteria which can degrade when exposed to sun and thins into insignificant numbers in open air, she explained.

In addition, as soon as the patient has been placed under TB treatment regimen, the possibility of him spreading the bacteria stops.

She however cautions.

A patient ho has started medication has to religiously obey the fixed dose or he could develop a Multi Drug Resistant TB, a much tougher bacteria to beat, PHO said. (rahc/PIA7/Bohol)

DoE works for “LNG”
powerbarge to BoholTAGBILARAN CITY, August 9 (PIA)–Consistent with Bohols green development agenda, the Department of Energy (DOE) unwittingly leaked its plan to bring to Bohol a cleaner source of power in a  barge.

During a press conference at the BE Grand Hotel in Panglao, no less than DOE Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi timidly confirmed the plan after a  slip of the tongue when he exposed the plan to send in a liquified natural gas (LNG) floating power plant to Bohol.

The press conference of the First  East Asia Energy Forum which also had Japanese professor president of the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia Hidetoshi Nishimura, Shigeru Kimura of ERIA, Energy Research Institute Network Chair and associate professor Romeo Pacudan,   Sec. Alfonso G. Cusi tackled the directions East Asia and the Philippines is taking in its energy development in response to the pressing industrialization needs of the times.

While the DOE admitted its direction towards an establishment of an energy source that is  attainable in the shortest term to keep up to the countrys development pace, the Philippine direction towards clean coal became apparent.

“The Philippine direction is building up more coal fired plants, which should comprise 50% of the 80% energy supplied by conventional energy,” he said.

The rest of the 20% should be from  renewables.

The downside for renewables however is that these are dependent on the times.

When the sun is out for example, less energy is gathered or hydropower is dependent on the water supply, energy sources said.

The move for coal considers that the Philippines has coal while it is also available from Indonesia, Australia and Russia, its import price affected by economics of supply and demand, Sec. Cusi who led the host nation in the Asian Cooperation Dialog in Panglao.

As to the environmental concerns of coal, the energy bigwig was quick to the follow-through: 50% is from green-coal technology, he stressed.

“Technology has done great lengths to reduce coal carbon emissions,” the secretary said even as he assured that the government is also looking at socio economic as well as the ecological impacts of coal.

But with Malampaya in the Philippines producing natural gas, the DOE is eyeing these as source of back up power for Bohol.

This is also considering that the only time Bohol could have a redundant power supply system is when the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines completes its Cebu-Bohol interconnection by 2020.

An earthquake that shut down the geothermal plants in Leyte last July disrupted Bohols power supply blanketing the island in darkness for a few nights.

A few landbased plants later supplied 20 megawatts of the 69 megawatts the entire island needed.

Weeks later, NGCP tapped Bohol to the Cebu-Negros-Panay grid which supplied some of its power requirements.

Bohol officials who have yet to accept bids for more landbased power, has arranged for a diesel power barge to complement the supply, but none has arrived yet.

The DOE did not also say when the clean barge is coming and from where would this come from. (rahc/PIA7/Bohol)



Anytime soon, we would be reading legal questions about why Vice Governor Dionisio Balite still clings on to his seat despite a suspension order which he and a good number of former provincial government officials have been meted with.

For allowing then Governor Erico Aumentado to purchase heavy equipment by greenlighting a letter of credit to a bank, Balite, along with several officials have been given a slap on the wrist and a 3 month work suspension without benefits.

Suspended, Balite and the concerned officials had a legal recourse: file a temporary restraining order (TRO) so implementing the order can be held in abeyance enough for the Ombudsman to decide on the propriety of the move to temporarily suspend perceived erring officials.

Of course, while others just decided to wait out for the suspension, Balite, through his counsel filed for a TRO, which the courts also granted.

Filing the TRO is just a statement that Balite thinks suspension was unjustified.

Those who did not file for the temporary reprieve, might think a TRO is useless.

So, those who just sat out for the suspension order, shamefully chastised, could also be an admission that they did know they were wrong.

But Balite will have none of that. He, who felt there was nothing wrong with allowing the governor to get a letter of credit, questioned and got a temporary reprieve. From the courts, and from the people whose doubts have been expunged for Balite’s fighting for justice.

Seemingly, by some kind of reckoning, Balite’s TRO may have expired already and the Ombudsman still has to blow the whistle and make a decision. This now sparked the legal question.

This week, we already see the social media trolls identified by the local Administration question Balite’s “callousness.”

What made Balite tenaciously cling keep to the vice governor’s seat when the suspension order could already be implemented?

Had it come from Balite’s supporters, we would hail the whistle blowers.

But, when it would emanate from the same mouths who remain zipped about the blatant abuse of discretion of the governor in personally designating the Provincial Administrator and other lower ranking officials to be the governor’s alter ego, even with the vice governor obviously alive and present, would their clanging raucous be worth listening?

By delicadeza, the Vice Governor must be allowed to sit over. But he was never given the confidence.

When the Governor flew out of the country, shouldn’t delicadeza of the disente’ng officails of the best managed province deny the chance for the vice to sit in?

And in utter disregard to delicadeza, we see the Capitol paid barkdogs, or lapdogs praise and announce to all and sundry the presence of a suspended provincial official clearly present and calling the shots.

Why is a suspended provincial official be prominently present on high stakes meetings especially when it entails Capitol dealing with money?

Of course we know what draws these people into these anti-Balite frenzy: the scent of money is like blood in the water for these predators on the prowl.

This, incidentally too, is just the micro picture of a macroscopic reality which only the yellow toes as their script, followed to the dot.

And with these bashing that Balite gets, would looking away from these mentioned excesses not be yellowed hypocrisy?

Aris bullish on waste-to-energy 





REP. Erico Aristotle Aumentado of Bohol’s 2nd District is bullish on producing energy from residual waste.

He met last week with a waste-to-energy expert to discuss where and how his constituency can participate.

Aumentado said waste-to-energy calls for the segregation of waste. Biodegradable waste can be fodder for biomass energy, or at least, can be turned into organic fertilizer. But, the solon quoted the expert, residuals can be turned into energy as well.

This, the solon said, is where his constituents can be motivated to better implemented Republic Act No. 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management (ESWM) Act.

Waste-to-energy is a two-pronged approach to contribute to mitigating climate change, he explained.

On top of pushing for zero waste at the household level, turning residuals to power means less bulk for landfills, savings in tipping fees and contribution to the longer lifespans of sanitary landfills.

The solon noted that once landfills are filled to capacity, a local government unit (LGU) operating it must look for another site to contain residual waste. Bohol may be the country’s tenth largest island, but it does not have the luxury of space.

Aumentado said Bohol is basically agricultural and ecological. In order to feed the people, landfills and space-intensive solar panels must not compete for space with agricultural lands and the imperative forest cover. After all, he said, agriculture and tourism are the province’s economic drivers.

Power generated from residuals, the solon said, will also be the 2nd District’s contribution to locally-generated energy.

Aumentado pointed out that only the power industry approves of, and even requires redundancy. This is so that business will not come to a standstill when one source experiences breakdowns like what happened to the Tongonan Geothermal Power Plant in Leyte following the recent 6.5 earthquake and before that, Typhoon Yolanda in 2013.

Leyte is Bohol’s main power source. Unless the latter produces more locally-generated power, it will always endure long rotational blackouts, he explained.

The downside to this is the slowing down of business, especially tourism, due to higher overhead costs in operation. After all, in most cases, water distribution is also dependent on power.

Aumentado has broached the topic to the 2nd District mayors in one of their meetings at the Quest Hotel in Cebu City. He said the mayors have committed their support to the waste-to-energy project by more stringent implementation of RA 9003.

Rep. Aris wants “ro-ro” ramps for 3 Bohol ports


IMPROVED ports may serve best the population today but these may be insufficient in the coming years.
Rep. Erico Aristotle Aumentado (Bohol, 2nd District) made this observation after noting that development is dynamic.
Seafaring vessels are becoming bigger, bringing in and out of ports bigger batches of passengers and cargoes each time, he noted.
Aumentado said while expansion and extension of the ports of Clarin, Buenavista and Getafe towns are in place with the P60 million savings in the 2015 budget of the then Department of Transportation and Communications (DoTC), improvement must not stop there. The three ports had gotten P20 million each.
This early, he said, studies must already be made for the further development of these ports, specifically the establishment of roll on-roll off ramps and sturdy mooring facilities.
These facilities will enable bigger vessels to seek harbor or shelter should they be near these ports during storms or typhoons.
And while they are at it, the solon said the studies must include mooring facilities to accommodate power barges as well.
Aumentado is pushing for the development of local power sources. But, he pointed out, it will still be to Bohol’s advantage to be ready for power barges.
The gestation period for the more serious development of locally-generated power will be long, he admitted, hence the mooring facilities will be an advantage.
The Clarin, Getafe and Buenavista ports are also gateways to and from Bohol. The improvement expands the previously limited berthing areas that used to accommodate just one passenger banca at a time – leaving no more space for pump boats to dock.
The solon said he wanted to improve the gateways to make development come in.
He cited the case of Dubai that built alongside its international airport a hospital. Before long, he said, locators came in droves to set up businesses near the airport and the hospital because of the potentials for expansion.
As things are, he said, goods get to the people of Clarin, Getafe and Buenavista by shipments from Cebu to the ports of Ubay, Talibon or Tubigon – which are bigger – to be transferred by land.
The additional cost of the land trip increases the prices of these goods. The businessmen, however, merely pass on the increase to the consumers.
With the extended and widened ports, more goods at reasonable prices will be available in these and in neighboring towns. Fast crafts now at the Getafe port for regular daily trips from Cebu and back daily will soon also be familiar sights at the Clarin and Buenavista ports, Aumentado added.