Archive for December, 2010

Life inside our provincial jails

Posted in davao del norte comval provincial jail condition with tags on December 31, 2010 by cha monforte

NOV 25-DEC 1, 2010


By Cha Monforte

We were thankful that the one gate of two adjacent provincial jails in Tagum City was opened to us, non-dalaws last week.  Comval’s provincial warden (PW) Jose Marvin Coquilla was there when we visited the two Provincial Rehabilitation Centers (PRCs) to get this story. His counterpart in Davao del Norte – provincial warden Darius Sawan was not around. But thanks the assistant provincial warden (APW) Marilyn Erulon was there to accomodate us. The jails were one before 1998. Remember the gerrymandering acts of top officials that had divided the big Davao Province/ Davao del Norte into two provinces and so then, one jail became two and separation of prisoners was subsequently effected. In the division of properties between the two provinces, the erected provincial jail buildings and facilities at Mankilam, located about half a kilometer north of DavNor Capitol, naturally went to Davao del Norte and so the Comval provincial government asked the other province to still base its shared prisoners in the same old provincial jail given that it has yet no physical provincial jail of its own. And so further that little penal colony has to be broken down also into two with separate managements, jailers, jailing structures and provisions but through one gate. It’s been almost 13 years already that the two provincial jails remain to operate side by side to each others.

Last week when we were allowed a pass as friendly forces, we were met by a high-volume music from what appeared to be a roofed cage, encased of barb wires. It’s the tambayan of the “Happy Go Brigade” of Comval’s jail, said the amiable APW of DavNor, our second news source. Our first news source was PW Coquilla. In the brigada’s barb-wired kiosk, about 20-square-meter space, the inmates are having their videoke singing with their blaring videoke machine, which was donated for the brigada from a mind-hearted someone. We were told the music would be turned off by 4:00 P.M. So there’s always blaring music now shattering the dull, hard, repeating daily prison life in the two provincial jails. And rebel leader Ka Jinggoy of the CPP/NPA was there mingling with the inmates of various non-rebellion crimes. As of Tuesday, November 23, Comval’s PRC has 540 inmates housed in two smaller un-celled “brigada” buildings, while DavNor’s PRC is keeping 206 inmates in one bigger, celled 250-capacity building. Obviously, Comval’s high humber of inmate population is bringing congestion to each of the brigada building which is supposed to house only 150 inmates. But since there’s no more building out there, there’s no alternative and inmates have to packed  to be accomodated in the buldings. They have to live and sleep in beds too close to each other.

So how’s life of the inmates there? DavNor’s APW Erulon bared that everyday inmates go out from their prison buildings by group and in shift for hours of sunbathing within 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM. Each DavNor inmate has a budget for food worth P50 per day. They take breakfast at 6:30 or 7:00 AM, lunch at 11:00 to 12:00 noon, and supper at 4:00 to 5:00 PM. The food budget of about P16 per meal per head would go for their rice, viand (pork, fish like bangus, eggs, dried fish, etc and vegetables like upo, kalabasa, talong, etc.) In the morning they are served with kape pilipinas and sometimes served with tsampurados for snacks. Dalaws (visitors) are allowed anytime of the day subject to frisk and inspection at the gate but they’re not allowed during Monday and Tuesday when inmates do the housecleaning. There’s space there for the dalaws to unite or dine with their imprisoned kins or friends, and a conjugal room for couples and partners to express their love inside. What is only required for the pass to the conjugal room is the dalaw’s barangay certification that she or he is the spouse or live-in partner of the inmate.

At the gate, dalaws are stripped of any potential material that can be made into pointed or bladed objects like belts. No spoon and fork are allowed. Inmates have to tap the ,jail’s marketing errands whenever they want to buy their own provisions like soap, shampoo, toothpaste, food, etc. Some trusted inmates of good character and good behavior are tapped to help the jail authorities like doing the cooks, cleaners, etc. A nurse is stationed there and whenever sick inmates need to be brought to the hospital, the provincial ambulance would be called by jail officials. Female inmates have their own cells. A Catholic mass is held every third Sunday of the month, and weekly there’s a kabaag leading the prayer meeting. Other faiths are also doing their own prayer meetings like the Adventists during Saturdays.

“Mora lang silag mga bakasyonista, mora lang nag dorm dire,” said Erulon.  But she said she pity those inmates having no dalaw at all as they could not buy extra provisions like soap and toothpaste. So out of pity she and other jail personnel are sharing little sum from their squeezed salaries to those who are obviously forgotten or not visited by their kins for quite a long time, maybe out poverty also. For APW Erulon, human is by nature good, and thus inmates are by nature good. If you treat them like animals they behave like animals, but they’re humans and by treating them to be such, they’re indeed good, they’re buotan, she said. “The only difference between them and us is that they have cases,” she said. How she wishes that in our country’s justice system inmates would be given fast decision of their cases.

Erulon’s wish if materialized is at least one of the ways of unclogging our congested prisons. But obviously the solo Regional Trial Court in Comval – RTC Branch 1 in Nabunturan under Judge Helarion Clapis is bringing an impact to Comval provincial jail- that is congestion since the solo RTC judge is no superman as he said before while facing also an overload of over 3,000 cases to decide while DavNor has 6 RTCs each facing only an average of 500 cases to decide. Or this statistics only shows of the rising crimes continuously bred from the poverty of our provinces, which result to more persons put behind bars not beyond to the housing capacity of our provincial jails. But the sad note is more slanted for Comval’s jail while DavNor’s is within its capacity in so far is housing-for-imprisonment is concerned. The latter is not yet so filled up wall to wall. And for the kind of  justice system that we have now for those languishing in jail? They can only wait for long in repeating days behind bars. It’s good they have that blaring videoke machine out there. (e-mail:


Sad facts of our provincial jails

Posted in davao norte comval provincial jail with tags on December 31, 2010 by cha monforte

NOV 25-DEC 1, 2010


It’s hard to be imprisoned in the prison jails in our country.  But it has been that the hard life and worst conditions in our penal system and the slow-moving wheels of justice system are part of the punishment of those who break our laws, maim and kill people, those who commit crime as found guilty by the courts. And yet this is evenly the same to those who are not yet adjudged guilty like those locked up in municipal or city jails following arrest from crime circumstances that those brought by the police have been seen to have committed the crime, or are on the process of committing the crime or about to commit a crime, or those simply finger pointed by complainants or witnesses or invited by the police for questioning and locked up. Or those brought by the police for safekeeping purposes like those who went maoy (wild) inside videokehans. Innocents may have been released after the police failure to make swift and complete inquest before the 24-hour allowed detention or else arbitrary detention charges can be thrown against the arresting police officers. But just the same those locked up in municipal or city jails have tasted what the worst in our penal system can  inflict to the physical and mental stability of suspects or persons under custodial investigation or under police safekeeping.

And now there’s this continuing injustice coming up from the principle of justice delayed is justice denied when almost all of those languishing inside the provincial jails of Davao del Norte and of Compostela Valley in Tagum City have their cases not yet decided by courts. Those inmates serving already their sentences do not know yet as to how many years they have to spend their wretched time inside jails and for sure those languishing for long years now like the one who is already spending 11 years behind bars are thinking that maybe their incarceration time might have already exceeded the supposed sentence that the court would have to mete them. What a great injustice that the courts can’t make reparation for this should this prisoner’s afterthought happen.

Surely, the Supreme Court’s Justice on Wheels program is responding to this. But local jails and courts are yet challenged to get to the bottom of the circumstances and status of each case of the more than 700 inmates of the Provincial Rehabilitation Centers (PRC) of the two provinces and recommend more inmates for processing of the Justice on Wheels. The stark evidence that constantly challenged authorities is that provincial jails are only supposed to keep inmates sentenced to three years and below, but what a heck when almost all of them don’t know yet whether they would be sentenced to fall within this period of imprisonment as those charged of graver offenses are awaiting under too much congestion when they would be remanded to higher jail, which is the Davao Penal Colony. And this fact alone is putting more responsibility to provincial governments especially the Compostela Valley PRC which has 540 inmates under its care as against the 206 inmates of Davao del Norte PRC.

With these revelations, the provincial governments  including the justice committees of legislative departments (for the start) have been challenged to probe and find recommendations and ways to respond to the plight of their inmates and situations of their provincial jails.- Cha Monforte

Almost all 700 inmates in DavNor, Comval provincial jails have undecided cases

Posted in davao del norte comval provincial jail with tags on December 31, 2010 by cha monforte

NOV 25-DEC 1, 2010

Comval jail overloaded with 540 inmates; DavNor has only 206

By Cha Monforte

Of the combined over 700 inmates of the provincial jails of Davao del Norte and Compostela Valley only a few know how long they would be in jail as almost all have cases not decided yet by courts.

“There is even an inmate here who is already serving 11 years while his case remains to be undecided,” said Davao del Norte Provincial Rehabilitation Center assistant provincial warden Marilyn Erulon in an interview.

In the country’s penal system, provincial jails are supposed only to incarcerate people who committed crimes whose sentence is three years and below. Those sentenced three years above will to go to Davao Penal Colony.

Female inmate Suzette Lupranco, 43 years old and Panabo City resident, for one, said she is languishing in jail for six years already after their house was raided and found out by the police to have 1.3 grams of shabu allegedly owned by her husband, who is out of jail. She was in their house when the raid was made. Her case would give her a maximum 12-year imprisonment.

Lupranco though is given freedom to move around within the compound to help jailers in housekeeping chores, she being considered as one of the trusted inmates for good behavior.

On the other hand, Fernando Magbanua, 50 years old, told the Valley & City Chronicle that his homicide case was already closed of hearings last June but he still have to hear of his court decision while he is already in Davao del Norte provincial jail for over eight years already.

Magbanua, also considered good-behavior inmate, is tapped as the kitchen incharge of Davao del Norte PRC.

The Compostela Valley Provincial Rehabilitation Center is apparently overloaded with inmates with a head count of 540 as of Tuesday, Nov. 23.

On the same date the Davao del Norte provincial jail has only 206 inmates.

The two provincial jails have been operating side by side with each other about half a kilometer north of the Davao del Norte Capitol building at Barangay Mankilam, Tagum City.

When the big Davao del Norte province was divided into two provinces with a carved out Compostela Valley in 1998, separation of prisoners by province was effected and the latter forged an agreement with the other province to use its jailing structures while it has yet no provincial jail of its own. The agreement has already lapsed in term.

Comval’s 540 inmates are housed in two un-partitioned, un-celled “brigada” buildings while Davao del Norte house its 206 inmates in one bigger building with 15 cells, each of which is variably loaded with number of inmates ranging from 15 to 30.

Each “brigada” building of Comval PRC has a supposed capacity of keeping 150 inmates only. A “brigade” is the Comval inmates’ group under a “mayor” housed in one building.

Davao del Norte’s jail building, on the other hand, has a capacity of keeping 250 inmates, Erulon said.

Of Comval’s 540 inmates, 28 of whom are considered political prisoners- captured communist rebels like Ka Jinggoy who are mixed with inmates who committed varying crimes.

In a separate interview, Comval provincial warden Jose Marvin Coquilla said that the provincial government is already constructing two prison buildings with cell partitions in a 4-hectare land in Barangay Sta. Maria in Nabunturan and the physical transfer of the provincial jail might be effected next year.

He said that to address congestion of its own inmates Comval PRC needs five prison buildings each with a capacity of keeping 120 inmates.

He added that construction of two more buildings is eyed by the provincial government also next year.

Recently, the Justice of Wheels (JoW) has processed only 22 inmates who are now being released one after another upon receipt of final release order from courts.

On the other hand, the Davao del Norte Provincial Rehabilitation Center 206 detainees, four own whom are female and two are minor.

Last November 17-18, the Supreme Court’s Justice on Wheels made stopover in Tagum and Panabo cities and processed 22 Davao del Norte inmates potential to be released earlier of their prison terms.

Comval, on the other hand, has 20 inmates processed by the Justice of Wheels, 13 whom have already dismissed cases, 6 are on probation and 1 has been found out to have already served a sentence due to him.

“But it’s only a few of them,” said Erulon.

Coquilla also said that there might be a hitch for the release of some of those already processed by the Justice on Wheels as relatives of victims have claimed to have not been informed of the decision while others have revived complaints at the fiscals’ offices.

Both Erulon and Coquilla said that releases of those processed by the Justice on Wheels have been ongoing and they are releasing them based on the final release order issued by the courts. (Rural Urban News/Cha Monforte)

A Regional story (Part III)

Posted in regional hospital in davao with tags on December 31, 2010 by cha monforte

NOV 18-24, 2010


So tasteless is the lugaw being supplied by the regional hospital that the two poor nephews bought food from outside for their dying lolo. They had been buying highly priced medicines from the hospital’s botika for days for their beloved lolo but sooner their own lolo yelled out in their ward room to go home and shouted that the medicines he had been taking had no effect at all in healing him. Poor lolo wanted to go home but the poor nephews prevailed him. They thought that the hospital is also a victim of fake medicines. Maybe, they thought of palusot from so-called bidding. One night the poor nephews covertly smoked outside, hiding in the grove of a tree inside the compound of the hospital, and they saw two government doctors while drinking Orange just infront the billboard which has the words- STRICTLY NO SMOKING HERE. Hehe, the two discreetly laughed what they saw while puffing their own Fortune poor-man cigarettes. (To be continued)





Monkayo officials want relief of CENRO; Yordan says he’s ready to vacate if… Monkayo officials want relief of CENRO; Yordan says he’s ready to vacate if…

Posted in CENRO Willie Jordan, illegal logging in comval davao del norte with tags , on December 31, 2010 by cha monforte

NOV 18-24, 2010

The officials of Monkayo, Compostela Valley want that their community environment and natural resources officer be transferred and relieved of his assignment for apparently failing to stop rampant illegal logging in the municipality.

The municipal council sent their resolution enjoining the Dept. of Natural Resources and Environment-XI regional executive director Jim Sampulna to cause for the immediate transfer and relief of CENRO Willie Jordan.

The resolution was transmitted by Mayor Manuel Brillantes Jr. last November 8 to the DENR Secretary Ramon Jesus Paje.

The Sangguniang Bayan approved the resolution last August 9 with the reason that Jordan, who has been assigned in Monkayo since December 2002, has not fully implemented the log ban in the municipality even while the mayor has among his administration’s concerns of stopping “rampant illegal logging that caused destruction not only to the environment but the municipality’s farm-to-market roads where the Monkayo local government has been allocating yearly budget for its maintenance and rehabilitation.”

“It is of the belief of the Sangguniang Bayan that the longer Mr. Willie Jordan will stay as CENRO in this municipality the more he could establish intimacy to different sectors especially to loggers,” stated the resolution.

The municipal council further reasoned out that the local chief executive has “lost (his) trust and confidence to Jordan.

Mayor Brillantes has asked top DENR officials to transfer and relieve Jordan as soon as possible.

But in separate interview  Yordan said that he would vacate anytime his post if there is an order from the higher up of the DENR.

As of presstime he said he has not yet received any order for his transfer or reassignment.

“If I would vacate now, I’ll be administratively charged of direlection of duty,” he explained.

He also asked understanding from the town officials saying that he has been campaigning against illegal logging in the municipality but since there is a harvest boom of planted and miscellaneous tree species he has no control  over the destruction of farm-to-market road in barangays especially in Barangay Casoon that he said were wrought by the passing of many hauling trucks.

He said that in fact the DENR is not imposing transport permits paper when it comes to lumbers and logs of planted species such as falcattas and gmelinas unlike to the hardwood such as narras, lawaan and others.

He said that what is being rewuired for planted species are only certifications from tree farming association.

He also said that there is no logging ban in the municipality saying that it is is only the DENR secretary who can declare it.

“Logging ban cannot possibly be declared in Comval because it is part of the timber corridor where the country gets its source of timber supplies,” he said.

Compostela Valley and the provinces of Agusan, Surigao and Davao Oriental comprise the so-called Timber Corridor.

Yordan said that instead of the logging ban the DENR is actively campaigning for strong anti-illegal logging campaign.

He said that the anti-illegal logging campaign is a “cat and mouse” affair with the illegal loggers operating when the authorities relax their campaign. (Rural Urban News/Cha Monforte)


Two lovely flowers in DavNor SP

Posted in dabaonons, Mayor Margarito Cualing, Pong Peligro with tags , , on December 31, 2010 by cha monforte

NOV 18-24, 2010


By Cha Monforte

Owners of passengers’ vans are now definitely losing from operations with the prohibition of vans in Panabo City terminal. Before they have to contend with the full force of traffic personnel thrown by Tagum City Mayor Rey “Chiong Oy” Uy. So they got zero Tagum-bound passengers from both north and south ends and drops. But Mayor Jose “Joe” Silvosa followed suit three weekends ago, and now vans got zero Panabo-bound passengers. The fence against the the picking up and unloading activities of passengers’ vans is becoming wider and longer in the stretch of our national highways. There’s now greater fear that sooner the existence of vans as a mode of public transportation would vanish in our streets. That is if Nabunturan and Montevista in Comval and Carmen in Davao del Norte would also follow- to finally practice by the supposed GTE/P2P (garage-to-terminal/point-to-point) franchise of plying vans. It’s though matira ang matibay for among van operators. The only way for them to break fences is to resort to court action- question LTFRB Memo. Circular 2007-007, which is a long shot one that could take years before it reaches up the Supreme Court. But it’s either they get or not the law in their favor. Either they lose or win. If they win by reason that the burgeoning riding public really need the vans as an alternative mode of public conveyance, then chief executives can no longer put up fences and vans can finally enter to pick up and drop passengers in Tagum terminal.
Tagum City Mayor Rey “Chiong Oy” Uy made a new suspense for this year’s edition of the city’s own giant Holiday Christmas Tree. Minutes before the last Tuesday’s lighting event, not a few spectators were harboring thoughts that the lighting might go pfft. Say it would not light up when its lighting system would be officially switched on by the mayor and other officials, or a portion of it would go blank. It was already dark, past 6:00 PM and the sea of people was awaiting, with many obviously nervous and tense over a possible haywire while the rest was excited to see the spectacle of lights and lighted decors that the towering figure at the Freedom Park would give to the people in this Yuletide Season. When it was finally lighted by the city mayor, Davao del Norte Gov. Rodolfo del Rosario and Compostela Valley and mayor’s older brother Arturo “Chiongkee” Uy and especially when its pyramidal cone was already completely bathed of colorful twinkling lights, all those tense, nervous feelings immediately vanished and what came next were the collective wows echoing in a cool November air. By now, the city’s iconic Christmas Tree is giving strong Christmas cheer and is a sight to behold for the Tagumenyos and Dabaonons.
Davao del Norte Governor Rodolfo del Rosario (Gov. RDR) has returned from his month-long travel in California, USA. He went there to be at the side of his son District 1 Congressman Anthony del Rosario (Cong. AGR) during the stem cell transplant and start of recovery. The congressman’s chief of staff and younger brother Raffy del Rosario (RGR) said that AGR is now already cancer-free but he is not coming home yet this Christmas Season.  Capitol sources said that during Cong. AGR’s recovery period at present he’s always donning clinical mask and has to stay only always at home, eat lutong bahay foods, and is prohibited to stroll around the city. It was previously announced that he would be coming by December but he was better advised by his doctors not to because he just had his stem cell transplant and that there would be risks if he would take and endure a less gravity, tight air  16-hour travel from California to the Philippines.
Talking of Dabaonon, I seldom use this word as it is more of an invention. It’s an officially enforced word to refer to the people of Davao del Norte. If you’re in Manila and elsewhere and you introduce yourself, “I am a Dabaonon”,  the one you’re talking to would possibly get an impression that you’re from Davao or from Daba whatever that is somewhere in Bukid sa Timbukto. The word couldn’t particularly refer to your home province of Davao del Norte. The word would seem to strike association to the lumads, indigenous people of Davao like the Bagobos. We were Dabawenyos before including the Comvalenyos.
I got it wrong- factually, when I hinted in my last column that the P50,000 pork barrel of the DavNor BMs’ counterparts in the other province came from the intelligence fund (IF). Sorry, it isn’t the IF. To reveal, each Comval BM’s pork barrel of P50,000 monthly which tends to the many folk solicitations is regularly funded by the Financial Assistance budget account. It’s not the ay-ip but a regular budget shared by the executive department to the legislative department. The fund has long been breezing  through government accounting and auditing procedures without hitches. The Financial Assistance is shared as the governor gives magnanimity and understanding to his brother politicians who share the same plight with him- in facing usual folk solicitations. Now why can’t Gov. RDR make a replication of Comval’s longstanding precedent so that the DavNor BMs, too, can  no longer complain to their wives or husbands about their shrunk take-home salaries?
But the DavNor BMs under the pro-Floirendo camp have now their best bargaining chips as they have now the number. They can filibuster and have the still unapproved 2011 budget reenacted if they just sit idly over while waiting for  Dec. 15 when there would be new FABC and SK provincial presidents. The self-serving idea is for the executive to make insertion after a slight revision in the putting up the Financial Assistance account lodged at the legislative department in DavNor’s 2011 annual budget, and presto the DavNor BMs can have their legally grounded non-butcha pork barrel for next year. The budget- and turf-conscious provincial administrator Rufo Peligro should accede and recommend, else the 2010 budget would be reenacted and it would not give good TV and radio image to the governor (forget the newspapers from the big budgets).
The Department of Interior and Local Government has issued a circular asking local government units to ensure representation of the indigenous people (IP) in the legislative bodies. Compostela Valley provincial government had long installed the IP representative to its Sanggunian Panlalawigan. That was last year and before the last May polls. It was the late New Bataan Mayor Margarito Cualing who was the early bird chief executive who installed an IP representative of the third sector early this decade (after the SK of the youths and the ABC or FABC of the barangays, while the PCL of the councilors is like a wrong invention based on wrong policy they being not a sector, and santa banana why the councilors should be represented in the provincial board at all when they have already a lot of voices in the municipal and city legislative halls- the PCL post in the SP should better be abolished! Sayang-sayang lang na ug kwarta sa gobyerno!). It was about two years ago that the DILG and the National Commission of Indigenous Peoples managed to get a national directive during the time of ex-President GMA to put IP representatives in legislative councils- to the raising of eyebrows of others in the third sector like the women, labor, etc, over why the IP should get the priority. But I look at the gripes as misplaced as really the IP especially in our provinces should  ought to be the pick for the third sectoral representation. First, the IP, the original people in Mindanao along with the Moro people, are now the displaced people due to the historical migration of Christian people from Luzon and Visayas.
Comes now Davao del Norte’s SP composition after the barangay and SK elections. There’s foregone conclusion in the two more votes for the pro-Floirendo camp in the SP- with FABC provincial representative in-the-waiting Vicente “Enteng” Floirendo and SK federation rep from District 1 (who’s he/she? abangan). The two will be added to the existing 6 pro-Floirendo camp SP members- District 2 greenans – Lakas-Kampi-CMD’s Daniel Lu (Sto, Tomas), Ely Dacalus (Panabo City), Hernanie Duco (Carmen), Janet Gavina (Panabo City), PCL’s Janrey Gavina (Panabo City) and District 1’s Dr. Fred De Veyra (Tagum City, although he’s also perceived to be a yellowista). So the pro-Floirendo BMs become 8.  But actually it’s not 8 but 10 since District BMs Shirley Belen Aala, Atty. Raymond Joey Millan and Vicente “Enting” Eliot are perceived to be actually greenans and not yellowistas. If such the case, BM Manong Tony Lagunzad would be merry as he could always whisper the ears of PA Pong Peligro every after SP session on how the 10 BMs deliberate, move and vote. Also count BM banana manager Alan Dujali in forming the only two lovely flowers of Gov. RDR in the DavNor SP.

The record-breaking budget of Tagum City

Posted in tagum comval davao del norte budget with tags on December 31, 2010 by cha monforte

NOV 18-24, 2010


As legislative departments of local government units wrapped up annual budgets for the next fiscal year, 2011, it’s clear now that the Tagum City government is standing up as the richest LGU throughout Davao del Norte and Compostela Valley areas. With its P815.4 million budget for 2011, the city government is clearly inching its way to become a member of the elite club of few billionaire local governments in the country.  For next year and for today’s budget news, Tagum City government has broken an unprecedented record of having a budget greater than the respective budgets of the provincial governments of Davao del Norte and Compostela Valley provinces.

Its 2011 budget is P29.3-million greater than the P786,110,100 annual budget of Davao del Norte provincial government and P60.5 million greater than the P754,941,937 annual budget of Compostela Valley provincial government.

Tagum City’s overgrown budget is due to a number of factors inclduing the vigorous income-collection efforts springing from the revised revenue code (which particularly caused for the sudden shooting up of the  real property tax collections), the large incomes generated out of its economic enterprises and the continued growing of economic activities of Tagum City.

To stress, the city’s revenue code revised two years ago to be attuned with realistic levels of valuation and market and business considerations is continuously paying off in boosting the city government’s income.

With the expected topping of Tagum City in terms of budget and income for the next fiscal year, City Mayor Rey “Chiong Oy” Uy becomes the most budget-powerful chief executive of the DavNor-Comval land.

Mayor Uy in earlier interview with the Valley & City Chronicle said that city’s budget for 2011 has been all expected because of robust local income sources derived from its RPT, economic enterprises and business taxes. And earlier, city treasurer Edgar de Guzman said that it would now take about two to three years more for the city government to hit a P1-billion income mark.

Treasury officials said that the city government under the mayor’s local income thrust has been generating since the recent years accelerating income levels characterized by the higher rates of increases in the local incomes greater than the rates of increases of its Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA), which is dependent on the budgetary formulation and decision of the Manila’s central government through the Dept. of Budget and Management.

It’s definitely good tiding that the premier city of Tagum is achieving budgetary feats so that it can fuel further its physical and economic development not only for the good of its people but for the benefit of the people of the neighboring towns and provinces which have been patronizing the city’s commercial and industrial services and facilities for playing since then as a sub-regional service centre in this part of the country.- Cha Monforte

Panabo follows Tagum in prohibiting vans from dropping in terminal

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on December 31, 2010 by cha monforte

NOV 18-24, 2010

The city government of Panabo disallowed passengers’ vans from dropping in its public terminal starting last Saturday acting positively to the petition letter signed by owners of bus companies including the Metro Shuttle bus firm of Mayor Rey Uy’s family .
City administrator Nemesio Rasgo, in an interview, said that they have to follow the Land Transportation Franchising Regulatory Board’s circular allowing only passengers’ vans to pick up and unload passengers based on the garage-to-terminal, point-to-pointfranchise of vans “even if a lot of income is lost from us” out from the terminal fees.
The garage/terminal-to-terminal franchise of vans means that vans can only pick up and unload passengers from their point of origin of terminal or authorized private garage to their point of destination terminal or authorized garage, states LTFRB Memorandum circular No. 2007-007.
Rasgo said that they have received the petition signed by owners of Metro Shuttle, Bachelor Express,Davao del Norte Express, Land Car Inc., CC/JRC Liner and others.
Tagum City’s traffic officers and police have tightened their watch to the maximum for plying vans not to pick up and unload passengers within the city’s national highway section.
Mayor Rey Uy earlier said he is just following what is in the law in his strong campaign against dropping of passengers’ vans in his city. (Rural Urban News/Cha Monforte with reports from Marvin Pineda, Correspondent)

“We’re losing badly, our income’s cut by more than a half,” says van operator

Posted in vans problems davao with tags on December 31, 2010 by cha monforte

NOV 18-24, 2010

MONKAYO- An owner of one the more than 200 passengers’ vans plying the Butuan City-Monkayo-Davao City route has bared that van owners now are losing in their operations following the total disallowing of the picking up and unloading of passengers in Tagum City and lately in Panabo City.

Samuel Cajote, one of the pioneering van owners since 2001 and resident of this town, said that their income dropped by “more than a half”” from the previous months when the Tagum City’s traffic enforcers were still rather lax in flagging down and apprehending  dropping vans.

Last Saturday, Nov. 13, Panabo City government started disallowing dropping of vans in its public terminal.

The van operator said that at presstime his van which starts in this town could only manage to net P600 to P800 daily compared to the past average of P1,200-P1,400 of the more than P4,000 gross income for a round-trip travel.

He said that the route could use up about P1,200 to P1,400 worth of gasoline.

Van operators will also deduct an average of P300 and P150 for the 20-percent and 10-percent shares of the driver and conductor, respectively.

“The fares earned are also deducted of expenses for meals, terminal fees and miscellaneous expenses of the day,” Cajote said.

“And we save money for major repairs and especially for the fast replacement of costly tires… now we are ending up with panglugaw na lang nga income (a small income worth for a porridge.),” he added.

The money from fares   where the shares of conductors and drivers would be deducted are turned over and declared to the van owners “based on honesty”.

He added that most hard  up now are many van owners who are still amortizing their units to car companies and dealers.

“There are more than 100 vans under Monvoda (Monkayo Van Operators and Drivers Association) and mostly owned by Monkayo residents, and with these there are more than 100 drivers, 200 conductors who are depending on vans for their livelihood,” he said.

There are also more than 100 vans under the Tagdasab (Tagum Davao San Francisco Butuan City Van Operators and Drivers Association).

The van fare from Monkayo to Davao City is P140.

Due to losing operations, many van operators have chosen to rest or not  to ply their units as yet while the road rules are tight. Several Tagdasab vans are accordingly plying to until San Franscisco town in Agusan del Sur and back to Butuan City.

It was also learned that the Gaisano Mall in Davao City where the Monvoda has a parking area is already charging P200 per departure of each van. Monvoda used to pay P80,000 monthly rental to Gaisano Mall before.

“The Gaisano has directly taken over after the rental scheme … we are the ones getting the papers for it and had spent for the parking shed,” the van operator said.

The Tagum City’s traffic personnel have tightened the watch of the city’s highway section in implementing Land Transportation Franchising Regulatory Board’s Memorandum Circular No. 2007-007 which imposes a garage-to-terminal, point-to-point policy whereby there would be no-picking up and no unloading of passengers along the route.

Mayor Rey Uy earlier said that he is just following what is in the law.

In separate interview, Tagum City Traffic Management Unit chief Marcos Villanueva said that there would be no let up in apprehending violating vans saying, “wa ni katapusan kay mao nay balaod (there will be no end to this as this is the law).”

He said that the TCTMU’s traffic personnel authorized by the Land Transportation Office-Tagum are carrying out issuances of Temporary Operator’s Permit (TOP) to violating van drivers.

A TCTMU police auxiliary said that the city’s traffic officers and auxiliaries would flag down violating vans and the LTO-authorized traffic investigators would then issue TOPs before the apprehended vans are sent off.

He said that the city has some 40 traffic officers and auxiliaries.

Cajote though admitted that they could not do otherwise under the existing LTRFB circular admitting defeat.

He said that before their vans used to have a franchise of PU mini vans but later the LTFRB changed the classification to GTE (garage-to-terminal express).

Other sources said that the LTFRB’s circular was contested by van operators  sometime in the past but the latter lost in several cases with the LTFRB sticking to the GTE classification of passengers’ vans. (Rural Urban News/Cha Monforte)


Tagum’s giant Xmas Tree gets worldwide view through the FB

Posted in tagum giant christmas tree with tags on December 31, 2010 by cha monforte

NOV 18-24, 2010

Thanks to high technologies, and Tagum’s giant Christmas Tree is now getting a good worldwide view through the Facebook.

This Yuletide Season’s edition of the city’s own giant Holiday Christmas Tree that was again lighted Tuesday evening is now continually being uploaded in the Facebook by among the 5,000 people who watched it lighted by its builder Mayor Rey Uy along with Tagum Diocese Rev. Monsignor Ulysses Perandos and the two governors – Davao del Norte’s Rodolfo del Rosario and Compostela Valley’s Arturo Uy.

In that evening that later became grew cooler for the first time in November, the countdown from 10 had thousands amid a sea of people raising their hands holding cellphones with cams and digicams ready for click to capture the first glow of the tens of thousands of lights of the city’s Yuletide icon..

And when the countdown went off to zero, ka-tsaks were heard from cellphones and camera flashes met the first light of the giant Christmas Tree that has been continuously lighted as the uniquely traditional Yuletide offerng of the city hall under the administration of the thrid-termer Mayor Uy since the first year of his first term.

Izzy Mae Arro is one of the clickers who managed to upload her photos of the giant Christmas Tree in her Facebook account the day after the evening it was switched on by officials, in the browsing of the City & Valley Chronicle in Facebook accounts among Tagumenyos and Dabaonons. She drew in a lot of shots taken in various angles, zooms and pans.

And immediately OFWs and those in far places have their comments posted in Izzy Mae’s photos of the giant Christmas Tree.

Her FB friend Sheila Quiros Kimura, an obviously OFW, says; “ wOw kah nice wOi.”

Many of her friends had words “wow” echoing the collective wows of spectators Tuesday evening when full lights – yellow, green, blue and red in series, already curtained the Tree’s whole body after the red light made its first ascent to the five circular rungs that formed its pyramidal cone.

Ann Balaba, a Kapalong lass and student of Tagum City Institute of Technology said “it’s so nice” when asked right after the lighting.

And Jessa Mae Dacalla, 16, city high student,  said that this time it is nicer in colors and decors than it was in the past year. She  said she attended lighting events of the towering city’s icon for the 7 times already.

Tagum’s giant Christmas tree, 107 feet in height, is now embellished with light decors forming birds of peace, bells, moon and stars. (Rural Urban News/Cha Monforte)