Mayor orders creation of ‘super body’ vs gambling

>> Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Baguio City Police Office Deputy Director for Operations Supt. Andrew Cayad explains lapses of police precincts during a media forum which include blotters not made due to non-functioning computers and lack of bond papers. Also in the photo: (L-R) BCPO information officer SPO4 Viyo Hidalgo, deputy director for Administration Supt. Constancio Chinayog, Criminal Investigation and Detection Group assistant chief Senior. Supt. Ricardo Silab and Highway Patrol Group regional head Senior Supt Vladimir Kahulugan. Photo by Redjie Melvic Cawis

By Dexter A. See

BAGUIO CITY – Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan here ordered the creation of a multi-agency super body to stop proliferation of numerous forms of illegal gambling like jueteng in the city.

Domogan signed Administrative Order No. 126 organizing the “Task force on just and unified peoples initiative to eradicate rampant illegal gambling in the city of Baguio” after receiving constant reports on the proliferation of illegal gambling all over the city.

Under Domogan’s order, the task force is empowered to advocate citywide eradication of illegal gambling, gather information on the proliferation of illegal gambling in the city, formulate plan of action to dismantle illegal gambling activities and exercise general powers to make arrests, search and seizures in accordance with the Constitution and pertinent laws.

Furthermore, the task force will enforce all laws and ordinances related to anti-gambling, investigate and prevent crimes, effect the arrest of offenders, bring offenders to justice and assist in their prosecution, formulate and develop recommendations to support local legislations relative to the control and eradication of illegal gambling, recommend alternative economic programs for the community and discuss polices and recommendations as may be raised at the technical and operations levels.

Domogan admitted illegal gambling is one of the concerns that degrade public morals, breeds corruption among government officials and is a major contributor in the deterioration of quality of life of people.

Section I (a) 1. Of Presidential Decree 602 defines illegal gambling as “any illegal or unauthorized activities of cockfighting, jueteng, jai alai or horse racing to include bookie operations and game fixing, numbers, bingo and other forms of lotteries; Caray Cruz, Pompiang and the like; 7-11 and any game using dice; black jack, lucky 9, poker and its derivatives, monte, baccarat Cuajao, Panggungue and other card games among others.”

Task Force Jupiter shall be composed of the city mayor as chairman; DILG city director as action officer and members of the advocacy sector, operations team and interested members.

The advocacy sector will be composed of representatives from the private sector, religious sector, office of the city mayor, office of the congressman, Bureau of Jail Management and penology, Baguio City Police Office and the National Police Commission in the Cordillera.

At the same time, the operations team will be composed of representatives from the Baguio police, Criminal Investigation and Detection Group, National Bureau of Investigation, office of the city mayor, office of the congressman and Patrol 117.

Domogan said there is an urgent need for the city government, line agencies, community and other stakeholders concerned to eradicate all forms of gambling in the city.

According to him, illegal gambling undermine efforts of the city government to strengthen ethical standards and institutionalize good governance so people will trust the bureaucracy to curb evils in the society.


22 hurt in Bontoc highway accident

By Francis Degay

BONTOC, Mountain Province -- Twenty two persons were injured in a vehicular accident along the Halsema Highway here Thursday at Sitio Napo, Bontoc Ili at about 8:30 a.m.

A police report said a passenger utility vehicle with plate no. AY-845 driven by Joseph Guidangen on its way Bontoc bumped after he just overtook another public utility vehicle, a DPWH Toyota pick up with plate no. SAN-845 steered by Ruel Layogan at a slight curve of the National Highway.

The DPWH crew was proceeding to Gonogon when the accident happened.

All passengers and drivers of both vehicles were brought by passing motorists to the nearby Bontoc General Hospital for treatment.

The passengers of the government car, all from Bontoc were identified by police as Allyson Afidchao and Lloyd Gelacio of Barangay Caluttit, Jomar Baydon of Sitio Sum-at, Caluttit; Julius Banityao of Pokisan, Bontoc Ili; Dennis Julius Poloc, of Chackong, Bontoc Ili; Conrado Sagun, of Caluttit; Rodolfo Cayabo, of Lower Caluttit; and Bernard Bagwan, of Sitio Apallay, Bontoc Ili.

Layogan who sustained injuries is still at the hospital.

On the other hand, the passengers of the public utility vehicle were identified as follows: Mary Pinengeo-Poblacion, Sabangan; Elena Colod-Lubon, Tadian; Joey Mad-eo, Poblacion, Tadian; Josephine Dao-wan-Kayan, Tadian; Fred Dacmeg Jr; Clarita Ballakis-Busa, Sabangan; Balbina Baguitan, Mabaay, Bauko; Raymundo Pawid, Lesseb, Sabangan; Cornelio Marcos; and Eleonor Joven-Barlig.

After medical treatment at the Bontoc General Hospital some passengers were allowed to go home.

They were named as Bernard Bagwan, Rodolfo Cayabo, Mary Pinengeo, Clarita Ballakis, Balbina Daguitan, Raymundo Pawid, Conelio Marcos, Octavia Dampalig, Fred Dacmeg Jr and Danilo Bayon.

Due to the impact of the accident, the Toyota pick-up truck was totally wrecked while the PUJ had a broken windshield, dented left side fender, disaligned front wheel assembly, damaged I-beam, springs and tie rod end.

Guidangen, who had no driver’s license when the accident happened, is under custody of Bontoc police.

As of press time, there is no assessment established yet on the cost of damages of the two vehicles.


Body probes report on missing farmer, fully armed group

By Freddie Lazaro

VIGAN CITY — A fact-finding body composed of law enforcement agencies and Ilocos Sur’s local government is now investigating reports of 20 fully armed uniformed men roaming the countryside and a farmer missing in an upland town in the province.

The investigating body is composed of the police represented by Ilocos Sur police director Senior Supt. Eduardo Dopale, the Philippine Army represented by Col. Rogelio Migote, Commander of the army’s 50th Infantry Battalion and the provincial government of Ilocos Sur led by Gov. Luis Chavit Singson, Vice Gov. Deogracias Victor DV B. Savellano, Provincial Board Members Orlino Tesoro and Robert Tudayan.

The factfinding body was sought by provincial board member Tudayan during a privilege speech in a regular session who wanted an investigation into reports of a missing farmer identified as Nicolas Ramos, a resident from Barangay Poblacion, Salcedo, Ilocos Sur and the presence of fully – armed uniformed men who claimed themselves as New People’s Army rebels in Salcedo, Galimuyod and Santa Lucia towns in the province.

Tudayan said Ramos, an uncle of slain NPA member Randy Ramos, was reported missing since July 24, 2010 and was allegedly kidnapped by the reported armed men wandering in the towns of Salcedo, Galimuyod and Santa Lucia when he went to Barangay Dinaratan, Salcedo town to help his relatives in planting rice.

There was a report that before Ramos went missing, fully armed men were seen near his house.

According to Tudayan, sometime on the third week of July or before Ramos went missing, he received reports from civilians about the presence 20 fully-armed men who identified themselves as NPA rebels roaming around Barangay Baracbac, Galimuyod, Ilocos Sur.

He said these armed men were reportedly harassing the local residents while soliciting rice and other foods and took what they want from them.

These armed men were also looting fishponds maintained by the local folk near the rivers in Galimuyod town and they also engaged cattle and goat rustling in the towns of Salcedo and Santa Lucia.

“Because of these malicious, unlawful and shocking activities of the armed group, the residents reported it to the commander of the CAFGU unit based in Barangay Bitong, Galimuyod town but to their dismay, their pleas fell on deaf ears,” Tudayan said.


Pests, bacteria attack in Isabela, Cordillera

By Freddie Lazaro and Dexter See

TUGUEGARAO CITY, Cagayan/ Bontoc, Mountain Province — While farmers are reeling from crop losses due to the effects of El Niño, pests and bacteria are now tormenting farms in Isabela and Mountain Province.

Isabela Provincial Agriculturist Danilo Tumamao confirmed that rice plantations in the towns of Ramon, San Mateo and Burgos, all in Isabela have been infected with “bacterial leaf streak” or the reddening of the growing rice plant’s leaves.

At present, Tumamao said his office is taking measures to control the spread of the disease-causing bacteria.

“Our farmers have nothing to worry about the rice disease as we are now doing the most effective measures to protect our rice,” Tumamao told but he didn’t elaborate.

For his part, Region 2’s Agriculture Director Andrew Villacorta assured to the farmers that his office has sufficient pesticides to contain the spread of the bacterial disease.

Meanwhile, thousands of farmers in two agricultural towns in the province continue to suffer a setback in their bid to recover from the natural phenomenon after new pests reportedly ravaged their vegetable farms over the past few weeks.

Based on a report from the provincial agriculturist’s office, hundreds of farmers in the eastern town of Paracelis observed the rapid increase in the number of giant snails known locally as “beloloko.”

The giant snails have greatly affected the growth of vegetables in their farms considering that these pests feed on vegetables.

Farmers said they never had the snail problem before but because of the sudden change in weather patterns, unpredictable pests have mushroomed and affected their productivity in vegetable farms and rice paddies.

To get rid of the infestation, experts initially reminded farmers to manually collect the snails, pound them and make compost fertilizer from them which has been described to be rich in protein.
As per studies, the giant snails could be collected in the late afternoon when they usually come out from the farms so that their multiplication could be averted.

The giant snails are considered voracious and can increase easily because they lay eggs in thousands thereby posing a serious threat to the vegetable production of the farmers.

On the other hand, vegetable farmers in Bauko town complained of white fly pests wreaking havoc in their vegetable farms.

The white flies have attacked farms growing potatoes, beans, squash and the other vegetable leaves, leading to their eventual death.

In a bid to control the proliferation of white fly in the vegetable farms, the local agriculture office recommended to the farmers to shift to the organic farming the soonest since the unexpected white fly pest might have developed resistance as a result of the continuous use of chemicals in their vegetable gardens.

Meanwhile, Villacorta confirmed that even rice plantations in the provinces of Nueva Vizcaya and Quirino have also been affected by the bacterial leaf streak.

Villacorta said he has already alerted all DA provincial heads in the Cagayan Valley region to implement the necessary measures to prevent their rice plantations from the attack of plant diseases not only the “bacterial leaf streak” but also armyworms, locust infestation and rice black bug.

Villacorta said that corn crops in the region have been free from any disease.

With the good quality of growing corn plants, Villacorta expected the region to produce this harvest season an estimated one million metric tons of corn, which is more than their 800,000 metric tons target this cropping season.


Angeles City CIDG unit sacked amid extort raps

ANGELES CITY– The entire force of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group in this city has been relieved Wednesday amid allegations of frame-ups and extortion of operators of tourism-oriented businesses here.

Chief Supt. Leon Nilo de la Cruz, CIDG chief based at Camp Crame, said he relieved Chief Insp. Randy Glenn Silvio and the other CIDG personnel here from their posts after foreigners and other local investors, who have grown tired of the extortion, sought the help of Mayor Edgardo Pamintuan.

“I ordered their relief pending their investigation and they will all be replaced immediately,” De la Cruz said.

Citing reports, Pamintuan said among the recent victims were the managers of a bar who were allegedly asked by CIDG men to shell out P600,000 so they would not be charged for supposedly employing minors.

Pamintuan asked De la Cruz to investigate reports that the local CIDG men recently staged “raids” on bars to allegedly extort from their owners.

He cited one case wherein CIDG men raided a nightspot a day after one of their “assets” convinced the bar manager to employ a girl who turned out to be under 18 years old.

During the raid, the CIDG men cited the employment of the underage girl as basis for a criminal complaint against the bar, but offered not to file any charge in exchange for a considerable amount of cash.

Pampanga first district Rep. Carmelo Lazatin, for his part, said he has been receiving reports on the extortion activities of local CIDG men for over a year now.

He said one of the victims was his Korean friend who was allegedly fleeced by the CIDG men of his Rolex watch, another watch worth P300,000 and a complete golf set.

“I urged the victims to file formal complaints, but despite my assurance that I would back them up, their fear for their safety prompted them to leave the country instead,” Lazatin said.


Ilocos ups drive to stop dengue

By Freddie G. Lazaro

SAN FERNANDO CITY, La Union — Local officials in the region have intensified a campaign using simple but practical measures set by the Department of Health in thwarting the spread of the dreaded dengue virus here.

The measures include the “4S” approach against the spread of dengue, which means search and destroy, seek early consultation, self-protective measures, and “say no” to indiscriminate fogging.

Records from the Region 1 office of the Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit under the DOH showed the number of dengue deaths for the period January 1 to July 31, 2010 was 13 with 1.6 percent fatality rate, while a total number of 794 dengue cases were recorded in the same period in Ilocos provinces such as Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, La Union, and Pangasinan.

As this developed, Ilocos Sur officials led by Gov. Luis Singson and Vice Gov. Deogracias Victor Savellano are advocating the conduct of “Operation Taob” to all residents in the province to destroy the breeding areas of dengue-carrying mosquitoes.

Provincial Board Member Jerry Singson advised local residents to maintain cleanliness in their surroundings and seek early consultation in case of fever and use self-protective measures by wearing long-sleeves clothes to avoid being bitten by dengue-carrying mosquitoes.

Meanwhile, Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos called on all health officials and medical experts in the province to continuously conduct monitoring and massive inspection and implementation of appropriate measures to contain the spread of the dreaded virus.

Former First Lady now Ilocos Norte’s 2nd District Rep. Imeda R. Marcos is presently conducting a series of visits to the different towns under her jurisdiction to distribute chemicals to areas recommended for massive fumigation activities to eradicate the dengue-carrying mosquitoes.

Meanwhile, the DOH and Department of Education teamed- up in fight against dengue in schools nationwide to protect pupils from the dreaded disease.

Education Secretary Armin Luistro and Health Secretary Enrique Ona are now jointly visiting the schools in Metro Manila to check the programs they are implementing against dengue.

The two Cabinet officials reminded the teachers to lead in taking preventive measures against the disease.


Pharmacist gets life term for illegal drugs

BAGUIO CITY -- A jail guard’s devotion to duty here has led to the recent conviction of a pharmacist to life imprisonment for pushing illegal drugs and a fine of P2 million pesos before the Regional Trial Court Branch 61, First Judicial Region in this city.

Jail Officer 2 Michael Montes caught Oct. 21 last year Noveline Faith Meris for delivering shabu to her common law husband, Ferdinand Lazaro, who was earlier detained at the city jail for grave drug offenses. Lazaro was supposed to sell the shabu inside the jail.

JO2 Montes saw Meris passing a small flashlight to Lazaro and when he checked the flashlight, he found a heat-sealed transparent sachet containing shabu-like substance concealed in the flashlight’s handle.

Meris hurriedly left the jail premises after witnessing the jail guard’s discovery of the contraband but Montes caught up with her and arrested her on the street below city hall.

In a decision dated Aug. 17, 2010, presiding judge Antonio C. Reyes found Meris guilty beyond reasonable doubt for violating Section 5 (Delivery of Dangerous Drugs) of Republic Act 9165 (The Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002).

Earlier, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency–Cordillera signed a memorandum of agreement with the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology-Cordillera to check jail visitors, inmates and detention facilities to prevent entry and proliferation of illegal drugs.


Victims, families of tragic accident given funds: DOTC uncovers more bus firm ‘violations’

ByDexter A. See

BAGUIO CITY — The Cordillera regional office of the Department of Transportation and Communication has uncovered more alleged violations and negligence on the part of the management of Eso-Nice Transport Corp., the reported owner of the ill-fated passenger bus that plunged down a 150-meter deep ravine in Banangan Sablan, Benguet last week that caused the death of 42 individuals and injuring nine others.

According to lawyer Federico J. Mandapat Jr., regional DOTC- director, the La Union-based bus company did not submit an incident report relative to the Sablan tragic incident which should have been submitted to the agency 24 hours after the accident.

But lawyer Rosendo Meneses, Eso-Nice legal counsel, said there was no intention on the part of the bus company to cover up anything as they are still preparing comprehensive report from experts who are helping the firm assess the incident.

Based on the final report of the Highway Patrol group in the Cordillera, Senior Supt. Vladimir Caster Kahulugan, HPG-Cordillera director, said driver Romeo Subang Jr., and Eso-Nice general manager Edward Lacsamana were negligent which caused the accident.

Kahulugan recommended the filing of criminal charges of reckless imprudence resulting to multiple homicide, multiple physical injuries and damage to property against the driver and the company manager.

Mandapat earlier summoned concerned parties to shed light on the accident.

Aside from mechanical trouble, probers will try to look into the possibility that the bus was overloaded when the accident happened because it contained at least 51 individuals based on the 42 fatalities and nine injured individuals when its actual capacity was reportedly only 35 passengers, exclusive of the driver and bus conductor.

The bus left its terminal in the city with only 25 passengers but it continuously picked up passengers on its way to San Fernando City, La Union until the accident happened in Sablan, Benguet.

Mandapat said all units of the bus company will not be allowed to ply their route until the lifting of the 30-day suspension of its four franchises after its units shall have complied with the road worthiness tests that will be undertaken in the motor vehicle inspection service in San Fernando City, Pampanga.

This, as police here identified the two remaining cadavers from the Aug. 18 bus accident.

Senior Supt. David Q. Lacdan, director of the Baguio City Police Office identified the last two out of the 42 fatalities as Celso Bautista, 60 and a resident of City Camp, Baguio City and Luisa Salda Isem.

At the same time, Lacdan said security is being given to Romeo Suban Jr. the bus driver, who was confined in the intensive care unit of the Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center to guarantee his safety.

All the fatalities were identified and most of them have already been brought home to their respective places for burial.

Seven passengers, including the driver, are still confined at the BGHMC undergoing treatment for injuries they sustained as a result of the accident.

Meanwhile, families and relatives of all victims of the bus accident can now collect P60,000 for those who died and P12,500 for those who were injured as compulsory insurance coverage from the bus company’s insurer.

“The sum is an all risk, no fault insurance coverage,” Mandapat said. “The claimants can now proceed to the Unitrans office just beside the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board office here at the Pacdal area.”

Mandapat said the Eso-Nice, franchise owner of the ill-fated bus, is also legally obliged to provide assistance to all victims. “It is their legal obligation.”

In another development, the Department of Social Welfare and Development – Cordillera through its Crisis Intervention Unit extended assistance to victims and families.

In coordination with the Cordillera Regional Disaster Coordinating Council, the DSWD-Cordillera earlier participated in the rescue and retrieval operations by providing food assistance to members of the rescue team.

DSWD regional director Porfiria M. Bernardez said the agency provided P45, 000 as initial fund to what local government units extended to victims.

The assistance covered medical needs of seven survivors who were admitted at the Baguio General Hospital while two families received burial assistances. The director also expressed deepest sympathy to the families of the victims.

The DSWD with the Department of Health also provided psycho-social therapy to survivors and families of dead victims.


2 rebs surrender, given P5,000 each

By Francis B. Degay

BONTOC, Mountain Province – Gov. Leonard Mayaen gave P5,000 each to two male rebel returnees in a simple rite on Aug. 26 here at the provincial capitol.

The ceremony was witnessed by Lt. Col. Steve Crispilio of the 54th IB, Philippine Army, Lt. Col. Clarence Casilio of the Philippine National Police, Belinda Belagan of the provincial Social Welfare and Development office and some personnel of the Army, PNP and the provincial government.

The monetary grants were drawn from the provincial peace and order council fund as initial incentives for the homecoming rebels.

Mayaen welcomed and thanked the former rebels in their decision to surrender and return to the fold of the law.

“Let us preserve peace and order for the welfare of our constituents. Let us prevent killing one another,” he said.

The financial assistance, he added is just an initial benefit.

Mayaen made an assurance to accommodate the two returnees as workers in the provincial government after six months of proven sincerity as returnees.

The identities of the rebel returnees were withheld pending processing of clearances by the military.

The two entered the underground movement out of curiosity. But because they were hard up in their daily endeavors they surrendered to the 54th IB of the Philippine Army based in this province last July.


PMA cadet dies in boxing match; hazing ruled out

FORT DEL PILAR, Baguio City– A cadet was killed in a boxing bout during the Philippine Military Academy’s yearly intramurals and was brought home to his home in Davao City last week.

PMA officials said Second Classman Anthony Pastores, a member of Class 2012, died morning of Aug. 21 at the St. Louis University Hospital from acute hemorrhage.

Pastores was reportedly found lying near the women’s toilet at the covered court of the academy after his boxing bout Thursday afternoon.

He was immediately rushed to the PMA Hospital then transferred to the St. Louis University Hospital.

Army Captain Lynnette Flores, PMA spokesperson, said they have no conclusive statement on the cause of his death since no autopsy was conducted. “His parents decided against having the autopsy done to their son.”

Pastores’ parents who came from Davao City arrived at the hospital just a few minutes before the second classman died.

Pastores was brought home to Davao and was reportedly buried yesterday.

PMA officials ruled out hazing in the death of Pastores, a senior cadet.

“As a third year, Cadet 2nd Class Pastores is already considered a senior in the Academy and nobody would dare touch him anymore,” Lt. Col. Arnulfo Marcelo Burgos said.

He added hazing is no longer allowed in the PMA.

Pastores had a scheduled three-round boxing bout with another cadet boxer at about 4:45 p.m. on Aug. 16.

But the fight was stopped on the second round of the match as both fighters were already tired.

An hour later, on his way out of the PMA’s covered court, Pastores collapsed.


Cosalan pushes rehab of road at Badiwan stretch

By March Fianza

TUBA, Benguet -- Public works engineers would soon have their hands full when programs to upgrade travel along the Palispis-Aspiras Highway, more popularly known as Marcos Highway, reach the drawing board within the next two months.

Rep. Ronald M. Cosalan of Benguet, the committee chair on public infrastructure in the House of Representatives, broached the proposal to officials of this town and engineers from the Department of Public Works and Highways – Cordillera Region during an on-site inspection last weekend.

The proposal to be included in the list of priorities of public works in Benguet is the installation of a weighbridge at the southwestern end of Marcos Highway.

Aside from a weighbridge, Cosalan and DPWH engineers informed newsmen that the road section from the Badiwan viaduct to the Sto. Tomas intersection would have to be rerouted.

ARD Alex Castaneda of the DPWH-Cordillera said, a zig-zagging route above the 3.1 – km. Badiwan stretch that is adjacent to the western part of the Baguio Dairy Farm would be opened.

The short diversion road is expected to improve travel safety, particularly by easing motor vehicle stress and avoid future accidents especially for northbound motorists that traverse Marcos Highway from the Badiwan viaduct to the Sto. Tomas intersection with no let-up.

Earlier, Benguet Governor Nestor B. Fongwan called on the attention of road engineers on the status of the Badiwan stretch which according to him has a technical defect.

Fongwan said, it is “unusual to find a road that goes straight uphill or downhill without giving vehicles a breather.”

DPWH-Benguet Engineering District head Alberto Gahid last week said he has already asked his men to prepare for a ground survey of the areas to be affected by the rerouting project.

Part of upgrading travel was the proposal to include a weighbridge at the lower end part of Marcos Highway somewhere in barangay Taloy, Tuba or Pugo, La Union before motorists ascend the road.

Weigh stations are installed on road shoulders to peg the maximum load of heavy trucks to ensure the safety of bridges and to protect road surfaces, including the road’s lifespan.

Tuba mayor Florencio Bentres along with vice Mayor Clarita Sal-ongan, councilors Roger Kitma and Marie Carantes who joined the inspection also informed Cosalan of their resolution for the installation of other safety facilities.

They said their objective is to add facilities that would ensure the safety of all motorists who travel along Marcos Highway that is within their responsibility.

The facilities include a stop-over inspection station before motorists descend, road humps to check motor vehicles’ brakes and safety ramps for motorists who lose their brakes.

Bentres also informed the Benguet solon about their desire to construct a police checkpoint at the intersection of Tuba road and Marcos Highway. –


BIR spares Dagupan stores

By Danny O. Sagun

DAGUPAN CITY -- Sari-sari stores are not required to issue sales invoices, the Bureau of Internal Revenue has clarified.

Regional Director Tomas C. Rosales issued the clarification in the wake of reports that the bureau was now requiring owners of small stores to issue cash invoices for goods worth P25 and above.

"Hindi totoo yon," he said during the Pantongtongan Tayo radio program of the Philippine Information Agency over Radyo ng Bayan-DZMQ where he guested along with top BIR officials.

He said sari-sari store owners fall under the marginal income earners category whose gross sales or receipts amount to P100,000 and below annually. They are exempt from paying the annual registration fee of P500 and percentage tax.

Businesses with gross sales below P1.5 million a year and registered as non-VAT (value added tax) taxpayer are required to pay the annual registration fee and monthly percentage tax of three percent. But the owner or owners can register as VAT-taxpayer even though their gross receipts amount to less than P1,500,000, said lawyer Beverly Milo, assessment division chief.

"Sa paningin ng ibang taxpayer makatutulong sa kanila yong pagiging VAT taxpayer kesa non-VAT na percentage tax ang babayaran," she noted.

Marginal income earners may include tricycle drivers, street peddlers and ambulant or sidewalk vendors.

Meanwhile, Rosales sounded confident the regional office can attain its collection goal for the year with the P600 million "buffer" for the first semester. "Umaasa kami na maabot namin yong aming goal for the year," he said, attributing the good collection record to the efficiency of the staff, cooperation on the part of taxpayers and intensified information campaign. He added that the campaign against tax evasion thru the Run After Tax Evaders (RATE) program, Oplan Kandado, Project "Iboto Mo" and "Project RIP" also helped.

Revenue District Officer Yolanda Ferrer of the Calasiao-based district No. 4 said the district also exceeded its collection target for the first six months by some P151 million, which, she said, was an indication her office can achieve its collection goal for the year.

Lawyer Francisco Sarmiento said that the bureau's policy now is to follow up assessment and collection with prosecution of those found violating the tax code. "Kaya nga nandyan ang RATE, Oplan Kandado and other campaign against tax evasion, hindi lang assessment saka collection," he said.

He clarified that RATE runs after business owners with criminal intent not to declare income, while Oplan Kandado is an administrative proceeding against those who fail to issue receipts or invoices, underdeclare sales by at least 30 percent or fail to register as VAT taxpayer.

Only recently, three merchandize stores in this city were padlocked because the owner had failed to pay the right amount of taxes.

The BIR officials believed it was not yet time to legislate new taxes or raise rates as President Aquino earlier indicated. They said plugging the leakages and intensifying tax collection efforts will help government realize more revenues.

The bureau particularly the regional office is now recruiting about 40 personnel, lawyers, examiners and support staff, Rosales bared. -- PIA Pangasinan


Task force clears rebs in Tetangco-Yap murders

SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga– The head of the police’s task force investigating the murders of a brother of Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas governor and two others in Angeles City on June 2 said suspected rebels who claimed to have been tortured by cops could not be linked to the killings.

“We do not condone the use of torture. Involvement of any rebel group in the Tetangco-Yap murders is possible, but at this point there is no evidence at all to back up that theory,” Senior Superintendent Wendy Rosario told The Star.

Rosario is head of the task force probing the murder of Rene Tetangco, brother of BSP Governor Amando Tetangco, businessman Florencio Yap and Yap’s aide Dennis Guinto, whose bodies were found in Yap’s van on a vacant lot along Friendship Avenue in Angeles City on the night of June 2. Probers said they were killed elsewhere while on their way to the King’s Poker and Sports Club in the city.

Rosario was reacting to sworn statement submitted to the Regional Trial Court Branch 43 here, by Lenin Canda Salas, 29, saying that cops who arrested him on Aug. 3 used torture to compel him to admit to the killing of Tetangco, as well as other victims in other unsolved murder cases in Pampanga.

Salas, who was arrested with four others, were charged with illegal possession of firearms and accused of being leaders of the rebel group Rebolusyonaryong Hukbo ng Bayan, the armed group of the Marxist-Leninist Party of the Philippines (MLPP), a breakaway group of the Communist Party of the Philippines.

“There is no evidence to link the RHB to the Tetangco case,” Rosario said, while admitting that his task force remains facing a blank wall on the case.

Rosario said the Angeles police’s Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) has filed a case of obstruction of justice against one of Yap’s aides he identified only as Nonong.


Baguio sets P160-M for garbage solution

GROUND ZERO -- This is what the Baguio public market block 3 looks like after stalls were demolished last week by the city government to start development of the area. -- Redjie Melvic Cawis

By Dexter A. See

BAGUIO CITY — The city government here is set to spend more than P160 million for this year to immediately put an end to solid waste management problems being experienced by local residents and bring back the cleanliness and beauty that earned the recognition for this city the previous years.

City Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan said the funds, which were earlier earmarked for environmental protection, will be realigned for a better purpose, particularly the purchase of at least 10 brand new garbage trucks that are compliant with the provisions of Republic Act (RA) 9003 or the Ecological solid Waste Management Act, and the importation of two 24-ton composting machines from Japan to significantly solve the garbage problem in the city.

The local government and volunteers, are facilitating the composting of at least eight tons of garbage in the Loakan village area using the bamboo method as well as in Irisan using the cellophane or “toron” method.

Once all the technologies will be in place coupled with the presence of more garbage trucks, Domogan said the local government will surely be able to abandon the hauling of biodegradable waste to the Capas, Tarlac engineered sanitary landfill to prevent the eventual depletion of city funds.

Because of the sudden closure of the 5.2-hectare Irisan open dumpsite when irate residents barricaded the same over two years ago, the previous city administration was forced to resort to the hauling of tons of generated garbage in the city to the sanitary landfill in Tarlac that already resulted in over P200 million of expenditures thereby virtually depleting available local funds.

According to Domogan, the city needs to embark on a multi-dimensional approach rather than concentrate on one type of approach to solve the garbage problem so that there will be appropriate alternatives once the priority initiative will fail in the coming days.

Domogan hailed local residents and tourists for their utmost cooperation in the implementation of temporary stop gap measures to avert the scattering of garbage all over the city.


Global group gives Kalinga malaria meds

TABUK, Kalinga – The Global Fund Movement against Malaria in this province has helped solve the problem of lack of anti-malaria medicines with its free medicine program that could help abate possible increase in the malaria cases and prevent fatalities caused by the dreaded illness in the future.

Global Fund Project staff Adela Tibangay shared how the project answered the problem of one patient from a private hospital here, who could not find anti-malaria medicines from drug stores.

When he approached the Global Fund Malaria Provincial Office, he was advised to go to the Rural Health Unit in his area and was given free medicines, Tibangay said.

Distribution of free complete doses for malaria is part of the movement’s program to eradicate malaria in the country, which is considered still a malaria-prone area in Asia, Tibangay noted.

The GFMPO has distributed coartem, primaquine, quinine and chloroquine to all RHUs in the province.

The project also provided RHUs with basic malaria smear facilities and trained one personnel on malaria test, Tibangay said.

According to Tibangay, the GFMPO is providing free medicines not only to patients smeared at RHUs, but also from other clinics and hospitals.


Meaningful program slated for Baguio Day

BAGUIO CITY - With the theme, “Transformation Towards a Better Baguio,” the city celebrates its 101st Charter day anniversary this Wednesday, Sept. 1, with a program honoring the outstanding citizens; a parade and other sports activities.

The celebration starts with the ringing of church bells at 6 a.m followed by the assembly of city officials, government line agency members, non-government agencies, barangay officials and other groups, at the Baguio Convention Center.

A program starts at 8 a.m. with the invocation led by the very reverend Nestor Poltic of the
Cathedral of the Resurrection, followed by the Philippine National Anthem and Baguio Hymn by the Saint Louis University Band.

The welcome remarks shall be given by City Mayor Mauricio Domogan.

Baguio Metamorphosis dancers, one of the City’s bet and top five winner of Pilipinas Got Talent shall perform for the crowd before the awarding ceremonies.

The Baguio Centennial Commissioners in coordination with the Society of Outstanding Citizens of Baguio (SOCOB) shall present the awards to Germany-based Martial Artist Julian Chees for humanitarian service; Karen Navarette-Anton for Arts and Culture; Dr. Zenaida Clavio for the professional sector; and Lourdes Bello for business and community service.

Baguio Rep. Bernardo Vergara shall introduce the guest of honor and speaker, Department of Public Works and Highways Secretary Rogelio Singson.

After the message, Vice-Mayor Daniel Farinas shall give the closing remarks, after which all the bands present shall render music for the parade.

Led by the city officials, parade delegates shall traverse Upper Session road, go down Lower Session road then turn right to Magsaysay Avenue along center mall, up to the Y-shaped overpass.

The group shall then turn left on the other lane going to Lower Session road fronting Maharlika Center up to Harrison road.

The parade ends at the Melvin Jones Grandstand. – Aileen P. Refuerzo


Rep Vergara refiles bill: Domogan’s bid to revise city charter gets boosted

By Aileen P. Refuerzo

BAGUIO CITY – Mayor Mauricio Domogan Wednesday expressed high hopes that that the long overdue amendment of the age-old City Charter would finally be given due course this time after Rep. Bernardo Vergara revived Domogan’s bill and refiled the same before the Lower House.

The city charter’s revision was one of Domogan’s pet legislations during his term as congressman. His House Bill No. 3617 entitled An Act Revising the Charter of the City of Baguio was approved in the Lower House but was unacted upon in the Senate.

“I’m happy that Congressman Vergara refiled the said bill and hopefully it will be approved immediately by the Lower House and eventually by the Senate so that the amendment of our charter can be realized,” the mayor told his press briefing.

He said the amendment is long overdue considering that the charter has remained unchanged since it was written by Justice George Malcolm in 1909. The Charter even pre-dates the 1935 Constitution and has not yet been revised since its enactment so that almost all of its provisions have become obsolete and irrelevant.

Domogan earlier described his bill as a “mixed marriage of provision of Republic Act No. 7160 or the Local Government Code of 1991 and the provisions of the 1909 City Charter, as amended by the Revised Administrative Code of 1917 and of Presidential Proclamations.”

He said the bill “is expected to settle once and for all the jurisdictional boundary conflict between the City of Baguio and the town of Tuba in Benguet.”

Among the proposals under the bill are the following:

*The alienable and disposable public lands in the city known as the Baguio Townsite Reservation be titled in its name so that it can exert its power and authority to implement its approved land use and development plan.

*The issue of ownership over said townsite reservation be speedily settled in favor of qualified occupants/applicants which will likewise address the problems of squatting. This is so because after the said townsite reservation is titled in the name of the city and after segregating those portions for public needs, the remaining areas which are safe for residential lots using the model of QM and South Sanitary Camp subdivisions be transferred for reasonable consideration to the actual occupants and/or qualified applicants;

*The revenues of the city be tremendously increased. This is so because from the moment the issue of ownership over said townsite reservation had been settled in favor of the actual occupants and/or qualified applicants, they can now pay to the city government the reasonable consideration of the said land pursuant to Art. 1 Sect. 4b and Art. 15 Sect. 85, apply for the necessary building permits which will require them to pay the said building permit fees, and more importantly, they will now pay real estate taxes.”

The bill, according to the mayor also seeks “to institutionalize the payment of the national government of its contribution to the administrative expenses of the city of Baguio pursuant to the provision of Republic Act No. 4708.”

Furthermore, the proposed revision “treats on the improvement of the restructuring and reorganization of the offices of the city government with the creation of valid positions relevant to the present and future needs of the city.”


Comelec: Barangay, SK polls to push through


Aspirants who are planning to run during the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections may file their candidacies as polls would be held on Oct. 25.

Commission on Elections Chairman Jose Melo announced Wednesday lawmakers agreed during a meeting at Malacañang last Tuesday to go on with the elections and the electoral body was ready.

The Comelec is also preparing for the holding of Electoral Registration Board (ERB) hearings on the list of voters. The ERB will look into oppositions filed against the applications for registration of certain voters. Through the procedure, the Comelec hopes to weed out voters with double or multiple registrations.

In Congress, the committee on suffrage and electoral reforms voted 22-15 to indefinitely suspend deliberations on 29 bills seeking to delay barangay and SK elections despite complaints of House Minority Leader Edcel Lagman that the opposition bloc House was left out of the deliberations.

Opposition members said the people were duped after they were made to believe the House wanted the polls postponed to save money and reduce divisiveness. They said the committee ignored his motion to vote on a consolidated bill aimed to suspend the barangay and SK elections.

Critics however said the opposition wanted the polls delayed so barangay and SK officials who were elected during the Arroyo administration would remain in power.

Pro-administration lawmakers denied that they were following the desires of the President saying their efforts will be useless if the House, the Senate and the President do not agree on something.

With this, House Deputy Majority Leader Janet Garin said they have no more time to discuss and pass a law postponing the barangay and SK elections as they don’t have time. Now, characters of all types may file their candidacies.


Impounding Congress' P50.6-billion 'pork'

Alfred P. Dizon

Contractors, officials and power brokers hungry for “pork barrel” funds must be jittery as Congress haggles with the executive department so the money would be released – if at all.

Sen. Franklin Drilon, said the Department of Budget and Management will impound P50.6 billion of the P67-billion additional pork barrel allocations for lawmakers in a bid to keep the deficit at a manageable level.

“The DBM will have to exercise impounding. When they say impounding, this means this won’t be released because DBM has to guard against the deficit,” said Drilon, chairman of the Senate finance committee. “If you don’t impound it, the deficit will go beyond what is allowed,” he said in an article posted on the internet.

“Remember that (impounding) doesn’t mean that there is cash to impound. You prevent the use of the authority (to use the pork) because if you do not do that, then you have to fund that authority and therefore the deficit will go up,” he added. “The impression is that if you impound there is money that doesn’t get released.”

Now, former finance committee chairman Sen. Edgardo Angara said the Aquino administration has apparently gone the way of its predecessor with its impounding of the pork funds. “It’s now up to them (pork disbursement). This showed that they will adapt former president Gloria Arroyo’s move to veto the release or condition their release pending new revenue sources.”

“What they are saying, he added, “is that they will follow Gloria – we will not release it unless Congress comes out with new sources of revenue. Even the conditional veto of the former president was “subject to identification by Congress of new sources of revenues. Effectively, wala na yon (it’s gone) because President Noynoy does not want to impose new tax measures.”

Critics of Ms Arroyo said the tack of impounding pork allocations during her term as president was meant to deprive opposition lawmakers of funds or simply to spite them.

Aside from its regular pork barrel funds of more than P23 billion last year, the previous Congress reduced debt payments by P65 billion and used the money as additional allocations for its members.

Then President Arroyo, in approving the budget, imposed a condition that the increase in the lawmakers’ allocations would be released only if they enacted new revenue measures. It turned out that Mrs. Arroyo violated her own word by releasing P10.6 billion in additional pork barrel funds to her congressional allies. President Aquino has ordered the recall of these releases.

The P10.6-billion went to the Department of Public Works and Highways. “Now what Gloria did was to order the release of the money, because if she didn’t, debt service will prevail,” Drilon said.

Now Budget Secretary Florencio Abad is saying the DBM had to “take prudent action” to help rein in the deficit. For the releases made but not yet obligated, he said they have asked the DPWH to hold the releases and recommend their cancellation. “The DPWH will submit to us a report on actions they have taken in this regard,” he said.

With this, according to Angara, the move would mean that the DPWH would have to sacrifice its own projects to help limit the budget deficit. Each senator is entitled to P200 million a year in pork funds, while each House member is allowed P70 million. In total, lawmakers have more than P87 billion this year in regular pork barrel allocations and budgetary insertions.

The Aquino administration, while keeping the huge annual pork barrel allocations of senators and congressmen intact despite an austerity program, would make sure that transparency would be strictly observed in the use of the funds.

Of the P70 million for each member of the House, Abad said P30 million would be for “soft” projects like medical, educational and livelihood assistance, while P40 million would be for “hard” projects like roads. For the senators’ funds, it would be 50 percent for soft and 50 percent for hard.

The President’s budget proposal reportedly includes a P24.8-billion lump sum for the congressional Priority Development Assistance Fund. The appropriation is P14 billion more than the P10.8 billion PDAF in this year’s budget.

The P24.8 billion is apparently the full reflection of senators’ and congressmen’s pork barrel allocations. This year, as in the past, the PDAF appears smaller because it reflects only the funds for soft projects.

Government insiders have revealed appropriations for hard projects like roads were hidden mostly in the budget of the DPWH.

Additionally, lawmakers make what were euphemistically called “congressional initiatives,” better known as budgetary insertions.

In making the entire amount of pork barrel transparent, according to Abad, the President is appealing to lawmakers to no longer make insertions in his budget proposal as the P-Noy has his own spending priorities.

What would happen if lawmakers insist in embedding funds in the budget? Abad said the President has the power to reject them.

Abad said he would present a proposed budget and its accompanying documents, including one that identifies financing sources to House leaders particularly Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. Belmonte was quoted as saying he and his colleagues would expedite hearings on the President’s first budget proposal so Congress could approve it before the end of the year. House panel hearings on the matter would start Sept. 1.

The President reportedly does not want a reenacted budget despite the flexibility it offers, referring to several reenacted outlays during the Arroyo administration. As to how the money was spent during the last administration is anybody’s guess.

Remember that P500,000 given to each congressman in Malacanang during the Arroyo administration which was exposed by Catholic priest and former Pampanga governor Ed Panlilio? We leave the rest to your imagination.


‘Music, maestro P-Noy’

Perry Diaz

“President Benigno S. Aquino III wants original Filipino musical compositions played more often in radio stations, noting that they have been a big part of his life,” says news report. Yes, indeed.

His mom, the late prez Cory Aquino, issued Executive Order No. 255 in 1987 which mandated the playing of Original Pilipino Music (OPM) songs in radio stations. She required radio stations with musical programs to play a minimum of four OPMs every hour. Imagine, hearing “Bahay Kubo” and “Leron leron sinta” being played over and over again? That’s brainwashing! Well, it’s not really that bad. OPMs are better than “wang-wangs” which were being played 24/7 in the streets of Metro Manila before P-Noy stopped it. Now all that’s left in the streets are the “wang-bu.”

There is another form of OPM -- “Other People’s Money” -- that P-Noy needs to address. With the billions -- but I dare say, trillions! -- that were stolen from the people during the nine-year presidency of Exprezcong (ex-prez and congresswoman) Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, Maestro P-Noy has a Herculean task of conducting the investigations of the anomalies of corruption and plunder during Gloria’s inglorious presidency.

The problem is that P-Noy appointed Gloria’s loyal friend, former chief justice Hilario Davide Jr., to head the newly-formed Truth Commission. Does P-Noy have any clue that Davide might end up vindicating Gloria instead? It’s no wonder Gloria’s son Mikey was jumping up and down when he heard about Davide’s appointment. “Davide will vindicate the Arroyo family,” he gleefully boasted.

Well, so much for digging out the truth cuz by doing so it could be buried deeper into the Earth’s core. P-Noy might just as well move on and try hard instead to keep his administration free from corruption. The people should just be happy now that there’s no more “wang-wang” and they can listen to “Bahay Kubo” and “Leron leron sinta” all day and all night long. Happy days are here again, folks!
The other day, P-Noy decided to form a Cha-cha Commission to study amending the 1987 constitution. Gee, after all the troubles -- and disappointments -- that Gloria had to go through to get Charter change (Cha-cha) going, all P-Noy had to do was form another commission! And he’s only been in office 50 days!

The difference between Gloria and P-Noy is that Gloria was fond of appointing “czars” -- nakaka azar ano? -- while P-Noy is more inclined to appoint commissioners. Well, I hope that these commissioners are not the type of former Comelec chairman Benjamin Abalos. Yup, Benjie and his pals were “commissioners,” that is, they received commissions -- or “tongpats” --for peddling influence.

Now, Benjie and his golfing buddy Romulo Neri are facing graft and corruption charges to which they pled “not guilty.” Hey, these poor guys were just trying to make a living to support their high-flying lifestyles.

P-Noy said that he’ll have to fill up all the vacant posts in his administration first before appointing the Cha-cha commissioners. With at least 5,000 positions to fill up soon, P-Noy might ran out of classmates and their friends, friends and their “kamaganaks,” political allies and their loved ones, journalists and their relatives, and campaign donors and their cronies.

And by the time all the positions have been filled up, there’s probably only one person left standing -- La Gloria! Why not appoint her to head the Cha-cha Commission? After all, being the most avid and enthusiastic supporter of Cha-cha, Gloria would be the “best” qualified person to head it… just like Davide was the “best” qualified person to head the Truth Commission.

Hehehe… Tawa naman kayo diyan. Come to think about it, Davide and Gloria would make the perfect dancing partners. Yup, they can cha-cha their way back to power.

By the way, Davide and Gloria have two strong and proven qualities: loyalty and betrayal. Yup, they’re loyal to each other like kapit-tuko and they would betray anyone who’d get on their way. P-Noy, beware!
If rumors are true, P-Noy would soon lose his “bachelorness.” Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda revealed that P-Noy jokingly told TV host and singer Herminie “Ogie” Alcasid Jr. and his bride-to-be Regine Velasquez to be his wedding godparents. At 50 years old, P-Noy is trying to catch the last train to “wonderland.” However, the following day, Malacañang clarified that there will be no wedding bells yet for P-Noy and his girlfriend Shalani Soledad, but it will… someday. It was only a “dyok” then. But I’m not sure if Shalani would be amused with that kind of “dyok.” Be careful Mr. President, the last “dyok” might be on you.
Exprez Joseph “Erap” Estrada, after losing to P-Noy in the last presidential elections, said that he’s retiring from public life and will just be “Citizen Erap.” He said that he’s also happy with the appointments P-Noy made. Well, I’m not sure if he heard his son, Sen. Jinggoy Estrada, deliver a blistering privilege speech condemning the appointment of Davide as head of the Truth Commission.

Jinggoy said, “As as vice president, my father observed that there are hoodlums in robes; I will prove to you that Davide is precisely one.” Ugh! That hurts. Further, Jinggoy said: “The first question that comes to the minds of the public upon learning of Davide’s appointment as chairman of the Truth Commission is this: How can the very person who sealed the conspiracy to place Arroyo in power be the head of the body that will investigate her?” Gee, what’s going on, fellas? Isn’t that like appointing Don Vito Corleone to investigate the hoodlums of La Cosa Nostra?

Erap offered an unsolicited advice to P-Noy in choosing his Cabinet members. While he was prosecuted and jailed for the crime of plunder, Erap said he was “proud of his former Cabinet members who were never tainted with corruption. He also said that their reputation was above board.” I hope Erap was joking only.

Three of his appointees were Edgardo Angara as his Executive Secretary, Gen. Angelo Reyes as Armed Forces Chief of Staff, and Hilario Davide Jr. as Supreme Court Chief Justice. These were the three men who betrayed Erap and conspired with Gloria to oust him and install her as president in 2001. Yup, P-Noy should really heed Citizen Erap’s advice cuz this senior citizen speaks from experience.

At 73 years old, Citizen Erap said that he will not even play the role of a political kingmaker in future elections nor accept any government appointment. I think there would be two exceptions: (1) If Jinggoy runs for president, Erap will definitely campaign for his son, and (2) If P-Noy appoints him to replace Davide as head of the Truth Commission, Erap will accept it without any hesitation. The first is possible and the second is improbable. But who knows? It’s a crazy world we live in today. Let’s bring back the “wang-wang” and get rid of the “wang-bu.”


Trash, tree planting and Burnham issues

Ramon Dacawi

BAGUIO CITY – Instead of tree seedlings, owners of new buildings here may soon have to plant saplings instead to increase the chances of survival of the mature trees they cut to give way for their constructions.

The city council is amending Ordinance 44-88 passed in 1988 that originally requires the planting of tree seedlings ranging from five to 20 depending on the size of the lot as a requirement for the issuance of occupancy permits covering new structures.

While the original focus of the amendatory ordinance, proposed by all of the members of the previous city council, many of whom were re-elected, was on the city’s supplying at least one-year old seedlings at a minimum cost of P50, discussions last Monday turned to the issue on tree survival. City councilor Perlita Rondez asked why the minimum age was set at one year and councilor Erdolfo Balajadia said the specification can be changed to sapling.

Foresters consider a young tree with a pencil-size stem to be a seedling and one with one meter or more in height as a sapling. A bigger one is called a pole if it has a stem of 10 to 20 centimeters in diameter.

The measure is likely to be passed, which means the city environment and parks management office (CEPMO) will have to increase its sapling production, using the P50 fee originally intended for seedling production. As it takes longer to produce saplings, the council is also likely to raise the fee when it resumes discussion of the amendatory ordinance it deferred action on for fine-tuning.

What about owners of buildings who do not have areas in their built-up lots? The measure provides that they “plant and maintain bonsai or ornamental trees, shrubs on their rooftops, porches, terraces or balconies…or plant the required number of trees …in watersheds or parks…. (to be) identified by the CEPMO”.

To ensure the implementation of the ordinance, the old ordinance quoted a provision of Ordinance 526-70”: “It shall be unlawful for any official or employee of the City Government of Baguio to disregard, contravene, deviate from or refuse to implement or execute any lawful ordinance or resolution duly enacted by the City Council or Baguio”. Councilor Edison Bilog suggested a fine of P5,000 and/or six months imprisonment as penalty

Before deferment of the amendatory ordinance, some members of the city council also wanted to provide penalties for non-compliance on the part of owners of new buildings. Meanwhile, the city council adopted a resolution of councilor Betty Lourdes Tabanda asking the Benguet State University to assist the CEPMO in dealing with the infestation of pine trees in the city by a beetle.

First sighted in Abra and in fire-damaged areas years ago, the beetle, scientifically known as ips calligraphus, has resurfaced in Benguet, raising an alarm from Gov. Nestor Fongwan.
The committee on ways and means and finance of the city council has endorsed two resolutions proposed by vice-mayor Daniel Farinas to develop the Burnham Park and the city’s engineered sanitary landfill (ESL)under either a build-operate-transfer (BOT) scheme, or through loans, grants or joint venture agreements.

The committee headed by Farinas recommended authority for the city mayor to adopt these financing forms for the capital-intensive projects, given the limited financial capability of the city to implement these thrusts.

“In order that funding for other government projects shall not be sacrificed just for the implementation of one project alone, there is a need to adopt or implement or enter into valid transactions which can augment the present financial capability of the city government,” Farinas said in his twin proposals.

Under the BOT scheme, a private entity or investor constructs at its own expense a facility and then operate the same to recover its investment. On motion of councilor Perlita Rondez, the council Monday deferred action on the proposal pending receipt of and study by the local legislature of the two development plans.

Earlier, mayor Mauricio Domogan said the master plan for the development of the city’s main park prepared by the University of the Cordilleras may not be fully implemented because of the costs. He thanked the university for taking pains to prepare the plan that will be a guide for the actual park development, vis-à-vis the city’s financial capability to proceed with some of its features.

The city is pressed to establish the ESL to address Baguio ’s garbage problem on top of the development of clustered material recovery facilities for the city’s barangays and the need for an alternative to the expensive hauling of the city’s garbage to an ESL in Tarlac.

The mayor is also considering the purchase of two 24-ton capacity Japanese-made composting machines that can take in and convert to fertilizer the city’s average daily biodegradable waste.

City general services officer Romeo Concio said the Philippine office of the compost machine producer is willing to buy fertilizer churned out by the gadgets it offers, which would help the city recoup its investment in one and a half years. Domogan earlier announced that the city would also have to buy eight to 10 trucks to augment the units used in garbage collection. The mayor said the city will have to look into all offers, including one that harnesses methane from garbage for use as gas fuel.


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