PHL to have ‘eye in sky’ soon

By JUNE S. BLANCO

THE bill seeking to create the Philippine Space Agency (PhilSA) now awaits the signature of President Rodrigo Duterte.

Rep. Erico Aristotle Aumentado of Bohol’s 2nd District, chair of the House Committee on Science and Technology, and author of the bill, said the bill is one step towards realization after the Senate passed its own version.

Aumentado said it is high time that the country fully harnesses available resources and advances made in science to provide precision the guide for man that technology can offer.

The solon refers a satellite that the country may launch to provide hairline accuracy for peace and order enforcement, national security, climate change monitoring and hazard management, weather forecasting and communications.

The Philippines, even if located in the Pacific Ring of Fire, remains to be an agricultural country. This means, Aumentado said, the data that such satellite can beam will go a long way towards preparedness for any eventuality in cases of calamities.

At the same time, he said, it can assist in surveillance and even actual operations during events of crime or threats to security.

The Science Education Institute und the Department of Science and Technology is handling the Philippines Space Science Education Program. When the proposed Philippine Spaces Act will be signed by President Duterte, this program will be given focus by the PhilSA.

Bohol bikers celebrate cycling bond in Unity Ride May 25-26

It is the merry month of May again.

And while the fiestas all over Bohol allow the people to shovel into themselves huge cholesterol overloads, local bikers look up to the annual two-day ride that brings them to pedal around the island’s belting road, bond, have good clean fun and detox.

The annual Unity Ride, also known as Bohol 360 this May 25-26 this year is sponsored by TriBohol, the local elite triathlon group, who since the start, wanted to nurture amateur bikers and pedal with them through the 264 kilometer course.

The Unity Ride is a long ride and surviving it is enough of a feat. As to surviving the pain, a perfect fit with the bike helps a lot.

So what is perfect fit? It is your fit and the bike’s adjustments to attain your stance as against the bike geometry.

Considering your height, that means your stand-over-clearance (standing between the frame leaves your groin at least an inch from the frame) and your reach (which is often measured by the tip of your elbows touching the front of the saddle, knuckles reaching the tip of the steering tube). By attaining a good if not a perfect bike fit, it allows one the most comfortable painless ride especially over long distances.

Also, put in the right seat-post height, saddle position, stem length, stem length and right handle bars for long rides.

Having done that, now, gear up.

The month of May happens to be one of the hottest months. A good rash guard or those fitting arm sleeves would be helpful.

Or maybe a generous slap of sunblock on exposed skin. Sun shades.

And bike gloves if you have it. Wearing leggings, cleat shoes and a hydro bottle.

The Unity Ride is a no-helmet, no-ride event, so gear up and more: ready a spare tube and air pump.

Next up, your rig.

Do some bike spot-conditioning. Re-grease, check for chain slack, dampen the creaks, check on the tire pressure.

With over a hundred bikers all together pedaling off from the Rizal Park in Tagbilaran Saturday morning, for newbies and riders who have not gone as far through the highways, learning simple and yet basic group ride etiquette might be of help for a safe, fun and gratifying ride.

We compiled some basic things a biker must do to be in an orderly group ride. Here are some of them.

1. Drafting. Staying very close to the biker ahead of you, riding directly behind on his stream lined airflow reduces your drag, watch out however from half-wheeling. That is, instead of maintaining a healthy and safe distance from the lead, you come so close that your front tire hits the leader’s rear, which could be causing dangerous pile-up crashes.

2. Signals. In group rides, if you are a beginner, it is always advisable to stay at the back of the pack and observe. Even then, chances are, some bikers are on your tail, that allowing them to know what is ahead is more of a safety than courtesy. Extend your right hand when turning left. Extend your right hand when turning right. Raise your left hand, palms flat to signal a stop. Pump your palms below the waits to signal to slow down. Point to a hazard on the road like potholes or stones. Wave your hands on your back to direct the tail to evade an obstacle (follow me). Do not ride more than two abreast, so you can share the road with other drivers. And, maintain constant speed.

3. Do not spit. At the urge of spitting, use the proper hand signal of breaking off to the left or right, check for other bikers behind and spit away from the group riders. Be careful when reentering the group.

4. Be predictable. Grabbing on the brakes unexpectedly, standing up out of the saddle when it isn’t necessary and decreasing speed without alerting others can all lead to a crash when riding in a group.

5. Announce when you are overtaking. In highway group rides, there might be times when you might have to advance to cover a gap in the riding column, use hand signal when breaking off and inform the biker ahead by saying: Biker on the Left, or Biker on the right. Communication is the key here.

6. Leave your aerobars at home. Pack riding is often keeping close distances between bikers so each can ride on the air flow of the leader to reduce drag. Using an aerobar or time trial rigs and putting yourself in that position keeps your hands far from the brakes, lessening your control of the bike immensely.

7. Help other bikers hurdle a climb or navigate a curb. In group rides, the consistent speed often exhilarates newbies that push them to pedal harder and show off. Coaching them on maintaining cadence, using the right gear ratio most often allows them to keep pace and tire less.

8. Give each one responsibility. Long rides can be sustained when everyone helps each other. Take turns in leading the pack, assigning a rider to take the lead for, say three minutes, after which he moves to the left so the one behind him can assume the lead and the last rider on the left can fill in the space vacated by the advancing riders. Rotate and you will find out you can ride faster and wouldn’t even realize you’ve gone that far in so short a time.

9. Wait for others on climbs. Keeping a group together on a climb can be tough. Because of this, avoid racing up long climbs unless it’s been agreed upon that the group plans to regroup at the top. Let the middle of the pack dictate the pace, and everyone adjusting to the pace, so that the slower climbers can be motivated. Help those who have mechanical trouble. For safety reasons, no single rider should be left on the road alone.

10. Maintain good attitude. Sharing with others your love for cycling is part of what makes group rides so much fun. Group rides are a great time to learn from others, make friends and enjoy the camaraderie that can only be shared with other cyclists. (rahc/PIA-7/Bohol)

Assured of win, Aris still “friends” with opponent

By JUNE S. BLANCO

WHEN the Bohol Poll prediction of a landslide his win in the congressional race in the 2nd District comes true, Rep. Erico Aristotle Aumentado said he will still remain friends with sitting Board Member Agapito Avenido.

“I will offer my hand of friendship, a hand of reconciliation, to Aga,” Aumentado said, calling the latter “his worthy opponent”.

This after the solon got 83% while Avenido managed only 16% in the penultimate election round of the Bohol Polls conducted April 20 to May 7, 2019 by the Holy Name University’s (HNU) Center for Research and Publications (CRP).

Director Ma. Paz Espiritu of the CRP ensured that her team inserted questions on the voters’ preference for congressman of the 2nd District and vice governor in this round before tomorrow’s elections after they somehow “inadvertently” left these out in an earlier round conducted in February to March, the results of which were presented last March 15.

As the CRP boasts of a “scientific method” that the Social Weather Station (SWS) had trained them to do, Aumentado thanked the people of the 2nd District who participated in the polls for their trust and confidence in him, in what he has done for them, and will still do in his coming third term.

Arup presents pre-FS on Bohol-Leyte Link Bridge

By JUNE S. BLANCO

DESIGN giant Arup, with 34 offices worldwide including in Manila, presented April 2 to the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Bohol 2nd District Engineering Office (DEO) in Ubay town its pre-feasibility study (FS) for the Bohol-Leyte Link Bridge (BLLB).

Rep. Erico Aristotle Aumentado who attended the presentation said once constructed, the “ambitious” bridge from Ubay via President Carlos P. Garcia to Maasin City in Southern Leyte will connect Bohol to the rest of the country by land.

Aumentado said the Asian Development Bank (ADB) funded the pre-FS, and a full-blown study will follow.

“The bridge is part of the dream of my father, [former] Gov. Erico Boyles Aumentado, to put Bohol among the fast developing provinces in the country today”, the solon said. The father is his immediate predecessor in the House of Representatives.

After the funding for pre-FS for the BLLB, Aumentado said up next will be the funding for the FS for Bohol-Cebu Friendship Bridge. He expressed gratitude to President Rodrigo Duterte for pushing these major projects for this province.

The BLLB is part of the Infrastructure Preparation and Innovation Facility (IPIF) for roads and bridges of DPWH.

On the other hand, Arup’s website states that the company has been working in the Philippines since 1986 – and established a permanent office in Manila in 1990. It provides total design services to meet the increasing demand for high quality, international standard projects for the country’s growing economy.

Among the prominent buildings it has designed are the Grand Hyatt Metrocenter, the tallest and biggest mixed-use development in the Philippines, and the St Francis Shangri-la Place, the world’s first building to adopt a damped-outrigger system – Arup’s patented viscous damping system.

Aumentado said the BLLB is planned to accommodate power cables as enticement to Bohol locators for the power generation industry.

Bohol should think of the next 10 to 25 years. The current “imported” power from Leyte will not be enough by then, hence two-way cables must be in place to bring power in and also out because Bohol may not use up all the additional generation right away. This way, the generation industry players here have the option to sell their “overproduction” to the national grid.

A stable power supply in place will also be attractive to Bohol locators who are in businesses other that power generation, Aumentado concluded.

Aris alarmed over ‘unstable’ power

By JUNE S. BLANCO

REP. Erico Aristotle Aumentado has expressed alarm over the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines’ (NGCP) pronouncement, through Cebu and Bohol Information Officer Betty Martinez, that Bohol’s power supply is now “critical”.

Aumentdo said he is also saddened with the development, because as early as the last term as governor of his namesake father and immediate congressional predecessor Erico Boyles Aumentado, the lack of power to meet the province’s need with the looming implementation and completion of the Panglao Bohol International Airport was already recognized.

The solon had expected that the Provincial Government would have already foreseen this considering that it had continuously invited investors to locate in Bohol.

As the investors streamed in, he said, the need for additional power, and faster internet, should have been anticipated already so that these will not reach such critical point.

Investors continue to stream in, but their respective operations might be hampered due to the lack of sustainable power, or the additional cost of maintaining power generators.

“To think that the airport in Panglao is not yet operating its navigational equipment for nighttime operations, the critical power situation simply means that Bohol is not yet ready for the big time,” he said.

Basic infrastructure like power and communications should be in place to make investors seriously consider locating in Bohol.

The slow internet has made business process outsourcing (BPO) for call centers similarly slow. The BPOs could have been tapped for more employment.

Additionally, he said, President Pinoy should have fast-tracked the matching of power production with the projection, especially with the implementation and impending operationalization of the airport in Panglao.

And, with the creation of the Bohol Energy Development Advisory Group (BEDAG), the Provincial Government should already have embarked into the harnessing of renewable energy like wind, tide or wave, and biomass.

The province is now too dependent on coal energy. This should not be the case, as Bohol is an eco-cultural province, as first pronounced during the incumbency of then Gov. Rene Relampagos and then Vice Gov. Edgardo Chatto.

Power was still comfortably available then, but a shortage now threatens.

Aumentado is now pushing for the development of the Cantakoy Falls in Danao town as additional power source.

Aris pushes energ’n of 2nd District islands

By JUNE S. BLANCO

JANUARY 7, 2017 will forever be etched in the minds of the over 700 households in the three-barangay island of Mahanay off Getafe and Talibon towns.

This was when Rep. Erico Aristotle Aumentado (Bohol, 2nd District) powered on the ceremonial switch for the P30-million energization project for the island. Engr. Eugene Tan, manager of the Bohol II Electric Cooperative Inc. (Boheco II) assisted him.

Not resting on his laurels, Aumentado recently sought updates from former Camarines Sur congressman and now Energy Undersecretary for Power, Renewable Energy, and Media Affairs Felix William “Wimpy” Fuentebella.

An island will remain under-developed without the necessary basic infrastructure support.

To note, in his switch-on message, Aumentado waxed sentimental as he declared the fulfillment of the promise his namesake father and immediate congressional predecessor, former Gov. Erico Boyles Aumentado, had made to the islanders.

Patterned after the Leyte-Bohol Interconnection project, Mahanay taps power from mainland Bohol through submarine cables.

The National Electrification Administration (NEA) through then Administrator Edita Bueno downloaded the amount to Boheco II that undertook the bidding process for the cable and installed it, along with the electric poles, power main and lateral lines. Boheco II manages the power distribution to the households as well.

The elder Aumentado had broached the energization plan for the 2nd District’s 35 islands and islets to Bueno. With the technology already available, it did not take him long to convince her. However, death overtook him on Christmas Day of 2012.

Aumentado, the son, picked up the pieces where his father left off. In 2015, during his own first term as congressman, he brought to Mahanay the members of the board of Boheco II to answer questions on the technical side from the islanders.

“I promised them that I will give my best to bring in more hope in life by giving the light that will improve the standard of living of my constituents in the island,” he said.

Now that the Mahanay islanders have finally experienced the “normal life” enjoyed and even taken for granted by mainland residents – lights at night, ice cold water and beverages, television, electric fan, and above all, refrigerators and ice to keep their fish catch fresh, he wants the other islands and islets to follow.

NEA has inventoried the still powerless islands. Those not yet up for submarine-overhead cables mix or solar power like Pandanon island will be enrolled in the Small Power Utilities Group (SPUG) that will provide a generator that will run for limited periods, like four to six hours only, each night.

Islanders without electricity have to sell their catch cheap. With no cold storage, refrigerators or at least ice, their fish are vulnerable to spoilage. Cooking them all in one batch is impractical. The only other option is salting and/or drying them – which cannot be done in rainy, even stormy weather.

With cold storage, however, the islanders can freeze their catch, and release when they cannot go out to sea due to bad weather. This way, they can also assist in normalizing fish market prices.