Sunday, September 30, 2018

FIRST IN BOHOL: Inabanga lights up Christmas trees and parols dedicated to PWDs

Seen: Rep. Dennis Laogan of Ang Kabuhayan Partylist visited Bohol on Friday (Sept. 28). Laogan introduced the Negosyo Caravan for cooperatives and micro, small  and medium enterprises (MSMEs) as well as the P3 program that will serve as an alternative source of fund for the underprivileged entrepreneurs in Bohol. The “Pondo sa Pagbabago at Pag-asenso” (P3) was introduced by Pres. Rodrigo Duterte to help business of the underprivileged entrepreneurs grow. “This P3 program is one way to combat the 5-6 loan sharks,” Laogan told Bohol reporters. Laogan, the chairman of the House Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurs Development, is the youngest representative in the country. He 
Rep. Dennis Laogan (center) of Ang Kabuhayan Partylist 
officiated the oath of office of then Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez and the newly installed House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo  as a tradition that the youngest congressman will administer the oath of the speaker.  Laogan was accompanied by Benjie Oliva, the acting Cooperative Development Authority (CDA) chairman of the Board of Administrators, who at 36 years old is the youngest person to have held the highest post of the regulatory body.

Scene: Red Tide Alert:  In its shellfish bulletin no. 25 dated Sept. 25, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) warned that the coastal waters of Dauis and Tagbilaran City in Bohol province are still positive for paralytic shellfish poison (PSP) based on the latest laboratory results the bureau conducted. All types of shellfish gathered from the said areas are not safe for human consumption.

Scene:  The mayors’ troubles in Panglao town are far from over. Despite the order from the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) recognizing Pedro Fuertes as the legitimate mayor of Panglao town, embattled Mayor Leonila Montero defied the department’s memorandum and still carried on her duties last Monday, Sept. 24. Montero and Fuertes both attended last Monday’s flag raising ceremony and gave speeches before the municipal employees. Montero explained she can’t honor the DILG decision ordering her to leave office as it was based on opinion and not valid. “It was done hastily, arbitrarily and very unlawfully,” she said. Fuertes, however, said that it’s only the law that could make him leave the mayor’s office. “The DILG knows who follows the law,” he said. “Your full-fledged mayor has followed the law. If we follow the law, mahapsay unta ang atong pagpangalagad.”

 Siblings Gerwin and Jan Vier Yudelmo went home to Inabanga town in Bohol to witness the town’s “Christmas tree lighting” ceremony on Saturday night, Sept. 22.

Inabanga residents and tourists gathered last Saturday, Sept. 22,
for the historic "Christmas Tree Lighting," the first town in Bohol
to come alive this Season.  Photo by Leo Udtohan
Yudelmo, 28, a call center technical representative in Cebu City, said he didn’t want to miss Christmas celebration which came early to his hometown.

Residents and tourists gathered at the town plaza to witness the spectacle of holiday lights, fireworks, live music and a tree-lighting ceremony.

Yudelmo said the town plaza infront of the town hall which sparkled with glowing lights melt their hearts.

“We are happy that our municipal plaza is full of Christmas lights because since the earthquake in 2013 up to the Abu Sayyaf siege, finally Inabangnons are able to celebrate Christmas without fear,” said Yudelmo.

“And for that it’s a merry, merry Christmas,” he added.

Inabanga was one of the towns severely damaged of the 7.2 magnitude earthquake which brought Bohol to its knees in 2013.   Still recovering from the aftermath of the quake, four years after at least 10 members of Abu Sayyaf, with the help of an Inabanga native, entered the town and tried to set up a base there.

After authorities got wind of the terrorists’ presence in Inabanga, operations were launched to finish them off which lasted for more than a month.

The celebration was a manifestation that the town had moved on.

There were 21 Christmas trees and 100 parols (star-shaped Christmas lantern).  The highest Christmas tree measured 20 feet. 

The materials made out of indigenous materials.  They used bamboo slits and dried “kabkaban” leaves that grow on the barks of trees that are abundant in the place. 

Inabanga was the first town in Bohol to celebrate Christmas so early.

At least six persons with disabilities (PWDs) received
 free wheelchairs from the municipal government of Inabanga
 during the lighting ceremony which was dedicated to them.
 Mayor Josephine Jumamoy said the event gave importance to PWDs.   Photo by Leo Udtohan
But for Mayor Josephine Socorro Jumamoy, the Christmas celebration was more than the vibrant Christmas lights illuminating the plaza. It was dedicated to persons with disabilities (PWDs).

“Why so early? It’s because TEAM Inabanga wants to create an atmosphere for the spirit of Christmas. It is really our direction for the PWDs, for the persons with disabilities, that we can help them out,” said Jumamoy.

She added, “We are providing assistance to marginalized sectors such as the PWDs kay gusto ipaambit nato kung unsay nindot sa atong balatian kay klaruhay lang kitang tanan lumabalay lang.”

Bebencio Balaga, a resident of Barangay Ubujan, expressed deep gratitude for the new wheelchair given to him during the event.

 Gerwin Yudelmo with Mayor Josephine Jumamoy (center),
Jan Vier Yudelmo and a friend to celebrate early Christmas.  Contributed
He was among the six beneficiaries who received the wheelchairs. Others were Dominador Boiser (Lapacasan Sur), Cyrell Namocot (Dagohoy), Jocery Luzon (Lawis), Mark Vincent Delos Santos (Poblacion) and Rey Acupinpin (Tungod).

Acupinpin said he felt special since the Christmas celebration was dedicated to them.

The Christmas display aims to bring back the Inabangnon to the meaning of Christmas as it upholds faith and resiliency.

Your VRS asked Mayor Jumamoy for her plans in 2019 elections. She said she wants to stay as mayor. “I would like to continue working for Inabanga as Mayor," she said.

Inabanga, the hometown of Francisco Dagohoy who led the longest revolt in the country, is also popular for its weaving industry, producing crafts sold locally and abroad.

Alturas to grow 1 million trees

A single tree offers a burst of green, a cooling canopy and an antidote for frayed nerves. But we need more trees to   improve air quality, provide shade, offset climate change, reduce stress, and make people happy.

That is what the Alturas Group of Companies (AGC), a local multinational company in Bohol province, has been aiming to do.

 The Alturas Group of Companies (AGC)
aims to plant one million trees  to make
our province and the world sustainable.

Alturas big boss, Marlito C. Uy (left), and
Bishop Abet Uy, lead the ceremonial
 tree planting of Alturas "Plant A Million
Trees" Project during the launching
 in Tabalong, Dauis, in Panglao Island. 
On Sept. 9, employees and volunteers planted more than 500 trees on the first day of AGC’s “Plant A Million Trees,” a record-breaking environmental drive in Bohol province—a starting point in the million trees campaign in making the province and the world more sustainable. 

Through its Alay Marcela Foundation and volunteer group Alta Citta, the AGC aims to plant and grow one million trees all nothing but for the sake of the environment and food security.       

The provincial environment and natural resources office (PENRO) and the Dioceses of Tagbilaran and Talibon, which are both actively participating in many other tree planting activities, are coordinating the said activity.     

Trees are important to the environment through their ability to absorb carbon dioxide and lower ambient temperatures. They also contribute to the overall health of communities, wildlife and aesthetics.

During the launching last Sept. 9 in Panglao island, Bishop Alberto Uy  of the Diocese of Tagbilaran blessed the first 500 seedlings after a holy mass and joined with the Alturas Vice President and General Manager, Marlito C. Uy, for the ceremonial tree planting.

Uy said the activity was “for God’s glory and for the good of humanity” as this is for the best interest of not just the environment but mankind in general. He hopes other multinational companies like Alturas will follow suit.         

The AGC, which operates two malls and three super stores in Bohol; and two Colonnade supermarkets in Cebu, and twenty more subsidiaries, will tap its vast manpower from its thousands of employees, customers, business partners and more in planting the trees.       

Still, planting one million trees wouldn’t be easy. To meet the goal of planting a million trees, Alturas had already identified all those possible areas for the year-round tree planting; and the DENR PENRO is very committed with 100 percent assurance to produce and provide the needed thousands of seedlings. Anyone can also exchange a tree seedling for P10 at Alturas. Likewise, Alturas plans also to produce its own nursery for the seedlings.     

This September, thousands of tree seedlings were already planted in Lourdes, Cortes; Tabalong, Dauis; and San Pascual, Ubay.  More will be planted in Untaga, Alicia; and the coastal areas of Panglao.    

Thanks for your letters, all will be answered. Comments welcome at, follow leoudtohanINQ at Twitter /Facebook.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Bohol farms still drying up due to dry spell

Scene: #HelpNaga. To extend a helping hand to residents of nearby Naga City in Cebu after a horrendous landslide that claimed lives and displaced families, you may give your donations to the Philippine Information Agency (PIA)-Bohol and Philippine Coast Guard (PCG)-Tagbilaran Station at LMP Building, K OF C Drive, Poblacion II, Tagbilaran City. Urgently needed are clothes, mats, blankets and pillows for evacuees. For inquiries, call PIA Bohol: (038) 501-8554/ (038) 412-2292 and PCG-Tagbilaran: 09957212548.

Scene: Some Bohol farmers attended the Saemaul Undong (SMU) lecture on vegetable farming last Thursday, Sept. 20, in Balilihan town. SMU is a celebrated political and social reform initiative introduced by then South Korean President Park Chung-Hee in 1970 to lift his war-torn country out of poverty.

Scene: At least 2,000 farmers from the different parts of the country gathered for the 7th National Rice Technology Forum held in Talibon town, Bohol.

For those who missed last weekend’s news (and why we are moved, if we are moved):

Jade Bautista seeks reelection

What a lovely time (breakfast at Bautista’s residence in Baclayon town) we spent to celebrate Friday.  Of course,  provincial board member Jade Bautista was around, blooming and smiling.

She has retained "The Face That Refreshes", all sweetness and light, the paradigm of things bright and beautiful even her busy schedule as a nurse and lawmaker.

Media friends in attendance were Chito Visarra (dyRD), Bob Galero (dyTR), Ric Obedencio (Bohol News Today/The Freeman), Dave Responte (dyTR), Rey Tutas (dyRD), Allen Doydora (dyRD), Atoy Cosap (dyRD), Helen Castaño (GMA News/Inquirer assistant), and your VRS.

As expected from the inquisitive media people, Friday’s breakfast with Jade was asked not only about her career and business but also about her future political plans.

Chito told Jade about the latest political development in Bohol.  Ric seconded Chito, saying the 2019 elections would be colorful as usual.

Everyone asked, is she or isn’t she? Running in 2019, that is.

Since Jade’ track record is so squeaky clean, politicians and other people are said to have invited her to run as mayor in Bilar town in 2019. But Jade has not even thought about taking that another big leap.

She said she will run again for board member for the third district of Bohol.

“I will stay to serve the people of the third district,” said Jade, the chairperson of the Committee on Health and Public Sanitation.

As for her, Jade wants to hear fellow Boholanos say, “She has served us well” at the end of her term as board member. 

By 2019,  Edgar Chatto will be retiring as governor, having served for three consecutive terms (9 years). But it does not mean he’s really retiring from public service…or from leading a fruitful private life.

Last week in Balilihan town, Gov. Chatto said he will run for Congressman in the first district of Bohol.

“The direction is bringing the voice again of the first district. Of course, mag-agad na sa Ginoo ug sa katawhan,” he said.

Incumbent Jagna Councilor Anthony Aniscal said he is seeking reelection.  The broadcaster turned lawmaker has sponsored not less than 20 legislations at SB Jagna—and counting.

“The people are my inspirations for faithfully doing the job,” he said.

Incidentally, Jagna is celebrating its 387th founding anniversary and fiesta on Sept. 29.  The St. Michael the Archangel Parish Church has its newly-renovated/restored Sanctuario.

Fuertes is Panglao Mayor- DILG

Last Monday, Sept. 17, seven hours after Pedro Fuertes and Leonila Montero – who both claimed being the legitimate mayor of the town – attended the municipality’s flag raising ceremony, the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) put to rest the nine-day standoff and recognized Fuertes as the lawful local chief executive of Panglao.

DILG Regional Director Leocado Trovela issued the directive favoring Fuertes last September 14.

DILG Provincial Director Johnjoan Mende and municipal local government operations officer Sofronio Abing, Jr. arrived at 2:30 p.m. Monday at the town hall to give the order.

However, Montero was not at her office when DILG personnel arrived. It was her municipal administrator Alejandro Arbotante who faced the personnel. The order was served at 3:30 p.m.

DILG ends nine-day standoff at the Panglao Municipal Hall as it recognized 
Pedro Fuertes as the town’s rightful mayor on Monday, September 17, 2018.
   /Photo by Leo Udtohan

According to Mende, the directive would end the confusion as to who was the mayor, as well as conclude the impasse and avert any possible violence at the town hall.

“We cannot have two mayors. Mayor Pedro Fuertes is still recognized as mayor,” Mende said.

In the five-page decision, the DILG said Montero’s move was premature.

“Per record and report, this Office was informed that respondent Mayor Montero re-assumed office as Mayor of Panglao, Bohol on Sept. 10, 2018 and continues to discharge her functions. Thus, such re-assumption to office is premature,” the DILG order and directive stated.

“Accordingly, respondent Montero should continue serving the penalty of dismissal with all its accessory penalties imposed in Ombudsman Joint Order dated 19 Jan. 2018 relative to OMB-V -A -15-2084, unless directed otherwise by a competent court,” it added.

“I am still the full-fledged mayor of Panglao,” Fuertes said.

Vice Mayor Briccio Velasco, meanwhile, was ordered to continue his function as vice mayor.

Tension was felt during Monday’s flag raising ceremony at the municipal hall as Fuertes and Montero attended the event.

Both even gave their speeches before the employees.

Montero told employees that her comeback was based on facts.

“The fact is I am the duly reelected mayor of Panglao,” she said. “I have already served my legal predicaments.”

She said the DILG’s decision was based on opinion and a not a valid law.

On the other hand, Fuertes just told employees that he would wait for the DILG order.

“I am just waiting for the DILG for whatever decision,” Fuertes said.

It was only in Panglao town where two mayors, two municipal administrators, and one municipal vice mayor took office in one town hall.

Employees have not received their salary last September 15 because of the confusion.

However, Montero said she cannot be removed as mayor without cause. 

Ricefields are still drying up due to dry spell

Farmer Orcesio Amoy was waiting for the rains to be brought by supertyphoon “Ompong” to finally bring relief to the drought-stricken small farm near the famous Chocolate Hills.

While the storm triggered rains in some parts of the province and devastated farmlands in Northern Luzon, not a single rain dropped in Carmen.

The lack of rain caused his palay planted in a 8,000-square meter farm lot in Sitio Camanayon, Barangay Buenos Aires to wilt.

“We were happy that rain would finally come with Typhoon “Ompong” but the downpour occurred in other towns. What we got here was just a drizzle,” said Amoy, 63.

“The drizzle failed to penetrate the soil,” he added.

Amoy said he had accepted that he would no longer be able to recover the P20,000 he invested in farm inputs this crop season.

His rice paddies had cracked due to lack of water while the palay had turned yellow as these started to wilt.

To meet the needs of his family, Amoy had been selling watermelons which were most resistant to drought.

He was able to harvest watermelons last week from his other piece of land which he sold at P28 per kilo in a makeshift tent along the national highway going to the Chocolate Hills.

Another farmer, Temio Balocoy, 45, said his palay was also wilting but hanging on.

But if not a single rain would drop, he said he would lose his crops like Amoy.

During the previous harvest season in September last year, Balocoy said he got a decent harvest.

But this year, he was expecting to get a huge financial lost.

“The soil in our farm had cracked because of lack of water,” he said.

Ricefields are drying up due to dry spell in Candijay
 town, Bohol, that farmers need rain to save the crops.
In order to save the thousand hectares of standing crops
at the rain-fed areas in the province, acting provincial
agriculturist Larry Pamugas said cloud seeding
operations will be conducted next week.
/Photo by Leo Udtohan
“If only we had a stable irrigation system, we would not have any problem with water supply during the dry spell,” he added.

Bohol is considered the rice bowl of Central Visayas.

In 2016, a state of calamity was declared in the province due to drought.

Farmlands in the towns of Corella, Calape, Loon, San Isidro, Sagbayan and Tubigon had been left unused even if these had been plowed because of the drought.

But agricultural officials said Ompong brought some rains in other parts of the province which brought relief to the parched farmlands.

The provincial agriculturist, however, said that rains was not enough.

“What we need is a long period of soaking rain to fill our dams, replenish all our waterways and moisten the soil,” he said.

Acting provincial agriculturist Larry Pamugas said more than 47,000 hectares of rice land had dried up due to the dry spell.

Of the 47,000 hectares of rice field in Bohol, 24,000 hectares are irrigated through dams, small water catchments, and diversionary canals.

The rest of 23,000 hectares rely on rain.

As of this season, only 800 hectares of rice farmlands had been harvested in the towns of Lila, Bilar and some parts of Batuan in September.

“Rice plants in our rain-fed areas are not just yellowish, they are turning brown, which means there is not enough water,” he said.

Water elevations in Bohol’s four major dams were already near critical levels.

These were Bayongan Dam in San Miguel town, Malinao Dam in Pilar town, Capayas Dam in Ubay town and the Talibon Dam in Talibon town.

The sporadic rains didn’t bring up the water levels of these dams.

Pamugas said the remaining water in dams could not suffice for land preparation in next the cropping season in November.

Unfortunately, the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) was anticipating the El Niño phenomenon, or prolonged dry spell, toward the last quarter of 2018.

“If there is no intervention by the provincial government to produce artificial rains, farmers in most rain-fed areas in Bohol could not plant rice in the next cropping by November,” he said.

Pamugas said they planned to hold cloud seeding operations to create artificial rain and send relief to the farmlands.

In the meantime, Boholano farmers continued to wait for rain – either natural or man-made – just to save their crops.

Thanks for your letters, all will be answered. Comments welcome at, follow leoudtohanINQ at Twitter /Facebook.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

People confused on who mayor of Panglao is

Scene: Onlookers watched in awe as giant waves pounded the Baclayon coastline on Friday (Sept. 14) afternoon. They braved the inclement weather and gathered at the town’s Baluarte as massive swell hammered the sea wall.   The spectacular sight, which was believed to have started at around 1 p.m., was
Onlookers watched in awe as giant w
aves pounded the Baclayon coastline on Friday
(Sept. 14). Leo Udtohan

caused by strong winds caused by typhoon Ompong (International name: “Mungkhat”) which whipped the water into a frenzy and caused waves to crash into the beach. Christian Cañete, 15, said: “Ganahan lang ko magtan-aw sa dagko nga bawd (I like watching gigantic waves).” Some students took photos of the waves.  “It's really quite spectacular - you can see how it touches the sea wall,” Jason said.  While some students found the waves awe-inspiring, fishermen in this town and neighboring coastal towns found the huge waves fearsome sights. They put their pumpboats offshore to prevent it from wind damage.  Classes in all levels, in public and private schools, were suspended in the towns of Jagna, Valencia, Garcia Hernandez, Guindulman and Carlos P. Garcia Island as Typhoon “Ompong” threatens Luzon.

Scene: The office of the provincial agriculturist conducted JADAM Ultra low cost natural farming training to members of the Eskaya Tribe in Taytay, Duero town, last Sept. 13. The purpose of the training was to capacitate them to produce more vegetables naturally at very low cost since they are one of the suppliers in Bohol of highland vegetables.

Scene: Sean Rey Garsuta Tupaz (College of Engineering and Technology) and Margarett Requillo (College of Nursing) were crowned as 2018 Mr. and Miss University of Bohol (UB) Personality during the grand coronation night last Friday, Sept. 14.  Tupaz is a budding model, while Requillo was crowned Mutya sa Tagbilaran 2018 4th runner-up. The Mr and Ms. UB Personality, one of the highlights of the UB Days and Intramurals, is considered the most popular campus pageant in Bohol.

 It’s business as usual in Panglao town even as the people are confused on who is the municipality’s chief executive.

Both Leonila Paredes-Montero and Pedro Fuertes were claiming to be the rightful mayor of the town, which is known for its white sand beach and clear blue waters.

But Sofronio Abing Jr., municipal local government operations officer, said Fuertes was still recognized as the municipal chief executive.

He said an incident report has been submitted to the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Central Office on the “reassumption” of Montero.

He said the Municipal Local Government Operations Office has observed a status quo in the absence of a DILG order reinstating Montero.

The DILG installed Fuertes, the town’s vice mayor, as acting mayor after the Ombudsman ordered a three-month suspension on Montero on Oct. 24, 2017, for simple misconduct for appointing four defeated candidates less than a year after losing in the elections –violating the one-year ban on the appointment of a candidate who lost in the election.

But even before completing the three-month suspension, the anti-graft office upgraded the charge to grave misconduct and ordered her dismissal from service on Jan. 19, 2018.

Montero sought relief from the Court of Appeals which later issued an order on June 28 that affirmed her three-month suspension and set aside her dismissal from service.

Since she had served her suspension, Montero said she could already resume her functions as mayor.
On Monday, she showed up during the regular session of the municipal council and asked the councilors to recognize her return to the office and restore her as a signatory of all bank transactions of the municipality.

“I’m just claiming back my crown as a public servant,” Montero told your VRS.   “I am back to service.”

The council passed a resolution in mass motion, affirming her reinstatement as mayor despite the absence of a DILG order.

“I would like to request this august body to pass a resolution acknowledging and confirming my assumption and reinstituting me as one of the signatories of all bank and other official transactions for all intents and purposes to this municipality,” Montero said in her privilege speech.

But Montero said her statement was valid under Section 46 of the Local Government Code.
The code’s section 46b provides that the temporary incapacity of a local chief executive could be terminated upon submission to the appropriate sanggunian of a written declaration that he has reported back to the office.

“In cases where the temporary incapacity is due to legal causes, the local chief executive concerned shall also submit necessary documents showing that said legal causes no longer exist,” the provision said.

“I am still the full-fledged mayor of Panglao,” asserted Fuertes.

He, however, refused to step down in the absence of an order from DILG, describing the council’s resolution as “ultra vires” which means “beyond one’s legal authority or power.”

“It is not their jobs as legislators to reinstate a mayor,” he stressed.

Fuertes holds office on the second floor of the municipal hall, while Montero occupies her original office on the ground floor.

Sean Rey Garsuta Tupaz and Margarett Requillo were crowned
Mr. and Miss UB Personality 2018. In photo is Miss UB Personality 2017
 Isabel Iris Garsuta who passed on her crown to Requillo.
 Courtesy: Iris Garsuta 
Last Monday, Sept. 14, Montero issued a memorandum to all heads, barangay captains and employees to inform them about her re-assumption of office.

She also called a meeting last Tuesday, Sept. 15, morning with the stakeholders for a meeting about the demolition of the illegal structures on Alona Beach in Panglao town.

Last March, Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Roy Cimatu wanted the illegal structures demolished within six months.

Despite the deadline set by Cimatu, the local government of Panglao had yet to issue a demolition order.

But Fuertes said people should not believe her reassumption.

“It’s not true. I asked that you ignore Montero’s memorandum. It should not be followed. I am still the (rightful) municipal mayor,” he said.

Augustin Cloribel, who filed the complaint against Montero, said he was surprised by Montero’s “extreme eagerness” to return to office.

He stressed that the decision of the appellate court on the case was not yet final since the Court of Appeals had not decided on his motion for reconsideration that he filed on July 18.

Montero’s petition for review of the Ombudsman’s decision was pending at the CA’s Special 12th Division.

Thanks for your letters, all will be answered. Comments welcome at, follow leoudtohanINQ at Twitter /Facebook.

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Loon’s ‘Festival of Lights’ post-depression feeling

Scene:  The rice infested with “bukbok” (weevils) which were given to Loon residents came from the buffer stocks of the provincial social welfare and development office (PSWDO), according to the results of the investigation of the provincial government of Bohol.

Scene:   Bohol 2nd District Rep. Erico Aristotle Aumentado made an unprecedented mark in the latest survey conducted by the Center for Research and Publications of the Holy Name University. He was the lone public official with a zero dissatisfied rating, maintaining his net satisfaction at 92 percent. This rating was eight points higher than last year which was +84.  “That’s a record  for the first time  in the Bohol Poll that there is no dissatisfaction in absolute numbers.  We are so happy because this young man is trying his best to be of good service to his people,” said Boy Pernia. “Naningkamot nga makatabang sa iyang igsuon  dinha sa Segundo distrito labi na pirmi isulti nga mga pobre kuno ang Segundo Distrito.  So, mao naningkamot siya. And I think resulting to people nga narecognized sa iyang effort to bring about a change or better life with them.”  Incidentally, Aumentado and his wife Vanessa celebrated their 15th wedding anniversary last Friday.

Scene: Our dear Ruth “Neneng” Udtohan (Nov. 4, 1983-Sept. 9, 2001) is lovingly remembered on her 17th death anniversary. Treasured in our hearts you'll stay, until we meet again someday.

Dr. Joahna for Board Member?

The 2019 elections (will they be pushed through or not?) are eight months away and already, sizzling news are filtering in as to who is running for what position.

Dr. Joahna Cabalit-Initay
A few days ago,  some members of the Bohol media met Dr. Joahna Cabalit-Initay at the Godillos Restaurant (owned by Engr. Nolan Evangelista) along Rajah Sikatuna Avenue (near island City Mall).

In 2016, she made headlines when she fought against incumbent Rep. Rene Relampagos. It was a tough experience since she was a newbie in politics.

But she said her only weapon was genuine service.

There was a report (largely ignored because it was tucked in the inside pages) that she is planning to run for congressman again?  The big question is: Is she or isn’t she? 

 Asked about her "future political plans" by your VRS, Dr. Joahna answered first with an enigmatic smile.

“I think for board member in the first district of Bohol,” she said.

She shared about her programs—livelihood for indigents and free life insurance for the head of the families— if ever she will be elected.

As a financial advisor, researcher and consultant of private firms and a graduate studies professor, she is an advocate for health and wellness programs.

Last Friday, Bohol Vice Gov. Dionisio Balite has announced his plan to run for Congressman.

“I will run for Congressman in the third district of Bohol. Kamatayon ray makababag (Only death can hinder my plan),” Balite said.

 He is expected to clash with former Carmen Mayor Conchita Toribio-Delos Reyes.

In the latest Bohol Poll 2018, it said that 76 percent were satisfied with his performance as vice governor while only six percent were dissatisfied which resulted to a net satisfaction rating of +70, the same net satisfaction rating as last year.

 Dr. Joahna Cabalit-Initay with some members
of the Bohol media : Rey Tutas (dyRD), Bob Galero
(dyRD), Dave Charles Responte (dyTR),
Allen Doydora (dyRD) and your VRS. Contributed Photo
Balite also announced that PDP-Laban has endorsed Cabinet Secretary Leoncio Evasco, Jr for governor.

He also claimed that he has been appointed as the ruling PDP-Laban’s highest ranking official in the province, the same post claimed by Dr. Doloreich Dumaluan, a long-time member of the party.

Both claimed to be the provincial president and the provincial chairman.

Balite aid Sen. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, national president of the ruling PDP-Laban, signed his appointment as provincial chairman on Jan. 11, 2018.

Dumaluan, however, said that after the party’s election in 2012, there had been no elections held since then.

“It’s fake. There is no such position as chairman. Being at a higher rank than him, Balite should observe delicadeza, courtesy and decorum,” said Dumaluan.

As I’ve said, the 2019 elections (if that will ever happen) are only eight months away and it’s never too early for anybody "with an intention" to, well, stand up and be counted.

Right, Board Member Joahna?

Post Loon’s Sidlakasilak (Festival of Lights) depression is a real thing. It’s that blue, miserable, nothing-will-ever-be-magical-again feeling you get after you leave Loon town last Sept. 6. 

 For the 19th time, the Sidlakasilak would tide you over for a few glorious hours as you sink into blissful, glorious immersion. 
In Loon’s Sidlakasilak (Festival of Lights), the fusion of lights
 creates more drama and ethereal effect against the darkness of the night.
Leo Udtohan

Loon’s festival of lights is one of the most important and religious festivals in Bohol.  It is one of its kind in the province because the street-dancing is done at night. 

The street-dancing competition is held in honor of the town’s patron saint, the Virgen de la Luz or Birhen sa Kasilak (Our Lady of Light). 

Eight schools joined this year’s competition.

Unlike most street dancing competitions, which are known for their colorful costumes and props, Loon’s version is very challenging and different.

The emphasis is on the lights, how to make it move and dance. The LED lights dazzled in festive colors of red, green, blue and silver—leaving the crowd mesmerized and in the magical mood.

The fusion of lights creates more drama and ethereal effect against the darkness of the night.

This year’s event, I saw familiar faces: Reigh Monreal, Mayor Elvi Peter Relampagos, Grace Ramada, Gov. Edgar Chatto and Rep. Rene Relampagos. 

There were also University of Bohol’s Registrar Leah Tirol-Magno and husband Art, and Emerson Pinos who was one of the judges.

There was also Bohol 3rd District Rep. Arthur Yap, deputy speaker for Visayas, who said it was his first time to witness the festival of lights.

"Loon impresses me," he told Loonanons.

Mayor Elvi expressed his gratitude for the huge success of this year’s Festival of Lights.

Special mentions were the organizers, participants and the Loonanons here and abroad for joining the whole event.

A fireworks display capped the event.

Take a bow, Loonanons!

As I left Loon after the Festival of Lights, colors seem duller.  Nothing is sparkly or exciting. Will anything ever feel good again?

(Winners: Grand Champion: Sandingan High School; 1st runner-up: Gov. Jacinto Borja National High School; 2nd runner-up: Loon South National High School)

Thanks for your letters, all will be answered. Comments welcome at, follow leoudtohanINQ at Twitter /Facebook.

Sunday, September 2, 2018

VP Leni wants Boholano leader Benjie Oliva to run for Congress

Scene:   Bureau of Corrections chief Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa asked Bohol police: "Please don't leave the President, continue supporting him in his war on drugs.” Dela Rosa was invited as guest of speaker  during the “Hudyaka sa Panglao 2018.” He traced his roots to Antequera town. Of course, he did well sing the song “Bol-anon.”

Scene:  Some pupils of Booy Elementary School in Tagbilaran City, Bohol, did not report to their classes last Wednesday,
Members if the media with Bato dela Rosa 
Aug. 29, as their parents staged a protest rally outside the school gates demanding the ouster of the school principal. The parents said school principal Eufe Rhoda Reyes-Galon "has proven on numerous occasions that she is unfit to perform the position that she has been assigned and is paid to do."   Galon said she would file a case against the parents. “It’s not true there is no basis.  And there is God he knows everything. You can personally check my character kay dili ko ingana nga pagkatawo,” she said.

Scene: National Food Authority (NFA )-Bohol manager Maria Fe Evasco on “bukbok” (weevil)-infected rice in Bohol: “ I would like to clarify the issue that the NFA rice distributed during the HEAT caravan in Loon is free of any weevils. It’s bukbok free.  It was not infested.”  Videos of “bukbok (weevil)”-infected rice went viral in the social media after it was posted on Facebook.  The rice infested with weevils in the video which were allegedly given to residents of Loon town last Thursday, Aug. 30, at the Loon Town Square during the provincial government’s HEAT Caravan.  Bohol Gov. Edgar Chatto said he ordered investigation. 


Vice President Leni Robredo said on Thursday (August 30) that she wants Boholano leader Benjie Oliva to run for Congress.

Vice President Leni Robredo visits Lourdes National High School
 in Panglao town for the turnover of kitchen tools and equipment
and feeding program for students under her Angat Buhay project.
Photo by Leo Udtohan
“Kailangan ko siya ngayon sa Kongreso,” Robredo told some teachers who had an audience with her after the turnover ceremony of the utensils and equipment to senior students at Lourdes High School in Panglao town.

Although it was not clarified if she was endorsing Oliva to run for Congress or as a partly-list representative, but it was clear Robredo has trust and confidence with the Boholano leader.

However, Oliva declined to comment when asked by your VRS.

Oliva is an expert in national budget legislation, agriculture, rural development and youth development.

Currently, he is the acting  Cooperative Development Authority (CDA) chairman of the Board of Administrators, who at 36 years old is the youngest person to have held the highest post of the regulatory body.

A native of Catigbian town, Oliva is an agriculturist by profession.

CDA Officer-in-Charge Chairman Benjie Oliva during 
an interview on PTV 4’s Bagong Pilipinas about the cooperatives
 and Marawi City rehabilitation. Contributed Photo
He graduated cum laude at the Central Visayas State College of Agriculture, Forestry and Technology (CVSCAFT) (now Bohol Island State University) in Bilar and later gained his Master’s Degree in Agricultural Development  as a summa cum laude.

Oliva has an impressive public service record as a youth leader. He served as consultant of the Philippine Senate, Chief of Operation of the Department of Agriculture Secretary’s Regional Engagement Unit, Project Director of Kabayanihan Foundation, Inc. and Commissioner for Visayas of the National Youth Commission during the time of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

Oliva is supportive in many of Robredo’s projects through her Angat Buhay Foundation.

Robredo  said she saw an opportunity at Lourdes National High School, as it is the only senior high school in Panglao, to address the need to bolster the school’s senior high culinary track.

The project is one of OVP’s Angat Buhay programs, which Robredo claims to have helped a total of 176 communities nationwide since 2016, including Panglao.

Loay residents receive early
Christmas gift from SAP Bong Go

Christmas came early for folks in Loay town after special assistant to the president (SAP) Christopher Lawrence "Bong" Go brought his "Sapatos ni SAP, Tsinelas ang Ka-Swap" on Friday (Aug. 31) afternoon.

At least 200 residents in Loay town in Bohol
 gathered in Barangay Calvario to receive Christmas
gifts from SAP Bong Go's "Sapatos ni Sap,
 Tsinelas ang ka-swap." The distribution
 was headed by Mayor Rochelle Brigitte
Imboy-Abutazil. Photo by Leo Udtohan
Shoes and rice were given to at least 200 residents of Barangay Calvario in this town, including some members of the Aeta community. 

“We’ re thankful kami ang napili diri kay dako og tabang. Nakita ninyo malipayon sila (We’re thankful our town was chosen because it is a big help. The residents are happy),” said Loay Mayor Rochelle Brigitte Imboy-Abutazil. Her  town was the first beneficiary of the advocacy project in the province.

Resident Inday Ganzon, 63,  said the rice she received could help her instead  of buying an expensive commercial rice.

“Nalipay jud ko yamu nakadawat og bugas maayo nalang ipuno sa bugas nga perting mahala run (I am happy I received pack of rice because rice now is really expensive),” Ganzon said.  “Sayu nga pinaskuhan. (It’s an early Christmas gift)”

Go's advocacy project was born when he gave his shoes to fire victims and other calamities which inspired his supporters to create such as a bridge to reach people’s dream for a better life in the Philippines.

Attraka launched in Trinidad

At least 200 residents in this town gathered on Saturday afternoon for the mass oath-taking of the Alayon Sa Tinuod Trinidadnon Alang sa Kabag-ohan (Attraka) or Association of Real Trinidadnon for Change, a member of Alyansang Bol-anon Alang sa Kausaban(Abaka) or Boholano Alliance for Change.

Attraka will combine forces with Abaka and Hugpong Ng Pagbabago (HNP) of Presidential Daughter Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio.

Members who came from the different barangays in Trinidad gathered in Barangay Poblacion to listen the movement’s objectives and mission. 

They also took oath as members of the movement.  It was the first mass oath-taking ceremony of a town-based movement in Bohol province to join Abaka.

Poblacion Barangay Captain Johnny Orioque who founded Attraka said that the movement aims to give real change from real Trinidadnon leaders.

He said Attraka was the answer the call of Cabinet Secretary Leoncio Evasco, Jr. to create movements in towns to have similar struggles and need to get the attention of the national leaders for help in development and poverty alleviation.

Alayon Sa Tinuod Trinidadnon Alang sa Kabag-ohan
(Attraka) was launched in Trinidad town.
Photo by Leo Udtohan
Attraka, Orioque added, is a solid support to help Duterte to institute change and instigate a paradigm shift in the political scene in Trinidad town.

“We really need real change,” Orioque said.  “The people of Trinidad should unite to rally behind the vision of the president to eradicate the drug problem, graft and corruption, and poverty reduction.”

Businessman Norris Oculam, chair of Abaka, said that Abaka movement is the umbrella organization in Bohol for groups would be created.  Also present  was Boy Penia of the office of Rep. Erico Aristotle Aumentado.

Abaka was one of the 9 local parties which was accepted by Duterte-Carpio as alliance from the Visayas even it is not a political organization.

Oculam said Attraka members would be automatically members of Abaka and HNP.

Duterte-Carpio was forging alliances in a bid to boost her regional party’s agenda by having partners in various regions in the country.

“We shared the same goal and vision,” said Oculam.

Abaka members are continuously seeking the right leaders with great vision to help in the development of Bohol.

Thanks for your letters, all will be answered. Comments welcome at, follow leoudtohanINQ at Twitter /Facebook.