Archive for May, 2014

AXA INVADES DAGUPAN


Top brass of AXA Philippines, fastest growing life insurance in the country, explains to reporters the advantages to the company which opened a branch in Dagupan City. The officials said their presence is strategic as family income and saving of households in Dagupan Pangasinan province have been remarkably growing lately. AXA is an affiliate of the Metro Bank Group. MORTZ C. ORTIGOZA

Top brass of AXA Philippines, fastest growing life insurance in the country, explains to reporters the advantages to the company which opened a branch in Dagupan City. The officials said their presence is strategic as family income and saving of households in Dagupan Pangasinan province have been remarkably growing lately. AXA is an affiliate of the Metro Bank Group. MORTZ C. ORTIGOZA

May 26, 2014 at 8:02 am Leave a comment

NPC RESIGNATION DID NOT SNOWBALL Arboleda says no reason to resign


Provincial Board Member Clemente “Niño” Arboleda said he would not join his fellow board members who resigned from the Nationalist People’s Coalition, saying there was no valid reason for him to do so.
Arboleda told reporters that while he respected the decision of his colleagues to bolt the party, he would not leave the NPC to whom he is loyal.
“I respect their decision (because) they have their own decision. I hope they will also respect mine,” Arboleda , who represents the fifth district in the Provincial Board, said.
Those who bolted the NPC were Board Member Alfonso Bince Jr., Danilo Uy, Angel Baniqued Jr., Raul Sison and Nestor Reyes. Bince told reporters that the four other NPC members in the Provincial Board, would also resign.
But none of them signed. Aside from Arboleda, the NPC members Napoleon Fontelera, Antonio Sison, Mojamito Libunao also did not sign the document.
The non-resignation by the four board members meant that Bince’s claim that the resignation among the NPC members would snowball did not happen.
One of the reasons cited by the board members for resigning was because former fifth district Rep. Mark Cojuangco visits their districts without informing them. They said Cojuangco’s action was a breach of protocol among party mates.
But Arboleda said “the fifth district is not mine and anybody can come and go there. If they come to help the district, they are always welcome.”
“If that is the reason, that is not valid,” he said.
Arboleda was in the United States for official business when five provincial board members signed the resignation letter addressed to a letter saying they were leaving the NPC, but that they did not contact him about the issue. (more…)

May 26, 2014 at 7:58 am Leave a comment

Money for fiestas from our pockets – NPC


Former Pangasinan Fifth District Rep. Mark Cojuangco affirmed his support for fiesta celebrations in the barangays, saying these festivities afford the residents a time away from their daily routine and enjoy the fruits of their labor.

“Fiestas have been a tradition among Filipinos. It is a time for happy activities for the residents who have been working all year round,” Cojuangco said.

This is why the former congressman gives financial support to the barangays celebrating their annual fiestas, to help them defray the expenses needed for the fiesta activities.

Rosendo So, Cojuangco’s close friend and spokesperson, said the financial contributions they both give to the barangays come from their own pockets and not from any government offices.

“As you know, Cojuangco is the number one individual taxpayer in eastern Pangasinan as shown by records of the Revenue District Office of the Bureau of Internal Revenue in Urdaneta City. He can afford to give a little financial contributions to barangays,” So said.

He also said he himself gives a little financial donation to the barangays whenever he receives a solicitation letter from them.

“Whatever I give also comes from my own pocket,” So, known businessman in the sixth district, said. (more…)

May 26, 2014 at 7:57 am Leave a comment

EDITORIAL: Brigada Eskwela


If there’s one commendable program that is being implemented by the Department of Education (DepEd), it is the ” Brigada Eskwela” or the National Schools Maintenance Week. This activity is usually undertaken on the third week of each year in all public schools nationwide in time for enrolment and in preparation for the schools’ opening in June.northernwatch cartoon 5-25-14

Brigada Eskwela brings out the “bayanihan” spirit of the community people, teachers, students and volunteer government and non- government organizations and private companies . We see them repairing classrooms, desks and armchairs, painting school rooms and helping in the cleaning of the schools’ surroundings and their vicinities. The spirit of working together for a noble cause lifts the morale of those involved in the Brigada Eskwela, particularly the teachers and school administrators.

Started in 2003, Brigada Eskwela has helped in the improvement of schools in the country. We are aware that DepEd lacks funds for the maintenance of public schools and facilities nationwide and that through the Brigada Eskwela, the gaps in the funding of much needed schools’ maintenance are borne by volunteer private groups such as big companies and NGOs.
This school year’s Brigada Eskwela is implemented on May 19 to 24 with main focus on safety and disaster preparedness inside the school campuses. Under DepEd Memorandum Order No. 32, Series of 2014 dated May 14, Secretary Arminio Luistro directed all school administrators to ensure that all school campuses are safe and could meet at least the minimum requirements of disaster preparedness. (more…)

May 26, 2014 at 7:50 am Leave a comment

MAGANES: Mayor Belen Fernandez: A leader with a big heart


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Last May 22, I attended the State of the City Address (SOCA) of Mayor Belen Fernandez of Dagupan City at the CSI Stadia. It was a well attended event by the officials of villages, the city’s prominent people like Dr. Gonzalo Duque, former City Mayor Al Fernandez, businessman Ashok Vasandani, teachers, non- government organizations (NGOs), etc.It was the first SOCA of Mayor Fernandez after she was elected into office on May 13, 2013.
Mayor Fernandez’s SOCA has the theme “Bridging Communities, Bringing Government Closer to the People”, and was delivered for almost two hours punctuated by applauses from the audience. Personally, I did not appreciate the mind boggling presentation of data and statistics that made the SOCA too long to bear. I did not appreciate either the presentation of accomplishments comparing that of her predecessor Mayor Benjamin Lim. In my mind, the comparison of accomplishments just showed how the people of Dagupan City have been politically divided until now. However, that comparison of accomplishments maybe was the way of Mayor Fernandez to inform the people of Dagupan City that in the span of one year leading the city, she has accomplished more and put the city’s leadership in proper perspective amid the inherited budgetary deficits.
What struck me though in her SOCA was when she said that the sale of McAdore Hotel during Mayor Lim’s watch was highly irregular. The McAdore sale to businessman and former Ambassador Antonio Cabangon Chua, which at present is mired with controversy, did not provide the Dagupenos the chance to have its real value. Mayor Fernandez said the P119 million does not reflect the McAdore Hotel’s value of about P300 million – an amount which deprived the city’s coffer of P185 million. ” With that amount, more schools could be built in the city, “said Mayor Fernandez who even promised that as long as she’s the Mayor of Dagupan City, that irregular sale of McAdore Hotel to Cabangon Chua will not be perfected until the real value could be met.

In her SOCA, Mayor Fernandez also outlined the programs for 2014, which she said would be more focused on education, social services and livelihood opportunities for the Dagupenos.
But where was Vice Mayor Brian Lim? The second leader of the city was apparently absent (somebody whispered to me that he’s on official leave). Did he intentionally boycott the SOCA? Was Vice Mayor Lim already aware that the content of the SOCA will just be a reprise of political issues hurled against his father- Former Mayor Benjie Lim? Well, even without his presence the Sangguniang Panlungsod of Dagupan City through its temporary presiding officer Councilor Maybelyn Fernandez attentively listened to the SOCA of Mayor Fernandez. I have seen most of them grinning everytime Mayor Fernandez was comparing her accomplishments with that of Mayor Lim’s administration.

After the SOCA,the guests were treated with sumptuous food inside the Stadia. Media men feasted on controversial issues that were bared on the SOCA. While having the meals, I overheard a media man quip:. ” Why was the SOCA held at CSI Stadia when it was a property of Mayor Fernandez? Was it not appropriate to have held it at the city’s People’s Astrodome to be in consonance with the theme ” bringing the government closer to the people”? Most of us media men at the table wryly smiled. Well, that guy has the point but not that very material as the SOCA has already been delivered. The city administration maybe has all the valid reasons why the SOCA has to be delivered at the CSI Stadia. To me the main reason was the ventilation as the stadia is equipped with air-conditioning units that will make the audience comfortable. If it was held somewhere and with hot atmosphere, the audience would have not withstand the almost two hours delivery of the SOCA.

Well, the venue was not that important. After the meals, media men attended the press conference of Mayor Fernandez on her “Talakayan, Impormasyon at Paliwanag”. Mayor Fernandez was with her staff-City Nutrition Officer Lea Aquino and City Engineer Virginia Rosario. A lot of questions were hurled at Mayor Fernandez who gamely answered. Many questions were just a clarification on the contents of her SOCA. (more…)

May 26, 2014 at 7:49 am Leave a comment

MAYOR’S CUP 2014 Villasis holds victory ball


by Virgilio Sar. Maganes

VILLASIS-It was a fun-filled night at the Villasis Public Auditorium last May 22. Cagers, coaches, tournament management and village officials converged to culminate the Mayor’s Cup 2014: Inter- Barangay Basketball Tournament, the Victory Ball and Awarding Ceremonies.

The basketball tournament started last March 28 and ended on May 18 with teams coming from the 21 barangays of the town. This year’s tournament was sponsored by the Liga ng Mga Barangay headed by its Liga President Romeo S. Abrenica who said that the funds for the activities came from the sports and youth appropriations in each barangay that used to be under the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK).

The Mayor’s Cup is on its 5th year of implementation. It’s an annual summer sports activity among basketball aficionados of the town and to inculcate among the youth the importance of physical fitness and to encourage them to hone their skills of the country’s number one sports- basketball.

That was the gist of the welcome address of Liga President Abrenica, also the village head of Barraca, who said that “summer activities have just been concluded but still the heart continues with the merriment and warmth of the summer are still being felt by us.”
(more…)

May 26, 2014 at 7:48 am Leave a comment

Law Enforcement Brass at SOCA


TOP BRASS AT SOCA.  Dagupan City Mayor Belen T. Fernandez exchanges pleasantries with officials of of the Pangasinan’s Police Provincial Office headed by acting Provincial Director Senior Superintendent Raymond Sterling Blanco (3rd from right),  and National Bureau of Investigation – Pangasinan led by its chief lawyer Pedro Roque (2nd from Left) after she delivered the 2014 State of the City Address (SOCA) held at her family owned Stadia  last  May 22. MORTZ C. ORTIGOZA

TOP BRASS AT SOCA. Dagupan City Mayor Belen T. Fernandez exchanges pleasantries with officials of of the Pangasinan’s Police Provincial Office headed by acting Provincial Director Senior Superintendent Raymond Sterling Blanco (3rd from right), and National Bureau of Investigation – Pangasinan led by its chief lawyer Pedro Roque (2nd from Left) after she delivered the 2014 State of the City Address (SOCA) held at her family owned Stadia last May 22. MORTZ C. ORTIGOZA

May 25, 2014 at 10:55 am Leave a comment

Balolong faces another administrative case


By Mortz C. Ortigoza

LINGAYEN –For the third time, Urbiztondo Mayor Ernesto Balolong faces another preventive suspension case from the same complainant who charged him with administrative cases in years 2012 and 2013.
The case was filed by Loida Cancino who said in her complaint filed with the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) that Balolong failed to remit from the months of July to December 2013 and January to February 2014 the contributions to the PhilHealth of the personnel of the Urbiztondo local government.
“Available records show that in the period of July to December 2013 and January to February 2014 deduction for PhilHealth contributions were made for the payrolls of the officials and employees of the local government unit of Urbiztondo in the total amount of P299, 950 that the municipal failed to remit to the PhilHealth,” Cancino said in the complaint dated May 15, 2014.
She said she filed the case as a taxpayer and PhilHealth member.
The case was filed three days after Malacalang stayed the SP’s preventive suspension it issued against Balolong.
Cancino narrated in her complaint that even her contribution to PhilHealth was undermined as the mayor, as mandated by law, failed to pay the contribution.
The complainant showed the failure of the mayor to remit in a disbursement voucher she used as Annex “A” of her complaint.
Cancino, a former treasurer here who earned the ire of the mayor, stressed that deliberate failure of the respondent in not causing the remittance to the social health insurance the contribution deducted from the salaries of the complainant and other officials and employees of the Municipality of Urbiztondo, the benefit to which they may be entitled under the National Health Insurance Act, were suspended to their damage and prejudice.
“That considering the gravity of the offense, the probability of the respondent influencing the witness and the safety and integrity of the records and other evidences, the herein complainant hereby prays that the respondent be placed under preventive suspension pursuant to law,” she said. (more…)

May 25, 2014 at 10:49 am Leave a comment

Dagupan ‘Death Squad’ fails to kill notorious criminal


By Mortz C. Ortigoza

DAGUPAN CITY – Is there a death squad in this city that kills notorious criminals who sell illegal drugs or rob innocent defenseless people?

NOTORIOUS ROBBER. Rewel S. Bugayong Alias "Kamote" is a notorious po- lice character in Dagupan City. He is sus- pected to be responsible for a series of mug- ging and house looting in the city.

NOTORIOUS ROBBER. Rewel S. Bugayong
Alias “Kamote” is a notorious po-
lice character in Dagupan City. He is sus-
pected to be responsible for a series of mug-
ging and house looting in the city.


A resident of Barangay Amado Tapuac here believes there was a vigilante group that roams around after Rewel S. Bugayong alias “Kamote” was shot recently during a wake in the village by an unidentifed assailant.
Bugayong, a notorious robber whose mugging and house looting activities gave headaches to village officials and police for years, was confined at the intensive care unit of the Region I Medical Center, with a bullet ensconced at his jaw after alleged members of a death squad attempted to kill him on the night of May 20.
The same resident said he suspected that the hit man was part of a group that was behind the series of extra judicial killings of illegal drug pushers and robbers whose hog tied bodies pumped with bullets or with stab wounds were dumped like garbage along the national highways here.
The source said one of the two assassins surreptitiously went behind Bugayong and shot him three times but only one of the bullets hit him on the nape and penetrated his jaw.
Superintendent Christopher Abrahano said the victim sustained one gunshot wound on his head and was rushed immediately to R1MC in Arellano Street.
“Unidentified suspect ran away to still unknown direction. Victim is still in critical condition. Motive of the incident is still unknown,” he said.
Abrahano said records in his office showed that Bugayong was charged with robbery on February 20 this year.
According to the same resident a placard was left by the hit man near the crime scene with a bold statement that people should not emulate his malfeasances.
“Kamote was playing a card game tong-it with friends. He was seated in a place where he saw all people who entered the area near the wake that was located in a vacant lot. We did not know that the two assassins who sported a baseball cap were already seated in the chairs nearby,” he said in Filipino.
When asked if a vigilante group was responsible for the frustrated murder of Kamote, Abrahano vigorously denied it.
“I will not allow anybody in the city to put the law in their own hands,” he said. (more…)

May 25, 2014 at 10:16 am Leave a comment

BTF DELIVERS HER FIRST SOCA


DAGUPAN CITY – Stand by me and together let us claim our future boldly and wisely!
This was the call of Mayor Belen T. Fernandez to the 185,000 Dagupenos through the more than 6,000 people who listened to her first State of the City Address (SOCA) at the CSI Stadia on May 22.MBTF SOCA
She asked the Dagupan people to rally behind her in making Dagupan a Smart City by 2016 and a Premier City of the North by 2019.
Fernandez opened her SOCA by congratulating certain sectors of the city for making 2013 a successful year that is worth remembering where she particularly mentioned the Dagupan People’s Council under hermano mayor lawyer Liberato “Ope” C. Reyna Jr. for a well-attended city fiesta that will long linger in the memory of Pawil Dagupeños; for bringing back the spirit of civic service and pride of place; for reminding old-timers of the city of their birth; and for inspiring the new generation of Dagupeños to proudly claim this city of their dreams.
Fernandez thanked the Lord Almighty for having spared the city from the wrath of Typhoon Yolanda and promised to continue to include those who have been affected in her daily prayers for their fast recovery.
“I wish to inform you, my compassionate fellow Dagupeños that our city contributed the amount of P500,000 for the victims. The little that we could spare while we ourselves were in the midst of a local financial crisis during my first 100 days in office,” she disclosed.
FINANCIAL STATUS OF THE CITY
Fernandez reported that when she assumed office, the city’s financial status was not as stable as it is today after she implemented vigorous revenue-generating campaign without increasing taxes, combined with her robust expenditure cutting.
“Records show that the budgetary appropriation at the beginning of January, 2013 already indicated a deficit of P37.1 million which continued until June. When I took office in July, this budgetary deficit was reduced to P11.130 million,” she said.
By the close of 2013, the city’s consolidated cash position including the Trust Fund and the School and Educational Fund stands at P282.2 million, which is more than the previous year of 2012 by P106.9 million or 163 percent more.
However, still weighed-down by previous years, with 2012 expenses charged against the 2013 budget, Fernandez managed to end with P3.882 million by December of 2013, which is smaller than the October surplus, but better than a deficit.
“It should be noted that those budgetary deficits running for nine months ate up a portion of the P119 million proceeds from the sale of the MC Adore property. But because of the financial reforms I instituted in my administration starting in July, we were able to return the portion eaten up,” she explained.
Fernandez cited revenue increases of 10 percent and over in business tax, tax on delivery trucks and vans, fines and penalties, fishery rental fees, registration fees and income from markets which recorded an overall consolidated total operating income of P597.6 million as of yearend compared to that of the previous year at P559.3 million only.
“If you recall, during my first 100 days, collections from market operations registered a whopping 300 percent increase. This is because of the reforms I personally instituted covering all market collections,” Fernandez said.
For the first quarter of 2014 compared to the same period in 2013 under the previous administration, the city registered a budget surplus as follows: from a budget deficit of P37.1 million in January 2013, the present administration registered a budget surplus of P49.6 million or an increase of P86.6 million or 233 percent for the same month.
From a budget deficit of P3 million in February 2013, the city registered a budget surplus of P81.3 million or an increase of P84.4 million or 277 percent for the same month this year; and from a budget deficit of P22.2 percent in March 2013, the city again registered a budget surplus of P80.8 million or an increase of P103 million or 465 percent for the same month this 2014.
“For the entire first quarter of 2014, this administration registered an average increase in budget surplus amounting to P274 million or 442 percent over the same quarter in 2013,” Fernandez said.
Fernandez added that the hasty sale of MC Adore Hotel was designed to cover the budgetary deficit of the city under the previous administration.
“Clearly obvious now was the fact that the 2012 obligations – electricity and water bills foremost and dubious payroll expenses, which remain unpaid – would have consumed the entire P119 million proceeds from the sale of MC Adore had they charged to the 2013 budget. Then Dagupan would not only have a budgetary deficit but default on its obligations,” Fernandez explained.
REDUCTION OF EXPENSES
Side by side by her drive to increase revenues, Fernandez also undertook ‘radical surgery’ to reduce the expenses of the city.
Overtime night pay decreased by P2.17 million or 53 percent over the same period; consultancy decreased by P3.9 million or 52 percent due to an already exhausted budget balance at the end of May 2013; other professional services decreased by P14.7 million or 35 percent; local traveling expenses decreased by P293,000 or 16 percent, foreign traveling expenses decreased by P1.87 million or 75 percent.
Training expenses decreased by P799,100 or 26 percent; office supplies by P1.7 million or 33 percent; animal and zoological supplies expenses by P73,000 or 100 percent; medical, dental and laboratory expenses by P735,000 or 58 percent.
Gasoline decreased by P535,900 or nine percent. The decreased would have been P3.8 million or 52 percent if not with the adjustment made by the city to include the more than P1 million expenses incurred by the previous administration.
Water expenses from July to December, 2013 actually decreased and not increased by P497,146.71 or 24.7 percent against the same period if not with adjustment made to include the P1,358,077 million incurred by the previous administration which was charged against the July to December 2013 period.
Electricity posted an increase of 107 percent or P14,699,296.45 to include payments covering May to June amounting to P9,395,026.18.
Adjusting for this carry over, the net increase incurred for the comparative period is actually 38.5 percent, while the previous administration incurred an increase of 62.5 percent and not 27 percent.
Donations decreased materially by P19.4 million or 93 percent compared to the same period in 2012 when Fernandez discontinued the granting of financial assistance to various NGOs. The bulk of donation expenses were given directly to indigents and CSWD-related activities for poverty alleviation and community care.
Thus, it was possible by last year’s end to reward the Team Balon Dagupan with a bunos over and above the 13th month pay.
SOCIAL SERVICES (more…)

May 24, 2014 at 9:16 pm Leave a comment

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