Archive for January, 2011

Delegates from Northern Luzon

Hog raisers from Northern Luzon led by Abono Party-list chairman Eng. Rosendo So (5th from left, backrow) posed for posterity in a dinner in Mandarin Restaurant in Cebu recently. After this they proceeded at the Pig Summit that was held at the convention hall of Water Front Hotel in the Queen’s City of the South (Photo and text by Mortz Ortigoza).

January 30, 2011 at 5:27 pm Leave a comment

Hog industry players: Save local pork industry

By Mortz Ortigoza

CEBU CITY–The unabated influx of cheap imported pork to the country is the worst blow that hit Filipino hog raisers.

This is according to National Federation of Hog Farmers chair Zosimo de Leon, whose sentiments were shared by more than 200 delegates from different provinces who attended the National Pig Summit held at the Water Front Hotel & Casino last January 25-26.

The summit aimed to save the beleaguered P216 billion hog industry which is threatened by cheap pork imported from the United States and Canada.

In attendance during the summit were Senator Kiko Pangilinan, Congressman Llandro Mendoza, Party-List Representative Robert Raymund Estrella, and Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala..

Estrella said it is the backyard hog raisers which composed 70 percent of the country’s hog industry, which are the most affected by the unabated importation.

Abono Party-list chairman Rosendo So, who organized the summit, said that there are 40 million swine in hog farms in the country worth P216 billion, which could go to waste if the pork importation is not stopped.

“The pork importation would also undermine the corn industry that covers 120 million hectares all over the country,” he stressed. Corn is the main ingredient of feeds for pigs.

Saying the unabated importation was “alarming,” he revealed that as of December 21, 2010, there were already 178,905,146 kilograms that entered the country between 2005 to 2010.

This is an increase of 355 percent of pork importation during the five-year period, he said,

In Pangasinan, the price of a kilo of a choice cut of imported pork is P120 a kilo, while its local counterpart is P180 a kilo.

Lito Hison of COR Farm in Bulacan doubted the present campaign of the government to stop the surge of the importation, saying there were already two summits conducted on the issue, but he has yet to see any effort to protect the local farmers.

“Bakit nandito pa rin ito. Hindi ma-hit, Diyan ang batas, ACMA . Produkto ba natin ay napababa? FMD (Foot and Mouth Disease), Technical smuggling sa Philippines, chicharon sa Korea na dala nito ay sakit (FMD),” he lamented.

He said the Philippines has been left behind by neighbouring Vietnam three times in terms of hog production.
AGAP Party List Rep. Nick Briones is amenable to the suggestion of Engr. So that in case the government dilly-dallies in acting on the plight of the local hog raisers, the stakeholders will use the tri-media to ventilate their plight.

Rep. Briones assailed the officials at the Bureau of Customs whom he accused of not seeing the mammoth volumes of pork entering the country.

Secretary Alcala admitted that the government was defenseless from the unabated influx of pork because importers use the tariff rules that governs importation outside of the World Trade Organization’s Minimum Access Volume (MAV) that has been given a duty of 5% for offal (parts of butchered animals like chopped ears, snout, brain, and others, which are major ingredient of a popular delicacy sisig).

He said the volume of pork importation has not exceeded the MAV, but it is the offal importation that is threatening the industry. “Offal is too cheap and there are containers declared as offal but contains choice cuts,” he said.

Alcala said to curb the pork smuggling that use offal as cover up for the more expensive pork cuts, he would work out for the increase of tariff for offal.

“We will increase the tariff and level it with MAV,” he said.

He said he will create a technical working group that will include members of the hog industry players, to firm up actions to curb the pork importation.

In case there would be delay in the increase of tariff, he would call Senator Pangilinan to intercede in a government bureau that delays it.
Rep. Mendoza, who like Senator Pangilinan chaired the committee on agriculture, said that what has been discussed in the summit would be an aid for legislation by his committee.”

Eng. So of the Abono suggested that the country should have her own laboratory to collaborate the findings of the laboratory of other countries.

“Why can’t we export? Because we don’t have a laboratory. If the US government says our pork is not safe, we can’t check,” he said.

Mendoza suggested that to discourage the proliferation of pork, congress should pass a law that would give a heavy prison term of more than six years and one day for those who are caught selling botcha (meat from a dead animal).

Other government officials who attended the two-day seminar were Representatives Jeslie Lapuz of Tarlac, Joselito Mendoza of Bulacan, Angelo Palmones of Agham Party-list, and Cebu City Mayor Mike Rama.

Those from the private sectors were Durian Tan of the National Federation of Hog Farmers, Nonong Tambago, head of the Hog Raisers in Central Visayas, Ms Sharon Tan, daughter of taipan Lucio, who owned a huge hog farm in Rizal province, and other big and small time investors in the swine industry.

January 30, 2011 at 5:24 pm Leave a comment

Hearty Moment

Abono Chairman Rosendo So and Senator Kiko Pangilinan (5th from left) and Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala (extreme left) have hearty moment as the former escorted the senator and the secretary to the convention hall of the hotel. Both graced the Pig Summit.

January 30, 2011 at 5:20 pm Leave a comment

Tax cheats?

After 15 years, this lowly columnist who is used to see the lowly edifices of Dagupan City for decades, has visited Cebu City once again recently.

Susmariosep, I was overwhelmed by the progress “Ceboom” has been reaping. Skyscrapers that are mostly high ends, and three to five stars hotels are everywhere.

I thought I was either in Seoul in South Korea or Guangdong in Mainland China– what with those chinky-eyed tourists who walked in the streets and hotel lobby by batches.

To those who just learned how to read economics, Cebu is eight times bigger than our city in terms of yearly appropriation if we base it on our still-stalled and politicized P568 million annual budget against that Visayan City’s P4.4 billion.

I drooled more as “Ceboom” jeans and boots sporting mayor Mike Rama has concluded on his speech in English (Cebuanos are not good in Tagalog, they are a disaster. They pronounced “pig” as “peg” “shit” as “shet”) to us mostly Filipino-speaking delegates of the National Hog Summit at the convention hall of the swanky Water Front Hotel & Casino:

“Ladies and Gentlemen, after this summit, I have some appointments to attend.

I asked your indulgence to go early because this is not an ordinary city. This is a highly urbanized city. This is the queen city of the Philippines. To all and sundry, daghang salamat (many thanks)”.


After I arrived from the Queen’s City, I waved my Cebu’s Sun- Star and Freeman daily papers for media men in a press conference in Dagupan to see.

“Look here, each of these tabloids average 32 pages that, holly-molly, are being circulated everyday against Pangasinan’s pathetic newspapers that average eight pages only!”

Manila Bulletin scribe Orly Guirao told me that the thickness of Cebu’s tabloids is the result of the city being highly urbanized. Northern Times publisher Lelia Sy, who crisscrossed the archipelago as PAPI ‘s (Publishers Association Of The Philippines, Inc.) hot shot, quipped that the thickness of the Cebuano papers happened because national broadsheets arrived late in that city from imperial Manila.

“Sun-Star and Freeman are the substitute of Philippine Daily Inquirer and other national dailies there,” she stressed.


Mayor Ernie Balolong of Urbiztondo, a big time hog and poultry raisers himself, could only shake his head on the spate of unabated smuggling of bargain-priced pork from the US and Canada in Cebu that threatens the local hog raisers there.

He told me there that swine businessmen in Pangasinan are smiling these days.

He said that after the Christmas and New Year celebrations, the supply of hogs in the market were depleted thus the increased gate price of live pigs for meat vendors.


Abono Party- list boss Rosendo So said pork is ubiquitously peddled by vendors in bicycle that roam the villages and boondocks.

Somebody told me that the proliferation of P80 a kilo pork there happened because their local officials are bribed by smugglers.

“Son of a gun, parang jueteng sa amin sa Luzon. Mi tong ang mga opisyales to buy their silence,” I exclaimed.


Pangasinan politicians who attended the pig summit were Abono Partylist Robert Raymund Estrella, mayors Balolong, and Leoncio Saldivar of San Nicolas. Ex-Mayor Lito Peralta and his lovely wife who is the vice mayor of Balungao were there, too.

National officials who graced the event were Senator Kiko Pangilinan and Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala.

The event was steered by Abono Big boss Rosendo So whose knowledge in data about importation mesmerized the participants all over the country.


Somebody told me that a P700 M budget for 2011 (instead of the present P560 million) is possible in Dagupan. But because of “tax cheats” businessmen, Dagupan City reels with lethargic tax collection effort as compared to neighbouring cities Urdaneta and Baguio.

My source at city hall told me that corporations registered at the Security Exchange Commission like Phinma -run University of Pangasinan religiously pays P2.1 million a year business tax compared to family-owned universities and colleges that paid an incredible P40,000 average a year only.

Hardwares’ like Handyman and DIY that are located at the malls paid an averaged annual tax of P150, 000 a year, higher than the traditional hard wares that do business at the city’s peripheries.

My source at Urdaneta City told me that the city government billed Magic Mall there by P1.360 million.

He could not believe that Nepo Mall in Dagupan- that is two times bigger than Magic Mall in Urdaneta- pays only P600, 000 to Dagupan.

Susmariosep, Is Nepo playing around with its book?

Are the Perezes (Amadito and son Bobom) who run Urdaneta are better than the leaders of Dagupan?

Take for instance a lowly Bank of Makati in Dagupan that pays P400 thousand annually. Its bigger renowned counterpart with an initial of “B” pays only P22 thousand a year.

My source at the city hall told me that they will publish the top 300 taxpayers in the Dagupan for 2010 so the people can see who pays how much, and who pays less.

Does paying less means manipulating their books to escape paying the correct taxes?

This incredibility of taxes my dear readers is reminiscent of that unknown contractor Elaine Gardiola of Batangas who landed as the top 500 taxpayer in 2009 of the country, while billionaire-boxer Manny Pacquiao landed at number 13. Gardiola tax was P 59.54 million, while the Filipino superman – but who does not have superman’s handsome face – was paying only P 7.41 million.

Oh my Gaaad, Nora Aunor was wrong when she cried “Walang Himala!”.

My gay neighbor Swarding was correct when he quipped: “Gaga, merong himala!”. At ang himala ay nasa Dagupan lang.

Geez man, cheaters are bane. They gnaw at the economic fibres of our development.

(Send comments to

January 30, 2011 at 5:03 pm Leave a comment

Development causes traffic in Bayambang

Bayambang Mayor Ric Camacho (4th from left) instruct his municipal officials

By Mortz C. Ortigoza
BAYAMBANG- The volume of vehicular traffic in this first class town has doubled in the past year because of the influx of investors.
Mayor Ricardo Camacho said the Royale Mall and the national computer hub of the Land Registration Administration were the linchpins for the “mob rush” in this town known for “buro” (fermented rice-and-fish mix) and onion.
“Because there are investors, people are coming by droves,” he said
He also cited the preference of private vehicle owners to use this town in going to and coming from Metro Manila.
Camacho said a new traffic ordinance was passed by the Sangguniang Bayan, and the municipal government plans to widen the major public roads to decongest traffic which affects the main thoroughfares only..

He said that construction of overpass is not yet advisable.
“So far wala pa. Kaya hindi pa naman advisable ang overpass dito. Kaunting ayos lang kasi sa dami ng sasakyan ang pumapasok dito,” he explained.
He added that someday, a Public Order & Safety like the one in Dagupan City would oversee the traffic flow. But for the meantime, he relies on the police to regulate the traffic.
Camacho further said that because of the influx of investors, the projected local income for the Internal Revenue Allotment and local revenue for this year would be P107 million and P33 million, respectively.
Last year, this town earned P102 million and P30 million for the IRA and local tax.

January 30, 2011 at 4:57 pm Leave a comment

Boys and toys

by Archbishop Oscar Cruz

By way of a foreword, let it be expressly said from the very start that the matter herein thought of, the concern hereby taken up, is general in content and common in intent.

While it may readily arouse certain assumptions and easily lead to some conclusions, the subject matter of “Boys and Toys” has reference to but on the ground reality without the need of psychological profundities nor expert interventions. In substances, it merely says that toys are for boys in the same way that boys need and want toys. It is that plain. It is that simple.

Hence: it is great to be a boy. It is challenging to be a young man. It is defining to be an adult. What is disastrous is being an adult yet thinking like a boy. Thus it is that toys are meant for boys, not for adults. This is why it is not merely unbecoming but also demeaning when adults behave like boys and thereby get toys.

This has special relevance the moment “boy-adults” hold tenure of influential officers, have authority and power – in a family, in a community, in a Country. Their victims are always the same, viz., their subordinates, their followers, their dependents.

What is really difficult about adults thinking and behaving like boys with their toys, finds its basis on the standard truth and pursuant fact that they are the last ones to know and accept such a self-contradiction. No, there is no hypocrisy in the case but an incapacity of some kind, an incompetence of a certain degree. In either case or for whatever reason, it is a lesser evil to be a boy but act like an adult, than to be an adult and act like a boy.

The key question in this particular issue and predicament is how come an adult feel like a boy, think like a boy and behave like a boy? A common a and tenable answer thereto is found in one or more of the following unfortunate circumstances: A boyhood that is disturbed by painful or lamentable domestic situation, that is bothered and hurt by a long angering family condition, that is mostly by itself usually without peers and friends around. In short, a dysfunctional boyhood.

Thus it is that the “boy” remains in the “man” , the “man” becomes a “boy’ in feelings, thoughts and actuations. There is no objective culpability in the case. Neither is there total responsibility in the matter, on the part of the subject party concerned.

But sure, there is liability for all others relating, dealing and/or working with the individual concerned. In such a situation wherefore, all ultimately emerge as losers – except the “boy-man” himself. This is merely acting and behaving according to his psycho-emotional boy constitutional personality structure. But what a pity – just the same!

January 30, 2011 at 4:52 pm 1 comment

Pangasinan Mayors at the Pig Summit in Cebu

At the lobby of Water Front Hotel & Restaurant: Pangasinan Mayors who attended the Pig Summit in Cebu. From left Urbiztondo Mayor Ernie Balolong, San Nicolas Mayor Leoncio Saldivar, and Balungao Ex-Mayor Lito Peralta (extreme right).

January 30, 2011 at 4:46 pm Leave a comment

Northern Watch on its 4th year

How time flies. Without our knowing, this community paper is now entering its 4th year – providing first hand news and information to our province mates and nearby provinces. Indeed, its circulation has reached even Metro Manila, Cordillera provinces and provinces of Regions II and III.

The paper started in 2007 under my friend Mortz Ortigoza. It was on and off the press until it was given a boost in January 2008, when the first Agricultural Exposition sponsored by Abono Partylist and the provincial government was held in Carmen East, Rosales, Pangasinan.

Since then, Northern Watch became a household item, a reading material not only of politicians and professionals but also of ordinary people. My ego oftentimes has been boosted by receiving good feedbacks from our readers that this paper contains information and news updates that could not be read from other provincial weeklies circulating in the province.

This column appeared in the last week of December 2007 upon the prodding of Mortz (thank you Mortz for inviting me to join you) and my first news article in January 2008. My first love which is writing had been revived since then. I was once writing in other weeklies- Ilocano Observer, Pangasinan News of the late Philip Caracas, Classyfied Mag and the Summit. But this paper provided me more avenues to hone my journalistic skills and most of all the chance to meet many political personalities- former President Erap Estrada, former President Fidel Valdez Ramos and the present President P-Noy Aquino. Through this paper, I was able to interview personally Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero, Senator Gregrio “Gringo” Honasan III and former Speaker of the House of Representatives Jose De Venecia, Jr.

I was also a witness to the political triumphs of many local politicians on May 10, 2010 elections and some of them became “close friends” not because I have written good news about them but the relationship became more professional in nature. I like to thank Urdaneta City Mayor Bobom Perez, former San Manuel Mayor Badong Perez, former Villasis Mayor Nonato S. Abrenica and his wife Mayor Dita for all their support and encouragement. While the world of journalism is not as rosy as what others believed it to be, there were also many enemies born out of it. Sometimes, some politicians and even government officials don’t fully grasp the nature of our work that they are taking us media men for granted. In the course of getting news, there are instances that mutual resentment between the news reporters and those news sources will happen. And it has happened to me. To all those who have been subjected to my tirades, “ mea culpa” and I hope our paths will cross again in the interest of public service.

Yes, we are now in the 4th year of service and we hope to improve more. Rest assured that this column and this paper will give you news and information that could benefit us all, those that will in real sense be the partner in development undertaking.

Lastly, I will personally extend my thank to Abono Partylist Chair Rosendo O. So for his unending support to this paper, he being our source of inspiration to go on particularly in times of trouble-operations and personal. Thank you sir!

I wish to thank my publisher Yolly Sotelo for her understanding especially when I could not cope with her standard due to rush work that she has to devote more time to her editing work. Thank you also to our lay-out artist Rod and Star Printers’ owner Lelia Sy for the timely coming out of the paper.

And to all of you who have been with us through our three years of existence- thank you very much. Yes, we are even becoming stronger because of your patronage.

(For comments email me at

January 30, 2011 at 4:44 pm Leave a comment

GK turns over 5 core houses in Villasis

By Virgilio Sar. Maganes

VILLASIS- The newly constructed five core houses in the Gawad Kalinga Namnama Village in Piaz village here were formally turned over to the five indigent family-beneficiaries last January 18 after the GK Kalinga sa Bayan Walk/Motorcade.

The teary-eyed families could not contain their happiness when the keys of their houses (painted green, orange, yellow, blue and violet) were turned over to them by Mayor Libradita G. Abrenica, Mr. and Mrs. Pete Montilla and other GK officials.

“ Maibagakon nga addaan kamin ti balay. Napintas daytoy a regalo ni Mayor Dita ken ti Gawad Kalinga kadakami a pamilya. (Now I can say that we have a house of our own. This is a very nice gift of Mayor Dita and the Gawad Kalinga to us),” said Rolly Mingarine, 44, married with four children.

Mingarine and his family used to live in a shanty that was washed out during the flood of October 2009. He is a part-time construction laborer while his wife is a fulltime housekeeper.

Dionito Sapigao, 50, married with five children, said the GK house has given him and his family a brighter future. “ Nagrigat ti biagmi. Agtaltalonnak laeng ket daytoyen ti nangted kadakami ti namnama. (Our life is hard. I am only a farmer and this gives us hope.)”

Mingarine and Sapigao are two of the five family-beneficiaries of the first five houses constructed in the GK Namnama Village from the funds of the municipal government of Villasis.

The other families are: Efren Orden, Jr., married with two children and works as laborer, German Cañete, 47, married with five children and Norberto Torio, 51, married with five children.

In her message during the brief program, Mayor Dita Abrenica extended her thanks and gratitude to the officials of the Gawad Kalinga for their support to the project which she said will be a help to alleviate the lives of the beneficiaries.

“Put love and care to your houses. These are now given to you, so you have to take care of them,” Mayor Dita told the five family-beneficiaries.

GK Project Director for Northern Luzon Eric Cayabyab commended the organizers of the GK Kalinga ng Bayan Walk/Motorcade which he said is a good move to raise funds to construct more houses in GK villages in the country.

“You have started this kind of fund raising and we will replicate it in other GK sites, “Cayabyab said.

He also announced that GK will be constructing ten more houses next month in the GK Namnama Village.

GK hopes to build 120 core houses in the Village within the two years period.

It will be recalled that the GK Namnama Village was opened in February 2010 after a groundbreaking and the last September for the ceremonial build of the five core houses.

The 1.8 hectare-lot was donated by Mr. and Mrs. Pete Montilla (nee Soledad Obedoza) out of their love to needy people. The couple has devoted their time to the cause of Gawad Kalinga which will construct houses fro the poor and to provide them decent lives and means of livelihood.

January 30, 2011 at 4:42 pm Leave a comment

Urdaneta hosts 1st multilingual education confab

By Virgilio Sar. Maganes

URDANETA CITY- More than 1,000 participants all over the country convened at the Urdaneta City University (UCU) here for the first International Conference on Mother Tongue-Based Multilingual Education last January 18-20.

Sponsored by the University of the Philippines’ Institute of Education Development and Innovation for Community Mobilization (IEDICM), the conference has its theme, “Benchmarking Mother Tongue-Based Multilingual Education Development, Practices and Challenges in the 21st Century in Asia Pacific.”

It is aimed to “produce learners who can read and write competently in the local language such as English”.

It is in support to House Bill No. 3719 known as “Multilingual Education and Literacy Bill,” a revision to the government’s goal for “Education for All.”

In his message, Manila Economic and Cultural Office (MECO) Chair Amadeo R. Perez, Jr. said today’s world where globalization has necessitated the learning of English and other lingua franca, but there is a challenge to preserve the indigenous languages and traditions.

He further said that education is a powerful tool that responds to the needs of the global community while fostering the unique cultural and linguistic identity of the speakers.

In his keynote address, Dr. Shigekazu Takemura, Professor Emeritus of Hiroshima University of Japan said, “The mother tongue is used for the language that a person learned as a child at home usually from their parents. It is typically the first language of the child and the language of the home.”

Takemura further said that the mother tongue education is the form used in most western nations and is closely related to the formation of national identity.

“Education has to serve the cultural transmission and cultural innovation. Education has to support children in their personal development, but also to prepare them for grown up vocational tasks,” he said.

The three-day conference was divided into many topics such as policy research in mother tongue and multilingual education, contribution of local artists on relevant materials-teacher-made learning materials, innovative learning assessment tools and case studies.

These were facilitated by trainers and professors from the University of the Philippines- Diliman.

January 30, 2011 at 4:41 pm Leave a comment

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