Archive for August, 2013

Cong. Lagdameo surprised to learn implementation of his P1M pork- chief of staff

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on August 20, 2013 by cha monforte

aug 20, 2013

By Cha Monforte, Rural Urban News

Davao del Norte 2nd District Rep. Antonio Floirendo Lagdameo Jr. was surprised to learn that the P1 million he sought from the Department of Agriculture over a year ago has been implemented, bared Generose Tecson, his chief of staff.
Tecson, in text message sent Tuesday morning, said that the congressman “wrote to DA asking for P1 million for organic farming project over a year ago. Nothing was heard from DA and Cong. (Lagdameo) was surprised to learn that the P1 million has been implemented.”
“He asked the DA where and when the project was implemented. With the PDAF rules, kindly remember that the congressman requests but it’s the concerned agency that will implement. Cong. Lagdameo has yet to hear from DA regarding the same,” she added. 
Lagdameo is one of the more than 40 incumbent congressman implicated in the pork barrel scam. There are nine incumbent senators implicated in the COA investigative report revealing pork barrel scams. Others implicated were former congressmen and senators.
Lagdameo got a total of P138.5 million pork barrel per COA’s report on releases of Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), Various Infrastructure including Local Projects (VILP) and Other Sources, for the period 2007 to 2009. The PDAF is the “soft portion” of pork barrel while VILF is the “hard portion”. 
Each congressman is supposed to receive only a total of P210 million for three years or one term, as they are allocated P40 million for hard projects and P30 million for soft projects or a total of P70 million per year. 
For Davao Region, the same COA report bared pork barrel releases to the other incumbent congressmen. They are Davao City 3rd District Rep. Isidro Ungab, now the chairman of powerful committee on appropriations, with P197.5 million, Davao del Sur 2nd District Rep. Franklin Bautista, P99.85 million, Compostela Valley 2nd District Rep. Rommel Amatong, P162.3 million, and Davao Oriental 1st District Rep. Nelson Dayanghirang, P194.64 million.
The COA report also bared pork barrel releases of former congressmen, namely: former Speaker and Davao City 1st District Rep. Prospero Nograles, P604.5 million, former Davao del Norte 1st District Rep. Arrel Olano, P178.1 million, former Davao Oriental 1st District Rep. Corazon Malanyaon, P38 million, former Davao del Sur 1st District Rep. Douglas Cagas, P46 million, former Davao del Sur 1st District Rep. Marc Douglas IV, P615.2 million, former Davao Oriental 2nd District Rep. Joel Mayo Almario, P42.9 million, former Davao Oriental 2nd District Rep. Thelma Almario, P166.6 million, former Davao del Sur 2nd District Rep. Claude Bautista, P25.56 million, former Davao City 2nd District Rep. Vincent Garcia, P128.668 million, late Comval 2nd District Rep. Prospero Amatong, P50.5 million. and former Comval 1st District Rep. and now Comval Vice Governor Manuel “Way Kurat” Zamora, a whopping P3.2091 billion, which made him the No. 1 in the list of porkers in the Senate and the House. 
Zamora has denied he received such big amount of pork. (Rural Urban News/Cha Monforte)

Newsfeature: Comm. Ruffy Biazon emerging as father of customs reforms

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on August 20, 2013 by cha monforte

aug 18, 2013

By Cha Monforte, Rural Urban News

Reeling on when the Bureau of Customs is now on its lowest point after being lambasted by President Aquino in his fourth SONA as a most corrupt agency, BOC Commissioner Ruffy Biazon has no way out but to go up.
“He is the right person for the job during these trying times,” said BOC Port of Davao Office In Charge District Collector lawyer Edward James Dy Buco in an interview.
He said the officials and employees across the entire BOC organization “is now open and receptive to reforms initiated (by Biazon), and this is particularly shown in the support shown by the district collectors and sub-port collectors.”
“Commissioner Biazon has the skills, demeanour and character in responding and managing the issues raised by the President. Customs’ transformation is on its way under (his) good leadership,” Dy Buco bared.
BOC Port of Davao officials and employees were among the first to respond in supporting Biazon’s reform measures. 
The BOC Port of Davao has already submitted its reshuffling plan as earlier asked by Biazon in his directive to all ports and sub-ports nationwide.
In his visit in Davao City last August 8 when Biazon led the opening of 6 seized container vans with contrabands worth P7.2 million, BOC Davao officials and employees in written statement pledged to support to Biazon’s reform measures.
For the past five years, the BOC Port of Davao has consistently surpassed its assigned collection even as the entire Bureau of Customs and major ports in Metro Manila and other parts of the country failed to reach their target. In 2012 it collected P5.910 billion, which was ten percent over its assigned target collection of P5.378 billion.
President Aquino in his SONA last July 22 lambasted BOC for allowing smuggled items, weapons and even illegal drugs into the country, and for not properly taxing imported goods.
He said: “The Department of Finance estimates that more than P200 billion in revenue slip through our borders instead of going to our public coffers…Where do these people get the gall?”
Customs employees in Manila belonging to 3,000-member Bureau of Customs Employees Association (BOCEA) recoiled and wore black armbands early this month, protesting Aquino’s accusations as “sweeping generalizations” that only “demoralized all officers and employees of the BOC.”
But Biazon shot back, he disagreed with BOCEA, posting in his Tweeter account, “We should take it as a direct order to shape up.” 
“We in the Bureau of Customs should accept the fact that reforms are in order. My directive to BOC officers and employees: Accept the President’s SONA as a challenge to prove your worth as public servants… As I’ve always said from the very beginning of my term as commissioner, Customs reforms go beyond reshuffles and chopping off heads,” he added.
Hours following the SONA, Biazon offered to resign but it was not accepted by the President. BOC Manila top officials were shaken and district collectors made courtesy resignation as earlier asked by Biazon.
“Sustainable and institutionalized reform is not achieved by giving in to the pressure of the mob crying for blood. Focus is needed to carry out an already established plan aided by calibrated action on side issues,” Biazon once released a social media statement.
“It’s said that ignorance of the law excuses no one. So to those who think I can just fire civil service employees without going through due process as prescribed by law, you are not excused,” he said in another post.
In his recent Davao visit, he said that the reshuffling of officials in customs ports and sub-ports nationwide is continuing which “has a process” including observance of civil service laws.
Insiders in the BOC said now that Biazon’s proactive way of launching reforms of a centuries-old bureau that has long been tested to weather reforms since the presidency of President PNoy’s mother, Corazon Aquino, is sailing through port by port nationwide, making timid cows those raging bulls inside and outside who want the bureau to continue to be corrupt, with them caving in and giving way one by one and one after another each time his Christian persona passes them by.
Biazon is known a silent doer on top of his being a Sunday Bible teacher in Muntinlupa City where he served as congressman for three consecutive terms ending in 2010.
After the barrage of attacks from all fronts and when the dusts start to settle down, Commissioner Biazon is coming out a heeding good soldier of the President and appears emerging as the father of customs reforms. (Rural Urban News/Cha Monforte)

TESDA-XI aligning training curricula for rising TVET army with standards overseas

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on August 20, 2013 by cha monforte

aug 16, 2013

By Cha Monforte, Rural Urban News

To avoid re-training and re-assessment of skills of the country’s rising army of technical-vocational education training (TVET) graduates especially once they get in jobs overseas, the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) is aligning its training curricula to match with standards and assessment qualifications of foreign industries and employers.
“We have to align our curriculum with what the industries and employers need like recently when we have to align with our metals and engineering curriculum with the qualifications and standards of the American welding industry in Florida,” TESDA- XI Regional Director Gaspar Gayona bared.
“There is a need for us to align and the need for the employers to recognize Tesda’s certification and assessment to avoid our TVET workers being retrained and reassessed by employers. Lately, we have come to terms with employers in Abu Dhabi,” Gayona added.
He also said that “there are still jobs out there that have no curriculum yet” and for this, he added, “gagapangin namin ang mga industries” in TESDA’s continuing industry profiling activities.
Likewise, TESDA is also developing its skills registry system to databank skills of the country’s TVET manpower and match this with job demands, local and overseas.
For Davao Region, Gayona noted that industry clusters are dominantly agricultural and TESDA is on the process of profiling the priority skills locally needed in consideration of the development plans of local government units.
Meanwhile. Gayona bared that TESDA-XI has solicited 14,780 local and overseas job vacancies which will be offered to an estimated 65,000 TVET graduates thus far this year as well as to the unemployed skilled workers in the previous years in the region.
This will come in the Tesda’s “2013 Jobs Bridging for TVET Graduates” on August 22 at NCCC Mall, Matina, Davao City. Pre-registration of applicants will be on Aug. 19-21 at the same venue.
“From this, as our first jobs’ bridging fair, we will be holding an annual jobs’ fair for TVET graduates as we learned that many jobs’ fairs in the past conducted by various bodies that those who were employed and considered for hiring were mostly graduates of technical courses or unemployed skilled workers in the region. It is for this reason that Tesda-XI thought of holding one,” Gayona said.
He said the employment rate of TVET graduates in the region is increasing, “it’s going to 65 percent,” he added. 
The jobs’ fair will kick off the annual meeting and matching of manpower supply and demand in the region as the activity aims to generate information on the skills and characteristics required by different employers which will become inputs to the revision of Tesda trainings’ curricula. (Rural Urban News/Cha Monforte)

PNoy’s visit with 14 Cabinet secretaries in MinBizCon “first in Mindanao in 20 yrs” – Gaisano

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on August 20, 2013 by cha monforte
aug. 14, 2013
By Cha Monforte, Rural Urban News

Mindanao business leader John Gaisano heaped candid praises to President Aquino who graced in Mindanao Business Conference (MinBizCon) last week in Davao City, hailing his visit with 14 Cabinet secretaries in tow as the “first in Mindanao in 20 years” since the Ramos time.
He said that there has been no occasion in the last 20 years that a President came to Mindanao bringing a lot of his Secretaries. 
In Club 888 press forum at Marco Polo Hotel in Davao City Wednesday, Gaisano of the famed Gaisano chain of malls in Mindanao and Visayas, expressed optimism that the presence of the President and majority of his Cabinet members is a “good sign” heralding something best from Manila to come for Mindanao in the next half of the presidential term.
“The President’s speech was better than his last SONA before our senators and congressmen. We, Mindanao stakeholders raised our concerns based on series of consultations with some 250 Mindanao businessmen and organization leaders. The President provides the broad strokes and clear directions and the Secretaries would have to deliver,” said Gaisano, the 22nd MinBizCon conference director.
He added with that given “content and substance of the President’s speech responding to the raised MinBizCon’s nine-point policy agenda, expectations are indeed very high now among businessmen and organization leaders.”
He said that Mindanao businessmen would be on their toes to monitor the presidential pronouncements as to “whether they have to execute it.”
MinBizCon is the largest annual gathering of Mindanao’s key business leaders and government officials in the collective effort to usher more investments and push dramatic economic development in the island-region’s 26 provinces, 422 municipalities and 33 cities. MinBizCon is now on its 22nd year.
The recent MinBizCon, held last August 8 to 10, raised a nine-point policy agenda which include calling for sufficient, reliable and clean energy, improved access to financing micro, small and medium enterprises and agricultural smallholders, enhanced infrastructure and logistics support to key production areas to improve intra- and interconnectivity of Mindanao, repeal of Cabotage Law, laying down of policy framework for responsible and sustainable mining practices, improved tourism infrastructure and regulation of adventure-tourism activities, job-skills matching, amendment of tariff and the customs code, and support of Mindanao growth corridors and export gateways.
Gaisano particularly stressed that if the Cabotage Law is repealed, “the cost of shipping will decrease, there will be more competition, prices will drop, the services will be better and almost 50 million Visayan-speaking people will benefit while it facilitates inter-and intra-trade with other islands.”
The businessman further asserted by asking that, “don’t you know that under the present Cabotage Law, it costs a lot more to ship from Mindanao to Manila than from Mindanao to Singapore?” 
It is claimed that under the Cabotage Law the restriction on foreign vessels in the movement of goods in Philippine ports increases their costs as cargoes have to be loaded and unloaded to and from foreign and local vessels and vice versa. 
The law is practically enforced by country’s Tariff and Customs Code which provides that maritime transportation of goods and passengers within the country is reserved to Philippine registered marine vessels. 
The law, which dates back to 1900s, is said to be protectionist then when it was necessary to promote the development of the local shipping industry. 
But critics now said that the law should be amended as it is behind the times to adjust to the present global economy.
President Aquino called for its amendment his SONA last month. (Rural Urban News/Cha Monforte)


Biazon asking reshuffling plans of customs ports nationwide

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on August 20, 2013 by cha monforte

aug. 13, 2013

By Cha Monforte, Rural Urban News

Bureau of Customs Commissioner Ruffy Biazon bared that he has already asked officials of customs ports nationwide to submit their respective reshuffling plans in his drive to carry out reforms in his agency that was earlier chastised no less than by President Aquino.

In his visit to BOC Port of Davao Thursday, he said that the reshuffling of officials in customs ports and sub-ports is continuing but this “has a process” including the observance of civil service laws.

“May konting adjustment tayo, and it does not mean guilty sila,” he said referring to those customs officials who have relinquished their posts and tendered courtesy resignations to heed his earlier directive.

He added that the gesture is otherwise seen as “an indicator of their support to the reforms’ program in customs.”

He said that the BOC Port of Davao officials were among the first to respond in supporting his reform measures to address the President’s State of the Nation Address’ particular concern on BOC .

In his visit, BOC-Davao officials distributed to members of the media a statement of support signed by 62 officials and employees led by OIC district collector lawyer Edward James Dy Buco.

Dy Buco in a press conference with Biazon said that with the aggressive reform drives of Commissioner Biazon “a new customs is born.”

He said that BOC-Davao’s stakeholders including the customs brokers dealing with the bureau has also pledged to support Biazon’s reform measures.

Biazon led BOC-Davao officials at Sasa wharf in opening five withheld reefer containers earlier declared to contain cake ingredients and pastries but found to contain onions, carrots and garlic from China.

The imported cargoes have a estimated value of P5 million and have a consignee identified as one Fathannah General Merchandise. The shipment was subject of an alert order of Dy Buco dated last July 26.

After the opening of the five containers as witnessed by the media, Biazon subsequently went to BOC-Davao’s Tibungco wharf to open one container declared to contain seven packages of used truck replacement parts but found to contain 6 units of Honda Fit vehicles with estimated total value of P2.2 million. Dy Buco’s alert order last August 2 identified the cargoes’ consignee as one DMA Enterprises. (Rural Urban News/Cha Monforte)

Call to arms sounded at DavNor SP

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on August 20, 2013 by cha monforte

aug 7-13, 2013

“More guns, more ammo, more policemen”

In the wake of the hold-up robbery victimizing their own colleague, several board members raised recurring theme prodding the Tagum City and provincial police to submit request-proposals to the body for aid and assistance from the provincial government to counter increasing incidents of criminality occurring in the city since the recent weeks.
Board Member Vicente “Enting:” Eliot, was held-up and robbed three weeks ago by still unidentified two armed men who immediately fled on motorcyle after getting about P30,000 cash from the board member’s junkshop at Barangay Visayan Village.
During the July 1 session attended by Tagum chief of police PSupt. Solomon De Castella, Board Member Alan Dujali raised the need for the police to submit proposal for aid as the provincial government has budget for peace and security as it has been giving aid to other sectors in the province.
Dujali was supported by Board Members Shirley Aala, Ernesto Evangelista, Joey Millan and Dr. Fred De Veyra.
Dujali was concerned on the crimes that hit personnel from the provincial government such Cong. Anthony del Rosario’s chief bodyguard Froilan Maureal and his colleague Eliot, asking “who’s next?”
De Castella was invited by the SP as resource person to give update of the hold-up robbery of Eliot and on the series of robberies, hold ups and other crimes occurring the city. Provincial police director PSSupt. Samuel Gadingan had his turn in the previous session.
PSupt. De Castella informed the body they had already a cartographic sketch for the suspects who robbed Eliot whom the police was still pursuing.
He said that when he was assigned as police chief in Davao del Sur, the problem there was more on carnapping of motorcycles, while in Davao del Norte since he assumed office is robbery-holdup with akyat bahay robbery having more incidents.
He said that the provincial police in Davao del Sur once conducted a raid in Cotabato where the police discovered motorcycle engines being converted as engines for the bancas in Liguasan Marsh.
He added that the Tagum City police force of 150 need to be augmented with 50 more policemen besides the need to increase its mobile patrol cars.
Eliot sounded to clarify the need for more guns, more ammunition and more policemen to be deployed.
The long-running proposal for one additional personnel for a bodyguard to each SP member was raised anew on the floor.
Board Member Joey Millan has still his bodyguard being funded by the Office of the Governor.
Currently, each SP member except Millan enjoys a 5-staff complement for the chief of staff, secretary, driver, liason officer and utility personnel.
Millan, a lawyer, has 6 staffers with one bodyguard he personally funded in initial months when he first joined the SP and who was later funded by the governor’s office.
Millan, in an interview Monday said, “it’s in the open, I do not hide it.” (Rural Urban News/Cha Monforte)

“It’s another history for us!”- BM Aala in welcoming Datu Pandian to the SP

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on August 20, 2013 by cha monforte

aug 7-13, 2013

The amiable and sometimes thunderous Board Member Shirley Belen Aala profusely welcomed the entry of Datu Victor Pandian as new member of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan in last Monday’s session with words, “It’s historic, it’s memorable day for us, all the adjectives are for you, you’ll be learning many things from us as we can also learn many things from you, your culture and tradition.”
“Welcome! It’s another history for all of us!” she added.
BM Aala described it was not “bakikaw” (awkward) that the IP mandatory representative for the Talaingod sanggunian sit ahead of the IP representative Pandian in the SP in reaction to an earlier statement of Board Member Joey Millan.
She also reacted that Datu Padian should also be given the option to wear barong tagalog in reaction to the proposal of Millan to amend the dress code in the SP’s Internal Rules of Procedure with the entry of the IP representative who wore a tribal attire when he took an oath anew for the SP last Monday.
Millan shortly after the Padian’s oathtaking administered by Vice Governor Victorio “Baby” Suaybaguio Jr informed the body on the need to revise their rules considering that the new IP representation affected the IPR’s provisions on the SP’s composition, chairmanships and vice chairmanships. composition of committees and the dress code.
Vice Gov. Suaybaguio and other board members also welcomed Pandian.
Padian has his first oath-taking administered by Governor Rodolfo del Rosario last Wednesday, July 31.
Tagum City’s IP representative Datu Rudy Onlos also took oath last Thursday.
At press time, the SP has a total of 28 committees including the committee of the whole.
With Pandian’s ex-officio membership, the SP has now 14 members, for 10 regular members (5 each for District 1 and District 2) and the FABC representative, PCL representatative and SK representative as the other 3 ex-officio members.
Pandian said in an interview with the Valley & City Chronicle said that he was once a barangay councilor of Barangay New Balamban, and the provincial tribal council president. He belongs to Mansaka tribe. (Rural Urban News/Cha Monforte)