Archive for July, 2014
By Yolanda Sotelo
Pangasinan politics heat up with the declaration of fifth district political leaders to support the gubernatorial bid of former fifth district Rep. Mark Cojuangco, the chair of Nationalist People’s Coalition in the province.
During a meeting at the NPC headquarters here on Friday, Alaminos City Mayor Arturo Celeste said the decision to support Cojuangco was reached after each leader was consulted, and after a series of meetings among them.
The first district political leaders openly supported Governor Amado Espino Jr., also an NPC member, for three terms. He is reported to be fielding his son Amado III for the seat he would vacate in 2016, but is yet to make an official statement.
“This is not a decision of only one person. This is a group decision,” Celeste said.
Celeste’s brother Jesus Celeste, the first district representative, was not around during the meeting but he also was supporting Cojuangco’s bid, he said.
Present were Mayors Gwen Yamamoto (Bani), Carlitos Reyes (Mabini), Aldrin Cerdan (Anda), Jose Pajeta (Agno), Noli Celeste (Bolinao), Alberto Guiang (Burgos) Noel Nacar (Dasol), Infanta Vice Mayor Richard Martinez. Sual Mayor Roberto Arcinue was not able to join the meeting but Celeste said he would also support Cojuangco.
Provincial Board Members Rene Anthony Sison and Napoleon Fontelera, who did not join the five other board members who resigned from the NPC party last May, were also present.
Celeste said it was not true that they have turned their back on Espino “but he is already on his last term and he has not declared who he was supporting for the governorship.”
But he said the decision to support Cojuangco is final and the leaders won’t leave NPC.
Nacar said the first district leaders work as team, and is solid behind Cojuangco.
“We met for several times and discussed the advantages and disadvantages of who we will support. We decided to support Cojuangco,” he said.
Cojuangcco, who declared his plan to run as governor last February, said he was “humbled” by the show of support from the first district leaders.
“I am touched by the message of Arthur (Celeste) and by association his brother Jesus and their support for my candidacy for governor. I am anxious to prove my leadership, to make sure they won’t be disappointed in their decision to support me,” he said.
“If the people of Pangasinan chose me to be their leader, it’s a personal challenge to be able to deliver on my promise to be a good governor,” Cojuangco said. (more…)
By Mortz C. Ortigoza
DAGUPAN CITY – A regional manager of a government agency deplored the passage into law the “No-Helmet Policy” in the central business district aimed at preventing motorcycle riding in tandem (MRT) from committing crimes.
“Paano naman kung nabangga ng truck o jeep o ibang sasakyan pagkatapos na-hospital o namatay kasi walang helmet, sino ang mananagot? Ang city government o konseho kaya?,” said John Celeste of the National Irrigation Administration-Region 11 .
Celeste was reacting to this paper’s column last week, titled “Idiotic No-Helmet Law in Dagupan City.”
City acting Mayor Maybelyn Fernandez signed into law last July 21 Ordinance No.2013-2014. Its principal author Councilor Jose Netu Tamayo said it would be implemented on late of August or early of September this year.
Salient feature of it says: “Mandated to remove the same at authorized checkpoints by law enforcement agencies; provided that motor vehicle riders with speed limit below 15 kph are likewise exempt from wearing helmets at the Central Business District, including but not limited to Caranglaan, Mayombo, M.H. del Pilar, Arellano, A.B Fernandez, Gulig, Malued, and such other areas hereafter identified as economically viable for growth”.
The Ordinance said the fine shall be payable to the City Treasurer’s Office within three days or seventy hours from the date of the issuance of the Citation Ticket. Moreover, it said upon payment of the required fine, the driver’s license shall be released immediately. However, if after three days, no penalty payment was tendered, the corresponding case for violation of the City Ordinance shall be filed in the Municipal Trial Court for appropriate trial.
The ordinance metes the following fines of P200 for first offense, P300 for the second offense, P500 and imprisonment for the third offense and subsequent offenses receive various flak from the media and the motorists as it violated the national Motorcycle Helmet Act of 2009 (Republic Act No. 10054) .
Land Transportation Office –Region 1 Director Teofilo F. Guadiz warned motorcycle riders in his various interviews in radio and television networks his personnel will flag and fine motorists and their riders on the very first day of the ordinance’s implementation.
He said any person caught not wearing the standard protective motorcycle helmet in violation of this Act shall be punished with a fine of P1,500 for the first offense; P3,000 for the second offense; P5,000 for the third offense; and P10,000 plus confiscation of the driver’s license for the fourth and succeeding offenses. (more…)
By Mortz C. Ortigoza
DAGUPAN CITY – Employees of the municipal trial courts (MTC) in this city lamented the plan of the allies of President Benigno Aquino III in the House of Representatives to abolish the Judicial Development Fund (JDF).
A Processor- 1 and a Clerk- 3, who asked for anonymity, said the measly salary of P15, 000 month from the Supreme Court would shrink to P13, 000 in case President Aquino is successful in rallying his allies that dominate the majority of the solons in Congress in repealing the JDF.
They said 80 percent of the payment of the JDF collected by the Office of the Clerk of Court from litigants on cases involving money went to the employees of the judiciary in the form of benefits that translate to P1,800 to P2,000 per employee. A certain percentage of the court fund is spent on the rehabilitation of court houses.
JDF benefits more than 30,000 employees in the Supreme Court, Court of Appeals, Sandiganbayan, Court of Tax Appeals and the trial courts.
“Paano na ang mga pamilya namin niyan pag wala na ang JDF?” one of them posed.
He said the president should not center the brunt of his ire on them just because his P177 billion Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) was vigorously rejected by the high tribunal in a 13-0 votes.
“We are only here to make both ends meet . Huwag naman kaming maliliit ang pag-initan ni Presidente,” he deplored.
After the DAP was rejected last July 1, the president in a televised pronouncement July 14, expressed his disgust to the Supreme Court. He also hinted that he would do something with the high tribunal – a construed by the courts’ employees as a threat like impeachment of the magistrates.
Last July 17, employees of the different branches of the MTC and Regional Trial Court here wore black dress to protest Aquino’s threat to the judiciary and the plans of his allies that control the majority of the solons in Congress to revoke the JDF.
The same kind of protest happened too in San Carlos, City Pangasinan where judicial workers wore black shirts and black bands to mourn the threat by the executive and legislative department in the independence of the court.
The same employees in this city supported the call of Association of Court of Appeals Employees President Amiel de Vera to join the Confederation for Unity, Recognition and Advancement of Government Employees (Courage) in filing a case to stop the imposition of the tax imposed by the Bureau of Internal Revenue on the benefits the court employees get from JDF. (more…)
By Mortz C. Ortigoza
BINMALEY – The mayor of this burgeoning town bemoaned his predecessor’s splurging of the Maintenance and Other Operating Expenses (MOOE) at the expense of this town’s coffer.
In his State of the Municipality Address (SOMA) held recently at the town’s gymnasium, Mayor Simplicio Rosario cited how former Mayor Lorenzo Cerezo spent P3,153,375.18 from July 1, 2012 to June 30, 2013 for fuel consumption and lubricant expenses compared to what he spent on the same goods by P2,739,799 in July 1, 2013 to June 30, 2014.
“Nakatipid tayo ng malaking halaga na mahigit P413,575.93,” he told his constituents who attended his SOMA.
Rosario declared as mayor he would not use even a litter of fuel for his private car.
“Samantalahin ko po ang sasabihin ko sa inyo, habang ako ang mayor sa tatlong taon hindi ako papayag na isang private vehicle na hindi sasakyan ng government nagkakarga ng gasoline. Maski ako na mayor, maski si vice mayor (Pedro Merrera) at lahat ng municipal officials,” he stressed.
Rosario cited the same situation in the maintenance of the eight municipal vehicles.
He said the Cerezo Administration spent P727,988,02 from July 1, 2012 to June 30, 2013 while his administration spent only P286,234 from July 1,2013 to June 2014.
“Nakatipid tayo ng P441,754,02, napakalaking tipid ang ating natitipid sa dating pag-gastos ng motor vehicles,” he said.
He cited that this town saved P8,819,980.60 on MOOE from July 2013 – June 2014 compared to the same period under Cerezo.
He cited the judicial use of the public funds by his administration was responsible for the savings.
The revenue of this town spikes by P1,703,705.43 this year compared to the collection of his predecessor in the same period last year.
Due to the aggressive and wise collection of business permits the goal of P5,032,532.56 for this year was nearly reached with the collections of P5,485,000 on the first six months of this year.
DAGUPAN CITY – At least eight overseas Filipino workers from Pangasinan in war-torn Libya are now in the comforts of their home, according to the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration.
Rhoda Nilda Lee, overseas workers welfare officer III in the Ilocos, said distressed OFWs from countries affected by political unrest undergo stress debriefing programs upon their return to the Philippines.
Lee said OWWA also provides them with re-integration package that will aid them in enhancing their skills for local employment or in mounting their own businesses.
“The government has set aside P2 billion for the re-integration program of (distressed and returning) OFWs to help them start their lives anew,” Lee said during the KBP Forum held at the Philippine Information Agency Office on Thursday.
She said OWWA assists OFWs starting from the pre-departure stage to ensure their safety and success until their return home. “We provide them with relevant information and assistance on where to go to in times of crisis in a foreign land,” she added.
Aside from the eight Pangasinense OFWs who came home from Libya, there were two more returnees from Ilocos Sur, another two from La Union and one from Ilocos Norte.
Lee said OWWA is also monitoring the condition of Filipinos in another country in turmoil which is Thailand. OWWA records show that a total of 452 OFWs working in Thailand are from Region I. Nineteen of them are from Ilocos Norte, 95 from Ilocos Sur , 112 from La Union and 226 are from Pangasinan. (PIA-1/Pangasinan)