Monday, November 23, 2015

Tapal Wharf expansion starts

Tapal Wharf, Tapal, Ubay, Bohol
By June S. Blanco

EXPANSION of the Tapal Wharf in Ubay has started.

Rep. Erico Aristotle Aumentado (Bohol, 2nd District) said the expansion is funded with P60 million inserted into the Department of Transportation and Communications (DoTC) 2015 budget and implemented by the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) – its attached agency that focuses on the financing, management and operations of ports throughout the archipelago.

Aumentado said the expansion is expected to allow cargo boats, even ships, to make their deliveries on time instead of staying at anchorage and waiting for their turns to dock and unload.

To note, each day of the cargoes’ stay on board spells a corresponding day of fees for the boat by the suppliers. The solon said the suppliers however just pass on to the consumers this added cost so that the prices of goods skyrocket.

The wharf expansion, he said, will provide Bohol with a bigger gateway of commerce. The approach to Tapal, he explained, is deeper so that it has the potential for development into one even bigger than the Ubay port.

The roll on-roll off ramp at Tapal will also be expanded and extended to accommodate bigger boats instead of only the pump boats and smaller barges that ply the Tapal-Popoo, Tapal-Leyte and Tapal-Mindanao routes. Popoo is in the island town of President Carlos P. Garcia.

The expanded wharf that is able to accommodate bigger boats opens the possibility of a direct Ubay to Manila route for passengers and cargoes, Aumentado said. 

The solon said this will complement the expected landing at the Ubay airport of commercial flights as DoTC through the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) is developing the same with a P56 million allocation from its 2016 budget.

The infrastructure revs Ubay to be an alternate route for quicker travel to the tourist attractions on the northeastern side of Bohol and make it an alternate port for commercial vessels, he added. ~~~ END

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Rep. Aris pushes for salary standard’n law

By June S. Blanco

WHEN major issues are up for deliberation in the House of Representatives, the Speaker usually calls allies for support.

Rep. Erico Aristotle “Aris” Aumentado (Bohol, 2nd District) was among those who Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. called to support the new salary standardization bill that seeks to rationalize the salary increase of government workers over the next four years.

Aumentado said it is high time that the salary of government workers is increased for them to cope with the rising cost of living.

Given the price movement of products through these years, the solon observed that the salary of ordinary government workers is no longer enough to support a family of four.

The bill also has a provision for a 14th month pay for these workers to have fallback funds to use during the school opening in May on top of the yuletide season bonus.

Aumentado vowed that he will fully support this bill when presented at the plenary for deliberation. ~~~ END

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Monday, October 26, 2015

Aris: Power for far-flung, smaller islands assured

By June S. Blanco

FAR-FLUNG islands and islets in Bohol’s 2nd District will soon get 24/7 electricity – and with it, development and progress – through the National Power Corporation’s (NPC) Small Power Utilities Group (SPUG).

Rep. Erico Aristotle Aumentado said this is on top of the assurance of National Electrification Administrator Edita Bueno of funding for submarine cables for the energization of the bigger and nearer islands in Getafe, Talibon, Bien Unido and Ubay towns.

The solon quoted Bueno as saying that site inspections have been conducted and studies are now being transferred on paper to support the release of funds for more islands after Mahanay of Getafe and Talibon towns.

With the bigger islands prepped for energization, Aumentado trained his sights on the smaller islands farther from the mainland.

These being too costly for energization via submarine cables, the solon met up with Vice President Edmundo Veloso Jr. and Engr. Rene B. Barruella, Project Management Division Manager, both of NPC’s Small Power Utility Group (SPUG).

To fast track implementation, the solon told the SPUG officers that NEA has allocated funds to procure distribution lines as its counterpart in order to deliver electricity from generator sets to be installed in the islands or islets for distribution to the households and consumers.

Aumentado said according to Veloso, NPC-SPUG has already allocated funds in the 2015 General Appropriations Act (GAA) for the generators. They have conducted the study, paperwork and site inspection for plant location. 

For the “blessings,” the solon expressed gratitude to NPC President Maria Gladys Cruz-Sta. Rita, Veloso and Barruela, as well as Bueno and her staff. 

Aumentado said the technology is like the Leyte-Bohol Interconnection Project (LBIP) Stages 1 and 2 that brought power from the Tongonan Geothermal Power Plant in Leyte that his namesake father and immediate congressional predecessor Erico Boyles Aumentado had shepherded from conception and gestation up until realization.

Once the generators are in place, and upon notification by NEA, the Bohol II Electric Cooperative, Inc. (Boheco II), will install the lines from the generator sets and distribute power to the consumers.

The project forms part of Aumentado’s total electrification project for the 2nd district’s 35 islands. The solon said he has been addressing the lack of electricity even before it surfaced as one of the problems identified by the 100-strong population of the district among the 400 respondents of the Bohol Poll 2015 ran March 26 to April 17 by the Holy Name University Center for Research and Publications.

The solon said development can set in only when power is available. Power enables fishermen to keep part of their catch to sell during full moons when fish is scarce and the demand is strong, or during stormy weather.

Without power, fishermen are constrained to sell their catch cheap, especially if abundant, rather than risk spoilage. ~ END

Monday, October 5, 2015

Ubay airport gets P56M in 2016 CAAP budget

By June S. Blanco

DEVELOPMENT next year of the Ubay Airport in Barangay Camambugan is guaranteed.

Rep. Erico Aristotle Aumentado (Bohol, 2nd District) said the “guarantee” comes in the form of a P56.5-million allocation inserted in the 2016 budget of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP).

Aumentado said CAAP Director General William Hotchkiss III showed him a copy of the authority’s finalized budget submitted to Congress.

In a separate meeting with Deputy Director General Rodante Joya, the solon said he was shown a copy of CAAP’s Annual Procurement Plan (APP) that allocated such amount for the improvement of the runway, construction of a terminal building and of a water reservoir.

Aumentado said the funding came about following the request of his namesake father and immediate congressional predecessor Rep. Erico Boyles Aumentado, and his consistent follow-ups, including filing House Bill 5889 seeking to improve the Ubay Airport and requesting funds for the purpose.

He said the House Transportation Committee chaired by Rep. Cesar Sarmiento (Catanduanes, Lone District) helped him arrange to outsource the same from the CAAP general fund.

The explanatory note said the improvement of the airport will be in preparation for the feeder of the Panglao Airport and the Mactan International Airport, flying school hub in the Central Visayas in the near future and even commercial flights.

The solon waxed sentimental when he said the project would be a another dream-come-true for his father.

The elder Aumentado had been a “dreamer” who was able to implement mega projects, among them, the Bohol Circumferential Road Improvement Project (BCRIP) Phases 1 & 2, the Leyte-Bohol Interconnection Project (LBIP) Stages 1 & 2 and the Bohol Irrigation Project Phases 1 & 2 (BHIP).

He continued to envision more infrastructure, including a flying school and even a commercial airport for smaller planes on the other end of Bohol, opposite to Tagbilaran City, on the fist-shaped island – and a bridge to link Bohol and Cebu. ~~~ END

CONSTANT. Doggedly following up projects with concerned agencies really pay. On his visit to Deputy Director General Rodante Joya (left), Rep. Erico Aristotle Aumentado was given a copy of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines’ Annual Procurement Plan showing, among others, the P56.5-million allocation for the improvement of the Ubay Airport. Aumentado recently visited the Ubay Airport in Barangay Camambugan. CONTRIBUTED

House Bill 04979

Rep. Aris Aumentado

The Magna Carta for Public School Teachers provides for the minimum educational qualifications for teacher-applicants without precluding the Department of Education to lay down any recruitment order has been issued which provided for guidelines in hiring teachers. Thus aside from the minimum qualifications that must met by teacher-applicants, more criteria have been added which in a way made it more difficult for teacher-applicants to be hired although the need is high. 

Ranking under the Department of Education Order shall apply only when there are no qualified applicants for the vacant positions in public schools and other learning centers. That is, when there are no qualified bona fide residents of the barangay, municipality, city or province where the school is located. 

Moreover, the Civil Service prescribes only minimum qualifications to qualify in a certain job position. It is on this note that any hiring of teachers should and must comply only minimum requirements of the law. Ranking therefore as requirement in hiring of teachers must be prohibited. ~~~ END

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Rep. Aris pushes funds for Ubay causeway in ’16 budget

By June S. Blanco

REP. Erico Aristotle Aumentado (Bohol, 2nd District) is pushing for the funding to complete the causeway linking Barangay Tapon in Ubay town to the public market.

Aumentado said work of CCM Construction on Phase 2 of the project costing P48 million has so far been good.

He said CCM had also worked on Phase 1 that cost P31 million implemented during the time of his father and immediate congressional predecessor Erico Boyles Aumentado.

The elder Aumentado who hails from Ubay, had witnessed the economic growth of the town. He predicted the congestion of the road around the public market and leading to the Ubay port owing to the increasing volume of market-goers and port users. 

As early as during his term as governor, he had observed that the container vans unloaded at the port were becoming bigger due to the increasing volume and variety of goods Ubay “imports” from Cebu. The latter is nearer to Ubay than Bohol’s capital, Tagbilaran City, which is on the opposite tip – on the southwest side of the fist-shaped island, some 125 kilometers away.

The businessmen’s preference to move cargoes by sea than by land and growing economy contributed to the congestion and gave birth to his father’s causeway concept, implemented by phase.

Remaining works are expected to cost less than P50 million. Aumentado said he will push for the insertion of funds for the purpose in the 2016 budget of the Department of Public Works and Highways. 

He said provided a project costs below P50 million, it will be implemented by the Engineering District office concerned.

As soon as the funds are downloaded, he said, the DPWH district engineering sub-office in Ubay can conduct the bidding for Phase 3 or the causeway’s completion stage. ~~~ END

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Pa establishes infra; son pushes livelihood

By June S. Blanco

IT PAYS to work closely with the visionary, planner and implementor.
Rep. Erico Aristotle Aumentado (Bohol, 2nd District) may be into his first term yet as congressman. But unlike some of his neophyte colleagues, he has been way ahead in learning the ropes for the job. 

He had been doing some legwork for his father, Rep. Erico Boyles Aumentado in his both his capacities as son and as chief of staff. He held the latter position until his father died on Christmas Day in 2012 – a few months before the 2013 elections.

The family and party consensus saw him as the replacement candidate. The rest, as the saying goes, is history.

Aumentado was there when his father conceptualized, shepherded through gestation and implemented his mega projects – the Bohol Circumferential Road Phases 1 and 2 that now provides safe and convenient travel in less time, the Bohol Irrigation Project Phases 1 and 2 that have saved the crops of the farmers during long dry seasons, the Leyte-Bohol Interconnection Project Stages 1 and 2 that now supplies 100 megawatts of power for the province’s demand, and parallel infrastructure.

The elder solon had always said development can only be achieved with the attendant infrastructure in place.
The younger Aumentado said these infrastructure – already laid out – have made the Boholanos’ life easier. At the same time, he admits that these are far from complete, and he is even exploring ways to add more locally generated power, more upgraded roads, irrigation, school buildings and bridges including the proposed 17-kilometer Bohol-Cebu Bridge anchoring in Getafe town in northern Bohol and Cordova in Cebu.

But in a parallel move, he has been pushing for the doubling of the 2016 budget for livelihood projects of the Technical Education and Skills Development Administration (Tesda) and the Departments of Labor and Employment (Dole) and of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

To note, he has been tapping the three agencies for livelihood funding for people’s organizations and associations in his district. This means, he has been giving out fund assistance for start-up capital for his constituents who belong to organized groups even in the absence of Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel by whatever name it is called.

The Supreme Court had declared the PDAF to be unconstitutional. Funds previously given to congressmen for their discretionary fund are now given to the different departments. 

These funds are what Aumentado has been tapping to help especially his Yolanda-hit constituents to be back on their feet again. --- END