Cordillerans worldwide denounce ‘anomalous’ P700M Mt Data-Bontoc road project DPWH, DBM directors, contractor sued for graft

>> Tuesday, October 30, 2007

BONTOC, Mountain Province – Graft charges were filed at the Office of the Ombudsman against Cordillera regional directors of the departments of Budget and Management and Public Works and Highways over “anomalous’ implementation of the Mt. Data-Bontoc road and alleged release of multi-million government funds for the projects.

This, as Cordillerans worldwide denounced the “irregular” implementation of the road in emails to the Northern Philippine Times. (See letters in page 3).

Subject of separate complaints were Liza Fangsilat and Mariano Alquiza, regional DBM and DPWH directors respectively.

Also respondents were Mountain Province DPWH chief Leonardo Leyaley and contractor Victoriano Balaodan, owner of KVC Construction among several John Does.

Complainant Juniper Dominguez also urged the Ombudsman to put under “preventive suspension” Alquiza for “brazen dishonesty,” saying the latter had been denying there was no corruption in implementation of the projects.

Dominguez told the Northern Philippine Times he was the recipient of death threats sent to his cell phone but he brushed these off saying “If it is anybody’s time to die, he will die, but if not, he won’t.”

He said the text messages started after the series of exposes on the project were printed in newspapers.

Dominguez said Ramon P. Aquino, DPWH assistant secretary revealed that coring tests on 17 previous core samples failed while 15 sets of core samples from the second recoring also failed.

In Dominguez’s complaint against Fangsilat, Leyaley, Balaodan and several John Does, he said the Mountain Province DPWH “discreetly processed the billing for the partial payment of KVC Construction along the Sabangan panorama section.”

Dominguez added he submitted to the regional DBM a letter to defer payments on the projects until investigations (being conducted by a team from the central office of the DPWH) would have been finished but despite this, the regional DBM office released P2, 297,173 to the Land Bank of the Philippines, Bontoc branch under the account of KVC Construction under Balaodan.

“Had Leyaley and Fangsilat heeded the information officially relayed to them, they could have easily deferred payment for further verification and validation to protect the interest of people’s money going to waste as they have done in past complaints,” he said.

DPWH Secretary Hermogenes Ebdane had ordered regional highways officials and contractors to “remove and replace” defective portions of the defective projects giving them deadline to finish the work third week of October.

But to date, work was reportedly not finished. Dominguez wrote Ebdane and Cerge Remonde, director general of the Presidential Management Staff on Oct 18 saying contractors removed only a fraction or 250 meters of the substandard road.

In his letter, Dominguez urged Ebdane and Remonde to “investigate this brazen ‘consuelo de bobo’ in the making as it was putting further shame and eroding the trust and confidence of the people of Mountain Province in the government’s fight against corruption.”

Dominguez told the Northern Philippine Times that officials named in his complaint should be relieved or suspended from their offices as part of government standard operating procedures pending an investigation so they won’t influence its outcome.

In his complaint, Dominguez said among others that contracts of the road projects were split in violation of Republic Act 9184. “There was brazen subcontracting.”

He said bid documents were falsified and that the 15 percent mobilization fund was paid to contractors despite an ongoing investigation on the matter. – By Alfred Dizon


PA backing poll bets in 207 Ilocos barangays, says PNP

CAMP OSCAR FLORENDO, LA Union- The New People’s Army is backing several candidates in the Oct. 29 barangay and Sanguniang Kabataan elections in 207 remote villages in the Ilocos region..

Senior Supt. Noli Talino, regional police intelligence chief, bared this in a briefing here on Oct. 24 saying 192 barangays are NPA-threatened and 15 others, NPA-affected.

“The NPA will use these barangays (to gain) legitimate access to the internal revenue allotment (IRA) and make them as electoral base for party-list groups,” he said.

Once its candidates win, the NPA, according to Talino, would reject the deployment of military personnel in these barangays, preempt recruitment of civilian volunteers and provide safehouses to their comrades.

Talino said the NPA is expected to collect “permit to campaign” fees from candidates who would want to campaign in its strongholds.

Talino said 11 private armed groups” have been identified in the region in the provinces of Ilocos Sur and Norte, La Union and Pangasinan-which maybe used to harass and intimidate candidates in the barangay and SK polls.

Police intelligence reports reportedly prompted the police and the military to beef up their intelligence and security measures in these barangays to prevent the NPA rebels from harassing and intimidating voters and candidates.

“We are already initiating pro-active police and military intervention to prevent untoward incidents. We have several defense systems being undertaken for the identification and arrest of persons who will disrupt the elections,” Chief Supt. Leopoldo Bataoil, Ilocos police director said.

Bataoil said they are closely monitoring the situation in 116 barangays, which have been declared “areas of concern.”

Col. Loreto Rirao, commander of the Army’s 503rd Infantry Brigade in Ilocos Sur said he deployed troops to NPA-infested areas.

Meanwhile, in Pangasinan, San Carlos City and San Fabian town have been declared areas of immediate concern in the Oct. 29 polls due to previous election-related violent incidents.

But lawyer Reddy Balarbar, provincial election supervisor, said the declaration does not mean that both places would be placed under Comelec control, although additional policemen would be deployed there during the elections.

Balarbar recalled the gunslaying of San Carlos mayor Jolly Resuello at the height of the election campaign last May, and San Fabian lawyer Alejo Dojillo last August.

Upon the recommendation of Senior Supt. Isagani Nerez, provincial police director, Balarbar said the following barangays have been tagged as areas of concern: Bongalon, Carriedo and Samang Sur in Labrador, Tayug and Bolinao towns, respectively.

On Oct. 22, Mario Uson, a former chairman of Barangay Bongalon, was slain by the incumbent barangay head who went into hiding after the incident. Jaime Tolentino, a candidate for barangay captain in Carriedo, and Fely Anama and Freddie Ariola, who were running for kagawads (council members) in Samang Sur, were also killed.


Two male 'salvage' victims identified

BAGUIO CITY – Relatives of two missing males found dumped Monday in a 15-meter bushy ravine along the roadside in Barangay Outlook Drive here have identified the bodies.

The two, suspected victims of “salvaging” (extrajudicial killing) were identified at the Baguio Funeral Homes as Wilfredo Ganilon Dup-et, 20 of Sabangan, Mountain Province and Gardo Soting, 19 of Sabkil, Itogon, Benguet.

The area where the victims were found is around 200 meters away from the Presidential Mansion House.

A resident walking along the road earlier found the bodies after noticing two pairs of feet of the due by the roadside around 7:45 a.m.

Police investigators of Station 3 led by Chief Insp. Elmer Cereno said the duo found lying on top of each other, were believed dumped in the dimly lit roadside.

The site was reportedly a garbage dumping ground.

One of the victims reportedly bore several wounds on his back from a knife while the other one suffered nine ice pick wounds also on his back.

Both bore strangulation marks on their necks.

Both were wearing clothing but one who did not have a shoe on bore a “Sigue Sigue Commando” (SSC) gang tattoo on his back.

This raised peculation the due might have been victims of extra-judicial execution.

SSC is an infamous jail gang whose members are alleged street criminals like muggers, robbers, pickpockets, cellular phone snatchers and the like.

Last week, police said, another male body was found along Ambuclao Road, a dumping site of alleged victims of summary killings, bringing to three the number of salvagings since last week.

On July 17, the headless body of Kapangan town native Ringo Abraham, a known street thug, was found in nearby Tuba town, Benguet.

Police said the victim was killed in another place and dumped there.


Witness in Bauang treasurer’s murder receives death threats


BAUANG, La Union – Witnesses in the killing of this town’s municipal treasurer last Sept. 10 sought police assistance Wednesday after reportedly getting death threats to force them from testifying.

Operatives of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group in Camp Diego Silang in nearby San Fernando City were sent to Bauang on Oct. 24 to look into the matter.

This, since one of the witnesses left her residence in Barangay Santiago where municipal treasurer Felicidad Picar was shot dead.

Senior Supt. Marvin Bolabola, CIDG chief, said that they are now trying to identify those threatening the witnesses so charges would be filed against them.

Bolabola said the witnesses, barangay officials and tanods, residents and even policemen have received threats to force them into withdrawing their statements.

“We are now validating the matter because it involves the safety of the witnesses. We are concerned about their security,” he said.

Bolabola said he has coordinated with la Union and Bauang police to closely monitor the situation since Picar’s killing is one of the high-profile cases in the province.

Picar was gunned down while waiting for a ride to her work along the national highway.

The suspected triggerman, Rogelio Ordona, was arrested in nearby Barangay Urayong barely two hours after the killing. Ordona is believed to be a gun-for-hire.

Picar was vice chairman of the Bauang Board of canvassers during the May 14 elections.

Police found out Ordona was also tagged in four other killings of teachers and political leaders.


Suspects in Bersamin slay ready to reveal mastermind

CAMP BADO DANGWA, Benguet – A suspect in the killing of Abra Rep. Luis "Chito" Bersamin who was nabbed by Cordillera police in Baras, Rizal on Oct. 20 is very cooperative and "ready to sing," police said.

This, as another suspect – former La Paz, Abra vice mayor Freddie Dupo, was also arrested the next day also by Cordillera police in Antipolo City.

Suspect Sonny Taculao, 41, who was nabbed in Baras, was tagged as one of the three men who allegedly drove the getaway motorcycle right after the killing of Bersamin.

Taculao was cornered by lawmen in an operation at a farm about 8 a.m. that day, said Chief Supt. Eugene Martin, police director of Cordillera.

The suspect did not resist arrest although he had a Cal. 45 pistol when he was arrested, Martin said.

He added operatives of the Regional Intelligence Division of the Cordillera Police Office under Supt. Jess Cambay were armed with an arrest warrant issued by Judge Lydia Layosa of the Quzon City Regional Trial Court when they swooped down on the farm in Baras following a tip that the suspect was hiding there.

Taculao was immediately brought to the police regional headquarters here for interrogation.

"We are still in the process of interrogating him and he (Taculao) is very cooperative in the course of investigation and the way he answers queries by our investigators may lead to the solution of the killing of the solon," Martin said.

A police official here lamented that a top Rizal police official grabbed the credit for the apprehension of Taculao, saying it was the Cordillera policemen who really planned the operation and arrested the suspect in Rizal.

Informed of the arrest of Taculao, former governor Vicente Valera said that he does not know Talucao.

Meanwhile, former La Paz, Abra vice mayor Freddie Dupo, another suspect in the Bersamin killing was collared by joint elements of the Cordillera and Rizal police as he was coming down from the mountain where he had gone into hiding after escaping the police dragnet during the arrest of fellow suspect Taculao that day.

A source said Dupo did not resist when cornered in Baras town at on Oct .21.

“He was hungry and tired. He committed a grave mistake of going down the mountain, apparently thinking that policemen have stopped efforts to get him,” a police official said.

Dupo appeared before the PNP chief Director General Avelino Razon Jr. in a press briefing on October 23 at Camp Crame.

In his confession before Cordillera police director Martin, Taculao said it was Dupo who brought him to their mountain lair in Baras town several days after the killing of Bersamin and his bodyguard, SPO1 Adelfo Ortega.

“Taculao had been very cooperative with us, he was the one who tipped off Dupo’s return in Rizal that’s why we were able to arrest him,” said Rizal Provincial Director Senior Supt. Freddie Panen.

Panen, however, refused to identify the suspect mastermind pending investigation.

It was Dupo, according to Taculao, who acted as the middleman of his group with the mastermind in Bersamin’s slay.

Dupo also gave him the P20,000 to purchase a motorcycle he used in shadowing Bersamin in Metro Manila.

The motorcycle, Taculao said, was registered in the name of Sgt. Rufino Panday, who confessed complicity in the killing but later retracted his statement.

Taculao pointed to a certain Gerry as the triggerman.

Martin ordered a massive manhunt against Gerry and other personalities identified by Taculao as cohorts in the ambush-slay of Bersamin.

Taculao said Dupo gave him P30,000 for his role as a lookout in Bersamin’s ambush-slay.

Dupo, Taculao and former Constable Salvador Barbosa were charged before the sala of Judge Lydia Barbosa of the Quezon City regional trial court for the murders of Bersamin and Ortega.

Martin said Dupo was in the vicinity of the safe-house during the raid.

However, he escaped after seeing the approaching riders.

Dupo is now undergoing tactical interrogation.

His confession and that of Taculao will be used in pinning down the mastermind in the murders of Bersamin and Ortega. – With a report from Mar T. Supnad


Razon IDs for Cordi traders to stop mulcting


LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – Extortion activities of lawmen victimizing traders, mostly vegetable farmers on roads leading to Manila may soon be over after Philippine National Police chief Director General Avelino Razon Jr. issued them ID cards bearing his signature.

Hundreds of traders and truckers in the Cordillera were given volunteer ID cards bearing Razon’s mobile phone to serve as deterrent from illegal activities of law enforcers.

Extortion by law enforcers had been a major problem of traders and truckers delivering agricultural commodities, such as vegetables, from the provinces to Metro Manila.

Recently, Razon held a dialogue with traders and farmers nationwide at Camp
Crame to know their problems.

The PNP chief told them all complaints sent to his office through the volunteer identification cards would be given prompt response.

However, he said the ID card should not be used by traders and truckers as
protection when they commit violations of traffic rules and regulations, and should not use it for personal purposes.

Razon said delivery trucks with the government’s food-lane stickers should not be flagged down by law enforcers except if these vehicles grossly violate traffic rules.

Earlier, truckers and traders complained food-lane stickers were not being recognized by some law enforcers especially on major roads of the National Capital Region.

They said this hampered delivery of agricultural commodities promptly to the market.

The food-lane stickers are issued by concerned government agencies to legitimate truckers and traders to facilitate the delivery of farm products to the market.

These also exempt them from the truck ban and protect them from extortion.
Vegetable dealers said volunteer ID cards might be helpful in stopping rampant extortion activities done on the national road, particularly in Tarlac, by unscrupulous employees of the Land Transportation Office in Region III.

Trucks that are flagged down by the LTO employees are being pestered with numerous violations of the law.

To avoid delay, the drivers and helpers are forced to offer them bribes at least P300 so they would be allowed to proceed to their destination.

They said extortion done by some Manila policemen has been greatly reduced, but it was in the province of Tarlac where they were being intimidated and harassed so they would shell out money to the extortionists.


Legal mine projects cannot be stopped unlike jueteng, says Nueva Vizcaya solon


BAYOMBONG, Nueva Vizcaya – An opposition congressman cited all large-scale mining projects in the country are legal saying all these projects complied with the mining law.

Nueva Vizcaya Rep. Carlos Padilla, told local newsmen as long as large-scale mining companies allowed by the national government, through the Mines and Geosciences Bureau to operate in the country could present all credentials, meet all prerequisites and do not violate any provision of the [mining] law, these cannot be stopped.

"If these mining projects are law-abiding, then we cannot just say ‘no’ to them. And that’s the stand of many of our local officials in the province," Padilla said.

"Unlike the illegal numbers game ‘jueteng’ which also gets the same criticism from Church leaders and non-government organizations, mining is legal because there is a law providing for rules and guidelines. Once a mining firm breaks a rule, then it could be a ground for it to be stopped," he said.

Padilla said that he had earlier presented the same position to Bishop Ramon Villena of the Diocese of Bayombong who is the chairman of the Cagayan Valley Regional Development Council.

"I told the Bishop that mining is one of the flagship programs of President Arroyo, so local officials should not defy it but should respect it," Padilla said.
Asked about the demand of some anti-mining advocates to suspend or stop large-scale mining activities in the province, Padilla likened Nueva Vizcaya Gov. Luisa Lloren Cuaresma to a referee at a ball game between Team A (mining company) vs Team B (anti-mining group).

"The referee can not declare ‘Team A’ or the mining company to stop and declare it a loser even before the game begins. That would not be fair," he said.
Chito Gozar, vice president for communications and external affairs of Oceana Gold, said it would be nonsense to commit even a minor mistake that could lead to either suspension or closure of his company’s operation.

His company operates the Didipio gold-copper project in Kasibu town which was earlier unanimously endorsed by the Nueva Vizcaya provincial board.

"We cannot allow even the slightest margin of error because we cannot gamble with our multi-billion peso investments," Gozar said.

Like Gozar, Dr. Ernie Mendoza, vice presidents for corporate affairs of MTL Philippines, shared the same view.

While MTL conducts exploration in Runruno, Quezon town, it simultaneously pours development programs ranging from livelihood to scholarship and employment for local residents.

Joey Nelson Ayson, explorations manager for Royalco Philippines, said it is not his company’s policy to harass people.

"Can you imagine visitors like us initiating trouble against residents in the
exploration site? If that’s the case, we are not looking for mines but enemies," Ayson said.



Mayor hits NV board over mine exploration pact

QUEZON, Nueva Vizcaya — The mayor of this mineral-rich town said he was disappointed over a resolution seeking to stop the exploration activities here of a large-scale mining company without consulting him.

The resolution was passed by the committees on environment, indigenous peoples, and legal affairs of the Nueva Vizcaya provincial Board.

Quezon Mayor Aurelio Salunat said the committees held a series of hearings
attended by anti-mining and pro-mining groups, but he was deliberately not invited.

"I feel insulted that no less than my partymates in Abante Nueva Vizcaya, who are in the Sangguniang Panlalawigan, were the ones who joined forces to shut down the legal source of the livelihood for my constituents without consulting me as a matter of protocol and basic ethics," Salunat said.

"At the expense of the welfare of my constituents, they gave weight to a letter of Runruno Land Owners Association opposing the duly approved mining exploration of FCF Mining Corp. based merely on speculative claims instead of an actual investigation at the exploration site. How can they come up with an intelligent conclusion when they don’t even know the real score in Runruno," Salunat said.

The mayor said that the sangguniang bayan should also have been given the chance to air it stand on RULANAS complaint.

Salunat, incumbent president of the Nueva Vizcaya Teachers Employees and Retirees Association said he feared if the exploration project is shut down it would lead to the starvation of some 300 workers and their families.

It would also cause the layoff of 20 school teachers whose salaries are being by the company.

The FCF Mining Corp., through its development arm Runruno Livelihood Foundation, spent P36 million in the last two years on community development, infrastructure facilities, skills trainings, feeding programs, medical missions, environmental rehabilitation, livelihood projects and education.

"You can imagine the economic dislocation, unemployment and stoppage of all development programs and scholarship opportunities for our youth. The municipal government cannot provide for these basic services because it was literally bankrupt when I took over," he said.

"Can the province provide jobs for displaced workers? When my people get hungry, they get angry. If they are forced to go to the mountains, I may even join them," Salunat warned,

Earlier, in his weekly radio program, Nueva Vizcaya Rep. Carlos Padilla said that large-scale mining projects duly approved by the national government cannot just be stopped unless they violate provisions of the mining law.

Patricio Dumlao Jr., the only one of the 12 board members who voted against the resolution believed that President Arroyo would order an investigation on claims that the mining project violated any provision of the Mining Act before she acts on the resolution.

"I keep reminding my colleagues that while the SP has the privilege of passing a resolution to air its views against a large-scale mining project, it does not mean that it can go against the mining law," Dumlao said.



Suspended engineer files P.5M suit vs Gov Panlilio

SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga- Gov. Ed Panlilio is facing a P500,000 civil suit filed by the provincial engineer whom he earlier placed under a 60-day preventive suspension for allegedly falsely claiming to be a degree holder.

Engineer Juanito Macatuno, in a 13-page complaint he filed with the Regional Trial Court here on Oct. 22, sought a temporary restraining order and writ of preliminary injunction against his suspension, besides demanding P500,000 in moral and exemplary damages and attorney’s fees.

Macatuno’s legal counsel, Peter Paul Maglalang, said the allegations against his client were “evidently being vexed twice for the same cause due to the unlawful and malicious acts of Panlilio, who is recycling the old issues previously ruled upon by Civil Service Commission.

Earlier, Macatuno did not show up during the hearing on the administrative case filed against him.

He instead sent a letter, stating that “due to the categorical findings of the CSC in its aforesaid decision.”

Last Oct. 1, Panlilio slapped Macatuno with a 6o-day preventive suspension after his office received information from a “concerned citizen” alleging that the engineer has no college degree.

Panlilio reportedly charged Macatuno with dishonesty and falsification of public document.

In his counter-affidavit, Macatuno provided a copy of the CSC decision dated Jan. 3, 2007 declaring, among other things, that Macatuno holds a civil engineering degree from Manuel L. Quezon University in Manila and is a licensed civil engineer.

Panlilio recently hogged the headlines when he admitted receiving P500,000 in cash contained in a paper bag, supposedly for barangay projects, after a meeting of local officials in Malacanang.



Suspended engineer files P.5M suit vs Gov Panlilio

SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga- Gov. Ed Panlilio is facing a P500,000 civil suit filed by the provincial engineer whom he earlier placed under a 60-day preventive suspension for allegedly falsely claiming to be a degree holder.

Engineer Juanito Macatuno, in a 13-page complaint he filed with the Regional Trial Court here on Oct. 22, sought a temporary restraining order and writ of preliminary injunction against his suspension, besides demanding P500,000 in moral and exemplary damages and attorney’s fees.

Macatuno’s legal counsel, Peter Paul Maglalang, said the allegations against his client were “evidently being vexed twice for the same cause due to the unlawful and malicious acts of Panlilio, who is recycling the old issues previously ruled upon by Civil Service Commission.

Earlier, Macatuno did not show up during the hearing on the administrative case filed against him.

He instead sent a letter, stating that “due to the categorical findings of the CSC in its aforesaid decision.”

Last Oct. 1, Panlilio slapped Macatuno with a 6o-day preventive suspension after his office received information from a “concerned citizen” alleging that the engineer has no college degree.

Panlilio reportedly charged Macatuno with dishonesty and falsification of public document.

In his counter-affidavit, Macatuno provided a copy of the CSC decision dated Jan. 3, 2007 declaring, among other things, that Macatuno holds a civil engineering degree from Manuel L. Quezon University in Manila and is a licensed civil engineer.

Panlilio recently hogged the headlines when he admitted receiving P500,000 in cash contained in a paper bag, supposedly for barangay projects, after a meeting of local officials in Malacanang.



Ilocos tobacco price hike pressed

VIGAN CITY — Tobacco farmers asked an increase of P20.50 to P22.50 in the floor prices of all grades of flue-cured Virginia tobacco leaves during the tobacco summit held last week at provincial capitol here.

The tobacco summit discussed possible solutions to problems affecting the Virginia tobacco industry, particularly on competitiveness and financial viability of the industry.

The participants in the summit were led by House Deputy Speaker Eric D. Singson, Ilocos Sur Gov. Deogracias Victor "DV" B. Savellano, Vice Gov. Jeremias Singson, mayors, leaders of tobacco farmers in the 32 towns and two cities in the province, other tobacco stakeholders, and the two branch managers of the National Tobacco Administration.

Pablo Tindoc, a leader of tobacco farmers in Burgos, Ilocos Sur, said the proposed increases in floor prices will be presented during the tripartite
conference which is expected to be held this month or early next month.

The tripartite conference, held every two years, is organized by the NTA and is attended by the tobacco buyers, cigarette manufacturers, tobacco farmers, and other tobacco stakeholders.

The proposed floor prices per kilo of Virginia tobacco as agreed by the farmers at the summit were as follows:

Grades AA – P73.50; A – P72; B – P70; C – P68; D – P63; E – P62; F1 – P56; F2 – P55; and R – P34.

During the last tripartite conference held on Aug. 25, 2005, the floor prices of Virginia tobacco are the following:

Grades AA – P51; A – P49.50; B – P47.50; C – P45.50; D – P40.50; E – P39.50; F1 – P35.50; F2 – P32.50; and R – P13.50.

With the proposed hikes in tobacco floor prices, tobacco with lower grades have higher increases.

Reject has an increase of 151.8 percent or P20.50.

The increases in the other grades are as follows: 69 percent or P22.50 increase for F2; 57.74 percent or P20.50 for F1; 56 percent or P22.50 for E; 55 percent or P22.50 for D; 49 percent or P22.50 for C; 47 percent or P22.50 increase for B; 45 percent or P22.50 for A; and 44 percent or P22.50 increase for AA.

The tobacco farmers who attended the summit were unanimously in saying that the proposed increases in floor prices would give them reasonable profit.

They said their expenses for production, noting this has reached P100,000 per hectare.



La Union solon admits receiving Palace ‘cash gift’

La UNION- Rep. Thomas Dumpit Jr. admitted Wednesday he received a paper bag containing cash shortly after he and more than 180 congressmen met with President Arroyo on Oct. 11 in Malacanang.

Dumpit told reporters some 10 House members from Region 4 (Southern Tagalog) who were seated with him during the breakfast conference with the President and colleagues from Region 1 (Northern Luzon) also received the same paper bags with cash.

“The funds were for our projects,” he said.

Asked if they all received the same amount of P500,000, Dumpit said, “Siguro (maybe).”

Dumpit is the second congressman to admit receiving cash after last Thursday’s meeting, October 18, with the President in Malacanang.

Last week, Manila Rep. Bienvenido Abante Jr. admitted receiving P500,000 contained in a paper bag after the Palace meeting.

Dumpit made the admission after he and three colleagues exchanged views with journalists at the Ayes and Nays news forum in Quezon City.

He initially answered “no comment” when asked if he received P500,000.

Responding to the same question, Muntinlupa Rep. ROzanno Rufino Biazon said, “I do not want to add to the story.”

A third congressman, Manila Rep. Amado Bagatsing, responding to a query, sent this text message: “As the Americans would say, I can’t confirm nor deny.”

Dumpit said his “no comment” answer did not mean he was lying.

It was unusual for congressmen to receive cash for their projects. They do not even receive checks. What they get is a copy of a SARO (special allotment release order) from the Department of Budget and Management.

A SARO is an authority to spend a specified amount of taxpayers’ money for specified projects.

The authority is not given to congressmen but to implementing agencies, which usually choose the lawmakers’ favored contractors to carry out their projects.

The P500,000 cash that Governors Ed Panlilio of Pampanga and Jonjon Mendoza of Bulacan admitted receiving after meeting with Mrs. Arroyo in Malacanang, also last Thursday October 19, was contained in small gift bags.

But not all governors who were present at the meeting admitted receiving payoffs.

Gov. Vilma Santos-Recto of Batangas, in an interview, said she left the meeting early to attend another activity in her province.

She denied receiving money and insisted that she was unaware of the alleged distribution of gift bags containing cash. She also said that she left her executive assistant Pedrito Dijan behind in Malacanang, but he was denied knowing about the alleged distribution.

Last Tuesday October 22, the League of Provinces of the Philippines (LPP) said it was the source of the money given to Panlilio and Mendoza, and that it was intended for “capacity building.”

This admission, however, did not clear the issue since Eastern Samar Gov. Ben Evardone and the officials of the LPP could be liable for administrative and criminal charges if indeed the payoffs made to governors came from LPP funds, according to a statement released by Makati Mayor Jejomar Binay.

Binay, president of the United Opposition (UNO), said the LPP funds and the funds of other organizations of local officials are considered public funds.

“The LPP is funded by contributions from member provinces, and the contributions are taken from the budget of the provincial governments. These are public funds, and should be subject to auditing and standard disbursement procedures,” he said.

Binay, however, doubts the veracity of Evardone’s admission that the bags of money containing P500,000 came from the LPP funds.

He said Evardone is merely trying to shield Mrs. Arroyo, whose administration has been placed in more serious trouble after the payoffs to governors and congressmen was exposed.

“This is a very clumsy attempt to manage the issue. In effect, Governor Evardone has owned up to possible administrative and criminal liabilities for what appears to be unauthorized disbursement of funds,” Binay said.

“Evardone has always been quick to defend Mrs. Arroyo and Malacanang, yet when his patron needed him most, he kept silent for 12 days. Now he says the money came from them and he expects the people to believe him? Tell that to the Marines,” Binay said.

“Why did it take Evardone almost two weeks before saying that money came from LPP? If he had made the clarification on the day of the story broke, the Mrs. Arroyo and Malacanang would not find itself in its present predicament,” he added.

Binay said he found it very odd that the LPP treasurer, Rizal Gov. Casimiro Ynares III, was not aware that disbursements were made from the League’s “Capability Building Funds.”

“Governor Ynares should know about the disbursements since he is required to sign disbursement vouchers and checks. It is needed puzzling that the LPP treasurer is not even aware that money was released from the League’s funds and allegedly distributed to the governors in Malacanang. If indeed the P500,000 given to Governors Panlilio and Mendoza came from the LPP funds, the disbursement process is highly questionable,” Binay said.

But Ynares has supported the admission of the LPP that the money indeed came from their organization.

“I have been in the position for about three months now and I have already signed checks for the league for annual fees and other financial assistance,” Ynares said in a phone interview.

Ymares also denied reports that he told a radio station that the LPP does not have the money to distribute to governors.



Tabuk hybrid rice crop drops

TABUK CITY, Kalinga – Tabuk may have lost its reputation as the hybrid rice capital of the country after its production of hybrid seed and hybrid commercial rice plunged drastically the last three years.

In 2003 and 2004, Tabuk exceeded the farm area of 700 hectares for F1 or hybrid seed production and 7,000 hectares for commercial hybrid rice or F2 production.

During this wet season, its planting areas are now down to 40 hectares for F1
production and 1,579 for commercial rice production.

City Agricultural Services Officer Gilbert Cawis said the drastic reduction in
planting area is attributed to a lot of factors, including the deterioration of the quality of both the F1 seeds and the AxB seeds (parent lines of F1).

Cawis said many commercial rice farmers were discouraged to plant hybrid rice after their supposed F1 seeds yielded multi-variety rice, noting that the seed producers were also discouraged after their AxB seeds had been found to be impure.

He hinted that the Philrice, one of the government agencies promoting the hybrid rice technology, is partly responsible, saying it was the source of the AxB seeds planted in Tabuk.

He also blamed Tabuk farmers, noting some of them did not weed out off-type plants. He also blamed seed inspectors of the Kalinga provincial government for not being strict in the implementation of the procedure for F1 production.

Not only local farmers are the victims of the low-quality seeds but also farmers in other regions where the F1 production of Tabuk was sold.

Cawis said he has learned from the Agriculture Training Institute that Bicol farmers were complaining about the impure seeds sold to them by Tabuk farmers.

He said rouging is necessary because once the seeds are harvested, there is no way to determine if these are F1 seeds, adding that these look the same although the genetic characteristics are different.

Another factor in the reduction of F1 production is the difficulty of collecting payments from the Cordillera office of the Department of Agriculture, Cawis said.

There are times when it takes two cropping seasons before the payment for the seeds is collected.

"If the farmer has only two hectares and has planted AxB to the whole area, where would he get his operational expenses in the next cropping season if his seeds are not paid on time?" he asked.

He said that farm workers compound the problem by charging higher fees for pulling and planting seedlings.

He said for inbred rice, farm workers charge P3,600 for pulling and transplanting the seedlings, but they demand P4,000 for hybrid rice.

Cawis added change in the eating quality of Mestizo 1, one of two government hybrid rice varieties, has worked against the promotion of hybrid rice among farmers.

He observed that the higher price of hybrid seeds as against inbred rice seeds is also turning away farmers.

With the government subsidy for each bag of F1 at P1,000, the farmer’s equity is P1,400. It is higher if the seed is produced by private companies.

The question nagging Cawis and other agriculture officials in the province is how to regain the distinction of Tabuk as the leader in hybrid rice production among towns in the country.

Cawis said that the recent entry of private firms in the production of hybrid seeds in Tabuk is an initial step towards this direction because these firms are very strict in the enforcement of the standards of seed production.

This cropping season, SL8 Agritech, the leading private seed producer, has expanded its operation to Tabuk, planting 14.5 hectares to its AxR variety. -- EAJ



Workers assail LCMC for ‘harassment,’ late wages

MANKAYAN, Benguet – Workers of the Lepanto Consolidated Mining Co. here assailed the firm for “harassment” in “delaying” salaries of its more than 1,400 mineworkers.

The workers said they were thinking of mass action if this practice was not rectified.

But LCMC officials said they cannot pay the workers on time because of the late payment of the gold buyers. The company management also said that they are giving priority in paying the company’s debts.

According to National Federation of Labor Unions regional coordinator James Tulipa, the delay of the mineworkers’ salaries was unfair.

He said that since the Lepanto Rank and File Employees Union-National Mine and Allied Workers Union-International Federation of Chemical, Energy, Mines and General Workers’ Union filed a petition for certification election against the incumbent Lepanto Employees Union on Oct. 5, the delay in payment of salaries started.

The workers usually got their salaries every 10 days but this month, these were delayed one to three days.

The Kilusang Mayo Uno criticized the delay as unreasonable and harassment to the workers as they are again entering a collective bargaining agreement through their legitimate union with the management.

Prior to the system of the gold selling, the company had reportedly had a procedure of paying its debts together with giving the wages of its workers.
According to KMU, the company’s production never ceased since the 2005 workers’ strike was lifted.

The company’s budget operation for the year 2007 actually comes from the earnings on the year 2006. LCMCo have retained earnings which includes
accumulated gains from its operations of P1, 096,237,000.

From this figure, the KMU said the company was not fair to the workers and they should be paid accordingly since they are the ones working so hard to give the company such huge gains.

The KMU also denounced the company’s “ungratefulness” to its workers for
passing on the burden of paying the company’s debts.

“The workers have already done their part by digging the gold ores and processing them and run the production,” a NAFLU official said. “The company has also its obligation in giving the workers what is due to them.”

Baguio, Benguet forest covers alarmingly thin

LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – The forest cover in this vegetable-producing province and Baguio City is not getting any better despite concerted efforts of government and private groups to reverse the deteriorating condition of the environment.

Rhoda Fe Buenavista, ecological enhancement officer of the Jaime V. Ongpin Foundation Inc. said that although trees are becoming thicker in communal watersheds and forests, the whole picture shows that the forest cover is thinning, and that there is a need for dedicated, continuous efforts of the community to protect the remaining tree stands.

The JVOFI is a non-government organization engaged in initiatives to protect and conserve watersheds in Baguio City and La Trinidad, Benguet.

These watersheds include the Busol watershed, Buyog watershed in Baguio and the Alapang, Shilan, Alno, Beckel and Puguis communal watersheds in this capital town.

The NGO has been conducting relocation surveys on the watersheds and preparing an ecological profile to pinpoint the critical areas of the watersheds where environmentalists could concentrate their activities.

Based on the biodiversity profiling done, the flora and fauna in the said watershed and forest are not in good shape because there are now very few of these in the watersheds with fauna in really big trouble.

Of all the animals that used to roam the forests and watersheds, only the wild cats are being seen, the NGO said.

Buenavista said the delineation processes are still going on with the participation of the affected residents, adding that the group is guided by the principle that forests and watersheds are best co-managed by local government units and the residents themselves.

She said that her group would never recommend the ejectment of the thousands of residents living in the watersheds unless a relocation site is made available.
She added, however, the communities in the watersheds must no longer grow so that the residents will not be forced to cut trees and occupy vast forest lands for housing and livelihood purposes.

The JVOFI envisions forests in Baguio and Benguet to look like those of Palawan where anthurium and other flowers grow in the thick forests which provide livelihood for people living in the area.

Environmentalists are supportive of a plan for an environmental component with which a certain percentage of every development project would be segregated for the purpose of watershed rehabilitation and conservation, saying that this must be started immediately on the municipal levels.

They said that mountainous areas such as those in the Cordillera would be prone to landslides and soil erosion if the trees which serve as support for the unstable, fragile mountain slopes are removed.

Inside story Rice leads policemen to Bersamin slay suspects
CAMP DANGWA, Benguet -- A sack of rice led the Cordillera police to the whereabouts of two suspects in the slaying of Abra Rep. Luis Bersamin in Rizal province.

Cordillera police director Chief Supt. Eugene Martin said he sent his men to Sta. Cruz town in Ilocos Sur hoping to catch former La Paz vice mayor Freddie Dupo and his cousin, Sunny Taculao, while visiting their relatives there following the ambush-slaying of Bersamin in front Mt. Carmel church in QUezon City last Dec. 16.

“I sent two teams of crack police operatives to Sta. Cruz town to monitor the suspects’ relatives. They stayed there for several months but Dupo and Taculao and the other suspects failed to show up,” Martin said.

Unknown to Martin, right after the killing of Bersamin, Dupo and Taculao had gone into hiding in Baras, Rizal.

It was in this remote town where they were arrested one after the other last weekend.

In the mountains of Baras town, Dupo and Taculao engaged in kaingin (slash-and-burn farming) and took odd jobs in construction projects to support themselves.

During tactical interrogation, Taculao claimed Dupo received every month a sack of rice and other foodstuff and P10,000 in cash.

Dupo told Taculao that the money and supplies came from their relatives in Sta. Cruz.

All the while, Martin said Dupo was also talking through a cellular phone with Martin and Abra Gov. Eustaquio Bersamin to arrange his surrender.

While in hiding in Rizal, Dupo said he was confident that the Cordillera police would not be able to trace him and Taculao there.

However, Martin said an informant walked into his office in Camp Dangwa here last week of September and told him relatives of the two Bersamin’s slay suspects had been sending food supplies to somebody in Rizal.

Martin called the attention of Supt. Jess Cambay, Cordillera police intelligence chief, and ordered him to look into the fresh information.

“I immediately pulled out my men from Sta. Cruz top verify the new information and luckily we hit pay dirt this time,” Martin said.

Cambay said a nine-member police team headed by Inspector Reynaldo Viloria tailed last October 1 a bus bound for Cubao, Quezon City loaded with a sack of rice addressed to a certain Cesar Buen of Baras, Rizal.

When the bus came to a stop in its terminal in Cubao, a man picked up the sack of rice and laoded it into a passenger jeepney plying the Baras-Cubao route.

The Cordillera policemen continued tailing the sack of rice until it was delivered to a hut in the mountains of Sitio Pinugay at the boundary of Baras town and Antipolo City. The hut turned out to be Buen’s.

After the success of their surveillance, Cambay said his team waited for the issuance of an arrest warrant against Dupo, Taculao and another suspect, Constable Salvador Barbosa, who reportedly died recently due to an illness.

After Judge Lydia Layosa of the Quezon City Regional Trial Court issued an arrest warrant against Dupo and Taculao last week, Cambay said his team tried to serve it on Oct. 19.

“Our team and the suspects met face-to-face. Sensing danger, Dupo transferred his cane to his left and prepared to pull out his handgun. The team withdrew from the area to prevent a big number of casualties because there were a lot of people gathered around Dupo and Taculao at the time,” Cambay said.

Cambay junked the idea of seeking augmentation from the Cordillera police, which was costly, and instead coordinated with the Rizal police for help from the Provincial Mobile Group.

At 4 a.m. last Saturday October 20, Cambay’s men swooped down on the hut and found Taculao, who yielded a caliber .45 automatic pistol, two cell phones and four SIM cards.

When interviewed in Camp Crame, Dupo said he was only in his shorts and barefoot when he saw the approaching policemen. He fled to the mountains.

At nightfall, Dupo said he went to a hut to borrow a T-shirt and a pair of slippers. He said he failed to catch sleep night of Oct. 20, thinking that the police might catch up with him.

Dupo was arrested Sunday at a creek in Lower Kilingan, Pinugay, Baras, when he made the mistake of returning to the hut.

“I was trying to borrow a cell phone to call Gen. Martin so I could surrender peacefully,” said Dupo when asked why he went down the mountain.

Martin said Dupo is also involved in the ambush-slaying of Lap Paz Mayor Israel Mark Bernos last January.



Bolinao barangay exec, bet shot, survive attack

BOLINAO Pangasinan – An incumbent barangay councilwoman and a candidate for a councilman were shot and wounded while they were on their way home here night of Oct. 19, police said.

Fely Anama, 59, a councilwoman of Barangay Samang Sur, and Freddie Ariola, 48, who was running for councilman in the barangay elections, suffered bullet wounds in the right foot and left hand, respectively. – Jennelyn Mondejar

Bocap’s son, another man nabbed for guns
BANGUED, Abra- Elements of the Special Action Force, the Abra provincial police office and the Bangued municipal police station seized high-powered firearms and ammunition in the hall of Barangay Lingtan.

They also arrested a son of a barangay chairman and another man. The seized firearms included M-14 Armalites rifles, a Browning machine gun, assembled magazines and hundreds of rounds of ammunition for high-powered firearms. Police authorities identified the arrested suspects as James Siobal and Oliver Millare, 20, son of the punong barangay in Lingtan. -- Dexter See

Barangay candidate shot dead in Nueva Ecija
SAN LEONARDO, Nueva Ecija -- A former barangay chairman running for councilman in Barangay Tabuating here was shot dead by two unidentified men riding an unmarked motorcycle on Friday, Oct. 19.

The victim was identified as Nomeriano Sapiandante y Ricio, 55, former two-term barangay captain of Tagumpay.

The victim suffered two bullet wounds in the head and two in the back. Police said four persons riding two motorcycles waylaid the motorized tricycle carrying Sapiandante. – Liam Anacleto

Chop-chop motorcycles seized in Tarlac raid
GERONA, Tarlac – Some 61 dismantled motorcycles (chop-chop) were confiscated from a branch manager of an establishment in Metro Manila during a raid in his compound here in Barangay Pinasling on Oct. 20.

In a report, Senior Supt. Nicanor Bartolome, Tarlac provincial police director, said Gerona policemen raided the house of a certain Villamor Paraiso, 48, branch manager of T-REX Marketing Corp. located along Jose Abad Santos, Sta. Cruz, Manila and confiscated the said items.

Bartolome said the raiding team was armed with a search warrant issued by Judge Domingo Jose of the Regional Trial Court Branch 64, Tarlac City when they raided the compound of Paraiso.

He said confiscated from the compound of Paraiso were 61 chop-chop motorcycles such as one Yamguchi, nine American eagle, two PMR pioneer, 18 Zhong Shen, and 30 Motor Star. – George Trillo

5-year-old girl blasted to death with a shotgun
ALAMINOS CITY,Pangasinan- A five-year-old day care girl died when she was fired upon with a 12-gauge shotgun in her room in Barangay Quilbar, this city. Police identified the victim as Rose-ann Barril y Suoc of Barangay Quibar. Police said she was shot to death by unidentified persons.

It was learned that the victim was playing inside their bedroom when a a gunshot was heard by her grandfather, Avelino Barril y Borillo, 49, farmer. He was then about to pick up a battery of a vehicle in the bedroom.

When he investigated, he saw his granddaughter Rose-Ann sprawled on the floor of the bedroom, oozing with blood from the head and portion of the brain scattered on the concrete wall and ceiling. He said he did not see anyone, suspecting that the gunman had run quickly away. The girl’s grandfather believed that a man with an old grudge against him might be the killer. (Liezle Basa Inigo)

PNP, AFP in joint squad tactics training
SAN JUAN, Ilocos Sur – To boost their skills in the anti-insurgency program, the Ilocos Norte Police Provincial Office and 50th Infantry Battalion launched on Oct. 18 a joint Army and PNP squad tactics training at the 50th IB Headquarters here as part of the interoperability enhancement program of the two agencies involved in the government’s counter-insurgency campaign.

The special joint training, through the initiative of Senior Supt. Roman Felix, provincial director of the Ilocos Norte PNP, and LT. Col. Roy Devesa, 50th IB Battalion commander, is part of the overall plan crafted by the Ilocos Norte Internal Security Coordinating Committee to enhance the internal security operations capability of both forcers in the province.

The Ilocos Norte ISCC has been activated recently to synchronize efforts of the AFP and PNP forces in the province.

Devesa said the creation of the provincial ISCC is mandated under EO 546 issued by President Arroyo. The PNP contingent participating in the joint training is from the 1st PMG of Ilocos Norte.

Devesa said the training will last for 15 days and the participants are expected to acquire knowledge and procedures. The joint training will also improve the cohesiveness of small unity organizations of both forces.

“There will be an exchange of ideas on how to further improve the skills of each member of the team. And this will not end here, there will be more training program in the future to improve their competence, build up confidence and boost the morale of the two forces,” Devesa said. -- Myds Supnad

Cable thieves arrested in Guagua, Pampanga
Camp Olivas, Pampanga – Two members of the so-called “cableman” werearrested Oct. 19 by policemen while cutting telephone cables
in Barangay Quillo, San Matias, Guagua, Pampanga.

Senior Supt. Keith Ernald Singian, Pampanga provincial police director, identified the arrested suspects as Albert Del Rosario, 19, and Ronnie Miranda (not his real name) alias “Doy-Doy,” 17, single, jobless, both residents of San Roque, Guagua town.

Singian said four cohorts of the two suspects were able to elude arrest when the Guagua police force arrived at the area.

Singian said a manhunt operation has been launched against the four suspects identified as “Binoe Ramirez” (not his real name, 17, Jason Casupanan alias Bad Boy, 27, married, Gerald Macapagal and Archie “Cheng-Cheng” Calilung.

Guagua police immediately sent a team of policemen after receiving a telephone call from the office of the Philippine Long Distance Telephone (PLDT) regarding the presence of a group allegedly stealing their company’s cables along Barangay Quilo, San Matias, Guagua.

The police team, accompanied by personnel of PLDT proceeded to the area and arrested the two suspects while they were cutting the cables. – George Trillo

Designation of NLEX emergency lane urged
CAMP OLIVAS, Pampanga – Central Luzon police director Chief Supt. Errol T. Pan urged the operator of the North Luzon Expressway to provide a lane for emergency on the tollway.

In a recent letter sent to Anthony M. Mabasa, president, and Oscar M. Lopez,
chairman of the board of directors of the North Luzon Tollway Corp., Pan cited the importance of a lane designate for ambulances, police vehicles, firetrucks, prisoner’s transport vans and military vehicles so that movement in emergency cases is not delayed.

Pan said observations and experiences of some government agencies, particularly the Department of Health, Bureau of Fire Protection, Bureau of Jail Management and Penology, Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police, indicated that movement is impeded during emergencies. -- Mar Supnad



Mt. Province folk worldwide denounce ‘anomalous’ Mt-Data-Bontoc Road

To Ms Josephine Dominguez
Sabangan, Mt. Province

Dear Ma’am,

Warm greetings from Tokyo, Japan! Please find below an open letter to all kailyans in Mt. Province. The letter pertains to the implementation of the Halsema Highway Improvement Project. Members of the mountainprovince e-group, of which I am one of the co-moderators, drafted the open letter. May we request your help in making sure that the letter reaches Cong. Dominguez?

Because I have come to know you personally, it was with a heavy heart that I helped draft the open letter. As a father, though, I had to consider what kind of future I want to prepare for my son. I don’t want him and his cousins back home to inherit the same woes we have today, such as anomalous project implementation and unsafe roads and highways. I want them to face more exciting challenges in the future. I know you would want the same for your grandchildren and all i-Mt. Province.

Sincerely yours,
Daniel Peckley Jr.Co-moderator, mountainprovince e-group

To Rep. Victor S. Dominguez
Lone District
Mountain Province

Greetings from the Igorots of Mt. Province all over the world!
Please find below an open letter expressing our outrage at what happened with the project. We came out with this letter because we would like to ensure that the actions now being undertaken to correct the defective works of the project will be carried out as required and that defective implementation of government projects in our province, which unfortunately has become the norm, be stopped.

The signatories of the open letter are all humble Igorots who are based in the Philippines and abroad. Signatures were collected, and are still being collected, through the mountainprovince e-group, the Bibaknets e-group, the Igorot Global Organization (IGO) egroup, e-groups of BIBAK/Cordilleran organizations around the world and the blog of Igorotblogger.

Please feel free to visit the mountainprovince e-group archives for more details. The archives of the group, accessible to anyone, can be found on this website:

May we request help to have this open letter and its list of signatories reach more kailyans in Mt. Province and President Macapagal-Arroyo.

Very respectfully yours,
Concerned i-Mt. Province

An open letter to all i-Mountain Province

We are outraged at how the Halsema Highway Improvement Project in Mt. Province has been implemented. It has turned out to be another project in which hundreds of millions of taxpayers' money were wasted. Worse, due to the lack of safety signs and warnings while construction works were ongoing, an accident happened and a young father died.

Over the decades, we have lost loved ones, opportunities and resources because of the poor conditions of our roads and highways. This is despite the millions, if not billions, of pesos spent for their improvement and maintenance.

How many decades and billions of pesos more will it take before we can have well-paved and safe roads and highways?

The deaths of Mr. Winston S. Pawid and other kailyans, who, like Winston, were simply making a decent living, on their way to search better opportunities or visit relatives and friends, diminish us all.

Our hesitation to talk about these and to take appropriate action, either because we are afraid or not directly concerned, indicates the loss of our moral and cultural values and forebodes that the bells will toll for our demise as an Igorot community.

We ask our elected leaders, DPWH officials and engineers, and the concerned contractors who are supposed to be accountable for the Halsema project: Is this the legacy that you want to leave behind? We take this initiative to speak and make a stand: No more substandard roads and projects!

The future of our children and grandchildren depends much on what we choose to do or not today. By taking this stand and appropriate actions, we are choosing to bequeath a brighter future to them and all i-Mountain Province. Sapay koma!

Very truly yours,

Edwin and Mia Abeya
Rockville, Maryland, USA;
Sagada and Bontoc, Mt. Province
Raleigh Agdaca, Melbourne, Australia
Peter L. Agnaonao, Belgium, EuropeBesao, Mt. Province
Bart AlatanSurrey, British Columbia, Canada
Alice Facullo and Chito AlgarneUnion City, California, USABontoc and Abra
John and Josephine Alipit, Michigan, USASagada, Mt. Province
Shimea C. Aniwasal, Florida, USABontoc, Mt. Province
Connie Baluyan - AlfridoWoodbridge, VAFormerly from Balbalan, Kalinga
Charlton & Esther AligmayoBelleveu, New Jersey USABaguio City
Rose "Saydab" Alkemade, Melbourne, AustraliaSagada, Mt. Province
Chester Lee B. Alipit,La Trinidad, Benguet
John D. AllanChula Vista, CA, USAAlab, Bontoc, Mt. Province
Joseph Apacway, Canberra, Australia
Paz AptimesMelbourne, Australia, Masla, Tadian and Sagada, Mt. Province
Willie AustriaBaguio Fil-AmNorfolk, Virginia
Albert S. Bacdayan, 46 Sterling Hill RoadLyme, CT 06371
Byrne Bacwaden, Millersville, MD, USABesao, Mt. Province
Ray Baguilat, Jr.Bolingbrook, IL USA
Gaye BalanayJeddah, KSAAlab, Bontoc, Mt. Prov
Pangco Baniaga, Sagada, Mt. Province
Samson & Rebecca Baon, Jersey City, New Jersey USABaguio City/Sagada, Mt. Prov.
Edwin and Tina BasilioWellington, Florida
Georgina Basilio, West Palm Beach, Florida
Jaime Basilio, West Palm Beach, Florida
Harry P. Basingat, California, USASagada, Mt. Province
Michael Batala, Salinas, California, USA
Gloria S. Batalao Manteca, CA USA
Gilbert G. BatnagAl Ain, Abu DhabiU.A.E.
Hilaria B. Batnag, Baguio CityBauko & Besao, Mt. Prov.
Jonathan Bayogan, Davao City, PhilippinesTadian, Mt. Province
Janet Bawaan, Glendale, CAUSA
Odette Andrada-Belgica, Canada &Bontoc, MP
Benilda Comafay Bennet , Germantown, MD, USA(Formerly from Bontoc, Mtn Province)
Jun and Lily Anne Beswilan, West Palm Beach, Florida
Bill Bilig, Sagada, Mt. Province
Daisy A. Bobeck, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.
Rufino B. Bomasang, Paranaque, Metro ManilaBesao, Mountain Province
Patrick & Cristabel Bounggic, kVienna, Austria EuropeBugang, SagadaMt. Province
Cecily (Cadaweng) Bourchier, La Trinidad, BenguetMichael Bourchier Melbourne, Australia
Leonardo R. Bugtong, Las Vegas, NV USA
Raymund & Marie Buking, Englewood, New Jersey USABontoc/Sagada Mt. Prov.
Donald / Florence Cabay Derwood , Maryland USATadian / Bontoc Mtn Province
Fitzbert Cadiogan, Besao, Mt. Province
Antonio & Rosing Calado, Belleveu, New Jersey USABaguio City
William and Rosalynda Teckney Callagan, Indianapolis, Indiana USASabangan and Sagada, Mt. Province
Mildred CaluganHon-Atsugi, Kanagawa, JapanBauko, Mt. Province
Emily Capuyan, Niagara Falls, Canada i-Demang,Sagada
Catherine L. Carlin, Cleveland, OHSagada Mountain Province
Ceasar/Elisa CastroVancouver, CanadaTadian/Sabangan, Mtn. Province
Tom and Mary Jane Cayad, Melbourne, Australia
Norma Panglao Chaudhari Mclean, Virginia, USA
Melchora Calang-ad ChinBrisbane, Queensland, AustraliaSagada, Mt. Province
Regie Chumacog, Riyadh, K.S.ABontoc, Mt. Province
Forrest & Mylene Comafay,(Loc-ong Lords Lane,Bontoc)Poway,Ca.U.S of A.
Nicolle Bangloy Comafay, Kyoto, JapanBauko/Bontoc, Mt. Province
Neil D. Culallad, Tsukuba, JapanBontoc, Mt. Province
Cornelia S.Cunningham, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania USA
Joseph & Christina T. Dagan, Garden Grove, California, USA
Nestor Damian, Calgary, Alberta Canada
Carmen Falancy Domondon, Calgary, Alberta, CanadaIfontok
Kenneth Daoey, Tucson, ArizonaBontoc, Mt. Province
Jerry B. Dizon, Toronto, Canada
Pete Dominguez, Bauko, Mt. Province
Mathilda Dumaguing, Megoru-ku, Tokyo, JapanSagada, Mt. Province
Estifania Esparza, N. Las Vegas, NV USA
Joel Fagsao, Bontoc, Mt. Province
Daphne Falag-ey, Bontoc, Mt. ProvinceSingapore
Deliuz M. Fermin Jr., Hong Kong, SARBontoc, Mt. Province
Brenda D. Fiagoy, Maryland, USABaguio City, Philippines
Geraldine L. Fiagoy, Baguio City, Philippines
Caridad B. Fiar-od, Besao, Mt. Province, Philippines
Douglas Fillag, Calgary, Alberta, CanadaIsamoki, Bontoc
Mary Gayomba Flores, Port Hueneme, CaliforniaAlab, Bontoc
Francis Floresca, Baguio City,Bontoc, Mountain Province
Angel Ullocan & Elizabeth Galas, Ewa Beach HI.Ato,Sagada Mt Prov.
Elizabeth Gayumba, Penasco, New MexicoAlab, Bontoc Mt. Prov.
George G. Gewan, Musuan, Bukidnon, Philippines& Sagada, Mountain ProvincePhilippines
Imelda Manganip Giles, Georgetown, KY,USABesao, Mt. Province
Benie Jaime Girmond, Frankfurt, Germany
Gloria Golocan, Renton, WA
Lourdes C. Gomeyac, Baguio City, Philippines
Ezra and Diga Gomez, Bontoc, Mt. Province
Tony Gomowad, Sagada, Mt. Province
Briccio Gulian, Sagada/TN
Lynette Gomez Habawel, New Jersey, USABontoc, Mt. Prov.
Edward Haight, Fujimenoshi, Saitama-Ken, JapanSagada, Mt. Province
Gina Jaime Heß, Karslruhe, Germany
Golda Ateo-an-Henan, China, Icaluttit,Bontoc Mt.Province
Eva Bauding Hubner, Frankfurt, Germany
Arlene Inga-an, Ramstein, Germany
Virginia Panglao Jester, Silver Spring, Md., USA
Gracia Kibad, St. Columban's Navan, County MeathIreland
Gaston P. Kibiten, Baguio City, PhilippinesBila, Bauko, Mt. Province
Susan M. Kilakil, Belgium, EuropeBesao, Mt.Province
Clifford & Rachel Killip, Englewood, New Jersey USASagada, Mt. Prov.
Ernest & Errub Killip, Glen Burnie, MD USA Sagada/Bontoc Mt. Province
Erwin Killip, Engelwood, New Jersey USASagada, Mt. Prov.
Norman & Grace KillipTeaneck, NJSagada & Besao Mt. Prov.
Teofilo Jr. and Teresita Killip, Bristol UK
Rosita Kubulan, Texas U. S. A.
Alredo Labfayong, Zuerich Switzerland
Cyprienne Mabanay Lacaden, Morristown, New Jersey USABaguio City
Nick Lamsis, Cranford, New Jersey USABauko, Mt. Prov.
Theodore M. Lardizabal, Sr.Pompton Plains, New JerseySagada, Mt. Province
Timoteo C. Lasegan, Data, SabanganTabuk, KalingaPhilippines
Jane D. Lee, Agawa, BesaoMt. Province
Shiela Liclican, Bontoc, Mt. Province
Rose Puyao-LingbawanTyson Puyao Lingbawan Okusawa, setagaya-Ku, TokyoFrom Balbalan, Kalinga
Lydia Lingcayo, Toronto, Canada
Liezel Longboan Cardiff, Wales
Malabong Longid, Sagada, Mt. Province
Norman and Luisa Longid, Chicago, ILSagada, Mt. Province
Lila Lumcang, Tokyo, Japan Lagangilang, Abra
Lynn B. Macalingay, Wilmington, MA, USABesao, Mt. Province
Ben Magalgalit, Puerto Princesa, PalawanIsagada
Vicky Malinias, London,UK
Grayle Mangangey, Calgary, Alberta, CanadaIfontok
Ryan Mangangey, Calgary, Alberta, CanadaIfontok
Joan Mangusan, Kilong, Sagada
Roel & Annabelle Marcadesh, New York, New York USAManila/Sagada, Mt. Prov.
Esther Lacbawan Marshall, Jackson, New Jersey USASagada, Mt. Prov.
Jaime and Sarah Masferre, Roseland, New Jersey. USASagada, Mt. Prov.
Vemileen Baluloan-Maslan andJackstone Maslan, Tabuk City, KalingaBauko/Sabangan, Mt. Province
Annie MatsumuraSaitama-Ken, JapanSagada, Mt. Province
Lilian Peleo-MayKaitaia , New Zealand Omfeg ,Bontoc
Emma Mitrovic, Mississauga, Ontario, CanadaSagada, Mt. Province
Henry Molintas, Olney, Maryland, USA
Joan Moguet, Silver spring, Maryland, USAPoblacion, Sabangan, Mt Prov
Mellane Moguet, Silver Spring, Maryland, USASao,Sabangan, Mt Prov
Tess Oloan Nahlen and Hommer Baybay Nahlen, Calgary, Alberta, CanadaIsamoki, Bontoc ya Ibesao
Rose Bawing-Nabert and Claus Nabert, Toronto, Canada i-Sagada
Jocelyn Noe, West Palm Beach, Florida, USABesao, Mt. Province
Cleto P. Oloan, Cabuyao, Laguna Bontoc, Mt. Province
Raymund Oloan, Calgary, Alberta, CanadaIsamoki, Bontoc
Maryknoll Padalla, Vienna, Austria
Jessie Padchonga, Pennsylvania, USABontoc, Mt. Province
Lloyd B. Palangeo, Kin-iway, Besao
Pamela Palantis, Melbourne,AustraliaAgawa,Besao, Mt. Province
Sylvia and Douglas Palmer, Seattle WashingtonSagada, Mt. Province/Peace Corp Volunteer
Jose Pampanico, Tokyo, JapanBauko/Sagada
Venus Peckley, Calgary, Alberta, CanadaIsamoki, Bontoc
Daniel Peckley Jr, Silahis Ocampo-PeckleyKita-ku, Tokyo, JapanBontoc, Mt. Province
Raymond Peleo, Cherry Jimenez Peleo, San Jose CaliforniaIlocos/Omfeg, Bontoc
Jean Pengosro, Tokyo, JapanLa Trinidad, Benguet
Henry & Nellie Pit-og, Jr., Centreville, Virginia, USA.I-chak-chakan, IfontokI-Sagada
Lydia Pongtan, Toronto, Canada
Reginald & Donna ReynaL, ong Island, New York USABaguio City/Bauko, Mt. Prov.
Ma. Hazel A. Rivera, Tabuk, KalingaPhilippines
Cherry Ann Sad-ang, Toronto, Canada
Mr. & Mrs. Lambert Sagalla, New Jersey, USABesao and Bontoc, Mt. Province
Joseph & Beng Sagandoy, Muntinlupa, Metro ManilaBontoc, Mt. Province
Samuel Saldaen, Buguias, Benguet
Joseph and Inez Saley, New Jersey, USAI-Kapangan ya I-Sagada
Julio & Emilie Salio-an, Northvale, New Jersey USABontoc, Mt. Prov.
Roy & Valentina Salvador, Parsipanny, New Jersey USABaguio City/Sagada, Mt. Prov.
Sony Touche K. Sawad, Pittsburgh, PAAlab, Bontoc, Mt Prov
Virman L. Sayang-od, Mabalacat, PampangaBila, Bauko Mt. Province
Loreta Bosaing-Shibasaki, Tokorozawa City, Saitam, JapanSagada, Mt. Province Gloria and Donald Simon, Glenview, IL USA
Ronald & Jojie Singson, Chino hills, CaliforniaIcaluttit, Bontoc
Joyce Aniwasal Sola, Florida, USABontoc, Mt. Province
Elizabeth Macliing-Solang, Baguio CityBontoc, Mt. Province
Ray H. Solomon, Los Angeles, CaliforniaBalili, Bontoc, Mt. Province
Romie Soria, Long Island, New York USABontoc, Mt. Prov.
Sarah Baguiwet Souffrant, Harlingen, TexasUSA
Nelia Jaime Starke, Dietzenbach, Germany
Antonio & Linda Sucdad, Bergenfield, New Jersey USALa Trinidad/Sagada, Mt. Prov.
Abigail C. Tauli, Northvale, New Jersey USAPuguis, La Trinidad
Andrew A. Tauli, Payeo, Besao, Mountain Province
Esperita Teckney, Data, SabanganTabuk, KalingaPhilippines
Joel L. Teckney, iData-iSagadaTabuk, Kalinga
Herman and Lourdes Toyokan, Meguro-ku, Tokyo, JapanBontoc, Mt. Province
Tony/Ching Trinidad, Queens, NY, USABontoc, Mt. Province
Silva D. Tsuchiya, Baguio city
Nancy Basilio Vargas, Las Vegas, Nevada
Nover/Betty Velasco, Benguet/KayanHesperia, Calif. 92345
Manny Belgica Vergara, Bontoc, Mt. Province
Fely Jaime Waltenberger, Spielberg, Germany
Jessica Jaime Waltenberger, Munich, Germany
Jerson Watan, Manila, PhilippinesiTadian, Mt. Province
Philian Weygan, Baguio City, PhilippinesBesao, Mt. Province
Julia Capuyan-Wernsdorf, Sagada, Mt. Province
Isabel Badongen Wolfe from Bauko, Mt. Province
Benedict and Mellicynth YodongBontoc, Mt. Province
Nestor A. Yodong, Sagada, Mt. Province



Justice for Jocelyn Dulnuan and other OFW victims

On Oct. 24, the body of Jocelyn Dulnuan was laid to rest in their parent’s backyard in Namulditan, Hingyon, Ifugao. About 350 community people, sympathizers and their relatives attended the prayer in the morning.

What happened to Jocelyn will remain a nightmare to her family, relatives, the people in her community and her co-compatriots abroad. The family will not find peace until the killer is identified and brought to justice.

Community people and relatives who attended the wake have only one question to ask. “Who murdered Jocelyn?” The family cannot explain either but have tried to tell the community people: “let us wait for the investigation of the case”.

Jocelyn’s body was repatriated in 16 October and arrived in Manila on the18th October. The Canadian authority has raised $5,000 and the Philippine government contributed another $5,000 only for her repatriation.

As of this time, other commitments from the Ifugao LGUs and OWWA were not yet available, thus, all expenses were shouldered by the family. The Filipino community in Canada was able to raise $4,664 after the OWWA denied support to Jocelyn. According to the Jocelyn Dulnuan Support Committee in Canada , an independent initiative, moral and financial support has been continuously been pouring in for the family..

Jocelyn, 27 years old was found dead in October 1 by her female employer in their Mansion in Missiiiauga City , Ontario , Canada . Canadian police confirmed Jocelyn’s death involved “foul play” but did not make public all the details surrounding the incident.

Migrante Metro Baguio Chapter and Migrante International traveled all the way to Hingyon to attend the wake for Jocelyn for two nights in Ifugao upon the arrival of the body.

The Migrante shared the situation of the overseas Filipinos abroad to the community people. The local government present during the sharing committed to make resolutions in the pursuit of jocelyn’s justice.

Migrante vows to seek justice for Jocelyn and be vigilant to any attempt to whitewash the case.

As an organization composed of Overseas Filipino Workers and their families from the Cordillera, Migrante-Metro Baguio commits to seeking justice for Jocelyn Dulnuan, a fellow Cordilleran found murdered in Ontario, Canada .

We urge the Canadian authorities to disclose details about the full investigation into her case and we remain vigilant against any attempts to whitewash the investigation. We assert that Jocelyn’s family has the right to be fully informed about the progress of their investigation.

We also urge the Arroyo administration to ensure justice for Jocelyn, one of the million Filipinos forced to leave the country because of poverty, absence of jobs and very low wages. We do not want Jocelyn’s case to be another addition to the growing number of unsolved murders committed against Filipino workers around world.

Jocelyn and countless other migrant workers prop up the ailing Philippine economy by infusing more than US$12 billion annually into the country’s dollar reserves. The Arroyo administration must therefore ensure that justice for Jocelyn and her family is duly given to them.

We denounce OWWA refusal to provide assistance to Dulnuan. Her case highlights yet again how the Arroyo administration exacerbates the injustices suffered by overseas Filipino workers. Instead of blaming Jocelyn over her membership status with OWWA, the real problem is the OWWA Omnibus Policy passed by the OWWA Board in September 2003.

Jocelyn was brutally murdered in her room inside a mansion in the city of Mississauga , Ontario , Canada last October 1st. Jocelyn is from Namulditan, Ifugao. She worked in Hong Kong before she transferred to Canada under the Live in Caregiver Program.

Her remains were expected to be flown to the Philippines from Canada on Oct. 18 direct to Ifugao. Canadian police had reportedly confirmed that she died from “foul play”.

Migrante Metro-Baguio vows to intensify efforts to obtain justice for Jocelyn and all Filipino migrant workers. As a member of Migrante International, a global alliance of organizations composed of overseas Filipinos and their families, we commit to ensuring actions for Jocelyn are launched across the Philippines and around the world. Justice for Jocelyn Dulnuan!

Flora Belinan
Migrante Metro
Baguio Chairperson


NPA denounces ‘illegal arrest’ of alleged member
Even on the flimsiest of reasons, the Arroyo regime and its rabid minions keep on arresting, incarcerating, and killing activists. Last Sept. 15, Jose Cawiding, a member of the progressive Cordillera Peoples Alliance was arrested by the police.

He was falsely accused of being a member of the Leonardo Pacsi Command of the New People's Army in the Mountain Province. Moreover, he was maliciously and falsely tagged as the intelligence officer of the LPC.

Just before his arrest, the police put up P500,000 as reward for his capture. Obviously, the police wanted the reward money for themselves while at the same time trampling on the democratic and civil rights of activists.

The Leonardo Pacsi Command categorically declares that said Cawiding was never a member of the NPA. Thus, he could not have participated in the successful tactical offensive of the NPA at Talubin, Mountain Province on July 14, 2003.

Cawiding's arrest was part of the PNP's counter-insurgency campaign that has been marked by a series of fiascos and bloopers. Just to chalk up its accomplishments, gain pogi points, rewards and promotions, the police is resorting to the harassment of activists such as the arrest of UCCP Pastor Franciso Bonuan last April 20 for allegedly participating in the NPA's punishment of Conrado Balweg.

The charges against Bonuan were recently dismissed by the court for lack of evidence. Also dismissed for lack of evidence were the charges against three militant farmers of the STOP-EX in Ilocos and the Punks 11 for allegedly participating in the NPA's tactical offensives. The case against Cawiding will surely be dismissed also in any fair court.

The harassment of activists through false accusations and trumped-up charges is the modus operandi of the Inter-Agency Legal Action Group. This is part of the Arroyo regime's so-called legal offensive, a major component of Oplan Bantay Laya (OBL), Arroyo's vicious end-game strategy to crush the national democratic revolution before 2010.

The Arroyo regime's rampant violation of human rights further elucidates its complete moral and political bankruptcy. As the corrupt regime is buffeted by successive scandals and battered by intensive and extensive NPA tactical offensives, Arroyo is whipping her dreadful tail like a cornered crocodile does.
Arroyo and her corrupt stooges in the AFP/PNP shamelessly resort to false accusation and vilification in a vain attempt to cover up the defeats of their demoralized puppet army in the battlefields in the hands of the determined New People's Army launching tactical offensives to hasten the downfall of this much hated regime.

The Leonardo Pacsi Command calls on all patriotic junior officers of the AFP and PNP, and likewise to the rank and file to withdraw their support for their fake commander-in-chief who has no compunction to use them as cannon fodder if only to save her skin and corrupt regime.

The Leonardo Pacsi Comand joins the rest of the revolutionary forces and the oppressed Filipino people in denouncing this fast decaying and obnoxious Arroyo regime with its kilometric record of human rights violations.

Ka Magno Udyaw
Leonardo Pacsi Command
New People's Army –
Mountain Province



Instituting measures to make SK, barangay polls credible

The religious group burning money at the Commission on Elections main office in Manila as a “cleansing rite” to “drive away evil spirits” was a dramatic way of telling Comelec officials: Enough with corruption.

With barangay and sangguniang kabataan elections set on Oct. 29, there is need for the Comelec not to embark on partisan politics which had divided the nation after allegations of payoffs and rigging of votes have been exposed.

The Comelec has a huge role to play the coming elections as those who would be elected belong to the grassroots. Barangay and SK officials who would win would become the “backbone” of the nation in terms of governance even as the bigshots in Malacanang or Congress call the shots.

Barangay officials are those who are attuned with the needs of constituents in their jurisdiction. They are the ones who settle disputes ranging from land, peace and order to marital conflicts.

But the teachers are also the unsung heroes particularly during elections. They are the ones who mold the youth to become better citizens. But sadly, in some if not most cases, teachers have been the unwitting victims of politicians and powers that be who either coopted, coerced or bribed them so they would help in rigging elections in their favor.

There is also need for the Armed Forces of the Philippines to ensure security measures for these teachers who could also become innocent targets of warring officials who have protégés running for the barangay and SK polls.

In Northern Luzon, there are a lot of “areas of concern” like those in Abra in the Cordillera and other Region 1 provinces like Ilocos Sur where violence could erupt this coming polls.

It is also a source of concern as according to the Alliance of Concerned Teachers, the Comelec has not yet trained and briefed public school teachers who will serve as chairpersons or members of different boards of elections tellers.

This, considering that there is a little more than a week prior to the elections. Indeed, election duty training is a vital measure in protecting teachers from harassment, intimidation and “legal harassment” since it would provide them with adequate information and guidance in the conduct and procedures for the upcoming polls.

According to Comelec officials themselves, the legally mandated procedures for the barangay and SK polls are very different from the May 14 national elections. That is why it’s crucial that teachers get the proper training so they could serve as efficient election tellers, chairpersons or members.

It may not be too late for the Comelec to act on this, but the electoral body could start the training immediately if it wanted to – unless there is another mysterious agenda in the works.



More on Mt. Data-Bontoc road scam

Sanamagan. At the rate issues of corruption are being brought out against government officials allegedly involved in the ZTE deal, “palace” monetary handouts worth millions to local officials to secret bank accounts, it would seem we are headed to earning a title as the “most corrupt country of the century” in the Guinness Book of World Records.

People are saying it seems doing graft is the only thing our officials know. Nowadays, almost folk we bump into is talking about these. It seems everybody had suddenly become an expert on how graft is being committed and how the government is doing everything to do damage control like that alleged “accidental” blast at Glorietta wherein 11 persons were killed.

Almost every national media outfit is discussing these issues so let us leave this to our peers in Imperial Manila and delve on corruption being done in the local level which also involves millions of pesos.
One such controversy is the “anomalous” P700 million Mt. Data-Bontoc road project. This paper had been coming with exposes on the issue out week after week so for those who missed some issues of this paper, please read our banner story on page 1.

It had been a long time since I wrote a straight news story and I didn’t want this issue to pass. But for this column, let us take a look at what is happening behind the scenes.
The next bombshell for our friends in the Dept of Public Works and Highways: a top regional official would be out of office the coming days. According to our Malacanang bubwit, Sec. Hermogenes Ebdane is putting the finishing touches to make this official realize that good times do come to an end.

You see, this official had reportedly been having it so good the past years owing to his close relationship with this top Mountain Province official who was responsible for installing him to office.

Like all fairy tales gone haywire, this DPWH official may have to bear the consequences as according to our bubwit, Ebdane is visibly mad every time this issue crops up and would like to make a sample out of this so-called public servant.
You see, this DPWH official had been saying no irregularity or graft had been committed in the implementation of the project when a team from the central office tasked to investigate the issue found out “coring” of the road was substandard.

Other alleged violations: The projects were split (chop chopped) in violation of Republic Act 9184, there was no actual survey of the projects as the programming was rushed to beat the deadline for the collection of the 15 percent advance mobilization payment and as proof of this, funds for the “detailed engineering were not used.” The bidding for the projects was allegedly rigged and public documents were falsified, among others.
Of course, this top Mountain Province elective official had been mouthing the line over a radio station in Baguio week after week since the expose on this road project was made by the Northern Philippine Times and followed up by other local and national papers.

The whistle-blower of course was Sabangan resident Juniper Dominguez. I’m inviting anybody who has information on the issue to write about it in this paper. Juniper earlier told this writer he had no qualms of being named as the source of the stories. Juniper told me he had been receiving death threats following his revelations but said he would pursue the cases to the end.
Good, I told him, since no DPWH official in Mountain Province or the region, as far as I know had been terminated from office for doing hanky panky with taxpayers’ money. Aside from former regional DPWH Pleyto (his first name escapes me) who was suspended from office, I couldn’t remember any who was given the axe. Pleyto was meted disciplinary action after he was transferred to the Central Office.
Anyway, lackeys of this top Mountain Province official are now saying Juniper had been very talkative about the anomalous road contracts as a way of getting back at his uncle Rep. Victor Dominguez who beat his younger brother Jupiter for the congressional post last May elections.

Juniper may have his reasons, but fact is -- pieces of evidence point out there were indeed anomalies on implementation of the road projects. As a kailian said, “Aye pay si Juniper, talaga samet ay adi na isardeng nan kanakanana isnan project ay sana (Juniper, I guess won’t stop talking about the road projects.)”
We say it is high time people should speak out about these anomalies and it is strange we don’t get statements on the issue from our friends in the Cordillera People’s Alliance and other cause-oriented organizations.

Now, what is this we hear that this regional DPWH official (who was the object of Jupiter’s complaint with the ombudsman) “settled” one commissioner of the Presidential Anti-graft Commission to delay the issuance of a preventive suspension order for him to have time to manipulate matters favorably for him?
The commissioner was reportedly a former politician from Mindanao. Now, Constancia P. De Guzman, MNSA chairperson is reportedly conducting “preliminary verification” on the matter. Whether something comes out of this “verification” remains to be seen as we hear more money is about to be donated by this regional DPWH official to other MNSA commissioners.

Government officials bribing other government officials is the fad at the moment so I guess, this DPWH official wouldn’t like to be tagged as “outdated.” You see, for some, if not most people in government, one must have the best in everything to be “respected” by one’s peers – latest model car, mansion with high-tech amenities, golfing privileges and of course, the prettiest women for hire.
It is no wonder anymore if some government officials, with no businesses outside of government, could spend so much and have all the things money can buy despite having measly salaries.

I guess these officials, deep down in themselves, are ashamed of what they are doing thinking they are feeding their families out of ill-gotten wealth. The sad thing – once one is in the quagmire, it is very hard to get out.



Reinventing charity

How can the government save money in the delivery of public services and at the same time ensure efficiency in this regard? The answer of course is to follow the private sector lead of moving towards the direction of outsourcing some of these services, to the extent that it is allowable by the law.

As of now, the government is already outsourcing its security guard and janitorial services just like the private sector, and there is no reason why it could not add some other services to be outsourced.
How could nonprofit organizations raise funds for their charitable and developmental programs in order not to rely entirely on donations? The answer is the same, and that is to move towards the direction of providing outsourcing services, in other words offering value in exchange for well earned revenues, which is really just another way of raising funds.
Encouraged by the growth and success of the outsourcing industry, the Inter-Charity Network (ICN) is now leading its member organizations in moving towards the provision of outsourcing services to the government and to the private sector, to raise funds for its charitable and developmental programs, as well as the programs of its member organizations.
Backed by its large community of partners, volunteers and workers, ICN is now ready to provide a wide range of outsourcing services. Its partners are private companies that are serving as its back end. Its volunteers come from all walks of life, all willing to work for free, as their contribution to charity and development.
Its workers are disadvantaged people who find it difficult to find employment for one reason or another. These include senior citizens, people with disabilities (PWDs) and those who belong to various marginalized sectors.
By giving value added services instead of asking for money, ICN is actually re-inventing charity in this country, while at the same time making sure that its scholarship, apprenticeship and entrepreneurship programs will continue on a sustained basis. Contact us if you want to try any of these services.
For more information about public governance, email


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