Archive for July, 2013

Davao Norte congressman’s bodyguard shot dead by motorcycle-riding tandem; Condemnation heard at the provincial board

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on July 10, 2013 by cha monforte

july 9, 2013

By Cha Monforte, Rural Urban News

The bodyguard of the Davao del Norte Rep. Anthony del Rosario was shot dead Monday at 6 A.M. by motorcycle-riding gunmen in tandem infront the provincial Capitol after he went into jogging inside the provincial sports center.

The city police as of press time has still no clue on the motive of the killing of Froilan Maureal, 54, married, and resident of Block 6, Lot 7, Lynville Subdivision, Brgy. Mankilam, Tagum City.

He was a personnel of the Civil Security Unit (CSU) of the provincial government, and was said to be detailed as one of the bodyguards of Cong. Anthony del Rosario, son of Gov. Rodolfo del Rosario.

Tagum City police chief Epe Rillo said that the victim was on his way to his house riding on his Honda Wave motorcycle when at the corner of Ferido and Boiser streets a black Honda TMX motorcycle suddenly bumped it off causing him to fall on the street pavement.

There he was shot by the motorcycle-backriding assassin for several times hitting the victim’s head, chest and stomach.

The assassins immediately sped off going to Garciaville after severely shooting the victim down.

Concerned onlookers brought shortly the victim to Erum Hospital but he was declared as dead on arrival.

Police investigators recovered seven shells and one slug of .45 caliber handgun at the crime scene.

PSupt. Rillo relayed that Maureal’s wife had said that the crime is possibly related to the death threat that his husband got way back in 2010 election.

Sources said that Maureal had been a long-time bodyguard of Gov. del Rosario and was a New People’s Army surrenderee who first served as a bodyguard of the late Governor and Congressman Prospero Amatong in the late 80s.

In the Sangguniang Panlalawigan’s session Monday afternoon, provincial Board Member Dr. Fred De Veyra, chairman of the SP’s human right committee, condemned the “dastardly killing” saying Maureal “is one of us” being a Capitol employee.

De Veyra called on the new city administration to immediately arrest the resurgent summary killings happening recently in Tagum City as promised in the last election.

The provincial board passed a resolution, in view of the killing, asking for the presence of top police officers, the municipal chiefs of police and the new provincial police director PSSupt. Samuel Gadingan in their next session in the coming Monday. (Rural Urban News/Cha Monforte)

1-hectare housing for the poor exempted from geohazard assessment

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on July 10, 2013 by cha monforte

july 5, 2013

By Cha Monforte, Rural Urban News

Socialized housing project for the poor and disadvantaged sector is exempted from complying the Engineering Geological and Geohazard Assessment (EGGA) which is a sub-requirement to securing the Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC).

This was bared by Alnulfo Alvarez, chief of the Environment Management Bureau of the Dept. of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)-XI based in Davao City.

Socialized housing project for the poor such as the Community Mortgage Program (CMP) is exempted provided the project area is one hectare or less and if it is obviously not within environmentally critical area such as it is situated in an agricultural area, he said.

Producing the EGGA Report (EGGAR) done by a licensed geologist is one big complaint of homeowners associations vying to avail of the government’s CMP program. EGGAR is costly and a report said the geologist preparer asked for P300,000 fee for a 5-hectare CMP project.

Alvarez said that if the project is situated in an agricultural area, the project proponent would have to secure a land conversion certificate from the Dept. of Agrarian Reform.

He said that the EMB could still proceed acting on the ECC application of the socialized housing proponent with only the Land Use Conversion Application to DAR attached to the ECC Application.

He further said that ECC application is easy and not costly to comply with these days with only P4,000 application fee and ten maximum requirements using the easy-to-comply pro-forma documents of the EMB.

“What is most important for ECC applicants is that their project is within the residential zone of the municipality or city,” he added.

In 2000, following the known Cherry Hill Tragedy, the DENR introduced EGGAR as an additional requirement of ECC application.

DENR AO 2000-28 was issued with the intention of adequately and comprehensively addressing and mitigating the possible effects and impacts of geologic hazards. This order requires that all proponents of subdivision development projects, housing projects and other land development and infrastructure projects, private or public, shall undertake an Engineering Geological and Geohazard Assessment (EGGA).

The DENR then cited that by reason of its geographic, geologic and tectonic
setting, the Philippines is prone to several geologic and natural hazards that include earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and major mass movements.

Geologic events that caused enormous destruction to lives and property were the earthquake of Luzon on July 16, 1990 and the eruption of Pinatubo Volcano on June 13, 1991. Both incidents killed thousands of human lives and destroyed millions of dollars of property. Until that date, the government was still in dire need of an effective and legalized system to mitigate the disastrous effects of such geologic processes.

In August 1999, suburban Cherry Hills Subdivision located on a hilly section of Antipolo City experienced a disaster in which torrential rains for 3 consecutive days triggered a landslide that cost the lives of over 50 people and rendered hundreds more homeless. Despite exposing itself to criticism for putting up a rather reactionary stance, the government proceeded to issue DENR AO 2000-28 as its long-term response to the urgent need of protecting lives and property from destruction brought about by such geologic hazards. (Rural Urban News/Cha Monforte)

Cuntapay appointed as Tagum City’s peace and order consultant by Mayor Rellon

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on July 10, 2013 by cha monforte

july 3, 2013

By Cha Monforte, Rural Urban News
 
New Tagum City Mayor Allan Rellon has announced the appointment to his losing runningmate Cesar Cuntapay as the city’s peace and order consultant for “one peso a year” fee. 
Rellon announced this during his first appearance as a city mayor during the convocation and flag-raising ceremony of city hall officials and employees Tuesday, where for two hours he spoke outlining his visions and policies for the city hall and the city.
In his speech, Rellon underscored honesty, discipline, transparency and true service to the people.
A visibly surprised Cuntapay, in an interview, said he was humbled by the mayor’s appointment, adding he would be having a lot of work to do for the critical job given to him and to help ensure that Rellon would succeed in his first term of administration.
“I was ambushed by my mayor,” he said in gist, adding that the mayor’s appointment was a complete surprise to him as did not ask for it.
Cuntapay actively supported the mayoral bid of Rellon in the last polls although in the end he lost to now Vice Mayor Geterito Gementiza. 
“I have high respect and regards to Allan, and it’s only me who supported him but the people of Tagum,” he said. 
Cuntapay is a former police investigator and is known in Tagum City to be a businessman visibly supporting the fight against the taking over of the CDA group over Daneco. 
He volunteered his business spaces to be used as immediate, temporary offices and collection centers of Daneco-NEA group when the Tagum Tipaz office was held at bay by the CDA group and after the large of majority of Daneco-NEA employees broke away middle last year from what they described as the “illegitimate, illegal Daneco-CDA”. 
Cuntapay is also a vocal critic to the high tax rates imposed by the previous city administration. He is the president of the Landowners and Landusers Association of Tagum City and of the Multisectoral Consumers Council for Davao del Norte and Compostela Valley provinces.
Cuntapay is bred under the tutelage of strictly disciplinarian Ilocano parents. At young age, he was educated in an exclusive school for boys, and had studied in the seminary of St. Louis fathers from Belgium, before he became a barrister (graduate of Bachelor of Laws) and a policeman serving first Manila then to his home city of Tuguegarao.
His wife Evangeline Rojo Fernandez was his classmate in the College of Law of the MLQU (Manuel L. Quezon University. They met in the university and things turned out so sweet for them that ended in their marriage in 1979. Evangeline, or Belen as fondly called by friends, is a pure Tagumenya and a known heir lessor-businesswoman in the city.  
At the backdrop of Cesar Cuntapay is the heroic past of his great grandfather and his brothers who were a feature in a canvass of Philippine history. 
His great grandfather Don Pedro Cuntapay was the secretary in the drafting of the Malolos Constitution. 
Placido Cuntapay, the brother of Don Pedro, was a famous guerrilla who led the Gaddang Revolution opposing the Spanish authority and regulations being imposed to the populace. Placido received a decree from Queen Elizabeth II appointing him as the gobernadorcillo of the old region 2 but he later revolted against Spanish rule. 
After the successful Philippine Revolution, Francisco Cuntapay, another brother of Don Pedro, held the position as Jues da Pas (Justice of Peace) in the old region 2 consisting the present provinces of Cagayan, Isabela, Quirino, Kalinga Apayao, Ifugao and Batanes. (Rural Urban News/Cha Monforte)

Davao Norte Gov. RDR vows anew completion of Talaingod-Bukidnon road during inaugural SP session

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on July 10, 2013 by cha monforte
july 3, 2013
 
By Cha Monforte, Rural Urban News
 
Davao del Norte Governor Rodolfo del Rosario vowed anew to make vigorous efforts for the completion of Talaingod-Bukidnon road which would strategically link two provinces.
 
Also within the governor’s road infrastructure thrusts for completion in his last term are the roads from Kilometer 0, Asuncion to Laak, Compostela Valley and Veruela, Agusan del Sur,  from Florida, Kapalong via Semong to Loreto, Agusan del Sur, from Mahayahay, Panabo to Paquibato, Davao City, and the circumferential road in Samal Island.
 
He informed these during the inaugural session of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan  Monday where the governor was the guest of honor. He bared his wide-ranging development thrusts to the body. 
Del Rosario thanked and sought anew policy support and partnership with the legislative body.
 
Vice Governor Victorio “Baby” Suaybaguio Jr thanked the governor and pledged support for his endeavors, saying that the legislative chamber has witnessed how the governor laid down through his previous two terms the development blueprint of the province.
 
DPWH Davao del Norte district engineer Fernando Ongkingco Jr said in an interview that “the Talaingod-Bukidnon road can be done, completed before the end of 2016.” 
 
The current hitch of the Talaingod-Bukidnon road, a national project since 2007, is that it is passable but road difficulties abound as it has many remaining untouched sections needing construction works due to lack of funding.
 
The governor has been lobbying to the national government for the completion of the Talaingod-Bukidnon every change of President since Ramos time. 
 
The road has a total stretch of 128.16 kilometers, connecting the two provinces from Kapalong town to the city of Valencia in Bukidnon. It is touted to cut travel time by three hours from Davao del Norte to Cagayan de Oro City if compared to taking the route via Buda, Davao City.
 
Earlier, Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) Secretary Luwalhati Antonino said that the Talaingod-Bukidnon road needed an additional P2.29 billion to complete the paving and ancillary works for the entire road stretch. The project has a total cost of P3.64 billion. 
 
About P1.53 billion was needed to fully pave the road and construct slope protection in Bukidnon side, and another P764.8 million to fully pave the road in Davao Del Norte side.
The MinDA Board, through a resolution urged President Benigno Simeon Aquino III last year to highly prioritize the road’s completion. It is one of the priority infrastructure projects listed in the Mindanao 2020 Peace and Development Framework.
 
Governor del Rosario is member of the MinDA Board, being the president of the Mindanao Confederation of Governors. Del Rosario, being the president of the Confederation of the League of Governors and Mayors in Mindanao (CONFED). (Rural Urban News/Cha Monforte)

The oath-taking of the elected

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on July 10, 2013 by cha monforte
june 30, 2013
 
HASHTAGS BREW
By Cha Monforte
 
Oath-taking is the penultimate legal leg of the elected. The last is their actual assuming of office. The first, lest we forget, is their being elected, which is the costliest. Well, the elected politicians have taken their oath of office until Sunday noon, the cut-off date and time set by law. We don’t know the fate of those who failed to take their oath.
 
Davao del Norte’s elected provincial officials- the governor, vice governor and board members- swore to high heavens Sunday before 12:00 noon. Comval’s elected provincial officials swore 2 P.M. Saturday. By Sunday noon and a second after, the country had its new officials starting to perform their jobs, and defeated incumbents lost political power. 
 
Oath-taking is required for all public servants, elected or appointed. It’s an oath for which they pledge that they come in to work in government, assume in public office that is a public trust, and for which they are accountable and expected to do their best and even sacrifice their lives.
This oath includes: …”To uphold and defend the Constitution… obey the laws, legal orders, and decrees… faithfully discharge to the best of his ability the duties of the office or position… he is about to enter…” And it concludes that any public servant assumes the obligation “without mental reservation or purpose of evasion.”
 
What makes the elected different to the lowly public servant is that their oath-taking is a public rite. There are few who chose to swear individually before a judge or a fiscal. The lowly public servant often just signs his oath of office, and have it notarized by a fiscal and he submits it to his human resource office.
 
It’s alright that the oath-taking of the elected becomes a public rite and show. With it, they pledge to high heavens and before a sea of mortals like them. But how many have fallen short from their oaths afterwards and run their office like a private business. 
 
I am reminded of a book about the kleptocracy festering among public offices in ARMM areas. It can vanish if the conspiracy of the state auditors to the corrupt elected is cut. But who can honestly and bravely audit a corrupt warlord reigning in the corridors of power?
 
State auditors, mortals as they are, meekly ride on blind monkey’s game or they become just so cozy of their positions and avoid the road where angels fear to tread. That’s not only true to Muslim Mindanao, but also to Christian Mindanao. What perhaps matters is that kleptocracy in the latter comes up largely in secret goings on until flagrante delicto or the least of it following an Ombudsman or Sandiganbayan complaint.
 
The oath of office is a sacred pledge that first encages a raging bull of corruption among our local government units (LGUs). In a culture of corruption, the problem is the bull even if head-spanked to be timid goes around berserk when let loose. This culture is still a bad road needing to be straightened out. This is very much a subject to be connected by PNoy’s daang matuwid.
 
But for PNoy’s road after our elected swore oath, is this straight road going up or down now in our LGUs?
 
TAGS & HASHES: Daang matuwid? But we continue to hear about the failings of X-Ray Project of Bureau of Customs- Davao Port ….. So here’s the rampancy of banned goods entering and flooding the Davao market. (e-mail, chamonforte@yahoo.com, views from the Rural Urban News)

Don’t fear complying ECC, it’s easy- EMB-XI

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on July 10, 2013 by cha monforte
june 28, 2013
 
By Cha Monforte, Rural Urban News
 
After all, the strangely feared-at Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) is easy to comply with, amid all superlative talks and veiled warnings of wily consultants and ECC preparers about its alleged difficult, meticulous requirements and hefty cost.
“There are just 10 requirements for ECC application and a payment of P4,000 for all types of projects regardless of cost, may it be P1-million or P100-million worth of project,” informed Alnulfo Alvarez, chief of the Environment Management Bureau of the Dept. of Environment and Natural Resources-XI based in Davao City.
These requirements are the transmittal letter, notarized Initial Environment Examination Report (IEER) with accountability statement, zoning certification, proof of ownership, site development plan, photos of the site, barangay resolution interposing no objection, geographical coordinates, and Project Environmental Monitoring and Audit Prioritization Scheme (PEMAPS).
“We have easy-to-comply pro-forma documents like the IEER and PEMAPS that proponents would have only to check in a list and state few relevant information,” Alvarez added.
“Most importantly,” he added, “we have imposed a 30-day period for us to approve the ECC application, starting upon receipt of the ECC application with complete documents, and failure on our part to act on it within the said period, it means the application is automatically approved and they can commence their project.”
For projects not covered by ECC, the EMB would have to only issue a Certificate of Non Coverage (CNC), “which takes only one day to process and only P100 payment,” said the EMB-XI chief.   
He further informed that upon receipt of ECC application, EMB would have its fast initial review, and if the project is covered by an ECC, the application would have to be given to the assigned case handler, who would have to conduct inspection and review within 15 days from receipt of the case.
DENR has now an online nationwide database and geographic information system that incorporates ECC projects for easier analysis and fast ECC recommendation and approval, Alvarez said.
Asked on why the ECC has been strangely feared at, Alvarez answered in gist: “Nahimong ang livelihood ang  ECC sa mga consultant ug preparer (ECC preparation has become a source of livelihood of consultants and preparers).”
There are reports that some ECCs are made by enterprising consultants and preparers at five- to six-digit sum.
ECC is required in Environmentally Critical Projects (ECPs) and projects in Environmentally Critical Areas (ECAs), regardless whether it is government or private project.
Alvarez said that there are some banks that require ECC as a requirement in their loan application although the project is not an ECP or within ECA.
“Issuance of ECC for small scale mining remains to be suspended since early this year. However, for big mining covered by Mineral Production Sharing Agreement (MPSA) and Financial or Technical Assistance Agreement (FTAA),  ECC is issued by EMB Manila office,” he bared.   
ECC is often looked upon as the end product implementing Presidential Decree No. 1586, the law establishing the Philippine Environmental Impact Statement System since 1982.
PD 1586 is sought to be amended by a pending bill called as Philippine Environmental Assessment System. The bill, which seeks higher penalties for violators, is now on the second reading in the outgoing Congress.
Under PD 1586, an ECC requirement should be complied with for ECPs and projects in ECAs presumed to have significant impacts on the quality of the environment.
Among those listed as ECPs are heavy industries, resource extractive industries like major mining and quarrying projects, forestry projects (logging, major wood processing projects), extraction of mangrove products, grazing, fishery projects (dikes for/and fishpond development projects), infrastructure projects like major dams, major reclamation projects, major roads and bridges, all golf course projects and others.
Among those listed in ECA categories are all areas declared by law as national parks, watershed reserves, wildlife preserves, sanctuaries, areas set aside as aesthetic potential tourist spots, areas which constitute the habitat of any endangered or threatened species of Philippine wildlife (flora and fauna), areas which are traditionally occupied by cultural communities or tribes, areas frequently visited and/or hard-hit by natural calamities (geologic hazards, floods, typhoons, volcanic activity), critical water bodies, mangrove areas, coral reefs and others. (Rural Urban News/Cha Monforte)