Archive for May 22, 2011

EDITORIAL : 50%…75%…100% RPT scheme is not substantial


The amended ordinance introduced and approved by the Sangguniang Panlalawigan regarding the excessive revised fair market values of lands in Pangasinan is not enough.

The members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan said they are introducing the ordinance as a manifestation of their advocacy of listening to the call of the punong barangays who submitted Resolution No. 03-2011 on the issue of the excessive real property tax.

May puso din ang mga Board Members. Nakikinig din ang mga Board Members.

The new ordinance states that the collection of real property tax based on the new excessive values will continue to be collected at the rate of 50% for the year 2011; 75% for the year 2012; and 100% for the year 2013.

However, the amendatory ordinance did not answer the call of the people for just taxation.

The people are asking that the Sangguniang Panlalawigan justify each percentage increase for each category in the fair market value of their lands in every town in Pangasinan.

A one percent increase is a one percent increase. What is the basis of the Provincial Assessor in imposing a one percent increase in fair market value of any land in Pangasinan?

What convincing power did the Provincial Assessor have that he was able to increase the fair market value in Balungao for 4th class commercial area by more than 800%?

Why did no single board member ask the Provincial Assessor how justified the new fair market values are?

Did you know that management of San Roque Dam filed their real property tax under protest?

It is not only individual regular taxpayers who are not in favor of the excessive real property taxes.

The people will still carry the burden of paying real property tax at excessive rates every year and the authors of the ordinance will always remain the minds of those who religiously pay their taxes.

If you thought excessive real property taxes affects landowners only, think again.

Even those who are in the labor force are affected negatively because no new employers will invest in Pangasinan.

The excessive real property tax is not only anti development but also anti employment.

May 22, 2011 at 9:39 pm Leave a comment

PLANNERS CONFAB


Gov. Amado Espino,Jr.(inset) addresses the delegates of the League of Local Planning and Development Coordinators of the Philippines,Inc.(LLPDCPI) at the openingof their 22nd national convention last May 16 at the Sison Auditorium in Lingayen.CESAR RAMIREZ

May 22, 2011 at 9:15 pm Leave a comment

Young gays benefit from Operation Tuli


By Brando Cortez

URDANETA CITY-Around 90 boys including gays from Barangay San Vicente, lined up for the Operation Tuli at Bunot last week .

“This activity is intended to help the people of Barangay San Vicente especially those parents who cannot afford to have their sons circumcised in hospitals and other private clinics,” Councilor Rio Esteves said. “Circumcision fees range from as low as P450 to as high as P1,000.00 per patient.”

The project was jointly conducted by the Urdaneta City Runners Club, City Health Office, PAGCOR, BMEG, Pangasinan 5th District Rep. Kimi Cojuangco, Abono Party-list, Office of Punong Barangay Marcial Murillo, and Esteves.

Esteves said majority of those circumcised were from Barangay San Vicente and a number of them were from nearby Barangays Bayaoas, Mabanogbog and Paurido.

Dr. Bernardo Macaraeg, City Health Officer, said that the operation tuli is in line with Mayor Amadeo Gregorio Perez IV’s advocacy of bringing health services to the barangays.

“Ang involvement ng City Health Office ay naaayon sa programa ni Mayor Bobom Perez na dalhin sa barangay ang serbisyong pangkalusugan,” Macaraeg said.

Circumcision for boys before becoming teenagers is an orientation among Filipinos to prepare for true manhood.

The primary objective of the practice of medicine is service to mankind irrespective sexual orientation.

Michael Ubaldo, who accompanied a effeminate cousin, hoped his cousin will grow up to be a real man after being circumcised.

“Baka maging ganap na lalaki na itong pinsan ko nagyong tuli na siya,” Ubaldo said. “Iiyak iyak noong pumasok ngayong tuli na, nakangiti pa. Babakla-bakla kasi.”

Murillo said the Operation Tuli and Bunot is very beneficial for the barangay as it is conducted with true health professionals and the boys are given free medicines.

“Noong panahon namin, babad ng madaling araw sa ilog bago tuli sa pukpok lang tapos ngatngat ng dahon ng bayabas,” Murillo said. “Ngayon may professional help na, may gamot pa.”

Simultaneous with the Operation Tuli was the conduct of Operation Bunot or free tooth extraction.

Volunteer dentists performed free tooth extraction on about 120 children.

The children and the parents were also given fresh cow’s milk as part of Cojuangco’s drive to spread the benefits of drinking fresh milk daily.

Esteves reiterated Cojuangco’s call on the importance of drinking at least one glass of fresh milk a day for malnourished children.

“Sabi po ni Congresswoman Kimi Cojuangco na malaki ang maitutulong ng fresh milk sa atin,” Esteves said. “Ang gatas po ay nagdudulot ng protein, calcium, zinc at iba pang bitamina para sa malusog na pangangatawan.”

Dr. Wilson Lagmay of the Urdaneta City Runners Club said that this is the second barangay where they have conducted Operation Tuli At Bunot after Barangay Poblacion.

Esteves said that the activity was made possible with the help of Dr. Rowena Baltazar, Mr and Mrs Alex Gacutan, Mr and Mrs. Jingle Perez, Julius Soriano,Ernesto Ventenilla, Kgd. Enong antolin, Kgd. Toribia Cuadro, Barangay Secretary Ric Cancino and the Barangay Health Workers of San Vicente.

May 22, 2011 at 8:50 pm Leave a comment

Would Capitol still be sued on the amended RPT?


Senior Board Member Von Mark Mendoza, a last termer dad and groomed to run either for congress or the mayoralty of Lingayen, explained to me his plan and of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan on the amendments of the rates of the acrimonious Real Proper known as Provincial Ordinance No. 12-2011 that was hurriedly passed last May 16, 2011.

He said if a tax payer used to pay P1000 in the past he is supposed to pay P2000 (P1000 old-rate plus P1000 additional 100% increased) this year. But the Board will mitigate this by billing only the taxpayer 50% (P1000) for 2011, 75% (P1, 500), and 100% (P2000) for 2013.

Because Von Mark kept calling me sir, and telling all the media men in that press conference in Jollibee-Lucao, Dagupan City that he should be under my tutelage in political science when I was a professor at Lyceum, I forego to do a flushing knockout of Manny Pacquiao against his justifications because of his down-to-earth demeanor. Hereunder are my supposed refutations to BM Mendoza:

1)      His  P2000 example  does not represent the reality of the Realty Tax that soared at an average of 300% all over the province;

2)      The old rate of P1000 became P4000 (P1000 plus 300% or P3000 equals P4000);

3)      This means First Year would be P2000, Second Year, P3000, and Third Year, P4000;

4)      He and the Board amendment’s plan is still a kick on the groin of the hoi-polloi who used to pay in the hypothetical P1000;

5)     With economic crises here and abroad gnawing the budgets of the already hard-ups Pangasinenses, I do not know if would-be court litigants farmers’ party Abono, Integrated Bar of the Philippines- Pangasinan Chapter,  brokers’ organizations, and others would forego their plan to sue Capitol.

(Oh, Abono Party boss Sendong So reacted on my computation after he reads this column at our website. He text me that if 300% is the averaged increased from BM Mendoza’s P1000 then it should be P3000. He said the 50% in the first year is P1, 500, second year is P2, 250, and third year is P3000. He also said that if RPT runs to 700% in some areas, the 50% is p3, 500 for first year, P5, 250 for the second year, and P7000 for the third year.)

On the answer of Von Mark that the Capitol did not blink because of the public uproar led by former Congressman Mark Cojuangco, Abono Party-list chair Rosendo So, this paper, and the scathing TV ads that continue to snap-out the chances of the governor, and the members of the provincial Board, well that was his opinion.

“The governor is a principled man. He went head on with the unpopular like those fish pens where he collided with their owners…” he told us.

The mere fact the governor asked the SP to amend was understood that he succumbed to pressures from different sectors.

Fish pen owners are few. Tax payers of the RPT are everywhere. The former can be tolerated; the latter can not because they can change the electoral landscapes.

***

A staff member of Vice Governor Ferdie Calimlim said I should not have included her patron in my April 10, 2011 column “Don’t Re-Elect SP Members.”

Somebody said I should not include Board Member Bosyong Humilde and Calimlim because they were not at the SP when the infamous Ordinance 146-2010 was voted on by the provincial dads.

I should not have included these two honorable men had I construed their silence and absence not as an implied act of agreeing to the part and parcel of the law. There was deafening silence from them from the time the ordinance was ‘railroaded” in the only two deliberations (where the SP leadership only settled for resource speakers from the Bureau of Internal Revenue and associations of brokers, and not the bigger organizations from the farmers) up to the time Governor Amado T. Espino signed the dotted lines on December 10, 2010.

***

Lethal automatic rifles like Kalashnikov AK-47 can be shipped to the Philippines from the United States in a  door-to-door “Balikbayan (Home comer) Box like what some Filipinos have suspected that it was not only motorcycle parts alleged smuggler Filipino-American  Lynard Allan Biscag has stuffed his boxes bound to the Philippines.

His seized black book bared famous political Muslim and Christian names in Mindanao like Mayor Ali, a certain Dimaporo, “a Mayor Mutalib Dimaporo,” a Governor Jaloslos and a certain Bullet Jalosjos.

He told Philippines’ National Bureau of Investigation that these influential people asked him about the prices of sub machine guns like AK-47s.

Probably, Bigcas has learned a lesson or two from the husband of my town mate – the former Mary Ann de la Sena – in M’lang, Cotabato Province.

Mary Ann’s hubby Fernando Sero alias Ferdie Resada , a scion of a  Muslim gun smith in Cotabato City,  was clamped to jail by the U.S Homeland Security for filling balikbayan boxes with dissembled parts of high powered fire arms  like, son of a gun, AK 47, G3s, HK-94 and M-16 (probably that M-4 stuffs Yankees used in Afhganistan and Iraq).

According to (http://www.filipinoexpress.net/19/52_news.html) these stuffs were sent to Cotabato filipinoexpress.netCity and elsewhere (in the Philippines) without U.S State Department licenses on four separate occasions – September 9, 11 & 12 of 2003, and on March 22, 2005.

“Court records show Sero purchased the items and shipped them to Mindanao in sealed containers using falsified documents,” quoted by the news report titled “Pinoy gets jail term for arms smuggling” bylined by Merpu Roa.

Initial investigations showed that the wife sent those hot boxes. But the wife was not prosecuted as her name was accordingly  used as smokescreen by the husband to escape eventual criminal liabilities.

“They are then assembled together once reaching their destination in Mindanao, and sold to buyers he (Sero) claimed to be Christian militias and local government officials.

Richard Willstatter, Sero’s attorney, earlier said the Fil-Am had a gun store in Cotabato City.

“That’s why he sold some weapons parts to people who needed weapons parts. But they were not terrorists. They’re trying to protect themselves from terrorists,” Willstatter said.

The police had placed Sero under surveillance months before his arrest. He was taken into police custody after a domestic violence incident in which he held a gun to his wife’s head. He was also involved in a standoff with the Yonkers Police Department.

As a result, four of his shipments were intercepted by U.S. and Philippine authorities between September 2004 and March 2005, which finally led to his indictment in a federal court.

However, Sero also admitted he had several other shipments that skirted intercepts, the news stressed.

US embassy in Manila’s spokesman Matthew Lussenhop said Sero hid the weapons in sealed boxes containing household items, such as light fixture and electric car cooler. When the arms arrived in Mindanao, the weapons were reassembled and sold at profit.

“The Philippine National Police was quick to link Sero’s guns shipment to the terrorist groups operating in Mindanao. But Lussenhop refused to say whether the weapons were sold to Muslim separatists and communist rebels fighting the government for nearly 40 years who had killed more than 160,000 people and slowed rural development in the Philippines,” filipinoexpress.net continued.

A source in Cotabato told me that many of our town mates dread meeting the spouses Sero in social functions in America.

My source said that Fernando has a tendency to use unwary friends’ name as sender of those boxes to recipient-cum-conspirators in the Southern part of the Philippines.

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

May 22, 2011 at 7:02 pm Leave a comment

Villasis water is safe – water district manager


By Virgilio Sar. Maganes

VILLASIS- Based on water examination conducted by the Dagupan City Water District Laboratory, an accredited water analysis laboratory of the Department of Health (DOH), water coming from the Villasis Water District is safe for drinking and for other domestic uses.

This was bared by General Manager Lydio Raguindin in his reaction to a news aired over ABS-CBN’s TV Patrol Northern and Central Luzon last May 10, with Municipal Health Officer Hian Kiat Dy quoted to have said that the water from the said water district must be boiled to rid it of bacteria for drinking purposes.

Raguindin said that water samples taken from various sites last January 25, April 7, and May 3, for bacteriological analysis yielded negative results for fecal coliform and have passed to the standards of the Department of Health (DOH) based on the Philippine National Standards for Drinking Water.

There were rumors circulating previously in the town that results of the laboratory examinations have been tampered by the officials of the water district to show that the water is safe.

But, Raguindin denied this as he dared those circulating the rumors to come out in the open and show the tampered documents.

“We could not tamper the results of the laboratory analysis. Why will we do it in the first place when our concern is the health condition of the consuming public?” Raguindin said.

Villasis Water District has three pumping stations located in Poblacion, and the villages of San Nicolas and Puelay. The pipelines of the pumping stations are interconnected having one water system distribution and each has a chlorinator to ensure that the water is safe for distribution for home consumption.

Raguindin further said that his office is conducting regular inspection of possible leaked pipelines in the major water system as well as the service lines in the houses of consumers.

“These are the possible entry points of bacteria. But once we have detected the pipeline leaks, water samples will be taken and then we will conduct water flushing if found to be contaminated with bacteria and other health hazard organisms,” he said.

When asked if there is truth to the alleged financial problem of the water district, Raguindin did not deny it, saying this was because of unremitted collections to the Water District.

“There was a finding of the Commission on Audit (COA) on unremitted collections but we have yet to have a final copy of the results of audit. In fact, we have suspended already the (eering) collector. However, the results of the audit and the investigations will determine the actions we will do next. Those found guilty will definitely be terminated from the service. Heads will roll,” Raguindin said.

In a separate interview with Municipal Health Officer Hian Kiat Dy and Mayor Dita Abrenica, they said that they will monitor the service and water quality of the Villasis Water Ditrict.

Dy said that at present there are no cases reported yet caused by water borne diseases from the water of the Water District. However, he said, he will direct the town’s sanitary inspector to monitor the results of the monthly bacteriological analysis of water samples.

Mayor Abrenica said that her office will also monitor the operations of the Villasis Water District.

“It is the welfare and health of the townspeople that are of utmost importance. While the Villasis Water District is a separate office, its services is our concern in the local government unit,” Mayor Abrenica said.

The Villasis Water District is under the supervision of the Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA).

May 22, 2011 at 5:51 pm Leave a comment

Is Espino giving in to pressures on new RPT?



The provincial government has recently been the cynosure of media criticisms because of three main issues that for months has not waned. These are the new provincial real property tax (RPT), the coming in of the operations of jai alai and the ever controversial jueteng or 1/37 which is still operating underground for months.

The new provincial real property tax which was approved through Provincial Ordinance 146-2010, received the most reactions particularly from farmer leaders, businessmen and other sectors of the society.

It was contended that the RPT is too burdensome to the taxpaying public because of the sudden increase to 300% for agricultural lands and 500% for commercial areas. It was also implemented abruptly without the benefit of massive public consultations and hearings such that the resistance to its implementation escalated in almost all towns and component cities in the province.

The criticisms and resistance were parried off by Governor Amado T. Espino Jr. and the Sangguniang Panlalawigan stressing that the imposition of new RPT is long overdue since it has never been increased in 2006 and 2009 which is supposed to be in compliance with the Local Government Code of 1991 or Republic Act No. 7160. Four months of exchanging positions over the media did not unfaze the provincial government. It was bent on pursuing the implementation and has not apparently been sensitive to the public outcry and pressures.

As I wrote in my previous articles in this column, the new RPT should have not been resisted if proper process and procedures were undertaken by the provincial government. Assessments and reassessments of land market value follow a process so that the taxpaying public will be fully apprised of the newly imposed tax.

What the provincial assessor did in his recommendations for new market value was just to assign percentage increase without considering the real situation of the property. An example is a piece of land planted to sugarcane in 2003 but has been converted into a banana plantation in 2009. Apparently, the market value will not be the same as that in 2003. Another is when the agricultural land has been converted to either industrial or commercial lands , the market value will be upgraded. There should have been actual assessments in the field or in the various municipalities and the municipal assessors should have updated their tax declaration records for each parcel of land and indicated the improvements and changes of land usage.

I am not certain whether Espino has given in to pressures from the reacting sectors especially from the Abono Partylist which has announced its intention to file a case in the court to review the said ordinance. Lately, in a meeting with the municipal treasurers and assessors in various towns in the province, Governor Espino has announced that the new schedule for the payments of RPT will be changed in consultation with the Sangguniang Panlalawigan. He said that the RPT will not be fully implemented this year but will be gradually implemented until 2015. For 2011 it will be 50%, 70% in 2012, 80% in 2013, 90% in 2014 and full implementation in 2015. It was a proposed move to appease those who are resisting the implementation of the new RPT but then it has still to be approved by the Sangguniang Panlalawigan. He was quoted as have said “it’s only now that I’ve changed my decision”

Was this a sign of giving in to pressures from the public opinion? If it is, such action of Governor Espino is commendable because after all he had opened his ears and eyes to the realities that indeed the issue on RPT is not too light to handle.

Another proposal of Governor Espino is that all penalties of the real property tax from previous years will be condoned and the taxpaying public has until December 31, 2011 to pay their real property tax. However, the properties of delinquent taxpayers shall be sold through public auctions by 2012. And all payments in excess of the proposed collection schedules will be treated as tax credit, meaning it will be deducted from the tax payments next year.

Why so much fuss about the new RPT? Why is the provincial government trying to implement it abruptly? Is the provincial coffer already in a mess? By the way, what is the real financial condition of the province? We are all aware that the RPT is one of the local sources of revenues including that of the quarrying permits, franchises and the internal revenue allocations (IRA) from the national government. Are the collections from these sources enough to pay the obligations of the province- for the salaries of employees, implementation of public projects and payment of loan amortizations and interests?

It was heard that the province has millions of loans from the Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) and I surmised that without the new RPT, the provincial government could not meet the imposed amortizations and interests of these loans. Am I right Malou Utanes, the erstwhile acting Provincial Accountant and now designated acting Provincial Treasurer? What is the financial condition of the province?

Personally, I am not against the imposition of new taxes if it means more services and projects to the public. But the imposition of new taxes should be consultative in nature which follows proper processes and procedures. Taxes are the bloodlines of the government- both national and local.

Well, let’s wait the new schedule of payment that will be provided to the public? Will it get another resistance from the public? Will the members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan approve it anew?

(for comments, email me at emperorvirgil@yahoo.com)

May 22, 2011 at 5:38 pm Leave a comment


May 22, 2011 at 5:27 pm Leave a comment

Editorial: Jai Alai, the only ‘investment’ in Pangasinan


The traditional sources of income of the province are from the Internal Revenue allotment and the other is from locally generated income tax.

The excessive increase in real property taxes in Pangasinan is an income generating program of the province.

The league of mayors of Pangasinan, the municipal assessors and the municipal treasurers are all in support of the imposition of the excessive increase in real property taxes.

One thing that should be looked into is that the province is very much dependent on its Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA).

Why is this so?…Because income generation from business is very low.

The business atmosphere in the province is not bullish enough to lower the IRA-dependency of Pangasinan.

The province has failed to attract business to invest in Pangasinan.

The only business that Pangasinan has attracted is the entry of Jai alai by the notorious Atong Ang.

Does Pangasinan not have any other business attraction other than Jai alai?

Why is Jai alai operating in Pangasinan when we do not even know what Jai Alai is?

Pangasinan has a very big population relative to other provinces.

This population is very large market.

SM is putting up its biggest mall in China because of the big population.

San Miguel has business operation in China because of the big population.

Is the cost of doing business in Pangasinan so prohibitive, that other businessmen do not come to invest here?

What do they fear in Pangasinan?

We believe that Pangasinan should be investor friendly and excessive real property taxes do not make Pangasinan investor friendly.

May 22, 2011 at 3:13 pm Leave a comment


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