Archive for February, 2011

CLEAN RIVER



A fisherman on board his bamboo raft catches fish at the river in Binmaley. People especially marginal fisherfolks now get more fish in the river because of the massive clean-up drive initiated by the Pangasinan provincial government under the leadership of Gov. Amado Espino,Jr. in July last year. The provincial government is continuously conducting clean-up drive on the river systems and waterways in the province.CESAR RAMIREZ

February 21, 2011 at 6:41 am Leave a comment

LCP, DepEd sign MOA for school building design


By Mortz C. Ortigoza

ALAMINOS CITY –The League of Cities of the Philippines has signed a Memorandum of Agreement with the Department of Education for standard design of school buildings.

LCP Secretary General Hernani Braganza, the mayor of this city, said the MOA aims to have one design of schoolbuildings all over the country, and with almost similar cost.

Braganza lamented that there are public school buildings in this city that cost P700 thousand each but are almost bare.

“Halos wala kang makita, tapos (declared) completed. The reality ang completed nila walang pinta,” he said.

He insinuated that these kind of projects usually come from the funds of congressmen and national officials.

“So siguro i-standardized na natin iyung desinyo ng classroom,” he said.

But Braganza explained that the construction costs vary, depending on the distance and the season.

He said that as the location gets farther the prices become bigger.

“For example in Luzon, it is a lot cheaper than in Tawi-Tawi and Jolo. But people would think may tong-past. They should understand that bringing equipment to places is costly. Prices of sand also vary in different places,” he said.

He explained that during rainy days, the price of cement is lower compared to price during summer time.

Education Secretary Armin Luistro, who was with Braganza recently in this city, reacted to a comparison between a privately constructed public school building in Pangasinan to the one built by his department.

A painted private funded building with a comfort room, door knob, and ceiling cost P300 thousand only while a similar-sized room financed by DepEd that lacks the features of the former, runs up to P700,000.

”I have seen classroom that cost P250 thousand but was built in substandard fashion. I have seen classroom done (better) than the DepEd standard and benchmark. I have seen also those nearly substandard. The budget for classroom with DepEd budget is around P650 thousand , a seven- by- nine meter, one-storey painted building. Its difficult to say whether the P300 thousand class room is a good buy or not unless we look at the specifications,” he said.

He added that there are good classrooms at P700 thousand but are smaller in size. But his department can lower the cost for the same building from P700 thousand to P550 thousand at most.

February 21, 2011 at 6:36 am Leave a comment

Calasiao looks for funding agency for solar project


By Mortz C. Ortigoza

CALASIAO- The mayor of this puto producing town is looking for a grant from foreign development agencies to finance the proposed solar plant project that will power the municipal hall and other establishments.

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Mayor Mark Roy Macanlalay explained that in case Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) or the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) grant his request, the solar project will be a 60-40% venture with this town shouldering 40% of the cost.

Macanlalay said a solar project will save this town up to 70% of power expenses.

The young mayor said this town has P140 million annual budget, both from local taxes and shares from the Internal Revenue Allotment.

He said 20% of P18 million of the IRA is used to pay the town’s debt of P60 million from the Land Bank it acquired in 2009. The loan was used to finance the new imposing municipal building.

The old town hall was gutted by fire in 2008.

Meanwhile, Vice Mayor Roy Macanlalay, the father of the mayor, said that the mammoth retail store Robinson located in Brgy. San Miguel here would be open to the public in September this year.

The mayor said that he talked with the top brass of the Gokongwie- run- corporation to give priority to Calasiao residents for employment.

He said that hiring people here would bode well for the management and workers because they would spend less on fares.

February 21, 2011 at 6:36 am Leave a comment

BIRTHDAY GIRL


BIRTHDAY GIRL. Forth District Rep. Gina de Venecia celebrates her birthday last Feb. 15 with her women-colleagues at the House of Representatives. Photo shows, from left, Reps. Imelda Dimaporo, Rachel Arenas, Bai Sandra Sema, Aliah Dimaporo and Mercedes Alvarez.

February 21, 2011 at 6:31 am Leave a comment

Manay Gina raises the issue of suicide prevention


Fourth District Rep. Gina de Venecia called depression as a silent menace that triggers the increasing cases of suicide in the country.

De Venecia raised the depression issue in a speech before the film-makers who participated in the 2nd Quisumbing- Escandor Film Festival for Health last February 19 at the Philippine International Convention Center.

At the same time, she encouraged the participating film-makers to focus on health cases that are least-known to the public, like psychiatric illnesses.

De Venecia said that she also suffered depression when her daughter died in a fire, in 2004. And she knows that extreme despair, if not properly managed, could lead to suicide.

According to her, depression is a psychiatric illness that can be treated either by counseling or medication.

“Sadly however, the stigma attached to committing suicide, branding it as a sin, and the myth that only fools need the help of a psychiatrist, hinder further dialogue about the problem,” she said.

To help prevent the increasing cases of suicide, specially among the youth, De Venecia is filing a bill that will integrate the subject of psychology in public high school to help the students in combating depression due to peer pressure and other social strains.

It will also support massive awareness campaign on suicide, its causes and prevention.

February 21, 2011 at 6:27 am Leave a comment

SM’s entry an emotional issue in Dagupan


The acrimonious debate recently on the venues where Dagupan City Mayor Benjie S. Lim would deliver his State of the City Address was a treat to the people in and outside of the city.

All dressed-up to the occasion, members of the Sanggunian Panlungsod stubbornly waited at the narrow August Chamber for the mayor to come, while a dressed- up Lim snubbed them and proceeded at the spacious City Astrodome to deliver his reports of his programs and misgivings on the politicized SP to the more than 3,000 yelling and applauding leaders and supporters who waited for him there.

Susmariosep, who needs an action thriller of a Lito Lapid or a Sylvester Stallone when we have adrenalin-powered clashes for free in Dagupan for sometime now?

But hold your horses, my man! The intramurals on when and how much would be the budget of the city after it undergoes the grinding machine of the SP is not yet the most exciting sight.

The most exciting and “bloody” treat that is still to unfold before our eyes would be how the SP led by Vice Mayor Belen Fernandez, a mall czarina, handles the application of giant retail store SM in case it starts to construct its edifice this year at the 12-hectare land in Brgy. Tambac.

Since the entry of SM was emphasized by the speech of Mayor Lim in his SOCA, let’s dissect how the mammoth retail store run by SM Prime Holdings, Inc. bode with the present seemingly Manila-based-mall hostile occupants of the city council.

According to my source at the City Hall, the mayor told Hans Sy (scion of the owner of SMPI) when he visited the office of the former last year the obstacles he has to deal before he could lift a nail to start his construction activity.

He said that SMPHI should first get clearances from the Department of Agrarian Reform and the Department of Environment & Natural Resources for the conversion of the real estate venue from agricultural to commercial.

After braving all these hitches, SMPHI should get a resolution from the SP for the amendments of its zone or land areas at Tambac from agricultural (swampland and fishpond) to commercial.

This is where SMPI would find its Iwo Jima. The Sys would be likened to the Palestinians who have been given by Israel a round around on their search for an elusive land which they could call home.

The Belen-led SP would fight tooth and nail against SMPI to even cast its shadow at Tambac.

Allowing SM Mall in the City, is like forcing the vice mayor to do a General Angie Reyes.

But here is my poser: Would this resistance boomerang with the VM and her allies in case they successfully drive out SM?

Local political analysts believed that the SM thing is an emotional issue among the city folks than the stalled P568 million 2011 city budgets.

It has a political price for its opponents to pay come 2013 poll.

Economically, the entry of SM would break the oligopoly in the giant retail business in the city that is led by the family of Fernandez.

This is no longer about the stalled increase of the pay hikes of city employees. This is no longer the prejudiced thousands of malnourished children that the SP deprives by not acting on the budget. Susmariosep, this is about the purchasing power of the tired and busted pocket of every Dagupenos who has been forced since time immemorial to buy their commodities at traditional mall in the city.

Remember, my dear Procopio: Upholding or stonewalling the entry of SM can define or ruin the political career of our politicians at the SP.

***

Woe to the cities all over the country. With the latest decision of a flipflopping Supreme Court on its third reversals of its decisions, the petition of 16 towns for cityhood is almost certain.

But the downside here is that the present 122-strong members’ League of Cities of the Philippines would see a reduction of their share of their Internal Revenue Allotments from the national government.

Cities like Alaminos, Urdaneta, San Carlos, and Dagupan would lose tens of millions of national funding a year that mostly comes from the share in the Value Added Tax .

But the hardest to be hit among them would be Dagupan City.

Poor Dagupan, its hands are not only tied with her critical City Council that is bent to reduce her P568 Million 2011 budget. But the piggy backing of the 16 towns outside the P100 million requirements in the annual local income for cityhood would surely deprive the city by more than P20 million share in the IRA annually.

(Send comments to totomortz@yahoo.com)

February 21, 2011 at 6:25 am 13 comments

EARTHQUAKE DRILL



West Central Elementary School Principal Reynardo C. Barrozo(left, left photo) welcomes participants and guests during the recent Earthquake Drill Evaluators Conference held at the school’s function room. At extreme right (left photo) is Dagupan City Administrator Vlad Mata, who underscored the need for disaster Preparedness and Earthquake Drill Team Leader Donald de Guzman (to Mata’s right). Right photo shows the drill’s participants. (CIO Photo by Mel Zulueta)

February 18, 2011 at 8:24 pm Leave a comment

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