Archive for February, 2014

“Hataman, a posterman of ARMM reforms” – PNoy

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on February 16, 2014 by cha monforte

feb 13, 2014

President PNoy Aquino was all praises to ARMM Regional Governor Mujiv Hataman in his speech during the 2nd ARMM LGU Summit of Governance and Development Wednesday at Waterfront Insular Hotel in Davao City.

He praised Hataman for making serious reforms in ARMM as he cited the national government’s strides in making peace and delivering accomplishments covering governance, election, education, health, education, and investment in Mindanao’s Muslim areas.

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In his speech, the President snapped descriptive praises to Hataman as “indeed a ghost buster”, a “posterman”, a spin off from posterboy, and the ARMM governor who did not make “apparition projects”.

The President made a length in citing Hataman’s role in pushing serious reforms in ARMM’s governance.

At one time, he said that Hataman smashed the ingrained padrino system in ARMM, saying marami siyang binungggo (he made collision with many interests).

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Before the presidential speech, Hataman spoke citing his administration’s accomplishments, among which were the road concreting spanning 574 kilometers through the DPWH, the shaking off of ARMM’s dependence to contractors as ARMM has now a fleet of heavy equipment brought from savings, and the boosting of rice production worth by more than P1 billion in last year.

Hataman particularly thanked the President, saying that it is PNoy and her mother late President Cory Aquino who directly deal peace in Mindanao.

The governor vowed to support the political will of the President in pushing peace in Mindanao.

The summit was attended by governors, mayors and other officials in ARMM-covered provinces of Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi.

The summit had for its theme, With theme: “Strengthening Regional Stakeholders’ Partnership towards Revitalized ARMM in Transition to Bangsamoro”.

After years of talking peace, the Philippine government and the MILF recently signed Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) that will allow the rebel group to set up a new autonomous government with larger territory and expanded powers and end four decades of conflict that has killed tens of thousands. (Rural Urban News/Cha Monforte)

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Black iron sand discovered in typhoon-stricken Boston town, baffles Davao Oriental, Surigao authorities

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on February 16, 2014 by cha monforte

feb 12, 2104

A sediment called as black sand or iron sand that accumulated in a seashore of the border Boston town has brought confusion and division among authorities in the provinces of Davao Oriental and Surigao del Sur.

Just a month ago the black sand found at the seashore of Barangay Cabasagan was started to be “mined” becoming a new livelihood of the Boston people who have not yet recovered from the onslaughts of typhoon Pablo.

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A pail of black sand selectively scraped and dug in the seashore gives an income of P5 for the laborers and P6 for the landowners, or a buying price of P11 from a buyer, a certain Maria Lemai Cayanan.

A pail of the material weighs about 50 kilos.

But suddenly last week a stoppage order was issued by the Bureau of Mines-Caraga Region for environmental reason.

Weeks prior the stoppage order, “it was like fiesta everyday seeing many people scraping on the shoreline with their pails. People here are so miserable, jobless and are begging for rice, even stealing raw cardava bananas from farmers for the survival of their children. We have not recovered yet from typhoon Pablo,” said Junjun Castillones, one of the hundreds of Boston people partaking from the bonanza of finding the iron sand.

He said the extraction activities became so busy just starting last month until people temporarily stopped as they still await for the balance of the payment for their labor from Cayanan.

A representative on a landowner PO3 Joedin Montejo said that during his childhood he had already seen the black sand just lying idle in his parent’s land by the sea.

He said it was in November last year that they were approached by the buyer to buy the black sand.

Davao Oriental Corazon Malanyaon on Monday stepped in and gave two months for the buying party to secure necessary papers.

“The black sand is like a blessing that drops on the ground to give livelihood to the people of Boston after the destructive typhoon Pablo. We’ll not stop this. But we need to formally arrange the activity,” the governor said, appearing as guest before the town council in session on Monday.

“What’s the character of the black sand? Is it a mineral resource or just pure sand and gravel? Are people mining? or just quarrying? If it’s a mineral, it’s no longer under the jurisdiction of the local government but the MGB. We need to legitimize and follow the process,” she said.

Gov. Malanyaon added that the buyer also needs to pay taxes to improve the price “pending our own studies and calculations.”

Judith Castes, executive assistant of Boston Mayor Rebecco Rosit, Sr, said that his mayor was also perplexed of the situation as quarrying for sand and gravel should be done only 200 meters from the low tide, and “we know it’s illegal but we could not also prevent people to have livelihood to survive.”

He said that people were not mining but “scraping on surface only” as the sediments are washed on and out by the heavy waves of the sea.

The governor received information from the floor that some 32 truckloads of black sand were reportedly hauled already off from Cabasagan shoreline, estimated with a value of more than P1 million. Separate reports said that a metric ton of the black sand fetch a price of P3,500 in Manila market.

But last Friday six hauling trucks loaded with black sand were flagged down and hauled off to municipal grounds by policemen on order of Mayor Jimmy Luna of the adjacent Lianga town in Surigao del Sur.

“Lingig has abundant black sand, which is important part of our coastal resources and our mayor was enraged that the buyer did not even inform the local government on her activities in our town,” said Councilor Tany Dapitanon in an interview.

He added that the buyer is reportedly shipping out the material bound for Manila via the PICOP port in Barangay Lawigan, Bislig City.

He said that the buyer a certain Mrs. Aquino had extracted the black sand at the town’s Barangay San Roque and not from Barangay Cabasagan of Boston, an allegation denied by the buyer’s drivers in separate interview.

The councilor said he did not saw the name of Cayanan in the hauling documents they included in their seizure, as he could not say if Mrs. Aquino is the same person with Cayanan. (Rural Urban News/Cha Monforte)

DoE meets protests, repeal calls in its Mindanao-leg dialogue on EPIRA

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on February 16, 2014 by cha monforte

feb 7, 2014

The Department of Energy met protests and range of reactions from various sectors Thursday in Davao City in the Mindanao-leg of its series of consultative dialogues aimed to draw inputs and recommendations on the review of the 13-year old Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA) law as various quarters move to have the law amended.

The labor and militant groups are one in their call for the repeal of Epira which they said they opposed before it was legislated thirteen years ago, forewarning that it would be detrimental to the people for favoring the private capitalists.

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“Privatization, which is the framework of Epira, cannot deliver its sweet promises. Thirteen years after its enactment, Epira is one big broken promise. Instead of fair and free competition, the power industry fell into the hands of a few private capitalists. Instead of reasonable prices of electricity, we end up having power hikes every year. We want it repealed,” said Rolando Pacanot of the Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC)-Southern Mindanao.

Alliance of Progressive Labor- Mindanao spokesman Randy Ponteras said the power industry needs “not just a reboot but a major reformating.”

He added that the Nagkakaisa Mindanao, a coalition of labor groups, that besides their call for Epira’s scrapping “we want a permanent stay in the planned privatization of the Agus-Pulangi hydropower plants, and a reform of the Energy Regulatory Commission, among others.”

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“It’s time to rethink and come up with a new model of power, that is different before and under Epira,” said
Partido ng Manggagawa Mindanao spokesman Gerry Torres.

On the other hand, Lanao Power Consumers Federation chairperson Melchora Ambalong saw two contentions on Epira- either it be repealed or amended.

She said that her group in the past participated in the drawing up of the implementing rules and regulations of Epira wanting “to mitigate” the law’s various flaws and questionable provisions that need to be amended.

She blamed the Dept. of Energy for not tapping power consumers when decisions on power increases were taken during Epira’s period of implementation.

“We can mitigate the existing Epira while waiting for the new Epira law to be made,” she added.

Businessman Vic Lao of the Mindanao Business Council, on the other hand, said that even under Epira businessmen have been burdened of high electricity rates in the country.

“I don’t whether it’s a repeal or amendment to Epira, but what is needed is to bring down the cost of electricity as we top among having the highest rates in the world. We need to bring our electricity rates down if we want to go into Asean integration by 2015,” he added.

During the dialogue, leaders of competing leftist groups Bayan Muna and FDC clashed over ideological matters like neo-liberalism, globalization and privatization as dictated by the World Bank as the “bankrupt framework of Epira” while representatives from the academe, power consumers, chamber of commerce, local government units and national government agencies listened.

Midway in the dialogue, APL labor leaders surprisingly unfurled “repeal Epira” banners on cartolina papers in the conference table.

Earlier in Thursday morning, Bayan Muna and its allied groups picketed at the gate of Insular Waterfront Insular Hotel Davao where the review-dialogue was held.

Among the items in the range of inputs and recommendations drawn from various Mindanao stakeholders by the DoE through focus group discussion were related to power pricing, ownership structure, Agus-Pulangi rehabilitation, PSALM, NCGP, ERC powers, Napocor loans, wholesale electricity spot market (WESM), Mindanao gird and power situation.

DoE-EPIMB national director Mylene Capongcol played it cool, saying that the Mindanao-leg dialoague was “very enlightening as we gained a wider perspective of things. It’s just a start.”

She said the DoE has already finished its consultative dialogues with related national agencies and in Luzon and Visayas.

The DoE scheduled its national consultative dialogue to be attended by regional focus group discussion representatives on Feb. 18 at SMX Convention Center, SM Taguig City.

“After which, the consolidated inputs from national dialogue would be submitted to DoE Secretary Jericho Petilla, who would then report it to President Aquino,” Capongcol said. (Rural Urban News/Cha Monforte)

“Police still on probe on killing of Panabo IP rep-councilor”- Mayor Silvosa

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on February 16, 2014 by cha monforte

feb 4, 2014

The Davao City police are still investigating on the killing of Panabo City indigenous people (IP) representative Datu Eliezer Mayaki, said Mayor Jose Silvosa, Sr. in an interview Monday.

“Our own police have coordinated with the Davao City police in charge on the investigation on the killing of our IP representative and the latest info we received, they are pursuing on one theory which is still held as confidential,” the city mayor said.

Mayaki was gunned down by one assailant last January 17 evening infront of his house at NHA Village, Maa, Davao City. Mayaki along with his son and wife just arrived on board a red KIA Bongo vehicle from Panabo City.

Davao City’s Talomo police said that the unidentified assailant appeared from behind and shot Mayaki’s back for several times.

His wife and son rushed him to Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC) but the victim was not able to survive.

There are loose talks in the city that Mayaki was killed by one in his tribe jealous to Mayaki’s status.

Mayor Silvosa and the Panabo City Council have strongly condemned the killing and called for speedy justice to be served to Mayaki, the first IP representative in the city council who sit by virtue of the joint circular on mandatory representation of IP representation of the Dept. of Interior and Local Government and the National Commission on Indigenous People (NCIP).

IP representatives in provincial, city, municipal and barangay councils in Davao del Norte sit one after another like in cascading dominoes last year, triggered by the joint DILG-NCIP circular as pushed by late DILG Secretary Jessie Robredo.

The mayor said it would be first up to the NCIP with the indigenous people in his city who would be Mayaki’s replacement.

Meanwhile, Davao del Norte IP representative Datu Victor Pandian said in separate interview that at press time the tribal chieftains throughout the province are still observing a 40-day mourning from date of death of Datu Mayaki, during which “anyone of them (chieftains and people) are called to be silent on (Mayaki’s) death.”

“After the 40-day silence, we (tribal chieftains) will meet and would issue our statement,” Datu Pandian said. (Rural Urban News/Cha Monforte)

Duterte promises to be courteous to De Lima in Senate hearing

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on February 16, 2014 by cha monforte

feb 2, 2014

Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte said in his every-Sunday TV program he would just be courteous to Dept. of Justice Secretary Leila de Lima in the Senate hearing today, Monday where he is invited to appear to shed light on rice smuggling.

He said during his “Gikan sa Masa, Para sa Masa” program: “I will just greet her good morning ma’am, good morning ma’am,” when he and the secretary would have a face off, eye to eye at the Senate following heated exchange of words carried in the national media since the recent weeks.

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The mayor said that due to his “pamalikas” (throwing of curse words), the issue on smuggling is put on the national spotlight as the Senate is now investigating.

 “Smuggling has been there long time ago, but nobody is interested to go after the criminals (engaged in) smuggling,” he added.

He bared that in his own investigation at the request of BIR Commissioner Kim Henares, agents from the intelligence community who came forward are consistent in their information on David Tan as the rice smuggler.

Duterte said he has “other names” involved in rice smuggling but did not want them divulged in public “without substantial proofs.”

Duterte took swipes at De Lima for seeking publicity out from prematurely dropping the identity of alleged rice smuggling king David Tan as Davidson Bangayan and from failing to establish Bangayan’s link with Tan.  The mayor called for De Lima’s resignation.

But he took anew an apparent jab at De Lima on Sunday when he tagged her as “numero unong intrigera”.

Earlier, De Lima hit back at Duterte saying that “everybody is aware that he’s got a lousy mouth”.   

In their trading of barbs, both threw “shut up” words.

Commission of Human Rights chair Etta Rosales was also dragged into the scene, earning those words, when she cautioned Duterte on his “I will kill you” statement directed at rice smugglers.

Tan’s real identity is expected to become a hot issue in today’s Senate hearing as Bangayan, a businessman, already denied he is Tan, while other reports said that the name David Tan is just a fictitious one. – (Rural Urban News/Cha Monforte)

Daneco-NEA objects to Feb referendum to settle conflict with Daneco-CDA

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on February 16, 2014 by cha monforte

jan 31, 2014

Officials of the Davao del Norte Cooperative-National Electrification Administration (Daneco-NEA) are objecting to the referendum scheduled by NEA on February 16 to finally settle the three-year running conflict with the competing Daneco-CDA (Cooperative Development Authority) faction.

They want it deferred to some other time.

The referendum would determine which faction would finally take control of the Daneco management.

Daneco-NEA legal counsel Jeorge Rapista charged Wednesday before some 200 barangay electrification association and multisectoral leaders meeting in Tagum City that there was “political pressure” made on why NEA Board of Administrators chairman and Dept. of Energy (DoE) Secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla suddenly made an order for referendum while the earlier cease and desist order (CDO) of NEA against the Daneco-CDA has not yet been been implemented.

He said that the cease and desist order was issued by Petilla last December 13, 2013 and a week later Daneco-NEA received an order for referendum.

“The referendum is not the solution to Daneco’s problem but the implementation of lawful orders,” Atty. Rapista said.

He added that “accountability” has first to be made by the competing Daneco-CDA with its “financial reports audited and checked by the NEA auditors and us”, and second, an ample time and resources have to be considered.

He also slammed the provision in the implementing rules and regulations recently published in a national paper singling out Daneco to base the winning result by “plurality of votes” and not the “fifty percent (50%) plus one” provision as provided in law for all electric cooperatives.

He charged that influential politicians have exerted efforts for the conduct of referendum even when Daneco-CDA officials have not yet “accounted” what they had done with the millions of collections from power payments of member-consumers.

“We are still waiting for NEA’s cease and desist order to be served, for the Daneco-CDA to turn over all the equipment and vehicles and for them to stop collecting,” Atty. Rapista said.

Daneco-NEA officer-in-charge general manager Benedicto Ongking bared that Daneco has been draining of resources citing that Daneco-CDA faction has continued to collect electric bill payments and “to reconnect what we disconnected” from delinquent member-consumers, that as a result hindered their massive collection campaign through disconnection.

“Many members take advantage of the situation by not paying their bills, ” said Daneco-NEA board director Arnold Dinopol.

He told the convening body that in one financial statement of Daneco-CDA that they got “they incurred so big expenses for legal services and for meals and allowances of Daneco-CDA officials.”

Dinopol claimed that the NEA-CDA financial report stated P8 million incurred for legal services while Daneco-NEA in the same period when the two parties tangled in legal cases had only less than a million pesos.

He also said that since July 2012 when the conflict started it is Daneco-NEA that has been paying to Daneco’s power suppliers PSALM, Therma Marine Inc. and Engineering Equipment Inc. (EEI) Power Corp., and to the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines for the transmission obligations.

He added that the referendum would cost about P6 million at the burden of Daneco.

Last December 13, 2013, Petilla issued a cease and desist order pursuant to NEA powers under Republic Act 1053 for Daneco-CDA to virtually stop operations and turn over all vehicles and other related equipment it held when it broke away from Daneco banking on its CDA registration.

There is an standing Writ of Preliminary Injunction issued by the Court of Appeals in August 2012 prohibiting Daneco-CDA respondent officials, their agents and representatives from further exercising powers as members of board of directors or as responsible officers of Daneco, which Daneco-CDA officials ignored as they filed an appeal on it.

But neither Daneco-CDA officials want a referendum also as they subsequently negated to the “gentleman’s agreement” between the two parties forged by the Dept. of Energy last August 23, 2013, citing that Daneco-CDA “does not recognize the existence of Daneco-NEA as legitimate” and therefore the agreement was considered as “null and void.”

After the agreement was forged, Daneco-CDA stopped collecting sometime but it resumed in October 2013.

Daneco-CDA spokesman Oliver Autor in earlier interview said that Daneco-CDA would continue collecting electric bill payments and reconnecting meters “unless and until our CDA registration is revoked.”

“They, NEA and Daneco-NEA should elevate the issue of CDA registration not at the Court of Appeals but at the Supreme Court,” he said.

Autor added that “they have to revoke first our CDA registration before we would follow the NEA’s cease and desist order.”

Mid last year Daneco-CDA board chairman Abiner Labja told the Davaop del Norte Sangguniang Panlalawigan that they collected an average of P10-11 million monthly, representing about 5.5 percent of Daneco’s total power consumption.

Petilla also anchored his cease and desist order on the ground that Daneco as a whole owed its power suppliers of more than P264.2 million as of November 20, 2913 and its system loss rate is “at high 18.18%” which needs to be arrested. (Rural Urban News/Cha Monforte)

DA-XI’s P800 M farm-to-market road to be downloaded to DPWH

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on February 16, 2014 by cha monforte

The farm-to-market roads (FRMs) that the Department of Agriculture-XI would be implementing this year carry a budget of P800 million while the FMR’s specifications standard is scaled up as part of the agency’s climate change adaptation.

DA-Regional Field Unit-XI assistant regional director Dr. Rafael Mercado, DVM bared in an interview that that the P800-million budget though would be “downloaded” to the Department of Public Works and Highways-XI which will implement FMR projects including the bidding process, breaking the agency’s tradition since seven years ago where FMR projects were under DA’s exclusive prerogative.

“Before, local government units in the region proposed and then we made verification, evaluation and recommendation either to bid FMR project or give it to an LGU which implemented the project by administration,” he said.

He said that the decision to download DA’s FMR projects was reached by DA’s national officials, noting of the DPWH’s technical capability and manpower.

The department will now be in charge of the monitoring, Mercado said.

DA-XI has a total of P2.045 billion budget for the projects, programs and services for 2014, of which P800 million is allocated for FMR projects for Davao Region. Last year it has only P1.8 billion .

Dr. Mercado also bared that as part of DA’s climate change adaptation, the specifications standard of FMR to be implemented across the country would now be: 5 meters in width and 8 inches in thickness, with 1.5-meter extension in both sides of the shoulder.

DA’s FMR standard before is: 4 meters in width and 6 inches in thickness, with 1.5-meter extension in both sides of the shoulder.

“Madalas na ang ulan. It’s not mere mitigation, but adaptation to climate change already,” Mercado said. (Rural Urban News/Cha Monforte)