Archive for September, 2011
Last September 12, Atong Remogat ( a colleague in the media) and I went to the San Roque Power Corporation’s office in San Manuel purposely to interview Mr. Tom Valdez, the company’s vice president for corporate affairs regarding the issue on how district representatives could avail of the energy fund based on Energy Regulatory Order No. 1-94.
I was not supposed to joined Atong but because of his prodding, I finally went with him to Valdez’s office. The issue at hand was very timely because Punong Barangay Norberto Del Prado of Poblacion, Urdaneta City informed the members of the Sangguniang Panlungsod. in their session that 6th District Rep. Marlyn Primicias-Agabas was able to get P10.2 million for the electrification of sitios/barangays in her district. Del Prado suggested to the Sangguniang Panlungsod of Urdaneta City to at least inform 5th District Rep. Kimi S. Cojuangco to avail the same.
Because I was not aware of the mechanics of said funds, I decided to join Atong to get facts about it. And so we went to San Roque, San Manuel town.
Upon entering the compound where we were accommodated by the security guards with respect as Atong is familiar to them, we went inside the office of the Vice President for Corporate Affairs.
Tom Valdez was not yet around at that time as he was in a meeting. We waited at the office of Emmanuel Acla, chief of the Security Services of the company. We were treated well as according to Atong, Acla was his childhood friend. After several minutes, Tom Valdez arrived in his office. Acla accompanied us there. I have met Valdez many times and have been introduced to him on various occasions. I was expecting then that he could still remember me because the last time I met him again when he guested at the Media in Action Forum of Pangasinan Press Club (PPC) when he gave me his number. I was surprised that when I handed him a copy of this paper, this Valdez stared at me and had not even glanced at the paper where we have news articles and photos on him. I was surprised more when Atong gave him several copies of newspapers from various publications and this Valdez. took time to scan them in front of us.
I was not expecting a vice president for corporate affairs to act like that. I was hurt because I know that Tom Valdez knew me as I already interviewed him in many occasions. Isn’t he the one with onion-skin when he guested at PPC’s media forum? Wasn’t he the person who uttered ” wala namang bastusan” when asked on the real situation of the October 8, 2009 flooding in Pangasinan? He has known me for all these years, so I thought.
But in his office, he has forgotten me. He treated me, but not Atong, rudely. How rude he was, here’s the story?
After we were briefed by Mina Evanosa, chief of special concerns, on the energy fund, we returned to his office. But that time we were informed that he’s having a teleconference with other officials of the company. I told Atong that we better go home. He obliged. We rode in his car and headed towards the security checkpoint. When we were there, the security in charge told Atong to go back to Valdez office but….with a Big BUT…he has to leave me at the security checkpoint site. It’s only Atong who could go back, and I don’t know why. There might be some private conversations between them that I was not supposed to hear.
But that was not the point. I am a legitimate media practitioner. I don’t care what transactions Atong has with him, at least I was expecting that he should not do that. Why not just let us go back in a car, and I will just wait for Atong at the visitors’ lounge. But this Valdez was uncourteous. He should know that he is holding a position whose nature is to “make the image of the company good” to the public. Valdez lacks savvy and decorum and is suffering from extreme selective amnesia. You have known me for so long a time Mr. Valdez. Don’t deny that because you even gave me your cell phone number when you guested at Pedrito’s in Dagupan City.
You should know who are the legitimate media practitioners here in Pangasinan. I know that many have been approaching you just for “money” but I can shout and say that I have not received a single centavo from you. I have written stories about the San Roque Power Corporation and the very least I was expecting respect from you. How dare you telling at a hearing range that I should tarry around at the security check point and only Atong could go back to your office?
I am not supposed to write this piece. I might be construed as “sour graping”. But San Roque Power Corporation should have a corporate image that is public friendly. But how can it be public-friendly when even the Vice President for Corporate or Community Affairs treated mediaman like me unfairly. If he could do that to me, he could do it also to other clients of the company.
Paging the management of San Roque Power Corp. You should have trainings designed for public and media relations. Your first trainee I suppose will be MR. TOM VALDEZ.
Well, I would like to extend my thanks to Ms. Mina Evanosa for the accommodation accorded to us. I can’t forget your sweet smiles madam. Once again, thank you.
(for comments email me at firstname.lastname@example.org)
by Virgilio Sar. Maganes
VILLASIS- Cleopatra Barrientos, 45, a mother to seven children, was full of enthusiasm while listening to the speakers of the Reproductive Health Bill forum (RH Bill) conducted at the public auditorium here last September 23.
“Ngayon ko lang lubos na naunawaan ang mga isyu sa reproductive health bill. Dati sa radyo lang ako nakakarining ang tungkol sa panukalang batas na iyan, pero sa ginawa ng ating butihing Rep. Kimi Cojuangco, marami kaming kababaihan ang natauhan sa reproductive health bill. (It is only now that I understood fully the many issues on reproductive health bill. I just heard over the radio about the proposed bill, and I thanked Rep. Kimi S. Cojuangco for her initiatives and many women have been enlightened on the reproductive health bill),” Barrientos said, her eyes glowing.
Barrientos ekes out a living by selling variety of goods like softdrinks, cigarettes, candies and cookies placed on a makeshift bamboo table near the public auditorium. Her husband does part time carpentry work and labor.
“Sa pito naming anak, dalawa lang ang nakatapos ng high school. Yong tatlo tumigil na sa pag-aaral at yong dalawa ay nasa elementary pa. Mahirap po ang buhay. Pinagkakasya na lang po namin ang aming kita araw-araw sa pagkain at gastusin sa bahay. Kung nag-family planning sana kami, hindi ganito ang aming sitwasyon. (Of our seven children, only two finished high school. The other three have stopped schooling and the two youngest are still in the elementary grades. Life for us is difficult. We have to meet ends of our daily income for food and other household needs. If only we practiced family planning, our lives would have been different),” she said.
Barrientos was among the participants in the RH bill forum conducted by the Office of Rep. Kimi S. Cojuangco dubbed as “Day of the Purple Ribbon for Reproductive Health”.
A motorcade started in the early morning from Sison to Bautista covering the nine towns of the 5th District. which culminated in a gathering/forum in the afternoon here.
In the said forum, Cojuangco talked about the features of the RH Bill. Former Akbayan Rep. Risa Hontiveros-Baraquel expounded on the importance of the RH bill to women and youth, Dr. Junice Melgra clarified the various myths on misconceptions and medical issues of the bill while Abono Partylist Chair Rosendo O. So talked on the benefits of Reproductive Health Bill to farmers.
Ramon San Pascual of the Philippine Legislators’ Committee on Population Development (PLCPD) said, Maraming bumabatikos sa akin sa aking pagsuporta sa RH Bill. Pero ako ay susulong na ipaglalaban ito. Walang iwanan. Ito lang ang paraan para maiangat ang kahirapan ng mga kababaihan. (Many were criticizing me because of my support to the RH Bill. But I have to move and fight for it. Don’t leave us. This is the only way to alleviate the poor lives of women),” Cojuangco said.
Baraquel said that she believed on the importance of the bill because she is also a woman.
“Alam ko kung gaano kahalaga ang maging lalake at babae. Ang mga magulang ay dapat pinaplano ang pamilya. Sa RH bill ay may malayang pagpili kung ano ang nakakabuting paraan na kontraseptibo ang gagamitin. (I know how important to be a man and a woman. Parents should plan their families. In the RH Bill there is the freedom of choice of what contraceptive methods will be used by the couples),” Baraquel said.
She further said that RH Bill supports sexuality education and that the youth must be given right information about their sexuality. “It will protect our honor and rights as individuals.”
Dr. Melgar parried off myths on the use of contraceptive methods.
She said that many women die because of pregnancy and delivery of their babies. She also said that many babies die on their first year.
“The health of the babies depends on how healthy their mothers are. The RH Bill will answer all the medical issues attendant to it,” Melgar said.
On the other hand, So stressed the importance of the RH bill to the farmers saying that the country is importing rice from other countries because of over population.
“We could not produce enough food for our burgeoning population, that is why the government is resorting to food importation. With proper child spacing, we could hopefully attain food self-sufficiency in the coming years,” So said.
The RH Bill known as House Bill 4244 is already taking its toll for passage from the House of Representatives. A similar Bill was passed in the Senate House which was sponsored by Senators Miriam Defensor-Santiago and Pia Cayetano.
It is controversial because the Catholic Church leaders are against its passage, saying it promotes abortion, promiscuity and is anti-life.
Supporters of the bill, however, defy the Church stance saying it is pro-life, pro-women rights and espouses responsible parenthood.
by Virgilio Sar. Maganes
URDANETA CITY-Armed with cutting tools, bolos and wearing working clothes, city officials and employees took time last September 24 to simultaneously clean up rivers in the various sites within the city.
The river clean up was led by Mayor Amadeo G. E. “Bobom” Prez IV and Vice Mayor Onofre “Bong” Gorospe as part of the city’s environmental awareness campaign and cleanliness programs.
“This is part of our anti-dengue campaign. We have to unclog our rivers and other water tributaries which are becoming mosquito habitats. These might be the breeding grounds of Aedis aegypti, the dengue bearing mosquitoes,” Perez said.
He said that he started the campaign for clean up drive several months ago to instill to the cityfolk the importance of a clean environment.
“The people should also know their responsibilities. We will show them how, but for sustainability and maintenance of clean surroundings will be their share,” he said.
He further said that he has mobilized all employees in the city government to participate in the said activity for them to feel the importance of the many programs he is spearheading for the benefits of the city’s constituents. “They have to go out from the comforts of their offices and join me in this massive clean up drive campaign.”
The river clean up drive was divided into seven sites with various department of the city government simultaneously participated in the said activity.
The Mayor’s Office, Slaughter House, Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) and Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) started their clean up from Bialas, Hanging Bridge, Jungle Town of the city proper with 100 meters each up stream and down stream.
Namkwang Bridge at Perez St. was cleaned up by the employees of engineering, treasury, Commission on Audit (COA), accounting, budget, Assessors’ office, and city community relations departments.
Manan Bridge with 100 meters up stream and down stream were jointly cleaned up by the. human resource management office (HRMO), supply office, city planning anddevelopment coordinator’s office (CPDC), Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), city social welfare and development office (CSWDO), city agriculturist’s office, and employees of the cultural and sports complex.
The employees assigned in the public market, bagsakan, Sangguniang Panlungsod and the public order and safety office (POSO) joined efforts in cleaning up Camarquesan Bridge in San Vicente East with 100 meterts up stream and 100 meters down stream.
The Urdaneta City University officials, students and employees conducted clean up drive at the High School Drive, 100 meters up stream and down stream.
Employees of the Rural Health Units (RHUs 1, 2,3) and the city health office (CHO) cleaned up Tanggal Perez to Jolibee down to Dona Loleng Bridge in Nancayasan while Batay Pangkalikasan and the Philippine National Police (PNP) jointly cleaned up Tanggal Perez to Dona Loleng Bridge down to the Bagsakan Market corner Consejo and Manzano Streets in the Poblacion area.
The clean up drive campaign is in line with the city government’s efforts to preserve the environment and maintain cleanliness within the city.
It will be recalled that the Regional Development Council (RDC) awarded the city as the ” cleanest, safest and peaceful city of Region I” for the year 2010.
Bad bangs -sporting Congressman Winston “Winnie” Castelo (Quezon City) should be running after his hair stylist and not the “rallyists”.
His House Bill titled “Anti-Planking Act of 2011” that did not criminalize but prohibits planking among students is a waste of government resources and congressional saliva.
According to Wikepedia, planking (or the “Lying- Down- Game”) is an activity consisting of lying face down in an unusual or incongruous location.
It is no different from sitting, jumping, and fist rising if one uses it as a form of protest. This actuation is protected by the “Freedom of Expression” clause of the Constitution – a high fundamental human rights given by the State to her citizens.
Castelo, who epitomizes the bozos in Congress, should know that planking is no different from barricading the highway that eventually causes traffic snarl.
One doesn’t need a new law on this. Since college students are mostly minor, their leaders who are legal aged should be liable if somebody sued them with illegal assembly, unjust vexation, and laws in relation to traffic.
A strike committed by demonstrators who are standing in the middle of the highway and demonstrators who plank are all the same. They both endanger themselves to passing motor vehicles.
Besides, there are a lot of pressing issues a lawmaker like Castelo could do to compensate the taxpayers’ monies paid to him.
This solon is worse than Senator Lito Lapid. At least the English language-handicapped solon has reason to lament the rejection of his “Overloading of School Bags” that caused why many Filipinos are as tall as their dark-skinned Vice President Jejomar Binay.
Next time Rep. Castelo should pass a bill, he should limit himself on the overloading of public utility vehicles (PUV). We don’t know it get pass on the three readings in the House and the Bicameral Committee of congress, but at least he tries.
Besides, he ain’t got the same ridicule he got from the different sectors on his Anti-Planking Bill
Next time, Rep. Castelo should tinker on overloading of public utility vehicles sans planking. Who knows, it could pass the three reading requirements in the House.
When Sheila Marie Sison became the Officer-in-Charge (OIC) Superintendent of Department of Education (DepEd) in Pangasinan for 36 days, one the goodies she procured were three sets of Close Circuit TV (CCTV) Camera worth P25 thousand that she immediately installed at different strategic locations of the DepEd’s office in Lingayen, Pangasinan.
A week before her OIC’s post term ended, a woman thief sneaked in one of the rooms at the second floor there and took the bag (that contained some valuables and thousand of pesos cash inside) of a lady worker.
Thanks to the CCTV cam, the thief was seen spiriting away through the main door up to the main gate.
But her face was exposed by a TV outfit and her printed photo from the tape of the CCTV was taken already by the police. Now the long-arm of the law is searching for her.
I wrote an article before how corrupt government officials pocketed as much as 40 to 60 percent from the funds appropriated on their dredging operation project of a lake or a river.
It means up to P6 million scarce government monies goes to the pocket of these vultures if a certain project cost P10 million.
A veteran contractor whose clients are senators, congressmen, Departments of Public Works & Highway and Agriculture, and the National Irrigation Authority told me that “sounding” is of no value if the implementer is corrupt government officials.
“Sounding” is a gauge using a rod to know how deep the river and lake are from the water bed up to the surface before and after the dredging operation, my source told me.
It means the Commission on Audit (COA) particularly would know the volume of silts that have been taken by the backhoe on a barge in a certain area of a river or lake.
“A representative of the COA and field engineers of the department or agency concern measure it vertically as requisite of a pre-audit .”
He deplores how these people usually concoct an imagined gauge in a post audit because the same government officials including the private sub-contractors were in cahoots with each other at the expense of the people’s monies.
A representative from the COA who is assigned in a notoriously corrupt public work’s office in the region told me that pre-audit of a dredging operation has been stopped a long time ago.
“Wala na iyang pre-audit. Matagal ng tinangal iyan as far as our office is concerned.”
Now I know why Transparency International ranked the Philippines as one of the most corrupt countries in the world.
The Berlin based anti-corruption outfit ranks the Philippines 134th in a list of 176 countries arranged according to how bad the level of corruption in government is globally perceived to be last year.
(You can read my selected intriguing but thought-provoking columns at http://mortzortigoza.blogspot.com. You can send comments too at email@example.com).
By Mortz C. Ortigoza
CALASIAO- The former mayor and incumbent vice mayor of this rice-cake producing town warned the Department of Public Works & Highway (DPWH) that many residents would barricade the upcoming construction of the Villamil (formerly Marusay) Bridge that connects this town center to the towns and San Carlos City.
Vice Mayor Roy Macanlalay said the grumbling by the residents was blamed on the silence of the engineers of the DPWH whether or not they would construct a temporary foot bridge during the construction.
Villamil Bridge caters to the residents of Barangays Mancup, Talibaew, and Buenlag who study at the government- owned Central Elementary School located at the town proper.
“As I heard, they would vehemently protest the construction if they would be required to use the by-pass road (in Sitio Pogo in Brgy. Nalsian) to and from their homes. It means it would be another financial burden on their parts as their children would pay more for the motorized- trike fare,” he stressed.
Vice Mayor Macanlalay said when engineers from the DPWH made a courtesy call at his office, they would not tell him how much amount was appropriated for the construction of the new bridge.
He wondered why they would not disclose the amount as the appropriation for the bridge comes from a grant of the Spanish government.
He said its construction has long been mulled after it was damaged by the 1990 killer quake that wrought havoc in some towns and cities in Pangasinan.
“I could not understand why the public works office would not allow the construction of a foot-bridge as it is favorable to the sub-contractor of the DPWH that would hire the former to do the construction,” he said.
Macanlalay is the father of this town’s mayor Mark Roy who replaced the former as the chief executive in 2010.
Meanwhile, in a press conference held at Dagupan City recently, Rep. Rachel Arenas (2rd District, Pangasinan) said the planned protest by residents here could be avoided as she would initiate a meeting between this town’s officials and residents and the concerned DPHW officials to iron-out the problem.
Moreover, a resident in the Poblacion, who asked anonymity, wanted to know the plan of the DPWH with the pipe line of the water district here after the old bridge is demolished. He said that the pipes are attached to the Villamil Bridge.
By Mortz C. Ortigoza
MANGALDAN- The mayor of this burgeoning town led the municipal employees recently by marching around the town- center in a rally for the protection of the environment.
Mayor Herminio Romero said the rally signified this town’s determination to educate his constituents on the importance of waste segregation.
The rally, held in tandem with the 111th anniversary of the Civil Service Commission, was participated in by all the departments of the municipality and the police here who proudly donned their different colored shirts while some of them carried makeshift garbage bins marked with “Hazardous Waste, and Recyclable and Non-Recyclable”.
Participants wield placards that screamed with slogans like “Clean and sustainable environment protection the best legacy of the future generation”, “Masdan mo ang iyong kapaligiran. Di Kaya’t isa ka sa dahilan sa pagkasira ng kalikasan. Sagabal sa pag-unlad ng iyong bayan!”
Romero said that just like neighboring Dagupan City this town faces garbage congestion on this town’s limited dumpsite areas unless residents here cooperate by segregating their waste before they dispose it.
He declared that his administration resorted to a control dumpsite in barangay Banaoang that he wants to convert into an ecological park.
He said that this town would not dump its garbage in Urdaneta City because that city’s P220 million Sanitary Landfill could just accommodate the city’s heaps in 20 years only.
Meanwhile, the rally was capped by a boodle fight participated in by hundreds of municipal officials, employees, and even trike drivers who all relished the first time experience of eating with their bare hands on foods like fried fish, chopped roasted hog, cooked rice, beans, chicken adobo, all spread above banana leaves on long tables that were prepared at the back of the municipal hall.
“The boodle fight was a first among the employees and trike drivers here,” Romero proudly said.
He said the event fostered camaraderie among the participants.