Archive for January 21, 2010

Cojuangco torn between two presidential cousins

By Mortz C. Ortigoza


“They are both my cousins!” Cojuango (5th District, Pangasinan) answered when asked who of the two leading presidentiables he will be supporting.

Cojuangco, the son of former Ambassador Eduardo Cojuangco, the founder of the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) hesitated at first when asked to whom his heart belongs between his two cousins – Senator Noynoy Aquino and former Defense chief Gibo Teodoro.

He explained that he and his family are neutral in the presidential contest.

He said that he and the NPC have done already their duty to the country by endorsing a presidential bet in Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero – who backed out after a poor showing in the survey.

“Unfortunately our political fortune is not with us in the (presidential) election,” he stressed.

He said however the party is 100 percent behind the candidacy of vice presidential bet Loren Legarda because of her viability.

Cojuangco is the first cousin of Teodoro as his father Danding, the chairman of the mammoth San Miguel Corporation, is the older brother of Gibo’s mother Mercedes.

Noynoy is the second cousin of Mark where Aquino’s mother Corazon, the late former Philippine president, is the first cousin of Danding.

Although the families of Mark and Benigno Jr. are political enemies in the provincial and national politics, Teodoro has differences too with his uncle Danding when he bolted the NPC and joined the Lakas-Kampi CMD which showed him that he could be its presidential contender.

The Cojuangcos, Teodoros, and Aquinos come from the province of Tarlac .

January 21, 2010 at 9:36 am Leave a comment


Shotgun shut up

All the issues about the possession and use of the shotguns issued to punong barangays in Pangasinan will now be put to rest temporarily.

The provincial government is recalling all shotguns for safekeeping at the police stations.

This means around 1,300 less firearms in the hands of people who are not professional gun handlers.

We only have the holding of the 2010 elections to thank for in the recall of the shotguns.

A lot of respected personalities were against the issuance of shotguns but they were not successful in having tem recalled.

It only took the gun ban to successfully recall the shotguns.

While the shotguns are in safekeeping, the authorities can take the opportunity to reassess the merits and demerits of the issuance of shotguns to punong barangays.

We still believe that the police are under armed.

The police needs the shotguns more than the punong barangays.

When shotguns are no longer in the hands of punong barangays:

No son of a punong barangay will get hold of the shot gun and shoot at his enemies.

No punong barangay will storm a justice hall and point his shotgun at a prosecutor.

No punong barangay will indiscriminately fire his shotgun.

No punong barangay will be tempted to express his power through the barrel of a shotgun.

January 21, 2010 at 9:34 am 2 comments

ARIIP assures water for farms

By Brando Cortez

ROSALES — Officials of the Agno River Integrated Irrigation Project (ARIIP) assured farmers that their farms will have enough water even during the summer months.

Engr. Ceferino C. Sta Ana, Institutional Development Division (IDD) manager, said that the ARIIP is working on the rehabilitation of the existing facilities of the Agno River Irrigation System ( ARIS ), Ambayaoan-Dipalo River Irrigation System (ADRIS) and the construction of the re-regulating pond with an area of 85 hectares.

“Iyong ARIS ay may service area na 26.850 hectarya ng lupa na pinakikinabangan ng magsasaka sa 12 bayan,” Sta. Ana said. “Ito namang ADRIS ay nagpapatubig sa 7,600 na hectarya ng lupa sa 6 na bayan sa eastern Pangasinan.”

ARIIP project manager Reynaldo C. Mencias, said the re-regulating pond is for the collection of all the water being discharged by the San Roque Multipurpose Project (SRMP) and this same water will be channeled to the ARIS and A DRIS .

“The rehabilitation of ARIS and ADRIS has been going on smoothly,” Mencias said. “It is funded at a cost of P1.4 billion which was sourced out from the national government budget last year.”

Mencias also said that construction of the re-regulating pond has started.

“Ang construction ng re-regulating pond, sa halagang P4.2 billion, ay nasimulan na matapos ang groundbreaking noong Nobyembre na pinaguhaan ni Sec Arthur Yap at Sec. Hermogenes Esperon.”

“Ngayong 2010, ine-expect natin na madagdagan ng 15,000 hectarya ang mapapatubigan natin,” Mencias said. “Malaking tulong ito sa pagdagdag ng produksiyon ng palay ng Pangasinan.”

Region 1 Confedration of Irrigators Association president Oftociano Manalo said that the farmer-irrigator groups have been very cooperative in monitoring the rehabilitation of damaged irrigation canals while he lamented that some farmers steal water from the irrigation system.

“Ang reporting at monitoring namin ng mga irrigators associations sa usapin ng patubig sa probinsiya ay mabuti naman,” Manalo said. “Kung may problema, idinudulog naming kay manager Mencias at agad niya itong inaaksiyunan.”

January 21, 2010 at 9:33 am Leave a comment

Low corn production seen

By Brando Cortez

ROSALES-Corn production in Pangasinan is expected to decrease due to various reasons.

Danny Sim of DCS Agricultural Supply in Rosales said that he was surprised that the sales of corn seeds dramatically dropped this cropping season compared to the previous.

“Ang sales natin ng corn seeds na pangtanim ngayon ay bumagsak ng forty percent (40%),” Sim said. “Malaking bahagi ng ating mga magsasaka na nagtatanim ng mais ang hindi nakapagtanim ngayon.”

Some corn farmers did not plant yellow corn for fear that the price may not be profitable because of their experience last year when the buying price of yellow corn went down to as low as P8 per kilo.

Paano kami magtatanim ng mais? Eh, hindi naman maprotektahan ng DA ang presyo ng mais,” Freddie Malapit, a farmer from Villasis said. “Lugi ang magsasaka kung ang presyo ng mais ayg P8 per kilo lang.”

Another factor corn farmers did not plant yellow corn was due to the damage done by the flooding where they were not able to recover their investments during the previous cropping.

“Hindi na kami nakabawi sa pagkasira ng aming pananim na dulot ng baha mula sa San Roque Dam,” Reynan Sardenia said, a farmer from Rosales. “Wala kaming naani…hindi pa kami makapagbayad ng utang naming na ipinuhunan sa mais.”

The most feared factor among the corn farmers is the policy of the Department of Agriculture to import substitute grains for yellow corn like feed wheat.

“Noong isang taon, binuksan ng DA ang importation ng feed wheat kaya bumagsak ang presyo ng mais,” Oftociano Manalo, a farmer from Balungao said. “Dahil mas mura ang feed wheat, ang mga hog at poultry raisers ay lumipat sa feed wheat para sa pakain sa kanilang mga alaga.”

January 21, 2010 at 9:33 am 1 comment

Abono serves 3000 residents of San Manuel, Tarlac

By Brando Cortez

SAN MANUEL, Tarlac- Three thousand residents from different barangays in this town were given gift packs while other residents were treated by a medical and dental mission that was conducted by the Abono Party-list and the local government.

Mayor Jopet Villa Agustin expressed his gratitude to Abono headed by its chairman Rosendo So in behalf of his constituents.

“Ang pagkalinga sa kalusugan ng mga mamamayan ng San Manuel ay isa sa mga pangunahing tungkulin natin,” Villa Agustin said. “Ang medical at dental mission na ito ay para sa mga kababayan natin na bihirang matingnan ng mga doctor.”

Vice Mayor Edy Felix said that the gift giving activity shows that there are still organizations who care for the less privileged.

“Ang pagkakataong ito ay nagpapakita na merong mga organization na tulad ng Abono Party-list na nagbibigay pansin at panahon para sa ating mga kababayan,” Felix said.

Abono President Ponciano Onia Jr. said that the health mission and gift giving is Abono’s way of serving the marginalized sector of our society especially the farmers.

“Alam po natin na ang mga magsasaka at ang kanyang pamilya ay bihirang mabigyan ng medical attention, kaya naman dinala natin ang health mission na ito sa San Manuel,” Onia said. “Ang pakikipag-uganayan po ni mayor Jopet Villa Agustin sa Abono ang nagbigay daan upang maisakatuparan ito.”

Abono legal counsel Atty. Romeo Evangelista also rendered free legal services for those who cannot afford the expensive legal fees.

Evangelista said that his office is committed to the defense, protection, and promotion of the legal rights of the people, especially of the poor and the marginalized.

January 21, 2010 at 9:32 am Leave a comment

Balikbayans” rave over Talong Festival

By Virgilio Sar. Maganes

VILLASIS- The Talong Festival here which is on its fifth year of celebration has caught once again the attention and fancies of balikbayans (expatriates).

Abe Lopez,54, of San Blas village and a nurse in New York City , USA said that he looked forward to attend the town’s fiesta annually because of the “Talong Festival”.

“The fiesta celebration of our town is incomparable to that celebrations before 2006. The Talong Festival has made our town popular all over the world which even my foreign friends would like to see. In fact, we Villasinians in New York are always supportive to the endeavors initiated by Mayor (Nonato) Abrenica,” Lopez said.

Edwin Ancheta, 47, a balikbayan from Madrid , Spain was equally impressed with the Talong Festival.

“I have been in Spain for two years and this is my first time to witness the festival in my beloved town. It’s spectacular particularly the “pinakbet sa kawa” and the street dancing. I was able to attend also our alumni homecoming at the DRECMNHS,” he said.

Lopez and Ancheta are among the 3,000 spectators of the Talong Festival which was aired live over ABS-CBN’s “Umagang Kay Ganda” at 5:30 in the morning which culminated with a concert of Dindong Dantes and Rachel Ann Go at 7:00 in the evening at the new municipal auditorium.

The Talong Festival was started in 2006 fiesta celebration in order to promote the prime product of Villasis which is “talong” (eggplant) under the “one town, one product” (OTOP) of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

Aside from the eggplant, other vegetable crops such as okra, ampalaya, green chili, squash and other vegetables are being promoted wherein Villasis is known for as the “Vegetable Bowl of Pangasinan”.

Mayor Nonato S. Abrenica said that the festival has not only promoted the vegetable products of the town but have drawn tourists as well, both domestic and foreign.

“I made it a point that this year’s celebration will be at par if not more spectacular than the other years’ celebration. The street dancing competition among high schools and elementary schools have been retained including the “pinakbet sa kawa” and the talong cookfest. After four years of the talong cookfest, we were able to gather more than 100 talong recipes which we published as a coffee table book and has also been launched,” Abrenica said.

The “Pinakbet sa Kawa” was participated in by the 21 barangays of the town and were given free for lunch to the spectators.

The talong cookfest which was ably handled by the town’s First Lady. Libradita Go-Abrenica has gone a long way. Several recipes out of “talong” have been cooked. Recipes that are not traditionally cooked took the limelight such as talong suman, talong hotcake, talong butsi, talong panada, talong calamares and talong mashi.

January 21, 2010 at 9:31 am Leave a comment

Abono, Cojuangco deplore delayed release of fertilizer assistance

By Virgilio Sar. Maganes

ROSALES- Abono chair and 5th District Rep. Mark Cojuango deplored the delayed implementation of the Department of Agriculture’s fertilizer assistance for Pangasinan farmers whose palay crops have been damaged by floods cause by tropical storm Pepeng,

In a press conference held at Chowking, Carmen West village here last January 13, Cojuangco stressed that the farmers should get back on their feet after the calamity and government should return to them their lost capital.

The press conference was also attended by DA Regional Director Cipriano Santiago and Director for Operations at DA central office Rodolfo Guieb.

“After the flood and typhoon, I requested the Abono Party List to come out with the detailed costing of capital lost per hectare of the farmers and it came out to be P12,000 per hectare. The Congress was able to pass a supplemental budget of P12 billion for the calamity stricken areas, both for typhoon Ondoy and typhoon Pepeng, but it seems that the funds are released only in Metro Manila,” Cojuangco said.

He further said that the national government should not concentrate only on resettlement areas in Metro Manila but concentrate on the farmers whose livelihood have been greatly affected.

Abono Chair Rosendo O. So said that instead of the DA importing rice from other countries, the funds should be used to subsidize the needs of the farmers.

“If the government will import 65 metric tons of rice, this will cost P10 billion. The farmers’ subsidy will only cost P800 million for the government which will produce our rice requirements,” So said.

It will be recalled that after the flood in the province, Abono, thru So, lobbied with the DA to give palay seeds and fertilizer assistance to the farmers under its “quick recovery program”.

DA assured that farmers whose crops were totally damaged shall be provided with one bag of hybrid or in-breed palay seed and five bags of fertilizer per hectare. On the other hand, partially damaged crops shall be provided with fertilizer on a “buy one, take one” scheme.

On October 22, 2009, the implementing guidelines on the “Quick Recovery Program” was crafted with full dissemination to the provincial, municipal and city agriculturists and technicians. However, the implementation of the program did not materialize. On December 14, the guidelines were revised with the “intent to fast track the provision of the fertilizer assistance to farmers”.

Last January 7, Abono Chair So received a letter from Regional Executive Director Cipriano G. Santiago which explained the delay of the fertilizer assistance to farmers.

The letter said the initial scheme of providing the fertilizers that is “in kind” did not push through because For the inorganic fertilizer, the contract between DA and the winning bidder was not signed because the latter backed out. For the urea, there were no participating bidders, hence, a failed bidding was declared.

Santiago explained during the press conference that a “reimbursement scheme” was arrived at by the DA wherein the farmers who have bought their fertilizers have until March 16to reimburse their expenses from the said agency. However, he said that the farmers should be within the master list of farmers certified under oath by the provincial, city and municipal agriculturists.

January 21, 2010 at 9:31 am Leave a comment

EAVESDROPPER: Don’t cry over political surveys

By Virgilio Sar. Maganes

If a politician seems to be in a lead in a survey, he is all smiles as if he owns the whole world, but if he is tailing behind, he says that the results of the survey was manipulated, rigged or came from dubious source.

As the campaign period draws near, a lot of political surveys are being conducted, both at the local and national levels. Prominent among the political surveyors are the Social Weather Station (SWS), Pulse Asia and the Ibon Foundation. There are also social surveyors at the local levels but are not figured out prominently, thus some politicians considered their results as dubious- incredibly and statistically improbable just like the case of Philris which appeared in this paper between Vice Governor Marlyn Primicias-Agabas and Sec. Hermogenes Esperon, Jr. who are both running for the congressional seat of the 6th district of Pangasinan.

But, are surveys for real?

Every survey agencies have their own statistical measurements based on questionnaires that have been drafted. They are not the end to determine the validity of the results but as a means of projecting social sentiments by the respondents. That is why in the results of survey , the coefficient of errors, either plus or minus are being presented to cover the gap of inconsistencies.

There are elements in conducting surveys: the universe or the group which the survey will be drawn from, the questionnaire or protocol which will be the basis of questions, the interviewers who will be in field work to ask the questions and get the results and the statistical treatment. Each of these elements is not separated from the other. They are intertwined, so to speak, to make the results valid and credible.

The SWS and Pulse Asia Survey have a universe of more or less 1,500 respondents all over the country. The question now is whether that group represents the majority of the more or less 40 million electorates. For example, from the 1,500 respondents, how many of these come from Luzon, Visayas, Mindanao and Metro Manila? If equally distributed, that will be more or less 700 per area. But that will not be the case. The distribution shall be based on the total electorates in each area.

Now, how about the social strata of the respondents? How many are the “very poor” or those living in the squatter areas, middle class and the elite- or plainly the A,B,C,D crowd? Survey results from social strata give different views. People in the squatters usually talk about their poverty, their helplessness and living condition, thus they have different view whom to vote for. The same applies to the middle class and the elite. These groups are mostly opinionated and yield varied results.

The questionnaire is very important. It has something to do with the structure of the questions. How these questions are prepared could yield mind-boggling results. For example, if the question is: Of the ten candidates for president, select the top three whom you will vote if the elections will be held today?, or, Of the ten candidates for president, whom you will vote in May 2010 elections? The two sample questions will yield different results. In the statistical analysis each question shall be treated differently.

One of the strongest elements of surveys are the interviewers. Of course, before these will be fielded, they will be oriented on the questionnaires and the areas they will conduct their surveys. But here’s the rub? How sure are we that the interviewers really honest in writing the answers? Don’t they have biases, too? How sure are we also that they really go to the respondents? Or, they might be there in the malls and conducting table surveys? If so, then the more that the results of the surveys are incredible and invalid.

For statistical treatment, that will now be technically processed by the statisticians. There will be statistical formulas for treatment, cross references and other technical measurements.

Surveys are but surveys. Politicians particularly the presidentiables who are tailing behind in the surveys should not weep on the results of SWS or Pulse Asia surveys. The best thing one could do is to commission the survey- pay for it and believe me the survey result will place you in a higher position. Maybe, you can buy one survey results in Quiapo as what said by presidentiable Noynoy Aquino of the Liberal Party.

Surveys are conditioning the mind of the electorates just what like the subliminal effects of the infomercials we watch over the TV and hear over the radio every hour of the day.

Why be conditioned. Think!

(For comments, email me at

January 21, 2010 at 9:30 am Leave a comment

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