Archive for July, 2008

Standing on fragile sand

Posted in dti davao norte, tagum business with tags , , , on July 31, 2008 by cha monforte

aug 1

The Department of Trade and Industry provincial office Wednesday gave a not so rosy picture of Tagum City’s economy as its chief specialist Vedastito Galvez bared of a low 30-percent yearly renewal rate of businesses after the five-year period of effectivity of business name registrations. That even while there was 74-percent increase of the business name registrations from 2006 to 2007.

Since while the city seems to have already an economy and a business configuration that can already feed its own growth and urbanization since it became a gold boomtown towards the mid 80s, DTI’s statistics on lowest 30-percent renewal rate of business registrations would either imply that these microenterprises, with capitalization of less than P3 million, on where the city’s formal economy has been dependent of, there is unsustainability of micro livelihood and businesses, or this backbone of the city’s economy has just always been beaten black and blue by the uncontrollable macroeconomic blues causing the collapse and bankruptcy of microenterprises. Or a combination of both of these.

The DTI’s renewal rate needs to be treated seriously as each business registration is virtually a business in place and operational, while the DTI provincial office said that it cancels out businesses registered that it catches to be non-operational within six months after the release of business names. Indeed, DTI statistics don’t lie.

If this is so, then Tagum’s economy might be already standing on loose, fragile sand of its economic fundamentals, and its continued sustainability might have only been propped up by continuous streams of microenterprises which put up their chips, while the bad effects of losing microenterprises are only offset by the informal sector of the vast slippered folks and lowly vendors in the underground economy. Unfortunately, those in underground economy have been shut out from the official DTI statistics, and we could not further postulate and assess.

Even then, it has always been the informal sector of the underground economy that has been the savior whenever the country’s economy suffers a crunch like the one that is pinching us ad infinitum nowadays. (Cha Monforte/Rural Urban News)

A closer look of Tagum’s urban sprawl

Posted in pros amatong with tags , , , on July 31, 2008 by cha monforte


By Cha Monforte

Lowly tricycle driver Geraclio Awitin (gee, it’s not only PGMA who could single out an example) has made points in justifying that the latest fare increase approved by the City Council is just proper and fitting. It’s not the camel’s back that he broke for this pyrrhic victory of his tricycle driving sector. Rather, it’s the daily backbreaking livelihood of tricycle driving which has allowed him to see the city’s spaces, skylines and limits.

He said that the city has actually a “wide terrain” sewed by lengthy streets and roads. “Hey, look the palengke and terminal are so far from the downtown area,” he gushed. I easily understood his point- that the length between the people’s source of food and entry and exit point and the central business district (CBD) and the government center is one big gas guzzler and it was not the current Mayor Rey Chiong Uy but ex-Mayor Baby Suaybaguio who set this so wide apart.

It was a policy and an executive privilege (just to borrow the gung-ho words from SSS chair Romulo Neri) of the Suaybaguio administration that has screwed down a wide urban sprawl that is now showing cost ineffectiveness and inefficiencies of the city’s spaces. If only today’s Trade Center had remained as a flea market the supply of basic goods and food could have still been walkable in near distance from central employment areas. It matters now to see downtown employees and workers taking one more ride to the public market after the 5:00 P.M. siren to buy the lacking foodstuff they need before finally proceeding home. There’s cost ineffectiveness in this.

From all indications, the passenger tricycles have only been subsidized by this latest fare increase owing to the wide urban sprawl intentioned mindlessly in the past and which is now a costly reality to the city’s residents. The Trade Center has a centrally strategic space, not to mention its skyline, where even a flea market public could be wholesomely integrated to jibe with the commercial, institutional and religious blocks including the public plazas.

Iligan City has its own downtown Palao firmly planted on the ground while Cagayan de Oro City had its downtown Cogon market not relocated but modernized onsite sometime a decade ago. The City of Golden Friendship was only becoming proactive to its urbanization trends that it just created a new public market, the known Agora and refurbished through build-operate-transfer scheme another old one at Carmen to service the new residential enclaves that sprouted later as the city’s urban sprawl crept outward to its wide size at present. The same is true to Davao City’s Agdao and Bankerohan markets. They’re still at least near if not walkable, although there’s more economies of scale in the Big City owing to its 1.2-million population that its fare increase only necessitated a minimum of P1 or P1.50 only.

But past ambition of creating a new wide Tagum quite ostensibly unmade the city’s spatial efficiency of putting up the flea market at the CBD criss-crossed by a gridiron street system that was not yet lengthy until Totit-market-slaughterhouse complex rose up. Such closeness and efficiency were obviously well reckoned by the city’s founding fathers. The trend in Europe now in urban design is towards making walkable environment in old cities and creating walkable cities for new ones. That is for efficiency and environment-friendly purposes: for people to live not far to the establishments they need so they could just walk, ride a bike and save and do away with their automobiles that not only consume a high-priced gasoline and crude but also contribute to global warming.

BLOGBUZZ: Montevista Mayor Teofista “Pistay” Jauod is reportedly ill of a debilitating disease. We’ll pray for the mayor’s health and recovery…. We don’t know why Dawn Zulueta, better half of DavNor 2nd District Cong. Anton Lagdameo refused to walk down the red carpet during the Monday’s SONA. We missed our handsome Cong. Anton with her beauteous Dawn on TV…. Maybe Dawn is media-shy when it comes to mingling with top politicians…. Rumors flew thick over the weekend that the much-ballyhooed political unity in Comval has been broken up with the reported support of provincial elder Pros Amatong to a long-time friend and political ally Dr. Antonio Sebumpan of Maco and the reported support of Gob. Chiongkee Uy to Raoul Sarenas, a kin of Pantukan Mayor Celso “Tok” Sarenas for the election of the Daneco board member’s slot in coastal Comval. We’re still verifying this yet after the doctor won…. Mayor Sarenas had reportedly an earlier falling out with Amatong, who wanted the SK Fed boardmember to come from Mabini for having no boardmember at Comval SP at present. In the end, Sarenas son become the SK Fed prexy. There’s already wrangling in their unified ranks…. Maybe the potshot of the provincial elder Amatong during the last turnover of Lakas provincial chairmanship is a first smoke of a fire within. It was Amatong’s exhortation to protect the political unity that would be threatened by intrigues coming from among themselves…. It’s good that someone has realized that intrigues come from among politicians and not from the media, which just report what the politicians have done, what they are doing and what they will be doing. We do not create the news, it’s you who make the news which we cover in tail.… In Sebumpan’s case, the old man is still much calling the shots and proving he’s no lameduck unlike Joecab who is also now outside the government….. But the provincial elderly has to relinquish his provincial chairmanship of Lakas to Gob. Chiongkee or possibly have his unprecedented undefeated electoral record for almost 4 decades tarnished by the smallest party elections. (For online edition, visit my blog at:

Let’s bite harder the bullet

Posted in tagum, tagum city with tags , , on July 31, 2008 by cha monforte

july 30

Tagumenyos are hit hard too by the global crisis and in our part economic hardship caused by skyrocketing prices of fuel, rice and other commodities. The city is too a microcosm of the nation. It is not an isolated part of the country. And Tagumenyos would now be burdened by the increased fare pegged at P10 and no longer P7 after the provincial board will concur with the City Council’s ordinance approving the P3 fare increase earlier sought by the lowly tricycle drivers and operators.

With this, the city is breaking as sort of record for having increased at what the commuters said as big amount when other places are only partaking a part of the global crisis at an increased fare jumping by P1 to P1.50 only.

If the provincial board so concurs with the city ordinance, then we’ll start biting harder the bullet, so to speak. It’s hard times made harder by the clamor of the tricycle drivers and operators who said it was long overdue as the gasoline price had long doubled up since then.

But the wonder of it all is why the affected drivers and operators demanded for an increase of P3 when the P10 fare is just equal to what the habal-habal drivers have all been asking at the minimum from their passengers. By asking for the P3 increase they made themselves more disadvantaged as expectedly passengers without heavy cargo or children in tow would now better prefer to ride the fast habal-habal single motorcycles as they have the same fare anyway. But that would be only during sunny days as passengers on the rush could still withstand a fast and short travel even under blistering and scorching heat of noontime sun. The heat could be offset anyway by the open tropical wind.

For asking to much be equal to habal-habals the tricycle drivers and operators themselves ended up losing more to the unfair competition posed by the colorum habal-habals that now outnumber the trikes. They will end up biting the bullet the hardest. We contend a discount of P1 less from the P10 or P9 average fare could give more better leverage for the tricycles to this stiff competition of ferrying the lucrative market of passengers in the city. (Cha Monforte/Rural Urban News)

NEWS: City Council wary over rice-banana conversion by Dole-Philippines

Posted in tagum, tagum city with tags , on July 31, 2008 by cha monforte

july 30

The Tagum City Council is currently investigating a possible unauthorized conversion of ricelands at the city’s outskirts to cavendish banana production involving the giant multinational banana firm Dole-Philippines.

The City Council last Monday invited representatives of Dole-Philippines on its next session to shed light on the land development taking place at a 2.2-hectare riceland at Barangay Pagsabangan which is reportedly being converted to banana plantation despite the standing two-year national suspension in the approval of riceland conversion to other uses.

During the Question Hour on last Monday’s session of the City Council, representatives of farmers’ cooperative Panibanco aired their apprehension over the land development such as the construction of a drainage chopping off a ricefield which they said could threaten the P12-million waterworks system earlier funded on loan under the World Bank assisted-Agrarian Reform Communities Development project (ARCDP) for the Pagsabangan Agrarian Reform Community (ARC).

The City Council moved to invite also representatives of other government agencies involved in land conversion process such as the Department of Agrarian Reform and concerned parties after several councilors differed on their opinions on land conversions and sought for the certainty of the implementation of President Arroyo’s Administrative Order 226-A which suspended for two years the processing and approval of all land conversion applications of rice lands in view of the rice crisis.

Councilor Reynaldo Salve, a lawyer, contended that there is yet no specific law prohibiting the conversion of agricultural crops apparently referring to the shift of production from rice to banana as to the case Pagsabangan.

Councilor Francisco Remitar on the other hand said be believed there are guidelines pertinent to Pagsabangan case.

The initial probe on the Pagsabagan land conversion case has led to other query on the city’s liability on the P12-million World Bank loan for the Pagsabangan waterworks system which was said had been secured on condition of joint liability with the barangay and the city government.

Councilor Robert “Tete” So wanted to know the extent of liability of the city government in case of a project failure as he expressed wariness saying that the city might wake up one day indebted to the World Bank.

Councilor Marlene Baura then moved for the City Planning and Development Office to make its assessment report to clarify on the waterworks project at Pagsabangan to the City Council. (Cha Monforte/Rural Urban News)

NEWS: P10 fare for Tagum tricycles approved

Posted in tagum, tagum city, tagum city councilors with tags , on July 31, 2008 by cha monforte

july 30

It will be already P10 and no longer P7 fare for a normal tricycle ride in Tagum City as the City Council unanimously approved yesterday the P3 fare increase earlier sought by tricycle drivers and operators.

But Vice Mayor Allan Rellon, in an interview, said that the fare increase would only take effect after the concurrence of the provincial board on the City Ordinance 305, series of 2008 which increased the tricycle fare.

The fare increase though provides for selective charging of fare as the students, senior citizens and differently-abled persons would have only to shoulder a P1 increase or pay only P8.

Aurora Lozada, long-practising anchor of DXDN Radyo Ukay, which aired the session live, described yesterday’s session as “productive”.

But others were simply not happy with the measure.

A high school teacher who did not want to be identified complained that his meager salary could be further eaten up by the P3 fare increase, which he said as “dako ra kayo” (a big amount of increase). He added that a P1 increase could be “tolerable” and not the P3.

Tricycle driver Geraclio Awitin told Sidlak he was happy with the fare increase saying that it just actually returned their previous income when the price of gasoline was still P30 per liter compared to the present P60 per liter. “Buhay-buhay lang,” he added.

He said that the increase was long overdue considering that the price of gasoline has long risen up as well as the high prices of other commodities foremost the rice.

But he said that tricycle drivers and operators have the other pressing problem of the unfair competition of the habal-habal single motorcycles which he said is also another major factor that has been reducing their daily take-home income.

He complained of the many colorum habal-habal single motorcycles hawking up their passengers.

He said that there is an easy entry and exit of habal-habal motorcycle drivers from neighboring towns such as Asuncion , Kapalong, Maco and as far as Pantukan who do freelance driving in the city to do a living. “Daghan ang dayo dinhi”

He said that the P3 price increase was just reasonable considering also that Tagum City has a wide urban sprawl with usually long streets and roads, citing that the downtown area has a far distance to the public market and the integrated terminal.

But he complained that even with the P7 fare they have been encountering a lot of passengers who are not giving the extra P1 for every kilometer after the first three kilometers covered by the P7.

“We will still observe what would happen next under the P10 fare,” he said referring to the behavior of the not a few passengers who are not paying for the additional P1 per kilometer after the basic P10 fare.

One estimate said that habal-habal motorcycles plying in the city streets already numbered about 2,500 as seven months ago the estimate was 1,800.

The City Council’s committee on transportation had conducted a public hearing on the fare increase last July 22 but reports said that since there was virtually no opposition to the measure the council has eventually approved the standard P3 fare increase.

After getting entangled with amendments and on processes of approving committee reports and readings on the measure, the City Council yesterday on first motion of the Councilor Rey Salve unanimously approved the ordinance which enacted the latest fare increase. (Cha Monforte/Rural Urban News)

NEWS: Cong. Anton says SONA bares a pro-poor GMA

Posted in cong. anton lagdameo with tags , , on July 31, 2008 by cha monforte

july 29

Davao del Norte 2nd District Congressman Anton Lagdameo said the State of the Nation Address rendered by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo yesterday no less than bared a pro-poor President.

Asked through text about his reaction to the SONA, Cong. Lagdameo replied that it clearly cast a President “who is working hard to help alleviate hardship of the majority who are hungry and suffering from high costs. Her programs are pro-poor.”

He said that the “President has been addressing problems that started before her term and she is trying to make it easier for the next administration. She is pursuing an agenda which is unpopular but which will benefit everyone in the long run.”

“We are currently facing a crisis which was triggered by global factors and not by her administration. That is why I am very supportive of her programs because I believe that these programs lay down the economic fundamentals that will really benefit our nation as a whole and at the same time answer the immediate problems of our people,” replied Cong. Anton. (Cha Monforte/Rural Urban News)

What about us Madam President?

Posted in comval, davao del norte with tags , , on July 31, 2008 by cha monforte


What about for the Davao del Norte and Compostela Valley , Madam President? In her eight State of the Nation (SONA) yesterday, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo almost hit a boundary of the mainland valley, when she cited Agusan del Sur as one the provinces to where a national intervention is immediately forthcoming. That neighboring northern province along with a few other Mindanao provinces which she specifically mentioned in her data- and accomplishment-bristling speech. But since DavNor and Comval are not calamity-stricken provinces, ours could as well better qualify as the provinces that could be enlisted to partake in her spirited exhortation to be self-reliant amidst the worst global fuel and food crises that she frequently dammed yesterday as causes of the country’s ills.

We don’t know if Press Secretary Jess Dureza, who is a Dabawenyo, was part of the team of speechwriters who collectively pooled their inputs to the final SONA speech of the President. Maybe he was just not pulling his own chair and was putting modesty in the order of things in not stating at least the name of Davao City or a Davao province in the speech.

Be that as it was, we are after all bedazzled by the figures and thanks rendered by the President as she defended the benefits of continuing to exact the Value Added Tax  as a cushioning net against the trepidations of the global crisis.

But for trumpeting her gains and accomplishments that have nationwide impacts, at least we know that she is “caring so much for this nation” that included us, that “no one’s political plans can threaten our nation’s survival”. But for us in the DavNor and Comval that are not calamity-stricken but are instead insurgency–stricken, the President’s latter quotation is short of saying a baffling hint that she’s a staying figure while also saying that she was actually making the next President easier for him or her to govern and accomplish after her term. (Cha Monforte/Rural Urban News)