P-Noy told: Stop cancellation of Baguio ancestral land titles

>> Wednesday, November 26, 2014

BAGUIO CITY – President Aquino was urged by indigenous peoples here who were given titles over their ancestral lands and domains to stop moves of offices under the Office of the President to have such titles canceled.

The titles were issued (some in the process) over prime lands including Camp John Hay.

Claimants/owners included heirs of Cosen Piraso over Casa Vallejo, heirs of Josephine M. Abanag in Pacdal and Lauro Carantes in South Drive.

Manuel Cuilan and Alfonso Aroco, lawyers of owners or claimants of ancestral land claimants told a press conference here Thursday it was unfair moves were being initiated by the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples and Bases Conversion Development Authority to cancel or stop processing of ancestral land titles given to their clients.

Both the NCIP and BCDA are under the Office of the President.

We appeal to President Aquino to put a stop to this injustice
of not recognizing the legitimate ancestral land rights of our clients, Cuilan and Aroco said.

The lawyers said after 17 years of implementation of Republic Act 8371 or the IPRA law, indigenous peoples who are owners or claimants of ancestral lands in Baguio City are faced with cancellation of their Certificate of Ancestral Land Title (CALT) and certificate of Ancestral Domain Title (CADT) and reversion.

The latest case of cancellation was reportedly embodied in NCIP en banc resolution dated Oct. 7, declaring cancellation of ancestral land titles 302, 303 and 304 even as resolving portion of the resolution called for an “investigation” on the matter.

“This is putting the cart ahead of the horse,” Aroco said. “There should have been an investigation first before such cancellation (of the titles.)”Cuilan said investigation should have been done years ago over issuance of such titles.

The NCIP resolution was signed by Commissioners Percy G. Brawner, Dionesia O, Banua, Era C. Espana, Bayani D. Dumaoang, Cosme M. Lambayaon, Zenaida Brigida H. Pawid and Chairperson Leonor T. Oralde-Quintayo.

“We are asking the NCIP and BCDA to correct themselves first, thus the Office of the President should ask these two agencies to get together and resolve issues,” Cuilan said.
Aroco added they would be filing cases against BCDA and NCIP should they persist in cancelling or reverting ancestral lands of their clients.
The lots involved those claimed or owned by the heirs of Cosen Piraso, Josephine Abanag and Lauro Carantes.

The cancellation of the ALTs (ancestral land titles) is tantamount to cancellation of the CALTs because it will now appear that these ancestral lands were not issued titles at all. This is now fair to the ancestral land claimants or owners and not in accordance with procedure,” the ancestral land claimants/owners said in a press statement.

“All these ALTs were registered with the Register of Deeds of Baguio City. The report that these ALTs were not officially releasedis not an issue but a matter of record keeping and is an internal problem, so it should not affect the ancestral land claimants/owners.)

The NCIP resolution reportedly called for an investigation by the Land Claims Office, Legal Affairs Office, Clerk of the Commission and once from NCIP-Cordillera Administrative Region. All of these bodies are under the NCIP.

“The ADO issues and types the CALT and keeps the record. How can ADO investigate itself? Aroco and Cuilan said copies of the ancestral land titles are missing in the NCIP central office.
Ancestral land owners showed a copy to the media at El Cielito Inn Thursday of an original CALT issued by the NCIP in 2009.

Cancellation of CALTs/CADT and reversion of ancestral lands and domains were earlier reportedly filed with the Regional Trial Court of Baguio City by the Solicitor General for and in behalf of the BCDA.

These included lands owned and claimed by heirs of Kellet, Morie Shodang; ancestral domain of Happy Hollow and six clans identified as Canuto, Siso, Itlongay, Paytocan, Liwan and Otinguey.

Representatives of the clans during the press conference included Pacita Medina for Otinguey clan, Chona Espina Jaymae Lou Kubulan for Kellet and Richard Acop for Piraso.

The ground for cancellation and reversion of these ancestral lands, according to the BCDA, was because these form part of the former American military base of Camp John Hay and therefore remained with public domain owned by the State.

The BCDA said as per Republic Act 7227, these lands were turned over to the BCDA and therefore not covered by the IPRA law.

Cuilan however said under the IPRA, ancestral lands even those purportedly owned by the State like military bases are rightfully owned by indigenous peoples and in the case of their clients, they went through the process until they were given titles while some are still being processed.

According to claimants/ land owners, the RTC had no jurisdiction over cases filed by the BCDA because it should have been filed with the NCIP.

 The RTC judge reportedly issued an order dismissing cases for lack of jurisdiction. The BCDA reportedly appealed the case to the Supreme Court where it is pending.

As per resolution No. 362, series of 1994 of the Sangguniang Panglunsod of Baguio City adopted on Sept. 7, 1994, conditionalities over the taking over of John Hay after control over Camp John Hay was returned to the Philippine Government by the US included those on ancestral land claims over the area.

“Ancestral claims covering portions of Camp John Hay shall not be considered as closed as instead treated as pending so that from the time an ancestral law is passed by Congress implementing the provisions of the 1987 Constitution, the said claims should be decided by the appropriate administrative body or the courts or whoever are entitled shall be given due and just compensation,” a part of the 19 conditionalities stated.

Part of conditionalities by the city government stated: “The BCDA shall exclude all barangays from the John Hay reservation. BCDA must comply with all conditions set by the City of Baguio as host community of the Camp John Hay economic zone.”
To date, the BCDA had reportedly installed a checkpoint at the road entrance to Happy Hollow barangay and residents have to ask for permission from the BCDA to bring in commodities or materials to repair their houses even during storms. – Alfred Dizon


3 die in Isabela road mishap

By RaymundCatindig 

NAGUILLAN, Isabela – Three persons died while two others were injured when their sport utility vehicle collided with a truck here before dawn Wednesday
Mary Jane Sales, her cousin Jessie, and Rodel Crisostomo died at the scene.

Sales’ husband Eduardo and brother Joniper Edrada were brought to a hospital for treatment, said Senior Insp. Edwin Castro, Naguilian police chief.

Reports said the victims were on their way home from Cauayan City when the accident occurred in Barangay Magsaysay at around 2 a.m.

Truck driver Jed Bugaoisan, 29, of San Mariano, Isabela, surrendered to the authorities.


P100,000 for witnesses setin newsman’s slay

By Maria Teresa Benas

BANGUED, Abra– The Abra Provincial Peace and Order Council is offering P100,000 cash reward to anyone who will come out as witness in the murder of Jacinto “Jack” Turqueza, a news reporter, former employee of the provincial government and  administrative officer of Abra Provincial Prosecutor's Office.

Gov. Eustaquio P. Bersamin announced this during a PPOC  meeting Nov. 12  at provincial capitol.

The additional cash reward from the Abra-PPOC ups reward money  to  P200,000 as Guardians Reform Advocacy and Cooperation towards Economic Prosperity (GRACE) of Baguio City earlier committed P100,000.00 as reward to anyone who witnessed the murder of Turqueza.

Bersamin said he was hopeful the cash reward would initiate cooperation from people towards solution of the case.

Turqueza, was shot dead  in this capital town last October  by two unidentified gunmen on a motorcycle.
The Abra provincial police office is again feeling the heat from officials and the populace because of alarming increase in crime in the province especially particularly those committed by men riding in tandem on motorcycles.

Because of deteriorating peace and order condition in the province especially in the capital town, the governor said  the PGA will procure CCTV cameras and install these in conspicuous areas. This way, the APPO can take immediate action on crime incidents that they monitor through  CCTV cameras.

It was also recommended by the body to the PNP to strengthen the witness protection program with the help of the council.

Col. Paul T. Atal, commander of the 503rd Infantry Brigade of the Philippine Army   expressed his support to peace initiatives and efforts of the PGA and PPOC.

He said the Philippine army is mandated to support the PNP in law enforcement operations.

This mandate, Atal said, is aside from their primary mandate of counter-insurgency.


Mayor urges PNP: Give nominees for police chief

By Aileen P. Refuerzo

BAGUIO CITY – Mayor Mauricio Domogan urged the Philippine National Police to submit names of five nominees for the top police post in the city for the city to have a full-fledged police chief.

The mayor said he had composed the screening committee that will undertake the selection process and the group will convene as soon as the list was submitted.

“The committee will evaluate the merits of each of the applicants and the one who will top the selection will be recommended to the position,” the mayor said.

He said the City Justice Peace and Order Council earlier approved a resolution also asking the PNP to submit the names to start selection process.

The mayor said the last information they received was that the list has been submitted for signing by interior and local government (DILG) secretary Mar Roxas.

“That was three months and up to now, we have yet to receive the list,” the mayor said.
“I hope they can send the list soon so we can speed up the selection and our city will have its permanent police chief,” the mayor said.

The city’s present police head Sr. Supt. Rolando Miranda assumed as acting police chief on March 5 amid opposition by local officials who expressed displeasure over the unceremonious replacement of then police chief Jesus Cambay Jr.

Miranda has remained in his post despite the lapse of the 30-day tenure supposedly given to police heads in acting capacity due to the absence of a full-fledged police chief.

Miranda, who hails from Bulacan, is currently on vacation and in his absence, another officer-in-charge was appointed -- a situation which Domogan finds comical. 

“It’s a comic situation in the city which only underscores the need for the city to have a full-fledged police chief selected by the city itself,” he said.

The mayor has in the past criticized hasty replacements and appointments of new police chiefs stressing the need to involve the local government units in the selection process to ensure that the suitable ones are appointed.

At one point, a police chief’s origin and residence became an issue when the city police chief at that time kept a weekend homecoming schedule to be with his family in the lowlands, making him ineffective in his post. This prompted his predecessor, another lowlander, to relocate his family to the city, so he can fully serve even during weekends and holidays. 


More blooms, events set for Panagbenga festiva

BAGUIO CITY – The country’s summer capital will bloom soon with more with flowers and greens literally carpeting the city’s central business district.

On its 20th staging in February 2015, Panagbenga — or the Baguio Flower Festival — will feature more blooms and color, according to Anthony De Leon, Baguio Flower Festival Foundation chairman, as  officials launched last week the month-long festival.

The festival was launched here Nov. 17 during regular flag ceremony at city hall grounds with Mayor Mauricio Domogan officiating.

On its 20th staging, Panagbenga or the Baguio Flower Festival will have traditional activities: children’s parade on Feb. 1, market encounter, street dance parade and flower float parade on the third weekend,  Session Road in Bloom, sports exhibition and competition, Pony Boys’ day, and a grand closing program with fireworks in various venues.

According to Domogan, the opening parade serves as elimination round for the drum and lyre and elementary streetdancing parade category.

The city is allotting P4 million for festival prizes and other expenses, the mayor added.  

The mayor broached the idea of having four street dance categories; elementary, high school, college and open category. The number of participants dwindled due to some participants’ consistent winning of top awards, thus placing them in the hall of fame. Mayor Domogan said fall-of-famers are urged to join the competitions again.

In a press conference after Panagbenga 2014, several suggestions were given for the next festival, including having city and barangay officials, participants from the La Trinidad-Itogon-Sablan-Tuba-Tublay (BLISTT), out-of-town or regional contingent-guests join with choreographed dancing to the tune of the Panagbenga Hymn, as patterned from the steps of the IbaloiBendian.

Contingents are also encouraged to join with their own flower floats. Invitations for media coverage for the 20th version of Panagbenga should be floated early, local counterparts said.

Considering that the festival entices more visitors than what could be provided sufficient housing, provisions for parking, housing or camping spaces should be given more thought for Panagbenga 2015, it was urged. It has been observed that more tourists and some locals have opted to set up tents and catch up with Baguio’s February chill.   

“The original concept of community participation — barangays participating in the cleanest and greenest and the flower landscaping competitions will be revived. More students from elementary, high school and college
will also see action in the grand street dancing parade,” said De Leon.

He added that the week-long “Session in Bloom” will not only see the usual selling of local wares, flowers and plants, but will showcase booths with their frontages landscaped from the center of the road to the sidewalks.
“We want to see more flowers and greens, which is the real concept of the flower festival,” De Leon said.

This year’s theme: “20 years of blossoming together,” will showcase the participation of all sectors of the Cordillera community and of groups coming from the different provinces of the country. – With a report from Julie G. Fianza


DOH-Cordillera prepares for deadly Ebola threat

By Redjie Melvic Cawis

BAGUIO CITY -- The Department of Health – Cordillera is now preparing to respond to Ebola virus disease once it will enter the country.

Although the Philippines is still Ebola virus- free, DOH-CAR regional director Jesus Valeriano Lopez said the DOH  started preparing facilities and health workers    to be ready  to respond.

Lopez said the DOH in coordination with the World Health Organization, has started conducting specialized training programs for health workers on how to detect and treat cases of EVD and prevent the spread of the disease.

In a statement, the DOH said that the training will provide a deeper understanding of EVD, its transmission and epidemiology. It will also enhance the participants’ practical skills in particular areas (such as personal protection, security and safety). The knowledge and skills gained from the training is expected to increase the capacity of the national health system to prevent or respond if an imported case of EVD in the Philippines occurs. 

Lopez said the facilities of the Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center which were prepared for the MERS COV and other infectious diseases are still available though these needed upgrade.

Meanwhile, as part of the DOH’s preparation for the possible entry of EVD in the country, the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine has developed a triage system for suspected cases of EVD. 

Patient screening and evaluation as well as infection control practices are in place. First-line health workers in the management of cases are being trained in the donning and removing of personal protective equipment (PPE), adequate supply of PPE is available.

The RITM is upgrading DOH’s major laboratory hospitals from Biosafety Level (BSL) 2 to BSL 3 or 4 for the detection, treatment, and containment of potentially high-risk infectious agents. The National Reference Center primarily uses molecular detection methods that ensure sensitive and rapid diagnosis.

Baguio Mayor Mauricio Domogan earlier advised the public for sobriety amid the Ebola virus scare.

He recently convened the different health stakeholders in the city to discuss the threat of Ebola and the city's preparedness and capability to handle it. He emphasized the national government is currently doing its efforts to ensure Ebola virus will not enter the country through a thorough quarantine of tourists, overseas Filipino workers and migrants from other countries particularly those with Ebola outbreaks like in West and Central Africa.

Symptoms of the Ebola virus are sudden onset of headache, muscle pain, fever fatigue and sore throat. Usually it is followed by rash, diarrhea, vomiting and even internal and external bleeding.


Farmers cooperatives urged: Expand for ASEAN trade

By Dexter A. See 

LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – Farmers cooperatives in the province must continue widening their membership and expanding their areas of coverage in order to allow locally produced agricultural crops to sustain the stiff competition during the implementation of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) free trade next year, Gov. Nestor Fongwan said here Wednesday.

Fongwan said the direct impact of the zero tariff on goods and services cannot be solved by the individual farmers but it could be addressed by the combined efforts of the agriculture industry stakeholders through cooperativism.

He said it is high time for farmers to adopt crop programming to be able to guarantee the year-round supply of semi-temperate vegetables which will be able to compete in the global trade.

“Our farmers must already secure the certification from concerned government agencies that they already practice good agricultural practices from the production areas to the post-harvest operations so that their produce will be able to make it to the international market,” Fongwan said.

He admitted the major problem confronting local farmers cooperatives is the inability of the groups to sustain the supply of highland vegetables to both wet market and high-end consumers, thus, the need for them to widen their membership and expand their areas of coverage to be able to ensure consistent supply of vegetables for a period of 376 days and beyond.

With a bigger capital, the governor explained cooperatives will be able to provide value added to their produce and ensure their marketability in the international market considering that local agricultural crops are much fresher, juicer, crispier and sweeter compared to the same highland vegetables, particularly cabbage, lettuce, carrots, potatoes, peas, cauliflower, beans, pepper among others, which come from other neighboring countries.

He said farmers who are GAP-certified will be the priority farmers whose products will be shipped to other neighboring countries in order to be sold and compete with other international products, thus, farmers must make sure that they observe quality and food safety from the selection of seeds to be planted, judicious use of fertilizers and pesticides, proper sanitation in the agricultural areas, proper harvesting techniques to avoid severe damages, proper storage among other post-harvest operations and marketing.

In terms of health and sanitation, agriculture experts recommended to farmers to build their own toilets or cluster of toilets in their farms in order to prevent human waste from being washed through the fields and that animals should also not be allowed in the production areas to prevent animal waste from being mixed with their produce.

Benguet is still producer of at least 80 percent of the highland vegetables being sold in the different parts of the country and that the local vegetable industry provides livelihood to over 250,000 individuals in the 13 vegetable-producing municipalities.

Loreto Boyaan, an official of the Benguet Farmers Federation, said it is high time for vegetable farmers to work as a group and combat the expected negative effects of the ASEAN free trade by pooling their resources and putting value added to their produce by being able to properly package their products for the stiffer competitions in the global market.

“We have to face the problems of the ASEAN free trade squarely because we know are produce can compete in terms of quality. It is only in the packaging and marketing where we have to improve,” Boyaan stressed.

Boyaan appealed to fellow farmers and cooperatives in the province to get their acts together in order to help them combat the serious negative effects of the free trade to their produce considering that pricing will be one of the major problems that they will encounter, thus, the need for government agencies to help in reducing the prices of farm inputs in order to help lower the selling price of their end products.

He said government must consider providing initial subsidy to the farmers in order to sustain their abundant produce which will be enough to meet the quality and pricing demands of the global market.


Ilocos sets biggest gathering of Ilocanos in ‘Tan-ok’ fest

>> Monday, November 24, 2014

By Grazielle Mae A. Sales

LAOAG CITY -- With Ilocos Norte’s record-high number of overseas Filipino families, the provincial government plans to widen the reach of the Tan-ok ni Ilocano by targeting Ilocanos abroad who come home for the holiday season.

“Tan-ok is a celebration of Ilocano pride. It is the gathering of all Ilocanos saan man sila galing,” Gov. Imee Marcos said, adding the provincial government is doing an all-out campaign to encourage several Ilocano associations abroad to grace the event.

Dubbed “festival of festivals”, the Tan-ok ni Ilocano was established to bring together all the 21 municipalities and 2 cities in the Province of Ilocos Norte who are expected to come up with their own dance interpretations of their respective festivals. Tan-ok means “greatness”.

Running successfully for four years now, it has successfully drawn thousands of spectators, the biggest being from the previous year which recorded a stronghold of 30,000 people. The crowd usually includes locals, visitors from neighboring provinces, tourists as well as television celebrities and respected personalities from the world of culture and the arts.

“With tens of thousands of people watching it live and many more viewing it on television and online, [Tan-ok ni Ilocano] is no doubt the biggest convergence of Ilocanos in history,” said HerdyYumul, an Ilocano sociologist, esteemed writer and blogger.

‘Ilocano stories, stories of Ilocano’
In his blog, Riknakem, Yumul lauded the Provincial Tourism Office’s initiative to advocate “authenticity” in the upcoming festival dances by holding a story workshop last November 5, 2014. It was participated in by choreographers from the various towns and cities.

“Festivals should have in its core the true story of its people, be it of an object, food, event or any phenomenon”, he wrote.

Being one of the speakers for the story workshop, Yumul also hinted on the new highlights to anticipate for in this year’s edition of Tan-ok. One of them is the Sunflower Festival, the oldest organized gay parade in Asia to be performed by the contingents from the town of Pasuquin who are now shifting away from Panagasin (saltmaking) festival which “consistently placed poorly in the competition”.

Batac City, which consistently bagged major prizes since the first installment of the competition, will also have major revision in their storyline for the Batac Empanada Festival to make it more relevant to the city’s history. 

The town of Bacarra which is widely known for its huge number of balikbayans and overseas Ilocano families will celebrate on this success rather than retelling its Bac-bacarra Festival which is mainly about the townsfolk’s harvesting of “bukto” (a freshwater fish).

When asked about the significance of the festival in the Ilocano society, Yumul stated: “No singular activity has raised awareness of and pride in Ilocano greatness more than the Tan-ok ni Ilocano Festival of Festivals.”

“The grandeur of the performances permeates the consciousness of our people, who in turn replicate and multiply greatness in their respective spheres of influence. The songs and dances, and everything they stand for, resonate in every nook and corner of the world where there is an Ilocano,” he further explained.

‘Expounding greatness’
Given its growing audience reach, Governor Imee sees Tan-ok as “a promising opportunity to lead a good and relevant cause.”

In 2013, part of the festival’s income was used to help construct the new building of the Philippine National Red Cross in Ilocos Norte as a reward for the organization’s “extraordinary efforts in times of calamity”, Governor Imee R. Marcos said.

This year, Tan-ok organizers said that part of the proceeds from the sales of VIP tickets will help uplift the small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the province.

Marcos believes that with the involvement of balikbayans this year, Tan-ok will cause a flurry of economic activity and the possibility to re-hype the Overseas Filipinos Remittances Development project or OFs-RED project which aims to leverage overseas Filipinos' remittances for local economic development. Ilocos Norte is the pilot site for the said UNDP-supported project.

Tan-ok ni Ilocano Festival of Festivals will be held on November 29 in the Ferdinand E. Marcos Stadium, Laoag City. Major cash prizes await top performing groups which in turn can be utilized for livelihoods, services and other projects for the people.  


DOST launches Mt Prov digital library

By Alfredo Gallardo

BONTOC, Mountain Province -- A team from Science and Technology Information Institute of the Department of Science and Technology Mountain Province launched here Wednesday a digital science library which could be accessed even through sell phones. 

DOST officials held orientation on DOST STARBOOKs here at XiJen College of Mountain Province, Inc. main library which boosted its library collection. 

Dubbed, Philippine’s First Digital Science Library, STARBOOKS  contains  thousands of digitized science and technology resources in various formats (text, audio/video).  

STARBOOKS is acronym for Science and Technology Academic and Research-Based Openly Operated Kiosk Station also known as "Library in a box."

Annielyn D. Bacani, STARBOOKS administrator and coordinator of DOST-STII central office and her team led installation and presentation of the main features of the project digital library that will boost the library of XiJEN College of Mountain Province, Inc., one of the institutions in the Cordillera Administrative Region that was recipient of STARBOOKS digital library project.

XiJEN College applied and availed of the STARBOOKS project of the DOST last June 2014.

Also present during the launching and installation were librarians from Mountain Province General Comprehensive High School, Mountain Province State Polytechnic College, Tadian School of Arts and Trades, Guinzadan National High School, Bontoc Municipal Library, Provincial library and the library hub.  

The contents of STARBOOKS library can be accessed from the mobile phone of students through wifi or through a local area network.

XiJEN College’s library had also done innovations earlier on through the implementation of infolib free software that simplifies the book borrowing process.

Bacani said STARBOOKS intends to serve as information access portals in key areas in the Philippines. 

To avail of STARBOOKS project, a request letter to the office of the DOST-STII is needed and having a computer unit with at least 500 GB hard disk.



NIA condones farmers’ penalties on irrigation

By Larry Lopez    

TABUK CITY, Kalinga --The National Irrigation Administration recently issued memorandum circular 54 that condones collection of  penalties from farmers for humanitarian consideration.

NIA-Kalinga administrator Benito EstiqueJr  said government understands plight of the agriculture sector that  suffers the impact of typhoons and dry spell. 

The circular aimed to lessen farmers’ burden on accumulated penalties due to late and non-payment of irrigation service fees.

Under the circular, concerned farmers are only charged the capital amounts of unpaid irrigation service fees due them.

Estique said MC 54 allows softer collection term by encouraging farmers to instead pay just the capital fees due them than no collection at all because of bloated amounts caused by added penalties.  In a long run, this would bring better collection performance,  he  said.

Farmers can start paying their condoned fees under the circular this coming December-January harvest.

Under NIA-Kalinga’s extended service, collection teams directly go to farmers to collect but their office is also open to walk-in clients. 


Abra coop settles bills; power outages still likely

By Dexter A. See

BANGUED, Abra – The Abra Electric Coop. (ABRECO) was able to avert a total power blackout provincewide after it paid P9.7 million in arrears and surcharges to the Aboitiz Power Renewables, Inc. (APRI) late Tuesday afternoon but power outages in the province are still likely to happen once the rural electric cooperative was not able to settle its current power bills with their independent power supplier, an ABRECO official said here.

Richard Tuzon, ABRECO institutional services department manager, said top ABRECO and APRI officials are undergoing negotiations to come out with a reasonable agreement on time for the cooperative to settle its monthly power bills with the supplier considering the serious damages sustained by the power distributor during the onslaught of Typhoons Luis and Mario last September.

“We just want understanding and consideration from APRI. We are not running away from our obligations but we just want APRI to give us more time to collect from our consumers and pay them our monthly billings,” Tuzon stressed.

He said APRI management should understand that ABRECO relies on its monthly collection from its over 40,000 consumers in order to settle its generation charges to APRI as the same is contained in the power bills, thus, the need for them to be given enough time to collect from the consumers before paying the power supplier.

Under the current set up, APRI imposes to ABRECO the amount and date that it should pay its current power bills which the rural electric cooperative is contesting because it is not sure that the consumers will be able to settle their power bills in the prescribed dates of the month.

Tuzon said ABRECO is proposing that it will pay its current power generation bills to APRI at least during the end of the month or the first week of the succeeding month to allow the cooperative to collect the power bills from its consumers and that the surcharges must not yet be imposed for transparency and accountability purposes.

He assured consumers that ABRECO was able to fully settle its accumulated arrears and surcharges with its power supplier, thus, the only contentious issue undergoing negotiations is the lead time to be given by AP|RI to the cooperative to settle its current bill without the imposition of the mandatory surcharges.

Gov. Eustaquio Bersamin encouraged both contending parties, ABRECO and APRI, to come out with a reasonable agreement on the matter so that the people of Abra will not be again grouping in the dark on what to do once there will be prolonged power outages as a result of disagreements on when the cooperative will pay its current power bills with APRI.

“Abra is always in the limelight of bad publicity due to the series of killings and now power outages. We also want good publicity for our people,” Bersamin said.

Bersamin expressed his gratitude to Energy Secretary Jerico Petilia for his timely intervention that resulted to the avertion of the supposed power outage that might have occurred in the province last Monday as a result of the failure of ABRECO to settle its remaining arrears with its power supplier.


Aliping pushes P3,000 allowance for teachers

BAGUIO CITY – Rep.Nicasio M. Aliping, Jr. is pushing for additional instructional materials' allowance of three thousand pesos per month for public school teachers of basic and higher education nationwide.

House Bill 039 to be known as An Act Providing Instructional Materials” Allowance For Public School Teachers was approved by the House Committee on Basic Education And Culture on October 29, 2014.

Aliping said “It is a known fact that public school teachers are underpaid. What is not known is the fact that the meager pay that teachers receive is further reduced by the cost of instructional materials that they often have to dig out of their own pockets.”

“These instructional materials come in the form of test papers, instruction module presentation, charts for clarity of explanation, maps, and other necessary tools that regularly cost money to produce and can only be used once for every student or every class session to enhance the teaching learning interaction,” said Aliping.

The bill seeks to provide instructional materials' allowance amounting to three thousand pesos per month for public school teachers of basic and higher education nationwide including those who are teaching in the Alternative Learning System of the Department of Education.

The bill states that “the amount provided as instructional materials' allowance for public school teachers under this section shall be subject to regular adjustment every five (5) years. The extent of the adjustment shall be determined by the agency concerned with the implementation of this Act in coordination with the Department of Budget and Management.”

“Disregarding the need to provide instructional materials’ allowance for teachers will not only lead to reduced pay for lowly paid teachers but also raise the specter of worsening the already poor quality of education that public schools students receive,” Aliping said.

“The budget necessary for the implementation shall be included in the annual budget of the Department of Education, State Universities and Colleges,” Aliping said. “The Department of Education, State Universities and Colleges shall issue their corresponding rules and regulations necessary once the bill is approved,” he said.


Campaign for nat’l minimum wage for all employees slated

By Aldwin Quitasol

BAGUIO CITY — Public employees and private sector workers have joined forces in pushing for upgrading of their salaries and wages, outlawing of labor contractualization and condemnation of unfair labor practices.

Confederation for Unity, Recognition and Advancement of Government Employees (Courage) national president Ferdinand Gaite said  government employees including public teachers, health workers, the workers in the private companies and farm workers are now pushing the national minimum wage campaign earlier launched in Metro Manila.

He said there will be a change in demands for wage hike of the workers. He said private sector workers were asking for P125 wage increase while P6,000 for the public employees aside form the demands too of the teachers and the health workers.

“Para guhitan yung pinakaminimum na sahod ng manggagawa sa pribadong sektor at mga kawaning gobyerno pati narin ang mga guro at manggagawang pangkalusugan sa anumang rehiyon ng bansa, dapat P16,000 yung National Minimum Wage (To draw the minimum wage of all the private worker sectors and the government employees including the teachers and the health workers in any of the region of the country, P16,000 should be the national minimum wage) said Gaite. He said the campaign was based on the realistic living wage that workers should receive to cope with the actual cost of living.

He said that according to recent studies, P32, 600 a month is needed nowadays by a family with six members to survive. Gaite disclosed that based on the history of the struggle of the Filipino workers for higher wages, the highest achieved demand was only the half of the family living wage.

He said the P16,000 demand is nearest to the actual family monthly living wage. He said that it is obvious that the minimum wage is not even half of the living wage. “Sa government employees, P9,000 lamang ang pinakamababang sahod lalo sa mga non-teaching personnel,” (The lowest salary of many of the government employees is only P9,000) he said.

He said these include laborers, the street sweepers among others especially in the local government units.
Gaite cited importance of demanding for a P16,000 national minimum wage to all the workers in the country.
Gaite criticized the proposal of Sen. Antonio Trillanes seeking for the amendment of the Salary Standardization Law or the Republic Act 6758 which was first implemented in 1989. He explained that the law requires the standardization of the salaries of government employees. He said this was even amended two times.

He said in the proposal of Trillanes, the current P9,000 salaries of the public servants be adjusted to P16,000. He said this is somewhat good but he said this salary adjustment will come in four tranches. “Napakatagalang full implementation dito, ito ay limangtaon” (the full implementation is very long, it will be in five years) he stressed.

He also said that the ones to benefit more from Trillanes' proposal are not the ordinary government employees but the people in higher positions. He said that based on their computations, the high officials will get bigger percentiles or percentage of increase on their salaries.

“Sa tingin namin, para mas maging makatarungan ang pagbibigay ng wage increase ay una, dapat itaas ang minimum na sahod sa P16,000 agad at hindihulugan at isang bigayan dapat, pangalawa, yung mga matataas ng mga sahod ng mga matataas na opisyal ay huwag naming sobra, ikanga, they should moderate their greed,” (Our opinion is that for the wage increase to be just, first is that the minimum wage should be implemented and be given not in tranches but immediately as a whole and secondly, the already high salaries of the high officials should not exceed, sort of what the people say, they shoul moderate their greed) said Gaite.

He said they are setting the atmosphere this November to also launch the campaign for the end of labor contractualization both in the private sector and the government.


Baguio gets colder as eventswarm up

By Carlito Dar

BAGUIO CITY -- Cold weather, warm people and pre-Christmas activities are now boosting tourism arrivals in this Summer Capital at this time of the year.

Early Christmas chill is already being felt here giving city.

Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Service Administration Baguio meteorologist Danny Galati said temperature in Baguio had been registering   below 15 degrees Celsius  this  month  with the  lowest  temperature  at 12.4°C last Nov. 6.

Galati said they expect the temperature to further drop to 10 to 11°C by December and may even below 10°C  by January.

The lowest temperature  recorded in Baguio was 6.3°Cin 1961 and in recent years with  7.5°C registered in 2009. This he said is a record that can be broken soon due to the effect of climate change.

For early yuletide treat, SM City Baguio recently opened its centerpiece design   adapting a magical theme based on the Disney movie, “Frozen”  at the mall’s Atrium  where mall goers can have  photos.

Baguio Country Club is set to have a soft opening of  its  annual “Christmas Village”   on Nov. 15 and a full opening on the 22nd.

Out of recycled materials,  club employees transformed a lot just across BCC’s gate into a tourist attraction.

The Mansion, the official house of the President of the Philippines here in Baguio, has already set up a “Belen”
on its grounds where visitors can have their photos taken.

The city government   is also finalizing the activities for the annual Christmas in Baguio event.

Meanwhile, Hotel and Restaurant Association of Baguio President and Baguio Country Club General Manager Anthony De Leon, in an interview, affirmed  high occupancy rate among HRAB member establishments as early as this month  which he attributed to cold temperature and warm hospitality of people including events and destinations the city has to offer.

The annual Fil-Am Golf  started Nov. 19 up to Dec. 6. Just concluded was the four-day 61st Annual National Mining Safety and Environment Conference of the Philippine Mines Safety and Environment Association. 


Bauko water plant set for construction

By Dexter A. See 

BAUKO, Mountain Province – A multi-million water filtration and purification facility will be constructed in this fourth-class municipality in order to maximize the use of the abundant supply of water for domestic and commercial purposes, Mayor Abraham B. Akilit said here.

Akilit said the project will be funded by the P6 million secured by the municipal government from the Department of Agrarian Reform’s Agrarian Reform Irrigation Support Project (ARISP) and the P3 million counterpart from the local government that is composed of P2 million cash and at least P1 million non-cash component.

“The supply of potable water is one of the major concerns of upland communities that is why we worked extra hard to secure available funding in order to work out the implementation of the water filtration and purification project beneficial to the overall economic condition of the town,” Akilit stressed.

He said the project involves the laying out of at least 6 kilometers of pipelines from the water source at Mount Kalawitan to the filtration and purification plant prior to the distribution of the potable water to interested buyers not only from the municipality but also from the neighboring towns in Mountain Province and Benguet.

“The water purification project will be the local government’s economic enterprise which will be managed by experts in the industry and will serve as one of the sources of revenue that will fund the implementation of local development projects and facilitate the delivery of basic services to our constituents,” Akilit said.

He said municipal officials already coordinated with the Cordillera office of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) for the use of its available technology for the water filtration and purification project that will make the town a major supplier of potable water for barangays and municipalities having difficulty in accessing potable water supply for their people.

Akilit commended the members of the municipal council for their understanding and cooperation in working out the implementation of the project by approving the allocation of the town’s counterpart for the project.

Bauko is composed of 22 barangays with a total population of 34,000 and spread over at least 18,000 hectares land area within the Mount Data National Park.

Dr. Julius Caesar V. Sicat, DOST-CAR regional director, said the water filtration and purification project will be one of the most profitable ventures of local governments in the region considering that water, which is a major component of the project, is readily available in the area being a watershed reservation.

“We will extend appropriate technical assistance to local governments interested to venture into their desired economic enterprise so that they will be able to internally generate funds that could augment the meagre resources of the communities to implement more development projects and enhance the delivery of basic services to their constituents,” Akilit said. He appealed to local officials to support the local government’s initiative in realizing its water filtration and purification project for the benefit of the greater majority of the populace wanting to improve their economic standing by having gainful employment. 


  © Blogger templates Palm by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP  

Web Statistics