Saturday, July 19, 2014

Aris gives option to illegal fishing

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By: JUNE S. BLANCO


ILLEGAL fishing is always tempting.

For a fisherman who has had rough times with a growing family and debts, blast and fine meshed nets fishing can be the solution that even sparks hope for a brighter future.

It smells smack of a Cinderella story – another rags-to-riches episode that sadly, however, is not sustainable. It is short-lived and immediately snuffs out that spark of hope even before it ignites.

Rep. Erico Aristotle Aumentado of Bohol’s 2nd District decided to make the difference for the fishermen among his constituents.

“Unless one is born with the proverbial golden spoon in the mouth, today’s high cost of living can be intimidating,” Aumentado said.

To wean the fishermen from thoughts of – and getting a crack at – the high risk path to “getting rich quick” by engaging in illegal fishing, the solon tapped the resources of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) for project proposal preparation trainings and funding for alternative livelihood for them.

These past two weeks, he has been island-hopping in Bien Unido town to provide funds to the fishermen and women’s groups according to the projects they proposed.

Implementing fishery laws is the province of the executive department but providing funding and technical assistance can very well be done by the legislative department, he explained.

The projects range from pumpboats and fishing nets to replace those washed away by supertyphoon Yolanda, seaweeds or guso planting, planting materials and fertilizers for the farmers in the islands and even livestock or goat and native chicken dispersal with incubator for the eggs so that the chickens can lay eggs continuously for the women’s groups.

This way, the solon said, the fishermen can continue fishing using legal methods, augment their income with the seaweeds and the goat and chickens plus eggs for sale and consumption.

He said he will also replicate best practices of these beneficiaries to counterparts in the islands of other towns as well as the mainland within the district. --- END

Links:

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Aussie investor bullish to build Bohol-Cebu bridge, power plant

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By JUNE S. BLANCO


AN AUSTRALIAN investor is bullish to build the Bohol-Cebu Friendship Bridge and a renewable energy power plant. Rep. Erico Aristotle Aumentado (Bohol, 2ndDistrict) met with the investor who said he just needs the green light to fund the construction of the bridge until completion under the public-private partnership program. To recoup his investment, the investor said he will charge toll fees as a fund recovery mechanism provided in the Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) Law. The investor, the solon said, is ready to fund the feasibility study and detailed engineering design to prepare the groundwork for the construction. The bridge, estimated to be 22 kilometers long and costing between P30 billion to P35 billion, will make Bohol accessible to the Cebu market not only in terms of goods and services but also in terms of tourist influx. Aumentado is equally bullish for this project, this being the brainchild of his father and namesake, the late Rep. Erico Boyles Aumentado. The son recalls the excitement of his father every time he discussed the project with prospective investors. The father was a visionary – always thinking ahead of his time. He caused the concreting of the Bohol Circumferential Road, allowing easy transport of goods from the towns to the Tagbilaran market, hastening the economic development of the towns. Even the proposed Panglao Airport, conceived during the time of former Gov. Constancio Torralba and pursued by his successors in former governors David Tirol and Rene Relampagos, made big strides during Aumentado's incumbency as governor. The Bohol-Cebu Friendship Bridge opening up opportunities for farmers, the unemployed and for tourism is classic “Erico Aumentado mind”at work.


The Australian investor promised the young congressman that his company will mobilize resources to bankroll this project that will leapfrog Bohol's development in the light of the ASEAN economic integration. Rep. Aris says he wants to strengthen the agriculture development of the 2nd District to capitalize on the integration. On top of the bridge, Aumentado said the investor is exploring the possibility of putting up a 15-megawatt (MW) renewable power plant to support the investment initiatives of the province. To recall, as early as 2007, then Gov. Aumentado had predicted that by 2015 to 2018, Bohol will suffer from severe power shortage, especially with the construction of the Panglao Airport that is expected to need between 20-25 MW. He had invited investors like the Ayalas to fill in the power gaps. Even the multi-purpose Northern Bohol Basin initiated by the late governor and pursued by his congressman son is expected to produce another 10 MW. Adding to this the 15 MW renewable energy the Australian investor's company will put up, will strengthen Bohol's infrastructure development to entice investors to locate in the province. --- END

Links:
  • Bohol Sunday Post - [link]
  • Photo from looneyplanet.net - [link]

NEA allots P33.5-M to energize Aris turf

Bien Unido, Bohol

By JUNE S. BLANCO

MALINGIN Island off Bien Unido town and 22 other far-flung barangays in Bohol's 2nd District stand to be fully energized with an allocation from the National Electrification Administration (NEA). In a letter to Rep. Erico Aristotle Aumentado, NEA Administrator Edita Bueno assured him that her office has P33.5 million to support his energization program. While all towns in Bohol are already fully energized, some islands, islets and mountain barangays in the mainland do not enjoy power yet because these are considered missionary electrification being “out of the way” and requiring large capital outlay for infrastructure. Aumentado however still wants to energize these barangays in order to facilitate the economic uplift of the barangay folks like the fishing community of Malingin.

He said bringing electricity to the island will allow government to establish a post-catch facility to preserve excess catch and not force the fisher folks to sell at a low price otherwise these will go to waste. Minimal sales will not allow them to live better lives, he explained. Energization used to be a tripartite endeavor of NEA that provided funds and technical assistance, the Bohol Electric Cooperative (Boheco) that provided the infrastructure and also technical assistance, and the solon's father and namesake-predecessor, Rep. Erico Boyles Aumentado who provided counterpart funding from his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF). The PDAF has since been scrapped so that the younger solon now depends on the budget of concerned departments for his pet projects.

Once energized, Aumentado said, Malingin can push for the construction of a cold storage plant to keep their excess catch – and prices. Energization will also allow the sprouting of micro-businesses, he added. The solon said there can be no development unless the basic infrastructures are put in place. Entrepreneurs will need power to run their businesses and machines. Students will find studying at night difficult due to the absence of power. When they cannot study, he said, there is a big likelihood that they will drop out from school. To recall, Aumentado – and his father before him – had distributed computers and monitors to all high schools and the barangays in the second district. But the teachers and students cannot use them without electricity.  Meanwhile, Aumentado distributed pumpboats and fishnets to fisherfolks in the island barangays to support their livelihood after they were devastated by typhoon Yolanda. The officials of these barangays expressed gratitude to Aumentado for his support after the typhoon rendered them jobless when their bancas capsized and their fishnets were washed away by strong waves. The solon had tapped the Department of Labor and Employment to fund the pumpboat and fishnet projects. --- END

Links:
  • Bohol Sunday Post - [link]
  • Photo by Leo Udtohan blog - [link]

Aris gets thumbs up in 2014 Bohol poll

Rep. Erico "Aris" C. Aumentado and late Rep. Erico B. Aumentado

By: June S. Blanco

AGAINST all odds, the 2014 edition of the Bohol Poll showed that Rep. Erico Aristotle Aumentado (Bohol, 2nd District), still got a high approval rating from his constituents. Sans pork barrel funds for pet projects to dangle to his constituents after the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) was scrapped for being unconstitutional, the neophyte lawmaker still netted a high 52% satisfaction rating. The PDAF scam was well-publicized: a very high 73% of those polled said they were aware of the anomaly after the radio, newspapers and television carried news of businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles – the alleged mastermind of the P10 billion government funds fleeced through both favored and spurious non-government organizations (NGOs). Of this number, only one percent said former congressman Erico Aumentado was allegedly linked to the PDAF anomaly, while 19% said they had heard or read in the news that former congressman (1st District) and now Gov. Edgardo Chatto was linked to it; Rep. Arthur Yap (3rd District), 16%; former Rep. Roberto Cajes (2nd District), 11%; former Reps. Eladio Jala and Adam Relson Jala, both of the 3rd District, 7%, and 4%, respectively.


Out of Chatto’s 19%, 10% strongly believed that he was involved, 12% “believed a little” while 23% said he was not involved while 55% stood undecided. In Yap’s case, out of the 16%, 14% strongly believed that he was involved, 8% believed a little, 13% did not believe that he was linked while 65% was undecided. In Cajes’ case, out of the 11%, 10% strongly believed that he was involved, 26% believed a little, 12% did not believe that he was involved while 53% was undecided. Of the older Jala’s 7%, none believed he was involved at all, 11% believed a little and 74% remained undecided. Of the younger Jala’s 4%, 4% strongly believed that he was involved, 25% believed a little, 8% did not believe at all with 61% undecided. Of Relampagos’ 2%, 7% strongly believed that he was involved, 7% believed a little, 31% did not believe that he was involved, and 55% was undecided. Of the late Aumentado’s 1%, 12% strongly believed that he was involved in the scam, 42% does not believe that he is while 46% remained undecided. The result validates what most people have known for a long time: the Aumentados serve the public honestly and from the heart. --- END


Links:

Sunday, June 29, 2014

P-Noy OKs P600M for Malinao Dam upgrade

Malinao Dam, Pilar, Bohol
By: June S. Blanco

THE upgrading of the Malinao Dam in Pilar town is one step closer with the project’s approval by the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) Board chaired by Pres. Benigno Aquino III, with matching allocation of P600 million for the physical works in the General appropriations Act.

Rep. Erico Aristotle Aumentado (Bohol, 2nd District) teamed up with Engr. Modesto Membreve, deputy administrator for operations and engineering of the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) to push the upgrading project that had suffered six previous disapprovals by the NEDA Board.

Aumentado said the approval came after Membreve presented to the Board the perspective that finally swayed the Aquino-led body to act favorably on the Malinao Dam upgrading proposal.

To note, Membreve and Aumentado’s namesake father and predecessor, Rep. Erico Boyles Aumentado, were largely responsible in developing the upgrading project. With top honchos of NIA, both had presented the proposal in Seoul, South Korea to the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) and former Ambassador to the Philippines Joong Kyung Choi who went on to become Minister of Knowledge Economy.

The visit earned a grant for the feasibility study and detailed engineering design from KOICA, pushed by Choi, who was adopted as son of Bohol during the incumbency of the elder Aumentado as governor.

The elder Aumentado had said a mere two-meter height increase of the present dam will double its impounding capacity from five million to nine or 10 million cubic meters of water.

The increase will solve the problem forwarded by farmers and landowners whose lots, with higher elevation, are not reached by the irrigation water.

The dam was originally designed to irrigate 4,740 hectares of which only 3,000 hectares were reached. The upgrade assures that the rest in the original plan – even more – will also be irrigated.

The regular and sufficient supply of spells two croppings a year for the rice farmers – more harvest and even a third cropping for the year if the farmers apply rice ratooning.

Ratooning is allowing the rice stumps after harvesting to develop shoots again and mature before the next regular planting season. With irrigation and fertilizer, the shoots can give a good second harvest from the same planting material.

Links:

Aris taps Dole for livelihood projects

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By:  June S. Blanco

THE Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) may have been scrapped but this has pushed Rep. Erico Aristotle Aumentado to tap other sources to infuse alternate livelihood for his constituents in Bohol's 2nd District. His efforts have so far been successful: he recently bagged P20 million from the Department of Labor and Employment (Dole) for various livelihood projects for about 100 farmers groups, people's organizations (POs) and cooperatives. Aumentado has focused on the fight against poverty – a fight directly benefiting his constituents through funding for groups ranging from P50,000 to P300,000 each, depending on the project proposed. He considers poverty as “a recurring cancer of society” that has plagued the marginalized for so long that year after year, the number of the poor continues to rise. Even this year, the Holy Name University's Bohol Poll showed an increase in the number of people who rated themselves "poor".

“Development starts with people empowerment, and empowerment means giving them a crack at improving their lives through financial support,” he said. With constant monitoring, an ordinary family getting the needed poverty alleviating boost will feel improvement in their lives after a year or two, he added. The solon also thanked his namesake-father and predecessor Erico Boyles Aumentado for preparing the district with his big infra projects so that now he can focus on people development. The elder Aumentado had caused the cementing of the entire Bohol Circumferential Road along the fist-shaped province's coast, making the transit of goods easier and faster, as well as allowing farmers the opportunity to sell their produce in main markets. Add to this the two phases of the Bohol Irrigation Project that has provided a year-round irrigation system to rice-producing towns. Aumentado eyes to fund the livelihood projects of another 50 people's organizations in his district until the end of the year. He envisions to make the second district a reliable supplier of agricultural produce for the big markets in the city and outside the province.

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Saturday, June 14, 2014

House panel OKs P50B capitalization for PPA


By JUNE BLANCO and ROY PADEL
QUEZON CITY – The Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) is another step closer to building more roll on-roll off (roro) and fast craft ports.
This after the House Committee on Transportation approved House Bill 4396 authored by Rep. Erico Aumentado (2nd District, Bohol), seeking to increase PPA’s capitalization to P50 billion.
General Manager Juan “Boy” Sta. Ana expressed elation over the new PPA capitalization, saying on top of building more roro and fast craft ports, it can better maintain and improve the existing ports under the PPA system nationwide.
The approval came after Aumentado justified the measure, saying that PPA has consistently remitted to the national treasury not less than P1 billion pesos yearly as 50% of its net revenues from operation. The solon said the PPA is one of the few government owned and controlled corporations that give dividend every year to the national government instead of being subsidized by the latter.
To recall, the original capital of PPA amounted to P5 billion only. The amount has been exhausted, Aumentado explained, that is why PPA needs a bigger capitalization to accomplish its mission and vision.
As of now, PPA has estimated assets of P150 billion, but it needs liquidity or capital to build and improve more ports and support infrastructure like terminal buildings and fast craft facilities.
To note, during Aumentado’s governorship of Bohol, PPA improved by leaps and bounds the ports of Tagbilaran, Tubigon, Ubay and Jagna – all of which have become major components of the strong Republic Nautical Highway (SRNH).
Due to its additional capitalization, PPA will have funds for the Bohol cruise port in Loon and fast craft berths at the Getafe port and for other ports development in the 2nd District of Bohol.
Getafe now has two Star fast crafts owned by the Ouanos plying everyday from Cebu and back to bring more tourists, business and commerce to Bohol, while Tubigon port has additional fast crafts with the entry of Lite Shipping of Lucio Lim Jr. and soon, that of former PPA General Manager Alfonso Cusi.
Other ports needing improvement are the Ubay port which requires a new access road and causeway, as well as dredging, to accommodate bigger vessels and the Tapal wharf also in Ubay which is now handling the bulk of cargoes from all points of the country in the 2nd District.
The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) is undertaking the construction of a new access road to the Ubay port costing P37.4 million to prevent accidents in its present narrow access road passing through the busy Ubay market. It will also provide a better entry and exit road for thickly populated barangay Tapon for easy access to fire trucks in case of conflagrations and facilitate the delivery of basic social services as education, health and sanitation therein.

The ports in Clarin and Bien Unido are now also being developed by The Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) as feeder ports for tourism, cargoes and passengers. They are also eyed for PPA possible development due to their strategic locations.  --- END 
Link:
  • Bohol Times newspaper --- [link]