Archive for November 21, 2010

LOCAL LEGISLATORS


Gov. Amado T. Espino, Jr. (2nd from right) administers the oath of office to newly-elected officers of Philippine Councilors League-Pangasinan Chapter led by its president, San Manuel Councilor Salvador S. Perez, Jr. (3rd from right), at the Governor’s Office, Capitol Building in Lingayen last November 15. Witnessing the ceremony is Vice Governor Ferdinand Z. Calimlim, Jr. (right). (PIO Photo by Bob Sison)

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November 21, 2010 at 8:18 pm Leave a comment

Rep. Gina de Venecia’s speech at the GLOBAL PEACE CONVENTION


November 17, 2010; Nairobi, Kenya

Theme: Building a world lasting peace: One family under God

MY NAME IS GINA DE VENECIA and I’m a Filipina.

Apart from my duties as Representative in the Philippine Congress, like most of you, I do social work. The charitable Foundation I founded is composed of mothers orphaned by their child.

THREE WEEKS from now, my family will commemorate the death anniversary of my dearest daughter, KC. She was only 16 when she left us —– a sprightly teenager, full of life and optimism. But on that fateful December night, my youngest child died in a fire that also gutted our home.

To every parent there is no greater misfortune than losing your own child.

Fortified by my love for my daughter, I chose to transform my sorrow into a platform of hope by forming a Foundation that helps other mothers drowning in grief live through their pain and get on with their lives while keeping the memory of their children close to their hearts.

IN THIS LIFE, I have come to realize that in reaching out to others, we have to step out of our comfort zones, and turn life’s challenges into opportunities to make a difference.

Four years ago, we opened a national healing center— the first of its kind in my country — that gives free counseling to orphaned parents.

This therapeutic center is among my four nationwide projects that directly help the most aggrieved sectors of Philippine society.

Before I became a Congresswoman, I also led a Foundation composed of the spouses of Representatives in the Philippine Congress.

It was both, a blessing and a privilege because it gave me the chance to make a change into the lives of my oppressed countrymen.

We built The Haven for Women, a 16-building rehabilitation complex for women, who had been raped and victimized by domestic violence, incest, forced prostitution, and illegal recruitment. It has 15 regional ‘havens’ all over our archipelago to reach out to the abused women in the countryside, the first of their kind in Southeast Asia, which then U.S. First Lady Hillary Clinton acknowledged when she was in Manila.

In these centers, we restore their confidence, teach them livelihood skills and give them hope, until they gain moral strength to rejoin society, and live once more with dignity.

My other project was The Haven for Children with four regional centers that shelter streetchildren in the streets of Metro Manila who have become drug dependent, and are unfortunately, starting lives of crime before they reach their teens.

We lift them from a life of desperation and hopelessness and nurture them in a home, full of compassion and a promise of better life.

Last April, my fourth project was formally opened. It is the largest welfare institution in our country, a 20-building facility called The Haven for the Elderly that serves as a sanctuary for senior citizens, abandoned by their families.

MATRIARCHAL TENDENCIES run deep in Filipino society. The father is the recognized leader while the mother serves as the “heart” of the family.

Recognizing the vital role of women in ensuring the integrity of the family as breeding ground of individual’s values and future direction, the Philippine Congress has enacted a comprehensive human rights law called the Magna Carta for Women that seeks to eliminate discrimination by recognizing, protecting, fulfilling and promoting the rights of Filipino women.

It also ensures that 5 percent of annual budgets of government agencies is automatically appropriated for women empowerment which is perhaps unique in the world, although only partially implemented for lack of funds.

The affirmative impact of this law was reflected in the 2006-2007 Global Entrepreneurship Monitor that stated the Philippines as the only country where women are found to be more active in starting business than men, with 49 percent of all women now working, topping gender equality among managers, professional and technical workers.

In addition, we also passed legislations on Anti-Violence Against Women and the Anti-Trafficking Persons Act recognizing the fact that women are the No. 1 victims of human trafficking.

TO OUR CONFERENCE-THEME of “Building a world lasting peace: One family under God,” I can relate only in terms of the Filipino experience.

Over these past several years, 11 percent of our total population have become scattered in more than 120 countries as overseas workers.

And foreign peoples endlessly wonder how we could remain so composed – alone and away from home for months on end.

The reason is very simple: No Filipino is ever really alone.

Faith is exceptionally strong among our people. Our optimism, even at the darkest hour, cannot be crushed by wars or even market forces – because it comes from our reliance on the personal presence of God in our lives.

This conviction, I believe, rings true all over the world. Your former Government Minister, Professor Wangari Maathai, the first African woman to win the Nobel Prize, once said: “All of us have a God in us, and that God is the spirit that unites all life.”

Faith is the strong foundation of the enduring peace that Dr. Hyun Jin Moon and we, who are here, hope to build.

At the global level, peace can be achieved only on an understanding between the great civilizations – which was started by the Inter-Faith Dialogues that the Philippines, Iran, and 33 other states had proposed to the U.N. General Assembly in 2006 and even before. Today more than 70 nations are co-architects in these global, regional and interfaith dialogues that the Rev. Sun Myung Moon, the father and his equally distinguished son, Dr. Hyun Jin Moon are now bringing to almost all nations of the world.

And, at the level of the human heart, peace can be built only as father and son intend — by uniting all of humankind in a global community bound in true love–beyond nationality and religion.

Dr. Hyun Jin Moon’s and the Global Peace Federation’s first principle is simple and uncomplicated. We all belong to “one human family under God.” Whether we are brown, black, yellow or white of skin, we are all descended from Abraham, sons and daughters of one human family, created in the likeness of our living God.

So, if we are one family, how can we hate or despise or kill our brother, our sister or parent? Even if they are Americans, Europeans, Asians or Africans, they are our brothers or sisters just the same, with the same blood pouring from our hearts and running in our veins.

We the women of Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Americas must be vigilant in uplifting and guaranteeing women’s rights, written in every constitution of the world, that men and women are equal, that we are co-builders of our nations, and that like men, we must struggle for the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs),to advance democracy and human rights, to promote gender equality and women empowerment, to fight corruption and poverty and the terrible effects of climate change and environmental degradation, and in the challenge of our time, as 190 presidents and prime ministers have committed in the year 2000, to reduce poverty by 50% by 2015, which is only 5 years from now.

Brothers and sisters in our “one human family”;

May the organizers of this “Global Summit on Peace” and all of us raise “a harvest of righteousness!”

It has been said that with the shifting of political and economic power, from the West to the East, the 21st Century now belongs to the “Asian Century.” May we also say, perhaps rightfully so, that it shall now be the “Women’s Century.”

November 21, 2010 at 7:34 pm Leave a comment

Nippon Foundation visits La Salette’s special kids


JAPANESE DONORS: Nippon Foundation and its donors in Japan have visited recently Escuela de Nuestra Senora de la Salette in Dagupan City(MORTZ ORTIGOZA)


By Mortz C. Ortigoza

DAGUPAN CITY- A renowned charitable foundation and its donors in Japan visited Escuela de Nuestra Senora de la Salette here to check the special children-pupils who are beneficiaries of their donations.

According to Ryuji Hasegawa, fund-raiser of Nippon Foundation, he invited several donors to see how the school is doing.

For 2009 and 2010, the Nippon Fundation donated materials like black and spell drums, flute, xylophone, maraca, and other percussion instruments.

Akira Futagoishi, chief of the Nippon Skilled Volunteers Association who is based here, said Nippon-Japan visited La Salette to see the situation of the special children and will contribute more if he is convinced that the school uses the doantions for the benefit of the pupils.

According to Rex Lor, top executive of the college, Nippon Foundation is a non-profit philanthropic organization that is active both in Japan and abroad. It has been doing philanthropic works for the last six years in countries like Indonesia, Sudan, and the Philippines

Its aim is the realization of a peaceful and prosperous global society to secure basic human rights.

Lor said that Nippon Foundation intercedes for the proceeds of the 10% profit of the vending machines like those of Coke and others in Japan as funds for its charitable works globally.

He added that in the past, another foundation from Japan sent representatives to teach musical therapy to teachers of La Salette.

The teachers share music therapy to the student of La Sallete.

“In the long run, the student would not only be good in academics but also in music,” Lor said

November 21, 2010 at 7:26 pm Leave a comment

Balungao’s treasurer is missing?



By Virgilio Sar. Maganes

It’s definite! The municipal treasurer of Balungao is missing.

No! She was not kidnapped. She did not go on leave. She is not absent in her office without official leave (AWOL) either. She is missing because she has to explain the alleged cash shortage of her town’s funds in the amount of P8.5 million.

A reliable informant told me that a special audit was conducted by the central office of the Commission on Audit (COA) about three weeks ago. It was allegedly a surprise audit in which financial records of the town including cash count were conducted. To their dismay, the auditors allegedly uncovered the missing funds which were not at all supported with cash disbursement vouchers or proper public documents. How did that happen is a mystery which is now the talk of the municipal employees and even the townspeople.

The same informant told me that Mayor Philipp Peralta is mum about the town’s predicament. Even the salaries of the municipal employees as of this writing have not yet been paid because the treasurer could no longer be found. People are trying to comprehend why is she hiding. There are speculations that she might have been intimidated by some officials who are with full knowledge of the alleged financial fiasco.

The missing millions of pesos were allegedly used during the previous May 10, 2010 elections. The P3 million was allegedly the cash advances of then municipal councilors who ran in the elections. However, they lost so the cash advances could no longer be recovered. The P 5 million could not be traced as to where they were spent and who were the municipal officials behind its mysterious disbursements.

The alleged malfeasance of the town’s treasurer should be investigated deeply. I know that she will open up a pandora’s box which will reveal the facts and the identities of the culprits. She is not supposed to go into hiding. She must face her accusers and name names if needed. I know that Mayor Philipp Peralta is an advocate of transparency in governance and is already looking into this.

If the alleged COA findings come out to be true, I hope that the treasurer did not take the said amount for her personal use. I know that cash cannot be disbursed easily without accompanying required documents. Their may be other officials involved with the alleged missing funds and I hope Mayor Philipp Peralta will share their findings for the benefit of the people of Balungao.

Mayor, please do not hide the situation. Many of your town mates are already aware of the alleged missing funds. They deserve to know the truth. After all, the alleged missing funds are your people’s money.

*****

Jueteng is back in Pangasinan.

Many towns are into “it” again. It is true that the stoppage of its operations in the previous months was only a comical show just to appease the anti-jueteng advocates.

There was a lull in its operations but now it is slowly going back to its normal situation. A “cabo” whom I was able to talk to lately told me that the modus operandi of the operators now is to tell the people that jueteng has already been legalized by this present administration. That is why when you see “cobradores” (bet collectors), they will tell you that President PNoy has already legalized its operations.

That is a lie. No law has been passed “legalizing jueteng”.

Archbishop Emeritus Oscar V. Cruz will again be doing his usual self of expose’s on the shenanigans behind the juetieng operations. What I cannot understand under this administration is that they are taking this issue lightly. President PNoy in his latest statement said that stopping jueteng operations is the least of his priorities. He will concentrate to curb other forms of criminal activities like kidnapping and smuggling.

Remember that President PNoy has a program to eradicate poverty called “conditional cash transfer” amounting to P21 billion to indigent families. With the return of “jueteng” don’t you think that part of that amount to be received by the indigent families will go to jueteng bets? Who will monitor the spending patterns of the recipients of the cash transfer? There is no way that the PNoy Administration can prevent the indigents from for betting on Jueteng. Lalong pinayayaman ni President PNoy ang mga “ama at anak ng jueteng”.

You were right Bishop Cruz. The long “wait” was over! Jueteng is indeed worth “waiting” for.

(for comments please email me at emperorvrgil@yahoo.com)

November 21, 2010 at 9:21 am Leave a comment

Alaminos, BIR, Corruption 1O1



By Mortz C. Ortigoza

Dagupan City should emulate Alaminos City by maintaining a Face Book account.
To some peasants out there, Face Book or FB is a social network in cyber space.
During the recent acrimonious word-war between Alaminos Mayor Nani Braganza and Governor Amado T. Espino and his men on the alleged vandalism the latter hurled at the former, I was surprised to see how Alaminians reacted to the criticism to their beloved city. Like a disturbed hornet in their nest, they swamped FB by launching a “war of attrition”.
I thought Alaminians are coy, but its more than 4000-strong patriotic army at FB proved me wrong.
XXX

Of all tax offices I have visited, it is the Bureau of Internal Revenue District Office-5 based in Alaminos City that I could not understand.
Its Assistant Revenue District Officer (ARDO), a lawyer named Elmer F. Carolino, would not furnish me a copy of his office’s collection report.
If ARDO Charmaine dela Torre and Badeth Mangaong of RDOs 4 and 6 regularly give me a report without qualms, why can’t RDO-5?
“I have to get a clearance first with my RDO (Quirino Ramos),” he told me.
Susmariosep attorney, that’s a non-classified public document that should be available to everybody.
Anyway, I just learned that of the three tax offices in Pangasinan, RDO-5 as of November 15 is 10% short of the P582, 243,000 tax goal given to it by the tax national office.
It’s a lousy office with a lousy leadership. Its counterparts have already broken their tax goal as of September this year.
Its regional office under Director Tom Rosales has already breached its P5.6 billion tax goal as of November, too.
In case RDO- 5 will be short by 7.5% of its tax goal, Commissioner Kim S. Jacinto-Henares should throw the Attrition Law to them!
Xxx

These are the ways officials of a Local Government Unit in a province, city, or town rob taxpayers’ money.
A veteran official of an LGU who knows the nuances of corruption told me that a P10 million road project would cost only two-third.
He said however that this would not swell to a unimaginable proportion if the following officials would not pocket a significant portions of the P10 million.
He explained that before the project would be constructed it should first undergoes the following:
a) Publication of the project in a newspaper of general circulation or in a conspicuous place; b)Securing prospective bidder; c) Filing of the bidders of the documents’) Pre-Bidding Conference; and e) Submission of the Bid .
He told me that the engineering office only published the total price of P10 million. But it did not put following costs like administrative overhead, 3.5 %; Value Added Tax, 12 %; Contractor’s Profit, 10%; Overhead Contingency, 10 %.
He said it takes only three winning bidders for the final bid to start.
“But usually these three bidders are in cahoots with each other. Some of them win; some of them lose once in a while”.
The custom is each of them is given by the winning bidder a commission.
xxx
The commissions go to the following personalities:
Mayor 15% or P1.5 million; Sangguniang Panlalawigan, Panlungsod, or Bayan 5% or 500 thousand; Bids & Award Committee; 1% or P100; Engineering 1% or P100 thousand Auditor 1% or P100 thousand; Accountant 1/2 % or P50 thousand; Budget 1/2% or P50 thousand; Losing bidders 1% or P50 thousand each.
With P2. 5 million going to the “bosses”, P7. 5 million goes to the cost, taxes, and the contractor’s profit.

***

But congressmen and senators have their ways how to pocket public funds.
A big time contractor told me that a solon asks a contractor the following percentages in a project funded by his congressional allocation (i.e pork barrel) and congressional insertions.
“If it is a school building, hindi masyadong madugo ang nakawan 8% lang. Pag public works diyan sa 20%” He said that a congressman or a senator could ask from the contractor up to 40% if it is a flood control project like dikes and dredging operation.
XXX

That’s why months before the national election in May 10, 2010, former president Gloria M. Arroyo approved P6 billion flood control project for his favorite solons to implement.
One town in Northern Luzon was a recipient of a P300 million flood control project. But during the wrath of Typhoon Juan last October, 10 dikes in this place collapsed. Reason: Sub-standard projects done by contractors.
Was it because of the prohibited percentage asked by the lawmaker that made the contractor built a sub-standard project?
In that P300 million infrastructure, the solon laughed to the banks with a staggering P120 million commission.
Susmariosep, who said that public office is a thankless job?
(Send comment to totomortz@yahoo.com)

November 21, 2010 at 9:17 am Leave a comment

Pangasinan II conducts skills upgrading and competition


By Vrgilio Sar. Maganes

MANGALDAN- More than 100 secondary schools under Pangasinan II Schools Division converged at the Mangaldan National High School here on November 9-10for various trade skills competition under the Student Technologists and Entrepreneurs of the Philippines (STEP) as part of upgrading the students technical skills.

Technology and Livelihood Education Supervisor Virgilio R. Barba said the skills competition was not only focused on winning but more on the goal of upgrading the skills of students including the technology teachers.

“While the winners in this competition have to compete in the regional competition that will be held sometime in the first week of December this year, our focus is not on winning but to upgrade the skills of our students in different trade fields. Winning is secondary. It is the skills acquired that is important in this kind of competition,” Barba said.

This year’s theme is “STEP: Upgrading Skills, Improving Lives.”

In welcoming the participants to the two-day event, school head Dr. Rizalino T. Agpalo, Jr. of Mangaldan National High School underscored the importance of the STEP competition which is upgrade the students’ technical skills to give them the competitive edge in the labor market.

He said that the students and teachers competed not only to learn but also to upgrade their skills to become more productive individuals.

Councilor Teresa “Baby” Abalos who represented Mangaldan Mayor Herminio Romero during the opening of the competition lauded the various schools’ administrators for coming up with the said competition.

“When do trainings of skills begin? Will it be during elementary, secondary or tertiary education?” Abalos asked the audience.

She said that skills training should start from the first teachers who act as parents “who are responsible in developing skills of their children including their character and values.”

She further said that there is a growing skills and jobs mismatch in the country and lamented the fact that 6.9% of the unemployed are mostly college undergraduates and graduates.

“This STEP competition is important for developing the skills of students. This is also a sharing of knowledge and a continuous process of learning,” she said.

Division TLE Coordinator Danilo G. Tacason, Division Agriculture Coordinator Jesus Nazareno and Head Teacher Perlita S. Reyes provided the administrative and operational support to the competition along with selected secondary teachers in the division who served as contest administrators and facilitators.

There were 30 trade skills in the competition and some of them are cocktail mixing, hair trimming and facial make up, bookkeeping, business planning, and residential house wiring.

Other trade skills participated in by the students were T-shirt printing, cake decorating, fabric hand painting, table setting and skirting, bangus deboning and electronic poster making.

Capping the two-day event was the Search for Mr. and Miss Step 2010 where 23 male and female students from various schools in the division competed. They were judged based on beauty and personality, talent and intelligence.

November 21, 2010 at 8:35 am Leave a comment

Bince bats for the abolition of Agno Flood Control Office


By Virgilio Sar. Maganes

LINGAYEN- “You have not done the mandate given to your office to mitigate the flooding in Pangasinan. I might as well pass a resolution abolishing your office for your incompetence.”

This was the statement by a dismayed 6th district Board Member Alfonso C. Bince, Jr. given to the project consultant and project engineers of the Project Management Office-Agno Flood Control System after the latter were not able to convince the provincial solons on their briefing on the status of the Agno Flood Control Project in the province in their session on November 12, 2010 at the Capitol Session Hall.

“Since 1974, you have not done concrete solutions to mitigate the province’s flooding. It is becoming worse and your office’s existence is therefore no longer justifiable,” a visibly irked Bince said.

Board Member Ranjit Ramos Shahani lamented also the reversion of the unused loan portion for the package III of the project ( Alcala to Asingan) from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) which he said “is a manifestation of the delayed implementation of the project”.

Project Consultant Roger Pelaez and Alejandro Soza received verbal lashings when Board Member Amadeo Espino (Liga President) asked why their office could not even put sand and gravel on the alternate route leading to Bautista when the Hector Mendoza Bridge in Barangay Laoac, Alcala was rendered impassable.

“You were talking about millions of pesos here as the project cost of the Agno Flood Control Project and yet you can not even drop sand and gravel for an alternate route caused by the displacement of your project operations. Our people are suffering because of your inactions,” Espino said.

The presence of the consultant along with the project engineers of the Agno Flood Control System was upon the invitation of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan for updates on the status of the flood control project in Pangasinan.

Project Director Resito V. David snubbed the invitation and instead sent a representative to the dismay of the provincial solons.

Shahani said that every time they will invite high officials from the said office, they just send their representatives who have no knowledge of the project in question.

However, the officials present during the briefing assured the solons that necessary actions will be taken up on their questions and requests regarding the implementation of the Agno Flood Control System in Pangasinan.

November 21, 2010 at 8:33 am Leave a comment


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