Archive for May, 2009

NEWS: Flowers, tributes pour in for Prospero Amatong, 77

Posted in Congressman Prospero Amatong, congressman rommel amatong with tags , on May 19, 2009 by cha monforte

may 18

Flowers pour in while tributes keep on coming for former Congressman Prospero Amatong, who succumbed in a hospital in New York City Saturday morning. He was 77 years old.

Reports said he fell on a pavement hitting his head while strolling with family members and friends in a park at New York City.

He was on vacation at the United States with his wife Luz and family members.

His son Congressman Rommel Amatong, who did not join in their US trip, said his father’s body would be brought home by next week.

For Compostela Valley Governor Arturo Uy, “he is exceptional as a leader, a master politician. I would say no one could ever duplicate his performance in our lifetime. He is the real “Mr. Service”.

“I am saddened by the death of a great man whose life was dedicated to mankind. It’s a loss to all of us. My prayers to the bereaved family. Farewell my brother,” said Davao del Norte Vice Governor Victorio Suaybaguio Jr., who was one of the close friends of Amatong when he was still the governor of the erstwhile undivided Davao del Norte.
On the otherhand, Laak Mayor Reynaldo Navarro has his succinct words for the man: “In politics he was a legend, a real champion who has never tasted defeat. He was proud of his achievements yet he remained humble and accessible to friends and foes alike. To us his political students, he was a genuine, larger-than-life guru. We will forever miss him.”
Boardmember Maricar Zamora-Apsay said: “We have lost a great leader who in his lifetime had taught us the markmanship of a true and successful politician. His legacy as a forefather of our province and his extraordinary public service will forever be encrypted in the annals of our local history. To me, he is not only to be remembered as a successful politician- he was himself an embodiment of the art of politics.”
For Nabunturan Councilor Raul Caballero: “A great loss of a great leader and statesman whose values and virtues in public service are worthy for emulation, foremost as guides for all politicians in town.”
In his over 45 years in public office, Nabunturan’s greatest father was unblemished as not a single Ombudsman complaint not even an anonymous one had been filed against him.

He was unscathed after serving as Nabunturan councilor (3 years), Nabunturan mayor (14 years, 2 years in New Corella), undivided Davao del Norte governor (9 years), District 2 Comval congressman (9 years), 2 years as project manager of the Philippine National Oil Corp. and 6 years as project engineer of the then Bureau of Public Works, his first stint in government.

He had two episodes when his mandate was cut short: the first on September 28, 1977 when he was purged by dictator Marcos for being with the opposition and replaced by Vice Mayor Zosimo Bugas who served for 4 years, and on March 31, 1986, after reclaiming his mayoral seat in 1980 polls, when he was appointed by President Cory Aquino as the OIC governor of the Davao del Norte.

Even on his political retirement starting in 2007, he was still considered an influential  political kingpin- kingmaker in town and even in the whole province.

When he did not run in the 2007 election and made true his earlier declaration of retiring from politics, it was hailed as a tough class act of seasoned and experienced politician.

But from it, he bequeathed his political power to his successor son now Congressman Rommel “Bobong” Amatong. At a time when he retired began the baptism of fire in politics of his political heir. All out of the service-rich patriarch, the neophyte scion becomes a shoo in, yet it showed to the world that there were no two or more Amatongs holding the reins of power at the same time. (Cha Monforte/Rural Urban News)

NEWS: Tagum has no capacity to detect swine flu virus- city veterinarian

Posted in 20567006, 20567781, Madayag Farms, Mercado Farms in Kapalong, Tagum city health officer Dr. Myrna Gazmin, tagum councilor vicente eliot sr, tagum Dr. Jesus Edullantes with tags , , , , on May 19, 2009 by cha monforte

may 12

TAGUM CITY- The city veterinarian here has admitted that the city government has virtually no capacity to detect whether the dreaded swine flu virus that has already sent some countries cowering in fear has already infected swine breeds produced in the city and in neighboring places.

City veterinarian Dr. Jesus Edullantes during Monday’s session informed City Council members that his department has no such “costly laboratory”  like those in Australia that can conclusively identify swine flu virus.

He said that samples of suspected cases in the provinces are still brought to Manila and then shipped to Australia laboratories where the virus is studied and identified.

“The strains of the virus are varying and always change. It is a new isolated virus,” he said.

He added that the many virus found in swines that could also cause respiratory illness has complicated the difficulties in pinpointing whether it is already the swine flu virus that has infected a swine that is ill.

“We don’t even have no vaccine yet for it,” he said.

Edullantes then lashed out at an unidentified newspaper for sensationalizing a story on swine flu virus inspection in Davao City even as he appealed to the media for caution in their reporting to prevent people from panicking over the virus.

He also bared that city has meat inspectors in the city’s slaughterhouse at Tagum Livestock Center checking up that hogs before they are slaughtered undergo ante-mortem examination to ensure an uninfected meat for public consumption.

But city health officer Dr. Myrna Gazmin, on the other hand, in the session belittled the virus to be “only a theory, a possibility” saying that it is yet under study now by the scientific community and that “even the World Health Organization has not yet made its advisory”.

She bared though that the Davao Regional Hospital in the city as well as the Davao Medical Center in Davao City have already made plans to counter swine flu virus infection.

In the plan, she added, suspected infected persons would only be brought to and treated in government hospitals than in private ones to protect the latter from losing patients.

Meanwhile, Councilor Vicente Eliot Sr called on authorities to still not relax their guard against the entry of the virus despite the negative report on it, citing the scale and magnitude of toll it could exact once it manages to come in to infect local swine population and eventually the populace.

The city veterinary office here estimates that at minimum average some 80 heads of hogs, about 30 percent of which come from the neighboring Kapalong town, are slaughtered daily for city meat consumption,  or about 6,400 kilos of meat from hogs per day end up being sold at Tagum public market, which is also patronized by the neighboring towns in Compostela Valley and Davao del Norte.

About 70 percent of the hogs are grown in the backyard, while the rest of the 30 percent comes from the large-scale commercial piggeries of Madayag Farms in the city and Mercado Farms in Kapalong, Edullantes said. (Cha Monforte/Rural Urban News)

NEWS: PA office’s many positions in Davnor PG reor plan tagged as overstaffing

Posted in boardmember ely dacalus with tags on May 12, 2009 by cha monforte
may 7
The unusually high number of proposed positions in Office of the Provincial Administrator in the newly approved reorganization plan for the provincial government of Davao del Norte has been tagged to be a case of overstaffing.
In the plan, the provincial administrator’s office tops in the number of new positions for creation as it is to be created as separate department with 150 positions from the existing 85 positions under the Office of the Governor. Thus, 75 positions more are added to the already high 85 positions in its plantilla.
But the overstaffing charge took only a short swipe in the questioning of Boardmember Ely Dacalus during Monday’s approval of the the reorganization plan.
Dacalus in his interpellation asked provincial budget officer Norma Lumain on whether the provincial government has funds to accomodate a “high volume” of total positions in the staffing structure in the reorganization plan.
Lumain said that the filling up of the new positions in the reorganization plan would still be subject to the 45-percent ceiling limitations otherwise existing personnel would suffer by cutbacks in benefits.
“We can create as many positions we have, but we are limited by that 45-percent. Positions created cannot just be funded unless we increase our IRA and local income,” Boardmember Antonio Lagunzad clarified.
During Monday’s session when the reorganization plan was inserted as a measure in the calendar of business, human resource management office head Monica Salido summed up that the reorganization plan has a total of 1,376 positions, of which 817 positions are proposed for creation and upgrading, and 559 positions are existing including coterminus positions. Of the 817 existing positions in the plantilla only 750 positions are funded and filled up.
Salido also apprised the provincial board that besides the provincial administrator’s office other offices that would be created as a separate department are the Provincial Information Office and the Provincial Equipment Management and Project Implementation Office, which would be carved out from the Provincial Engineering Office.
Meanwhile, Boardmember Larry Caminero welcomed the move of making the present information office from a mere division under the Office of the Governor to a full department.
He said that the people must know what the provincial government is doing every day, and with a tri-media that the information department has to engage “we can inform people down to the grassroots”.
He said that good governance means transparency which is revealed by the power of the tri-media- print, radio and TV.  (Cha Monforte/Rural Urban News)

NEWS: “Baby will defeat AGR”- Yayong

Posted in Anthony Rafael del Rosario (AGR), Former Davao del Norte Governor Gelacio “Yayong” Gementiza, Vice Governor Victorio “Baby” Suaybaguio Jr with tags , , on May 8, 2009 by cha monforte

Despite AGR’s reported recovery from cancer

may 6

Former Davao del Norte Governor Gelacio “Yayong” Gementiza in an interview yesterday made his early electoral prediction that Vice Governor Victorio “Baby” Suaybaguio Jr will defeat the governor’s son Anthony Rafael del Rosario (AGR) once the two would decide to slug it out for the District 2 congressional post in 2010 polls.

Speaking in his sprawling residence cum copra warehouse in Apokon, Tagum City, Gementiza said that AGR, who was reported last week to have recovered from his Stage 3- Hodgkin Lymphoma cancer following chemotherapy treatments, could not win over Suaybaguio saying that “ay sus Tagum lang ang tan-awon (they could only glance it in Tagum) “given that Suaybaguio had served for 9 years as a mayor here”. “Modaug lagi si Baby!”

The former governor reiterated his earlier political remark that AGR is closely identified to have hailed from District 2 and not from District 1 despite than he has already established a residence in the city.

“But Baby is more popular than (Cong. Arrel) Olano, who defeated twice (Pantaleon) Bebot Alvarez due to the issue of non-residency,” Gementiza added.

Based on this result, he said that the people of Tagum will always ask, nasapawan man ta (somebody rises from outside of  them) and would not want it.

Gementiza also opined that if he were the father of a son politician who has recovered from cancer he would not allow him to be drafted to go through the rigors of electoral campaigns especially in a congressional race where it is a must that the candidate should really sweat it out to individually campaign to each and everyone.

“And how much more if you win. Trabaho gyud ang naa sa Congress (it’s all work in Congress),” he added.

Gementiza said that based on what his friend physicians have told him there is a “need for a five-year rest” to those who have survived from cancer.

He further said that given this AGR could have an option of running for governor if his father Gov. Rodolfo del Rosario (RDR) would opt to retire and “in this case RDR would take charge of the campaigning”.

Obviously giving unsolicited advice, he added: “And if AGR wins as governor he can still run the Capitol through his administrator and the vice governor.”

In the same interview, Gementiza also confirmed that he had already applied to RDR for him to go back to the Lakas fold, which has yet no action taken by the Lakas party in the province at press time. “Pero daghan ang mobabag ana (Many will block my application)”.

Asked on what post he would aspire by 2010, he shot back: “ayaw sa, wala sa (none yet)”.

In 2007 Gementiza made a jump ship from Lakas close before elections and subsequently ran but failed in his gubernatorial bid for reelection against the comebacking RDR. (Cha Monforte/Rural Urban News)

NEWS: BM Maricar thanks VG Ramil for giving way for her to Congress

Posted in Boardmember Maricar Zamora-Apsay Compostela Valley, vice governor ramil gentugaya with tags , on May 8, 2009 by cha monforte
Says: “I will not forget that once upon a time I was your beneficiary”
may 4
Boardmember Maricar Zamora-Apsay of Compostela Valley has profusely thanked and gave early tribute to the “bravery and heroism” of Vice Governor Ramil Gentugaya  for giving way for her to become the Lakas party’s standard-bearer for the District 1 congressional seat in the province.
In an e-mail sent to this reporter Friday, Apsay said: “The decision of Vice Governor Gentugaya favoring for the party’s unity thereby giving way to my congressional seat’s candidacy is a great opportunity as well as a challenge to prove that I am worthy of such sacrifice”.
“ I have already made an early pronouncement that I intend to run as congressman in the 2010 elections.  In fact, I made such declaration as early as right after 2007 elections”, she added.
Meanwhile, Maricar’s father, Congressman Manuel “ Way Kurat” Zamora also said: “ I do not doubt the capacity and integrity of Vice Ramil to unite our group.  He is one of my staunched political allies and a closest friend.  That is why I am so much elated with his decision.  He is a good gentleman who values honor, and his act of statesmanship is beyond reproach.  This favor given to our family by Vice Ramil will not be forgotten.  His act will be a principle that will underlay our party’s conduct, so that it will become a basis of any decision in the future”.
In the same statement, Apsay recalled that when she heard of the news that Gentugaya would no longer run for Congress, she immediately sent a text message to the vice governor thanking and lauding for his decision.
The full contents of the text message are as follows: “Vice, I got hold of your texts late last night.  I just want to reiterate this expression of gratitude to you and your entire family.  Your act of giving way in favoring the party especially me, manifests your bravery and heroism, and above all sincere humility.”
“It is without doubt that you had difficulty in coming up with your final decision considering what our constituency have expected.  Nonetheless, beyond all these, you stood up like King Solomon, so brave to decide against what is traditional and hypocritical divisiveness of our camp.
“This rare leadership that embodies the true meaning of sacrifice for the sake of unity is only beholden by those highly spirited and bravest generals in the field, which lead us to an unparalleled victory in the end.  These and all are clear acts of heroism.  An act worthy of praise and adulation, so that others may follow when times may call on the same sacrifice in the future.
“Your ability to become a symbol of unity by nurturing sacrifice and patience as remedy for all are virtues against adversary, which shows your greatness.  As a politician, I will take this a forever lesson, and I will not forget that once upon a time I was your beneficiary.  Me and my entire family will look from this day onwards a favor in return, in the future.  God bless you and your family”.
Earlier, Governor Arturo “Chiongkee” Uy personally appealed to the Gentugaya to stay beside him as the vice governor saying that he needed the latter. (Cha Monforte/Rural Urban News)

NEWS: Banana workers coop assails Lapanday, TRO prohibiting sale of “Class B” bananas to 3rd parties

Posted in DAR Adjudication Board provincial adjudicator Jose Nilo Tillano, Hijo Employees Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Cooperative-2 (Hearbco-2), Lapanday Foods Corp, Mira Agri Ventures with tags , , , on May 8, 2009 by cha monforte

may 1

TAGUM CITY- A banana-growing workers cooperative here has assailed the sudden issuance of a 20-day temporary restraining order of the provincial adjudicator of the Dept. of Agrarian Reform in Davao del Norte following a complaint of the Lapanday Foods Corp (LFC) prohibiting it to sell “Class B” cavendish bananas to third parties.

In a press conference, Valentino Rotoni, chairman of the Hijo Employees Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Cooperative-2 (Hearbco-2), hit the TRO issued Thursday by DAR Adjudication Board provincial adjudicator Jose Nilo Tillano saying that he was aghast to see DAR now running against the welfare of its own agrarian reform beneficiaries.

“We will no longer sell our Class B banana rejects to Lapanday which buys these at low prices,” he said.

He said that he was surprised why on Thursday the TRO was suddenly issued by Tillano

on that day when Hearbco-2’s yearly marketing contract with LFC as the buyer of their “Class B” bananas ended.

He charged that LFC has been forcing them to sell to the company their banana rejects “when other buyers even quarrel among themselves during bidding over our Class B bananas”.

He said that LFC offered only to buy their “Class B” bananas at $1.50 per box while the Davao City-based Mira Agri Ventures, which won in in last week’s bidding, offered $3.20 per box.

He said that naturally Hearbco-2 chose the highest price “to sustain our banana production at a time of high cost of inputs and improve our income to feed our families.”

Rotoni said though that LFC remains to be the buyer of Hearbco-2’s “Class A” bananas which the company buys at low $2.90 per box as covered in a separate ten-year banana marketing agreement which would end by December 2013.

“Buying prices for Class A bananas from other giant firms such as Dole and Unifruti range from $3 to $4 per box,” said Jeremias Coralde, Hearbco-2 production manager.

Herbco-2 officials also accused of LFC of cornering their production through high-priced  agricultural inputs and lower buying prices and of implementing tough standards for “Class A” bananas “so it could become Class B bananas and buy it at much lower prices.”

At its recent production figures, Herbco-2 has an average harvest of 14,000 boxes and 6,000 boxes of “Class A” and “Class B” bananas or about 100,000 boxes of export bananas per month.

Coralde bared that with Hearbco-2 as landowner-producer of bananas and LFC as the buyer-marketer the cooperative is paying LFC about P500,000 for the aerial spray alone plus the about P110,000 for the plane’s fuel in every week.

DAR adjudicator Tillano in his grant of writ of injunction with TRO to LFC stated that in the marketing agreement LFC, as the surviving firm after the merger with the Global Fruits Corp, assignee firm of then Hijo Plantation Corp, has the first option to buy of Hearbco-2’s banana rejects or those do not conform to export specifications.

At press time, Hearbco officials with their counsels are preparing for their countermoves. Tillano set the hearing on TRO on May 6.

At present, Herbco-2’s 342 members, who were former Hijo banana workers, are still amortizing through the Land Bank of the Philippines the 278.41-hectare land they wangled in the late 90s out from the government’s Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP).

From the land distribution, they formed a cooperative and agreed to share equally from net earnings from cavendish banana production they continued when the production of Hijo Plantation Corp ended following the putting of the vast tract of land of Jose Tuazon Jr  under CARP.

“Out from the .82-hectare share of land for each member, I managed to earn at the range of P5,000 to P8,000 every quincena (15 days) from my billing from Lapanday,” said Danny Yting, a Hearbco-s member.

Until at present, Hearbco-2 has an estimated total assets of P200 million and owns a cooperative buildings and packing house right at its plantation located in Barangay Madaum, some 5 kms northeast of this city.

Hearbco-2’s plantation just forms part of the 1,200-hectare banana plantation enclave of Madaum area in the city. It neighbors with the plantations of Hearbco-1 and Harbco. (Cha Monforte/Rural Urban News)

NEWS: Daneco GM Savellano still on leave since February due to spine injury

Posted in 20129616, Allan Laniba, Ciriaco Boy Conejos, Daneco GM Edgar Savellano, Davao del Norte Electric Cooperative, Engr. Ricardo Tio, GM Atty. Jose Amacio, Marilou Impuesto with tags , , , , , , on May 8, 2009 by cha monforte

april 30

The general manager of the Davao del Norte Electric Cooperative has remained to be on leave since February due to a certain injury in his spine at the back which he reportedly got after massage session made by a manghihilot.
But Daneco GM Edgar Savellano said in a text message that his doctor has still advised him to go for further rest adding that he has never had the time to take a rather long leave to rest since then in his long years of serving the electric cooperative.
Savellano has been working in Daneco for over 30 years now, climbing in the organizational ladder from being a mere employee in early 70s to being the man in charge at its helm as the third GM starting in 1999.
He took over the reins of the coop from his predecessor late Engr. Ricardo Tio, who had a brief GM stint and who succeeded the first and longest serving late GM Atty. Jose Amacio.
Savellano is considered as one of the pioneers and pillars in the growth of Daneco in its 37 years of existence.
Inside sources from Daneco Tagum office said that since February all the seven department managers in a series have been having brief stints of becoming OIC GM.
Last Tuesday, finance department manager Elsie Mationg effectively retired, resulting to the reshuffling of managers to other departments, said the new administrative Rose Traje in an interview.
By April, institutional services manager Allan Laniba started serving as OIC GM.
Laniba, who is 35 years old, is considered as the youngest, senior after the age of new finance manager Marilou Impuesto. He started working in Daneco sometime in 1998-1999.
A few Daneco members interviewed said Laniba is “under-age” to steer on the wheels of a billion cooperative amidst the regular occurrences of Daneco brownouts these days and the looming energy crisis ahead.
Daneco has over 120,000 member-consumers at present. For its 37 years of existence now from 1971, Daneco is already billionaire cooperative deriving about P1.2-billion operating revenue as of November 2007, per official Daneco report.

The electric cooperative covers the entire Compostela Valley and most of Davao del Norte areas including the Island Garden of Samal.It has already energized 100 percent of the barangays under its coverage areas.

Meanwhile, a weekly publisher Ciriaco Boy Conejos has called on Laniba, who has reportedly become a de facto GM owing to the resolution of the Daneco’s Board of  Directors, to resign as the president National Press Club– Davao del Norte-Comval Chapter due to “conflict of interest“.
“He could not serve two masters as the same time,” Conejos said adding that Laniba should also resign as a barangay kagawad of Apokon, Tagum City.
Even as a Daneco information man, Laniba styled himself as a mediaman.
Laniba, at press time, could not be reached for comment.   (Cha Monforte/Rural Urban News)