It is not everyday that Boholanos pay special tribute to its heroes.
It is not everyday either that a people pays homage to other people who are in every way “outsiders” but considered a great part of their history and heritage.
Provincial officials, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) honor Boholano heroes and fallen soldiers to open the 163rd Bohol Day Celebration Saturday.
Yesterday’s celebration was exactly such a day for in its annual commemoration of its true-blooded Boholano heroes and martyrs, the Province of Bohol recognized “outsiders” who, to the former, are embraced and recognized as blood brothers because of what they did to, and for, Bohol.
This year’s commemorative event talked about “Celebrating the Heroism of Today’s Boholano,” where right after the very welcoming message of Vice-Gov. Dionisio Balite, the annual Governor’s Award were conferred to this year’s awardees.
The outstanding Boholano recipients this year are: Ambassador Fernando “Ding” Borja for Diplomacy/International Relations, Fr. Arnold E. Zamora for Music, Atty. Ingemar P. Macarine, an Advocate for Environment/Long Distance Swimmer, Madam Carmen C. Gatal for Community Service, and spouses John and Geesnell Yap for Business.
The two “outsiders” who have received Special Citations this year are Dr. Jeong Taek Lee, Country Director for the Korean Project for International Agriculture (KOPIA), and the Project Manager of the Japan Airport Consultants (JAC) for the New Bohol Airport Construction and Sustainable Environment Protection Project (NBACSEPP).
To break the monotony and seriousness of the affair, the Holy Name University (HNU) Trio wowed the crowd in their impressive and contemporary performance where the audience would have asked for another number were it not for time constraints.
However, in order to up the crowd’s excitement, the Provincial Government of Bohol (PGBh), together with the Department of Education (DepEd), and the Tzu Chi Foundation signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) for Dental Health Program for All Public Elementary Schools in the Province of Bohol, which left everyone nodding with agreement.
Signatories are Gov. Edgar M. Chatto and Vice-Gov. Dionisio Balite for the Province of Bohol, Dr. Wilfreda D. Bongalos for DepEd and Alex A. Chua, in behalf of Tzu Chi Foundation.
To up the excitement even more, another MOA Signing, this time for the Bohol Bulk Water Supply, followed immediately thereafter, with Gov.Chatto, Vice-Gov. Balite, Clarin Mayor Allen Ray Piezas, in behalf of the League of Municipalities of the Philippines Bohol Chapter (LMP-Bohol), the Provincial Board Members and the respective Municipal Mayors who will be involved in the project.
Gov. Chatto opened his commemorative message with gratitude to each and every Boholano and even non-Boholanos who are serving Bohol and to “every Boholano who has proudly remained as such wherever he or she is in the world today who should be fittingly called a hero in his or her own right.”
He briefly recounted the events of Boholano history where the religiosity, prayerfulness, diligence, hospitality, sustainability and resiliency of its people were manifested for all other peoples to see.
Recent events, like the magnitude 7.2 earthquake of 2013, the Abu Sayyaf incursion in our midst, up to the current power crisis in Bohol spawned by a fortuitous event in Leyte, “are not stories to brag about for these are simply testaments to the heroism of Boholanos who have taken their precious values to heart and have shown them in their daily lives regardless of their social or economic status.”
This year’s Special Guest Speaker is indeed very apt for the occasion for he is none other than Department of Energy (DOE) Undersecretary Felix William Fuentebella who reiterated the department’s expression of appreciation for the Bohol Energy Development Advisory Group (BEDAG).
He reported that we are currently supplied 135MW for Leyte, Samar and Bohol plus 10MW from Leyte and Bohol, of which peak demand for all provinces is at 255MW.
DOE targets power supply of 291MW for all, with 81MW which is for Bohol.
Tomorrow, Monday, an additional 40MW may be added for Bohol from Tongonan in Leyte.
DOE sets the deadline of July 31 for power to be at 100% with transformer that can supply 150MW being transported from Cebu to Leyte.
“These are all being done to bring power back as fast as possible,” he said.
DOE’s coming to Bohol is to engage with BEDAG and with students as well for the DOE E-Power Mo Program with concepts of E-Safety (energy efficiency and safety), E-Secure (security of facilities) and E-Diskarte (measures to ensure power).
USEC Fuentebella is happy to inform Boholanos that in the early days of August, 34 Asian countries will visit Bohol for a dialogue on energy security, sustainability and resiliency, as part of the ASEAN Dialogues.
A part of the visit will be for Boholano Grades 5 and 6 students who will teach our ASEAN visitors how to convert kerosene lamps into solar lamps.
With all these goings-on however, he cautions that “the decision to choose a sustainable power source needs a lot of study and a careful balance of emotion and science” and “with the Boholanos’ virtues of humility and hard work, this should not be a problem.”
Another guest is Department of Tourism (DOT) USEC Alma Rita Jimenez, who is greatly impressed of the Boholanos and says that the “Bohol Experience” is beautifully captured in Behold Bohol as both an invitation and a challenge.
USEC Jimenez handles DOT’s Tourism Regulation, Coordination and Resource Generation.
Closing ceremonies for the occasion were our Boholano teachers dancing to the age-old upbeat tune of the Boholano favorite, the Kuradang Dance.
The Lady of Ceremonies for the day was Miss Bohol, Queenie Melody Fullantes. (JANETV/PGBh/EDCom)