Archive for April 4, 2011

KIKO HOLDS LAPULAPU



Senator Kiko Pangilinan holds a 19 year-old giant tranquilized Lapu-Lapu as Abono Party-list Chairman Rosendo So (2nd from right) looks on. Bureau of Fishery & Aquatic Resources Center chief Westley Rosario (extreme left) said the fish was tranquilized as it bites when it is awake. Pangilinan visited the BFAR last April 1.(Mortz C. Ortigoza).

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April 4, 2011 at 1:43 am Leave a comment

Cojuangco insists on Nuclear Power



Amid the fear spawned by the effects of radiation emitted by those damaged nuclear reactors in Fukushima, Japan, rabid nuclear-power- plant advocate and former congressman Mark Cojuangco locked horns with Akbayan Party-list’s top honcho in Northern Luzon, Suz Salazar, on the pros and cons of the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP), and the two proposed nuclear reactors in Pangasinan that were backed-up by the provincial government.

One of the arguments Cojuangco unleashed before selected media men, led by Pangasinan Press Club, Inc. prexy Gonzalo Duque and former GMA-7 vice prexy Nestor Pulido, that the BNPP is 10 years younger than those 50 year-old nuclear plants in Fukushima.

He said that in case BNPP was situated in lieu of those reactors in Japan, it would not crack and eventually be damaged.

The son of the chairman of the world class and mammoth San Miguel Corporation observed that unlike the BNPP, the reactors in Japan have no design to withstand the force of a tsunami as the Japanese engineers should have known primordially that what they constructed are located near the sea.

“The plant in Japan has only 0.16 seismic-densities, “ he emphatically declared.

He stressed that the plant in Morong, Bataan is 18 meters above sea-level and it has a density of 0.46. He said that it’s more than double its durability as compared to those reactors that went awry in Fukushima.

“It (BNPP) could withstand the strongest earthquake like what happened recently in Japan,” he declared.

He said however that despite the more than magnitude 9 earthquake that struck Fukushima, those 50-years old Japanese assets did not break.

He said that the BNPP is superior to those reactors in Japan because it is a Power Water Reactor (PWR), while the latter is Body Water Reactor (BWR).

“PWR is an evolution of BWR. It was invented to withstand the backlash of wars. 70% of PWR nuclear reactors are located in the United States,” he said.

Anti-Nuke Salazar said that BNPP was decommissioned because it has problem with social and technical engineering.

He said that is “naka-upo sa bulkan” (seats on the mouth of a volcano),

Cojuangco, who loved to explain in details, retorted that if anybody can show that BNPP is located underneath a fault line, he would withdraw House Bill 1291, a bill refilled by his wife Rep. Kimi in the present 13th Congress. The bill is a validation process that would satisfy accepted nuclear power industry norms to determine whether the BNPP should be rehabilitated and operated or closed permanently.

***

Salazar who was austere on his observation, questioned that because of the hunger suffered by the Filipino, our leaders here in Pangasinan whimsically want to rush to host the nuclear plants.

Cojuangco answered that he discussed with renowned Dr. Carlo Arcilla, of the University of Illinois and adjunct professor of University of the Philippines’ National Institute of Geological Sciences (NIGS), who told him that there is no earthquake fault line underneath the mothballed BNPP.

He said that the Marikina fault lines are too far from the plant.

Mahar Lagmay of the U.P NIGS even told him that to insulate people from any volcanic harm to a nuclear plant it would be seven times farther from it based on the vertical height of that volcano.

BNPP is farther than that, he said.

“Everything has a risk. It means one should evacuate the entire population of Quezon City because underneath it is a volcano. Other examples are when one rides a jeep, one wakes up in the morning, when you cross the street, there are risks,” he declared.

He posed to us that because there is risk, we should not to do something worthy?

He said nuclear power plant is safe. He went recently to Switzerland for an ocular inspection of the two old power plants there.

He said that he even swam in the water near the boiler station, and drank its potable water. The water there that cools the reactors is being used to heat the houses of the people that live near the plants. All of these experiences were backed up with video.

He said that the resolution passed by the provincial board of Pangasinan stipulated that hosting of the two nuclear plants somewhere in Western Pangasinan would mean each household in Pangasinan would have a three-peso discount per kilowatt.

“We could not bargain like that with San Roque (in San Manuel town) and the coal power plant (in Sual town) because the power they generate is expensive,”

He said that with a probable nuclear plant we could do the bargain because the power it generates is so cheap.

***

I asked Mr. Salazar what the alternative of the left where he belongs for cheaper electricity for our pathetic country to draw foreign investors thus generate jobs for us:

“Ang pinalabas natin parang nuclear plant ang makaka-angat sa economiya natin. Ang isang alternatiba na less magastos iyung water, solar, and wind. Meron tayung geothermal, mas iyon pa ang pinupuntuhan namin sa usapin na mas safe. Ang punto dito (nuclear) drastic ang pag-baba ng presyo. Uunlad ang Pangasinan ni sa usapin tungkol sa risk wala pang malinaw. Kasi iyung sa Japan ngayon nila pinag-babayaran iyung nangyari. Almost P30 billion iyung mangyayari sa Japan, sa Fukushima. Sa tingin ko more than P30 billion pa. Duun kami sa mas safe like solar, wind, and geothermal” Salazar stressed.,

Mr. Salazar said that he was not privy on the technical nuances as he was only concerned with the social and environmental risks nuclear plants give us.

“So you don’t know the technical aspects. How can you convince us to believe you?” hissed by media man Ruben Rivera to Salazar.

Cojuangco answered that nobody dies in Fukushima as a result of those radiation.

He said that construction of a solar and geothermal plants are more expensive than the construction of a nuclear plant.

He said a solar needs standby power as sunlight is not a constant source.

Cojuangco said that he spent countless hours discussing with every sector of our society the advantages of nuclear powers. He even challenged members of the skeptical left to invite him and debate with him in their “Lion’s Den” but he wondered why his call up to this moment remained unanswered.

He said moreover that a person who eats spinach that was afflicted with radiation in the peripheries of Fukushima for 365 days or one year would still be less afflicted by radiation than when he submits himself for an X-Ray.

***

Oh, by the way I and my family are grateful to Mr. Ramon Lusong, the owner of Tong-its Bar & Restaurant near the “Red District” of Dagupan. Because of his intercession among the drivers of the downtown jeeps in Dagupan City who are his customers during day time, the brown envelop that contains the pertinent documents of my son Nico for his entrance at the University of Sto. Thomas was found through driver Joey Agboya.

My grateful wifey and kid who have sleepless nights as the interview would be on the following morning were ecstatic. May advantage din pala pag ang tatay na umiinom, ahem, pa minsan minsan sa night club

Ramon by the way is the friend of Gypsy (PR scribe of former Speaker Joe de Venecia and Rep. Gina). Gypsy, according to Ramon, used to cut the hair of his children once upon a time when Gypsy was less rich than today.

(You can read my selected intriguing but thought-provoking columns at http://mortzortigoza.blogspot.com. You can send comments too at totomortz@yahoo.com)

April 4, 2011 at 1:37 am Leave a comment

Mejia defends R1MC’s billing of patients


VISIONARY LEADERS. R1MC chief Dr. Roland Mejia (Extreme Left) poses with Rep. Gina de Venecia (Extreme Right) who authored House Bill 3849 that would transform R1MC as one of the biggest tertiary government owned hospitals in the country (Photo by Mortz C. Ortigoza)


By Mortz C. Ortigoza

DAGUPAN CITY – Despite its reputation as one of the best- managed and financially viable government hospitals in the country, Region -1 Medical Centre (R1MC) is not insulated from various criticisms.

One of the raps is it bill patients who are confined at the government hospital.

R1MC manager Dr. Roland Mejia was quick to justify this.

He said this year, the national government appropriated P125 million for the 300-bed tertiary hospital.

P62 million of this is allocated for the annual salary of the hospital staff and personnel, while a measly P38 million is appropriated for the needs of patients who come from the four provinces of Region 1.

“Ngayon, kung di po tayo maniningil sa pasyente sigurado ho na one month lang sarado na ang hospital. Kasi ang oxygen natin P12 million sa isang taon. Ang pinapakain po natin sa pasyente, tsina-charged natin doon sa P38 million. Iyon lang ay more than P15 million sa isang taon. Iyung electricity po natin for one month ay P1 million or P12 million a year. Susumahin ninyo iyung halagang ng binabanggit ko mahigit kumulang ng P38 million. Wala pa iyong gamut at saka supply na gagamitin ng mga pasyente,” he explained.

He said the revenue R1MC derived from the “B” patients are funnelled to the unpaid bills of indigent patients .

He said the source of this subsidy to the marginalized patients comes from the clients who could afford to pay.

Mejia added the hospital has 76 private beds where the hospital bills the patients there by roughly half the charged by big private hospitals in this city.

“Malaki ang advantage natin kumpara sa private, kasi ang bench mark natin sa costing mga private hospitals. Kasi tayo lang sa Dagupan ang public. Iyung costing po natin ay napaka baba kumpara sa labas na ang kung saan ang klase ng operasyon ng costing nila, ay mas mababa ho tayo. Tingnan niyo ang presyo ng ct scan natin, mas mababa ho tayo kompara sa labas na 20-30% higher pa”.

Aside from the cost of laboratory that is reputably is lowest in the city, he said the x-ray and the professional fees of doctors have a limit as a policy of R1MC.

The RIMC would eventually become a 600 bed -hospital after 4th District Rep. Gina de Venecia sponsored House Bill 3840 that would be passed anytime.

RMIC’s present bed capacity of only 300, and an occupancy rate of more than 100 percent, cannot serve entire population of Region 1, which, according to the 2007 census was 4,545,906,” Congresswoman de Venecia told this paper earlier.

She added that the upgrade is necessary because the medical center also serves as a teaching hospital for medical students, nursing students, and other allied health students in the region.

Mejia said RIMC lives to the advocacy of Department of Health Secretary Enrique T. Ona that government hospitals should be self-sufficient.

“Actually ang R1MC isa sa mga conforming DOH retained hospital sa buong Pilipinas, in a sense kung ang nagastos sa bawat isang peso na nagastos ng gobierno sa atin, ang nare-recover ho natin mahigit isang pesos at singkueta sentimos. Ibig sabihin mas malaki po iyung nababawi natin kesa duun sa ginagastos ng gobierno,” he explained.

He denied reports he owns a drug store outside the hospital.

“Wala akung drug store sa labas. Bawal ho iyan. Kahit tingnan ninyo iyan. Kung maari nga ipasara na ninyo iyung (mga) nasa harap,” he said.

He said that there are two pharmacies inside R1MC. He explained however that not all prescription drugs can be supplied by the government -owned drug stores inside.

He said that at present the hospital is beset with 17,000 unfilled drug prescriptions (prescribed by doctors which are not available in the hospital pharmacy)that he wants to lessen to 10,000.

“During the time of my predecessor Dr. Jesus Canto, hindi masyadong na controlled iyong unfilled prescriptions. We have 86,000 unfilled prescriptions. You have to buy outside. But last year the unfilled prescription was only 17 thousand,” he stressed.

He disclosed that his staff classify the kind of patients according to DOH’s standard.

He explained that a patient who is capable to pay is billed so the revenue could be used to subsidize the bills of the indigents who composed the bulk of the non-paying or hardly paying patients.

“Ganoon iyung supplies ng gamot natin at hospital ay tuloy-tuloy na mapakinabangan ng mga nangangailangan. Kaya mali po ang sinasabi nila na pangmayaman ito. Dahil dito ginagamot natin ang mahihirap. Na kung lalabas sila at wala silang pamasahe hinahatid sila sa bahay nila ng ating mga hospital vehicles para lang maka-uwi,” he said.

April 4, 2011 at 1:21 am Leave a comment

NAT CONTROVERSY: 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.

April 4, 2011 at 1:12 am Leave a comment


April 4, 2011 at 1:10 am Leave a comment

Editorial: Why should Pangasinan intercede for convicted drug mules?


What is the reason why many Filipinos, we believe many of them are from Pangasinan too, prefer to stay in Libya despite the ongoing civil war between Gadhaffi and opposition forces and the intervention of the powerful countries?

The simple answer is that they prefer to take the chance of being killed crossfire than face the reality of having no work in the Philippines.

What is the reason that Filipinos prefer to become drug mules to China despite the death sentence that goes with it once you are found guilty?

The simple answer is that they prefer to take the chance of being caught and sentenced to death than face the reality of having no work in the Philippines.

The three are Ramon Credo, Sally Villanueva of Balungao, Pangasinan, and Elizabeth Batain.

Governor Amado T. Espino, Jr., has written China appealing for Sally Villanueva.

The Sangguniang Panlalawigan is also writing China to appeal for Sally Villanueva.

As people who have different faiths, the people of Pangasinan can pray for Sally Villanueva.

The coming execution will be a painful experience for the Villanueva family of Balungao, Pangasinan.

The coming execution of the three is a grave warning to Filipinos not to act as drug couriers in return for large monetary gain.

There are now hundreds of Filipinos, some of whom may be from Pangasinan languishing in China’s prisons.

They will not be in jail if they were innocent.

When the three are finally executed as payment for their crime what will the provincial government do for the others who are in jail?

Will the Governor and the Sangguniang Panlalawigan issue an appeal for every Pangasinense who is due for execution for being a mule?

If you were the Chinese government and your Chinese national is found guilty of being a drug mule in the Philippines and is due for execution in the Philippines, will you appeal for the life of your Chinese national?

April 4, 2011 at 1:08 am Leave a comment

San Manuel’s mountains will turn green – Perez


By Brando Cortez

SAN MANUEL -“In the next five years, mag-iiba ang kulay ng bundok ng San Manuel” declared Mayor Alain Jerico Perez.

Mayor Perez, popularly called as Mayor Jerico, said that the mountain of San Manuel will change in color as he threw full support to the National Greening Program of President Benigno Aquino III.

He believed that efforts in tree planting should be enhanced by rehabilitating denuded mountains and with the involvement of institutions and individuals.

After attending the National Greening Program orientation conducted by the Department of Environment and natural Resources, Perez committed to enlist the local government, the NGOs and the people of San Manuel as stakeholders to ensure the continuity of the undertaking.

“We are not just going to plant trees, we will develop a forest in the mountain,” Perez said. “In the long run, we would like to have an ecological park here too.”

Perez said that the National Regreening Program seeks to plant 1.5 billion trees in 1.5 million hectares from 2011 to 2016 in the country.

“To create and preserve forests that serve as watersheds for eternity, it is important that we maintain and replant forests in watershed areas,” Perez said. “I will strictly enforce environmental laws for the preservation of our forests.”

Perez admitted the reality that malls owners will not invest in the town because it does not have the traffic of consumers that will make it feasible for a mall to put up business .

But he is not discouraged by that reality, as a young and visionary leader, it is his passion to develop San Manuel into a resort town by inviting investors to put up resorts in the area which will in turn help in creating job opportunities and income generating activities that will stir the local economy.

As a concrete example of his action to attain the vision, Perez has started to construct an access road to the mountain so that the all the stakeholders can monitor the greening of San Manuel.

“Sinimulan na po natin ang pagpapagawa ng access road para ma-monitor ng mga stakeholders and reforestation ng bundok,” Perez said.

He added that the access road will make it easier to deter people who burn the cogonal areas in the mountains because authorities will have faster reaction time.

“Kapag nagawa na ang acess road paakyat sa bundok, mapipigilan na natin ang pagsunog ng mga kababayan dito sa mga area na may cogon,” Perez said.

Perez said he prefers to have the mountain planted with narra, yakal, mabolo and other hardwood trees but after due consideration of the type of soil and climate condition of the area has been studied.

“Mahirap naman tanim ka ng tanim ng puno, pero hindi naman pala conducive sa lupa at climate ng San Manuel,” Perez said. “Iyong mabolo pala ay kamagong din.”

He said that if there is no forest in the mountain, there will be problems in terms of soil erosion to sedimentation along the Agno River and the irrigation canals. All these will lead to landslides and flooding.

Perez believed that the greening of the mountain of San Manuel will be of help against landslides, flooding and create cleaner air.

The reforested area will provide a new ecosystem for flora and fauna and create additional source of water for the residents and the farmers.

Perez said that it his belief that this program is not for him but also for his my children and the future generation of the people of San Manuel.

He wants the people to experience to breath in fresh air brought by the forests and hear the chirping of the birds in the same manner that he envisions prosperity for the people of San Manuel.

“Gusto ko maranasan ng mga susunod na henerasyon ng mga taga-San Manule ang lumanghap ng simoy ng hangin na dulot ng mga puno at marinig nila ang mga huni ng ibon,” Perez said. “Kasabay ng maayos na kapaligiran ay ang maayos na pamumuhay ng mga kababayan natin sa San Manuel.”

April 4, 2011 at 1:07 am Leave a comment

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