Archive for September, 2008

The vicious cycle

Posted in comval councilors, davao del norte councilors with tags , , , on September 29, 2008 by cha monforte

sept 29

Next day is already October and we are fast inching our way to 2009, past the first year of the current term of our elected officials but the year before electoral year of 2010. It’s just like yesterday when elected officials took their oath of office and we are already near to electoral tempo. Many first-term councilors are complaining over the so short three-year period in a term. Wa pa gani kaayo nanginit sa paglingkod, atubangon na pod unsaon ma-reelect. Many of them are amenable to Cha-Cha (Charter Change). They say 4 years is good enough for them to accomplish something in the legislative mill, and not three years.

But sadly, the Constitution is not for the councilors. The 1987 framers did it intentionally after Marcos and his minions had their way in wanting to serve forever. A lot of people like the three-year term so that besides the fiesta of holding elections near the after the recent one they can have the opportunity to elect new officials to replace the non-performing, abusive and corrupt officials. Good community leaders can also have the immediate opportunity to run for public office.

The thing then is for the city and town councilors to have their presence felt in their communities and by their constituents during their three years of stay in office. Shying out from the usual solicitations and requests from constituents has often been tagged as one major cause of the failure of term holders to be reelected in office. They could not just evade from these. Many councilors and boardmembers in Davao del Norte and Compostela Valley are in fact branded as gahi o timbirado ug liog after they were elected in the last 2007 polls.

Not that the doleout system should be perpetuated. Our local legislators who have no pork barrel funds have the responsibility to explain to the people their sacred duty to legislate and not to implement projects. There’s no need for pogi points from giving but pogi points from legislating policies that redound for the people’s welfare.

But sadly, the people and even barangay officials have long known of the need to beg as resources always last in our poverty-stricken countrysides. That’s why councilors, boardmembers and even vice governors and mayors clamor for their share in the pork barrel so they could give to their begging constituents. And so the local legislators and the one presiding them beg to their mayors and governors knowing that the latter have dispensable resources out from their intelligence fund, which is not really so “auditable” by the Commission on Audit, discretionary funds from the pork barrel and from other items in the development and general funds and savings they could identify or realign for the needy barangays or group of constituents (include also those from dirty sources from winning suppliers and contractors).

For these, and as often, this doleout and patronage culture in our politics has often blurred the concept of true public service and is continuously feeding an ember to whet the public appetite of seeing elected officials giving money and something during their term of office, rather than good legislations from our local legislators and visionary plans and projects from chief executives. Enmeshed in this culture, public officials become wily or are forced to corrupt.

Needless to state, and only as reminder- this culture has got to stop as this only reinforces the vicious cycle of corruption in our public offices.  (Cha Monforte/Rural Urban News) http://ruralurbanews.blogspot.com

NEWS: People’s initiative petition filed vs. LGU P90 M bond flotation in Compostela Valley town

Posted in councilor raul caballero, mayor humol with tags , , , , , , on September 25, 2008 by cha monforte

NABUNTURAN, Compostela Valley- The people’s initiative petition seeking to repeal the controversial ordinance approving the P90-million bond flotation project of the municipal government of this town was finally filed to the local sanggunian Wednesday.

The bond flotation seeks to fund for the construction of a new public market building.

The Nabunturan initiative petition runs as the first test case in the exercise of people’s initiative in Mindanao as provided by the Constitution while only a couple of cases have been reportedly made in Luzon.

The petitioners led by Councilor Raul Caballero were composed of the authorized representatives of the petition, youth leaders, and representatives of public market vendors, who have since been apprehensive of being dislocated once the project is materialized.

Antonio M.I. Mencidor, one of the authorized representatives of the petitioners, said that their petition is not meant to obstruct development but stop the extravagant, exorbitant and expensive bond flotation project.

He added that the municipal bond float was rejected even by the town’s Local Finance Committee for its “uncertain terms”.

The petition seeks to repeal Municipal Ordinance No. 2008-10 which approved the P90-million bond flotation pushed by Mayor Macario Humol, Vice Mayor Romeo Clarin and eight of the eleven town councilors.

Also opposing the project are Councilors Alfonso Tabas Jr and Editha Arangcon.

Lead counsel of the initiative petitioners is Atty. Dexter Lopoz.

Petitioners stated that under Sections 120, 121 and 122 of the Local Government Code of 1991, local Initiative is resorted to or initiated by a minimum of 100 registered voters of the municipality directly in order “to repeal a clearly oppressive and grossly disadvantageous local ordinance which if not repealed will result to great wastage to taxpayers’ money, dissipate the coffers of the local government unit and more importantly, displace hundreds of market vendors from the said facility resulting to loss of income, loss of jobs and grievous economic injuries to the ordinary citizens of Nabunturan”.

They charged that “the nature of bond flotation with its floating rates of interest plus the numerous underwriting, trusteeship, guarantee and consultancy fees (all of which are recurring expenses save for the one-time consultancy fee of P2,700,000.00), the actual cost of bond flotation and its ensuing operations cost cannot be fully ascertained”.

They stated that compared to bond flotation, a loan from a Government Financial Institution (GFI) has the “cost of borrowing properly stated and easily provided in the budget” aside from the fact that “easier terms can be negotiated with the depository bank”.

They charged that as found out by the LFC during the two (2) years while the public market is under construction, the LGU of Nabunturan will already spend P39,600,000 on interest payments alone as compared to only a projected total interest payments for GFI borrowing at P30,933,750 for the same period of time.

For among these, the petitioners charged the “whopping P9,000,000 difference in interest payments making the bond flotation project prove to be grossly disadvantageous to the government”. (Cha Monforte/Rural Urban News) http://ruralurbanews.blogspot.com

NEWS: COMVAL UNITY THREATENED

Posted in maricar apsay, ramil gentugaya with tags , , on September 25, 2008 by cha monforte

Potential congressional bets form shadow slates

The much-touted political unity of incumbent leaders in Compostela Valley especially in the District 1 is continued to be threatened with the reported formation of “shadow slates” of both Vice Gov. Ramil Gentugaya and Boardmember Maricar Zamora-Apsay, who both earlier confirmed to run for the congressional post by 2010.

Sources said that recently both of the camps, although feigning to be friendly in public gatherings, have recently formed their respective “shadow slates” in the scenario of break-up of the merged Lakas-Kampi administration party in choosing the standard-bearer for the post that is being finished for serving by the last-termer Cong. Manuel “Way Kurat” Zamora.

The shadow slates that have been much-talked of have divided the incumbent boardmembers and mayors in the district.

Earlier, Boardmembers Dexter Lopoz, Neri Barte and last-termer Armando Codilla and Monkayo Mayor Manuel Brillantes and Maragusan Mayor Cesar Colina Sr were reported to be supporting the congressional bid of Gentugaya.

Apsay on the other hand has reportedly got Boardmember Paul Galicia, former Maragusan Mayor Arsenio Yanong and former Boardmember William Andres in the initial list for her “shadow slate” while taking the support of Montevista Mayor Teofista Jauod and last-termer Compostela Mayor Reynaldo Castillo.

In this scenario, both Gentugaya and Apsay might end up fielding non-Lakas rivals in towns where they have no support of incumbent mayors.

As this developed, reports said that in Compostela town opposing councilors are reportedly blocking the plan of Mayor Castillo of getting a P35-million bank loan for an infrastructure project for his last term.

Reports said that the tiff involved councilors allied with the former Vice Mayor Joerge Rapista, who was defeated in 2007 for mayoralty bout with Castillo.

Sources also said that current Vice Mayor Jesse Bolo, who ran in tandem with Rapista in the last polls, had already pledged as Lakas member, but is entertaining to run for a mayor still if he would not be endorsed as official mayoral bet of the administration party.

Bolo, for becoming a Lakas member, becomes the most senior incumbent official who could claim for the administration’s mayoral bet but sources said that Cong. Zamora has not been endorsing Bolo yet for the post even in jest during public gatherings where both were present.

Sources also said that the influential councilor Dolfo Ang is also aiming for the mayoral post if Rapista would run with him as his vice mayor.

Otherwise, Ang would run as vice mayoral bet of Rapista if the latter decides for a comeback, sources said.

In the last polls, Castillo and Rapista had only more than 1,500 votes between them as a margin.

Councilor Haidee Suarez is also reportedly eyeing the mayoral post.

On the other hand, Mayor Castillo because of health reason is now contemplating to run as vice mayor than as vice governor especially after provincial officials have not earlier given support to his plan of running as vice governor, sources added.

But sources said that since Bolo is not being endorsed yet by Cong. Zamora and the latter is the Lakas district chairman, the congressman might have the mayoral post for himself as the administration’s party standard bearer with Castillo as his vice mayoral bet

But that scenario might pull a hometown decision of voting a mayor really coming from Compostela, sources told Sidlak.

Zamora’s town is Monkayo while he has his congressional office on his three terms located at Compostela, which he considered as his second hometown. (Cha Monforte/Rural Urban News) http://ruralurbanews.blogspot.com

Zero pork

Posted in boardmember roger israel with tags , on September 24, 2008 by cha monforte

sept 24

Davao del Norte Boardmember Roger Israel must be at least understood when he let loose his sentiment last Monday’s session over the absence again of the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) in the Annual Investment Plan of the province for 2009.

So we’ll expect that Davao del Norte boardmembers will be left holding an empty bag again for next year, the time which BM Israel has earlier professed he would join in any fray between and among other BMs in the session hall, kay di na siya mahadlok makasala.

With that prospect, DavNor BMs can only beg and beg to the one holding the provincial kitty at a time when DavNor’s Great Tug of War across all SPs and SBs would already have been heightened.

But under another prospect that a continued zero-pork scenario could open an easy floodgate of raiding incumbents under the baton of Governor Rodolfo del Rosario, the tendency of the one holding purse is to cave in to the clamor of the boardmembers for a share of the PDAF, which is otherwise dubbed as the pork barrel fund for local legislators.

Then, BM Israel might have a point after all in releasing a sigh over his fear of stepping on the toes of the provincial power holders at this early, and in planning to have it coming by next year.

There’s double-edge knife that springs from such statement. One is that Israel is still ready to absorb shocks of not having a pork barrel to live with as a politician always solicited by thousands of begging constituents. Second, and this pertains to time, he might be already courageous enough by 2009 to shake off whatever fear of political reprisals and upsets in his long career as a politician spiced by his jump-hopping acrobatics from the city council to the SP, and vice versa, that in the end, maybe he’ll no longer fear of treading to the other political fence of the Floirendos.

And so he might say, so what if he’s not given a pork barrel so he would still bring a paltry sum from his pay taken home after the usual tolicitors would have their day. For he has the other fence, too, to rely on for huge logistics for his reelection or running to other post. Unfortunately or fortunately, Israel’s colleagues might also be secretly thinking on this. (Cha Monforte/Rural Urban News) http://ruralurbanews.blogspot.com

NEWS: Town anti-bond flotation group ready to file people’s initiative petition

Posted in nabunturan with tags , on September 24, 2008 by cha monforte

sept 22

The group that has been opposing the controversial P90-million bond flotation project of Nabunturan municipal government is now ready to file its people’s initiative petition before the Sangguniang Bayan after it managed to secure signatures of more than 200 registered voters in town.

In an interview, Antonio M.I. Mencidor, one of those authorized to file the petition complaint, said that the anti-bond float oppositors will file anytime this week to the SB their petition which seeks to repeal Municipal Ordinance No. 2008, that authorized the P90-million bond flotation that would fund for the construction of a new public market in town.

The project has been actively pushed by Mayor Macario Humol who is supported by Vice Mayor Romeo Clarin and eight of the 11 councilors.

Opposing the project are Councilors Raul Caballero, Alfonso Tabas Jr. and Editha Arangcon.

Under the New Local Government Code, a local initiative can be initiated or resorted by a minimum of 100 registered voters in the municipality to directly repeal an ordinance.

The Nabunturan bond float oppositors charged that the said municipal ordinance is exorbitant, extravagant, oppressive and grossly disadvantageous to the government.

In case the SB fails to act or disapproved on the petition within the time required by law, the oppositors have no option but appeal and petition the Comelec, which if it finds the petition meritorious will then set a date to put the petition in a referendum of all voters in the municipality, Mencidor said.

At the latest, the pro-bond float councilors enacted a supplemental budget last month providing an item for “P40-million borrowing”, which had confused the oppositors on why the municipal government would be resorting to borrowing when the local administration has all been telling that the bond float would not engage in a loan. (Cha Monforte/Rural Urban News) http://ruralurbanews.blogspot.com


NEWS: Zero ‘pork barrel’ for DavNor BMs for 2009

Posted in gov. rodolfo del rosario with tags , , , , on September 24, 2008 by cha monforte

sept 23

The Davao del Norte Sangguniang Panlalawigan approved yesterday the province’s Annual Investment Plan (AIP) for 2009 without an item Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) which has been looked up as the pork barrel fund of provincial boardmembers just like the first year in the administration of Governor Rodolfo del Rosario.

Boardmember Roger Israel, despite moving for the approval of the AIP yesterday, ostensibly expressed drawn-out regret for the absence of PDAF for boardmembers and vice governor and prayed that they still be given for it next year from other sources and re-aligned items of the chief executive.

Sources said that Gov. del Rosario when he won for his present term had stopped the practice of giving PDAF amounting to P500,000 per year to boardmembers as what had happened during the time of his predecessor Gov. Gelacio Gementiza.

But Boardmember Jose Recarido Federiso, an advocate of participatory governance, on the other hand, reminded anew his colleagues to put the AIP to proper consultations with the people starting at the grassroots level, the barangays and puroks “so the people could express their sentiments” on government plans.

The AIP, which is a compendium of identified projects, was just submitted last week to the SP after a joint meeting with relevant committees and department heads.

A government project could not be funded and implemented without being listed in the AIP otherwise it is illegal under the law.

On the other hand, sources said that the Compostela Valley provincial boardmembers had accordingly concurred with the move of Gov. Arturo “Chiongkee” Uy of not giving them PDAF since the first year so that their PDAFs could instead be funded for high-impact infrastructure projects like the school buildings and roads.

During the time of former Gov. Jose “Joecab” Caballero, the Davao del Norte’s PDAF came in the budgetary item, financial assistance to the SP. It was popularly dubbed as Rural Development Fund (RDF) which mimicked the congressman’s Countryside Development Fund (CDF) or later the PDAF.

During Caballero’s last term, each boardmember and the vice governor shared P1 million and P2 million yearly direct allocations, respectively, with each half of it treated as grants and donations in accounts in the legislative department. It was directly disbursed passing only the vice governor’s approval.

Later the Commission on Audit disallowed the RDF directly disbursed without the governor’s approval which ended one boardmember to the Ombudsman for allegedly giving it to fictitious dead and sick constituents.

The former governor justified that he was giving RDF as show of magnanimity and understanding to fellow incumbent politicians who had been faced with a lot of solicitations and requests from constituents using thousands of reasons ranging from cradle to grave. (Cha Monforte/Rural Urban News) http://ruralurbanews.blogspot.com

Scuds for DavNor SP

Posted in arrel olano, baby suaybaguio, board member larry caminero, boardmember jose recarido federiso, chiong uy, davnor boardmember, davnor capitol, ruwel peter gonzaga, yayong gementiza with tags , , , , , on September 22, 2008 by cha monforte

BLOGISTA

By Cha Monforte

It seems that the City Council has been sending scuds to the hall of Davao del Norte SP. Last month there was a city ordinance that Tagum’s old political turk Tony Lagunzad detonated for being “vague”.

It was about an NFA lot subjected to a spot zoning and reclassification from agricultural to residential land use. It triggered a verbal ruckus at the SP, and so sooner it blew over to the face of Lagunzad, who was left out in the cold as the inquisitive Boardmember Ely Dacalus abandoned him and joined with the rest present in approving the measure. In the end, Lagunzad abstained. He was so lonely- home alone.

Such verbal wrangling inside the SP of Lakas/Kampi partymates is a portent of things to come even while the Great Tug of War across all DavNor SPs and SBs was not yet evidently coming unlike now after the Cong. Anton’s little subterfuge in the 1st District last week. Maybe there’s already backroom talk in the DavNor SP that Gob. Dolfo and his “eyes and ears” inside the Capitol, chief of all is his politically nosey administrator, have to better watch out.

BM Roger Israel murmured during the verbal tussle between BM Larry Caminero and BM Pol Monteroso over BM “Joe” Federiso’s landmark ordinance on participatory governance three months ago that he was not joining in the fray “kay mahadlok ko makasala”, obviously referring to a political wrath of Gob. Dolfo. “Seguro sa 2009 na,” Israel, the non-Dick, muttered.

Now the scud of the Purok Ordinance stirred the SP anew after it was left to gather dust in one of the SP drawers when it was first quelled from detonating last February. It is over 7 months now when the measure is intentionally- obviously- left to sleep lying on the table. It was not really shelved after Atty. Pasamonte struck the Purok Ordinance down as “legally infirmed” and following the city council resolution asking for its reconsideration.

But after that, nothing was heard, until the SP’s committee of laws chaired by BM Artemio San Juan dropped it like a hot potato to the committee of government and non-government organizations chaired by BM Caminero.

It was not in the dream of BM Caminero that one day he would be presiding a committee hearing attended by lawyers locking their horns over a measure suspected to be politically motivated like the Purok Ordinance and Suaybaguio’s Anti- Urban Poor Ordinance. Such first scud already landed hard on the lap of BM Caminero last Tuesday.

Now, the jaded political observers said that once the Purok Ordinance is enshrined, automatically Yayong Gementiza is emptied of his purok mass base, and if Suaybaguio’s ordinance becomes a reverse landmark piece of legislation, Cong. Arrel Olano, who has no other choice but to run for mayor for a dignified run or retirement, is also emptied of his urban poor mass base. These, while Mayor Rey “Cee O” Uy has his barangay mass base broadened by the mass bases of his most potential contenders in a three-corner mayoral figh by 2010. What a nosey guess of these jaded observers.

It would seem now that these scuds of what they say as “political legislations” are turning out to be seeds of discord between the City Hall and Capitol. The city council might be launching more scuds like rains before 2010, pundits just guess more.

BLOGBUZZ: No mea culpa. I used the word summon in ordinary way, most synonymous to call, and not within the legalese world and word. Well, Comval Boardmember Ruwel Peter Gonzaga last Wednesday delivered his privilege speech to clarify Sidlak’s banner news story on Tuesday about the SP’s plan of summoning (or calling) ex-Gob. Joecab to shed light on the ZTE deal in Diwalwal. He said Sidlak news and Joecab’s reactions were premature as the SP and its environment commitee would still act on the matter. But obvously, from our vantage point, there was already such agreement for a legislative probe, only that it was referred to a committee for final recommendation. The word summon I used was meant for the ordinary and not as a legal parlance… It should be UM Tagum College, and not UM Tagum City which I used in my series of reportage on the city’s own sex scandal. My mea culpa…. I went inside the campus the other day to coordinate for the Rural Urban News policy presentation and press forum next week. A lot of students said that the campus is now back to normal. Thanks. (For online edition, visit my blog at: https://cha4t.wordpress.com)