Archive for December 26, 2016

PRRC pushes Dagupenos to beautify their rivers

By Mortz C. Ortigoza
DAGUPAN CITY – The director of the Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission (PRRC) encouraged Dagupenos to beautify the esteros and river system here by recovering the easement on the banks from the public’s encroachment.

ramil-tanRIVER CLEAN – UP. Director Ramil Tan of the Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission explains to Dagupan City Mayor Belen Fernandez and city department heads how the PRRC transformed the polluted esteros in Metro Manila into a clean and spruced up water system by recovering the river banks from illegal settlers. PHOTO: MORTZ C. ORTIGOZA


Director Ramil Tan, invited recently here by this City’s mayor, said this endeavor to return three to twenty meters width of pathways of the estero’s banks to the public was not a walk in the park.
Estero is a drainage canal in populated districts.
“Actually, wala pong particular na timeline kasi po gaya ng ginagawa ng PRRC pag sinabi po natin easement recovery for instance involving informal settlement, of course it is a convergent effort of the NHA, for the housing program. It is the convergence of the DILG, even the local government depending on how far, they can allocate housing provision to the PRRC then we can do a social preparation, it can take six months,”  he stressed.
He said from demolition of the properties of the informal settlers to the relocation to other place, the tedious process takes up to one year.


December 26, 2016 at 3:46 pm Leave a comment

ORTIGOZA: Gov’t brass caught betting in cockfight

“Huwag na daw nating pag –usapan iyon (We will not discuss it),” my radio tandem Harold Barcelona, who was already on air for two minutes with the traffic chief, blurted out when I entered the radio booth of DZRD 981 Sonshine Radio.
“Huwag na nating pag usapan” means we would not discuss on air the photos of Carlito Ocampo, Dagupan City’s traffic chief, which went viral on social media Face Book after he was pictured releasing his fighting cock in a cockpit arena in the City.
“Why would we not discuss it? It’s the big talk of the town and that’s what people want to know why the Public Order & Safety Office (POSO) chief was inside the arena’s glass wall covered platform preparing to release his cock, er, rooster to duke out with its opponent by slashing each other with their “Blade of Gory”. Besides, there was nothing illegal there since Ocampo was inside the cockpit (during a) weekend,” I countered.
Before the second half of the program and with some seven minutes commercial break, Ocampo, a retired policeman, acquiesced to my prodding to go public and explained that the picture taken by an elected barangay official a certain Village Kagawad Decano,who was identified with the mayor’s rival, took the photos on November 19 a Saturday.
“How about the two POSO enforcers who were seen escorting Ocampo inside?” Harold posed.
“If they were there inside to inform Ocampo of a pressing problem and they did not bet, there was no irregularity there,” I retorted.
Ocampo, who was probably enlightened about my argumentation, warmed and heated up and prepared himself for a tit-for-tat of with his critics who relished demonizing him at radio and social media when he was seen inside the “bulangan”.
He said it was not true that it was taken last December 7, a Wednesday.
“You go to the OSSBC (One-Stop-Shop Business Center), you can see there that the Tapuac Cockpit Arena opens only every weekend.”
He said he was a cock fighting aficionado since he was a policeman.
The small amount he bet, he explained, came from the hard earning he got from his security agency.
“Mga ilan ang security guards niyo all over Region-1?” Harold posed.
“Mga 400,” Ocampo answered.
“So kumikita pala si Kuya Lito (Ocampo) ng more or less P800,000 a month,” I mentally calculated at P2000  per guard and quipped.
“Kinsenas lang iyon,” Harold, who was poor in math, butted in.
“Hinde naman!” Ocampo coyly denied.
Ocampo said he was willing to be investigated by anybody where they could include his cockpit days when he was a policeman.
“Why make a big fuss on this, you go to the cockpit every weekend and you can see elected officials bet there for their favorite cocks,” he emphatically argued.
“Pati iyong nag picture elected government official, kasama ko ring nagsasabung,” he added.
“In pari delicto (in equal fault) pala kayong dalawa,” I blurted out with amusement.
“Saan nabibili iyang ‘In pare delicto’, kasamang Mortz?” Harold asked me again.
“Sa Quiapo” I told him to the amusement of Ocampo.
Ocampo told his detractors that in case he would be sacked from his post at POSO “hinde  ko iiyakan iyan, magpapa-inum pa ako!”
He said he accepted the thankless job at the traffic office because it was “pay – back time” to the mayor who played a significant part on his burgeoning business.


December 26, 2016 at 3:42 pm 1 comment

Poe hopes feeding program bill to pass next year

Senator Grace Poe is calling on her fellow legislators to throw their support on a legislative measure seeking to provide free nutri-meals to public school students in an effort to address malnutrition among schoolchildren and help them achieve a better future.grace-poe-december-2016                                                                       Senator Grace Poe

 Under the consolidated feeding program bill recently sponsored in the Senate floor, which included Poe’s pet measure Senate Bill No. 160,  K-12 students will benefit from the program.‎


December 26, 2016 at 3:40 pm Leave a comment

First ever Regional Anti-Child Labor Summit held 

SAN FERNANDO CITY, La Union – Anti-child labor advocates gathered at the first ever Regional Anti-Child Labor Summit at the Manna Mall in this city on December 17, benefitting 50 children and their parents or guardians.
The event, which is an initiative of the Department of Labor and Employment-Regional Office I, comprised of gift-giving activity,“salo-salo” and learning sessions as part of the agency’s prevention strategies against the worst forms of child labor.
DOLE-RO I Regional Director Henry John Jalbuena said the activities aimed to raise the awareness of the parents and their children on the ill effects of child labor and eventually engage them as partners in the government’s campaign against the problem.
“Changing human behavior towards child labor is the key to gaining the support of community people to our advocacy efforts,” Director Jalbuena said.
He said the DOLE implements a convergence program to address the multi-faceted problem which is largely linked with poverty.
“We continue to strengthen our network of stakeholders to ensure the provision of comprehensive services to child laborers or children at risk and their families to effectively lick the problem,” the regional director said.


December 26, 2016 at 3:37 pm Leave a comment

After sundown, calesas take over Dagupan streets

By Yolanda Sotelo
(This was written sometime in 2011. We are reprinting it here as Dagupenos and visitors again enjoy calesa rides along the city streets – Editor)
DAGUPAN CITY –  When the sun is gone and the city is awash with streetlights, calesas (horse drawn carriages) start coming to  downtown.

© 2016 Willie Lomibao ImagesENJOYING A CALESA RIDE. A family enjoy a calesa ride along the major streets of Dagupan City after attending the Christmas eve midnight mass. WILLIE LOMIBAO


No, they don’t take over modern vehicles that clog Dagupan’s arteries. They just offer joyrides for those seeking to relive the “good old days” when the main transportation in the city are the calesas or karetelas;  a romantic drive for lovers, a bonding moment for families and a thrilling experience for  young children.
The carriages may look incongruous in the streets dominated by modern vehicles, but  city drivers seemed to be used to their presence and give way whenever they hear the “clang clang” sound that announces the carriages’ arrival.
The calesa rides in the city started in 2001 when Dennis Muyalde, who just arrived from a working stint in Taiwan, bought a carriage and a horse and went around downtown. Then Mayor Benjamin Lim and former Councilor Michael Fernandez saw him and suggested that they bring the horse-drawn carriages to the city.
The calesa rides were introduced during the fiesta celebration in December 2001 when there were many balikbayans (expatriates), Muyalde, 34, recalled. The carriages then came from different towns like Malasiqui and San Carlos City.
At present, 25 white carriages that can each carry three passengers, all come from Salisay and Mangin villages of  Dagupan.  The owners and cocheros (drivers) have been loosely organized for fare control and discipline, Muyalde, the group’s leader, said.
The carriages are required to put reflectorized stickers at both sides and at the back and flashlights in front as safety precautions. The cocheros  have requested for mayor’s permit to operate but were informed that there was no need for it yet.
Muyalde said a sightseeing tour around the downtown loop  takes around 20 minutes (depending on traffic) and cost P30 each passenger and each trip has a minimum of three passengers. For longer trips, passengers may haggle with the cocheros for the fare which is usually P300 an hour.
There are almost no historical sights in the city, although 66 years ago, American General Douglas MacArthur landed at Lingayen Gulf, walked down the city streets and held temporary fort at the Home Economics Building of West Central Elementary School.
But the ride offers nostalgic moments for elderly balikbayan-passengers who love to talk about how the city looked like in their youth, pointing to some old buildings that evoke a memory, and lamenting how a certain spot already looks very different from their past.
They would also tell accompanying children of the days when the carriages were the king of the road, and that the only environmental pollution they create are the horses’ droppings and urine.
Muyalde said that the cocheros of Salisay and Mangin are told to keep their carriages sparkling clean and their horses, smelling nice. They are not also allowed to leave the droppings on the road. A sack is tied below the horse’s bottom to catch the poop and cocheros are required to bring cans to be used when the horses need to leak.
He claimed that there had been no serious accident since the cocheros started the tourism trade in 2001, except when a doctor’s car (who said he was on emergency call) hit a horse which fell down and skinned its knees.
“But the horse is okay now and is back on the street,” Muyalde said, adding, “Horses are always on the defensive, they don’t want to get hurt.”
On ordinary days, a cochero earns around P300 a night but during fiestas and other celebrations, they can earn a minimum of P2,000 a night. Muyalde said carriages are not used during daytime when it is hot and the passengers cannot enjoy the ride.
Muyalde’s  fascination with horses and carriages started when he was a young boy.  After all, he belonged to a family of cocheros, his grandfather Raymundo and his father Ben were both cocheros.
 So when he can afford it, he brought a horse and a carriage “for fun” but which turned out to be an income-generating venture.
He now has seven horses and three carriages, has cocheros, and services weddings and funerals.
“But the horses for weddings are different from those for funerals,” he said.
Muyalde also buys and sells horses which he source from Calayan Island and Burgos town in western Pangasinan. He also designs and builds carriages for “pasada” and for weddings.
When his grandfather died in 2006, Muyalde said he hired 26 horses as “royal guards” during the funeral procession. A fitting tribute to a cochero whose  grandson helped brought back the days when horse-drawn carriages dominated the streets of Dagupan.


December 26, 2016 at 3:33 pm Leave a comment

Villasis pays homage to eggplant


December 26, 2016 at 3:28 pm Leave a comment

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