Archive for March, 2011

P-noy meets the ladies of the House

P-noy and the Ladies of the House: The 65-strong Association of Lady Legislators of the House of Representatives during the courtesy call to President Benigno Aquino yesterday in Malacanang. The dialogue between the President and the lady legislators lasted for three hours, with both parties agreeing to promote the best interest of the country, above and beyond politics and political affiliations.
Photo shows President Aquino with ALL President Rep. Gina de Venecia of the 4th District of Pangasinan and the other congresswomen of the 15th Congress, namely: Rep. Linabelle Villarica, Rep. Rachel Arenas, Rep. Mercedes Alvarez, Rep. Bernadette Herrera-Dy, Rep. Trisha Bonoan-David, Rep. Girlie Villarosa, Rep. Herminia Roman, Rep. Mercedes Alvarez, Rep. Fatima Aliah Dimaporo, Rep. Imelda Quibranza-Dimaporo, Rep. Anna York Bondoc, Rep. Marlyn Primicias-Agabas, Rep. Bai Sandra Sema, Rep. Daryl Grace Abayon, Rep. Jane Castro, Rep. Juliet Cortuna, Rep. Marivic Sy-Alvarado,Rep. Tina Plaza, Rep. Emmi Calixto Rubiano, Rep. Lina Bagasina, Rep. Ana Go and Rep. Leah Bulut Begtang.

March 31, 2011 at 6:01 am Leave a comment


DepEd files charges vs ‘erring school heads’

MANGALDAN – The Department of Education Region I Office has filed charges against “erring school officials” in Mangaldan town in connection with the alleged cheating in National Achievement Test conducted last week.

Dr. Ligaya Soledad Miguel, DepEd regional director, said in a telephone interview that the preliminary investigation showed that there was prima facie evidence against the officials “for grave misconduct, dishonesty and conduct prejudicial to the interest of service.”

She said a committee will be designated to conduct a full investigation about the matter and promised that “there will be no cover up of the incident, no cover up of the issues.”

“We will find out the truth and the erring ones will be dealt with accordingly,” Miguel said.

Last week, a government employee blew the whistle on cheating in NAT with the involvement of school officials and teachers, in Mangaldan district office I.

The employee said the cheating took many forms, the worst of which is this: After the pupils have finished answering the test questions, the teachers will erase the wrong answers and change them with the right ones before the papers are submitted to the Division Office.

She said during the last NAT, principals and head teachers got copies of the test papers in advance and had them photocopied so they can “review” the pupils on the questions. But the employee tipped reporters on the alleged cheating which then get publicized.

Miguel however, refused to name the “several school officials” who were charged, saying only that “they are from Mangaldan District I” and “they are already under preventive suspension.”

Several teachers from the different schools admitted their involvement in the cheating, she said.

She also said that the regional office was “focused on finding out what really happened and who were responsible, not on who leaked the alleged cheating to the media.”

The Inquirer earlier quoted the whistle blower saying education officials created a task force but it was investigating who leaked the information to the media and not the dishonest activity.

“We are looking into what happened, who erred, who violated the sanctity of the test,” she said.

Miguel said she was “disappointed” about what happened in Mangaldan.

“We want Region I to be a model region. We don’t like dishonest acts among officials or anyone, in exams or other activities. We don’t like the teachers to be models of dishonesty but for them to teach proper and desirable values to the pupils” she said.

The whistle blower said school officials and teachers aim for higher marks in NAT because low performance would mean the school will be “carpeted” or will be under watch by higher officials, the source said.

Miguel said DepEd focuses on schools with low performance for proper supervision and guidance.

March 31, 2011 at 5:59 am Leave a comment

Pang(g)a si “NANI”

I was in a group of media men last week which was throwing jokes on who would likely be the best gubernatorial contender in Pangasinan in 2013. I told them that as of now the best contender against the sitting Governor Amado T. Espino Jr. is no other than Alaminos City Mayor Hernani “Nani” Braganza, a consummate politician, an activist and a reformer.

In that group, one media man quipped, “You are right! Mayor Nani exudes charisma and has perfected his “emotional connection to the people not only in Alaminos City but in the entire province.” That statement gave me the feeling that,indeed, this early Mayor Nani is beginning to be a household name as the possible contender for governorship in this vote-rich province in 2013.

As our conversation went on, another media man said: “ By 2013, Pangasinenses will be already called PangasiNani. Pangga in Cebuano is love and Nani by that time will be well-loved by the Pangasinenses.” Oh, yes, it never occurred in my mind how rhythmic PangasiNANI, will be. “It will be a very good slogan by Mayor Nani. Pangasi NANI ng Pangasinenses,” I retorted.

Who is Mayor Nani Braganza? Nani is not only one of the favorite nephews of former President Fidel Valdez Ramos. He is also a student activist during his college days fighting the dictatorship. When he was the Congressman of the 1st District of Pangasinan, he was one of the so-called Spice Boys- a group of young legislators wanting for many reforms in the country. After his stint as congressman, he ran as mayor in the premier City of Alaminos and is now on his last term.

Mayor Nani figured out in a verbal tussle with the present provincial administration when he was accused of cuddling illegal fish pen operators at the Hundred Islands. Of course , he denied that allegations until the provincial government recalled its statements. Mayor Nani has been perceived as not that close to the powers of Lingayen Capitol particularly when he openly abhorred the presence of jueteng operations in the province. Alaminos City has no jueteng operations even up to the present.

What makes Mayor Nani click to the Pangasinenses in 2013?

For one, it will be a mid-year election when President PNoy is still the sitting president and a party mate of Mayor Nani. The Liberal Party will be the party to reckon with in that election where twelve senators, congressional representatives, municipal/city mayors down to councilors will also be elected. Believe me, a lot of politicians will try to shift party affiliations thinking that being in the Liberal Party will give them leverage to win.

In the local scene and just a matter of personal analysis, the incumbent congressional representatives will likely change loyalties, not necessarily shift to party affiliations, but by giving support to Mayor Nani. Look at the Nationalist Peoples’ Coalition (NPC). It is clear that as of now, the party is in alliance with President PNoy giving full support to his developmental agenda. Many of them are affiliated with hat party- the Cojuangcos of 5th District, the Estrellas of the 6th District and the De Venecias of the 4th District. 3rd District Rep. Rachel “Baby” Arenas, 2nd District Rep. Leopoldo Bataoil and even perhaps 1st District Rep. Jesus “Boying” Celeste will support any gubernatorial candidate to be fielded by the Liberal Party in 2013. I just don’t know how will Biskeg na Pangasinan will figure out in that year? Will it make a rainbow coalition or just declare the province as a free-zone?

At present, Governor Amado T. Espino Jr. is still with the Lakas-CMD Party. But by golly, the party although made good in the local scene in 2010 elections, could not regroup the members. Look at what happened to their presidential timber Gilbert Teodoro in 2010? Many Lakas-CMD candidates shifted loyalty that early by throwing their hats on PNoy. There was no party loyalty but only personal interest that prevailed.

Going back to the media crowd, someone said: “ Money will still prevail in 2013. We have seen how money worked in 2010 and the same will happen in 2013.” Indeed, money talks in politics as it had been a practice for many years in the political scene. But I am projecting that in 2013, electorates will already be awakened from their slumber of “moneyed-politics.” It will already be a fight of principles particularly on who will really bring development in the province of Pangasinan. If Mayor Nani could sustain the development of Alaminos City before election comes in 2013, then that development momentum could also be replicated in the entire province.

I am not saying here that Governor Espino has not done any development in the province. He did shine in many aspects, but Pangasinenses are wanting more. Ask your barangay officials on what concrete projects have been done by the provincial government during the last four years, and most likely, they will tell you the real thing. And by the way, where are the thousands of bags of cement delivered to barangays before the 2010 elections. I was informed that many of them were sold and the proceeds were pocketed by previous barangay officials. What a waste of provincial government’s money!

Will it be a Braganza versus Espino in 2013? Let’s watch and see. Meantime folks, try to observe the many political dramas unfolding before us until 2013.

(for comments, email me at

March 31, 2011 at 5:57 am 1 comment

Urdaneta celebrates Dumayo Festival

Urdaneta celebrates Dumayo Festival
Text and photos by Virgilio Sar. Maganes

URDANETA CITY- This city celebrated its 1st Dumayo Festival, coinciding with the 13th city charter celebration last March 21. It was attended by the city officials, city employees, government and non-government officials and employees, businessmen, academic communities and barangay officials.

The four-day event (March 21-March 24) was also marked with the 3rd Regional Arts Competition among schools division in Region I which was hosted by the Urdaneta City Schools Division of the Department of Education (DepEd).

In the morning of March 21, a grand parade was undertaken which was led by Mayor Amadeo G.E. “Bobom” Perez IV and Vice Mayor Onofre “Bong” Gorospe together with the members of the Sangguniang Panlungsod who rode in a replica of the “galleon”, a ship where Fray Urdaneta rode in coming to the Philippines centuries ago.

This was followed by the competition on street dancing at the city’s Cultural and Convention Center. The entry of Ilocos Sur with its “Tobacco Festival” garnered the first prize, La Union for the 2nd prize and Urdaneta City represented by the Divine Word College for the 3rd prize.

Highlighting the opening of the Dumayo Festival on that day was the search of the “Most Attractive Carabao” which was participated in by the 34 barangays of the city which were clustered into ten districts.

The carabaos were dressed in fashion together with their carts full of products from their districts.

“This is the first time we will do this and it has already earned enthusiasm from the people. They wished that it will be by barangays in next year’s celebration,” said Rosary “Chinky” Perez, executive assistant to the Mayor and chair of the Dumayo Festival.

Cash prizes and trophies awaited the winners. First prize received P11,000 and a trophy, second prize has PP8,000 and a trophy, third prize got P6,000 and a trophy and other entries have P3,000 each as consolation prizes. The “most behaved carabao” got also a trophy.

The entries were judged on OTOP (district products)-25%, Uniqueness- 25%, Health status-30% and Decoration-20%.

The judges gave the nod to the entry of District 8 (Catablan, San Jose and Labit West) as first place, District 10 (Cayambanan, Nancalobasaan, Tolong, Anonas) as 2nd place and District 6 (Palina East, Palina West, Sto. Domingo, Sta. Lucia) as 3rd place. The entry of District 9 (Nancamaliran East, Nancamaliran West, Pinmaludpod) was adjudged as the “most behaved carabao”.

Cash prizes and trophies were awarded to the winning entries by Vice Mayor Onofre “Bong” Gorospe.

In the afternoon, Ani ng Sining, featuring the school of performing arts of the Urdaneta City National High School performed to the delight of the audience. Raffle draws was conducted in between performances.

From March 22-23, the activities were concentrated on the Regional Arts Competition featuring rondalla, folk dancing, clay molding and choir singing.

The celebration was capped by the opening of the city’s Pasalubong Center last March 24, 2011. The Center is located at the ground floor of Public Market Wing B which will showcase the products of the city such as recycld magazine bags (San Jose), baracbac (water lily) bags (Anonas), wooden frames (Sta. Lucia), chocolate cookies (Livelihood Training Center (LTC)), malnggay canton noodles (LTC), peanut tarts (LTC), recycled doormats/placemat and plastic flowers (Cabuloan) and T-shirts bearing the city’s logo and the “Cleanest, Greenest and Safest City”- the first prize award garnered by the city for 2010 from the Regional Development Council (RDC).

The opening was graced by Vice Governor Ferdinand Jose Z. Calimlim, Jr. who in his message after the ribbon cutting said that the event was momentous because of the ingenuity of the city’s administration to help small businessmen in the city.

“The provincial government and Urdaneta City are partners in the promotion of products of the province,” Calimlim said adding that the critics of the city government were wrong to have said that Urdaneta City will not rise up due to debts.

“Due to the city’s leaders from former Mayor Amadeo R. Perez, Jr. and now Mayor Bobom, the city has risen so swiftly and even having the highest income in Region I. You are a showcase in the whole province,” he further said.

Tourism Officers Rosary “Chinky” Perez and Pamela J. Tablada said that the opening of the Pasalubong Center will just be the start of promoting the city as a tourist destination.

“We will network with other towns to promote their tourist areas and Urdaneta will be their place to stay because of our hotels, resorts and restaurants. We have to organize the owners of these tourist facilities. We are eyeing also for the development of the park of the New City Hall as a site for social functions such as garden weddings,” Chinky Perez said.

Meanwhile, Mayor Bobom Perez said that the engineered sanitary land fill in Catablan village will be formally opened on April 8, 2011 with no less than President Benigno S. Aquino III as the guest of honor and speaker.

March 31, 2011 at 5:55 am Leave a comment

Agabas, Dole. Hanjin hold Job Fair

Text and photos by Virgilio Sar. Maganes

TAYUG- More than 500 jobseekers from the various towns of 6th District trooped to the gymnasium here on March 25 to apply for a job offered by Hanjin Heavy Industries of Subic Bay Freeport Zone, a Korean company engaged in ship building.

The job fair was sponsored by 6th District Rep. Marlyn Primicias-Agabas in coordination with the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and the first to be conducted in the district.

“Job fairs are mostly conducted in Lingayen which entails travel cost to our jobseekers in the district. By bringing the Hanjin Company here, their transportation costs and expenses were not only lessened but they would not be competing with the other jobseekers in various parts of the province. We hope to bring in more companies in the next job fairs –both for local and overseas employment,” Agabas said.

Job vacancies offered by the said company are staff for administration, engineering, accounting and events coordination.

“This will help a lot for us jobseekers. We thanked Rep. Agabas for working on this job fair especially now that life is economically difficult, said Danilo Ortiz, 34, single, a welder of Dalumpinas, San Nicolas.

“With this job fair, the company is assured of quality workers. Agabas is true to her promise during the election that she will help the youth in her district to look for work,” Nathaniel Gavina said, 20, a graduate of welding technician of San Pablo, Sta. Maria.

Eva Marie Elloraza, 21 and a graduate of Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Education of San Mariano, Sta. Maria also said that Agabas has given hope to the youth to land a job and gain experience even as she said that this was her first time to apply for a job after graduating from college.

“With my credentials, I am confident to be taken in. I need a job to help my parents in our family expenses, “ said Emalyn Daniel, 20, of San Roque, San Manuel.

Ortiz, Gavina, Elloroza and Daniel were among the job hopefuls who waited patiently for their numbers to be called and to be interviewed by the staff of Hanjin Company. All of them exuded optimism to get a job in the company and expressed thanks to Agabas for having the job fair in the district.

Meanwhile, in an exclusive interview, Agabas bared her activities in the House of Representatives including the projects that are being undertaken in her districts.

As chair on the Revision of Laws, Agabas said three bills have been passed in her committee. These are the “subsidiary imprisonment” which was already approved in the second reading, the probation law on the second reading and the exemption on criminal liability on the first reading.

The subsidiary imprisonment bill, she said, refers to the civil liability of a convict that if he will not comply on the payment of damages called for in the decision, the amount will be converted into number of days.

“ This is how it works. If in case in the decision the convict will pay P8,000, that will be divided by P350.00 or that will be 23 days additional imprisonment. That will be a far cry from the original law of P8 per day,” she said.

The law on probation has also been passed . The original law on probation states that probation could be availed of if the sentence is 6 years and below without the benefit of appeal.

“We have extended the sentence period to 8 years and below. Even if the decision is on appeal, probation could still could be availed of,” she said.

The exemption on criminal liability has been lowered from 15 years old and below to 12 years old and below.

“The original law has been abused. That’s why there are criminal offenders who carry their birth certificates proving that they are 15 years old to be exempted from criminal liability. We lowered this to 12 years old and below,” Agabas further said.

The three bill have similar counterparts in the Senate House under Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago.

When asked on how she voted for the impeachment of Ombudsman Merciditas Gutierrez, Agabas said she voted “yes” after consulting her constituents in the district.

“We need the impeachment to pursue so that the people will be enlightened on the many issues at hand,” she said.

March 30, 2011 at 9:28 pm Leave a comment


Assistant Vice President Filipina Monje, regional head for Region I and Western Cordillera region of the Land Bank of the Philippines(LBP), cites their accomplishments last year during a press briefing last March 23 at the Leisure Coast Resort and Restaurant in Dagupan City.CESAR RAMIREZ

March 27, 2011 at 10:00 am Leave a comment

Dagupan SP denies Bangus Fest 2011 of funding

DAGUPAN CITY – The Bangus Festival 2011 executive committee will have

to depend on self-initiated funding after the Sangguniang Panlungsod

(SP) disapproved the budget allocated for the tourism and cultural

heritage program of the city.

This year’s tourism and cultural heritage program was

supposed to have a budget of P1 million each for a total of P2

million, but the SP disapproved the proposed budget.

The Ordinance Authorizing the Annual Budget of City

Government of Dagupan for Fiscal Year 2011 in the Total Amount of

P487,116,296.73 covering the Various Expenditures for the Operation of

the Dagupan City Government for Fiscal Year 2011, showed that the two items have zero budget.

It was observed, however, that for the last three

years, the city has been funding the festival especially during the

time when Vice Mayor Belen T. Fernandez was the executive chairman in

the 2008, 2009 and 2010 Bangus Festivals. Those years, city spent a total

of P10,375,000 million.

Records showed that the budget for Bangus Festival was taken from the fund

allocated for tourism and cultural heritage program in the amount of

P3 million during the last administration. Each program was allocated

P1.5 million budget, which is higher than this year’s proposed

budget of only P1 million.

In the 2008 festival, several barangays were given

financial assistance each in the amount of P50,000 including the

Dagupan City National High School for their participation in the


The fund was released through Ordinance Nos.

1915-2008, 1933-2009, and 1946-2010.

This year’s festival will proceed as scheduled on

April 8 with a kick-off program on March 30 and 31 at SM Rosales.

Part of the major activities is the launching of the

city’s own version of a river cruise and the unveiling of the city’s

new seal.

March 27, 2011 at 9:30 am Leave a comment

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