Archive for December 7, 2015

Heavy equipment in plant site: Evidence of black sand mining

By Yolanda Sotelo
LINGAYEN, PANGASINAN –  The area looked like a junk yard of sorts – trucks, container vans and equipment that looked high tech and out of “alien” movies,  are scattered and are mostly rusting, with some parts already getting detached.IMGP3658                   The black sand stockpile in Lingayen, Pangasinan.


“Be careful!” the caretaker warned. “You could get injured.”
This was the plant site of the provincial government of Pangasinan and its contractor, the Xypher Builders for their black sand mining activities.
Located along the coastal area of Malimpuec village in this capital town, it was where the tons of black sand mined from adjoining villages Sabangan and Estanza were processed. What looked like complicated machines to the untrained eyes were used to separate the magnetite black sand from plain soil and unwanted elements.
The  “derelict equipment” include a backhoe, a payloader, four trucks, two trailers, 11 magnetic drums with motor, two- line standing conveyor with feeder, seven spiral concentrators, four conveyor systems, concentrated bins (one two-compartment and one  compartment), assorted conveyor motors, four generating sets, two panel boards and 34 container vans.
The machines and the vehicles and the chilling noises they made at the height of the black sand operations,  have been eerily silent for more than two years now.
But, along with the “mountain” of magnetite black sand and another of plain soil nearby, they are mute, or have been “muted”, testaments to the illegal activities undertaken from 2011 to 2013.
In January 2012, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources issued a cease and desist order to the Provincial Government of Pangasinan and Xypher Builders against the black sand extraction in the coastal capital town. By that time, residents claimed about five hectares of the coastal areas have been mined of black sand.
The  DENR likewise  confiscated  last March (and denied the Xypher’s motion for consideration on May 15) the estimated 9,588 cubic meters of black sand stockpiled somewhere near the plant site or processing area.


The DENR likewise confiscated all the vehicles and the machines used in the illegal activity, but still have to dispose of these materials.
In an earlier interview, Mines and Geosciences Bureau head Carlos Tayag  of Region I said the bureau was still waiting for the decision of the DENR central office on how to dispose of the materials.


December 7, 2015 at 9:07 pm Leave a comment

Singson defends tree cutting along MNR


By Yolanda Sotelo
LINGAYEN  – Public Works and Highways Secretary Rogelio Singson defended the cutting of the trees to make way for the widening of the Manila North Road in eastern Pangasinan, saying  while the Department of Public Works and Highways favors the preservation of old trees, they must be removed as they are within the highway’s right of way.
In a letter to the Sanguniang Panlalawigan of Pangasinan dated November 24, Singson said the road-right-of- way was defined under the Philippine Highway Act as “land reserved and secured to the public for highways purposes.”
He said the primodial consideration in the use  of this land are public safety and convenience.
Singson wrote the letter in answer to the SP resolution Number 513, series of 2015 titled “Reiterating the stance of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan in opposing the further and continuing tree cutting along the national and local roads of Pangasinan.”
He explained that the widening of road projects especially in constricted areas, was necessary for the socio-economic development of the country in general, and Pangasinan in particular.
But he assured that  development is permitted only if mitigating measures are implemented to counter the negative impacts on the environment.
“There should be a balance between the development and putting the appropriate measures as safeguards to the environment. One of the mitigating measures is the replacement of 100 tree seedlings in a designated place for every tree that is cut,” he said.
The related activities include the plantation establishment from survey, mapping, planning, nursery establishment, procurement of materials, site preparation, protection, maintenance and supervision.
Singson said the Department strictly addresses environmental mitigation and is complying with all the requirements of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources in securing tree permit.
He also reminded the SP that the trees along the road post danger to human lives and properties as evaluated, in consonance to Executive Order 23, series of 2011.
The tree cutting was also endorsed by local governments of the towns, including the provincial government.


December 7, 2015 at 8:49 pm Leave a comment

Poe camp: Comelec ignored more than 400 pages of evidence

The Commission on Elections (COMELEC) did not consider more than 400 pages of documentary evidence presented by the camp of Sen. Grace Poe to prove her residency in the Philippines since 2005, Poe’s legal counsel said.IMG_2888
Lawyer George Garcia presented to media one of the most pertinent documents—a questionnaire that Poe accomplished at the U.S. Embassy in Manila in 2011. In the document, Poe wrote that she had been residing in the Philippines since 2005, and thus, must be allowed to renounce her U.S. citizenship.
Months after the death of her father, Fernando Poe Jr., in December 2004, Poe went back to the Philippines with the intention to stay in the country for good. Poe enrolled her kids in Philippine schools. She and her husband also bought properties and found employment. Poe has also voted in two national elections.
“This proves that Senator Poe sought domicile in the country. Why would you get a TIN (Tax Identification Number) if you had no intention to work here? Or enroll your kids here if you had no intention to stay here?” asked Garcia. “This shows that Senator Poe had no intention to lie or mislead in her COC.”
Garcia said they presented at least 400 pages of documents to prove Poe’s domicile but the COMELEC’s Second Division did not discuss a single one in the decision it issued. For Garcia, the commissioners clearly committed a grave abuse of discretion.
“Mga apat na daang dokumento po na ang aming iprinisenta. Mga dokumento o ebidensya na nagpapatunay na meron na siyang residency dito sa Pilipinas since 2005. Alam nyo po, kahit isang dokumento dun o ebidensya, wala hong diniscuss ang COMELEC Second Division, wala pong tinalakay, wala hong kinonsider. So isang katanungan. Akala ko ba ang isyu ng residency ay factual?” asked Garcia.
Garcia also took a swipe at the COMELEC’s confusing forms and said that the poll body, too, had to change some of the wordings later.
In her 2013 certificate of candidacy (COC), Poe counted “six years and six months” up to the day of filing instead of the day of elections. She said she did not go out of her way to correct it because while she had been a resident for much longer, what she wrote already met the residency requirements for senatorial candidates.
Poe said she agrees with law experts and her rivals in saying that the issue of residency is a “question of fact.” She laments, however, that when it was their time to present facts, the COMELEC turned a blind eye.


December 7, 2015 at 8:44 pm Leave a comment

MAGANES: Grace’s legal fight continues

Last December 1, supporters of presidential candidate Senator Grace Poe were surprised when the 2ndDivision of the Commission on Election (Comelec) cancelled the Certificate of Candidacy (CoC) of Poe for the presidency. It was a decision that shocked legal luminaries who are experts in election laws but put smiles on the faces of those behind the scheme to bar Grace Poe from running for president in the 2016 elections.
The legal camp of Poe said the decision was one-sided. The Comelec second division did not consider the voluminous documents showing that Poe has already resided in the Philippines in May 2005, ergo she’s eligible to run for the presidency.  What the Division gave credence to was the “honest mistake” that was written on Poe’s CoC  when she ran as senator in 2013 election. According to the legal camp of Poe, that similar error has already been decided by the Supreme Court in the case of former First Lady Imelda Romualdez- Marcos.
While the decision was surprising, it was a decision expected by the presidential front-runner Senator Grace Poe. She was of course disappointed by the decision but showed her fighting stance. She did not waver. She is pursuing her dreams. She has to fight for the right and the fight is far from over. Her natural –born Filipino status has already been upheld by the Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET) that also put into the bin the motion for reconsideration filed by the complainant Rizalito David.
Supporters of Senator Grace Poe traced who were most likely the people behind the strings of “disqualification cases” filed against her. By process of elimination, all these pointed to Liberal Party presidential candidate  Mar Roxas who up to now could not improve his survey ratings. Lawyer Estrella Elamparo who filed the  case requesting for the cancellation of Poe’s CoC was a former legal officer of Government Service Insurance System (GSIS).


December 7, 2015 at 8:37 pm Leave a comment

Mark lauds Binalonan’s bazaar

By Virgilio Sar. Maganes
BINALONAN- Gubernatorial aspirant Mark O. Cojuangco lauded the business sector and municipal officials headed by Mayor Ramon “Monmon” Guico III for coming up the First Bazaar in the town, which is just in time for the Christmas season.
The bazaar was opened last November 28 at the town’s municipal plaza that showcase various products coming from Pangasinan and  nearby provinces.
“I have witnessed how Binalonan has improved and developed. It is surprising how the town has evolved to its present situation today. I have not seen any town in the province that is swiftly progressing like Binalonan,” Cojuangco said.
He said the progress of the town is not accident but a product of how a leader shows his vision for the improvement of the town.
“ Because of this, Congresswoman (Kimi) Cojuangco and myself are giving our all our support because we have seen that our assistance will not be wasted and in vain. Your mayor (Guico) has a very good governance in your town,” he said.
Cojuangco likened the bazaar to that in Bangkok, Thailand in his visits to some cities in Southeast Asia.


December 7, 2015 at 8:20 pm Leave a comment

Duterte’s actions different from what he says – Sinag

ROSALES – The chair of Samahan ng Industriya at Agrikulura (SINAG) is not impressed with presidential wannabe Rodrigo Duterte: He said Duterte’s actions were different to what he was saying.

Presidential wannabe Rodrigo Duterte and his controversial adviser Lito Banayo. Banayo was the beleaguered administrator of the National Food Authority in July 2010 to his September 30, 2012 resignation. He was charged last year with economic sabotage and corruption in the middle of the massive rice smuggling in the country during his stint at the NFA.


Rosendo So said despite Duterte’s pronouncement against the proliferation of rice smuggling in Davao City where he is the mayor, Duterte was seen playing golf with Regional Trial Court Judge Emmanuel Carpio who was charged administratively by Sinag at the Supreme Court on siding with the alleged smuggler David Bangayan and owner of Starcraft International Trading Inc.
Starcraft, as reported by the media, surreptitiously sneaked 167 vans or 83,500 cavans of illegally bought imported rice from Vietnam at the pier in Davao City.
 “Iyong shipment na smuggling of rice ni David Bangayan ang nag released na judge father- in-law (of the daughter) pala ni Duterte and ka golf  niya si Judge. Si Lito Banayo kasama din ni Duterte at that time pinaka maraming smuggling ng rice. Iba talaga ang tao, iba iyong sinasabi but iba iyong ginagawa (The one who released the shipment of rice of David Bangayan was Judge Carpio – the father- in- law of the daughter of Duterte. He plays golf with the mayor.  Duterte was always seen too with Lito Banayo who during his stint as head of the National Food Authority in July 2010 to his September 30, 2012 resignation saw the most number of smuggled rice in the country. Duterte actions were different from  what he was saying), ” So said.
In an eight-page complaint in February 2014, agricultural group under the umbrella of SINAG asked the Supreme Court to investigate Judge Carpio for gross misconduct and unjust judgment.


December 7, 2015 at 7:53 pm Leave a comment

So distributes financial assistance to schools in Villasis

By Virgilio Sar. Maganes
VILLASIS- Abono Partylist Chair Rosendo  O. So, a businessman and a philanthropist, again handed over financial assistance to five public schools in this town – Bacag East Elementary School, Bacag West Elementary School, Tombod Integrated School, Lapaz Elementary School and Lepanto Elementary School last December 1 and 2.
So distributed a total of P561,446 financial assistance  to Lapaz (P78,000), Lepanto-(P32,000) Bacag West (P121,542), Bacag East (P85,224) and Tombod (P244,680).
The amount would be used for the contributions of schoolchildren on periodic examinations, BSP/GSP, Red Cross, Mental Health, United Way, PTA revolving fund, magazines (ALAMATH  and KALIKASAN) and kindergarten books.
“My family has been doing this for 15 years already to help the parents in their school expenses.  There will be no reasons for the school children not to complete their studies and for parents and teachers not to look after the educational needs of the children,” So said.
So also said the financial assistance came from his personal funds as his commitment to the family’s “Adopt-a-School Program.”
Joining him on the distribution last December 1 were gubernatorial aspirant Mark O. Cojuangco, Board Member Clemente “Nino” Arboleda Jr., Board Member aspirant Chinky Perez-Tababa, Mayor Libradita Go-Abrenica, Abono Partylist President Librada “Leny” Flores and Councilor Centenielo Ramon Costales Jr.


December 7, 2015 at 7:26 pm Leave a comment

EDITORIAL Pagpuputol ng punong kahoy sa Manila North Road

Natuloy na rin ang pagpuputol ng mga punong kahoy sa Manila North Road (MNR) mula Binalonan hanggang Sison na may kabuuang 589.
Ito ay matapos na nagbigay ng espesyal na permiso sa pagpapalawig ng pagpuputol si Regional  Director Paquito Moreno ng Rehiyon I- Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) sa Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) noong Oktubre 30, 2015. Ang pagpuputol ay nagsimula noong Nobyembre 2 at matatapos sa Disyembre 16 sa taong ito.

northernwatch cartoon 12-7-15

Dahil sa aksyon ng dalawang ahensya, tila nawalan ng lakas ang pamahalaang panlalawigan ng Pangasinan na sa mga nakaraang mga buwan ay pinigilan ang pagpuputol sa mga punong kahoy sa MNR. Dahil sa pagpigil ng Sanguniang Panlalawigan, naantala ng pagpapaluwang ng naturang kalsada.Hindi binigyan pansin ng SP ang kanilang “Environmental Code” na nagbibigay ng permiso upang maalis ang mga punong kahoy para aangkop sa tamang sukat ang MNR na 10-metro mula sa gitna. Gumawa sila ng resolusyon upang hindi maituloy ang pagpapalawak nito.
Maliwanag na ang pagpipigil ng SP sa pagpuputol ng mga punong kahoy ay hindi dahil sa ang mga miyembro nito ay makakalikasan kundi dahil sa pulitika. Alam nila ay si dating representante ng ika-5 Distrito Mark O. Cojuangco ang nagsulong ng proyekto at siya ay tatakbo sa pagka-Gobernador sa halalang 2016.


December 7, 2015 at 7:14 pm Leave a comment

Gordon to government: Sponsor debates among candidates

DAGUPAN CITY – Senatorial candidate Richard Gordon urged the national government to sponsor a debate over television among the political candidates in the 2016 elections, to educate the voters about the programs of government the candidates would pursue.
“If there are no debates, the popular would win, the unsuitable (candidates) would win. In the end, they voters are the losers,” Gordon, who was here to meet with Philippine Red Cross volunteers, told reporters.
But he pointed out that the event won’t necessarily be a debate among the candidates, but a symposium,during which the candidates could elaborate on their programs and advocacy.
“This won’t just be for national candidates but also for local candidates,” he said, citing the debates sponsored by big international networks like CNN and BBC.
Gordon said the debates over the airwaves must be sponsored by the government to give the candidates an equal opportunity to introduce themselves to the voters.
If no debates are held, the voters would rely on the political advertisements which are “very expensive” and on surveys, as their basis for selecting whom to vote, he said.


December 7, 2015 at 7:02 pm Leave a comment

San Carlos COP cites measures vs. crimes

By Mortz C. Ortigoza
SAN CARLOS CITY – The chief of police (COP) in this 86-village city cited the various efforts he undertook to lower the crime rate and increase the crime efficiency solution of his police men.
 umayaw with multiplier force

NGO FOR POLICE. San Carlos City’s Police Chief Supt. Charles Umayam in a pep  talk with members of the non-government organization that extends
help to his policemen in maintaining peace & order in
 the 86 villages of the city.
Supt. Charles Umayam said  he encouraged barangay officials to have close coordination with the police to solve immediately criminalities, if not deter them. He also developed an efficient fast police reaction time after the commission of a crime.
He said crime solution in 2013 was 53.2 percent which was lower compared to 2014 which was 65.03 percent. We could credit this to the seminars and trainings conducted among the police. At the same time we go down to the grassroots which help solve the criminalities.


December 7, 2015 at 7:00 pm Leave a comment

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