Archive for October, 2010
By Mortz C. Ortigoza
ROSALES- Is there a possibility for the Philippines to be self-sufficient in rice production?
The chairman of the farmer’s group Abono Party-list thinks so, and suggested solutions to attain rice self-sufficiency.
Abono Chair Rosendo So said that it will take the combination of three factors like increasing number of hectares planted to palay, constructing more irrigation canals, and improving the quality of certified seeds, to meet this target.
He explained that the country needs another 200,000 hectares to reach a total of 1.6 million hectares dedicated to palay, and which would be backed-up by the rehabilitation and repair of irrigation canals.
“So far 1.4 million hectares ang irrigated area natin na may tanim na palay. So malayo tayo sa increase ng irrigation facilities ng ibang bansa. Ang Thailand about four to five times and areas nila compared sa atin,” he stressed.
So said he discussed recently with Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala the advantage of propagating certified seeds as against the hybrid seeds.
He explained that the downside of the hybrid seed is after a farmer planted it, he could no longer use the grain he harvested as seedling.
“Palpak naman iyong hybrid seeds. Makikita mo iyong tayo ng mga palay natin is iba-ibang size. So hindi good seeds iyon. So, dapat talaga iyung certified seeds na ipa-pasok ay talagang magaganda. Iyung certified seeds pag itinanim mo ngayon, at pagkatapos mong umani… iyong seeds puwede mo pang itanim uli,” he continued.
Meanwhile, he suggested to Alcala that the government subsidize entirely the certified seeds for farmers whose crops were destroyed by Typhoon Juan recently.
He disclosed that Alcala told him that is reviewing the problems that beset the farmers.
He added that at present, the government subsidizes half of the P1, 200 worth of seeds per farmer.
By Mortz C. Ortigoza
CALASIAO –Revenue District Office-4 chief Yolly Ferrer expressed confidence that her office can attain its annual tax target.
She said with an average tax collection of P100 million monthly by her office, the tax target of P1.5 billion for this year is manageable, despite the negative collection in July and August.
The collection month for September was a saving grace as it breached the tax goal for that month, she said.
“So we will be able to exceed our collective goal. But cumulatively from January to September we have increased collection. Our over-all increase is P144.5 million or 13% over last year. We also have increased of P157 million or 14%,” she stressed.
Ferrer said that those who availed of the Abatement Program have the benefit of not being slapped with a surcharge of 25%.
This is an amnesty program of the Bureau of Internal Revenue for September 29 to October 29 this year.
It is where 25% surcharge on the taxes due will be waived if the taxpayers would come forward to pay the correct amount of taxes or for those who amend their tax returns.
By Virgilio Sar. Maganes
ROSALES- The president of the Federation of Irrigators Association of Region I and Abono Party list president , both working for the welfare and interest of farmers, claimed that the National Power Corporation (Napocor) and San Roque Power Plant Corporation (SRPPC) were behind the massive flood in Pangasinan on October 8-9, 2009.
They based their claims on their observations of the recent super typhoon “Juan” which visited northern Luzon on October 17-20, 2010 which did not cause much damages in the province and nearby provinces except Isabela.
Irrigators President Oftociano “Anong” Manalo said that the volume of water poured by typhoon “Juan” was more tremendous than that of typhoon “Pepeng” in 2009.
“Hindi nabaha ang Rosales at Villasis ngayon. Hindi bumigay ang mga dike kasi hindi nagpakawala ng tubig ang San Roque Dam. (Rosales and Villasis have not been flooded this time. Dikes did not give ways because San Roque Dam did not release water),” Manalo said.
He said that last year’s flood was due to the indiscriminate release of water from the dam which made heavy damage to properties and crops.
“Mali ang un-regulated na pag-release nila sa tubig ng dam noong 2009. Iyan ang tanggapin nila. Kung sa ngayon nga ay mas malakas pa ang bagyo, bakit nakaya nilang imonitor ang pagtaas ng tubig at hinintay ang critical level. Mabuti na lang hindi umabot ng 280 meter above sea level. (They made a mistake in the unregulated release of water in 2009. They have to admit that. The typhoon now was stronger, and they were able to monitor the water level of the dam and waited for the critical level to be reached. Good that it did not reach 280 MASL),” he said.
On the other hand, Abono Partylist President Ponciano V. Onia, Jr said that the flood of 2009 could have been averted if Napocor and SRPPC observed the proper protocol in releasing water.
According to the protocol, the San Roque Dam’s critical level is 280 meters above sea level which means that upon reaching that level, water has to be released.
He further said that the volume of water released to the Agno River was so high at about 6, 000 cubic meters per second, a volume which more than doubled the holding capacity of the river.
“Kaya nasira ang dike sa Tomana at Carmen sa Rosales at saka sa Lipay East at Puelay sa Villasis dahil hindi na makaya ang agos at lakas ng tubig sa ilog. (That’s why the dikes in Tumana and Carmen East in Rosales and in Lipay East and Puelay in Villasis because they could no longer contain the raging waters of the river), Onia said.
Onia further explained that the non-release of water by the San Roque Dam proved that the water level has regularly been monitored by Napocor and SRPPC.
He said that unlike last year, they waited for the critical level to be breached before releasing water to the Agno River at an unregulated level.
The San Roque Dam is managed by the San Roque Power Plant Corporation located between Itogon, Benguet and San Manuel, Pangasinan. It is regarded as the third largest dam in Asia.
I pity Vice President Jejomar Binay for his over-zealousness to impress himself with his “brods” at the Alpha Phi Omega by exonerating grenade-throwing suspect Anthony Leal Nepomuceno.
Because of this Binay has politically self-inflicted damage to himself before the eyes of the Filipinos. These people would be going to the polls in 2016 to junk Binay for the presidency or the vice presidency.
Even Nepomuceno is not yet convicted by the court for his alleged crime, Filipinos are still suspicious for traditional politician like Binay clowning himself in helping a brod in distress.
Forget about my friend former Secretary Silvestr “Bebot” Bello who also came to the succor of his besieged brod.
Bello is already as damaged as the tourists’ bus eused by Capt.Rolando Mendoza when he hijacked it in Manila recently. His susceptibility to losses every time there was a senatorial election speaks for itself. Res Ipsa Loquitor eh, Bebot?
Is it true that a resort in Labrador, Pangasinan called Covelandia pays many of its employees a miniscule P180 a day?
If that is true, the Department of Labor & Employment should look into this matter. This is a clear and simple violation of the minimum wage law in Region 1.
According to the web page of the National Wages & Productivity Commission, the daily pay of a worker in the service sector in the Ilocos Region should not be less than P240.
Workers who feel they are being violated by their heartless and greedy employers could email me at firstname.lastname@example.org so we could publish them here for Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz to see.
Am I right Dagupan City administrator and Lt. Col. reservist Vlad Mata? Mata was Baldoz’ classmate at the National Defense College of the Philippines. The former introduced me to her when she spoke in a seminar that Mata sponsored before.
This is how businessmen and local government officials rob a city government by under declaration of gross sales.
An insider in a tax office of a local government unit told me that a retail business with 12 cash register machines that earn a gross sale of P50 thousand each or P 600 thousand for all the 12 machines everyday, can be manipulated by declaring only the gross sales of the two machines.
He said the city is shortchanged by P150 thousand a month in terms of business taxes.
The city’s tax code in consonance with the Local Government Code mandates that the former can charge up to 1 percent of the gross sales of a business establishment.
“If you base tax on the computation of 10 cash register machines multiplied by P50,000 a day multiplied by 30 days and multiplied it with the 1% business tax then that would be a staggering P150 thousand a month tax fraud against a city,” he told me in whisper.
He said this happens only through the conspiracy of the store owner, the office of the mayor, and the office of the assessor.
Coal power plant is detrimental to the environment, while hydro power plant is unreliable during summer and drought seasons.
The logical alternative to fill-up the staggering power deficit we face today is to build nuclear power plant. It is not only cheap to produce power from it, but it could lessen the globally notorious cost of electricity in our country. This dilemma is deterrent to foreign investors.
In an Agence France Press dispatch, it says that “US approved on Monday a permit for the largest solar energy project in the world—four massive plants at the cost of one billion dollars each in southern California .
“The Blythe solar power plant will consist of four, 250-Megawatt plants, built on public lands in the sun-drenched Mojave desert ,” Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said.
“When completed the project is expected to generate up to 1,000 Megawatts of energy… That’s enough electricity to power up to 750,000 average American homes and to make Blythe the largest solar power plant facility in the world.”
As the Blythe project equates the capacity and price of a nuclear power plant, it is a welcome news. Its applicability in the Philippines however is questionable. The U.S has its sun drenched Mojave, California and Nevada deserts that are recipients of uninterrupted scorching heat from the sun to produce power to the households. With the intermittent rainfalls and cloudy skies that visit our country every six months, solar can be likened to hydro power that become emaciated every summer time.
With this observation, the commonsensical and logical alternative for the Philippines is still nuclear power plant.
To the critics of nuclear who say that its waste emits radiation? Susmariosep, if France, China, the U.S have not found any problem today of its effect, what more for our dear Philippines that has thousands of God-forsaken islands that can be used as dumping site for this waste?
This radiation-thing downside is too small to counter the benefit of cheaper power that could free the over-burdened Pinoys and attract investors that would give them jobs.
During the wrath of Typhoon Juan, several dikes in northern Luzon collapsed and endangered the lives of the inhabitants in its periphery.
Was the collapse due to poor construction?
A big time contractor told me before that congressmen and officials of the Department of Public Works & Highway love to build dikes and conduct dredging operation on silted river bed.
He said these endeavor gives them up to 40% kickbacks from the solons’ pork barrel.
The contractor told me that it is difficult for the Commission on Audit to check the extent of works in dredging. For example, they are not scuba divers to be able to measure how many inches of the silt have been excavated by the backhoe of the contractor. The contractor is usually used as dummy by the lawmakers.
A mayor told me that one of the towns in Region 1 has been a beneficiary of a P300 million worth of flood control projects from a solon in the last three years.
Does it mean the congressman and his cohorts with the DPWH rob big time the tax payers at the staggering tune of P120 million (40 % of the P300 million) in cold cash?
(Send comments to email@example.com)
The government’s effort in preparing for the ill-effects and devastation of the entry of super typhoon “Juan” in northern Luzon has paid-off.
It was a concerted effort of all government agencies particularly the Philippine Astronomical and Geophysical Services Administration (Pag-asa), National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), Philippine National Red Cross (PNRC), Department of National Defense (DND) and the local government units (LGUs).
It proved that when government agencies will really work and prepare, casualties will be minimized and rescue operations will be carried out efficiently and effectively.
I commend them for a job well done.
In Pangasinan, typhoon “ Juan “ has also caused tremendous damages particularly to agricultural crops and properties. The Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC) has indeed been prepared for whatever damages caused by the typhoon.
The volume of rain water was so enormous that caused flooding in various municipalities such as Bugallon, Labrador, Umingan, Dagupan City and San Fabian.
Flood this time was not caused by the San Roque Multipurpose Dam as it did not release a single drop of water to the Agno River and its tributaries.
Compared to typhoon “Pepeng” last year which caused massive flooding in many towns in Pangasinan, the volume of rain water dropped by typhoon “Juan” was even double and yet the management of San Roque Multipurpose Dam was not that frantic in releasing water. This just proves that the flood of 2009 was due to management error committed by the National Power Corporation (Napocor) and caused tremendous damage to properties.
When I was monitoring over Bombo Radyo Dagupan the situation of typhoon “Juan”, anchor Audrey Hidalgo was able to interview Tom Valdez, Vice President for Community Relations of San Roque Power Plant, who said that the dam’s water level was only 253 meters which was still 27 meters away from its critical level of 280 meters. That was it! That level was not yet the time to release the dam’s water and have to wait until the critical level is reached.
In October 2009 flood, it was different. Napocor and San Roque Power Plant Corporation (SRPPC) indiscriminately released the water of the dam by almost 6,000 cubic meters per second.
I just could not comprehend now why they had to do that last year when they could do otherwise like what happened now during the height of typhoon “Juan.” Maybe they could reason out that the situation during typhoon “Pepeng” in 2009 is different with that of typhoon “Juan.”
Yes it was! But typhoon “Juan” was a super typhoon which placed Pangasinan under signal no.3. In 2009, Pangasinan was only in signal no. 1 and did not experience that heavy downpour like that of typhoon “Juan.”
I think, Napocor and SRPPC should accept the fact now that they made a mistake in 2009 and stop passing the buck and issue alibis. Now it can be told that Napocor and SRPPC were the culprits of the flood in 2009. Period!
Now let’s look back what happened in typhoon “Juan”.
The towns of Bugallon and Umingan were heavily flooded. The flood was not due to water coming from rivers and creeks but due to flashflood and landslide from the mountains.
The bald mountains in these areas could no longer sustain the heavy downpour. There were no trees to avert the landslides and flashflood, thus the residents there had to scamper for safety. How many times has government told the people to plant trees?
How many reforestation activities must been done by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)? But those programs have not been heeded by the people. They kept on raping the forests in the mountains and blame the government for the miseries they themselves were the perpetrators of.
We have to wake up to realities. Unless we value our environment, calamities and tragedies will always be parts of our lives.
(for comments, email me a firstname.lastname@example.org)
Super typhoon but no devastating flood
In October of 2009, Typhoon Pepeng hit Pangasinan and the province was placed under signal number one.
At the San Roque Dam, people from the local government and media heard this from Tomas Valdez, vice president for corporate social responsibility of the San Roque Multipurpose Project (SRMP): “What you are seeing is the dam’s flood control component at work.”
Valdez made this announcement when the dam’s water level registered a record-high of 284.7 meter above sea level (MASL), which was 5.3 meters from its maximum level of 290 MASL.
“We have not opened our spillway gates yet. But our people no longer sleep because they are closely watching it,” Valdez continued.
What happened next?
A devastating flood swept the towns along the Agno River and Typhoon Pepeng was blamed by the San Roque Dam manager National Power Corporation and the spillway controller San Roque Power Corporation.
On the other hand, Pangasinan 5th District Rep. Mark Cojuangco in his privilege speech after the flood said “What happened during the height of the rain was that San Roque Dam released for more than 10 hours water at the level of 5,700 cubic meters per second, exceeding the capacity of the Agno River water system.”
Lives were lost and huge damages to properties were recorded.
The past week residents of Rosales and Villasis prepared for a flood scenario similar to 2009 when they heard that Super Typhoon Megi, said to be one of the strongest typhoons, will hit the country.
Pangasinan was placed under signal number three and Megi came slowly… hitting the entire regions 1 and 2 including Pangasinan moving at 7 kilometers per hour.
After Typhoon Megi was spotted out of Philippine territory, no flooding occurred in Rosales and Villasis and this time no lives were lost and damage to properties were minimal.
The difference is that there was no release of water from the dam.