GMA help sought on La Union slays

>> Tuesday, August 21, 2007

SAN FERNANDO, La Union- The provincial peace and order council and the provincial government headed by Gov. Manuel Ortega passed a resolution on August 10 seeking the intervention of President Arroyo to help expedite the investigation into all unsolved political killings in the province.

The provincial board headed by Vice Gov. Martin de Guzman also passed a separate resolution requesting for Ms Arroyo’s assistance.

Ortega said the recent killings and bombings in the province show that “there are certain individuals who have devious designs to undermine our efforts toward fulfilling our mandate.”

They made the move following the recent killing of Felicidad Picar, municipal treasurer of Bauang town-the 15th victim of unsolved killings in La Union.

Police had filed murder charges on August 7 against the suspected killer of Bauang’s woman treasurer.

No bail was recommended for suspect, Rogelio Ordona, who was arrested three hours after shooting municipal treasurer Picar in the neck with a Cal.45 pistol while she was waiting for a ride to the town hall morning on August 6.

Supt. Pedro Obaldo, Bauang police chief earlier said the case was considered solved, but they wre still exerting efforts to unmask the mastermind, if there was any.

Ordona is now detained under tight security at the Bauang municipal jail.

Obaldo said the murder case was immediately filed because witnesses were “very cooperative and told what they saw without hesitation.”

Sources said Ordona was also cooperating with investigators and that he might be convinced to tell why he killed Picar and who ordered him to do so.

There were speculations politics might have something to do with the killing because Picar chaired the municipal board of canvassers in the May 14 elections.

Chief Supt. Leopoldo Bataoil, Ilocos regional police director, said Ordona’s cellular phone, which he allegedly lost while policemen were chasing him in a forested area in Barangay Urayong, might hold the clue on who masterminded the gunslaying.

“That’s very important,” said Bataoil. “I hope we can recover it because the gunman, after he shot the victim, was seen texting or calling somebody, probably a back-up who failed to arrive to rescue him.”

Bataoil said suspect, Ordona was positively identified as the one who gunned down Picar while she was waiting for a ride along the national highway in Barangay Santiago in the town.

He said Ordona tested positive for gunpowder residue from a Cal.45 pistol.
Bataoil said Ordona might be convinced later on to reveal the person who ordered him to kill Picar.

Bataoil said somebody might be behind Picar’s killing and the recent explosions in La Union.

“This killing could not have been done casually without somebody orchestrating it,” he said.

Bataoil said he ordered the La Union police to ensure tight security for Ordona because “if something happens to him, we might not be able to uncover more information that are very vital in identifying other suspects.”


Mining firm gets court injunction vs protesters


BAYOMBONG, Nueva Vizcaya- A foreign mining firm engaged in exploration in remote villages in Kasibu town got a preliminary injunction from the regional trial court here on August 8, stopping anti-mining villagers from blocking the entry of its equipment.

Judge Godofredo Naui of RTC Branch 37 granted the petition of Australian firm Oxiana Philippines Inc. after local anti mining groups, failed to show justifiable reason to stop its exploration in the Kasibu villages of Pao and Kakiduguen.

Naui ruled in a four-page order there appeared to be “sufficient evidence to show that (Oxiana) has a right in esse to undertake any and all works granted under Exploration Permit II-000014,” and that the villagers’ acts violated this right.

Oxiana Philippines, a subsidiary of Royalco Ltd., earlier sought a temporary restraining order to prevent anti-mining villagers from blocking the road leading to its exploration site, which it said had caused delay and financial losses to its exploration now supposed to be in its final stages.

Despite the issuance of the TRO, anti mining groups still mounted the blockade.

Pao’s village head, Mariano Maddela, Bugkalot, is opposed to the government-sanctioned exploration project.

But tribal elders and other Bugkalots living in the project’s primary impact zone earlier had allowed the project to continue in a consultation meeting supervised by the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples.

Other indigenous groups claimed they were not consulted and vowed to continue opposing the project whatever the court decision was.

Oxiana is exploring the commercial viability of deposits of gold, copper and other minerals in Pao, Kakiduguen and an adjoining barangay

Nueva Vizcaya also hosts the multibillion-peso Didipio gold-copper project, also in Kasibu town, of Oceana Gold Ltd., supervised by an Australian-New Zealand consortium.

The Didipio venture is the first large-scale mining project in Cagayan Valley under the new Philippine Mining Act, which opened the once-moribund Philippine Mining industry to more direct foreign investment.

Engineer Jerrysal Managaoang, Cagayan valley director of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau, said Oxiana’s permit allows it to explore gold, copper, molybdenum and other minerals in Kasibu for 20 months, until February 27, 2008 after it had obtained an agreement with Bugkalots living in the primary impact zone.


Probe of defective projects in Mt Province finished


BONTOC, Mountain province – The fact-finding and monitoring teams dispatched by Malacanang and the Department of Public Works and Highways have completed their week-long mission to check on reported anomalies in the implementation of multi-million flagship projects here of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

Personnel from the Presidential Management Staff and the DPWH’s Bureau of Construction conducted various activities assigned to them by higher authorities to validate complaints on widespread anomalies in the implementation of projects along the phases II and III of the Halsema highway rehabilitation project and the improvement of the Bontoc-Tabuk-Tuguegarao road.

Among the vital activities of the team members include the coring test where random samples of concrete mix were taken for testing of compressive strength as well as the inspection of installed guardrails installed along critical sections of the roads.

The teams also documented on-going and completed works especially on the thickness and quality of the pavement for their references.

However, both teams refused to give their comments on their findings, saying that they will consolidate all the information and evidences they have gathered so that they could come out with a comprehensive report on the status of the flagship projects of the President in the region.

The activities done by the teams were witnessed by some of the complainants and technical personnel of the implementing agency and construction industry stakeholders here.

Engineer Mariano Alquisa, DPWH-CAR regional director, said that they are open for the conduct of investigations on purported anomalies in the implementation of the projects but not to the extent of using such complaints to harass them due to mere political affiliations.

It was learned that instead of concentrating in overseeing the implementation of the numerous projects, DPWH technical personnel and other construction industry stakeholders are now busy spending their time preparing documents and entertaining investigation teams just to address the unfounded, baseless and fabricated complaints being lodged by disgruntled individuals to various agencies.

Alquisa said there is nothing wrong with the reported defects and negative slippages in some of the packages because they can be corrected in the course of the completion of work.

He said a number of factors contribute to the defects in the implementation of projects, particularly road-right-of-way and unpredictable weather condition, but these could be addressed before the completion of works.

The DPWH official asserted that they are doing all means within their powers to ensure the quality implementation of the President’s priority projects so that beneficiaries will enjoy their fruits once completed.


Vizcaya farmers, gov’t move to stop citrus infestation


BAYOMBONG, Nueva Vizcaya – Provincial Agriculture officials downplayed the severity of citrus infestation in a remote mountain town here, while coordinating with local government units and farmers to prevent its spread.

The provincial agriculturist’s office said measures have been undertaken to contain Huang Long Bing infestation of Citrus farms in the province.

Perlita Manuel, agriculturist-in-charge of citrus here, said representatives from the Dept. of Agriculture regional office based in Tuguegarao City earlier met local citrus farmers, local agriculture officials and concerned agencies and group represented in the provincial citrus task force based in Kasibu town to map strategies to save the citrus industry in the province, considered as Cagayan Valley’s citrus capital.

“What was discussed was the proper management of citrus to maintain its marketability,” she said.

Manuel said as of now, citrus farmers in the area are identifying infected trees and cutting them down.

“This is sufficient to prevent the disease. Anyway, citrus are not like bananas that when gets infested with bunchy top you have to cut down all the banana plants nearby,” she said.

Manuel said most of the citrus plants affected by Huang Long Bing (also known as citrus greening disease) in Kasibu are those planted to Satsuma oranges, mandarin oranges, Ponkan oranges, and pomelo. “But of course not all citrus trees belonging to these varieties were affected,” she added.

Earlier, officers of the Malabing Valley Multi-Purpose Cooperative, which includes most of the province’s citrus farmers, had moved to control the disease, said to be widespread worldwide.


Engineer, miner, die in Tuba tunnel suffocation

TUBA, Benguet – Two males were killed of suffocation after they were trapped in a water source tunnel here at Millsite, Camp 6 on August 13 at 12:30 p.m.

Police identified the casualties as engineer Arnold Galicgic Yapyapan, 49, native of Bagnen, Bauko, Mountain Province and presently residing at Km 3, La Trinidad, Benguet and Jay-ar Sakew Apanan, 25, single, native of Baler, Aurora Province, employed at Camp 6, small scale mining owned by a certain Mateo Daping.

Investigation disclosed at about 9 a.m. that day, the victims together with a certain Rufino Basngi entered the water source tunnel to fix the pipes.

While they were inside, they collapsed due to lack of oxygen. However, Rufino was able to crawl out of the tunnel, immediately reported the incident and called a rescue team from Philex Mining Corp. The bodies were retrieved at about 4:45 pm. that day.


PMA entrance exam set August 26

FORT DEL PILAR, Baguio City – Officials of the Philippine Military Academy urged Filipino youth to take the PMA annual entrance examination on August 26 in 27 examination centers nationwide.

Capt. Dennis Solomon, PMA information officer said successful candidates would be provided free college education, stipends while studying and a progressive career as an officer in the Philippine Army, Philippine Navy or Philippine Air Force.

To qualify for PMA Class 2012, an applicant must be a natural born Filipino citizen; of good moral character; single and never been married; must be at least 5’4” in height if male and 5’2” if female; not more than 6’4” tall; not a day older than 22 years old and not a day younger than 17 years on April a, 2008.

Applicants should be at high school graduates with a minimum general average of 85% or a senior high school student with a general average of 85% during 3rd year, and able to perform the minimum requirements for physical fitness test.

Walk-in applicants are also accepted. They are advised to bring the following documents for processing: Form 137, NSO birth certificate and 2 pieces 2x2 ID picture with white background.

Applicants are also advised to prepare for the examination covering algebra, geometry, grammar, composition, reading comprehension, verbal and numerical reasoning and pattern analysis.

Application forms are available at the nearest AFP/PNP units. Interested applicants may apply through mail and on-line via


Pangasinan gov’t demands P179-M taxes from Napocor


LINGAYEN, Pangasinan – The provincial government is demanding payment of more than P179.7 million in unpaid real property taxes from the National Power Corp. for its coal-fired power plant in Sual town.

In a special session on August 9, the provincial board approved a resolution authorizing Gov. Amado Espino Jr. to enter into and sign in behalf off the province any settlement agreement with Napocor for the real property tax assessments on machinery, equipment and other improvements, including penalties and surcharges, in the Sual power plant.

According to the approved resolution authored by second district board member Vob Mark Mendoza, the municipal treasurer of Sual, as deputy of the provincial treasurer in the collection of real estate taxes, has sent the Napocor demand letters, the latest of which was last July 5, and notice of delinquencies requiring it to settle its unpaid real property taxes.

Last July 18, the provincial board of assessment appeals issued an order denying Napocor’s petition seeking exemption from the payment of real property taxes on machinery and equipment.

On July 30, Espino’s office received a letter dated July 17, 2007 from NAPOCOR president Cyril del Callar, expressing the state-run corporation’s intention to come up with a reasonable settlement with the provincial government on the assessed real property taxes.

Mendoza said there is a need for the province to look into the rationality of Napocor’s proposal, as stated in Callar’s letter, considering that it is the company’s standard offer on its real property tax settlements with other local government units.

Mendoza said the province wants to collect the real property taxes from Napocor at the soonest possible time and in the most reasonable terms benefiting the province.

Provincial treasurer Ramon Crisostomo, who attended the provincial board’s session to comment on the issue, said he favors such a move as it might expedite the tax collection from Napocor.

Crisostomo said the tax arrears were from the entire 2006 to July this year.


Lara confident of retaking Cagayan governor’s post


TUGUEGARAO CITY – The governorship row in Cagayan is far from over.

This, after former Gov. Edgar Lara said after more than a month since he lost his governorship, the Commission on Elections would issue a resolution within the next few days for him to retake the post which he had held for two consecutive terms.

Lara, who enjoyed a slim head only to lose it in last month’s re-canvassing of election returns (ERs), said his lawyers are confident the poll body’s second division would nullify the proclamation of his rival, Gov. Alvaro Antonio.

“We have a strong case here, that’s why we are anticipating a ruling favorable to us very soon or within the month,” said Lara, who belongs to the Nationalist People’s Coalition.

For his part, Antonio, a former three-term mayor of Alcala town, declared he is still the legitimate governor of Cagayan unless the Comelec rules otherwise.

“Right now I’m still the governor until the Comelec will say otherwise. Governor Lara, being a lawyer, should know it,” he said, dispelling rumors over his possible ouster.

Antonio also cleared Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile, a native of this province, of allegation that he “engineered” his victory by allegedly exerting influence on the Comelec.

Enrile, together with the politically influential Mamba led by third district Rep. Manuel Mamba, supported Antonio in the May 114 elections.

“He (Sen. Enrile) campaigned for me in the last elections but never manipulated the results of the elections here,” said Antonio, who ran under the Administration’s Lakas-CMD.

A day after the re-canvassing pf the questioned ERs, the which led to Antonio’s proclamation and eventual oath taking as governor on July 9, Lara’s camp filed a motion before the Comelec’s Second division to nullify Antonio’s proclamation.

In the re-canvassing of the questioned ERs from Lallo town, Antonio obtained 175,484 votes as against Lara’s 174,822, of slim margin of 662 votes.

The result was a complete reversal of last May’s canvassing where Lara obtained 175,336 votes as against Antonio’s 174,731, or a difference of 605 votes.



I’ll definitely leave PNP when I retire: Calderon

CAMP OLIVAS, Pampanga – Philippine National Police chief Director-General Oscar Calderon said here he will definitely leave the police service when he reaches soon his mandatory retirement age.

He issued the statemen to erase suspicion that his appointment as PNP chief will be extended by President Arroyo.

Calderon told a group of top police and local officials here August 13 that he has 46 days more before he retires.

The PNP chief was in the Police Regional Police Office here to distribute equipment needed in the anti-crime drive, such as brand-new motorcycles and computers to the seven provinces and cities in Region 3.

Calderon mentioned the “imminent departure” of Chief Supt. Ismael Rafanan, incumbent Region 3 police director.

He said Rafanan’s “2-star rank” will come out soon and that he has to leave a regional post for a higher post.

The PNP chief said there are now several influential people and top police officers lobbying for the post to be vacated by Rafanan and other positions that will be left vacant by the retirement of several top police in Camp Crame.

Calderon did not mention who would replace Rafanan, but newsmen learned that Chief Supt. Errol Pan, incumbent head of the traffic Management Group, could possibly assume the post of regional director here on Aug. 22.

Earlier reports stated that Chief Supt. Ricardo Padilla, deputy chief of NCR Police office, is the most probable successor of Rafanan. But a source said that a powerful politician in Region 3 is opposing the nomination.

Garcia, who had donated patrol vehicles and computers to the Bataan Police Office, was the only governor who graced the rites here for the turnover of 101 motorcycles and computer.



Quake hits parts of Central Luzon

SAN JOSE CITY --- A magnitude 3.6 tectonic earthquake shook parts of central Luzon on August 13 but caused no damage and casualties, the Philippine Institute if Volcanology and Seismology said.

Philvolcs director Dr. Renato Soliman said the quake struck at 12:22 p.m. and was centered 32 kilometers southeast of Palayan City, Nueva Ecija.

The tremor, with a depth of two kilometers, was felt Intensity 3 in Dingalan, Aurora and Intensity 2 in Palayan City. A movement along the Philippine Fault Zone caused the tremor, Solidum said, adding that there were no aftershocks recorded.

Tectonic pertains to the structure or movement f the earth’s crust. The Philippine is part of the so-called “Ring of Fire” of volcanic islands along the quake-prone western rim of the Pacific Ocean. – Liam Anacleto



Steady supply of upland veggies assured -- execs

LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – Farmers and local officials here assured steady supply of highland vegetables to the lowlands despite heavy downpour in the Cordillera the past weeks.

The steady supply of vegetables to the lowlands was indicated by the oversupply of farm products at the vegetable trading post here in the past several days amidst the continuous rains, an indication that the downpour has not disrupted the supply chain.

Local officials said assurance of a steady supply off vegetables from the this province is expected to prevent smugglers from using the downpour as a reason to bring imported vegetables from China.

This would mean produce of local farmers could meet the demand of buyers in Metro Manila, local officials said.

It had been the practice of unscrupulous people to take advantage of the heavy rains and landslides in the cordillera to justify the importation of vegetables.

There is an artificial shortage if the local product is not brought to the trading post on time and there are no vegetables for the buyers to purchase for their customers in the lowlands and Metro Manila.

The Cordillera and other parts of Luzon continue to experience heavy rains spawned by typhoons “Chedeng” “Dodong” and “Egay.”

It was learned that some 200 truckloads of newly harvested vegetables were not brought the trading post here because there was no buyer from the lowlands and Metro Manila.

So far, there was no report of damage caused to the agriculture sector here by the continuous heavy rains.

The infrastructure ands agriculture sectors frequently suffer from damages when natural calamities like typhoons hit the country especially during the rainy season.

Some 250,000 residents in the 13 municipalities of Benguet rely on vegetable farming as their primary source of income.

This vegetable-producing province supplies at least 80 percent of the vegetable needs of the country.

However, leaders of several farmers groups said that the province could supply the vegetable demand of the country if it is given a chance to do so.

At least 300 truckloads of vegetables leave daily the trading post here to deliver the produce to the lowland and Metro Manila markets.

Stabbed victims escape death

CAMP DANGWA, Benguet -- Two separate incidents of stabbing were reported last week in the towns of Itogon and La Trinidad, Benguet last week.

The first incident happened on August 13, at about 11 p.m. at Bunk house 5, Balatoc Mines, Virac, Itogon wherein one Ismael Avelino y Sawey 19, miner, single of Aluling, Cervantes, Ilocos Sur and presently residing at Virac was allegedly stabbed by one Alex Lumpisa y Bulayoc, 35, married of Banao, Mountain Province and residing at Bunk house 2 of the same place.

Investigation disclosed the two were having a drinking spree when the suspect suddenly stabbed the victim once at the back using a bladed object.

The victim was rushed to the Baguio General Hospital and was confined for medical treatment. The suspect was later apprehended by Barangay Tuding police of Itogon upon positive identification by witnesses.

In another incident on August 14 around 12 noon at FA -160 Copite Bulding, km 5, Balili, La Trinidad, Benguet, a staff nurse of the Baguio General Hospital was stabbed by one Mapang-at, native of Leseb, Bauko, Mountain Province.

The suspect knocked at the door of the victim identified as Leo Bantawan y Manino, 31 of Leseb, Bauko who was residing at the boarding house of the victim.

Investigation disclosed the suspect introduced himself as his cousin and townmate and went to the victim’s room purportedly to sleep.

However, when Mapnag-at was inside, he allegedly strangled the victim with the use of a cord but the victim fought back.

The suspect stabbed Bantawan on his left abdomen and lacerated his neck and left arm. The suspect immediately ran outside when the victim shouted for help.

Bantawan is now confined at BGH-Baguio. The victim narrated that he might have been robbed of his belongings if he did not fight back.



Drought causes heavy crop losses; P67M in Ifugao, P48M in LU


LAGAWE, Ifugao — Two municipalities of this province suffered damage to corn crops estimated at P67 million as a result of the drought that hit the country, the agriculture office here reported.

In La Union, meanwhile, it was reported that the drought adversely affected 19,112 farmers and caused crop damage estimated at P48,874,900,

The Ifugao agriculture office reported destroyed corn plants were either in their reproductive stage or early maturity when these were hit by the dry spell.

As a result, the plants had wilted and had no chance of recovery.

Although these were initial reports from the municipalities of Aguinaldo and Alfonso Lista, the damage is expected to rise when the assessment is conducted in all the municipalities of the province.

The two towns were monitored first because these are considered the top corn producers of the province.

Aguinaldo registered an area of more than 1,000 hectares of corn farms, with total loss placed at P15,292,706, while in Alfonso Lista, the drought destroyed 3,612 hectares of corn plants valued at P51,681,000.

The drought in the two municipalities adversely affected 1,445 farmers in Aguinaldo, and 12,035 in Alfonso Lista.

A team that conducted the monitoring and assessment said if the dry spell continued, greater damage would have been incurred.

It would have also caused damage to rice farms as well as the corn plants that are given a slight chance of recovery.

The teem said there are still no reported damage to rice farms here because the Magat Dam is still supplying sufficient irrigation water, but they didn’t know if there would be damage in the coming months although they were closely monitoring the situation.
However, with typhoon "Chedeng" that brought rains for two days, there is hope for recovery of the plants, thus averting further damage to farm crops.

The team, which is composed of personnel of the Department of Agriculture’s Cordillera Regional Office, the Provincial Agriculture Office and the Bureau of Agricultural Statistics, is still busy gathering assessment reports from all the municipalities to enable it to determine the extent of the damage as well as possible intervention measures.

The team said after consolidating the reports, it will send copies to the Provincial Disaster Coordinating Council of Ifugao for evaluation and action.

In La Union, it was reported that of the province’s 20,977 hectares of rice farms, 12,416 hectares were devastated by the drought.

As intervention measure, the provincial government headed by Gov. Manuel Ortega assisted the farmers by giving them seeds and seedling for early maturing crops such as cassava, legumes, corn and other vegetables.

DPWH implementing P175M Ifugao infrastructure projects

LAGAWE, Ifugao – The Department of Public Works and Highways here is implementing State of the Nation Address projects, 25 regular projects and 45 Lower House projects with a total amount of P175.7 million.

Engineer Eugene Batalao, DPWH district engineer disclosed saying the fresh investment includes the P30 million SONA project which involves the concreting of the road spanning from Viewpoint to Awan-igid Section, Banaue for P10 million, Awan-Igid to Sumigar section, Banaue for P10 Million and the Sumigar to Mt. Polis Section still in Banaue for another P10 million.

For the DPWH regular projects, Batalao said the amount of P125.7 million will be for the widening and concreting of provincial roads.

It also includes construction and road openings of the Banaue-Hungduan-Benguet Boundary road ( Banaue-Hungduan-Benguet Bdry Road) and the Banaue-Hungduan-Bengeut Bdry. Rd. (Benguet boundary Road. Hungduan) which will link Hungduan town in Ifugao to Benguet.

The Lower House projects under the Congressional funds amounting to P20 million include concreting, widening, construction and road openings, construction of highway bridges, repair/rehabilitation of access roads, buildings and other structures, artesian well conduits and other public infrastructure .distributed from across the province.

Based on DPWH records, most of regular and lower house projects were already issued notice to proceed. Some projects have not yet completed pre-tendering and pre-construction preparations.

According to DPWH, they are confident that all of the listed projects shall be implemented as soon as civil works are completed and problems on road right of way for some identified project sites shall have been resolved.

Batalao said the completion of these projects including carry-over projects of 2006 will create major impact on agriculture and tourism in the province as there will be easier access and transportation of agricultural produce to the centers of trade particularly in Bambang, Nueva Vizcaya and Baguio where most of vegetable produce of Ifugao farmers are brought.

With easier road access, commercial activities likewise will improve because of increased number of tourists, he added.



2 emission testing centers set in MP

BONTOC, Mountain Province - Securing Certificate of Emission Compliance (CEC) for motor vehicles in the province is now easier and cheaper with the recent establishment of two private emission testing centers in this capital-town.

The two emission testing centers are the Vic-Mars and the Saint Anne’s Emission Testing Center located at the Tarnate’s Hardware Compound and at the Derije Compound, respectively. Both centers are duly registered and accredited by Department of Trade and Industry and the Technical Education Skills Development Authority.

Owners of motor vehicles in the province previously had to bring their vehicles for smoke emission tests to Lamut, Ifugao or Baguio City where emission testing centers are located.

Republic Act 8749 known as ’Philippine Clean Air Act of 1999’ requires all motor vehicles to pass emission test before they are registered or are allowed to renew their registration. Vehicles whose emissions are within the emission standards are issued CEC by duly government accredited emission testing centers.

Health authorities said emission from motor vehicles is one of the major contributors to air pollution and also the main cause of respiratory diseases.

Christine Gomez, head of the Land Transportation Office here said with the recent computerization of their office, registration or renewal of registration of vehicles cannot be processed without first presenting a CEC.

She said that initially in their manual registration and in the absence of Emission Testing Center in the province, their office accept registration of vehicles even without showing a CEC but still their office require owners of vehicles to secure CECs as mandated in RA8749.

With the presence of emission testing centers in the province and with the computerization of LTO – Bontoc, Gomez said registration of motor vehicles is expected to increase. Bontoc is registering approximately 1,500 motor vehicles including tri-cycles yearly.



Baguio officials divided on merger of barangays

BAGUIO CITY – Barangay officials appear divided on the planned merger of the barangays despite a council session last week to thresh out the issue.

Barangay heads voiced out dissenting opinions on the proposed rationalization, which would reduce the number of barangays from the present 129 to just 47.

The council called for a single-agenda session to thresh out issues and to consult with barangay officials and concerned agencies like the Commission on Elections, the Dept. of Interior and Local Government and the Dept. of Budget and Management to help the body decide on the proposed merger, in time for the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections on Oct. 29.

Barangay officials who spoke for the merger cited the benefits of having lower number of barangays in terms of administrative and funding aspects.

Punong barangay Editha Ibarra of Middle Quezon Hill said the merger would lead to the professionalization of the service and standardization of salaries of barangay heads and councils which will redound to benefits for the constituents.

She said the reduced number of barangays would also make it easier to manage on the part of the city government apart from the fact that it would in effect help the city comply with the requirements of the Local Government Code on the set up of the barangays.

On the other hand, those opposed to the idea cited concerns on the chances of smaller barangays to get a seat in the barangay councils and to get a share from the budgets should the merger be pursued. They also aired concern on the bigger responsibility that the merger would entail on the barangay officials.

Stressing that the consultation would continue until all questions have been answered, the body then asked the barangay councils to conduct their own consultations on the issue in their respective barangays and to submit a position paper based on the outcome of their consultations.

If the merger would be approved, a plebiscite will be held before the elections to determine if the merger would be acceptable to the barangays.

During the session, the body was also able to clarify some issues with the Comelec, DILG and the DBM.

Issues on the funding requirements and on the protracted salaries of the winning barangay officials were cleared.

As to the fate of barangays which will reject the merger, lawyer Tomas Kiwang Jr. of the DILG explained that barangay clusters which will vote for yes will be merged and whose which will vote no will remain in a status quo. Should a majority of the barangays in one cluster vote yes, barangays that will vote no if included in the same cluster would automatically be included in the merger regardless of its no vote.

The body said further consultations will be conducted on more issues.

The aldermen agreed to inquire on the following:

For Comelec chair Benjamin Abalos, the body sought to inquire on whether or not it is allowed that the city ordinance on merging shall have a transitory provision that in the first election after the plebiscite, the Sangguniang Barangay members to be elected shall be proportionate to the population of the barangays prior to the merging. “Can the ordinance on barangay merging have a transitory provision that in the first election after the plebiscite, each barangay of a cluster should have a member or members in the SB (of the clustered barangay) proportionate to the population of each barangay prior to the merging?”

The same query will be posed to DILG Secretary Ronaldo Puno in addition to clarification on whether or not the punong barangays and barangay officials who run and won in the previous barangay elections for three consecutive terms are prohibited from running in the 2007 barangay election; and what effect of the merger of the barangays on the eligibility of a three-termer barangay official on his running for elective barangay position in the merged barangay.

For DILG Cordillera regional director Everdina Echalar-Doctor, the body asked on the interpretation of the phrase, “in the local government unit or units directly affected” as found in Section 385 of the Local Government Code which provides that “A barangay may be created, divided, merged, abolished, or its boundary substantially altered, by law or by an ordinance of the sangguniang panlalawigan or sangguniang Panlungsod, subject to approval by a majority of the votes cast in a plebiscite to be conducted by the Comelec in the local government unit or units directly affected within such period of time, as may be determined by the law or ordinance creating such barangay.”

For city legal officer Melchor Carlos Rabanes, the body sought a legal opinion on what will happen to clustered barangays that will oppose the merger.

The body also asked the local finance committee to prepare the financial figures relative to the Internal Revenue Allotment of the barangays proposed to be merged.

Palace releases P12 million for Baguio infrastructure projs

BAGUIOCITY – The Office of the President, through the Department of Budget and Management, approved the release of P12 million to fund the implementation of various infrastructure projects in this mountain resort city that would improve the delivery of basic services to the people.

The said amount was requested by Baguio City Rep. Mauricio G. Domogan from former Senator Juan Flavier who had been instrumental in improving various health and education facilities here.

Budget Secretary Rolando Andaya, Jr. identified the projects where the amount will be utilized which includes the construction of classrooms at the Baguio City National High School(BCNHS) Annex at San Vicente barangay – P8 million; construction of multi-purpose building at Gabriela Silang – P2 million and construction of a multi-purpose building at Balsigan barangay – P2 million.

He added that the allotment released shall be valid for obligation up to December 31, 2007.

Furthermore, the P12 million allotments authorized by the agency shall be used solely for the purposes indicated in the Special Allotment Release Order and that releases shall be made in accordance with existing budgeting, accounting and auditing rules and regulations.

Andaya disclosed that it is the primary responsibility of the head of the department, bureau or agency to keep expenditures within the limits of the amount allotted.

Earlier, Domogan requested a total of P25 million from former Senator Flavier to fund the implementation of various priority infrastructure projects in the different parts of the city but only P12 million was released since the senator ended his term last June 30, 2007.

Flavier had been instrumental in the construction of the P549 million five-storey annex building of the Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center, the various structures at the BCNHS Main Campus where he happens to be an alumnus, the completion of the P55 million structure of the Baguio health department and the construction of vital roadlines and multi-purpose buildings in the city.

Local officials here hailed the two-time senator for his vital contribution sin the development of the city, especially in improving the delivery of health care services and the provision of quality education to the people.

In return, the BCNHS named several of its structures Flavier buildings in memory of the lawmaker’s support to his Alma Mater. – Dexter See

North Luzon projects on to boost business, income

BAGUIO CITY -- Millions of pesos worth of major infrastructure projects are now ongoing in north Luzon to boost business.

When completed, the major infrastructure projects in the Northern Agribusiness Quadrangle (NLAQ) Super Region will also boost crop yield in the area and increase farmers’ income.

Roy S. Imperial, NLAQ project manager said these ongoing infrastructure projects are key components in the vision of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to transform regions 1, 2, 3, Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), and northern parts of Aurora (north of Baler), Tarlac (north of Tarlac City), Nueva Ecija (north of Cabanatuan City), and Zambales (north of Subic), as a thriving food production area and source of food for Metro Manila and other major population centers in Luzon.

Imperial said under the government’s NLAQ program, seven major transport, irrigation, power and post-harvest infrastructure projects were targeted for completion in 2010.

However, construction and development works for the Benguet Cold Chain System were already completed. The system, he said, was inaugurated by President GMA last March 19, 2007.

The cold chain system has the following components: building with cold storage, fruit and vegetable washer, stainless working tables, work shed and a pre-cooler.

The Halsema highway is a major road network in the Cordillera heartland connecting the provinces of Benguet, Mt. Province and Ifugao.

This highway is the main artery that connects these provinces to the Sabangan-Cervantes Road, Bontoc-Tuguegarao Road and other minor road networks.

Under the Halsema Highway Project, a report furnished by DA Secretary Arthur C. Yap, Development Champion for Luzon in his report to the President indicated that the Mt. Data-Bontoc Section has received an initial release of Php 340 million out of the allocation of Php 1 billion.

The 13 sections are now on-going and 7 sections are on the mobilization stage. Meanwhile, Php 189 million was initially released to the Bontoc-Banaue section with 7 sections now on-going and 4 are on the mobilization stage, the report said.

An amount of Php 112 million was received by the regional office of the and district engineer’s office of the DPWH for civil works under the Bontoc-Tabuk-Tuguegarao Road Project for the Bontoc-Tinglayan Boundary

Secretary Yap also reported that an amount of Php 220 million constituting Php 120 million for relocation and resettlement works and Php 100 million for rehabilitation of Agno River has been released to the Agno River Integrated Project in Pangasinan. Yap said that as of May 2007, an overall accomplishment of 89.5 percent has been achieved with an area coverage of 2,173 hectares.

The Casecnan Multi-purpose Irrigation and Power Project (CMIPP) in Nueva Ecija has an overall accomplishment of 83.87 percent.

The Banaoang Pump Irrigation Project (BPIP) in Ilocos Sur has acquired full road right of way (ROW) in the construction of pumping station, substation, and approach channel, 75% in main canal construction and 10% in lateral canals.

The Airport Development Projects in Basco, Ibayat, Bagabag, Lal-lo, and Casiguran have completed its respective detailed estimates, scope and program of works. An allocation of Php 51.9 million for these projects have been approved while Php 15 million was released for the rehabilitation of the Casiguran airstrip, according to Secretary Yap.

Some delays are being encountered in the implementation of the Dingalan Port Development Project and Port Irene Development Project due to unfavorable weather.

Baguio-Aritao road nearly done; seen to ease travel to Region 2

BAGUIO CITY – The Baguio-Aritao road project is now around 90 percent finished but it will be fully completed by March next year. When done, travel to Kalinga, Ifugao and other provinces in Region 2 would be greatly reduced.

This was bared during the recent Baguio-Aritao Road Improvement Project Monitoring Advisory Group meeting wherein the project engineer and the contractor bared the new completion date is March 28, 2008 after the Department of Public Works and Highways approved in principle a 147 calendar days extension.

The project was earlier set for completion this coming Oct. 14.

Despite the accomplishment, the contractor requested for an extension due to some problems encountered in the project implementation such as difficulty in hauling cement to the Ambuclao bypass road and limited mobilization of heavy equipment because of the 15 tons limit being implemented by National Power Corporation at the Ambuklao spillway.

Another reason cited was erratic weather condition. Engineer Benjamin Bautista of the DPWH Philippine –Japan Highway Loan project management office reported that as of July 25, actual accomplishment is 92.926 percent with a slippage this month of -2.622 percent.

With only a balance of 5.5 kilometers to be paved, concreting would be completed in two months time except for some critical portions.

The remaining works would be the two bridges and the Ambuklao bypass road, which involves the construction of reinforced earth wall at the end of the 1.72 km by pass road, he said.

Explaining the delay, Bautista said the contractor had problems on moving heavy equipment and cement to the sites after the Napocor during the course of the project strictly implemented a 15-tons load limit over the Ambuklao spillway.

Heavy equipment have to pass through the other way while the contractor had to adopt a scheme in which only one half of the supposed load of cement is transported in a trip.

Bial Palaez, BMAG co-chair, said the completion date being printed is important especially for planning business propositions like tours.

He said the completion date means the project is fully finished including documentation. As the shortest alternative route from Nueva Vizcaya to Benguet cutting down travel time by almost one half via San Jose, Nueva Ecija, the Baguio Aritao road is seen to boost tourism in the area.

Bautista said at the moment, travelers can travel through the road with relative comfort.

The Baguio to Ambuklao stretch is now all paved with a little portion near the boundary to be concreted very soon.

From the 6-8 hours travel time from Baguio to Aritao junction, it is now three to three and one half hours , he said.

Osmondo Hortaleza, project manager of CAVDEAL, said baring any unforeseen problems, the 147 calendar days extension would be enough for them to complete the project.

DPWH regional Director Mariano Alquiza appealed to the contractor to finish the project earlier.

CAVDEAL is the contractor of the Baguio-Aritao Contract Package 1 from Baguio to Pangawan, Kayapa Section(Benguet side) covering 68.128 kms. Contract Package II, Pangawan-Kayapa-Aritao Section(Vizcaya side) had already been completed and inaugurated by President Arroyo last January.

The Baguio-Aritao road is a major component of the Cordillera Roads Improvement Project to interlink the Cordillera with neighboring provinces to enhance the socio-economic activities in the areas.

Investing in physical infrastructure to increase business confidence and improve the lives of the people is one of the priority agenda of the government. -- PIA



P61,000 shabu confiscated in Ilocos Sur

CAMP PRESIDENT QUIRINO, Ilocos Sur – In its bid to make Ilocos Sur a drug-free province, the police provincial office headed by Senior Supt. Jessie L. Cardona conducted a series of operations against illegal drugs, resulting in the confiscation of shabu worth some P61,000.

Reporting to Chief Supt. Leopoldo N. Bataoil, Region 1 police director, and Ilocos Sur Gov. Deogracias Victor “DV” Savellano, Cardona said anti-drug operations were authorized by search warrants sued by judges in the province.

He said in the eight anti-drug operations, eight persons suspected to be drug pushers were arrested. Confiscated from them were 30.37 grams of high-grade shabu and marijuana.

Cardona said that cases have been filed in court against the suspects. The areas where the operations were conducted included Vigan City, towns of Narvacan, San Juan, Santiago, Sta. Maria, and Candon City. He said that more operations will be conducted until the province is free of illegal drugs.

Woman shot dead while playing cards

ASINGAN, Pangasinan – A woman was shot to death by unidentified men while she was playing cards with her neighbors in front of their house in Barangay Calepaan here, police said.

Police probers said Carmen Bulda Garcia, 54, married, of Barangay Calepaan, was shot three times with a Cal.22 Magnum.

Carmen was the only one who was shot, suffering wounds in the neck and chest. Two of her companions were unhurt.

Asingan policemen reported the shooting took place at 10:30 p.m. on August 11. The victim was brought to the Sacred Heart Hospital in Urdaneta City, but she was declared dead on arrival.

Three bullets shells were found at the crime scene. Police probers were still trying to determine the motive in the killing. – Jennelyn Mondejar

Girl killed by brother after heated argument

LAOAC, Pangasinan – A girl was killed yesterday Aug. 12 in Barangay Balligi here by his elder brother after a heated argument.

Donata Nerona, 20, single, was found bathed with blood by her neighbors.

She was hit with a steel pipe and electrical pliers by his brother, Norlito Nerona, 33, single, police said.

Police said at about 7:30 a.m. on Aug. 12, Norlito and Donata had a heated argument.

The victim, who suffered injuries in the body, was brought to a hospital but she was declared dead on arrival.

Some neighbors reportedly tried to pacify Norlito, but failed.

Later, municipal police chief Senior Insp. Federico Mina Jr. arrested the suspect. A simple misunderstanding caused the killing, he said.

Charges of homicide will be filed against the suspect, Mina said. – Jennelyn Mondejar

British national, Bantay man arrested for estafa

BAGUIO CITY – Cops nabbed a British national here on August 12 for estafa.

Christopher Nolan Junior Dean Telesford, 26, single and resident of Valdez Compound, Bakakeng Norte was arrested by Precinct 10 policemen PO3 Junifer Apilado and PO1 Julius Tiangao following a a warrant of arrest issued by Judge Illuminada Cabatu of Regional Trial Court Branch 59 with a recommended fixed bail bond amounting to P20,000.

Telesford was detained at the Baguio City Jail.

Earlier, police arrested one Armando Ferrer y Lopez, 47, married, native of Bantay, Ilocos Sur and a resident of Manuel Roxas St., Lower Brookside, Baguio City on August 11 also for estafa.

A warrant of arrest issued by Judge Isidro Podre of RTC Branch 72 of Narvacan, Ilocos Sur with a recommended bail bond of P80,000.00.

Ferrer was detained at the Baguio City Jail.

Businesswoman shot dead in Dagupan City

DAGUPAN CITY – A businesswoman here was shot dead by two unidentified men in Puelay, Caranglaan District, it was reported.

Supt. Paquito Navarrete, Dagupan deputy chief police, identified the victim as Maria Joey Licudine y Villaluz, resident of Puelay, Caranglaan District.

Investigation showed that at about 7:20 a.m, on August 8, Licudine was walking on a street here when the two gunmen fired at her at close range.

The victim suffered multiple bullet wounds in the body.

Police probers said the killing might have something to do with the victim’s business or love triangle. – Jennelyn Mondejar

Gapan market fire destroys P30-M worth of property

GAPAN CITY – The pre-dawn fire on August 5, reportedly caused by faulty electrical wiring and razed the public market here caused P30 million damage to property, police said.

The public market is located in half-hectare lot near the old City Hall right at the center of the city.

Supt. Marlon D. Bingcang, police chief, told Mayor Ernesto Natividad that the fire, which reached Alarm No. 5, broke out at 2:45 a.m. that night and was placed under control by firefighters at 6 a.m.

Bingcang reported joint forces of the Traffic Management Group and city police secured the area as the fire came at a time when the storeowners had stocked big volume of grocery items in preparation for the celebration of the sixth anniversary of Gapan as a component city on Aug. 25.

The event is also called the “Tsinelas Festival.” The four-hour blaze destroyed the vendors’ stalls and their stocks.

The four-hour inferno was aggravated by explosions of several LPG tanks kept in the place.

At the time of the fire, there was no watchmen on duty who could have alerted the firemen at their station just a block away, fire victims said.

Cops recover 3 stolen cows, nab 2 suspects

URBIZTONDO, Pangasinan – Bayambang police headed by chief of police Supt. Rolie M. Saltat and Urbiztondo police station headed by police of police Chief Insp. Ramon Gamboa conducted operations against cattle rustling in Barangay Inanlorenza, this town.

The operation led to the arrest of suspected cattle rustlers identified as Rey Quitaleg y Bulatao, 36, married, farmer, of Barangay Balite SUr, and Alfredo Gonzales y Baustista, 40, single, farmer, of Barangay Bacnar, both of San Carlos City, Pangasinan.

The policemen recovered from the suspects two female cows and one male cow, all valued at P70,000.

The cows are owned by Eusebio Asuncion y Catsillan of Barangay Inanlorenza. The suspects were detained in the Urbiztondo police station and charges have been filed against them in court.



Funding for priority projects of depressed towns now available

Interested fourth to sixth to municipalities in northern Luzon may now submit project proposals to the Dept. of Interior and Local Government to fund priority projects.

Municipalities may now avail of DILG loans to implement “millennium development goals projects” after the agency and Department of Finance signed last week a memorandum of agreement that would make available P500 million for re-lending.

The MOA was signed last week by DILG Secretary Ronaldo V. Puno and DOF Secretary Margarito B. Teves at the Pan Pacific Hotel in Manila. Puno said the amount shall come from the MDG-Fund, a lending facility which offers easy financing to eligible LGUs particularly 4th to 6th class municipalities to finance projects that will directly contribute to the attainment of the MDGs.

MDGs are policies envisioned to address poverty, ensure human development and build prosperity for the greatest number of Filipinos. The MDG has six priority areas of concern namely, eradication of poverty and hunger, primary education, promotion of gender equality, reduction of child mortality, improvement of women’s reproductive health and combat HIV/AIDs, malaria and other diseases.

The MDG fund is a joint undertaking of the Municipal Development Fund Office of the Department of Finance and the DILG to finance construction of school building, hospital, health station, training center; and procurement of equipment and service facilities such as heavy equipment, farm machinery, post-harvest facilities, among others.

Under the MOA, the DOF, through the Millennium Development Fund Office shall establish a technical working group; administer and maintain the financing requirement of the fund to ensure that this is available to address LGU demand for financial assistance, lead in the appraisal of proposals endorsed by the DILG as well as evaluate their viability; oversee and process the fund releases for projects; conduct periodic evaluation of on-going projects, among others.

The DILG on the other hand, shall coordinate with the MDFO the status of financing requirement of the MDG fund; lead in the conduct of advocacy and marketing of the fund to eligible LGU beneficiaries; provide technical assistance to LGUs to ensure that these are consistent with requirements.



‘Indecent’ women and holidays galore
Alfred P. Dizon

Men will always be women, Cassanova had quipped. The ageless playboy maybe correct as some members of the fairer sex often flaunt their femininity wearing almost nothing at all even in freezing weather. One could see them along Session Road in Baguio but nobody is complaining. If a woman walked along the popular thoroughfare wearing a see-through miniskirt in the 70s, it could have raised a howl among the conservatives. Not anymore where everybody is fair game.

Comes now the news that a policewoman who goes by the username “Queen Rubie” and assigned at the office of the Philippine National Police chief is now in hot water after she flaunted her femininity by posting an “indecent” photo of hers on the popular Friendster online community.
The policewoman’s controversial half-body shot showed her wearing only a red bra. Although the picture did not indicate that she was a policewoman with a rank of P02, Queen Rubie listed the PNP in her list of affiliations.

Reports had it that the National Police Commission, the agency of the government that administers and controls the PNP, had to dismiss charges of grave misconduct and conduct unbecoming of an officer against Queen Rubie because of failure of the complainant to show up.

Corazon Santos, a parent claimed she was scandalized when she saw the picture being browsed by her 11-year old son on Friendster, an Internet social network service. Queen Rubie was reportedly waiting for the right forum or venue to air her side but this never came because Santos never showed up.
The policewoman said the photo which was used as basis in filing the charges against her before the Napolcom was not “indecent and unacceptable” as pictured by Santos. Queen Rubie was quoted as saying other policewomen had posted pictures more scandalous than hers. Despite this, PNP chief Oscar Calderon transferred her to another post.

I guess Calderon just didn’t want the issue to be blown out of proportion like a miniskirt during a storm. We don’t think a picture of a woman wearing a bra or a panty is indecent. One could see such pictures everywhere – on huge billboards, magazines, newspapers or fashion or clothes brochures.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, goes an adage. If one sees evil in a woman wearing a panty or a bra, that is one’s opinion. But to impose one’s jaded idea of what is “indecent” on other people – that is indecent. Despite all these laws on indecency and pornography, one just knows whether a picture or act is indecent or not. Period.
As if this Banana Republic didn’t have enough holidays, this August, we will have two long weekends following the signing into law of Republic Act 9492 which rationalizes the celebration of national holidays.

The law mandates that most holidays, except those with religious significance, are moved to the nearest Monday. This will first be effected on Ninoy Aquino Day which falls on August 21, a Tuesday, which will now be automatically moved to August 20, a Monday.

National Heroes Day which is celebrated every last Sunday of August will now be celebrated last Monday of August. Thus, for this year, August 27 will also be a holiday.

The regular holidays namely Araw ng Kagitingan (April 9), Labor Day(May 1), Independence Day(June 12), Bonifacio Day (November 30) and Rizal Day( December 30) are now observed on the Monday nearest said dates.

The Republic Act signed by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo last July 25, stated: “In the event the holiday falls on a Wednesday, the holiday will be observed on the Monday of the week. If the holiday falls on a Sunday, the holiday will be observed on the Monday that follows.”

Exempted from holiday economics- that is, holidays will be observed on the date on which they fall are Christmas Day (Dec. 25), New Year’s Day (Jan. 1), All Saint’s Day (Nov. 1), last day of the year (Dec. 31), Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Sunday and Eid’l Fitre (movable dates).
President Arroyo, who coined the term holiday economics, introduced the policy in 2001 to encourage domestic tourism with employees having long weekends and to reduce disruption to business and production schedules.

The National Statistical Coordination Board figures showed that if tourism businesses and related industries increased by 10 percent as a result of the long weekends, the economy would experience a 3.5 percent growth in gross domestic product.

According to Malacanang, with this law, employers will now be able to plan out their work schedule without interruption since holidays are already known unlike before when there were sudden announcements of special non-working holidays which interrupt business.
Under the country’s labor laws, employers must pay 200 percent of the daily rate to those employees who report for work on legal holidays like New Year’s Day, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Eid’l Fitr, Araw ng Kagitingan, Labor Day, Independence Day, National heroes Day, Bonifacio Day, Christmas Day and Rizal Day.

On special holidays, employers must pay 30 percent over the regular rate. These are the Ninoy Aquino Day, All Saints Day, Dec. 31, and holidays that may be declared from time to time by the President.

If one lumps all the holidays in a year, it would seem there are more days for leisure than work. Even in the workplace of government offices, one could see more time is being allotted for play than productive work. The other employees are busy selling anything from panties to puto.
So to the so-called disgruntled employees who complain of not having enough time, what are you complaining about?



Killing the agriculture budget
Ike ‘Ka Iking’ Señeres

I agree with Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap that the study of the Department of Budget and Management to cut down the budget of the Department of Agriculture is premature. However, I believe that these two agencies should conduct dialogs to find common grounds of agreement right away, as both of them may have strong points that are beneficial to the national interest.
“White man speaks with forked tongue”, so said the Indians about the Cowboys who could not understand what the white folks are saying. Even if the Indians would understand, they would still suspect that there is something warped or wicked about the whites are saying, thus prodding them to be careful about what they would believe or not.

As I read through the report about the DBM study, I found it difficult to figure out what they were really saying, but somehow I sensed that in so many words, they were trying to write the death sentence to Philippine agriculture.
Reading between the lines, I think that the DBM was saying that if the DA will continue to support Philippine agriculture, it will only cause the national deficit to worsen, and as a consequence it would also increase our national debt servicing burden.

I am not sure if the DBM consulted the National Economic Development Authority about their study, but somehow, someway, the DBM should have also looked at the macroeconomic and econometric effects of public investments in agriculture, regardless of what or how the national books of account would look like. By the way, as far as I recall, the Palace has already declared the non-existence of a fiscal crisis.
An economic analyst shared with me the visual picture of a mother who is very proud about how big her bank deposits are, ignoring the fact that her children have no more food to eat on their table. In this example, the analyst says that the fictional mother suffers from misplaced priorities, as she has made the fiscal health of her household her top priority, setting aside the physical health of her children. Analyzing what the DBM said in its report, it seemingly wants to cut down on agriculture spending so that it could balance its books of accounts, ignoring the fact that they are putting the survival of farming families on the balance.
I understand that the DBM is specifically the guardian of the government’s fiscal health, while the NEDA on the other hand is generally the guardian of the country’s economic health. Given this reality, the NEDA should really step in as the referee in the fray between the DBM and the DA, putting the higher interest of our national economic health above all. To complete the quartet, they should also invite the Department of Trade and Industry to join the process, because the DTI would certainly know the supply and demand situation in relation to agricultural crops in the country.
Interpreting what the DBM said, it was in effect saying that after pumping so many millions of pesos into our agricultural economy, there appears to be no hope now and in the future that our rice production could ever increase, in effect saying also that future agricultural investment would not have any value added effects either. In other words, the DBM is saying that we should slow down in producing rice, and that instead, we should fast track our rice importation, transferring incentives instead to rice traders not growers.
It is disappointing to note that none of the four agencies- the DBM, the DA, the NEDA and the DTI have realized that it is now possible to increase rice production using only 100 percent organic fertilizers, in other words completely doing away with chemical fertilizers. It seems that these four agencies also have not heard that rice crops using organic fertilizers have been proven to be lesser dependent on chemical pesticides, therefore decreasing as well another major expense item in the overhead of farming families.
Although the signals of the DBM are really not that clear, it appears that it is blaming irrigation or the lack of it as the main reason for the apparent failure of rice production in our country up to now. It seems that the DBM bright boys are better in counting numbers than planting rice, because there is more to growing rice other than the water in the paddy. Not that I am trying to be a smart aleck, but it is actually possible to plant rice without digging irrigation canals, relying only on plain and simple plumbing and even more simply trucking (i.e. using water trucks).
Setting aside water costs and labor costs, it is a well known fact that fertilizers and pesticides are the two biggest expense items of farming families. These are the two agricultural inputs that are actually bearing down these families, driving them down to poverty as a matter of fact. It is really just simple mathematics, but if only the farmers could reduce the costs of their agricultural inputs and correspondingly increase their selling prices, then they would end up with more profits, a way for them to get out of poverty. As an added advantage, the increased supply of food would also decrease the incidence of hunger in our country.
On the practical side, it is theoretically easier to reduce the costs of agricultural inputs than to increase selling prices, but there is a methodical way of dealing with this given challenge. Still on the practical side, there is no other way of reducing the costs of agricultural inputs except to teach the farmers how to make their own feeds and fertilizers and the good news is, we already found a scientific way of doing this.

This is precisely the subject matter of the seminars about “Integrated Farming System” that we are now offering through the Alliance of Philippine Rural and Urban Business. We have conducted two seminars already, and a third batch is now being scheduled.
For those who are reading my column for the first time, we are going to teach farmers to make their own feeds by growing their own yellow corn and vermin meal, sources of vegetable protein and animal protein respectively. Other than these, all they have to do is to add a feed mix supplement that would promote the full digestion of protein in the animal feeds, an ingredient that would also improve the meat conversion of the animals. Using the natural wastes from these animals, the farmers could also make their own fertilizers for their crops and trees.
Going back to our main subject, rice is definitely still a good crop to plant, because it has a sure market in this dominantly rice eating country. Proof of this is the fact that we are importing rice by the billions, a large source of domestic sales if only it could be produced locally. Sad to say, the DBM is in effect saying in their study that we should practically give up on local production, in effect becoming just a mere rice consuming economy.

On behalf of all the rice farmers in this country, I am calling on the DBM to give the DA a chance to make good on the rice productivity program, hopefully the latter would also give the IFS a chance. Since this is a matter of life and death for our farmers, I hope that the government would listen.
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Cooperatives: the dead and the dying
March Fianza

It is quite shocking that peoples’ cooperatives that are supposed to be assisted, supervised and taken cared of by the government are the ones that are found by their members to be grossly indebted, on the verge of financial collapse if not bankrupt.

It is either that there must be something wrong with the Cooperative Code that needs changing or there must be something wrong with the people tasked with the mandate of the Cooperative Development Authority – or both.

CDA records as of the middle part of this year revealed that 206 or 58 per cent of the 355 registered coops based in Baguio have stopped operations, while only 42 per cent representing 149 registered coops are still operating.

Breaking it down, of the 206 Baguio-based coops that were left to die recently; 52 were dissolved, 138 had their registrations cancelled and 16 simply became inactive and non-operational.

In Benguet, 225 cooperatives are still operational, representing 37 per cent of 607 registered cooperatives. The remaining 63 per cent or 382 coops have dissolved or have cancelled their registration as they were no longer operational.

Of the 382 coops that were dissolved, 220 had their registrations cancelled, 124 were dissolved and 38 slept and forgot to wake up.

Summing up the figures for only Baguio and Benguet, that excludes the CDA records for the whole Cordillera, there are 962 registered coops. Of that number, 588 coops or 61 per cent became non operational, were eventually dissolved or had their registrations cancelled. Only 374 or 39 percent are still functioning.

The numbers tell the truth. It only means that more cooperatives are dying, if not dead, as compared to the number of survivors. How many more coops registered with the CDA will die? By the way, I heard the unresolved problems of Sorsogon Electric Cooperative became worse when it registered.

Article 2, paragraph 2 of RA 6938 a.k.a the Cooperative Code of the Philippines states in part that government and its agencies shall ensure the provisions of technical guidance, financial assistance and other services to enable cooperatives to develop into viable and responsive economic enterprises and thereby bring about a strong cooperative movement … etc, etc.

The law was beautifully crafted by the best minds in congress in 1990. What makes it hard for the concerned agencies in implementing it is beyond our comprehension. They may be active in other matters other than looking after the sick and dying coops that they promised to assist and develop.

As we write, my friend Sly Quintos is fuming over the phone saying he has not taken a bath for forty days - forty nights because their water cooperative has stopped serving its members at Alapang, Trinidad where he lives. The name of their cooperative is Barangay Alapang Multi-Purpose Cooperative (Balmuco) headed by Marcelo Abela.

Sly Q said, “never mind the money and never mind the water because we can have that delivered.” What is painful is that the officers of Balmuco do not even have the temerity to tell us “hoy, o_i _ _ m Sly, awan maited ti coop nga danum tadta!”

We found out that the reason for the non-delivery of services is that Balmuco is indebted for unpaid electric bills amounting to P706,882.00 – enough reason for Beneco to disconnect the water coop’s power. Beneco disconnected the power of Balmuco several times, where the latter promised to pay its electric bills. Officials of the beleaguered coop also promised to issue post dated checks. The first three checks were good, the checks that followed bounced – meaning, Balmuco has no money to pay its electric bills.

Before this column is accused of taking sides, we say Beneco can not be faulted for disconnecting the power of Balmuco because it has to pay its bills with Transco and Napocor. If in case Beneco’s suppliers cut the power due to unpaid bills, all member-consumers will be affected, a scenario that Balmuco’s officers and their CDA supervisors can not answer for.

Cooperatives are good. There is no doubt about that. But, only of its officers manage the organization properly. Sly Q said the members only pay around P300 a month for Balmuco’s water service. Whatever happened, he now has to pay P500 per week for water delivery. Apparently, their coop failed in its duty to provide water for its members.

I was told Balmuco’s initial funds were provided by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the Japanese agency that also funded the Highland Rural Development Project (HIRUDP) in Trinidad in the early 1990s.

According to an informant who is also a member of Balmuco, the JICA fund was exclusively for a water cooperative. However, the coop branched out to other activities such as lending services and the cutflower industry. There is nothing illegal about that as it is indeed allowed by law. Problem is, if those members who availed of the coop’s lending service fail to return the money, the other services such as water delivery suffer.

The CDA should dip its fingers into the problem of Balmuco and the other dying coops as it is tasked by law to do that. If it can not even revive its sick cooperatives, how well can it be able to supervise an electric cooperative? What more?

Recall that CDA advocates have been urging Beneco member-consumers to convert to stock cooperative and register under its wings. The Balmuco experience is a typical example of how CDA can revive or allow the ailing coop to just die. It can not be faulted if the coop dies, at least it can investigate into the dealings of Balmuco’s officers and why it ran bankrupt. But then again, maybe it was due to their guidance and supervision that Balmuco became ill.

By the way, Trinidad councilor Jim Botiwey noticed that the officers of Balmuco are the same people behind the water service application of nearby Barangay Shilan. This prompted him to launch an inquiry in the municipal council, before they endorse anything. –



A dangerous gang
Benito ‘Jong’ Molintas Jr.

SAN JACINTO CITY, California -- Torture, pain, blood, gore, initiation. These are some words which come to mind when one thinks of gangs. There are gangs in out here, but definitely not fraternities. They are dangerous and are wreaking havoc.

I was in Grade six, when I first heard the word frat. Our elders said, “Frats, be careful of them. You should not be induced by these dangerous folks.” Those were clear statements of my mentors during my younger days in the Philippines. Fraternities were then becoming famous in Baguio, Manila, among others. When I became a teacher, that word was still being heard, associated to peer groups. Fraternities were acknowledged by communities as potent groups then and it gave members a certain pride – however misplaced this was in most cases.

Gangs were also an issue those years, and members of these caused suffering among victims and their families, particularly those who lost their loved ones. I was still in the Philippines when a student was paddled to death and this became a hot issue. If killing, murder or physical abuse is part of these groups’ way of initiating members, this is definitely not brotherhood.

Gang are likewise rampant in the United States, especially in California wherein most of the murdered folk were suspected to have been killed by the M-14 gang. The group became a hot issue when some of them openly recruited community members. Some members of the gang are inside bars, yet they are becoming more potent with more recruits they are taking in.

Lately, a sensational murder in Los Angeles was allegedly done by a member of the group. The worst thing is that the victim came all the way from Central America just to join the group here leaving his wife and kids in their place only to be killed by his peers.

I can’t imagine people sacrificing their family just to join demonic groups. Worst, this gang is mushrooming not only in California, but other parts of the US and it is spreading throughout the world.

Let us protect our younger generation from groups and situations like this. Sometimes, with bad family environments, youngsters are induced easily by gangs and this leads to their dropping out from school.

Family heads and school authorities, I guess should work together to straighten the paths of our younger generation. Let us not risk our communities in gradually becoming a place of undesirable characters. Let us help them change. As what the magazine, which I just read says and I quote, “Blame the society for producing such criminals.”



Benguet lily-white at "Darkman"
Ramon Dacawi

Some might have scrimped on or skipped their refreshments at Hongkong’s Central where they meet on their Sundays off. Most are domestics, ordinary people drawn to the former British colony to help work out a better life for their families back home. Their space is around what they call “The Blackman”, a dark statue of Thomas Jackson who helped build the Hongkong Shanghai Banking Corp.

To them, the figure serves more as a marker on where to meet and to find them rather than inspiration for the simple, commoneconomic dream that drew them to Hongkong. They discuss news from home, mostly through the Baguio Midland Courier which arrives on Monday or Tuesday and distributed the next Sunday.

That’s how these overseas workers from the Cordillera learned about the plight of Filbert Almoza, a 24-year old ailing father who wants to be there when his 11-month old baby girl turns a year old. Until June last year, Almoza had a steady job as driver for a company concreting the Baguio-Nueva Vizcaya Rd. that traverses Camisong, a village in Itogon where his family lives with his parents.

That month he threw up blood. Doctors diagnosed kidney failure and advised regular dialysis for him to survive. Recently, his wife Lorena admitted they no longer could sustain the twice-a-week, blood-cleansing dialysis sessions pegged at P3,000 per round. Last week, Lorena said Filbert has been skipping some of his Tuesday and Friday appointments at the dialysis room of the Baguio General and Medical Center.

The Cordillera workers in Hongkong figured they could help, so Filbert could see his daughter Kathleen try to blow her first candle on Sept. 5. Gerald Antonio, Josephine Pascua and Lilibeth Dagas, officers of the Benguet Federation-Hongkong, one of several associations of overseas workers from the Cordillera, signed a letter-appeal they passed around.

The response yielded some 1,300 HKD (P7,445.49) in hard-earned money, probably including amounts intended for their Sunday coffee at Central. With dispatch, they sent it through BPI Remittance Centre (HK), under the account of Lorena. Relieved, she said the support gave her precious time to tap other Samaritans to maintain the treatment schedule. “Naanus da unay (They’re so kind),” Lorena said last week. She asked that the effort be published “as my family’s way of thanking them”.

The move recalls a similar effort in 1998 of pupils of the Suyoc Elementary School in Mankayan, Benguet. From their stipends, the kids raised some P200 they turned over to their teachers to help pay for the freedom of Avelino Apidos, an Igorot worker then languishing in jail in Saudi Arabia. Apidos was imprisoned after the truck he was driving developed mechanical trouble, ran over and killed a man.

Tried, he was sentenced to death by beheading, but was given the chance to live and be released provided he could pay “blood money” amounting to 75,000 riyals or about P750,000 then. Last word was that Apidos had been repatriated and now plies the Baguio-Tublay passenger jeepney route. He lives near the Sabkil area, along the same road to Almoza’s own home. The Hongkong workers’ support to Almoza was not their first.

Two years back, one of them, a woman and mother of two from La Trinidad, Benguet, sent cash support through three bank transmittals. It helped Tofi Estepa, now a six-year old boy, recover from brain tumor forwhich he underwent surgery three times. “I know how Tofi’s parents feel as I’m also a mother,” the donor said then. “Don’t mention my name; I just want to help,” she stressed in an overseas call she made to know she could contact the Estepa couple.

For years now, Cordillera workers in Hongkong have been celebrating their own version of Cordillera Day - with a difference. For one, they mark it on the Sunday closest to April 21, not July 15 as we do here. For another, they give a humanitarian dimension to their celebration to the beat of gongs at Central Park. The substance lies in their annual search for “Ms. Cordillera-Hongkong”, a popularity contest that raises funds for a community project here in the region.

The project is selected from several proposals presented and defended by members before a panel. Once the panel decides which project to undertake, a member going on vacation monitors its implementation in the chosen village. The Hongkong OFWs are not alone. Collectively or on their own, expatriates scattered in developed countries have been sending amounts for other patients here.

Among them is Freddie de Guzman, an architect in Canada who has already reached out to about 10 patients since April last year. He began by bankrolling the six chemotherapy sessions of a 49-year old widow and mother of nine. The patient, who lives in Sablan, Benguet, is now on remission from breast cancer.

Also unaffected by donor fatigue, an Ibaloi woman raising her daughter in Kentucky, also began last year a personal mission for the sick, including Almoza. Last week, she sent $230, in gratitude to celebrate her surviving cancer and in memory of an older sister who succumbed to the big C in June last year.

De Guzman recently transmitted P7,000 for Almoza’s dialysis. All he prays for, he said, is good health for his family so it can continue helping. Last month, Olive Agsaoay, a nurse in London, sent P2,000 which she asked her son Kelvin to deliver for a kidney patient. The Cordillera is also not wanting of locally based Samaritans. They include a Baguio family who now and then writes checks for other patients. Another, who also requested anonymity, just coursed P7,000 through bank vice president Rolly de Guzman of RCBC.

His or her previous donation of P6,000 was broken down as follows: P3,000 for the dialysis of kidney patient Jane Crispino, P2,000 for diabetic patient Juliet Agustin and P1,000 for Joshua Nacionales, a three-month old boy suffering from hemangioma.( for comments).



Travails of public officials
Edison Baddal

BONTOC, Mountain Province -- The assumption to office of a new crop of elective officials is usually accompanied by disorientation, dislocation and a general feeling of inconvenience on their part. This is due to the broad spectrum of responsibilities, functions and duties foisted on them and which they must have to attend to.

Also, the fact that an elective official‘s time and resources must be shared with the public adds to the heavy burden, particularly to the political subdivision where he has been elected. This runs true for all officials, either for national or local.

Public office, basically a many-faceted endeavor every which way, is no less discommoding and disheartening as burdens of a public officer are multiplied a hundredfold. What’s more, as his dependents are no longer confined to the members of the household but including all his constituents as well, which may run into tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands, his headaches correspondingly increase in intensity and range.

If anything, public office though a public trust and a repository of political power and authority, is never enviable as it is a thankless job. Public officials, who are themselves inherently human as everybody else, are not seldom under sharp and constant public scrutiny. The high expectations they engendered in their spiels and the gumption they personified during electoral campaigns that led to their electoral victories oftentimes prove to be their undoing as they are expected to deliver the bacon, sometimes unreasonably fast at that.

As always, any misfeasance, malfeasance and nonfeasance of a public official always invite vitriolic attacks from the public. Given the fact that constituents are so demanding, they usually carp on every detail of an official pronouncement. Or they simply fuss on imagined or perceived ramification of an official deed which virtually negates whatever good that may ensue in the process.

As a result, favorable acts rendered are often arbitrarily denied appreciation while a minor wrongdoing or facetious gaffe is blown out of proportion. And basically seeks the implacable public to revile the official provenance. As it is, public office in its entirety, is like a barbecue grill with the holder always subject to the smoldering embers of denunciation, remonstration and diatribe.

Having foreseen the unenviable conditions that public officials are subjected to, the oversight committee which drafted the RA 7160 (AKA Local Government Code of 1991) mandated the organization of the Local Special Bodies (LSBs). The main goal is to facilitate the job of local officials, particularly the Local Chief Executive (LCE). The LCE is especially vulnerable to public scrutiny as he virtually carries the burden of effectively dispensing basic services.

The LGC, touted as the bible of local governance, provides the powers and responsibilities of local officials. It likewise contains the different aspects of local governance like Development Planning, Community Mobilization, Budgeting, Treasury Operations and others including the mandatory organization of the Local Special Bodies.

As it has been statutorily prescribed, LCEs are mandated and should therefore go through the process of organizing them in the initial month of their tenure. These LSBs have been designed primordially to assist the Local Chief Executive dispense effectively his functions and duties. In view of this, they are considered natural adjuncts of Local Government Units (LGUs).In the main, these bodies are involved in formulating or recommending measures that redound to the general welfare of the citizenry. They are also intended as vital link or channels by which constituents or people participate in government process.

These LSBs are: Local Development Council (LDC), Local Peace and Order Council (LPOC), Local School Board (LSB), Local Health Board (LHB), Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) and People’s Law Enforcement Board (PLEB).The Non-Government Organizations/People’s Organizatrions (NGOs/POs) are the people’s representatives in the LSBs.

All the LSBs, except the BAC, have NGO/PO members with the LDC having the most number
of members at no less than one-fourth of the total membership.

The LPOC, on the other hand, has 3 members from theprivate sector which is either from the
sector on business, academe, youth, indigenous, media organizations and others aside from
the representative of the veterans’ group in the local chapter. The BAC has no NGO/PO
member as its task is basically distinct, let alone more sensitive, than the other LSBs.
It is charged with bidding and awarding of supplies to a private supplier for and in behalf
of a procuring entity in the Local Government Unit concerned.

But inasmuch as the intention in the organization of the LSBs is to facilitate the job of the
LCE, the latter is also charged with functionalizing or operationalizing the LSBs. The effectivity
of these LSBs as helpmeets of the LCE in the labyrinthine process of governance is the responsibility of the executive. It solely depends on the LCE if he believes on the
importance of these bodies as vital cogs in achieving effective governance.

However, aside from the LSBs, other statutes arelikewise requiring the LCEs to organize this and that
body. For instance, PD 1566 mandates the organization of the Disaster Coordinating Councils. In the same vein, RA 7610 mandates the organization of the Child Protection Councils
while RA 9003 obliges the LGUs to organize the Solid Waste Management Boards. Many other
committees and councils, aside from the above, are being required of the LGUs to organize like the Literacy Coordinating Council, Price Monitoring Council, Small and Medium
Entrepreneurship Dev’t Council, Project Monitoring Council among others

The problem is that with these innumerable councils, committees and bodies to be organized and activated as far as practicable by LCEs there is a tendency for these bodies
to be left in the backburner as paper organizations or paper tigers. This could be so despite the avowed significance they play in the attainment of effective, responsive
and responsible local governments.

In fact, with countless concerns vis-à vis local governance that an LCE is confronted
with all the time, functionalizing these bodies, including the LSBs, will become the least priority. And such inactivity vitiates such bodies to no more than nominal bodies and bureaucratic props.



MPSPC college employees not happy over office transfer

BONTOC, Mountain Province -- Employees of the Mountain Province Polytechnique College are not happy in the transfer of their offices to Baang school campus located an hour-ride away from the main campus here.

Administrative officer Josephine Aguana said paper routing, a standard office procedure is inconvenient that when signatory officers are not in Bontoc, the papers are brought to Baang then back to the main campus.

As instructed by MPSPC President Nieves Dacyon, 19 officers and clerical staff including equipment were transferred to Baang campus in Bauko town since July 2 for the school’s “expansion” on research and development.

“While development of Baang campus is welcome, clientele of the school are located in the main campus which makes paper transactions and other services not readily available . It is more convenient if concerned officers are more accessible,” Aguana said.

Officers who were transferred include finance officer Letecia Napat-a, administrative officer Josephine Aguana, human resource management officer Zenaida Soliven, accountant Imelda Guidangen, budget officer Norma Akilit, vice president for administration and finance Elpecio Marrero, records officer Lester Chaokas and seven other clerical staff.

College vice president Dr. Caridad Fiarod said expansion and development of Baang campus does not necessarily need the transfer of vital offices out from the main campus. Incurring more costs on travel is an added expense of the school. “If the president calls for a meeting in Baang, then the school hires a ride from Bontoc to accommodate two or three personnel to attend the meeting”, Aguana said.

Baang campus, located on a controversial donated lot, houses one abandoned administration building and two half-finished structures designed for academic purposes.

MPSPC composes of four campuses including the main campus in Bontoc, school of arts and trade in Tadian municipality, forestry campus in Sinto, Bauko; and the envisioned expansion campus in Baang, Bauko.
The administration of the MPSPC is in the process of renegotiating the use of a privately-owned lands in Baang for the institution’s research extension and development and production units to ensure continuity in the implementation of vital projects and programs that would be beneficial to the school in the future.

Dacyon, earlier said efforts were now geared towards survival in preparation for the impending abolition of the aid being provided by the national government to state universities and colleges in the country, thus, idle properties of the State-run institution must be made productive coupled with the tapping of private properties for productive projects.

Earlier, Rep. Victor S. Dominguez donated a 20-hectare property within the MPSPC campus in Baang to be used as a future expansion site of the school to decongest its overcrowded campus in the capital town of Bontoc.

However, Dominguez withdrew the donation of the property after residents in the area strongly opposed such donation claiming that the legislator does not own the properties despite the existence of tax declarations under his name.

With the withdrawal of the donation, what were left for the school includes three buildings, a completed administration building, and two uncompleted academic buildings and the area occupied by the said structures.
Dacyon was quoted as saying the development of the properties must be included in the assessment to improve the management of the various Baang-based projects. She expressed confidence that the land owners will appreciate the efforts of the institution to develop into one of the more productive institutions in the country in the future.

Dominguez earlier told newsmen he was willing to renegotiate with MPSPC officials on the utilization and donation of a portion of his property in Baang but it will no longer be the same land area to prevent further conflicts.

Initially, the lawmaker disclosed that he is willing to allow the school to use a portion of the 20-hectare property for various income-generating projects provided that the school will not build permanent structures in the area.
Dacyon believes the expansion of MPSPC in Baang will not only provide a conducive environment for learning but it will also perk up economic activities within he community which will benefit the people and their dependents



Jueteng draws right under noses of police
Rudy Garcia

I was about to take may break from a heavy workout at the gym when my cell phone rang. It was one of my SARs (secret agent reporters) who was on the other line. He called my attention on his latest report of an on-going jueteng draw somewhere near the intersection of Trancoville and Magsaysay Ave., second floor of Midland bar and Videoke.

The place is just a few steps away from BCPO Station 2 Office and I wondered why illegal jueteng draws can exist right under the noses of the police.

This should be explained by no other than their station commander Major Gallingan and if my guess is right, the good officer is choosing to close and shut his mouth, eyes and ears because he is just following orders from his superiors. Am I right Chief Supt. Raul Gonzales, regional police director and Supt. Moises Guevarra, city police chief?

I think it is more appropriate to ask for the resignation of the two mentioned police officials than the voluntary resignation of Gallingan because of command responsibility.

If the top honchos of the Philippine National Police are serious enough to in enforcing their one strike policy, I don’t see any reason why Gonzales and Guevarra shouldn’t booted out for failing to stop the proliferation of jueteng under their turf, unless the PNP top brass are only good in papogi or pakitang gilas lamang.

The responsibility of curbing down this illegal numbers game like the one my bubwit mentioned at Trancoville and any similar forms of illegal gambling activities doesn’t lie alone with the police but the barangay and local government officials as well.

Just like a father to a family, the municipal or city mayor has all the power and authority to put a stop or allow any illegal activity under his jurisdiction. He has the strongest capacity to say if this is allowed or not and nobody, not even the PNP regional director can decide the fate of jueteng in his jurisdiction, but the city mayor himself.

I believe that a good city mayor would give importance to social responsibility and governance, decency and morality but sad to say, it seems this is not the case in Baguio City. Mayor Peter Rey Bautista, I earlier perceived to be a young blood with a streak of idealism, but now, I really cannot understand why he continues to be blind to the blatant operation of the illegal gambling jueteng.

Stop being blind Mr. Mayor. You don’t need those greedy trapos surrounding you to make a good name for yourself. Declare all out war against jueteng, not tomorrow, not next week or next month or next year but now. Say no to jueteng! We are waiting Mr. Mayor!


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