Archive for February 14, 2010

DENR rejects tent city as housing site


By Yolanda Sotelo

ROSALES– It may still take some time before flood victims in this town who are temporarily residing in tents, finally find a home they can call their own.

About 400 families are living in tents (donated by Shelter Box Trust, an international charity organization through Rotary Club Baguio City ) in San Pedro West village after their houses were destroyed by the massive floods in October 2009

The local government has partnered with different organizations for a low-cost housing project at the place they call “ Tent City .”

Ironically, the area has been declared unfit for housing by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ Mines and Geosciences Bureau because it is flood-prone, according to Mayor Ricardo Revita.

The local government has asked the DNR-MGB to reconsider its decision, saying the flooding in October last year was “extraordinary.”

“San Pedro West was flooded but the water was only a foot deep. If they will declare the village as flood-prone, they might as well declare the entire Rosales as unfit for housing as the entire town went under water,” Revita said.

The local government is running against time to establish a housing project because the tents can last only from six months to one year.

The tents will eventually disintegrate because of exposure to heat and other adverse weather conditions.

Rosales government is eyeing a site in barangay Palakipak where the Habitat for Humanity can build 190 low-cost housing units.

It has also bought a two-hectare lot in barangay Balingcanaway (using the P700 thousand donated money during the flood and P1.5 million LGU fund) where the Red Cross will build 300 temporary housing units for the victims.

While waiting for the housing projects, the flood victims have to make do with tents in the tent city where the tents stand almost wall to wall.

The tent city looks like any other community — there’s a paved courtyard where children can play, sari-sari stores are in almost every corner, patches of vegetable gardens are growing, women are washing their clothes around artesian wells.

There are 400 families who call the tents their home. Each of the 184 tents can accommodate 10 persons, so at least two families share a tent.

“Like a jamboree,” the residents, who claimed they are happy despite their cramped “houses,” call their place and their plight. Nighttime are happiest when most residents gather around two television sets in the courtyard to watch news and telenovelas, they said.

It helps that the residents are relatives and former neighbors atop or beside the dike along the mighty Agno River in Carmen East and Carmen West villages.

“We were neighbors, and many of us are families, so we get together well,” Salve Gutierez, 39, mother of two little children, sad.

The residents said they will forever be grateful to the kind-hearted persons and well-meaning organizations who gave the tents and other materials.

The local government has provided them with sources of potable water and electricity (although they can’t have power connection inside the tents). Sanitary latrines and bathing areas were established for their use and their garbage are collected daily by the local government.

Donors provided them with basic needs like food and pieces of clothes and slippers; and things that make life a little comfortable like foam mattresses and bed pans.

“We are very thankful for all the help we are receiving. We escaped the flood with only our clothes on our back. Our clothes, cooking wares, our houses, were all gone. We had nothing and many people came to help. We will forever be grateful,” Rhoda Reyes, a mother of three young children, said.

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February 14, 2010 at 9:00 pm Leave a comment

Quips from national candidates


By Marcelo C. Ortigoza

A few days after the start of the official campaign date for the national candidates, aspirants for the presidential and senatorial posts harp different lines to attract the votes of the more than 1.6 million Pangasinan voters.

Partido ng Masang Pilipino (PMP) senatorial bet Juan Ponce Enrile accused spouses Manny and Cynthia Villar as the major proponents that made possible the construction of the anomalous P6.96 billion government funded C-5 Extension Project and the Las Pinas-Paranaque Link Project so it could pass the 50-52 hectares of the almost underdeveloped Villar real estates in Las Pinas City.

Enrile also added that it is impossible for the Arroyo administration to manipulate the election in May and stay in power beyond June 30, 2010 because of the vigilance of the Filipinos.

“Because it is not easy to do that now unlike when I was the defense secretary (under the Marcos dictatorship) where the military and police were under my command. Now the police and the military are under different departments,” he said.

Former President and PMP presidential bet Joseph Estrada said that he will give advise to Senator Panfilo Lacson in case his estranged former police chief seeks it. Lacson is in a bind after he was sued with a non-bailable double-murder case.

While Lakas-Kampi CMD senatorial bet Bebot Bello said that it was not a kiss of death for him running under the administration party because the electorate are already mature and discerning to select the most qualified candidate.

He stressed that the “kiss of death” specter is floated by those senatorial candidates who run now in the other parties.

“They are those people who went to President (Gloria) Arroyo and asked for her blessing but failed to get them,” he said.

He added it is an advantage that his party has only six senatorial contenders. He explained that it suits them well because they have to divide among themselves their party’s campaign funds unlike the other senatorial candidates who have to contend themselves with the limited funds their parties give them.

The former Arroyo government’s cabinet secretary also doubts President Arroyo could be incarcerated because of the non-bailable case of plunder waiting for her after she steps down from power in June 30, 2010.

“That is if the complainants’ evidence is strong and they have sufficient evidence against her. It’s a matter of evidence,” he explained.

He said that the rounds of accusations against her are all rehashed.

All these pronouncements were heard when they met the national and local media in different forums in Dagupan City and her neighboring town Calasiao.

February 14, 2010 at 8:57 pm Leave a comment

EAVESDROPPER: By Virgilo Sar. Maganes


The senators and the laws

As a freedom republic, we are a country of laws and not of men. Laws are the bedrock of democracy and once they are defied, chaos and anarchy ensue.

Our senators, however, are devoid of statesmanship, lack respect of laws and becoming not as role models for the youth but models of defying the justice system this country has. Being the purveyors of laws, they are supposed to be on the frontline of seeing to it that justice processes are being undertaken and observed.

But many of our senators are becoming bum and absurd. They are providing us signals not to respect our laws and the justice system.

Where is Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson now? When he learned that a warrant of arrest has been issued to him in connection with the Dacer-Corbito case, he disappeared like Houdini and David Copperfield, the two world famous escapists and illusionists. Lacson abandoned his office and now a subject of manhunt by local police authorities and the international police or Interpol.

He should have been brave enough to face the case against him. If he was innocent, as he was saying, then he should secure all legal remedies to defend himself. He should at least respect the justice system which is anchored on evidences and not media publicity. Or, if he thinks he is guilty of the crime, then he should expose his accomplices and the mastermind of the crime.

There is a dictum that flight is a sign of guilt. By absconding himself, isn’t he guilty of the Dacer- Corbito double murder? Under the cloak of command responsibility, wasn’t he responsible for it for he was then the highest ranking police officer of the land?

With the issuance of the warrant of arrest, his camp is putting the blame on La Presidenta Gloria. Again? Why blame the President for the court system? We have three branches of the government and have separate powers. The executive branch executes laws, the legislative branch enacts laws and the judicial branch interprets the laws. The court has jurisdiction over the warrant of arrest of Lacson. If our mindset is that the President could order the court, then we are no longer under democracy but dictatorship.

By all means Mr. Lacson. Come out in the open and face the trial. The families of the Dacers and the Corbitos have been longing for justice, like you do. Be brave. Don’t be cowed and show us that you are a true officer and gentleman like when we voted you as a senator.

Senator Jamby Madrigal is to be blamed too for Lacson’s flight. Imagine a senator advising her colleague to go out of the country? What’s this Madrigal has in mind? She is making mockery of our laws. She does not deserve to be in that august halls of the Senate. She’s not worth a salt. Dipping her fingers in that Lacson case will not help her presidential ambition. Remember that both Madrigal and Lacson were behind the expose of the C-5 extension road deal against Senator Manny Villar.

Senator Manny Villar, a presidentiable, has also an axe to grind. With his non-appearance in the Senate inquiry about the C-5 extension road budget insertions, he is also projecting himself as a no respecter of laws. How can a person longing to be a president of the land show to us that he is above the law? Suppose he will win, what kind of government do we have under his administration?

Like Lacson, Villar is supposed to face his accusers. He should present his pieces of evidence before his colleagues in the Senate. Branding his colleagues as politicizing the issues hurled against him will not be of help to catapult him to power. What’s the truth behind the budget insertions? The people want to know.

And what are Senators Allan Cayetano and Aquiluino Pimentel doing in the Senate? They are lawyering for Senator Manny Villar. This Cayetano is absurd. He lacks the delicadeza called for in a senator like him. There were many Senate investigations where he prominently participated- the fertilizer scam, NBN-ZTE deal and many others under the administration, but for Manny Villar he is there not as a fiscalizer but a defense lawyer. Mama mia! What kind of senators do we have in this country. Are we already a people of nincompoops? That we are easily fooled by the double tongue of these senators? Look at Pimentel, while the senate deliberations are for real, he turned it into a circus by injecting an uncalled for humor by saying to Senator Roxas, “I am sure you made many insertions after your marriage with Korina.”

Where are the likes of Jovito Salonga, Claro M. Recto, Jose Laurel, Raul Manglapus, Jose Diokno? These were true statesmen. The Senate was then a bastion of true democracy where real issues were deliberated on with savvy and mutual respect for each other.

( for comments, email me at emperorvirgil@yahoo.com)

February 14, 2010 at 8:57 pm Leave a comment

Q and A: JDV on national reconciliation and other issues


Northern Watch correspondent Mortz C. Ortigoza caught-up anew with five-time Speaker of the House of Representatives Jose de Venecia for an interview that zeroed in on scenarios of a failed presidential poll and the decline of Lakas-Kampi CMD party after the May 10, 2010 election. Excerpts:

MORTZ C. ORTIGOZA (MCO): Copenhagen ended a failure. But you wrote a letter to British Prime Minister Gordon Brown about people in the underdeveloped countries to plant billions of trees to mitigate global warning thru debt-to-equity. Any update, Mr. Congressman?

JOSE DE VENECIA (JDV): Sinagot ako ni (my letter was answered by) President Hu Jintao ng (Mainland) China . Did I give you a copy?

MCO: Hindi pa sir (Not yet sir).

JDV: I will give you later his letter. Sinagot ako ng Chinese government sabi nila. Sila dapat dapat gagastos. Sabi ng Chinese government wala tayo dapat gagastusin. Sila ang dapat gagastos(the Chinese government told me the developed country should shoulder the expenses. We underdeveloped countries would not spend a dime) The developed countries will finance the initiatives of the under develop and developing countries on climate change.

MCO: The en banc of the Supreme Court has decided adversely on your petition on the merger of Lakas Christian Muslim Democratic Party and the Kampi Party. Are you optimistic that a Motion for Reconsideration with the said court would prosper?

JDV: Pinag-aaralan ng ating mga abugado (my lawyers still study it) if we will file a Motion for Reconsideration.

MCO:Let’s talk about succession of power. There is an impending dilemma. Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile runs for re election, Prospero Nograles will be no longer be a Speaker after June 30. 2010. In case there will be a crisis on the election; they said there will be a vacuum of power in July 1, 2010. Would it be possible for the military to sneak in and take power?

JDV: If no civilian authority emerges by July 1st. Then the military would –as guardian of the state – temporarily take charge. But that should be the last resort because I am against a military take-over.

So it is very important that the new president should be proclaimed at all cost.

MCO: Recently I read a news item on the observation that the Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machine can still read even if all the shaded ovals have been erased. Would this poll be vulnerable to fraud?

JDV: Unless they are able to solve this widespread poll issues that were raised by the leaders of the civil societies. You know they are already hacking the government computers. They are already testing the capability of the Comelec to manage its first electronic poll in the Philippines . The danger is very strong, and widespread. The feelings of the people are widespread. They don’t have much confidence in the integrity of this electronic system that we are installing so maybe at some point all of us (should) pray. Maybe the mechanical system should be first tried only in the Metropolitan Manila area. And, if certain major cities of the Philippines . But not nationwide if the proper mechanics are lacking. If the system is incomplete, every system is incomplete. If the ballots before are not on time because there are many Motion for Reconsiderations pending in the Supreme Court, with the Comelec. If the printing of the documents necessary for elections are not completed because there are 1,600 towns, you need 1,600 documents for every town because you have different candidates for councilor, vice mayor, and mayor in each town. So, it’s a very dangerous thing and maybe we should first have a trial period.

For a testing period of say by the various political parties acting together with the leaders of the civil society. Acting in concert because kung ipipilit natin itong nationwide electronic election na hindi pa tested at mukhang marami mga dangers anticipated baka magkagulo pa ang Pilipinas (if we insist on this nationwide electronic election that are not yet tested, and we have a lot of anticipated problems, our country will go to the brink of chaos).

Or there is a failure of proclamation, at walang presidente na ma proclaim. Grabe and aabutin ng ating bansa (and we don’t have president that could be proclaimed, our country would be in a serious trouble). We should see this thing that we can do at due time after July 1, (201O).

MCO: Are you going back to the government after you end your third term as congressman on June 30, 2010?

JDV: Well, I told you I’m organizing the revival of the rainbow coalition. Which means – in practical term – we must create a government of national unity. Which means that whoever wins we must like various political forces, so that the winner can not govern. There will be chaos. So if the presidential candidates decline as winner we must proceed to create a government of national unity after some cleansing because we have to cleanse the bad elements. And then we must have power sharing, the various political forces so that we can unite a country and the new president can move forward immediately. Otherwise, we will be struck by all kinds of infighting, chaos charges, and counter charges. We will not be able to win.

MCO: Can we expect that you will be working with the new dispensation?

JDV: I will be making recommendation. Kasi ngayon (because now), I’m the chairman of all the political parties in Asia . Communist Party of China is my member, Democratic Party of Japan the ruling party and the Congress Party of India are my member. The party of (Russian Prime Minister Vladimir) Putin is my member. So, I’m in some way working with solution the problem in Asia . I will continue to work. Let’s help solve the problem in the Philippines .

Hindi natin pababayaan itong ating bansa (we will not abandon our country).

MCO: Would there be another party like Lakas CMD that you founded to dominate? Or would Lakas still exist after a new government is proclaimed after June 30?

JDV: I think Lakas will decline considerably. I doubt if its candidate for president will win. So the dominant party would be the L.P (Liberal Party) and Nationalista. And we would have to unite under some power- sharing formula. So the Philippines should not be divided again. And there will be constant infighting; they will threaten the president with impeachment complaint. Bakit na lang laging ganuon? Laban ng laban. I am proposing a government of national reconciliation under a new elective president.

(Mortz C. Ortigoza used to teach political science in Dagupan City and Manila . He has a Master in Public Administration)

February 14, 2010 at 8:56 pm Leave a comment

Quips from national candidates


By Marcelo C. Ortigoza

A few days after the start of the official campaign date for the national candidates, aspirants for the presidential and senatorial posts harp different lines to attract the votes of the more than 1.6 million Pangasinan voters.

Partido ng Masang Pilipino (PMP) senatorial bet Juan Ponce Enrile accused spouses Manny and Cynthia Villar as the major proponents that made possible the construction of the anomalous P6.96 billion government funded C-5 Extension Project and the Las Pinas-Paranaque Link Project so it could pass the 50-52 hectares of the almost underdeveloped Villar real estates in Las Pinas City.

Enrile also added that it is impossible for the Arroyo administration to manipulate the election in May and stay in power beyond June 30, 2010 because of the vigilance of the Filipinos.

“Because it is not easy to do that now unlike when I was the defense secretary (under the Marcos dictatorship) where the military and police were under my command. Now the police and the military are under different departments,” he said.

Former President and PMP presidential bet Joseph Estrada said that he will give advise to Senator Panfilo Lacson in case his estranged former police chief seeks it. Lacson is in a bind after he was sued with a non-bailable double-murder case.

While Lakas-Kampi CMD senatorial bet Bebot Bello said that it was not a kiss of death for him running under the administration party because the electorate are already mature and discerning to select the most qualified candidate.

He stressed that the “kiss of death” specter is floated by those senatorial candidates who run now in the other parties.

“They are those people who went to President (Gloria) Arroyo and asked for her blessing but failed to get them,” he said.

He added it is an advantage that his party has only six senatorial contenders. He explained that it suits them well because they have to divide among themselves their party’s campaign funds unlike the other senatorial candidates who have to contend themselves with the limited funds their parties give them.

The former Arroyo government’s cabinet secretary also doubts President Arroyo could be incarcerated because of the non-bailable case of plunder waiting for her after she steps down from power in June 30, 2010.

“That is if the complainants’ evidence is strong and they have sufficient evidence against her. It’s a matter of evidence,” he explained.

He said that the rounds of accusations against her are all rehashed.

All these pronouncements were heard when they met the national and local media in different forums in Dagupan City and her neighboring town Calasiao.

February 14, 2010 at 8:54 pm Leave a comment

Fertilizer subsidy awarded to farmers


By Brando Cortez and Vir Maganes

MAPANDAN- Palay farmers affected by the October flooding in the entire third district of Pangasinan received certificates of entitlement for fertilizer subsidy from the Department of Agriculture through the combined efforts of Secretary Silvestre “Bebot” Bello, Abono Party-list, Governor Amado T. Espino, Jr., Rep. Rachel Arenas and the local government units.

The awarding of certificates through the government’ Quick reco very program for rice areas with no chance of recovery caused by typhoons Pepeng and Ondoy, were presided over by Mayor Ricardo Camacho in Bayambang, City Mayor Julier Resuello in San Carlos City, Mayor Armando Domantay in Malasiqui, Mayor Roy Macanlalay in Calasiao, Mayor Reynaldo Velasco in Santa Barbara and Mayor Jose Ferdinand Calimlim in Mapandan.

Abono Party List chairman Rosendo So said that the release of the funds were made possible trough team effort.

“Nagtulong-tulong po kami nila congresswoman Rachel Arenas. Gov. Espino at Secretary Bebot Bello para ma-release na ang naantalang pondo,” So said.

. Arenas said that farmers of the third district will have more assistance now that Abono Party-list and Secretary Bello are helping the district.

“Mas maraming tulong po tayong maibibigay sa lahat dahil sama-sama na ang Abono, si Sec Bello, Si Governor Espino sa pagbibigay ng mga project sa minamahl nating distrito,” Arenas said.

Arenas also informed the farmers that more funds for the development of agriculture are coming from the tobacco levy.

“Ginawan po nating ng paraan upang ma-release na rin ang share ng Pangasinan sa tobacco levy tax,” Arenas said. “Ang pondong ito ay maaaring gamitin sa farm to market roads, agricultural machinery at post harvest facilities.”

Calimlim, representing Espino, said that teamwork is a vital component in uplifting the lives of farmers.

“Habang nagkakaisa na ang mga nasa gobyerno sa pagpapaganda ng buhay ng magsasaka, napapanahon na rin para magkaisa ang mga magsasaka upang makipagtulungan sa lahat para sa ikauunlad ng buhay ng mga magsasaka,” Calimlim said.

The fertilizer subsidies consisted of three bags of triple 14 and two bags of urea per hectare for the totally damaged farm area during the flood in October 2009.

“ This fertilizer subsidy was supposed to be distributed in October last year for the quick turn around on farming operations of the affected farmers. However, there were problems met by the Department of Agriculture, that is why the implementation was delayed,” So told the farmers.

So further said that the total cost of the fertilizer subsidies for Pangasinan is P70 million.

The certificates of entitlement are to be presented to the accredited dealers of the Department of Agriculture which in turn release the fertilizer subsidies to farmers without any cash out.

The cost of the fertilizers have been computed on their average prices.

Bello lauded the Abono for its efforts in providing continuing assistance to farmers. He said that if he ever wins for a seat in the Senate, he will work more on legislations that will uplift the lives of the farmers.

Similar distribution of certificates of entitlement for fertilizer subsidies have also been undertaken in the towns of eastern Pangasinan through the municipal agricultural offices where the bulk of agricultural crops particularly palay were destroyed by the flood.

February 14, 2010 at 8:53 pm Leave a comment

Ang Maso: Brando Cortez


Ang red book at ang facebook

Kasamang Melvin, kumusta na ang kampanya ni Manong Jun Esperon.

Dati ang binabasa mo ay red book para sa mga batayang prinsipyo na itataguyod para sa panlipunang pagbabago.

Ngayon facebook na.

Kaugnay ng red book, pamilyar ka arin ba dito mayor Nani? nais ko lang i-share ang kwento ng “Ibon nag-aral lumangoy, isda nag-aral lumipad.”

Ito ay kaugnay sa gawain ng mga aktibista na humalaw ng kaalaman at karanasan sa isang komunidad para tukuyin ang paraan ng pagbabago na naaayon sa realidad sa masa.

Ang mga aktibista noong 1980’s ay may mga karanasan patungkol sa “immersion programs” o “pagbabad sa komunidad.”

Ang ibon ay maaaring ihambing sa mga intellectual habang ang isda ay maaring ihambing sa mga tao sa grassroots level.

Sa paghahangad ng panglipunang pagbabago, may relasyon ang ibon sa isda at may relasyon ang isda sa ibon.

Lumilipad ang mga ibon at meron silang “bird’s eyeview” sa kung ano ang nasa ibaba.

Madaling makapagbago ng direkson ang mga ibon…puedeng lumipad ng pagkataas taas at puede ding biglang mag-dive pababa.

Ganyan din ang mga intellectual…kaya nilang paglaruan ang kanilang mga idea.

Habang nasa himpapawid ang mga ibon ay nakikita nila ang mga isda sa dagat.

Mula sa bird’s eyeview…mukhang hindi gumagalaw ang mga isda.

Ganyan ang paningin ng mga intellectual.

Itinatanong ng mga intellectual kung bakit hindi gumagalaw o kumikilos ang mga nasa grassroots?

Dahil sila ay intellectual, nagmamadali at gustong gusto ng mabilisang pagbabago ang akala nila ay sila na lang ang kumikilos para sa pagbabago.

Pero ang mga isda ay may ibang realidad.

Ang masasabi ng isda sa ibong ay ito: “Madali at mabilis kang nakakakilos dahil ang hangin ay manipis. Subukan mong bumaba at magbabad dito sa tubig para maranasan mo na ang pagkilos dito ay hindi kasing dali ng pagkilos sa hangin.”

Dahil mataas at malayo ang ibon hindi niya nakikita ang tunay na nangyayari sa ibaba.

Kung lalapit ang ibon sa mga isda ay makikita niya na ang mga isda ay kumikilos din, hindi nga lang kasimbilis ng pagkilos ng mga ibon.

Manhid na sa tubig ang isda.

Kung tatanungin ng ibon ang isda ng: “mareng isda, kumusta ang tubig?”

Ang isasagot ng isda ay: “Anong tubig?”

Maiintindihan lang ng ibon ang pagkilos ng isda kung pag-aaralan niyang maglangoy kasama ang mga isda.

Pag akyat niya sa mga kapwa isda, marami siyang maikukuwento tungkol sa kanyang karanasan at natutunan sa paraan ng pagkilos ng isda sa tubig.

Sa kabilang banda naman, hindi ba dapat na turuan din ng ibon ang mga isda na lumipad?

Kung natutunan ng ibon na maglangoy sa tubig, dapat matutunan din ng isda kung paano lumipad.

Ang pagsasama ng puwersa ng ibon na marunong lumangoy at isdang marunong lumipad ang magbabago ng kapaligiran.

Ang pagsasama ng mga intellectual at ng grassroots ay ang tamang hakbang sa tunay panlipunang pagbabago.

ARENAS-DOMANTAY MAGKASAMA! Buong araw na magkasama sina Abono chairman Rosendo So, Rep. Racel Arenas, Mapandan mayor Ferdie Calimlim (candidate for vice governor) at Sec. Bebot Bello (candidate for senator) at sila ay bumisita sa lahat ng bayan ng third district.

Mayor Ayoy ng San Carlos City, alam mo ba na pagdating namin nila Bos Sendong sa Malasiqui ay buong pusong nagbigay ng welcome si Mayor Armando Domantay kay Cong. Rachel Arenas?

Habang nasa stage sila ay mahaba-haba din ang kanilang pinag-usapan.

Mayor Ric Camacho ng Bayamabang, hindi ba napakagandang pagmasdan ang dalawang tao na di-umano ay magkaaway sa pulitika na very civil to each other at nag-uusap ng masinsinan?

Pangarap ni Bos Sendong na mawala na ang mga intriga sa pagitan ni Mayor Armand at Cong. Rachel para sa patuloy na pag-unlad ng Malasiqui.

Solid na kay Gov. Espino si Cong Rachel Arenas dahil ako mismo ang nakakita at nakarining na part na rin daw siya ng Team Espino na nagsusulong ng pag-unlad ng Pangasinan.

Kahit na si Calasiao Mayor Roy Macanlalay ay Gov. Espino na rin ang itinutulak para sa 2010…kahit na hindi pa personal na nag-iikot sa bayan ng Calasiao si Gov.

February 14, 2010 at 8:51 pm Leave a comment

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